• Published 3rd Apr 2022
  • 1,372 Views, 485 Comments

Alpha and Omega - Revel Montaro



For every beginning there is an end. Princesses Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer stand side by side as the rulers of Equestria, as beacons of hope against those that seek said end, as the darkness closes around them and the walls press in.

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Chapter 1: No Better Feelin'

City of Canterlot: The Fourth Celestial Age, present day

Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns was the premier educational institution for all magic users as it had been for centuries. Though there had been numerous attempts in the past to revamp the curriculum to accommodate non-magic users as well, those attempts fell by the wayside after the Friendship School in nearby Ponyville became the preferred school for all creatures to grow and learn together, harmoniously. Other, smaller schools were founded later followed the Friendship School model rendering the effort moot. For better or for worse that left CSGU less harassed to integrate and continue on as it always had.

That being said, the school was closely monitored by the board superintendent, Princess Twilight Sparkle, to make learning all things magic as much fun as they were safe. Twilight personally inspected the curriculum, often making surprise inspections on the staff and students to ensure no tribal elitism was quietly being slipped in as it often had in the past.

In fact, there had been a small, but necessary staff change up in the last few years following the return of Sunset Shimmer to Equestria. The alicorn daughter of Celestia had taken her place at Twilight’s side as a coronated diarch and equal to Twilight, giving the purple princess more free time to once again follow her heart’s passion of education. The first thing, following the coronation, had been to return to CSGU and see what she had been neglecting. Thankfully, most things had remained in good order and only two staff members had been asked to leave for their controversial personal views being slipped into the classrooms.

What had originally been a plan to fill the gap until new staff could be found, Twilight had gladly stepped back into her teaching horseshoes and added an advanced level class for sixth year seniors in which she taught herself twice a week. Naturally, that class had filled up quickly. And while it took a bit of prodding, but not excessive, Twilight had convinced Sunset Shimmer to chip in as well. Though she preferred to just step in as a substitute when teachers needed time off. Such was the case today.

Princess Sunset Shimmer underlined what she had just written with magical hornwriting and turned from the chalk board to look over the class before her. The twenty-five first year students all immediately straightened up as her teal eyes scanned over their young faces.

“Now, who can tell me about The Seven Trials of Clover the Clever and name any of them without having to look down at the book in front of them?” A few hooves went up in the air. Sunsnet pointed a hoof at a mare in the second row. “Go ahead, Violet Brush.”

A filly with light violet fur and silver and pink mane cleared her throat and beamed. “The trials were seven amazing or noble feats performed by the once great apprentice to Star Swirl the Bearded and are often regarded as a proto-form of what we call the Virtues of the Elements of Harmony. The first trial is credited as the Ignition of the Hearth’s Warming. The second was the recovery and return of the Crown of the King that was nearly lost during the… the exodus of Unicornia. Um… I can’t remember the third, sorry, princess.”

Sunset smiled warmly. "Nothing to apologize for, Violet. That’s why your teacher was going over them. At least you gave it a try. Everypony open to page fifty-five and let’s all read the summary together.”

Sable Nimbus, personal assistant and occasional bodyguard to Princess Sunset Shimmer took a moment to peek through the classroom door window at the goldenrod alicorn before turning her eyes back to the quiet hallway. It always made her just a tiny bit anxious whenever Sunset went out without armor on, having chosen to only adorn herself in her jeweled hoof guards and her circlet helm crown this morning. Sunset’s logic was that the full armor sent the wrong message for a school and distracted the students. Sable concluded she was probably right.

It was a silly argument, of course. Celestia went about for centuries with only the bare minimum of regalia and protection on and survived numerous assassination attempts during the early years of her reign… however, Sunset Shimmer DID tend to be a disaster magnet. The evidence in favor of Sable’s anxiety caused the assistant/bodyguard to peek through the window once more but only found a smiling princess and eager young students. She smoothed a nonexistent wrinkle in her black with gold pinstriped dress suit jacket, double checked her lace choker with a crescent moon charm that Luna had given her was straight, and with a causal toss of her pixie cut red mane, returned her posture to parade ground perfect as was expected for any thestral guard. Even one not currently in armor. The bat pony’s fluffy ears twitched and turned as she heard hooves approaching and voices just becoming understandable. She recognized them both and she allowed herself a small smile before returning her face to soldier stoic.

