• Published 29th May 2020
  • 679 Views, 50 Comments

Mothering, Someday - Impossible Numbers



Mare's Day, a tribute to motherhood. Twilight Velvet is the ordinary mother of an extraordinary family; Derpy is the opposite. They normally wouldn't cross paths, but in a town where an outsider can become Princess of Friendship, anything's possible.

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Her Station in Life

Why they called it Mare’s Day, and not the more honest and accurate Mother’s Day, beggared Twilight Velvet’s belief.

Being kindly disposed to beggars, she threw the weird thought a few scraps of attention. Anyway, it helped that the ensuing small talk in her head distracted her from everything else looming up:

Ponyville.

An impending talk with a daughter she hadn’t seen in months.

And the fact she was travelling on her own.

Mare’s Day, a mother’s day, and she was visiting her own daughter.

Twilight Velvet stepped off the train. This was barely a train station. In Canterlot, the station had rivalled a stadium in grandeur and complexity. In Ponyville, the station looked like something cobbled up in a carpenter’s backyard.

She stepped off the outermost steps, and stepped into Ponyville, on Ponyville grass, breathing – more and more rapidly – Ponyville air.

Her husband’s words were a faint, fading touch on her ear…


Night Light had said, before they went their separate ways, “You are so lucky! Tell Twily I won the Equestrian International Bingo Championship. I’ll just bet she asks what algorithm I used to crack it.”

She’d desperately touched lips to cheek. “Tell your parents I said hi, OK?”

“Of course! I can’t wait to see them! Mother’s got a full day planned. She even promised I could review the schedule she drew up.” Night Light said this as one imparting sacred secrets.

Velvet had smiled, for his sake.

From a distance, a train had whistled. The conductor had shouted, “ALL ABOARD THAT’S COMING ABOARD! TROTTINGHAM TRAIN IN THREE MINUTES! ALL ABOARD THAT’S COMING ABOARD!”

“I’m sure she’s still the same Twilight,” Night Light had said.

“It’s been so long since the coronation. What if she’s too busy? Maybe her letters got lost in the post, or she’s suffering memory loss, or maybe she’s handling too much and we’re –”

For her sake, he butted her cheek with his own awkward lips. Her husband had many marriageable qualities, but body coordination wasn’t high on that list. Even he’d have put it in the bottom quartile, as Phase One of any list-making algorithm he used for that topic.

Bless him, she’d thought.

“TROTTINGHAM TRAIN IN TWO MINUTES!”

“Coming!” Night Light had shouted. “Velvie? Your train should be leaving soon too.”

“I never thought it’d be like this,” was all she could say at the time, to his chest, not to his face.

“Yes, I think the timetable might be slightly out of synch. Perhaps I should report it? Punctuality is the province of princesses, after all.”

“I meant… I never thought Twilight would turn out this way.”

“I know!” gushed Night Light. “First she’s protégé to a princess, then she is a princess! Our girl! Is there nothing she can’t do with that astonishing brain of hers?”

“And I’m happy for her, of course I am, but…”

“Velvie?”

To her disgrace, Velvet’s vision went blurry. “Her brain, yes. What about her heart?”

“Oh, Velvie. I’m sure she’s still the same Twily deep down.”

“How can you be sure? The more and more she gets involved in all this princess stuff, the less and less she talks to us. It’s like we don’t matter as much as we used to –”

“Velvet, don’t worry. I have complete faith in our Twilight.” Night Light tried a chortle. “Come on. The little unicorn who worked out Helmet’s Last Theorem while still using a bib to eat spaghetti numbers can’t change that easily!”

Sadly, that was the trouble with her husband. Genius as he was, he had a tendency to assume a pony was exactly how he’d last seen them, and if they said they were fine, then he’d assume they were fine until they said otherwise. He didn’t grasp what the factory of the heart could do behind box-standard words.

“TROTTINGHAM TRAIN IN ONE MINUTE! ALL ABOARD THAT’S COMING ABOARD!”

