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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)


This story is a sequel to Triptych

He can't sleep. It was hard enough just getting Twilight back to bed and now that she's resting, all he can do is toss, turn, and completely fail to find a better placement for the basket. So as long as he's up anyway and trying to avoid disturbing his sister, there are worse things to do than take a quiet stroll around his sleeping town. Seeing what the world is like when he's the only one moving through it.

But there is one who knows that quiet world better than anypony, who isn't willing to let him travel without company.

And when two who share a secret meet under Moon, time becomes just one more thing to move through.

(Part of the Triptych Continuum, which has its own TVTropes page and FIMFiction group. New members and trope edits welcome.)

Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.

Cover art by Foxy Noxy, used under open permission.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 66 )
Estee #1 · Jul 1st, 2019 · · ·

Author's Very Public Note: this story takes place a few days after the end of Triptych, refers to and builds on the events thereof, and so will make no sense to anyone who hasn't read it. So this time, I'm saying it directly: this isn't a stand-alone. If you haven't read or finished the primary, avoid this one. Or you are going to be very confused.

We're in a new era now, and there won't be a quiz -- but every once in a while, there may be some need for familiarity with the material.

Gonna tag it as a sequel?


I did. It's showing up that way on my screen. The notice isn't on yours?

No, I'm just a dumbass looking in the wrong place on mobile. :facehoof: I thought it was after the chapter description, not above.

a softcover would suddenly require definition for the exact material that cover had been made from, and that book had subsequently been given a place to itself. (It had still been there after the siblings' desperate baths had mutually run out of hot water, and neither had been able to touch it.)

i wonder what kind of material it was...:pinkiegasp: could it be...leather? :twilightoops:

Thats a good Spike story. It does him and his position within the Bearer justice. Good Spike stories are hard to find in my opinion. Good job.

Where does his egg come from? Now that's an interesting question. and make me hope this story is a precursor to another that will anwser it.

"using contradictions while allowing him"
"using contractions while allowing him"?

Very nice. :)
And I too have sometimes gone out in the small hours and felt the lovely quiet.

Excellent work, as always.


Probably an old Griffish tome.

Ouch. I feel sorry for Spike and I definitely think we need more of Luna and Spike interacting here because Spike needs that one being who he can turn to and get help that will not just dismiss him as a child.

It was ridiculous. Garnets always made him sleepy: a magically-enhanced specimen had once knocked out him (him out) for hours. But he'd consumed everything they'd had, and the most it had produced was a blink which lasted from 1:23 to 1:24.

Excellent little story featuring two characters that deserve more spotlight, particularly Spike. I hope the tease about maybe getting a backstory on his egg comes to fruition in the future. I’m glad to see you putting out good work again. Keep your head above water and watch out for crocodiles.

Twilight has been extraordinarily fortunate in both of her brothers.

Huh, she got both libraries, then? Separately, premier Equestrian Mental Health Expert swears by ear scritches confirmed.

Darnit, now I've got to write that 'where Spike's egg came from' story that's been perking in the back of my mind for a few years. It fits more into the Skywriter canon, though, as a sequel to More Precious Than Silver or Gold.

I really thought this would end with Spike becoming Luna's seneschal, haha. Guess he's still a bit too young for that

I want to take the best quotes out of this story and tattoo them on my brain so I can't ever forget the exact words. A beautiful piece that really does justice to Spike, when he often gets so little. The small hours are well honored, too. Damn good work here.

Speculation About The Elements of Harmony
Given the way that the Elements work in this verse, the account (in "Princess Twilight") of Celestia using the Elements to send NMM to the moon is inaccurate. *IF* the Elements were involved, then there has to have been AT LEAST 3 sets. The originals (with Statswirl, Celestia, & Luna), a second set to banish NMM (given Luna's age, if it was about 1,000 years before the pilot, the mortal originals would all be dead of old age if nothing else), and the current set.

Also, given that set 1 stoned Discord & set 2 banished NMM while set 3 reformed them both, the current set is the most powerful

God damn that was really, I don’t know, significant? Luna’s discussion of how she never really speaks to Spike feels almost like a meta commentary on the fact that I so rarely see this kind of deep engagement between the two in writing, and you did it beautifully.

Also you totally teased her asking him to be a student and that’s cruel that you never followed up :derpytongue2:

That's what I thought too, with the added caveat that they wouldn't be so creeped out if there wasn't something out of the ordinary about the source.

But it's a softcover. I've never heard of a softcover being bound in leather.

Twilight has one library, which has gotten a huge donation of rare books courtesy of Quiet Presence.

I recall the scene, I was noting I hadn't realised he'd sent the hidden one as well.
I doubt anything with that level of horror was sitting around the 'public' one.

