• Member Since 15th May, 2018
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mushroompone


enargeia or: the unbearable brightness of being

E

Rarity leaves a career in fashion behind to learn about designing new planets as ponykind spreads to the stars.


This is, first and foremost, a gift for a very kind, incredibly talented friend of mine, Novelle Tale. It is inspired in every way by her work, her friendship, and her love of grand stories filled with tiny, flawed, yet somehow perfect characters.

It also tied for first place in Bicyclette's Science Fiction contest! Hooray!!

Please be sure to check out attsupidupis's beautiful instrumental piece inspired by this fiction!!

Chapters (7)
Comments ( 39 )

This was a really nice read. The world-building (pun intended) and character interaction was fantastic, and I had a lot of fun reading it.

This is grabbing my attention, excited to devour it in one sitting.

Going into this, I'm going to be very disappointed if I don't see a reference to fjords

The world building here is amazing! I love when we mix pony magic and sci-fi settings. It always leads to really creative stuff.

Also I didn't think the end would be as heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. So wonderful job! :twilightsmile:

She relaxed, falling halfway back into her pillows and settling in to watch a beautiful twilight.

when the foreshadowing go br

Friendship is Terraforming!

Ooooh. That's some interesting hints about the physics of this alicorn-mediated universe!

Literal worldbuilding at its bestest.

Also - Friendship is Time Dilation.

I do so enjoy stories of early colonization efforts, days when the paradigms are yet ill-defined and all things may be possible. You're suggesting some very interesting applications of Equestrian magic, with alicorns in particular being stellar engineers right out the gate. This, this is something special.

Always nice to see old friends catching up.

Comment posted by minion890h deleted January 7th

Just goes to show how ridiculous Rainbow is. That mare is really something.

Twilight, wot you doing?

Noooo. Surely there is an epilogue?

Because it deserves to be said here as well:

I'm going to be chewing on this one for a while, I can tell.

You captured the forlorn desolation of space so beautifully, Mush. The beauty in this story is in the tiny details--if I were to enumerate them all, they would be lessened, because those tiny details make up a larger constellation of beautiful agony. One star is pretty, but a hundred, a thousand, are breathtaking. Please take my word for it that I noticed each, tiny detail you wove in, and that I appreciated them all.

I loved how in this story, the darkness represents both fear and possibility, because really, they are two sides of the same coin. We often think of our saviors as being shining lights in the darkness; but here, you subverted that expectation, by making the darkness--the black hole--the very thing that can save Twilight.

I heard this fact the other day: if the universe were infinitely old or infinitely static, rather than conatantly expanding, the entire sky would be white. There would be too many stars, and too much light, to have the dark, starry night skies we love. This story really made me appreciate that fact even more. I am grateful for the darkness.

Thank you.

I don't get how the planets were initially just floating there, but MLP's astrophysics has always been weird.

The use of earth pony and pegasus magic is perfect here. It's like they were made for terraforming and fits neatly into the setting :raritystarry:

Oh, wow. Given how critical the revelations and emotions in this chapter are, I feel like these scenes should've been longer, with more detail. They seem to rush by too quickly.

This was beautiful. A perfect blend of science and magic, of friendship and love. Here's hoping you place; I'd certainly throw an award at this.

We have Rarity with moments of stronger than usual magic, and Twilight's energy flagging - something tells me the connection they made when bringing the last planet into alignment is inadvertently still there.

I don't normally go for science fiction ponies... But this was really good. A digestible glimpse into literal world building, with enough heart to keep things fresh and exciting. Great work!

Why did they even bother the planets?
I thought they were supposed to move just an asteroid.

At first I thought this would be a fun little sci fi story with cool world building (figuratively and literally), but then I had my heart ripped out by the beautiful prose and wonderful ending. Well done.

Full disclosure, I've only been reading FimFic for a couple of months now, but, you've demonstrated incredible talent with this one, mushroom. Considering the length of the fic, there's a lot of incredibly thorough and thoughtful world-building. That ending was so poetic and delivered beautifully.

