• Member Since 16th Sep, 2020
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Bicyclette


With a sigh, Pear Butter unsheathed her katana. "Master, forgive me," she half-whispered to her blade. "But I must go all out. Just this once." | pronouns

Sequels1

T

This story is a sequel to Partner


Longdesc

Rarity has always dreamed of three things. Being at the top of the fashion game, having a full social calendar in great demand, and catching the eye of a royal. She now has all of these things, in the best way. She’s the special somepony of the most royal royal of all. Her longtime friend and Sovereign of Equestria, Princess Twilight Sparkle.

So she's happy, right?

It’s so much better than what she would have had with Applejack all those years ago.

Right?


Tags

  • Sex: Rarity’s recollections just got a little too spicy for me to not want to play it safe, but it’s pretty close to not needing the warning.
  • There are some Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics

Continuity

A companion piece to Partner, which expands on the past of the AppleDash relationship mentioned here, though that relationship is much healthier.

Author’s Note

Interesting that Twilight Sparkle and Rarity are the only unpaired members of the Mane Six at the end of the show.

Right?

Also in my Equestria there is a magic-based way for mare-mare couples to have biological children. The mechanism isn’t important, and it’s not commented upon because it’s very normalized. Just so you know, in case such things confuse you.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 38 )

Interesting that Twilight Sparkle and Rarity are the only unpaired members of the Mane Six at the end of the show.

Meh, I still don't consider AppleDash or FlutterCord canon. Sure they're both IMPLIED, but it's not confirmed.
The only pairing that I feel has been officially confirmed is CheesePie.

Keep telling yourself that, darling.

Thanks for the fic!

10626356
Agreed! Seriously, there was minimal evidence supporting AppleDash being canon, and EVEN LESS supporting FlutterCord

Edit: Jeez. Tough crowd

i am sad now

thank you :pinkiesad2:

10626430
You’re welcome!
10626748
Good! :raritywink:

"Interesting that Twilight Sparkle and Rarity are the only unpaired members of the Mane Six at the end of the show.

Right?"
This has been noticed and remarked upon, I believe, yes. :D

"Just so you know, in case such things confuse you."
Well, I wasn't confused until I hit the italics on "confuse". I'm guessing there's some additional meaning I'm missing?


"from the banks of the lake to build up the tombs of their ancestors on the slopes. They daub glowfish scales on their feathers and do elaborate aerial dances to celebrate the feast days. Each village has its own, passed down from parent to child for generations. They all gather at the lake to"
Given earlier and later text, should this be talking about a river rather than a lake?
Or am I missing something?

"Real love wasn’t the hate in Applejack’s voice when she muttered to her “not in front of Apple Bloom” while hoofing at the ground, subconsciously marking her as a threat to her family."
What incident was that? I'm not recalling.

"Perhaps next, time, darling!"
Were those commas deliberate? If so, I'm afraid I'm not getting their meaning.

Well, that was... nice! I can't possibly imagine where that "Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics" warning could have come from! Yep, everything looks fine. Juuust fine...
(But less sarcastically, I did enjoy the story on this side of the screen. Characterization, worldbuilding... good as expected. :))

Thank you for writing!

10626877

Given earlier and later text, should this be talking about a river rather than a lake?
Or am I missing something?

The lake is what will become the dam’s reservoir, but the villages extend along the banks upstream of the lake. The lake’s just a natural spot for the entire community to gather.

What incident was that? I'm not recalling.

Not based on anything in the show. Just a thing I have where Rarity and Applejack get into intense arguments and fights sometimes, but Applejack is very protective of Apple Bloom and doesn’t want her to be exposed to such things.

Were those commas deliberate? If so, I'm afraid I'm not getting their meaning.

Nope, a dang typo!

Well, that was... nice! I can't possibly imagine where that "Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics" warning could have come from! Yep, everything looks fine. Juuust fine...
(But less sarcastically, I did enjoy the story on this side of the screen. Characterization, worldbuilding... good as expected. :))

Thank you!