Just the right story to start at 3:45am.

An excellent story. It was a joy to see Luna and Spike connecting, in the "small hours" of the night.

Store windows offered their displays to him alone, and his reflection gazed back out into possibilities. The wind sang for him. The streets, without a single other pony within sight or hearing, might have been offered as a gift.

Stars listening to but one source of wishes. (He was still young enough for that, and cast one of the more recent ones towards the sky, hoping it would be heard.) Moon which gazed upon a single traveler.

Ponyville at three in the morning was any number of things, and all of them felt as if they were his.

While other parts of this story were more important, and moving, I think this little moment was the most beautiful, both in terms of writing and of the image it painted of Spike and his mood, alone but not lonely, in the night.

This was something nice.

This was someone trying to apologize in proxy on perhaps one person who made the quiet difference.

And it shows, because she listens. She pays attention, twilight and luna both. Each differently, but they are trying.

Don't get me wrong, this has the marks of an apology after the end of tryptych in some fashion. But it can be waived in part. You are trying to have some things mended, and meaningfully so.

In the end, its a start. Just a start.

This exactly what Luna needed. Thank you.

it took a full minute before he managed to resolve what had initially come across as some sort of miniature train car into a misplaced shopping cart.

Thankfully, it didn't pounce on him.

"Does this indicate," the cool voice asked, "that you have a type?"

Perhaps ponies voiced by Tabitha St. Germain? :raritywink: Heck, Spike's one of the few who've gotten past Dulci's defenses.

A first crush does not ask permission of the one experiencing it before choosing a subject.

Speaking from experience there.

We have a name for the earlier Protector. I'm kind of surprised his own people don't remember him, especially given their ancestral reverence. Of course, any history from that period would've been difficult to preserve.

I can't help but read something into Luna reassuring Spike. He was there for his sister, but she wasn't. She definitely feels blame for that millennium of Celestia being alone in a crowd.

My joking aside, this was a wonderfully atmospheric and thoughtful story. As Luna observed, these two don't interact nearly as often as they should, and you made their conversation a fantastic blend of character moments, shared struggles, and data from the Discordant Era. Thank you for it.

time becomes just one more thing to move through.

Alondro does not move through time; time moves through Alondro! :derpyderp2:

9708324 This speculative 3rd set DID NOT reform Discord. Fluttershy did that. Recall, he was still quite prepared to be evil until he realized the value of the first friend he'd ever had in his existence. I'd attribute his reformation far more to the fact that, as an aspect entity embodying Chaos and Disharmony, he'd never even considered friendship before. When he was given the ultimatum to reform or be stoned forever (and not the pot-induced sort the hippies would enjoy), it was the first incidence he'd encountered of genuine relationship, even if he was initially plotting to deceive them all. As such, it was a truly novel experience and unexpected... which actually naturally fit his chaotic aspect!

I don't remember a hidden library. His 'public' one had Fortreeze's Guide To Dangerous Devices just lying around.

A Mark of Appeal:

They passed statues, and the shadow of a stone whip fell across Celestia's face, for minotaurs would not allow themselves to forget. To forget was to chance having it happen again. And she looked at those statues, as she had looked generations before, looked at the stone-captured images of those who ripped the whips apart, and still there was nothing for the one who should have been remembered best of all.

Name him Render, for he tore the whips into pieces.

Yes, well, IMO it is debatable as to "How much was Fluttershy" vs "How much was being blasted 2 I/2 times with the Elements." I'd say that it was cumulative, they softened him up

Hey, remember when you asked your readers what scenes they'd want to see art of? Here's one more scene for the list:

And she let him hold her until the tears stopped.

More specifically, reference is made to something that happens very near the end of Triptych, so one should probably actually finish it -- might as well, upon getting that far -- before starting this.

Congratulations on making the top spot of the mature-included Featured Box!

I used to think that the ultimate portrayal of Spike on this site was by The Descendant.

I’ve been egregiously wrong. I thought your portrayal of him in Unnoticed and Goosed was excellent.

This story was another level above those. Congratulations. I can’t wait until your next Spike story. #1

Back in ye olden days, leather was commonly used for book covers.

Celestia used the full set of elements to banish NMM by herself. That cost her the ability to use them at all, which is why they had to wait for our current bearers to show up.
Had a full six wielders been available to fight NMM the first time around, the darkeness could have been purged from her right then instead of banishing her.

That's canon in the show. In Estee's verse, it don't work like that, you need 6 bearers. Celestia fibbed.

Yes one of life's little ironies. Her career is doing better than ever even as her life has turned to shit

Back in ye olden days, those leather-bound books were hardcovers. As far as I know.