Mushroom, this work was so inspired that it helped me out of some pretty bad creative burnout. To repay, I dedicate this piece to the beautiful universe you've made.

Thank you.

11122834
Wow. I think, for the first time, I'm honestly speechless.

It isn't so much that I haven't gotten any kind comments in my time on here, but this is something else entirely. To hear that I've inspired someone else to create is just one of the best compliments you could ever give.

The piece itself is absolutely beautiful. When I wrote this for my friend, I was trying to capture a specific sort of wistfulness that is very hard to pin down - but the combination of grounded piano and wandering synth nails it exactly. I'm completely floored.

As soon as I'm back at my laptop, I'm going to be adding a link to this piece to the description. It represents the story so well, and I'd be remiss if I didn't put it front and center where people can listen to it.

I hope you have a great day, and I hope you make more music soon!! :heart:

11122969
:D Thank you so much. I'm glad that you enjoyed it and even more glad that it affectually conjured the same feelings that went into it the story. Slowly coming out of a stretch of creative fatigue, this reception brings me a lot of joy and helps me believe that I'm on the right track.

Thanks, again

11116769

Sets up a way to catch more asteroids and the like. Given the alignment, you now have a "net" that will continue to capture stuff, without needing a full on alicorn to set up.

Given time, they'll have a full on belt, not just Eventide.

Howdy, hi!

I can't believe you have me excited about a story in which Rarity gets a really cool office job. How dare. On a serious note, your characterizations, as always, are on point, and your Rarity voice is the best. I love that the committee was who it was. Just makes it so much more interesting. The trio's dynamic is fun and wonderful, and dammit I'm probably binging this in one go.

Ahhhhhh, this was cute as all fluff. Love the dynamic you built between the two of them. Did I say Rarity was my second favourite character? Rarity is my second favourite character. Anyways, the way you told their relationship without ever actually *saying* it was amazing. Super solid.

Sorry, I think this beat's atrophy as my favourite story of yours. Absolutely breathtaking piece. The dynamics between characters, the subtle setup done in the beginning of the story, all the little emotional moments between characters... absolutely golden. I don't like Sci-fi, but I like Character pieces and this one is one of the best Ive ever read.

Absolutely beautiful, thank you, mush.

Oh you got me now....to the next chapter

The color of the twin suns shining off the river of metal below was making Rarity rethink everything.

augh, just from the first line it's such a strong start! coming back to this on a re-read, i can really appreciate how it sets up the worldbuilding and Rarity's character all at once!

“The planet just slows time down, Pinkie. And o-only theoretically,” Rarity was quick to correct. “Under ideal conditions. I’ve no idea how well the idea might play out in reality.”

oh wow, i totally did not retain this since it seemed like just another bit of flavor and worldbuilding on my first read. it's like seeing a cameo of a character that's revealed to be important later in the background of the first scene of the movie, and i just love it

Pinkie beamed. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s rocks!” she proclaimed.

hehe, Pinkie's rock farm background really is fitting for this setting!

“Just remember: if it gets scary, tell a little joke!” Pinkie said, hooking one foreleg around the back of Rarity’s neck. “Committees love that. No one ever tells them jokes.”

Rarity giggled. “I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.”

“Yeah, and we’ve got your back,” Rainbow added. “When it’s all done. No matter what happens.”

The friends fell into a comfortable silence.

Just the three of them in this big, empty car.

and i just adore the choice of Pinkie and Rainbow as Rarity's friends here, able to bring their respective flavors of optimism and enthusiasm to balance out Rarity's anxiety and angst. even without being with them long so far, i really believe them as three mares who have spent a good deal of time alone together, and it's just lovely.

The carpet was ugly. Funny to have such ugly carpet in a design school. Shouldn’t they know better? Here, of all places?

the cobbler's children have no shoes!

It was a complicated plan for such a little planet, but the detail with which she had imbued the drawing hopefully sold the whimsy of it all—tiny natural crystals which, despite being drawn in plain, dark ink, seemed to sparkle in Rarity's eyes.

this is such a perfectly Rarity touch, i love it

Effortlessly casual, limitlessly humble, and blindingly southern.

this does make me wonder, they never refer to the Apple Family accent as ""Southern"" in the show, do they?

