Welcome to another alternate ending to 'Shadow of Twilight'. Like with the first alternate ending, this follows the regular storyline up until Chapter 20. Here, however, Twilight was unable to track down Homunculus in the past. Returning to the present, she goes to the fortuneteller's house and learns who she really is. Deciding to pass on Helena's message to her grandson, Twilight returns to the square to talk to Hugo.
Okay, you're all caught up. Places, everypony! ACTION!
"Hugo…" Twilight began, looking at the green-blue unicorn and Lucian with a mixture of sympathy and worry in her expression.
Hugo asked, "Well? Did you bring the Homunculus?"
Twilight decided not to answer that question and instead got to the point of the matter. "Have you taken a look at where your house used to be?" she asked.
Hugo lowered the knife away from Lucian's neck and slowly said, "Yeah, I went over there. It looks like a gutted box. There's nothing there; everything's gone. No trace of the way we used to live, no happy memories…" Pointing the knife at Twilight, he asked, "How could I ever forgive you for that?"
Twilight said, "Your grandmother – she's still there."
Hugo's eyes widened, but then they narrowed and he exclaimed, "No! That's a lie! You think I'd fall for that trick? Yeah, right! You can't fool me that way!"
Twilight pleaded, "I'm not trying to fool you! Look, of course she isn't there in the physical sense. But she says her spirit's been around since you first tried to bring her back. And she said she forgives you… all this happened just now."
Hugo shook his head and demanded, "You… are you trying to pull the wool over my eyes?"
Twilight answered, "I'm telling you the truth, Hugo, I swear."
Lucian looked over at his older brother and muttered, "Hugo…"
Hugo looked up at her and said, "All right then… I'm going to go over there and take a quick look. And you're coming with. If you try anything, I'll know, so don't even think about it. Now you stay right in front of me until we get there." Twilight nodded and left the square, heading for the fortuneteller's house with Hugo and Lucian right behind her.
After a few minutes, the three of them reached the fortuneteller's house and came to a stop, standing across from it. Hugo looked up at it for a moment before looking at Twilight and said, "Stay right here. Don't you dare move." Twilight nodded and stood still as he and Lucian walked up to the front of the house. After a minute of examining it, Hugo muttered, "Ah… It's just a ruin after all." He then turned and walked right up to Twilight, getting right up in her face and saying, "I knew it! You were just trying to trick me, weren't you? Well, now…"
He was cut off when both he and Twilight heard Helena whisper, "Hugo…"
Twilight's eyes moved from left to right and she asked, "Did you hear her too?"
Hugo's expression changed from anger to shock in a matter of seconds and he took a step back from Twilight. Looking up at her forehead, he saw that her horn wasn't glowing like it would be if she was using magic. "Grandma?" he whispered.
Lucian looked at both of them and asked, "Twilight, Hugo? What's wrong?"
Unbeknownst to him, Helena whispered, softly, "Hugo… Hugo…"
Hugo muttered, "Oh wow, it's Grandma…" Turning back to Lucian, he said, "It's her voice!"
Lucian asked, "What are you talking about, Hugo? I don't hear anything."
Stumbling towards the front door, Hugo said, "You two… just wait out here, okay? I have to take a look around." He used his magic to open the door stepped inside.
Lucian protested as he shut the door behind him, "But, Hugo…" Realizing it was pointless he took a step back and looked at Twilight, who gave him a shrug in confusion. She wasn't sure why Hugo could hear Helena but Lucian couldn't.
Inside the house, Hugo took several hesitant steps across the gray floor before stopping. Looking up and around, he called, "Grandma! You're here, aren't you? Grandma, it's me, Hugo!"
All of a sudden, the house began to shake and Hugo looked around quickly in concern. Parts of the ceiling and wall began to crack as Helena whispered, "…Hugo… You have done something that can never be excused or forgiven… You should have understood the sanctity of life…" Bits of the ceiling broke off and fell to the floor, which began to split down the middle towards Hugo. The breaking floor went under the unicorn and threw him onto his side as he cried out in pain.
Attempting to stand up, Hugo saw a large chunk of the ceiling coming down and quickly got out of its way, backing up against the side wall. Helena then whispered, "It is only given once, to a single pony, and its weight is beyond measure…"
While huddling in the corner, Hugo whimpered, "But, but I…" He then lay down on his stomach and covered his face with his forelegs.
Helena whispered softly, "Oh, I understand how you feel… How could I not, even if nopony else can…? My little Hugo… Would you like to… come with me?"
