• Published 5th Nov 2020
  • 594 Views, 52 Comments

Scenes From a Life in Equestria - Bicyclette



Ellie finds herself in a world of magical talking ponies. Surely, this is just some weird dream. Or is it??!?

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Part 6: Library

“Hey. Don’t you have your own kitchen on your side of the castle?”

Ellie turned her head from the open fridge in front of her, though she didn’t need to know that it was Spike, flapping his wings to be eye level with her.

“Oh, yeah, I do!” Ellie admitted. “Twilight said I could look in here for something, though.”

“Okay…” Spike said, with an air of suspicion. “Just don’t think about touching the bowl of emeralds in the back. They’re imported.”

“I wasn’t… going to?”

Ellie shook her head and smiled as she found what she was looking for. A plate with a slice of leftover Sugarcube Corner carrot cake, made from carrots grown right here in Ponyville. The exact same kind that got sent off regularly to Canterlot under Royal Warrant. Taking it in her hand, she closed the door to see Spike still facing her.

“So do you realize that this is your final friendship lesson with Twilight?”

“Oh, yeah,” she chuckled. The calendar Twilight made for me mentioned that. Time really does fly!”

“I just wanted to warn you,” Spike said cautiously. “She might get a little… emotional…”

“Yeah,” Ellie smiled. “I could definitely see her doing that! She really seemed to be in her element teaching these lessons.”

It really was cute, how animated she got about them. Ellie could easily imagine her as a great elementary school teacher back home, or the host of a children’s TV show.

“There might be one more thing…” Spike hesitated. “Well, I’m sure Twilight will tell you if she feels like it.”

“Yeah, that is how volition works…”

Ellie smiled to herself as she left the kitchen and walked to the library. It was nice, how protective this child was for the single mother who raised him. It was also a point in Equestria’s column that such a young single mother like Twilight could still graduate from a top-tier school and get established at the top of her career as a scholar / soldier / diplomat / intelligence operative / school administrator / best-selling author / meritocratically ascended royal.

Wow, when she put it like that, this world was strange. Even stranger still was how relatable Twilight was despite all those things.

When she got to the library, the alicorn was already there, seated at their usual table with the usual mugs of tea on either side. Though this time, there was also a covered tray in the middle.

“So what’s this last friendship lesson?” Ellie asked as she took her usual seat across from her.

“Yeah, that’s the thing…” Twilight rubbed the back of her head with a hoof. “There is no friendship lesson. This is normally the point in the class when I reveal that, congratulate everycreature on completing the entire course, and bring out the cake, but…”

She lifted the tray lid with her aura to reveal a small cake with a base of white frosting.

“Oh, yeah, that’s the cake I saw earlier! Then I said—“

“That you didn’t like frosting cakes, then asked if I kept the leftovers from that carrot cake?” Twilight smiled. “Yeah, that happened pretty recently.”

“I just don’t like overly sweet cakes…” Ellie said apologetically. “But you know, I’m more than happy to have a slice to celebrate the occasion.”

“Oh, no, you don’t have to!” Twilight covered the cake back up. “This moment’s for you! It’s an achievement!”

“Yeah, I guess it is!” Ellie said. “Go, me!” she cheered weakly. She wondered if Twilight knew that she was humoring her.

Ellie took a bit of carrot cake with her fork and ate it. Twilight looked down. There was a period of silence until she spoke.

“It really is an achievement, you know,” Twilight insisted. “Especially at the speed you did it. Normally the full curriculum takes at least two school years…”

“Oh, you know!” Ellie minimized. “I’ve had good friends in my life for a long time! Between that, the year of CBT I had after college, and being way too introspective in general…”

“Yeah… To be honest, I thought you were just being arrogant at first. You tried to hide it but didn’t really do a good job. But in all of my lessons, all of them, I don’t think I said a single thing you didn’t already know.”

She looked at Ellie.

“You were just humoring me the whole time.”

“Oh.” She smiled apologetically. “Yeah, I guess I was a bit.” Her eyes shifted nervously. “But you know, it’s not like it wasn’t worth my time.” She looked at Twilight. “It was nice, just watching you give your lessons. You get so into it, it’s cute. And they’re very well-crafted for the lessons they teach! I’m sure you’ve helped a lot of creatures with them. You should be proud.”

“Oh.” Twilight looked down and smiled. “Thanks.”

“And I learned a lot of things indirectly! Just about how things work here in general. The culture and everything. I feel settled in, you know? Like I’m ready to move out of this castle, find something I like doing for a job, and start my life here for however long I’m around.”

“Yeah…”

“And it’s all thanks to you! I know you’ve done so many big things in your life that this must feel a little small for you, spending so much time on just me.“

“Oh, no, not at all!” Twilight laughed. “Things have been really quiet around Equestria for a while now, actually.”

