• Published 19th Aug 2012
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PonyFall: The Dawning of Twilight - MrBackpack



Twilight Sparkle was more than confident that Discord was going to reset into his stone prison

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Chapter 9: A New Sunset

April 21st

The arrival in Sydney could not have come soon enough. Twilight, having finished all three of the books that she had packed into her bag, was now going through the Skymall catalogue and was asking questions. Questions that I honestly did not know how to answer.

I was certain that the news of our crimes would have reached the international level by the time that we had landed and that there would be a team of Interpol agents waiting for us as we departed the plane and headed into the airport.

But there wasn’t a single person to greet us as we entered the terminal.

As the four of us made our way towards the immigration clearance desks, I was relieved that we were able to move so quickly. Being in business class gave us the benefit of having next to no one in line in front of us. I had a momentary flash of panic when the agent, a polite middle-aged woman named Judy, had to run our visas twice.

“Sorry about that Mr. Juarez,” Judy said, she pronounced the name with a strong ‘J,’ as she handed our passports and other documents back to me. “We’ve been having issue with our computers all day.”

“It’s no problem,” I replied, trying very hard to sound as calm as possible. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Luna’s grip on Michelle’s hand tighten. “Is there anything else?”

“Oh no,” the agent said with a big smile, ignoring the growing line behind us. “Welcome to Australia.”

“Thank you,” replied Michelle for all of us.

The four of us made our way out of the terminal. I shot Twilight a look as she hurried to place Michelle and I between her and Luna. Michelle was still holding Luna’s hand to my right, with Twilight now on my left, effectively separating the former ponies. I decided now wasn’t the time to question her actions and kept moving.

Thankfully there was a huge line of taxis waiting in front of the terminal for tourists and we piled ourselves into the first one. Twilight sat in the far seat, Michelle in the middle with Luna on her lap, and I sat on the other side of my fiance.

The cabbie took off the moment that I had the door shut behind me.

“Where to, Bud?” our driver asked as he caught my eye in the rear-view mirror. He was a young, dark-skinned man with a shaved head and a huge smile.

“You tell us,” I replied, throwing my arm around Michelle’s shoulders and leaning back into my seat. “We’re here to have a couple of weeks away from everything.”

“How ‘away’ are we talking?” he replied as he glanced over his shoulder at me.

“Away,” I replied.

“And you didn’t bring anything with you?”

“The whole point was to bring as little as possible and figure out everything once we got here.” I paused for a second before saying, “Hell, we didn’t even know where we were heading until we got to airport back home.”

“That’s crazy,” he said as he shook his head in utter disbelief.

“Its what we wanted,” I shot back.

“You got any idea where you wanted to go?”

“We were hoping that you could help us out with that,” Michelle piped in. “Not to mention we need to buy all the things that we need.”

“Eh,” he grumbled for a second. “You guys like the beach?”

“I-I’m not a fan,” whispered Twilight shyly.

“You got it missy,” our driver said, giving her a kind grin before turning back to the road. “You guys ever heard of the Blue Mountains?”

“No,” I answered, sharing a look with Michelle. “Is that a pretty nice place? Can you take us there?”

His smile was so big that it reflected off of the windshield.

.oOo.

Our driver was sitting outside eating a burger and fries that we bought him while the four of us walked through an outdoors store called ‘Rebel Sports’ in Bankstown. It took me several minutes to get used to the prices in Australia as compared to what I knew from home; everything was so expensive.

“What else do we need?” I asked Michelle and Twilight as I looked over our cart. “We have a tent, sleeping bags and mats, fire starters, canteens, batteries for flashlights, a pan and pot, utensils, cups -”

“Matt,” said Michelle, cutting me off before I could go on and grabbing Luna before she could get too far away from us. “I think we’re good.”

“No,” said Twilight, looking up from a book that she had grabbed off of a shelf near the entrance. “We still need a hatchet and saw.”

Both Michelle and I stared at her, I arched an eyebrow.

“What?” she replied as she looked up from her book, her finger holding her place. “It says right here that we need something to cut firewood.”

Michelle just laughed as she lifted Luna to her hip. I walked off to find a hatchet.

.oOo.

We ended up having to go to a place called Bunnings Warehouse in order for me to run in and buy a camping hatchet before we could really move on with the long drive.

Our driver was extremely nice about taking us everywhere and telling us all about the places that we were passing and just generally talking about anything that came to either of our minds.

Twilight, in the meantime, continued to avoid interacting with the Lunar princess.