It struck her in the chest with a strange force. These ponies, ones that she had considered so much wiser and more learned than she was, were her age.

How had they made it so far?

oof, i am getting to the age where i am having these moments, so i really feel Rarity here

Well. Perhaps they hadn’t thrown away a perfectly good career to make a late-stage change. That would probably help.

oof, too close to home!

""I think I signed a paper that says I had to be,"" Spitfire observed. ""So don't thank us yet.""

Braeburn chuckled at that. ""Aw, you got the best sense 'a humor, Spits.""

Spitfire did not respond.

ah, they're only here in this scene, so they could have been flatly drawn pieces to do exposition and further the plot with, but instead this committee oozes personality and feel like they have a life in this world beyond their existence here, and i really appreciate that.

“I ‘unno,” Pinkie said with a shrug. “Just seemed like a good mentor voice.”

the perfect level of Pinkie Pie fourth wall breaking!

A pioneer.

Everypony wants to be a pioneer.

Pinkie shrugged and skated over the marble to sit beside her friend. “Gee, you’d think they’d put some benches in here.”

“I’m sure they will eventually,” Rarity said. “That’s the downside of being the first of anything.”

The pair went back and forth a bit longer, comparing their best voices amongst bouts of ridiculous laughter. The sound carried far and wide, stopped by nothing, overtaken by nothing, only filling the endless void of the empty city.

All the streetlights were off, now.

Just the three of them in the darkness.

Just the three of them and the endless universe.

augh, i love this theme threading through the whole piece. it really struck me on my first read, too, how i just had this mental image of the echoes of the three's hooves radiating out into the quietness of an empty planet. the atmosphere feels so beautiful yet sparse for the lack of ponies, so very fitting for this story's setting of space colonization and pioneering.

“I put it in your calendar, okay?” Spitfire continued. “I just wanted to let you know that she’s a little… esoteric might be a nice word for it.”

Rarity blinked. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

“You don’t know what esoteric means?”

“No, I know what—”

“She’s an odd duck, okay?” Spitfire said. “Not an unkind or unintelligent one, but an odd one for sure. I just want you to hear, from me, that she’s extremely well-respected in this field, and that her little weirdnesses are the only price you pay for her being so brilliant.”

ah, i can just hear Spitfire saying this! and Rarity having to find her hoofing right after waking up; this scene just felt so vivid and real, more like i was watching a movie scene than reading it, you know?

T.S. and R. - Asteroid Proposal

already excited by the initials

Rarity awoke when the autocarriage made its predictably tumultuous landing on the lunar surface, nearly throwing her from her seat. She briefly wondered if the acute shock and terror was better or worse than hot coffee splashed into the white fur on her chest.

again, just love these little worldbuilding details for their own sake, but also for how thematic they are. technology removing another bit of pony connection, and just the general un-idealness of living on Aurora in so many little things. and then the perfectly Rarity tint of vanity in her brief thought, so good!

Her mane was mussed and frizzy, floaty down slowly—slower even than the low gravity could truly account for. Not only that, but half of it seemed stuck in its form where it had clearly been pressed against the cracked vinyl seat. The redness of her cheek, the dark circles ringing her eyes and tugging at her cheeks, and the thin line of dried drool all but confirmed it—the mare had been woken from a deep sleep.

As she rubbed her glassy eyes with a clumsy hoof and looked lazily around the place, a pair of large and colorful wings pulled in towards her sides. Every color of an Equestrian sunrise was reflected in those feathers, doubly so in the long and gently curving horn on her head—not only the natural lavender of her coat, but fierce pink-orange and a yellow so vibrant it practically gave off its own light.

oof, that otherworldly beauty that she is not even aware of enough to try to deliberately maintain, that vulnerability. just so wonderfully Twilight. augh idk, i just love this as an introduction to Twilight Sparkle so much that i can't properly express it

