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Similar Deviations
She almost couldn't believe her eyes. After what seemed like a night that would never end, the sun was finally rising. Twilight stood in the middle of the ruined castle, surrounded by the friends she'd made. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie. All of them had, much to her surprise, become incredibly important to her, and together, they'd achieved a great victory. Not only had they discovered the long-lost elements of harmony, but in doing so, they had also vanquished the mare who had threatened the land with eternal night. Nightmare Moon.

But now that they had won, the sun's first rays were creeping over the horizon, and with them came a familiar voice. To her friends, it was strange, but to Twilight, it brought a smile to her face. She knew that voice well, and the pony it belonged to. As the sun rose, another light approached the window of the ruin. There was a blinding flash as the six mares covered there eyes. But when the light dimmed, they looked on in joy and surprise as there, standing with wings outstretched, was none other than Princess Celestia herself.

Twilight's new friends bowed at the sight of their monarch. But the young unicorn, overjoyed at the sight of her beloved mentor, merely smiled and rushed forward.

"Princess Celestia!" She called out.

The princess, seeing her student approach, also smiled. Twilight reached her and the two brushed their heads against each other in an affectionate manner, as they had done so many times before. Twilight had known Celestia since she was a young filly, to the point where she now considered her akin to family. And there had been a time on this long night when she feared she may never see her again, that Nightmare Moon had succeeded forever in keeping Celestia from her people. But here she was, their ruler once more, and Twilight could not have been happier.

Celestia too was happy at what had happened.

"Twilight Sparkle! My faithful student".

The two broke away from each other and Celestia smiled down at twilight.

"I knew you could do it!" She said.

Twilight tilted her head in confusion at Celestia's confident remark.

"But......I thought you said it was all on old ponies' tale?" She said.

Celestia's smile grew a little.

"I told you that you needed to make some friends. Nothing more. I saw the signs of Nightmare Moon's return, and I knew that it was you who had the magic inside to defeat her. But you could not have done it until you let true friendship into your heart."

Twilight looked up at her teacher and smiled before turning around. There, she looked upon the still-smiling faces of her new friends. She had spent so much of her life focused on her studies and her magic, and had never really gone out of her way to make friends with others. She'd always considered doing so to be less important than all of the other things she'd been doing. Even when she was sent here, Nightmare Moon's return concerned her more than socialising with others.

But Celestia was right. Although her time here had been brief, it had changed her. And she now understood just how important it was for her to have friends in her life. The moment she understood that, when the "spark" had ignited in her, had been a happy moment for her, and now she could never imagine her life as it was before, with few or no friends to rely upon. And, as she looked upon the faces of her new friends, she knew they were thinking the exact same thing. Being friends with them had helped her to do something incredible today, and she valued each and every one of them.

But the smiles on their faces faded a little when Celestia spoke again.

"Now.....if only another will as well."

The tone of her voice was less happy than it had been moments before, and Twilight turned to look upon her. She saw immediately that Celestia's expression was one of concern, a rare look for her. But Twilight soon noticed that it was no longer her or her friends that the princess was looking at, and so followed her line of sight to the other side of the chamber. There, her eyes widened with shock as she saw a pony lying on the ground. It was the same spot where Nightmare Moon had stood when the elements had defeated her. But this was not Nightmare.

Instead, there was, to Twilight's surprise, and alicorn. In all her life, she'd only ever known of the existence of two such ponies. There was Celestia, and her old foal-sitter, Princess Cadence. She'd never have thought that there would be a third. She was smaller than Nightmare, or even Celestia, and her colouring was a dark blue in her coat and a light blue in her short mane. She bore a black necklace emblazened with a moon crest, and a small black crown upon her head. Beside her lay the shattered remains of Nightmare Moon's armour.

Celestia spoke as she approached the unmoving figure.

"Princess Luna."

Upon hearing her name, Luna's eyes snapped open and she turned her head to see Celestia walk closer. The look on her face was a mixture of both fear and shame, and Twilight could not believe that this tiny creature had, mere moments ago, been the greatest threat she'd ever known Equestria had faced. Luna looked upon Celestia, never moving from her spot, and Celestia continued to walk towards her.

"It has been a thousand years since I have seen you like this."

Once Celestia reached her, she got down on all four knees and brought her head close to Luna.

"It is time to put our differences behind us."

Luna looked away, clearly uncomfortable with what Celestia was saying to her. But nevertheless, the sun princess continued.

"We were meant to rule together, little sister."

With those words, the eyes of Twilight and her friends widened with shock.

"Sister?!" They all said together.

Little sister? This unknown alicorn, Luna, who had only recently been Celestia's deadliest enemy, was her own flesh and blood? Twilight especially had a hard time grasping with that concept. After all, she'd known Celestia for most of her life, and in all that time, the princess had never once mentioned that she had any family, let alone a sister. Twilight did not know if it was because she didn't want Twilight to know, or perhaps it was because she was ashamed at what here sister had become. But whatever the reason, it was clearly something Celesta had never wanted others to know.

But still, Twilight could not tear herself away from listening in on this, admittedly, rather private conversation. And she looked on as Celestia stood tall once more, looking down on her long-lost sibling.

"Will you accept my friendship?" She asked.

Twilight and her friends looked on with baited breath. Here before them were two ponies who had been separated from each other for longer than any of them had been alive. None of them could imagine being apart from their loved ones for that long, nor could they imagine the pain such an absence would have caused them. They watched as Luna looked down at the ground, having taken in every word her sister had said, and Celestia stood there, awaiting her answer. After what seemed like an eternity of silence between them, Luna finally answered.

"Celestia.......I have been gone for a very, VERY long time. Not a moment went by when I did not think of you."

The younger princess stood up, reaching a height taller than Twilight or her friends. Her expression was no longer that of the demure figure they'd seen mere moment earlier.

"Trapped within the darkness born of my jealousy and spite, there was nothing I wanted more than to be with you again. United with my beloved sister".

Celestia gave a small smile at that, perhaps thinking that this would lead to a reconciliation between therm. But that smile faded when Luna looked up at her with bitterness in her eyes.

"But.......I.........I cannot accept what you offer me."

Celestia's expression became one that made it clear to Twilight that she was crestfallen with Luna's answer. Twilight too was surprised at what the moon mare had just said. Celestia was, after all, her sister, and one that had offered friendship to her after everything they'd been through. She could not believe that Luna would simply reject that offer like this.

"I know you did what you had to. I know you had to protect the ponies of Equestria from what I had become. But even so, I cannot forget that you still imprisoned me. And worse, I cannot forgive myself for what I did. My jealousy led me to become a monster."

Luna looked away, her expression clearly one of pain and regret. Twilight looked over to her friends, and every single one of them looked at her with faces that made it obvious that they too knew that it would be unwise for them to intervene in this. Instead, they simply kept on listening as Luna spoke again.

"There is nothing I'd want more than to stand beside you in friendship again sister. We have been apart from each other for too long. But......"

Luna looked up at her sister, the latter becoming increasingly distressed over how much her younger sister was hurting over all this. Luna meanwhile, opened her mouth to speak, but it was as though her words couldn't make it out, stopped by her own sense of regret and shame over her actions. Eventually though, she managed to force the words out.

".......but I cannot. Too much has happened between us for us to simply forget what has happened. We cannot simply pretend it never transpired. You cannot ignore my actions. Nor can I ignore the fact that the ponies of Equestria ignored my beautiful night. They ignored ME! I was their princess and I was like a ghost to them."

Luna looked away as her eyes began to well up. Celestia too was on the verge of tears, but she tried her best to remain strong as she looked upon her sister's exposed back.

"If I were to return today, nothing would have changed."

It was here that Celestia decided to finally respond to all this. She stepped forward and gently placed a hoof upon her sister's shoulder, gaining her attention. The younger sister turned to look into her elder's eyes.

"But things HAVE changed sister! I promise you, things will not be as they were in ages past."

Luna took in Celestia's words, but rather than accept them readily, as the former no doubt hoped, she instead frowned at them.

"Do they hold the day and night as equals? Do they come out to adore the stars and moon in their thousands, instead of shun them? Will they, dear sister, love me as they have loved you these many centuries?"

Twilight could practically feel the pang in her heart that Celestia was undoubtedly feeling at that remark. She knew her mentor far too well to think that she would just go ahead and say "yes" to Luna in response to that question, no matter how much she might want Luna to feel happier. Twilight knew the truth. Although the night had gained more appreciation than tit had a thousand years ago, things were far from equal. Ponies, by and large, still held the day with greater admiration than the night, much like they had done centuries ago. And although it pained her to think of it, she knew that Luna would not simply be welcomed back as Celestia's equal.

It was also clear to Luna, who was now looking past Celestia and towards Twilight and the others. The blue mare stepped past her sister and pointed her hoof at them, gaining Celestia's attention.

"Look at them, sister. When they look at me, they do not see a beloved princess, returned from a long absence to be accepted into their hearts. They see a stranger. Entire generations have passed since I was a princess of this land, and in that time, even my true name has been forgotten. It is replaced instead by the name of Nightmare Moon. A figure of fear for the ponies of our land. To them, I am little more than a myth, or worse, a tale pony parents tell their children to scare them into behaving."

Celestia's eyes had, at this point, finally begun to let loose their tears. It practically broke Twilight's heart to see her like this, to be brought down by Luna's words. But the fact of the matter was that the moon princess was not speaking falsehoods. If she did return to her former duties, the ponies of the land would not simply accept it immediately. Such a change would be met with confusion and suspicion. Luna was, as much as Twilight didn't want to admit, completely unknown to their kind now, which, sadly, made her situation worse than it had been in the time when the rift between her and Celestia had begun.

Luna lowered her hoof and looked up at her sister, their eyes locked on each other now.

"If you wish for me to return as the guardian of the night, I will do so."

Luna's expression became one of sadness, much like Celestia's. She stepped forward and gently placed a hood on her sister's side, probably the first time she'd done so in a thousand years.

"But I will never be the princess you are sister. No matter how much I might want to be."

It was here that the two finally broke down, they embraced each other for the first time in centuries, their tears flowing steadily now. Twilight and the other too were almost becoming tearful at the sight of their princess' bittersweet reunion with her sister. Twilight especially wanted nothing more than to go over there and comfort her mentor. But she knew that this was between her and Luna. Instead, they simply stood there and observed as, for several minutes, the two princess' were reluctant to leave each other. Eventually though, they did so, and Luna, her face still wet from her tears, spoke.

"I love you, big sister. But......but things can never be as they once were."

Celestia wanted to say something, anything, to convince Luna that things would be good between them once more, that she would be welcomed by Equestria with open hooves. But if there was one thing the elder sister had never been able to do, it was lie to Luna. Instead, she kept her mouth shut and turned her face away, her expression one of pain and regret. Luna meanwhile finally stood up and began to walk away from her sister. Twilight looked at her friends, unsure of what to do, as the moon princess approached. But, as Luna reached the halfway point between Celestia and the group, she stopped. Showing hesitance, she looked behind her to her still-weeping sister, a look of regret upon her face.

"I am sorry.......sister."

Her voice had been a hushed one, and if Celestia had heard it, all it did was make her feel worse than she already was. Twilight knew that Luna would not want to do such a thing if she didn't want to, but she also knew that they were words that probably needed to be said regardless. The younger princess then resumed her march towards the group, and once Luna had reached her, she stared at Twilight, Even though she was not as large as Celestia, Luna was still far larger than most mare, and her gaze was rather intimidating.

"You freed me from the darkness of my heart?" She asked.

Twilight hesitated for a moment, but soon nodded at her in response. There was a pause for a few seconds before Luna bowed her head at Twilight.

"You have my gratitude."

After having spent years in the company of royalty, Twilight's instincts kicked in and she bowed back to Luna. The latter then walked past Twilight and her friends as the group watched her. She was, no doubt leaving to resume her duties as the princess of the night. Twilight had no doubt that this news would come as a shock to Equestria, but they would simply have to cross that bridge when they came to it. The young unicorn then suddenly remembered that Celestia was here, and turned to look upon her. The elder princess was still on her knees, looking forlorn at the ground.

Twilight had never seen her like this, but she couldn't blame her for being this way. After all, Twilight too had a beloved sibling, her elder brother, Shining Armour. The thought of somehow losing the bond she shared with him was, to her, a terrible thought, and she hoped with all her might that such a thing would never happen. But such a thing had happened now to Celestia, and Twilight moved away from her new friends towards her. Upon reaching her, Twilight placed a hoof on Celestia's shoulder, and the elder alicorn turned to look at her student.

"Princess? Are you alright?" Twilight asked.

Celestia looked at Twilight, her faithful student, and hid nothing. Her face was still raw with all of the loss and anguish and regret that she'd been bottling up for a thousand years. She had hoped throughout these many centuries that, when she and Luna were finally reunited, that they could have put the pain of the past behind them. But it was now all too clear to Celestia that such a thing was not going to happen, at least not so soon after her return. What the future held for the two princesses now, she could not say. All she could do was answer her beloved student in the most honest answer she could give.

"I am no worse, Twilight,  than I have been for the past thousand years."
And here we have an alternate ending for the two-part pilot of MLP. Although I really liked the first two episodes, the one hting that always bugged me was the reconciliation between Celestia and Luna at the end of it. That's not to say that I don't think they should have become friends again, but it felt somewhat rushed, especially when you consider what the two of them have gone through. So I decided to portray what I felt would be a more realistic reunion between them.

MLP belongs to Hasbro and Luaren Faust.
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She had worked hard this week. As much as she'd grown used to it, she still felt tired at the end of every day. Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Equestria. It had been many years since she had ascended to the role of Princess, becoming an alicorn in the process, and still the change had never stopped shocking her. The level of magic she had been able to achieve since her transformation was astounding. And not only that, but ponies from far and wide came to view her as a teacher. It brought a smile on her face to see young colts and fillies come to ask her questions and learn from her. It reminded her very much of how she was when she was their age, learning from her own mentor.

But it was not merely new experiences that this title had afforded her. In her years since her coronation, she had also experienced many physical changes that came with being an alicorn. The most obvious of which was, of course, her size. She had grown quite tall, towering over almost any other pony in Equestria, much like other alicorns before her had done. Her hair had grown long and, much like her mentor, had taken to flowing behind her regardless of the presence of wind.

She had spent much of the past week in her lessons, passing on the knowledge and wisdom she herself had to learn first-hoof, back when she was, in her own words, "just a regular old unicorn". But today was her day off. And it was fortunate hat it happened to be this day, because today was very important to her. For it was a day that she both loved and dreaded every year. She was walking along an unassuming country road, the skies above her becoming grey with clouds. It was not due to rain just yet, but the pegasi were already preparing the skies for it.

Twilight had travelled far from Canterlot, dispensing with the usual trappings of royalty for the trip. No guards. No chariot. None of the usual crown or jewellery that other princesses of Equestria wore. She was not even bothering to use her wings to fly to her destination today. No. Not on this day. This day, she would travel there as she would have done long ago. Back when she was not a princess, but a unicorn. Back before the weight of royalty was upon her.

