Aeon cracked open the door to Stella Nova’s office before stepping in. Half the lights had been shut off, drenching the area around Stella’s desk in darkness. She attempted to squint, spotting a figure seated on Stella’s silver disk, its’ edges illuminated only from the light of the stars behind it. However, Aeon didn’t need to see anything other than the outline to know who it was. From the clasped hands to the tired lean over the table, the posture was a dead giveaway.
“You helped them.” The voice that came from the desk wasn’t as stern as Stella Nova’s, but it was still tired and strained. Every word it spoke held a certain weight beneath the calm tone.
Aeon pushed her sunglasses up against her face. She moved to the closest mirror and began adjusting her tie. “Wanna guess who smelled the Amfly Flower this time?”
A long sigh echoed through the room as the shadowed figure tapped impatiently on the halo in its hands. The once glowing object was now silent and dull, it’s flickering colors having vanished all together.
“You?” It spoke as if out of formality.
“No, you actually.” Aeon adjusted her suit and combed a few strands of her dark red locks from her face.
The figure stood from its seat and made its way towards Aeon, who didn’t even bother turning to face it as it stepped into the light. Its purple locks fell in a disheveled mess down her forehead, while the rest of her hair was tied up in a messy bun. Her skin was a soft lavender, matching perfectly with the immaculate dark blue suit and pants she was sporting. Under her lilac eyes sat several dark rings, no doubt from the many sleepless nights Aeon knew she had.
“Regardless,” she spoke as she started to tamp down any creases she spotted on Aeon’s jacket. “We can’t keep helping them every time they end up in the Roc’s forest.”
“And.” Twilight gave one harsh tug down on Aeon’s suit causing every imperfection to vanish. “You gave them the vials.”
“They needed a fighting chance against Tirek,” Aeon argued, pulling the flexible metal band out from her ponytail. Instantly, her crimson hair fell in long curls down her shoulders while two short strands trailed down the side of her face. “And even then they might not win.”
“Does it even matter if they do?” Twilight asked with a frown. “What would it change?”
“For us? Not much. But…” Aeon reached up to her sunglasses, taking them off to reveal her bright teal eyes. As if by magic, her dull red locks were colored a beautiful scarlet. Yellow streaks had also started to flow down her hair, painting it a fiery shade. “For them? It’d change a lot.”
Twilight lowered her head. “Sunset. How long has it been?”
A broken laugh escaped Sunset’s lips. “Trick question. You know both of us stopped keeping track a long time ago.”
“I’m just tired of playing pretend. I’m tired of acting the same role, saying the same things in hopes that they-” There was a slight pause as Twilight drew a breath. “That we make a different choice this time.” She took a step to the nearby couch, sitting upon it with her hands covering her face.
“You don’t think I’m tired too, Twi?” Sunset spoke in a soft, understanding as she made her way to the couch. “If I have to repeat ‘Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer,’” she continued in a deep, mocking tone, taking a seat beside Twilight. “‘You have violated the laws of the multiverse!’ one more time, I might actually go insane.”
Twilight couldn’t help but smirk hearing Sunset’s impression of her own altered voice. She drew a deep breath before speaking in a similar fake tone. “‘Charges: One count of illegal construction of space altering devices!’”
Sunset burst out in roaring laughter. She quickly shot her hand up to her mouth in an attempt to stifle her giggles, but it did little to help. Twilight, upon hearing Sunset’s chortling, soon burst into a fit of her own.
“Also,” Sunset tried to speak through her chuckles. “‘sending you to be executed’? That seems a little much.”
“I’d thought I’d see if that Sunset would buy it.”
The two laughed once more. Sunset felt the room’s heavy atmosphere lift considerably. However, she knew there was still one thing she needed to remind Twilight.
“I know how tiring it feels to do this over and over again. This is our, what, nine thousandth time?”
“Nine thousand, eight hundred and sixty four actually,” Twilight interrupted. She turned to spot Sunset’s wide eyed stare and quickly darted her gaze away. “But who's counting?”
“W-well, regardless.” Moving closer, Sunset placed her hand softly upon Twilight’s. “We have to keep doing this. If we don’t help them find their way back to their own universes…”
“The multiverses will fall into chaos.” The two girls said simultaneously.
Twilight shook her head and gave an exhausted sigh. “I know, Sunset. I know. I just wish this is something we didn’t have to do, you know?”
“Yeah, I know.”
