New Friends, New Generation: A MLP Next Generation Story

by Jordan Lego Comix

First published

A new generation of friends and family.

This is a new story following the adventures of offspring of MLP:FiM. Takes place 25 years after the events of the show. (CONTAINS SHIPPING, FRIENDSHIP, FEELS, AND FAMILY!)

Glimmering Hope (Part 1)

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It was morning, but Starlight Glimmer was not quite ready to wake up. She wanted five more minutes, or even ten. But suddenly she felt a small kiss on her left cheek. She slowly opened her eyes and looked up.

“Good morning, Starlight.”

“…Good morning, Sunburst,” Starlight yawned as she slowly leaned up to kiss Sunburst on the lips. “Today’s a very special day.”

“It is,” Sunburst agreed. “I was just about to head out to the bakery. I might be a while though.”

“It’s alright, Sunburst,” Starlight said as she got out of bed and used her magic to straighten up the covers as well as Sunburst’s wizardly cape. “Just don’t be gone for too long, alright?”

“I won’t,” Sunburst promised as the two of them walked out of their own bedroom and into Sunburst’s living room. “I’ll be back before the party starts.”

“Alright, while you do that, I’ll make breakfast for you-know-who.”

“But you’re a terrible cook!” laughed Sunburst. “Remember when you tried to make dinner for our second anniversary?”

“That was one time!” Starlight objected defensively. Although, she did have to agree that her poorly made soup was not the best thing to serve for a wedding anniversary, so she couldn’t help but laugh as well. “Besides, Celestia’s taught me how to make her special pancakes for months now.”

“Alright, well, don’t burn them, okay?” Sunburst said as he walked out the door, making Starlight roll her eyes and smirk. “I’m just kidding. I love you, Starlight.”

“I love you too, Sunburst,” Starlight said before exchanging a kiss with her husband more time before letting him leave the house.

Starlight Glimmer and Sunburst have been married for over ten years now. When they had gotten married, Starlight had moved to the Crystal Empire to help Sunburst continue to be Princess Flurry Heart’s Crystaller.

Even if said princess had been a teenager at the time, she would still look to Sunburst for guidance. But as the years had gone by and as Sunburst had taught Flurry Heart less and less, he would often ask Starlight if she wanted to move back to Ponyville. Even though Starlight had left Ponyville, part of her still felt like it was home for her, and just as Sunset Shimmer (who had moved back to Equestria after graduating from Canterlot High in the human dimension) would stay in touch with her human friends, Starlight would do the same with her friends. And as much as she missed Ponyville, she had her own bundle of responsibility…

…which was sleeping upstairs right now.

Starlight walked up the stairs and to second door on the right. After gently opening the door with her magic, Starlight went into a bedroom that was meant for a little filly. Scattered across the floor were books, toys, and even Starlight’s favorite board game, Dragonpit. On the other side of the room, there was a small bed with green covers. They were unusually tucked to the point where they were over where the pillows were supposed to be.

Starlight smirked before using her magic to grab a corner of the blanket and uncover the hidden figure underneath. Unfortunately, it was just a pile of old antiques that Sunburst had been collecting over the years.

Starlight was in shock, but then a thought occurred to her. Although, for her sake, it should have occurred to her five minutes earlier, because from behind her floated a purple unicorn filly with an orange mane and tail, with light green highlights, just like Starlight’s. She also had green eyes and greyish-pink spots on her fur, one on each of her hooves and one running down between her eyes. The purple filly also had a cutie mark on each of her flank: a lime-green, four-point star, overlapping a white star, and four blue and yellow rays projecting from behind the stars to the upper right. She carefully levitated herself down from the ceiling until she was level with Starlight.

The purple filly took a deep breath in before Starlight could get a chance to turn around,


Starlight jumped, suddenly surprised, before falling onto the carpet floor. Unable to contain her laughter, the unicorn filly landed on the floor and burst out laughing.

“Hope! Oh, my goodness, you nearly scared the cutie mark off me!”

“It was just a joke, Mom,” laughed the purple filly, named Hope Glimmer.

Starlight had to admit that it was a little funny, so she laughed along with the six-year-old too. proud of Hope being able to levitate herself at the age of six.

No, not six. Today, Hope Glimmer was now seven.

Starlight Glimmer smiled dearly at her daughter. “Happy birthday, Hope,” she said as she hugged the purple filly, who hugged her mother back. “Now, why don’t we go downstairs and make you some pancakes?”

Pancakes were probably the only food that Starlight could cook well, and Celestia had given Starlight her own recipe. Starlight knew how delicious Celestia’s pancakes were, so of course they’d be perfect for her daughter’s birthday breakfast. Starlight even decorated the stack of pancakes with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries into an adorable smiley face. She almost felt bad about serving it to Hope, as it would be like sending a pony to be eaten by a hungry ursa minor.

Nevertheless, Starlight did give Hope the delicious-looking and smelling pancakes. After Hope remembered her good manners by saying, “Thank you, Mommy!” she happily began to eat her breakfast. Starlight could tell by the smile on her daughter’s face that the pancakes tasted delicious. By the time Starlight’s own pancakes were ready, Hope had already finished hers.

Suddenly, there was a knocking at the door. Hope got up from her seat and galloped to the front door to answer. Hope used her magic to turn the nob and open the door, revealing a tall, lime green equine figure with purple eyes and orange pincers.

“Uncle Thorax!” Hope beamed as she jumped up to hug the Changeling King. Thorax laughed as he hugged the little filly.

“Hi, Hope! You’ve gotten so big since I last saw you!” Thorax said happily as he set Hope down and entered the house, where he was greeted by Starlight, who had just finished her pancakes.

“Thorax, you made it!”

“Of course, I did, Starlight!” Thorax said as he walked into the kitchen. “I hope I’m not late.”

“Actually, you’re the first to arrive,” Starlight chuckled. “Sunburst is out to get the cake, but he should be back soon.”

“Great,” Thorax said. “So, who all is coming?”

“Well, besides you, uh… Trixie and her son will be here, and so will Flurry Heart and Twilight.”

Thorax’s smile faded a little bit. “Is… that all? No one else is coming?”

The very question made Starlight’s own smile fade. She quickly tried to think of a way to distract Thorax. “Say, uh, Thorax, why don’t you take Hope outside for one of your buggy-back rides? Heh heh…”

Instead, Thorax stood tall and looked firmly down at Starlight. “I don’t think so,” Thorax said assertively as he pulled up a chair. “I’ve been leading the Changelings for over two decades, and I’ve also held enough Feelings Forums to know when something’s up.”

Starlight knew that she was cornered. But before she could say another word, the front door opened again. Thorax and Starlight looked to see Sunburst enter with a pink cardboard box enveloped in the same yellow magic that enveloped his horn. Sunburst was greeted by Hope.

“Good morning, Daddy! Where have you been?”

“Good morning, Hope,” Sunburst said as he hugged his daughter. “I was at the bakery getting this.” Sunburst lowered the box down to where Hope could see it and removed the lid. Inside was a round, white birthday cake. The top of the cake was decorated in a frosting pattern that matched Hope’s cutie mark, and there were also letters written that read “Happy Birthday Hope” in purple frosting.

“Can we eat it now, Daddy? Can we please eat it now?!” Hope said as she bounced up and down.

“Sorry, Hope,” Sunburst said as he levitated the lid back on. “We’re going to wait until everypony’s here.”

“Aww…” Hope sighed in disappointment. “But it looks so delicious!”

Sunburst laughed. “I know, sweetheart. And you’ll get to eat it later today.” Sunburst walked into the kitchen, where he hugged Starlight and greeted Thorax. That’s when he noticed that Thorax was not his usual jovial self. Through the small polite smile on the Changeling King’s face, Sunburst could tell that something was up. “I-is something wrong, Thorax?” Sunburst asked as he put the cake in the refrigerator.

“Well…” Starlight began to answer, “Thorax and I were just about to talk.”

“And you came just in time. I’d like to talk to both of you,” Thorax added. “In private,” he said as he motioned towards the filly who was eagerly waiting outside the kitchen.

“Hope, why don’t you go upstairs and study some more magic?” Starlight suggested. “Practice a new spell or something, okay?”

“Uh… okay, Mom,” Hope answered, a tad bit confused, but decided to do as her mother suggested, leaving her parents to sit down at the table with Thorax.

As soon as the sound of Hope’s bedroom door closing echoed through the house, Thorax got right to the point:

“Hope doesn’t have any friends, does she?”

Starlight and Sunburst were surprised by the question. The two parents looked at each other before sadly admitting, “No.”

Starlight’s ears drooped as she looked down at the table. “It’s… my fault.”


“No, Sunburst. It really is.” Starlight sighed before holding Sunburst’s hoof and then looking back up at Thorax. “I… have been homeschooling Hope, for as long as possible. And maybe… I’ve been a little overprotective of her… I’ve never encouraged her to go outside and make friends with ponies her age.”