A long time ago, I had a conversation with a friend where we talked about the nature of love. I told him that all love was inherently arbitrary. After all, meeting someone and happening to be romantically compatible with them is really just a roll of the dice, if you get right down to it. So love, like everything else in life, must be the outcome of a random number generator. There are likely so many individuals out there that someone could love and be perfectly happy with. Why is one any better than another?

I don't know if I still agree with this assessment. I mean, I still think it makes logical sense, but part of growing up has been figuring out the difference between a utilitarian worldview where all things are mechanically weighed against a cost-benefit analysis and a more romantic attitude, where feelings are important and what makes you feel good is desirable.

But in the specific instance of this story... damn, I don't know. It's not like Rarity feels nothing for Twilight, but she doesn't seem to love her like she loved Applejack. Can that be chalked up to young love? Maybe a naïve idea of what the future would bring? Or was it something more tangible that she was foolish to throw away? Maybe she simply wasn't willing to put in the effort. Maybe it wasn't right, but then how was she supposed to know what the correct decision was? Even if she made a mistake, then should it doom her forever? Or is there still a different path she could take, even after all this time?

There is only one thing I can say for certain; love is complicated.

Damn it, Bicyclette is making me think about my feelings again.

10626885
Ah, thanks!
In another context, I'd suggest clarifying that in the text -- but that, here, I don't think would fit with how Twilight's telling the story, and I further get the impression that how Twilight's telling story is pretty important to the story you're telling.
(Actually, thinking on it, this might even be one of those echoes -- there are parts of the larger story where we also only get bits and pieces to build the picture out of, after all.)

Ahh, thanks. That makes sense.
It just sounded like it might be an alternate interpretation of a show scene, and I know you're not exactly averse to doing those. :)
(Though, yeah, I was also wonder where, if it was that, the link was, since you also like doing that. :))

Ah, righto!
(They do appear to still be in there, but I'm guessing you've just not had a good opportunity to make the correction yet, or are waiting for something else, or the like. I'm guessing it's meant to be "Perhaps next time, darling!", though?)

:)

The story is extremely unfocused.

As for the show’s lack of shipping: that’s stupid. The show didn’t pair anyone because there aren’t enough male/stallion characters in the show to pair with. Best to just pretend they formed a royal lesbian harem with each other.

Rarity's element of Harmony was always generosity. And here she is, giving of herself to Twilight, at the cost of herself. In a way, I think Rarity is the best, and the worst, possible companion for Twilight, because she believes in that fundamental inequality between them. No way Rainbow Dash, for example, would ever stop seeing Twi as the egghead unicorn of old, only now with awesome wings and a crown.

Extremely well-written, once again, and a beautiful example of those Unhealthy Relationship Dynamics. :duck:

This is great, I love the portrayal of Rarity's inner suffering and the way she forces it down. Twilights denial of the present is wonderfully sinister and makes me think that she will not handle the rest of eternity very well.

I’m curious as to what you meant by sovereigns not having equals or spouses here. I highly doubt that there’s a law forbidding Twilight from marrying and Rarity seems to be taking what attention she does have pretty well. Could you explain that a bit more?

Out of all possible pairings I always likes RariTwi the most but honestly none of the girls ever gave off the vibe they were going to pair up. Rarity generally chased stallions with only the Equestria Girls trying for the Applejack-Rarity pairing. And even that seemed somewhat forced after the first time.

Besides the relationship problems, it seems Twilight really hates being ruler of Equestria.

(The fans were right back in 2013! Alicorn Twilight was a mistake! We have lived and fought in vain! :raritydespair: :rainbowlaugh: )

Back to the Griffith Isles or Abyssinia or Farasi or even to the h—

Well, that's an intriguing cutoff...

In any case, wow. This one hits incredibly hard. The question is how often Twilight asks Rarity to indulge this nostalgia. How often Rarity has to swallow her distaste and do all of this for the one she loves. How long until the disparity between the two and the despair burdening Twilight shatter the relationship.

Seriously, I could all but hear the clock ticking. This is not a healthy relationship by any measure. Twilight really needs some advice from her sister-in-law, but even Cadence doesn't have to destroy entire cultures for the good of the country. This is an incredibly potent prelude to a tragedy... or I'm being pessimistic. I suppose they'll find out in time. Regardless, excellent work in portraying the dysfunction. Thank you for it.

