|Concern, regret, and camaraderie! Princess Twilight Sparkle and Rayne reconcile!|
The elevator dings early, however, as the fourth floor is reached. As the door is opened, an almost nervous sounding but unidentified tune being quietly whistled in a minor key is heard. Now fully opened, the doors reveal Rayne. For once, she's actually not wearing her usual gear. Instead, she's wearing a cheap pair of sandals and a fairly voluminous robe, and not a weapon on her. The whistled tune stops immediately as Rayne notices movement inside the elevator, and she clearly tenses up. Upon identifying who is inside, however, Rayne does seem to relax slightly. "Oh! Uh, hi, Serenity."
Serenity leaves off the 'jumping jacks' upon noticing the open door, shifting the two layers of fins back to the same shape before shaking them out in a ripple of cobalt blue. "Hello, Rayne," Ren hisses cheerily in reply. Ren slides the edge of the forcefield generator against the back of the elevator and also leans backwards a bit in the same direction. Ren motions the edge of a fin towards her. "I see you found a new outfit already."
Rayne laughs nervously. "Yeah, uh, not really my normal style. Um, what's up?" She steps onto the elevator and looks to see if the roof button has already been pressed.
"No? I thought the other was specialized gear that you just happened to be wearing when you arrived," Ren explains. "But it doesn't seem a bad idea," Ren offers with an encouraging note, "to try on a little of the more harmless abnormality of the town." Ren motions a 'wing' upward. "I was just curious if there might be anything to see from the roof."
Rayne says, "Well, yeah, it was - is - what was useful on Cevernal more than anything else... good travel clothes. I mean, I can wear it without the chest armor if I wanted. If I had some leggings, I could go without the leg armor as well, but that's not really, uh, the point. I mean, I guess I've sort of gotten used to... utilitarian? clothes." This is definitely not her normal speech pattern. This, combined with a bit of reddening to the face and an odd motion in her right hand as she moves the tip of her thumb from fingertip to fingertip suggests that she is, in fact, quite nervous at the moment.
Serenity gestures toward the exit as the door opens on the rooftop. "It's not exactly the collection of things I would have chosen to bring with me, but somehow I managed to arrive with my traveling luggage, including a small stack of clothes. I'm sure you can find something just as fashionable or practical as you wish, though, when you've earned some money." Ren leans slightly to the side to regard Rayne's face. "Are you feeling well?"
Rayne says, "Um, Yeah! Never felt better!" She sighs as she steps out onto the roof. "And let's put an emphasis on that 'when I've earned some money.' I swear, every time I poke my head in that place, everyone always seems to be out."
Serenity flows out of the elevator, and peers around the corner to see the rest of the roof before looking back to Rayne. "You needn't wait for Dante, you know. You could always leave a letter to tide him over until the interview," Ren offers. "And of course he's not the only employer in town."
Rayne sighs. "I guess I got stubborn." She looks around the rooftop. "And, uh... Yeah, it felt like that would be a sure bet. But maybe, yeah. I should consider it. I've, uh, a lot of skills. Most rusty, but... Yeah."
"Surely you can be stubborn about that first idea while also trying out others," Ren suggests, making a spin in place before sliding over to the side of the rooftop to look over. Apparently Ren doesn't have any problem with heights. "Perhaps some appliances or vehicles have parts resembling those of spacecraft?"
Rayne says, "Oh, I've done automotive, too. Greasy work. It was fun for a while." She steps over to the edge as well and leans on the guard wall. "Hrm." She frowns and stares off into space.
"It seems you do indeed have many skills," Ren remarks cheerily. Ren then motions outward toward the city. "I have to admit, it is comforting to see that the view from the top of the building is of the same city as the view from the bottom. I've heard that the park is not precisely part of the city, or at least not part of the three-dimensional geometry of it." Ren grins and motions downward. "As much as I like the customizable rooms, places with different inside and outside dimensions are vaguely disturbing to me."
Rayne says, "Yeah, that's... If that follows the laws of physics, it's way beyond me. I don't think I've ever seen that in my own universe." She takes a deep breath in, then steps back away from the edge before releasing the breath. "Okay, I think I'm gonna do it. It's been a while, but for some reason I've wanted to try doing this again." She starts adjusting her robe, pulling her arms back through the sleeves to be fully inside the robe proper.
