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    When dear Aqua Swing settled down at the Sapphire’s lobby desk that Monday morning, putting down her cup of tea and organizing her papers, she hadn’t expected much of the day. It was a day like any other, she thought, with events she could prepare for such as:

    • Clients being late, as always.
    • Rainbow Dash ‘dealing’ with a few bad apples.
    • Rainbow Dash flirting with Shimmer Glass, and Aqua having to scold her to get her on her way.
    • My good self descending from my room at some point and sullenly declaring that I hated the world and everyone in it.
    • Big Mac helping move some furniture around.
    • Lady Luna staying in her office all day like usual.
    • Lady Celestia striding into the Sapphire Carousel.


    Well, in retrospect, I suppose that last thing she wasn’t entirely prepared for.

    No one could remember the last time Lady Celestia ever went to the Sapphire Carousel. In fact, the very idea that Lady Celestia, she who was so pure and pristine, would ever deign herself to step inside our home was so ridiculous, so laughable, that when the front doors opened and she strode in with fire in her eyes, well…

    No one was laughing then.

    And they weren’t surprised, either.

    Everyone knew what had happened; what I’d done. No one hides their secrets from the Sapphire Carousel for very long. It’s alive, breathing and whispering, seducing the secrets of your soul and burying them within its indigo walls.

    Aqua had never spoken to the Lady before, and when the Lady walked over to her, tall and angry and imposing, she felt the slightest bit faint.

    “Lady Celestia!” she exclaimed, the stammer in her voice pronounced. “H-Hello! Welcome to the Sapphire Carousel. How can I help you?”

    “I’m looking for my sister,” said the Lady. “Is she here?”

    “Your sister?” Aqua asked, having thought the Lady would ask for me. At the Lady’s expectant stare, she cleared her throat and riffled through her papers which was silly and entirely unnecessary, but she did so anyway. “Ah! Yes! Lady Luna! Yes. Uhm. Yes, she’s in her office. Why don’t I let her know that—”

    “There’s no need,” the Lady cut-off, walking off towards the backdoor. “I’ll go see her now.”

    Aqua stood up, frazzled. “Wait, Lady Celestia! Please!”

    But it was to no avail, for the Lady was already crossing into the entrails of the brothel. What a show it was! And what awful actors my friends all were, not a single one able to keep themselves from watching, from peeking behind the corners as the woman in white traveled the sombre hallways.

    The Lady’s name echoed out, repeated over and over by the men and women who greeted her as respectfully as one could when one was half if not nearly completely naked. Why was she here? What would she tell Lady Luna? Did she bring the student along? Should they tell me she’d come?

    The Lady ignored them, of course. She was aware of them, yes, but she was single-minded in her pursuit of answers. Answers she intended to get when she knocked on Lady Luna’s door three times and then opened the door, not bothering to wait for permission.

    She found her younger sister seated at her desk, reading a newspaper. Lady Luna briefly glanced at her before returning to the article she was reading.

    “Please,” she said. “Do come in.”

    “You have some nerve, Lulu,” Lady Celestia hissed, closing the door behind her. “Why do you insist on being this way? You could have come to my house for three hours! It wouldn’t have killed you!”

    “You’re right.” My Lady licked her thumb and turned the page. “It wouldn’t have.” She looked up, and at the sight of Lady Celestia’s murderous expression, she sighed and put her newspaper down. “Why are you here, Tia?”

    “You know damn well why I’m here.”

    “Then you should already know this is a fruitless endeavor. I refused to be involved in your squabble six years ago, and I refuse to do so now.”

    “She came to the mansion, Luna! Drunk, and ranting, and crying. She looked like she’d gone through hell and back! What in God’s name happened to her?!”

    “Who knows,” my Lady said acidly. “I hear it’s a hard life, going to— How did you put it? Going to bed with strangers for petty cash.”

    I do adore Lady Luna. Really, I do.

    Lady Celestia didn’t, unfortunately. Her white cheeks turned red, her nails dug into her balled up fists, and her throat burned with thousands of choice words she couldn’t bring herself to voice.

    “What?” Lady Luna prompted. “What did you expect? Sympathy?”

    “Of course not. And I know what I told her was a mistake,” the Lady managed. “Alright? I am well aware! Is that what you wanted to hear? In fact, I’ve not slept over how much I regret that.”

    My Lady folded her arms on the table.

    “Regret what, exactly, Tia? The fact that that was what you thought, or the fact that you accidentally voiced it in front of her?”

    “God,” said Lady Celestia venomously. “You really are something else, aren’t you, Luna?”

    “Again, I don’t know what you expected.”

    “Just tell me what’s wrong with her,” the Lady hissed.

    There was a long pause as my Lady considered it all. Considered me, considered Twilight Sparkle, and considered Lady Celestia.

    Finally, she asked:

    “Do you really not know?”

    “Do you really think I would put myself through this charade if I did? Of course I don’t know! I have made it a point to not meddle with her life, you know this!”

    Do you remember, dear friend? I remember mentioning it once. That after what happened with me, Lady Celestia made it a point to not gossip or dig up information on me. Or on Twilight.

