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    Endings are difficult, aren’t they?

    They are perhaps the hardest part of anything ever done. Ending. Finishing. And why?

    Because endings can make or break a tale. They can determine if you’ll look back with fond memories, happy to have seen the journey through, or if you’ll look back with bitter disappointment, thinking to yourself that you wasted your time.

    I wonder, perhaps, if that’s why I lied to you earlier on. Do you remember? I sat before you one day—if days even exist in a place such as this—and made a great show out of proclaiming the story would be done soon. How I’d be so sad it was done, and you too, and we’d cry and on and on and on.

    Obviously, that was a lie. Here we are still, many talks later, still tangled in the web I’ve threaded together.

    This time, however, I’m not lying when I say we’re nearing the end.

    Not the End end, of course, for things never truly end—again, here I am, talking to death—but we’re certainly reaching the end of… of something. Something that will forever be altered, changed to such a degree you might as well call it over and start brand new. For better or worse.

    Am I rambling? I feel like I am, going off in many tangents, avoiding the inevitable because now, dear friend, it really is inevitable.

    And it starts with dearest Fluttershy.

    I’ll admit I wish I’d told you more about Fluttershy. I do wish I had waxed poetic on her kindness, and her values, and how much she treasured her delightful—and, sadly, infrequent—meetings with Twilight.

    We used to be friends, as I’m sure you must have gathered. The best of friends, she and I, playing in the mansion’s garden, her dear mother pleased at the fact that her child had an in with Lady Celestia.

    Fluttershy deserved to be more than a footnote in the story of Twilight and me.

    Especially considering what happened…

    Well, I suppose I oughtn’t get ahead of myself, now should I?

    Where was I? Ah, yes.

    On that bright, sunny morning, the two of them enjoying a cup of tea, Fluttershy knew something was amiss. She couldn’t exactly tell what, and she would never dream to ask, but she knew something was wrong with her friend Twilight Sparkle.

    At first, she thought it was Sunset. The other woman had left a few days ago, but Fluttershy had gotten to meet her before that. She’d been nice, and polite, and though Fluttershy would never dare say as much, she’d been very charming, too.

    Maybe that’s why Twilight was sad?

    Maybe that’s why she looked so quiet on the other side of the table, her gaze lost in her swirling cup of tea.

    “I do hope Sunset visits the city again,” Fluttershy said, pleasantly. “When my internship at the animal sanctuary starts up again, I could take you both to see the animals.”

    “Oh. That would be nice,” Twilight replied, not altogether there.

    That would be accurate, actually. An apt description of Twilight Sparkle. Not altogether there.

    Try as she might, Fluttershy had barely seen her in the past weeks, months even. She’d really been hoping they’d become good friends, but if Twilight wasn’t busy, she was… gone. Like a ghost meeting for a quick tea and nothing more, empty of the joy and cheer she’d displayed in past months. She was…

    Not altogether there.

    “I’m really grateful you invited me,” Fluttershy continued, pushing past her own anxieties and fears of being unwanted. “I had so much fun. I really mi—”

    She cut herself off.

    She was about to say, “I really missed having friends.”

    But she didn’t, because it was embarrassing to confess to that. It was shameful to say. Pitiful and pathetic, poor little Fluttershy, twenty-one years old, mommy’s perfect little daughter who had many acquaintances but not a single friend.

    She’d had one once. Someone to play with, and talk with. Someone who would walk with her to the shops, share ice cream with her, help her pick outfits, and… and made her feel like she was loved for who she was.

    Sometimes, when Fluttershy was alone, she wished she’d run away, too.

    “I had so much fun,” she’d said. “I miss—” The pause, and then… “I missed going out to do fun things, not just studying and meeting my mom’s friends.”

    She felt happy with that. It was the same, but not quite. Less pathetic, she thought.

    Which she wasn’t, by the way. I’m sure you are well aware of this, but I want to stress she was not pathetic. Maybe it’s for the better we weren’t friends anymore. I’d have slapped the back of her head if I so much as had an inkling she was being self-deprecating.

    Finally, Twilight looked up, and in her eyes, there was life. Not a sparkle, not a shining vibrant thing, but there was something.