Serenity regards the cityscape thoughtfully for a moment before looking back to Rayne. "Hhh?" Ren responds curiously, twisting in a flutter of gill-feathers before drifting over to join her. "Did you come to the roof to exercise, then?"
Rayne says, "Yeah. I wanted to stretch my wings, so to speak. In a bit of a literal manner." She gets the second arm inside, then sits down on the ground. "Okay, gotta get into the right state of mind, hold on a second... Oh, did I ever mention I'm not quite human?"
"Literal wings?" Ren responds with a puzzled expression. Ren 'kneels' on the field generator to shrink to the same height as Rayne. "You did mention that you had some odd genes, in connection with your hair color," Ren says, gesturing to her hair.
Rayne closes her eyes, concentrating on something. "Yeah, exactly. I'm a phoenix." Her head ducks into the robes as a fiery light seems to be emitted from inside. The movements inside the robe don't seem to be human. Still, it doesn't take long for what looks like a bright red feathered eagle pokes its head out from the foot of the robe. It makes a sound that befits the form as it looks up at Serenity and winks.
Serenity flutters back quickly from Rayne as the light begins, shifting to the vertical posture once more. Ren 'blinks' eyes inward as Rayne emerges from the cloak, but continues to look on inquisitively. "I seem to recall the human word, but I'm fairly sure that it was in connection with a myth..." Ren regards Rayne with an inclined head. "That is slightly less shocking than transforming into a giant dragon. Slightly."
Rayne pulls herself out of the robes entirely, making some quiet screeching noises as she does so. Now freed, she stretches her wings out, revealing main flight feathers that match her hair. She opens her beak and lets out the noise often associated with an eagle. The sound escaping her mouth, she snaps the beak shut and furrows her brows.
Serenity circles around behind Rayne, continuing to face her and maintaining enough distance to avoid bumping her with the field generator. "I don't think that you need to worry about hiding, like those people you described," Ren offers uncertainly. "Perhaps some clothes, to be recognized as a person more easily?" Ren adds, "Can you speak in that form?"
Rayne makes a noise that almost, ALMOST sounds like 'no.' She shakes her head as better clarification. She steps over to the edge of the roof again.
"You do still have legs, so perhaps pants," Ren offers thoughtfully, following after Rayne. "You look quite a lot like a bird," Ren then observes, shifting to a diagonal posture that isn't so tall. "Can you fly? I wonder if anyone might be in need of mail delivery services."
Rayne blinks, and looks back at Serenity with a tilted head. She has a slightly confused look, then lifts her wing-shoulders in a shrug. She then hops off the roof, her feathers seemingly igniting into flames.
Despite having only the stained-glass mural of herself as a princess as a means of looking out of her apartment, Twilight Sparkle is still distracted from her daily reading regimen by the flash of flames visible through the ornate window, prompting a simultaneous teleportation outside and a sudden freefall as she extends her lavender wings to fly after the falling - and flaming - bird. "Ok, that's not good... Hold on!"
Serenity doesn't seem terribly surprised to see the red eagle jumping off the railing, but 'blinks' eyes inward at the sight of it catching on fire. The mottled mollusc 'stands' at the edge of the roof looking out uncertainly at the neighbor, looking no less surprised when another neighbor makes a sudden appearance ouside. After these few moments, it seems that Ren hasn't yet figured out what to do next.
Rayne spreads her wings to catch the air, then suddenly shifts her gaze up at the new voice above her. From her beak comes the standard eagle's cry as she tries to swerve out of the way of Twilight. No, the eagle doesn't seem to really notice it's on fire at the moment. It's definitely much more surprised at the sudden alicorn.
In the midst of her rather risky freefall, the lavender-furred pegacorn reorients herself, giving both wings a few powerful flaps to stop even as her horn lights up with her distinctive magenta aura. With concentration, and purpose in her eyes, Princess Twilight aims with a 'cocoon' of magic at the falling eagle. "I'm not going to hurt you..."
Serenity's 'wings', meanwhile, aren't doing anything more useful than some station-keeping within the mass of suspended water. Ren frowns at the interaction between the two, though seems to be watching mostly Twilight. Despite some lack of familiarity with flying animals, Ren's limied intuition seems to contain some notion of aerodynamic and non-aerodymanic shapes.
Rayne audibly sighs as she's caught by the magic. It's not a look of thanks that gets directed at Twilight, but instead one of mild annoyance: eyes half closed and head significantly tilted as she looks directly at the much more magically inclined mythical flying creature. Still, she keeps her wings as stretched out as the cocoon lets her.
