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Open Ambition for Ascension


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@ExplosionMare @Starforce

Starlight's heart beated faster but fell out of sync with the crowd.

In an instant, the spell was broken. The crowd's aggression dissipated, but so did their enthusiasm. Most looked ready to accept Starlight as a guide, but now that their passion was denied, so to will they deny her.

Many lost interest in the affair altogether. The ones that were ready to throw their stones lazily tossed them at Starlight out of spite.

Some of the more distant onlookers still gave their attention but had no intention of approaching.

"What was that?!" Lyra finally snapped, "Someone's gotta give me some answers! That was crazy!"

"Where's everypony going?" asked a very iconic voice, "Am I late for my own party?"

Twilight Sparkle looked around the square in confusion before returning her attention to the shouting Lyra.

"Oh, my stars! What is wrong with her?!" Applejack blurted out in shock.

"Trixie's back in town!" Pinky Pie shrilled out before jumping into a nearby barrel, "Everypony for themselves!"

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Fuchsia considers, wishing the coffee in her hoof was something stronger  As Octavia was speaking about being a musician, the idea occurs to her that it could be song-based magic - she had heard of Si

OOC The address on the invitation was easy to find as it was the only house to show up on the road for some distance just barely cutting into the edge of the Everfree Forest. The long, tall build

@ExplosionMare Magnolia was surprised at the very least by all of what had happened. What was on the book told her about something that seems to be a revealer of the truth - Moonlight was Magnoli

@Loud Opinion @ExplosionMare

The events were overwhelming, to say the least. One moment Starlight was going about her cultist fanatics and the next the ones she were trying to convince rejected her. To top it all off, her sister and her friends arrive on the scene! That was surprising to say the least. Moonlight was pleased that the crowd rejected Starlight's ideals and turned against her. That was one piece of the puzzle already completed for her, she was glad that she didn't have to run from a mob or something of that nature.

Moonlight closed her eyes and breathed in and out. Letting the emotions that overwhelmed her to fade. A calm mind can go a long way, they say. "Everybody, you all need to calm down. I believe I can explain." she spoke, her eyes looking into Lyra's own as she began to slowly walk methodically, her eyes glancing from each of Twilight's friends to the next. Her stare was calm and knowing. Unlike Starlight, she wanted to convey that she were here to truly help and bring needed information.

"For all intense and purposes, what happened here was the...interaction between interphasic forces. If you can call it that." she quirked an eyebrow at that statement. "Within me I have the ability to see all truths, and I can call upon that ability as needed..." she spoke calmly, her words flowing calmly like a gentle stream. "When I met Mayor Mare earlier, I saw her pink mane. When I was talking to you..." she points to Lyra. "I saw within your saddlebags upon the ribbon that was contained. Relating to you..." she looked to Twilight directly. Her gaze was that if she saw an old friend. "As for why this one here is missing her mouth," she pointed to Bon Bon. "I don't know what could cause that. I have reason to believe it has to deal with the state of affairs." truthfully, she didn't know. She had inklings as to what it could be, but she didn't want to point the blame on Starlight. That would be way too suspicious.

"While there are those who seek to disrupt the state of affairs like Starlight Glimmer here." her eyes slowly turn and glance to Starlight. It was important to remove the anger within her, for that would only remove Moonlight's merit. "She has this belief that she wants to spread equality, by removing cutie marks. She runs a town a ways from here where the populace has no cutie marks. Only she does, however. What she did here was that she tried to convince the crowd of her ideas. Starlight genuinely believes that removing cutie marks can create true friendship...at least her eyes. As you probably already guessed, I am highly against that." Moonlight put a hoof to her heart earnestly. "Starlight has something to do with crowds. I could hear the heartbeats of the crowd. I presume she has something relating to the heart, it is a concerning ability to say the least." she sighed and her pace stopped, looking at each of Twilight's friends. 

"While I am not the most...cuddly or cheery pony you'll know, I'll never try to take away your mark that defines you. Each pony is unique, each pony has talent and that is sacred. Each of us carry something within us that is unique, and that should be preserved for the good of the land." she began to pace towards Twilight Sparkle and held out her hoof. Inside Moonight's mind was that anticipation upon revealing her name.

"You've probably never heard of me, but my name is Moonlight Sparkle. We have much to discuss." she spoke knowingly, and respectfully. 

 

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@ExplosionMare @Starforce

Everyone granted Moonlight the attention she demanded.

Then, as she described her ability to see the truth, Twilight and her friends started to back away slowly. They were looking for any excuse to get away from the crazy pony.

Rainbow visibly tuned out as she moved in to inspect BonBon's missing facial features as if a closer look would be more effective than a conversation.

However, a burning sensation quickly grabbed their attention. Twilight, Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash all began to blink rapidly as their eyes watered. It was not enough as the building tears evaporated. The burning sensation came to a head when their eyes shined from the inside. A flood of Light escaped their pupils. Even when they closed their eyes, the Light still shined through.

