• Published 19th Jan 2013
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Rise of the Elements Part II: Return of the Avatars - Radiant Dawn



Ancient beings of long since past are returning, but for good or ill?

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Chapter 3: The Stars of Midnight

Chapter 3: The Stars of Midnight

Perspective change - Twilight Sparkle

I woke up from a very restful sleep in Luna's hooves. I couldn't help but smile, remembering Steel's welcome home "present". To think that only a year ago, I hadn't even had my first kiss...and now here I was waking up in a bed with my mentor, her sister, three of my friends, and a stallion from another world. The universe has a funny way of evening things out, I guess.

Usually not knowing why something was happening would be driving me crazy, but in this case it wasn't. It didn't make sense as to why this had all happened, but I honestly didn't care. I was happy, and I was going to make sure I enjoyed it. Losing Steel...er, I mean Frost, was a sobering experience. It taught me how something or somepony I cared about so much could suddenly be snatched away from me. I made it a point after that to make every second worth it, and I haven't looked back. It was something Granny Smith taught us that I didn't take to heart until after Frost left us.

True wealth in any world comes not from material possessions, but in the bonds we hold to those most dear to us. True strength comes not from body, mind, or magic...but from the love of our friends and family.

Life isn't just about how long you live, but what you do with that life.

Frost has the ability to live forever, and yet he tried to give it all away for us...for me. I had a new respect and understanding for who he was and what he lived for. It was an odd relationship sometimes. Without a doubt he was my coltfriend, and a wonderful one at that. Still...he had the ability to comfort me like Shining Armor would. The very thought made me feel weird - comparing him to my older brother. Still, I guess this is what Rarity meant when she said those years ago that I'd know when I found "him".

Wrenching myself from my thoughts, I looked over at Frost hugging Celestia tightly. He had the smallest of smiles on his face that made me giggle. I gently wriggled out of Luna's grasp and stepped over to Frost's face, shaking him a bit.

"Frost, it's time to get up." I whispered softly, trying not to wake anypony else.

He swatted at me and grumbled. "Mmm...no. Sleeping...go away."

I couldn't help but giggle, but he was probably very tired. I guess technically that was partially my fault, and I couldn't help but blush again remembering last night. And so, I left him alone and went downstairs to help Spike make breakfast for all of us.

Spike was already in the kitchen with Rarity talking about something or other as I entered, and they both looked over at me with smiles. I was hit by a bit of nostalgia as I realized how much my once-assistant had grown. Spike still lived in the library at the moment, but I knew sooner or later he was going to want to get his own place. Sometimes if I was alone at night, I would cry when I thought about this. I supposed that's what a mother feels like when she has to say goodbye to her foals. For the moment however, I pushed the thoughts aside and made a large breakfast for everypony.


Perspective change - Frostbreaker

I was roused from my sleep by the heavenly smell of pancakes and eggs. Apparently I was the last one to wake up, as when I opened my eyes, I was the only one in the room besides Dash, who was already on her way out. I grumbled as I stood up and popped all the kinks out of my back. As I started to walk, I felt my muscles groan in pain at me with every step I took.

'Hmph...never thought I'd have to stretch out before having a little "fun".'

I could feel already that the next dozen hours or so were not going to be fun.

I hobbled down the stairs to be met with the smiles of my friends, as well as a smirk from Vinyl and Dash. I had a feeling that they somehow had something to do with my current...predicament, since I couldn't remember most of the night before.

Twilight came out of the kitchen with a plate of food, and I uncharacteristically tore into it with reckless abandon...as if I hadn't eaten in days. I couldn't help but let my mind wander to scenes of ravenous eating in Dragonball Z. I chuckled in between bites and continued eating. Celestia had apparently left, but Luna was still around to stare at me with mouth agape. I stopped and lifted my head from my plate.

"What?" I mumbled, mouth full of blueberries and pancake.