Uncovering his face and looking up, Hugo rose to his hooves. He then walked towards the middle of the collapsing house, where he said, "I'll go… I want to go with you, Grandma…" More of the ceiling began to break off as he fell to his knees, fully accepting what was to come.
Outside the house, both Twilight and Lucian looked on in horror as the house began to break apart in front of them. They both ran to the front door, Lucian exclaiming, "Hugo!"
As they reached the door, they both could swear they heard Hugo say, "Grandma…"
Twilight yelled, "Hugo!" Both she and Lucian tried to pull the door open with their magic or break it down, but it refused to open. Something was preventing either of them from getting inside the house. Twilight looked up and noticed that part of the house was about to break loose, right over their heads! She grabbed Lucian with her forelegs and pulled him back while shouting, "Lucian, look out!"
The light brown unicorn struggled in her grip, crying, "But Hugo, Hugo…" Twilight managed to pull him back far enough, just in time to avoid being crushed by the rubble. They both looked at the house as it continued to fall apart. There was no way either of them could get inside now.
Inside the house, Hugo sat on his knees while looking up at the ceiling. A smaller piece of the ceiling hit him on his back, but he hardly reacted to it. He simply rose up, raised his forelegs, and then lay down on the ground, resting the side of his head on a piece of rubble. He slowly closed his eyes, the only thing going through his head being the thought of being reunited with Grandma again. Moments later, the rest of the ceiling caved in…
Outside, Twilight and Lucian stared at what was left of the house, smoke beginning to rise out from within it. Lucian fell to his knees and moaned, "Hugo… My only… It was just the two of us, and now… Why… why…" Tears began to trail down the side of his face as he looked down at the ground.
Twilight crouched down next to him and nuzzled him softly, tears streaming down her face as well. "Lucian…" she murmured softly, knowing full well that there was nothing she could say to help this situation. All she could do was try to comfort and be there for him. She continued to nuzzle him while thinking, "Why did this have to happen…? I didn't want this to happen…"
Lucian nuzzled back against her while sobbing, "Hugo… Hugo…"
The smoke from the collapsed house continued to rise into the sky as the two grief-stricken unicorns walked side-by-side back towards the square. They were both going slowly, trying to silently comfort each other the whole way. As they stepped back into the square, a familiar voice caught their attention, "Well, looks like it's over, doesn't it?" They both raised their ears and turned to see Homunculus standing a short distance away. He spoke, "Good job, Twilight."
The lavender unicorn hesitantly said, "I… I thought I was changing my destiny…"
Homunculus replied, "Mm-hmm. And you did."
Twilight looked down and asked, "But… was it all for you?" Looking back up at him, she said, "You used me… To ensure you would exist, that nopony would rewrite the script… Is that the real reason you helped me…?"
Homunculus shook his head, "Now, now, let's not have all this unpleasant talk about 'using', Twilight. I mean, who cares, really? You get to stay with your friends and Equestria is safe. And me? Yes, yes, you managed to preserve my destiny. If you had been killed, I would never have been born. Immortality has its perks, but you have to be given life first."
Twilight said, "I see. So I was just being used… All your talk about an ancestor – was that just to get me to go back to that time?"
Homunculus looked away and nonchalantly replied, "Well… How should I know?" He then looked back at Twilight and said, "Oh, by the way, I need the Z-pad back…"
Twilight looked at him for a moment and then reached her head into her right saddlebag, grabbing the device with her mouth and pulling it out. Dropping it in her right hoof, she held it out towards him, saying, "Here, it's yours."
Homunculus merely said, "Oh…"
Twilight raised an eyebrow, "What?"
The black pony gestured to Lucian and asked, "Well, why don't you take him back to his own time?"
Lucian, having stayed on the side during the whole conversation, was surprised by the subject shifting to him and could only ask, "Huh? Who…? Me?"
Twilight looked down, remembering what Red Shield had said and thinking she definitely owed Lucian something after all of this. Looking up at the light brown unicorn, she asked, "Lucian, what do you want to do? Do you want to go home, or would you rather stay in this time?"
Lucian looked at her for a moment and then said, "I… I want to go home. Even if that means I'll be alone."
Homunculus walked up to Twilight and waved his left hoof over the Z-pad. He spoke, "There. Give him a ride home. I've set it for one last trip." Stepping back, he added, "Try not to drag it out too long, Twilight." The lavender mare offered no response to that, merely levitating the device up and pressing it against her horn as she set it for Lucian's time. Both of them then lifted off the ground and vanished a moment later.
