"Did you know that it would work, Princess?"

by Arkhivez

Chapter 1: Time to Go Home

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Starlight Glimmer carefully grasped at the metal strings of the guitar the way Sunset instructed her. She didn't understand these “finger” things, didn't understand how a fellow equestrian could get used to them. She was definitely going to be asking how Twilight felt the first time going through the portal, and then likely hearing a few extra details from Spike about how Twilight really felt.

“That's it...now with your ring finger--” Sunset began.

“My what?” Starlight interrupted.

“Your—this finger,” Sunset specified as she pointed to the next to last digit on Starlight's left hand.

Starlight had immensely enjoyed her time in the “other world”, but was happy to soon be getting back her hooves and her horn. The “premiere” was a lot of fun. The movie that the other girls were in wasn't quite like anything she had seen before. Rainbow Dash was eager for a “sequel”, and while not everypon—er, everybody was as eager for one, they all enjoyed themselves. It didn't end there—she had kept her word about attempting to befriend the girl named Juniper Montage; A girl who had come close to possibly erasing her new friends from existence! Starlight didn't see herself becoming close friends with her like Trixie or Maud, or even Sunset, but she did enjoy Juniper's company. Following the confrontation with Juniper, Sunset had taken Starlight's “live in the moment” advice to heart. At the very least it seemed that way, as Sunset was a different pony and/or person from whom she met a few days prior.

“Use this finger—your ring finger—and touch this string...but don't press it into the guitar,” Sunset instructed.

“And that technique is called...” Starlight wavered, trying to have her thought completed either by herself or Sunset.

“Muting.” Sunset completed. “You're muting the string by keeping it from vibrating. All instruments vibrate somehow, and the guitar has strings that vibrate – but if you stop the vibration, you stop any unwanted notes from being played. No vibration, no sound, no note.”

“Got it,” Starlight replied, ready to give it another try.

“Then take that pick and shred it, Blueswoman,” Sunset commanded with confident anticipation.

Starlight took the pick in her right hand and moved it across the strings on the opposite end of the guitar. From the amplifier hooked up by cable to the instrument, a distorted, but pleasant sound was produced.

“YES!” Sunset practically bellowed. She had an excited smile on her face.

Starlight almost jumped at Sunset's enthusiastic approval, but she managed not to move her hand from the correct position on the strings. She listened to the pleasant...soulful chord coming from the “amp”, and kept strumming the instrument repeatedly, restarting the sound each time, feeling a funny sense of energy from what she did.

Just a bit like her unicorn magic.

“Okay, okay, we don't need to play my favorite chord to death,” Sunset interjected with a grin as she laid her hand on the strings, halting the sound they made. “We need to get you over to the portal, can't keep the princess waiting.”

“Right,” Starlight said with just a minor hint of disappointment.

“Aw, were you having fun?” Sunset asked with a bit of mock-pity as she put the guitar away.

The fellow unicorn was starting to have fun, and finally understood why Sunset was so passionate about her music and guitar. Of course it had to be now when it was time to return to Equestria. She knew what she'd be doing first if Princess Twilight allowed for another visit to Canterlot High.

“I was!” Starlight exclaimed. “I finally got it! Not to mention these weird things--” She waved around her fingers. “--seem to have a bit more purpose now. I don't know how you went so long without unicorn magic.”

“It was so rough for me at first, I won't lie,” Sunset confirmed. “But getting used to it was just a matter of time, practice...and a few moments of embarrassing myself a little.”

“Walking on all fours?” Starlight asked.

“Oh yeah, not to mention the whole 'not using your mouth' to hold things.”

“Is that why you got me that ice cream?” Starlight inquired further.

“Ice Cream was one of the first ways I really started to understand how the people around me interact with things,” Sunset elaborated. “It was something I knew from Equestria, but it was just as good here, and it tasted and felt the same. That connection just helped things 'click' a little. That, and it tastes good and makes you feel better.” Sunset smiled and gave a “thumbs up” gesture as she said that last part. Starlight slowly and awkwardly copied the gesture, leading to a chuckle from Sunset as they headed out the door and started their walk towards Canterlot High, where Starlight's way back to Equestria was waiting.

