• Published 26th Sep 2021
  • 3,165 Views, 48 Comments

A New Age - James Pwyll

With her adventure over, Sunny and her friends begin their new lives.

  • ...

Pasts and Futures

Given what the last few days had been for her, it was unsurprising that Sunny had decided that a quiet moment at home was just what she needed. Granted, a quiet time was exactly the kind of life she'd known until now, but having experienced life beyond what she knew, it was pretty clear that her relatively ho-hum routine was precisely what she needed to go back to, at least for the moment. So, with her usual course of action of curling up with a good book, and an old-looking one at that, the young pony had taken to simply getting herself a small glass of water. Nothing fancy course, but it was what she enjoyed. And speaking of enjoyment, she smiled to herself as she looked at page after page, taking in all that was written there. But, as with all situations such as this, a time eventually came when her ears perked up, and she began to hear very distinct voices just outside her door. She chuckled briefly before setting her book aside, getting up from her chair and trotting over to open her home to those she knew she was about to receive. After a slight creaking of her door, she looked beyond it and widened her smile. "Anypony care for some tea?"

Though she'd been expecting it, she was nevertheless taken aback by the sudden tackle-hug that was given to her courtesy of her new friend, Izzy. "Oh my gosh! How have you been, Sunny?! It's been so long since we last saw each other!"

Mere moments later, a more reserved voice spoke from behind her. "It's been a day, Izzy," Zipp remarked as she too entered Sunny's home.

But Izzy waved her off. "Pfft! That's a lifetime in my book!"

When her and Sunny finally parted, the latter looked to the side to see that Zipp's sister, Pipp, had also arrived. "You know, I never really paid that much attention to your home the first time, Sunny. It's really...quaint." A sudden elbow to her side from Zipp made her change her tune pretty quickly. "Oh! But lovely all the same! And I love that you were able to get it all fixed up after that whole debacle."

Sunny chuckled. "You'd be amazed how quickly broken things get fixed when you have a few magical neighbours." She gave a little bow of her head. "And it's nice to see the both of you too." She looked past them, expecting to see the fifth of their number, and finding herself a bit surprised to find him absent. "No Hitch today?"

Zipp gestured behind herself. "He'll be along. He needed to stop for a bit to help an old mare cross the street."

Sunny, having known Hitch better and longer than any of them, shook her head and smiled. "Of course he did." She turned, pointing to the rest of her living room. "Well, everypony, make yourselves at home. I'll get the kettle on."

The other mares did exactly that, with Pipp taking a moment to stop by the nearest window to look out at the immediate area beyond. "You know, if somepony had told me that one day I'd be mingling with unicorns and earth ponies, I'd have called them crazy." Feeling that her sister's gaze was on her, she was sure to add an addendum to that. "Of course, I'm glad they were right."

Zipp smirked to that. "Dang right. Who'd have ever thought it? The three tribes, together again."

Sunny, who had returned to where she'd set her book, nodded to that. "Just as it's supposed to be." Then, while all her friends were looking elsewhere, she turned, gazing into a mirror that was hanging close beside her, and seeing her reflection. Though to be fair, with her newly and magically-created horn and wings, it was definitely a reflection that was going to take some getting used to. "And there were certainly a few more surprises than I was expecting from it."

Izzy squealed with delight. "It's all so great, right?! You, me, all of us, everypony outside, all friends again! It's amazing!"

Sunny placed her hoof gently upon her new companion's shoulder. "Believe me, I'm as glad as anypony, but you have to remember, Canterlot wasn't built in a day. We can't expect all these years of division to just get wiped away overnight. It'll take time, and work."

"Work we're more than willing to put in." The new voice caught the mares off-guard, and they turned in unison to see that it was, as expected, Hitch who had now arrived, giving a quick bow of his head to his host before speaking further. "Am I right?"

Sunny's smile widened. "You most certainly are, Mr Trailblazer." She'd have wanted to speak to him further of course, but it was around now when her kettle finished squealing in its usual way, and so she walked over to get the now-piping hot water into the tea pot. "It'll be ready in a moment." As she poured it, she noticed, off to the side, Izzy pointing to her own horn, silently mouthing the word "magic" to her. Sunny giggled, knowing exactly what her friend was getting at. "I know, I know. But magic is still new to me, Izzy. For now I'd rather do this the old-fashioned way."

Zipp, looking away from her, found herself feeling just a touch curious about what Sunny had been reading prior to their arrival, and so walked over to the idle book. It took little time for her to see what had captured her interest not so long ago, as the pictures beside the text were as clear as day. "Princess Twilight?"

Sunny looked over to her, giving a nod before fixing her gaze upon the book herself. "Yep. And all her friends too. Applejack, Rarity, all of them. After what we all went through, I figured it was worth brushing up on a few things, so I went through all my Dad's research to find the oldest tomes he'd found when he...well...when he was still working on it."

Pipp, though recognising the sensitivity of that particular point, looked to her with slight confusion. "Aren't you already the world's biggest pony-friendship fan-filly? What could you possibly need brushing up on?"