Twilight Sparkle descends at a much slower rate, wings beating steadily up until both she and the eagle are on the ground. It's at that point that the magenta aura fades from both the majestic bird and her horn, though it's followed by a confused expression. "What... were you doing, exactly...?" Serenity leans on the railing, perhaps supposing that if it can be out in the rain, it can also be dunked underwater with no ill effects. Ren peers over the edge at the figures five stories below, evidently more concerned with what's going on than with the height.
Rayne looks at Twilight for a few seconds before letting out a quiet screach. Nope. This bird can't talk. She makes a motion upward with her head before clumsily taking to the air again to fly up to the roof to land next to Serenity. She makes direct eye contact with Ren before looking to Twilight again.
Twilight Sparkle steps back, craning her neck upward and following the movement of the eagle before teleporting back up to the roof in a brief flicker of light. "I don't get what's going on here, but when I saw that bird falling through the window of my apartment... One of my best friends has an affinity for animals, despite being that timid, and she wouldn't forgive me if she found out I let one die without trying to save it."
"You aren't hurt, are you?" Ren asks uncertainly, after Ryane lands, shifting to 'stand' on the other side of her. "I still think that some pants might help avoid mis-" Ren makes a crackling noise and shrinks lengthwise for a moment as Twilight reappears on the roof. "Hhh... Hello again." Ren says to Twilight, relaxing again. "I think you may have misjudged the falling part," Ren says, motioning to Rayne, "and this is in fact a person rather than an animal."
Rayne nods to what Ren says while the flames surrounding her die down. Rather than continue to not be able to communicate, she then proceeds to hop back over to the abandoned robe on the rooftop to worm her way back into it.
Twilight Sparkle blinks in confusion at that statement, raising an eyebrow. "I'd go and say that makes no sense, but after seeing what both Pinkie Pie and Discord are capable of... I guess such a thing is actually quite possible."
Serenity regards Rayne curiously with the disappearance of the flames, then looks back to Twilight. "My notion of 'making sense' has been somewhat loosened by this town," Ren agrees. "Rayne Hurris is in fact someone who was hoping to catch Kotal for a job interview with TASK."
Rayne's voice comes from the robe. "Just couldn't go out for a fly, could I?" Now apparently back in human form, she pokes her head out the top. "Yeah, it's me, Twilight. That was what I was talking about when I said I wanted to make sure I'm still what I thought I was the other day... The whole being a phoenix thing. And I thought you said it was someone named Dante, Ren?"
Twilight Sparkle actually draws back, ears drooping somewhat at the revelation. "Sorry about that, Rayne... I couldn't exactly see the rooftop from here, without flying or teleporting outside... So I thought something bad had happened when I saw that..."
"Dante has been quite busy of late," Ren explains, "but I imagine that Kotal could conduct an interview in his place." Ren flows over to 'stand' by Rayne after she fills out the robe, then glances between her and Twilight. "Shapeshifting and teleportation... Now those have been some interesting revelations," Ren remarks thoughtfully, then looks to Rayne, "I don't suppose that you have any other shapes?"
Rayne gets her left arm through the sleeve. Now having a free hand, she reaches up to pull her hair through the collar of the robe. "It's okay, Twilight. At least you meant well. I mean, how often do you see a bird that's actually on fire?" She now manages to ger the other hand through, and nods towards Ren. "That probably increases my chances, then. He basically offered me a job before. And no, just the two. I've never realized before just how annoying it is not being able to talk when others are talking to you. Ugh."
Twilight says, "The closest would be Princess Celestia's pet phoenix, Philomeena. But as far as seeing firebirds goes... It's rare to see that, and it usually suggests trouble."
Serenity is 'standing' on the roof with Twilight and a robe-clad Rayne. "I suspect that Amaterasu knows at least some of your frustration, Rayne, as she seems to need her companion to interpret half of the conversation," Ren offers. Ren then extends a portion of fin along with a hand-like set of extrusions. "Manual dexterity seems a useful feature of your current form, too."
Rayne doesn't seem to register anything Serenity said. Instead, she's just looking at Twilight with a bit of a look of horror. "Pet? PET phoenix?" She puts a hand up to her cheek, lightly scratching at the still healing scratch marks from her encounter with Flandre.
Twilight Sparkle smiles nervously, keeping her ears lowered. "I did mention Princess Celestia, right...? I, um... Just have an owl as a pet... Please don't hurt me..."
