• Published 16th Dec 2020
  • 394 Views, 15 Comments

24k Lush - The Red Parade

Sweetie Belle believes in magic. She hopes that'll be enough.

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24k Lush

The night was dark, even darker than usual. The lampposts of Ponyville seemed to be tiny pricks in the dark, and even the stars seemed to be hesitant to reveal themselves. But while a younger Sweetie would have been scared, tonight she was only excited.

“Wow! This is really cool, Princess Luna,” she said, glancing at the alicorn on her right.

“Indeed,” Luna declared. “Twilight spoke to me about the optimal conditions for tonight, and I was all too happy to make them happen!”

“You aren’t the only one excited for tonight,” chimed in Celestia. “I’ve heard rumors of the spell myself, but even we have never seen it in person.”

“I’m just happy that you two were able to help out,” Sweetie answered. “Thanks for that.”

“Thank you for giving us this chance,” Celestia replied with a knowing smile. “And I get the feeling a lot of other ponies here tonight share that sentiment. Come, Luna, maybe we can get some… refreshments before we begin.”

As the two Princesses glided away, Sweetie took in the scene below her. She was sitting on a hill above the city, and several stalls and booths dotted the space below her. The Festival was winding down now, but many ponies had hung around to watch the spell.

“Hey, Sweetie,” came a voice from her right. Sunset trotted over to her side, with Rarity and Twilight close behind. “Great party. You did a fantastic job with everything.”

“Thanks,” Sweetie answered with a tired smile, “but I had a lot of help.”

“Maybe, but it was your ideas that drove this,” Twilight said. “I never even considered the possibility of such a spell myself. You did a great job, Sweetie. Don’t sell yourself short.”

Rarity pulled Sweetie into a tight hug, nuzzling her sister’s cheek. “I’m so very proud of you, dear,” she whispered. “You’ve come so far. And you’ve done an absolutely wonderful job tonight.”

“Trixie’s show just wrapped up,” Twilight said, glancing down the hill. “She and Starlight should be headed over shortly.”

Sweetie shivered, grinning in glee as Rarity released her from her embrace. “Do you guys feel something, like, tingling down your spine?”

The three laughed. “I think there definitely is something wonderful in the air tonight, darling,” Rarity replied.

Twilight pranced in place with a wide grin. “I know! I’m so excited! If we can pull this off it’ll surely go down in the history books as one of the best Friendship Festivals ever!”

“Only made possible by some of the best ponies ever,” called Starlight as she approached. “As I’m certain these ponies can attest to.”

“I’ll say! If this is everythin’ you’ve said it was, it’ll be one night to remember for sure,” Applejack said as she approached.

“Yeah! It sounds purely awesome!” Rainbow replied as she swooped down. “Not as awesome as the Rainboom, obviously, since nothing can top that. But I guess it can come close.”

“It definitely does sound exciting,” Fluttershy said as she landed next to Rainbow. “And you’ve definitely put a lot of work into this.”

“It’s definitely going to pay off!” cheered Pinkie as she popped out from behind Applejack. “I just know it!”

“Girls!” Twilight exclaimed, leaping over to hug them all. “You came!”

Sweetie watched as they exchanged hugs and greetings, bits of conversation flowing to her ears. But as much as she felt happy, a part of her couldn’t help but feel lonely. She stared up at the starless sky, and the vast, empty canvass of space seemed to swallow her whole.

“Hey, sugarcube,” called Applejack. “Thought you should know, we didn’t come alone.”

Sweetie raised an eyebrow, but before she could answer, someone tapped her on the back.

“Hey, Sweetie! Mighty fine festival you put together!”

She gasped, placing the voice instantly. Sweetie whirled around to see two familiar faces smiling at her. “Apple Bloom! Scootaloo! You… you came?!”

Scootaloo laughed, hovering above the ground. “Of course we came! You thought we would miss something as big as this?”

Apple Bloom trotted over and pulled Sweetie into a hug, and Scootaloo landed and added her wing to it. “Sorry we couldn’t come earlier,” she apologized, “but hoo-boy, is travelin’ a pain nowadays.”

“I’ll say!” Scootaloo scoffed. “Airships just don’t understand the concept of punctuality!”

“I’ve missed you girls a lot!” Sweetie whispered, hugging them tighter. “I’m… I’m really happy you guys are here tonight.”

“Aw, we missed you too,” Apple Bloom replied, patting her on the back. “Even if Scoots here won’t admit it.”

“Come on now,” Twilight said as she approached them. “We’ll all have plenty of time to catch up soon. Right now, we’ve got a spell to cast.”

Sweetie looked behind her to see a large group of ponies cresting the hill.

“Okay, ponies!” Fizzlepop shouted through a megaphone. “Let’s get this underway! Unicorns, you have your instructions. Light them up!”

Throughout the crowd, dozens and dozens of horns began to spark, casting multi-colored glows across their faces. Sweetie scanned the crowd in awe, full of faces she recognized and dozens more she didn’t. Starswirl, Sunburst, Lyra Heartstrings, Fancy Pants and Fleur, Amethyst Star… the list went on and on.

Around her, the others began to prepare as well. Celestia and Luna landed, closing their eyes and smiling. Twilight took a deep breath before shooting Sunset a reassuring smile. The two nodded and their horns began to glow. Trixie and Starlight leaned into each other, sighing in content and smiling wide. Their horns lit up together.

