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Cast-Iron Caryatid


This story is a sequel to Sharing the Night

Twilight Sparkle is the alicorn of the stars, and after a period of self-discovery, ancient-goddess-discovery and a minor case of malmanifestation madness, she has finally come to share the night, a city, her ex-villain status and a bed with Luna, the alicorn of the moon.

Things are looking pretty good for her.

The five demigoddesses she created out of spite? Not so much. Celestia and Celestia are a little lost too, and for some unknown, completely mysterious reason, dragons are flooding into Equestria—and they're not acclimating. Someone probably should do something about that.

It never gets dull in Ponyville, does it?

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Chapters (26)
Comments ( 387 )

OMG! A sequel to one of my favorites! The fandom isn't dead! Long live Cast!

It's a shame I really should be asleep right now. Wanna read this so much right now.

Indeed. Long Live Cast!

i cant believe my unholy eyes of darkness, a sequel, how wonderfully.
well I cant wait for twilight and girls and luna to meet Ember

For all the things that pile up by me right now... new apartment... studies... friends... family...
I've never... not ever... before... been so grateful to go online and find my prayers to all four of ponygoddeses answered.
MLP seasons might have ended...
MLP might die...

YOU good sir... brought a major smile on my lips... not only that... you gave me enough strength to tackle the next morning.
Can be achieved by a good MLP author... *bows respectfully* I thank thee with all my heart for the kindness though have to continue something you build to last for eternity. May it last longer than eternity and shall it prevail through mankind any ponykind alike! It shall last even into another timeline!

The last one took 7 years to finish. I expect this one will be finished at about the same time they reboot friendship is magic.

August is off to a great start!


despite me not wishing to be forced to wait that long... I now am wishing for the reboot O.o

This will be interesting will this be more focus on Spike than Luna and Twilight. Honestly I think that is a better call. Lets be honest here, Spike said it himself. They are more or less Celestial bodies now. What are the stakes of that? What is the drama of that? No one can kill them or beat them in anything so any conflict seem meek. But Spike here is in a very interesting point to say the least. With dragons now around, one connected to royalty living with him, and best chance Smolder will show up near him too, hell Gabby might as well lol But Spike isn't a immortal or some godly being. He is a guy who just got his own life and from Twilight's wants and whims he is now pulled back into her shit again. To be honest I kinda would have liked it if he would have told her no and we followed his path in all of this. But now we still can, tho I still think she treat him more as someone to pass around and to use instead of someone to respect or anything like that. She wasn't even going to pay him till he said anything and justified NOT paying him, giving him vacation days, and running the library by saying he wasn't mature enough. Anyway I am really interesting in seeing where this goes from here on out.


Welp, I lived to see the end of Sharing the Night, something I wasn't expecting. Definitely not gonna see the end of this one, and more's the pity.

Yay for more great fic!

(Can't help but notice that Rarity's pillar is either not included or covered by Twilight's & wonder why...)

Sequel? Yes! :pinkiehappy:

Ah yes, and so spike becomes a harem protagonist, probably.

It'll be nice tonread a story in this world where Twilight Sparkle is a main character :rainbowlaugh:

That's some cool cover art, but it's missing one of the ex-bearers, isn't it...? Foreshadowing?

I enjoyed this chapter a lot, and I'm sure I'm going to enjoy the sequel as a whole a great deal as well despite that I'm still a bit disturbed by the whole Celestia-split-herself-in-two-and-was-unconsensually-turned-draconic thing, and by how little disturbing any of her loved ones seem to find it—but I'm going to try to ignore that, lol.

How is this story officially starting up going to affect Sparkle-ling Perfection? Hiatus, slowed down, etc.?

Huh, I wasn't expecting a sequel.


You'll definitely be seeing a lot of Spike, though don't count Twilight out just yet. Powerful and inhuman characters are indeed difficult to write because you can't just throw threats at them, but power actually solves very few of life's problems. (Money, on the other hand, solves most of them, but that's another challenge).