“Well… It’s not entirely your fault,” Sunburst said to Starlight. “Hope has always been a little shy whenever we do bring her out in public.”

“And how often is that?” Thorax asked.

“Not very much,” Sunburst answered. “Just when she wants to go to the library or when we need to run errands and can’t leave her in the house.”

Tapping his hoof to his chin, Thorax pondered Starlight and Sunburst’s explanations. “Hmm… Does Hope know?”

Starlight and Sunburst look at each other in confusion. “Know what?” Starlight finally asked.

“Does she know… about your… history, Starlight?”

Starlight looked back down, almost shamefully. “Yes, she does. The town, the stealing-cutie marks thing, the time-travel for revenge, the brainwashing… Yes. Hope does know about all that.”

Sunburst wrapped his right foreleg around Starlight and allowed her to lean on him. “We figured that she would find out someday,” Sunburst elaborated. “We always want to be honest with her, and we didn’t want to keep any secrets from her. So, we told her when she was five, shortly after she got her cutie mark.”

“How did Hope react?” Thorax asked with concern.

“Not well…” Sunburst answered, looking down at Starlight. The two of them both remembered the day very well, how terrified Hope had been of Starlight.

“Hope, please listen to me. That was a long time ago.”

“No! Go away, Mommy! You… you’re evil! I… I hate you!”

Starlight could remember those hurtful words echo in her ears. What had been supposed to be the best day of Hope’s life had turned out to be one of the worst days of her life. She could remember how terrified Hope had been, with tears having poured down her eyes, before she had run upstairs, having slammed the door behind her.

Sunburst remembered too seeing this as he had come back home from tutoring Flurry Heart.

“I… I told her, Sunburst…” Starlight looked away with tears in her eyes. “I knew it! I knew this was going to happen, I knew she would react this way!”

Sunburst hugged Starlight, who cried in his shoulders. “Let me talk to her,” he said soothingly, which seemed to calm her down. Then Sunburst walked upstairs and knocked on Hope’s bedroom door.

“Go away!”

“Hope, it’s me, Daddy. May I please come in?” Sunburst heard no response, but he didn’t care. With or without his daughter’s permission, he was going in. Sunburst opened the door with his unicorn magic to find Hope hiding underneath the covers on the bed. “Hope, that was not very nice,” Sunburst said firmly as he walked over to the bed and uncovered Hope, whose eyes were stained with tears.

“But, Dad, Mom’s evil! She deserved it!” Hope cried.

“Sweetheart, your mother’s not evil,” Sunburst explained as he put his hoof on Hope’s shoulder, which made her look up at him and calm down. “Yes, she did do some terrible things, but Hope… she’s still a good pony. Everypony makes mistakes. Even I do from time to time.”

“You mean… You traveled through time to destroy Equestria?”

Sunburst laughed. “No… But I did make mistakes, and so did your mother. But Hope, she’s moved on from that. What she did… that was almost 30 years ago. That’s when Princess Twilight brought her under her wing and taught her the values of friendship. Since then, your mother has been a better pony. Yes, she has still made mistakes from time to time, like brainwashing her friends, and leading a molewurf to your Uncle Thorax’s hive, but what matters is that she learns from those mistakes.

“And more importantly, she loves you, and wants you to be a good pony as well.”


“Of course, Hope.” Sunburst and Hope looked up to see Starlight entering the bedroom, her eyes stained with tears. “I want what’s best for you, Hope, and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I made. I never deserved my second chance, but Princess Twilight gave that chance because she knew that there was good in me.”

Hope then smiled as she stepped off the bed and slowly walked towards Starlight. She stopped for a moment, before snatching her into a tight hug. “I’m sorry, Mom. I… I didn’t it when I said…”

“It’s alright, Hope.” Starlight said calmly. “I know you didn’t. Do you still love me?”

“Yes, Mom. I love you so much.”

Starlight smiled as she hugged her daughter as well, feeling like an entire army of yaks had just been lifted off her shoulders.

“That’s very nice,” Thorax said, smiling only softly.

“Thanks,” Starlight said, “but what does this have to do about Hope not having any friends?”

“Hmm… Well, I think I have an idea about what the problem is.”

“You do?” replied Sunburst.

Thorax nodded. “This is just off of observation, but I think--”

Before Thorax could explain, there was the sudden sound of an explosion that shook the house. The three looked into the living room to see a big cloud of smoke, followed by sizzling firecrackers. When the smoke cleared, in its place was none other than a familiar light blue pony with a purple cape and magician’s hat.

“Trixie!” Sunburst shouted as he got up and ran into the living room. “How many times do I have to tell you not to use firecrackers in the living room?!” He scolded as he levitated several books that had caught fire and blew the flames out.

“Hehe… sorry,” Trixie said sheepishly, before transitioning back to her usual, confident bravado. “But the Great and Powerful TR-R-R-RIXIE must make a grand entrance, even for special occasions such as this!”

“Well, it’s so good to see you again, Trix,” Starlight said as she hugged her best friend. “So, where’s Cobalt?”

“Shhh!” Trixie replied, and then pointed up towards her hat. Starlight then understood that Trixie was preparing to perform a magic trick for Hope. Speaking of whom, Hope came running down the stairs and into the living room.

“Aunt Trixie!” the little filly happily addressed as she hugged the magician.

“Hello there, birthday girl!” Trixie said as she hugged Hope too. “How old are you today?”

“I’m seven years old now.”

“That is amazing. Say, are you ready to see a magic trick?” Hope eagerly sat down on the couch and nodded. Sunburst, Thorax, and Starlight joined her as Trixie levitated off her hat. “And now, the Great and Powerful TR-R-R-R-RIXIE shall pull a rabbit out of her hat!”

And with her hooves, she reached into her hat and pulled out a balloon. “Nope!” she said as she shoved the balloon back into her hat and reached further down and pulled out a rectangular box with purple wrapping paper, and wrapped up in a light blue bow. “Nope!” And she put the present back in the hat, and she reached further down, almost like she was going to fall right in. “Ah ha! I think I found it!”

Trixie then pulled out, not a rabbit, but a light blue unicorn colt with golden mane and tail, eyes as purple as Trixie’s, and an upside-down hat with rabbit ears sticking out of it for a cutie mark. The little colt then spread out his front legs. “TADA!”

“Cobalt?” Trixie gasped in an overdramatic, clearly acting surprise. “You’re not a rabbit! What are you doing here?”

All the little colt said in response was, “Hi, Mommy!”

The audience clapped and laughed. Trixie then nuzzled the little colt on the nose and brought him into a hug.

Cobalt Facade, who was five years old, was Trixie’s “great and powerful” son. Unlike Starlight, however, Trixie was a single mother. Before Cobalt had been born, Trixie had gotten married to, of all ponies, Prince Blueblood. But, their marriage had quickly fallen apart, and Trixie had left Blueblood before she found out that she had been pregnant.

Since then, Trixie has been working as a magician and a mother; and that was a good thing because Cobalt would fall in love with stage magic, just like his mother; it would even be how he got his cutie mark. Cobalt has been helping Trixie as her great and powerful assistant. There have even been times where Cobalt would steal the show just with his adorable appearance alone, and Trixie wouldn’t mind.

After greeting his honorary aunt Starlight, cousin Hope, and uncles Sunburst and Thorax (the latter of whom is every filly and colt’s uncle), Cobalt and Trixie continued to put on a magic show for Hope, who loved it. As for the adults, they decided to wait until later to continue where they left off before Trixie had unintentionally interrupted Thorax. However, it wouldn’t be until an hour and a half later when Trixie would be interrupted by a knocking at the door.

This time it was Sunburst’s turn to answer the door, and so he did. This time, there were two mares who came in: Princesses Flurry Heart and Twilight Sparkle. Flurry Heart was now in her late-twenties and just as tall as any average mare. Twilight, however, had grown taller over the years, and she was now as tall as Princesses Cadence and Luna, and her dark blue mane and tail now had a cream yellow highlight along with her magenta and purple highlights.

“Hello, Uncle Sunburst,” Flurry Heart said happily while stepping in. “Sorry that we’re late. Princess business… as usual.”

“It’s alright, Flurry Heart,” Sunburst replied, before turning towards Twilight. He almost bowed before her on instinct, before Starlight came over to her and brought her into a warm embrace.

“Twilight, I have missed you so much!” Starlight said happily.

“I have missed you too, Starlight,” the Princess of Friendship said to her former pupil. Then, just like with Thorax and Trixie, Hope ran over to greet the two princesses with a hug. “And happy birthday to you, Hope! You have gotten so big!” Twilight said happily.

“Not as big auntie Twily has gotten,” Flurry whispered to Sunburst with a smirk, causing Sunburst to chuckle.

“I would say ‘let’s get this party started’,” Starlight said, motioning towards Trixie, who pulled a bit out of Thorax’s ear, much to the applause of Cobalt, “But I think it’s already started.”

“It’s alright, Starlight,” Twilight said.

“As long as you all haven’t any… oh, I don’t know… cake yet,” Flurry Heart added.