It had taken her virtually all day, but she finally reached it, and a smile came upon her face. Ponyville. A small, relatively unimportant village that many in the larger pony settlements would not regard as anything important. But to Princess Sparkle, this place was the world to her. True, Canterlot may have been the place of her birth, it may have been the place where she had many happy childhood memories. But this place was her home. An adopted home perhaps, but home nonetheless. Even after she'd taken to residing in Canterlot some years ago to take up greater royal responsibilities, she always felt a connection to this tiny village more.

As she began entering the village, many of the ponies, earth, pegasi and unicorn alike, began turning their heads. When they saw her, their eyes widened in surprise. Under normal circumstances, ponies would bow or greet those of royal lineage when they arrived at their home. But not here. For this was not the first time that Twilight had come back to this place. And as such, many of Ponyville's residents had learned not to make a fuss over her arrival. They would still give her a nod and a smile when she passed, which she would kindly return, but for the most part, she was treated like a regular pony, as one of them. And that was always something she wanted.

She walked through the town, looking upon all of the houses and shops, many of which were around when she had been living here herself. The Mayor's hall, the quills and sofas shop, even Sugarcube Corner. Happy memories, she thought to herself. Then, as she walked through the middle of the town, she caught sight of a very important building. Well, important to her at least. At first glance many might not think it was a building at all, they'd think it was a tree. But it was dotted with windows and balconies and a simple wooden front door.

The Ponyville library. Back when she was living here, this had been Twilight's home. And nopony could have chosen a more suitable place for her to live. She had always loved books, even after her ascension to royalty. And much of her time was spent reading and studying here. Twilight approached it. She did not enter, but she gently placed a hoof on the door. Peering through the window, she saw that no-one was inside. In fact, the place looked quite dusty and unused. She sighed with a degree of disappointment. It was to be expected of course. Even when she was living here, working as the place's librarian, few ponies ever came to borrow any books or do any reading. And even in all her subsequent visits, it had remained largely unused., but it was not something she ever enjoyed seeing, books never being read.

She would have entered then and there, had it not been for a familiar voice from behind.

"Well well. I was beginnin to thin you wouldn't show up."

Another smile crept onto Twilight's face as she turned around and gazed upon an old earth pony behind her. Her coat was a faded yellow, and her mane was a bright red. One her flank, she bore a cutie mark of a large red apple. She was a very old pony, far older than almost any other pony in the village. But she was one Twilight knew well. The two smiled at each other and walked towards each other. They nuzzled the sides of each other's heads in an affectionate manner, before pulling away, still smiling.

"It's been a long time, Applebloom." She said.

The old pony nodded.

"Yes it has." She replied.

The two began walking down the street together, Twilight making sure to slow down more than normal to allow the wizened earth pony to keep up.

"How long has it been since you decided to pay us a visit Princess?" Applebloom asked.

Twilight shook her head.

"Applebloom. I told you. Here in Ponyville, I want to be known as Twilight. Nothing more."

There was no malice or ill intent in Twilight's voice as she said that, but there was enough of an edge to her words to make Applebloom nod in response. After that, Twilight considered her old friend's question.

"How long has it been? About a year I suppose."

Applebloom looked away from her.

"Longer than last time."

Twilight closed her eyes and lowered her head. It was true. Her visits to Ponyville had been getting less and less frequent. It was something that conjured up sad memories. Back when she was living here, she had lamented once that she and her brother, Shining Armour, despite having once been close, had seen each other less and less since she moved to Ponyville. And while it was true that things between them got better shortly after that, she never forgot just how lonely she had felt without him in her life.

As the two continued walking down the street, they began to move towards the outskirts of the village. The houses were becoming more sparse and they were almost up in a large green field that was adjacent to the town. Once they reached it, Applebloom stopped walking, leading to Twilight turning towards her with a confused expression.

"You're not coming?" She asked.

Applebloom shook her head.

"No. I visited earlier today. Besides, I think this really is a private moment between you and them." She replied.

Twilight gave a small smile and nodded in thanks. Applebloom nodded back and began to walk away. Twilight kept her eyes on the old pony for as long as possible before she moved out of sight. Turning back to the field, she began walking across it. After a few minutes, she reached what she came here for. Underneath a large old oak tree, were five stone slabs in the ground, all lined up.

As Twilight approached, she could make out the symbols that had been chiselled into each of them. Three apples. Three balloons. Three diamonds. Three Butterflies. And finally, a cloud with a lightning bolt emerging from it. Once Twilight had reached the stones, she sat down and gazed upon each one in turn. Her expression was one of sadness. But like most of her visits, she did not want to shed a tear here, not in front of them.

"Hey guys. I'm sorry it's been so long. I tried getting away sooner but you know how things go."

The stones were silent, like they always were. But sometimes, Twilight would remember her friends, her dear sweet friends, and imagine what they might say in response. Maybe Rainbow would make some sarcastic comment about her being late, but still happy she was here. Fluttershy wouldn't want to make a fuss and make some excuse on her behalf. Rarity would say she wasn't bothered, for fear of seeming impolite. Applejack would be eager to catch up regardless. And Pinkie, well, she'd just bounce around and be thrilled to see her.

"I see the town's doing okay. Sweet Apple Acres is still going strong. The Cake twins are running Sugarcube Corner okay. Everything......"

Twilight's smile began to fade.

".......everything's just fine."

The lavender princess stared at the stones. Cold, unfeeling......dead. She did this every time she came here. She'd act like nothing was wrong. She'd pretend that she was alright, that she was happy, that it didn't bother her to see her friends like this. But it was a lie. No matter how much she would have wanted them to, the stones stayed silent when she spoke. They were not her friends. Her friends were gone. And she remained.

She'd always known this, but she'd always tried to bury that feeling. Beneath her work, her responsibilities, her lessons to other ponies. She'd convince herself that she was alright and that she had no regrets. But here, with nopony to see, she finally let go. Her eyes welled up and she began to cry. Her weeps were the only sound that could be heard, save for the rustle of the leaves of the oak tree.

"I'm sorry. I always knew that this would happen. That being....."

She spread her wings and looked at them.

".......this, would lead to a long life. I tried my best to prepare myself for.....for seeing you all......leave. But it hurts. I won't lie to you anymore girls. Your passing was something that I have not stopped thinking about. Not in all the years since it happened."

She furled her wings once more. It had been many years since her friends had passed away. She had spent as much time with them as possible during her early years as a princess. But as the years rolled on and they grew older, it became more and more clear to her that she could not follow them. To see them grow older, to see them grow weaker with age, while she remained exactly as she was, made it very clear to her what was coming. But that made it no easier when it finally happened. And when they passed, that was the day she decided to officially move back to Canterlot. Oh sure she still had friends here in Ponyville, like Applebloom. But these five, her closest friends, were no more. And without them, she no longer had any reason to keep living in this village.

"Please understand girls. I don't hate Celestia for changing me like this, making me a princess. In the years since it happened I have achieved so much, seen so much, performed magic I once thought I'd never be able to do. But this....."

She got up and walked forward, placing a hoof on top of the nearest gravestone, that of Applejack's.

".....this sight of you, it always makes me wonder if it was worth it."

She brushed aside some of the leaves that had fallen on top of the grave.

"I would give it all up in a heartbeat for you. You know that. I'd give up my power, my crown.......my wings. I'd sacrifice it all, just so I could have one day.....just ONE day.....with things back the way they were. Back with all of you. Being friends. Laughing together. Being......being happy."

Her voice had become little more than sobs at this point. In this place, she felt free to allow herself to break down like this. Back in Canterlot, or even in Ponyville, she would never let herself lose it like this. Not where other ponies could see her. She did not care if they thought her "above" that sort of thing, but she knew how disheartened they'd be if they saw one of their rulers like this. So troubled, so....broken.

This was a far more upsetting visit than she had ever planned on it being. But, as she dwelt on her friends, more thoughts came to mind. Memories of her time here. Memories of her first meeting with all of them, how disinterested she was at first. How happy she was to see them when they cane to rescue her from Nightmare Moon. How heartbroken she felt when she almost lost them to the powers of Discord, and how joyous she was once more when that influence was broken. Hundreds of happy days, adventures, getting into trouble and learning about how important they all were to each other.

It brought another tear to her eye, but this time it was one of happiness.

"Girls. When I first came to Ponyville, all those years ago, making friends wasn't important to me. I came to do my duty towards Princess Celestia, nothing more. But, over time, you became as much a part of my life as my own family. You WERE my family. You were like the sisters I never had. I came to depend upon you. And when....when you passed, it nearly broke me. I never showed it, not to others at least, but it was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, save for the deaths of my own parents and brother. Losing you and them took something away from me that I will never be able to get back."

She turned and looked back over towards Ponyville.

"Other ponies have come and gone, and I've made friends of many of them. But...they were never as important to me as you were."

She then turned back towards the stones, taking her hoof off AJ's.

"But, I still cherish the times we had together. The good times and the bad. And I want you to know that my time living in Ponyville, my time with all of you......"

She closed her eyes and bowed her head, a single tear falling from her eye and landing on Applejack's grave.

".....they were truly the happiest years of my life. And I will never forget them, or you."

Twilight then bowed her head lower.

"I could never have become the mare I am today without you in my life. And for that, I will always thank you."

Twilight looked up and opened her eyes. She gave each stone a final look, touching each one gently in-turn, before beginning to maker her way back towards Ponyville. However, mere feet away from the stones, she stopped and turned back to look at the stones.

"......And I will always love you."

With those finale parting words, Princess Twilight Sparkle continued her walk towards the village of Ponyville, her mind filled with happy memories of the days she lived here, with the best friends anypony could ask for. Friends that would be with her in spirit no matter how many years passed. For as long as Twilight kept them in her heart, they would never truly be gone.
When I made my previous fic, "Magical mystery cure - Alternate ending", I mentioned how a long and possibly immortal life can lead to the loss of both frieds and family. After writing that I grew interested in exploring that concept, so I decided to go ahead and write a full-on story about it.

Hope you enjoy it.

All property belongs to Hasbro.
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The doors were tall. Taller than any doors she had ever seen before. They were inscribed on either side with gold-trimmed markings. On the left a mark of a pegasi. And on the right, a unicorn. But even the sheer size of that door was nothing compared to the building it was attached to. The royal palace of Canterlot. She'd always seen it from afar, but never this close. Given recent events, it was clear she'd be seeing a lot more of it in future.

Mi'Amore Cadenza her parents had named her. Cadence as she preferred to be called. A young filly, a child. Her hair tied back into a ponytail. A filly who had no idea how much her life was about to change.

It had been merely a day since the letter had arrived from the palace. She'd only reached schooling age but rather than having arrangements made to attend some local school, that letter had arrived instead. Her family had read it several times over, with looks of both pride and concern on their faces. They'd explained to her what it meant, that she would have to come here, but she still struggled to understand. Why her? Why was she chosen above others to come here? Of course, deep down, she knew the answers to those questions. But perhaps being here would make things clearer to her.

Cadence just kept staring at it as soon as she'd arrived there. The weight of this even was almost crushing her. But she knew how important it was. She looked on either side of the door. It was flanked by two unicorns guards, on male the other female. As they saw her approach, they immediately bowed to her. This was not behaviour she was used to, nor was it something she thought she'd ever get used to.

Once at the door proper, one of the unicorn's horns began to glow, which led to a faint glow around the door. After a few moments, they began to open with a loud creak which gave away their age. Once open, Cadence saw the great hall within. It was a magnificent sight to say the least. Polished white marble columns along a spectacularly clean hall decorated with beautiful stained-glass windows and red carpet.

Understanding the importance of this, the young filly stepped inside. She'd barely walked a few feet within before the doors were magically closed behind her. The whole experience was daunting, but she tried not to let it show. She simply continued to walk further in. She could see even from here, what it was she was walking towards. At the end of the hall was a flight of steps. At the top of the steps was a golden throne. And on that throne, flanked by two more unicorn guards, was the most important person in Equestria.

Princess Celestia. Their monarch. She who brought out the sun and the moon. The most powerful person in all of ponydom. And, most importantly to Cadence right now, the one who had summoned her here.

Once at the bottom of the flight of steps, the young filly merely looked up at the princess, her mouth gaping open at the sight of her. Sure, she'd seen her before during the Summer Sun Celebrations, but that was always when amongst others, a crowd. This was something else entirely. The princess meanwhile, merely looked down at the filly. Her expression was hard to read but it was clear she was thinking heavily about something.

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, Princess Celestia rose from her throne and began waking down the stairs. Seeing her approach, cadence dropped to her knees and bowed her head down, almost terrified as to what would happen.

What did happen however, was a hoof being placed on top of her head. She opened her eyes and looked up, seeing Celestia smiling at her.

"Mi'Amore I presume? Welcome to the royal palace."

With that smile, Cadence's fears began to vanish. That had always been something the people had appreciated about their Princess. She may be their ruler, but she never acted like it.

Once Celestia's hoof was off her head, Cadence stood up again, still gawking at the Princess.

"I trust you know why you are here?" Celestia asked, her voice now somewhat more serious.

Cadence closed her mouth and nodded frantically.

"It's because of my wings and horn, isn't it?" She replied.

Celestia nodded.

"You were born an alicorn, like me. And that is why you were brought here."

"Alicorn". The word sounded strange to her. Ever since she was little she knew she was different from all of her friends. None of them ever had wings and horn together, just one or the other. Even the other members of her family did not have this trait. It was a quality that had made her feel somehow special, being somewhat like the princess. But as to why she was like this, she never gave much thought to.

Celestia stretched out her left wing and used it to gesture to a door behind her. A door that led to a further hallway. Cadence nodded, getting the message, and began to walk alongside the Princess, who was now making her way through that door.

"Alicorns are an ancient and powerful race, gifted with both long life and magical ability far above that of other ponies." Celestia explained.

Cadence looked up at her as she spoke, utterly transfixed on every word she said. Powerful magic? If she had that she hadn't seen any sign of it yet. But then again, she had yet to earn her cutie mark, so who knows what kind of power she may have.

"Tell me child. What do you know of the aristocracy of Canterlot?"

The question had caught her off-guard. In truth she knew about as much as anyone else, or so she thought. She did know that hr family were among them, though nowhere near as rich and powerful as some of the other families in the city.

"The aristocracy are the nobles of the city your highness. They are of higher blood than other ponies."

Much to Cadence's surprise, the answer led to a chuckle from the princess. Had she given the wrong answer? Her confusion was soon answered.

"Higher blood you say? And where do you think that blood comes from?"

Another surprising question. Cadence thought hard about this one. The nobles of the city were only noble because they were descended from other aristocrats. On and on through the generations. Go back far enough and you may even find royalty in that line.

And that's when it hit her. The answer the Princess was looking for.

"You?" She answered.

Celestia gave a small smile and nodded.

"Yes. The aristocracy of this city are my descendents, including you."

Cadence was rather shocked by this revelation. She was related to the Princess? That was surprise enough, but to learn that all of Canterlot's nobles could trace their lines back to her was even more of a shock.

