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Starlight Glimmer

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Starlight to Moonlight

(1x1 with @Starforce)

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Starlight Glimmer and Moonlight (formerly known as “Magnolia”) Sparkle originally set out on a quest to obtain Ascension. Ascension promised them Alicornhood as well as the possibility to reach their fullest potentials. However, the more they learned about this prospect, the unicorns realized there were dark, underlying intentions hidden beneath the glorifying dreams.

Starlight and Moonlight decided that Ascension was not a path they wished to go down any further. Starlight did not need to be a “Princess of Equality” and Moonlight did not need claim superiority over her family. What the mares needed was to look past their ideals and make their own destinies by working to improve themselves.

There new goal is to travel Equestria to see the world for themselves and to hopefully make an impact along the way. They also hope that, with time, they can strengthen their friendship and look past the animosity they used to have.


Starlight Glimmer pondered her journey whilst on the train. She thought about what led her to Ascension and what had allowed her to persist for so long. She thought about how much she changed over the span of a few days: she went from a delusional, Cutie Mark-hating dictator to an authentic pony almost worth talking to. She also thought about Moonlight and how that mare just a few days ago had picked a fight with her at every opportunity.

Moonlight and I were determined to ascend and reach possibly the highest potential we could! Now, we have tossed all that aside. Ascension may have led us to danger if we had continued to follow it blindly. I believe that has been our biggest flaw all this time. It just took something bigger and more powerful than ourselves to realize. she thought as she stared out the window at all the passing buildings. Like the buildings, ideals she used to possess swiftly drifted from her mind and were replaced with questioning, reasoning, and possibility. It was not perfect, as she was still prone to falling back into her delusions from time-to-time, but it was a start.

She turned and faced Moonlight who was also silent at the moment. She wondered if she was having similar thoughts. Knowing this mare well by now, she was probably way ahead of Starlight and was already thinking about what they would do once they got off the train. That, or she was thinking abour garlic sandwiches. Starlight hoped it was the former.

“What are you currently thinking about, Moonlight?” she asked her friend quietly.

Edited by ExplosionMare
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Moonlight had sat with herself closest to the window. Thinking back through it all she can remember how reckless and savage she was. When she came into the temple she acted as if she owned the entire world and she also remembered how much she said there as well. There was so much that would better be left unsaid, looking back. A brief sigh had escaped her mouth upon Starlight's question. Even though she no longer had her ability to see truth - she could still speak it.

"A lot. I can't believe that I have gone from an animalistic reckless recluse to knowing the truth about a dark cult in the span of a few days. Not only that, I have someone who I once thought was genuinely insane sitting right beside me and I now call her my friend." Moonlight smiled slightly as she looked into Starlight's eyes. She leans back in her seat a bit. "We both came here with practically nothing on our backs, and now we have all the more reason to gain from it." her words fell from her mouth calmly. Like a waterfall, they were calm. As this was the same mare of course, there was that hint of prestige within her word.

"I didn't answer your question back there as I was in front of another pony...I am Twilight Sparkle's older sister. It is a long story that I am not going to get into right now." she sighed, shuddering slightly at something. Her gaze broke as she looked out. Silence reigned through the air for a few moments before some urgent matters crossed her mind. "We have to tell about that cult. It is clearly going against the word of the land, and we shouldn't be so dim as to let other ponies fall for the same trap we did. Those ponies must be arrested. That cult must be shut down and its temple seized. Not only that, but its dark knowledge to be taken away and protected by the heaviest guard." her words were urgent. It was as if she had seen something on the horizon before anyone else had.

They could see the skyline of Canterlot approaching. They would likely be departing the train within a few minutes. 

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Starlight leaned forward to listen to Moonlight. She gave her a small, sympathetic frown as she too understood the weight of having a lot on one’s mind. She had also changed dramatically over the past few days. Starlight was consumed by grandeur delusions of perfect happiness and harmony. It was only now, through somepony who used to be her arch-nemesis, that she slowly began to realize how wrong it was to strip the identities of those around her.

“We have been through…a lot, these past few days. I feel incredibly different than who I used to be. Sometimes it scares me, but I just have to remember that this type of change is a good thing. You have changed a lot as well. You used to be so cold and distant, but now you’re showing a more calm, thought-provoking side of yourself,” Starlight replied, leaning back in her seat to meet Moonlight’s eye level.

She tried to think of more to say but she was just content sitting here and seeing Moonlight smile. It was so nice to see her like this, rather than the scornful fighter she used to be. Starlight relaxed for a moment, allowing her eyes to glaze over and her hind hooves to slowly dangle off her seat.

Starlight quirked a brow when Moonlight mentioned a piece of her family history. She couldn’t believe Moonlight was related to Twilight Sparkle, the Twilight Sparkle! Starlight remained a bit skeptic for now, as she would need further proof to make sure this wasn’t one of Moonlight’s stories or something. She nodded with interest then offered a small condolence as Moonlight shuddered.

“It’s quite alright, you do not have to give me the full story now. As much as I would like to hear it and, heh, perhaps relate it to your Cutie Mark origin somehow, I will let you share that story in your own time. It is as you wish.” she told Moonlight.

Starlight was met with silence for a while so she decided to give Moonlight her space. She didn’t want to say anything offending while she was in a forlorn state. When she finally spoke, Starlight’s heart rate rose slightly. She clutched her chest instinctively, worried her powers had somehow come back. Thankfully, her heart was only indicating urgency and she was able to bring her heart rate down if she needed to.

“Yes, that cult is far too dangerous to leave be. I do not wish to see another pony go through what we did, or worse, go through with Ascension. We must find a way to shut it down and protect that land from being intruded upon by unsuspecting visitors. I suggest once we leave the train, we find a way to contact some guards.” she responded with a quieter, more serious tone.

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Moonlight had thought through Starlight's answers for a silent minute or so. She decided it would be best for her to carefully weigh her answers mentally. Starlight was definitely being genuine. Not only could Moonlight tell but she could also feel it. Gone was the cultist like personality and replacing it was that of a calm listening friend. Moonlight was most pleased by that and turned back to Starlight and calmly looked into her eyes for a few passing moments. Her eyelids fluttered slightly.

"Indeed, Indeed. Your villagers would no doubt be pleased that you had changed. While I am sure you likely had your reasons of acting this manner, now you can see why I felt so strongly as I did. However I am not entirely innocent in that as I also antagonized you. But in hindsight that was a good thing because that exposed our powers for what they were. If the two of us were not so abrasive towards one another we wouldn't have understood the fallacy of our delusions nor would we have understood the consequences of our actions." Moonlight spoke carefully, yet logically. Her words were once again like that of a flowing stream. 

"I'll tell you about my cutie mark origin. The rest can come later. Contrary to what you may have thought previously my cutie mark isn't a negative mark. You see, my real name is Moonlight Sparkle. Yet when I was...younger I was named Magenta Star." Moonlight sighs as she was clearly repressing telling her entire tale. It was better to tell small bits of it at a time as their relationship would build and grow together. Spilling it all now wouldn't have the full effect that Moonlight wanted to have. "Leaving some things aside, when I came of age to depart on my own I wandered the streets of Canterlot for a while. I can't say how long exactly but it wasn't too long. I decided that I would gather what little I had and to set out from the big city. I had never really gone far beyond the borders of the capital of Equestria, as eloquent as that sounds, Canterlot is a rather elitist place with many who are stuck in their own ways." Moonlight looked to her hind hooves which dangled over in a similar manner.

"I traveled for days and hitched on trains illegally and clung to the back of them while the wind blew past. I saw the trees and fields for real. I saw forests and many landscapes which I had only seen in fiction. I came across a field of flowers on the other side of Ponyville. While it isn't there anymore, there was once a field of Magnolia flowers as far as the eye can see. There was a rather Rich Estate there owned by the Spiral Family, last I checked. I waded into the flowers and as the full Moon beamed down onto me I felt a sense of total liberation from all my pains. I felt..." Moonlight looked directly into Starlight's eyes. It wasn't a stare of any form though, it was just that of a deep contemplative look that pierced Starlight's soul but not in a negative context. It was more of an awestruck yet liberative stare all the same. One could say it was the same as Moonlight gave to the field as she recalled the memories, the sensory feelings flowing through her calmly just like on that warm Moonlit night.

"Independent." her look broke off as she nodded. "I felt independent. I felt an urge to look down at my flank, and I saw my cutie mark. I still don't know what it means, but if I have any guesses it is representative of my will to be independent. For the rest of my life in large degrees, that is how I lived. I felt free and independent. I never stayed in the same place for long. I've been all across Equestria and even beyond, which so few get to tell the tales of. That is what my cutie mark means to me. That will to be independent. That is also why I felt so strongly about the prospect of you taking it away..." Moonlight spoke as she looked back down at her hooves before realizing the train was about to come to its stop. 

The train soon came to its stop with the sudden jerking of the brakes. The ponies in the train quickly began to pour out of it as the conductor called for everyone getting off in Canterlot to depart within the next 5 minutes. The various ponies were murmuring and conversing amongst themselves. None of them paid Moonlight or Starlight any significant attention as far as they were aware. Moonlight and Starlight weren't particularly striking ponies in the grand scheme of things. Gesturing to Starlight to get up, Moonlight would lead the way out of the train. They would be the last ones off the train which would give Moonlight the time needed to speak upon Starlight's agreement on her most important point given the present situation.

Moonlight's words turned to whisper as they left the train. "Most Certainly. We have all the evidence that we need to nail Limbo and Silver Tongue's coffins for their dark deeds. We don't know anything about Limbo and Silver Tongue at all so I suspect that the two of them could possibly be wanted by the crown. If they are directly wanted by the crown than that would likely bode imprisonment within the dungeons beneath Canterlot. I also strongly suspect that Celestia herself would send the guard in to Ponyville and search for them. Not only that, they would also likely seal off the temple from public eye and forbid entry upon collecting the restricted information. I know how the guard works since I have spent my youth in Canterlot, so I wouldn't be surprised if that is exactly what would happen. It would likely be silent in the eyes of the public as dark deeds such as this would scare a lot of ponies and cause an uproar, so I wouldn't expect to hear anything in the news." Moonlight spoke logically, feeling rather satisfied within her agreeing word.

When they left the train the Canterlot train station was a sprawling mess of ponies. There were other trains arriving and departing the station at any given moment. Some of these trains went all the way out to the edges of Equestria while others were more local lines for those coming to and from work. The crowd quickly disperse. Some ponies would board other trains while others would proceed out of the area altogether with their luggage. The frenzy of ponies was almost like a force of nature. 

Letting her words reign within Starlight's mind as she lead her out, she would begin leading Starlight to the nearest Guard Station. "Follow along, I know the way to one of the Guard Stations." Moonlight smirked. 

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Starlight felt a calm since of amity around Moonlight, a stark contrast to the tension and fear she felt around her days before. It was so nice to not only feel as if Moonlight was a friend, but somepony she could trust. Starlight could be her true self around Moonlight and she hoped Moonlight felt the same. For the time being, she did appear to be amiable.

“You are right, Moonlight, my villagers would appreciate how far I have come. Although they may feel lost after living in the Equalist lifestyle for so long, I believe that they will find true happiness once they get to live the lives they choose. I forced them into my ‘perfect world’ for so long so it is only fair that the villagers get to go find their perfect worlds,” Starlight began.