The memories were fuzzy, of course, but the feelings were not. Like peering into the past through a blurry lens smeared with petroleum jelly, Rarity could make out very few details, could recall no precise memory of a day spent with Twilight. But that halo of yellow-green light that surrounded them on lazy August afternoons was clear. The conspiratorial giggles of a shared joke. The evenings huddled near the radio, listening for news on the latest mission to another world. All those wonderful pauses and yearnings of a youth spent waiting for history to happen.

and this way you fit so much character background and worldbuilding in the space of one paragraph, just how do you do that? i can practically feel the magic and excitement of growing up in this world, and can understand better that repeated assertion that everyone wants to be a pioneer. it's like i was there with them

Twilight chuckled lightly, a nervous and awkward sound tinged with a sort of sadness Rarity couldn’t quite pin down. “Fair enough.”

oof, this hits a lot different on a reread

"Tsk." Rarity put her nose in the air. ""Are you implying a lady isn't any good at writing research proposals?""

"No!" Twilight argued, genuine panic in her voice. "No, of course not!"

Rarity arched a brow in Twilight's direction and allowed a smirk to fight through her frustrated facade.

"Oh." Twilight frowned. "You're teasing me."

auauaugh perfect RariTwi interaction

Twilight scoffed, a thoroughly unladylike sound as she was known to make. “Liked it?” she repeated. “It’s amazing! It’s exactly what I’ve been dying to do since I got these stupid wings—some real magical research!”

She flared her wings for dramatic effect, though she was more than a little clumsy. A few primaries caught the edge of the napkin holder and sent plastic tubs of raspberry jam careening across the table.

i wish to repeat my earlier comment on just how perfect and beautiful of an introduction to Twilight this is, augh

A sudden cough of static filled the diner, and the once-perfect vacuum of silence was filled with the light and jaunty tunes of classic music from the radio. Rarity couldn’t place the exact piece, though the cadence felt very familiar to her, every note short and lifting into nothingness, the true music in the space left behind.

this really feels like one of those incidental details that's supposed to be thematic, but what? augh. what is communicated about the relationship between Rarity and Twilight in what isn't said between them? that is great, i love it

The mares found themselves staring at one another once again.

"What is it?" Rarity asked.

Twilight laughed. "I trust you," she said. "That's all."

Rarity blushed and looked down at her toast.

i just want to swim in this stuff, just wrap it over me like a warm blanket. augh, i feel this RariTwi so much and it makes me so happy

“Ooh, this is so exciting!” Pinkie squealed. She kicked her rear hooves wildly even as she gripped the seat’s straps in her forehooves. “I thought I’d just be kicking rocks around on lame old Aurora, but I actually get to be one of the first ponies on a whole new planet! That’s totally crazy!”

pitch-perfect Pinkie here, just in the phrasing and everything! your characters are just so enjoyable being themselves

“And you’re saying a lady can’t be strong?”

Twilight arched a brow in her student’s direction. “Are you going to deflect everything I say with that?”

Rarity squirmed in her seat. “No. Of course not. A lady would never.”

Twilight rolled her eyes, despite the clear twinkle of suppressed laughter glimmering in them. “I’m going to move the planets," she said firmly. "You’re just going to follow along with me. Okay?”

there's just something that feels like very Good Writing somehow. that these characters can't even flatten themselves within the story to catchphrases and bits, and it's so very real that Rarity tries anyway as part of her general deliberateness of image, and then gets pushback for it when warranted.

This was limitless stillness. This was untouched by mare. This was the future.

ugh i can't express enough how much i love the phrase "untouched by mare". really enhances the impact of this line for me

Good.” Twilight gave her old friend a proud and encouraging smile. “Because I want you to guide me for Solaris III.”

Rarity’s heart stopped.

perfect dramatic timing! my heart stopped with her

The planet moved slowly, but big things that move slowly are still horrors to behold. A behemoth moving at all is enough to make one want to turn tail and run away, and this massive hunk of rock, boiling at its core, was careening through empty space with nothing to stop it.

She could sense what she needed to do. Not quite innately, but insistently. The same way one knows how hard to press down on a pencil, or the feel of an apple splitting under one's teeth.