They looked around for the source of the burning and focused on Moonlight as the most likely source. Twilight was alight with counterspells that all proved fruitless. Fluttershy looked to her friends with confusion and worry.

Panic set in for the group as nothing worked. Twilight, in desperation, teleported herself and her friends away from Moonlight's speech. Well, all except one.

Pinkie Pie sprang her head out of the barrel, "What'd I miss?"

Edited by Loud Opinion
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  • 2 weeks later...

@Loud Opinion @Starforce

Starlight flinched slightly at the stones that were thrown at her. She wore a puzzled expression, unsure as to why the ponies who were so willing to follow her were suddenly disinterested. She then felt her heartbeat and realized it had shifted once again. That makes sense, she thought. Still, wouldn’t some ponies be willing to learn about the truth even without the heartbeat? Surely they were. Perhaps some ponies were just hiding their feelings.

She listened for a moment as Moonlight carried on with her monologue. She was tempted to disagree but a part of her couldn’t help but feel the care and kindness that was radiating from the mare. It was strange, considering how cold and standoffish she had been to most ponies prior.

Either this festival has really changed her, or she really dislikes me that much. Starlight reasoned. Well, I’m sure if she…no, I…I don’t understand. Why am I feeling conflicted about this?

She took a moment to think to herself. After knowing Moonlight for quite a while, it was becoming more clear as to what her thought processes were. She was forceful on first impression but once she got to know a pony or saw something in them she liked, she became more helpful and leader-like instead of menacing. She was changing and Starlight liked that. She just didn’t understand how yet. Did the philosophy change her? Were Starlight’s words convincing enough? Was it something else entirely? Starlight wasn’t completely sure anymore.

She looked up and blinked in surprise. Standing just a few paces away we’re Twilight Sparkle and her friends. She trotted up to them but slowed down as she got closer in order to avoid getting too close to Moonlight. Putting on a friendly smile, she gave out a warm welcome.

“Good day, Twilight Sparkle and the others. I am Starlight Glimmer. I am so happy to meet you.”

She suddenly stepped back once she realized the Mane 6 were not behaving normally. Their eyes took on a blinding glow and no matter how hard any of them tried to blink it away, nothing changed.

She tried to investigate but the group had teleported away before she could ask them anything. She hoped they were alright and not in any harm. She also wondered if there was some sort of strange magic involved or if what they were experiencing was more of a phenomenon.

Edited by ExplosionMare
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@ExplosionMare @Loud Opinion

That was unexpected. The glowing eyes of the mane 6 was surely something Moonlight didn't expect although the cogs began to turn in Moonlight's mind. Like a lightning bolt, the sudden realization hit that she was the cause of this. Although Moonlight didn't know exactly what she said or did, she knew for sure that she was the one that caused it. The forces at work here began to make Moonlight very nervous, gone were the times where she could walk into a place and feel like she was in complete control. Gone were the times where she boasted her strength to the world arrogantly too - but perhaps that is for the best.

Moonlight shifted her legs about nervously and looked horrified at what she had done. Not only did she intend no harm upon the Mane 6, but she also ruined the chances at talking to them under good circumstances. Moonlight glances to Starlight, "I-I uh, I believe I know what is going on. I did something to them unwittingly. I don't know exactly what I did that caused this but...You did the same, when you made the heartbeats of the crowd change. This is something we shouldn't be messing with. We carry these powers within us that we don't understand. We use them when we don't mean to. We need to stop and think." she shivered nervously and her tail went around her left leg. That was something Starlight likely didn't expect from Magnolia. 

"I-I made a mistake in provoking you when we first met. But you also made the mistake in wanting me to be like you...let us not make those mistakes again while we know the power that lay within our hearts. At least, we should study ourselves when we are away from innocents. We can't allow ourselves to end up causing chaos here when we don't mean to." she said, her eyes looking more timid than usual, however within them lay a deep stare indicating Moonlight meant what she said.

Turning to Pinkie Pie, Moonlight would approach her. Her tail sways nervously as she extended her hoof. "Um, you missed a lot, Pinkie. I don't even know how to explain it in full but I accidentally did something that caused your friends to teleport away. My name is Moonlight Sparkle. It is nice to meet you." she forced a nervous grin. 

Edited by Starforce
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@Starforce @Loud Opinion

Starlight frowned in concern as Moonlight’s demeanor shifted. She suddenly became very nervous and…guilty? That was something Starlight hardly saw in that mare. Whatever the cause of Moonlight’s distress was must be serious, that much Starlight knew. She stood patiently, waiting and watching as Moonlight spoke. When she turned to Starlight, Starlight responded,

“I have to agree with you on this matter. I could feel the ponies change around me when my heart rate went up and down. I believe similar changes happen when your power is expressed as well. I do not want to innocent ponies at any cost. If we need to stay away from them, then perhaps leaving as soon as possible would be best.”

Starlight was beside herself for a moment. Was she agreeing with Moonlight? Usually, Starlight was the one in charge. She was the one who knew what was best. In this circumstance, however, Starlight knew it was best to keep the civilians out of danger, even if that meant going against her own path. She would never hurt anypony and would do anything to ensure that never happened.