This caused a torrent of laughter to explode from everyone in the room, especially my brother in the corner. I shrugged and finished the plate and downed my bottle of apple juice. As I got up to clean my plate, Pinkie followed me into the kitchen with a huge smile on her face.

"What's up Pinks?" I asked while washing my plate off.

She sauntered over to me, swaying her hips a bit with a grin. "I had fun last night, Frostie. Did you have fun?"

I smiled sheepishly and scratched my head. "Well to be honest, I only remember bits and pieces. I do definitely remember enjoying myself though."

She giggled and hugged me. "Yeah, you had a little too much to drink I think. After you finished your drink, you also finished both of the princesses', Twilight's, and Applejack's."

I shook my head and sighed. "Jesus. Why didn't you stop me?"

She giggled and leaned up to kiss my neck, sending shivers down my spine. "Because Frostie, you were so happy and giggling the whole time. You were fun, well more fun. We danced, you sang to me, and you threw snowballs at everypony!"

I chuckled. "Yeah, apparently rum is my friend. Well I'm happy you enjoyed yourself, love."
She released me and nodded. "I did! It was like a party just for us!" She then jumped onto my back and hugged around my neck tight. "I'm so happy you're back. I missed you, Frostie."

'Dawwwww...'

I grinned as I walked back into the main room, Pinkie riding me like...well, like a horse. Her happiness put a bit of a spring in my step, though my muscles were still sore. Dashie stood up and gave me a hug before smiling.

"Well Frost, I have to go. I've got something I need to do...something important." she said, looking away from me.

I knew exactly where she was going and what she was doing - she was going to talk to Gilda. I know she knew I saw right through it too, but I decided not to say anything. If she wanted to keep it under wraps for now, I'd allow her to do that. So instead, I simply gave her a kiss on the forehead and hugged her before nudging her out the door. She smiled and muttered a thank you before flying off.

"What was that all about?" I could hear Twi saying from behind me.

I simply smiled and shook my head. "Nothing important at the moment. Dash will let you know when she's ready...I promise."

Twilight arched an eyebrow at me before shrugging and returning her attention to a book she was studying, her quill scribbling furiously on the parchment beside her. I yawned and stretched before heading out the door, as I had to get back to work myself. And so, with nothing else to do for the day, I spread my wings and took off towards Canterlot.

Perspective change - Luna

As Steel - or Frostbreaker as he was now called - left along with everypony else, I decided to spend time with Twilight. I had noticed over the past week or so that she was becoming increasingly stressed with Spike growing as he was. I felt that she was beginning to realize he was not going to be living in her library much longer, and it showed, though she tried desperately to hide it. I cared about her as much as I did Frost, and her and I shared a bond that I'd shared with no other in close to two thousand years. She had helped me when I needed her most, and I would do the same for her.

I walked over to the lavender unicorn and stood beside her, not saying anything for a moment. I then draped a wing around her as Frost would do to us when we were not feeling well. She looked at me for a moment in confusion before I spoke. "You've been thinking of Spike, haven't you?"

She looked a little offended at first before slumping and closing her eyes. "Am I really that transparent Luna?"

I giggled but held her close. "No Twilight...you hide it well. I have just learned to be more observant than most ponies. You can speak to me about anything, so please...tell me how this is troubling you."

She hopped out of her chair and sat on the couch in the reading room. I sat beside her and she instantly leaned against me, crying. "I'm so sorry, Luna. It's just that I know Spike is growing up and won't be living here much longer. I just feel like I'm never going to see him again when he leaves."

I pulled her close and stroked her mane softly while she cried. "Twilight, Spike will leave one day. I cannot say whether that day will be tomorrow or in months, but it is going to happen. I can promise you that you will never lose him though. The two of you are as family, and I know for a fact that he could not bear to be far from you. Though he may not show it, he will miss you every bit as much as you do him. As I said though, you will never lose him. Spike will always be close by in case you need him, as you would be for him."

