• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,164 Views, 588 Comments

Distant Reflections - David Silver

Equestria and Everglow have brushed against one another through the course of their histories, each time fleeting, but memorable to those involved. Many many years later, the unaging Twilight captains a space vessel to explore the universe.

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29 - Currency Exchange

Octavia's eyes went over the plaque beside the door they were in front of. "Illuminated Gaze, Historian Preserver," it read. "I see... Well, these coins are a bit of history. Do you suppose he, or she, will want them?"

Remi gently dug her heels into Octavia's sides in an increasingly practiced way. "Only one way to find out. Onwards!" Suddenly she was airborne, thrown free of Octavia in a powerful buck. Remington flipped once in the instant she had and came down on all fours, bouncing right back up to her feet with a grin. "I was enjoying that, but good on you."

Octavia rolled her eyes as she approached the door. It slid open without prompting, allowing her to walk on through it without slowing. The inside was very different from the outside, each available shelf, counter, and table space occupied by something curious looking. Historical artifacts, Octavia had to assume, but they were from histories she didn't know and cultures she could barely fathom.

She tried to ignore them all and look for the owner, but curiosity got the better of her as she started to walk past something that seemed like a string instrument gone horribly awry. She stopped and turned to it, peering at the strange way its strings went not in a straight line but bent along the body of the instruments equally curved and warped form. What manner of sound would it make? Part of her wanted to know, and another part feared it equally.

"What'd you find." Remi walked up beside Octavia, joining her gaze to admire the strange instrument. "Woah. Can you play that?"

"I wouldn't dare touch it without its owner's permission." Octavia turned an ear towards Remi. "We are in a museum, not the music store. To assume one can put their hooves on anything in here would be quite impolite."

"I'm glad you understand that." The room got brighter, light spilling off a sudden hologram that popped into being of a smiling elderly flutter male. "So many youngsters wander in here thinking it's just a toy collection. Welcome!" He was not a butterfly, instead having the sharper angles of a hornet. "What brings you here?"

Octavia turned to address the mostly transparent image of a flutter. "Good day. I am Octavia and it's a pleasure to meet you."

"So polite, I like that." The holographic flutter dipped his head. "Illuminated at your service. Who's your friend?" His gaze turned to where Remi was peering at a collection of crude knives.

Remi waved without turning. "Remington, hey."

Illuminated raised a hoof to his snout. "She's not like you. So, are you here to browse?"

"I was hoping to sell, actually." Octavia's horn glowed as she pulled a coin free from her bag and floated it towards the hologram.

"Put it over there." He was pointing at one of the only clear spaces in the room, a black glass platform. "I'll be able to give it a proper inspection. Tell me more about it. Where's it from? When's it from?"

Octavia floated the coin over and set it right in the center of the platform. "It's from my home country, on my home world, Equestria. It's..." She began clucking her tongue, trying to place an age on it.

The holographic collector looked away at something else and began striking keys only he could see. "How interesting. Obvious anti-forgery magic... A little crude by modern standards, but well built... The age... Here we are... How curious... Equestria you said?"

Octavia inclined her head. "Yes. It comes in different denominations, which I also have."

His features brightened, a smile coming. "If you have a complete set, I'd like to see that."

Remi slid in next to Octavia, tail twitching and a grin on her face. "Let's talk numbers first?"

"Yes, yes..." He pressed a few more unseen buttons. "For a full set..." A number appeared on the screen. "If you have another set of a different printing, I may be interested. This number assumes the coins you have are all of the same set. If they're from different ones--" A new number appeared, lower. "--I will have to offer less."

Octavia wobbled a hoof. "Would the fact that this world has not even made formal contact increase its value?"

"Were I a currency exchange, quite the opposite. Money with the backing of some unknown government? Who would value that?" He leaned forward with a gentle smile. "But to someone like me... Let me see what you have."

Her pouch of coins emerged, clinking softly. She opened it in her magic and peered inside, starting to pluck out coins slowly. "One bit. Five bits. Twenty bits... Ah." She put down one coin that was very different. "This is a half bit, not often used, but still part of the set." Her eyes darted over the coins. "Now are they..."

"You have quite the collection." The hologram didn't move from where it was, though it looked like it was walking despite it. A wall in the back opened up and the hologram blinked away, allowing the actual form of Illuminated to enter, eyes on the coins. "Did you imagine you would have a use for them away from your world?"

Octavia sat down in surprise at the appearance of the historian. "Oh! Hello there. I didn't realize you were so close at hoof."

"I did mention most of my visitors were loud younglings." He closed with the coins, examining them even as his hoof unfolded into gleaming tweezers and a glimmering disc appeared before his face, making his eye look quite larger. "May I?"

"Please." She dipped her head and glanced towards Remi. "They were mine and, I confess, I simply didn't think to not bring them."

"A perfectly normal response." He closed his tweezers on the first coin and raised it up just before his disc, examining closely. "Mmm, ah, is this a year?" He turned the coin around, his other fore hoof pointing at the portion he had been studying.

