Although the hour was well past midnight and the moon had begun its descent towards the horizon, Luna’s orb still shed a pale light over the deserted streets of Ponyville. Not many of the residents were sleeping easily tonight. The uprooted trees and crater-like paw prints just outside of their homes were an all too clear a reminder of the terrifying events of earlier that evening.
The only movement to be seen was a small figure sneaking towards the center of the destruction. Aided by a dark coat and a nervous nature she did her best to melt into gloom as she darted from shadow to shadow. She would freeze at the cries of Luna’s night creatures and at of sound of the wind blowing debris across the streets. Even in the dead of night she was not about to take any chance that she might be discovered.
In the town’s deserted central square, the crushed remains of a wagon lay at the bottom of a gigantic paw print. Even though the wagon had been built out of solid whitetail oak, the Ursa’s paw had flattened it completely, obliterating it and anything that had been inside. The pale moonlight on her face betrayed a far less stoic emotions that she could have liked to have shown the world. She had expected it to be bad, but she hadn't prepared herself for this.
She could say it wasn’t her fault that events had spiraled out of control, but that didn’t sound honest to her ears. In the hours since she had been able to come up with a dozen things she could have said or done that would have defused the whole situation before it had even gotten started, but her mind had frozen up on her own problems, just like it always did. She was supposed to be clever. How clever was she if she couldn't think on her hooves in a crisis?
It should have turned out better than this.
Well, she thought, regret won’t dig anything useful out of this mess. Peace of mind was something she wouldn’t be able to find unless she actually stuck her horn in and looked for it. She bent her head towards the wreck and reached out with her magic to sift through the remains. Even working carefully was a risk here. One wrong move might cause even more damage (as inconceivable as the idea was) and there would simply be too many awkward questions if anyone found her poking around.
Tattered stage props… Shredded books… Shattered jars of powders and strewn piles of unlit fireworks… Ruined, ruined, ruined! All of it gone, broken, and worthless! Such a waste.
It was almost enough to make her cry, even though she had never seen the point in crying over things that she couldn't change. All the magic in the world couldn’t roll back time far enough to let her undo what had happened. She just had make sure she kept her head on straight and didn’t make any more-
Wait. There! There it is!
Hidden away beneath the remains of a wardrobe was the glimmer of embroidered silver stars and lavender cloth. It was all she could do to restrain herself from tossing the broken boards aside in her rush to reach the treasure. Forcing herself to work carefully, she moved the last of the debris aside and freed the priceless hat and cape. They didn’t look like they were damaged, but a more through examination would have to wait until later. She had them now and that was all that mattered.
Now she just needed to find a safe place to hide…
Like the rest of the town, the library was asleep. The books were all filed neatly away on their shelves and all the lights were doused, save for a pair of candles sitting on either side of a great mirror. Spike was upstairs in his nest of blankets, snoring away and thoroughly dead to the world. Everything was exactly as it was supposed to be, except for the fact that Twilight Sparkle was still awake.
The young filly simply couldn’t sleep now. Her veins were still singing with adrenaline from facing down the Ursa, and even if she was too timid to ever admit to it she had enjoyed playing the part of the hero and saving the town. There was a part of her (very deep down and carefully hidden) that desperately wanted to show off more of what she could really do. It had just been so exciting! She couldn't remember the last time she had felt that alive.
As she inspected herself in the mirror it seemed like her whole body was channeling magic instead of just the horn protruding from her head. She was radiant, radiating, and all that pent up energy was desperately searching of an outlet. Twilight was glad Spike was an exceptionally deep sleeper, because she really didn’t think she could do this properly without making at least a little noise.
"Come one, come all! Come and witness the amazing magic of the Great and Powerful Twilight Sparkle!"
Wrapped up in Trixie's hat and cape, Twilight had to admit that she looked pretty impressive, almost as impressive as Trixie herself when Twilight first saw her take to the stage. She looked confident, capable, powerful. The fit was good too. Twilight doubted that Rarity herself could have done a better job, not that she could have ever worked up the nerve to ask the dressmaker for such an order. Far too many awkward questions.
Twilight reared up in a dramatic pose, sending the cape swirling around her. Topped by the pointed hat and draped with the cloak, she looked almost like an enchanter from one of her foalhood fables. The embroidered stars sparkled in the candlelight; making it looking it she was wearing a patch of the evening sky instead of just a simple piece of fabric.
Sparkling. That was good.
“Watch in awe as the Great and-“ A snicker escaped her lips, fouling her delivery “-The Great Powerful Twilight performs the most s-spectacular feats of magic ever w-witnessed by p-! Witnessed by pony-!”
For all her great and powerful magic, Twilight couldn't keep a straight enough face to get through the routine. The sensible side of her mind was just too vocal, and wouldn’t stop pointing out how silly she sounded. The illusion of the bold and self-assured filly in the mirror collapsed, Twilight began clutching at her sides as her face screwed up with immanent laughter.
She just looked so… absurd.
Yielding to her giggles, The Great and Powerful Twilight’s knees bucked beneath her, sending her tumbling over onto the floor. Considering how loud her laughter seemed likely to get, she was glad that spike was a very deep sleeper.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Capes. Are. AWESOME! I can’t even describe it. It’s like I’m just rolling out magic here. My presentation still needs some work though.
Your Faithful Student,