“You know Pinkie Pie?” Starlight asked. “How long have you two known each other?”

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@Loud Opinion @ExplosionMare

Moonlight's demeanor seemed to return to what it once was before however it was notably more of a cautious stance she took upon Starlight's word. She agreed with Starlight's proposals to leave the area. Obviously Silver Tongue and Limbo had known more than either of them. Was this an intentional act on their part? If it was, than in Moonlight's mind their power was awakened so they could inadvertently affect those around them. It was evident that both Starlight and herself had possessed a level of ability that was not considered natural.

They were onto something with what they had spoke about when they met in the temple, so it was resoundingly clear the 'ascension' thing wasn't a scam. Were they being played for other nefarious reasons? That could very well be the case, if that was than Moonlight would want no part in it. At the current time it was unclear if that was the case or not.

Something Moonlight would have to pursue later on, if she were to ask than she could be lied to, but given Moonlight's power within her she would likely be able to tell if it was the truth or not. Moonlight preferred to dig through text instead of having to go through any pony else. Those parables back at her room would contain the answers. If she had books, than Starlight would as well.  Moonlight wanted to gaze upon Starlight's books. Perhaps they could share intel. Whatever the case may be, the 'ascension' here wasn't referring to a 'normal' type bestowed upon one's self by another alicorn. It was done through another unknown method that likely tied within the power that were contained within them.

Back to the course at hand Moonlight would agree with Starlight and walk close enough to whisper into her ear. "Exactly. I don't want innocents to be at risk due to our presence of being here. I suggest we go back to our rooms and look into our books together. I am sure in your room there were some very interesting texts that you read. There were some books in my room that I read last night. We must look into text for the answers as to what is going on here. Here is the plan - we will look over those books together and come up with an idea as for what they mean. I would say more, but we are in public. No matter what, we must stick together as unpleasant as that may sound." she whispered, sounding rather logical in explaining her word so other ponies in the area wouldn't be able to hear. 

To the question about Pinkie Pie, Moonlight would find herself confused. She were just doing a simple greeting. "Let's shake on our plan, don't you say?" Moonlight whispered and offered her hoof to Starlight to shake. Throughout this dialog, she would be sure to be quick in her word as to not take up too much time away from Pinkie if she wanted to say something.

 

 

 

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@Starforce @ExplosionMare

"Oh, that?" Pinkie Pie said as she hopped out of her barrel, unaffected by Moonlight's implications, "Ya, I've scared them off sometimes. Don't worry. I'm sure that, in the next twenty-two minutes, everything will be back to normal."

As Pinkey Pie spoke, she slid over to Moonlight to put a hoof over her shoulder. "This happens all the time around here. Keep your chin up, and it'll all work out in the end. You'll see!"

Pinkie then hopped away, only to miss a beat when she saw the mouthless BonBon. "Well, maybe I should speed it up a little. I'll go get Twilight."

A Pinkey-Pie-shaped cloud was the only evidence that the party pony was ever there. Perhaps she was just a figment of your imagination.

Lyra seemed torn. Should she wait for Twilight or follow the ponies that were probably responsible. Twilight saved the day many times and this could be a simple fix for all she knew. If it wasn't so easy, then going with Moonlight and Starlight could help fix it faster.

Finally, a decision was made. "Come on BonBon. These Ponies are going to help us fix this."

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@Starforce @Loud Opinion

Starlight wondered what her and Moonlight’s powers meant and how that connected to their ascension. From what she could tell, the powers only posed a danger. They gave them strength, yes, but at the cost of innocent ponies’ livelihoods. Starlight wanted to improve the lives of other ponies, not hinder them.

Perhaps everything would be cleared up once the time for ascension came. That, or they may run into Silver and Limbo again for further clarification. If Starlight and Moonlight were planning on heading back, there is a possibility they would run into those two again. Starlight hoped they would have some answers or at the very least, her and Moonlight could find their own answers.

“The books did have important information, so it would be wise to read through those again,” Starlight replied. She made the idea sound like her own so she wouldn’t have to admit to herself that she was agreeing with Moonlight again. “We can take the texts and compare them to one another. We must find everything we can that can help us understand our unusual powers. The more we know about them, the less likely we can hurt other ponies with them.”

Moonlight offered her hoof. Being the polite mare that she usually was, Starlight shook it. She tried to ignore how weird it felt to shake the hoof of somepony she couldn’t stop arguing with just a few days ago.

She turned her attention to Pinkie Pie. She was going to speak to her but before she could utter a word, the pink mare disappeared in a blur. Starlight frowned, wondering if Pinkie would ever come back. Well, at least for now, Lyra and Bon Bon were still here.

Lyra was waiting on the two mares for their assistance. Starlight did not hesitate to offer her help. She still had no idea how to fix Bon Bon’s mouth yet, especially without exposing her real magic, but she was willing at least try for the sake of her new friends.