    “I had fun, too,” she said, sincerely. And then added, for it was true, “I’m sorry I’ve haven’t been able to see you much recently. I’ve just…” The sadness returned. “I’ve just been busy.”

    “I understand,” Fluttershy quickly replied. She hesitated, but decided to be bold. “…Is everything all right?”

    “I… No. I don’t know.”

    Now, when I say that Fluttershy was happy to hear that, I don’t mean that she was happy Twilight was sad. But there’s no denying she was relieved and happy to have been allowed in.

    Something was wrong, and she was eager to help.

    “Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that… Would talking about it help?”

    A few seconds passed, Twilight seemingly mulling this over.

    “I… I have to do something today,” she said slowly, every word with its weight. “Something I don’t really want to do, but I have to do.”

    “Like a dentist’s appointment?” Fluttershy helpfully ventured, smiling when Twilight laughed.

    “Not exactly that, but also kind of?” Her smile vanished. “I just… I’m worried about whether it’s going to go smoothly or not.”

    Fluttershy hummed, her brows knitting with concern. “Is it likely not to go well?”

    “I don’t know. I… Er, or rather, the person putting it together said she’s taken the steps to make sure it goes well, and she’s one of the most professional people I know.”

    “Then I’m sure it will go well,” Fluttershy said, her curiosity admittedly piqued, though not enough to compel her to ask for more details.

    “That’s the problem.” Twilight put down her cup and balled her hands into fists. “I’m sure it will go smoothly. I trust her. I’m just… I’m afraid of what will happen once it starts.”

    Fluttershy bit her lip. “I’m sorry, Twilight. I don’t understand what you mean?” She hoped Twilight would explain more. She really, truly hoped she would.

    But she didn’t.

    “…It’s okay. It doesn’t matter,” Twilight said, smiling amiably. “It’ll be fine.”

    “Oh. Alright.” Fluttershy wished she could die. So much for that. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help,” she said, and her heart sank to the floor when Twilight made a move to put away her things.

    “Sorry, I—I should probably head out now, actually.”

    “Oh. Alright,” she repeated, concerned on Twilight’s behalf and disappointed on her own. Twilight wasn’t supposed to leave for another half hour, and yet now there she was, desperate to go, probably.

    Maybe her mother was right. She would never fit in with people, would she? And especially less so with the proper people, as her mother said. So many times did Breeze loudly wonder where she’d gone wrong with Fluttershy, but now more than ever the poor young woman wondered if she was broken.

    “Thank you for having me,” said Twilight, and though she smiled, Fluttershy struggled to read it as genuine. It probably wasn’t, she thought. “I had fun.”

    “Oh, good! I’m happy to hear that,” Fluttershy said, regardless, because she was brought up to be polite.

    She stood up rather awkwardly, intending on extending her hand, right up until Twilight surprised her by hesitating briefly before moving in for a hug.

    “Thank you for being my friend, Fluttershy.”

    Fluttershy wasted no time returning the gesture. She wrapped Twilight in a soothing embrace, and just as she was about to speak, she stopped upon feeling Twilight’s nails digging into her, latching on and afraid of letting go.

    So, rather than expressing her delight at their friendship, Fluttershy instead whispered the one thing she knew Twilight needed to hear.

    “Everything will be alright, Twilight.”

    And when Twilight’s hug grew tighter, so did Fluttershy’s.

    “I hope so.”

    Twilight’s voice was barely above a whisper, pained in more ways than one. When they pulled apart, Fluttershy wiped away the tears rolling down Twilight’s cheek.

    “Do you want me to come with you?”

    Twilight shook her head, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. “Thanks, but you can’t. I have to do this alone. But… maybe we can meet up again later tonight? If that’s okay.”

    “Of course, Twilight,” Fluttershy said at once. “What time?”

    “I… I don’t know. I’m not sure how long it will go on for. Maybe eight?”

    “Eight is wonderful. And if you need to come later, I don’t mind waiting, all right?”

    Twilight nodded. “Okay.” She breathed in and out. “Eight works fine.”

    A long, long time ago, I mentioned that Twilight Sparkle had three dates committed to memory.

    The first was the day Lady Celestia visited the North and introduced her to the wonders of magic. She was eight years, three months and two days old.