At the very mention of cake, Cobalt and Hope jumped up for joy.

“Mommy, Daddy, can we please have cake now?! Can we?! Can we?! Please?!” Hope excitedly jumped up and down in front of her parents.

Starlight and Sunburst looked at each other, and then down at their daughter. “Alright, sweetie,” Sunburst said. “Just calm down, alright?”

After serving up cake and ice cream, it was time for Hope to open up her presents. First, she opened up Thorax’s gift: a small brown teddy bear. Next, Hope opened up Cobalt and Trixie’s gift: a magician’s robe that had the exact same design as Trixie’s only for a smaller filly like Hope. Next, she opened up a large gift from Flurry Heart, which was a doll house that resembled the very castle in the Crystal Empire. Up next was Twilight’s gift.

“Lemme guess, you got her a book,” Trixie said.

“Wha, psh! No! I didn’t get her a book this time!” Twilight denied, darting her eyes from left to right, and blushing.

Trixie rolled her eyes. “Is it at least a story book? One that a seven-year-old like her can understand?”

“I’m serious, Trixie!” Twilight retorted. “I didn’t get her a book this time!”

“Then show us, Princess, what exactly you got for your former pupil’s own daughter?” Trixie challenged.

Twilight snorted and glared at Trixie.

“It’s alright, Twilight,” Starlight said. “Hope will appreciate whatever you got her.” Then she looked down at Hope, raised an eyebrow, and asked firmly, “Isn’t that right, Hope?”

“Yes, Mom,” Hope replied, almost annoyed.

“Thank you, Starlight,” Twilight said before continuing. “Hope, I got you… a book stand!” Twilight exclaimed as she levitated out of a gift back a wooden bookstand.

Trixie rolled her eyes and face-hoofed. “...Of course.”

Twilight shot Trixie another glare before turning back to Hope. “So… do you like it?”

“Sure,” Hope answered while nodding. “Thank you, Princess Twilight. And, thank you, everypony else!”

“Hold on a second, sweetie,” Sunburst said. “You still have one more present to open.” Sunburst walked out of the living room and into his and Starlight’s bedroom. A moment later, he came back levitating a large rectangular, navy blue present, wrapped in a mint-green ribbon. Sunburst set the present down onto the floor and motioned Hope to come and open it. Starlight followed and came around next to Sunburst, who wrapped his front hoof around her. “This is from us to you.”

“Go ahead and open it, Hope.” Starlight said.

Hope didn’t need to be told twice, as she tore off the wrapping paper. As soon as she was finished, her eyes lit up brighter than Celestia’s sun. “A TRAIN SET! YOU GOT ME A TRAIN SET!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH, MOMMY AND DADDY, IT’S JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED!!!”

Starlight and Sunburst smiled at their daughter’s excitement and brought her into a hug.

As Starlight and Sunburst helped Hope set up her new train set, Thorax walked over to Twilight, who was arguing with Trixie about who had gotten Hope the better gift.

“I mean, seriously, a book stand? You couldn’t have at least gotten her a toy like Starlight and Sunburst, Thorax, or even your own niece did?”

“And how much effort did you put into your gift, Trixie? Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice cape and all, but--”

“Excuse me,” Thorax interrupted firmly, “Twilight, can I speak with you in private, please?”

“Sure, Thorax,” Twilight said as she and the changeling king walked into the hallway. “What’s going on?” She asked with concern, as she had noticed that Thorax was not his usual, optimistic self right now.

“Twilight, I’m just going to get straight to the point here: Hope doesn’t have any friends,” Thorax said sadly.

“What?!” Twilight was surprised by Thorax’s statement, but also confused. “Thorax, what makes you think that?”

“Twilight, have you noticed a lack of fillies and colts here today? There should definitely be more for a party like this.”

Twilight looked out into the living room and only counted two. Sure, most of the party guest were adults, but they were like family to Hope. “Well, yes, but not all birthday parties are the same… Regardless, what makes you think that Hope doesn’t have any friends?”

Thorax then proceeded to tell Twilight everything that Starlight and Sunburst had told him earlier today. As Thorax did, Twilight began to understand more and more about what he was talking about, and this made her sad; it pained the Princess of Friendship to look out and see a little filly spend her birthday without any friends her age. Sure, Cobalt Facade was only five, but he was more like Hope’s cousin. Everypony else, save for Hope’s parents, were like aunts (and in the case of Thorax, uncle) to her.

Once Thorax finished explaining, Twilight simply said, “Let me talk to Starlight and Sunburst about it.” Twilight and Thorax stepped back into the living room, watching Hope joyfully play her new train set. “Hey, uh, Hope, Cobalt, how about you and Thorax go outside so he can give you some buggy-back rides?” She said happily.

Hope stopped the toy train and looked up at Starlight. “Can we, Mommy? Please?” She and Cobalt said, almost in unison.

“Absolutely, Cobalt!” Trixie said happily.

“Well…” Starlight, on the other hoof, said, “I think I should come with you… just in case.”

“Hey, I’ve never dropped any of my passengers before!” Thorax chuckled.

“It-It’s not that!” Starlight responded defensively. “I just… wanna make sure that Hope waits her turn, that’s all! And so that no pony fillynaps her while you’re giving Cobalt a ride...”

Twilight placed a hoof on Starlight’s shoulder. “Starlight,” she whispered, “I would really like to talk to you and Sunburst.”

“Don’t worry, Starlight,” Trixie said reassuringly. “I’ll keep an eye on the kids.”

“Well, alright… but you better take good care of them, Trixie.”

Within a moment, Thorax and Trixie were already outside with Hope and Cobalt, leaving Starlight and Sunburst in the living room with Princesses Flurry Heart and Twilight Sparkle.

“Thorax told me about what you talked about this morning,” Twilight stated. “About Hope’s… social life.”

“I figured he would,” Starlight said sadly. “Twilight, I don’t know what to do.”

“Well, the way Thorax described Hope,” Twilight said, “she kinda reminds me of me, well, before I moved to… Ponyville…” The Princess of Friendship went silent for a moment, looking down at Hope’s new toy train. The train resembled the Ponyville Express almost perfectly. Then, Twilight’s eyes widened. “Wait, that’s it!”

“What’s it?” Sunburst asked in confusion.

“I’ve got an idea. Starlight, how would you like to come back to Ponyville?”

“Wait, what? What do you mean?”

“Starlight, I know that this may seem all of a sudden, but I think that if Hope moves to Ponyville, she can go to school and she can make all kinds of friends there! You could come back to the School of Friendship and be the Guidance Counselor again!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down, Twilight!” Starlight responded in high alert. “I mean… that all sounds great and everything, but...Sunburst, you’re Flurry Heart’s Crystaller. You can’t just leave...”

“It’s okay, Starlight,” Flurry Heart said. “Uncle Sunburst… you have had to teach me less and less. And, I agree with Auntie Twily. Your daughter does need to make friends. Besides, I’ll always need you. I can always write to you whenever I need your help again… or if I simply want to talk to you.”

This made Sunburst smile. “You’ve grown up so much, Flurry,” he said before hugging the alicorn that he had practically helped Shining Armor and Cadence raise.

“Well…” Starlight muttered “It’s just that… I’ve been homeschooling her all her life. I don’t know if she’s ready for that change.”

She’s not ready for that change?” Twilight asked. “Or are you not ready for that change?” Starlight stood frozen as the Princess of Friendship stood over her. “Starlight, I think I know what the problem is. You don’t want Hope to make the same mistakes that you made, so you’ve become very overprotective of her.”

Starlight looked away from her former mentor. As much as she wanted to deny it, she knew that what Twilight was saying was true. Yes, Starlight had changed long ago; she had grown into a better pony and made up for all that she had done. But Hope Glimmer was only seven years old as of today; Starlight feared what Hope could become if she grew up. It is said that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree; what if Hope eventually becomes evil herself? What if she brainwashes an entire town of ponies? What if she travels through times and changes events to result in the destruction of Equestria?

The mere thought of her own daughter making the same mistakes she had made was almost too much for Starlight to handle. But then she remembered how she had become evil in the past: after Sunburst had left for Magic School, Starlight had turned herself away from the world. She had become very anti-social, and that is what led to her fall from grace. Starlight now realized that if Hope didn’t start making friends, then she could end up the same way she had decades ago. Right then and there, Starlight knew exactly what needed to be done.

Starlight hugged Twilight and thanked her for everything.

“You’re right, Twilight. This will help Hope.”

Twilight Sparkle smiled and hugged her former student as well.

Later that night, after everyone else had gone home, Starlight and Sunburst were in the middle of packing up everything for the move. Hope, meanwhile, was playing with her new toys; while she was having fun watching her toy train run around and around on the oval track, and going under the Crystal Empire castle, she had one thing on her mind.

“Do we have to move?” Hope asked, looking up from her toys to Starlight, who had entered Hope’s bedroom.