Red Shield paced around in front of the remains of Hugo and Lucian's house worriedly. "Nopony's seen them or their mother… I don't know where else to look… I hope Twilight's having better luck than I am…" he muttered. He suddenly heard a noise behind him and turned to see Lucian and Twilight appear out of thin air, landing hooves down. Red immediately ran over and hugged Lucian from behind, startling the light brown unicorn, and exclaimed, "Lucian! You're okay!"
The unicorn stallion muttered, "Red, take it easy, man…"
Releasing Lucian, Red turned to Twilight and said, "You found him! Maybe you have a knack for finding ponies after all!" It was then that he noticed Twilight was looking down at the ground, the front of her mane obscuring her eyes from view, and looked around. He then asked, "Hey, where's Hugo?"
Lucian softly spoke, "Hugo… isn't coming back…"
Red gasped, "What? What happened?" Lucian took the next several minutes to explain what Hugo had attempted to do, both in the past and in Twilight's time, and what had happened to him. At the end of it all, Red slowly nodded, "I see…" Looking over at Twilight, he asked, "Twilight, what's the matter?"
Lucian turned to look at the lavender mare as she murmured, "I'm sorry… There's nothing I can do to make up for this, but I am sorry…"
Lucian sighed, "Twilight, it wasn't your fault. You were trying to make Hugo understand. He… I guess he just… accepted what was happening."
Twilight looked up and said, "I… I have to get back to my time… I guess it's goodbye. Take care, you two…"
Lucian nodded, "Yeah… you too, Twilight. And dry those eyes, okay? You've done nothing wrong." Twilight didn't respond to that; she merely turned around and used her magic to press the Z-pad up against her horn. After a moment, she disappeared in front of Lucian and Red.
Red noticed something had fallen to the ground where she had been standing and asked, "What's that?"
Lucian saw what he was talking about and walked over to it. Picking it up with his magic, he looked at it. "Hey, this is that patch I made for you," he said.
Red replied, "I gave it to her in case you decided to stay in her time. You know, just as something to remember me by." Lucian looked back at him for a moment and then looked up at the remains of his house. Red noticed this and said, "Listen Lucian, why don't you move in with me? At least until you can get back on your hooves. My house is your house whenever you need it and all that."
Lucian smiled at him softly, "If you're sure it's okay, I'd like that." Red nodded in response. Lucian looked back over at the spot where Twilight had been standing and muttered, "Twilight… Please don't blame yourself…" With nothing else to do, he turned and nodded at Red Shield, who began leading the way to his house in Canterlot.
Twilight approached Homunculus after touching down, the Z-pad floating next to her. She then levitated it in front of her and quietly said, "Here, I'm returning this. He's back home now."
Homunculus took the Z-pad in his right hoof, Twilight's magenta aura vanishing as he did, and said, "What a nice guy I am. All services guaranteed. Well, I suppose we won't be seeing each other again, Twilight. In all likelihood…" He then placed the Z-pad in his mouth and started walking away. Twilight looked up from the ground to see him disappear in a flash of red light.
She then sighed as she looked back down at the ground and closed her eyes. Opening them, she said, "Hey… I wonder if Pony Joe's shop is still open. Maybe I should go get some doughnuts." Her ears drooped as she muttered, "It'll be a small comfort… Might as well try to get what little comfort I can while I still have the chance… As soon as everypony finds out…" She couldn't finish her sentence as tears began to well up in her eyes again. Trying to hold them back, she left the square, heading for Pony Joe's.
Not long after Twilight left the square, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie came zooming into the square, both of them coming to a stop when they realized the square was empty. "Twilight! TWILIGHT!" Pinkie Pie screamed.
Rainbow Dash looked around before saying, "She's not here! Nopony's here!"
Applejack soon arrived, followed by Rarity, Fluttershy, and Spike (who was still sitting on Fluttershy's back). Upon seeing only the cyan pegasus and pink earth pony in the square, she demanded, "What's going on here? Where's Twilight?"
Rainbow Dash zoomed over to her and said, "I don't know! The square was empty when we got here!"
At this, Fluttershy worriedly murmured, "You… you don't think she's already been…?"
Applejack shook her head, "Naw, there's no way. Ah may not know as much as Twilight, but Ah think if she'd been erased because her ancestor was in this here time, none o' us would be here talking about her. She has ta still exist!"
Spike said, "Okay, but then where is she? If she's not here and neither is this Hugo pony, then they could be anywhere in Canterlot!"
Before anypony could respond, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna appeared in the square. Luna immediately asked, "Where is Twilight Sparkle?"