    The second was the day her brother graduated from the Academy and he invited her to be with him on stage. She was fourteen years, seven months, and sixteen days old.
    The last was when she was twenty three years, four months, and one day old.

    Though her meeting for tea with Fluttershy will not be forgotten, one of that day’s clearer memories will be the long, long walk to the Sapphire Carousel.

    She would remember how busy the streets were, people walking about and living their lives trouble free, whereas Twilight was consumed by anxiety and stress.

    She would remember the weather, which had gone from a nice sunny morning to a crisp cloudy afternoon, grey clouds rolling overhead.

    She would remember her coat, too. How heavy it felt, her hands buried in its pockets, her left hand fingers brushing against a fat, white envelope. And her right hand…

    Her right hand held my lipstick tube, which she feared she’d worn out just by how much she rubbed her fingers against it. Her little constant reminder, present every time she wavered.

    The last piece of me she had, which she clutched even tighter when the Sapphire Carousel finally came into view.

    There it was, the grandest building in the district—no, the city—looming in the distance. There was no running now, Twilight knew. No escaping, no going back, nothing, zilch, zip. She could not turn back, for it would haunt her forever.

    But she could delay it a little, at least, couldn’t she?

    Rather than heading straight for the Carousel, she made her way towards the statue in the middle of the plaza.

    Sapphire Snow greeted her there, as beautiful and immobile as ever, her coy little smile drawing Twilight in. Who was she, this woman so important a statue had been made in her honor?

    Magic crackled at her side, startling Twilight, but perhaps not as much as the voice that followed.

    “She is lovely, isn’t she?”

    Twilight turned around to find Lady Luna standing next to her, looking up at the statue.

    “L-Lady Luna!” Twilight stammered, shocked. Had she been hiding behind the statue, for some strange reason? “I, er, I didn’t see you.”

    “People often don’t,” said my Lady, still looking up at the statue. “That is why I’m very good at my job. They only see me when I wish to be seen.”

    My Lady raised her hand, her fingertips glowing, and a silk handkerchief materialized in the air. Another glow, and the handkerchief floated up and delicately wiped the statue’s face.

    “Did you know her?” Twilight asked, compelled by curiosity.

    “I did. She was one of my dearest friends.” The handkerchief stopped its wiping briefly before resuming alongside my Lady’s voice. “She passed away a long time ago.”

    “I’m sorry to hear that…”

    “It is what it is. Death is inevitable. The sooner one accepts it, the easier it is to let it take its course.”

    “How old was she? When she…”

    “Twenty-four,” the Lady replied. “I was twenty-one. And I was twenty-seven when I first opened the Sapphire Carousel in her honor. Had I thought of opening it sooner, she might be here instead of this statue.”

    Twilight swallowed, unsure of how to take in such a claim. Had Sapphire died because of her line of work? It would be very rude to ask, certainly, but…

    “This profession is not an easy one, Twilight Sparkle,” continued my Lady. “It only seems easy, for it is easy to judge what we cannot do. You came here today seeking answers and wanting to understand. A noble pursuit which should still be prefaced with a simple fact.”

    She turned to look at Twilight.

    “It is not your place nor your right to understand. The only thing you should concern yourself with is respecting them and the choices they have made. Any information you gather should be exclusively in aid of that pursuit, and nothing more. I cannot guarantee you will come out tonight having your questions answered, but let me be clear, if your respect for any worker comes with the condition of understanding their choices, then you didn’t deserve answers in the first place. Do I make myself clear?”

    Twilight didn’t immediately reply.

    That all seemed familiar to her. These words, what they meant. She had heard it before, and in front of this very same statue, in fact.

    “Twilight, you… You don’t have to understand. This doesn’t change anything. This is just… You don’t have to understand.”

    “Yes. I do. And I don’t understand why you’d want this.”

    “Yes,” she said. “You do.”

    My Lady nodded. “Good. Then I assume you are ready. I have your notebook with your questions. I didn’t have very many notes, but I’ll allow you time to review before we start. Have you brought everything else you’ll need?”

    “Yes, I think so.”

    “Money, as well?”

    “Yes, that too,” she replied, her fingers again brushing that thick, white envelope. The price of making up for her mistake. How much was it worth to her? A hundred? Five hundred? Her entire life’s savings?

    What, I wonder, was the price of losing me?