    “I have a right to know,” the Lady continued, furious. “I may not be perfect, but I’m not a monster, Luna. I care for that child, regardless of what you or even she thinks. And since you apparently know what happened, then you should know why I’m so concerned! So, tell me! Tell me, because either you do, or I will use other means to find out!”

    If this were anything else they were arguing about, Lady Luna would have been more than glad to tell her to use her other means. But this was me. And this was Twilight. And though she didn’t have a high opinion of Twilight, she wasn’t keen on Lady Celestia finding things out through the likes of gossiping aristocratic snakes.

    So she made a choice.

    “Very well,” she said, careful with every word. “If you must know, someone she cared deeply for ended their friendship. That is all.”

    “Ah. I see,” said the Lady with some amount of relief. Well, well! Losing a friendship wasn’t the end of the world. She’d been afraid something worse had happened. “Well, I am sorry to hear that.” She paused. “It was over her… sex work, wasn’t it?”

    Lady Luna smiled thinly. “Ah. Of course you would immediately think that’s the reason. I suppose it makes sense you’d think that would be reason enough to cut someone off.” She narrowed her eyes, and despite herself, said: “Wouldn’t you, Celly?”

    “Oh, Luna,” said Lady Celestia, laughing mirthlessly. “Really? Did that feel good? Acting like a child? And don’t think I don’t see you trying to avoid answering my question. Which I suppose is an answer in itself.”

    “No, it is not.”

    “Luna. Really.”

    “It’s not!” my Lady thundered, losing her temper in the way only Lady Celestia could draw out.

    “It is! I’m not an idiot, Luna. Even if your little spectacle right now hadn’t confirmed it, why else would she come drunkenly ranting to the mansion demanding to see me?! was the first one to disagree with her ‘profession’, so of course she’s going to come and blame it on me when someone else disagrees!”

    “You’ll never change, will you, Celestia?” my Lady boomed. “You’ve always been and always will be this way! Thinking the world revolves around you and you alone!”

    And to the horror of the world.

    To the horror of everyone involved, Lady Luna snapped.

    “Of course you’d think she was there for you.”

    As soon as the words left her mouth, and the gasps left the mouths of Rainbow Dash and the four other employees glued against the door, Lady Luna knew she’d crossed a line.

    Lady Celestia gaped at her. “…Excuse me?”

    “Out. Get out. Now,” Lady Luna quickly said, standing up from her desk. “Enough. Enough. I’m done. Leave.”

    Luna,” Celestia said, and gone was the animosity and the anger. This was fear. “Luna, what do you mean? Who else could she be there to see, for God’s sake?!”

    Leave, Celestia!”

    “Answer me, Luna! Because I very much doubt it was Flint, so unless you are insinuating she was there to see Twilight—”

    My Lady could take it no more. To hell with it, she thought. To hell with it all.

    “Yes, it was Twilight!” she interrupted. “They’ve been friends for months, right under your very noseTwilight’s magic student—!”

    “Is a child, not an adult!”

    “And is Sweetie Belle not a child?! You know she moved here two years ago! That’s how Twilight met Rarity! And Rarity lied to her about who she was, because she is an idiot, and when Twilight inevitably found out the truth, she cut her off! But that doesn’t matter anymore, does it?!” Lady Luna paused, enraged. She made her way around her desk until she was face to face with her sister. “In fact, I’m glad you know! I imagine you must be proud! Proud to know your student is just as bigoted as you!”

    “That’s impossible! Twilight would have told me about Rarity if it were true!”

    Oh? Just like you told her about Rarity’s existence?” At Lady Celestia’s silence, my Lady laughed. “My, my, dear sister! Yet another similarity between you and your student! How wonderful!”

    Stop! Stop it, Luna! Do you think I’m an idiot?! Twilight was there when Rarity came to my house, and she didn’t know who Twilight was!”

    “Celestia! Celestia. You ask me if I think you’re an idiot and then you say idiocies! She was pretending!” She turned away, back to her desk. “Stars!”

    “Pretending?! Why?! This was after she stormed out! After I said what I said! You know Rarity as well as I do, and you know how petty she is when she’s been slighted! If any of this were true, she would have absolutely used that to hurt me!”

    My Lady spun around. “Again! Again, you think this is all about you! Rarity went there for Twilight and Twilight alone, and the reason she pretended not to know her was to protect Twilight from your judgement!”

    “From my judgement?! But Twilight rejected her, too!”

    “Rejection never stopped Sapphire from loving you, did it?!” said the Lady of the night. “Because she was an idiot, and so is Rarity, and I don’t believe in gods, but if praying to gods is what I must do to ensure Rarity chooses someone who loves her without judgement, then by God, I will pray.” She raised her hand and the door flew open, barely giving my friends time to scurry away unseen. “Now leave!”

    And she did.

    Without another word—for, really, what could she even say?—Lady Celestia made her exit out of the office, past the hallways of the Sapphire Carousel, and out into the cold plaza where Flint waited by her carriage.