"Within this city lives hundreds upon thousands of my great grandchildren. This city's population is family to me, so I take great care to look after each and every one of them as best as I can."

Cadence could testify to that. She'd heard it many times that the Princess enjoys seeing to the needs of her subjects. She always made sure she was a very public figure, not hiding away behind the castle walls as other might.

But still, the notion that she was the ancestor of all of Canterlot's nobility raised a question in the young filly's mind.

"If you're our ancestor, why aren't there more alicorns?"

Celestia smiled as she looked down at the child. She looked back up to where she was going before replying.

"Very perceptive Mi'Amore. The reason being is that although the blood of alicorns flows through the veins of this city, it is blood that has been growing thinner with each generation. A thousand years ago, there were many more, largely because they were more directly related to me. My children and grandchildren. But as the line grew longer and further from me, fewer alicorns were born, instead being replaced by unicorns, pegasi and earth ponies."

She looked down at the child once more.

"You my dear are the first alicorn to be born in a century."

This was news that shocked the young pony. Had it really been that long since someone like her had been born? The knowledge of this lack of alicorns suddenly brought up another question.

"Wait. You said aliconrs were long-lived. You've been around for over a thousand years. If alicorns can live that long, shouldn't I have seen some around the city?"

Celestia's face suddenly became more solemn, as though remembering a painful memory.

"It's true, alicorns live long lives. But like I said, the blood of my kind has been growing less prominent with each generation. Mixed ancestry with other pony types affected the inherited abilities of those born afterwards. So while they may be born as alicorns, they do not possess the same age-span as myself. Most don't live longer than a hundred years."

This explanation quickly made something very clear to Cadence. If Celestia had lived this long and her descendant's hadn't, that could only mean one thing. That she had witnessed many of her own flesh and blood pass from this world, while she kept on going. It was a thought that Cadence did not appreciate one bit. She could not imagine what that must be like. To see everypony you hold dear grow old and die like that.

As troubling as that thought was to her, she suddenly remembered the reason why she was summoned here.

"Forgive me for sounding rude your majesty. But you still haven't explained why I was brought here. I know I'm an alicorn like you, but what specifically was I sent for?"

Celestia stopped walking, as did Cadence soon afterwards. The princess looked down at the young alicorn with a strange expression. It was a look that said "I've got something to tell you that you're either going to love or hate and I worry about which it will be".

"As is tradition, alicorns are to be personally tutored by the Princess of Equestria."

It took a few moments for Cadence to take in what she'd just heard. By that, Celestia could only mean one thing. When it dawned on Cadence what was going on, her eyes lit up like a Hearth's Warming Eve tree.

"You mean...you're going to be my teacher?" She said enthusiastically.

Celestia's expression became one of relief. It was clear that she had been worried about what the filly's reaction would have been. Once she knew she was fine with it, Celestia gave a nod, confirming Cadence's question.

"Indeed. You will become my personal protégé here at the palace princess."

The excited look on Cadence's face vanished and was replaced by one of confusion.

"Forgive me your highness, but did you just say princess?"

Celestia gave a smile and a nod.

"I did indeed. All alicorns are automatically granted a status as a member of the royal family, regardless of how far removed from the main bloodline they are."

This was all too much. First she learned she was of special blood, then she found out she was going to be tutored by the most beloved pony in all the world, and now on top of all that she was a princess too? It was so much she almost fainted. Celestia gave a small chuckle over the surprised expression on the filly's face.

"Now then. We will begin your lessons in the morning. In the meantime Princess Mi'Amore, allow me to show you to where you'll be staying here at the palace."

Celestia turned from her and began continuing to walk down the hall before Cadence spoke up again.

"Cadence."

Celestia stopped and looked back at her, eyebrow raised.

"My name. I've always preferred Cadence." She said honestly.

Celestia said nothing for a while, but soon gave a small smile and nodded.

"Very well then. This way...Princess Cadence."

Cadence smiled back as she joined the Princess on their walk to her quarters. The young filly had no idea what her life was going to be like once this all started. All she knew was that this was the best day of her entire life.
And here we have a piece I've been considering for a long time now.

As many of you know, Cadence is an alicorn. But considering that the only others of her kind we've seen so far are Celestia and Luna, what does that mean? What exactly is the relationship between her and the other two? Why do we see no others? Questions like that.

So here is my take on the nature of that race by way of showing Cadence's early interactions with Celestia.

Enjoy.

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It was a beautiful day in the northern reaches of Equestria. The rolling hills and grassy plains were, under the bright yellow sun, truly a sight to behold. Going straight through the middle of this lovely countryside was a single long train track, and upon it, a brightly coloured train. It was moving along at a good pace and heading towards a place that, until a year ago, was nothing more than a frozen wasteland. Within the train were a multitude of ponies, earth, pegasi and unicorn alike, from many different villages and towns to the south, all travelling together towards the northern Crystal Empire.

But among them was a particularly special group of ponies, and one young dragon. In a car towards the back of the train, a close collection of friends were all sitting in their seats, admiring the view. Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack and Spike were all doing their best to enjoy the train ride, which was usually something they looked forward to. But not today. Because today, they dared not enjoy themselves, at least not in present company. For right at the back of the car was a lone purple-coloured mare. Twilight Sparkle.

She was sitting alone, staring out of the window with a look on her face that made it clear that she wasn't happy. Her friends would glance back at her from time-to-time during this trip, but never so overtly that she knew they were doing so. Twilight's life had, very recently, taken a rather bad turn, as evidenced by all when they looked at her. A mere fortnight ago, she was as she'd always been, a unicorn, and one of great talent at that. But now, by the actions of one she'd held dear, she'd been changed. For there, upon her back, were the wings of an alicorn.

Princess Celestia had changed her after Twilight had managed to help her friends from having their destinies changed forever. Doing so had allowed her to create some new magic, and in doing so, she'd ascended to the role of alicorn and princess. But what Celestia, or indeed anypony, could not have foreseen was that this was not something Twilight wanted. She'd felt betrayed by the whole thing, to the point where she'd outright rejected Celestia and ran away from her, something nopony would ever think she'd do before her great change.

Even now, it was clear that she still felt bad over what had happened to her. Although her friends didn't like to look at it, they found they had little choice. Twilight's new wings were bound to the side of her body by a long strand of black fabric, almost like a belt. When she first got those wings, she had a hard time getting them under control. They'd move about in an unwanted fashion, so much so that she eventually got frustrated enough to simply bind them completely, preventing any form of movement. But in truth, Twilight was angry that she had these wings at all, so this was probably something she would have eventually done to herself anyway.

Although none of her friends were happy about seeing her like this, Rainbow in particular didn't like it, as it reminded her of a couple of times when her own wings were bound, most notably during a race against Applejack. Although a part of her felt she was wrong to deny this part of her, she was a loyal enough friend to know that that would have been the worst thing she could say to her right now. None of her friends were happy about what Twilight had gone through. The sense of betrayal, feeling like her whole future had been changed, none of it. But right now, none of them knew how to cheer her up, even after two weeks had passed.

And so the train trip went by with an air of discomfort hanging over the seven friends. This lasted until the train made it's final stop. The group looked at each other before turning to Twilight. The young mare was still staring out of the window for a few moments before getting out of her seat. The others waited until she passed by before following. The group made their way off the train and, as the train began to move off again, looked up at the magnificent sight before therm. The Crystal Empire, just as spectacular as they day they'd first laid eyes on it.

The six mares and Spike walked along the now-familiar path leading through the main part of the city. But while before they would have been able to travel through this place without much notice, today, things were different. Mares and stallions alike all gave shocked glances at the group. Everypony knew why. As far as the general public were concerned, there were only three alicorns in the entire world, Celestia, Luna and Cadence. now, all of a sudden, here was a fourth one walking down the street.

The group, seeing this, moved closer to Twilight and surrounded her as they walked, in an attempt to shield her from the prying eyes of the other ponies. But it was clear from the way Twilight hung her head that this was only making her feel worse about all this. However, they soon reached their destination, the crystal palace. Beautiful, even compared to the rest of the empire. A tall spire of glittering blue crystal, and at it's base, the glowing form of the crystal heart, ever ready to protect the empire should the need arise.

As they approached the main gates of the palace, the massive doors opened and the group stopped. From within emerged two figures, the sight of whom brought a much-needed smile to Twilight's face. Shining Armour and Princess Cadence. Twilight moved past her friends, who were pleased to see her happy about something at last, and towards her relatives, who in turn approached her with smiles. Once together, Twilight and Shining Embraced each other in a hug. While it had not been long since they last saw each other, much had happened since their last visit.

"Hey Twily." He said affectionately.

In spite of everything, Twilight chuckled, her old nickname bringing many happy memories of the two of them growing up together.

"I'm happy to see you, BBBFF."

The two parted from each other and Twilight turned her attention to her sister-in-law, Cadence, who also embraced her in greeting. Their hug wasn't as long as that with her brother, and they too parted from each other. Still smiling, Twilight spoke, though in a quiet and less energized tone than one might expect of her.

"I'm truly glad to see both of you."

The married couple glanced at each other before Shining spoke up.

"To be honest sis, I'm surprised you agreed to come."

Twilight nodded at that. In truth, she was indeed hesitant to accept his invitation. For the next few days were the annual princess summit of Equestria. And even though Twilight had rejected the role, she'd come simply because her friends and family had urged her that it might be good for her to get away from Ponyville for a little while. Still ,the presence of the summit made Twilight all too aware of who else would be here, and that was not something she revelled in.

"I thought coming here would be good for me. We haven't seen enough of each other in the last year. You or Cadence. I'm keep to catch up."

Shining nodded at that, but his expression became somewhat less happy, as did that of Cadence. From their eyes, it was evident to Twilight that they were both looking at the bindings on her wings, which made her uncomfortable. She knew that neither of them would have wanted to see her unhappy, or doing things like this to herself, but that was simply the way things were. Twilight opened her mouth to speak, but stopped when she began to see another figure emerge from the main gates of the palace.

Twilight's eyes narrowed somewhat as she saw that it was none other than Princess Celestia herself. Seeing the look on Twilight's face, Shining and Cadence turned to see the elder princess approach. Everypony there sudden felt an air of unease, as this was the first time Twilight and Celestia had been in each other's company since the former's change. Celestia stopped just a few feet away from Twilight, and the two stared at each other for some time. In days gone by, Twilight would have been thrilled to see her mentor, but not today. Today, her face was drained of all the joy that would have normally been there when she was with Celestia. Instead of greeting her enthusiastically, Twilight simply bowed to her in a formal manner.

"Greetings Princess. I trust the day treats you well?"

Everypony there was taken aback by that. Twilight's voice was devoid of all warmth. Never once had she ever spoken to Celestia like that, as the princess herself knew all too well. To see her student, one who had come to mean so much to her, speak to her in such an empty manner, it was almost enough to break her heart. It was proof, if ever such a thing was needed, that Twilight was still angry at her for what she had done. Still, a greeting, however empty, had been given, and Celestia nodded her head at the young alicorn.

"And to you, Miss Sparkle".

Twilight got up from her bowing position and turned her gaze away from Celestia, turning it instead towards her brother.

"Would it be alright if I got settled in my room?" She asked.

Shining glanced quickly at the sun princess before sighing and nodding his head towards his sister. Twilight then walked past him, not even bothering to glance up at Celestia as she passed her, and made her way inside the palace. This display, this utter lack of affection she'd shown, stunned her friends and family, but they'd have been lying if they didn't understand why she was behaving this way. She wasn't going out of her way to be harsh or angry towards Celestia, nor was she the kind of pony who'd want to appear this way, but this sadness that had taken root in her was, as all could see, changing her. All of them looked at each other, hoping that one of them would say something that they could do to make this situation more bearable.

Eventually, after a lengthy silence, it was Cadence who finally spoke.

"I'll talk to her."

The group looked at her, and Shining placed a hoof upon his shoulder's wife.

"No. I should be the one to do it."

Cadence smiled lovingly at her husband and placed her hoof upon his, before shaking her head.

"No, my love. Trust me on this. This will need more than a big brother's comfort."

Shining looked at his wife, unsure about all this, before nodding. Cadence looked at the rest of the group, who were all giving her encouraging looks, before turning her sight towards Celestia. The look on the princess' face made it all too clear that she was hurting. Twilight practically meant the world to her, and to see the young mare turn away from her, and in such anger, much have been difficult for her. Cadence knew what she had to do. And she hoped with all her heart that it would work.

............................................

Twilight very carefully, by way of her magic, lifted her things out of her travel pack. She was in her usual room in the palace, on he eastern side so she could get a good view of the rising sun. She was busying herself with unpacking her things, trying her best to keep her mind occupied, as she often would during unhappy times. Once all of her things were removed, she was at a loss over what to do next. After the way she acted at the gates, she knew it wouldn't be proper to go anywhere in the palace that Celestia was likely to go. And, even though her friends would no doubt want to cheer her up, she really didn't feel like socialising right now.

Then, she caught a glimmer in the corner of her eye. Turning, she was that it was a nearby vanity mirror, located next to her bed. For a moment, she hesitated. Even after the last two weeks, she still couldn't get used to her new appearance, to the point where, back at ponyville, she'd actually taken to taking down all mirrors in her tree-house. She didn't want to do this, but some part of her urged her to do it. And so, ever so slowly, she walked over to the mirror.

She looked at her reflection and, sure enough, her eyes immediately darted to the two wings on the side of her body, still pinned there by the black fabric. A look of disdain grew on Twilight's face, as though those wings were an unwelcome guest, or some unsightly blemish. Hesitantly, her horn began to glow, and the fabric binding the wings was gently removed and placed on the side. Twilight had put no effort whatsoever into learning how to control these new appendages, but now, in this private moment, stretched them out, giving her a good look at them.

She stared at her reflection for several minutes, thinking of it as somepony else. Not her. Not who she wanted to be. Seeing those wings, stretched out, these things she'd never wanted but had been given without her consent, a sudden wave of all the sadness she'd tried to get away from came washing over her. Her eyes began to well up and, as the first tears started flowing down her cheeks, she sat down on the vanity's wooden chair, buried her face in her hooves and collapsed herself on it, her sobbing now the only sound that could be heard in her room.

Twilight would have probably gone on like this for a long time, if not for the sudden knocking at her door. Lifting her head up, Twilight raised a hoof to her eyes and wiped away her tears before turning around.

"Come in." She said, her voice still wobbling a little.

The door to her room opened slowly and on the other side, Twilight saw her sister-in-law, Cadence, begin to enter. The two alicorns smiled at each other as the elder entered, closing the door behind her.

"Cadence! Hello. Can I help you?" Twilight asked.

Cadence approached the younger alicorn, her smile mixed with a look of concern.

"Actually, I was wondering if I could help you."

Twilight's smile faded. This was it, she told herself. The intervention that she'd known for some time was coming. She'd suspected that one or more of her friends would try and help her through all this, perhaps trying to convince her that she should be happy about what had happened to her. To say that she wasn't in the mood for such a talk would have been a great understatement. Still, Twilight knew that neither Cadence nor her friends were responsible for her current form, so they deserved the courtesy of her at least appreciating their wanting to help.

