Book I: Twilight Sparkle: Chapter One
...Your faithful student,
Twilight set her quill down by the parchment, watching the ink dry. She flattened the parchment with her hoof, rereading the letter that she had written to Princess Celestia. Feeling satisfied, she glanced up, look around the tree house for her number one assistant.
“Spike!” she called out. “Spiiiike! Where are you?”
The unicorn got up from her desk, and trotted upstairs, where she found that the door to her room was slightly ajar, with faint noises coming from within.
“Spike?” asked Twilight, nudging the door open and peering inside.
Spike was sprawled out on his bed, passed out, snoring with one of his legs sticking over the side. Twilight noticed that he was holding a quill in his hand, and her giant daily checklist was rolled up next to him. She giggled softly, and draped a blanket over Spike. She quietly closed the door to the room and tip-hoofed back downstairs. She crossed the room, carefully avoiding the large stacks of books she had been reading earlier, to look out her window. Looking down, she saw the ponies in the market begin to close down their shops and stalls; she was a little surprised to find that it was her favorite time of day, and her namesake: twilight.
“Huh,” Twilight pondered aloud to herself. “It's a bit early for Spike to go to sleep, isn't it? I guess he must have just been tuckered out from helping me with all that studying today.”
Wandering back to her desk around the mounds of books, Twilight lit her horn, which fired a small purple spark at the wick of a candle on her desk, igniting it with a small sizzle. Her brow furrowed as she scanned her letter for the umpteenth time, checking it for errors. She wanted to get the letter to the Princess quickly. Soon Princess Luna would raise the moon, relieving Celestia of her royal duties until morn. It would be the perfect time for her to send her the letter.
But how can I get the letter to the Princess if Spike's asleep? Twilight wondered. Then an idea struck her. Why don't I just teleport the scroll? I can teleport myself easily enough, it should be the same principle, right?
She looked down at the letter, closed her eyes, and visualized an image of Princess Celestia in her mind. Twilight focused her magic on the letter, and a pink glow began to emanate from her horn. She was about to release the magic, when suddenly-
BANG. The front door to her house burst open, slamming against the wall. This was followed by a voice shouting “TWILIGHT!”
Startled by the abrupt noises, Twilight gave a loud yelp. The stream of magic that had been pulsating out of her horn erupted into a great radiance. The pure pink energy cascaded forth uncontrolled. Her eyes sprung open, only to be instantly blinded by a vicious white light, as bright as the sun. As suddenly as the white light blinded her, everything went black.
* * *
The light in her eyes was unfocused and blurred, and a faint ringing filled her ears. Twilight let out a low groan, and shifted herself slightly. She felt herself lying in a large pile of books. How did I get here? she faintly asked herself. Deciding she didn't care, she curled up to get into a more comfortable position, waiting to slip back into unconsciousness.
Twilight... whispered a voice. Twilight didn't respond, she thought she was imagining things. Arise, Twilight... it called out to her again. She pretended to not hear it, and placed her hooves on her ears, trying to block out any more sounds. She didn't want to get up. TWILIGHT SPARKLE! Wake up! commanded the voice, causing her to cringe.
Twilight grudgingly complied. She raised herself on her front hooves, causing the books on her back to slide off. As she raised her head, she felt a sharp jolt of pain from her horn down the back of her neck. She let out a small gasp, instinctively throwing her hoof up to her horn. This caused her to lose her balance and to topple sideways into the book pile, dislodging even more books. She felt as if a large book had slammed down upon her horn, which she guessed had probably happened.
“Twilight Sparkle, are you hurt?” asked a voice.
Her head emerging from the mess of books, Twilight shook her head and looked up to see who the speaker was. She saw a long, multi-colored flowing mane, sparkling in the soft glow of a bright white coat. There, standing in her full royal glory, was Princess Celestia herself, looking down upon her student with a worried expression on her face. Shocked, Twilight immediately jumped up; although this movement only made the pain coming from her horn even worse, and she fell back down onto her knees.
“Twilight, will you please tell me exactly what has happened?” asked Celestia.
Twilight looked around. She was in her study, which looked considerably more disastrous than usual. Books were scattered everywhere, some open, some closed. Torn pages and pieces of parchment dotted the scene as well. Larger mess aside, the only thing that seemed out of place was Celestia's presence.
“P-Princess Celestia! Wha-what are you doing here?” stammered Twilight.
“I could ask you that selfsame question, my student,” responded Celestia.
A blank look etched itself on Twilight's face. “What do you mean?”
“I would like to know exactly how you have brought yourself to Canterlot,” Celestia said.
Twilight frowned, unsure why the Princess would make such a ridiculous claim. “Your Highness, what are you talking about? We're in my house in Ponyville, we're not in Canterlot.”
Celestia raised one eyebrow and looked quizzically at her student. “Perhaps you ought to take a step outside.”
She lowered her head for Twilight to use as a support. Twilight leaned on Celestia, propping herself up. Although the sharp pain in her head had subsided to a dull, throbbing one, Twilight's movements were still quite wobbly and unstable. Celestia, noticing this, summoned her magic and levitated Twilight onto her back without a word. She proceeded to part the sea of books in front of them, pushing them to the walls of the room with her magic, creating a clear path across the room to the front door. Celestia approached the door slowly, careful not to let Twilight fall off, who was holding on by the base of Celestia's neck. As they approached the door, a golden aura enveloped it, causing it to swing open. Not knowing what to expect, Twilight raised her hoof, shielding her eyes against the bright light from beyond.
As they stepped outside, Twilight lowered her hoof to let her vision adjust. When she could properly see her surroundings, she was so stupefied by them that she lost her holding of Celestia and fell off. Celestia spun her head back, just in time to see Twilight get up. The unicorn shook herself off and rubbed her eyes with her hooves, too amazed to notice any pain that she might have received from falling off.