Octavia leaned in to get a look. "Oh, yes. That is the year it was minted, I believe."


"After Equestria, the founding of our country," she explained. "I never really paid attention to that on the coins before, I confess."

"Fascinating... Do you have any coins from before your country's founding, or perhaps other countries of the same world?" When Octavia shook her head, he set the coin down and reached for the next. "Well, pity that, but now we know what to look for. We just need to see if the year matches. With a name like that, was your country entirely pony in origin?"

"In majority, but not exclusively."

As he studied the coins one by one, he gently pried at her for more information on her strange distant world.

Twilight raised a hoof to her chin, a fork feeding herself with her magic a saucy bit of pasta that left her snout speckled with red. "I... never had a significant other. I wonder, at times, if that makes me a failure."

"You upheld your friendship and helped countless other ponies find and hold onto theirs." Spike rolled a hand before taking a big slurp of his own. "Seems like a success to me. You ran Equestria, and it didn't collapse in fire. You even found, trained, and stepped aside for a successor, just like Celestia did for you. How is that a failure?"

Twilight wobbled a hoof at herself with her free hoof. "I was supposed to be friendship. That wasn't just a specialty. It was... supposed to be me. I was supposed to live it, breathe it, but I never let anyone in close enough to... do the next level after that. Countless ponies, stallions and mares... I didn't even shut them all down. I didn't even see half of them. They were friendship problems to be solved, and I did that... When my... When they..." A tear dropped from her face into her food, not that it stopped her from twirling up some more pasta.

"That's different."

Twilight blinked softly, sitting up. "Pardon?"

"Huh, oh?" Spike shook his head. "I'm used to certain conversations. They start the same way, the middle parts vary faintly, but are basically the same, then end the same way." He lifted his shoulders softly. "That was different."

"Spike, what are you saying?" She set down her fork, still loaded with strands.

"And we lost it." He sat up onto his haunches. "Sorry, that was my mistake."

"This isn't funny!" she hissed out. "I'm trying to share my emotions with you and you're... I don't understand, but I don't like it. Why are you making fun of me, Spike?"

"Look, I'm sorry, my bad." He slipped two fingers to either side of a wine glass' flute and gently sipped from it. "But we have had this conversation before, many times. I was being happy that you're breaking the pattern a little."

"I would remember if we've had a conversation!" she practically squeaked out, getting eyes turning towards her, not that she cared in that moment. "You are being very mean, Spike. This isn't like you."

Spike set down the wine and slid a hand across the table, reaching for one of her hooves. She tensed, but didn't stop him from making contact, gently wrapping his fingers around her leg and squeezing softly. "Twilight, I don't lie, not to you. You know that."

"But... How...?" New tears began to form, thoughts of her romantic life abandoned, forgotten in the moment. "And why do you tolerate it?! Why aren't you angry?! I've... been an awful friend!"

Spike smirked faintly. "Maybe a little, but you're so awesome outside that, it works out. You were hurt, Twilight. You're getting better. Don't beat yourself up for being hurt, look forward to growing."

"Growing hurts, Spike." She floated over not the glass, but the bottle of wine and upturned it, taking a powerful swig.

Spike grabbed the bottle in his other hand, wrenching it away from her. "Growing hurts," he agreed. "Do you remember what you told me when I first noticed I couldn't stand on two legs so well anymore? I came galloping into your room, waddling more like, trying so hard to stand up just to fall over with every other step. I was a mess, all tears and snot. Do you remember that?"

Twilight thought back, her own sniffles quieting. "I... remember... You were getting larger again. You couldn't hold yourself up easily, and it was really bothering you."

"I was a mess," he corrected with a bit of a smirk. "I'm not afraid to admit it. But you were there for me. What did you tell me, Twilight?"

"I... said that you were Spike. Bigger, smaller, two or four-legged, you were my... precious brother, my #1 assistant. Savior of Equestria countless times over. You would still be Spike, and... you were growing... and that was..." She trailed off, hiccuping, new tears starting. "And... that was alright."

"It'll be alright this time too." He gently squeezed her held leg, his fingers rubbing through her fur slowly. "It'll be alright this time too..."

"It'll... be... alright," she repeated to herself in soft desperate tones as if trying to convince herself. "Growing hurts..."

"It always does." He gestured at the table. "Want to head out? Or we can just sit here for a while. Either's fine by me."

"I just want to be here..." She looked up into his eyes. "With my friend, my best friend. The most wonderful dragon I know."

"The only dragon you know," he corrected with a little smile. "Let's relax then, but no more wine." He set the bottle down on the floor out of sight. "But maybe a little dessert instead?"



"Why am I so small?" she asked, her voice just as tiny as she was compared to how large she had once been. "Did I know? Did I forget? Was that a conversation I had before?"

Author's Note:

I blame my commenters for putting this idea in my head and it just worked so well in there it set up shop.

Written early for patreons who got this ahead of everyone else. Want to get early chapters, or even your own story written? atreon!

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