    “Very well.” Her fingers glowed with magic and a piece of paper materialized in her hand. She handed it to Twilight. “Here. This is a spell we use with our more high profile clients. Cast it, and then we will go.”

    “Go? Wait, but—” The paper wrinkled in Twilight’s nervous grip. “But what about—”

    “Rarity is with someone else right now. By the time she comes back, you should be long gone, and if she does come back before you are, I will take care of it. Now, cast the spell. I don’t enjoy wasting time.”

    With no other choice but to comply, Twilight studied the spell. It wasn’t one she’d seen before, but it did bear some resemblance to the more advanced physically altering spells she’d seen in books.

    After a few minutes, her trembling hands steadied themselves and sparks of magic shot out, growing in intensity as she recited the spell over and over. The magic flared out from her fingers, enveloping her whole, and when she was done, she yelped at finding she could see through her own hand.

    “Impressive,” Lady Luna said, smiling for the first time. “I see why my sister has such interest in you.”

    “Oh my gosh! This is incredible!” Twilight gasped, for a moment forgetting everything else because of course she would. She looked her hands over, and then her legs and her arms, fascinated by their near-transparency. “Is this a body displacement spell? Can I walk through walls? This is supremely complex magic!”

    “If you’re asking me if I’ve turned you into a ghost, then the answer is no,” my Lady replied, half torn between impatience and amusement. “This is a very specific kind of spell used to keep yourself concealed from others.”

    “But… You can see me?”

    “Yes, but that is only because I know you are here. This spell is designed to hide the caster from any individual who doesn’t know or expect them to be there. I thought you’d find this more enjoyable than smuggling you in.”

    At Twilight’s nod, my Lady set off.

    “Follow me, then. And stay close and don’t talk until I tell you it is safe to do so.”

    I suppose the spell was a blessing in disguise for Twilight. She was so fascinated by it, it managed to let her momentarily forget a great deal of the anxiety that plagued her.

    Lady Luna opened the Sapphire’s doors with a flick of her wrist, leaving them open long enough for Twilight to follow in right behind her. As the Lady had said, she was virtually invisible. Women and men walking around all stopped to greet their employer, but not a single one mentioned or noticed the younger woman awkwardly standing behind the Lady.

    The very first thing Twilight thought was how… normal they all seemed. Yes, some of them were in, shall we say, breezy outfits, but all in all, they seemed normal.

    Immediately after this thought, Twilight felt shame. Of course they seemed normal because they are normal, she chastised herself. They are, they are, they are.

    She thought this over and over as she followed Lady Luna to the front desk, where a young woman busied herself with some paperwork.


    “Lady Luna!” Aqua Swing exclaimed, a great big smile on her lips. It would be gone shortly. “Welcome home! What can I do for you?”

    “It’s time.”

    And there went the smile.

    “…It’s time?” Aqua asked, even though she knew very well what my Lady meant.

    “Yes.” She made sure no one was near and then continued. “Tell everyone involved to be at the viewing room in half an hour.”

    “I… I see! Okay! Yes! I’ll do that. Yes.” Aqua cleared her throat, her eyes roaming the lobby, searching, searching, searching until she no longer looked past Twilight but at her.

    Twilight expected the receptionist to be surprised. She expected her to be shocked, to marvel at the fact that a whole, entire human being had just appeared before her. What she hadn’t expected was for Aqua’s face to twist with something quite close to disgust.

    Twilight Sparkle had never met this woman in her entire life, but even she wasn’t socially inept enough to know when someone very obviously disliked her.

    I shouldn’t be here, she immediately thought.

    They all knew, didn’t they? Of course they did. They all probably knew what had happened between her and Rarity. Why wouldn’t they?

    “Lady Luna…”

    The frightened words tumbled out her mouth, startling both Aqua and the Lady. Though neither woman looked directly at Twilight, she could tell their attention was on her.

    She wanted out. She hated this. She wanted out, now, immediately.

    “I should confirm with the client again,” said the Lady, every word careful. “And if they want to back out, this is their last chance to do so. A nod of their head, and it would all be over.”

    She wanted to take it. It would be painfully easy, especially with how horrified she felt, to nod her head and walk away. Away from the Sapphire, away from me, and away from all these things that were uncomfortable and complicated and required effort to understand.