“You did antagonize me but I antagonized you as well. Not only did I completely disagree with your ideals but I was afraid that you would overpower me. I thought if I could convert you, then you would be of no threat and you could become ‘safe’, in my eyes. I do regret my actions towards you but at least this way, we both realized how grandiose our thinking was. We both thought we could get everything we wanted through dangerous powers.”

Starlight fidgeted in her seat, but she was not nervous. She merely felt silly for her actions and was glad she had some sense in her now. She sat back and listened to Moonlight for a moment, taking her words in. She mentioned bits and pieces, all of which peaked Starlight’s fascination.

“Magenta Star…I do not recall hearing a similar name nor would I have guessed that was your name at one time. That is a pretty name, I will say that. However, Moonlight Sparkle is more fitting.” she commented. She wanted to ask why Moonlight made so many name changes but she supposed that would all come at a later time.

“I have never been to Canterlot before. Only Sire’s Hollow, Ponyville, and my village. From what I recall, I do not remember any villagers who previously lived there. I will have to take your word about the ‘stuck up’ ponies, as I do not know enough to confirm this as truth. I do however, strongly believe that there are many friendly ponies there just like there are friendly ponies in the village and everywhere else.” she recollected. Her expression became curious as she wondered what it was like in Canterlot. What did Moonlight mean by ‘elitist’? Did most ponies there clamor for attention? Did they constantly compete with one another just to ensure they stayed at the top?

Starlight listened with fascination as Moonlight recounted a time where she was out in a beautiful field. It was there that she discovered magnolias and felt completely euphoric. The old Starlight would chastise her for feeling free other than in an equalized setting, but the new Starlight felt pride, joy, and peace over the situation. She could see the freedom in Moonlight’s eyes and it filled her with wonder.

“Your Cutie Mark is much more valuable than I thought. I hate thinking that I used to want to strip your very being away from you. I was too focused on my own Cutie Mark to realize how much you needed yours. While yours was a symbol of freedom, mine was just the opposite. Mine, at least as a filly, was a constant reminder of the day my best friend left me. Without him, I felt trapped. I could read and learn all I wanted about magic, but it would take me many years to fully master anything. I had all this knowledge, but without my friend, I had no reason to have it. It wasn’t until I founded the village that my knowledge finally had a purpose.” Starlight recounted. She looked down with pitying eyes. She felt a mix of sadness, contempt, and abandonment that had been buried for years.

As soon as she looked back up again, the train had stopped. Starlight left her seat slowly and made foal steps on the isle, carefully not to bump into anyone. Once they were finally off, Starlight followed Moonlight out. Judging by her more serious look, she had something important to discuss. Starlight dipped her head and perked her ear up, attempting to be as active of a listener as possible.

“I also believe that Limbo and Silver’s deeds can be dealt with in a proper and secretive manner,” Starlight whispered back. “We need to give them over to the proper authorities but first, we need to present all our evidence. On the outside, they appear to be normal, rule-abiding citizens. The evidence may be shocking for the authorities at first, but as long as we prove what we know is true, then there will be no issue.”

The train station was quite overcrowded, full of bustling ponies. Many were crowded within mere inches of each other or they were darting from place to place in a zipp, almost as if they could speed up time. Starlight liked a crowd but she was not used to one this big. It made her worry about losing Moonlight but thankfully, she was right by her the entire time.

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Moonlight listened to Starlight's words and felt various emotions she hadn't felt in a very long time. Sympathy, most notably for Starlight's past in which her friend left her. It was a welling up of emotions that she hadn't felt in such a long time that it was almost unbearable to wear that emotionless expression across her face as she would normally. As they proceeded out of the train station her hard exterior would crack much like an egg and tears would begin to fall from her eyes silently like a waterfall. It was far too much for her to handle yet she didn't speak any words throughout it. 

When they had finally left the train station Moonlight had suddenly stopped and motioned for Starlight to do the same. "I-I...don't feel this way often in the least but I can say t-that I feel g-great sympathy towards you b-but that doesn't make it right what you did to those ponies in your town..." Moonlight spoke, looking into Starlight's eyes as her legs shook but she remained standing strong. "B-but if it means anything t-to you, I'm not going to leave you...we've already gone through far too much for us to leave each other. I-I know that I am g-going to stay by your side until the end of days b-because I've found someone who I-I can relate to...after all these years...it had to be you..." Moonlight would smile faintly within her crying expression and would hesitantly walk towards Starlight and embrace her in a tight hug while nuzzling Starlight a little bit as well.

Starlight would feel Moonlight's soft warm fur as her hooves wrapped around her back in a gentle, yet tight embrace. "I am so glad you opened up your eyes to what I was trying to tell you the whole time...while I wasn't the kindest of ponies, I was still trying to help you...when we go to your village we are going to tell them that you have changed. M-maybe instead of me being brainwashed to join your village, we can set those ponies free...and then we can live there together as friends? That way, everyone will be free and happy with their talents...and I don't really have a proper home..." Moonlight sobbed.

Moonlight's sobbing would slowly cease and she would wipe the tears away as she looked into Starlight's eyes with newfound hope. Her lavender eyes were like a comforting ocean that Moonlight just wanted to dive into. She began to see that Starlight was a comforting, and appealing pony rather than someone who was insane. Her happiness shone throughout her heart like the sun's radiance on a warm sunny day. It was a feeling that she hadn't really experienced otherwise. At least, one that was very rare.

 "You need to move on from your pains as do I. While your friend may have left you, there is a whole world out there that puts our pains to the wayside...and besides, its better to embrace new beginnings rather than walk the land wallowing in pain...like I did..." Moonlight looks away from Starlight and sighed sadly at that. It had just ben starting to set in that Moonlight had wasted so much opportunities throughout her life but there was no going back and changing them. There was only moving forward and defining the future the way that they intended. 

Moonlight then would look to Starlight's cutie mark and would move her hoof a bit to give it a gentle poke. "You yourself don't seem know what your talent is. You lead your whole life believing what you believe about your cutie mark, but knowing what we know now? That isn't the truth. In time we will discover what your true talent is. Maybe it isn't brainwashing ponies, and instead leading them to pursue their own happiness the way they want? Just an idea, but we've got all the time in the world to discover." she spoke calmly. 

"Just think about what I said there...and consider it. I know we can say a lot about ourselves...at the moment. We have more pressing matters to attend to, first." she spoke in a more formal fashion, motioning for Starlight to just mill over what they had spoke of and to think about it for later on.

With those words said, it was time to progress forward with their plans of informing the guard about the cult. Through Moonlight's mind, she milled through the various situations they had encountered previously when they were with Limbo and Silver Tongue. Thinking through each and every detail in order to get a clear and concise picture. As she thinks she began to lead Starlight along towards the guard station.

The city of Canterlot was obviously quite large and expansive. The buildings were fairly prestigious and there were many businesses. Most were of the finer things in life such as luxury dining or more specialized glassware. The streets were perfectly cleaned and the ponies walked about. The various types of ponies were most commonly unicorns with various cutie marks, as well as trinkets to flaunt about their own wealth. 

Up ahead lay the guard station which was marked clearly. Some guards were milling about. Moonlight would raise her hoof. "You ready?" she smirked.


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Starlight was taken aback by the sudden display of emotion on Moonlight’s face. She had never seen the mare cry before, let alone display any other emotion besides rage. Not a moment too soon did Starlight’s eyes begin to water. She held back tears for Moonlight’s sake, not wanting to upset the mare any further. It was a strange experience for Starlight as well, as she was also accustomed to hiding emotions—via a mask of overemphasized contentment.

Starlight sniffed and forced herself to stay together. Moonlight had abruptly stopped as she did this, nearly causing Starlight to lose her balance. It became harder to hold back her own tears as Moonlight’s continued to spill out, especially after learning they were for her.

“That means…a great deal to me. No pony e-ever understood what I felt, s-so I became i-isolated until I found my own way to make friends. Of course, that was a very, very b-bad way to make friends, f-forcing them to surrender their identities.” Starlight responded shakily. As Moonlight began to tremble, so did Starlight. Regret and guilt still hung heavy on her shoulders, but it did not weigh on her much as long as Moonlight was here, offering to give her a second chance.

Starlight looked up slowly when she realized Moonlight was giving her the one thing she always wanted. A friend, but not just a friend—somepony who would listen to her, unafraid, and have the willingness to accept her for who she really was. Now tears were escaping Starlight’s eyes, as she found it way too difficult now to hold them in. A few shaky breaths later, she was able to translate her feelings into words.

“T-that’s what I’ve a-always wanted to hear, Moonl-light. I always w-wanted a friend j-just like this. Moonlight, I will s-stay by your side, too. You have c-changed so much and s-shown me who you really are. Y-you have also changed me and I will forever b-be grateful for that. Hehe, I n-never would have thought s-somepony so different c-could ever be my friend, but h-here she is! She has t-turned out to be the b-best friend I ever had!” Starlight said joyfully through her overflowing tears.

Shakily, she accepted Moonlight’s hug and nuzzled her back carefully. She had not had contact like this in years, so having it now was amazing but also a little strange. She hoped she was doing everything right. Starlight had a feeling, though, that she was. She sighed calmly as she felt Moonlight’s warm and comforting embrace. She wrapped her own hooves around the mare in the same manner to return the gesture.

“I believe setting everypony free is the right thing to do,” Starlight agreed, her tears having stopped. “Knowing everything I know now, I would never force you to give up your Cutie Mark. I am friends with the real you and only the real you. It is time I make friends with the real villagers as well, or at least make amends.”

Starlight paused when Moonlight began to cry again as she remembered she had no home. Starlight pulled back to look Moonlight in the eyes.

“You are welcome to stay in my village. No Equality and no stealing of Cutie Marks. It will be a safe place for you and I, as well as anypony else. You can live in my guest room. If you desire your own cottage at some point, I would be happy to make the arrangements for you.” Starlight said seriously.

Starlight’s breathing calmed and she was able to truly observe her friend. Moonlight was very broken but she still had so much willpower to fight for herself just like she always had. Starlight could see it in her fiery magenta eyes. They reminded Starlight of a sunrise—the sun slowly emerging from the shadows, pushing them away to reveal its powerful and brilliant light. Moonlight’s eyes captured that perfect moment just before the sun touched the sky. It was something she wished she never tried to suppress, as it was the most beautiful thing she ever saw.

“Although it was long ago, the pains of the past still hurt. I hope with you, however, I will learn to leave them behind. I spent so much of my present trying to fix the past, and it still remains broken.” Starlight replied.

She looked off into the distance, reminded of her fixation to Equality. She let one bad friendship become her whole life, rather than taking the opportunity to start over and make new, better friends. Starlight would no longer allow something so trivial to defeat her, especially after she just gained the most important friendship in her entire life.

Starlight suddenly flinched at an unexpected touch. She hid her Cutie Mark with her tail, guarding it reflexively. Although she knew Moonlight was not trying to hurt her, she was still rather sensitive about her mark. She was reminded for a moment of the times when Moonlight swiped at her mark in a hasty attempt to remove the makeup over it. She wished not to relive those memories.

