Starlight and Aurora

by twilightsparkle3562

First published

Starlight Glimmer is reunited with her mother after ten years. However, Twilight and Trixie must joing forces and find a way to repair the bad blood between them.

Shortly after becoming Twilight Sparkle's student and Trixie's friend, Starlight Glimmer is reunited with her mother, Aurora Glimmer. But, Twilight and Trixie must team up and find a way to help repair the bad blood between the both of them.

*Chapters Edited once again by SuperPinkBrony12.

Chapter 1: Meet Aurora

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It had been only a few months since Starlight Glimmer had abandoned her equality ways of life and become a protégé of Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship. Starlight had come a long way since her friend, Sunburst, had become one of Princess Celestia's students and later, the Crystaller to Flurry Heart of the Crystal Empire. Furthermore, she had recently become friends with the Great and Powerful Trixie and was now acting as her assistant during the magician's apologetic, repentance tour. However, little did Starlight and her friends know. that her past was about to catch up with her in a very big way.

It all started one night when a cloaked figure came towards the gates of Canterlot. Other ponies took notice of the cloaked figure and felt slightly scared of it. This caused the night guard on duty to take notice, flashing his lamp at the figure's face.

"Please remove your hood at once!" he commanded. “Are you a friend or foe of ponykind?!”

"I swear I’m not trying to scare other ponies," the figure replied in a female voice that had a slightly panicked tone it. She continued to keep the hood up. "I’’m a pony that has been searching for her daughter for several years, I mean no harm! All I ask is to be directed towards Canterlot Castle!"

"It's to the west of here," the guard told the figure. "But, I do urge you to remove your hood as a precaution, miss. Security is tight around here!"

The figure said nothing, walking off into the night and leaving the befuddled guard to wonder who the figure was. Walking into the streets of Canterlot, the cloaked figure continued to make her way towards the gates, while under the eye of the night guards that had been in place.

"Why must they give me an evil eye?" the figrue wondered to herself. "I mean no harm and my identity must be kept secret from everypony for personal reasons. I have heard rumors about my daughter, and if they are true, what would ponies think of me?"

Soon, the figure came up to the gates of Canterlot castle where two night guards stood on duty. The two guards used their wings to stop her from advancing any further and pointed their spears at the figure, causing her to step back in surprise.

"Halt!" cried the guards. "Who goes there?! Identify yourself!"

"I mean you no harm," protested the figure. "I have been searching all over Equestria for my daughter and I need to speak to Princess Celestia at once! As for my name, just call me Aurora."

"Princess Celestia has retired and is asleep, Miss Aurora," replied one of the guards, giving the figure a hard stare.

"Then where is Princess Luna?" Aurora asked "I must speak with one of the princesses at once! I need their help!"

"We can’t be certain of your intentions unless you reveal to us who you are," said the guards, pointing their spears closer and closer to the figure. "Lower your hood if you want to pass."

Still, the figure hesitated and was reluctant to do as she was told. But, if there was any chance of her achieving the goal of finding her daughter, she needed to do this, even though it wasn't easy.

"Well?" asked one of the guards, still pointing his spear at the figure. "Who are you really? Lower your hood and show us who you are!"

Finally doing as she was told, the figure removed her hood and revealed herself to be a light purple coated unicorn with a blue and purple mane that was done in a loose curl (not unlike the look of Princess Twilight’s new pupil). She had on a pair of small red glasses that hung on her end of her nose, and her cutie mark display a small magic wand.

“As I said before, my name is Aurora. Now, will you please let me pass?”

"As you wish," the guards noddded, lowering their spears and allowing Aurora to enter the castle. “But please do not disturb the princesses if they are busy. And don’t try any funny business!”

As Aurora made her way into the castle, she was very much troubled by what had transpired. She’d had very good personal reasons for wanting to conceal her identity. Even if this was Canterlot, the capital of Equestria and home to Princesses Celestia and Luna, surely there was no need for such heightend security.

"Why must they be so hard on me?" Aurora wondered as she stuck her hood back up. "I mean nopony any harm in any way. All I want is to find my daughter and bring her back home! Is that so much to ask?!"

Finally, Aurora came up to the doors leading to the interior of Canterlot Castle, specifically the throne room. and not wanting to have a repeat of what happened at the gates removed her hood. "I've come seeking the help of the princesses," she told the guards. "My daughter is missing and I need help in finding her!"

The guards were still just as suspicious as the guards at the other locations had. Yes, the pony before them had removed her cloak, but they no had no idea who she was or why she wanted to meet with the princesses. So, like their comrades before them, they reluctantly raised their spears at the pony.

But just as the guards were about to start their interrogation, a sharp and royal voice broke the silence caused by the tension. "What is going on here?" demanded the voice. The guards turned to see that the pony in question was Princess Luna, her horn glowing to provide some light on the situation.

"This pony says that her daughter is missing," said one of the guards. "We couldn't be so sure since she was wearing a cloak and all. All we were told is that her name is Aurora, she hasn’t given a full name."

Luna summed up the situation and carefully approached the pony, looking her over to see if she was not as much of a threat as the guards were making her out to be. She scanned Aurora carefully, checking for any signs of dark magic or changeling influence. After a few moments, the inspection was finished.

"She is not a threat," Luna concluded, then she told the guards. "I’ll find out what this mare wants. Return to your posts at once!" The guards saluted Luna, who led Aurora into the castle interior.

"Now then," Luna spoke up, once inside the throne room. "You've come seeking your daughter, is that correct?"

"Yes," replied Aurora, grateful that she was now in an environment without hostility. "For ten years, I have been travelling all over Equestria to find my daughter, but to no avail. Recently I learned from the village she used to occupy, that she is now the student of Princes of Friendship, and lives with her. Is that true?"

"Indeed,” Luna nodded, lowering her head for a moment. "Your daughter is living in Ponyville if that is to believed. Tell me, why have you been searching for your daughter?"

"She ran away after her cutecenera,” Aurora explained, tears welling up in her eyes. “ Ever since then, I’ve been trying to find her, trying to bring her back home. I need you and your sister to help me find her, Princess Luna. Please, I beg of you!" The unicorn with a coat a rather pale shade of purple bowed down to Luna and clutched her front ankles. Luna could see that Aurora was in pain and not just any pain. It was the kind of pain that she had been harboring for such a long time. In a way, Luna couldn't help but sympathize with her, remembering this was how her sister, Celestia, had felt upon banishing Luna to the moon..

"Very well," Luna replied. "My sister and I will do everything in our power to help reunite you with your daughter. But, if you don't mind my asking, what is your full name? And why you have sought to conceal it?!"

Aurora got to her feet and took a deep breath, she began mustering up the courage to answer Luna's question. Finally, after a moment, she found the courage to say her name to the Princess of Night. "My name is Aurora Glimmer. And Starlight Glimmer is my daughter."

Chapter 2: Starlight's Refusal

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While Luna was dealing with the situation that came in the form of Starlight Glimmer's supposed mother, Starlight had returned to the Castle of Friendship along with Trixie after the two friends had finished another performance in another town of Equestria. The protégé of Princess Twilight was looking forward to a much deserved break after a long tour with her newest friend.

"They sure enjoyed the Manticore moonshot dive, didn't they?" Starlight commented as she and Trixie walked into Twilight’s castle, worn out from the performance and the wagon ride back to Ponyville. "I will admit that you got to love those Manehattanites, Trixie."

"Indeed, Starlight," Trixie replied. "At this rate I’ll have to come up with a way to top this act. I wonder what Hoofdini also did that I haven’t accomplished yet?"

"Isn't he your idol?" Starlight asked. "I mean, can't you just do something that he did for a new generation of ponies to behold?"

"I have to be unique, Starlight," Trixie explained as they entered Twilight's throne room. "I mean, The Great and Powerful Trixie has to be unique as well as repentitive. The same trick gets old if done too often."

Starlight could only let out a small chuckle Upon walking in, the two saw Twilight sitting at the table, reading what appeared to be a scroll that she’d gotten from Canterlot. Both Trixie and Starlight thought that it was another one of those long important requests to Twilight on a friendship problem that she had to solve, so they thought nothing of it. Little did they know, this scroll was far more important than they realized. It wasn’t until they noticed a look of nervousness on Twilight’s face, that either of the unicorns suspected something was up.

"Um, Twilight?" Starlight asked as Twilight focused on the article. "Is everything all right?"

Twilight continued to stare at the article, not even taking notice. But, she didn't stay focused for long and directed all of her attention towards the two unicorns. The look on her face was one of grave concern and worry over what had just been presented to her. "

Starlight," she anixously spoke. "I just got this message from Princess Celestia and it says that there’s a pony claiming to be your mother, who’s looking for you. Is that true?"

Starlight's face immediately turned from a smile to a frown upon hearing this. At the same time, a look of bitterness came onto her face.

"Who are you talking about?" Starlight nervously replied, looking away from Twilight. "You must be mistaken, Twilight. I don’t have a mother, not anymore!"