“Well… this will be good for you, Hope,” Starlight answered as she laid down beside Hope. “You’re gonna go to a new school and make lots of friends in Ponyville.”

“That all sounds nice, Mom,” Hope admitted. “But… I do have friends. Uncle Thorax, Aunt Trixie, Cousin Cobalt, and Princesses Flurry Heart and Twilight Sparkle!”

“Yes, Hope, that is true. But are any of them your age, though?”

Hope looked down onto the carpet floor. She had to admit: there was no arguing there.

“I guess you’re right, Mom. But…” Hope looked back up at Starlight. “What if I do try to make new friends in Ponyville but can’t? What if other fillies and colts… don’t like me?”

“Hope, you’ll be the new filly on the block. They would have no reason to not like you.”

“I know… but what if…”

Hope looked back down on the floor. With her remote, she slowed the toy train to a stop. Starlight could tell how Hope was feeling right now; she was scared, as she too had the same fears about falling to the dark side like her mother. Hope wanted to be a good pony, and she never wanted to become evil as Starlight had once done so. Starlight wrapped her hoof around Hope and scooted closer to her.

“Hope. You’re a good pony. You are kind, considerate, you play funny pranks like the one you pulled on me this morning,” The last one made Hope laugh along with Starlight. “And I know that if you are the same way to other fillies and colts, they’ll want to be friends with you.”

“You really think so, Mom?”

"I know so. Besides, you can’t live inside your house for the rest of your life; you need to get out into the world. Just promise me and your father that you will make new friends, okay, honey?”

Hope Glimmer thought for a moment and then nodded with a determined smile. “I promise, Mom. I promise.”

“That’s my girl,” Starlight said proudly as she rustled Hope’s mane. “Right now, though, I think it’s time to clean up your toys. We have a big day tomorrow.”

“Can have five more minutes, Mom? Please?” Hope pleaded. It was still her birthday after all.

“Alright, Hope,” Starlight agreed. “But only five more minutes. Then clean up your toys and get ready for bed.”

“Yes, Mom,” Hope promised.

Glimmering Hope (Part 2)

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Two weeks later, Starlight, Sunburst, and Hope were now settled in their new Ponyville home. It was a two-story house with lots of interior space and a large backyard.

Hope Glimmer was still sleeping in her new bedroom when Starlight walked in and opened up the window curtains, letting the morning light shine brightly. Hope groaned as she turned away from the window.

“Come on, Hope,” Starlight said. “It’s time for your first day of school.”

“Mom!” Hope groaned as she grasped the blanket tightly, “Just five more minutes, please?”

“Hope Glimmer, we don’t have time,” Starlight said as she telekinetically pulled the blanket off of Hope. “School starts at 8 o’clock, and it’s already 7:40! So you better hurry and get cleaned up, get your school supplies packed, and let’s be out in ten minutes!”

“Okay, okay…” Hope groggily said as she got out of bed. After taking a quick bath, brushing her teeth, combing her mane and tail, and putting her school supplies into her new brown saddlebag, Hope Glimmer rushed downstairs where her parents were waiting.

“Have a good day at school, Hope,” Sunburst said as he hugged his daughter goodbye, and then kissed her on the forehead. “Your mother and I will pick you up at 3:30 today, alright?”

“Okay. Bye, Daddy.”

“And remember, Hope: be sure to make new friends today, alright?”

“Y-yes, Daddy…” Hope said nervously, before saying determinedly, “I promise.”

Starlight kissed Sunburst goodbye before leading Hope out the front door. “Come on, Hope, we better hurry. We’ll pick up breakfast on the way.” Soon, the two unicorns galloped their way to the Ponyville Schoolhouse.

“Alright, class,” Ms. Cheerilee said, “Today, we have a new student joining us, Hope Glimmer.”

Hope Glimmer was at the front of the room beside the teacher’s desk, with everypony else looking at her. Already, she was nervous, but she took a deep breath to stay calm and not panic.

“Uh… hi. My name is Hope Glimmer… My parents and I just moved here from… the Crystal Empire… I’ve never actually been to school here, before… I’ve always been homeschooled.”

“That’s very… interesting, Hope,” Cheerilee said. “I’m sure you’ll have a fun time here at school.”

“Uh… thank you, Ms. Cheerilee.”

As Hope walked to her desk, which was in the third row, she couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the fillies and colts had blank flanks. Hope was now curious as to why they didn’t have their cutie marks yet.

“Nice cutie mark,” a colt who was sitting next to Hope said, catching her attention. Now Hope felt even more like an outcast. Were these fillies and colts jealous of her cutie mark?

Hope looked to her right to see a genuine smile from a cream-colored unicorn colt with sapphire eyes. He had a dark blue mane with yellow and red highlights. The next thing Hope noticed was the colt extending his left foreleg out to her.

“My name is Astral Flame,” the colt said kindly. “Welcome to Ponyville."

Hope stared at the extended hoof for a second, but then she decided to shake it with her own hoof. “I… I’m Hope…”

“Hope Glimmer,” Astral finished. “That’s a very nice name.”

“Th-thanks,” Hope replied, smiling sheepishly. “So is your name… Astral Flame.”

“Alright, class!” Ms. Cheerilee called out. “Let’s start off with a roll call.”

Cheerilee picked up a piece of paper with her hooves as she sat down at her desk, reading off a list of sixteen names, one for each student. As she did, Hope looked around and paid attention to whoever would respond to each name.

“Apple Cake.”

“Here!” called a pink unicorn filly with a purple mane and orange highlights. She also had freckles on her face and green eyes.

“Apple Tart.”

“Here!” called a dark red unicorn colt who sat next to Apple Cake. He had a raspy voice, as well as a purple mane and tail.

“Astral Flame.”

“Here,” Astral replied.

“Blue Angel.”

“Present, Ms. Cheerilee,” called a blue pegasus filly with green eyes, navy-blue mane and tail with yellow highlights, and she was wearing glasses.

“Cotton Candy.”

“PRESE-E-E-E-E-NT!” sang a light blue earth filly with pink spots all over her fur. Her mane and tail resembled those of a familiar party pony, and so did her enthusiasm.

“Alright, Cotton,” Ms. Cheerilee chuckled, “settle down. Now, as I was saying… Golden Goodwill.”

“Here…” A dark yellow earth colt with a purple mane and tail sighed as was resting his head on one of his hooves. Hope could tell that he did not want to be here.

“Hope Glimmer.”

“Huh…? Oh, uh… here, Ms. Cheerilee!” Hope almost missed her name being called, and she sat up properly and looked straight ahead, like a soldier falling in line. By doing so, she missed the other ponies who responded to names like “Lakefront,” “Melody Pixel,” “Silver Lining,” and “Typhoon Blast.”

Hope soon looked at the clock. It was already 15 minutes after 8. Only a few more hours until recess. The purple filly figured that recess would be a perfect time to make some new friends. And she just who to start with.

Finally, after a few hours of learning math, reading, and history, the school bell rang for recess. All the fillies and colts ran out of the schoolhouse to play, whether on the playground, the swings, the basketball court, or in the sandbox.

Hope, however, stood on the porch and watched the other kids play. She knew her mission: make friends today, and she would not go home until she made at least one friend.

Okay, Hope. You can do this, she thought to herself. Just take a deep breath… and you’ll be fine.

“Hey, Hope.” Hope jumped at the sudden greeting. Hope looked behind her and saw that it was Astral.

“Oh… uh, hey, Astral,” Hope replied.

“Sorry if I scared you like that,” Astral chuckled.

“Oh, no! It’s fine. You just… startled me, that’s all,” Hope said as she and Astral walked out onto the grass.

“So, Hope… are you by any chance related to Starlight Glimmer?” Astral asked. Hope was surprised by the question. How in Celestia’s name did somepony she never met know about her own mother?

“Uh…. yeah? Sh-she’s my mom,” Hope stammered as she answered. “H-how do you know about her?”

“Because my mom is Sunset Shimmer, and she told me that she went on a few adventures with your mom before.”

“Wait! THE Sunset Shimmer?!” Hope’s eyes widened up. “As in the pony who traveled over to the human world?!”

“Yeah… I’m guessing your mom told you about the time she begged for my mom to go back to the human world?” Astral chuckled at how small their world was getting. “It was the time when my mom and her human friends got trapped in a magic mirror or something.”

“Yeah!” Hope’s smile turned from a sheepish shy grin to an ecstatic grin. “She told me that story not too long ago!”

After spending a few minutes of bonding together, Astral decided to introduce Hope to some of his friends. The two walked over to the basketball court where a dark blue pegasus colt with sea green mane and tail with yellow highlights, and light green-turquoise eyes. He seemed to be bragging with two pegasus fillies. One of them was the blue pegasus filly whom Hope identified as Blue Angel, due to her glasses. The other filly shared Blue’s green eyes, but her coat was a brighter shade of blue, one that almost matched the color of the sky. She also had freckles like Blue, but her mane and tail were white with yellow highlights.