“So, not a ton of experience with performing music back home?” inquired Sunset as they walked.

“Well...I did force an entire town to sing this march every time a new pony came to town that I was planning to brainwash or enslave,” Starlight offered as an example.

“You're kidding me.”

“It was literally called 'Our Town'.”

“You made ponies sing this?” Sunset asked, chuckling and flabbergasted in disbelief.

“Oh, and, there was also choreography.” Starlight added with an embarrassed grin. “The choreography in that 'dance music video' you girls made is better in just about every way.”

“I really hope so!” Sunset laughed, unable to contain herself, then finally relaxing. She continued with a smug expression, “You sure you don't miss your old life?”

“Ulch,” Starlight replied with noticeable disgust. “I really need to apologize to the village for that. I apologized for everything else, but I am sorry that I made them sing that. And danced. The song itself actually wasn't that terrible—the dancing, though? No way around it, it was awful.”

“Sometimes I wonder if Twilight is too forgiving,” Sunset admitted. “I mean, that's quite the thing for me of all people to say, but she really seems to 'let things slide'. Do you ever wonder about that?”

“Um...yes actually,” Starlight answered with trepidation. “And now that you mention it, it felt kind of...odd to try the whole 'Hey, make a friend!' technique on Juniper,” she continued. “I mean, she had no real reason to listen to me, but I couldn't think of anything else, so I thought, 'Well, Twilight is all about friendship, and it helped me, let's give it a shot!' It felt...weird, and if we're being honest with each other...I'm a little surprised that it worked.”

“Wow. Thanks for being honest, Starlight. Well, I guess you can't argue with results now, huh?” Sunset asked slyly.

“I guess I can't,” confirmed Starlight with a grin.

“For what it's worth, I think you did the best that anyone could have done...especially for a unicorn who spent hours in a bipedal form with no magic!” Sunset proclaimed. “I was really impressed, and I know Princess Twilight will feel the same way. Pretty sure we owe you our lives, new student.”

Starlight couldn't help but blush a bit at that. She had performed at least two “day-saving” feats now, one of them in a world not even hers; And both times without magic. She had used words and decision-making. Part of her wanted to tell herself that she got lucky, and had just the right conditions at the right moment...and maybe there was a little truth to that; But she knew that both times, there had to be more at work than “dumb luck”. She had used her brains to get through each situation, and more importantly, her transformed heart.

“No big deal, Sunset,” Starlight finally vocalized back. “You're awesome and special, and so are your friends. It feels like I got to meet my own friends again for the first time. I'm also really glad I can meet somepon—argh!”

Sunset stifled a giggle.

“Somebody--” Starlight corrected herself with slight annoyance. “--that seems to have gone through the same kind of experiences I went through,” She conveyed. “I love Twilight and her friends as well as the other ponies I'm becoming close with, but meeting you is almost like...like meeting another me! I mean, our names mean pretty much the same thing! What's up with that?!”

Sunset laughed and said, “That is a really scary coincidence, maybe I am the other you; But I agree with you one-hundred percent. Sometimes it's just nice to hang out with someone who...” Sunset took a pause as a thought occurred to her. “...who makes you feel like you're looking in a mirror...but in a way that's empowering, positive and encouraging, giving that little extra reassurance. You've really given me reasons to stay strong and to be...well, more happy about what I did right, rather than anxious about the what could go wrong. I don't think anybody else could have done that the way you did for me. So thanks, Starlight.”

“We're already at the portal,” Starlight announced. Indeed they had arrived in front of the school, the day fading away on the horizon, giving way to the evening.

“Um, well...” Starlight thought aloud. “Maybe we can write each other somehow?”

Sunset smiled. “I'll ask Princess Twilight to make a second pair of journals.”

Starlight smiled back. “You're awesome.”

“Whatever. You're awesome.” Sunset said, giving a mock punch to Starlight's shoulder.

You're awesome! Shut up!” Starlight said, returning the playful aggression. They shared a laugh, and stood for a moment. Then, on unspoken cue, they embraced each other in a tight hug.