Though they weren't exactly the words she'd have chosen to describe herself, Sunny could certainly not deny the truth of them, so, after wandering over to pick up her book, she began to explain herself. "Well...I guess I look back on how we all met, all the things we saw and did, and I can't help but feel..." She trailed off, giggling slightly. "It's silly."

But Izzy was right next to her now, looking as eager to learn as ever. "What? What's silly? Sillier than a pegasi's shield against unicorns? Because that was pretty silly."

Zipp opened her mouth to retort to her unicorn friend's comment, only to stop and think about it for a moment before giving a quick shrug. "Meh, when she's right she's right."

Though she was naturally concerned about her phrasing of this, Sunny eventually relented and accepted that her friends likely weren't going to let the matter go until they heard it. "I feel...like maybe this is what Princess Twilight felt when she first began her journey. Few friends, not expecting some big adventure to come her way, but then she steps outside her door and finds more remarkable ponies to be close to." She blushed a little. "I guess I couldn't help but maybe see a little of myself in her." A silence followed, and the others all looked deep in thought, leading to an embarrassed face on Sunny's part. "I told you it was silly."

Hitch walked to her, his voice devoid of the usual 'prim and proper law-stallion' demeanor he usually tried to put on. "Not at all. It's only natural to want to see something of ourselves in our heroes. And some of them in us too. There's a reason they are our heroes after all."

Zipp nodded, putting on a smile of her own. "He's not wrong, you know." She pointed to herself and looked just a touch smug about the whole thing. "If you came up to me and say that I was kind of like Rainbow Dash back in the day, I'd call that a pretty big compliment." She paused, her eyes darting left and right before continuing. "She...was the awesome one, right?"

Izzy clapped her hooves together. "Oh, what I'd give to have somepony say I made parties as great as Pinkie Pie!" She looked slyly to Hitch, keeping her voice to a whisper. "Don't tell anypony, but I'm pretty sure I give great parties already. Like the time I gave a surprise birthday party to my neighbour back home? I mean, nopony was happy about it, but it's the thought that counts, right?"

Pipp seemed rather interested in this whole discussion, and looked over to Sunny's book. "I'll admit, I usually never focused that much on history, especially the ancient kind. Getting caught up in my work and singing, you know? I never really learned all that much about Princess Twilight, or her friends."

Sunny sighed, her ears drooping a touch. "You're not alone. Chances are, if you asked naypony in the street, they'd likely have never heard of them." But then, seeing a chance to gush, Sunny leapt on it, taking a few steps closer towards her musical, royal friend. "Oh, there's just so much to say! Humble beginnings! Adventures and battles and victories! Bringing peace and friendship across the land and even to other races! There was nothing those six ponies couldn't do!"

Pipp glanced over to her sister. "Well, looks like you've got your work cut out if you want ponies to compare you to them."

Zipp merely shrugged. "Meh, early days, sis." A smirk came to her. "Besides, they never had access to the wonderful world of trending, now did they?"

Sunny looked again to the passages in her book, a nostalgic sigh escaping her. "It really is incredible, looking back to what they accomplished. All the weird and wonderful things they did. Fighting monsters, going to other worlds, time travel..."

That last one immediately caught Hitch's interest, and he looked utterly dumbfounded by it. "Um...pardon?"

Sunny smiled and nodded to him. "Oh yes. She got involved in time travel as part of a conflict with a mare who eventually became her apprentice."

Zipp snorted. "Well, that's one way to make a memorable first impression at a job interview, I guess." Then, curiosity began to take hold of her too, and she craned her neck over as if to get a better look at the book. "Any other weird stuff in there?"

Sunny flipped over a few pages before answering. "Well, did you know that Princess Twilight once walked through a magic mirror that took her to a world of strange, ape-people? And that she even got a crush on one of them for a brief time?"

Another silence followed her words, and then a frown by Zipp. "Okay, now I know you're making this stuff up!"

In response, Sunny placed a hoof upon her own chest. "Hoof on heart, I swear it's the truth. And the bizarre things don't end there. You could spend years looking at all the things those ponies did."

Izzy nodded enthusiastically. "Yeah! I bet you could even spend nine years looking at it!"

Pipp arched an eyebrow to her more eager friend, then turned again to Sunny. "Well...I suppose if you're going to choose an icon, you could do far worse than Princess Twilight. I can't even begin to think of what other ponies could match her in terms of all she saw and accomplished."

Hitch looked to Pipp and gave a nod of agreement. "Hear, hear. If nothing else, we should be grateful to her and her friends for having done as much as they did to foster good relations. Of all the legacies a pony can leave, peace around the world is a hard one to beat."

Hearing that, and thinking on it for a good long while, Sunny's ears began to droop, this time far more so than earlier. "Yeah...they did do that for us, didn't they?" Everypony in the room could feel her mood going south, but rather than ask what was wrong, they watched as she returned to the tea pot, remembering that it was in need of pouring. Sunny knew her friends were giving her space, and she was grateful, but eventually, and after ensuring that all five cups were full, she took a deep breath before addressing them all. "Do you ever stop and think that...maybe we've let them down?"