“Ty, for the last time,” the light blue pegasus filly groaned. “You’re not the only pony here who’s parents are Wonderbolts!”

“Silver’s right, Ty,” Blue said in agreement. “If anything, our parents are higher up in rank than your parents.”

The blue pegasus colt rolled his eyes and gave an arrogant, egotistical smirk. “Yeah, but one of these days, my parents are gonna be better than yours. And one of these days,” the colt paused as he walked over to the three-point line and picked up a basketball. Standing on his back legs, the colt dribbled the ball from one hoof to the other, before jumping up and shooting the ball towards the basket. “I will be better than your big brother.”

The colt stood with pride as he looked back at the two pegasi fillies, not noticing that the ball actually bounced off the rim and came flying back down, and almost colliding with the right side of the colt’s head as if it were a dodgeball. However, it didn’t hit him.

The colt turned and saw that the basketball was covered in sapphire aura, floating in midair. Then he looked behind him and saw that Astral was trying hard to keep it from hitting him, as his horn was covered in the same aura.

“You okay, Ty?” Astral called out with concern as he walked over to the blue colt. As the magical aura around his horn disappeared, the same aura covering the basketball disappeared. The ball then fell straight to the ground, bounced a little, and then rolled away from the group.

“I… uh… I knew that ball was coming my way,” the colt responding, trying to keep that confident facade.

“Sure you did,” Astral replied, not believing him for a second. Then he turned over to Hope, who was still standing on the edge of the court. “Hey, Hope, come over here!”

The purple filly eagerly joined her new friend, knowing that she was about to make more friends.

“Guys, this is Hope,” Astral said as he motioned towards said filly. “Hope, this is my best friend, Typhoon Blast.” Astral motioned towards the blue colt. “But, we just call him ‘Ty’ for short.”

“Hey, new kid, huh?” Ty said as he looked at Hope with interest. “Well, Ty’s the name, Awesomeness is my game!” Ty stood up on his back legs and put his hooves on his waist, posing like a superhero.

The light blue pegasus filly scoffed. “More like bragging.” Then she turned to Hope. “My name is Silver Lining, and this is my sister, Blue Angel,” she said as she motioned toward the glasses-wearing pegasus filly, who smiled warmly and waved at Hope.

“Nice to meet you guys,” Hope happily said. “So… what were you three talking about?”

“They were arguing about their parents,” Astral answered. “You see, Silver and Blue’s parents are Rainbow Dash and Soarin, the co-captains of the Wonderbolts. And Ty’s parents are Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail, who are also Wonderbolts.”

“Not to mention, the best!” Ty said while smirking again, causing Silver to facehoof and for Blue to roll her eyes.

Hope, however, stood dumbfoundedly while giving two blinks. There were so many questions going on in her head, but she didn’t want to ask them because she was afraid of embarrassment.

“Wait… you have heard of my folks, haven’t you, newbie?” Ty asked as he cocked an eyebrow at Hope.

“Well… I’ve heard of Rainbow Dash… She’s one of the professors at the School of Friendship…?” Hope’s ears drooped down, giving a wide, sheepish grin. “Uh, my Mom was the guidance counselor there, once… but now she’s guidance counselor again!”

“Wait a minute…” Ty hoovered off the ground, as he narrowed his eyes at Hope, but then widened his eyes at the realization. “YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF THE WONDERBOLTS, HAVE YOU?!”

“Uh… y-yes I have. I know about the Wonderbolts…” Hope was intimidated, as she tried to keep that smile on her face. Beads of sweat began to run down her head, as she felt like she was backed into a corner.

“Oh, really?! Then tell me, what are the Wonderbolts, huh?” Ty crossed his front hooves as he hovered over Hope. Astral had a look of concern on his face, as did Silver. Blue, however, narrowed her eyes at Ty.

“Ummmm…. they’re… a…. circus act?” Hope guessed.

For Ty, that was probably the dumbest thing he had ever heard, as he gave a big facehoof.

“ARE YOU NUTS?!” Ty shouted at Hope, causing everypony else to look at them. Hope noticed this, and she could no longer hold that fake smile. “THE WONDERBOLTS ARE AN ELITE GROUP OF FLYERS!!!”

Before Ty could go on and on about the Wonderbolts, Astral came Hope’s rescue by using his magic to grab Ty’s tail and yank it down to the concrete, pulling Ty with it. With Ty sitting on his hind legs, completely thrown off by what had just happened, Astral smacked Ty on the back of his head.

“Ow! What was that for, Astral?!”

“That was way too far, Ty! Besides, so what if she doesn’t know about the Wonderbolts yet? It’s not that big a deal!”

Blue and Silver joined Astral in scowling at Ty, who now felt ashamed in what he had done.

Ty stood up on all four legs and looked at Hope with not a face of anger, but a face of remorse. “Hey, uh… Hope? I’m sorry about that. I shouldn’t have yelled at you for not knowing about the Wonderbolts.”

Hope smiled and nodded. “It’s okay.”

“If you want to learn more about the Wonderbolts, Hope,” Blue chimed in, “I can tell you everything you need to know! I can tell you about their history, their current members, all the kinds of tricks they do, how they were formed--”

Silver stopped Blue from rambling on by gently placing a hoof at her mouth. “Or… we could just introduce her to Mom and Dad and let them tell her about it.”

Hope chuckled a bit, making a mental note to remember that offer.

But before the five young ponies could talk anymore, the school bell rang. Ms. Cheerilee was on the front porch, calling everypony back into the schoolhouse. Hope was a little disappointed; she wanted to spend more time with her new friends, but she supposed that she could play with them more after school. The purple unicorn filly followed said friends back to class.

Soon, the clock struck 3, and all the young ponies in the classroom cheered as they knew that school was over for the day. Of course, the applause was silenced when Ms. Cheerilee assigned them homework. Most of the fillies and colts, except for at least Blue, Hope, and Astral, sighed in defeat. Ms. Cheerilee went by every desk, giving each pony a math worksheet. It was simple addition and subtraction with single-digit numbers, but a few of the fillies and colts were still unhappy that they had any homework at all.

After reminding the students to show their work, Ms. Cheerilee said goodbye and dismissed all the class. Of course, most of the students weren’t picked up by their parents right away. They would have to wait at least ten minutes for either one or both of their parents to pick them up. Some didn’t mind, of course.

Hope was happy to wait for her parents to pick her up, as that meant she got to spend more time with her new friends. Ty and Silver decided to play basketball, and it became a fillies vs colts game, with Astral on Ty’s team and Hope on Silver’s team. Blue Angel, meanwhile, decided to get started on her homework. And she also said that even if she’s not the most athletic filly, she would still unbalance the teams.

“You sure about that, Blue?” Silver asked her sister.

“I’m sure,” Blue replied.

“Heh, nerd,” Ty muttered as he smirked, causing for Astral to once again smack him on the back of his head. “Ow! Will you cut that out, already?!”

Hope couldn’t help but chuckle at Ty’s expense.

“Very funny,” Ty said sarcastically as he rubbed the back of his head where Astral had smacked him. “Anyways, first team to 21 points wins!”

The two colts went to the end of the court that would be considered the half-court line, while the two fillies each stood on opposite ends of the court, where the basket was.

Meanwhile, Blue Angel took out a pencil from her saddlebag with her mouth and started looking at her homework.

“Let’s see here… 4 plus 1? That’s an easy one. The answer is 5.” The blue pegasus filly wrote down her answer on the first math problem. As Blue continued to multitask, watching the four children play basketball and do her math homework, she couldn’t help but notice that there was a pair of colts in the distance.

Blue Angel adjusted her glasses to get a better look and saw that a teal-green earth pony with dark green and magenta hair, was lying on his back. Other features that were that the colt’s back had a red shell, one that almost resembled that of a ladybug, except the spots on the shell were white instead of black. He also had blue insect-like eyes, almost as if they belonged to a changeling. From the looks of it, the colt was trembling in fear.

Blue then noticed that there was another earth pony towering over the poor colt. This one had a dark yellow fur coat, with purple mane and tail, with white highlights, and he also had blue eyes. From what Blue could tell, the dark yellow colt was yelling at the green colt. Knowing that something was wrong, Blue put her homework and pencil in her saddlebag and walked closer to hear their conversation better.

“Did you not hear what I said?!” the dark yellow colt shouted. “You don’t belong here! You and your kind never did!”

“B-but…” the trembling green colt said as he tried to back away. “I...I thought…”

“Thought what?! Thought that just because you’re half pony, you get to come here?! Or did you think that your mommy and all her other changeling buddies were welcome to Equestria because Chrysalis was no longer their queen?!”

“That’s enough, Golden Goodwill!” The two colts looked and saw Blue Angel approaching them. “Leave Lakefront alone! He didn’t do anything to you, did he?”

“Stay out of this, Blue Angel!” the dark yellow colt said. “This is none of your business!”

“Yeah, well, I’m making it my business,” Blue Angel said as she walked over between Golden Goodwill and Lakefront. “You cannot treat him like that!”