“I always assumed my talent had to do with magic but I refused to believe it since magic is what took my friend away. I hated my Cutie Mark, which is why I went through so many efforts to remove it. I could never remove it no matter how hard I tired, but removing the marks of others satisfied this need in some way,” Starlight answered. “I spent so long forgetting about my mark that I never had time to discover my true talent. Perhaps I can find it now. I also hope that we can find a greater purpose in yours as well. You know who you are, but you do not know your fullest potential. Together, we will find new meaning.”

Starlight’s brows rose as she remembered the current, much more pressing task. She put everything they just spoke of on the back burner and refocused her attention on what was currently important.

“You’re right, we have much more important business to attend to at the moment. We need to locate the authorities as soon as possible.” she responded with a very serious tone.

The mares made their way towards the guard station. Starlight planned various ways in which she could address the manner. She had to be clear and concise but she also had to make sure she didn’t leave our important details. This is the first time in a long time where she was not the higher up, so speaking to the guards was a bit nerve-wracking. Hopefully, she would be able to say all she needed to.

Entering the city was quite overwhelming. It was a stark contrast to the village or Ponyville. The surrounding area was huge and pristine, shining with what the beauty of a million bits can offer. Unique smells wafted through the air, the most notable ones being of indiscernible foods. Various ponies trotted through the streets, the majority of them being unicorns like Starlight and Moonlight. At least in this way, they could fit in.

Just mere paces away was the guard station. Moonlight was determined and ready for anything. Starlight was ill-prepared, succumbing to her own nerves, but she would remain strong for the sake of those they were trying to save. Taking a deep breath, she said,

“Yes, I’m ready.”

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Moonlight would take one step forward and would hesitate slightly as her mind carefully processed the affairs that had just happened. It was a lot to process, and within the span of a few moments it would be impossible for Moonlight to gather her full thoughts on the affair. Not only had their friendship finally been confirmed in Moonlight's eyes - but Starlight was also willing to proceed forward to seek a better destiny. Through a film film of water brimming over the edges of her magenta eyes Moonlight would take a moment to look out into the sky. 

The skies above Canterlot were mostly clear with thin wisps of cloud trailing out in the prevailing winds. Through the beauty of the sky there was always change. Every moment the cloud's shapes would change form as they moved about. Some bits disappeared, some bits formed. This was a lot like the process of life itself. Life was in a constant flux, an ever flowing river of change and alterations between perceptions and relationships. Nothing is the same. Nothing will stay the same. Nothing is forever.

Smirking lightly under her breathe upon these thoughts, Moonlight would reflect upon her life in those passing moments she had upon gazing into the sky like one would a mirror. For a split second she could almost see her reflection on the sky herself, but alas that was just the mind playing tricks. A light chuckle would escape her lips much like the clear morning mist breaking through the air of dawn. Turning back to Starlight she would say, "Some may find their reflection in the water - I find mine in the sky." as if to compliment her deep undertones, the wind would blow across her mane. Unlike previous times she didn't part the mane out of her face as her magenta eyes met Starlight's own in those moments.

"I have finally found what I wanted after all this time. Life has much more in store for me than I ever could comprehend. Life speaks to us in many ways, whether it be our struggles or our victories - it has a message to it all the same. Consider that, and you'll feel something. What do I feel? Freedom. What is freedom? Our awareness that we all are independent and supreme beings in our own right. For so long I have embodied this, but for so long I've been also been blinded by my overconfidence. Many things can blind one's self - such as delusions, confidence, or one's past." she spoke, all sadness fading away from her word. Instead she felt a sense of clairvoyance wash throughout her much like a stream cutting through the frost on a cold December day. The feeling one gets when the cold crispness is in the air, and the gushing water calmy emitting throughout the penumbral affair. That is what it felt like, for her to speak in this manner.

 Another step forward. "Those who don't move don't notice their chains." another step, "On the other side of fear lies freedom," another step, "One of the happiest moments is when you find the courage within yourself that you have the power to change your circumstances and find new perspectives. You know what my happiest moment is, for my life?" she grinned knowingly. "Right here, and right now. Let us move forward." with a hoof raised, she would proceed on into the guard station without hestitation. The hoof being raised indicated that Starlight should merely ponder over what Moonlight had spoke of, rather than reply to it at this moment. After all, some of the best decisions in life were best pondered over for a period of time rather than put into action upon the mere thought.

The sliding doors of the guard station opened up with a quiet sliding sound as they slid into their positions. Upon inside the guard station various sensory experiences would wash throughout their senses. First of note was the distinct smell of the guard station. It would smell more akin to a book store or visitor's center, but not quite. The sounds outside were quickly drawn to a silence when the doors would shut behind them after roughly half a second. Magnolia turned to look about the place, her magenta eyes calmly scanning and taking in the sights while Starlight stood besides her.

The guard station at least from what they had seen had a large desk in the center of the entrance lobby. The large desk was fairly ornate and had a contrast of mahogany wood with a marble top surface that almost looked like it had been polished recently. The walls had various images of the guards. Some of the images had shown the guards proudly saluting the Equestria flag, while the other images had shown various guard portraits. Some of the portraits were more serious looking while others were borderline goofy. Of note, the guards shown in the images were all the same. Maybe they were the guards who worked here. 

The floors of the station were hardwood and the trim and construction of the place was utterly precise. There were no gaps nor seams as everything was perfectly cut. The angle of the sunlight shining through the various windows casted soft golden rays onto the floorboards in order to create a deep visual experience that seemed of utmost significance. There were various doors leading to other parts, no doubt meeting rooms and offices. 

There was a green unicorn mare at the receptionist desk with a cute pair of black framed glasses. Her mane was done in a bun and had two intercrossing pencils inside of the bun. She didn't look like a guard at all, and was likely just the receptionist. The mare would smile relatively warmly at the two mares had just walked in. "Good afternoon! My name is Chartreuse Juniper and I am the receptionist here. Welcome." she beamed in a prim and propper manner, putting her two hooves on the desk as she looked to the two mares. Her cutie mark was that of two intercrossing Pencils over an Emerald shaped like a rhombus.

Magnolia stood there for a moment as she gathered her thoughts. "Hello, we my name is Moonlight, and this is Starlight." Moonlight gestured to Starlight as she took a few steps forward. Her hoof steps clopped silently as Chartreuse was listening. "Let me cut to the chase here. We are in need of a meeting with the guard. We have some matters of national security, most specifically in the town known as Ponyville. We come bearing serious information that is only fit to be heard by those qualified to handle it." Magnolia spoke in a proper manner. 

Chartreuse nodded and her smile faded somewhat. "Oh! Well, we don't get that everyday here to say the least!" she joked as she would walk out from her cubicle and would look to one of the rooms. "I'll get you in room A3 for a meeting. Actually, you came at the right time because everyone here is currently just getting off of late afternoon break and we'll be happy to discuss that with you. I know I may look meek, but I was actually appointed here by the Captain of the Solar Guard himself! Hint-Hint, He's my brother!" she took a more hushed tone. Chartreuse was a rather jovial mare considering the circumstances, with aura of casualness washing throughout her as she would proceed to one of the other rooms before stopping to let Magnolia speak.

"That is most interesting, and I am glad we came here at a proper time. Thank you for your co-operation, we have much we need to discuss." Moonlightspoke calmly and Chartreuse nodded and proceeded into another room. She left the door propped open and there were three guards sitting there. Two were mares, the other was a stallion. They were dressed in the guard attire so Moonlight and Starlight knew they were dealing with the real deal, so to speak. 

Moonlight would proceed into room A3 and sit down. There was a conference table of sorts with various note pads and writing utensils about. Of note the lights in the room were currently off as it was bathed in the warm glow of the sunrays shining through the window that had a door leading outside. Probably another access point if needed. The lights in the room were almost like small spotlights but were currently off, and were all pointed down at the table itself. Moonlight fumbled with a pencil. Once Starlight had sat down they had a few moments in silence.

There was the sound of various talking voices that would proceed into the room. The two mares and the stallion entered, followed by Chartreuse. All of them would take a seat and look to Magnolia and Starlight. Magnolia would get a playful idea and would allow Starlight to introduce the information to them all. With a slight nudge, Moonlight would clear her throat. 

"I'll let Starlight here begin with the information. This is very serious stuff so I doubt the public can know of this." Moonlight added, the group of them seemed slightly concerned and all looked to Starlight attentively. 


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  • 2 weeks later...


Although Starlight’s nerves were beginning to build up like electrical currents, she was nowhere close to full-panic mode due to the immense amount of serenity that surrounded Moonlight. She seemed very prepared and focused and Starlight wanted to emulate that. Starlight evened her breathing and fixed her posture, standing next to Moonlight with a proud determination. She glanced at Moonlight quickly and noticed that her eyes were still quite watery. Starlight’s were as well, although she didn’t realize until she blinked slowly to check.

As the mares trotted towards the station, Starlight observed that this walk was like no other she experienced before. She could not predict when her hooves would meet the pebbles on the ground nor could she know when a gust of wind would suddenly play with her mane. The unfamiliarity filled her with a sense of playfulness but also apprehension. Although she was learning to embrace change and unpredictability, the unknown frightened her still. She tried to maintain a brave face, however, and not let her insecurities get to her like they once did.

Starlight noticed that Moonlight was fixated on the sky. She looked up to see if there was a pegasus or bird that was capturing her attention. She found nothing, so she squinted her eyes to make sure she wasn’t missing anything. She found nothing again so she looked at Moonlight in bewilderment. Upon Moonlight’s explanation, Starlight understood the situation better, but she was still a bit confused.

“How exactly do you see your reflection in the sky? Did you perform an advanced spell that allows your light waves to appear alongside the light waves in the sky?” she asked. She smiled inwardly, proud that she was able to sound smart around somepony. As an Equalist, she was always forced to hide her knowledge unless it pertained to Equality.

Starlight listened in fascination as Moonlight explained that she finally found her true purpose in life. Starlight pondered her own purpose, reflecting on how much it has changed. She was not aware of her full purpose just yet but she did still yearn for companionship, above all else.

“Freedom is something I never quite knew the meaning of. I always assumed it had to do with control over your situation. I thought that the more I could control others, the more free I could feel. I see now that that often comes at the expense of other ponies’ freedoms,” Starlight responded. She wore a forlorn and contemplative expression as she drew her words out slowly. Although she tried not to show much emotion, it was still hard to get past the guilt for her past transgressions. “The way you describe freedom, it is more about giving yourself the right to be exactly who you are. That is what I want to do now, as well as grant that freedom to my friends. I am not quite sure where life is going to take me, but I know that I still want friends. True friends. I want friends that will accept me for me and I want to show ponies that I can be much better than who I was. I will not so easily fall into delusions.”

Starlight beamed at Moonlight. She could see the jovial, almost excited expression upon her face. It was hard not to feel excited with her. As the two pressed on, Starlight noticed that her jaw didn’t grow tired when she bore a large grin. She felt her chin curiously, hardly remembering the last time she smiled that big without the discomfort.

There were quite a few things to ponder, but Starlight filed those thoughts away for later. As much as she would love to pour into them, now was not the time. As the sliding doors silently greeted the unicorns, Starlight lightly stepped inside in order to match the volume of the room. Once she was in, she picked up a faint bookstore smell. It was quite refreshing. The books in her village were quite musty from age, so she nearly forgot what a scent like this was like. Starlight also noticed that the station was soundproof except for the clop clop clop of her and Moonlight’s hooves. She could almost hear her own breathing as well, and wondered why everything had to be this quiet.