As for Spike accepting Twilight's offer, I can see where you're coming from, but there's no need to worry that he'll lose his agency. Spike having multiple things going on just gives him more to do and more conflict, especially since Ember doesn't want anyone to know about her—not that that's actually working out so well…

Rarity was nice enough to be the one taking the picture :duck:

…I'm actually serious. It's supposed to be from the perspective of her tower, and I couldn't really find a way to communicate that very well; I tried various glows on the parapet at the bottom of the image, but I prefer the silhouette look. If it really bothers people, I could try and shift things around to fit hers in in the distance, too, but I'm afraid I'm not actually that great of an artist, more a mediocre graphic designer.


How is this story officially starting up going to affect Sparkle-ling Perfection? Hiatus, slowed down, etc.?

Well, I actually did more than 23,000 words in July while working on this, and I'm hoping I'll be able to keep that up. I might focus a little more on this for a while, but I definitely don't want to put A Sparkle-ling Perfection completely on hiatus.

That said, I do have some things to think about in regards to ASP; I'm almost certainly going to switch to past tense for future chapters, and while I'm not going to put things on hold to make revisions, it might take a few tries to translate ASP's stream-of-consciousness feel to past tense, so we'll just have to see what happens. I still might spend some idle time converting the current chapters, but altering the tense of 85,000 words is no small feat :twilightoops:

You think you're joking, but that's basically what my outline said at one point :rainbowlaugh:

A bit of a rocky start with so much exposition and speculation, especially when coming over straight from 'epilogue epilogue'. Diving into the meat of things instantly without a warm-up could have been better but at the same time, I will give credit to the fact that all essential characters were introduced and laid out nicely without being forced.

Cover wise, I did not expect Fluttershy's and Rainbow's cutie marks to be placed on such a pedestal instead of Applejack's. I understand Pinkie as she would be more of a supporting character now. And after further thought about the major issue with Applejack not getting a bigger spotlight but as a supporting plotline to tie everything together does make sense. Though I will be quite interested to see what Fluttershy and Rainbow bring to the table. In your comment, you said that Rarity was framing this image, so would this be her telling of the story now as she sees it? Certainly brings an unreliable narrative twist to things. Or maybe that is my skewed look at this so far.

Spike's preestablished direction into becoming an actual adult will be interesting as well as seeing him making friends and opening up as Twilight had to do. Throwing Ember at him was definitely the easiest way of doing so, one might say lazy if it were any other story but as the reason for her coming was established beforehand I can not call it that. As you have always been heavily invested into building characters and diving deep into what makes them up too, I can never call this lazy.

Well, you have set everything well enough as is so let the show begin!

I'm loving the spike ember dynamics. and hope to see more. Spike is best dragon

Really, my main question is this: Since the gods of the sun/sky/whatever were unable to harm the ancient turned-to-earth dragons in any kind of way, and only another dragon that's of the same age group could do it... Does this mean Celestia is now an omni-god with her dragon magic, and she could start munching on the Elder dragons, if she needed to?

Woooot!! So glad to see more of this. Theme for a third reread of the first story and looking forward to more.


I choose to believe you are talkig about both things I said.

Honestly I just figured her pillar was covered up, as noted, but your reason is much more amusing :)

I absolutely love the speculation, but regarding the cover, at least… you're giving it way too much thought. The smaller towers are just supposed to be in the background, and the placement of each individual cutie mark is mostly down to what looked better on which background. There's a little truth in Rarity possibly not getting as much screentime, but the story isn't actually from her point of view, sorry. :twilightsheepish:

How did you know my birthday was this week? You bet I'm tracking this.

...come back for a new [chapter] each day...

GAH. Are you trying to kill us with awesome?!?

Ember, you cray.

This is such a train wreck. A delightful delightful train wreck.

“Has anyone ever told you you’re kinda w—”

w-what? I am sorry, I do want to get the joke, but I don't :(

besides... new chapter... eeeeeeeeeeh :D

just to much stuff

Ya I’m trying to figure out what starts with w as well. Somehow I don’t think he’s dumb enough to say Wide.

Huh. Splitting the sun in hapf has consequences. Gee, whodathunkit?

In any case, definitely looking forward to seeing how the other ex-Bearers adapt to their demidivinity and how Ponyville works around being an endpoint for a dragon migration. This should be all kinds of fun.