“He doesn’t belong here, Blue. Now get out of my way!”

“You know, just because your Mayor Diamond Tiara’s son doesn’t mean you get to be a bully!”

“Bully?!” Golden snapped. “I’m not the bad guy here! He is!”

“For being half-changeling?” Blue Angel asked. “You know what, Golden, I don’t want you to say anything more to Lakefront unless it’s an apology!”

“Alright, alright,” Golden Goodwill sighed. “I’ll apologize.” Blue Angel snorted as she backed away, letting Golden look at Lakefront. “I’m sorry, Lakefront…”

The green colt had a surprised look on his face. Was he really apologizing for what he had said to him just a moment ago?

“...I’m sorry that you’re a changeling freak!” Golden Goodwill finished, as he shouted at Lakefront, causing him to tear up, almost like he was about to cry.

Blue Angel gasped in shock. But the surprised look on her face changed into an expression of rage. How could this colt be so heartless, especially when her mother is one of the nicest mares in all of Ponyville?

But before she could lunge out at the golden bully, a light blue hoof reached up and gently tightened its grip on Blue’s shoulder. Blue looked and saw that it was her sister. Then, she saw that reinforcements, in the form of Astral, Hope, and Ty, had arrived.

“I don’t think that’s what she meant,” Hope said as stepped forward, almost as if she were a superhero. Then she walked over towards Lakefront and used her levitation magic to pick Lakefront off the grass and set him down on all-fours behind her. “She meant, you sincerely apologize for being mean to him!”

Golden Goodwill growled as five young ponies were standing between him and his target. But, part of him was actually surprised. Were these five ponies really standing up for somepony who was half-changeling?

“Golden Goodwill!”

The little colt winced in fear, as he looked to see the source of the voice. It was a pink mare wearing a blue bow-tie and had a purple and white mane and tail. Her cutie mark was a silver tiara with diamonds on it.

“M-mom… I-”

“Get over here, right now, young stallion!” Diamond Tiara demanded. The five other kids watched as Golden Goodwill obeyed his mother. Then, Diamond Tiara pointed towards the schoolhouse front door, and the two of them walked inside.

Then, the kids turned to Lakefront. “Are you okay?” Astral asked.

“Y-yeah,” Lakefront muttered. “I-I’m fine. Thanks for saving me.”

“No problem,” Blue replied.

Hope decided to introduce herself. “Hi, my name is Hope. Hope Glimmer.” Hope offered a hoofshake to Lakefront, who hesitantly accepted it.

“L-Lakefront,” the green colt replied.

“So, why was that colt picking on you?” Hope asked, only for Lakefront to look away, drooping his ears.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Lakefront said, as he turned to his side and pointed at the shell on his back, and also motioned to his blue eyes. “It’s because I’m half-changeling.”

Hope’s eyes widened in surprise. She knew about reformed changelings, like her Uncle Thorax, and evil changelings like Chrysalis, but she had never heard of half-changelings before.

“Wait a second,” Ty said as he hovered between Hope and Lakefront. “If you’re part changeling, can’t you shapeshift?” Lakefront nodded slowly. “Well, then why didn’t you turn into a bear to scare Goldy away, or something else to defend yourself?”

“Because… I’m not very good at shapeshifting…” Lakefront sighed before bowing his head.

“What do you mean you’re not good at it?” Blue Angel asked, more puzzled. “Shapeshifting is natural for changelings, so you must be able to do some shapeshifting.”

“I never said I couldn’t shapeshift… but…” Before Lakefront could continue, blue magical flames enveloped around him. Then, after the flames quickly died down, in Lakefront’s place was a turtle. Then, blue flames enveloped around the turtle, replacing it with a white little rabbit. Then, a black Labrador retriever, and then a squirrel, until finally, Lakefront was back to his original form. “I can only shapeshift into small animals.”

“Yeah, I don’t think those would stand much of a chance against bullies,” Ty whispered to Astral.

“Besides,” Lakefront continued. “I don’t want to disappoint my parents… My Mom’s told me that violence is never the answer. And, my dad said that violence should only be a last resort.”

“Oh. I see,” Hope replied, understanding almost too well what it’s like to keep one’s parents proud. Thinking about how Starlight wanted her to make friends today gave Hope an idea; it seemed that Lakefront didn’t have any friends to turn to in his time of need. Maybe it was time to change that. “Lakefront, if you want us to, we can be your friends.”

The changeling-pony hybrid looked back up in surprise, as it almost felt too good to be true. “Y-you… You mean it?”

“Sure,” Astral added in. “It would be awesome to have a changeling in our new little group. Even if you’re only half-changeling.”

The three young pegasi agreed in unison. As Hope offered her hoof in friendship to Lakefront, she noticed a small smile form on Lakefront’s face. His eyes were watering, almost as if this was the happiest day of his life.

Instead of taking Hope’s hoof, Lakefront lunged at her and wrapped his hooves around her in a hug. Hope was taken a little bit by surprise by the gesture, but she returned the hug as well.

“Thank you,” Lakefront said.

Meanwhile, Starlight and Sunburst were walking towards the school, Starlight still being nervous for Hope.

“What if this was a mistake?” Starlight asked. “What if Hope doesn’t get along with anypony? Or worse, what if they actually do end up hating her?! Oh, Sunburst, this is all my fault!”

“Starlight!” Sunburst put his front hooves on his wife’s shoulders. “It’s alright. There’s no need to panic. Just calm down.”

Starlight nodded frantically but took deep breaths to calm herself. Feeling a little better, Starlight sighed. “Thank you, Sunburst.”

“Anything for you, Starly,” Sunburst said endearingly, before kissing her gently, yet passionately. “Thought that might calm you down as well.”

Starlight chuckled in response. “Thanks. Come on, let’s not keep Hope waiting.”

Soon enough, Starlight and Sunburst arrived at the Schoolhouse. To their surprise, Hope was not waiting for them. She was out on the basketball court with five other kids, two of which were fillies and three of which were colts. Hope was smiling and laughing as she and the other children played together. Hope turned around to notice Starlight and Sunburst.

“Mom, Dad!” Hope called out to her parents, “come over here!” Starlight and Sunburst walked over to the basketball court. The rest of the kids stopped playing their game to greet the two adult unicorns. “Mom and Dad, I’d like for you to meet my new friends.”

“I just don’t understand, Diamond Tiara. I really thought that your son would behave himself. But, just a few minutes ago…”

Golden Goodwill lowered his head in shame as he listened to Ms. Cheerilee tell his mother about his behavior towards Lakefront.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Cheerilee. I’ll make sure that this doesn’t happen again.” Diamond Tiara walked firmly out of the schoolhouse, Golden Goodwill timidly walking behind her. As the little colt opened the front door, he saw that his mother was apologizing to Lakefront and his parents, Sandbar, and Ocellus, for how Golden had treated him. He could tell that Lakefront was feeling much better, and part of him was happy for that. Golden actually couldn’t help but smile as Lakefront trotted happily with his new friends, with his parents slowly walking behind.

“I’m very disappointed in you, Golden.” Golden Goodwill looked up to see Diamond Tiara glaring firmly down at him.

“I… I’m sorry, Mom…”

“Golden, I thought I raised you better than that. When I said that you need to treat others the way you would want to be treated, I didn’t mean you should apply that to ponies exclusively. Lakefront’s just as much of a living being as you are, and I do not appreciate you treating him less than such!”

“I know… I’m… I’m really sorry, Mom… But… I was told that changelings, or even half-changelings… are evil.”

“Well, they were evil, Golden Goodwill,” Diamond Tiara responded. But they’ve been reformed for over twenty years now before you were born.”

“I… I know… But… I was told that only Ponies could be trusted… and that all other creatures… Were to… to…” Golden Goodwill looked away, tears in his eyes.

“Golden Goodwill,” Diamond Tiara said calmly and firmly, “who told you this?”

“I… I can’t tell you, Mom!”

Diamond Tiara was surprised at her son’s response. “What do you mean, ‘you can’t tell me’, Golden? Are you keeping secrets from me?"

The little colt kept his eyes away from her mother and squeezed them shut. "I... I just can't."

Diamond Tiara wrapped a hoof around her son. "Golden Goodwill, whoever told you this is wrong. Just look at Princess Twilight's School of Friendship. There are dozens upon dozens of non-ponies attending, and most of them are learning friendship very well. And please, don't keep secrets from me, alright?"

"Okay, Mom," Golden Goodwill replied. "I promise. No more secrets."

But it was a promise that Golden Goodwill was already breaking.

Glimmering Hope (Part 3)

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“Muffins, for the last time, these ponies don’t live here anymore!”

Sunburst was currently outside arguing with Muffins the Mail Mare. For the fifth time in a row this week, she had delivered mail to the previous owners of the house that Starlight and Sunburst had bought.

“But this is the address written on the envelopes,” the derp-eyed pegasus replied, presenting one of them as an example.