Starlight scanned the walls as she came upon a series of portraits. Each guard in the portraits looked the same, yet all of their expressions were different. Starlight reasoned that they wore different expressions in order to differentiate from one another. This puzzled Starlight because although sameness was not promoted in Ponyville, she was sure that workforce unity was. She wondered why in a place this serious why some guards were allowed to look slightly unprofessional.

I hope that everypony here takes their job seriously. I know standing out is supposed to be a good thing, but that doesn’t excuse poor group behavior. Oh, perhaps I am reading to much into this…still, I want our issue to be handled seriously. I don’t want any guards to act as goofy as they do in their pictures. she worried.

Starlight looked forward and noticed a green mare with black framed glasses standing behind the desk. Her demeanor was warm and charismatic, instantly putting Starlight at ease. Starlight let go of her trivial worries for the time being and stepped forward to greet the unicorn.

“Good afternoon. I am Starlight Glimmer.” she introduced, although Moonlight had introduced her earlier in order to speed things up. Still, Starlight liked using her full name as a proper gesture, so she was glad she reintroduced herself. She thought of saying more but it seemed that Moonlight had everything handled. She let her speak for the time being and fought off her leadership instincts in order not to disrupt the conversation.

“We really appreciate your help, Chartreuse Juniper. The sooner we can resolve this issue, the better.” she responded as the receptionist led them towards the meeting room. Starlight’s steps were light and airy, as if she were walking on clouds. Although she was dealing with a serious matter, she couldn’t help but feel joyful and relieved that a polite pony was here to help them out. At least there was one familiarity in this situation.

The ponies inside the room were formally dressed, which immediately set off alarms in Starlight’s head. Her immediate reaction was to assume they were dressed like that to look better than everypony. She fought this delusion and kept telling herself that they were only authority figures, not competitive show-offs.

Relax, Starlight, these ponies are only here to help. They aren’t trying to make you feel worse about yourself, they’re just doing their jobs.

Starlight sat down and focused on relaxing herself, only to jump slightly when she was tasked with explaining the dilemma she was here for. She got a bit nervous and didn’t say anything at first in fear of messing up. She didn’t want anypony to notice any flaws or worse, gather incorrect information. However, she realized what was more important is that ponies don’t fall into the same trap she did and nearly risk their lives doing so. She had to make sure nopony fell for Ascension ever again.

“Not too long ago, Moonlight and I travelled deep into the Everfree Forest to seek ‘Ascension’. We dreamt of becoming Alicorns and two ponies known as Silver Tongue and Limbo Dreams promised to guide us on our journey. What we almost didn’t realize is how dangerous they and Ascension really was. We were faced with many trials that put our lives at risk and the more we pursued Ascension, the more we began to realize it might all be a lie. Those two are still out there and we don’t want anypony falling into the same trap as we did. They need to be shut down as soon as possible so nopony can ever find them.” Starlight told the guards. She remained serious and stoic throughout her speech.

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As Starlight had explained the situation to the guards, Moonlight had found herself sitting there quietly pondering Starlight's words. Starlight had truly changed, and there was no chance of her going back to her delusional ways. Although Moonlight didn't answer Starlight's questions, she would be sure to do so later on when they were done with their informative session with the guards. However, she was most certainly glad that Starlight had understood what she was talking about. It was as if Starlight was thinking in the same manner as Moonlight was, which was most interesting considering the past few days were spent with the two being diametrically opposed.

However Moonlight's priorities in her inner thought process would change upon Starlight's introduction to the serious manner at hand. Inwardly Moonlight found herself to be quite nervous at what the guards would say. She had handled the situation with utmost confidence but now that she was here before the guards? It felt like the future of the whole world depended upon the reaction of a few inviduals. Moonlight would remain silent and allow the guards to react.

One of the male unicorn guards had set his helmet down on the table as he addressed the mares. "My my, isn't that quite the issue? My name is Rose Bridge. I am the one who runs East Point station, which you two so happen to be at. " He spoke calmly, shifting his light aquamarine coat as he levitated a clipboard to the mare next to him. So in short, the two of you stumbled upon something in the Everfree forest and met the two you described, yes? I appreciate you two bringing this up, as it is a matter of national security. I am going to ask you a few questions." He turns to Moonlight, who was looking at him attentively. If Starlight had looked, Rose Bridge was an aquamarine stallion with a silvery white mane and tail. His eyes were gold, while his cutie mark was two intercrossing roses over a white stone bridge.

"You speak of the Everfree forest, but what exactly was encountered there, and where were these individuals located? Let us begin with that." He spoke, his calm eyes looking directly at Moonlight, who would answer in an honest and open fashion.

"This cult we speak of is located near the town of Ponyville. They had both stayed at a certain place of residence within the town itself. Although I do not know if Limbo Dreams and Silver Tongue had stayed there themselves in the past, they are the ones who owned, or at the very least, rented out that residence." She began with that, while the mare next to Rose Bridge began her notes.

"We both received suspicious letters telling us about this cult. It is known as The Order of New Equestria, or... TONE for short. Limbo Dreams and Silver Tongue are mysterious individuals who have various cryptic abilities, such as accessing other mystical realms with their power. I had arrived there in the night and encountered a dangerous creature that had the ability to counteract my... shadow magic with its mysterious abilities. No doubt that is one of the creatures that stalks the Everfree forest in the areas around this temple." Moonlight added. The guards accepted these answers calmly, and everyone was relaxed, partially because of Rose Bridge's natural aptitude for calming situations. 

"Now look, this is a very serious matter and if you two are lying, there will be consequences. We will be sending word off to the higher ups and a search will be conducted in that area if we deem your information to be worthy of investigation. If we uncover what you are referring to, we'll know you are telling the truth. With that in mind, let us delve deeper...What is Ascension? What abilities and other realms have they visited with you?" He asked calmingly, looking directly into Moonlight's eyes again. It was a method of interrogation that was to be more natural than doing an "official" one, so to speak.

"The realm known as the Wood, for one. It was a very strange process. I was buried within the ground after Silver Tongue had me slice open his left leg and I was told that when I wanted to get out I would have to bite my tongue to draw blood. The Wood is a dangerous place, where there is an entity known as the Barber who we encountered. I saved Limbo and Starlight's lives from the encroaching danger within that realm. For Ascension, it is not of the normal ascension you have come to know. It is done through various rituals. In that residence there were various books. I am about to tell you about the contents of those books, for it is quite disturbing. The contents of these books I surmise have something to do with this Ascension process but we were unable to confirm that as we chose to back out due to the contents of those books. It was most troubling." Moonlight couldn't help but shudder slightly upon remembering what was in Starlight's books. With that she began to delve deep into explaining what was in the books. The explanations for each book were roughly about a full ten minutes each as they had gone so deep into their dark arts. Not only that, Moonlight also explained the power the two mares once had that they had completely renounced. 

After that round of information had concluded, there were a few moments of silence. The guards had also taken the time to take in anything else Starlight wished to add during this time and would note it down. The mare next to Rose Bridge would speak up. "So, you mean to tell me that there is this cult outside of Ponyville that is supposedly involved in these dark arts? I've heard similar stories before, but nothing turned up. What are you playing at here?" the mare asked in a rather rude manner. Moonlight was definitely highly offended by this line of questioning and smirked smugly. You mean to tell me you haven't heard of Discord, the lord of Chaos? Or King Sombra, and Queen Chrysalis and the subsequent events? This world is far older and far more expansive than ponies like to believe, "she answered with an unwavering amount of calmness.

Rose Bridge raised his hoof in the air as he looked to the mare next to him. "Sun Flare, we are to maintain respect for all parties involved. Perhaps I'll have you on the Convoy to be sent there to examine Ponyville. Now, with that out of the way I can safely say all of this information is far darker than anticipated. Like I said, if you are a telling the truth and we find exactly what you are talking about we will greatly appreciate your coming forward. While the both of you were complacent in this from what it seems up to a point, what would have happened if say - you never had those books and the situation was less suspicious. You two probably would have gone along with it, right?" he asked, his calm eyes narrowing slightly.

Moonlight's answer to that question was probably a bit surprising. "Of course we would have gone along with it. The two of us had our own personal reasons. Before I came to the conclusions that this cult was in the moral wrong I was on the prowl for as much power as I could possibly get. Starlight here had similar ambitions but for different ideological motives. She wanted to spread her message of Equality, which focused on the removal of the cutie mark from the individual. Because of the great dangers involved we were forced to reconsider our beliefs and motives in moving forward. Now, we choose to come clean about our faults and the Cult's dark ways in order to prevent their darkness from seeping into the world like a weed. It is better to pluck it now before it grows deeper and far entrenched. I implore upon you to go to the furthest extent of the law to examine and remove 'The Order of New Equestria' from the world, so that the world's peace can be preserved." Moonlight concluded. Her words had stunned the guards for a bit and they looked a bit bewildered at her honesty. A little bit of Moonlight's dominant personality came out in those words but it was warranted. 

Rose Bridge clearly would stammer slightly at those words as he struggled to find them. "Look, we are going to get right on this as soon as this meeting is over. This is no ordinary issue. I am going to send my staff to inform the others...and the Princesses themselves about this. This is the most serious thing I have heard of in a while. The two of you have a great deal of boldness in coming here and informing us of this, not only of that but also of who you were just days prior. Because of that, if this situation comes up with what you say it is - we will pardon your involvement in it completely. That remains to be seen however, and we would ask that you stay in Canterlot until this is confirmed. Once it is, you two will be free to leave and attend to yourselves as you see fit. For now however, you are staying put right in this city and I am assigning two guards to you to accompany you throughout the city at all times. Both for your protection, and for your temporary custody." Rose Bridge replied and stood up.

Moonlight nodded in complete understanding of this. "I accept the terms and conditions of this. But one other thing. The Cult has a banquet at sundown at this location and time as shown on these invitation guards. You know what, you could... invite yourselves to this banquet, knowing the time and place. There, you will be able to do what you need to do." Moonlight pulls out the invitation cards and turns them over to the guards. Rose Bridge smiled at this and turned to the two mares next to him.

"Polar Spring! Mell Swirls! Make haste to the castle and inform the others. You two have my complete authority to set up a meeting with the princesses. Get the captain of the guard to organize an expedition into Ponyville! Four Carriages minimum. Armed. Have the best Unicorns and trained attend. We have only about an hour until this Banquet occurs at sundown. Make haste!" he barked, and the two mares gathered the notes and invitations, as well as other items they had gotten and sped out the door.


Edited by Starforce
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  • 2 weeks later...


Starlight hoped she conveyed all of the information in a clear and concise way. She was worried about leaving something out or accidentally giving out false information. As delusional as her thinking was those few days ago, it was hard to know if everything she was saying was truthful. She glanced briefly at Moonlight, who wore a calm and content expression. That was all Starlight needed to know she was doing the right thing. She turned back to the guards to wait for further instruction.

Starlight’s postured stiffened slightly when Rose Bridge asked her and Moonlight to provide answers to a brief survey. Starlight readied herself to be completely focused while also giving her brain the chance to recollect everything that happened over the past few days. Every single detail was crucial here. Thankfully, it was a habit for Starlight to observe the little things—how else would she have been able to keep tabs on her ‘friends’?