Of all the surprises that night, Twilight was least prepared for the one she now faced. Her eyes widened at the sight, and her breath sharpened. She stood in the middle of the Canterlot Castle courtyard. She looked up at the towering white walls around her, the ramparts flying flags of both the sun and moon. On her right was one of the many towers of the castle rising into the night sky, the tip seeming to touch the base of the slowly rising moon. Towards her left, she saw the entrance gate, leading to the rest of Canterlot. Behind her, stood her tree house, under which a pool of water had formed. Twilight guessed her tree was on top of the remnants of the grand fountain in the center of the courtyard. The entire courtyard was bathed in the delicate luminescence of the moonlight. As she turned back to face the Princess, she noticed all kinds of ponies from across the courtyard staring back at her, and then back at her tree, their mouths as agape as hers.
At first she did not understand what was going on. Then it struck her like a speeding Rainbow Dash. In trying to teleport her scroll to Princess Celestia, she somehow managed to teleport herself, along with her entire house, instead.
“This... this can't be possible!” exclaimed Twilight. “How did I do this?”
“I think that you would be the best pony to answer that question, my student,” Celestia observed quietly.
“I-I'm not sure,” said Twilight, rubbing the back of her neck. She recounted the story from the beginning, running the sentences together in her frantic state. “I had finished my letter to you, which I wanted to deliver right away, because I thought that this would be the best time to deliver it, but Spike was asleep, and I didn't want to wake him, so I decided to teleport the letter myself, and then, and then...” she halted. “I...I don't remember what happened after that. I just remember a white flash of light, and then nothing.”
Suddenly, Twilight felt a gust from above. Looking up, she noticed a dark blue alicorn descending from above, her mane sparkling like a belt of stars.
“What is going on here?” demanded Princess Luna with a whinny, landing gracefully, having just raised the moon. “Why is there a tree in the middle of our Courtyard?”
“It seems that Twilight Sparkle here has, in trying to teleport a letter to me, teleported her entire home instead,” answered Celestia.
Luna's piercing teal eyes turned to Twilight. “Twilight Sparkle, element of Magic. The one whom my sister has spoken so highly of.”
Even at a time like this, Twilight felt a small surge of joy upon hearing that her teacher spoke positively of her in private. “Yes, that is me.”
Luna asked, “Tell us then, how did you teleport your entire abode into our fair courtyard? You must be extremely skilled not only to be able to summon the magical energy required, but to channel it to an object of such size, moving it instantaneously across such a far distance. All this, while also managing to slip past the magical defensive barriers around our castle.”
Unsure of what to say, Twilight simply repeated her story for Princess Luna, ending with “so in the end, I don't really know how it happened. It just...happened, without me wanting it to.”
“Hmm,” said Luna, putting her hoof up to her chin and tapping it thoughtfully. “Would your friends perchance be able to provide any additional details about the matter?”
“I... I'm not sure,” replied Twilight. “Some of them might have seen something, I suppose.”
“In that case, summon them here, and we shall ask for ourselves,” the dark Princess urged.
Twilight looked back from once Princess to the other expectantly, waiting for one of them to conjure her friends. When Twilight's gaze was met with the Princesses' own expecting look, Twilight was puzzled, involuntarily raising an eyebrow. Then understanding seeped in.
“Wait wait wait. You want me to transport my friends from Ponyville to Canterlot?” asked an astonished Twilight, shaking her head.
“But of course. Was my request not clear?” asked Luna.
Twilight looked to Celestia pleadingly, silently begging for her to explain to Luna that she would be unable to fulfill such a request. When no help came, Twilight addressed Luna herself.
“I-I don't think I could do that Princess. I mean, what I did here was an accident. I've never conjured anypony, let alone five ponies! I don't think I could do that, especially over a distance of this length.”
“Nonsense,” scoffed Luna, gesturing with her hoof as if she were throwing the complaint away. “Just concentrate on the images of your friends, channel the magic accordingly, and release it.”
Twilight sighed exasperatedly. Knowing she was in no position to argue, she resigned herself to giving it a try. What could go wrong? wondered Twilight. She stopped herself there, not wishing to think about the possibilities.
She planted her hooves in the ground firmly, and shut her eyes tight. As she began to summon her magic, her horn glowed a deep pink. She gritted her teeth, forcing the magic out of her horn while picturing her friends. The ring of magical energy around her horn intensified, and expanded to create a faint aura around her entire self. Just as she felt she could maintain the magic no longer, she heard five distinct pops around her, and then five weights dropping to the ground around her, filling the air with grunts and groans of discomfort. She cut the flow of magic, sinking once again to her knees from the expended effort. She was sweating profusely, with the headache stemming from her horn intensifying once more into a sharp pain. Determined not to sink back into unconsciousness, she forced her eyes open to see the results of her effort.
Around her there were five new ponies, all lying on the ground, slightly dazed and confused. Each of them struggled up to their feet, shaking their heads, the white one playing at her disheveled mane. As they realized exactly where they were, audible gasps were heard from each of them. They turned their heads one by one from Twilight, to the Princesses, to the Courtyard, to Twilight's house, and finally back to Twilight.
“Hey, what gives?” complained Rainbow Dash, her mane messier than usual. “One minute I'm relaxing on my favorite cloud, the next moment I'm here!”
Twilight, amazed at the fact that she actually managed to pull off the magic, simply stared at her friends wide-eyed, unable to respond.
Princess Luna replied in her stead. “We had just requested that Twilight Sparkle summon you all. She was to ask if you had seen what had happened at her home earlier.”
“Uh, what?” asked Applejack, flicking her ears to make sure she heard correctly. “Are you saying that it was Twilight that brought us here?”
“Precisely,” declared Luna.
The five ponies turned to look at Twilight with incredulity, disbelief dancing in their eyes.
“My goodness Twilight, I... I had no idea that you could do something like that.” Fluttershy murmured, scuffing her hoof at the ground nervously.
“We all knew you were very magically talented, but this is something unprecedented,” added Rarity, so amazed that she did not even flit her eyes about in admiration of the castle. “By the way, how did your house get here? It really doesn't match the rest of the courtyard.”
Nervously, Twilight stammered “Ah, heheh... that was me too.”
“WHAT?!” her friends exclaimed unanimously, their jaws dropping.
“Woah woah woah, hold on a second!” Rainbow Dash interjected. “You mean to tell me you teleported not only us, but your entire house from Ponyville to Canterlot?!” She eyed her friend with something close to awe, and her wings were twitching nervously.