She just knew.

She knew the weight of it. The way it moved and flowed.

Like fabric

Like fine silk.

these passage really reminds me of your descriptions of earthpony magic in How to Farm Rocks (in three easy steps), and i just love it. both the ideas and how you describe them, really getting into how it feels to use magic, as well as imparting it with the beauty and gravity it deserves.

She looked out of the window, smiling softly and… well, Rarity thought she sensed sadness. Or perhaps a distance—a wistfulness which went beyond the planets, beyond what Twilight’s eyes could see. A realization that had nothing at all to do with the magnificent view before her.

agh, love this as well. just how to Rarity, Twilight eclipses even the greatest accomplishment that had just passed before her, in that moment.

“You should totally name it after yourself!” Pinkie suggested. “Rare… Raria? Is that it?”

“Sounds like a disease,” Rainbow commented.

“Raribellia?” Pinkie amended.

“Deadlier disease.”

they definitely do sound like diseases, somehow!

“Eventide,” Rarity repeated. “It’s another name for the time between night and day. A synonym for Twilight.”

“Oh, pft.” Twilight waved her hoof dismissively. “No, no. You can’t name it after me.”

“Who says I’m naming it after you?” Rarity said, a bit of her confidence returning. “Eventide is a lovely way to describe this place. It’s between science and art, between planet and space debris… it’s also about to be the furthest settled planet from Equus.”

Twilight nodded slowly. “Between civilization and the great unknown.”

Rarity allowed herself a small smile. “Precisely.”

ah, the elegance of the solution! the aesthetic! again, just so very Rarity, with a nice bonus of being colored by the RariTwi.


and augh, let me go back here to interject just how much i adored this astronomical worldbuilding, of planets being inert and still until alicorn magic moves them into place in their orbits. such a perfect extension of the worldbuilding themes of MLP, along with the very concept of ponies using magic to drive the world's processes that are in our reality are simple consequences of dumb physics. not to mention the very themes of pioneering, of pony civilization against unexplored nature. i am just in awe of this, really! i love it so much. such a beautiful and perfect way to do science fiction in a way that feels like it's taking place in the world we know and love.

As a pegasus (or, perhaps more importantly, as a pegasus needing use of her wings), Rainbow was strapped into a ridiculous contraption that turned her natural, agile wings into awkward things more closely resembling sails on a boat. This meant that, unfortunately, she could not fold her wings the way she was used to—she had to leave them unfurled, hanging down at her sides like the wings of a soggy paper airplane.

This was considerably worse than merely having an itch one could not scratch. Even a unicorn knew that.

aww, poor Rainbow Dash!

Another bright and sudden crackle as all three ponies answered the affirmative, and all four winced at the volume.

Pinkie tapped on the side of her helmet as one might ap on a fishbowl.

“Perhaps not all at once,” Rarity advised softly.

The three mares nodded in understanding.

agh, it's just these little things that really make it!

“Exactly.” Twilight looked down at Rarity and smiled. “It takes a lot of skill to fly without air. A lot of raw magical power. It’s the sort of thing you’ll be able to do when you get your wings.”

agh, i really loved this! this is exactly how i imagine pegasus flight working, but explained far better than i ever could have, especially in a way that fits in the context of a story. thank you for this!

“It is!” Rarity insisted, a little bit of a giggle creeping into her voice. “Rock farming is all about teaching the soil how to make gems, correct? A little kernel of the target, a little earth pony magic to coax it in the right direction…?”

Pinkie scoffed. “I mean, there’s a lot more—”

“Well, this one is air,” Rarity said, patting a tank labeled ‘kernel’. “We also bring along pure nitrogen and pure oxygen, in case there are defects and the balance needs to be corrected.”

“Ohhh.” Pinkie nodded. “Just like lime deposits!”

hehe, worldbuilding continuity! love it!