The first question was directed at Moonlight, so Starlight listened carefully for anything she could add. Starlight did recall receiving her personal TONE letter and had not previously questioned where it came from. There was no postal service in her village. It could have been delivered through somepony on the one-way train, but Starlight would have known if somepony new had arrived. This information may not be as relevant as other matters, but it did warrant some investigation.

“When I received my invitation from The Order of New Equestria, it was sent directly to me even though my hometown has no official postal service. That can only mean that it was sent via magic. I still have my invitation with me and I believe there is still a bit of magic left on it, so it could possibly be used to track Limbo Dreams’ and Silver Tongue’s location. If not that, at the very least it could provide research about their magic.” Starlight stated, eyes firmly but non-threateningly locked on the guard’s. She knew where her invitation was but she would not take it out until it was required of her.

Starlight was slightly taken aback when Rose Bridge did not immediately take in the provided information. She supposed it was fair since a pony in his position was not taught to take things at face value, but this did not help to ease Starlight’s nerves. She was still incredibly worried about the results of this exchange, which is why she was grateful that Moonlight did most of the talking. Not only did she remember a lot of specific details, she was conscious during the entirety of their journey, unlike Starlight.

“The content of those books are what made us realize Ascension had a much darker purpose for us,” Starlight clarified once Moonlight was finished speaking. “It was going to lift us higher, only to swiftly bring us crashing down. Ascension was only meant to fulfill ideologies for a moment before serving the ponies behind the promise. The process of Alicornhood filled our deceived heads with false promises. We held onto them to boost our selfish motives and felt stronger when we received our special powers. It wasn’t until we realized our powers could hurt others that we realized that Ascension was not in our best interest.”

The silence that followed after filled Starlight with both calmness and apprehension at the same time. She let her eyes briefly wonder, as they became tired from remaining still for so long. When one of the mares spoke up, Starlight startled and immediately refocused. She was offended along with Moonlight at that mare’s unpleasant tone. Thankfully, Moonlight handled the situation quite well. Starlight relaxed some, glad that Moonlight did not get testy like she had in days prior.

Eyes narrowing in thought, Starlight pondered Rose Bridge’s next question. Though the books had managed to unsettle Moonlight and Starlight enough to ditch their previous plans, they were not the only suspicious factor involved. There had been many other instances where morality and civility were compromised.

“The books did guide us to breaking free from our delusions, but they weren’t the only clue that things were not as they seemed. The most prominent situation that comes to mind is the duel Silver and Moonlight had. The duel had nothing to do with Ascension, it was the result of a trivial disagreement over skill and intellect. The way Silver handled the duel was very risky. It like seemed more than a test of strength, he wanted to truly defeat Moonlight. He also did not give Moonlight a fair chance since she lost by stepping a mere fraction out of the ring. Limbo Dreams was quite the opposite. She was charming and very supportive of us. However, that may have very well been a tactic to keep us on the desired path.” Starlight explained, her face riddled concern as she mentioned the duel.

Moonlight’s response was quite powerful, as it had managed to shock all of the guards. Starlight was slightly embarrassed that her past mistakes were brought up but since they had to come clean, it was better to admit all this now rather than avoid the discussion and face the consequences later. Once the guard was able to comprehend all of what was said, he finally began to take things as seriously as the two mares wanted. Starlight was not particularly thrilled that her and Moonlight would be watched over during this whole investigation, but at least they weren’t being locked up or given some other sort of capitol punishment.

“Having the guards go to the banquet was a really smart idea,” Starlight complimented Moonlight. “They will be able to get an easy entrance to Silver and Limbo’s location. Not only that, but Silver and Limbo will most likely be off their guard around that time. I just hope they do not suspect anything since we have already left.”

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The guards all had collectively appreciated Starlight's information and Moonlight had also encouraged Starlight to hand over her invite as well. The information that Starlight had spoke of was worthy of investigation so it was paramount that they would record it. With this much of a large case, the guards had been convinced at the very least - Starlight and Moonlight were onto something. However it would have to be confirmed.

Rose Bridge looked to Starlight and Moonlight after the two mares had ran off. "Look, this isn't exactly what I do on a daily basis so I am going to be turning over this situation to the Captain of the guard. If you don't know who the current one is - his name is Afterglow Eventide. He's been a captain of the Guard for the past year or so. As opposed to the other previous captains he is in the Lunar Guard, however he is more than capable for handling out activities such as this. I don't know how busy he is, or what his schedule is but this is definitely important enough to warrant his attention." he spoke evenly with a sigh, after the long discussion.

Moonlight accepted this response and smiled slightly. "Again, thank you for the help here. We've been through a lot in the past few days and we are looking for needed closure. Do you mind if we join in with the meetings?" Moonlight asked calmly. Definitely seemed like a stretch for sure, but it was something that she wanted to ask anyways.

Rose Bridge rose an eyebrow slightly. "My apologies, but it is a private matter between the guard and the leadership. We don't know if the Princesses even have the time to attend to this matter directly but the Captain has all authority to act within bounds. This falls within that so it is likely that he will deal with this on his own. I am going to remain here as I can't simply leave the Guard Station. However, rest assured your case will be dealt with by the most capable of hooves." he calmly smiled. 

Moonlight nodded in understanding. While it was disappointing for the two of them to not be included on the in depth dealings of the guard she didn't have to know that. Instead something else crossed her mind, she could revisit the orphanage for the first time in years and show Starlight her upbringing. That would allow the guards to have the time to deal with their dealings and then they could find them when the matter was dealt with. It would kill two birds with one stone which was perfect.

Rose Bridge looked to the two other guards next to him. "For now I am going to assign the two of you to Starlight and Moonlight here. The four of you will then be free to go where you please. Introduce yourselves, please." Rose Bridge stepped aside, and would allow the two other guards to introduce themselves to Starlight and Moonlight. 

One of the guards was a Pegasus stallion with a white coat and an icey blue mane and tail. His eyes were equally as so. The cutie mark on his flank was that of a blue shield with a sword behind it. No doubt that had something to do with his profession. "Greetings. My name is Barrier Shield. I will be accompanying you throughout the city of Canterlot. As you can tell I am a guard, but that isn't all I do. I like to build shields and tools for the other guards. I have a few new designs that they are looking to implement." he spoke calmly and evenly. Moonlight nodded, and looked to the other guard.

The other one was an Earth Pony mare with an orange coat with a dual tone mane and tail of red and lighter orange. Her hair had some swirls, while her eyes were of a deep brown color. The mare smiledto them, but something about that smile was a bit off. "And my name is Prominence. Simply Prominence. I used to be a logger before I decided to change careers and become a guard. I found myself here, amongst these others here. Don't worry though, we won't bite." she spoke with some kind of accent, clearly not being a native to Canterlot.

Moonlight shook hooves with the two guards before allowing Starlight a chance to introduce herself. Prominence smiled to Moonlight specifically. "Welcome home, Moonlight." she said warmly. This confused Moonlight a great deal, who shifted about awkwardly. "Do I know you from somewhere? How did you know that?" Moonlight asked in a confused manner. Prominence simply smiled gently. "I simply know. That's my talent." she spoke, pointing to her cutie mark which was a beautiful red mandela. Moonlight decided to not question this. However one question did cross her mind.

"Should we go now? It seems like we are done here." Moonlight spoke while the two guards would step closer. 

"You may go now. Your two companions have a Soundstone so we'll be able to contact them and update you on the situation. Please stay out of trouble. That goes without saying." Rose Bridge would wave them off. Moonlight would smile and wave. 

Like that, the four would depart the guard station. Moonlight looked to Starlight. "I know where I want to go. The Orphanage." Moonlight spoke, almost giving a slight whimper at that as the memories from her past began to flow in like an untapped river. Prominence simply kept the same knowing grin. 

"You'll find closure soon enough. Trust in yourself." she spoke suddenly, leaving Moonlight confused and at a loss for words. If Starlight didn't object, Moonlight would begin proceeding towards the Orphanage in the city. Will take a few minutes to get there though. Barrier Shield stayed silent - he wasn't a talker. 


Meanwhile, the two other mares that were sent out earlier would soon arrive at the castle. The two of them ran quickly with the various notes and documents stuffed into their armor. Other guards and passerbys watched on and assumed there were urgent manners to attend to. Little to their knowledge however, they were correct. The two mares scampered on through the halls and stopped short of a doorway. This would lead to the Captain's office. Two other guards were standing on duty in front of the doorway.

"Well, you two look out of breathe. What's up?" a green Pegasus stallion asked the two guards. 

The two of them looked to each other before Polar Spring stepped forward. "We have urgent matters to discuss. National Security. Rose Bridge sent us here. I cannot disclose that information without permission from the Captain. Please let us in and you'll know shortly. Is Afterglow here?" she asked.

The Pegasus stallion rose an eyebrow but opened the door for them and allowed them in. On the other side was a short hallway with three other doors. They proceeded forward into the open doorway at the end. There was an indigo Pegasus stallion rummaging through his papers. "Where is it? Where is it? I need that paper, the Princesses need the Census report by the end of the month. I gotta notarize that...aha!" he smiled as he founded his paper and turned to put it onto the desk and then saw the two mares there.

"Hello? I wasn't expecting any visitors today as I am mainly going through my paperwork today. Please, sit down." he spoke before gesturing to two chairs in the front of the small office area. The office area was fairly ornate and well crafted. As one would expect. The ceiling was tall and had two stained glass windows. One representing Celestia and the sun, and the other representing Luna and the Moon. The two mares sat down.

"We uh, have some serious stuff we were informed about, Captain. We work at Rose Bridge's station and two unicorn mares came in and informed us about some National Security issues outside of Ponyville." Mell Swirls spoke.

"Outside of Ponyville, you say? That is one of the last places I would expect something like that to be. I am quite curious! Oh, and Rose Bridge? I haven't heard that name in a while. Him and I go back a couple years. We were close in Academy days, eh? I guess some things change after all. What is it you would like tell me?" Afterglow asked, putting his hooves onto the desk.

The two mares pulled out the notes and the invitations they were given. Afterglow narrowed his eyes as he looked at the notes. "Secret cults...ascensions...dark crafts and suspicious events? Well, I'll be damned. Can't say I see this every day." he remarked. "Who are these two mares that you spoke of? Are they still in Canterlot, they better be." he sighed.

"Don't worry, Rose Bridge took care of it. Their names are Moonlight and Starlight Glimmer. Rose Bridge recommended we send four carriages to Ponyville." Polar Spring spoke and told Afterglow their descriptions of the mares. The two of them were very nervous about this. "I'll have a look at these on the way to Ponyville. I will do a quick meeting with the staff. We need to be quick about this one. Follow me." he spoke and took the papers. Sliding his Lunar guard armor on he would lead the two mares into a large conference hall down the larger hallway.

They were told to wait. After a few minutes of waiting a selection of guards would enter in followed by Afterglow himself. Celestia was off mediating some sort of treaty with the Dragons while Luna was dealing with other things. Naturally, the Authority had fallen to Afterglow himself to decide what the course of measure would be. The selection of guards would sit down in their respective seats. The guards would discuss the information at hand. It was quite a lot for all of them to take in and after about a full ten minutes of discussion it was decided that they would depart for Ponyville.

