Dear friend, I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking I’m rather insane, weaving a story that has more threads than any of my dresses, yet is bound to unravel with a single pulled thread.
Celestia and Sapphire Snow.
Twilight Sparkle and Rarity.
Two stories that seem distant but, I’m convinced, are intertwined in a way where one cannot exist without the other.
So bear with me, please. Trust me, as you always have, and let us continue, shall we? Let us, for now, move away from Sapphire Snow—who says hello, by the by—and greet instead two of my favorite people on Earth.
Every other month, the fabulously wealthy aristocrats of the city held a gala known as The Lucid Dreamworld, which ought to have been some absolutely stellar drug-fueled delight. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. It was, in fact, just a reunion of the most boring bluebloods, standing around in little circles by the cucumber sandwiches and trying to one-up each other.
This particular iteration of the gala was host to the most beautiful and sour woman the city had ever seen. There she stood to the side of the stuffy rich folk, her irritation boiling over as she glared at them all.
“My dear,” said Lord Fancy Pants himself, watching with equal parts concern and amusement as his wife downed her second drink. “You’re dwelling over nothing!”
“Please, I’ve had enough stupid people talking to me tonight for you to be another,” Fleur de Lis said acidly. “I do not dwell,” she added matter-of-factly. “I have never dwelt over anything in my life.”
He laughed, and he annoyed her enough to wonder why she’d married him.
“My love. My dear. My angel. Come now.”
“I do not dwell!” she repeated, switching over to her langue natale, as she did when she wanted to complain. “She is welcome to do as she pleases, even if that includes abandoning us!”
Fancy rolled his eyes, fetching his glass from a nearby table. “Abandoning us! It’s only been three weeks, and we’re abandoned now.” He took a sip and surveyed the crowd. “Lord help us, I never knew we were so needy.”
“I’m not needy!” she protested.
“Oh, good,” he said, cheerfully. “Then I suppose you won’t mind knowing that she visited me at the office yesterday morning to tell me she’ll still be busy for a few more weeks.”
“What?!” she gasped, drawing the attention of a few rubberneckers, some of them curious and the others huffing at the fact that she was speaking another language. Really, if one was to make a scene, one ought to understand there’s no point in making a scene if others can’t enjoy it. “Busy? Busy with what?”
He gasped theatrically. “Dear me! I thought we weren’t needy!”
“Busy with what?!”
“With you-know-who, I imagine!” he exclaimed, and at the sight of Fleur’s sullen expression, his tone softened. “If it makes you feel better, my sources say we’re not the only friends she’s neglecting.”
This unfortunately failed to make Fleur feel even a smidge better.
You-know-who, she who had arrived and with a flick of her wrist changed everything and especially me.
For the past months, if I hadn’t been crying over Twilight Sparkle, I had been attached to her hip, which frustrated poor Fleur tremendously. Not because she was annoyed that she couldn’t… explore my body every Wednesday night, but because I was one of her favorite people in the city.
I was her diamond.
“Speak of the devil! Look over there.”
She followed his gaze and conflicting emotions warred within her at the sight of Twilight Sparkle herself mingling about, sipping from a glass of champagne.
She took her in, this pretty young mage, and she was struck by the aura Twilight exuded.
She looked happy. Calm and confident, relaxed in a way she certainly hadn’t been the last Lucid Dreamworld in which the couple had noticed Twilight looking like nothing short of death.
Truthfully, when Fancy and Fleur saw me days after Twilight initially rejected me, to say that they were infuriated would be an understatement. They had never seen me like that, so shattered I could barely eat, barely talk, barely live. In their eyes, I was the most precious person this city had to offer, and anyone who made me openly weep in their apartment as Twilight had deserved nothing short of death.
Lucky for us, Fancy had said back then, that the Dreamworld is tomorrow.
They would certainly never overtly threaten Twilight or hurt her, for they knew I wouldn’t want that, but they’d marched into that gala intent on letting Twilight know she’d made two very powerful enemies.
Until they saw her.
Standing there, away from the crowd, looking like the life had been drained from her, a sad shell that clung to her mentor’s side the entire night, offering empty smiles and distant stares. In shattering me, they realized, Twilight had shattered herself.
So they held their tongues, and let her be.
But now, months later, the Twilight before them shone. Radiated.
And not even the great Fleur de Lis, she who was so used to her way or the highway, could bring herself to rain on our parade, no matter how much she missed me.