“I would be glad to assist you. I am sure Moonlight and I will be able to find a remedy for your missing mouth soon. You deserve to smile just like everypony else.” she said warmly.

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@Loud Opinion @ExplosionMare

Before Moonlight could really say anything Pinkie had vanished in a blurr. What a strange pony to say the very least. Moonlight didn't know how to feel about Pinkie but hoped that she would be able to clear up what happened with Twilight and her other friends. She was glad to know that a situation could possibly be resolved out of her hands. Perhaps after a while, Moonlight could come back and talk to Twilight under more proper circumstances.

Moonlight shook Starlight's hoof earnestly and smiled genuinely as she looked into Starlight's eyes. It was time to work together now as clearly arguing or channeling their inner powers wouldn't go well for them or anyone else in the vicinity. Perhaps she could change Starlight's mind with time, and not words or actions. Looking to Lyra she nodded, perhaps she would show Lyra the texts as well.

"Indeed. I would much rather us work on finding what we can find on our own rather than having to have the information filtered through us by others. We can find out the authors on the books, and upon finding those authors we can look in a library or research for any other books of those authors. We can also look for information on the authors themselves and see what we can find. We need to rely on ourselves now, as clearly relying on what others have told us isn't going to turn out in our favor. At least that is what I am thinking up to this point. Lets see what I can recall from the books that I read..." Moonlight states, thinking deeply back to the point where she had read those books. Trying to remember the details that were within them.

As Moonlight thought she began to lead the way to her and Starlight's rooms. Upon realizing what she had remembered, Moonlight would recite what she remembered to Starlight. 

  "One of them was called "The Locksmith's Dream: a Light through the Keyhole." It was written written by Teresa Glimmer. It was about a mare that slept with the lights on and wore white pajamas in a white room, on white bed, and dreamed of a forest. Can't really remember all of the specifics but the mare died in the forest after an encounter with a...mole? Would probably have been a much larger mole. Of course that could always be a metaphor for something... She woke up with a map to a forbidden ruin written on her hoof. Perhaps she had went there." Moonlight spoke and smirked at something. "Perhaps your ancestor was the author of that book. If you know something about your family line, perhaps you know the author?" Moonlight said in a rather friendly manner, she was trying to get Starlight interested in the books that she had read.

"I read others that were of lairs burned in by daylight for their falsehoods. There were those who walked into the light and ascended from that point on. There was an anecdote on the last page "The Watchman listens for those that call his name." although there was a bit more to this, so I don't remember all of it." after she spoke those words she would stammer a bit, seeing that was the path to Moonlight's own ascension. This was all about her power! But she didn't realize it when she first read the book! It was there, already in her mind and she only realized it just now. 

"These books here describe my power. I believe I know what I have to do in order to learn more about it. When others didn't believe my words such as Twilight and her friends, their eyes were filled with light. The Watchman is the one who guides my path within the light." she spoke with clear realization within her words. Looking back to Starlight her eyes would narrow ever so slightly. "What do you remember? If you don't remember much, we will find out." she spoke in a calm manner. Although there was a part of her that was worried that something could go wrong. 

"If there is anything anyone should take from this, it is that this world is far more expansive and unknown than what anyone can imagine. Truth is stranger than fiction." she spoke, though was more of speaking to Lyra.

 

Edited by Starforce
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"You worry too much, Fuchsia," Limbo Dreams says with a smile.

The ranch swelled into vision as the train ground its rails to halt. The silent train had met its destination. Part of her drifted to her past. Miss Dreams couldn't help but feel a little happy about what was up and coming. Limbo Pass. For the first time, she would see her face to face. It made her wonder about other ponies she would like to see with her own eyes.

"It is not my right to say what my life will amount to," She continues, "If I were to fight. If I were to defy my creator. To what end? If your mother wanted your house, would you deny her? What right do you have to claim a life you had no part in making?"

Limbo sighed in resignment. She knew her message had little chance of resonating. "I waste my breath. I will live to see tomorrow and our cause will go on. Destiny has plans for us, and she does not like to be cheated."

Fuchsia is less than encouraged by Limbo's (what she decides to view as) attempt to cheer her on. At least Limbo said that they had a destiny together and wouldn't die? This mare's tales were as tall and convoluted as her giraffe-like legs. (Yes, Fuchsia had seen a giraffe, if only at a school-trip to a zoo, when she was on an exchange to Manehatten.)

In response to Limbo's sighed aphorism, Fuchsia offers: "Destiny can sit with her tail up on a cactus. I don't trust her for a second."  Fuchsia giggles at her own 'wittiness' and steps out of the carriage. 

She strides forth onto the familiar platform of the Talomeno station. Dust, whipped up by the desert winds, stings her fur, but she doesn't blink like the other departees and her companion, rather, she smiles and sets her snout against it. She was once more in her element, as nice as the pony heartlands had been, she was an explorer at heart, and the rawness of the desert called to her.

If Limbo struggles at all in the harsh conditions, Fuchsia will help her.

The two ponies trot away from the isolated desert train station and towards the largest building in the frontier town: the Phantom residence.