    He did not speak when she stepped into the carriage, and when they drove past the statue of Sapphire Snow, Lady Celestia kept her gaze on her hands.

    And she thought of me. Of what I’d said. Of all the words I’d bled out that had been twisted by this knowledge, by this new context. Of the goodbye I’ve given Twilight. Of how I nearly begged her to take my hand.

    The lady thought a lot of Twilight.

    Her prodigal student who hours later sat on the other side of the practically empty dining table in the practically empty dining room of the practically empty mansion.

    Lady Celestia thought about how, in the past weeks, Twilight barely left the mansion.


    The word rolled off her tongue almost unbidden, as she stared at her hot plate of lentil soup which she disliked but couldn’t bring herself to tell Flint.

    Twilight looked up, and in her eyes Celestia saw an emptiness she’d never really seen before, but now couldn’t do anything but see because it was familiar, familiar, familiar.

    I did say it, did I not? Just like her teacher, in more ways than one. Cut from the same cloth, they were, and as she’d said to me during our confrontation, I wasn’t like Twilight, and as her parents had yelled to the Lady so long ago, Sapphire wasn’t like her.

    “I’m sorry. I guess I don’t take rejection well,” I’d said, and the Lady thought I was speaking to her, but I wasn’t, was I?

    “Twilight?” had asked the Lady.

    “Yes?” asked my beloved.

    The lady swallowed the lump in her throat. “Twilight. I’m sorry I’ve been distant the past few days. I… What happened with…”

    “With the woman who came the other night,” Twilight finished, and now she too seemed fascinated by the lentil soup. “Rarity.”

    “Yes. I… I’m sorry you had to see that,” she said, for even if she was there for Twilight, it was still true. “Would you like to talk about it?”

    She wanted Twilight to say yes. To confess it all, and to finally give her someone who understood. Someone she could advise, and pretend she’d done the right thing, and it was okay to be like her.

    “No,” Twilight said instead.

    The Lady was taken aback. “I… No?” she asked, because she loved me, and she’d made a mistake, and Twilight loved me, and the Lady knew she’d also made a mistake, and despite the fact that neither admitted to my role in their life, it wasn’t necessary to do so because they’d both made the same choice in the end.

    There was no point in doing so. If one were to confess and speak about what they’d done, the other had to condone their actions or else be exposed as a hypocrite.

    “Are you sure?” the Lady asked next, regardless. “You really don’t want to talk about it?”

    “Yes,” Twilight said, a decisiveness in her voice. The very same that rang in mine when I lied to protect her. “She said goodbye to us, didn’t she? We should respect her wishes. She deserves that, at least.”

    Thus a tacit consensus formed between student and teacher; an agreement to silence made in silence.

    And that, dear friend, was the end of that.

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    1. Silver Mint
      Sep 24, 22 at 1:34 am

      Her prodigal student who hours later sat on the other side of the practically empty dining table in the practically empty dining room of the practically empty mansion.

      Nice call back. That description just always stuck with me, even now, because it paints a very vivid image of how Celestia really feels.

    2. A Deer
      Sep 4, 22 at 11:03 pm

      Love the layers this chapter adds. It helps bring things together. How Celestia hurting Rarity is a repeat of her past. How Twilight is repeating Celestia’s mistakes. Something happened to make the mansion empty like it is – which seems a metaphor for Celestia’s heart. Most the staff left the mansion for a reason and I think it’s not been stated exactly why yet. Just that they went with Rarity when the falling out took place. Luna’s great for how she stands for Rarity. Rainbow Dash, too.

    3. platinumSKIES
      Jul 8, 22 at 5:31 pm

      “Rejection never stopped Sapphire from loving you, did it?!” said the Lady of the night. “Because she was an idiot, and so is Rarity, and I don’t believe in gods, but if praying to gods is what I must do to ensure Rarity chooses someone who loves her without judgement, then by God, I will pray.” She raised her hand and the door flew open, barely giving my friends time to scurry away unseen. “Now leave!” (Link)

      This really just says everything, doesn’t it.

      Luna is right: everyone, including her, is an idiot. All this hurt and pain and misunderstanding…

      I’ve also noticed (which I’m sure is deliberate) that Rarity, our lovely unreliable narrator, not once yet, has truly explained to Twilight or us just exactly why she is a sex worker. And now I’m pretty suspicious why she’s not mentioned why.

    4. Isa
      Feb 16, 22 at 4:23 pm

      Re-reading this the third time today.

         “Rejection never stopped Sapphire from loving you, did it?!”

      I think this might be one of my favourite lines in this whole fic. I just LOVE the energy.

      I LOVE them fighting lollll

      Like, for us as a Reader we don’t really have any context as to WHO Sapphire was, at least not her realations to the sisters, not quite sure on Luna’s end, and certainly not on Celestia’s end. But this line cues us in. We as a reader don’t really know a lot about Sapphire, but this line brought in such a heated moment, just shows how impactfull she was on the sisters; and how she had such a similar experience with Celestia as she’d eventually have with Rarity.

      Had I had the time I would love to Record a “fake reading” solely for this chapter and this screaming battle.