“We should say hello,” Fancy suggested. “If we cannot convince Rarity to give us some of her time, perhaps Twilight can.”
Though she pouted for good measure, Fleur relented and followed after him. Twilight Sparkle was here to stay, so the sooner she learned to appreciate the person she had to share me with, the better.
Before they reached her, however, another young woman did.
A very beautiful woman in a long blue dress with long black hair, who gave them pause not because she was strikingly beautiful, but because she raised her hand and discreetly stroked Twilight’s cheek in a fashion that said less “Oh, what’s your skincare routine?” and more “Oh, I’ll be gentle now because I’m going to be very much less so in the bedroom tonight.”
“My word,” Fancy said, “who’s tha—”
Fleur’s hand on his mouth silenced him.
You know, I’m not being entirely truthful.
Yes, this woman’s actions gave them some pause, but what really made them stop in their tracks was Twilight’s reaction.
Rather than rejecting this woman’s brazen advances, Twilight Sparkle accepted them, her discreet smile accentuated by a blush.
“Maybe she’s a friend,” Fancy said at once, his tone calm and composed. At Fleur’s pointed stare, he amended. “A close friend.”
Surely, she must have been, for there was simply no heavenly way that Twilight Sparkle was openly flirting with some random woman, was there?
She was just a close friend, and much like close friends do, the woman leaned in, plucked Twilight’s champagne flute right out of her hand and then took a long sip, her eyes never once leaving the mage’s. When she was done, she licked her lips and walked away with the drink, leaving behind what looked like a very smitten woman.
“Well!” said Fancy, taking a sip of his own drink.
“Interesting,” added Fleur, taking his drink and sipping from it, too.
In perfect unison, they turned around and walked back to their previous spot. Once there, and once he’d placed his drink down, Fancy spoke.
“Now, I imagine we’re both thinking the same thing, but before we become murderers, I suggest we only dispose of our mystery woman, not her and Twilight. Fugitive life will be easier without dear Celestia and Rarity coming after us.”
“We are not killing anyone,” Fleur said, politely. “Yet.”
Fancy glanced back towards Twilight, mulling the situation over. “There must be some explanation! Are we sure that wasn’t Rarity?”
“Oh, but you’re right,” Fleur said. “It could have been her, yes. She simply dyed her hair, changed her face, and grew several inches taller while she was at it. Incredible!”
“Fair point.” His eyes scanned the room and landed on Lady Celestia, laughing loudly as she entertained some stuffy old men. “And I rather doubt Rarity would be inclined to set foot here. Half these people know her as Celestia’s little protegée-turned-escort! I daresay it would be too much of a scandal even for the likes of our little drama queen.”
He hummed, thoughtfully.
“Maybe Rarity and Twilight are engaged in an open relationship?”
If Fleur was not a lady, she would have snorted.
“Twilight Sparkle? Agreeing to an open relationship? Don’t be so foolish.”
“People change, my flower.”
“Not that fast, they don’t. We must interrogate them.” She turned towards Twilight, her eyes narrowing. “You take Twilight. I’ll take care of that little vixen. If they are double-crossing my diamond, I will find out.”
“My dear, you’re positively on fire!” Fancy said, rather flushed, his voice lowering. “I recognize this is not the time for such sentiment, but I do hope you’ll still have this energy when we’re in bed tonight.” He cleared his throat. “So, then! We interrogate them, and then we decide if we’ll be wanted for murder?”
“Precisely.” She turned to him. “Be discreet. Charming. If we alarm them, we may not get the information we need.” She unbuttoned the top of his shirt, ignoring his faux-scandalized gasp as she revealed his chest ever so slightly. “That’s better.”
“Fleur, my dear,” he said, playfully, “I’m not trying to seduce the girl!”
Fleur fluttered her long eyelashes. “Who said that was for her?”
And with that, she strode off, her husband following behind.
“Oh ho!” he said. “Madame Fleur and Mr. Pants are on the case!”
As soon as Fleur disappeared within the crowd, Fancy moved towards Twilight with careful, nonchalant steps. He was planning, you see. Planning what to say and how to say it.
Perhaps he’d start off with small talk and ease Twilight into conversation. Lower her defenses with idle pleasantries, then slowly move towards her relationship with me. That was where he’d really see what was going on. There was no need to be direct. If Twilight was cheating on me—truly cheating on me—it would be plain for him to see.
“Twilight Sparkle!” he called out, drawing her attention with a wave. “Fancy meeting you here, my dear.”
As soon as her eyes settled on him, he saw his first sign.