I tried looking into historical leather softcovers, but Google has decided to be useless. So if you can show me I'm wrong, please do so instead of being pointlessly condescending.

I don't think Estee's given us a concrete explanation of how Luna was banished in-'verse.

Fun fact: It's implied in Horsefeathers and The Night before Nightmare that Nightmare Moon was Luna's attempt to turn herself normal, thus making it arguably a case of suicide that managed to go even more horribly wrong than one would expect.

Grats on holding both the #1 and #2 feature box spot simultaneously.

Quick and dirty recap here! I should do one for AJ's part too, I was really focused on how Twilight felt...

When I said "how Luna was banished" I meant the mechanics of what Celestia did, not how the Nightmare came about. But a re-read of The Night Before Nightmare happened to turn up a partial answer:

It has to be the Elements this time. It wasn't them at the last because there weren't six, there were two and Luna was submerged inside that thing. I did the only thing I could think of to get it out and... that's why it's like this. Because I screwed up. I found the wrong answer.

Thus 9709427 is correct. Celestia fibbed. But that still leaves questions about what she actually did.

Hadn't read your last post when I wrote this, so I deleted that & wrote this
OK, it WASN'T the Elements. This leaves the question wide open:
"So, how the * DID Celestia banish Luna?"

Looked up the script of part 2 of the pilot

Twilight "I read all about the prediction of Nightmare Moon. Some mysterious objects called the Elements of Harmony are the only things that can stop her, but I don't know what they are, where to find them, I don't even know what they do!"

So, Celestia indisputably concealed the truth at the very least & did not correct false accounts. She almost certainly stone flat LIED & I have to wonder "why?"

9708857 I would counter that Discord was never really 'evil' to begin with. From the history time-travel flashbacks we saw from Twilight drinking that very suggestive-looking potion, Discord toyed with the Sisters rather than ever really trying to defeat or harm them.

Indeed, when he broke out the first time, now that we've seen how he was a thousand or so years ago, he hadn't changed in the slightest. If anything, he was MORE malicious and actively turned the Mane 6 against each other.

I don't see any evidence the EoH 'softened him up'.

It's the same with NMM. Rather than there being any evidence for multiple sets of Elements, I can just as easily claim (with a certain degree of actual rationality) that Celestia alone couldn't purify Luna since she wasn't the proper Bearer of 3 of the Elements, AND she was being forced to use them under duress when her heart was heavily conflicted. Given that we've seen the EoH totally shut down when the Mane 6 weren't all in harmony, it's amazing Celestia was able to use them at all. When the Mane 6 wielded them, they were totally unified, each perfectly representing their aspect of Harmony with no conflict and a clear purpose. Naturally, in those conditions they'd be able to harness the Elements' power in their highest form.

When the Mane 6 later used them against Discord, it simply petrified him again... the exact same effect as when Celestia and Luna used them while they were in harmony with each other.

Well, yes about Discord, but IMO he was partially reformed after Return of Harmony.
No hard evidence, just his behavior in Keep Calm & Flutter On
As to "What Twilight saw". that was in Princess Twilight in S4 & THAT is non canon to Estee's verse

Why Celestia lied is easily explained. It was a setup.

Her goal is to stop the Nightmare without killing Luna. She's convinced the Elements can do it, but can't use them herself. So she puts the idea of using the Elements on Nightmare Moon into the nation's collective knowledge base. If Celestia succeeds in finding new Bearers, it gives her a tool to point them in the right direction. If she doesn't, then maybe some unexpected saviors can be inspired to search for the Elements.

There's still a lot of other questions, but that one is answered to my satisfaction (until Estee decides to say something different).

Well, I can go with that. I mean, first off why even hold such an important festival in such a hick town as Ponyville? The first 5 ponies that she met "just happened" to be the Element Bearers? Oh really. Then there's the fact that Fluttershy's behavior in part 2 is the most OOC act in the entire series. IMO, she would have wet herself, ran home, hid under her bed, & died of fright So yeah, I can buy that C set the whole thing up.


Darnit, now I've got to write that 'where Spike's egg came from' story

Well, you've already written one about where Twilight's egg came from... :trollestia:


That's what I thought too, with the added caveat that they wouldn't be so creeped out if there wasn't something out of the ordinary about the source.

I believe they were creeped out because pretty much anything that would give enough leather for a book cover would be sapient in-'verse.


I tried looking into historical leather softcovers, but Google has decided to be useless. So if you can show me I'm wrong, please do so instead of being pointlessly condescending.

It took about five minutes for me to find a reference: http://web.ceu.hu/medstud/manual/MMM/bookbinding.html. Paragraph 4 mentions that while most used wooden covers, some used leather instead of wood.

Why did you assume that the original poster was being "pointlessly condescending" instead of sincere?

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