“I understand your needs and your concerns, Lord Maple Leaf, but that does not grant you special access or any preferential treatment to either of the princesses outside of an emergency. Not now, not ever.”

The stallion huffed and stomped his hoof in a childlike manner. “Miss Raven, you are still new to this, surely you fail to understand t-”

“I do not fail to understand,” came the sharp retort in a posh, Canterlot high society accent. “I am not capable of failing to understand what has been laid out in clear black and white writing. I am thoroughly informed and well aware of the procedures in which to voice your concerns, needs, grievances, or whatnot to EITHER princess when court is not in session. Also, you will refer to me as Chief Coordinator Raven if you wish for me to take even a smidge of your meat bag blubbering seriously and worthy of mine and Her Majesty’s time. We have titles and they will be respected otherwise, please see yourself out, the exits are there, there, and there.”

The noble snorted and fumed but after a deep breath nodded. “Very well, chief coordinator. I will bring it up with the princess tonight.”

“Tomorrow night, is what you meant to say, since I have you scheduled then for thirty minutes following the dessert course before Her Highness is to see to personal matters followed by dream walking with her Aunt Luna.”

“Y-Yes, of course.”

Raven waited silently for the stallion to take the hint before finally shooing him with her hoof. “Off you go then.” Neither his red faced rage/embarrassment nor his angry snort had any affect upon her. And why would it? Sable said to herself. Raven is ruthlessly efficient as one should expect from a machine. Although, Sable was aware that last part was not common knowledge.

A moment later Raven continued to where Sable Nimbus was standing, the umber brown bat pony flashed a fanged grin before once again returning to professionalism. “Chief coordinator.”

“I take it you heard the entire exchange?”

“Naturally. Ears like these don’t miss much. Plus, part of my job is to eavesdrop… for security reasons, of course.”

Raven smirked in turn. “Of course.” Raven peeked slightly over Sable’s shoulder to see Sunset still chatting away with the students. “How is she doing? I have not had a chance to evaluate her behavioral mannerisms as much as I like to as of late. I think it is safe to say that while I enjoy my job, I do sometimes miss being close to Sunset at all times.”

“She’s enjoying herself, to be honest. She has been substituting for Professor Dandy the last three class sessions and will likely do one more on Friday. She should just teach a class next semester and stop pretending she does not have time for such schedule commitments. The foals absolutely adore her.” The comment was reinforced by a loud round of giggles and laughter that could be heard from the classroom.

Raven shrugged. “Sunset sometimes has difficulty accepting that others actually enjoy her company or that she is making a positive impact. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop, as the saying goes.”

Sable nodded in understanding. Having observed similar behavioral mannerisms herself. “Class is almost over if you want to wait before heading to your next sparring match with the 'high and mighty' of society.”

Raven came to stand next to Sable and said, “Yes, I think I will.”

“How have you been, Raven? Still adjusting to being able to move freely and go where you wish?”

Raven shrugged not unlike the lunar captain of the guard was known for. “I only require one new experience to adjust to the concept of the change. However, it is nice to be able to go where I wish when I feel the need to satisfy a curiosity or visit a friend. It is one thing to read or conceptualize what freedom means and another to truly understand it.”

“Ohhh,” Sable flashed a fang toothed grin, “late night visits to a special somepony perhaps?”

Raven rolled her eyes in a Sunset Shimmer like manner. “Yes and no would be the most truthful answer that you no doubt have your suspicions on given that you know what my true body looks like.” Raven tapped the opal broach around her neck that gave off an ambient glow. Her cream colored fur and organic body disappeared as the magical illusion was disrupted revealing her advanced robotic body of plastic, titanium, and ceramic plates. The joints still shown brightly with soft, internal blue lighting that matched the blue LEDs in her synthetic eyes. Only the mane and tail remained unchanged being they were made of real hair and were attached separately. A moment later the illusion returned as if it had always been there.