Brief, yes. A hint that came and went in a flash, but he was sure of it. For a split second, the sight of him alarmed her.
“O-Oh! Lord Fancy Pants!” she exclaimed, immediately adopting a polite smile. He noticed her eyes flickering toward the crowd, searching. Searching for Her perhaps? “Hello! I didn’t think you’d be here.”
“You didn’t?” he asked, gazing at her with inquisitive eyes. “How strange, my dear! But we’ve exchanged greetings at every single one of these soirées!”
Twilight blanched. “Oh! Yes. We have. Right.” She cleared her throat. “Sorry about that.”
“No need to apologize. If anything, you’ve only encouraged me to make sure I’m more memorable!” He laughed at her embarrassed blush and took a sip of his drink. “Do tell! How have you been, Twilight?”
“Good,” she replied, and then offered a very sincere smile. “Great, actually. Really great.”
He lowered his voice, so no one could hear. “I take it things with Rarity are going well? She told us you reconciled rather recently.”
“Oh! Yes. We did.” Her smile still looked sincere, at least. “We’re doing really well.”
He hummed thoughtfully. “Are you now? Excellent, excellent!”
“And yourself?” Twilight asked. “How are you?”
“I’m wonderful, but when am I not?” He chuckled at his own joke—which Twilight awkwardly smiled at, but that was alright—and then he lowered his voice, stepping near her. “And especially so after laying eyes on that beautiful young woman you were conversing with a few moments ago…”
If Twilight had earlier blanched, now she was positively white.
Hum hum hum!
“Oh, indeed. She was stunning! Quite the woman, if I ever saw one, which I haven’t, as I don’t recall ever seeing her before. Who is she?”
At this, Twilight’s expression changed. What could only be described as relief flooded her.
He’d soon wipe that relief away, wouldn’t he?
“Oh!” Twilight replied, her good nature returning. “Oh, she’s just some woman I met tonight. No one important.”
“No one important?! I daresay I disagree!” he exclaimed. “I may not know you all that well, dear, but I believe your tastes are high enough you wouldn’t be shamelessly flirting with no one important! She must be quite someone if she’s worth cheating on Rarity with.”
Really, who had time for being delicate, anyway.
No sooner had he finished his sentence, Twilight gasped in indignation.
“What?! I’m not cheating on Rarity!” she whispered urgently.
“Ah-ha!” he declared, stroking his chin. “So you are in an open relationship!”
“What?! No!” she gasp-whispered again, even more indignant. “Well! I mean! Maybe? Because of her job? I don’t know, but I’m not! And I’m not cheating on her!”
“So you just enjoy flirting around? I can’t say I don’t understand the appeal!”
“No!” The poor thing was red in the face, which she covered with her hands and groaned. “I…” She uncovered her face. “I can explain.”
“Can you?” He offered her his arm and grinned. “Then let us fetch you a new drink and you can tell me all about it, hm?”
And it all began earlier that morning with Twilight Sparkle sitting all by her lonesome in Lady Luna’s office.
Twilight Sparkle didn’t start her lessons with Lady Luna with many expectations. She had high expectations, certainly, but she wasn’t exactly expecting anything in particular, except for the fact that whatever she learned would be related to sex and sex work.
Which is why she was admittedly rather… not bored, per se, but… conflicted over the fact that her last three lessons with Lady Luna involved not sex work, but rather arranging and organizing mountains of Sapphire Carousel’s legal and financial papers.
It was interesting work, yes, and she couldn’t deny she was fascinated by the administrative aspects of owning a brothel/theater/cabaret/what-have-you, but she was starting to feel more like a secretarial assistant rather than a student.
For the tenth time that half-hour, her eyes wandered the length of the Lady’s office, once more taking in the sparse decorations. There were a few antiques on the bookcase, a plethora of books, some expensive paintings on the walls, and a few framed pictures—the majority of myself and the Lady, in fact, which Twilight was pleased by.
It made her happy that I was so loved. That I had someone who would stand by me with such fierce pride and love as the Lady did.
Speaking of which, and you will see what I mean in a moment, Twilight’s eyes then drifted towards a door near the back of the office. In all the times she’d been in the Lady’s office, she’d never once learned where that door led.
“Where does that door lead?” she’d asked the Lady once.
“Into the Sapphire,” replied Lady Luna, her nose stuck in paperwork.
“Into the Sapphire…?” Twilight repeated, and when Lady Luna simply continued to read, Twilight figured that apparently that was that.
