It has been a while, dear friend, and it has been hard for me to find words to speak. So I hope you will bear with me as I talk, and talk, and talk until something makes sense. Once you and I have reached that point, we shall ignore all of this and cast it into the deepest corners of our memories, yes?
I think I should start by asking you to forgive me as I take you somewhere else for a moment. A different time, a different place. I’m sure you’d like to know of the cabaret, and what Twilight thought, and whether or not our relationship was on the brink of collapse. And you will find out, you will, but there are still some things to set in motion. And this, my dear, is one of them.
Now, how does one approach this topic? How does one convey it, the complexities within, in a way that is both reserved and not.
Ah. Perhaps a story about children might be the right way—though not dead children, in this particular case.
If you walked the halls of the Sapphire Carousel long enough, you’d inevitably run into a few children. Not metaphorical children or anything of the sort, but actual children, loudly rushing around with their toys and their books and their drawings, poor Rainbow Dash rounding them up as their mothers walked by with their clients.
Children that belonged to one of us and all of us at once. They do say it takes a brothel, do they not?
I think, dear friend, I’ve not painted an inaccurate picture of my trade, no, but an incomplete one.
For every Sapphire Carousel, there is a Trottingham Sex Trafficking Ring.
For every woman that came here willingly, there is a girl that was forced into it.
For every Rarity, there is a Shimmer Glass.
Unlike me, Shimmer Glass entered our trade through necessity, at an age where I was still debating with Lady Celestia what dress to wear for the upcoming prom. Unlike me, years later, her main concern wasn’t rebelling against the norm, but providing for her child of an unknown father. Unlike me and the rest of Lady Luna’s workers, she did not have Rainbow Dash to take care of the man who assaulted her.
To make a long story short, and to respect at least some of her privacy, she eventually left her brothel and tried to find better work in the city. Some means to provide for her son and herself. But, she thought, all she was good at was our trade.
“Sit,” said our dear Lady Luna, gesturing the younger woman into her office.
“I’d rather stand,” Shimmer replied, a trick she’d learned from a string of miserable experiences. She’d only work on equal grounds, or she didn’t work at all. She quickly added, “I mean no disrespect.”
The Lady shrugged. “As you wish. I will be seated,” she said, pulling back her desk chair and doing as much. “It has been a long day, and I’m not going to stand another minute.”
That said, she lifted her hand and Shimmer watched with awe as a nearby cabinet opened itself and papers floated out, arranging themselves in a stack on the desk.
“What’s that?” she asked, unable to help herself.
My Lady stared at her. “Your contract.”
“A-ah.” Shimmer tried to hide her apprehension. One might think signing a contract would be a good sign, but contracts could be confusing, and in her experience, easily designed to trick someone who lacked what one might call traditional education. She reached her hand out. “I’ll read it first.”
“I would expect so.”
But before Shimmer could start, piercing screams rang from the corridor, the sound of a child crying its heart out, followed by the door bursting open, and dearest Rainbow rushing in, wrangling a desolate boy.
Luna’s eyes narrowed. “Rainbow Dash.”
“What?! Look, I’m sorry but—”
“No, no, please, that’s my boy!” Shimmer explained, mortified as she rushed to Rainbow Dash, relieving her of the child and offering an apologetic glance. “Thank you, I—” Her eyes welled with nervous tears, and she turned away from the Lady and Rainbow, desperately hushing her child. “Now, now, baby. Now, now.”
“Is he ill?” Lady Luna asked, who was surrounded by children and yet still assumed every time they cried meant they must be ill.
“No, just hungry,” Shimmer said. She glanced to Rainbow and gestured for her bag. “I’m sorry. There’s sandwiches—”
A moment later, Rainbow offered her a wrapped package and Shimmer opened it to reveal several sandwiches, the smell of which immediately silenced her child and attracted Rainbow Dash.
“Oh wow,” she said, watching as the child gobbled one up, “can I have one?”
“It’s fine! I can make more,” Shimmer said, offering one to Rainbow Dash. After that, she turned to the Lady and decided she might as well extend the offer. “Would you—”
“No, thank you.”
“What?!” Rainbow exclaimed. “Why wouldn’t you—? Okay, okay, I’m leaving!”
After glaring Rainbow Dash away, Luna turned to Shimmer, relenting. “Well, I suppose one wouldn’t hurt while you read your contract.”
And so she did, as Shimmer read, and had another, and another, and another until she stopped Shimmer’s reading midway to ask.
“Is sex work your only interest as far as jobs are concerned?”
Shimmer looked up. “‘Scuse me?”
Again, the Lady lifted her hand and an entirely different filing cabinet opened up, followed by an entirely different contract landing before Shimmer.
“I would like to hire you as a cook.”
Shimmer, dearest heart, blinked at her. “I didn’t know you were looking for a cook.”
The Lady smiled. “We weren’t.”
I do feel bad for you, dear friend. You won’t be able to taste the exquisite delicacies Shimmer prepared for us for months on end, each better than the last. I wager she’s responsible for the several pounds I put on. Or maybe that was Pinkie. Likely both.
Now, I mentioned earlier that Shimmer was kind, did I not?
Well, she was, and more than that, it was a disarming sort of kindness, the one you couldn’t help but reciprocate. It was no surprise how often clients came back asking for her when she eventually dabbled back into our trade, taking some shifts when she wanted to pay for culinary classes.
One shift in particular, on a day like any other, she took on a client that no one else wanted. They had their reasons, mind you, but when all stepped back, she stepped forward, seeing in this troubled woman someone seeking something.
“You’re very pretty, you know,” Shimmer said, casually strolling into the bedroom, her lacy underwear and bra leaving little to the imagination. “Close the door?”
When her client quickly did as told–the poor dear looking terribly out of place and doubtless feeling that way as she clutched a notebook and pen–Shimmer sat on the edge of the bed and patted the spot next to her with almost childlike innocence.
“I’m giving you the deluxe treatment,” she said. “At my normal rate, too! You lucky thing.”
The client swallowed. “Ah… Yes… I…” She looked back towards the door, and a pang of something quite awful clouded her eyes.
“Sit,” Shimmer insisted, her tone gentle. “It’s alright. Don’t think about it.”
And so the young woman moved forward, sitting on the edge of the bed, looking terrified of it all. And looking beautiful. Terribly, terribly beautiful.
“We haven’t formally met, have we?” Shimmer asked, lifting her hand and delicately brushing her fingertips against the other’s cheek. She then lowered it and extended her hand out. “I’m Shimmer Glass.”
“Twilight,” said my beloved, taking her hand. “Twilight Sparkle.”
I Honetsly don’t know why I love Shimmer Glass so much. She’s such a minor character in the grand scheme of things, but she’s really lovely