"Thanks Cadence. But I really just want to be alone for the moment."

Cadence sighed before walking closer to the mare she'd spent so many days foal-sitting for all those years ago. Twilight though, still adamant about wanting to be left alone, turned away from her, her gaze now upon her new reflection. She saw Cadence approach her in the mirror, before the latter placed a hoof upon Twilight's shoulder.

"Twilight.......we need to talk about this."

It was at this moment that Twilight finally let loose. She spun around with a look of anger in her face, taking Cadence aback at the sight of her. The purple alicorn hopped off her chair and stood her ground, her tone of voice a mixture of both anger and devastation.

"Talk? About what? How Celestia tricked me for all those years? About how I've been changed without anypony ever asking me what I want? How I was supposed to be something I never wanted to be? How could we possibly talk about it? How could you possibly know how.......how much this HURTS me?!"

With every word Twilight spat out, more and more tears grew in her eyes, until, by the time she'd finished, her cheeks were utterly drenched. The young mare, her anger now exhausted, shut her eyes tight and simply cried whilst standing. Cadnece meanwhile, had simply stood there, taking in every accusation Twilight had thrown out. She'd simply listened, knowing full-well that Twilight wasn't really angry, not at her anyway. The elder alicorn approached her friend and embraced her in a hug. The princess gave Twilight all the time she needed to get this all out, because she knew that she wasn't going to be able to help her if anything was held back.

Eventually, Twilight had dried her eyes and, with her breathing still a little shaky, looking up at Cadence remorsefully.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to....."

But Cadence raised a hoof, stopping her from speaking.

"It's alright. I understand."

Twilight looked away from Cadence, but her attention was drawn back to her when the princess placed a hoof on her shoulder once more.

"Really, I do. Believe it or not, I was no less angry than you when this happened to me."

Twilight's expression changed immediately to one of both surprise and curiosity. It was a look that did not escape Cadence's notice.

"I never told you how I became an alicorn myself, did I?" She asked.

Twilight considered this for a moment before shaking her head. It seemed obvious now, but to her shame, it never once occurred to her to ask Cadence how she ended up like this. Back when she was Twilight's foal-sitter, an alicorn is all Twilight had ever known her to be. She'd never asked if she had ever been anything else. Realising this, Twilight now understood that Cadence was, perhaps, the only pony she could talk to who understood what she was going through. And so, she looked up at her old friend, her face bearing an expectant look that made it clear she was ready to hear what the princess had to say.

Cadence took a deep breath before speaking.

"When I was born, I was a pegasus. I never knew my mother, or my father, nor do I know the circumstances that led to me being found like I was."

Twilight's eyes widened with shock.

"You.......you were abandoned? As a baby?"

Cadence nodded, her expression one of thoughtfulness. Twilight couldn't quiet believe what she'd heard. The idea of a pony simply abandoning their child like that was anathema to her. She had no idea what could have possibly prompted Cadence's parents to do such a thing, or if it was even their choice. But for all the questions this raised, she knew the story was far from over, as evidenced when Cadence resumed speaking.

"I was found in the woods by a group of earth ponies. They took me back to their village, where they raised me as their own. I was happy there. I wanted for nothing and the ponies never treated me like an outsider. To my adopted parents, I WAS their daughter, regardless of my ancestry."

Cadence's face lit up with a smile, making it clear to Twilight that she was doubtless recalling the many happy memories from her childhood. Growing up and playing with the other earth pony children. Being raised by loving parents, adopted or otherwise. Cadence had truly been happy there if it caused her to grow nostalgic like this. But then, her expression became somewhat sour.

"Then, one day, something terrible began to happen in the village. A cruel pony, named Prismia, conjured a spell that stole love from others. She bore an amulet that amplified her own jealousy, as well as her natural evil traits."

Twilight's mind conjured up images of a certain show-pony who had once worn a similar amulet, corrupting her and what she was, harming those around her in the process. Still Twilight's mind soon snapped back to Cadence's story.

"When I confronted her, her amulet increased my own love, allowing me to undo her spell on the earth ponies. With her power broken, Prismia changed her ways. But that victory had also changed me. I was suddenly surrounded by a bright light, and taken to a strange place. There, I met, for the first time, Princess celestia."

Twilight's expression became one of discomfort. Cadence's story was becoming all too familiar to her. She too had been taken by a bright light to an unknown realm. And like her, Celestia had been waiting for Twilight also. The young alicorn didn't have to do much guesswork to understand what was coming next in Cadence's story.

"That meeting with the princess led to a great magic surrounding me, and when I woke, I was as you see now, an alicorn."

Twilight's guess had been right on the mark. It was just as it had been with her. The rest of Cadence's life, Twilight knew pretty well. She was officially adopted as Celestia's niece shortly after her transformation, and it was only a few years later that she first met Twilight and became her foal-sitter. But as much as she'd been enthralled by the princess' story, there was once concern on Twilight's mind. A concern she now wished to voice.

"And.......were you okay with it? Being an alicorn?"

Cadence's expression became more stern as she looked down at her sister-in-law. It was not a look that Twilight could ever remember Cadence having before, and it unnerved her.

"Actually, if I'm being honest, I was like you. I was angry. I had a happy life among the earth ponies, and would have been content to go back and live among them once Prismia was taken care of. Then, out of nowhere, Celestia, a complete stranger to me, takes me away from that life, changes what I was, who I was, and tells me I have a whole future now laid out for me that I never wanted or asked for."

Twilight almost regretted asking the question now. Clearly it had brought up bad memories for Cadence. Memories of her being in the exact same position Twilight was now in. If anything, this actually made the purple mare feel worse about this whole situation. Not only had Celestia changed her without her wanting it, but it wasn't even the first time she'd done so. Looking up at Cadence, she listened on as the latter kept speaking, her eyes now shut tight.

"I was angry at her for so long, more so when I found out there was no going back for me. Never to be a pegasus again. I wanted to hate her. To push her and everypony else away from me. But........"

Cadence's expression softened and she opened her eyes once more.

"........for one reason or another, I chose to stay, as her niece. And as the months passed, my anger faded, replaced with happiness over what had happened to me. And now, looking back over my life, I realise that my change truly gave me a better life than if I'd stayed a pegasus."

Twilight was rather taken aback by that. After all the negative feeling that Cadence had been showing over her transformation, she was shocked to hear her now speak so positively about it.

"By becoming an alicorn, I've been able to help so many ponies. And if it had not been for my change, I would never have met so many of my current friends. I would never have met you. And through you, I met Shining Armour, the stallion who became the love of my life."

Cadence's expression became one of joy, as a massive smile grew on her face.

"I was truly blessed for what Celestia gave me. And though my anger for her was great once, now there is only gratitude."

Twilight was speechless. Her mind struggled as hard as it could to grasp everything that had been said to her. She could not deny that Cadence had been given a great opportunity, to help many ponies throughout Equestria. She could also not deny that if she had never met Celestia, or be made into an alicorn, Twilight herself would never have met her. As much as it pained Twilight to admit, Cadence had a point. Celestia had indeed done something wonderful for her. And though she still rested having it happen to her, she had no doubt that Celestia had the same well meaning when she changed Twilight as she did when she changed Cadence.

But in spite of that, Twilight knew that she wasn't Cadence. What might have brought her sister-in-law happiness was not going to do the same for her. She had dreams of how her life would be. Dreams that would now never happen because of Celestia's secret plan for her. It was a betrayal of her trust, something that brought Twilight to a place of anger and bitterness once more. The young alicorn shut her eyes tight, and it didn't take long for Cadence to notice this and realise what was going on in her mind.

She placed her hoof under Twilight's chin and moved her face up so she was looking directly at her, Twilight's eyes now open once more.

"I know that with you things are different. You never wanted this, and I understand that. But even so, ask yourself this. Celestia has been a friend and mentor to you for as long as you can remember. She's practically become family to you. And knowing that, do you truly want her to be cut out of your life like this? Regardless of what she's done to you?"

Twilight considered that carefully. Although she was still hurt over Celestia's actions, she could not deny that Cadence was right. The thought of no longer having the princess in her life, no longer being friends with her and avoiding her at every turn over her sense of betrayal, was not a prospect that endeared itself to her. Realising this, The young mare, looked down at the floor and sighed deeply.

"Thank you Cadence." She said quietly.

The princess smile at Twilight and placed her hoof on her shoulder.

"Twilight......you know what you need to do now."

Twilight grimaced at that remark. She didn't want to admit it, and after everything that had happened, she knew it would be easy, but Cadence was right. There was something very important that she now needed to do. She looked up at her sister-in-law and gave her a smile, which was soon returned. She then made her way to the door of her room and, after looking back to see Cadence give her a look of encouragement, left her room and began walking down the hall.

..............................................

As she stared at the large wooden door, Twilight couldn't help but feel a great many conflicting emotions over what she was about to do. Anger. Fear. Apprehension. Nervousness. Even a degree of shame. But she knew that, after what had just happened between her and Cadence, it would have been wrong for her not to do this. And so, taking a deep breath, she raised a hoof and knocked on the door. There was a few moments of silence until finally, a very familiar voice could be heard from the other side.

"Come in."

This is it, Twilight told herself, and she placed her hoof upon the door and pushed it. She entered the room within and looked at it with all the warmth that open might look upon an old home. This was the private chamber of Princess Celestia herself. It was not quite as grand as many of the other rooms of the crystal palace, but it was clear it was where somepony important would reside. Many of Celestia's things from her chambers had been brought here for her to enjoy during her time at the summit. Old book-cases, furniture, and many other things. Twilight had spent many days within Celestia's chambers back at Canterlot when she first became her student, learning magic and many other lessons. Seeing this room crafted in the image of that old one brought forth many happy memories for her.

But that warmth faded somewhat when her eyes fell upon Celestia herself, who was sitting in front of a roaring fire, upon a large purple cushion. The princess was staring at the flame, and had not yet turned to see who had entered her room.  But as Twilight approached, Celestia turned, and her eyes widened when she finally realised who it was. The elder alicorn got up quickly, clearly shocked that her student would come to her like this. Truth be told, Twilight was also unsure of her place here.

There was an awkward silence between them. Both of them held the events of earlier today fresh in their minds. Both knew how badly the other was feeling, yet neither wanted to be the first to speak. After a lengthy, not to mention uncomfortable, silence, Celestia exhaled before opening her mouth to speak. But before she could do so, Twilight raised her hoof, stopping her. There was a time when it would have been unthinkable for Twilight to consider doing such a thing. But today, she knew what needed to be said.

"Princess........I understand why you did what you did. Ever since we first met, you believed that I had great potential. That I had a great destiny before me. And though you didn't tell me, your teachings were all to help me become a better person."

Celestia remained silent through her student's words, listening very carefully and not letting her face show what she was thinking.

"And though my anger over what you did was real.........I've had time to think. And I realise that, for good or bad, you did what you thought was best for me. Just as you've always done. And though I may have acted otherwise, I want you to know that I don't hate you. Not even a little."

Celestia's famous poker-face finally began to break, replaced by eyes beginning to well up. Twilight, upon seeing this, became somewhat tearful herself, and she spoke her next words with a slight wobble in her voice.

"I'm sorry for what I said to you. You gave me something special and I threw it back in your face. I'm........I'm sorry."

With those words, the two launched forward, embracing each other in a hug, finally allowing themselves to let out all of the regret and sorrow they'd built up but never wanted to show to each other. Celestia felt relief like she'd never felt before. For the last few weeks, she'd feared that Twilight, who had become like her own daughter, would turn away from her forever, which would have undoubtedly broken the sun princess' heart. But here she was, trying to make things better between them. Nothing in the whole world could have made Celestia happier.

After some time had passed, the two broke apart from each other.

"Twilight. I cannot tell you how happy I am that you still want me to be a part of your life. After what happened......I never thought you could ever forgive me for what I did."

Twilight's expression became somewhat stern after that, giving Celestia cause for concern.

"Please understand. Being a princess was never something I wanted. That hasn't changed. I still don't want anything to do with being a princess, regardless of whether or not I'm an alicorn for life now. An as for that..........I don't think I can ever forgive you for changing me."

For a brief moment, Celestia felt her heart sink. To know that there was still a part of Twilight which resented what she did was enough to almost wipe away the joy she'd felt mere moments ago. But that melancholy was itself lost when Twilight regained her smile.

"But I can forgive you for WHY you changed me. It was a great honour and........I just didn't realise it."

Celestia smiled again, content that her student did not want to completely exorcise Celestia from her life. The two eventually parted from each other's embrace and simply allowed themselves to enjoy this peaceful moment, something they'd both feared they could never enjoy again. Celestia looked over to her cushion and, using her head, gestured to it. Twilight got the message and the two moved over, sitting down next to the fire and enjoying being in each other's company, like they used to do when Twilight was younger. After some silence, Celestia spoke.

"I've been thinking about what you said, and I realise that you were right."

Twilight looked up at her mentor, a look of confusion on her face.

"I changed you without your knowledge because I thought it was what was best for you. But I never considered that you might have other goals in life. Other dreams. It never occurred to me to even ask. And for that I'm sorry."

Twilight said nothing, but smiled in appreciation. That was indeed how Twilight felt about the whole matter and she placed a hoof on Celestia's shoulder gently, letting her mentor know that she accepted her apology. Celestia smiled at that.

"If you do not wish to be a princess, then you have my blessing for that choice."

Twilight's smile grew further, appreciating that her mentor now understood her that much better. The two, now content with the understanding they now shared about each other, carried on smiling, knowing that, even after such dark times had occurred between them, they could now move forward, as though they were family once more. Twilight did not know how her life would be now that she was forever changed, nor did either of them know how Equestria would react to the idea of an alicorn that wasn't a princess. But to Twilight, those things didn't matter now. It had been a slow and painful recovery from the shock of her transformation, but she was ready to face the world again.

"Yeah." Twilight said. "Everything will be just fine".
And so, as requested by my watchers, here we have a continuation of my original alternate ending for "Magical mystery cure". Here, Twilight is recovering from having been changed, and things are still rather difficult with her.

For those who want to know, the backstory I gave Cadence here was taken from MLP supplemental material, most notably the book, "Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell".

Credit also goes to BB-K for inspiring me with the idea of having Cadence be the one to help Twilight through this.

Previous fic: fav.me/d6is7gv

MLP belongs to Lauren Faust and Habsro.
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The sun was shining brightly today. The sky was a clear blue and everywhere you went in the parks of Canterlot, ponies were smiling and laughing.

But then, they had good reason to be happy. For this was hearts and Hooves day. And on this day, like it was every year, love was in the air. Mares and stallions alike spent the day with their "very special someponies". You could not go two steps forward without laying your eyes on some happy couple enjoying each others company.

But sitting on a grassy hill in the middle of the park, was one pony who did not have a smile upon his face. A white stallion with a blue mane, wearing a rather ornate red uniform of a captain, who sat there on the top of the hill, and was experiencing worry like never before.