Sunburst sighed in defeat, wondering how Muffins was able to keep her job after almost 3 decades. “Alright… I’ll send these to their new address myself.”

“But that’s my job.” Muffins said in response.

Sunburst couldn’t help but face-hoof. “Then I will just relabel these so that you can make sure they go to the correct address.”

“Ooh. Okay then!” Muffins said happily as she continued flew off to continue her work.

Sunburst sighed in frustration. He was starting to miss the Mail Pony back in the Crystal Empire. As he walked back into their new home, closing the front door behind him, there was another knock at the door. Sunburst turned around and opened the door back up.

To his surprise, the one at the door was a familiar bright blue griffon, wearing a brown mail hat identical to Muffins’ hat and a saddlebag on his back.

“Gallus?!” Sunburst said in surprise.

“Hey, Sunburst,” Gallus replied. “Long time no see!”

“You’re right about that! What are you doing here?”

“Well, Muffins left this at the post office.” Gallus gave Sunburst a pink envelope with their address, but the addressees written on the envelope were Starlight, Sunburst, and Hope.

“Oh, well, thank you, Gallus,” Sunburst said.

“No problem,” Gallus replied. “I better get going. See you later!”

Sunburst waved goodbye before going back inside. At the dining room table, Starlight was helping Hope with her homework. At this time during the day, she would probably be closing up her office at Twilight’s School of Friendship, but that school wouldn’t be starting there for another week; even then, Twilight had insisted on Starlight taking her time to get settled in and helping Hope socialize more.

Sunburst came over to his wife and daughter, levitating the pink envelope that Gallus had given him. Opening up the envelope with one of his antique letter openers, and pulled out a small card with the words “You’re Invited” written on it.

“Who do you think it’s from?” Starlight asked.

“I dunno,” Sunburst answered as his horn creaked the card open. “The letter didn’t have a return address.”

The answer to their question, however, would soon be answered.

A small burst of colorful confetti and streamers exploded out of the card, showering. Sunburst’s face and mane with party trappings. A noisemaker landed conveniently on Sunburst’s lips, and a reflexive blow from his mouth caused the instrument to sound out from his flat, unamused face.

Hope burst out with laughter. Starlight too chuckled, although not as much as Hope was. Still, she could tell from the smile that formed on Sunburst’s face seconds later that he didn’t mind as long as his daughter was happy. Starlight then proceeded to brush the confetti off of her husband, while he read the card.

“‘You are invited to a very special, super-duper, spectacular party over at Sugar Cube Corner,’” Sunburst read. “‘There will be delicious baked goodies, tons of super-special games, and tons of friends who haven’t seen you in years! Please come over to Sugar Cube Corner at 6:30 this evening.’”

At the bottom of the note, there were two tiny markings printed: a grilled cheese sandwich stretching out like an accordion, and three balloons.

Starlight and Sunburst looked at each other and smirked.

It was 6:30 pm by the time Starlight, Sunburst, and Hope arrived at Sugar Cube Corner. Of course, they had not left until after Hope had finished her homework. Then again, it was a Friday, so she could have left it and finished it on Sunday.

Nevertheless, Starlight went up and knocked on the front door.

No response.

Starlight and Sunburst looked at each other in confusion, while Hope tilted her head with a raised eyebrow. Starlight then shrugged and knocked on the door again.

This time there was a faint voice from behind the door that sang, "Come on in!"

Starlight looked back at Hope and Sunburst, the latter of whom gave a shrug and said, "I guess we just ‘go on in.’"

Starlight gave a shrug too and then used her magic to open the door. She held it open for Hope to enter first, and then followed her in with Sunburst. Upon entering the building, the unicorn family came into a very dark and quiet room.

As soon as Starlight closed the door, however, all the lights came on.


Starlight, Sunburst, and Hope were greeted by what looked like a surprise party. There were balloons, confetti, presents, cupcakes, and party games. The place was packed with ponies! The Mane 6 and their spouses, Sunset Shimmer and her husband, the CMC and their spouses, Sandbar, Ocellus, and Gallus, and even Thorax, Trixie, Cobalt, and Flurry Heart were there. But the five ponies that stood out the most were Hope’s friends, Blue Angel, Silver Lining, Astral Flame, Typhoon Blast, and Lakefront.

“P-Pinkie Pie!” Starlight exclaimed. “Wha… What is all this?!”

“Weeeeeeell,” Pinkie Pie said, just starting her answer, “after Twilight came home from the Crystal Empire, she told us that you were moving back to Ponyville. So we just had to throw you a ‘Welcome-to-Ponyville’ Party, or in your case, Starlight, ‘Welcome-Back-to-Ponyville’ Party.” Pinkie happily hopped around the family of three unicorns, the excess energy permeating from her hooves. “But after she told us about how Hope didn’t have any friends her age, I felt so sad, because no filly should ever have to celebrate their birthday without friends! I mean, okay, Thorax, Trixie, and Flurry Heart were invited, but they’re more like family than friends,” the party pony said, motioning over towards the honorary relatives. “Sooooo, after seeing Hope make new friends on Monday, Cheesy and I decided to not only make this a ‘Welcome-Back-to-Ponyville’ party for you and Sunburst, but also make this a belated, new-improved 7th Birthday Party for Hope!” Pinkie then presented a white banner that had ‘Happy Birthday Hope!’ written in purple, and the word ‘belated’ below the first two words.

“And… this couldn’t just simply wait until next year?” Starlight asked.

Absolutely not!” Pinkie snapped. “Not only is it because we haven’t seen you in 10 years, but also because your own daughter deserves a better birthday party!”

Starlight looked over Pinkie’s shoulder to see Twilight smirking. Then the Princess of Friendship--who was now wearing golden and magenta regalia, which included sandals, a collar, and a crown--nodded, telling her former student to just go with it.

Everyone at the party was having a wonderful time, especially Hope. As much as she had enjoyed her birthday party in the Crystal Empire, she had to admit that this party was, as Rainbow Dash would probably say, “two-thousand and twenty percent cooler.” And what made it so were her new friends. Hope Glimmer laughed and played with them, shared cupcakes with them, and even got to meet their parents.

In the case of Blue and Silver, Hope got to meet their parents, and also their big brother, Thunder Blaze.

He was a 15-year-old pegasus with cyan fur and magenta eyes matching those of his mother’s. His mane and tail were as navy as his father’s, and he had a small red streak that ran vertically down the front of his short mane. His cutie mark was a winged basketball with a red, yellow, and blue curved lightning bolt for a tail.

“Hope Glimmer, we want to also introduce you to our BBBFF, Thunder Blaze,” Blue Angel said as she hugged Blaze, who wrapped a foreleg around her.

Hope only blinked in response. “Uh… what?”

“Big Brother, Best Friend Forever,” Thunder Blaze chuckled. “Princess Twilight once compared us to her and Prince Shining Armor. When she told us that what they called each other, we started ourselves that and it just… stuck.”

Next to the trio of pegasi was an orange pony-shaped creature with several interesting features. Instead of fur, the creature was covered in reptilian scales. His green eyes had slitted pupils, resembling those of a reptile. Also, he had claws with three digits on each. He also had a light green scales stretching all the way down from his chest to the tip of his orange dragon tail. Finally, he had dragon-like wings.

Of course, the pony-like creature did have pony-like features as well. He did have a cutie mark, an apple that's red on one side, light green in the middle, and lavender with green scales protruding from it on the other side. Finally, the pony-dragon hybrid had a yellow mane with purple highlights and stood up like a dragon’s scales.

“Howdy, there, Hope!” the orange-scaled creature greeted. “Ah’m Apple Scales, and welcome to Ponyville!”

“Uh… howdy?” Hope responded, surprised by the dragonic features of the teenage hybrid. “So… are you… part dragon?”

“Eeyup!” Apple Scales answered, and then he started talking to the little filly about himself and his family.

Like Thunder Blaze, Apple Scales was fifteen years old. He was the son of Spike and Applejack. Over the last twenty-five years, Spike had eventually gotten over his crush on Rarity. Granted, it hadn’t been easy, but he had been willing to let go. Over time, Spike had spent more time with Applejack, who not only had been grateful for his help at Sweet Apple Acres but had eventually developed feelings for Spike. The dragon and the apple farmer had been in denial about their feelings for quite some time. It hadn’t been until Rarity had first gotten married when he had realized that his heart had belonged to someone else, because it had been Applejack whom Spike had asked to dance with him. Of course, Spike and AJ had to wait until Spike was 18 for the two of them to have gotten married.

As for Apple Scales, he and Thunder Blaze had always been the best of friends; they have practically been brothers their whole lives. And, like mother like son, they’ve always had a friendly rivalry, competing in sports, games, dares, achievements, almost anything they could compete at. However, the two teen stallions have managed to keep their rivalry a friendly rivalry, never going too far, never letting their rivalry get in the way of their friendship and practical brotherhood.