Serenity frowns at Rayne's reaction, looking between the two at the exchange. Ren also starts to gradually slide to the side, so as not to be directly between them. "If I may- the language barriers here might be torn but not entirely eliminated..." Ren looks to Twilight. "I assume that pet of hers is not actually from a species of people?"
Rayne says, "I certainly hope not." She now stands up, keeping the tone of her speech even and carefully controlled. "I fully hope that our universes have very different beings that are referred to as phoenixes. I don't take kindly to people thinking me or others of my race are pet materiel." She takes a deep breath, trying to calm herself down.
Twilight Sparkle nods. "Philomeena, you mean? You're right. She's not. I should know because Fluttershy once had her. And I apologize for offending you, Rayne. I should've mentioned that this is back in Equestria..."
"Hhh... I'm glad that we cleared up that bit of misunderstanding," Ren remarks uncertainly, rubbing a leading fin edge on the beginnings of the mane. "Perhaps, Twilight, you can suggest some good sights to see from the air?"
Rayne takes another deep breath. "Right... Sorry, I'm overreacting. I just had someone else request I be their 'pet' the other day. I'm a slight on edge on THAT particular subject."
Twilight Sparkle nods, inwardly thankful for the save as she takes flight with a few flaps of her wings and settles into hovering above the apartment as she begins pointing out landmarks with her right foreleg. "I wouldn't think of that... And that's an excellent idea, Serenity."
Serenity extends a 'wing' from the water to offer Rayne a damp pat on the sleeve. Then, as Twilight takes off, Ren twists to look up. On account of not exactly having one, Ren presumably isn't in any danger of getting a stiff neck from that.
Rayne says, "I... Thank you, but I don't think I'm really in the mood to go out flying anymore, sorry. Maybe some other time... And see, Ren? This is a reason why pretending to just be human like my parents makes things easier. None of this...misunderstanding would have happened." Her speech is still terse and a bit monotone, but at least she's being more civil again.
Twilight Sparkle nods slowly and silently, disappearing from view despite being in midair and rematerializing in her apartment.
Serenity frowns at Rayne's words. "I think that there is some middle ground between hiding and finding complete accommodation," Ren points out, motioning outward. As Twilight disappears again, Ren looks up and then around as if to see where she flew off to.
Rayne says, "Maybe... Ugh. I feel like I screwed things up again." The terseness has faded from her voice, but she's still sounding a bit monotone for her. She frowns, looking to where Twilight vanished from.
Soon enough, another person joins them on the roof. "Ah, zere you are. Is somezing wrong?" Johann asks as he approaches Rayne and Serenity, giving the colorful-haired girl a nod.
Twilight Sparkle locks the door to her apartment, sighing. "Stupid... That was just so stupid of me..."
Serenity, after failing to spot the flyer, looks back to Rayne. "Again?" Ren comments with a puzzled look, then continues encouragingly, "Not at all. No harm came to anyone. Perhaps you'll try something a little different next time, but I don't see any need to hide." As Johann appears, Ren looses much of the serious look and raises a 'wing' to him to wave enthusiastically. "Hello!" Ren hisses. "Come, come. Two of my neighbors and I were talking some things out."
Rayne says, "Oh, I've screwed things up plenty of times over the past four centuries. I don't think anyone can be around that long without screwing things up." She smiles weakly, then turns to Johann. "Oh, uh, yeah. I'm just being a hot head and overreacting."
Johann waves back to Serenity. "Good evening, my dear! I vas looking for you to arrange for zat beach visit, but it seems you are othervise occupied at ze moment, hm?" he says, then nods to Rayne. "Zat is quite a long time to go vithout making any mistakes. But if you need support, Serenity is an excellent source of it." Then, looking around, he raises a quizzical eyebrow and asks the cephalopod, "Er, you said two of your neighbors?"
Twilight Sparkle returns to her reading, levitating numerous stacks of books into a barrier around her to keep from being disturbed.
"Four centuries is quite a bit longer life than my kind or the humans that I'm familiar with have," Ren observes to Rayne. As Johann approaches, Ren slides over to extend a pair of fins from the water and brush his arm. "I'm sure that you can have a quiet talk again soon," Ren offers encouragingly. Then Ren offers a smile to Johann and explains, "It seems that Twilight is capable of magical teleportation, too."
