“You knew Princess Celestia?” Twilight asked; she had never realized that Zecora had ever met the sun princess. She was learning a lot tonight, it seemed, and the main lesson seemed to be that her past wasn’t quite as buried as she had thought it to be. First Pinkie had appeared out of nowhere, the first time in years that Twilight had seen any of her friends, and the joy of that reunion had been ruined when the party pony had tried to convince Twilight to return to Equestria. Why couldn’t she understand why that just wasn’t possible?
And now Zecora mysteriously shows up – not that mysterious was unusual for the rhyming shaman – and Twilight was determined to get to the bottom of this.
“You are wrong if you ask if I knew; ask me if I know, and it’s true,” Zecora replied, her rhyming answer taking Twilight a moment to parse.
“But she died years ago! You must have heard!” Twilight’s anguish seeped into her voice; she still couldn’t talk about what happened without being moved to the verge of tears. “She died, and—”
Zecora walked towards the nearby jungle, turning to regard Twilight with a sly smile. “Celestia lives, true as can be; follow my lead, if you wish to see!” And with that cryptic expression, she turned and galloped off between the densely-packed foliage.
“What!? Hey, wait up!” Though her rational mind knew it couldn’t possibly be true, the spark of hope Zecora’s words has ignited in Twilight’s chest drowned out all reason. Twilight recklessly followed after Zecora, weaving her way between the trees, tearing through vines and falling through undergrowth, goaded onward by brief sightings of the zebra. She was just about to lose hope of catching up when Zecora suddenly appeared before her, one hoof upraised.
Twilight skidded to a halt, her eyes fixed on Zecora as she turned and parted the plantlife behind her. She gestured silently for Twilight to pass through, and the unicorn slowly did, walking out into a small grotto on the other side of the jungle. At Zecora’s urging, she made her way down the incline, eventually looking out over the rocky outcropping.
An image met her eyes, a familiar one of tangled purple mane, violet eyes and a expression that became annoyed as she looked on. “That’s just my reflection! What, was this some kind of trick?” she accused, looking back at Zecora.
Zecora shook her head as she approached the water. “You see only the surface of water; to see your mentor, you must look harder.”
Twilight rolled her eyes and looked back over the outcropping at her reflection, trying to see what she was certain wasn’t there. As she watched, though, the image distorted slightly, and for a moment, Twilight saw not simply what she was, but what had made her the mare she was today. A mischievous, knowing smile. Eyes filled with kindness and hope. Mane flowing with raw power.
“You see, Celestia lives in you; Twilight Sparkle, you know this is true.” Zecora’s words seemed to fade into the background, making room for another familiar voice, one carried by the wind. One that spoke Twilight’s name.
Tearing her eyes from the pool, Twilight looked up to see clouds roiling above her, looming like a natural storm… but within them, a silhouette appeared, one that Twilight would always be able to recognize. “…Princess?”
The silhouette filled in with the clouds, giving shape and substance to Celestia’s form. “Twilight Sparkle…” she intoned gravely, looking down at her student. “You have forgotten me.”
“No!” Twilight shouted up at the clouds. “I could never forget you, Princess, I swear!”
“You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me,” Celestia elaborated. “Look inside yourself, Twilight. You are so much more than what you have become.” The apparition looked up from Twilight, looking out over the horizon towards where Canterlot stood. “You must fulfill your duty as the Element of Magic and restore harmony.”
“How can I go back?” Twilight squinted through her tears as the vision of Celestia began to take on colour, becoming more than simple clouds. “How can I face my friends again after all this time? I’m not the same as I was before!”
“Remember who you are. You are my student, and the one true heir to my throne.” Celestia’s stony visage broke into a sad smile, even as the vision began to dissipate back into the clouds.
“No, Princess, wait!” Twilight began to run across the savanna, trying desperately to reach her teacher, but the clouds were already billowing away, the last words of Celestia – “Remember…” – echoing in the night. She finally gave up her chase, sitting down hard in the grass as she contemplated what Celestia had told her.
Could she really go back? Could she face… what she had done?
The Lion King! I liked the casting choices here, and Zecora’s rhyming was done really well. Makes me wonder who fulfills the role of Scar and convinced Twilight that she was responsible for killing the princess. Hmm. I enjoyed this! Good show!