• Published 30th Dec 2012
  • 2,012 Views, 115 Comments

Two Paths - Sir0Chicken



Twilight is faced with a choice: leave Ponyville to pursue her dreams or stay with her new marefriend, Applejack. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash helps Fluttershy deal with the harsh realities of rejection.

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The Letter

"Well, what does it say?"

Spike tapped his foot and rolled his eyes as Twilight offered no response. All she could do was stare at the parchment floating in front of her, struck dumb by its import.

My dearest Twilight Sparkle,

First, I would like to congratulate you on how far you have come in your studies. You have exceeded all my expectations these past few years as you studied the magic of friendship in Ponyville, and I am proud to call you my student.

Today is a very exciting day for you and I both. After careful consideration, Princess Luna and I have decided that you are ready to proceed to the next stage of your studies.

"Oh my goodness," Twilight murmured as her eyes widened and her face grew pale.

"What is it?" Spike asked, poking Twilight in the shoulder. "Come on! Let me see."

"In a minute, Spike," Twilight snapped. Nudging him away, she returned her attention to the letter.

Princess Luna has decided to become more active in performing our shared duties as princesses of Equestria. She has spent the past few years acclimating herself to the modern world, but she will need advisers as she joins me in leading the kingdom. With my approval and recommendation, she requests that you return to Canterlot to serve as her chief adviser and personal assistant.

Twilight blinked rapidly and sat down. The letter fell to the ground as she relinquished her magical grip on it, and Spike snatched it into his hands before it hit the ground.

"Dude, what does this even say?" Spike held the letter close to his face and began to read it. "You look like you just saw a…" His knees began to buckle and he sat down in front of Twilight. "Whoa."

"That's right," Twilight said, her voice scarcely a whisper. She picked the letter back up and continued to read.

This request is not made lightly. You have been my student for many years now, and I could not be prouder of all that you have achieved. You have known Luna for only a fraction of the time that you have known me, but she has been similarly impressed by your experience. More importantly, she believes—much as I do—that you have incredible potential, much of which has yet to be revealed. With my help, she will help you realize that potential in the course of your employment. While your time in Ponyville has without a doubt been more productive than the entire lives of most other ponies, we believe that your time as Luna's assistant could prove even more so.

Be that as it may, please do not think that we are forcing this change on you. If you would prefer to continue your studies in Ponyville, we will happily oblige. Do not feel pressured to accept this position in an attempt to please me. I will be proud of you regardless of your choice.

We understand that we are asking much of you, Twilight. As such, we will give you four weeks to make your decision. If you choose to decline the position, simply have Spike send us a letter to that effect. Beyond that, we only ask that you travel to Canterlot for one day in the coming weeks so we can discuss this offer in person. We look forward to seeing you then.

Sincerely,

Princess Celestia

Silence enveloped the library, and Twilight could only stare into space as her world collapsed into a single pinpoint. Not now, she thought, shaking her head with increasing speed and vigor. Not now. Not so soon. Her thoughts flashed to Sweet Apple Acres, to the farm, to Applejack…

"I have to go, Spike."

Spike scratched his head. "You're taking the job already?"

"No!" Twilight took a moment to realize she was shouting. "I just need to go see Applejack," she continued, more quietly this time. "Make sure not to stay up too late."

"Yeah." Spike yawned and pointed at the stairs. As he began to walk toward the upstairs bedroom, he said, "I'll probably hit the hay now. See you in the morning."

"Good night, Spike!" Twilight called. Opening the front door with her magic, she galloped off into the night, heart pumping as sweat beaded on her forehead.



Applejack's eyes were downcast and her ears drooped as she trudged back from Ponyville to home. Nice going, she thought, snorting as she did so. Maybe I can make it up to her tomorrow.

She had just reached the edge of town when Applejack heard the sound of hooves galloping toward her from behind. She wheeled around, jaw clenched, but relaxed when she saw that it was only Twilight.

Moments later, the importance of that fact reached her, and she furrowed her brow. What's Twilight doing out here? She called out, "Is something wrong, Twi?" and trotted toward her marefriend.

Applejack's heart dropped when she got closer to Twilight. Her eyes stared out blankly and her mouth was slack despite the great speed at which she was running.. Applejack opened her mouth to speak, but before she could say a word, Twilight gripped her in a tight embrace.

"I need to talk to you," Twilight murmured. "I'm so sorry, Applejack, but I need to talk right now."

"What is it, sugarcube?" Applejack returned the hug as Twilight buried her face in Applejack's chest. "Just tell me what's wrong."

Twilight let go of Applejack and fell to a sitting position. "The princess set me a letter," she managed, her eyes fixed on some patch of dirt to Applejack's right.

Applejack pulled Twilight's chin up and looked her marefriend in the eyes. "What did it say?"