Rarity took Sweetie’s hoof in her own, tears in her own eyes. She nodded, and Sweetie returned the gesture. A brief flutter of anxiety pumped through her heart, but it disappeared as she saw Scootaloo and Apple Bloom smiling at her. With a confident grin, she focused her own energy and her horn began to glow.

“At the ready!” commanded Fizzlepop.

From each and every horntip, a pale yellow light began to stream out. They billowed through the air like ribbons in the wind, bouncing about in a gentle, easy fashion. Each beam met at the same point, a few feet above everyone’s heads.

The crowd gasped in awe, as the light reflected in their eyes. Each ribbon came together into a bright sphere that grew a bit bigger with every stream that hit it. The colors began to pulse and glow, in hundreds of shades of gold and yellow.

“Steady!” called Fizzlepop as she kept a guarded glance on the sphere.

“Looks good so far,” Trixie muttered, casting a different spell from her horn. “Are you ready, Fizzle?”

Another violet stream filled the base of the sphere from Fizzle’s horn. “Ready. Boosters are in place, ready for liftoff!” She declared. “On your command, Princess Twilight.”

“I think Sweetie should do it, actually,” Twilight replied with a knowing smile.

Sweetie gasped. “R-really?”

“Of course,” Twilight answered. “You deserve this.”

“Take us home!” cheered Trixie. “Let her rip!”

Sweetie stared out at the crowd as they buzzed with anticipation. She took a deep breath before nodding at Fizzlepop. “Let’s do this. Fire!”

At her command, the sphere shot straight up into the air. It climbed and it climbed until it practically brushed against the stars. The light grew brighter and brighter, before it finally exploded in a silent brilliance.

The entire sky was lit in a warm and gentle gold. From the sphere came a rainbow colored in solid gold. It shot across the sky like an arrow from a bow, becoming a golden comet as it soared on an arc through the sky.

As it flew, it continued to glow and shift in color, taking on vibrant shades of gold in every passing second. It soared through the air as a wondrous creature, and it seemed to sing with a melody so moving and so beautiful that the world itself seemed to yield to it.

It was beautiful.

Sweetie’s heart seemed to leap into her throat, beating with a foalish eagerness as her eyes grew wider. The amassed crowd was awestruck, staring up at the miniature sun as it gracefully danced across the sky like a phoenix through the night.

Apple Bloom slowly made her way over to Sweetie’s side. “Wow… Sweetie, this is…”

“Amazing!” finished Scootaloo. “This is, like, so cool! It’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen!”

With an immense effort, Sweetie broke her gaze from her work to look at the crowd around her.

Starlight and Trixie had embraced each other in a hug, as the comet reflected in bright gold in their eyes. Twilight and her friends sat nearby, smiling almost as brightly as the comet. Sunset caught her gaze and gave Sweetie a welcoming nod, mouthing ‘well done’ to her.

Sweetie took a deep breath as tears welled in her eyes again. She took a hesitant step forward and slowly raised her foreleg. Sweetie traced the arc with her hoof, keeping it aimed in the sky and at the ball of light.

Her smile grew ten times wider. She may have been lonely and scared of the future, and she may have missed her friends immensely. But not tonight. Tonight, she was gold.

To conclude, I do believe in magic. And I think everyone believes in magic, because magic is everywhere. Companionship is magic. Family is magic. Friendship is magic. Love is magic, fate is magic, our lives are magic. But perhaps most importantly of all, we are magic.

Comments ( 10 )

What a delightful, heartfelt story. Even though sunset is listed in the character description, I was surprised when she showed up. Perfect use of her.

Best part was the sister talk.

Worst part was the impression that the story was moving really fast and parts feel missing.

This was cute. I enjoyed it. Being parted from your friends is rough.

It's nice to see she ended up persevering with her vision, ultimately (Sunset is good at being supportive). It's always neat in my opinion to see Sweetie Belle masterminding and contributing to performing magic since it brings a great big smile as the G3 song goes, as Twilight's first apprentice. It was noticeable, how being separated from her friends had its difficulties for her, a slight sense of desolation.

Cliche truth it may be in this setting, but "friendship is magic."

We almost forgot the real reason she's special – because she's our friend. But she forgave us, and, like magic, things are good as new! That's the kind of magic I really want to get good at, now that I'm getting so good at the other kind.

(felt that was perhaps sort of apropos, that Twilight Time line)

Overall, cozy little slice of life.

God, the last two chapters never fail to make me cry.

I love this story. I love the bits that open every chapter except for this one, and the choice to close with it is great. It really ties everything together, I feel like.

You did a great job writing Best PonyTM, and her struggles in this story are so real and relatable, and to see her make it through, to see her succeed... It felt very emotionally satisfying to me.

Thank you for this, seriously. :heart:


No problem, you deserve far more than this. Really, thank you, you've done so much for me in the time we've known each other and I only wish I can do more. It means so much more than I can say that you liked this story.

Hope you had a great birthday and a fantastic holidays!


Man, there was so much heart put into this fic and you can feel it in every single word. I love the characterisation of everyone involved, especially sweetie belle herself.
Absolutely fantastic

This was a really sweet story, and the characters were all written well. Great job!

Thank you! Glad you liked it!

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