“I promise you’ll have plenty of time to tell me the details,” Rarity cut in. “But we need to do this quickly. Atmospheric compression is exactly the same process: we release a kernel of air from home, and the pegasi use their magic to grow it into a whole new atmosphere.”

and ugh, i love how you integrated terraforming into the magic of the ponies so perfectly here! just like in Equestria, the magic of all three tribes is needed for the work, and that's just a fantastic bit of worldbuilding. this is exactly how space colonization should work in a world that still feels like the world of the ponies, with just the right mix of magical whimsy, dream logic, and science.

“She’s just, like…” Pinkie tapped one hoof on the ground thoughtfully. “Well. Y’know when somepony crazy famous goes on the radio and they just sound really super fake? Like somepony else wrote all their lines and they’re just all… empty?”

Rarity laughed. “I certainly do.”

“Twilight’s not like that,” Pinkie said. “She’s just… here. Y’know?”

Just here.

Flying overhead. The atmosphere at the tips of her hooves, the universe in her wake.

Just here.

ah, that is just what's so wonderful about her, isn't it?

Rainbow scoffed. “I can do way better than that!”

i'm sure she could do as much as twenty percent!

Pinkie had been wrong.

Twilight was empty, after all.

and augh, Twilight's insistence that nothing is wrong and Rarity's frustration and unease, i just feel all of it and it all feels so natural with these characters. i remember feeling the dread with Rarity on reading this the first time, and augh, knowing what is coming...

Rarity scoffed. “I do believe I can manage.”

She couldn’t.

If her new planet, her first planet, her own planet, had even a whiff of foul odor, Rarity was going to be completely devastated.

agh, love this character moment

It was dust. A dusty road in the desert, perhaps. Or in the woods. That hard-packed, dry soil and sand that kicks up around your hooves as you trot down the marked trail. There was no scent of leaves, because there were no trees.

always super jealous of your sensory descriptions

Rainbow sighed. "Fine. Just keep the rock talk to a minimum, okay?"

Pinkie giggled. "No deal! It's my turn to geek out!"

Rainbow looked to Rarity for help.

"It seems more than fair to me," Rarity said simply.

Pinkie let loose a bounce that sent her higher than the roof of the ship—an impressive feat, even with the reduced gravity. "Woo-hoo! Everything's comin' up Pinkie!"

it's an interesting feeling to see them have their exuberant exchanges even with the shift in focus to the mystery of Twilight's decline. it's like seeing the momentum of the original story dynamics push itself forward on its own energy while we peel off a branch of it, just superb stuff.

With that, she went leaping away, forehooves plunging into the surface of the stone over and over again, leaving miniature craters in her wake.

just love this mental image of Pinkie having found a practical use for her pronking power

Twilight coughed lightly and waved the rising cloud away from her face. The dust motes, glowing orange in the sunlight and floating delicately around Twilight's snout, only served to make her all the more ethereally beautiful.

auaugh so true

It was so fine. Not like sand or dirt at all—softer than either. Compressible and light and airy. Unlike anything that could be found at home.

“Goodness…” Rarity murmured.

again, a beautiful application and depiction of earthpony magic. you just make this world feel so wondrous and magical! Rarity's reaction is my own

“Adorable,” Rainbow commented dryly.

Rarity whipped around and glared at her friend. “Oh, please. Spare me your tomcolt-ish disdain for affection.”

ahahaha love this

“You think I can pick through those tiny things with just hooves?” Rainbow tossed back before Rarity could even finish her argument. She held her hooves up to prove her point, demonstrating their poor motor control by clapping them together a few times.

Rarity couldn't exactly argue with that. "Fine, then," she said.

so true

Rarity made a small sound of surprise.

That was the second time her magic had betrayed her here.

augh, that spooky sensation of maybe losing control of one's magic, but not being sure of it. echoes of The Haunting of Carousel Boutique. haunting!

"I'm not!" Rainbow argued, stomping her hoof on the stone. "Has she told you anything about what happened between when you knew her as a foal and now?"

Rarity opened her mouth to reply, to spit back something clever and perhaps slightly vitriolic, but nothing came to her.

She faltered. Stuttered a bit.