"I'm not mistaken, Starlight," Twilight responded, rising from her throne. "Princess Celestia says that Princes Luna spoke to a pony who said she was looking for you, and she said her name was Aurora Glimmer. If she is your mother, then we…."

"…should not meet," Starlight sharply interrupted, the sound of her voice causing both Twilight and Trixie to jump. "You don't know anything about what my mother did to me! All she cared about was herself, not me! She didn’t even care when I ran off!"

"Um, Starlight, don't you think you’re overreacting to all of this?" Trixie suggested. "I mean, I grew up in an orphanage, but I cared deeply for the caretakers who raised me. And I know if I had a mother who was looking for me, I’d be happy to see her."

"Trixie has a point, Starlight," Twilight chimed in with a smile. "Perhaps you should see her again and make her feel better. I mean, according to this scroll she’s been worried about you for ten years, that’s a very long time."

"No, I won't see her!" Starlight snapped, looking sharply at Twilight. "You don't know what she was like, Twilight! That mare was never there for me when I needed her and I don't care about her anymore! So, just don't talk to me about her, all right?! There’s a reason why I grew so attached to Sunburst!"

Twilight couldn't believe how childish Starlight was acting. But before she could say another word, Starlight stormed out of the throne room, slamming the door behind her. This course of action left both Twilight and Trixie speechless.

"Why is she acting like this, Princess?" Trixie gasped. "I know that if my caretakers were around, I would welcome them with open hooves."

"I would welcome my mother with the same acts," Twilight added. "But maybe Starlight’s accusations aren’t entirely without reason. Perhaps it would be best if I go to Canterlot and find out more. Something tells me that Starlight isn't telling me the whole truth about all of this, but it’s clear she won’t talk to me about it. Can I trust you and Spike keep her company, until I can figure out what to do to get them to patch things up?" she asked the magician.

"Of course, Princess. I’ll try to see if maybe I can get some answers from Starlight on my own, maybe she’ll open up to me," Trixie answered. “Will she be alright?”

“Hopefully, yes. But if worse comes to worse, give her a wide berth and let her vent,” Twilight suggested. “I wish I had a better idea of what to do, but I’ve got little to go on. Just make sure Starlight is okay.” She instructed, then darted out of the throne room and out the door.

Trixie was now alone, as she wandered throughout the castle looking for Starlight. Like Twilight, Trixie couldn't believe Starlight was acting like this, and like Twilight, she wanted to get to the bottom of things. But what could she do? Trixie had been an orphan for her entire childhood, she’d never had a pony she could consider a mother.

Trixie searched high and low until, she came across Starlight in Twilight's private study. Starlight was clearly upset over the situation, if the tears dripping down her face were any indication.

"Have you ever wondered why I've been so private about my personal life?" Starlight asked to no one in particular.

"Um, you've never told me about my personal life until now, Starlight," Trixie reluctantly replied. "But, I can tell you that if both of us could be given a second chance, then why should your own mother be any different?"

"My mother was a pony who never cared for my feelings, Trixie," Starlight cried, not even bothering to look at her friend. "When I tried to find a friend to replace Sunburst, after he left for Canterlot, she was the only pony for me to be friends with. But, when I tried to ask her to be my friend, she said that she was already my mother and didn't want to be my friend."

"What’s the matter with that?" Trixie wondered. "She is your friend in a way, Starlight. She helped raise you into the pony that you are today. I mean, don't you think that maybe this is a bit extreme to say the least?"

"It’s not extreme, Trixie!" cried Starlight, turning around sharply. "When I was in my greatest moment of despair, did she help me? No, she did not! I wanted to have her as a friend and she said no. Why should I consider it to be extreme that I’m acting this way?! When she rejected my offer of friendship, I felt like my whole world had come crumbling down! I never tried to make anymore friends after that, because I thought for sure they’d reject me like she did! I know that doesn’t excuse the monster I became, but maybe if she’d just tried to reach out to me when I needed her most, I wouldn’t have ended up the way I did!"

Trixie backed away in shock! Like Twilight, she knew that she needed to find a way to make Starlight see, that she was indeed overreacting. But how could she do so if she had no idea what Starlight’s mother was actually like?

Meanwhile, Twilight had arrived in Canterlot. And soon, she would come face to face with the pony claiming to be her student's mother…

Chapter 3: Going a Little Deeper

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With Trixie and Spike staying with Starlight back at her castle, Twilight flew off to Canterlot to find out the truth about who Aurora Glimmer was, and why she wanted to bring Starlight home. Up until this moment, Twilight thought of Starlight as a troubled individual that needed to be pushed in the right direction. Now, there was the fact that Starlight had a mother who longed to be with her daughter again. But Starlight seemed to want no part of it.

“Princess Twilight,” a guard greeted as Twilight landed in front of Canterlot Castle. “The Royal Sisters have been expecting you.”

“Where is the pony in question?” asked Twilight as they led her inside. “This Aurora Glimmer?”

“With the Royal Sisters,” another guard replied. “Apparently, she came in the dead of night to seek our help in finding her daughter, Starlight Glimmer. Since she was residing with you, the sisters thought maybe you could provide some light on the situation.”

Twilight took in what the guards had said, then made her way into the throne room where Celestia and Luna were standing with,Aurora Glimmer.

Seeing Twilight gave Aurora hope that maybe, just maybe, The Princess of Friendship would be willing to reunite her with her daughter.

“Twilight, thank you for coming on such short notice,” Celestia smiled as she hugged her youngest equal. “I hope you will try your best to help Aurora reunite with Starlight Glimmer. She has been here…”

“…the entire night,” finished Twilight as she walked over to Aurora. “I understand you want to be reunited with your daughter, Aurora. I’m Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship.”

The middle aged unicorn bowed before the princess as Twilight gave her uncomfortable princess smile to herself. “It’s an honor to meet you at last, Princess Twilight,” remarked Aurora as she rose to her feet. “The Royal Sisters tell me you are teaching my daughter about The Magic of Friendship, is that correct?”

“Yes, I have been teaching her, Aurora,” Twilight nodded. “So far, it’s a work in progress and she does have a long way to go towards earning her place. But already I’m seeing promising signs.”

“I’m not surprised, Princess Twilight,” Aurora sighed, looking down at the ground and walking over towards a window. “Starlight had always thought of wanting to follow her own path. But, when I tried to encourage her by befriending other ponies, she abandoned her true path and ran away from home, never to return.”

Hearing this brought back memories to Celestia of Sunset Shimmer, a former student of hers that had run away to another other world that she now called home. In fact, Celestia could see that she and Aurora connected in a way. They both were in the same situation and it took Twilight herself to make both Sunset and Starlight see the error of their ways.

“Sister, are you all right?” asked Luna while Celestia lowered her head. “You look a little bit, disturbed.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, sister,” Celestia hastily answered. “It’s just, all of this reminds me of when Sunset Shimmer abandoned her studies, that’s all. You know that even I tried to help Sunset myself once, but unlike Sunburst and Twilight there was nothing I could to stop her from ending up on the wrong path..”

“You did what needed to be done, ”Luna replied, placing a wing around her big sister. “Not everypony becomes a student of Equestria’s eldest princess, or becomes one of us, or becomes a Crystaller to a newborn alicorn.”


“Well, it appears to me, that Starlight wants to pretend you don’t even exist, Aurora,” Twilight observed, approaching the troubled unicorn. “Because when I tried to tell her you were looking for her, she just…”

“She just doesn’t see it, Princess Twilight,” Aurora interrupted. “I wanted to try and help Starlight find a pony her age that would have the same common interest as her. But, all she wanted was to be friends with me. I couldn’t be her friend, not if it meant filling the gap Sunburst left in her heart. I didn’t mean to push her away.”

Like Celestia, Twilight was also beginning to have a flashback. In a sense, she and Aurora were connected, because they’d both tried to force a friendship onto Starlight. Granted, in Twilight’s case things had worked out for the better in the end. She’d tried to force a friendship onto Starlight, because Celestia was coming for an important dinner, and that had failed. But if what Aurora said was true, then in a way she had unintentionally made a bad situation even worse, and unlike Twilight things didn’t work out for the best in the end.

“I hope that since you’re teaching her,” continued Aurora. “Perhaps she can finally see the light at last, Princess Twilight.”

“But, don’t you want her to come home?” wondered Twilight, who was now slightly confused. “I mean, you’ve been looking for Starlight for ten years.”

“I do want her to come home, Princess,” Aurora replied, as they walked away from the window. “I mean, I know that Starlight and I haven’t had the best of relationships compared to most mothers and daughters. But I just want to see her again and have her return home as a pony with a friend other than Sunburst, not that I dislike Sunburst at all.”

“Well, Starlight has made some progress by befriending some other ponies. One in particular she’s gotten really close to. Have you ever heard of The Great and Powerful Trixie?”