    She could walk away, just as easily as it would be to go to the lock bridge, take off our lock, and let it drown in the water.

    But then she dug her hand into her pocket. Then she found my lipstick, the tip of her fingers tracing the scratches, the dips, and the grooves of a name she hated to love.


    So she took out her hand and simply shook her head.

    Lady Luna smiled. “I’ll be in my office,” she said, and Twilight followed, past the point of no return. “Thirty minutes, Aqua. Make sure they aren’t late.”

    The next thirty minutes went by in a blur for Twilight. If I had to describe it, I suppose I would say she was going through the motions, if that makes sense. Her body moved and spoke as it should, but it did so because it had to, not because she was willing it to do so.

    She was vaguely aware of sitting in Lady Luna’s office, of taking off her coat and hanging it alongside the Lady’s finer ones. If asked to do so, she wouldn’t have been able to repeat back the conversation they had, or recite any of the questions she’d marked down on her notebook.

    In fact, Twilight’s mind was such a messy, cloudy haze that she did not even realize it was all about to begin until Lady Luna opened a door and said: “They’re all here. Are you prepared?”

    Her notebook and money envelope crushed against her chest, Twilight blinked at my Lady, taking in the question. Was she prepared? Obviously not. She hadn’t been prepared yesterday, or earlier that day, and she sure as all hell was not prepared then.

    That’s a stupid question, she almost wanted to say. Why would you ask such a stupid question with such an obvious answer?

    But, instead, she nodded her head, and when my Lady stepped inside, Twilight followed her in.

    The viewing room was a medium-sized room where indecisive clients were brought to pick someone from a pool of pre-selected scarcely clothed women and men. Ordinarily, we’d be spread out around the room, the client chatting with us one by one until they made their choice. Rainbow Dash would be there, too, standing on the sidelines and ensuring everything went smoothly.

    This time was different.

    This time, with the exception of Rainbow who stood by the room’s other door, all my co-workers stood near the back in a neat, single line. I’m not quite sure why they did so. Lady Luna hadn’t asked them to group themselves like that, so I suppose they must have done it for the benefit of this very important client.

    Show them respect as it were, and give them a clear and immediate view of their selection.

    Initially, everything was fine.

    Initially, no one said a thing. They all smiled.

    Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, Rainbow Dash was there, and though she’d gotten better at holding her tongue, she was not able to stop herself from loudly gasping, “What the hell is she doing here?!”

    The damage was done before Lady Luna could act, of course. No sooner had Rainbow finished her statement, the workers blinked in confusion before really looking at Twilight Sparkle and realizing that even though they’d never seen her before, they’d heard of her.

    How could they not? All I’d done for months was talk about Twilight. Good things, perhaps, but as their expressions changed from confusion to anger, she knew bad things had been said, too.

    Very, very bad things.

    She’s the client?” Rainbow Dash continued, appalled not just on my behalf, but her own too. “What the—”

    “Rainbow Dash.” Luna’s voice was sharp. “It would be wise for you to be silent.”

    Though she clearly wanted to protest, Rainbow obeyed, reluctantly stepping back and contenting herself with not-so-subtly glaring at Twilight.

    Not for the first time, Twilight Sparkle regretted her choices.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming,” said my Lady, and when they all snapped to attention, Twilight felt a modicum of relief at having the attention taken away. That was, until my Lady gestured to her. “This is Twilight Sparkle.”

    Dread washed over her. She was getting an introduction? My, my, my, wasn’t that horrific? What would Lady Luna say?

    As you all know, this is the woman who ended a friendship with your friend Rarity because she, like all of you, was a sex worker.

    “She will be the client of one of you today,” she said instead. “Specific details will be discussed once someone has been chosen, but I expect this session should only last a few hours.”

    She glanced at Twilight for confirmation, and when the younger woman nodded, my Lady continued.

    “Very well.” She cleared her throat. “Now, if you will, please step forward.”

    No one did.

    Not a single woman or man in that line even so much as budged, and judging by their defiant looks, they had no intention of changing that.

    After a moment that seemed eternal for Twilight, Lady Luna spoke.


    Ah? thought Twilight, her stomach flipping over. That wasn’t good, was it?