... Huh. Could've sworn that chapter wasn't there a minute ago.


well, the suggestion of weird makes sense...
and Now I am feeling dumb... well dumber as usual

why do I see a giant cake with frosting growing out of the ground one day? The odd thing though is, I cannot decide which of them is growing it...
Pinky? Applejack? Luminara and Calora (Names for the 2 Celestia I've come up with :D in the meantime that they are... nameless?)? Maybe even Twilight or Luna? Who knows... I can see anything happen at that point with the developing craziness and the seed of Discord in Luminara and Calora...
meh... would be funny but probably pointless :D
but who knows the way of crazy...

either way... I am more than a bit eager to know what comes next :)

Yeah, there's no way this can possibly end well. Declaring the Canterhorn a dragon preserve might help. Might.

but for pegasi and anyone else with wings, it was an incredible boon.

It does mean a lot of traditional pegasus battle tactics just went out the window, though. No more hiding in the sun, attacking out of the light, or lurking invisible in dark shadows while one's foe's eyes are sharply contracted by bright glare off of the terrain.

Good thing they don't need them much these days?

“Huh,” Ember said, just staring ahead. “A giant rock. That makes way more sense; you should have just said that.”

You know, it kind of does! :twilightsmile:

Rarity already has the land purchased to give you a place of your own nearby—has since before the whole mess with Astri, actually—but I doubt you’ll use it much.

You know, that's an idea that has me thinking... with portals!

Two houses. One on the mountain. One in town. One portal in between making them one house in two locations! Go on, Twily, solve for Magic™! :rainbowlaugh:

“Wait, if you took back what was letting Discord cause all that surreal hoey, doesn’t that mean you’d be the one to watch out for with the candy cane rainbows?”

No, AJ, Twilight doesn't have anything to do with the rainbows. That's all Corona. :raritywink: Such a fabulous new name! :raritystarry:

Candy-cane constellations, or maybe tying Rainbow Dash up with magical stardust candy canes for Luna to tickle torture her to clear the air between them, on the other hoof... :pinkiehappy:

“It’s ‘sun’ with an ‘a’ on the end,” the other Celestia informed her cheekily.

Sounds like a winner, sunnybuns! :trollestia:

So one has fire on her head, the other rainbows. Did their cutie marks change as well?

It DOES make perfect Dragonsense.

Luna is big, therefore powerful, because Luna is The Moon.

Applejack’s expression didn’t change one bit. “Aren’t nebulae your thing?”

I love that both of these are littered with lines like this. This is the equivalent of literary porn.

Oh man! You... you... beautiful person you. Thank you for this sequel. I mean it, I truly do.

*looks at the calendar* National Girlfriends Day? Hey, that works nicely for the traditional holiday publishing schedule.

This had been a mistake, as putting herself in the shadow explicitly meant she was no longer in the shade.

Those were two different words now. Her inner librarian was simultaneously fascinated and disturbed.

Huh. That seems like a really inconvenient part of this new status quo.

“Huh, would’ya look at that,” Stone Step remarked as he stepped up beside Twilight. “It’s not every day a dragon moves to Ponyville.” In the coming days, however, he’d be eating his words as more and more of the lithotrophic reptiles turned up. In fact, by the time Pinkie Pie had arranged a party for that first dragon, there would be two others attending it and one more avoiding it like the plague.

Mildly concerning. On the other hand, if all they're doing is moving in and either buying or renting, not really a problem so far.

In spite of his presence, however, the tallest dragon was not actually the largest or oldest present. Behind him, backed up against the wall was a slender red dragon who Twilight took to be female, shorter only by dint of being down on all fours. This one seemed more wary, the cause for which was clear in the curious younger dragon around her ankles.

Even more so if they are bringing kids.

Yeah, probably trust the Pinkie senses.

A quiet night inside with cupcakes it was, then. As he was reaching for the second cupcake, though, he noticed something he hadn’t previously properly processed; the second cupcake had a second unvitation under it, this one addressed to Ember, whoever that was. Well, that was a bit disappointing, but he knew better from experience than to second guess Pinkie Pie or touch anything she’d labeled for someone else. Gratefully, he mostly knew this from other ponies experiences, but wisdom was wisdom, no matter how it was won.