It was at that moment that she found out it led to one of the many discreet corridors that us workers used between sessions, namely because the door swung open and I strutted into the office, whining my chest off.
“Auntieeeee, be honest, do these colors make me look too pale or—”
My sentence died a strangled death in my throat at the sight of Twilight Sparkle, the poor dear’s wide-as-saucer eyes staring at the truly incredibly skimpy outfit I was trying out.
We stared at each other for, oh, a split-second, I think, before I let out the most unholy screech the land has ever heard, followed by Twilight Sparkle nearly falling out of her chair when I magically flung a nearby decorative cushion at her face.
“Twilight Sparkle!” I gasped, completely aghast, covering myself with one of Auntie’s nearby coats. “Where is your shame?!”
“My shame?!” blurted out my girlfriend, turning to me. “You’re the one who—”
Yet another pillow hit her face.
“Look away this instant!”
“Y-you’re the one that walked in here wearing that thing!”
“That thing?!” I said, indignant. “This thing is my uniform!”
“Then why can’t I look?!” Twilight asked, not because she necessarily wanted to see me like that, but because this was ridiculous.
“Because I’m practically naked! It’s embarrassing!”
“Embarrassing? Ra…Rarity,” Twilight said against the pillow, baffled by the conversation. “Rarity, you’re a sex worker. Your job is for people to see you naked!“
“This is entirely different!”
“Because you’re my girlfriend!”
“Wait, wait, what?! Because I’m your girlfriend?!“ Twilight exclaimed, taking the pillow off to look at me. “Other people can see you naked, but I can’t because—” An unholy screech forced her face against the pillow again. “I’m not looking!”
“It’s different because I care about what you think!” I exclaimed, my pronounced flush only growing more so when after a moment of silence, Twilight Sparkle started to giggle, sporting what I can only imagine was the absolute silliest grin her dumb, silly face could muster.
“Stop giggling!” I demanded, which only intensified her giggling. “Stop it! I can’t stand you!”
“Yes, you can,” she said, and I took solace in the fact that she couldn’t have the satisfaction of making me watch her smug grin, “Just like you care about what I think.”
“I’m going to change,” I huffed, going to the door, ignoring her remark. “Don’t go anywhere! Or go, if you want! I don’t care! Goodbye!”
“But you do, though. You just said—”
“Good-bye, I said!“
I returned about fifteen minutes later dressed in less enticing clothing and pretending nothing had happened, even as she still continued to grin like a fool.
“Why, Twilight! Fancy seeing you here!” I exclaimed, sauntering over to her and sitting on the chair next to her. I glanced at the stack of paperwork on the desk. “Having fun being Auntie’s secretary?”
“No,” she replied with a huff. “Well. It’s not that bad. I’m learning a lot. But I wish she was teaching me more about… the other stuff.”
“The other stuff?” I asked, innocently. “You mean the fucking people for money part?”
Now, believe me, I don’t particularly like being vulgar, really, but I indulge if it means I get to see Twilight’s scandalized blushing.
“Do you have to say it like that?”
“I don’t have to, no.” I leaned back on my chair and crossed my hands on my lap. “I suppose I could give it a bit more flourish, if you’d prefer. Or make it more scientific if you like. ‘Giving people paid anatomy classes’ perhaps? Showing them what really pleasu—”
She wasn’t cutting with her interruption, by any means, but her smile was thinner than usual.
I grimaced ever so slightly. “Too much?”
“A little.” Wanting to reassure me, she reached out and interlaced her hand with mine, squeezing three times. “Do you have any plans for tonight? Or work?”
I faltered. “…No. No work, at least. I don’t like working tonight, what with… well… you-know-what going on.” As soon as I saw her concern and felt her hand tighten against mine, I cleared my throat, flashed a smile, and did what I do best. “I think I might go to the cinema, instead! Or maybe pay Sweetie a visit at her school. Or read a book?”
Read a book, perhaps, just like Twilight who could so effortlessly read me.
“Rarity,” she said, and I was loathe to hear the words I knew were coming, “I don’t have to go if you’d rather I don’t.”
“Da-a-a-rling, don’t be silly!” I said, waving her off with a laugh that convinced no one. “I really couldn’t care less if you went or not! Don’t you worry about me.”
Her eyes stared into mine, that penetrating gaze that knew me so well, and she didn’t have to say it for me to know what she felt.
“Really,” I insisted, gripping her hand not out of affection, but light aggravation towards both of us. “I’m fine.”