“I’ve heard stories about her, Princess Twilight,” Auora reluctantly nodded. “In fact, I could even remember hearing about her attempted takeover of Ponyville. I’m just not sure if a pony with a past like that is the best influence for my daughter, assuming those stories I heard about her were ture.”

“I think my sister and I have an idea on how to help bring you both together,” Luna suggested. “We are hosting the Duke and Duchess of Maretonia tomorrow night. And we would like to have Trixie and Starlight perform this ‘Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive’ for our guests.”

“Do you think they’ll come?” asked Aurora. “What if Starlight senses it’s a trap or something?”

“Knowing Trixie, she’ll probably accept. She can never turn down a chance to perform, especially for royalty,” Twilight replied. “Perhaps you can not only reunite with Starlight, but also see that Trixie is not who she is anymore, Aurora. Yes, even I’ve had my rivalry and my moments with Trixie, but if Starlight can change and you can change, then so can Trixie.”

“I do hope you’re right, Princess.” Aurora nervously commented.

Chapter 4: Aghast Beyond Belief

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Chapter 4

“Aghast Beyond Belief”

After meeting the pony who was Starlight’s mother, Twilight flew back to Ponyville, hoping and praying that Starlight would take the news well. She thought that maybe performing for the Duke and Duchess of Maretonia would get Starlight to at least attend, but that would not be the case.

“Why would you ask her that, Twilight?!” Starlight cried after Twilight returned from Canterlot, her face filled with rage and anger upon being told of the decision that was made. “If this just a ploy to make me see sense…”

“Starlight, it’s not a ploy!” interjected Twilight. “Aurora wants to see you and you’re not giving her the benefit of the doubt. As your teacher, I have to say that a part of being a good friend is being there for them. I know you hate your mother, but at least give her a chance! Like I gave you a chance!”

“She…is…not…my friend, Twilight,” Starlight seethed , whose growling and snarling could be heard from across the throne room. “Nor is she is my mother, not after all she put me through.”

Twilight couldn’t believe that she was hearing this. Starlight was now acting more and more like a spoiled filly and she needed to stop. In fact, the normally calm princess of friendship was beginning to lose her patience and fast.

“Alright, Starlight!” Twilight snapped, using her magic to pull Starlight across the table and bring her up to her face. “Now you listen here! Do you realize how much pain your mother has gone through for the past ten years?! The pain of not seeing a pony who raised and nurtured you for your entire filly life is much worse than losing a close friend like Sunburst!”

“Well you don’t know what it’s like, Twilight, to be abandoned by those who close to you!” Starlight cired, trying to look away from the glare of her teacher’s eyes. “I was abandoned from a young age, Twilight! I didn’t have a father growing up because he wasted his life away being stupid! My mother and Sunburst were my only sanctuaries! And when Snuburst was taken away and my mother rejected my offer of friendship, I told myself right then and there that I’d live my life my own way!”

“By setting up a village where ponies were stripped of their cutie marks and forced to live a life of equality?!” Twilight remarked. “Starlight, if your mother could see what you did, it would’ve broken her heart and your own, despite what you might think!”

Calming down a bit with some deep breaths, Twilight added.

“What I am trying to say, is that you have to stop running from your past, Starlight. Don’t you feel that pain that your heart has been harboring for many years? That pain is the same pain that your mother has been hiding. Destiny is wanting you both to meet again and there’s nowhere to run from it now. Whatever happened between you and your mom is in the past now, Starlight. If you could give friendship a second chance, why not give your own mother the same?”

As Twilight spoke, Trixie and Spike were listening carefully on the other side, both were somewhat touched by what Twilight had to say to her pupil.

“If only she could’ve given that wake up call to me,” whispered Trixie, her body filled with shock and surprise. “After all I had done to Equestria, and to Ponyville in general, I could’ve really used something like that.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard Twilight get as angry as that,” Spike realized. “I mean, you could hear her screams throughout the entire castle. Not even I’ve been scolded in that manner.”

“No kidding, I just hope Twilight wasn’t too hard on Starlight. I do want her to meet her mother and try to patch things up though. Trixie then made her way back to the doors of throne room and peered through a small crack. Upon coming to the crack, she saw Starlight laying on the table on her back, both student and teacher clearly drained from all that had transpired.

“Twilight,” Starlight spoke up, the angry screams of her teacher still ringing in her head loudly. “My mother is nothing like Sunburst ever was. Sunburst and I were destined to be friends forever, never to leave each other. I thought that since my mother was the only pony I had ever known aside from Sunburst, then maybe her and I were destined to be close friends. And yet she still said no! What I needed most was a friend, and she refused to be that friend! She thought being a mother was good enough.”

“Starlight,” Twilight weakly sighed as she slumped back in her throne. “When parents want you to grow up, then you have to grow up. I know it’s not easy leaving your fillyhood behind, but it’s a natural part of life. Think of all the possibilities you and your mother could have if you just give her another chance. Let her see you help with Trixe’s perfomance tonight, Starlight, and stop the running from the past. Sit here and think about this for a while, alright?” Exhausted from trying get through to her student, Twilight walked out of the throne room with her mane and tail frazzled and her wings un-fluffed.

Trixie tried to pretend she hadn’t overhead much of the conversation “Princess, if there’s anything I can do, The Great and Powerful Trixie is here to help.” she offered.

“The only help I need from you, Trixie,” Twilight said in an exhausted tone “Is to make sure that Starlight is performing tonight as your assistant. There’s no question in my mind that performing for the Duke and Duchess of Maretonia has gotten much more important.”

“You have my word, Princess,” Trixie replied, taking off her hat and bowing respectively to Twilight. “That much I can assure you.”

Happy to hear that Trixie was on her side, Twilight sighed and retired to her quarters for a short afternoon rest, as Trixie and Spike watched.

“Do you think Starlight will ever truly forgive her mother?” Spike asked nervously.

“I don’t know, Spike,” Trixie said in reply, as she looked back into the throne room to see Starlight still lying on the table. “I just don’t know. Trixie is many things, but she isn’t a miracle worker.”

Chapter 5: A Shocking Revelation

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As Twilight had said, tonight’s visit with the Duke and Duchess of Maretonia was of tremendous importance, and Trixie made sure that both she and Starlight were on the highest level of performer composure. Not only were the visiting Duke and Duchess going to be attending, but Aurora Glimmer, determined to see her daughter and patch things up after ten long years.

“Starlight,I hope you’re up for performing tonight,” Trixie said to her assistant as they prepared for their performance in Canterlot. “Tonight will be an important night for the Great and Powerful Trixie, and her great and powerful assistant.”

“I know” Starlight sighed, as she straightened out a bow tie around her neck in front of a mirror. “I just can’t help but think about how Twilight chewed me out earlier. Do you think I was acting like a spoiled filly, Trixie? Should I have given my so-called mother a chance?”

“I really think that you should,” Trixie replied. “You can’t run from your problems as I once did. I learned a long time ago that you have to face your problems head on. It’s not easy, but that’s how it is. When I tried running away from my problems, I ended up enslaving an entire town with an ancient amulet.”

Starlight could only stare in disbelief at this! She knew that Trixie was right, and so was Twilight. For a good part of her life, Starlight had only run from her problems, but to face somepony like her mother was something she was going to have to do, eventually. “But can we actually patch things up?” she thought. Just then, the sounds of a growling manticore were heard and broke Starlight’s train of thought.

“Think of the manticore as the problems you are facing,” Trixie spoke up, as the two unicorns looked at the angry beast, growling and scowling from inside its cage. “In order to defeat your problems, you have to tame and conquer them. Ever since I started my redemption tour, I’ve always viewed the manticore as my problems.”

“That’s a very interesting simile,” Starlight unsuringly remarked. “But, if you think it’ll work, then I guess I should try.”

“Good,” Trixie chuckled, placing a hoof on Starlight. “Now, there is one thing that I need to ask of you tonight. Something that I always tell you every time we do this act.”

“Not to let you get eaten?” asked Starlight, chuckling slightly and knowing that Trixie’s words had calmed her anxiety down to a degree.

“Exactly, The Great and Powerful Trixie would prefer not to be a great and powerful snack.” Trixie answered and the two unicorns shared a brief laugh, before returning to rehearsing their performance.

Meanwhile, Twilight, alongside her friends and fellow princesses, as well Aurora Glimmer, were dining in the castle ballroom, hosting the Duke and Duchess of Maretonia. Everypony was wearing the dresses that they had worn for Twilight’s coronation. The meeting was going well and the royal guests were more than impressed with the story of how Aurora spent ten years to finding Starlight.

“I must say that you have great dedication for your children, Aurora,” The Duchess of Maretonia commented as they ate (she was known as Icewind). “It breaks my heart to see that you had to suffer the consequences.”

“Well, thank you for the compliment, your highness,” Aurora Glimmer replied. “We certainly didn’t want to suffer this way, but Starlight and I are just…I don’t know, different. I never meant for any of it to happen. I never imagined she’d become so bitter.”