“Crazy, yeah! Heheheh!” replied Twilight, letting out an inane twitter of anxiety. “I don't actually know how it happened. Which is why I brought you guys here. I was hoping one of you might have been able to tell me if you saw anything that triggered this to happen.”
“Uhm, hehehe, I think I might be able to help answer that” said Pinkie Pie, who up to this point, had been uncharacteristically silent. “I had just gotten Gummy a brand-new outfit from Rarity, and I was just itching to show it to you Twilight. I kind of, ehehe, burst into your front door and called out for you. And then suddenly, 'BAM!' I was knocked back by something and the door slammed in front of me, and then your house was gone!”
“Pinkie Pie would be the cause of this,” muttered Rainbow Dash, putting her face in her hoof and grumbling.
“I remember now!” exclaimed Twilight, her eyes narrowing with comprehension. “Somepony had thrown open my door and shouted my name, which startled me. I think that was when I lost control of the magic, sort of like during my entrance exam into the Princess' School.”
Princess Celestia took a step forward and spoke up. “This is somewhat unsettling. The knowledge that Twilight might lose control of her magic so easily when startled does not sit well with me. We were fortunate enough that nothing more serious came of this, and that nopony was hurt.”
“Well, what do you suggest we do Princess?” asked Twilight.
Princess Celestia lifted her gaze into the distance, deep in thought. Twilight thought she noticed Celestia's face reflected something that it never had before; uncertainty.
At last, Celestia spoke, softly and deliberately. “I had hoped to wait a few more years before doing this, although it seems you are mature enough to handle this. It would seem that my seal is breaking.”
Twilight tilted her head to the side, wrinkling her brow. “Wait, what seal? And hoped to wait to do what?”
Celestia momentarily averted her gaze from Twilight's. “After you became my pupil, Twilight, I had secretly placed a seal on your magic. I had feared that you might lose control over your powers at a time when I was not close at hoof to help settle you down. The seal limited the amount of magic that you could call up, and it made it slightly more difficult to do so.” She hesitated. “I do apologize for not telling you about this, but I felt that I had to do this for your own safety.”
“So, all this time... my magical ability was limited,” murmured Twilight, warily eying her cutie mark. Still trying to grasp this, she met the Princess' gaze. “But you said your seal was breaking?”
“Yes,” replied Celestia. “It seems that these outbursts of monumental magical power have started to tear it off, and this brings me back to my first point. I had wanted to wait a few more years, but it seems now is the best time to start your advanced magical studies.”
“My advance-wha?” Twilight asked, unable to process this.
“Your advanced magical studies,” repeated Celestia. “I shall be personally training you in methods to help you better control your magic. I shall also help you learn how to prevent outbursts that can cause,” motioning her hoof towards the tree, “unwanted consequences.”
“You will not be the only one teaching her, Celestia,” announced Luna, taking a step forward to join her sister. “I, too, shall be guiding her studies, to help her when you are occupied with your royal duties.”
Princess Celestia raised her eyebrow at Luna for a moment in silence, but Luna made no reply.
Celestia turned her eyes back to Twilight. “Is that acceptable to you, my dear?”
Twilight looked up at both Princesses. Her eyes widened considerably at the opportunity to study advanced magic with both of them.
“I- I would extremely happy for an opportunity like that! Yes! I would love for that to happen!” Her ears perked up, and her tail began twitching. Twilight quickly forgot her weariness, overcome by her love of learning. “When can we start?”
Princess Celestia chuckled. “In due time, my dear. Although for now, I believe that you have had enough adventure for a day. Therefore, I shall send you all home now.”
Princess Celestia was about to invoke her magic, when Luna interrupted her by throwing a hoof in front of her.
“One moment, sister,” interrupted Luna. “I do not wish Miss Sparkle to go home until you first unseal her magic completely.”
Celestia gave another sidelong glance towards Luna. “What is your reasoning behind that, Luna?”
Luna said, “I think that it would be a good exercise for Miss Twilight Sparkle to send both them and her tree back home. And for that, I believe that she must be able to access all of her power.”
Celestia disagreed. “Luna, I doubt that putting Twilight through such an ordeal, after what she has already done tonight, is the wisest decision.”
“She must grow accustomed to dealing with all of her magic, not just a small reserve of it,” retorted Luna, placing her hoof down with a tone of finality. “Besides, from what you have told me about her, she should have almost no difficulty in doing what I ask of her, once all of her magic is available.”
“If I may interject,” interrupted Rarity, “I think that Twilight here is more than capable of accomplishing such an act.” She smiles at Twilight, whose ears perk up with happiness.
“Yeah! If anypony can do it, it's definitely Twilight!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash with a reassuring nod.
The other ponies nod and smile in agreement, looking at Twilight in a supportive manner.
Celestia once again turned to Twilight. “What say you, Twilight? Do you think that you would be able to perform such a spell?”
Twilight shuffled her hoof in the ground nervously. Her ears drooped and she looked down at the ground, unsure of what might happen should she accept. Suddenly, she stopped scuffing her hooves about, pricked up her ears, and stared determinedly at Princess Celestia. “Yes. I can do this.”
Celestia looked into Twilight's eyes for a moment, and held her gaze. “Very well then. If you feel that you are able to this, then we shall try it. Now, I must unlock the seal. Stand still.”
Twilight froze in place, looking up at Celestia. Celestia's horn glowed a deep golden color, and she lowered it to touch the tip of Twilight's horn. Twilight's horn began glowing golden as well. The golden aura seeped from Twilight's horn onto Celestia's, to be replaced by Twilight's own pink glow. The Princess then took a step back from Twilight.
“And there we are. Do you feel any different?” inquired Celestia.
Twilight wasn't sure how to respond. She felt a feeling similar to when one's leg falls asleep, prodding needles and all, except this she felt in her entire body. While feeling that, she also felt much warmer, and felt a strange buzzing going throughout her.
“I do feel different, although I'm not entirely sure how to describe it,” she replied.
“When you feel that you are ready, proceed indoors, and we shall follow,” said Princess Luna.