Jesus.





👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

10628011
Twilight was better before she got wings!

Damn. Talk about a tough read. :ajsleepy:

The intro setup with the story about the glowfish was brilliantly done. I almost feel like it's a metaphor for Rarity's relationship with Twilight contrasted with her past with Applejack; weighing duty and "what must be done" against what not only feels, but is, authentic and heartfelt.

Of course. It was the wrong thing for Rarity to say. But there was no right thing. That wasn’t the point here. Rarity just kept smiling, and kept stroking that hoof. Twilight kept speaking in that dark, icy tone.

This paragraph really just tells the reader all we need to know, even though there's a lot of story left.

You drive the nail in further pretty quick:

“It’s so much more than that! There’s no way for you to understand!”

Twilight glared at Rarity for a second, then immediately softened.

“I’m sorry, Rarity. I shouldn’t have done that. I know you are just doing your duty.”

This characterization of Twilight as hating the restrictive role destiny/Celestia/Luna/society has placed upon her is well-done but... Hmm. I guess "uncomfortable" is the word that comes to mind here. Obviously being a monarch means making difficult decisions, like with the dam, but Twilight seems to resent it so much. Part of that is the characterization of the monarch role itself you've added in here, like the restrictions on the Sovereign's romance/dating/marriage.

Rarity obeyed her Sovereign’s command.

Just keep twisting the knife, why don't you? :raritycry:

“Oh I could not imagine!” Rarity agreed. “It is much better this way. After all, our relationship doesn’t need a label for it to mean something!”

I must be old, or at least have an old mentality, because I've never understood this mentality. (And Rarity herself doesn't believe it, either.)

But this way, they could at least officially pretend that Twilight was continuing the Celestian tradition of the Virgin Queen. She and Rarity just had a special bond of friendship, is all. Just close gal pals.

r/sapphoandherfriend

Twilight smiled at that, but Rarity could tell Twilight was sad about that particular detail. Yet she smiled for her anyway. Just as Rarity had feigned her excitement for Twilight in turn.

Isn’t that what love is?

No. Not always. Not constant. Not this.

“Companion”. That was the word they had settled on, with “marefriend” and “lover” sounding too unserious, and “partner” sounding too equal.

Now the labels matter, huh, Rares?

The use of the mane dye in tandem with the concealer to hide the "concubine mark" paints more of the tragic picture you've given us here. Especially because it's this ritual that allows Rarity's mind to wander to better days... and to truer love. :(

A rich soil. Soil that Applejack had wanted to put in her. Fertile soil to sprout into a crying little bundle of button eyes and laughs that would root itself to grow as strong and tall and healthy as a Sweet Apple Acres apple tree.

As their apple tree.

Cis F/F reproduction? In my magical pony fandom? It's more likely than you think. And adorable.

Real love is—

Rarity and Applejack's relationship, as you described it here, wasn't... healthy love, no. Neither is her current relationship. But it was more real. More authentic and honest than the RariTwi relationship, even if it involved deception in different ways. Perhaps it's not fair to say that, given that neither relationship is ideal, nor healthy... but... hmm. I think it's because there was at least a time in Rarity and Applejack's relationship where they could have been open about it, whereas the nature of the RariTwi dynamic here suggests that's never going to happen. Plus Rarity and AJ were younger then. The deep, unyielding compromises Rarity and Twilight are making now as fully fledged, mature adults are all the more heartbreaking because of their age. They should know better.

Do not think of that mare. Do not ask what happened to her.

Oh, but I do and I will.

The whole sequence of them re-enacting the sleepover, sans Applejack, is... well, it makes my stomach twist. It's just... sad. Tragic. Almost a little pathetic. Both of them are in such deep pain, reenacting a ritual that always ends in tears and apologies... and yet they continue to do it. So much left unspoken and denied.

As a depiction of a toxic relationship, you did a good job. As something that stomped on my heart and made me feel uneasy, excellent work. As something to put in my Favorites library... it's something that definitely earns the stamp, because this is well-written and characterized, even if those writing choices aren't ones I personally agree with or want to return to. This story is basically a bunch of flashing lights coming up on the highway. You don't want to end up there, and you can't help but look as you pass it by to see what the hell happened.