Over the course of his time as a member of the royal guard, he had been against many things that might cause other ponies to quake with fear. He had faced down raiding parties of dogs without hesitation. He's fended off hydras and manticores. He'd even earned stood up to the sun Princess herself on a number of occasions when nopony else would have dared.

It would be easy to assume that this stallion possessed no sense of fear whatsoever.

But such an assumption would be false. For today of all days, Shining Armour was more afraid than he had ever been. And all of it centred around having to do what could arguably be called the most important decision he's ever had to make.

"It's okay Shining. You can do this." He said to himself.

He looked around the area where he was sitting. The weather was good, the ground was dry. There were plenty of good-looking trees and other plants to make the place suitable for the occasion. It was also a fairly deserted part of the park. Which was perfect as he didn't really want any crowds around for what was going to happen.

He took a deep breath in a vain attempt to calm his nerves. After which he used his magic to pull out a small object from one of the pockets of his uniform. A small black box which fit neatly in the palm of his hoof.

"Just stay calm and ask the question. Everything will be fine."

Using his magic again, he placed the box back into his pocket. And as he did so, a dark thought came to the forefront of his mind.

What if things DIDN'T go well? What if she says "no"? What would he do if she did? How would things between them ever recover? The more he thought about it, the worse he felt. He was nervous enough to begin with but dwelling on these doubts made him practically sick to his stomach.

But then he managed to quell those dissident voices in his mind with a simple reminder.

"If there was even the slightest doubt in your mind about what would happen, you never would have even considered doing this."

It was a true enough statement, but not quite enough to put him entirely at ease. Still, he didn't have any more time to dwell on the matter, as he heard a familiar voice from behind.

"If ever there was a more perfect place of us to spend this day, I cannot think of it."

His head spun around so fast it almost snapped off. But doing so would have been worth it if it mean looking at the mare who was now walking gracefully towards him.

Princess Mi'Amore Cadence. Or cadence, as she would often remind him to call her. She was as beautiful to Shining's eyes as she'd always been. Her mane kept clean and flowing, with the light from the sun made her gold necklace and tiara glisten. If there was a single mare in this world more beautiful, Shining did not want to know.

He smiled and got up from his sitting position and walked over to greet her.  In the past, when they first started seeing each other, they'd usually just say hello when they met. But they'd been together for such a long time now, that whenever they met up, they just kissed. And today was no different. The meeting of their lips was brief, but it was all they needed.

"How have you been?" Shining asked.

Cadence smiled. This was a question he always asked whenever they met up with one another. If this had been anyone else, she'd have called them repetitive. But she loved this stallion too much to even think of calling him that.

"Well. My journey to the outlying villages of Equestria took some travelling, but it was worth it. The people there always appreciate a visit from the royal family."

Shining was glad to hear that she was doing well. As a member of Equestria's nobility, to say nothing of her position as a direct blood relative of the two princesses, had her busy most days. It was often felt that the royals needed to keep in-touch with all other ponies, so many trips were made to the cities and villages. A reminder of sorts that Canterlot did not consider itself above everyone else.

"I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying yourself." He replied honestly.

The two walked over to where Shining had been sitting previously ans sat down together. They took a moment of silence to admire their surroundings. Judging from the look on Cadence's face, Shining could tell she was impressed by his choice of locale.

"I knew you were a romantic Shining, but this is simply beautiful". She commented, not taking her eyes off the trees that surrounded them.

The captain could not help but feel pleased about himself. He wanted everything today to be perfect. The setting, the timings, everything. And so far, things were going well. Then he noticed that Cadence was facing him, with a big smile on her face. Her eyes told him that she was clearly touched by the fact that they were spending this special day together in such a beautiful place.

"Few would ever go so far, even on a day like today. I could not have asked for a better special somepony". She said lovingly.

This remark led Shining to smile once more. He'd had this all planned out and now he had his opening.

"I appreciate that Cadence. But perhaps, special someponies is not all that we could be to each other."

Cadence raised an eyebrow and tilted her head slightly to the side.

"What do you mean?"

Shining took a deep breath, once more to calm his nerves, and just dove right in.

"Cadence, for as long as we've been together, you've been one of the most important people in my life. Being together with you has made me happy in a way that I never would have thought possible. When we are apart, I count the moments, and when we're together, I cherish each and every second. And ever since that day when we started being together, I have daily thanked whatever force rules this world to have made me so fortunate."

Cadence's reaction to all this was a mixed one. Her eyes upon hearing all this, were watery, almost to the point of tears. It was clear that Shining's words rang true in her heart. The stallion she loved was saying things so touching, she could have just cried right there. But there was also confusion still on her face. She knew this was a day for lovers, but why would he say these things to her now?

Shining took another deep breath before speaking once more.

"And that is why I can no longer imagine my life without you."

He stood up from his sitting position and turned to face her completely. He then knelt down, his eyes never leaving hers. Using his magic, he once more brought out the black box from his pocket and placed it in the palm of his hoof. Cadence's eyes widened as she saw this object. The look on her face made it clear that she knew what was coming. But she said nothing, as though it would not yet be real to her until Shining said what she now knew he was going to say.

Shining Armour took his eyes off Cadence for e brief moment so he could use his magic to open the black box on his hoof. Once open, Cadence saw what was within. A golden ring which glistened in the light of the sun.

"Princess Cadence.......will you marry me?"

It was as though the entire world had ground to a halt. You could have heard a pin drop, given the silence. There wasn't even the slightest breeze to make any sound. Cadence just sat there, repeatedly looking back and forth between Shining Armour and the ring he was presenting her. All the while just leaving her mouth wide open from the shock of what had just happened.

This did nothing to soothe Shining's nerves. With every moment that passed, he became more and more agitated. In that silence, those troublesome thoughts from earlier began to resurface. Maybe she doesn't want to get married. Maybe I said something wrong or maybe the ring wasn't good enough. What in Equestria am I going to do?

But soon enough, Shining got his answer.

For instead of speaking, Cadence's face cracked into the biggest smile he'd ever seen. She then let out a scream of joy so loud it almost blew his ears out. Before he could respond, she lunged at him, wrapping her forelegs around his neck and planting the biggest kiss imaginable on his lips. The lunge had been so sudden and hit him with such force that it knocked him on his back with her now lying on top of him.

The kiss was the longest either of them had ever done with each other, lasting a full five minutes before Cadence finally broke away. Shining, needless to say, had been left rather speechless by the whole incident. His shocked expression and open-hanging mouth caused Cadence to giggle at the sight. She placed one hoof under his chin and closed his mouth for him.

"In case there was any confusion, that means "yes"".

The shock quickly disappeared from his face when she said this. Soon, his face had a smile to match hers. Cadence finally got off him enough to allow him to get up. They said nothing to each other, simply staring at each other with love in their eyes. Then Shining broke the silence.

"You have just made me the happiest stallion in the world."

Cadence lovingly placed a hoof on the side of his face.

"How appropriate then that you're marrying the happiest mare."

Shining gave a sigh of relief. He'd been worrying about this day for weeks. There had always been that doubt in the back of his mind that kept telling him he wasn't good enough. That Cadence would never say "yes" to him. That this day he'd been dreaming of would never happen.

Now that doubt was dead forever.

Just then, Cadence, placed both hooves at the side of her own face and squealed, prompting Shining to look concerned.

"What is it?" He asked.

Then Cadence smiled once more.

"You know what this means right?" Twilight and I are going to be sister-in-laws!"

Cadence squealed with delight once more at the thought. It pleased Shining to no end to see his now-fiancé so happy about this. But then he couldn't blame her. It was a happy occasion.

"I'm sure Twilight will be thrilled when we finally tell her. And speaking of telling people, you know we're going to have to inform your aunts about this."

Cadence nodded.

"I'm sure they'll be just as happy as me. After all, if it wasn't for their prompting over the last few months, we probably wouldn't even be together."

Shining had to concede that. It was something for which he would now be eternally grateful towards the two princesses for. With that settled, the two stood up, with Cadence's hoof in Shining's. Neither of them wanted this moment to end, and who could blame them for that? It was the happiest they'd ever been.

"Well then, shall we get going my lady?" Shining asked in that tone of voice that Cadence just loved.

She nodded.

"Indeed Captain. There is much to do and many people to tell."

And so, hoof-in-hoof, the newly engaged couple walked down the hill, ready to inform their friends and family that the two had made the greatest decision of their entire lives.
Another missing scene story.

And here we finally have my interpretation of Shining Armour and Cadence getting engaged. Let me tell you right now that I have been dreading this once since I started this series. I have little to no experience in writing romance so I've been worried the whole time that the story and proposal I've written here would just come across as unbelievable.

Though I very much hope that isn't the case.

Just one more chapter to go.

All property belongs to Hasbro.
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As she approached the blue door, she hesitated. Ever since Rainbow's denouncing of Lightning Dust, which occurred in front of not only her friends, but her entire squad of recruits, this was something she knew she had to do. But that didn't mean she had to like it. She'd been practically trembling on the approach to Spitfire's office. What she planned to do here, and what consequences that might emerge from it, were things she did not care to think about. But she also knew that if she didn't do this, if she simply kept quiet and went along with what had been going on, she'd never forgive herself for it.

She lifted her hoof and pushed the door open. Once open, Rainbow saw within the office. Spitfire was there, continuing to do what she'd been doing the last time Rainbow had visited her, signing autographs. It was understandable of course. Being as famous a flier as she was, Spitfire probably had to spend half her day doing this. Though it was clear from the look on her face that she didn't enjoy this. Like Rainbow she'd much rather spend her time in the air.

As the opening door creaked however, the leader of the Wonderbolts looked up from her desk and straight at Rainbow. Ever since She'd arrived at the academy, Rainbow had learned very quickly that this mare could be very intimidating when she needed to be. But on this day, Rainbow couldn't let that stop her. Not now. Spitfire's expression was a dismissive one, much like it had been when Rainbow had last entered this office.

"This had better be important Rainbow Dash". She said sternly.

The blue pegasus took a deep breath and began to walk forward as Spitfire continued.

"You're supposed to be out there busting clouds with your partner."

The mention of lightning Dust hardened Rainbow's resolve, reminding her exactly why she'd come here and doing much to wipe away her doubts about what she was about to do. Once in front of Spitfire's desk, Rainbow gave the customary salute before giving her response.

"We're done with that ma'am." She replied.

Spitfire's expression became one of surprise. She knew Rainbow and Lightning were good fliers, but even she didn't think they could perform such a task like this that quickly.

"Already?" She said unbelievingly.

She took off her sunglasses and turned around to look at the clock on the wall behind her. Barely a few minutes had passed since she'd set the task for the squad. If Rainbow was speaking the truth, that was a most impressive feat of flying.

"That's an academy record". She continued.

She turned back to face Rainbow, frowning as she did so.

"Explain your methods." She demanded.

Rainbow's face bore a look of determination. Hopefully Spitfire's reaction would be what she'd hoped it would be.

"That's why I'm here ma'am. Lighting Dust decided to use a tornado".

Rainbow looked at the look on Spitfire's face. It was clear she was giving this knowledge a great deal of thought. And indeed she should. Use of extreme weather like tornados was a highly risky manoeuvre for any pegasus, much more so for a recruit. Rainbow hoped that she'd recognise how dangerous it was for her and Lightning to have done this and take appropriate action.

"A bit excessive for cloud-busting." The Wonderbolt said.

A "bit" excessive? Rainbow couldn't believe she'd just said that. At the very least she'd expected Spitfire to be angry over the fact that this was done without supervision. But things were made even worse for her with the commander's next words.

"But judging from your time it was obviously an effective tactic".

The smile on Spitfire's face said everything Rainbow needed to know. She was impressed. Spitfire was impressed with what Lightning had done. That little stunt which nearly killed the ponies closest to her, and she couldn't be happier. All doubt over what she planned to do now vanished from her as Rainbow gained a look of anger and stepped forward to tell Spitfire exactly what was on her mind.

"Yeah? Well that "effective tactic" nearly took out my friends!"

Spitfire moved back in surprise as the angry mare berated her.

"No disrespect ma'am. But there's a big difference between pushing yourself as hard as you can, and just being reckless."

Spitfire's eyes narrowed at this. No-pony had ever spoken to her like this before. Certainly not a young recruit desperate to get into the Wonderbolts. She remained silent during this outburst, not sure how to react as Rainbow's torrent of criticism continued.

"And if being reckless is what gets rewarded around here. If that's what it means to be a Wonderbolt.....then I don't want any part of it."

Now that Rainbow had finally stopped, Spitfire took this opportunity to reply to what had just been said.

"What are you saying newbie?" She asked.

Before saying anything, Rainbow lifted something up and placed it on the desk right in front of Spitfire. When she removed her hoof, the Wonderbolt saw, much to her shock, what it was. It was Rainbow's wing-pony badge. She looked up as Rainbow gave her answer.

"I quit."

Spitfire was speechless. She said nothing as Rainbow walked out of her office and closed the door behind her. Once on the other side, the enormity of what she had just done sank in, and Rainbow's face became one of both shock and disbelief. All her life she had tried to be counted among these pegasi, and in just a few days, that image of them had shattered in her mind. Now she'd just thrown away her chance to join.

She looked back at Spitfire's door, half out of a desire to go back in and try to fix the situation, and half out of some expectation that there would be some retaliation from her over this. But there was nothing. No call for her to come back in. Nothing. Seeing no other action to take at this point, and having had enough of this place, Rainbow hunger her head down and began walking back towards the barracks to collect her things.

...................................................

Later on, after having collected all of her belongings from her quarters, Rainbow arranged to meet with her friends at the end of the academy runway. There, they would go on towards the group's balloon, which had been fixed since the tornado incident. After having met up with the group, she explained what had happened in Spitfire's office. As she spoke, the other ponies' mouths were practically on the floor with shock. As Rainbow busied herself with getting her back-pack on, Applejack summed up the general feeling of the group.

"You did WHAT?!"

Rainbow knew that this wouldn't have been easy for them to hear, or even to understand. A suspicion which was confirmed by Rarity speaking up.

"But being a Wonderbolt was your dream!"

It was true. For as long as she could remember, she'd wanted to be one of them. But after everything that had happened, she could no longer view the prospect of membership as something she wanted, a sentiment she needed to share.

"Not anymore." She said flatly.

Suddenly, she felt something in her right shoulder. Turning her head, she saw Twilight, who had placed her hoof there, her face covered in a look that said she was upset for her.

"I'm sorry Rainbow Dash. I know how much this meant to you." She said softly.

Rainbow said nothing to that, and neither did anyone else. Instead, the group came together, all leaning on her in sympathy. It was not something Rainbow enjoyed, being pitied like this. But she was grateful for the sentiment. The moment would have been pleasant enough, had it not been for a raised voice that now caught everypony's attention.

"Rainbow Dash!"

The group turned. There, approaching their place on the runway, and bearing a very angry expression, was Spitfire. She was flanked by two of the Wonderbolt guards and was marching rather intently towards them.