 

 

 

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(edited)

@abrony-mouse

Fuchsia's less than refined response bore with it a spirit that Limbo could not deny her appreciation of.

The baron bounds of lifeless land may have disturbed most, and Limbo's demeanor up to this point did not inspire confidence. Oh, but when her hooves touched the soil, her stride spoke of stamina.

What would be unimpeded wind was silent and absent in her path. Did the very environment itself treat her with care, or did it not care to threaten? And to what end? Pity or reverence?

As the two strode away from the station and onto a sparser path, Limbo would trot with authority through the waists.

Then they were there. The silent estate did not beckon nor forebode. In the face of such apathy, Limbo had to repeat what the two already understood, "Looks like this is where we depart. I look forward to you introducing me to this Phantom fellow."

Edited by Loud Opinion
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@Starforce @Loud Opinion

A spark shone in Starlight’s eyes as she looked back at Moonlight’s genuine smile. She still couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She wanted to just stand here and be happy about it but she knew she had an important mission to fulfill. Well, she always had a mission wherever she went, but this one was more important and urgent at the moment.

“The books are a good start. They can point us to non-literary resources if that becomes necessary. We must find out everything we can so we can cause as little harm as possible.” Starlight agreed. “While you are trying to recall what you have learned, I have some knowledge from my own text. From the story ‘The Apollo and the Marsyas’, the pony in it used skin in a variety of strange ways. Based on what I can interpret, this has something to do with resources dying out, or being used incorrectly.”

Starlight listened carefully to the story Moonlight recited. The elements did not seem to correlate well but Moonlight was probably right, there had to be a metaphorical purpose for them. Moonlight seemed very interested in the concept. Starlight didn’t understand it fully but the simplicity of the white clothes was fascinating. Simplicity was something she had grown quite used to over the years, so it was comforting to her.

“There is not much I remember about my ancestry, although the last name cannot be a coincidence,” Starlight commented. To be honest, she had let herself forget a lot about her family ever since she moved from her hometown. It wasn’t that she didn’t love them, it was just that in order to pursue her purpose, she had to let go of those who didn’t understand her. Perhaps in the future, they would come to her and learn all that she has. “We should look into that as well, as that would help further our research.”

Starlight’s ears perked at the mention of a “Watchman”. She believed she might of heard Moonlight mention that before. What did it mean and why was it connected to Moonlight? This made Starlight very curious and intrigued. She began to wonder how her own power was being called forth.

My power must have come from something, right? Just like Moonlight’s, it embedded itself inside me to lead me towards my ascension she wondered.

“There is not much I remember, unfortunately. Perhaps I can recall memories as we discover more information,” Starlight replied dejectedly.

She nodded at what Moonlight had to say about the world. Given Starlight’s experience so far, it was an accurate perspective. 

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@ExplosionMare @Loud Opinion

Moonlight was very interested in what Starlight had spoken of. Skin? Would that be a literal skin or a metaphor for something else? They would soon find out what that was, but she were also glad that Starlight hadn't brought up her delusions about Equality since the confrontation. It was most pleasing that Moonlight was able to iron out peace between them. Perhaps that peace could eventually pave the way to true understanding and friendship between the two once they fully understand the consequences of their powers.

"That is all very interesting. I am curious as to whether the 'Skin' in the text you speak of refers to actual skin or if that is a metaphor for something else. I would hope it is not actual skin because if it was that would be downright disgusting." she scowled somewhat in disgust at what it was. "I would hope that you would never do anything like that. To use actual skin in any manner of speaking, I would hope that you aren't that immoral. I know that I am not." she grunted somewhat, her brow furrowing slightly upon that statement.

"As for your ancestry, I can say that we could potentially return to your home to find out more information about it. Maybe ask around and go beyond the limits of Ponyville on our own. Take a train and get out of here for a while, let the events here simmer down." she suggested but then the sudden thought of Twilight Sparkle crossed her mind. Well, Twilight was the last thing on Moonlight's mind currently. Sure, Moonlight wanted to work out her family issues but now wasn't the time when there was much she doesn't understand about herself in the least. 

"I will give you one other hint about myself. My ancestry is the main reason I had originally came here. If I hadn't got involved with the temple and all that, than that would have been my main focus. I know that you are more than capable of figuring it out for yourself. You have no doubt have a high level of intellect, you may be able to deduce that in time." Moonlight smiled cryptically upon referencing her ancestry, she wanted to see what Starlight would guess and if she would be able to figure it out for herself. If she was able to do so correctly than Moonlight would grant Starlight in saying that her guess would be correct.

The three of them would soon reach the doors to their rooms. Moonlight had picked up her pace in order to reach the doors faster. "I would like to examine your texts first, Starlight. If you don't mind. Open the door, and we'll open the door on our innermost workings...or so I hope." Moonlight spoke calmly with an almost knowing grin.

 

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@Starforce @ExplosionMare

Each door had a note attached by a silver-wax seal.

One was addressed to Magnolia, but only for a moment. When the pony in question saw the name, it morphed to Moonlight.