“Though, only on occasion, I spend some of my free downtime visiting my… friend, Harmony. We talk. That’s all we really can do, but I enjoy it immensely.”

Sable rubbed her chin a moment while she chewed on the name until it finally hit her. “Wait, you mean that crystal-like projection from the Tree of Harmony that looks like a unicorn Twilight Sparkle?”

“Yes.”

“But that’s way down in the forest valley? How do you two see each other?”

“We have our ways.”

“Huh, nice.” Sable touched the moon charm around her neck and smile to herself, blushing slightly though difficult to see on her dark fur. “I’m not one to judge. I spend nearly all my free time with my Mistress of the Night. Some might say I spend too much of my personal time with her, but…”

“It’s my time, I will do with it what pleases me,” said Raven as if finishing the thought for them both. Sable nodded and smiled. They both turned their heads to the classroom window when the sound of giggling and laughter grew loud enough to pull them out of their own thoughts.

“Also, before I forget, I just heard from Lieutenant Fuller that a train marked with Saddle Arabian colors was steaming its way towards Canterlot. It has complied with our routine train schedules, but according to the switch master it was not scheduled prior to today. It could be an emergency diplomatic envoy or similar.”

Raven consulted her saved information on Equestrian rail schedules and cross referenced it with a map where the guard’s network had a SunLight outpost station to monitor unusual activity. She had nothing on any of her agendas regarding the Saddle Arabians anytime soon. “Strange. It must be of some urgency.”

“Can’t be too important or they would have gone with an airship. Regardless, they will likely be down for several hours in Hoofington station for crew changes and customs inspection before arriving in Canterlot early tomorrow morning. That is our best guess. This just came in and I was going to inform the princess after class. The solars are already aware and should be telling Princess Twilight as we speak.”

Raven unfocused her brown eyes and saw what no other creature could see. She scanned across several ocular crystals that were strategically placed throughout the palace, school, barracks, and surrounding compound and found Princess Twilight finishing up her scheduled brunch meeting with the agricultural board. There was a guard runner in the hall with Twilight’s personal assistant, Isabella Windsong, no doubt discussing what Sable had just passed on to her. If she focused more of her transceiver resonance Raven could pick up exactly what they were saying as long as it was above a whisper. However, there was no reason to spy… at the moment. The two princesses were next supposed to have a small window of free time to see one another before moving on to their next tasks for the day. Raven wanted to catch Sunset before that.

“Yes, it would appear so.”

Sable gently bopped Raven on the shoulder with her wing. “That still scares me a bit that you can now see practically all of us at any time throughout the castle. Useful, but scaaaary.”

“Only in public areas and key hallway locations, nowhere private. So, what you do on your own time is safe, my friend. But yes, this visual crystal network that Sunset was able to create for me has given me something similar to what I was able to do with many cameras in the other world. Rudimentary, limited to only the palace complex, but better than nothing. You should all start to work on bowing before your technological superior that is I.”

Sable giggled. “Sure, sure. I’ll get riiiight on that, your worship.”

Sunset finished erasing the information on the chalk board and turned back to the class. “Okay, so we have a few minutes before the bell. Does anypony have any questions on the lesson or anything in general? There will be a test Friday, but I think you guys are ready.”

“When are you getting married?” shouted a filly from the back row. It was parroted and egged on by several others. Sunset shook her head but smiled, her billowing red and yellow mane never losing its ethereal movement.

“Should have guessed that was coming.”

“Didn’t you propose to Princess Twilight last year?”

Sunset nodded, her hoof coming up to the ruby gem she had in her left earlobe. “To the day exactly. However, I also gave Princess Twilight complete control over all the details of the wedding and she looooooves details. Soooo maaany liiiiists. I have fallen asleep on more than one over the last year.” The fillies and colts all giggled at that well known fact. “It was and still is important to her to get every single detail right. The right day, the right time, the right weather, catering, music, annnnnd so on. She wants the perfect wedding and I happily oblige. Even if that means it takes a while.”

“But I want to seeeee it.”

“Yeah!” several students shouted.