"How dare you storm out of my office without giving me a chance to respond!"

Rainbow stepped forward, her face equally as angry as Spitfire, ready to face whatever she had to throw at her. Spitfire reached just a few feet from where she and the group were, and stopped.

"The Wonderbolts are the best fliers in Equestria."

The Wonderbolt then took off her sunglasses, her expression softening somewhat.

"But you're right. Being the best should never come at the expense of your fellow pony."

Rainbow's eyes widened in surprise. Did Spitfire just say she was right? Instead of replying to this, she kept quiet as the Wonderbolt leader continued.

"It's not just about pushing ourselves. It's about pushing ourselves in the right direction."

She then smiled and pointed her hoof and the surprised pegasus.

"And you've shown that you're capable of just that."

Rainbow herself now smiled, glad that her words had actually managed to change Spitfire's mind on this. Her smile faded however when the latter's expression became one of disapproval. But instead of that look being directed towards her, Rainbow noticed that, approaching behind Spitfire, was her former squad-mate and partner, Lightning Dust. The two had not seen each other since their spat in the training grounds. The recruit looked rather troubled, and somewhat nervous over having been brought before Spitfire.

The leader of the Wonderbolts then walked right up to Lightning's face, making her very uncomfortable. Then, much to the shock of everypony there, she stripped off the golden leader badge from Lightning's uniform. After doing this, she pointed away from the group, silently ordering the recruit to leave. As Lighting walked away, she gave one final look back to the group. Her expression was hard to read. Disappointment in herself? Or perhaps upset that her actions had led to her being shamed like this? It was hard to say.

Spitfire then turned back to Rainbow Dash and smiled, holding up the golden badge.

"You're no wing-pony Dash. You're a leader."

Rainbow didn't know what to think at this. There was a part of her that wanted to leap for joy over what had just happened. The Wonderbolts want her back! But then, as she dwelt on that thought, another part of her began to speak up. A part which not only brought up memories of what had happened earlier today, but of other things. Her adventures with her friends. The admiration she'd gained from her community. The things she'd accomplished. And when that part of her spoke, the smile over Spitfire's presentation of the badge faded.

Spitfire moved forward, about to place the badge onto Rainbow's uniform when, to the surprise of all present, Rainbow held up her own hoof and stopped her.

"I'm sorry ma'am. But I can't accept this."

Spitfire raised an eyebrow.

"Why not? Is this still about what happened earlier with your friends?" She asked.

Rainbow shook her head.

"No. It's not that. It's just......this is not something I want anymore."

The silence which followed that statement was almost deafening. Rainbow's friends looked at each other, unsure of how to react to that. Should they say something? Do something? All they knew was that Spitfire was just as speechless over this as they were.

"Don't want this?" Spitfire said.

Rainbow shook her head again.

"But....every time we've met you've always said that this was your dream."

Rainbow exhaled deeply before replying to that.

"You're right. It was my dream. Since I was a filly, I've wanted to prvoe myself. I wanted to show the world that I was good at what I did. That I was worthy of being counted among the best fliers there were. Being part of the Wonderbolts was always something I thought would do that. If I joined you, all my friends, my family, they'd seem how good I was, the great things I could achieve."

She looked up, right into Spitfire's eyes. She then turned around and looked at her friends, smiling as she did so.

"But you know what? I realised that being a Wonderbolt is not as great an achievement as all the other things I've done. With the help of my friends, I've done thing that I would have thought impossible once. I've flown faster, saved lives, even saved whole countries. And I did it all without having to wear some blue and yellow uniform."

She turned back to Spitfire, whose face was bearing a look of surprise and confusion over this.

"When I was younger, I thought being one of you was how I could prove my worth. Now.....I realise I don't need to prove anything. Not to you, or anypony else. I am Rainbow Dash. And I don't need the Wonderbolts to be worth something."

Rainbow's thoughts drifted to a memory. One from not too long ago. Of a certain camping trip, where an eager young filly declared just how important Rainbow was to her. Of course, Rainbow had known for some time that Scootaloo had admired her, but not wanting to be the boastful mare she once was, she'd never gone out of her way to encourage it. But still, that girl looked up to her, admired her. And she did with without Rainbow ever having to be one of the Wonderbolts first. She admired her for who she was already, as did all of her friends. The fact that so many ponies felt that way about her, even without her achieving what she once held as her dream, was proof enough that she was doing the right thing.

Looking at Spitfire, who was still speechless, Rainbow spoke once more.

"I don't need you......."

With that, she turned and walked away from the leader of the Wonderbolts. She passed through her friends, who were still gaping in awe over what she had just done. Once she was far enough away, without even looking back, she spoke her final words to Spitfire.

".......not anymore."

She once more started walking. Her friends looked at each other, trying to think of something to say. They looked over to Spitfire, whose face now turned into one that almost looked like shame. But before they could get a proper look, she turned and walked off. Seeing this, the group turned back to Rainbow and ran after her. They caught up with her quickly and nopony said a word until they got to the balloon.

Packing up their belongings, Pinkie Pie decided to break the silence.

"Um, Rainbow?" She asked in an uncharacteristically quiet tone.

Rainbow looked at her. Pinkie hesitated to ask what she needed to, but did so all the same.

"How do you feel?"

The blue pegasus considered this, then slowly smiled. She looked back at the academy one more time. Once, it was a place she'd dreamed of being a part of. Now, it was merely the place which taught her just how much she didn't need it.

"Pinkie. Today.......I feel great."
Here we have, what I think, should have been the real ending to the most recent episode.

Now before anyone asks, I don't mean this to say that I dislike the episode, or that I wasn't happy that Rainbow got a happy ending. I liked the episode and I'm glad she got her dream at the end. But still, if I had the choice, this is how I would have had things play out.

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It was as silent as the grave right now. Twilight sat there, at the other end of the table from Celestia, staring at her beloved mentor with her mouth hanging open. It felt like an eternity since Celestia had spoken, but no amount of passed time could make what she'd said any easier to swallow. It wasn't true, Twilight told herself. This was some sort of joke. There was no way that what Celestia had said could possibly be real. Maybe this was a dream, or even a nightmare.

But deep down, she knew that it wasn't. No matter how much she might wish it to be untrue, she had to face reality, however terrible that reality might have become for her. Not wanting to spend the rest of the day with her mouth hanging open, Twilight finally broke the silence.

"....Your.....your.....your son?"

The words had been hard to get out, almost as though her mouth refused to register them. Celestia meanwhile, merely sat on the other side of the table and quietly nodded. She said nothing, merely waited for Twilight to say something else. But what could she possibly say? What could any sane pony possibly say to hearing that their monarch was the mother of one of Equestria's most notorious despots? How could this have happened? How?

That though finally gave Twilight something to ask.

"......How?"

Celestia closed her eyes and sighed. It was obvious to anypony with eyes that this was not a happy subject for her. A part of Twilight wished she hadn't asked. There was no chance this story she was about to hear would be a good one.

"Sombra....was born twenty years before his imprisonment in the north. When he was young he was....a different pony to what he would become."

Celestia opened her eyes and looked at Twilight. The young unicorn was enthralled by the princess' words, much like she would be when she was younger and being taught spells as Celestia's protégé. But this story brought Celestia no joy to tell. It was something that had gnawed away at her for centuries, never speaking about it to anyone, not even her sister. But now that Sombra had targeted Twilight and hurt her, she no longer had any choice but to speak out about it.

"When he was growing up, my son had a great love of magic, and of learning. He would spend many of his days reading and trying new spells. He was always so enthusiastic about it, always eager to learn and to become better at his magical skills. And as the days passed on, he became very talented."

Twilight looked upon her mentor. For a brief moment, there was a look of comfort on her face. Perhaps she was remembering happier times before Sombra turned, before everything went bad, but she could not tell, for that look descended back into the sour look she bore before.

"He was like you."

Those words, needless to say, Surprised Twilight a great deal. The notion that she had anything in common with that monster would upset anypony. But, given what Celestia had just told her about him, it wasn't hard to see why she would think that. After all, her description made him seem very much like Twilight was back when she was a young filly, being tutored by Celestia after being taken in as her apprentice. This notion piqued her curiosity even more, so she listened even more carefully as Celestia continued.

"And, much like with you, I saw great potential in him. It was my hope, my dream, that one day he would achieve what you achieved, to reach the highest levels of magic and become and alicorn. I even told him as such when he was but a child. I encouraged him daily to work on his magic, to try and strive to improve himself. And along the way, he made friends. His life was good, and everything seemed to be going well. I truly thought that the day would come when he would finally be ready to cast his father's spell."

Twilight raised her eyebrow in confusion. His father's spell? If Celestia was referring to the magic that changed Twilight into an alicorn, then there was only one spell that she knew of that could do that. Then, as she dwelt on that, her eyes widened in shock. She looked up at Celestia, whose expression made it clear that she knew Twilight had figured it out.

"His father.......was Starswirl?"

Celestia nodded.

"Yes. Starswirl the bearded. Although, back when he and I first got together, he was simply Starswirl. He wasn't exactly the easiest stallion to get to know, always cooped up in his home trying new magic. But over time we grew closer and closer. Eventually, we had a child together. Sombra. Starswirl was a good father to him, always helping him out with his magic. Sombra's love of spells and experimentation with them definitely came from his father. If anything, he pushed our boy towards attaining alicorn status even more than me."

A thought came to Celestia and she concentrated, making her horn glow bright yellow with her magic. There was a bright blinding flash and soon, hovering next to her, as a small picture-frame. She used her magic to levitate it towards Twilight, who took it in her hooves. Shae stared at the picture, not quite believing what she was seeing. On the left side of the picture was Celestia, far younger than she was now. Her hair was not the same multi-coloured look it was now, but a bright pink. There was a grey stallion standing next to her, no doubt Starswirl, who was somewhat shorter than her, and not garbed in the outfit he became famous for.

But what surprised Twilight most was the small figure in-between them. It was a young colt, barely six years old. His coat a dark grey and his mane a deep black. Sombra. But this was not the same person who only recently had assaulted her. The colt in this picture bore no malice in his eyes, no dark tint of evil magic. He was.....happy. He was smiling and looking up lovingly at his parents. Twilight could not help but feel sad at looking at this picture. This was a happy and loving family. What could have happened to tear it apart like this?

Looking up from the picture, Twilight saw Celestia, looking very down. Although she knew she'd regret it, she knew she had to ask.

"What happened to him?"

Celestia's eyes shut tight, signalling that what was about to be told would not be good.

"What happened........was that my love, my Starswirl......died."

Twilight knew that Starswirl had died around the time when Sombra was supposed to have tried to take over the Crystal Empire, but the exact details had never been reported.

"But it wasn't some grand battle against evil that took him from us. He was, despite all his prowess in magic, still mortal. Over time, he simply.....grew old. And the day finally came when he simply went to sleep one day and.....did not wake."

The pained look on Celestia's face was evident. Clearly she had not spoken about this for years, not that Twilight could blame her.

"After that, something changed in our son. Sombra had never really understood the briefness of mortal life before then, never witnessed the death of a loved one. It caused something in him. A fear. A desperate fear to not have this happen to himself. For he knew that, as a unicorn himself, this could very well be his own fate one day. And so, he went back to his studies. But this time, things were different. No longer was he learning and developing his magic for it's own sake. Now, there was a purpose behind it. A selfish purpose."

Twilight had no doubt that a traumatic event such as that would affect anypony. And from what Celestia had told her, Sombra was still quite young when his father dies. She'd seen this sort of thing before. Young ponies changing, and not for the better, due to the passing of a loved one. In many cases they were able to cope with such change and move on with their lives. But for those few who didn't, those who clung to that pain, it was a very different story.

"He began to drift further and further away from his friends, becoming isolated, lost to his work. He began all sorts of dangerous magic, in the hopes of increasing his own power and the span of his life. To that end he forged many magical artefacts. Objects of great power that could bestow mystical prowess on their users. In most cases these creations failed. But there was one which proved even more powerful than even Sombra himself could have predicted.

Celestia looked up and Twilight and narrowed her eyes.

"The alicorn amulet."

Twilight's mouth opened a little and her eyes widened with surprise. The alicorn amulet? She and her friends had encountered that object before. It had been used to greatly increase the power of an old acquaintance of theirs. Trixie. Her power had become great indeed, casting spells that were beyond even Twilight's ability. But it had also corrupted her, made her aggressive and selfish. This brought to Twilight something her friends had told her that Trixie had warned them that she would be in trouble. Perhaps there was a connection? If so, she would have to talk to Trixie to find out.

Although she'd known of the amulet from stories, she'd never once suspected that Sombra was the one who made it. It made sense in hindsight. Sombra was a very powerful unicorn, and only one of great magic could create such an object. A terrible notion then came to her. If the amulet's power had increased the magic of a unicorn like Trixie, what in Equestria would it do to a powerful unicorn like Sombra? one whose power had dwarfed hers without even being near the thing.

She looked up and Celestia as the princess continued.

"He named it the alicorn amulet because it was created for that purpose. To increase his magic to such a degree that he could make himself into an alicorn. But as great as his power became under it's influence, he failed to achieve that change, so he discarded it. He finally concluded that the only was he could achieve the immortality he so desperately wanted......was to come to me."

Twilight knew in her gut that this would not have lead to anything pleasant. The look on Celestia's face, a combination of pain and regret, was a sure sign that, as bad as things were, they would only get worse from here.

"He came to me. He marched right into the throne room of my sister and I and said, without hesitation, "make me an alicorn." At this point I had known about the changes that had happened in him. I knew the deep fear of death that had gripped him. Despite all my attempts to alleviate him of those fears, they had taken root in him like a disease, infecting his very thoughts. He had alienated all those who had once been close to him in this quest to achieve immortality. And that had hardened his heart, deprived him of all the qualities that made one worthy of being an alicorn."

Celestia then got up from her cushion and walked away from the table, with Twilight keeping her eyes on her. Celestia walked over to the window and looked out, keeping her face hidden from the young unicorn.

"And I refused his request. The spell to make one an alicorn must be cast by the one who must change. And even if he had cast it, it would not have affected him, not now. Not after he'd become so......lost."

Celestia hung her head, still feeling the pain after all these long centuries. The memory had lingered in her every day these past thousand years and they had never let go. Twilight meanwhile had a hard time taking this all in. When she was younger, she had often shut out other ponies, not letting them become friends with her. There was always "something more important" that she needed to do, some task or another that would keep her from forming attachments to others. If Celestia had told her from that start what she planned for her, to become an alicorn, would she have followed Sombra's path? Would she have shut out the world to focus on herself and the task Celestia planned for her? To deprive herself of friends and love to that end?

Could she have become like him? It was, to say the least, an unpleasant notion. But Twilight tried her best not to let it Distract her as Celestia continued.

"When I told him that, that I could not change him even if I wanted to, he said nothing. No argument. No shouts. No attempt to change my mind. He simply left. But the look he gave me when I refused him.......those were not the eyes of the happy child I had raised. He had become something.....else. He left the court, the city, and travelled elsewhere. I did not try to stop him, for I knew there was nothing I could have done to change his mind. It was over a year before I heard word of him again, when he......"