'Moonlight and Starlight,

'We are pleased to invite you to tonight's banquet. It begins at sundown at the temple. There will be several other guests in attendance, so be sure to find matching attire in your wardrobe. The earlier you arrive, the more time you will have to mingle with our guests, though that is your discretion.

'If you have any questions, you can find me at the Golden Oaks Library.

'I'll see you tonight,
'Silver Tongue.'

 

Within Starlight's room was the same visage of glory that she left.

The spined books awaited further inspection. The Apollo and Marsyas: the flaying of Marsyas was no easier to stomach. Neither was the application of the aftermath. Indeed, ingesting the skin was claimed to restore youth, though the book glossed over that fact. Apollo seemed far more interested in what instruments you could make from what was left of Marsyas. From accordions to harps, any instrument of string or percussion seemed to produce an irresistible tune that the body demanded to move through.

One page was dedicated to music sheets. That page got Lyra's attention. She scowled as she read them, "These songs don't sound very good. You'd have to be downing wine all night to think of dancing to this."

The Victory of Crowns described an Alicorn hunt. Aura or her ghostwriter wasn't particularly talented. The text is a very direct journal of Aura's day-to-day life on her hunt. Many days are dedicated to maintaining her equipment, ranting about the alicorn target's political career, and a few tactics she planned to employ when she got close enough. Some seemed obvious, like using the opposite element against your target. Others seemed insightful: If an alicorn losses a limb or too many healthy feathers, that can drain its power like a leak in a water balloon. It's all about the element of surprise and a decisive first strike. If you can hurt it bad enough and get away, it would only be a matter of time before it is weak enough to finish off.

On The White is a simple story of an artist that suffered in spite of his art. Though the masterpieces were said to be profound beyond imagining, he never shared them with anyone. Despite his profession, the book is mostly composed of existential dread and the futility of his life. I would advise against reading it.

The Skeleton Songs is too steeped in its own symbolism to be understood on a technical level. When reading a poem, not a single word can be remembered. No matter how much focus or how slowly it is tackled, the knowledge of the book never leaves the physical text. All that the book conveyed was a need. Each poem gives a different craving. Some make one hungry, others thirsty, while others still convey an itching sensation.

The Apollo and Marsyas seemed most pertinent.

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@Loud Opinion @Starforce

Starlight let out a sad sigh. Unfortunately, she could not give Moonlight a satisfactory answer. The book was just as gruesome as imagined.

“Forgive me for disappointing you, but the book does involve using real skin. I, of course, would never do what the book describes as I would be holding a lot of guilt and disgust in my heart for the rest of my life.” she responded.

Her stomach threatened to lurch, so she stopped thinking about the subject and listened to what Moonlight had to say. She suggested visiting Ponyville to investigate Starlight’s ancestry. The idea sounded promising, and perhaps they could find out about Moonlight’s ancestry as well. With this information, perhaps they can gain insight into their unusual powers. If not, they could at least learn about the magic they have already possessed for years.

“A trip to Ponyville would be fascinating,” Starlight commented. She forced back the urge to talk about equality conversion, as that was still a habit of hers. “That is definitely a good place to start. I believe we can only expand our knowledge after that because we can travel anywhere. We can even go to…my village…”

Starlight bit her lip. What would she do when she returned? She learned so much on this ascension journey of hers and there was no way she could revert back to the Starlight she used to be. Her villagers would be quite confused, disappointed even. There would be a lot to deal with upon her return. However, now was not the time to dwell on that. She shook her head and focused on current matters.

“I am curious about your ancestry, as a matter of fact,” she commented as Moonlight decided to play a little guessing game with her. “Your name, it resembles one I have heard before. Let me think…Moonlight, Moon-Light, Light…Twilight?” she guessed. Now that she thought about it, Moonlight did have a resemblance to a certain purple Alicorn. Her indigo mane and her magenta, almost purple eyes were the most obvious and striking features.

Now was not the time to examine that too closely, however. Now was the time to examine the texts. Upon further research, perhaps Starlight and Moonlight could finally understand the true nature of their powers. Starlight hoped it would be something positive or at the very least, manageable. Carefully, following Moonlight, she made her towards the doors with the silver-wax seals.

Starlight trotted towards her respective door and glanced at the note attached to it. It was an invitation to a banquet held by Silver Tongue and Limbo Dreams. The event sounded exciting, but a gut feeling in Starlight told her to hold off. She needed to know what the books said above anything right now. Carefully, she pushed the door open and went inside.

The room was the same as she had left it, which brought her at least a little comfort. The books were in their respective spots so she could find them easily. She began with the ones she had studied earlier; The Apollo and Marsyas. The book was just as stomach-churning as the first time she read it. Apollo was fascinated by the use of pony skin simply to make instruments. It was like there was no other way to craft instruments in his eyes. This made Starlight glad that her eyes were opened by Moonlight, otherwise she may end up like Apollo someday.