Afterglow made the final call. With a command, the guards went running every which way to prepare the carriages. Various Equipment was loaded onto the carriages. One of the Carriages was cleared out and some anti-magic emitters. Just in case they were able to actually find who they were looking for. Afterglow wrote a letter to Celestia, informing her of the situation. The letter was magical, and when lit aflame it would end up in Celestia's possession.

With a spark, he lit the flame. Like that, the carriages flew off to Ponyville. 


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  • 2 weeks later...


Starlight waited patiently for Rose Bridge to analyze the information given. She understood that for a pony who had not experienced the Ascension process themselves, it would take a while to fully understood what it was supposed to entail. Hopefully, the invitations would be insightful enough to provide proof for Starlight and Moonlight’s recollections of the past few days.

“I appreciate you directing us to somepony with more experience. I hope to have a discussion with him regarding the important matter at hoof since Moonlight and I are currently the most informed. However, I understand if he needs to start his work right away first.” Starlight replied thoughtfully.

Despite Starlight’s kind gesture to stay out of the way if need be, she couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed that her and Moonlight were not invited to attend the meetings. She certainly hoped the guards would know what they’re doing from here.

“I just hope the guards remember to speak to us if they need anything. I would hate for them to fail due to something as simple as a lack of information.” Starlight whispered to Moonlight, a hint of concern in her voice.

The two guards that were assigned to take the mares into custody were commanded to step forward. Starlight gave both Barrier Shield and Prominence a warm, friendly smile. The smile was not completely appropriate since it was clear the guards weren’t here to be sociable, but Starlight wanted to assure them at least that she was not a threat. She hoped they viewed Moonlight the same. After they introduced themselves, Starlight stepped forward to give her own introduction.

“Greetings, I am Starlight Glimmer. It is most fascinating that the two of you originally pursued other careers and hobbies before dedicating your lives to protect Equestria. Moonlight and I have similar pasts. We once sought after completely different goals, but once we realized we could serve a greater cause, we abandoned our previous lives in favor of doing what we thought was right.” Starlight introduced, followed by a lengthy statement. She was probably eating up the guards’ time by doing this, but it was hard not to explain herself to others. Besides, if they were willing to share their destinies, Starlight only felt obligated to share her own.

Starlight puzzled at Prominence’s unusual ability to understand Moonlight without inquiring anything about her. This made Starlight uneasy but rather curious at the same time. Wondering if Prominence knew anything about her, she asked,

“Do you know who I am, or perhaps where I am from?”

She would accept any response that came her way. Meanwhile, she refocused on her upcoming departure. The guards had a method of contact ready for use, so they were prepared to leave as soon as her and Moonlight were ready. Starlight quietly made her way out, looking back at Moonlight to make sure she was following. She dipped her ears in Moonlight’s direction once she started to make a request.

“A-absolutely, we can go there.” Starlight replied quietly. She told herself not to pry any further to avoid upsetting Moonlight.

If she wants to revisit her orphanage, then perhaps I should visit Sire’s Hollow sometime. It has been years since I’ve seen my dad… Starlight thought to herself. Her breathing hitched upon her last thought.

If the guards weren’t here right now, Starlight wouldn’t feel the need to hold her breath.

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The guards had understood what Starlight had spoken to them and would be sure to inform the two of them if anything important had came up. Rose Bridge stood there and watched as they left the guard station, honestly at a loss for words at what had happened today. He stood there and sighed deeply as he looked out over the streets of Canterlot. If anything, this was the most interesting day out of all the ones he can remember up to this point. Something he'd write about in his personal diary when he was off duty.

The group of four ponies would walk along the street with Moonlight leading the way. She stayed silent for now, allowing the other two guards to answer Starlight's questions. Inside, Moonlight's mind was a roaring storm of anxiety but at least one major cause of it was lifted off of her shoulders. Still though, she couldn't help but feel as though there was a lot they had to solve. There definitely was, but it was occupying her mind. Especially with the thought of re-visiting her orphanage. 

Barrier Shield seemed a bit offput by Starlight's grandiose terms and sighs somewhat at that. "I suppose that is true, yes. You can consider it another line of work but before that I was just an average steel worker. Then I realized that instead of independent activities, working for the Guard and being a guard pays more. That's all." he spoke in fairly simple, down to Earth terms. Despite being a Pegasus he was a very down to Earth one at that.

Prominence meanwhile would give Starlight a slightly serious glare as she pondered her thoughts. She knew something was very, very bad about this mare up until fairly recently. "I know a lot more than you'd think. I get very bad feelings from you, to put it lightly. However, if you are here and if you are on the...right path, then you won't have them anymore. I can just sense it. That's my talent, see?" she pointed to her cutie mark. It's Red Mandala, if Starlight looked close enough had the shape of an opened eye. Perhaps now she would start to realize why ponies value their talents so much. It gives them unique abilities and perceptions. 

Moonlight turns to the two guards guarding them and smirked somewhat. "You two aren't like the normal guards I would expect. Things around here must have changed." she commented.

Barrier Shield turned to her. "I can't really say if they have. I've only been here for the past 5 months or so. I came from Cloudsdale. I got tired of the fast paced life and athletics. Nobody appreciated what I did, anyway. My family supported me though. I wanted to become a guard because I had something I felt like I needed to prove to the rest of those that never believed in me, back home. After all, there wasn't much use for my talent there anyways." he sighed, seeming to look down at the ground slightly in disappointment as he recalled his past. Prominence smiled at this, although it was a sad smile.

"Things have changed. In many ways, although I can't exactly put a word to it - things have gotten better here. I've actually been here for two years at this point but I am seeking to become something more than I am currently, but positions haven't opened up yet for that." Prominence stated calmly.

"...I can relate. See, I actually come from here. We are heading to where I was brought up. This...will not be easy for me. But one thing I'll say...is that I had a lot of talent but I just never really showed it." Moonlight shook somewhat, revealing that she was more emotional than she let on. Barrier Shield turned away, not wishing to pry into her personal life. Prominence looked on with sympathy but said nothing, as she didn't wish to add fuel to the fire so to speak.


The carriages soared through the air at great speed. The guard carriages were well known for being swift in delivering large amounts of guards to a given area. There were six total carriages. Three of them carried large compliments of guards who were especially trained and ready for any dangerous situations that could possibly arise. Those guards were fully armored and bore calm expressions as they had talked about what Afterglow had ordered them to do. Talk about what they were doing would likely be the next big thing at the guard barracks. Some of the guards were especially eager to prove themselves.

Afterglow did some hoof gestures in the air to indicate how the guards were to land. They flew lower to the ground and landed in the opposite side of Ponyville from the Everfree forest where the temple was located. If there were any dangerous ponies there, it would be best for the guard carriages themselves to be as far from them as possible. Also, it was best that the guard's arrival in the town was to go un-noticed. 

They all exited the carriages and began to get equipment ready. Afterglow looked off into the sky, seeing that the sun was almost about to set. The time of the banquet would be starting soon. Knowing his own personal routine, he was always ready at least half an hour beforehand. Perhaps the ponies who were involved with the cult were the same. 

"Alright, everyone. I am going to be leading some of us into the Everfree Forest. It will be quite risky but we were all trained to deal with that should the need come arise. We know exactly where this Temple is. I am going to have you lot come with me." he gestured, pointing to most of the Unicorns, two Earth ponies, and three Pegasi to come with him. They all would step forward, the group would number in exactly a dozen.

Looking to the others he thought for a moment. "The rest of you will patrol the town. If you detect any unwanted magic sources you have the tools to neutralize them. Write down everything you can possibly detail. I will be reviewing that after we detain those in the Temple. We will arrest them first and ask questions later. Interrogations and background checks will be done on them once we have them detained in their holding Cells. Again, to remind you all, we will be taking them to the South Wing Dungeons for assessment." he stated.

"Alright, you can fan out and patrol the town. You have my complete authority to arrest anyone of the descriptions we have been given, that of which you all know. If you find anyone, bring them over here and lock them in the carriage until further questioning." he stated, before his eyes singled out one of them.

"Laurel. I am going to need you to go off and find Princess Twilight. Inform her of our presence here. We will meet with her once, and if we confirm the rumors we have been told of. If we do, her and I will have a lot to discuss." he stated and everyone glanced to each other for a bit. Upon Afterglow giving the word, they all would split off. 

Afterglow's group would quickly begin proceeding off towards the Everfree forest along with their equipment. After only a few minutes due to their brisk paces, they would enter upon the path leading to the temple. Among the dark branches and uneasy feelings, Afterglow bravely lead the way. Soon enough the temple itself was spotted. Giving silent gestures, various guards would proceed and secure positions surrounding the temple. Their shielding and enchanted armor had protected them from any dark magics.

The remaining guards who were lead by Afterglow proceeded into the temple. What happened next was up to fate to decide. 


Celestia was standing on the balcony of the Canterlot castle. Her horn softly glowed a yellow hue with hints of golden radiance within as she gracefully looked out into the sky towards the west, the sun that of which was well on its way to set. With her magic, she gently guided the sun like an adult would with a child. Gently. 

Then all of a sudden, a scroll would appear next to her with a flash of green light. Was it another friendship lesson? Perhaps Twilight had learned something from one of her friends today. Upon opening the scroll, her gaze turned from grace to a serious one.

"This is most serious. I hope that Twilight and her friends are okay..." she spoke to herself in a slightly worried tone. She knew that the guard had the situation under control.

So she hoped.


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  • 1 month later...


Starlight felt strange walking on the streets at night like this, especially with the guards at her side. She wondered, briefly, if anypony out here would assume that her and Moonlight were criminals being escorted to the dungeon. She quickly banished the thought upon realizing that not many ponies were out and about this late. As they trotted along, she listened carefully to the guards as they answered her questions.

Starlight let out a soft “hm” at what Barrier Shield had to say. She wasn’t expecting such a simple response. She hadn’t considered that money would have been a motivator since money hadn’t been a major concern to her for a long time. Usually when ponies spoke of their destinies, it had to do with finding themselves or achieving greatness. To hear of a much more basic reasoning behind finding oneself was intriguing.

“I cannot deny that simplicity is a value most ponies do not take the time to appreciate. It is also one I never would have suspected a pony to cherish outside the village. I had assumed you had gone off to pursue your biggest dreams for something such as fame or destiny. Forgive me for my misguided assumption.” she replied, frowning both in thought and in embarrassment.

A sudden jolt of panic shot up Starlight, sending tingly shockwaves through her vains. How much exactly did Prominence know about her? Did she know about the Cutie Marks? The lies? The brainwashing? It suddenly became increasingly difficult to remain composed. What made it even more difficult is that Prominence could sense Starlight’s uneasiness, even if she looked fine on the outside. She avoided further conversation with this mare for the time being. Hopefully Prominence was right and that Starlight would be set on the correct path very soon. Starlight didn’t want to think about what Prominence would say if Starlight somehow deviated from that path.

Once Starlight was able to calm down a bit, she listened to Barrier Shield then gave him a sympathetic smile. She wondered what he would have felt had he come to her village during the times he felt he had to prove himself. He would have appreciated the relief of not having to be more than he needed to be, but at the same time, he would have felt dissatisfied not being able to explore his potential. Much like everypony else in the village, he would have lost so much of himself that he would have felt more out of place in the village than in his hometown. A twinge of guilt arose in Starlight for all the ponies she caused this immense confusion to.

