• Published 19th Jul 2020
  • 326 Views, 21 Comments

Equestrian Service - Stinium_Ruide

In an alternate universe where King Sombra took over the Crystal Empire even before Luna was reunited with her sister, Twilight must be pressed into military service.

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Chapter 2: Accepting

It seemed as though time had slowed down to a crawl. Every step, every action and every trickle of emotion that glanced through Twilight’s eyes came in seconds that felt like hours when Spike ran over. It all happened so swiftly, yet Twilight could see it all in slow-motion, with absolute crystal clarity. The hot tears from her eyes dribbling, the tender roughness of Spike’s claws clasping onto her and even the magical shimmer from her horn weakening…she felt it all.

Everything became instinctive. Her heart seized control of her actions, overriding any shred of thought from her discerning mind.

The scroll collapsed onto the carpeted floor beside her as Twilight returned the embrace, savouring every moment they had together.

Princess Celestia watched on silently from the side, her eyes almost inadvertently shifting away from the two characters of interest at the sudden, yet somewhat expected turn of events, before trotting forward to the duo.

“Twilight…I know that this is not a reality that you both can accept so readily,” Princess Celestia began, her eyes glinting of regret and sorrow. “Unfortunately, in life, we are thrown into predicaments without any warning at any juncture. Such is the reality that you had been shielded against when you were a filly, but now you are of age to take up this challenge, to mature and grow despite the hardships.”

Twilight turned back and released her embrace from Spike slightly to bring her mentor back into her shrouded view, as she tried to stifle her sobs.

“You may miss each other’s company, but you will never forget the experiences that you two have had together here,” Princess Celestia continued thoughtfully. “The challenge we face today seeks to destroy the bonds we have forged together, but we will overcome it as one to fight for what we stand for.”

“I…I understand, Princess Celestia,” Twilight responded while wiping her cheeks dry with her forehooves, before turning back to Spike. “Spike, I know you will miss me…and I must let you know that I will miss you just as much as you will miss me. But I will have to embark on this journey to contribute to the fight.”

Spike squeezed his eyes shut for a moment of contemplation, for he needed time to compose himself after the flurry of mixed emotions that ran through his soul.

“I…I will miss you, but I know…I mean, I understand you need to go,” Spike relented as he gazed into Twilight’s very eyes. “But before you go tomorrow, c-can we please…please spend time together preparing for your journey ahead?”

A thin smile emerged from Twilight’s face as she charged her horn to levitate the scroll that was lying idly on the floor to her side. “Of course.”

“Thank you. Alright, I will leave you to get on with your preparations for the journey ahead. It may not be easy, but it shall be a rite of passage for you, my faithful student, Twilight,” Princess Celestia noted calmly as she turned to trot out of the throne room to carry on with her royal duties. “I have every bit of confidence that you will make it out a stronger mare.”

Twilight and Spike watched Princess Celestia leave the throne room, leaving them alone in the silence. And in the silence, the magical jingle from Twilight’s horn was all the two could hear in the emptiness of the throne room. And just for a few moments, the duo simply stared blankly at the closed, heavy gilded doors that Princess Celestia went through mere seconds ago.

“I can…I mean, I must do this,” Twilight spoke aloud, her voice echoing off the sides of the four polished walls of the throne room, shattering the silence lingering within. She brought the scroll to levitate in front of both of them and unrolled it.

Equestrian Military Command

1. This scroll is to inform you that TWILIGHT SPARKLE has been scheduled for enlistment by the royal decree of Princess Celestia.

2. The scheduled reporting time and venue are outlined below.
Reporting Time: 4th Moon of Summer, 0900 hours
Venue: Canterlot Downtown (East) Train Station, 8 Parissir Avenue, Canterlot

3. Should the enlistee stated above not reside in Canterlot, the transport fees by train will be waived by the Equestrian Military. The enlistee may show this scroll to the ticketing counter of any train station to enjoy the catered train journey towards Canterlot only once.

4. The enlistee stated above will be ferried to the Equestrian Military Training Command where he/she will undergo basic training for 9 weeks.

5. The enlistee stated above will be provided with the necessary items for his/her training during this period. However, the enlistee should bring a copy of this scroll and his/her identity card as proof of their identity.

6. We look forward to seeing you at the command.

Yours faithfully,
Argon Ice
For the Commander of the Logistics Command, Equestrian Military

“Wait, what?” Twilight exclaimed as she skimmed through the letter once more. “I don’t have to bring anything but my identity card and this scroll?”

Spike seized the letter from Twilight’s magical grip and read it through, his eyes tracing each word, being careful not to miss out any salient detail. “It appears so…”

Twilight sighed. “Then…then what do I have to prepare for the journey ahead?”

“I don’t know,” Spike admitted, throwing his claws into the air. “But I think you need a rest. After all, you did just come back from your last day of school and there’s not much time to rest for the long journey ahead.”

“You’re right, Spike,” Twilight agreed as she nodded her head subtly, before yawning out loud. “I really do need a break from all this. Come, let’s hurry back home.” With that, Twilight galloped out of the throne room, nearly smashing into the surface of the extravagant glided doors.

“Hey, you forgot the scroll!” Spike called out hurriedly, as he grabbed the scroll frantically, crumpling it slightly before running after Twilight. “Wait for me!”

After a few minutes of running, a fatigued Twilight Sparkle had finally arrived back home.