The next text, The Victory of Crowns, was rather sad and upsetting. It was all about the poaching of Alicorns and how excited the Alicorn hunter was about her political mission. Starlight had to wonder: Would her and Moonlight suffer the same fate if they were to reach ascension. Starlight sincerely hoped Alicorn hunting was a thing of the past. She was unable to read much further in this book either, so she set it down and continued to the next one.

On the White was not disturbing, thankfully, but it reminded Starlight of her current feelings. All of the potential she sought may be for nothing in the end. The more she had looked into it over the days, the less promising it seemed. Starlight was beginning to grow very, very doubtful.

The last text barely made any sense of her. The Skeleton Songs was incomprehensible in a literary sense. It only filled Starlight with desire and need but for what, she wasn’t entirely sure. She shut the book quickly, refusing to engage with it any further. She was done reading these texts. It was time to trust in her own values and stand up against everything she had just read. She had to do this, for The Apollo and the Marysas was continuing to fill her with dread and regret. The only way to purge it was to come clean.

“Moonlight?” she spoke softly, making her way towards the unicorn’s door. “Moonlight, I don’t like what I saw in those texts. I am beginning to think ascension is not what is best for us. It may lead to a terrible danger. I believe that we must escape while we can before our powers have the chance to become corrupt.”

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A clear scowl had came across Moonlight's face at the mention of using real skin. "Neither would I. I would never do that under any circumstances. Those who wrote this story are clearly sick minded ponies with nothing good in their hearts. It is downright revolting and anyone in their right minds would refuse this process." Moonlight commented in a clearly disgusted manner.

However Moonlight had to correct something in Starlight's statement and grinned slightly upon Starlight's mistake. "Correction, Starlight - we are already in Ponyville. We could go to your village indeed and deal with your past at a later date when we are more prepared to do so." Moonlight stated. Since that was true, they could also go to Canterlot and Moonlight can re-visit the demons of her childhood for closure, and not only that - but to also show Starlight who she really is. That was something to cover over before returning to Ponyville as she would prefer to allow time to heal the situation that just unfolded with Twilight and her friends here. That was another thing that eroded Moonlight's confidence within her power. 

To Starlight's guesses at Moonlight's ancestry she had nodded. "My ancestry is the main reason why I even came here. I knew the location of the temple was here as evidenced in the original invitation. While of course previously my mindset was based upon achieving power over others at nearly any cost, I realized that was a death trap and that I had to change my mindset in order to continue existing. but that isn't the point right now." Moonlight's ears would fold back slightly upon saying that. Of course it was the point, it just wasn't the main feeling that Moonlight was feeling within her heart as of this moment. She would allow Lyra to overhear this information as it was portent that she would understand the dangers when dealing with this.


Turning to the side, Moonlight had easily noticed the invitation at the banquet. To be entirely honest, Moonlight wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of going there and trekking through the possible dangers that lurked there around the forest. In her first arrival she had encountered an unknown beast there and barely lived to tell the tale. Who is to say that wouldn't happen again? Not only that, there was an added note that Silver Tongue was in the Golden Oaks library.

Moonlight decided that she didn't want to converse with Silver Tongue again. He wasn't a pleasant stallion to be around and his answers to questions weren't exact, as well as the fact that he had her perform some strange actions towards him - notably cutting him. Albeit that was to save Limbo and Starlight's life. However, that was because both her and Starlight had trusted them enough to proceed forward into these dark arts. Thinking this though - Moonlight's trust and interest began to wane more and more.

The first book of Apollo and Marsays was incredibly gruesome and downright revolting. If this was any inkling on what Starlight's power was, it was nothing short of horrific. The other texts would do further to erode Moonlight's interest in proceeding forward. Becoming an alicorn would definitely draw that sort of attention towards one's self. Such hunters were downright disgusting and Moonlight would aim to twist a dagger through their hearts if she ever crossed one. It filled with her with such primal rage and disgust at the notion. Becoming an alicorn was supposed to be all powerful, yet here it was proven that the loss of enough feathers would dwindle their power. "This is the last straw for me. Why bother ascending if one can hunt me down like that!? Sounds like a waste of my time as well as a risk of life and limb. How could I have ever came here under these circumstances...? All of this is just disgusting! If this is the thing I am going to be involved in, than I am not having any part in these acts! Neither is Starlight! I know that mine wasn't as gruesome but still, do I really want to go through with it...?" Moonlight pondered within her mind. The answer was a resounding no. She wouldn't. 

Moonlight put a hoof to her chin and pondered further as to the meanings of these texts. On The White referenced existential dread, was this what Starlight's ascension would involve? Existential dread? She wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially not Starlight. Oddly enough this had proven that Starlight was the only one that she could truly trust up to this point.

The last text was really strange to say the least but at least it wasn't as gruesome as the others. That was no saving grace for Moonlight's confidence within this entire situation. If anything was that these methods of reaching ascension regarded craving. Moonlight was smart enough to not fall for those cravings. Even within her own power she knew the risks involved and decided it wasn't worth it to pursue it further.