Twilight gave a glance to Celestia, and then to her friends, whose attention she had fully captured, as they were still getting used to these revelations about her power. She turned around and headed into her home. The other five ponies looked up to Celestia, who inclined her head to allow them to go in first. Once all eight of the ponies were inside, they circled around Twilight, waiting, the air tense with anticipation.
“Remember,” came Luna's voice, breaking the heavy silence, “do not force your magic, Twilight Sparkle. Let it flow out naturally.”
Twilight nodded, and then focused her magic. The speed at which it welled forth astounded her, and she almost lost control of it. She slowly summoned the magic, her horn igniting with the familiar pink glow. She focused on her home, and she focused on her destination. She began to draw more amounts of magic. Heeding Luna's words, she didn't aggressively pull on her magic, letting it flow out of her horn.
Her eyes closed, and so she did not see the magical pink aura envelope all eight of the ponies, along with the walls of the house. Applejack was frozen in place, her breath bated. Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie both had looks of wonder in their eyes, while Rarity eyed Twilight cautiously, with a faint hint of envy in the corner of her eye. Fluttershy ducked down and hid her face behind her hooves, shivering with fear. The two Princesses exchanged a quick glance with each other.
Suddenly, Twilight gave a big push to her magic. She felt herself lifted off the ground a short distance. The magic exploded out of her horn, causing a massive bang, and a blinding flash of light.
A moment later, Twilight opened her eyes. She shook her head to clear her blurred vision. Around her stood her friends and the two princesses, with disbelief in their eyes. Fluttershy looked up from beneath her hooves and let out a barely audible sigh of relief.
Twilight felt her knees buckle. Applejack and Rainbow Dash noticed this, both of them rushing to her side, propping her up. Twilight looked out her window, noticing the familiar view of Ponyville. I did it, thought Twilight to herself. “I did it,” she croaked aloud, smiling weakly.
Princess Celestia smiled. “Well done, my faithful student,” she said. “I shall be honest. I was prepared to assist you, in case you were to not succeed. However, you managed to get us all here by yourself!”
“Most impressive, Twilight Sparkle,” congratulated Princess Luna. “I, personally, cannot wait to begin teaching you. You have much potential. You could even become as great as Starswirl the Bearded had been.”
Twilight was far too exhausted for the words Luna spoke to fully sink in, managing only to mumble a faint “thanks” in response.
“And now, we shall leave you to your rest, Twilight,” said Celestia. “I shall send you a letter in a few days to inform you of the start of the studies.”
At the mention of a letter, Twilight suddenly remembered the reason behind this whole mess. She lifted her head a bit, and weakly summoned her magic, the pink aura around her horn being very faint. She drifted the letter from her desk over to Celestia.
“The reason why this whole adventure started,” Twilight mumbled, giving a weak laugh. “There is my report on the magic of friendship, Princess.”
Celestia's magic overtook Twilight's control of the scroll. “Thank you, my dear.” She smiled warmly, and Twilight felt a surge of affection for her teacher.
The two Princess sisters then simultaneously raised their horns, both glowing in a bright golden and dark blue colors, respectively. There was an abrupt flash, and the sisters were gone, leaving the six friends to themselves.
“Well... that was definitely one heck of an eventful night,” commented Applejack.
“Indeed,” replied Rarity. She looked at the clock on the wall, and her eyes widened with alarm. “Goodness, it has gotten quite late! I look absolutely ghastly if I don't get my full eight hours!”
“You're all free to...spend the night here if you...if you wish to,” mumbled Twilight, her eyelids drooping. She smiled weakly again. “It'll be another... slum...ber...” and then her head lolled to the side, as she surrendered unto sleep.
Next: Chapter Two
Book I: Twilight Sparkle: Chapter Two
“You teleported your entire house to Canterlot?!” exclaimed Princess Celestia, eyes wide with shock.
Twilight took a step backwards, shaking her head back and forth. “What? I...no...there's no way...”
She took another step back, bumping up against somepony. She jumped away in surprise, twisting around to see who it was. A warm feeling of relief seeped through her when she saw that she had bumped into Applejack, who was standing in between the rest of her friends.
“Oh thank goodness you girls are here. Will you please tell the Princess there's no way...that...I...”
Her sentences fell away into nothingness when she noticed the glowering looks on her friend's faces.
Brow furrowed in annoyance, Applejack turned her head away from Twilight. “Would ya look at this here pony, teleporting her whole house to Canterlot,” pointing at something to her left.
Eyes widened in utter confusion, Twilight warily tore her gaze from her friend's, and looked up to where Applejack was pointing. In the distance, she saw a distinctive tree, dotted with various windows and balconies, and a wooden door at the base of the trunk. A telescope stuck out of the open window near the top of the tree, looking up and away. She was unmistakably looking at the library that she called home.
Snorting with contempt, Rainbow Dash glared at her. “You think you're SO special, don't you, just because you can teleport your house around like it's nopony's business.”
Twilight's heart froze.
“The nerve that some ponies have,” added Rarity. “Just because they can produce a few fancy tricks they automatically think they're better than the rest of us.”
The purple pony slowly turned back to face her friends, fearful of what she was to find. Etched upon their faces, the scowls that the five ponies adorned had deepened into angry glares, each filled not only with scorn, but unmistakable hatred.
Droplets of tears forming on her eyes, Twilight stammered,“Girls, I...that's not what-”
“Save it, Twilight. We don't need to hear it,” interrupted Pinkie Pie, throwing a hoof up to silence her.
Tears now streaming down her face, Twilight fell back onto her haunches. The other ponies crowded around her, their hatred for her so immense she could almost feel it.
“Please...just let me explain...” began the crying pony feebly.
“We told you once, we won't tell you again, shut up Twilight!” barked Fluttershy, giving the unicorn her darkest glare.
Twilight cowered underneath the ponies, and ducked her head down, throwing her hooves over her head. Though she hid her face, she could feel the fiery glares burn her back. Softly, she cried “No...no...this can't be happening...” as her hot tears fell to the ground.