Become something more than I am currently Starlight thought, reiterating Prominence’s words. These words were still quite dangerous to her. Was it worth climbing to the top, knowing ponies could be stepped on in the process, or would Starlight be able to help ponies climb along with her? She still wasn’t sure.

Starlight frowned at Moonlight in concern, noticing she was shaking. She stepped forward a bit in case the mare needed comfort. If not, she was here to support her no matter what. Starlight certainly knew what it felt like to hide her true self for too long.

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As the group of ponies walked the brighter stars began to come out in the sky like little diamonds in a dark cave. Each of them shining with its own unique and independent radiance. The moon was seen rising slowly over the horizon too, with it's crescent shape shining between the various buildings that made up the city of Canterlot. The air was cooler at this point, with the way the city lights illuminated the whole city they couldn't see much in the way of the nighttime sky. In Canterlot, it's not like anyone thought of it all that much. The various shops and stores would remain open at all times of the night, anyway. 

Barrier Shield would stay silent, not seeming to want to talk further on that. He had revealed more about himself than he would have liked and so pursued the path of silence. He'd have no issue answering questions if they were asked, but felt as if he didn't need to engage in further discussion. Not much of a talker, that was for sure. He glanced away from her as well, focusing on his duty. A duty he was resigned to, but one he'd complete nevertheless.

Moonlight would stop herself from shaking and showed more emotional control than most probably would. Starlight could see her face and bodily stance change to accommodate her intention on not showing herself further to a group of strangers. She felt weak and exposed for shaking just a little bit like that. One could suppose that was just bits of her previous personality rising to the surface when she needed to. Moonlight thought about that further, would it be possible for Starlight to have that as well? It was more than likely in any stretch of the imagination. Something Moonlight would be curious to see if that was the case.

To these displays Prominence would smile knowingly. "So many pretend they are brave yet they are still the same as everyone else deep down. I don't mean to pry, but I can see how the both of you have a lot in common." she spoke in direct reference to Barrier Shield and Moonlight. "Maybe if you loosen up just a bit you'll find yourself without the need to be so rigid. But that's up to you, I can only observe." she commented in a friendly tone.

Barrier Shield shrugged it off, not knowing how to react to that. Moonlight on the other hand smirked slightly. "Maybe instead I'll harden up and be that boulder in the stream that stands against all the odds." she jested somewhat. Prominence knew what she was trying to do and smirked in turn. "Outfoxing the fox, you say? I expected that from someone like you. But that's good, it shows you have a more aware mind than most." she commented and looked to Starlight.

"You definitely have a turbulent mind. In time, your waters will calm." she spoke. Something about this seemed to rub Moonlight the wrong way, though. "Well, what's that to you, then? I get what your saying but it's not exactly your place, is it?" she asked calmly, that predatory look returning across her face in a dignified manner. Prominence's demeanor didn't change at all though. If anything it was heightened. "Talking about one's emotions can save a lot of trouble. Not to make myself out to be anything, but recently I stopped someone from committing a horrible crime. If you don't understand why you feel, you'll find yourself twisted in a not and it will cause worse for others." she spoke calmly and in an understanding manner.

Something about that made Moonlight back down and her authoritative expression vanish completely. As if she was compelled by what Prominence had said. "..Although now probably isn't a good time for visiting my old place of dwelling. It'd be better for us to call it a night. We do have an assigned hotel room around here, don't we?" she asked.

Barrier Shield stopped and pointed to a tall highrise building right across the street from where they are. "Right there." he spoke, pulling out a set of notes. "Top floor, actually." he remarked casually.

Moonlight smiled. "How quaint. What do you say, Starlight?" she asked, wanting to know if Starlight was alright with turning in for the night. 

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  • 4 weeks later...


Starlight took a moment to glance up at the night sky. She hadn’t gotten the chance to admire it in quite a while. In her village, everypony was instructed to stay indoors as soon as the sun made way for the moon. Nighttime was viewed as a threat, especially to one’s vision. Noticing every twinkle in the navy and violet sky, Starlight felt as if the sky was anything but that.

She was slightly concerned when Barrier Shield turned away from her. Had she done something to offend him? Unfortunately, now was not the time to investigate the matter. She turned away from him as well so he wouldn’t feel as if he were being watched. Starlight was sure that she had stared ponies down for too long previously and she didn’t want to repeat the mistake, especially given that she was still on watch.

Starlight did her best to match Moonlight’s protective stance, not wanting to appear too vulnerable either. A lot of en emotions were still cycling through her but if she didn’t control them, she would be prone to a magical outburst. She didn’t have a place to safely laser something or a dark spell to pour her emotions into, so she had to ignore any negative feelings, especially since she felt for Moonlight who was currently struggling with her own issues.

“Hehehe!” Starlight involuntarily laughed. “What makes you think we’re stiff? We’re just standing here, being normal ponies, following orders!” Her voice raised slightly as all her nerves began to seep through her words.

Keep quiet! she begged herself, immediately clearing her throat afterwards to calm down. She put a hoof to her mouth to shield the blush she felt coming on.

If not for the circumstances she was still under, Starlight would have given Prominence a mean glare. Prominence’s words weren’t falling on deaf ears, Starlight knew exactly what she was talking about. If she really didn’t want to appear a fool to this prophetic mare, she had to refrain from sudden outbursts. As to how she would go about that, she wasn’t sure. All she knew is she couldn’t risk embarrassing herself again, especially not in front of Moonlight.

Starlight frowned at what Prominence had to say next.

“Wouldn’t exposing your emotions lead to losing control over them? I know for one thing that I can’t express myself too much, unless I’m casting a very complex spell. If I have too much emotional energy inside of me going unused, my magic could go everywhere!” she commented.

She looked to Moonlight who was already to call it in evening. As much as Starlight wanted to get this quest over with, she was also tired. A lot had happened in just a few days and she still needed to process it all.

“I say we call it a night, too. Leave this next task for another day.” she replied. She hoped everypony else was in agreement.

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The group of ponies would all look to Starlight's strange laughter and comments. Moonlight was particularly concerned at what she was seeing and her eyes looked on in clear concern for Starlight's well being. While Barrier Shield would stand there, seeming to be quite uncomfortable with this situation. He wanted to get away from these two strange ponies. He was more than pleased in knowing that he would be transferring to another area of the city in a week. This was enough for him to get that done as soon as possible, not that he would tell anyone about that. 

There was a long awkward silence as the ponies all looked to each other. Barrier Shield immediately turned away in embarrassment and began to lead them towards the high rise building that lay ahead. As they approached the building they could see that the building had 17 floors. It looked like a rather recent construction. As a matter of fact, this building was only constructed last year to accommodate the growing number of tourists that came to Canterlot. The sidewalk they got on was newly furnished as well. 

"Well...anyway, I feel as if it is best for you two to talk out your emotions together. It isn't my place to do that for you. Don't worry, nothing you did there was as embarrassing as some of the things I've done." Prominence admitted, a slight blush going across her face. Even thinking of those events made her lose her composure slightly. Barrier Shield didn't comment on that, clearly finding it best for him to just pretend this situation never happened.

Moonlight gave Starlight a slight glare. It was not one of scorn or judgement - but was one like that a mother would give to a foal. To keep it together. "The trick I always did was to weigh my expressions and words carefully before I'd say them. Clearly that didn't work out as good as I intended." Moonlight sighed, referencing how she behaved earlier on when she first met Starlight. 

Prominence looked to the two of them with compassion. "I am sorry if I made you bring out any undesirable thoughts, but bringing them out will show those who care what you really feel. If one truly values another, they will trust them with their thoughts. Even if they are embarrassing." Prominence spoke, leaving it at that. It was in her opinion she had already got involved with the two of them enough and was going to leave them with what she had told them, to sort themselves out on their own terms. She didn't know them too well after all, but some friendly advice couldn't hurt. 

"Don't worry about it. We will keep that in mind. It can seem like you are trying to insert yourselves into things that don't concern you, but I can tell you are only trying to help. But keep in mind, that others may not be so forgiving with you in the future. Perhaps the best lessons are learned on their own, rather than being spoken about. Actions speak louder than words." Moonlight said to Prominence casually, holding nothing against her but yet wanting to get her to understand that. Prominence gave an understanding look and looked away, as if slightly ashamed of what she was trying to do.

They entered within the lobby of the hotel. A few ponies were at receptionist desks but they had already been informed about the arrival of the guards with those they were escorting. Because of this, they didn't have to talk to the receptionists and instead went right to the elevators. The inside of the place was very modern and touristy, with many pamphlets and magazines being available for purchase. The carpets were maroon with golden patterns across them, much like suns and moons. Evidently, the hotel also featured a casino that was adjacent to the hotel, with a pair of large double doors that lead into the bustling night life that occurred there. That wasn't where they were going, though. 

Barrier Shield pushed the button on the elevator, waiting for it to come down. Once it did, the doors opened and an assortment of ponies would pile out. They were headed to the casino, and were blissfully unaware of the trials Moonlight and Starlight were facing. The group went onto the elevator, and Barrier Shield pressed the button that would take them to the top floor - Floor 17. The doors closed, and they would feel themselves moving upward towards their destination. 

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  • 4 weeks later...


Starlight was beside herself. Where had her composure gone? When she led her village, she was always in control of her emotions and could even illicit specific emotions out of others. Sometimes she really regretted letting herself be vulnerable, especially since Moonlight knew what was going on.

“I’m fine, don’t worry about me. Let us continue our task.” she said to everypony in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

After a long stretch of silence, the group finally started to move. Starlight kept a straight face throughout, determined not to break again. She simply couldn’t afford that right now, not when she was being counted on.

This place looks rather nice. Starlight thought. Canterlot architecture is quite fascinating, especially when it is recent. I wonder if buildings like this can be made anywhere else, or if parts of the building can only be made by magic. I will have to find out sometime.

Starlight looked at Prominence quizzically. What could she have done that would have caused so much embarrassment? Thinking back to all the comments the mare made previously about her and Moonlight, perhaps it was best she didn’t know.

“I’ll…take your word for it.” Starlight responded.

The exchange between Prominence and Moonlight made Starlight think. Had the embarrassment had something to do with getting too deep into other ponies’ personal lives? She imagined so. Starlight wanted to think about how terrible that was, but she then remembered how much she pushed her villagers and “friends” into sharing their lives with her. She knew everything about her friends while they knew nothing about her. Perhaps that was what Prominence’s situation was like.

Starlight took a peak at the casino as the group trotted inside the hotel. She had never seen such a loud, colorful room before. She wondered what ponies did in there. Maybe one day when she isn’t trying to save the world, she’ll go inside and investigate what all of the fun is about.

She felt a mixture of obligation, dread, and determination as she ascended the elevator with Moonlight and the guards. As the marker on the dial tilted farther and farther right, Starlight could feel her heart quicken in anticipation. She worried for a moment that it would beat out of control again before realizing that that pain was long behind her. She looked at Moonlight for a moment, wondering how she was doing. She was probably a lot less nervous, Starlight had to guess.