At the end of the text reading Starlight had spoken of her true feelings. For an important time such as this she was most pleased that they were in agreement. "Indeed. I will allow you to read the texts that I have in order to give you what you need to know about my power. After that, we will leave. There is a train station in town. We'll buy tickets and then we'll depart to the first destination on that train's route to separate ourselves from this situation." she spoke, the feeling of being tied down to a commitment was fading away as she spoke. She was beginning to feel entirely liberated from the consequences of pursuing her power. It was better to fully back out now than to totally consume one's mind with the pursuit of 'ascension' at the cost of everything else. 

Moonlight would proceed to enter into the next room to allow Starlight to read her books. Walking into the room there was a similar note on the desk - no doubt intended for the both of them. 

"My entire life I have isolated myself in the pursuit of power. No more. I am done living that life. I am done being a shallow husk with only my pursuits to define me." Moonlight spoke, allowing Starlight to read from the texts. The texts were as follows:

 'he Locksmith's Dream: a Light through the Keyhole.' Written by Teresa Glimmer. The text was full of parables. One was of a mare that slept with the lights on and wore all-white pajamas in an all-white room, on an all-white bed, and dreamed of a forest. The mare died in that forest after an encounter with a very aggressive mole. She awoke with a start and a map to a forbidden ruin written on her hoof.

Others were of various lairs burned in by daylight for their falsehoods and virtuous ponies walking into the light and 'ascending' --whatever that means. Peculiarly, on occasion, Teresa Glimmer mistakenly capitalizes the word 'Light.'

Some advice was scribbled on one of the pages. No doubt an anecdote form a previous owner. "The Watchman listens for those that call his name. Their is power in the Light below the skin, but Light can only shine with eyes to see it."

Holding some discussion on the texts that Moonlight had it was a lot less gruesome however Moonlight was already put off from pursuing it anyway so it was a final closure to looking upon these texts. Starlight had found the books to be insightful to Moonlight's power, before long Moonlight had put the books back in a similar manner as they did with Starlight's books. They had both decided upon that leaving in silence was the best method. It was better to leave any pursuers to their name to be clueless.

Moonlight would tell Lyra that she would hopefully find a cure for Bon Bon's missing mouth. She suggested to consult Twilight on the matter for she was far more knowledgeable in these types of magic than either of them, at least that was Moonlight's best guess. Moonlight wished Lyra and by extension, the rest of the town well.

--------------------------------------------------

The two mares would proceed to the Ponyville train station at a rather quick pace. Both of them were set in their decisions and there would be no persuading them otherwise. The way to the train station was rather uneventful in truth but in feeling Moonlight had felt like she had just dodged a bullet. Starlight most likely had felt the same so they were again in agreement as to their mutual feelings on the departure. 

As the two mares were set in their ways they would both feel different things. Moonlight had felt the hidden power within her evaporate like a fast flowing stream. Looking around she could no longer see the truth within the ponies around her. It was gone just like that. For Starlight she felt her heartbeat's strength wane and then suddenly with a sudden feeling that something had dislodged itself from her heart. Both mares had returned to their normal conditions as previously - they were both fine however Starlight's feeling would likely worry her more. Either way, she would be fine. 

The train station itself was rather small and quaint, there had been a few ponies waiting there. The two mares were lucky to get in line for the train tickets. The next train would arrive within the next 10 minutes. After a few minutes of waiting in line after the ticket master had conversed with a mare that he had his eye on as well as the other personal exchanges of the other ponies Moonlight and Starlight would proceed forward to get their tickets. Where would they go? From the departure time of the train as stated, they would be headed towards Canterlot. 

Moonlight had told Starlight that it would be a better idea to use aliases to throw off any pursuers even more. Moonlight had used the alias 'Sapphire Gleam', while Starlight had used the alias 'Melisandre Swirls'. The Conductor didn't think anything of their names and their tickets were given. A few minutes passed by, of which the two mares would converse about how their power had vanished just like that. Both of them figured it was because they both rejected the allure of ascension earlier on that their non-corporeal guiding forces had lost interest in them. 

In due time the train had arrived. With the hissing of the breaks and the opening of mechanical doors a large crowd of ponies would pour out of the train. Some of them were coming home from work, others were visiting family. They were all blissfully unaware that Moonlight and Starlight's departure was of supreme prominence. After the ponies had departed the train and their luggage removed there was a brief period of which the cleaning staff would clean the train's seats and floors. With the sudden call of the Conductor, the two mares would board the train.

For a moment Moonlight had looked back. In the distance she could see the Golden Oaks library - where Silver Tongue was. With a parting gesture, she would board the train. Moonlight and Starlight sat towards the back of the train.  

Before long the train had departed from ponyville. Moonlight had the window seat and would watch the scenes pass on by. It was calm and liberating. The two mares had rejected the idea of the pursuit of power in order to focus on themselves. In the span of a mere few days the two mares had changed their outlooks on life to a great degree. If anything was clear in the future it would be that the both of them were on the beginning of a grand and personal journey. 

New beginnings were on the horizon for the both of them. 

 

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