    “I see,” said my Lady at length. “I will ask again. Please step forward so we may begin.”

    Once again, no one did, all bound together by the Sapphire’s unofficial creed: hurt one of us, hurt all of us.

    My Lady waited a minute before sighing. She had been worried this would happen. She’d hoped things would go differently, but…

    But if that was truly the will of the Sapphire, then it was her duty to obey.

    “Very well. It seems we are done here, the—”


    The sound of her own voice startled Twilight just as much as it intrigued the others. So she spoke, did she, they thought.

    “W-Wait, please,” she said, every word as difficult to drag out as the next. As desperate and panicked. “I can pay double your rate. Triple.

    “…Are you sure of this?” Lady Luna asked.

    “Yes,” Twilight replied, clutching her envelope.

    “All right.” My Lady turned to her workers. “Well?”

    But again, no one moved. A triple rate was nice, oh yes, but breaking loyalty cost much more than that.

    “I can pay five times your rate, then. For one hour. That’s it! I won’t take any more of your time. Please, just one hour,” she offered, desperate to prove she was serious. But prove it to whom? Not to me, certainly. To them, then? To the Lady?

    No, I don’t believe so.

    She needed to prove it to herself. Prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that she had tried.

    My Lady gave the mage a long look before turning to the workers.

    “Well? Five times your rate.”

    Nothing changed.

    Which it wouldn’t! And not because the money wasn’t enough, and honestly, at that point, not even because they were still angry.

    It was because I’d loved her.

    Lady Luna put her hand on Twilight’s shoulder. “Twilight. I believe we are done here.”

    “No,” Twilight said, moving forward as they moved back. “Please. What do you want? Do you need more money? I can pay seven times your rate! Nine!”


    Again, my Lady was ignored, watching as Twilight’s notebook floated away so she could open the envelope and take out a truly immense wad of bills.

    “Twilight,” said my Lady, severe. “I insist—”

    “This is everything I have,” Twilight said. “It’s more than ten thousand.”

    “Ten thousand?! Twilight—”

    “For one hour,” Twilight spoke, cutting Lady Luna off, desperate, desperate, desperate. “All of this for one hour of your time. Just one.”

    So that was it, was it? The price of losing me.

    Everything that she had.

    To say the entire room’s aura had changed would be an understatement. Rainbow Dash, on her side, was still infuriated, but that was mostly because she was blinded by her own loyalty to me.

    The others, however? These people, most of whom had seen and lived through quite terrible experiences? Their anger had faded away, replaced now with pity towards this sad charade.

    A pity that Twilight could feel, which she forced herself to face as her eyes teared up with shame and her voice fell to a whisper.


    And yet, despite this ounce of pity, for the final time, they did not budge.

    Rainbow Dash however, did, stepping forward towards her boss.

    “My Lady,” she said. “Permission to speak out of turn.”

    “…Permission granted,” said my Lady, quietly.

    Rainbow, bless her, wasted absolutely no time.

    “What the fuck were you expecting?” she demanded.

    “You can’t buy us like this. You’ve said it yourself! You hurt one of us, you hurt all of us! Why would you even think this would go well? Why would you even organize this?” Now, she outright pointed at Twilight, the poor thing still clutching her wad of cash, still wishing she were dead. “She shouldn’t even be allowed here.”

    “Are you finished?” Lady Luna inquired after a pause. “If you are, I will speak plainly to all of you.”

    “Yes,” Rainbow replied, still rather miffed. “Yeah. I’m done.”

    In response, Lady Luna herself stepped towards her workers and asked a simple question:

    “Have I ever given any of you reason to doubt my actions?” When no one answered, she continued. “You’re all silent. You needn’t be. I am asking honestly with the promise of no repercussions. So, tell me. Have I given you any reason to doubt my actions?”

    Finally, for the first time, the workers reacted, every single one shaking their heads. Even Rainbow reluctantly did so.

    No, you haven’t, they said, and of course she hadn’t. Lady Luna was not a perfect human being, but when it came to taking care of her people, she was better than most.

    “I understand your trepidation and your anger. I do. And when Twilight Sparkle first approached me, I shared that anger. But do you know why she is here? It’s not to take advantage of us, or, like so many, to use our services while belittling them in the same breath. She is here to willingly do what so many of us do unwillingly: change. Embrace something she was told her entire life was not to be embraced.