“Well,” said our driver, pulling into the parking lot of a small convenience store. “This here’s Linden, ‘bout the last bit of civilization you’re going to find for a while.”

“Thanks,” replied Twilight before she opened the door and clambered out.

Michelle and Luna crawled out next and the driver opened the trunk. I climbed out on my side of the car and walked up to the driver-side window, pulling out my wallet.

“I can’t thank you enough for everything,” I said as I paid the exorbitant fare with as little a wince as possible.

“No problem mate,” he replied, counting the cash I handed him and smiling at me. “Take care.”

I was certain that we would have been the center of attention in this stupidly small town, but my fears proved to be unfounded. We pulled everything out of the trunk as fast as possible, I took the tent and my bag while the girls shared the food and other supplies along with their personal bags; Luna had her backpack and Noodle.

No one questioned us or anything as we simply walked out of the town and into the woods.

.oOo.

“What was I thinking?” I muttered to myself, staring into the cooling ashes of our campfire. It was our second morning of camping. We were miles away from the town of Linden, far enough that we shouldn’t be bothered by anyone casually hiking or walking through the woods. There was a small stream that ran a few hundred yards away from the camp that provided us with a good supply of water.

“What do you mean?” asked Twilight, coming out of the tent and rubbing her eye with one hand.

“I guess I never mentioned how much I hate camping, did I?” I chuckled.

“No,” she replied with a small smile of her own. “You never did.”

I sighed and stood, stretching out my back and neck.

“Come on,” I said to Twilight as I grabbed the percolator and the canteens. “Let’s go get some water before Michelle and Luna wake up.”

Twi took the percolator from me and followed, her face as blank as possible.

It was a rather nice place to be outdoors. It wasn't too hot or humid like Austin. Nor was it too cold and dry like Yellowstone had been. I don't know what I expected when Michelle suggested camping instead of staying at a hotel. More kangaroos, maybe.

“You gonna tell me what’s up?” I asked after we were far enough from camp that we would not be overheard.

“Hmm?” she responded. “What do you mean?”

“Twilight,” I said with a sigh, stopping and turning to face my companion. She was looking everywhere but at me. “You know exactly what I mean. What’s up with you and the princess? Aren’t you two supposed to be-”

“No, we’re not.” she snapped, her face flushing and eyes fierce. “After our little outing on Nightmare Night in Ponyville, you would know about that, right?”

I nodded. “I know a version of that night but, please, continue.”

“Princess Celestia thought that it would be a good idea for Luna and I to get acquainted, become friends.”

“Things didn’t go as planned?”

“Hardly.”

We had reached the stream and I filled the canteens and percolator with water. It wasn’t big enough to have anything of use swimming around in it.

“What happened?” I asked as I cracked my neck, still kneeling at the stream’s edge.

“Can we just say that the two of us didn’t get along and leave it at that?”

“I don’t get along with tons of people, Twi,” I said as I turned to look at her. “But if I were in your position, do you think that I would let little things like a disagreement or somethi-”

“She called me blind!” snapped Twilight, probably a little louder than she meant. “She said that her sister was obsessed with a silly, blind unicorn who couldn’t see what was in front of her face, and that anypony with any kind of observational skills would have figured it out long ago.”

I sat in stunned silence for a long moment, unable to come up with any way to respond.

“And then she proceeded to kick me out of her rooms saying that she had no time for the likes of me.”

Twilight was leaning against a tree, her arms crossed and her face flushed and angry. Her shoulders trembled.

“A-and then, she has to go and get herself transformed into that little filly who can’t even remember anything. Not any of the words that she said or things that she did to me, or even her time as Nightmare Moon. Nothing.”

I put the canteens and percolator on dry ground before I approached Twilight. She was looking at the ground, her hair covering her eyes.

“A-and I feel so happy that she doesn’t remember any of it. That’s she’s just a little girl without the power to hurt me like she did all those times.” Her face shot up as I got closer, her eyes were awash in conflicting emotions. “And there’s this part of me that cannot believe that I’m deriving happiness from somepony’s misfortune, even if it is Princess Luna.”

"It's perfectly reasonable to feel that way Twi," I said trying to reassure her. I placed a hand on her shoulder.

"No it's not," she protested loudly. "It's not normal. Nopony-"

"See?" I said, cutting her off mid tirade. "That's just it isn't it?"

"What?" She asked, confused and a little flushed with still simmering anger.

"You aren't a pony."

"What do you mean? Of course I'm a pony."

"No, you're not; you're a human."