While listening to Apple Scales and Thunder Blaze, Hope Glimmer could barely contain herself at the mention of Spike. She had always heard of Spike, “the Brave and Glorious” while having lived in the Crystal Empire and had seen the famed dragon whenever he had visited; but Hope had never met Spike face to face or even talk to him.

Her chance, however, was just around the corner, as Spike and Applejack came over to the group after catching up with Thorax. Spike was now taller than the average pony, although still not as tall as Princess Celestia. The lavender dragon stood over the little filly, whose eyes widened in disbelief. It was really him!

Spike chuckled. “I don’t think we’ve properly met yet. I’m--”

“SPIKE THE BRAVE AND GLORIOUS!!!” Hope exploded in excitement. “OH MY GOSH, IT REALLY IS YOU!!! I’VE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT YOU, BUT I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY HERE!!!” Hope hopped circles around Spike, making the whole group laugh, including Rainbow Dash and Soarin.

“So, she’s never heard of the Wonderbolts, but she has heard of Spike before?” Rainbow Dash asked her husband with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, to be fair, she lived in the Crystal Empire,” Soarin answered.

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash shrugged in acceptance. “We’re gonna need to bring the Wonderbolts over to the Crystal Empire.”

It would take about five minutes for Hope Glimmer to calm down from her fangirling over Spike. In the meantime, Typhoon Blast was over with his parents, Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail. The latter was holding a teal-colored foal with light green mane and tail and darker green eyes. The little baby was the latest addition to Ty’s family, Aerial. Being Wonderbolts, Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail would be out most of the time, so guess who had to help take care of Aerial while they were gone. Ty was still not used to having a little sister, and all the whining, diaper changes, and messes that involved baby food did not help in the slightest. That’s not to say that Ty disliked his little sister in any way. While he did consider her a big nuisance, he still, at the very least, liked her. That was a start.

Currently, Ty was listening in on Vapor talking with Apple Bloom and her husband, Tender Taps, the former having a big round belly. Ty pitied the mare for what was to come, but then again, he did hope that she and Tender Taps wouldn’t have as much trouble as he does.

“Oh, she is just so precious!” Apple Bloom said while playing with Aerial, who giggled in Vapor Trail’s foreleg. “How old is that little foal, again?”

“She’s only about five months,” Vapor answered. “So when is your baby due?”

“Within the next few months,” Tender Taps said, wrapping a foreleg around Apple Bloom.

“Well, good luck, ‘cause you’re gonna need it,” Ty muttered.

Typhoon Blast.” Sky Stinger scolded firmly.

“Nah, it’s quite alright,” Apple Bloom said. “We’re definitely gonna need it, because Ah’m still pretty nervous about the whole being-a-mother thing.”

“I’m sure you’ll do just fine,” Vapor assured her. “Plus, you’ve got a lot more help than we do.”

Apple Bloom and Tender Taps laughed, as what Vapor said was true. The two earth ponies still lived in Sweet Apple Acres with Applejack, Spike, and Apple Scales, but also with Big Mac, who had married Sugar Belle and now had four kids; their oldest daughter, Honey Crisp, was currently attending Celestia's School of Gifted Unicorns. Apple Tart and Apple Cake were the same age as Hope, were now going to the same school as her, and have been having quite a sibling rivalry lately. Last but not least was the newest, and most recent addition to the Apple Family, Little Mac. The little colt was already about three months old and was currently Big Mac's pride and joy.

Unfortunately, Big Mac and Sugar Belle had been unable to make it to the party tonight, as they were awfully busy on the farm. Nevertheless, they had asked Applejack to send Starlight their regards.

Meanwhile, Twilight was talking with Sunset Shimmer when Starlight and Sunburst walked over to them.

"Oh, Starlight! Long time no see!" Sunset greeted as she exchanged a hug with Starlight.

"It's good to see you too, Sunset! So, what have you been up to lately?"

"Well, ever since I graduated from Canterlot High, I figured I might as well come back to Equestria. It is my home after all," Sunset replied. "Since then, however, I have been staying in touch with my friends over in the human world."
Using her magic, Sunset pulled out a light blue, rectangular device. It had some sort of a black screen on it, and a button at the bottom. Attached to the device was a small black box with a red gem in the shape of Sunset's cutie mark.

"Aren't those... um... what did you call them?" Sunburst asked, adjusting his glasses to get a better look at the device.

"It's a cellphone, Sunburst," Sunset Shimmer explained. "And everypony-- I-I mean, everybody in the human dimension is addicted to these. I've been using this to keep in touch with my friends, and this gemstone I can connect with them across the dimensions."

"That's amazing, Sunset!" Starlight complemented. "But, don't you think it would be better to talk with friends in... well, what do the humans call it?"

"In person?"

"Yes, that's it."

"I know, Starlight. That's why Twilight and I had the Mirror Portal moved to our house in Ponyville."

"Specifically, the basement," Comet Tail inserted as he walked over to his wife. "And guess who had to do most of the heavy lifting."

"Oh come on, Comet!" Sunset retorted. "It wasn't all that heavy. Besides, you only did half of the heavy lifting." Sunset then smirked and looked at Twilight, who also smirked. The two mares remembered well that it was actually Twilight's husband, Flash Sentry of the Crystal Guard, who had done most of the heavy lifting just to get the mirror out of their castle, and he had not let Twilight forget about his back pain for the next few weeks.

As for the Mirror Portal itself, Sunset would often use it to travel over to the human world, either for whenever she and her friends needed to take save the day for the thousandth time or just to meet up with them again. Sunset has even brought Astral and Comet over to the human dimension, but only for vacations. Sunset would not allow herself to put her family in danger.

"You know, Starlight, if you want to come back with me sometime, and bring Hope with you--"

"Absolutely not!" Starlight interrupted, her motherly instincts kicking into high gear. And this was the same pony who had eagerly begged for Sunset to bring her over to the other dimension with her. Then, she took a deep breath and said calmly, "Sorry. It's just that I'd like to take this one step at a time. I mean... we just moved here to Ponyville less than two weeks ago."

"Starlight, I was just kidding about the whole human-dimension thing," Sunset said. "But I understand."

"Thanks, Sunset," Starlight said, a smile returning to her face. Then she turned to her former teacher. "And, thank you, Twilight."

"For what exactly?" Twilight asked in confusion.

"We wouldn't be here in Ponyville right now if it wasn't for you. And you were right about Hope needing to make new friends." Starlight then looked at Hope as she was playing party games with her new friends. She and Sunburst were both happy to see their daughter happy.

"Well, to tell you the truth, she kinda reminds me of me," Twilight admitted. "I know what's it's like to be antisocial, and when Princess Celestia sent me to Ponyville to make friends, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and led to a very bright future. And I know that there is a bright future ahead for Hope as well.

"So, Princess Celestia was overprotective of you?" Sunburst asked.

"I wouldn't say she was as overprotective as Starlight," Twilight laughed, causing Starlight to give a deadpanned look. "But, on the day of your graduation, Starlight, she told me that it was hard for her to send me to Ponyville; she was worried for me and didn't want to let me go, just as I did for you." Twilight wrapped one of her forelegs around Starlight, who just smiled and hugged her back. The Princess of Friendship knew that her former student's hug was a sign that she knew exactly what Twilight meant.

As Starlight left the embrace, she looked back at Twilight with a smirk. "This party was also your idea, wasn't it?"

"Wha... what?!" Twilight stammered with a sheepish grin, darting her eyes left and right. "I have no idea what you're talking about!"

"Oh really?" Starlight replied, raising an eyebrow. "As I recall, Pinkie Pie had first heard about Hope's recent birthday party from you. Not to mention that you of all but four other ponies should know that Pinkie would do something like this if she were encouraged to do so."


"Okay, okay..." Twilight sighed in defeat. "The birthday party portion was my idea. BUT, the 'Welcome Back to Ponyville' portion of this party was Pinkie's."

Starlight, Sunburst, and Twilight laughed. Then they looked on to see the wonderful party that Pinkie Pie had thrown.

Later that evening, after the party, everyone was leaving Sugar Cube Corner to go back home. For both Thorax and Flurry Heart, it would be a long way, so they decided to stay at a hotel and then return to their respective kingdoms in the morning.

Starlight and Sunburst walked on the road back to their new home, Sunburst carrying a very tired Hope Glimmer. Said filly was all partied out, as she was lying down on Sunburst’s back, resting her head against the back of his. Perhaps she had too much cake and ice cream, or she was exhausted from all the party games she played, in addition to her abundant fangirling over Spike. Regardless, she let out a big yawn, letting her parents know that she was ready to go home.

About ten minutes later, Starlight and Sunburst were upstairs in Hope’s new bedroom. Starlight gently levitated Hope into bed, while Sunburst pulled the covers over her. Then Starlight slipped the teddy bear that Thorax had made for Hope under one of her forelegs, and finally gave her a goodnight kiss on her head.

Starlight and Sunburst then quietly walked out of the bedroom before looking back at Hope. The unicorns smiled as they were proud of her for her achievements this week. They could tell that Hope would have a bright future ahead of her.