"I'm done." Twilight shook her head and closed her eyes. "I'm done. I'm done. I'm done."

The pit in Applejack's stomach widened as she wrapped Twilight in another hug. "Twilight, please, just tell me what the letter said. Please."

A long silence followed, which was in turn followed by more silence. At long last, Twilight stood up and gulped, turning back toward her library. "Maybe it'd be best if you read it yourself," she told Applejack. "I'm sorry to keep you out so late, but I think I need some help."

"It's fine, sugarcube." Applejack up a hoof on Twilight's shoulder and smiled. "We'll figure this out, whatever it is."

Both ponies began to trot toward the library. Twilight, eyes darting back and forth throughout the trip, kept pulling ahead of Applejack before remembering herself and slowing down. Applejack only bit her lip and watched the panic grow in Twilight's eyes. I need to know what this is all about first, she thought. Can't do much to help before then.

Before too long, the two ponies reached the library. The door creaked open at the command of Twilight's magic, and she gestured for Applejack to enter first. Once both mares were inside, Twilight levitated the letter over from the spot on the floor where she had dropped it. "Here it is," she said, her heart dropping just thinking of its message. "Take your time, Applejack."

After Twilight spoke, silence fell on the library, and each moment crawled at a snail's pace as the world seemed to be creaking to a stop. Twilight's eyes dug into Applejack as the latter scrutinized every word in Celestia's letter. She read it once, twice… again…

"Did you finish it?" Twilight asked, her voice quavering.

Applejack nodded and let her head hang limply. "Yeah," she murmured. Her eyes, wide open and blank, fixed on Twilight. "I guess I know why you asked me to come back now."

Twilight leaned forward, and Applejack rushed forward to wrap her marefriend in an embrace. "What am I going to do?" Twilight asked, knowing that Applejack had and would give no answer. The two cradled each other for what seemed like an eternity, neither pony saying a word as they rocked themselves slowly and rhythmically.

Pulling her head away to look Applejack in the eyes, Twilight took a deep breath and said, "I guess you need to get going." Her ears drooped and she bit her lip.

Applejack shook her head and pulled Twilight closer. "Big Mac can handle things till I get back in the morning." She got up, and Twilight followed suit.

Twilight glanced at the door that led to the guest room. "I think Spike put himself to bed already, but I can set up the guest bed for—"

"Only if you stay there with me." Applejack fixed her gaze on Twilight. Twilight bit her lip and blushed, but Applejack only smirked in reply.

"Are you—I mean—are you sure?" Twilight finally managed to splutter, stepping back as her blush grew deeper and spread across her cheeks.

"Sure as sugar, Twi," Applejack answered with a grin. "There's not a chance I'm letting you go to bed on your lonesome."

Applejack's words only served to further fuel Twilight's furious round of blushing. Red-faced, she avoided Applejack's gaze and giggled sheepishly. "I guess I'll get the bed ready," she whispered. She galloped to the guest room with as much speed as her hooves could offer, slowing down only to swing the door open and light a few candles with her magic.

"Don't worry, sugarcube." Applejack couldn't stifle a laugh as she followed Twilight into the guest room. "I just figure that you need me now more than ever." She sighed as a frown began to overtake her smiling face. "Maybe I need you, too."

Twilight's ears drooped as a similar melancholy overcame her expression, but it seemed as if her heart hadn't slowed its beating in the slightest. "It's still—you know…" She turned away and began making the bed, placing blankets and pillows on with less than her usual degree of precision.

Tossing one pillow to the far side of the bed, Twilight gasped loudly when it maintained its momentum and bounced off the bed entirely. Glancing back at Applejack's smirk, she could only offer a toothy smile and a chuckle. Applejack sat against the wall and giggled.

"That was something new," Applejack commented, still smirking as Twilight returned to her work. "I don't think I've ever seen you so flustered."

Twilight snorted. "Yeah, well there's a reason," she snapped, but her eyes softened when she saw Applejack flinch. A pregnant pause filled the moments before Twilight spoke another word. Finally, with her ears flat against her head, she added, "Maybe you're helping, though." Another pause followed. "I'm glad your here."

Applejack closed her eyes for a second. By the time she opened them again, she had replaced any hint of a frown with a beaming smile, and she stood up with a spring in her every movement. "I'm glad I'm here, too," she replied.

Without warning, Applejack jumped into bed just as Twilight was in the middle of spreading out the last blanket. Before Twilight could blurt out any sort of reply, Applejack patted the spot next to her and said, "Come on, Twilight. Don't keep me waiting."

Twilight hesitated for a moment but when she crawled into bed she pulled herself as close to Applejack as she could. Draping a forearm over Applejack's midsection, she snuffed the candles with a flare of her horn. "Good night, Applejack."

In the darkness, Applejack smiled and closed her eyes. "Good night, Twilight."

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