The office fell deathly silent. Sunset held Twilight close, planting a kiss on her cheek. Slowly, a small smile emerged on Twilight’s lips and she turned to Sunset with a look of disbelief.
“Universal constants. Who would’ve thought huh?”
Twilight leaned in, planting her lips squarely on Sunset’s. Sunset felt herself melt into the kiss with a large smile. However, after only a couple of seconds, a loud beeping echoed from the desk, causing Twilight to break the embrace with a sigh.
“Of course.” Twilight pushed herself up from the couch and dragged her feet towards the console on her table. Once again, the atmosphere in the room fell heavy. Any joy and mirth seemed to vanish with that one simple sound. A sound that both Twilight and Sunset grew to hate.
“We really need to find a way to disable that beeping.” Sunset stood from her seat and slid on her rose-tinted sunglasses. She pulled her dark red hair back up into a ponytail, ensuring there wasn’t even one strand out of place. “Where are we now?”
Twilight tapped several buttons on the machine, bringing up a large holographic display in front of her eyes. “Sector G44.”
“Steampunk Equestria?” Aeon asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Yeah.” Twilight took a seat on the silver disk. “Let’s just get this over with.”
“As long as you’re ready to play your part.”
“Not like I have much of a choice.” As she lifted the halo back onto her head, Twilight could see her lavender skin turn a pale white on one side, while ash-black on the other. Her purple hair was dyed a lifeless grey and she was sure her pupils changed to match. Darting her eyes upwards, she spotted the halo once again flickering a different color every few seconds, the only semblance of life in the dull, chrome room.
Aeon turned to leave, but Stella’s voice stopped her in her tracks. “You didn’t give them the vials so that they could get the power to stop the Roc, did you?”
A smirk appeared on Aeon’s lips. However, it wasn’t one of happiness nor arrogance. Instead, it was a feeling she hadn’t felt in a long time.
She was impressed.
“You shouldn’t be one to talk,” Aeon spoke with a playful tone, her back turned towards Stella Nova, “I went to the armory and noticed that we have all our training teleporters accounted for.”
“I gave it back to them so that they wouldn’t have to contact her,” Stella spat in a bitter tone.
Aeon’s smirk vanished in an instant. “She’ll give them a fighting chance against Tirek. And whether you’d like to admit it or not, she does more good than harm.” Her light-heartedness had disappeared completely. Replaced instead with a growing flame.
“It’s an enormous amount of harm.”
“My point still stands.” A cocktail of anger, impatience, but most of all sadness, had started to swirl in Aeon’s heart. She continued speaking through gritted teeth, “and don’t forget.” Aeon spun around with a unyielding gaze. She stared straight into Stella’s grey pupils with a tenacious glare, her hands balled up into tight fists. “She’s you.”
A tense moment of silence passed between the two. Neither made a single move. Not a flick of a finger or blink of an eye. Soon, even the air around them seemed to have stilled.
Stella was the first to break her gaze, darting her eyes to the left. She didn’t want to admit Aeon was right, but knew if their conversation escalated anymore, they would each say something they’d regret. Instead, she decided to ask a question that was on her mind. She wisely softened her tone into one of curiosity instead of spite. “What makes you think she’ll help Twilight? That Twilight?”
“She will,” Aeon answered without a second thought. Her faultless confidence drew a confused glare from Stella, who planted her hands firmly on her desk.
“You’re so confident?” Stella shook her head, twisting her voice to one of doubt. “And what makes you think that Twilight we sent will make the right choice? Even with her helping?”
Aeon’s answer rendered Stella speechless.
Her words echoed in Stella’s mind long after she had taken her leave. Even as she sat down and spun herself around to gaze at the shimmering stars, an activity that would usually cleanse her mind, she found Aeon’s reply repeating endlessly in her head. She allowed her eyes to close and the loneliness of the room to overwhelm her. Sadness and exhaustion soon started to take hold with only the silence of the room to keep her company. On any other day, she would have attempted to push these thoughts away so that she could keep her charade up.
But she didn’t care about that. She didn’t care about the multiverses, nor of the peace she had tried so hard to maintain. In this one moment, all she cared about were the two words Aeon had said.
This was a bonus chapter I wrote after finishing my original Chapter for Sunlight Sliders. The concept of Stella Nova and Aeon fascinated me and when this idea popped into my head, it refused to leave. As such, I penned it down and passed it to Novel Idea who approved it wholeheartedly. So now it's here for all of you to enjoy!
Note: This part is by no means canon unless Novel declares it so.