• Published 25th Apr 2021
  • 299 Views, 24 Comments

The Earth and Sky - Syke Jr

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Epilogue

~Silver Star~

Steady Path is melancholy when I see him back down on the main staging area. I look over, and see a huge blinder covering the window facing Earth. “Did you watch?”

“Yes.” He responds with a shake of the head. “I couldn’t not watch. It was just… right in front of me and I saw it start and I didn’t look away-”

I close the distance between us and hug him. “It’s okay, Steady,” I mumble. “You would have regretted not watching.”

He nods mutely, hugging me back, and I grunt a little at his earth pony strength.

“Is Amber okay?”

“Oblivious,” he says, stepping back and smiling wryly. “She started drinking. It’s for the best. She wanted to leave before the end, anyway. She didn’t see the… the globe turn grey.”

“Hmm.” The nanites did completely overtake the world, by the end. Only the surface—it would take a long time for them to convert the entire thing, but it certainly no longer looked like a life-sustaining planet. I guess looks can be deceiving.

Steady sighs. “I’m glad Olive came with me.”

“Yeah. Did he have a good time?”

“I think so.” Steady shrugs. “He’s hard to read sometimes.”

I laugh. “Like father like son…”

He grimaces. “Yeah.”

I look over at Amber Glow. She’s talking animatedly to Lucky Penny, Olive Branch and Evening Rose, holding a glass of wine in her magic. Eve looks amused; Penny looks embarrassed. Around them, ponies are filtering out. I see Celestia giving farewells. “Well. It’s all over.”

Steady nods. “It is.”

We fall silent for a bit. I rest my head against his neck. “You know,” I say after a while, “I really do feel sort of bad for that other Silver. He didn’t need to know you were here.”

Steady snorts. “He didn’t believe I was real. And anyway, he deserves it. Amber and I love you, not some millennium-old jackass.”

“You loved him when he was me,” I say quietly. “Back on Earth.” A pause as he digests this. “He didn’t ask me to create him. It’s not really his fault.”

“He came here to gloat about how good his life is,” Steady says shortly. “Forget about him. And promise me, you will never become… that.”

I laugh. “I promise to try my very best.”

He nuzzles my head. “That’s all I ask.”

We stand together, watching ponies leave, for a little while longer. Neither of us is in a hurry to part ways.

***

~Evening Rose~

“So how long is the wait on these?” I relax into the beanbag, watching Frosty positioning herself upside-down in her own beanbag. I giggle at the sight.

“No idea,” Dad says. “I figured waiting for it was part of the fun.”

“For sure,” Frosty agrees. “I hope it kicks in slow.”

“Okay, you lot,” Mum says, entering the room. “Before you start wigging out… I have something for you, Silver.”

Dad grins. “Is it that huge canvas you’re carrying?”

“Perceptive,” Mum says sarcastically as Frosty laughs. With a flourish, she uses her wing to flip the canvas that’s almost as big as she is over her back and reveal it to Dad with a grin.

He smiles widely, sighing contentedly as he drinks it in. It’s a photograph of the Earth, with a twist: I had enchanted it, so it’s like looking through a window. The planet slowly revolves even as we look, clouds shifting almost imperceptibly slowly over its surface. Hanging there in space, the blue marble, impossibly large and far away. “It’s fantastic,” he breathes. “Thank you, Snaps. And Evie… did you help?”

“Yup,” I say. “And it’s not the only one. We did some smaller ones, as well. Detroit, and some of the waterfalls, and some other places too…”

“Fantastic.” He smiles. “I can’t thank you enough.”

“I have one of the other small ones right here,” Mum grins. I cringe a little at what I know is coming as she pulls another small canvas from her mane.

Dad laughs as he takes it in his magic and gazes into the scene. “Awesome. Just awesome.”

“Lemme see,” Dark Frost says, wiggling a little as she tries to look. He angles it towards us, to show us a striking image: it’s me, eyes glowing white, shooting a beam of crackling energy at a pony who looks like my father. The other Silver Star is caught in an expression of surprise, a split second from summoning a shield. He has the stars of the galaxy at his back, the moon hanging high above.

I grimace. “It’s weird to look at.”

“It’s great,” Frosty says. “I can’t believe you took that, Gingersnap.”

“I don’t remember doing it,” Mum says defensively. “It’s all a blur.”

“Well I love it,” Dad declares. He pulls Mum to him with his magic, making her yelp slightly, before she relaxes into him as they kiss.

I grin despite myself. But something is strange. I feel a buzzing in my lips, and I lick them, confused. They taste like blueberries. For some reason, I giggle, and I can see the giggle ripple out through the air in front of me like a cloud of purple smoke.

“Uhhh…” Frosty says, blinking rapidly. “My wings are tingling. And my ears. And my… honestly, I’m tingling all over.”

“Woooahkay.” Dad puts the photo down on the nearby table, very very carefully, before putting a hoof to his horn, feeling it gingerly. “I think it’s kicking in.”

Mum giggles and kisses his forehead. “Happy quartermillenial, sweet Silver.”

***

~Gingersnap~

I leave the three of them to it. Doing the drugs is fun, but I also enjoy being a bystander. In a few hours they’ll get past the doing-nothing phase, and we’ll play board games or cards or something. Then at some point the unicorns will start playing with magic. That’s when things really start to kick off.

For now, though, there’s some peace and quiet. I take the photo of Earth over to the wall and hang it up on its waiting peg. I stare into the clouds. I wonder how long it will take before it really is all gone. Definitely years, from our point of view.