Stepping into the living room, she was greeted by the view of her mother lying onto the couch staring blankly seemingly into space, apparently mulling over an important decision, with fear and concern on her face. Her ears were slightly drooping downwards and the pupils in her eyes seemed to be devoid of any glint of life.

“Mum? Are you alright?” Twilight Sparkle asked, as she could surely detect that there was something amiss with her mother’s demeanour. She trotted forward cautiously towards her mother, hoping to assure her, though she had news that she was going to the military, like her brother before her.

“Oh, you’re back!” Twilight Velvet turned round to face her daughter swiftly. “What did Princess Celestia say? What happened?”

“I think it is best if I showed you this,” Twilight Sparkle replied, her voice turning solemn. “Wait, WHAT? Where is it? Where is the scroll?”

She looked up, down and around her, wondering whether she subconsciously placed the scroll onto the coffee table or something when she came into the room.

“The scroll? Are yo-”

“TWILIGHT!” a familiar voice suddenly shouted from across the house, interrupting Twilight Velvet’s dialogue. “You forgot to take the scroll!”

Before her mother could vocalise her hunch, Twilight Sparkle replied immediately. “Oh, I must have left it with you at the throne room. Thanks, Spike.” With that, she quickly brought the scroll in front of her mother to read, unravelling it hastily with her magic.

However, even before her mother took a serious look at the scroll, she immediately gasped in shock, her jaws collapsing onto the floor at the sight before her. “Are…Are you…are you…going?”

Twilight Sparkle took in a deep breathe. “Princess Celestia wanted me to go.”

Her mother wordlessly read through the scroll in a flurry, for she knew that exact format and structure of the letter from the back of her hoof, her eyes flying through each line of the manuscript.

“But…but…but this letter was supposed to be issued thirty moons prior!” Twilight Velvet protested, through the strength of the resolve in her voice seemed to be sapped by her concern and worry. “This is not fair to you…”

“Princess Celestia has already apologised to me. She was hesitating on whether to send me or not…but in the end, she believed that she needed me to go and contribute. That’s why the letter came so late and came directly from her,” Twilight Sparkle explained as she settled onto the couch to sit right by her mother’s side, the calmness and serenity in her voice was surprising, and even unsettling to herself.

“I…I mean I had some sort of inkling that you would have to go, but with such short notice…it is almost too much to bear for me, especially with your father and brother out there…without me,” Twilight Velvet responded, seeking to justify her uncharacteristic actions to her daughter, though it was more of an attempt to allow her daughter to empathise with her feelings. “How did you accept this all so quickly?”

She froze after uttering those last few words. It was uncanny to her; she was supposed to be the mare who supported her daughter, but yet she now needed that critical support from her daughter at this unanticipated turn of events. Her daughter’s acceptance of the situation at hoof could not be more starkly juxtaposed by her own feelings of grief and anxiety. In the midst of her conflicting emotions, she fought hard against the tears that inevitably flowed down.

A few uncomfortable moments of silence passed. Spike stood there, shifting his posture nervously and awkwardly at the scene before him. His mind could not decide on where to place his eyes at. Even looking at them made him feel terrible; he felt intrusive, he felt disruptive, he felt…wrong for just being there with no apparent reason but to return the scroll back to Twilight, which he has dutifully done.

But he could not just leave them there, for they were even closer than friends to him. He felt guilty of not doing something to help, to console or to even resolve this. He just felt…powerless.

“Mum…it’s okay. It pained me when I saw Shining leave, and it will pain me when I leave you, but we will always have a place in each other’s hearts,” Twilight Sparkle finally spoke, as she hugged her mother, tears seeping into her own mane. “But I now have to contribute like you all.”

“But how? How could you have accepted all this?” Twilight Velvet was undeniably shocked at the rather blasé attitude portrayed by her daughter, though she could see some moisture in her daughter’s eyes and on her cheeks.

“Maybe I haven’t accepted it yet,” Twilight Sparkle bowed her head down slightly as she leaned onto her mother, shifting her gaze to stare at the carpeted floor. “I’ll miss you…I’ll miss Spike…I’ll miss Shining…I’ll miss dad…because I love you all.”

Those fundamental words, those words of affection, love and emotion turned the dribble of tears trickling from the edges of her mother’s eyes into a cascade. Those words…they had such a deep meaning, so hard to be put forth into written words, yet they were symbolic. They were spoken with such an air of honesty and with such simplicity, so much so that joy gushed into Twilight Velvet’s soul, yet her tears streamed down in a frenzy.

And she was not the only one crying. Her daughter was too.

It felt as though their feelings for each other were liberated and exposed plainly in that very instant, exemplifying that unbreakable bond between the parents and their offspring.

“Thank…thank you,” Twilight Velvet said haltingly between sobs. “I…I love you too. I’ll…always support you no…no matter what happens.”

“Mum, d-don’t…don’t worry,” Twilight Sparkle reassured falteringly, as she tried her hardest to shake off her emotions. “I’ll make it out, and you don’t have…you don’t need to worry about me.”

Despite her words of reassurance, she knew, deep down in her heart, she could not have possibly accepted the reality ahead of her fully, but she had no choice.

Perhaps, accepting that was part of the preparation Princess Celestia was talking about, so that she would be better equipped to set off on the journey tomorrow.

Ultimately, she had no choice but to accept this reality.

And unfortunately, such is life.

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