Rayne says, "Eh, as far as I'm aware, I'm still considered young for a phoenix." She stands up again, brushing non exsistant dust from the leg area of her robe. "Sorry I wound up being a downer today. I'll make it up to Twilight. I just need... Something to drink first." She starts walking towards the elevator, arms crossed in front of her chest.
Johann nods. "Ah, ze, er, pony princess, yes? She is quite skilled at magic, I have heard." he says, then pats the fins that brush his arm, smiling warmly at her and nodding. "Zat vould be lovely." Then, to Rayne, "Perhaps ve vill meet again in ze future, vhen zings are going a little better, hm?" Unfortunately, a beeping comes from his coat pocket just then, and with a sigh and an apologetic smile to Ren, he says, "Ah, zat vould be ze alert for a new patient. I vill see you later, I hope."
Twilight Sparkle is asleep somewhere within the mini-fortress of books she'd built after the rather poor display on her own part yesterday, and the door to her apartment is locked.
Rayne approaches the apartment door, an unidentified tune being whistled on a minor key. She's dressed mostly the way she typically is, though without the upper body armor or weaponry. Arriving at the door, she stops whistling to take a deep breath before knocking.
Twilight Sparkle shifts a bit, inadvertently startling herself awake as one wing knocks a stack of books over. "Wah-! Oh, that's not... Ugh. First I mess everything up without thinking yesterday, then I have a clumsy moment... What else can go wrong?"
Rayne tilts her head slightly at the odd sound of books falling over. Unable to hear what Twilight is saying through the door, she knocks again and asks, "Uh... Twilight? Is, uh, everything okay in there?"
Twilight Sparkle groans, raising one hoof to her forehead before stepping carefully over the books to keep from damaging any on her way to the door, with her horn lighting up. "I'm fine, and hold on a moment..."
Rayne waits at the door, moving her hands to behind the small of her back.
Twilight Sparkle quickly straightens the fallen stack of books, before unlocking the door to her apartment and pulling it open with her magic. Almost immediately, however, there's a visible change in her demeanor, as both ears droop upon catching sight of Rayne. "I'm so, so sorry about yesterday... I can't believe I was so stupid, or insensitive, with what I said..."
Rayne shakes her head. "Ech... I overreacted. I should realize that with the differences in... universes, come differences in species. Horses and ponies aren't exactly... sentient in my universe, and are pets as well. Why should I have assumed my own race would be just as intelligent in your universe as in my own... I attribute a lot of that hostile reaction on my part as a result of someone less... diplomatic suggesting that I be her pet a few days ago." She rubs the back of her neck nervously, unable to keep eye contact. "So, yeah... I'll forgive you as long as you forgive my over reaction as part of the deal."
Twilight Sparkle seems a bit more reassured by that explanation, though her ears remain lowered. "That's a sensible way to fix things, I agree, and I forgive you for overreacting."
Rayne breathes out a sigh of relief, visibly relaxing some. "Good, good. Always better to foster friends than enemies, I always say. Can't always help it, but when you can, do, you know?"
Twilight Sparkle nods in agreement, using her magic to disassemble the mini-book fortress and return each one to where it belongs in her apartment. "I know what you mean, and I've made quite a few friends out of former enemies, on a few occasions."
Rayne says, "Then you're a little better than I am at it. I'm stuck with an upcoming duel to the death, and I don't think the guy will accept any other result, frankly. And I've my share of burned bridges in my past."
Twilight says, "Well, from the Princess of Friendship herself... I'm going to stand beside you, much like I did with Sunset Shimmer in that other world."
Rayne says, "Don't... don't get involved in the duel. I'm at least going to be honorable about it, for once in my life." She frowns. "But what happened with 'Sunset Shimmer'?"
Twilight says, "It gets kind of complicated, but it started, at first, with her stealing my crown shortly after I became one of the Princesses, and fleeing into a world of humans. Of course, I followed her, with the intent of getting my crown and Element of Harmony back. Eventually, with the help of that world's versions of my closest friends, I was able to reform her, and get everything back to normal."
Rayne says, "I'm sure if I tried to reform someone, I'd probably just end up pissing them off instead. I'm sure being a Princess of Friendship helps, though." She laughs a bit, then suddenly frowns, looking to the side.
Twilight says, "While that may be what sets the two of us apart... You've got your own strengths, and abilities which I lack. So that makes you unique. And personally... Being royalty still doesn't mean I like acting as though I'm above anyone else."