Sunset made a motion with her hoof before flashing a mischievous smile. “Want to hear some insider information?” Nearly all the students nodded eagerly. “We finally sent out the RSVP invitations last week and will be making a public announcement of the exact date this afternoon, but I can go ahead and trust you guys to hold your tongues till then, right? We are getting married in exactly one moon cycle from this Friday.” The students all clapped and squealed with delight. A moment later the dismissal bell rang. The students all jumped from their seats, gathered their belongings, and waved goodbye as they filed out of classroom for lunch.

Sunset finished locking the teacher’s supplies away in the cabinet, picked up the books she had brought and placed them in her saddlebag, and happily beamed at the two mares waiting for her by the door. “Hey girls,” Sunset pulled both Sable and Raven into hugs before gesturing for them to head out. “To what do I owe the pleasure of a full entourage of two hot mares waiting in the hallway for me?”

“Technically, it’s not a full entourage without your Captain of the Lunar Guard, but he is, of course, still on vacation with his family until Monday.”

Sunset rolled her eyes and batted at Raven with a wing. “Save the finer details for Twilight, you brat. So, what's up?”

“Honestly, I just wanted to see you. You look… happy.”

Sunset leaned down and nuzzled the top of Raven’s head, careful to not dislodge the natural hair wig that was secured in place. The illusion charm that Raven wore to conceal her robotic mobile assistant unit (MAU) body was one of the best ever crafted and nearly as perfect as a changeling's morph ability. Unsurprising, considering she and Twilight had crafted it together. Because of that perfection, Raven needed an actual add on, dark brown mane and tail. They were necessary to frame her face and move organically with the illusion of a cream fur covered body and honey brown eyes. Raven only snarked for the first few days at the quaint cutie mark of a pad of paper and quill. That had been Twilight’s idea.

“You know what, I am happy. I think I feel brave enough to face the jinx to come from saying that, but I am happy.” Sunset turned to look at Sable Nimbus. “Do you have the thing?”

Sable nodded. “I was told it was delivered to the school administration office and gift wrapped, as you requested.”

“Well then let’s grab and go because I’m on a schedule and I… have a plan.”

Raven arched a brow. “Oh dear. I think I just felt the universe quake in fear.”

One stop by the office and a group teleport from the school to the castle grounds later Sunset Shimmer was practically skipping as she passed through a colonnade to the private garden courtyard. The solar guards stationed at the door and around the perimeter all saluted at Sunset who nodded politely as she stepped down to the grass. Off to the left, mumbling to herself as she consulted a gardening book that was floating in magenta magical aura was the solar diarch of Equestria, Twilight Sparkle. Twilight’s eyes turned back to the soil and Sunset heard her fiancé go, “hmm” as a thought went through that amazing brain of hers.

“You know, we have an entire army of kitchen staff and they in turn have an army of learner apprentices that could grow you anything you could ever want to eat. Plus, I think there is a horticulture specialist around here… somewhere, if you are looking to spruce things up.”

Twilight closed the book and set it down, turning to Sunset Shimmer with a vibrant smile. “This is a science experiment for fun, silly. I’m trying to see if I can cross germinate a hybrid tomato plant that will be more resistant to bugs without the need of magic or chemicals by simply changing the aroma it gives off.”

“Won’t that change the flavor too?”

“Uhhh… maybe?” Twilight answered sheepishly. “I mean… it is for science!”

Sunset burst out laughing and nearly fell over. She stepped up to Twilight and wrapped herself around her fellow princess and pressed her lips to Twilight’s. Twilight jumped for a moment at the sudden contact, but gladly melted into the kiss and pressed herself forward. The guards, though used to the sight tried to look elsewhere for privacy’s sake. Isabella simply rolled her eyes and took a seat on the bench and was soon joined by Raven and Sable.

“Should have seen that coming,” said the griffon under her breath.

“I think it’s adorable,” said Sable with a grin.

“I think it’s unsanitary.” Sable and Isabella turned to Raven. “What? They haven’t brushed their teeth since this morning and now they are sucking face, swapping spit. It’s unsanitary. Keep in mind I also know some of the places Sunset’s mouth has been in the past and I cannot imagine a mouthwash in existence that could take care of all of that. I had pictures, but she deleted them.”