“I wouldn’t say you are different, Ms. Glimmer,” Rarity commented. “From what I hear, I’d say your daughter just needs a little nudge to understand your feelings. Twilight has been working hard to get Starlight to understand this.”

Aurora could only sigh, despite the encouragement that Rarity was trying to give her (along with the encouragement from all the other ponies in the ballroom). Yes, they were all keeping up a happy front, but it was hard for Aurora to do such a thing, with the situation that she was in.

“If you don’t mind my asking, Mrs. Glimmer,” the Duke of Maretonia (who was called Kyrippos II) asked, “Did you or your husband do something to greatly upset your daughter? I am only asking because Ice Mirror and I have witnessed many a problem started in a family because of what a parent has done..”

“My husband and I…well, we didn’t really get along that well,” Aurora sighed and confessed. “After Starlight was born, he just sort of became distant and eventually he just ran off with some other mare and never came back. Unfortunately, he didn’t leave until Starlight was almost old enough for Magic Kindergarten, so by that point she’d gotten attached to him. When he left, she became attached to Sunburst, and when he left, I was all my daughter had left. And when she needed me most, I made the worst mistake of my life, and rejected her offer of friendship., Tears began forming in the corners of Aurora’s eyes, despite her efforts to try and hide them from the Duke and Duchess. This was a secret that she had meant to keep to herself and now, it was out in the open for all to hear. “I’m sorry,” she said softly “I didn’t mean to say that. It’s just that…”

“It’s all right, Aurora,” Celestia kindly stated, opening her right wing out of comfort. “We all make mistakes and have to learn from them. You understand your pain.”

“Thank you for your concerns,” Aurora replied. “It’s just that, for ten years, I’ve had to live with the consequences of my actions. I was such a fool to ignore my daughter’s well-being, just because my husband left me..”

“Aurora, y’all could have turned to somepony for help,” remarked Applejack. “Why didn’t you? ”

“I agree,” added Rainbow Dash. “You could’ve even given Starlight up for adoption if your husband leaving you broke you so badly.”

“I did what I did, all right?! ”Aurora snapped, the piercing sounds of her voice shattering the ballroom. “I can’t turn back time and change what happened! If I could, do you think I’d be sitting here, talking to all of you?!”

Rainbow Dash immediately sat down in shame.

“So, what happened to Starlight’s father?” Spike asked, hoping to change the subject..

“He’s dead now,” Aurora bitterly answered. “He died in a foolish manner by trying to perform the Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive for his new girlfriend! I know it’s wrong of me to think such a thing, but he got what he deserved! It’s obvious he wanted to be a magician, even if he was never any good at it. I suppose he just didn’t consider how his own daughter might feel about his desires.”

Unknown to all in the dinning room, Starlight and Trixie had finished rehearsing and made their way up to the stage just outside said room. They had heard everything and were both shocked and dismayed by what Aurora had said!

“I can’t believe your father would attempt Hoofdini’s greatest trick, Starlight,” Trixie remarked. “Even I knew not to attempt it without an assistant, when I realized I lacked the magical power to teleport on my own.”

“Then why did it seem like you were going to do so on that fateful night?” Starlight asked Trixie.

“A good magician always has an escape trick up her sleeves, in case anything goes wrong,” Trixie explained. “Hoofdini was no fool, he always made sure he had a way out of any trick no matter what. I read that when he first began working on the dive, he’d coat himself with a smell that the Manticore would find unappetizing and was guranteed to make it spit up whatever it ate that had it. I coated my hat and cape with a similar substance, if you hadn’t teleported me, the audience would’ve seen it spit me out unharmed.”

“I guess that’s better than the way I was thinking of,” Starlight cringed. “I assumed you had some sort of secret spell to survive a trip through the digestive system.”

“Even if such a spell existed, no magician would dare try such a thing,” Trixie replied, trying not to look too grossed out. “It would take a ton of showering to clean up from such a trick.”

“Speaking of tricks, I guess there’s no point trying to do the Moonshoot Manticore Mouth Dive for my mouther,” Starlight said sadly. “I understand if you don’t want to include it for the show.”

“We have no other choice but to go through with this,” Trixie boldly replied, who was determined to mend the reputation of her idol’s greatest trick. “Trixie will not have Hoofdini’s greatest trick be dragged through the mud and abused in that way if she has anything to say about it!”

Chapter 6: A Magic Trick Gone Wrong

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Starlight took an enormous gulp as the lights of the Canterlot castle ballroom dimmed, signaling the beginning of Trixie’s planned entertainment for the Duke and Duchess of Maretonia. Starlight had never felt so nervous in her entire life, and the lecture that Twilight had given to her was now playing over and over again in her mind.

“Come one, come all,” Trixie cried as she walked in front of the stage. “Come and see the Repentant, Great and Apologetic Trixie’s Repentance Tour!”

“That is quite a mouthful if I do say so myself.” Celestia whispered to Twilight.

Trixie was quick to hear the eldest Princess’ remark. “It’s a working title, Princess Celestia,” Trixie muttered, moving on with the rest of her act. “Behold, your fears come true, a pony eating manticore!”

On her cue, Starlight opened the curtain to reveal the caged manticore, growling and snarling to the small audience gathered. In fact, the Duke and Duchess of Maretonia couldn’t help but feel a little scared at what they were seeing before them!

“For tonight,” cried Trixie, moving around the stage like a proud magician. “The Great and Powerful Trixie will be performing The Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive!”

“Amazing,” Luna gasped in surprise. “Nopony has ever done The Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive, and lived to tell the tale.”

“Except for Hoofdini,” Twilight replied. “He did this trick many times.” As she spoke, Twilight noticed that Aurora was looking rather uncomfortable. Her purple coat seemed to turn white with fright over the situation. “Aurora? Is everything alright?”

“She’s going to try it,” Aurora sharply commented. “She’s actually going to try what my father and that pathetic excuse of a husband killed themselves on! I don’t know why the magic circuit hasn’t banned that trick yet!”

Twilight suspiciously glanced at Aurora with that statement, a look of shock and confusion registered on her face. Up until this moment, Twilight wouldn’t have suspected that Hoofdini was related to Aurora, or Starlight herself. But Hoofdini couldn’t possibly be related to the Glimmers, he’d died years ago of a ruptured appendix or so it had been said. Was it possible there had been a cover-up to the real cause of death?!

“Now now, save your gasps for later,” Trixie declared in a theatrical tone. “When I defy the beast’s jaws of doom, and appear inside that black box!” The young stage magician used her magic to display the black box that just appeared on the right side of the stage. “For tonight,” Trixie went on. “The Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive will be performed with the help of my great and powerful assistant, Starlight Glimmer!”

Now, Starlight didn’t want to show her face as long as her mother in the audience, but standing Trixie up in front of royalty was the last thing she wanted. So, reluctantly, she jumped out from behind the curtains, forcing the best smile she could under the circumstances. “I don’t know what to think you of any more, Mother,” she thought to herself. “Right now, all I care about is helping Trixie with her performance.

Aurora couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw her daughter, her Starlight Glimmer, acting as Trixie’s assistant! “She must be crazy! Doesn’t she know what fate befell the other ponies who performed it?!” she thought, as she eyed the magician her daughter was helping. Trixie was most definitely no Hoofdini, and neither was Starlight.

“Watch carefully, as the fuse is lit and the manticore awaits its meal,” Trixie declared, as she took off her wizard’s hat and placed a cone shaped helmet with a star on it over her head. “Or at least that’s what it thinks it’s hoping for.” she said with a wink.

Starlight watched as Trixie climbed into the cannon to prepare herself for the launch. Knowing that she was the pony who would have to light the fuse, Starlight took an enormous gulp and lit the fuse. However, as she did so, her eyes locked on her mother! For some reason they were reflecting a look not of disappointment, but of genuine concern! Confused by this, Starlight’s attention began to drift!

“Oh, boy! This is so exciting!” Pinkie Pie commented. “I’m so nervictied, I can’t wait!”

“I sure hope everythin’ goes smoothly this time,” Applejack nervously observed. “Last time, I thought for sure Trixie was a goner!”

The fuse went out and the cannon fired, sending Trixie right towards the Manticore, as the beast opened its mouth, ready to devour Trixie for dinner! However, as she was launched through the air, Trixie could see that Starlight was not paying attention. This to Trixie, was a sign of trouble. Sure, the magician had taken the necessary precautions in case her assistant should fail, but the method was not without its drawbacks! “It’s too late to stop what will happen,” Trixie thought frantically to herself. “I just hope Starlight won’t be too mad with me when she finds out the truth!” “STARLIGHT!” Trixie shrilled, causing Starlight to break free of her trance just before the magician she was supposed to be assisting was engulfed by the Manticore.

Everyone in the audience gasped at the manticore, which took an enormous gulp and belched out loudly while beating its chest.