“No...no....NO!” yelled Twilight. Suddenly, as if a warm, humid cloud had descended upon her, Twilight found herself unable to breathe. Grabbing her neck, she gasped for air as the world around her blurred. She tossed and turned, feeling the world around her seep into darkness, when suddenly the ground gave way beneath her. Twilight tumbled down, only to land on a lumpy object that produced a loud “OUCH!” upon contact.
Twilight's eyes shot open. They were met with complete darkness, save for a small lopsided circle of light about three noses from her face. Wriggling her hoof free from underneath her, Twilight poked it through the opening, widening it so that her head could pop through. She gulped in breaths of cool air until her heaving chest slowed. The purple unicorn's bloodshot eyes adjusted to the newfound light, and she took note of her surroundings. She was on the ledge of her room, where her bed was located. To her right, she saw a staircase leading down towards the lower level of the room. She peered down over the edge to find, much to her bewilderment, sheets and pillows that formed the impression of makeshift beds. The sheets were ruffled and unkempt, one of which was littered with bits of candy, chocolate, and cupcake wrappers. To her left was her sun-splayed bed, missing its own coverings. Abruptly, she felt the lumps beneath her move. Having completely forgotten about landing on something, she looked down, only for her face to met with a fuzzy rainbow. She pushed the tail aside and saw Rainbow Dash squirming underneath her.
Groaning, the blue pegasus grumbled, “Well, there are definitely nicer ways to be woken up.”
Grinning sheepishly, the unicorn untangled herself from her covers, which allowed Dash to spring up, throwing them off in the process.
The pegasus strained her neck and twisted her head from side to side, a sharp crack emanating from it each twist. She extended her wings to their full length, flapping them a few times. The small gust produced by them blew away any grogginess Twilight had left.
“Well, it's nice to see you're finally up, sleepyhead,” said Rainbow Dash, folding her wings back and patting her ruffled mane down with no effect. Stopping mid-pat, she jerked her head up at Twilight, struck by a sudden realization. “Twilight! You're awake!” She took off from where she stood, racing down the stairs to the lower landing. She threw open the door near the bottom of the stairs. “Hey everypony, Twilight's awake!” yelled the blue pony, which was met with a rushed scurrying and scuffling from the floor below.
Rainbow stepped aside as her friends raced through the doorway, eager to see their awakened friend. “Twilight!” they exclaimed in unison. Pinkie Pie, caught at the back of the little cluster, began to grumble and push her head between the door frame and Applejack.
Slightly taken aback by her friends' affection, Twilight could only muster a simple “Hi,” before she was tackled to the ground by an overzealous pink form.
“Oh my gosh Twilight we were so worried about you when you didn't wake up for days and days and days and just slept and didn't eat or anything!” Pinkie Pie paused only to inhale a sharp gasp, accompanied by a terrified look on her face. “I just realized you haven't had a cupcake in days! You need a cupcake right now! I'll go get some from Sug-”
Suddenly, Pinkie yelped as she was yanked back by the scruff of her neck. An apple was promptly shoved in her mouth by a bright-orange coated earth pony. Applejack looked at the pink pony disapprovingly. “Pinkie Pie! What did Ah tell ya about jumpin' on Twilight like that?” Pinkie shook her hooves at Applejack, flailing them back and forth. She tried to speak, though this resulted only in her spraying the orange pony with apple bits. The orange earth pony raised her hoof to wipe the chunks off of her face. Giving Pinkie a sidelong glance of annoyance, Applejack turned her attention to Twilight. “You ahlright there sugarcube?” she asked.
The earth pony extended a hoof towards Twilight, which she gratefully accepted. Applejack pulled her up onto all four hooves. “Yeah, I'm fine, just a little surprised to see you all so excited that I woke up from a nap,” she replied with a faint smile, brushing herself off.
Her friends exchanged worried glances. “It was...a bit more than what you would call a nap dear,” explained Rarity with a delicate cough.
Twilight's ears twitched. “What do you mean? How long was I asleep for?”
Fluttershy averted her eyes, pawing at the ground nervously. “Three days,” she murmured almost inaudibly.
“What?! I've been asleep for three days?” exclaimed Twilight.
The yellow pegasus seemed to shrink in size, partially hiding herself behind Rarity. She managed to get out a whispered reply. “Y-yes. After you collapsed that night, we all stayed here. When you didn't wake up the next day, we got worried, and decided to stay for a few days, at least until you woke up. But at least you're awake now.”
“Yeah, after that rough dream too,” mentioned Rainbow Dash.
Twilight's cheeks reddened. “How'd you know?” She felt her heart beat faster as she remembered: You think you're SO special! She shook her head slightly, and looked again to see Rainbow Dash grinning at her, chucking a hoof under Twilight's chin.
“Well, either you have a really funny way of getting out of bed, or you had a nightmare,” replied the pegasus with a friendly smirk.
“Well, what matters is that I'm okay now, right?” Twilight reassured them.
Her friends nodded in agreement, each smiling with relief that their friend had returned to them.
“Oh that reminds me! I've got to go pick something up from downtown!” burst out Spike. “I'll see you guys later!” Without another word, Spike tore himself away from the group, rushing down the stairs. The six ponies heard the front door open, and slam shut abruptly afterward. They exchanged looks of bewilderment, unsure of why the purple dragon suddenly excused himself.
“Come on now, ya haven't eaten in days!” proclaimed Applejack. “Let's go rustle up some breakfast for ya.”
Food coming to thought for the first time, Twilight found herself to be startlingly hungry. Despite her ensuing protests that they had done more than enough for her already, her friends insisted on making a huge breakfast.
* * *
Their bellies bulging and their plates cleansed of food, the six friends sat around the table, smiling contently. Twilight struck up the conversation once more, prodding them as to whether or not she had received a letter from either of the Princesses yet. Much to her discontent, there had been no letter.
“You know, I wonder how the actual lessons will proceed,” Rarity thought aloud.
“Ah don't suppose Twilight would go to Canterlot and just practice spells an whatnot?” suggested Applejack.
“Or maybe she'd get sent out on an awesome adventure!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash, throwing her hooves on to the table, scenes of titanic battles playing out before her glowing eyes.