“Riiiiight,” commented Isabella. “Moving on. So, what is your theory on this approaching train?”

“Probably a prince or grand vizier coming to congratulate the princesses on setting the date,” said Sable, ears constantly turning to the direction of any movement around the courtyard.

“The timing seems off,” Isabella commented with a wave of her claw. “They could have possibly received the RSVP by now, but to organize the train so quickly? The logistics alone… That seems unlikely and why come all the way to Canterlot to reply in person unless it ties in with political or official business?”

“The speculations will only give you a headache worrying about it. I, fortunately do not get headaches and I will be at the train station before the dawn to meet our unexpected guests. With a small detachment of lunar guard,” said Raven matter-of-factly.

“Take six of each. It sends a stronger message of a unified front to have solar and lunar guards at the ready. Inform the acting commanders to select them and have them meet you at the train station.”

Raven nodded to Isabella, making the necessary notation to her daily schedule to-do list before the day was out.

Sunset and Twilight came up for air, but remained close with wings wrapped around one another, horns sliding gently along the ridges, sending small magical sparks of magenta and red. Sunset turned her head and levitated over her gift, setting it on top of Twilight's gardening book.

“I got you something.”

“But there is no occasion.”

Sunset shrugged and grinned. “I would say the day you accepted my marriage proposal is occasion enough. Besides, it’s not so much a gift as much as it is something I know you have been looking for.”

Twilight quickly unwrapped the item she was certain was a book and gasped and began to run in place with glee. “YES! Yesyesyesyesyesyes! You found it!”

Sunset happily accepted the latest kiss and pressed back in turn. “Well, technically the chief archivist and his assistant at the Crystal Library found it. I can’t believe that they are still reorganizing that place even after all this time since they restored the heart. That was more than a century ago!”

“You’ve never seen it. The place is HUGE.”

“I almost did,” Sunset countered. “I just got sidetracked and, you know, nearly died defending the imperial city. Really need to go back some time. Anyhow, I passed on the information to Cadence and she put them to task. It arrived like two weeks ago and I was waiting for juuuust the right moment. Obviously, we have to give the original back, but I figured you would want to make a copy.”

“Twilight nodded, reading the cover. “Compiled Observations of the Journey North. The closest to complete history of the ponies that went on to found the Crystal Empire through a collection of their notes, musings, and daily lives. This is one of the oldest historical manuscripts in the entire world. Much of this predates Old Ponish and was originally written on mud tablets or bark skin that long since crumbled to dust. I do hope they copied the information verbatim.”

“Anything in particular you are looking for?”

Twilight grimaced for a moment before nodding. “Ever since our dealings with Aine and the old alicorns gods I have had a desire to search how far back their interference or guidance goes. How much did we dismiss as myth and folklore that may have been true? Our world must have been very different tens of thousands of years ago at the end of the ‘Roaming Period’ and when the first settlements were being built. I want to know what those ponies saw even if they did not understand it themselves at the time.”

Sunset nodded then grinned. “Sounds like your kind of fun. You’ll have to thank the archivist and his assistant. Hmm… I wonder if they’re cute? Maybe they’ll ask for a little 'two-on-one time' with the princess as a thank you. Hint, hint, wink, wink. Which is cool, as long as I get to watch.”

Twilight rolled her eyes, but the blush still darkened her cheeks. “You are so bad sometimes.”

Sunset laughed and snuck in another kiss and nuzzle, relishing the lavender scent of Twilight Sparkle's favorite soap. “You should know that it is statistically impossible for a former villain to be one hundred percent good. Ask Discord, he’ll back me up on this.”

Author's Note:

So, as you noticed from the prelude introduction the time and location is going to jump a few times as their stories merge and the plot thickens. Pay attention to that, but if something is muddled because oops I messed it up or whatnot, please point it out. I have an ADHD brain and it gets distracted sometimes.

Not much else to say at this point other than hope everyone enjoyed the fluff!

Questions? Comments?

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