“How rude and deplorable!” cried Luna, angrily as she rose to her feet. “That creature does not…” But Celestia stopped her sister from saying another word. It was obvious to her that something was terribly wrong, judging from the look on Starlight’s face.

Nevertheless, Starlight managed to use her magic to put Trixie back in the box. But once the box was opened, a loud series of gasps came across the ballroom when Trixie was found unconscious, lying in a pool of saliva

“Oh no, Trixie!” yelled Starlight as she darted over to her unconscious friend. “Trixie, speak to me! Please!” Starlight grabbed her unconscious friend and shook her wildly, trying to get her to wake up, but Trixie was not responding. “No, please, Trixie,” sobbed Starlight. “Live! Please live, I beg you!”

Immediately Twilight ran up onto the stage and used her magic to push the manticore back into the cage! She then darted over to Starlight, trying to calm her student down. “Starlight, there’s nothing you can do! She’s out cold!” Twilight declared, attempting to pull her student away.

“But it’s my fault!” Starlight snapped, breaking free of Twilight’s magical control. “I should have been paying attention, Twilight! And now, Trixie’s…” Starlight’s sentence was interrupted when she saw Aurora standing at the table, a look pure disbelief displayed towards her daughter.

A look of sadness turned into a look of pure anger as Starlight attempted to storm over to Aurora. “You,” she seethed with fury while Twilight struggled to hold her back. “How can you look at me like that?! It’s because of you that I lost my focus and missed my cue! Trixie almost died, because of you!”

“Starlight,” Trixie called, finally waking up. Her hat and cape were torn and covered with manticore saliva, but otherwise she seemed unharmed. “It’s alright, Trixie wasn’t going to leave anything up to chance. I coated myself with that stuff I told you about earlier, it worked a little too well.”

But Starlight wasn’t listening, she was too full of anger, anger directed towards her mother who was now standing before her! “I didn’t even want to come here in the first place! If it wasn’t for Trixie’s insistence that we perform, I would’ve skipped this dinner all together! I almost lost my newest friend, because of you!”

“Starlight.” Aurora pleaded, hoping to appeal to her daughter’s sense of reason.

“Just… go away! I don’t want to see you right now! I don’t want to see anypony!” Starlight snapped, rushing out of the ballroom. “I just want to be alone with my thoughts!”

“Starlight, wait! There’s something you need to know about The Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive!” Aurora called, but it was too late. Her daughter was too far away to hear. But everypony else in the room did hear, and all eyes immediately fell upon her.

“Ms. Glimmer, you have a lot of explaining to do,” Twilight said seriously. “How does that trick relate to any of this?! Hoofdini had no family at the time of his death, and the official cause was unrelated to his performance of The Mouth Dive!”

“Unless you’re saying there’s more to that story than meets the eye?” Trixie asked in a weary tone. “The official report of Hoofdini’s demise was rather short.”

Aurora sighed. “I suppose this was going to come out sooner or later.” she said to herself, a look of regret crossing her face.

Chapter 7: Ghost of Hoofdini

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Starlight ran as fast her legs could carry her, as she ran out of the ballroom and into the Canterlot Royal Gardens. She couldn’t believe what had just happened! Trixie, her newest friend, had nearly been killed by a manticore. And all because Starlight had been so distracted by her mother, the one pony she’d told herself she never wanted to see again.

“Why did all of this have to happen?” Starlight cried as she looked at herself down in the waters of a nearby pond. “If my mother really wanted to patch things up with me, why did she wait ten years to do so?! And why is everypony putting pressure on me to give her another chance?! What if I don’t want to?!” Starlight roughly splash the water at this remark, her rage filling to the point of boiling over.

However, there were some words that Starlight wished she could take back. But no time travel spell that ever existed would erase what had happened. The events would transpire over and over again, playing repeatedly like a bad novel.

Then, all of a sudden, a voice that Starlight had never heard before spoke up. “Get up, Starlight,” barked the voice. The young unicorn sharply turned around to see the ghost of an aged yellow coated unicorn standing before her, dressed in magicians garb, with a cutie mark consisting of a key opening a lock. “Is this how my granddaughter is supposed to be?”

“What?!” Starlight remarked, surely she had misheard “Who are you, and why are you saying I’m your granddaughter? I never met you, so why are you standing before me now?!”

“Because I’ve always watched over you,” the ghost replied. “Do you think The Great and Powerful Hoofdini would always deny that he even had a granddaughter to begin with?”

Starlight gasped upon hearing this! Trixie’s idol was her grandfather?! But how was that possible?!

“Yes, I know it’s a little shocking to say the least,” the ghost sighed as he sat down on a rock. “But, I couldn’t bear to see my granddaughter lose the closest friend she had since she saw the light.”

“What are you talking about?” Starlight asked. “You’ve seen everything that has happened to me? Even what almost happened to Trixie?”

“That is correct, my granddaughter,” answered the ghost. “I couldn’t bear to see a pony so young be killed by a Manticore, a creature that I have tamed to allow ponies to enter and come out alive. Many have tried to copy my act time and time again, but have failed and as a result, have paid with their own lives. However, while what almost happened to your friend was of great importance,” the ghost went on. “I want you to know that your mother has spent ten years…”

“…trying to find me,” Starlight interrupted and briefly turned her head away towards the water. “Why should I even consider myself to let her back into my life? She never cared for me.”

“She does care for you,” the ghost replied. “It was your own father who drove the relationship between you and your mother apart. I believe that you are blaming your mother for the events that have happened in your life.”

“What are you saying?” Starlight remarked, turning her attention back to the ghost. “Are you saying that I shouldn’t be blaming my mother?! Not even when she refused to be my friend?!”

“I am saying that as your grandfather,” the ghost somberly explained. “You must put the anger and resentment towards your mother to rest. I’ve seen the Princess of Friendship give you a second chance. So why not give your mother the same thing, Starlight?”

“Because she turned me away when I needed her as a friend,” Starlight complained, getting up from the rock and once again staring at her reflection in the pond. “Even if I do forgive her, it won’t erase the pain her rejection caused me. What I needed was a friend, and all I got was the cold shoulder.”

“But, haven’t you made friends already, Starlight?” the ghost remarked, a hint of shame in his voice. “Your mother is already your friend. This was a pony who helped raise you into the mare that you have become, and this is how you repay her, by running away for ten years and nearly ruining the history of Equestria for your own selfish ways?”

“I did what I did,” Starlight replied. “I may not be proud of what I’ve done, but it is how it is! Maybe if my mother had offered to be my friend at that key moment, all of this pain could’ve been avoided! So just go away and leave me alone!”

The ghost couldn’t believe what he was hearing coming out of Starlight’s mouth. Starlight’s behavior was beginning to get to him. “Listen to yourself, young filly,” he angrily cried. “I’m ashamed of you to the point where I don’t know what to think anymore. Go back to the others and apologize to your mother for all the bad things that have happened between you both. For ten years I’ve watched you trot a path of darkness, and now you have the chance to finally close the chapter on those years for good! Take it while you can, you may not get another chance.”

Before Starlight could say another word, the ghost of Hoofdini disappeared into thin air. Realizing that she couldn’t run from her feelings any longer, Starlight left the gardens and made her way back to the ballroom, where Aurora was being confronted by Twilight and all the other ponies (except for Trixie, who was still reeling from her magic trick gone wrong).

“Well, we’re waiting,” Twilight said, staring quite hard at Aurora. “Would you care to tell us what’s going on here? And how Hoofdini’s trick is connected to all of this?”

But before Aurora could say a word, Starlight was spotted on the other side of the ballroom. “Twilight,” she said weakly. “I think there’s something that all of you need to hear. It’s about me, and the greateast magician who ever lived, Hoofdini.”

Everypony gathered in the ballroom gasped! Starlight and Hoofdini were related?!

Chapter 8: Nothing But the Truth

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“Something we need to hear?” wondered Twilight as Starlight stood at the entrance to the ballroom, looking at her mother, her teacher and her friends. “Is this about you and Hoofdini?”

Starlight took an enormous gulp and sighed heavily as she walked over towards the small group of ponies, all of whom were eager to listen to what Starlight had to say.
“Hoofdini the greatest magician that Equestria has ever known…is my grandfather,” she sighed, causing everypony in the room to gasp loudly, even the princesses!

Trixie was still too weak to react with words, but she did manage to open her eyes in shock! Despite her weakness, Trixie could not believe that her idol, the pony that she admired and inspired her to become a magician in the first place, was related to her best friend.

“Yeah, I know it’s a shock, but it’s true,” Starlight confessed. “Trust me, I just found out not too long ago, and I’m as confused as you are.”

“Freaky Geeky,” Pinkie Pie commented. “You think something like that would’ve surfaced sooner.”

Starlight then felt a shudder and looked back to see Hoofdini’s ghost standing in the doorway. He seemed to be glancing at her, as if he were encouraging her to speak up.