Rayne says, "I meant more that you'd not be there if you weren't good already. And as for my own uniqueness... I dunno. Maybe I'm looking too much into it, but... I had a thought. You've been to multiple worlds already... and in those worlds, you were met with duplicates of your friends... What if I'm another duplicate of your friend you first mistook me for? What if you DIDN'T mistake me, and I just have a slightly different name?"
Twilight says, "Rainbow Dash, you mean? Well... It is a distinct possibility, if I give your name some serious thought."
Rayne says, "Exactly... I dunno. Maybe I'm looking too far into it. But I've got similar hair and a vague similarity in name. What if there are duplicates of your other friends, as well? Arg... I'm making my own brain hurt here."
Twilight Sparkle smiles lopsidedly. "Well, I wouldn't discount the possibility of Rarity being here, as a native of this realm, under a different name. But maybe it's best to leave that for another time, so as to avoid headaches from overanalysis."
Rayne says, "Yeah, yeah... but I more was thinking to my own world. I feel like this place is.... exceptional. As far as I've seen... is there really ANYONE that's native to this realm?" She seems fine dropping the discussion of duplicates, it seems."
Twilight Sparkle shakes her head. "From what I can gather, being a 'native' of this plane isn't something that truly exists. Everyone, or everypony as I've come to refer to others in Equestria, who ends up here is largely a transplant."
Rayne nods. "Exactly. It's like a pit trap... People come in, but do they ever come out? From what I'm told, this is an end of a line. But what if we're just duplicates? I mean, not in the way we were just talking about... What if whatever is bringing us here isn't really bringing us here, but copying us here? I dunno. I guess that's just a hope that a 'real me' could still finish up loose ends at home."
Twilight says, "Of course, there is another feasible explanation. Maybe this is some sort of dream realm, that Princess Luna doesn't have dominion in, and maybe our real selves are back in whatever world we call home."
Rayne laughs. "I guess if that were true, Madorg's punch must have knocked me out, then. These are pretty detailed dreams, then."
Twilight Sparkle looks up, thoughtfully tapping her chin with one lavender forehoof. "Well, whatever the case is, it's certainly a very interesting realm to be in."
Rayne says, "Eh... I'll miss the option of going back into space. That's why I made my apartment to match the cabin of my old ship."
Twilight says, "I agree with you there... Until, or unless, I can find a way back to Equestria, I'll miss my home, my friends, and even my royal duties..."
Rayne says, "Ugh. We've got to stop talking about depressing subjects." She laughs lightly. "What say we turn it around?"
Twilight Sparkle rubs the back of her head, smiling sheepishly. "Yeah, I suppose we should..."
Rayne says, "So then, What do you want to share about your home world? Or what do you want to know about mine?"
Twilight Sparkle sits down on the couch, wings twitching slightly. "I've had a lot of wonderful experiences back home, and made a lot of special friends. And, for all that I'm missing... I wouldn't trade any of it for my friends, or the opportunity to learn so much more whereever I might find myself."
Rayne takes that as an invitation to take a seat as well, and takes a place next to Twilight. "So we celebrate it, rather than lament what we can't see. Share the knowledge with each other, find out about the vastness of the multiverse. The large, the small... The grand political machinations, the terrible battles, the terrible fast food, the grandness of that one time you actually get a hole in one in golf."
Twilight says, "So much left to know... I have hope that us being friends means that I can spread what I've learned back home here, and change things for the better."
Rayne says, "Were things going poorly when you left? I wasn't as much in a position of importance to know where things were when I got sent here. And I wasn't exactly in the loop of current events. I was kind of... off the grid for thirty years."
Twilight says, "Well, around the time I ended up here, we managed to set things right in the Village of Equals, and run off Starlight Glimmer, after uncovering her misguided effort to establish a sort of utopian society where the ponies present there didn't have anything to set them apart from each other."
Rayne says, "That... sounds like an incredibly boring utopia. I'd really not call that a wonderful society at all. You might as well replace everyone with robots in that situation."
Twilight says, "I should know what you mean, full well, because while the six of us were there... We ended up having our own Cutie Marks taken from us, supposedly for 'safekeeping', by her, through her magic and a staff she kept. Myself, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash."
Rayne says, "...Cutie Marks? What... Huh? Okay, I think you're going to have to explain that one to me."