"See?" Rainbow pointed at her accusingly. "That's weird, right?"

ooh, i like this structurally! contrasting with how Pinkie saw and looked at Twilight in the previous chapter.

And she saw it again: the limpness of Twilight’s form, the paleness of her face, the trudge in her step. She felt it, too. Felt that vacuum inside of her. That empty space where the magic should have been, where the kindness and the humility and the love and the warmth should have been.

oof, such a worrying thing to see

Twilight flared her wings in a sudden and violent display of color and power. Though she was running on empty, the size and impression of those wings would have been enough to spook a lesser pony into quietude. It reminded Rarity a bit of a songbird puffing its feathers to intimidate a predator.

and augh, another great contrast with how Rarity and the narration saw those wings earlier. and augh, it precisely is her using her wings as a source of authority to deflect and deny that robs them of the effortless majesty they had earlier. augh augh

There’s nothing strictly wrong with professionalism. In fact, most ponies would argue that a professional atmosphere is the most appropriate type for the sort of goals this group had. But ‘most appropriate’ was by no means ‘best’, and this all but proved the rule.

i have to say, the very unusually literal definition of "professional atmosphere" being used here, i absolutely love. that is just so fun!

“Did something happen between you and Twilight?” Pinkie had hissed to Rarity one lazy Eventide afternoon. “I noticed you girls are talking about sixty-two percent less often than usual.”

Rarity had given Pinkie an odd look. “There’s no chance you’ve actually measured it.”

“Don’t doubt my abilities!” Pinkie had snapped back. “And… are you saying something did happen?”

perfectly Pinkie, perfectly Rarity reacting to Pinkie being Pinkie, auaugh

Twilight hummed. "Someone should look into that,” she said.

Pointed.

My turn. Go busy yourself elsewhere.

Only Rarity wasn’t quite in the mood to play games today. "Yes," she agreed. "Someone should."

Twilight did not reply.

You want space so badly, I’ll just put someone else between us.

“We have Pinkie and Rainbow,” Twilight said simply. “Just train them on the instruments if you feel like you need the help.”

Sounds like you don’t know what you’re doing.

oof! the coldness, the passive-aggression, the cutting double meanings. the worst things for me to deal with, i would hate to be in this situation so much. i love it

Memories were beginning to come back to Rarity, if she were honest. Less golden, sunshine-y times back in Canterlot. The way Twilight’s drive had mixed with her anxieties into an impenetrable mass of porcupine quills which she puffed up at any passerby. To call her ‘prickly’ would have been an understatement.

auauagh, the recontextualization! first the wings and now the shared foalhood, all driven by revealed characterization. wonderful stuff

“I mean—look, I get the romanticization of all of this, but it’s not how they make it look!” Twilight went on. “I know they load you onto those big ships and sail you out into space with this stupid promise that you’re gonna be some—some pioneer, but everyone wants to be a pioneer! And everyone can’t be a pioneer!”

and yes, this payoff, too! the way you set up all your marks to hit them perfectly later. it is a privilege to see you at work

“That’s not what I’m saying,” Twilight said through clenched teeth. “And that wasn’t a veiled insult. Just forget it.”

and a hint here of Rarity reading a bit too into things, if i'm reading this correctly. and that certainly not being the cause but rather the effect of the frigid air between them. love the subtlety, augh

But here, on a new planet at the edge of the known universe, the wind did not blow anyway. The night sky was dark and still because it hadn’t started yet, not half of it. And, if Rarity had really wanted to, she could have brought this world to a screeching halt.

just the beauty and poetry of this entire passage, augh. just all the feelings of wanting to stop the world combined with the setting of literally being able to do it, just augh. i can feel all of it. beautiful stuff

“Black holes eat time!” Pinkie explained. “So you get less time per time, and time goes slower when you’re near one. C’mon, Dashie, keep up!”

such a wonderfully Pinkie way to understand and explain it, haha!

Rainbow gave Rarity a suspicious look, but strapped herself into the pilot’s seat anyway. “Alright, fine. We’re gonna throw a moon into a black hole,” Rainbow said. “How exactly do you plan on moving a moon? You still don’t have your wings.”

it's interesting, it feels like Rainbow Dash ended up morphing into the character role that was taken up by Spitfire in the first chapter.