She lay her head on my lap and ceased crying, letting only silent tears fall. "I...I know you're right, Luna. Still...it will be such a big change not being able to simply call his name and he be there for me. For the longest time, Spike was the only one I could talk to when I would be sad, or worried...or anything else for that matter."

I understood her pain...for I felt it myself when my older sister first took up her duties as controller of the sun those many centuries ago. Where once she was by my side every minute of the day, she suddenly spent most of her time working, and the rest sleeping. Until recently it had been that way for many moons. "Twilight, you are no longer alone though. While none of us will ever try to replace Spike, - and nor would we ever think to try - you are not alone anymore with only Spike to lean on. You have a great many friends now, and a stallion that loves you. I love you also, dear Twilight. We would never abandon you and will always be there for you when you need to be comforted, or simply to know that you are not alone in the world. I know what it is like to be utterly alone, and I know how painful and damaging it can be. That is something you never have to feel though...we will make sure of that." In a moment of impulse, I leaned down and kissed her softly on the cheek, which she sighed at and nuzzled into my thigh. Considering where she was, this also caused me to blush a bit, but now was not the time for such thoughts, so I pushed them aside.

She looked up at me and smiled. "Thank you so much Luna. I know it's going to be painful...but I think with all of you to support me, I'll be okay."

I nodded and continued to softly stroke her mane. "Yes Twilight, you will be. We all care about you greatly, and will be here whenever you need us. That is a promise I intend to keep for your entire life."

She looked up at me with apprehension. "You and Celestia won't leave me?"

I shook my head and placed another light kiss on her forehead. "Never, Twilight. You will forever have myself, Frost, and Tia to watch over you, love you, and be there for you."

She finally smiled and I felt her relax against me. "Thank you Luna. I'll miss Spike, but it's wonderful to know I won't be alone. I love you all as well, Luna, and I'm so happy to have you."

It was times like this that made me want to simply embrace the young unicorn mare and never let go. Her naivete and innocence was endearing, and in many ways I saw a younger version of myself in her. She was innocent, yet wise beyond her years; powerful, yet gentle.

She could make a great princess one day.

I was not sure however if she would be ready for such a sacrifice. When a pegasus or unicorn enters into marriage with an alicorn, they themselves become an alicorn. While this would mean she would never have to taste death, she would also outlive all her friends and family. Tia and I had learned eons ago that the life of an immortal was very difficult and lonely, which is why alicorns rarely engaged in personal relationships with non-alicorns.

We were lucky in finding Frost, as not just any human could be an alicorn. Normally the mental and emotional strain would kill a human, but something different about him allowed him to live the life with relative ease. I still did not understand it, but then again the "how" did not matter much to me. As I looked down at the beautiful mare in my lap, however, I began to worry more and more about the future consequences of either decision for her. Did I truly wish to allow the gift and curse of immortality to be bestowed upon her? Or did I want to forgo my own comfort and allow her to live a normal life? I would have to ask her want she wanted after some time. It was her choice after all.

"I love you, Luna." said a soft voice from below.

I was torn from my thoughts by the remark, and looked down with a warm smile. To think that so much love would be given to me by an unassuming unicorn and a stallion from worlds away.

I leaned down and nuzzled her cheek with a smile. "I love you as well Twilight, very much."

t felt so nice to be able to say those words to somepony, and I felt the same way with Frost. I began to understand how it felt to be my sister, and I understood why it was so easy for her to wear a smile on her face. Adoration brings warmth to your heart, and you can't help but smile. My sister would always love me, and I her. Still...it was a nice feeling to be loved by somepony other than her. To know that somepony I did not grow up with and did not share the bond of family could feel love for me, and I for them. The feeling was intoxicating in many ways, namely the warm feeling it gave me that was unknown to me until Frost fell for me, and I for him...as well as our beloved Twilight Sparkle.