The princess turned back around and looked at Twilight.

".....when he tried conquering the Crystal Empire".

Twilight looked saddened by this news. For am other and child to part ways, only to meet up again as enemies. She had no idea what Celestia must have gone through when she'd found out what Sombra had done, nor would she want to know.

"His quest for eternal life had finally forced him to cross the line. He had taken to trying to harness the great power of the crystal heart for his goal. And when the ponies of the Empire had tried to stop him, he fought them. He had grown immensely powerful by this stage, to the point where even the collective strength of the crystal ponies could not halt him. He defeated them. Enslaved them. And when all in the Empire were in chains, he declared himself king."

Celestia then walked away from the window and right up to Twilight, who was still enthralled by her tale.

"And that is when my sister and I finally intervened. For Sombra had crossed the line. He had taken to harming others to pursue his own selfish ends. And so, Luna and I knew what we had to do. We journeyed to the Empire and gave him a choice. Give up this mad quest, or face us. He chose the latter and......well, you know the rest."

The two stared at each other in silence for ages. Twilight did indeed know the rest of the story. Celestia and Luna had done battle with Sombra over his actions in the Empire, which eventually led to them defeating him. That defeat had cast him deep into the ice sheets of the north, which served as his prison for a thousand years until his eventually release about a year ago. Twilight could hardly believe all this. Hearing this story, this tale of how a unicorn could become a monster, it boggled the mind.

But there was something else on her mind. Something she knew would only lead to more pain for the princess, but she had to ask anyway.

"Princess. Wasn't there another way? He was......he was your son."

Celestia shut her eyes tight. When she opened them again, they had the distinct look of holding back tears. It was a look Twilight knew all too well, for she had seen it in herself many times.

"By the time he took the Empire, he was no longer the colt I once knew. When Luna and I flew above his palace, and saw him stand on that balcony, I knew that. The look in his eyes had become twisted and cruel, filled with a darkness that could not be purged. A darkness of his own making."

Celestia opened her mouth to say more, but her lips were practically trembling at this point.

"Yes, he was my son once. And Luna was my sister. Yet when the time came when she too threatened the balance and well-being of Equestria, I enacted the same punishment. I am a princess of this land Twilight. And that mean I am bound to serve as its protector. The vows I took mean that I must protect it's citizens from any threat. Those vows have been tested twice in my life. And in both cases I chose the people over my own family. And both times.......it broke my heart".

Twilight could not bear to see her mentor like this. Over the years, Celestia had become a sort of second mother to her. To see her in this state, so distraught over the things that had happened to her family, it was not a sight she ever wanted to see. After putting down the picture of Celestia and her one-happy family, she got up off her own cushion, Twilight gently placed a hoof on the side of the princess in an attempt to comfort her. Celestia gave a small smile in thanks, but Twilight knew that there was nothing she could do to make this situation any easier for her.

"Princess? Hasn't Sombra already achieved immortality? I mean, if he was able to survive under the ice for so long, and the blast from the crystal heart, doesn't that mean he already has eternal life?"

Celestia considered this for a moment before shaking her head slowly.

"No. His sheer power has made him more resilient than most. Vast reserves of magic keeping his life force going like a life-support system. But it would have been all but drained after his recent attempts to re-claim the Empire. After that, he would have been so drained that his body was barely holding together."

Twilight had no doubt of that. Before he regained his original form, Sombra had cloaked himself in a black garb of some sort, complete with a mask. He’d most likely suffered serious injuries after his failed conquest. It made her shudder to think just how mad a condition he must have been in. That explained why he needed her. If dark magic was what kept him going, he would have needed an external source: her. His body, after all that damage, had become incapable of regaining it's former power by itself, so it needed to take power from somewhere else. But as she considered this, Celestia spoke again.

"And I am sorry Twilight, but my failures have led to you being hurt over all this."

Twilight raised an eyebrow, clearly confused.

"Sombra's failed quest to become an alicorn has led, over the years, to developing an intense jealousy of them. And that jealousy grew within him until it became a hatred for them. That is where, I think, his decision to craft a spell to change one back into a unicorn came from. He wanted to hurt me, and so hurt you to do this. And for that I am truly sorry."

Celestia hung her head low before Twilight. The princess was clearly hurting over what had happened, both with Sombra and with what Sombra had done to Twilight. And Twilight herself had no doubt, after hearing that story, that this was indeed Sombra's plan. All this. Taking the changelings as allies, turning her back into a unicorn, all of it. He wanted revenge. He wanted to hurt the ponies of Equestria, and more specifically, it's leader. His own mother. Such pain was evident in Celestia's final words to her.

"Everything that is happening.....is my fault. My failure to guide him properly, to prepare him for the inevitable mortality of those around him. My inability to help him out of his own fears. All of it has led to this darkness. And I can never make it right."

Twilight felt bitter over that thought. That one who was so close to her was being harmed by her own flesh and blood. Twilight wanted to do something, say something, to try and make this all better. But, as smart as she was, there was nothing she could do. All she could do was stay here, with the princess, and try to bear this pain together. She had n idea what Sombra would do next, or when. But she knew one thing. He would continue to move against them.

And knowing what she now knew, and having lost what she lost, she did not know if they could win.
Chapter 1 – [link]
Chapter 2 – [link]
Chapter 3 – [link]
Chapter 4 – [link]
Chapter 5 – [link]
Chapter 6 – [link]
Chapter 7 – [link]
Chapter 8 – [link]
Chapter 9 – [link]
Chapter 10 – [link]
Chapter 11 – [link]
Chapter 12 – [link]
Chapter 13 – [link]
Chapter 14 – [link]
Chapter 15 – [link]
Chapter 16 – [link]
Chapter 17 – [link]
Chapter 18 – [link]
Chapter 19 – [link]
Chapter 20 – [link]


The next part of my story, and this time we see the connection between Celestia and Sombra that I've been hinting at for a while.

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It was cold in this place, she thought to herself. Of course, it was a cave after all, so coldness was expected. Looking around she could tell that this place had been hardly touched in all the years that it had stood. At least until the events of the last few days.

Twilight Sparkle sat at the edge of what was known as the mirror pond. An ancient and, until recently, fairy tale place that dwelt within the Everfree Forest. She herself had heard of the tales, though only in passing as a child. It was not something she'd ever given much thought to. But, her friend, Pinkie Pie, had come here herself and, through the magic of the pond, made many copies of herself. She had done it in an effort to make sure that she was able to spend time with all of her friends.

The purple unicorn could not help but chuckle to herself. As always, she was just being Pinkie Pie. Only the energetic earth pony could come into a magical place like this and casually cast a spell on herself for the simple purpose of spending time with her friends. Because of this, Twilight bore her no ill will. Indeed, it was almost comforting to think that she valued her friends enough to try something like this. But still, she could also not deny that her actions had led to many issues for the ponies of Ponyville.

Fortunately, those issues, the clones of Pinkie Pie, had been dealt with. Twilight had cast a spell on them which returned them to the pond they came from. And that was why she was here now. They'd planed to seal this place away so that other ponies could not get to it. Her friends were out right now, trying to find something suitable to block off the hole that led to this place. But she needed to be down here before they did. Not only was this the only chance for her to gaze upon a magical place like this, but also because she needed some time alone with it.

Because, as much as the troubles of the day had been solved, there was something that was weighing heavily on Twilight's mind. Something she had not yet told her friends. Something she didn't want to tell them. As she gazed into the still waters of the pond, she saw her reflection. Here, with nopony around to see her, she asked her reflection, herself, the question that had been plaguing her all day.

"Was I right.....to do what I did?"

Before she could think of an answer, she heard a sudden voice from behind.

"Do what Twilight?"

Twilight practically jumped out of her skin in shock. Spinning around, she was now looking at the ever-smiling face of her friend Pinkie Pie. The unicorn let out a sigh of relief, her shock vanishing.

"Oh Pinkie. It's you. How's everything going up there?" She asked.

Pinkie Smiled.

"It's going good! The others found a great big rock and are bringing it here now!" She answered.

Twilight nodded, giving her friend a small smile. She then turned away from her and back to the pond. Pinkie walked over and sat down next to her, looking from Twilight, to the pond, and then back to Twilight.

"Whatcha lookin at?" She asked.

Twilight's expression was thoughtful. In truth, what she was thinking about wasn't something she wanted to discuss with anypony, least of all Pinkie.

"I'm just.....thinking."

Pinkie kept looking at her.

"About what?"

"About.....nothing important." Twilight replied, desperately trying to get out of this line of questioning.

Pinkie started to giggle, earning a raised eyebrow from Twilight.

"Oh Twilight! It HAS to be important! Otherwise you wouldn't be thinking about it silly!" She said jovially.

On any other day, Twilight would have laughed at that. Pinkie knew her well, that much was certain. But this was not any other day. Twilight's expression was becoming one if discomfort, something Pinkie picked up on immediately. Being the kind of pony she was, she could never stand to see any of her friends being anything other than happy. And it was that desire that led her to keep asking.

"Twilight, what's wrong? If something's the matter you know you can tell me." She said.

Twilight looked at her, her mouth open, ready to say something. But she looked away, back to the pond. She knew exactly what was bothering her, something that by all rights would bother anypony. Something that made her feel terrible.

"It's.....it's your...."

She tried to speak, but her sheer guilt was preventing her. Then, much to her shock, Pinkie finished her sentence for her.

"You're upset about my clones, aren't you?"

Twilight looked at her. Pinkie's face was an expression Twilight had never seen on her before. It wasn't sadness, but something else. A thoughtfulness that Pinkie was not known for. Still, Twilight could not deny that her friend had struck right at the heart of what was bothering her.

"Yes. You know what I had to do for us to get you back?" She asked.

Pinkie nodded, turning her attention to the water.

"You used your magic to zap my clones and send them back to the pond."

She looked at Twilight again, with a slight frown on her face.

"But there's something else, isn't there? Something about what you did that you're not happy about?"

Twilight shut her mouth and nodded. It was true. Twilight had felt nothing but guilt over what she did in the village hall. In order to separate the true Pinkie from the multitudes of clones that had been made, Twilight's magic had been applied to all who had failed the test they gave. That magic reduced them back into their original magical essence and returned them to the waters of the pond. And if a pony were to describe it as that alone, there would be no problem. But Twilight, being the pony she was, was thinking far deeper on the matter.

"Those copies of you, they may not have been born of natural means, but they were still...."

Twilight turned back to the pond, her expression a pained one.

"......they were still ponies. Flesh and blood like you and me. And I.......I ended their lives."

Pinkie's expression became one of concern. She had never seen Twilight like this. Staring at the water, so distraught. Very rarely had her friend been as upset like this. She must truly be troubled by her actions if it was bothering her this much, Pinkie thought to herself.

"Twilight, you told me that they were just.....what was it? Magical constructs? They were made from magic, and when you used your power, they became magic again."

Twilight nodded briefly.

"Yes. But when they were here, moving among us, they were ponies. As real and as living as you or I. And they were like you, Pinkie. They were so much like you that turning my magic against them was like hurting a friend. I didn't want to do it. But I knew if I didn't we would never find you again."

The unicorn looked at her friend again.

"You've become important to us Pinkie. Losing you like that was not an option."

Pinkie said nothing, merely kept her eyes on her distraught friend. And she turned away once more.

"And them......"

She pointed her hoof at the pond, indicating the Pinkie clones.

".....they were just something that prevented us from getting to you. When they were in town, all we could think of was how much of a problem they were to us, how much we wanted to get rid of them. I kept telling myself that it was right to do what we did, what I did. But now......"

Twilight's eyes were beginning to well up at this point. The guilt over what she felt she did was becoming too much for her.

".......now I don't know. What if I was wrong? What if they could have been helped? They were ponies like us, they had the potential to go out, have lives of their own. To live happily and peacefully. Instead, I used my power to take those lives away, all so I could get back something I feared losing. I know they were copies of a pony who already lived, but doing what I did makes me.....it makes me feel like....."

Pinkie looked on helplessly as tears began to flow down Twilight's cheek.

"....makes me feel like a mur-"

"STOP IT!!!"

Twilight was knocked out of her self-pity by the unexpected shout from Pinkie. She faced her. Pinkie's face was one of anger. But more than that, for there were now tears in her eyes as well as Twilight's.

"I know what you were going to say Twilight. And you're wrong! You did what you did because you wanted a friend back. Because you loved them! Just like I did what I did because I loved MY friends so much!"

Pinkie stood up, her face softening, as she gently placed a hoof on Twilight's shoulder.

"Yes, those ponies may have gone on to live their lives. But maybe they wouldn't. Maybe things would only get worse. You can't blame yourself like this because you were afraid of what might happen. And you certainly shouldn't go around thinking that you're a.....what you were about to call yourself."

Twilight was astonished. In the time she'd known her, Pinkie had almost never shown this much passion for anything aside from parties. To see her in this state almost didn't seem real. But as much as Twilight was shocked to see her like that, it did not match the combination of feelings she was experiencing. Lingering guilt over her perceptions of her actions. A sense of disappointment in her willingness to descend into self-pity like this. She was a wreck, and had allowed herself to become like that.

Looking up, Twilight, in spite of herself, smiled.

"Thank you Pinkie. I'm sorry for.....for everything."

Pinkie's angry face vanished and was replaced with her usual massive smile. Then, before Twilight could react, the pink pony leapt forward and embraced her in a big hug. Recovering, Twilight hugged back, and the two stayed like that for a while, as Pinkie was one to do when her friends were down. Eventually, the two were only disturbed by the sound of a voice from above them.

"Hey Twilight! Pinkie! We're ready when you are!" The voice said.

The two ponies split apart from each other and looked up at the hole in the ceiling. There, waving to them was Big Macintosh, who no doubt had the "big rock" that was mentioned earlier. The two waved back at him and he retreated out of the hole to wait for them. The two gave each other another look before making their way up the passage to the hole. Twilight stopped for a moment and looked back at the pond. She only looked away when she heard Pinkie's voice again.

"Are you going to be okay Twilight?" She asked.

Twilight considered this answer carefully.

"About this, what I did......I don't know if I ever will. But if you're willing to forgive me for it, then I suppose I can move on from this."

Pinkie gave a small smile, nodding in response. She realised that Twilight was still hurting over what happened, and in truth she could not blame her. But she also understood that it was wrong to try and push her out of this right now, that it was best to just easer her out of her guilt gradually. With that dealt with, the two mare made their way out of the whole, preparing to block off the entrance, and ensure that nopony would ever have to go through something like this.
Another alternate ending fic, this time about the episode "Too many Pinkie Pies". The basis for this one is the fact that Twilight's solution to the issue of that episode has always bothered me. The way she casually used her magic on the Pinkie clones and didn't seem to be bothered by it. Well, it bothered me and I wanted to get that across in this fic.

Apologies in advance for anyone who doesn't like this portrayal of Twilight.