“I’m not sure how the knowledge of Hoofdini having a family managed to disappear, but it doesn’t matter,” Starlight went on. “It’s not what I came here to resolve. I came here to finally settle things with my mother, once and for all.”

“But, I don’t understand,” Applejack replied, walking over to Starlight. “What does this have to do with your feelings towards Aurora here?”

“Starlight, you know I wouldn’t force you to do things you don’t want to do,” Aurora immediately spoke up. “I would’ve respected you in whatever your heart desires.”

“No, you wouldn’t,” Starlight replied, stamping her hoof down hard. “I wanted a friend and I was afraid that nopony would accept me as one. Ever since Sunburst left, I wanted us to do things together, but you put my father, MY FATHER, over me! Maybe I was wrong to run away and start that cult, but when I needed you most you rejected my offer of friendship and all because you were torn up about my so called father!”

Everypony gasped in shock and disbelief over this confession. Aurora was now beginning to understand the gravity of the situation in question. Yes, she made a grave mistake, focusing all of her attention to try and save her relationship with her husband, but like Starlight had said, she couldn’t turn back the clock.

“I was doing what I could to help our family stay together. Your father was doing everything in his power to destroy himself,,” Aurora explained. “I loved him, Starlight, and I wanted to encourage him to seek help, but he didn’t. I tried to stop him that night from attempting the Moonshot Manticore Mouthdive, but he didn’t listen! He was drunk beyond belief, consuming all of that alcoholic cider that clouded his mind! Had he understood, he would have been alive right now!”

Knowing that she needed to place her input on the situation, Princess Celestia was the one who spoke up next, while sighing heavily over the fact that she once again had to mend the conflicts between two ponies.

“I can understand how it feels to lose somepony you care about," she said, draping one of her giant wings around Aurora. "When Luna was banished to the moon, for the first whole year I fell into a state of depression and told myself that nothing mattered anymore. But I eventually came to learn, that the best way to tackle personal problems is to talk it over.”

Aurora absorbed with the mighty alicorn said and could only wonder if talking it over was even really an option to begin with. She tried for ten years to try and talk to Starlight over her ill feelings, but ended up failing to do so. But, before Aurora could give up hope, Celestia brought up the name of a pony who had helped her and Luna in the past.

“However, there is a pony who can help you and Starlight repair the relationship you once had," continued Celestia, talking in a wise voice. "Her name is Sweetheart and she is a therapist here in Canterlot who has helped Luna and myself. She was the one who snapped me out of my depression when my subjects needed me most, and she was the one who helped Luna to overcome her guilt for the role of Nightmare Moon, at least for a while. The question is, will you both take it?”

A long silence fell over the castle, nopony dared to say anything for fear they might make the situation worse. Even Rainbow Dash, who had also sought the help of Sweetheart to help her cope after her pet tortoise, Tank, went into hibernation for the winter, kept herself quiet. This wasn't the time, nor the place for Rainbow Dash to offer her input on the situation at hand.

On the other hand, knowing that there was a way to finally mend her relationship with Starlight, Aurora sighed with relief and attempted to look over towards Starlight with sympathetic eyes.

How can I repair something that we both destroyed with our own hastiness?” she thought.

“You’ve got to give this a chance, Starlight,” Twilight told her student. “You know that Sweetheart can help you and your mother get over your problems. In fact, we can all go together if you like. There’s nowhere for you to hide from your problems now. You have to face them. Sooner or later.”

Feeling like she couldn’t bear the thought of her actions anymore, Starlight sighed and slowly walked out of the ballroom with her head hung low. “Is it really possible to start over after all these years?” she unhappily thought. “For ten long years we’ve been apart, and unlike with Sunburst we didn’t part on the best of terms.

Aurora was shocked that her daughter did not respond right away with immediate remorse, though at the same time she noticed her daughter hadn’t snapped and yelled at her. But was that a sign of hope, or just Starlight being unsure of how to respond?

“Please Starlight,” Trixie weakly called, rising to her hooves as Starlight left the ballroom. “Trixie tells you, for once in your life, listen to your mother.”

But Starlight was already gone, and the question on everypony’s mind was, what was she thinking about all of this?

Chapter 9: The Next Morning

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When Starlight returned to the Castle of Friendship that night, she couldn’t sleep. All she could do was lie in her bed with her eyes wide open and so much on her mind. At one moment, Starlight was doing what she did best,aiding Trixie in her magic show and the next moment, Trixie had almost become Manticore food and Starlight had been forced to confront her past and her mother.

And when Starlight awoke the following morning, she was quiet, not wanting to talk about or even face what had happened the night before. She wasn’t sure how to feel about any of it.

“Didn’t sleep all that well, Starlight?” Twilight asked as Starlight walked past her study.

“No,” Starlight sighed in reply as she walked into the study. “I couldn’t help but think of what happened last night, particularly finding out I’m related to Hoofdini, and that my mother kept the fact that my father was drunk a secret. Not that it really changes anything.”

“Didn’t what happened last night teach you anything, Starlight?” Twilight sighed, looking her student in the eyes. “Aurora clearly wants your forgiveness, but you aren’t giving her the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully Sweetheart can find a way to help you two get back together. She’s worked wonders with the royal sisters during and after Luna’s banishment, my brother following the changeling fiasco at his wedding, and Rainbow Dash when Tank went into hibernation.”

“I don’t know if she’ll be much help,” Starlight sighed, exhausted and clearly out of energy to fight the good fight as she laid herself down on Twilight’s sofa. “My mother concealed so much from me, because she claimed she was trying to protect me. And yet she still refused to be my friend, solely because she cared more about my father than she did me.”

“That would be something to talk about at your meeting with Sweetheart,” Twilight replied walking over and sitting next to her student. “We all want you and your mother to have a good relationship, Starlight. Sometimes we deal with the past ,and it does hurt at times, but it’ss how life works. I know my mother and I haven’t really talked much since I first came to Ponyville, but that is because I haven’t really found the time. Something I’ve been trying to remedy since The Crystalling for Flurry Heart.”

“But, you don’t know what it was like Twilight,” Starlight went on, looking back at Twilight. “My father was a heavy drinker, and if foolishly trying that mouthdive without a way to save himself didn’t kill him, the alcohol probably would’ve. He was never around for either me or my mother. He was an evil pony, Twilight, and when I tried to get my mother away from him, she turned me away instead. If he were alive today,” continued Starlight. “I’d give him a piece of my mind! I’d bring him back to my village, strip away his cutie mark, and make him equal to everypony else, and I know for a fact we never had cider or anything even remotely alcoholic in Our Town. In fact, I would make him the only pony with an equal sign, just to make him see sense! We’d see how long he lasts without a bottle to take away his troubles!”

Twilight was dumbfounded to hear such a thing, giving the fact that Starlight was supposedly done with her forced equality ways, now that she had been given a second chance. But, as they always said, a leopard cannot change its spots. “What good would that do, Starlight?” remarked Twilight, a hint of shock in her hoice. “That part of your life is gone now and there’s no turning back. Nothing is worse than inflicting pain on ponies, in front of other ponies who lived the life that you made them lead! It’s true that you can’t forgive your father, that I understand. But your mother did what she thought was best for your family, even though it meant severely damaging your relationship. Was it right of her: most certainly not! Does she regret it: I’d say she does! So why can’t you see that and at least give her a chance?”

Knowing that Starlight was clearly tired, Twilight decided at that moment to leave her student alone and head down the hall where Trixie was already up.Certain parts of the young magician’s body had been wrapped to cover wounds she had sustained in the botched mouthdive the night before. Given that they were performing in front of honored guests, Trixie was clearly troubled, but that didn’t matter at all to Twilight.

“How are you feeling?” Twilight quietly asked.

“The Great and Apologetic Trixie is in a little bit of pain this morning,” Trixie moaned. “Who knew that ending up in a Manticore’s stomach could be so painful? But, how is Starlight? How is my newest friend doing?”

“She’s tired from not sleeping well last night,” Twilight answered. “I just hope that her meeting with Sweetheart can help repair the damage between her and Aurora.”

“I hope so too, Princess,” Trixie agreed, sighing heavily. “I must say that Starlight has not been herself these last few performances. In fact, before one of our performances in Manehattan, Starlight had a panic attack of some sorts, claiming that her father was in the audience. I thought nothing of it, I just assumed the constant travelling and performing was getting to her. That’s why I decided to come back to Ponyville with her after our Manehattan show, I figured my assistant had earned a well deserved rest. If only I had known bringing her back would open up old wounds and make a bad situation worse.”

This confession by Trixie was something that was completely new to Twilight. Up until this moment, Twilight had no idea that her student was having panic attacks.“How often did these panic attacks go on for?!” Twilight asked Trixe. “I’m almost certain there were attacks before the one in Manehattan. Ponies don’t just break down like that!”

“They went on for two maybe three performances a night. But Starlight kept insisting she was fine,” Trixie explained. “Trixie almost had to cancel a few shows because of Starlight’s panic attacks. If she and I are going to work together, Princess, then she must have a clear head.””

