It Happens To All Of Us

by sunnypack

Chapter 1: 1 - The Time of Day

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Chapter 1: The Time of Day

In the span of a few seconds, the sobering thought brought forth a stifling silence. Luna was the first to break the unsettling quiet.

“What makes you say that, Twilight? Surely it isn’t so.”

The mare in question scraped a solemn hoof along the edge of the table, but her gaze didn’t stray from the outside, watching the milling ponies from her vantage point high within Canterlot castle. She studied them with a slight smile that somewhat soured when she felt like she was looking down upon the ponies. It only took a slight change in perspective, and suddenly that whole thing was different.

Which was the crux of the matter, after all.

“I just think… that… well—forget I said anything,” Twilight added hastily with a wobbly smile. She hid her expression behind a teacup, an effect that was slightly spoiled with the haste of the movement. Awkwardness and apologies were spilled with the tea.

Cadance leaned forward. “Well, Twilight, if you ever want to talk about it, you know we’re all here to help. You can trust us.”

She felt relief in that warm gaze, and slowly began to relax. The moment might have passed, and the conversation might have been different at this point, had Celestia not spoken.

“I’m worried about it.”

An old clock was mounted in this room. Most ponies never paid heed to it because of its constancy. But in the silence, its ticking was so pronounced that one would finally pay attention and wonder at its dedication. The musing thoughts often pass, but the ticks remained.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Twilight wondered if anypony would notice if the ticking stopped. The absence of the constancy being even harder to mind when it is so thoroughly entrenched in the background.

Luna was the first to offer a plaintive smile to her sister. “Nay, sister, you of all ponies shouldn’t worry about this problem…?”

Twilight couldn’t help but feel rising unease as neither her or Cadance moved to speak as well.

Celestia licked her lips and carefully chose her next words. “I’ve been worried about that, ever since the dream.”

“The nightmare,” Luna corrected. “It wasn’t your dream.”

Celestia’s nod was stiff, like a marionette’s strings cut.

“Yes,” Twilight added quickly, “I’m sorry for having brought that up, Princess, but that has nothing to do—”

“Do you think ponies can change, Twilight?”

Pinned under her look, Twilight shrunk back. “W-Well, yes.” Questioning eyes were reflected back to the severe alicorn, and wondered where this was going.

“Then you believe that I can change too?”

Though Twilight sensed a trap, she couldn’t see the form of it.

“Ye-es,” she finally replied.

“Everypony relies on me to be the same, and the same is what I’ve strived to be. This stability is foundational to all the lives in Equestria… but what if I change? What if corruption is indeed inevitable? I think it is prudent to at least think about that.”

Luna shook her head. “What happened to me, will never happen to you, sister.”


Celestia glanced up from the table to survey the shocked looks on everypony’s faces. Her gaze softened and her voice was lowered, but none of the intensity was lost as she repeated.

“How can you be so sure?”

Twilight was acutely aware of the clock again. It filled the silence with a steady mechanical click that she somehow found annoying. But usually she would love the sound. Was emotional circumstance all it took to hate it?

“Yes.” Cadance broke through the agonising pause with a surprisingly clear expression. “I don’t think it’s a problem at all.” She perked up with a false cheerfulness and began passing everypony new cups of steaming tea. They hadn’t touched the tea for over ten minutes. Twilight touched her cup absently.


The youngest princess very much doubted anypony was in the mood to drink tea now. It was a shame, really. The weather was nice, a pleasant wind blew through the window, and the lightest of conversations were meant to have taken place. Instead, a storm of brooding thoughts now sat heavy in the room.

“Cadance, do you ever have these thoughts?”

The alicorn froze on her way to pouring her tea and carefully set down her pot. She considered the question carefully and sighed. “I would be lying if I said it never crossed my mind.”


“So I don’t think it’s necessarily true and while it’s good to think about it, it doesn’t do too well to brood about it. Forgive me, Aunty, for pointing this out, but surely if you can’t trust yourself, you should at least trust others? If you don’t have that, well, I guess it’s a wasted exercise to even resist at all.”

Twilight’s mouth flopped open. Across from her, Celestia did the same.

Cadance caught the gesture and sighed. “The answer, in my mind, is not to think about it. Life is too busy to worry about whether I’m going to inevitably corrupt and spread chaos all over Equestria.” She took a sip from her cup and set it down with an irate clank. “Besides, this is the first day I have free from Flurry Heart to catch up with my friends, and you’re all whining like you’ve been given a sack of mouldy hay.” Cadance rolled her eyes at the downcast expressions. “Oh what, so you’re going to continue after all of that?”

“It is a serious matter—”

“So it is!” Cadance shot back. “But it’s all hypothetical! I don’t worry about getting hit by a carriage as I cross the street, I just watch out for it, that’s all.”

There was silence for a few moments before Celestia’s heaving sigh abruptly blew out the stagnant mood. Cadance blinked at her, Luna reared her head back and Twilight broke her sullen gaze from the table to glance up at her in confusion.

“No, Cadance, you’re right,” Celestia continued softly with a slight smile. “Yes, I think I may have been overthinking about it. We just need to be mindful of the little things that fill up our day and trust everypony around us that we’ll get through it in one piece. It may be inevitable, but it’s avoidable, isn’t it?”

Luna’s tense shoulders finally drew down. “Yes, sister, I’m glad you’ve come to your senses.” The princess nodded sagely as she downed cold tea with a grimace. “We must procure better refreshments!”

Twilight’s wings unfurled slightly as her ears slowly rose from her head. Should she be happy that her words now carried greater weight than it did before? More and more, she saw the more vulnerable side of her former mentor. Each time, she felt their bonds deepening from the knowledge. The Princess hadn’t changed, had she? Twilight shook her head. No, only her perspective.

“The day is beautiful and I think it’s time to step outside, are you coming, Twilight?”

Deep in thought, Twilight twitched in response, her stare moving away from watching the vista outside. It was indeed beautiful and a shame not to experience in the present.

“Yes, of course,” she replied with a smile.

But as they left the room, Twilight faltered in her steps.

That’s because she realised she could no longer hear the sound.

Only silence.

The ticking had stopped.

Author's Notes:

I haven't been really feeling up to publishing recently. Just got the writer's blues and started putting it into words. Lately, feeling the need to vent and me dithering on this hasn't been helping. I'm also really bad at writing sad.

Next Chapter: Not really.

As always, my grim readers, thanks for reading!

P.S. Taking some comments into consideration I decided to make the ending motif a little more pronounced. I will keep trying to improve as my writing is indeed in need of polishing, but many thanks for your kind and generous comments. I'm glad this story has had an impact, no matter how big or small!
P.P.S. As a more general thing, I will probably write a follow-up blog about the meanings and symbolism in this small piece, but it is really up to the reader to get the most out of this snippet rather than 'Word of Author', as it were.

Next Chapter: 2 - Side Note: Presently Estimated time remaining: 3 Minutes
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