It was true. The whole summer had gone by without a major crisis to solve for her and her friends. It was very strange, as not a season had passed since she moved to Ponyville without some long-vanquished enemy of Equestria emerging to threaten it once again. It was like things had returned to how they were before she left Canterlot.

“And I’m thankful for every day I get to keep spending in Ponyville with my friends. Before… You know…”

“Yeah.”

Ellie knew not to mention it directly.

“Well, I’m glad I met you when I did,” Ellie said. “I don’t think we could have gotten as close otherwise. And I’ve really enjoyed the time we’ve spent together.“

“Yeah?”

“Oh, of course! Our conversations are always fun. Especially when you get really into a topic and just go on and on about everything you know on it.” Ellie chuckled. “It’s really adorable.”

“Oh.” Twilight looked at Ellie. “You think so?”

“Yeah!” Ellie laughed. “And I gotta admit, it is fun when you get annoyed at me. I know not annoying your friends on purpose was friendship lesson number four or something, but I can’t help myself sometimes. I’m sorry about that.”

“Oh, no.” Twilight looked away. “I really don’t mind…”

“You’re just so easy to talk to.” She sighed. “It’s almost too bad we’re just going to be regular ol’ friends from now on, you know? There won’t really be any reason to hang out this much any more.”

“Yeah…”

There was a bit of silence. Ellie sipped her tea as she let her gaze wander for a sec.

“Um… I was just thinking…”

Twilight had started speaking so quietly that Ellie had to crane her neck forward to hear.

“Um… do you want to… uh…”

Just what could be making her this nervous?

“Do you want to continue being my friendship student?”

She was taken aback. “Um… sure? What does that mean?”

“Oh, you know!” Twilight chuckled nervously. “The curriculum’s good as a baseline standard, so that I can write names on diplomas and give out funny little hats, but you can’t learn friendship from studying and books! You have to learn it by living!”

“Oh.” Ellie blinked. “Yeah, I guess?”

“Yeah! So you’d write reports on whatever friendship lessons you learn just from living your life, and with your deep knowledge of friendship, I’m sure they’ll be very insightful. And you’d have complete freedom on when and how. It’d be like being a friendship researcher, or something.“

“Oh, sure! Yeah, I can do that!” Ellie laughed. “You didn’t have to be so nervous about asking me, though. I’m not going to think it’s beneath me or anything.“

“Of course! That’s what I was worried about!” Twilight laughed nervously. “I mean, I didn’t want you to feel like you had to keep humoring me.”

“Well, like you said, I’ll have complete freedom, so I’ll only write when I feel it makes sense. It won’t be humoring you.” She smiled. “And it’ll be nice to have an excuse to keep hanging out.”

“Yeah, it would!” Twilight seemed relieved.

There was another awkward pause. Ellie drank a sip of tea. Twilight looked away. Then she remembered something.

“Oh, there was one more thing…” Twilight put on a serious face. “Sunburst can’t do any more work helping Celestia in the archives, now that he’s finally back here full-time for his Vice Headmare duties. So it might be even longer until she figures out how to get you back home.“

“Oh, right.” Ellie blinked. She had no idea who Sunburst was or that he was helping Celestia, but felt very much like she should have.

“But you haven’t really asked me for updates on that in a while.”

“Yeah.” Ellie mused. “I guess I haven’t.” She sighed.

“I guess I’m conflicted, a bit.”

“What do you mean?” Twilight asked.

“It’s just…” she sighed again. She looked around the castle library, at all the shelves filled with books.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in this room, but I guess I never told you what I was doing.”

“You were… reading books? That’s what you’re supposed to do at a library. You were reading books in here, right?”

“Yeah,” Ellie laughed. “But it was for a specific reason. I was looking for things. Things from my world that just kept not coming up in my conversations with ponies here. Things I didn’t want to bring up because, well, they’re sensitive in my world, and I figured they would be too here.”

“What things?” Twilight was confused.

“Oh, things I would rather not specify.” Ellie grimaced. “But the general theme is really… bad things. Parts of a society that one wouldn’t be proud of. So I searched your histories and autobiographies and memoirs. Looked at not only the plain text but also for euphemisms, sudden unexplained decisions, little contradictions. I couldn’t find any hint of the many bad things I was looking for.” She smiled. “And I even found the one good thing.”

Many times, in fact. But the one closest to home wasn’t in books. It was realizing that the DJ “P0N-3” whose relationship with Octavia Melody was breathlessly followed by the gossip section of local newspaper was the same pony as the raspy-voiced unicorn mare she had met at one of Pinkie’s parties.

That conversation had not cleared up for her at all what a pony was doing with what appeared to be modern electronic sound equipment in a world of string instruments and phonographs.

She continued.

“It’s just so nice here. It’s so easy to make friends and to just trust people. There are so many things I just don’t have to think about. So when I think of leaving this place forever, I—”

Her eyes welled up with tears.

“I’m going to miss this place so much! I’m going to miss my friends here, I’m going to miss you…”

She began to sob. Twilight was very concerned.