“Then this goes a lot deeper than just animosity towards somepony,” whispered Twilight to nopony in particular, as she walked away from Trixie while deep in thought. “The relationship between Starlight and Aurora must be worse off than I thought it would be. I wonder if this is something beyond even Sweetheart’s capabilites?”

Chapter 10: In Sweetheart's Office

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Starlight sat in the office of Canterlot’s resident therapist awaiting the meeting that hopefully, just hopefully, would finally break the wall that divided her and her mother, Aurora. Up until this moment, drama and negativity had surrounded them all.

“It’s for the best, Starlight,” Twilight gently said, as she looked at her student. “You can’t run from your troubles any longer. Please…after all is said and done, give your mother another chance. If you can’t forgive her, then I don’t know what else I can do.”

At that moment, the door to Sweetheart’s office opened and the pink haired, white coated uniocrn with a heart shaped cutie mark on her flank, came out with a warm and welcoming smile on her face.“Hi everypony,” she said happily as Twilight got up to greet her. “Sorry, if I’m a little bit behind on my schedule. I had a few overruns with some of my patients.”

“That’s all right, Sweetheart, we know how your schedule goes sometimes,” Twilight replied as the two mares hugged before motioning for Starlight and Aurora to come up. “ This is my student, Starlight Glimmer, and her mother, Aurora Glimmer.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Sweetheart,” Starlight nervously commented “I’m sure Twilight’s told you why we’re here.”

Sweetheart couldn’t help but notice that her latest patient was very nervous, and she knew from experienced that she had a lot of hard work ahead of her. As a matter of fact, given what Twilight had told her, Sweetheart wasn’t sure if she could truly get Starlight and her mother to patch things up. Some wounds cut too deeply to be healed, a lesson she’d come to learn the hard way over her many years of service. Still, she kept her doubts inside of her Starlight and Aurora would be treated like any of her other patients, with firm but gentle guidance.

“Shall we go in then?” Sweetheart asked, motioning for her patients to adjourn with her to her office. Starlight and Aurora followed Sweetheart’s instructions, as they were led into her office, the door closing behind them. The therapist who had helped the royal sisters and even the captain of the royal guard, was about to face what could possibly be her greatest challenge. And time would tell if she’d be able to do anything for her patients.

Once inside, Starlight and Aurora reluctantly sat next to each other on the couch, but didn’t lock eyes with one another. Starlight was still unsure of what to think, and Aurora knew her daughter probably still harbored some resentment for the incident with the manticore last night. But, there was no turning back now. They had to face each other and they couldn’t wait any longer.

“Now, both of you understand why you are here, correct?” Sweetheart began as she set a clipboard in her forelegs and sat down in her chair. “Princess Twilight told me everything that’s been going on. I want you both to understand that, as a therapist, my goal is to first and foremost treat my patients with respect. But at the same time, I’m going to do the best I can to try and find the source of this problem, and see if I can’t help you both come to an understanding. I know there’s a lot of bad blood between you two at the moment, so if there’s anything either of you would like to get off your chest, now is the time.”

Almost right away, Starlight presented her case. “Why should I forgive my mother after all she put me though?” she complained. “I was turned away by her when I needed her most. And all because she claimed she was trying to protect me from my drunken father!”

“Starlight, please, isn’t this enough?” Aurora replied, her voice filled with exhaustion and exasperation. “Do you know how long I spent looking for you, travelling all over Equestria and trying to bring you home?”

“Oh, so now you care for me? Well, where was that care when I needed it most?!” Starlight shot back. “When Sunburst went off to Canterlot, I didn’t have a friend to rely on. Without you there to help me, I was too afraid that a cutie mark would take any friends I could make away from me! So, I left and created a village where everypony had the same cutie mark! It was the perfect utopia, or so I thought! A place where I wouldn’t have to worry about anypony ever leaving me because their cutie mark said so! A place where I could control life!”

Both mother and daughter sharply gasped! Starlight because she had blurted out about “Our Town” a secret she had wanted to keep hidden, and Aurora, because she’d learned her daughter had resorted to such desperate measures!

“No,” Aurora remarked, placing a hoof to her mouth. “Starlight Glimmer, my daughter, why? Why would you do such a thing?! I know it hurt when Sunburst left, but it wasn’t a cutie mark that took him away!”

“I did what I did, Mother,” Starlight answered now feeling a sense of regret that she’d even said those words. “That village was a sanctuary, a chance to live my life the way I wanted to live it. I couldn’t be friends with a pony whose cutie mark would take them away from me. It was the only way I could be assured of having any friends at all.”

“Then instead of running away,” Aurora commented, starting to break down. “Why couldn’t we have talked things over then? I could have helped you show that cutie marks don’t ruin relationships.”

“Because you spent all your time on Dad and not me, that’s why!” Starlight snapped, tears forming in her own eyes.

“Can’t you see the pain that your mother is in?” Sweetheart asked. “We all make mistakes in life, Starlight, and your mother is clearly sorry for what happened,” Sighing, she looked at the two unicorns and added. “I can’t help but wonder if you two could give me some light into your relationship with Mr. Glimmer, Starlight’s father and Aurora’s husband.”

Aurora sighed heavily as she used her magic to wipe away the tears that were in her eyes. The aged unicorn felt a sense of regret that she had waited to tell Starlight the whole truth surrounding her father, but she had very little choice. If there was any chance for them to patch things up, the truth would have to be revealed. “Starlight, I’ve hidden the truth about the kind of stallion your father was for far too long, when I should have been honest from the start.”

Little did anypony know, that the spirit of Hoofdini was watching from a small corner in the room. Not as angry as when he had confronted Starlight, but still very much remorseful over how he had failed to help his daughter try to get through to his son-in-law. “

Why didn’t you listen to your wife?” sighed the ghost. “Why?”

Hoofdini’s ghost and Starlight would finally soon get their answers, and not a way they were expecting.

Chapter 11: I Made A Grave Mistake

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Aurora Glimmer was being scowled at by her daughter as their therapy session continued. The entire truth surrounding her decision to put her drunken husband over her only daughter was about to come out. The middle aged unicorn took an enormous gulp as both Starlight and Sweetheart waited for her to speak the truth.

“Starlight,” Aurora explained. “I wanted to try and save our family from falling apart. You must believe me! I loved your father and I would do anything to help save him from whatever demons were haunting him.”

“But, he wouldn’t listen to you,” Starlight bitterly remarked. “Just as you didn’t listen to me when I needed you the most. I wanted us to have a relationship together, when I was alone.”

“Um, Starlight,” Sweetheart asked politely. “Why don’t we hear what your mother has to say first? Give her a chance to explain herself, she did the same for you.”

Starlight reluctantly fell silent. “She has a point, as much as I hate to admit it.” she thought.

“Your father, Starlight. Well, when I first met your father,” Aurora sighed as she produced a small screen that showed her as a young mare with a stallion that was dark purple and had a dark purple mane and tail, similar to Twilight Sparkle’s, except for the skunk stripe (and the fact that his mane and tail were much darker shades of purple, almost black like). “He seemed to be the most handsome stallion I had ever met. All he ever wanted was to be a magician, like my father Hoofdini. Being the daughter of a magician like him, there was no doubt in my mind that your father and I were meant to have a future together.”

The screen then showed several moments of Aurora and Starlight’s father dating, then it transitioned their wedding in Canterlot. Aurora looked like the happiest bride in all of Equestria, as Princess Celestia presided over the ceremony in the castle hallway. Even some of the upper crust nobility were in attendance. Another transition showed the newly wedded couple, as Aurora helped her husband as they perfomed together all over Equestria.

“But then,” Aurora continued as the screen showed Starlight’s father struggling with a magic act. The young stallion seemed to be almost panic stricken, as his horn refused to spark. “The pressures of wanting to please everypony began to get to him. For a period of time, he was struggling to get through even the most basic of magic acts. He couldn’t even pull a rabbit out of a hat, let alone entertain an audience! And that’s when he turned to the bottle, he claimed it helped to ease his nerves!”

Starlight continued to watch the display, unable to look away. She saw her father attempt to saw her mother in half, one of the most popular magic tricks a magician was known to perform. Then, Starlight saw her father drink what appeared to be alcoholic cider, the shaking in his hooves stopping only once he’d downed the bottle! But he seemed to become distant and unaware of the world around him, as if time had slowed to a halt before his eyes.

Seeing her father drunk made Starlight almost sick to her stomach, there was a reason she’d banned any sort of alcholic beverages in “Our Town”. Drunken ponies were much harder to keep in line, and they often had thoughts of their own.

Aurora was starting to tear up again as she continued to speak. “This was around the time I was pregnant with you, Starlight,” she replied as she displayed the memory that shimmered before Starlight. Immediately, Starlight took notice of the rainbows in the background. “We were at a charity performance in Rainbow Falls and your father was drunk off his saddle. I tried to get him to stop, tried to get him to give up the bottle. But he wouldn’t listen, he ensisted it was the only thing that could hepl him preform!”