“Stay strong and positive, okay?” Starlight asked. “You have so much good in your life, enjoy it.”

“You too, Starlight.” replied Sunset. “Don't you ever be unsure about what you can do for somepony, especially through becoming their friend.”

“Thank you.” They released their embrace, and Starlight turned towards the portal.

“See you soon, Sunset Shimmer.”

“Oh yeah. Sooner than you think, Starlight Glimmer.”

Starlight pushed her hand into the portal and stepped through.

One flash and a book-collision later, Starlight was being helped to her feet—er, hooves by Princess Twilight herself.

“It's a little weird coming back isn't it?” Princess Twilight asked.

“Oh geez...” Starlight said, putting a hoof to her forehead so that the fuzziness would subside. “There must be a better way of getting there.”

Twilight giggled, “Welcome to the club, Starlight!” She turned and started walking towards the adjacent room, “We can have dinner if you're hungry, or if you're tired, you can just--”

“Bed. Now.” Starlight wouldn't even let her teacher finish.

Another giggle from her mentor. “Go on, get some sleep. I'll try my hand, er—hoof at some Princess Celestia Pancakes tomorrow!”

“You...don't seem mad at all.” Starlight remarked before the Princess could leave.

“Mad about what?” Twilight asked.

“You know...” Starlight began. “About how I sort of just...went to an entirely different dimension apart from ours where everypony is two-legged and I wouldn't be able to use magic--”

That is probably a good thing.” Twilight playfully jabbed at Starlight.

Starlight gave a scoff-chuckle.

“I'm not mad at all, Starlight.” Twilight reassured. “Yes, I do wish that you had asked me beforehand, before you went off to some weird place you knew nothing about...but you didn't go by yourself, you had Sunset looking after you, whom I trust. I can't think of someone better to watch my student than another student who knows that place and has proved herself remarkably exceptional; But from what I read in Sunset's new journal, you proved to be remarkably exceptional as well. When I take a step back and give you space to solve a problem, you don't disappoint, and yet again it was me who just worried too much. I decided, 'This time, I'm not going to get upset, or anxious, or worried. I'm going to trust her.' And I'm glad that I did.”

Twilight paused, making sure her pupil had a moment to take in her praise.

“And I'm trusting you to give me a detailed account first thing in the morning, because you know we absolutely have to document this!” With a chuckle she turned and started to leave. “Goodnight, Starlight.”

“T-twilight, wait!” Starlight said with a slight franticness.

“Huh?” Twilight immediately wheeled back around to look at Starlight. The young unicorn had a worried look on her face, like something was nagging at her about what was just said.

“Starlight? Is something wrong? What is it?” Twilight asked calmly.

“Um...do you remember what you said to me, at the start of all this?”

“The start?”

“When we were....when we both went back in time.”

Twilight's expression turned slightly more serious, knowing what she meant.

“I was about to destroy that scroll and, well, everything,” Starlight began. “I didn't want to even consider friends, but you implored me to try again, and you really believed that I could find the strength to do it.”

“I remember, yes. I don't think I'll ever forget that little adventure,” Twilight said with a small smile.

“Twilight, I was faced with a similar situation and I need to ask you...”


“How did you know that would work? Telling me to try making new friends? Even after everything I told you?”

Twilight's eyes said it all. They widened as Starlight's question had been asked, and then sunk downward, facing the ground, seeming to reflect a deep contemplation and...melancholy.

Her eyes began to mist.

“T...Twilight?” Starlight asked, a bit afraid of what she might have done.


Twilight lifted her head, turning her misty eyes to look at Starlight. She looked like she might cry.

“....I didn't know.”

A single tear slid down Twilight's cheek.

“...Princess?” Starlight asked with concern, feeling herself also getting a tad emotional.

“I didn't know if it would work.” Twilight stated, her voice wavering. Her face became more pained, more anxious.

“I didn't know if it would work or not! I was terrified! I was out of ideas, out of spells, out of friends, everything!!” She shouted with a bit of desperation. “I was so scared! I didn't know how it was going to end. I mean, there I am, literally everything in the balance, everypony I knew and loved could be gone after that day,” Twilight explained, still emotional. She gathered herself and continued on.