Pinkie Pie cried, "We don't know!"
Rarity clarified, "Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash got here first, and they said it was empty when they got here! There's no trace of Twilight or any other pony anywhere here! There's no telling where they could be right now! What are we going to do?"
Luna said, "We will have to separate and search the city for them."
Spike asked, "You mean alone?"
Luna shook her head, "That will not be necessary. If anypony wishes to stick together, they may. But we must find them before anything happens. We shall meet back here in one hour, Twilight or no Twilight. Agreed?" Everypony agreed and then broke off, Spike going with Applejack, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash flying over the city together, and Rarity and Pinkie Pie sticking together. After they all left, Luna turned to her sister and asked, "Shall we be off to search too, dear sister?"
Celestia replied, "Actually, we may not have to." Looking off to the side, she said, "I think I know where Twilight is."
Luna exclaimed, "You do? Then why did you not say anything?"
Celestia answered, "Because I wish to talk to Twilight before her friends do. Come, Luna. We will go together." She then spread her wings and took off, Luna doing the same after a moment.
Pony Joe looked up as the bell above the front doors rang. He smiled at the lavender mare that walked inside. He spoke, "Twilight Sparkle. How long has it been this time?"
Twilight smiled halfheartedly and said, "Good evening, Pony Joe." She tried to keep him from seeing her face, seeing as she still had wet trails along her cheeks and the rims of her eyes were probably red again.
Pony Joe picked up on her distress almost as soon as she spoke, but chose to keep quiet about it for the moment. "Are you by yourself tonight? No Spike or anypony else?" he asked.
Twilight walked up to the front counter and sat down on one of the stools as she said, "No, it's just me right now. Can, uh, can I get my usual? Extra sprinkles, please."
Pony Joe nodded, "No problem." He turned his back to her while he got everything for her. While he worked, Twilight rested her right foreleg on the counter and propped the left one up, letting her head rest atop her hoof. Pony Joe turned back to her a few minutes later, levitating a mug of hot chocolate and a vanilla doughnut with sprinkles in front of him. Setting them down in front of Twilight, he asked, "What's the matter, Twilight? I never used to see you come in here looking upset like this."
Twilight sighed, "Oh, I've had quite a day, Pony Joe. Hay, I'd even say it's been the worst day of my life…"
Pony Joe immediately looked concerned at that. "That's certainly unusual for you to say, Twilight. Want to talk about it?" he asked.
Twilight dropped her left foreleg onto the counter and lowered her face down onto the counter, her forehead touching both legs. "I really don't want to… But I know I'm going to have to, sooner or later…" she said to the wood.
Before Pony Joe could say anything else, the bell above the front doors rang again and he looked up. "Princess Celestia and Princess Luna!" he gasped.
"Pony Joe," Princess Celestia said, remembering him from the girls' first Grand Galloping Gala.
"Twilight Sparkle!" Princess Luna exclaimed upon seeing her sitting at the front counter. The lavender unicorn lifted her head up and looked back at the princesses at the sound of their voices. Luna looked up at Pony Joe and asked, "How long has she been here?"
Pony Joe replied, "Just a couple of minutes. Why, what's going on?"
As the princesses walked up to the front counter, Celestia said, "We were hoping Twilight could tell us. If you don't mind listening in, Pony Joe, we can find out right now."
The tan unicorn replied, "I don't mind. In fact, I want to know too. I've never seen Twilight like this; that worries me." The princesses nodded and sat down at the front counter, Luna on Twilight's left and Celestia on her right. The lavender mare mentally sighed to herself, wondering what fate had in store for her now, and started talking.
A while later…
Twilight laid her head down on the counter, having finished talking about her unusual day. Bits of doughnuts that the three mares had been eating littered the counter, but she didn't care at the moment. Talking about everything just made her feel all the more depressed.
Luna ventured, "Is… that all that has happened, Twilight Sparkle? Everything you have said is true?"
Twilight nodded as best as she was able to, "Every word, princess."
Pony Joe asked, "So… the spirit of Helena took Hugo with her?"
Twilight said, "I guess so."
Celestia mused, "I thought I briefly saw smoke rising up, but it didn't look like a fire. It must've been coming from the remains of that house." Looking down at Twilight, she asked, "What's the matter, Twilight?" Although she knew it probably made her seem rude, the lavender unicorn did not answer her mentor.
Pony Joe looked down at her for a moment and then asked, "You're thinking about what happened to Hugo, aren't you?" Twilight gave a nod; he said, "It's not your fault, Twilight. You didn't do any of the things he was accusing you of. Somehow, he misunderstood what really happened and didn't want to listen to anypony from his time. He must've thought he knew better than they did."