Poor Rarity. Poor Twilight.

10626931
Glad it made you think! Though I think your questions in particular might be a better fit for the AppleDash sidequel that's halfway done
10626966
Interesting interpretation that I hadn't considered directly in these terms. But yes, it is for this reason why I can't imagine anyone but Rarity in her place.
10627108
Something definitely has to give. This is a snapshot of a very unstable situation, not only with the relationship but with the way Twilight is deciding to rule. I foresee her being forced to change it. It is definitely not sustainable.
10627545
Nope, no law. And if there were, Twilight could overturn it. She could declare Rarity her Queen Consort tomorrow and throw the most lavish wedding Equestria has ever seen.

But the dynamic we see here would not change with that.
10627953
Yes, Rarity always chased the stallions! Hence the line

Rarity could not suppress a laugh. “I did not even dare entertain being with the royal females! But look at me now! The Sovereign Princess Twilight Sparkle’s companion!”

She just needed a little confidence, is all!
10628011
I personally dislike every alicorn introduced after Season 1 in increasing order (Cadance, Twilight, Flurry Heart) because each new one seemed to degrade the special demigoddess-ness of the whole thing. But trying to twist a headcanon to explain the increasingly incoherent and self-contradictory show canon behind alicorns has at least generated some cool ideas to explore.

10630288

Well, that's an intriguing cutoff...

Glad you caught that! It could really be anything, though. Lots of things start with "H", and EqG world does exist. :raritywink:

Twilight really needs some advice from her sister-in-law, but even Cadence doesn't have to destroy entire cultures for the good of the country. This is an incredibly potent prelude to a tragedy... or I'm being pessimistic. I suppose they'll find out in time.

Cadance has more latitude since she merely rules a city-state and knew Shining Armor since they were both teens. The situations are very different, and the advice wouldn't be applicable or would be something Twilight already knew. And considering what I have in mind for Cadance x Shining Armor, she definitely should not be taking any advice anyway!

Regardless, excellent work in portraying the dysfunction. Thank you for it.

As always, thank you for both the literal compliment and the compliment of reading my work.

"I personally dislike every alicorn introduced after Season 1 in increasing order (Cadance, Twilight, Flurry Heart) because each new one seemed to degrade the special demigoddess-ness of the whole thing"

Oh, I'd largely agree, although the show did plenty to degrade the Sisters in the later seasons beyond Alicorn Multiplication. Is it too much to ask that the immortal princess who ruled Equestria wisely and well for a thousand years and moved the sun and moon actually be an exceptional individual? (Apparently, asking that question means I have "an unhealthy level of hagiography" for Celestia).

But then, as you say, it generated a lot of interesting fan writing, and I am actually willing to give them a pass on making Twilight an Alicorn, because there was a considerable amount of uncertainty whether the show would end after season three, so they rushed ahead to make a proper finale for Twilight. Unfortunately, then there followed some six more season in which Twilight being an Alicorn generally didn't make a lick of difference... :ajbemused:

10655782

The intro setup with the story about the glowfish was brilliantly done. I almost feel like it's a metaphor for Rarity's relationship with Twilight contrasted with her past with Applejack; weighing duty and "what must be done" against what not only feels, but is, authentic and heartfelt.

Oh, it very much is, and there is one more parallel I intended. Twilight might not even realize it, but she is oddly resentful of Rarity for choosing her over the mud and dirt/Applejack. That she is sacrificing a part of herself to make Twilight's life easier. Twilight especially hates herself for accepting this, but to her, the connection to more innocent times through Rarity is all that is keeping her together at this point, so she must accept it for the sake of the nation. It’s… very dark.

Part of that is the characterization of the monarch role itself you've added in here, like the restrictions on the Sovereign's romance/dating/marriage.

I find it interesting that that is what stood out about my depiction to multiple people now. To me, the idea of self-imposed celibacy for the sake of a greater moral good (which Twilight fails at here) is natural and unsurprising. But maybe that says more about me and the headspace I was in growing up than it does about anything else.

r/sapphoandherfriend

Yep!

No. Not always. Not constant. Not this.