“I’m sorry— I—” she got out between sobs.

“It’s okay,” Twilight assured. “It’ll be okay.”

“It’s just— I—” Ellie tried to choke back her sobs. “I just—“

“It’ll be okay.” Twilight came over and covered her with a wing. “It’ll be okay.” She smiled sadly. “I’m going to miss you, too.”

“Yeah?” Ellie snorted back a sob. “Even though I go on long rambles about things only I care about?“

“Hey, you just said that you found it cute when I do it earlier!”

“Yeah?” Ellie chuckled, starting to feel slightly better. “Yeah, I guess I did.”

“Yeah. Which means that I—” Twilight stopped herself. Ellie didn’t pick up on it.

“I have to confess something.”

“Yeah?” Twilight said.

“I don’t even really do that whole rambling thing with most of my friends. Unless they’re actually interested, but if they’re not I get too self-conscious. But with you…” Ellie smiled. “You always listen. It’s nice.”

Ellie closed her eyes. She did not notice Twilight’s nervousness as she shifted her eyes.

“Have you… Have ever thought…” Twilight trailed off as Ellie opened her eyes to look at her.

“Have you ever thought of staying?”

“What?” Ellie blinked. “Here in the castle?”

“No, of staying here!” Twilight tried to be convincing. “In this world. You can build a life here! You already have friends, and I’m sure you’ll find something you enjoy doing here way more than your job back there. And Equestria’s more than just Ponyville! You could travel, meet all sorts of different creatures. Or even explore beyond Equestria!”

Ellie appreciated the effort. She smirked.

“Yeah, but there’s one thing not on your list that I was kind of hoping I’d get to do again in my lifetime.”

Twilight blinked, darted her eyes nervously, then opened her mouth to say something—

“But I think I’d need a human for that,” Ellie laughed.

Twilight closed her mouth.

Ellie closed her eyes again, finally starting to feel calm. For the first time, she felt the fact that Twilight’s wing was on her face.

“Oh, wow. I had no idea these feathers were this soft.”

She held Twilight’s wing and stroked her own face with it, letting her feathers absorb her tears. She snuggled her face into the warm softness of her feathers. She sighed contentedly. It felt really nice.

Then she realized something.

“Oh, sorry!” Ellie pulled her face away from her wing with a start. “I totally forgot that those were, like, a part of you! Wow! I’m so sorry about that!”

“Um…” Twilight said, nervously folding her wings behind herself. “It’s okay… I really didn’t mind…”

“No, no, it wasn’t okay. It’s like I was caressing my face with the back of your hand or something…” Ellie trailed off, then chuckled. “Oh, right, you don’t even have hands, much less know the connotations of that! You see, back in my world I’d only do that to somebody I have makeout privileges with.”

“Um…” Twilight didn’t quite know what to say to that.

“Oh, wait,” Ellie realized. “I don’t even know if ‘making out’ is a thing you ponies do. You ponies don’t really seem to be into PDA, which is kinda nice, actually. And I guess you wouldn’t really write that kind of word in a serious autobiography or history. Hmm.” Ellie thought for a moment. “Like, it’s like kissing, but, uh, more? Ugh, that’s a terrible description. I wish there was a way I could just show you without it being weird.“

“Uh…”

“Well, I mean, it’s not important,” Ellie said dismissively. “Like, if it’s not a thing you ponies do already the action probably wouldn’t even mean the same thing to you.” Ellie got a distant look in her eye. ”I mean, come to think of it, corresponding gestures to social intention is another thing that’s completely arbitrary. Like, if you had told me when I first came here that making out was just something good friends did to signify their bond, I would have believed you.” She laughed.

Uh…

“It would have been weird for me because of what it means where I’m from, but I think I would have gotten used to it eventually.” She shrugged. “I wouldn’t have wanted to impose my cultural values over yours.“

UHH…

“Yeah, sorry, that was weird. But thanks for letting me go off on that tangent there.” She chuckled. “Like you said, I guess that’s one of the reasons why we’re such good friends.” She finally turned to look at Twilight. “Are you okay, Twi?“

Twilight did not look okay.

“I’m okay,” she insisted. “I just remembered that I have to be somewhere. Right now. Bye.”

With a crackle of magical energy, Twilight teleported somewhere far, far away.

Ellie looked at the spot where Twilight just was and let out a small sigh. Well, at least the next Twilight she met would believe she was the same Twilight as this one. She would have all her memories and express the same emotional reactions. She would still make time for her despite being so busy that she had to suddenly teleport away in the middle of a conversation. She would still be a good friend. That would have to be enough.

Besides, teleportation probably didn’t work the way she was afraid it would here. Like, if it did, their magic scientists would have said something about it, right?

It was a shame, though. I mean, she wasn’t a weirdo who liked horses or anything, but those wings did feel really nice, and Twilight would probably have let her keep rubbing them with her face out of sheer politeness. She was such a good friend.

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