He supposed that if he was going to have company, he might as well take that shower sooner rather than later.

Ooooo, definitely clean up for that. Should be fun.

“I did not assault her. I just… wanted her to know about the evil sleeping beneath our hooves. And she resisted.”

“She flies everywhere now—in case you hadn’t noticed—and no longer delivers to us.”

To be fair, all of that that seems reasonable.

I am here for this Ember and Spike side story. Or maybe it's the main story, in which case even better.

Now, Spike was many things, and yes, noble and virtuous were two of those things, but he was also an adolescent male and Ember was… he didn’t know what she was, and that was part of the problem.

He's doomed.

In place of an answer, a sharp, keening squeal shattered the silence. “Eee! I can’t believe it! My little Spike has a girlfriend!”

Hah! So much for the secret.

Fantastic start, and I am really excited about seeing where this goes.

Twilight wilted a little. “If it’s any consolation, it’s not like you’re immortal immortal. I’m a hundred percent certain we can end it if it comes to that. Killing alicorns is something we’ve had to figure out; immortals I myself made should be easy.”

Applejack pulled out of the hug, holding onto Twilight by her shoulders and looking her in the eyes. “Well, that’s comforting.”

Kind of?

Applejack looked like she was considering it, but shook her head. “Can’t. Already got all the paperwork done and bought all new crates, labels and signage for the Sweet Apple Mountains name.”

Well, if you have already rebranded, probably not worth the effort to change back.

“Not far off what Ah woulda guessed,” Applejack remarked. “’Cept apparently we got two Celestias now, if Ah understood that right. Ah’m mighty thankful that we got two instead of losing the one we had, but Ah’m still not seeing the dragon connection.”

Same, I had been concerned for so long that we were going to end up with zero Celestias.

She took a moment to calm herself before shaking her head. “No,” she said, making her way over to her own seat. “Eight more of the castle staff have left, including three guards. I fear that at this rate, we shall have to begin hiring dragons.”

“Would that be so bad?” the other Celestia asked. “We do seem to have an excess.”

Not sure if that would send a good message to the dragons, or a bad message to the ponies. Maybe both, but the former might be worth the latter?

“Ah’d say that’d probably only make it worse ,” Applejack retorted. “Ya’ll’re talking about the regulation of an entire industry, possibly only in a small part of Equestria since there ain’t no way Ah’m traveling around the country the whole year-round to work on other ponies’ farms. Do you have any idea what kind of mess that’d be? Shoot, Twi, mah special talent is running mah family’s farm, not… global agriculture.”

Ehh, that's just a question of scope.

“You’d think so,” Twilight grumbled sourly, not wanting to get into her experiences that said otherwise. “Thankfully, I’m the alicorn of the stars, not some nebulous concept like friendship.”

Applejack’s expression didn’t change one bit. “Aren’t nebulae your thing?”


“That sounds good to me,” Twilight said. “I’m sure we can find a use for all the excess wood, even if we just burn it next winter. Normally, we’d have to consider the effect that would have on the market, but there wasn’t a palace to heat last winter, so it should be fine. In fact, we might have issues with the sudden increase in population as it is, so it might turn out that we have to have you make even more . I’ll have to have Rarity look at the numbers and get back to you on that; if we’re going to need a bunch of firewood in six months, we’ll need to start drying it out… now, actually.”

Friendship is logistics.

“Did you get it? Did you get it? Did you get it?” Ember chanted as she searched the bags, tossing aside vegetables, pastries and even some choice emeralds in search of her prize, which she eventually found, causing her slit eyes to light up in glee. “You got it!”

That's enough eagerness that I'm concerned that this is more than just hungry dragons wanting easily available crystal.

Spike tried not to stare, but soon enough he was just standing there holding a mango and watching her go at it like a starving manticore. “Has anyone ever told you you’re kinda w—”

The fact that she actually stopped to glare at him stopped Spike’s sentence in its tacks better than any words could have.



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