“She’s got a mind of her own,” Velvet had said, wiping her eyes. “Don’t you see? She’s not our baby anymore. She’s… not what I thought would grow up from… I mean…”

“Velvie, I know it’s a lot to take in. I understand.”

“You do?”

“Yes! Sometimes, I think I must be dreaming! I mean, our daughter, becoming a princess? We must have done an even better job than we thought! Maybe all those puzzle toys – She always loved it whenever I made them more challenging. I can hear her happy gurgling right now.”

In the end, she’d let him have his happiness. Firstly, because their trains were departing.

Secondly, because Night Light thought of princessing as some kind of ultimate puzzle-solving enlightenment, just substituting departments and nations in place of toy blocks and wooden slot devices. And because he was ecstatic about that, he thought young Twilight would be too.

He was a Royal Accountant at Celestia’s palace, which in his mind was the calling of ponies who must’ve been astounding saints in a past life. Not that he was ignorant: he knew jobs could be dull drudgery for a few bits a week, or a way of keeping score. But he knew those things existed in the same way he knew pony-eating kelpies existed; he didn’t actually expect to meet one.

Velvet was going to meet something even stranger. And she didn’t know what to expect.


Now Twilight Velvet stood, a long way from her husband’s Trottingham-bound happiness and a long way from finding out what, up close and personal, her Ponyville daughter had become.

Even from here, she could see the crystalline facets of Twilight’s Friendship Castle blinding and dazzling under the morning sun. The thing stuck out like a mountain made of quartz, just dropped nearby and pretending to have nothing to do with the rest of the town. Velvet’s eyes cringed under the first shining strike.

From what she’d heard around Canterlot, her Twilight had built the castle herself, or so she’d been given to understand; the reports had been a little excited and breathless.

Such a lovely castle, of course it was, extremely shiny and impressive and everything a Canterlot mother could hope for her daughter.

Except…

Was this her daughter? The Twilight Sparkle she’d known and loved cried when worn-out books fell apart. Ran to mummy for ice packs and plasters whenever a practice spell singed her horn or, in extreme cases, her own rump. Pleaded to sleep in Mom and Dad’s room because of nightmares about schoolponies laughing at her.

Yet if the likes of Dame Fleur de Lis and Pony Joe were anything to go by, an imposter called Twilight Sparkle now went around blowing away monsters and making crystal castles. How could she –?

Velvet’s chest gagged and heaved under the flood of guilt. No. Not an “imposter”. That couldn’t be right. The two Twilight Sparkles had to be the same pony.

Didn’t they?

Yes, it was obvious!

Wasn’t it?

If only Twilight had written to them more. Said something. Soothed her. Pulled her worries out of the water and given them a warm towel and a gentle reassurance. But according to Night Light, letters streamed from Twilight to Princess Celestia, from student to master…

Well, yes, young Twilight had loved school and reported in bullet points the great lessons of the day and what, say, Professor Latitude had thought about her chrono-dilation spells, in theory and in practice.

Aha! But that was when Twilight had started at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. That was when she’d become Celestia’s personal protégé. Ever since the princess had entered her life…

And Velvet’s children had all been destined for great things. Take her strapping young son, Shining Armor: Captain of the Royal Guard, Prince of the Crystal Empire, and host of the latest Equestria Games. Not bad things to gloat about around a table of mothers, if Velvet had attended any such table, or been that kind of mother.

Destiny. Great things. Princesses. None of it had been a drop of a thought in Twilight Velvet’s mind when she’d whispered to Night Light, so many years ago, “I’d love to read stories to a little Twilight someday.”

It hadn’t been her life. It had taken over what should have been her life, her home, her bedtimes, her loved ponies gathered around the breakfast table.

Now there were only two of them. Her and Night Light. The rest was nothing to do with her anymore. Just the memories, discarded.

Velvet gasped for air. Then she realized she was still standing outside the train station.

A few ponies stared at her. Some mumbled to partners. Any minute now, one would ask her if she needed help.

Velvet threw them a stock “it’s nothing” grin and hurried on as if she knew where she was going.