It was not often until lately that I had the time to simply sit with a loved one as I was at this moment and simply let my mind wander. It was a liberating feeling, and I began to understand more of what Frost meant when he told us to "slow down and enjoy life". There were quite a few values and morals he held dear that made living life so much more enjoyable and fulfilling, namely his self-proclaimed philosophy that happiness was a choice.

"Happiness is always there for those who seek it. Even during the darkest of days and the coldest of nights, there is always a light and warmth if you want it bad enough. Be not of the world and its sadness, anger, and hate. Be of your heart and of your loved ones...pursue happiness." I said out loud, thinking verbally to myself.

I felt Twilight nuzzle into my stomach and smile. "I remember when Frost told us that. It was right before he went to the battle at the northern border. It's almost as if he knew what was going to happen."

I nodded. "Yes, it does seem that way. The strife and hardship of Earth has given him values that we do not have in Equestria because of the relative peace and harmony. Life on Earth sounds like..." I stopped searching for the word.

"Hell." Twilight stated softly.

I nodded blankly. "Yes, I think that is the word to best describe it." I fell silent as my mind suddenly drifted to a nagging, dark thought. "Twilight...did I make the right choice?"

She opened her eyes and placed a hoof on my chest gently. "Luna, what do you mean? What choice?"

I sighed and closed my eyes with tension. "The choice to bring Frost here. I love him, as you do...and I know he has done well for us here. However, he has stated on numerous occasions that there were humans that were far worse off than him. Should I have been the benevolent ruler and chosen a human who needed it more? Did I choose wrong?"

"No, Luna...you chose correctly. Frost may not have been the most downtrodden human on his planet, but it is not your responsibility to save his world. His world has its own gods, and they allowed you to take him for a reason. As a matter of fact, I remember you told me that when you and Celestia told them what you were looking for, they directed you to him to watch and decide. There was a reason for that, Luna. I don't know what it is, but then again I'm not a god. The greater gods see more than you or I or even your sister can see, and it's not our job to sort through all that. All I know is that Frost saved us with his sacrifice, and he loves us so dearly and gives us that happiness every day of our lives. What's to say a different human would not have done things differently? He or she might have been a coward, or even worse...evil. If you want to validate your decision, then look at the good that's come of it." she stated with a warm, knowing smile.

'Wise beyond her years...'

She was right, of course. In actuality, Tia and I did not choose to watch over Frost from all the humans...instead he was given to us. Twilight was right about that as well...there was a reason for that. It was always nice to have a different intelligent perspective to hear from at times like this, when I was at odds with myself. Though Nightmare Moon and I had made our peace with each other, I still doubted myself more often than not. In all honesty, it wasn't something new or something that came about because of Nightmare Moon. I had always second-guessed myself, and this time was no different. It was another reason I was so happy to have friends and ponies who cared about me, as it allowed me to look at myself objectively, and realize how foalish my thoughts or actions were.

I had decided by this time that today would be a good day to completely relax and just do nothing, so I closed and locked the door to the reading room and repositioned myself to lay down on the large sofa, placing Twilight gently on top of my chest. I understood now why Frost preferred to lay this way with us. It offered a closeness and non-sexual intimacy that I had not felt before. I could feel every beat of Twilight's heart, every breath she took. I felt the tickle of my fur as her soft resting breaths flowed over my coat.

I then decided to liven the room up a bit and focused on my newfound power over darkness and bathed the entire room in utter blackness. I felt Twilight tense up at first until I began to place images of the night sky all around the room. As I finished, it was as if we were in the night sky, and it was a beauty I had not witnessed since my exile...except that now I had somepony to share it with. Life on the moon was cold, and lonely...but also offered a view of the night sky unavailable on Terra.

The unicorn that lay against me sighed happily and I felt her heart slow again. "It's so beautiful, Luna. You're very talented."

It still caused my breath to hitch in my throat when I would receive a compliment on my work. "Th-thank you, Twilight...that means so much to me."

As I felt myself drift off to sleep again, I could still feel the smile tugging at the sides of my mouth, brought about by the lovely mare that lay with me.

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