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Moonlight stood there in the elevator with a rather composed manner. Honestly, she was just tired and really wanted to go to sleep after all of this had happened. It was probably the most busy day of her life if she could remember correctly. Not only did she expose a nefarious cult to the law of the land - but she freed herself, and another from their combined villainy. It was the best feeling of her life. To not only be free from bad actors, but also to be free from herself. Looking to Starlight, she'd smile slightly.

Soon enough the elevator reached the floor of their destination and it opened up with a chime. The ponies all would walk out, Moonlight would take a look to survey their surroundings. They were on the hotel room floor levels, it seemed. With many hallways in every direction - going throughout the fairly large hotel building. The scent in the air was new, and everything looked pristine. That was because this hotel building was recently built and well maintained. It was a far cry from many of the places that Magnolia stayed in previously. It felt very nice to finally relax. 

The guards took the lead down the hallway, they didn't have much to talk about as they would walk towards their room. They would pass by a small restaurant, with a few ponies sitting about, and some sort of lobby area complete with water fountains and bathrooms. It seems like this hotel really cared about the amenities. On the walls there were various paintings of plants and trees, as if to put the ponies here at ease by the sight of the natural fauna. 

"When will we know of the verdict of our case?" Moonlight asked them abruptly, wanting to get that conversation out of the way for now.

Barrier Shield would turn back to them. "Tomorrow. During the night I'll go and see the other guards, so by morning you'll know what you need to know. I can't speak personally on this matter, as I am just a guard assigned to keep you safe. I don't know anything more than that." he shrugged. His composure was very formal, as if he was really trying to forget the various embarrassing moments along the way. 

"I have a feeling you'll know all you want to know - come morning." Prominence spoke somewhat prophetically as usual as they walked down the hallway. Moonlight gracefully accepted these answers as they would finally reach the hotel room door. Prominence gave them the keycard for the door - the room number was 117. "If you need anything just contact the receptionists with the phone in your room. We'll be around if you need anything else." she spoke calmly, looking into Starlight's eyes.

The guards gave Starlight a chance to respond. If she had any questions they would answer, but if she had no other comments they would accept that. Magnolia would take the keycard and slide it into the door handle. A green light would flash on the handle and the lock would unlock. She flipped on the lights as they entered, revealing a rather decent size hotel room that was fresh. There was a bathroom to the left, and there was a single large bed. A table, some chairs, and other amenities. The windows showed the skyline of Canterlot in all of its glory.

Magnolia yawns. She was ready for sleep. 

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Starlight smiled back at Moonlight slightly. Any tensions, fears, and worries she had before dissipated. Now that she felt a since of calamity, she too was beginning to grow fatigued. The day had been long and arduous and Starlight couldn’t wait to close her eyes for the night.

The hotel area, once Starlight had a chance to view it, was quite long with lavish decor lining the hallway. It was nothing short of beautiful, at least in a pony’s eyes who had seen nothing but wooden cottages her whole life. The gold lining on the columns seemed to sparkle while the lush, dark purple carpet pooled into an endless evening sky scape if one looked hard enough.

Starlight was also rather transfixed on the lobby area as well. The accommodations available were beyond anything she ever knew of. Not only were the basics provided, but a high level of comfort was promoted as well. Starlight was really curious as to what sorts of interesting foods the area would have, but she knew sneaking off would cost her dearly. It simply wasn’t worth the risk right now.

Looking to Prominence as everypony arrived at the rooms, she noticed how much calmer and less provoking her demeanor was. She gave the mare a kind smile in return before she departed.

Wait…what if she’s just being nice to interrogate me later without me noticing? she worried. Although she had told herself to work on her trust issues with others, it was hard to be trusting around someone who gave her a mysterious vibe. Then again, she trusts Moonlight completely, a pony who she used to trust the least out of everypony. Maybe she was overthinking this time.

Before Starlight entered the room herself, she asked the guards,

“So, what happens after we find Limbo Dreams and Silver Tongue? Are we free to go after that or is there…more we should do from there?”

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"You will be informed in the morning. Those decisions are not up to us, after all." Prominence said to Starlight, looking into her eyes calmly and then looked to Barrier Shield. He had nothing to add to the conversation and simply nodded to them. "We'll leave you be for the night. Goodnight, rest well. I am sorry if this was a difficult situation, but it will hopefully be over soon." Prominence said respectfully as the two guards backed away.

"Thank you. I understand the situation. We need our rest." Moonlight spoke, and the two guards respectfully backed away. Then Moonlight would shut the door on them and sighed. She clearly wasn't fond of them and just looked to Starlight with almost tired eyes. "Well, I can't wait till this is all over. I don't like this place or this city period." she huffed as she walked up to the window and looked over the skyline as she spoke. "I would show you the Orphanage, but I feel as if the guards would guard over us the entire time. I feel like we have a more pressing matter..." she spoke and turned around to look Starlight in the eye.

"Your village. I know you have had a change of heart - but this is my final test to you. I would like you, yourself to admit that you were wrong in what you did." her eyes narrowed slightly. "To set those ponies free. To return their cutie marks. Let them be who they are - and for you to get to know them for who they truly are. We are going to head there tomorrow." her words were like a parent telling a foal, but Starlight already knew what she had to do anyways. 

Moonlight then showed her cutie mark. "You and I did something exactly same from the start." she commented as her magic rubbed off some makeup. The pattern of stars was no longer there, and instead there was a sword flanked by Magnolia blossoms. The sword's hilt had the same pattern of stars at the bottom part, the sword was powerful looking - yet just. "I hid this, so the others we were around would not see my true mark - so they wouldn't able to see within my destiny." she said prophetically. 

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  • 1 month later...


Starlight Glimmer simply nodded and headed off to bed, following Moonlight. She slowly turned her head towards the pure white mare as she began expressing some minor grievances. Starlight was right with her there as she was also ready for this adventure to be over with already.

"I agree. I'm not looking forward to this 'adventure' much, either. I feel so uneasy having the guards watch over me all the time, too. It feels like if I make one wrong choice, accidental or not, they could throw me in the dungeon!" she replied. She rose an octave after that last sentence so she cleared her throat to bring her voice down to a normal volume.

At the mention of 'a more pressing matter', Starlight was a bit puzzled. She at first thought Moonlight was talking about the mission once again but judging by her tone and look, she meant something completely different.

After explaining what it was, exactly, Starlight was taken aback.

"You want me to go back to my village? After all I had done? It's bad enough that I brainwashed and abandoned my village but to go back and face everypony after that?" I..." Starlight stammered. She paused for a long time afterwards, considering her options.

The villagers probably hate me by now. If I were to go back, they could threaten me or worse! I can't bear seeing my villagers turn on me! Wait...what if they already have? They could have selected a new leader already and created a whole new set of rules. If that's the case, then they're just fine without me, right?

No, no, they're not. I'm the only pony who has the magic to remove their Cutie Marks. Without that, the villagers are trapped in Sameness, new leader or not.  Unless I fix this, they'll miss out on the chance to be their true selves. I have to go back, no matter the consequences. I have no other choice.

With an elongated sigh, Starlight said,

"You're right, Moonlight. Going back to the village would prove how much I've really changed. To be honest, I'm quite scared to go back, but I know I have to restore the Cutie Marks to the village. It would be unfair to deny the villagers the chance to be their true selves. Hopefully...they can also accept the true me as well."

Starlight looked at Moonlight's flank in disbelief after registering what was behind all the makeup. She had ridiculed Starlight for hiding her true mark yet she had no troubles hiding her own! How had Starlight not seen this?

"Oh, I can't believe you had a fake Cutie Mark too this whole time! You gave me such a hard time about mine and yet here you are, doing the exact same thing! H-how long have you been hiding this for? How am I just now seeing this? Why would you hide your mark when the other one is practically the same?" she blurted with a mix of rage and confusion.

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Moonlight was quite appreciative of Starlight's willingness to return the cutie marks of the villagers. She knew that was a big step for Starlight to say - so when they would get the chance, Moonlight would put Starlight to the test and see if she was really doing that. But could it possibly be some sort of well thought out ruse? Even if it were, Moonlight would be assured in her ability to subdue Starlight if that was the case. But still the thought of that made her feel rather uncomfortable. She would never want to do that to someone she thought was a friend.

To Starlight's exclamations about her cutie mark she would narrow her eyes slightly. "Need I remind you - at our first encounter you presented yourself as we all know. You were on the express mission to become an alicorn so you could remove ponies cutie marks and spread your pedantic delusions of equality. It was because of that precise encounter, as well as the current placement of our interactions at that time that I decided not to reveal my true mark - especially not to the others we were with, as I believed that could have been dangerous." she spoke with a slight sigh.

Truth be told, Moonlight did partially regret what she had done. She didn't like the princesses all that much and was missing out on any secret knowledge the Cult could have offered her. Even if that was the case, Moonlight knew that she had evaporated away any risks by refusing to take part within that dastardly organization. It was for the best that she let her curiosity not get the better of her. But she would be lying if she said she wasn't curious about finding out more about it. Perhaps in the future she could, but what was the ascension that Limbo and Silver Tongue were talking about? They weren't alicorns...so it had to be something else, other than that - or else they would have become alicorns themselves.

So much to think about, Moonlight thought. So much to do, and so much to solve. Her eyes softened somewhat at that. "Perhaps the both of us should calm down and get a good night's rest. I'll forgive your reaction, no matter how illogical it may be in my eyes - but we have to move on and not let anything stand in the way to our progression forward." Moonlight mentioned. "We turned our backs on a nefarious organization to realize our own free will. We aren't going to let the slide, hmm? We are going to make the most of it and see to it that we come out successful." Moonlight smiled. 

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  • 2 weeks later...


Starlight wondered what she would do once she arrived at the village. She wasn't sure what she could say to convince everypony that she was changed. More importantly, she wasn't sure how she would free the Cutie Marks. All she knew how to do was lock them up. Hopefully, one of the villagers would have an idea if she couldn't come up with anything. No matter how much she pondered any of this, though, she knew she couldn't really predict what would happen now that she has been away for quite a while.

Starlight dipped her head down ever so slightly as Moonlight called her out. Her former grandiose demeanor was nothing to be proud of, that was for sure.

"I did manage to over-present myself and I'm not proud of it. However...you did the opposite and you hid yourself from everypony. Not sharing anything about yourself is just as bad as oversharing. I felt put off by you because I couldn't reach you no matter how hard I tried. It was incredibly hard to put any trust in a pony who wouldn't open up even a little bit." she replied.

Starlight sighed softly along with Moonlight. Despite how much her and Moonlight and her have grown over such a short period of time, past mistakes were still hard to talk about. It was difficult to think about how cold Moonlight used to be and even harder to think how fake Starlight herself was. She shook her head slightly to try and banish these thoughts.

If only there was a way to stop thinking about our mistakes completely. Without corrupting any pony's minds, of course. Starlight thought, half-jokingly. She looked back up and realized Moonlight was deep in thought. She wondered what she was thinking about there.

Starlight nodded to what Moonlight had to say and responded,

"Fair enough. If you forgive my reaction, I'll forgive your demanding tone. I understand that going to the village is something I must do, but I will be very unlikely to do it if I am pressed to do so. And you're right, we need to make the most out of our current opportunity. That's why we're choosing to stop the leaders of the Ascension. If we do that, we can save so many other ponies from falling into the same trap."

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