Rarity had never been one for the Sirish goodbye… but a quick and painless departure was, in this case, the only option.

such a melancholy moment to have a silly horse pun translation of a cultural concept. i love the dedication and believe in it fully

She had noticed it slowly. Day by day, short as they were on Eventide, Rarity felt herself changing. A crushed tea kettle here. Spilled seeds there. Glass popping. Energy humming within her. A little at a time, unnoticeable even to her as she went about the monotonous little things that made up life on a research outpost.

But, every now and then, something would snap. Rarity would do something she’d never be able to do before.

The closest thing to it was gravity. Not gravity itself, but the effect it had on a pony—the way one couldn’t truly feel its strength without leaving it behind. There was always a lightness to leaving a planet behind as its gravitational grip finally released, and this felt just the same.

An impossible lightness.

A power and she hadn’t known until she’d left its source behind.

yes, threading all the hints together! and augh, i feel like i'm retroactively getting some of the metaphors from previous chapters now. the shadow being the shape of what is obscured from the light. all of it just makes this feel like Literature

All the zig-zagging across the universe had made this Rarity’s most constant dwelling these tumultuous months. And, where Eventide often felt distantly alien, the ship had a comforting familiarity and age. Same old metal grate beneath her hooves. Same squeaky, sticky seats which didn’t fit her quite right. Same stickers on Pinkie’s half of the console.

such a fun touch with the stickers, and augh, what was once merely the old machine now being imbued with comforting familiarity. also brings to mind a contrast with the unwelcoming autocarriage in the earlier chapter.

“It’s not one of those wellness retreats, is it?” Twilight all but whined. “I just—I always feel so awkward. Don’t you?”

“I do not feel awkward,” Rarity agreed. “No further comment.”

again, so wonderfully RariTwi

“So I… I made you a planet, Twilight.”

there's something nice here, going from a planet named after Twilight to a planet made for Twilight

“Not to mention all that talk of kernels and seeds and pioneers,” Rarity went on. “Always starting something new. They started something new with you, you know. And, since they neglected to finish it, I suppose I’ll just have to take it upon myself!” She puffed out her chest, doing her best to sound cheery and perhaps even a little theatrically pompous.

agh, love this! such wonderful growth from the Rarity of the first chapter

“Well, then, I shall have to pass the work on to someone else,” Rarity replied. Her throat was hot and tight as she held back her own tears. “My student this time. And she’ll be brilliant, because I taught her how, just as you taught me. And if she can’t do it, then she’ll find another.”

A tiny sob escaped Twilight.

a tiny sob also escaped me here

Rarity said, “It’s time for you to go. I have work to do, you know.”

Twilight squeezed her friend, her student, her pioneer with everything she had. “I know you can do it,” she whispered. “You’re an artist. Do something creative and brilliant and come right back to get me.”

“I promise,” Rarity said. “I promise.”

i just can't even. i'm crying again despite going into the reread already knowing what happened. just augh. just. it's just so RariTwi, you know? that's the tragedy at the core of their romance, that they are fated to move through existence at different timescales, and augh, this one is just so beautiful and loving and tragic all at once. just the mental image of it, of Twilight seeing Rarity in slices, cut across the length of her mortal lifetime, to what feels is tragically fated to be her end, a lifetime's work devoted to saving Twilight. and Twilight and Rarity's student/teacher relationship here being a thing Rarity continues in honor of her, augh. sorry, i'm crying again. everything about this is so beautiful, and i feel it so deeply.

you've inspired me with a long RariTwi story of my own, Mush. all based off of that feeling i got when i imagined those all-too-short visits between them stretching out into the future. if i could capture a tenth of this fic's brilliance, i would be so happy. thank you so much for this!

Though she looked like she wanted to, Twilight did not respond. She just went back to staring, listless, out the window.

[joke]And when Twilight Sparkle is list-less, the situation is dire indeed... that Mare likes her lists...[/joke]

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