Twilight Sparkle stands up on the couch, turning atop the cushion she's on to point to the pattern of stars on her right flank with one forehoof. "This is what a Cutie Mark is. Basically, it's a way of explaining what our special talents are. In my case, my talent happens to be with magic in any form."
Rayne says, "Ah... I think that's another unique element to your world. I do find it fascinating how many things are so clearly different between our universes. From how you described it when we first met... there's only the one planet?"
Twilight Sparkle nods, sitting back down. "So far, there's been only Equestria identified by the royal scientific agency. But two of the other Princesses do have their own responsibilities, namely the Sun and Moon moving."
Rayne says, "Exactly! The sun moving... I'm guessing you're talking about it moving around Equestria, not around a supermassive black hole, like any given sun would in my universe. Where I'm from, a sun is just another star... usually a small one, at that! And there are tens of thousands of habitable worlds, and let's not even talk about the uninhabitable ones!"
Twilight says, "But in this case, the sun doesn't move on its own. Princess Celestia is responsible for moving the Sun. And her younger sister, Princess Luna handles the Moon and stars, as well as the realm of dreams."
Twilight says, "It's still fascinating, though, to know there's so much that's really unknown in our specific homes."
Rayne says, "That... again, makes my brain hurt. It's just such an utterly fundamentally different build to the very essence of a universe. I mean, that's one of the things I said I was going to miss, the opportunity to travel to space and see different worlds... And that was never even a possibility in yours. I guess I don't know how it works here either, it might be the same... But I know mine isn't unique... I mean, when I made my apartment, they seemed to have what I wanted out my window as a template already..."
Twilight Sparkle looks towards the window for a brief moment, before returning her gaze to Rayne. "Honestly? There's only been one situation I know of, through my studies, where anypony in Equestria has ventured out into space. And that's when Princess Luna was banished to her Moon for a millennium, as the result of her madness prompting the use of the Elements of Harmony before the six of us came along."
Rayne shakes her head. "Well, have you ever seen what space looks like in images since you've gotten here, though?"
Twilight says, "I can't say I have... The scientific part of me, though, is thrilled at the prospect of finally being able to slip past the planet's boundaries, and see what's out there beyond the sky and clouds..."
Rayne says, "Well, the window in my apartment is set up as a view from space. The apartment itself is set up as a cabin in a space ship, though that's less revealing."
Twilight laughs a bit, before growing somber. "Would you mind if I went up and looked through it sometime? I haven't stargazed in a long time, after the destruction of my library-house at the hands of Tirek."
Rayne says, "Was that here, or back in Equestria that your house was destroyed?"
Twilight says, "Back in Equestria. Ponyville, to be specific."
Twilight says, "I was barely able to escape before it was all burned down, and I had been watching him through the balcony telescope right as he attacked."
Rayne says, "That must have been a lot of destroyed books... you have my condolences on that... And of course you can look! That's why I brought it up!"
Twilight Sparkle is, at this point, fighting to keep her anger at the memory from resurfacing. "I had so many memories from the first day I was there... It's not often I want to cause any sort of harm, especially of such a severe magnitude, to anypony or anything, but if I encounter him again... He's as good as dead."
Rayne says, "If he shows up here, I've got your back." She reaches down to tap her hip, where a sheathed sword would be if she were dressed as she normally is.
Twilight Sparkle sighs heavily, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. "Sorry... It's just. I know I had a hoof in his escape, back when I was still just a unicorn, but seeing how he drained everypony I knew and cared for of every ounce of their magic to feed his own mad desire for power hit me hard, and enraged me to a degree I never knew was possible. And learning that he banished the other Princesses before targeting me was just more fuel for an inner fire. The destruction of my house and the imprisonment of my friends... It made me SNAP."
Twilight says, "I'm sure you've had an experience like that, where you get so mad that you want to just unload all your anger on one specific person, regardless of what might happen..."
Rayne goes quiet for a moment. "It would... be different for me. What you described... It would unlock my mother's side in me. Only my father is a phoenix. What happened to you, if that happened to me... I'd probably awaken as a dragon. That's something I'd never want... not because I don't want to be a dragon, but because I don't think being a dragon would be worth that kind of trauma."
Twilight says, "Yeah... Still, I appreciate the kind gesture."
Rayne says, "Don't worry about it. I decided I wanted you as a friend, and that's the kind of thing I'd do for friends. But for now..." She stands up and stretches her arms ahead, fingers entwined and palms forward. "I probably should get back to making sure all my rust is off before my big event."