    “Every single person here is here because they were allowed a second chance in a better place. I believe Twilight deserves the same. So, I ask again.”

    She stepped back.

    “Please step forward if you’re ready to begin.”

    Someone did.

    “I’m happy to do it,” said Shimmer Glass, stepping forward and smiling sincerely, her kind eyes meeting Twilight’s. “And I’m happy to charge my usual rate, so please put that away.”

    Shimmer!” gasped Rainbow, which earned her a glare in turn, both from Shimmer and my Lady. She quickly shut up after that.

    “Shimmer Glass,” Lady Luna said, relief notable in her voice. “Thank you.”

    “No,” Shimmer replied, eyes still on Twilight, who’d just shakily finished pocketing her money. “Thanks to Miss Sparkle for coming.” She stepped forwards towards the mage, her eyes jumping to Lady Luna. “VIP room?”

    “Yes. It should be ready. Further instructions—”

    “Are not necessary,” Shimmer gently interrupted. She took Twilight’s hand in hers and winked at her. “We can figure it out for ourselves, right?”

    “…Yes,” Twilight replied, not altogether there.

    Shimmer nodded sweetly, and then turned to my Lady. “Are we good to start, my Lady?”

    “Yes, of course.” Lady Luna gestured to the back door. “Please.”

    “Off we go, then!” Shimmer exclaimed, tugging Twilight along, the latter only barely noticing Shimmer frowning at the workers staring back at them.

    They did not speak as they made their way through the hallways of the Sapphire, a fact which Twilight was grateful for. A little silence comforted her as she tried to recover from what had just happened.

    After a few minutes, they finally reached one of the Sapphire’s most expensive rooms, dedicated to high-paying or important clients.

    “You’re very pretty, you know?” Shimmer said as she walked in, followed in short order by Twilight herself. “Close the door?”

    Twilight quickly did as instructed, her heart hammering against her chest and the notebook tightly pressed against it.

    “I’m giving you the deluxe treatment,” Shimmer continued, playfully sitting on the bed and patting the spot next to her. “And at my normal rate, too! You lucky thing.”

    “Ah… Yes… I…”

    In truth, Twilight couldn’t even process what she was saying. She couldn’t even process what was going on, what was happening. All she could think of was me. And how much she must have hurt me if all the workers reacted that way just at the mere sight of her.

    Tears clouded her eyes.


    Twilight turned back and saw Shimmer gently looking at her.

    “Sit. It’s alright. Don’t think about it.”

    Thus Twilight Sparkle moved forward, 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 Twilight’s cheek. She then lowered it and extended her hand out. “I’m Shimmer Glass.”

    “Twilight,” said my beloved, taking her hand. “Twilight Sparkle.”

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    1. Pocket Sandwich
      Dec 2, '22 at 10:21 am

      “It is what it is. Death is inevitable. The sooner one accepts it, the easier it is to let it take its course.”

      Fuuuuuck, with all this talk about death I feel like I’m gonna explode. God, I should not be reading this at work, I just know when everything comes to a head it’ll break me, but I’m so invested in this story I just need to know what happens next

    2. Silver Mint
      Nov 7, '22 at 11:43 pm

      Fluttershy deserved to be more than a footnote in the story of Twilight and me.

      Especially considering what happened…

      Wait, I don’t remember any of this. Excitement wells within me.

    3. Silver Mint
      Nov 6, '22 at 12:36 am

      Endings are difficult, aren’t they?

      Dang, you really wanted to start this chapter strong, huh?

    4. A Deer
      Sep 6, '22 at 12:19 am

      Twilight’s strong for pushing through her fears and going through with her idea to learn. She had that ignorance and judgment from her childhood and changing is hard. It says a lot that she is acting to change. This is the start of her atonement. Learned prejudices fall apart when it affects people that we care about.

      One thing I noticed is Rarity is referring to Twilight as her “beloved” again. I hope this points to reconciliation if anything for them.

    5. Alison M
      Aug 18, '22 at 11:26 am

      i have no words at this point

    6. platinumSKIES
      Jul 11, '22 at 8:38 am

      How did just being in a room nearly give me the same panic attack Twilight must have been having?