“Rarity,” she insisted in turn. “I really don’t mind. It’s just a dumb event.”
Now that got to me, and if I didn’t love her, and I wasn’t already trying to control myself, I’d have half a mind to snap at her.
The Lucid Dreamworld was not just any event—at least, not for me. It had been everything to me once. A bi-monthly gala that I’d started attending with the Lady when I turned fourteen, that I loved and delighted in as I nodded along to smart adults and bashfully danced with older boys. An event that I cherished above all other things because, to me, it was a sign the lady loved me. A sign that she thought I was good enough to be around her people. That Lady Celestia thought I was Like Her.
After our estrangement, I told myself I didn’t care. I insisted to myself as Lady Luna prepared to go that it was a stupid event for stupid cucumber sandwhiches and I would make sure to book clients my entire night. It was my revenge, I thought at the time for a a year or so. My revenge that on the night that Lady Celestia and her ilk all got together to act like paragons of society, I would be filled top to bottom with people and actions that would make them faint in horror.
I stopped, eventually. To do such a thing wasn’t any kind of bold statement in any sense of the word. It wasn’t even a night of debauchery where I enjoyed myself. I’d spend the entire night miserable (not that the clients knew) and feel even worse the next day.
“You are allowed to grieve your old life,” Lady Luna told me once as I listlessly watched her get ready for the event I so missed. “To admit you miss it does not mean your progress and choices are undone.”
“It’s just a dumb event,” Twilight had said, and at my expression, she saw she’d misspoken.
“Not for me,” I replied quietly. I didn’t want to be stern, or rude, because that wasn’t the point, and she’d been kind, but it was true. “Which is why you have to go. Because it’s fun and silly and if I never got the chance to try the alcoholic punch, then as my girlfriend, you must go there and drink and dance in my stead!”
Twilight grimaced. “Eeeeh. I don’t really like dancing.”
“What? Why not? Dancing is fun!”
“Yes, but I have four problems.” She let go of my hand, raised hers and counted off. “One, I can’t dance. Two, I don’t have friends there to dance with, and three, the only people actually asking me out to dance are men wanting to flirt with me, which leads me to four—”
“You’re a hopeless lesbian,” I interrupted, just as she said, “I have a girlfriend—What?! No!”
I blinked. “You’re not a lesbian? I thought you said you’ve realized you don’t swing both ways!”
“I don’t! And that’s not the point!” she said, helplessly frustrated. “The point is that I don’t want to flirt with anyone because I have a girlfriend! Not because I don’t like men!”
I leaned in, genuinely eager and curious. “What if it was a beautiful woman? Surely you’d flirt with her, then?”
“Are you even listening to me?!”
“Daaaaarling! There’s nothing wrong with a little harmless flirting here and there!” I reached out and grabbed her hand, squeezing it encouragingly. “If you need my permission, you have it. It’s only fair considering my, ah… day job. Besides, I’m not the jealous type so go! Go and flirt! Let other people bask in your beauty and charms!” I leaned back in my chair, putting her hand over my heart. “Bewitch them! Bewitch them all like you’ve bewitched me!”
She looked at me like she was torn between amused and completely done with me.
“You can be insufferable sometimes, you know that,” she said, smiling despite herself when I giggled and kissed her hand.
“Trust me,” she continued “I’m perfectly happy waiting to dance at the Dreamworld until I can dance with you.”
“Hah! Then you’re going to be waiting a long time, my dear. The only way I’d ever be allowed in there again was if I looked like a completely different person.”
Tell me, dear friend, do you remember the night Twilight and I walked on water? Surely you must, I told it so memorably. Do you remember the look Twilight gave me right before she successful cast the spell? The look of intensity, betraying her marvelous mind hard at work, thinking of what to do?
Well, once again, Twilight Sparkle looked at me the exact same way.
Her expression completely shifted, from amused to deadly serious, her eyes burning into mine. Months before, I might have stayed silent, transfixed. But now? Now I knew better. Now I knew her, inside and out.
“What?” I said suspiciously, likely before her machinations even fully formed. “I know that look. What are you planning, Twilight Sparkle?”
I’ll never forget it for as long as I shall live. Or. Well. You know what I mean.
In any case, I’ll never forget it. Her lips curved into the most sinful, charming smile I have ever blushed before, and with all the confidence and charisma that comes with dating the most beautiful woman in the city, she leaned in and asked:
“Do you want to see what real magic looks like?”