"I thought that we'd been over this," she said, fear creeping into her eyes as she took a step backwards from me. "I thought that you believed me."

"Quit being so melodramatic," I sighed pinching the bridge of my nose. "I believe you. You are Twilight Sparkle. Of that, there is no doubt."

"Then what are you talking about?"

"You were a pony. But now you are, for however long, a human."

She stared at me, trying to understand the point I was attempting to make.

"It's not that you're just a pony trapped inside of a human body Twi. You're a human, with all the inconveniences and trappings implied, with the personality and memories of a pony."

I laughed, slapping my forehead, so many pieces were falling into place.

"That's why..." I trailed off, my mind going far too fast for my mouth to keep up.

"'Thats why what?" asked Twilight.

"Look," I said, licking my dried lips. "Your entire personality, everything about who you are; your intelligence, your skills, and your passions are all based on your brain, follow me?"

At her hesitant nod I continued.

"All of that is still there, in this new body, okay? You're still Twilight Sparkle, no doubt about it. But there are certain facets of your personality that are being enhanced or diminished due to the physiology of the human brain."

I saw the comprehension dawn behind her violet eyes.

"Now, following the assumption that your friends are here as well, I would assume that they are coping with their transformation in very different ways than you are."

She nodded, thinking hard, her face screwed up in intense concentration.

"You rely on your intelligence and vast stores of information to form the majority of your personality, so much that, I would wager that you are feeling the change more acutely than any of the other girls." I rubbed my mouth with my hand, feeling the stubble that was begging to be shaved. "That's not to say that the others are stupid or anything of the sort-"

"Of course not," cut in Twilight, a steely look on her face. "But I see where you’re going with your point." She smiled. "In a way, it makes me feel better to know that I'm not entirely myself right now, that its not me that's been changed by your world."

"Good," I said as I retrieved the canteens and percolator. "Now, I don't know about you, but I could really use a cup of hot coffee right about now. What's say we head back to camp and get some breakfast started?"

.oOo.

“But I don’t wanna go to bed!” protested Luna loudly from the inside of the tent. It was after nine o’clock at night on our fourth day. Michelle was trying to tuck the diminutive princess into her sleeping bag. “I’m not sleepy.”

“Yes you are,” I heard Michelle reply. “You were the one that fell asleep during Matt’s story, weren’t you?”

The two of them would go back and forth for several more minutes; it wasn’t their first little battle over bed time.

“She’s just like Sweetie Bell and her friends,” Twilight said, jolting me out of my thoughts. Twilight was sitting in her usual spot, across the dug-out fire pit from me, a stargazing book in her lap. The flames from our small fire were still plenty big enough to light her reading. “Those three are always a handful when it comes to bed times, especially Scootaloo.”

“I’ll bet,” I chuckled, turning the hotdog I had on a roasting spit over. “Michelle’s been babysitting her little sister and her sister’s kids for years. Luna ain’t got nothing on them. Trust me.”

Twilight laughed in response.

I swore when my hotdog caught fire, right as Michelle clambered out of the tent.

“I heard that,” she said as she slapped the backside of my head. “What did I tell you about swearing?”

“Don’t?”

Michelle didn’t bother to respond and just sat down next to me and stole my not-on-fire hotdog.

I shot her a glare and grabbed another one from the cooler.

“She asleep?” I asked, holding the roasting fork over the fire once again.

“Finally,” my fiance sighed as she bit into the burnt food. “Sometimes I would swear that she’s worse than Kelly’s kids.”

“That’s impossible,” I shot back, mockingly affronted. “There’s no way.”

“You don’t know those kids like I do,” was Michelle’s only reply.

The three of us passed the next couple of hours by the fire in relative silence, a combination of not wanting to wake the sleeping princess and not having anything else to say.

Twilight was the first one to retire to the tent and Michelle was quick to follow.

I slid off my log and onto the ground and stared into the fire, my mind blank. I lost track of time as the coals cooled and died, sleep coming easily under the stars.

.oOo.

“Matt,” I heard a voice from some distance calling my name. I knew the voice, but I couldn’t be bothered to remember who it belonged to. “Goddamnit Matt, wake up!”

Something or someone attempted to shake me awake as violently as possible.

“Huh?” I groaned sleepily. “Wha-?”

“Oh thank god,” it was Michelle, her face slowly came into focus as the sleep cleared from my brain.

“Matt,” I could hear the fear in Twilight’s voice and I turned my head to look at her. “Luna’s gone!”

Author's Note:

And an extra big thank you to TheSlorg for making this readable.

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