Twilight giggled. “As long as there are plenty of books for me to read!”
As the six of them traded ideas that grew more and more fantastic, the front door of the library burst open, revealing a small purple-and-green scaled dragon, hidden behind a mound of bundles of scrolls, along with inkwells and quills.
“Spike. You're back!” called out Twilight.
“Hey Twilight! How are you-woah!” blurted Spike, tripping over himself. The scholarly supplies scattered everywhere.
“Spike!” she yelled, running up to him. “Are you alright?”
He grumbled over his clumsiness, pushing himself back up onto his feet. “Yeah, I'm okay. How are you doing?”
“Great! The girls and I just finished a big breakfast. We still have some hay left over if you wanted some.” she said, glancing over at the mess around him. “What's all this for?”
Spike scuffed his foot on the ground and glanced down, clasping his claws behind his back. “Well, I thought that you might insist on preparing yourself before your actual lessons with the Princesses began, so I went into town today to pick up some extra quills and scrolls for you to use.”
Twilight's eyes brightened at the prospect of pre-studying. “What a fantastic idea, Spike! Let's not waste any more time and get right to it! Here, let me get those for you.”
Twilight summoned forth energy from within her, and brought it to the surface of her consciousness. She channeled it through her horn, which began to glow a familiar vibrant pink. Glancing down at the various objects strewn around Spike, she released the magic, intending to levitate all of them around her.
The scrolls and ink wells were bathed in the pink hue, and were slowly lifted off the ground. Suddenly, as if the items had been possessed by demons, they raced towards Twilight uncontrolled. She managed to duck her head down just in time for the sharp points of the quills to whizz above her harmlessly. The objects raced around the room, thudding and banging in a dreadful din. Rarity shrieked, diving under the table, followed by the other four ponies and Spike. Twilight struggled to stem the flow of her magic, but her attempts failed.
“Twilight! Stop doing that!” yelled Applejack over the racket.
“I'm trying! I can't control it!” the unicorn shouted back.
The objects spun around the room, crashing into cookware, books, and furniture. Twilight helplessly kept her head ducked under her hooves, watching as the objects spun dangerously overhead.
“I think I can catch them and bring them down!” bellowed Rainbow Dash, jumping onto the table, preparing to pounce.
“Rainbow, no! Don't do it!” screamed Twilight. But she couldn't stop the blue pegasus, who leaped into the air in front of the mass of objects, intending to intercept them. Before she could do anything, the objects came at her, pummeling her with an unexpected force. She was hurled against the wall of the library, where she slumped to the floor, dazed.
Twilight acted quickly. She jumped up, and with a small gasp, grabbed a hold of her magic. Just as the objects looped around the room once more, she directed them at the window across the room, towards which they sped. The objects crashed through the window, sending a cascade of sparkling glass to the ground below. With a great effort, Twilight forced her flow of magic to cease, causing the items outside to succumb to the pull of gravity, landing on the ground with a clatter.
The unicorn moved towards her window cautiously, and poked her head out to take a look at the damage. On the ground, scrolls drenched in ink of varying shades were mixed with quills, whose tips were broken, the feathers bent and crumpled. Underneath, shards of glass of various shapes and sizes glittered threateningly in the late morning sun. In the distance stood Rose, Daisy and Lily, staring at Twilight, their mouths agape.
“Sorry about that!” called out the purple pony. “Small accident in here!” She ducked her head back inside before they could pester her with any questions.
Twilight took a step back and swiveled around to survey the damage caused by the objects. She guessed that the stopper on one of the inkwells had come loose, for there was a large blot of black ink on her wall. Books and plates were scattered around the room. A pitcher of apple juice had been knocked over, its contents spilling off of the table onto the floor. The other ponies were crawling out from underneath, save Fluttershy, whose tail, peeking out from below the table, was shaking violently with fright.
“What the hay was that all about Twilight?” demanded Applejack, pulling Fluttershy out from beneath the table. “That was a close one!”
“I'm so sorry, I... I didn't mean for that to happen,” she replied. “I let out more magic than I had intended to, and lost control of it.”
Fixing her mane, Rarity chimed in, “Well I suppose that is what those lessons are going to be for, right? To better control your magic.”
“Yeah, that's what I hope to learn from the Princesses,” affirmed Twilight. Shaken by the ordeal, she shuddered, as if a cold blast of wind had blown through the room. She glanced back out the window. “I suppose somepony is going to have to clean that up. Let me just get the dust pan and-”
“NO!” her friends shouted in unison. Twilight jumped, startled by her friend's reactions.
“Uh, maybe it would be better for Rarity to clean up the mess outside,” prompted Rainbow Dash. “You know, so that we don't have another disaster like this,” pointing to the walls. Suddenly, she let an an involuntary gasp, and clenched her foreleg to her side, wincing in pain.
“Rainbow! Are you alright?” cried out Rarity.
“Yeah, it's nothing... just a small scrape after I got knocked down,” she replied, edging her shoulder away from the view of the others.
Fluttershy's eyes widened in shock. “Rainbow, your shoulder!”
“I said it was nothing Fluttershy! I'm fine!” barked the blue pegasus. She tried leaning against the wall, hoping to hide her shoulder from the prying eyes of her friends. Determined, Fluttershy pulled Rainbow Dash away from the wall and turned her around to face the other ponies. The five ponies and Spike drew sharp breaths.
Embedded in the pegasus' shoulder was a ruffled quill, broken at the stem. A small droplet of blood had formed at the point which the quill stuck out. Rainbow held her foreleg up to avoid putting pressure on it.
“Why would you try to hide something like this? This is serious!” beseeched Twilight.
“I didn't want to worry you guys about this,” retorted the pegasus. “It's really no big deal. See? I'm fine,” she tried to put her hoof down, which cause a trickle of blood to seep from the wound. She yanked her foreleg back up, her face contorted in pain, eyes squeezed shut.
“We have to get that quill out!” exclaimed Fluttershy.
“Fluttershy, I said I'm fi-”
“No, Rainbow Dash! We need to get this out of you now,” commanded Fluttershy. “The quill could have severed a muscle, or the wound could get infected.”