Luna nodded, "Misunderstanding or not, he did not have the right to take another pony's life out of revenge. Clearly, he did not know better if he could not accept that his grandmother was gone. I miss all the ponies I used to know before my banishment, but I don't fall to… how they say… pieces, when I think about them."
Celestia added, "I am sorry for his loss, and I'm sure you are too, Twilight, but it does not excuse everything he tried to do. The ends do not justify the means."
Unfortunately, their words did not make Twilight feel better. Actually, they made her feel worse, especially the last thing Princess Celestia said, as that was what had been running through Twilight's head every time she thought about Hugo's death. Unable to keep the tears held back any longer, she quickly rose from her seat and ran around the front counter, shutting herself in the bathroom.
Celestia and Luna immediately got up and followed her, stopping in front of the bathroom door. "Twilight Sparkle, come out of there at once!" Celestia said. Twilight's only response involved sobbing and whimpering. Celestia sighed, "Twilight, you can't blame yourself for what happened to Hugo. I know you were just trying to make him understand the truth, but leaving him alive could've been dangerous. And from the sound of things, his grandmother was more important to him than anypony else. And now he's reunited with her. That seems to be all he really wanted." There was no change in Twilight's response.
Luna looked up at Celestia worriedly, "Sister…?"
Without turning to her, Celestia said, "Luna, go back to the square and wait for Twilight's friends. When they arrive, tell them that Twilight's been found and that they should go back to their suites. Also, take Spike back to Twilight's parents' house and tell them she likely won't be coming home tonight."
Luna asked, "What should I tell them if they ask about Twilight?"
Celestia replied, "Just tell them that, as far as you know, she's okay. They'll get the details later. Now go." Luna hesitated for barely a moment before nodding. She then turned and headed for the front doors, spreading her wings as she exited Pony Joe's and took to the air.
Celestia, meanwhile, remained standing in front of the bathroom, listening to her student let out her agony. As much as she wanted her to stop crying and understand, she could not. For once, she did not know what to say that would comfort Twilight. All she could do was stand there helplessly and wait.
Eventually, Twilight's crying quieted, so Celestia asked, "Twilight? …Twilight?" She glanced down at the doorknob and used her magic to turn it. Finding it to be unlocked, she pushed the door open and stepped inside. Looking around, her eyes eventually fell on the back of the door and she sighed, "Oh, Twilight…" She used her magic to pick up the unicorn and put her on her back, the mare having cried herself to sleep. Stepping out of the bathroom, she closed the door and headed back towards the front. Before heading for the doors, she looked back at Pony Joe and said, "I'll send the payment for the doughnuts and hot chocolate in the morning."
Pony Joe replied, "Ah, that's okay, princess. You don't need to do that."
Celestia spoke, "I do and I don't. You didn't give us all that on the house, so we should pay for it. Just write down how much I owe you and I'll send a messenger around opening time."
Pony Joe relented, "If you insist, your highness. Just… be sure to let me know how she's doing." Celestia nodded and stepped out onto the streets of Canterlot. After making sure Twilight was secure, she spread her wings and flew up, heading straight for the castle.
Upon arrival, Celestia went straight to one of the castle guest rooms. She then lifted Twilight off of her back and laid her down on the bed, tucking her in. She gave the lavender mare a soft nuzzle and a kiss on the cheek before exiting the room, turning around to face the door as she closed it. For several minutes, she just stood there, alone.
Luna soon walked up beside her and Celestia looked back at her. The lunar princess asked, "I take it her mood did not improve?" Celestia shook her head. Luna sighed, "I didn't know she would take something like this so seriously. Is she really so sensitive?"
Celestia replied, "Deep down, yes. I suppose I always kind of knew that, but still…" She trailed off and instead looked back at the guest room door, as did Luna, neither of them knowing what to say.
They did know one thing: tomorrow was going to be a busy day.
I suppose this could be classified as the "sad" ending. I always thought it was pretty sad in the game...
Anyway, I guess this kind of combines a little bit of the regular ending and the alternate ending in a way. I figured Red Shield would be nice enough to let his friends live with him for a while after they returned to the past in the second ending. It's the same thing here, just with only Lucian. And Twilight getting worked up while explaining everything to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna is what I was thinking of while writing the first ending, except she had somepony to comfort and help her there. I was just thinking of those kinds of things while I was writing, you know?
I don't know if I'll add any more alternate endings.