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As she looked out of her window and saw the crowd of ponies gather in the gardens below, she could not help but feel more than a little excited. After all, it was not every day that she got to witness such an event.

Princess Mi'Amore Cadenza, or Cadence as she preferred to be called, was watching the gathering crowd with great anticipation. Like many of the annual Canterlot events, ponies from all over Equestria would gather to this city. And although her work often took other all over the principality to meet such ponies, seeing them all gather together in one place was always a rare treat.

This day was the annual dessert contest and many had pulled out all the stops this year. Treats and cakes of all shapes and sizes lined the gardens, waiting for the judges to come by and pass their verdict. She had to admit, it was an appealing sight.

Under normal circumstances she would have loved for Shining to be here today so they could both enjoy it. Unfortunately for the both of them he'd been sent away on important business. A training session in the mountains with some fresh new recruits. As captain it was his job to see they were properly trained, so he had to go with them.

Ever since the contest began, she'd been looking out for a certain lavender mare. One she had not laid eyes on since she was young. Twilight Sparkle, Sister to her fiancé Shining Armour, and her future sister-in-law. But with the crowd being so big, it was nigh impossible to pick out individual ponies.

Suddenly, a sound from behind caused her to pull away from the window. She turned to see the door to her chambers open. Through the doors walked a familiar navy blue alicorn. Cadence smiled as her aunt approached.

"Princess Luna. It is an honour to meet you." She said in a formal fashion.

The two of them may have been related, but as members of the royal family, there were of course certain protocols to adhere to. But judging from the somewhat amused expression on Luna's face, such protocols were not required here.

"My dear niece. It is only the two of us here. There's no need for formalities."

Cadence Smiled. Ever since Luna's first official reintroduction to the pony populace, she'd been getting more relaxed when it came to her way of behaving. In all honesty, her aunt had been rather intimidating to her the first time they met. Talking about herself in the third person, using that over-the-top voice that nearly made her deaf to hear it. It was as though she'd been plucked from some ancient time and dumped into this modern era.

But thanks to the help of a certain young unicorn, she'd managed to get better acquainted to these modern times and ways of talking. Which was of great use to Cadence as she'd never been entirely comfortable with all the prim and proper behaviours expected of a princess.

"Are you going to the contest this afternoon?" Cadence asked.

Luna shook her head.

"I'm afraid not. I have duties that require me to be outside Canterlot this evening. As such I'll need to be leaving earlier than normal. I just came around to see how you were doing. A lot has happened over the last few months and the two of us have had little chance to speak".

It was true, Cadence could not deny that. Ever since Shining Armour had proposed to her there had been masses of work to do. Arranging a guest list, sorting out the hall that would be used for the wedding. It had kept virtually the entire royal palace staff occupied from dawn till dusk. Needless to say it had cut into Cadence's free time.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak auntie. What would you like to talk about?"

Luna walked past her and looked out of the window at the crowd below, with Cadence following her every movement.

"I hear young Twilight Sparkle is visiting the city today."

She looked back at cadence, who promptly nodded in response.

"I was wondering, with your fiancé out of town at the moment, will you be going to meet with her?"

Cadence looked somewhat embarrassed at this question. In all honesty there was nothing she wanted more than to go and meet the one she used to foal-sit for. But there was, of course, and issue with doing so.

"Actually, Shining thought it was best not to. Twilight is his sister after all and he wanted to be the one to tell her of our engagement in person. If I go down there and reintroduce myself, she's going to ask questions. Questions that will more than likely lead to her figuring out that the two of us are getting married."

Luna considered this and nodded in agreement. They both knew Twilight well enough to know that she'd probably figure out what was going on if Cadence went down there. Cadence had to admit to herself that it was killing her not to be able to tell Twilight about something this important. But Shining Armour was family, so the right was his.

Luna walked up to her niece with a smile on her face.

"The two of you are most fortunate to have each other. Back in my time my sister and i never had a more devoted captain of the guard. If he's anywhere near as devoted to you as he is to his duties, you will not be disappointed."

Cadence blushed somewhat. As much as her aunt had become accustomed to modern ways of behaving, it was still odd to hear her talking about Cadence's relationship like this.

"And likewise, the good captain should consider himself lucky that you are the one who will be his wife. I know little of what the royal family has been doing over the last thousand years, but it would have been unthinkable in the old days for someone outside the nobility to become engaged to a princess like this".

Cadence had to relent on that front. Luna was correct. In the past the very idea of someone from the royal guard becoming a member of the royal family would have been considered ludicrous at best. Fortunately for her times change.

"It's still rare that such things happen aunt. According to Celestia, a royal has not wed someone who was not of noble birth for almost fifty years. The old walls may be gone, but it's clear that some traditions die hard."

Luna chuckled at this.

"If it means having ponies like Shining and Twilight in our family, it's a tradition worth casting aside."

The two laughed. It was a pleasant moment. Neither of them had spent much time with each other over the last few months, so it was good that they had this talk with each other. Finally the laughter died down and Luna spoke once more.

"I am happy for you, as everyone else will be."

Cadence bowed her head slightly.

"Thank you, auntie Luna."

Luna returned the bow. Their attention was then brought to the window, where they heard the noise of the crowd below. Both walked over and looked down at the gardens. They could see Celestia in the middle of the crowd, standing next to the strangest looking dessert either of them had ever seen. It looked like a combination of several dishes.

Cadence was confused at the sight of this strange dish, but even more so by the sound of Luna giving out a brief laugh next to her.

"What is it?" She asked.

Luna raised one hoof and pointed to the crowd below.

"Do you see that pink Earth pony beside my sister?"

Cadence looked down. There was indeed a pink Earth pony standing near Celestia. A rather excitable pony at that, given how much she was bounding around. Cadence looked back at Luna.

"What about her?"

"That is Pinkie Pie. She's a pony I met in Ponyville back on Nightmare Night. One of Twilight's closest friends."

Cadence's eyes widened at this. If her friend was here, Twilight would not be hard to find. She looked back at the pink pony and looked around that area, hoping to catch a glimpse. And it didn't take long, for there, standing amongst a group of other ponies, was the lavender unicorn she'd been searching for.

Cadence's heart rose at the sight of her. She'd grown up so much. It was quite a shock. When last she saw Twilight she'd been but a small filly. But she did not have time to dwell on nostalgic thoughts as Luna's voice broke her concentration.

"I believe I will visit them before I take my leave."

Luna began to walk towards the door of Cadence's chambers when the young Princess spoke up.

"You won't miss the wedding, will you?"

Luna stopped and turned around to face her niece, smiling as she did so.

"Of course not. I should make it back to Canterlot the night before the big day. I will see you then."

The two gave each other another head bow before Luna resumed her walk through the door. Cadence turned around to face the window again but mere moments after she did so, there was another knock on the door.

"Come in."

The door opened to reveal a white pegasus guard traditional golden armour. He bowed as he entered before speaking.

"Your highness. You wished to be informed when Miss De Lis arrived at the palace?"

Cadence smiled when she heard the name.

"Indeed. Send her in."

The guard nodded in response. He then turned around and gestured to someone outside. Shortly afterwards, a unicorn mare entered the chamber. Fleur De Lis. She was taller than most unicorns, with a brilliant white coat and a flowing pink mane, and walked with an almost regal manner. Anypony who was anypony among the nobility knew who she was. She'd made quite a name for herself as a pony with an eye for festivities. She'd personally arranged many of the more recent high end parties in the city, becoming close with many of the big names within Canterlot

And she was just the mare Cadence had been hoping to get to manager her wedding.

"Miss De Lis. Welcome."

The whiter unicorn bowed low.

"Your highness. It is an honour to be invited here today."

Cadence raised a hoof.

"There's no need for that. I'm pleased you could make it here. I trust your journey went well?"

Fleur raised her head to face the Princess.

"Indeed Princess. Your guards were most helpful in escorting me here."

Cadence nodded at this. She then looked at the guard who had brought her here. She nodded to him and he nodded back, understanding the gesture. He gave another bow before leaving the chamber and closing the door behind him. After which, Fleur began to walk closer to Cadence.

"So then your highness. What plans did you have in mind for your big day?"

Cadence gave a thoughtful smile as she considered this. Many of the big elements of the wedding were already planned, like where it would be and the rest of it. But when it came to the small details, like the style, Cadence had quite a few ideas.

"I was thinking something along the lines of what you did for last year's gala. With lots of flowers and things like that."

Fleur nodded.

"A fine idea princess. Such arrangement would be perfect for such an occasion. I'm sure your fiancé will love it." She replied enthusiastically.

Cadence warmed to the thought of her future husband.

"I'm sure he will. He told me he didn't care about what the wedding looked like as long as we'd be together at the end of it."

Fleur gained an unusual expression on her face as this was said.

"Such love. I must say I'm quite envious. He sounds like a fine stallion."

Cadence turned away and looked out of the window.

"He is. This city owes him so much, given his constant protection of it. I'm truly fortunate to have someone like him in my life."

The princess continued to look out of the window as she heard Fleur speak behind her, the volume of her voice making it clear she was coming closer.

"Indeed you are."

Before Cadence could speak again, a strange sound was heard. She'd never heard the like of it before. Coupled with this was a strange green glow which seemed to originate from somewhere behind her. Before she turned around, she heard a voice.

A very familiar voice.

"I'll be sure to tell him that when I meet him."

Cadence spun around. When she saw what was behind her, she froze with shock. For there, standing in front of her, was cadence herself. It was like looking in a mirror. The only exception being the twisted and cruel expression on her double's face. Before the princess could do or say anything, the doppelganger's horn began to glow a sickly green colour.

It was a spell of some sort. One which caused a ring of green fire to encircle Cadence. Once the circle was complete, a bubble formed around her. She tried her best to ram into it in an attempt to somehow break it, but her efforts were in vain.

Soon after this, the bubble, much to Cadence's shock, began to melt into the ground below, dragging her down with it. Looking up the last thing she saw before her head was engulfed by the floor, was the face of her double, who looked down on her with a look of contempt and a sick sense of joy.

Then everything went dark.

After what seemed like hours, Cadence woke up. Her entire body hurt, as though she'd fallen from a great height. Wherever she was, it was pitch black. No light to see. She tried feeling around to see if she could find a wall of some sort. Soon enough, she found one. This was clearly not a piece of construction. This was some sort of natural rock formation.

After feeling around for a few minutes, she figured out she was in a small enclosed space. Finally fed up with being unable to see, Cadence used her horn to glow some light into the room. When she could see, she realised that she'd been placed in a small cave of some sort, formed from some sort of crystal, with no visible entry or exit.

Then it struck her. The caverns! She'd heard about them in old history books when she was growing up. They used to run all the way beneath Canterlot, used mainly for the mining of gemstones. They were abandoned long ago when the veins ran dry. Few, if any, ever came down here for any reason.

She was becoming increasingly distressed over this. A feeling that only got worse when she heard a laugh in that familiar voice. Looking around, she saw no-one, so decided to call out.

"Who are you? What do you want with me?" She asked in a frightened tone.

A few moments passed before the answer came, in a rather unexpected fashion. One of the crystal walls glowed green, revealing a face. Her face.

"What I want from you, little princess, is to be a good girl and stay here while I attend to my business."

The voice was cold and cruel, not a tone Cadence would ever willingly speak in herself.

"Who are you?"

The doppelganger raised an eyebrow.

"Who am I? I am Chrysalis, the queen of the changelings."

Cadence was confused. Changelings? She'd only ever heard about them in story books. Creatures that took the form of others to feed off love. But she'd never heard this Chrysalis person.

"What have you done with the real Fleur De Lis?" She demanded.

At the mention of this name, the double snickered, as though amused by the mere talk of this pony. This prompted a look of confusion from Cadence. What had happened to this unicorn? Was she too imprisoned in this place? Was she being held prisoner elsewhere? Or something worse? She soon got her answer.

"Oh Cadence. There never WAS a Fleur De Lis!"

Cadence gained a look of shock on her face. A look which prompted the queen to speak once more.

"It was merely a form and persona I created to infiltrate the city. For months I've been working to integrate myself into the aristocracy of this place. Acting the fool and sucking up to the rich and powerful. All to make a name for myself and get access to the palace, which you, me dear, so thoughtfully gave to me."

Cadence felt sick to her stomach. What had she done? She'd allowed this creature to get into the palace, to get to her! She'd fallen right into Chrysalis' trap. Whatever had happened, all that mattered to Cadence now was getting out, and more importantly, why she was here.

"Why did you put me here?"

The changeling laughed again, a sound that made Cadence's skin crawl.

"Oh my dear Cadence. I have no interest in you, only your husband-to-be."

At the mention of this, Cadence became enraged, causing the glow on her horn to brighten considerably. The queen noticed this and laughed further.

"Oh don't even bother. You cannot escape this place. And as for my plans for your beloved Shining Armour......"

The queen put a hoof to her chin and considered her next words, before finally breaking into a rather sinister smile.

"I'll just let you dwell on that for a bit."

With one final laugh, the image of Cadence's face vanished from the rock-face. Cadence called out time and time again, wanting that double to appear once more so she could answer her questions, but no-one came. As the minutes passed into hours, Cadence allowed the light from her horn to become dimmer and dimmer as her hopes of being rescued faded with it.

She looked around and realised that the queen was right. There was no way in or out, and her magic was not strong enough to break through the wall. Her only hope laid in waiting for someone else to come down here and find her. But that hope faded like everything else.

After what seemed like a day, Cadence finally became desperate. She stood up and began ramming at the walls. Clawing away at what she could with her hooves. Putting every last ounce of her strength into breaking them, despite knowing full well that she could not do such a thing. But she didn't care. She had to get out. She had to do something. She could not allow that double, that ....thing.....to take her place, to take her one true love.

But no matter how much she tried, the rocks would not budge. In that moment, the futility of her situation finally washed over her like a tsunami. She fell to her knees and wept.

In the dark solitude of her imprisonment, only one thought kept her going. Kept her from giving in to this despair. She looked up at the ceiling of her cell and spoke softly.

"Shining, my love. Please find me."
Okay guys, I know I said that there would only be one more of these after my last one, but I suddenly realised that there was the important introduction of Chrysalis (or the changling queen to those who don't know that name). So THIS chapter is the penultimate one and the one after this is the last missing scene story.

When planning this scene, I had to think pretty hard on how Chrysalis would be able to get close enough to Cadence to trap her. I thought to myself that she wouldn't have been able to do it if the two princesses or Shining Armour was there, so I set up a situation where Cadence would be separated from all three.

And I know my decision to have

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Spike only wants things to stay the same. Time, however, has other ideas. He's going to need a lot of help... an everypony story.


Hi all! You may have seen this story any number of places - FIMFiction, FFN, or Equestria Daily. I'm only now getting around to putting it on DA so that :icondarklordcomp: doesn't kill me! :D I'm sorry if it feels like oversaturation. For anyone who hasn't read the story, please enjoy.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic © Hasbro and :iconfyre-flye:

Cover image by the wonderful :iconrannva:





Continue to Chapter Two
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