Definitely not. I am drawing from my own past mental states for Rarity's thoughts here, though I have never been in a relationship quite as bad as this.

Cis F/F reproduction? In my magical pony fandom? It's more likely than you think. And adorable.

That is what’s so nice about a magical setting!

Plus Rarity and AJ were younger then. The deep, unyielding compromises Rarity and Twilight are making now as fully fledged, mature adults are all the more heartbreaking because of their age. They should know better.

Perhaps, but I think this model that we have of age begetting wisdom begetting better and healthier relationships is very specific to the subcultures we live in in this very specific slice of time. Historically, and in many parts of the world and many subcultures even today, I imagine such an idea to be a luxury. This is something that saddens and discomforts me, and I drew on it for the story.

The whole sequence of them re-enacting the sleepover, sans Applejack, is... well, it makes my stomach twist. It's just... sad. Tragic. Almost a little pathetic. Both of them are in such deep pain, reenacting a ritual that always ends in tears and apologies... and yet they continue to do it. So much left unspoken and denied.

Yes to all of this.

Poor Rarity. Poor Twilight.

Thanks for giving it a chance, despite how uncomfortable it was. I do have some regrets in retrospect about writing a toxic relationship with no resolution.

Oof, ow, and/or ouchie.

I'm sorry but to me this doesn't feel true to the characters, Equestria or the spirit of the show

10656433

So you think the show should have put her up on a pedestal. It's interesting that the character we got was put on one by characters in the show, and I'd say it's pretty in character that she would have hated it

10674673
"Don't make them behave like idiots or squabbling teens" =/= "Put on a pedestal"
But then it's always easier to beat up on straw men.

10674729

well, I didn't really feel like they were made to act like squabbling teens, so it kind of feels like you're setting up a strawman here yourself

10656433
Yeah, reconciling the difference between the Royal Sisters of Season 9 vs. Season 1 has been a fun worldbuilding challenge but also frustrating. And "an unhealthy level of hagiography"? I have you beat, if you look at my other stories, I use the deity pronoun for Celestia consistently.

I did hate how alicorn Twilight was a do-nothing for about five seasons, but the happenings of Season 8 and 9 had a lot of very interesting elements that really worked well with the idea that there was more going on behind the scenes. At least in my distorted view of the show canon, there was a method to the madness after all.
10668838
ty!
10674651
Yep, in this continuity the world depicted on the show is a walled garden of innocence carefully maintained by Celestia behind the scenes. The characters here know now what it took to do so, and face even greater challenges. They are no longer quite like their younger selves as a result.

10674742

we never got to see the sisters together in season 1 except for one scene immediately after a forced separation of a millenium and trauma. And honestly- Celestia in season 1 was either a troll, or very absent minded and couldn't stand the stuff she had to do as princess and also very willing to delegate

overall, I just don't see what you see so it just comes across as a poor take on Equestria

looking at some of your stories here I can see a conversation between her and Celestia. "When we abdicated, I thought you would change the role, not let the role change you."

I'm gonna echo the sentiment about this not feeling true to the characters or the spirit of the show... but I felt exactly the same about the last several seasons in general, and at least this story is actually doing it deliberately to explore themes and make a point. This whole story is sad, bitter, and cynical, but honestly? It fits how I view late-series MLP perfectly, and maybe there's something to be said for that.

Hello, a review to your story has been posted. I hope you find it helpful. :raritywink:

Greetings! We have completed a review of this story over on My Little Reviews & Feedback. Enjoy! :derpytongue2:

Oof, this one hurts. Beautiful story, and I do so love the dynamic between Rarity and Twilight here, as dysfunctional as it is. IT's sad and melancholy and just a little bit disturbing and it's fun to revel in the darker sides of shipping every so often. Lovely work.

Congratulations, your story has been reviewed! :pinkiehappy: Come on down and see the review here.

Really well done and emotional story. The griffon situation was intriguing, and all the details of Rarity's different relationships came together to form a clear and unstable picture.

I'm pretty surprised by the comments here. While this indeed does not match up with how I'd view these characters at this stage of their lives, this is meant to explore what if that was the case. The objections to Mane Six shipping at all, at this point in the site's lifespan, is especially ???

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