I turn on the computer and scroll through news reports about the Last Emigrations. There are interviews with a few of the newly-emigrated ponies. Their words remind me of some of the things Silver Star said, all those years ago.

The end of one article reads:

Planet Earth’s human population dropped to zero on April 7th, 2079. Now, Princess Celestia makes use of its matter to pull Equestria into a new era.

By the year 2100, Earth will be no more. The rest of the Solar System is to follow. By the year 3100, all of the planets will be converted, and Sol converted into a power station of incredible magnitude.

Ponykind, meanwhile, will strike out into space, setting out for the nearest stars, to pave the way for Equestria’s expansion into the galaxy, and eventually, the rest of the universe.

We stand here at the beginning of eternity, staring into the future, where once Humanity saw only darkness, but Ponykind knows contains nothing but satisfaction.

I stare at the screen. Nothing but satisfaction.

I hear laughter drifting from the other room, followed by a loud thud, a batpony screech, and more laughter. I think about starting the games early, but what's the rush? More than ever, I'm hyper-aware that we really do have all the time in the world.

Slowly, I smile, and close the page.

~end~

Author's Note:

Thank you for reading. For now, I think I'm finished with the series, though I do have a few side-story type ideas rattling around in my head.

If you want to see one of the more significant events to happen in the time skip between Fragile Hearts and The Earth and Sky, head here to check it out. It's a sex scene, so you've been warned.

Thank you for sticking with me for this series. It's been life-changing to write about these ponies, in ways I can't express, and you probably wouldn't believe anyway. If inspiration strikes me again, I promise I won't ignore it.

I'd be honored if you can satisfy my values (through friendship and ponies) by giving me a like if you think this was worth writing, leave a comment if your thoughts are more complicated than that, and follow if you'd be interested in more.

Thank you. :heart: :twilightsmile:

Comments ( 8 )

Not sure if I can say I enjoyed this story, thought provoking but in a way kind of depressing. This isn't that I think it's a bad story, just that in many ways Silver feels like he's regressing. He meets his jackass alternate self, his parents and brother are going far far away and changing dramatically, and he watches the Earth be consumed with barely a care in the world. The eventual implication seeming to be he might eventually join the rest of his family and move further away from anything recognisable as a human (or human level person).

If you did ever do another story, I'd explore when our intrepid couple decided to make a few personality changes, considering it was a pretty major characteristic and dynamic between the two that gets time skipped over. In terms of the series you basically go from "I'm not sure if I can be in a relationship with you forever, and also we've got no interest in sex" to "Oh yeah we kiss now and had a foal 150 years ago".

10794585
Thank you for your thoughts.

I might expand the start of this, or add something in between. The changes were supposed to be jarring, but maybe it's a little too much.

The simple fact is that I think this is how it would go. How committed can you be to caring about those things after all that time? After centuries of Celestia's influence? Yes, Silver has changed. Calling it regression might be a little far. He's just confronting the harsh realities that still exist in Equestria: ponies grow apart, things change, nothing lasts forever... writing a story where Silver is endlessly angry about all these things, the Earth, his father, his ever-changing self... that would feel regressive to me. Silver's one constant is that he would rather be horrified than lied to. There's an element of fridge horror in the moment that he realises he doesn't care about Earth's fate any more, but that's just life. At some point... you're just over it.

10794585
10794603

This, is a fine end to this series, to their story.

If inspiration strikes you could have more 'instalments' happening between this and the second one - with the risk that you may just have to adjust parts of this one :twilightsheepish:

Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. Thank you for taking us on a fascinating journey of introspection.

10794878
You were my first ever commenter, you know. Thank you. For everything.

I love this series. You write such strong scenes. I find myself going back and re-reading scenes many times. I can't remember the last time a fic has had me doing that. The post-fic blues usually hits after finishing a series like this, but knowing I can always go back and re-read the scenes that stick out to me and quickly find myself back in the Horizonverse helps lessen the blow.

The characters in this are great, too. The romance between Silver and Snaps is so cute and they complement each other so well. There's always an undercurrent of doubt in Optimalverse stories, owing to Celestia's manipulation and the feeling that none if it may be real. Yet it's ironically easy to ignore that in this series, one so focused on the main character being obsessed with such things. Because the life he has with Snaps is just so good. I suppose that is the point of Celestia's manipulation, isn't it? Give you a life so good you'll forget about your doubts.

Thank you for sticking with me for this series. It's been life-changing to write about these ponies, in ways I can't express, and you probably wouldn't believe anyway.

If you ever do figure out how to express it, I'm sure I wouldn't be the only person interested in reading about it.

The thing that impresses me the most about this story is the abundance of new ideas in each chapter. I already said this in my comment in the previous chapter, but it's really impressive how much happens in a relatively small word count. They are invited to a space party, Silver meets his alternate self, they visit areas in old earth, they are transformed briefly into humans, they meet old friends—it's clear that you really put a lot of thought into this capstone of a story. And these aren't loose ends either, but rather ways forward that feel pretty satisfying to me as the reader.

Everything in this story—literally almost everything—is bittersweet. From the consumption of the earth to meeting alternate Silver to dad leaving. It's so good and I applaud you for successfully capturing that feeling over and over and over. It really isn't a FiO story if you're not feeling a little happiness, sadness, and fridge horror by the end of it.

Well done. I appreciate that this is the last of the series, though I can't help but want more from you in the Horizonverse. Whatever happens, thank you for writing and letting me enjoy this wonderful story.

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