Starlight forced herself to watch as her mother and father were shown to be fighting loudly over her’s father drunken antics. Then, she watched again, horified as her father performed the sawing act only this time while he was under the influence! The effects of the alcohol had caused him to miss the center of Aurora’s body and almost cut her head off! Fortunately, before it could be shown, Aurora stopped the memory.

“I’d rather not have you watch that,” Aurora replied, a look of horror crossed her eyes! “That was from a performance in Las Pegasus before your fifth birthday, Starlight. Your father was at his worse that night, drunk off his saddle even worse than before and that led to the audience noticing what was happening to him! The booing that the audience made were some of the loudest I had ever heard in my entire life, Starlight. I was ashamed to even be a part of your father’s act at that point and we fought a screaming battle afterwars like none other! And if you were going to ask why we didn’t tell you about this,” Aurora continued. “It was because, we couldn’t bear to have you exposed to such disgusting acts. You were only a filly, Starlight, your mind was fragile.”

“It didn’t matter if my mind was fragile then,” cried Starlight. “It’s always been fragile, mother! All I ever wanted was structure of support in my life! I wanted my life to be predictable, free of anything that would come and tear us apart! But, I never got it! Sunburst was the closest thing I had to that, and then a cutie mark caused his parents to send him off to magic school! And he never returned any of my letters! My whole world came crumbling down that day!”

“Nopony is supposed to have structure, Starlight. At least, not in the way you think” Sweetheart explained. “I came from a large family, Starlight, and I had to face many challenges and changes in my life. It’s what makes us who we are because that’s just how it is. And I can relate to having a relationship that ended badly, Aurora.”

“In what way is that, Sweetheart?” Aurora wondered outloud.

“When I was growing up,” Sweetheart replied, memories she’d swore she would never touch working their way back to the surface. “I was very close friends with a pony named Teddy. He was a troublemaker and always did mean things to get attention. However, he wasn’t always mean, I thought that was something my friends couldn’t understand about him. I thought they didn’t know him like I did. In reality, they were right after all, Teddy grew up and became a criminal, and I almost joined him! But, in your case, I wonder if your husband was only drinking to get attention for himself.”

“If he was trying to get attention,” Starlight said to her mother. “They why didn’t you take notice? You knew what he was doing, why didn’t you stop him or walk away and cut off contact with him?”

“Because I refused to believe that he was becoming an alcoholic,” Aurora confessed. “I was in denial about it, Starlight. I couldn’t bear the thought of having you be the daughter of an alcoholic magician. Our family would have lived in shame if you had known the whole truth! Seems like I foolishly put my family legacy ahead of the well being of my own daughter!”

“You never even told me Hoofdini was my grandfather,” Starlight replied, trying not to sound too bitter. “What else have you been hiding from me because you thought you were trying to protect me?”

“Starlight, I’m not saying it was the right thing to do, it wasn’t,” Aurora answered. “Nothing I say or do can change that, but right now all I want is a chane for us to put the pains of the past behind us. To see if we can start over now that your father isn’t a part of our lives anymore.”

Sweetheart sat up and pushed her glasses into place. Now, everything hanged on Starlight Glimmer. And from what Sweetheart had just heard, she wasn’t sure if she could truly tell Starlight to give her mother a second chance. Celestia knows if Sweetheart’s own mother had hidden such dark secrets from her, she would be peeved! Could she really tell Starlight to do something that might not be for the best?!

Chapter 12: A Long Road Ahead

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Starlight could not believe what had just been shown to her. Her mother had shown Starlight the horrors that her father had brought on their family. There was no doubt in either mother or daughter’s mind that Starlight’s father was the one that at least started the chain of events, that had caused them both to be where they are now. Still, there was a question that plagued both mother and daughter, and that was whether or not they could repair their relationship.

“Your mother is begging you for a chance, Starlight,” Sweetheart spoke up. “I think that if I were you, I’d consider this opportunity now. Give it an honest chance”

Starlight knew that there was nowhere left to hide now. She had to face the fact that her mother was not going to stop until her daughter accepted her into her life again. Everything that come up to this point was all in the rear view mirror. But, was it truly possible to just pretend all those old wounds no longer existed?

“Mother, I…” Starlight began, trying to think of what to say. “I understand that what Dad did was wrong, but I can’t simply say that I forgive you right away. I need time, you need time, for us to repair our relationship. Sunburst and I have long since reconciled, but I still have a lot to learn. Perhaps, in time, we can reconnect.”

“You mean it?” Aurora cried, now showing tears of happiness in her eyes. “You’re willing to give me another chance, Starlight?”

“Yes,” replied Starlight, who also had tears forming in her eyes. “I know now that I need to give you a second chance, just I was given a second chance by Princess Twilight.”

Overcome with emotion, the two mares came close to each other and embraced each other tightly. Aurora was ecstatic to know that Starlight was finally going to give her another chance. Still, there was the matter of how the healing process would go and that was where Sweetheart came into the picture.

“It will be for the best in the end,” Sweetheart sighed as Starlight and Aurora broke apart. “The both of you are making the first real step towards reconciliation. What I would recommend is maybe doing some activities together like a mother and daughter should. Furthermore, I think we should perhaps meet regularly to catch up on the process and what needs to be made. The healing process takes time, and you may find some wounds will never truly go away.”

“There’s one thing that bothers me about what you just said,” Starlight frowned. “Isn’t this going to affect my touring with Trixie?”

“I don’t think it will,” Aurora said, placing a hoof around Starlight’s neck. “Even so, you need to focus on your health and peace of mind before doing any of that touring. It will be good for both of us Starlight, and for Trixie. You wait and see.”

“Well, in that case,” said Sweetheart as she concluded the meeting. “I will see you both again back here next week and I would recommend maybe slowing down the touring for a while, Starlight. This is much more important right now. I know how close you and Trixie are, but you saw what happened when you tried to assist her performance, with all of this on your mind.”

Starlight and Aurora left Sweetheart’s office, neither pony saying anything other than that the meeting had gone well.

Upon returning to the castle, Starlight walked up to one of the guestrooms where Trixie was still recovering from her injuries.

“Hi, Trixie,” Starlight spoke up as she walked into the guestroom. “I hope I wasn’t disturbing you in any way.”

“No,” Trixie groaned, feeling a sharp pain in her right shoulder as she tried to get herself comfortable in her guest bed. “The Great and Powerful Trixie would be more than willing to offer support to her great and powerful assistant. I know that I may need to cancel a few tours because of my injuries. Doesn’t look like I’ll be able to do much besides the usual parlor tricks anytime soon.”

“About that,” Starlight sighed, she was taking a big risk. She didn’t know how Trixie was going to react to not being able to tour with her best friend. But she knew she had to tell Trixie the news, least she get the wrong idea if Starlight was a no-show for a performance. “I was at the therapist’s in Canterlot, and she recommended that I focus on my restoring the relationship with my mother, Trixie. She also recommended I take a break from assisting you, so I can focus on the therapy sessions.” Starlight was half-expecting for Trixie to flip out on this decision, but to her shock and amazement, she didn’t!

“Take all the time you need, Starlight,” Trixie replied, trying to stay upbeat despite her injuries. “The Great and Powerful Trixie will need time to regroup from her wounds as well as time to come up with some new tricks to delight the ponies of Equestria. How much time do you need?”

“To be honest,” Starlight nervously said as she sat next to Trixie. “I’m not sure how long I will be down this path, Trixie. It may take weeks or even months, for that matter. My mother and I were apart for ten years because we both made mistakes that harmed each other. Sweetheart said it would be a long process, and some wounds may never fully heal.”

Trixie rolled her head back, much to Starlight’s dismay, thinking that maybe perhaps asking her for an extended period of time off of the stage was too much to ask.

“Look Trixie,” Starlight cried. “I know I said that I need time, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be your assistant-”

“-It’s all right, Starlight,” Trixie interrupted. “The Great and Powerful Trixie can always find a temporary assistant. Perhaps those two dolts who always follow me around, could provide some assistance.”

“Who are you talking about?” Starlight asked..

“Snips and Snails,” Trixie answered. “The two ponies who look up to me like I’m an alicorn princess, but I’ve long since learned to remain humble to whoever looks up to me. But Starlight,” Trixie added. “I’ve never been in the situation you are iin now and I know very well what it’s like to grow up without a parent. The closet thing I had to a mother were those caretakers in the orphange, especially that one mare who escorted me to my first day of magic school. But since you are going to be taking an extended period of absence from performing, I would like to help you and your mother as well. If The Great and Powerful Trixie can achieve redemption, then so can her Great and Powerful Assistant, Starlight.”

Delighted to hear this news, Starlight carefully bent down towards Trixie and the two friends locked themselves into an embrace. It was certainly going to be a long and difficult healing process for everypony, but it was a challenge that needed to be faced.