“But giving up wasn't an option. The only shot I had was to try and understand you, and help you solve your own problem, the event that set you on the wrong path to begin with. I knew that at that moment, I was truly being tested as the Princess of Friendship. If I couldn't save the world by changing a pony's mind about making friends, then, well—I guess I just wasn't cut out for the role.”

Everything went silent for a moment.

“T-Twilight...” Starlight said, beginning to show signs of tears herself. “I...” Starlight was desperate for something to say that would take this conversation away from the painful place it currently resided. She had no idea what to say to that. Her own mentor, the Princess of Friendship, didn't know that trying to be her friend would work; And they were now back in time, to a moment Starlight wanted to forget.

“And after that...” Twilight continued again. “I took maybe an even bigger risk. I didn't send you to Tartarus, I did what probably nopony else would have done. I made you my friend.” Twilight went on, “And I wasn't sure how that would turn out either! I mean, here I am, so close to losing everything, and I just made one of my most dangerous enemies into my personal student and told her she could live in my castle! But I knew that since I had just told you to try making friends again, I couldn't be a hypocrite. I had to try being your friend. I had to try teaching you, guiding you, seeing if you could change.” She wiped her eye. “As it turns out...the riskiest decision I've ever made, turned out to be the best decision I've ever made.”

Starlight listened on, dead silent.

“Don't get me wrong, there was stress to be had, having you as my student,” Twilight chuckled. “You had a lot to learn, and I wasn't entirely sure how to teach you. Destiny has a sense of humor...but you proved to me that putting total faith in friendship...was not a mistake. You didn't just become a friend, you became an invaluable ally. I mean, getting together Trixie, Thorax and the Lord of Chaos himself!? And infiltrating the changeling hive without ANY magic and THINKING your way to a solution?!? You did so much more that day than you will ever know. For me and for Equestria.” Twilight wiped her eyes again, but this time she was wiping away something similar to what her brother Shining Armor called, “Liquid Pride”.

“You did what I'm not even sure I could do; And the story doesn't end there, does it? You've just come back from the other side of the mirror having saved another group of friends really important to me--” Twilight had begun to tear up again. “You did in hours what took me days to accomplish.”

Twilight didn't even bother to wipe away her tears before beginning again. “Starlight, sometimes you don't 'know' that it's going to work out. You just have to trust that it will.” Starlight immediately thought back to the advice she gave Sunset.

“Sometimes, you just need to trust that what you've learned is going to be enough. That you've gotten strong enough, that you have what it takes. You must have thought Juniper had hope of changing, otherwise you wouldn't have offered to be her friend.”

Starlight couldn't hold it in anymore. She started to sob and just sat there, holding her face in her hooves, letting it come. She felt another set of hooves embrace her, Twilight's hooves.

Twilight was looking over Starlight's shoulder into the mirror. It was a little difficult to tell in the dimly lit room, but she thought that she saw for just a second their human counterparts, in their “ponied-up” forms. Both of them had wings.

Twilight smiled and said, “We can't always be sure that something will turn out fine and that we get to go home with all of our friends. Sometimes, the only thing we can be sure about, is not giving up on anypony. Especially a pony—or a person—who needs a friend.”

Starlight choked up. “Twilight, I was scared too...I thought I was going to lose another set of friends...Sunset...”

“It sounds like you were there exactly when you needed to be.”


“You have no idea how happy I was to hear that two of my students worked together, and prevailed in the face of danger and uncertainty,” Twilight acclaimed.

Twilight lifted her chin from Starlight's shoulder and wiped the tears from her student's face.

“So, maybe we should stop with all this 'crying' nonsense...we should both be proud. Go rest up, and we'll talk in the morning, okay?” Twilight smiled.

Starlight tightly embraced Twilight in another hug.

“Thank you...Princess.” Starlight said quietly.

Twilight hugged her back and then replied:

Anytime, my faithful student.”

Author's Notes:

Normally don't go near fanfiction writing, but I loved "Mirror Magic" and this idea came to me. I hope you enjoyed it.

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