Not about to defy Fluttershy when she became authoritative, the blue pegasus relented, and let Fluttershy examine the wound.
“Okay, I need somepony to bring me some bandages, and I need bowl of water with some clean rags,” ordered Fluttershy. When nopony moved, she added, “Come on now, go get them, please!”
Twilight bolted upstairs, while Spike ran over to the sink, picking up a clean bowl and filling it with water. Grabbing some clean towels from a cupboard, Spike brought over the requested items to Fluttershy, while Twilight galloped back down the stairs with fresh bandages in her mouth.
Fluttershy took one towel, and rolled it up. “Okay Rainbow, just lie down on your side. Here, bite down on this,” offering up the rolled up towel. She examined the wound closely. “The quill seems to be in pretty deep. This will hurt a teeny bit, but it will only be for a quick second.”
The blue pegasus clamped down on the towel between her teeth, nodding at Fluttershy to indicate she was ready. Fluttershy grabbed the quill with her month, and pulled slowly. A faint groan emanated from Rainbow Dash, muffled by the towel in her mouth. Her eyes were screwed tight, the pain on her face palpable. Finally, the yellow pegasus removed the whole writing implement, and spit the bloodied bits out on to the ground. She took the towel and soaked it in the bowl of water, then pressed it against Rainbow's shoulder.
“Applejack, can you unwrap the bandages for me?” asked Fluttershy.
Without a word, Applejack took up the bandages, unfurling them and unwrapping them. She handed them to the yellow pony, who lifted the wet towel off of Dash's shoulder. Once the blood ceased escaping the blue pegasus' body, Fluttershy eyed the wound intently, before wrapping the bandages around the wounded shoulder tightly. Satisfied that she wrapped the bandage around enough, she bit off the rest, tying off the portion on Dash's shoulder.
Fluttershy sat back with a sigh of relief. “Well, I don't think the wound was too severe. It didn’t seem to tear a muscle. Just be sure to put on new bandages every day for the next few days.”
Rainbow Dash spit the towel out of her mouth. She stood up, leaning her weight on her stronger hoof. She tried to put injured hoof down, but winced with a sharp jolt of pain.
“I guess I get to stay off my hooves for a bit, heh,” said Rainbow Dash, spreading her wings and flapping them, lifting herself up about a foot from the ground. “Thanks Fluttershy.”
“No problem. Feel free to come visit my house if you feel it gets any worse, and I can take a look at it again,” she replied.
“At least it wasn't any worse,” commented Applejack. “Ah mean, it could have been more than one quill that hit you!”
Twilight's cheeks reddened. She looked down, her ears drooping. “I'm sorry again, everypony. I guess I just don't know how powerful I am.”
“I...it's not a problem, darling,” stammered Rarity. “Everypony makes mistakes!”
The white unicorn looked about the room. “Now, let’s see about cleaning this place up,” she remarked slowly. “Spike dear, would you mind grabbing the bucket and mop?”
The seven friends worked tirelessly; picking up scrolls, re-shelving books, and scrubbing the walls and floor of ink and bits of breakfast. Dropping a load of plates into the sink, Twilight turned to survey their work. "That's that!" she breathed, wiping her brow.
"Yeah, an' we worked off that big breakfast tah boot!" added Applejack with a tired smile.
The five ponies left to meet Rarity outside, where they stopped to say their goodbyes.
“Thanks again, everypony. For everything,” she said, nodding toward each of them with a quivering smile. “You girls are the best friends a pony could ask for.” Tears began to well in her eyes.
“Awh c’mon now sugarcube, don’t go gettin’ all sad! T’ain't nothin'! Remember, if ya need anything, don't hesitate to ask!” smiled Applejack warmly, giving Twilight a goodbye hug.
As they parted, Twilight watched Rainbow Dash as she flew away through the sky, holding her injured foreleg close to her side. The unicorn felt a pang of shame in the pit of her stomach as she watched her friend go.
She turned back and entered her house, closing the door behind her. She looked at the broken window regretfully. Just then, Spike came bouncing down the stairs, looking excited.
“Twilight, look what I just got!” he exclaimed. He held forth a rolled up scroll, tied with a red ribbon, and a wax seal. The seal was the letter C emblazoned on a sun. “It's a letter from Princess Celestia!”
Book I: Twilight Sparkle: Chapter Three
Careful not to use her magic again, Twilight asked, “Would you mind opening it up and reading it?”
Spike complied, breaking the wax seal and unfurling the scroll. He gave a small preparatory cough before beginning:
“My dearest Twilight Sparkle,
I hope that you have had plenty of rest after that eventful night earlier this week.
I am writing this letter, as I am sure you very well know, to inform you that I wish to
begin your advanced magic lessons. I apologize for the short notice, but I would like
to start these lessons as soon as possible. I will be sending a chariot along to bring
you to Canterlot. I expect to see you here shortly.
P.S. Do not try to teleport to Canterlot again. The chariot may be slower, but it is much
safer this way.”
“Why doesn't the Princess want me to teleport to Canterlot?” the unicorn wondered aloud. “I'm more than capable of doing that.”
“Uh, maybe because of... like what just happened?” commented the baby dragon, with a small hint of sarcasm in his voice.
Twilight grinned sheepishly. “Oh, right.” She jumps up suddenly, exclaiming “Oh goodness I still need to pack! Spike! What scrolls, quills and ink bottles do we have left?”
As the purple dragon opened his mouth to reply, a burst of green flame expelled itself from his mouth, which swirled into a scroll with a small poof. He leaned over to grab it and read it aloud: “P.P.S. You will not need to bring any studying materials with you. Anything and everything that you will need is already here.”
The purple pony looks relieved. “Well, that settles that! I guess we won't have to worry about being short on writing materials around here!” She looked out the window, noticing that it is late morning. “I wonder when the chariot will get here,” the pony murmured to herself.
Suddenly, as if on call, there was a loud knocking on the door. Twilight jumped, startled, as Spike ran up to answer it.
Two pegasi guards stood in the doorway, their shining gold armor reflecting the bright sun. They looked almost exactly the same, with pearly blue eyes and mane, and soft white coats.