Naturally, a remark like that caused some confusion around the others as to what she could have meant. For Pipp, there seemed to be one interpretation, which she now chose to comment on. "I don't think any of them could have seen what we've all done together as any kind of disappointment, Sunny." She gestured to her ascended friend. "Especially if they got a good look at you!"

But Sunny shook her head. "I don't just mean the five of us and what we've gone through in the last few days. I'm talking about ponykind." Having finished with the tea, she walked around the counter so she was facing all of them. "By the time Princess Twilight took the crown, Equestria had been completely transformed from what it used to be. And a few years after, when she had taken on an apprentice, this land was..." She smiled, albeit a small one. "It was a paradise. A utopia where everycreature, regardless of who or what they were, could come together in peace and harmony. The kind of world that would have been unthinkable back when Twilight was our age." Her smile faded, replaced with a look that very definitely looked like shame. "And is that the world we've all known?"

Suddenly understanding where she was coming from, everypony in the room looked uncomfortable, with Hitch especially scratching behind his head. "Yeah...I guess not." He grimaced. "I know I certainly wasn't exactly a poster-colt for thinking things could ever get better." He looked away, suddenly seeming very uncomfortable. "Heck, looking back, all I ever did was keep up the lie that we were all meant to be apart, whether I meant it or not. Keeping things steady was more important to me that trying to make things better..." He looked to Sunny again, a small smile coming to him. "Like you tried to."

Sunny smiled, but it was short-lived, and she looked away, to the view beyond her window. "With Twilight and her friends, Equestria was a united land of friendship. But as soon as they were gone?" She frowned. "It all fell apart. It was like we ponies were just waiting for an excuse to go back to the divided, mistrustful ways of the dark ages. It just..." Slowly, she hung her head. "Is that what we're like? A people who just can't stand being around each other unless somepony comes along to show us how wrong we are?"

They could all see she was upset, and in truth her words were getting to them too. Given what they knew of their respective peoples, it was hard to argue otherwise. And yet, there was one face in all that which actually managed to keep up a smile. It was Izzy, and she stepped forward to place her hoof under Sunny's chin, raising her face up to look to her. "Things have been bad since Princess Twilight was around. You're not wrong. But things aren't all doom and gloom, Sunny." She looked around, gesturing to each of the other ponies. "Looks at us. Earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns. All under the same roof, being friends. That's the world Princess Twilight knew, and, if we keep at it, it can be that way again." She looked to Sunny again. "I know it can feel like all of Twilight's work went to waste, but all that good stuff can still be here and come back. We just need to make it happen, you'll see. That's what you taught us, remember?"

Sunny thought on that, slowly smiling again, though admittedly not as widely as Izzy. "I want to believe that, Izzy. I really do. But with so many years of division between us, can we really do it? Make things just as happy and peaceful as it was in Equestria's heyday?"

Izzy shrugged. "Maybe. I mean, who'd have ever guessed that Twilight's journey would end up where it did when she first set hoof outside her front door?"

Looking around, Sunny could see that all of her other friends seemed to agree with that sentiment, as evidenced by the happy looks they were all giving her. And as for Sunny herself, her eyes drifted yet again to her book, and the image of a pink star cutie mark in the middle of the page, and she too began to feel that tiny spark of hope. "Well then...let's see where our journey takes us...friends."

Though not wanting to spoil the mood, Pipp eventually cleared her throat, gaining the attention of the rest, before pointing to Sunny once more. "So...what do we call you, exactly? A pegacorn? A unisus? I feel like we need to come up with a proper name for all this."

Sunny's face lit up, and Hitch, already feeling where this was going, gave himself a face-hoof. "Here we go."

Sunny rushed on over to Pipp, looking as excited as ever. "Well, my Dad made a lot of headway into deciphering ancient Equestrian texts, and he came up with a bunch of possible translations if you wanna hear them!"

The colour drained from Pipp's face, but then she looked over to Hitch, who was stifling a chuckle, before finally speaking to her. "Take my advice, Princess. Never, ever activate Sunny's researcher mode."

Author's Note:

You know, it's weird. I was there right when the first season of FiM began airing, and here I am, eleven years later, seeing a brand new generation of the franchise come about. It's not my first experience with such things of course, as my time as a Transformers fan can attest, but still, it's neat. As for the new movie itself, I really enjoyed it. Obviously it's hard to say how well it stacks up against the old show given that it's just come out, but even so I found it a fun romp.

The biggest advantage it has is pretty much what FiM had. The characters. Ponies like Sunny and Izzy and the rest of them were instantly endearing to me, and I think they have it in them to win over hearts and minds just like Twilight and her friends did back in the day. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I still think this new generation is off to a good start, and I look forward to seeing these ponies back with us when we get the full TV show next year 😊