“Twilight Sparkle,” began one guard in a gruff voice, “We are here to take you to Canterlot for your audience with Princess Celestia. Are you ready to depart?”
The purple mare looked around her house once more, remembering she didn't need to bring anything. “Yes, I'm ready to go,” she replied.
The two guards parted, creating a way for her to the chariot outside. Twilight glanced at Spike, who waddled over and gave her a hug. “Good luck Twilight!” he said, “And have fun! But I'm sure you'll do just fine.”
She smiled at her number-one assistant, whispered a quick “Thanks,” and then trotted out the door. The guards followed her to the golden aerial chariot just outside her library.
The gilded chariot glittered in the bright morning sunlight, the wheels and sides catching the rays of light at an angle, bouncing them into the unicorn's eyes. She blinked, and walked around to the back, hopping on. The pegasi flew over and positioned themselves together behind the harness. The two guards looked at each other, gave a terse nod in unison, and then galloped forth, their wings spreading, as they pulled the chariot and Twilight into the sky, heading for Canterlot Castle.
Preoccupied with thoughts and worries over her new-found magical prowess, Twilight didn't notice that the chariot had arrived in Canterlot until it touched down in the castle courtyard with a light bump. She looked up, shaking the thoughts from her head, a bit surprised that they had gotten here so quickly.
The unicorn jumped out of the chariot, thanked the guards who had flown here there, and set off for the castle at a brisk trot. Worrying thoughts and fears began to slowly seep into her mind, and she paid little attention to the majestic greenery and fountains that dotted the grounds of the castle. She stopped at the imposing wooden doors, where two pegasi guards similar in appearance to her chariot drivers stood at attention.
“Who goes there?” demanded one guard, gazing at the newcomer.
“Twilight Sparkle, here to see Princess Celestia,” she replied.
The second guard signaled his hoof upwards, and the castle door opened into a dark beyond. Reminiscing about this daily action in years prior, Twilight stepped forth into the castle, as the door behind her shut with a resounding thud.
The little pony found herself standing in the main hall of the castle, draped with banners depicting emblems of both the sun and moon. Sunlight glimmered through the giant windows, illuminating the dust in the air. Hallways led to different parts of the castle to the left and right, and a large staircase ascended from the center of the room, and split off in two directions. At the split of the staircase stood a white, awe-inspiring alicorn.
“Twilight Sparkle,” spoke Princess Celestia, her warm smile washing away Twilight's anxieties. “Welcome.”
“Princess!” the unicorn exclaimed, racing to the princess. She bounded up the stairs two at a time, nuzzling the Princess as she reached her.
Still smiling, the winged unicorn bent down and embraced Twilight, letting her warmth flow into the purple pony.
“So, my faithful student,” began Celestia as she let go of Twilight. “are you prepared to embark on your advanced magical studies?”
The student looked up at her teacher, and nodded confidently. “Yes, Princess.”
The Princess looked at her, and asked, “Tell me, my student. Have you used magic extensively between the incident and now?”
Twilight froze. She sharply recalled the events that had occurred earlier that day, ending with Rainbow Dash injuring her leg. She folded her ears back and looked away, knowing the Princess would be furious.
“Uhm, well, what happened was...” The purple pony haltingly explained the events that had taken place prior to her arrival, ending with an almost inaudible “...I'm sorry.”
The Princess gazed sternly upon Twilight. “This is exactly the sort of thing I didn't want happening, why I wanted to wait until much later to remove the seal. Alas, once it has been removed, it cannot be reapplied.”
Her expression softened, and she leaned forward to lightly nudge the distraught unicorn with her snout. “But that is why you are here, isn't it? Come Twilight, let's begin our studies, so that you may learn to better control your special gift.”
Twilight looked up at the Princess with a relieved smile, and followed her as she started into the depths of the castle.
“Now my student, can you recite to me the ABC's of spell casting?” asked the Princess, as she slowed to walk alongside Twilight.
“Aim, Breathe, and Concentrate,” replied Twilight.
“Good. Now, describe each,” continued Celestia.
Twilight cleared her throat, and began, “Though they're called the ABC's, a magic user must actually complete them in reverse-alphabetical order. First, Concentrate. Based on the magic user's skill level, pool of magic, and mastery over the spells she is casting, she must draw upon an appropriate level of magic for the spell at hand. If the spell has a target, then the caster must focus on both the amount of magic she draws, and the target. Next is to Breathe. The caster should relax her muscles, breathe in, and then breathe out, Aiming her magic at her target.”
The Princess smiled, “Well done my pupil. Now, tell me, what is the difference between this process here, and what happened to you when you lost control?”
Twilight paused for a moment, furrowing her brow in thought. “I think the problem started with the first step. I was concentrating on the scroll I was going to send, but then lost my concentration, and didn't breathe, or aim, and then... the magic sort of exploded out of me.”
Celestia nodded. “So, do you know where we are going to start today with our lessons?”
Twilight pipes up, “With concentration practices?”
“Yes Twilight,” the Princess turned and stopped at a door. “We will be practicing concentration, meditation, and focusing of the mind. But not magic kindergarten level concentration exercises. We will be doing work that's reserved for the most advanced unicorns.” Her horn lit itself, bathing the door in a golden yellow, sliding it open.
Twilight's eyes widened, sparkling with excitement. Peering past Celestia, she craned her neck to see what lay beyond. Ahead of her was a dark room, with but a dim light in the center. The Princess strode in, followed closely by her zealous student. The door slid shut behind them, encasing both of them in almost total darkness.
As Twilight's eyes adjusted, she focused on the dim source of light in the center of the room. Floating at about her eye's level was a small golden orb, bobbing lazily in the center of the room. Princess Celestia walked forward, and sat down in front of the orb. She motioned for Twilight to do the same opposite of her.
The purple unicorn trotted forward, and positioned herself across from Celestia, watching the small ball of light between them. The two of them watched the ball intently for several minutes, the only sounds coming from their low breathing.
“What is this?” inquired Twilight, unable to contain her curiosity any longer. “And how will it help me train in concentration?”
The white pony didn't immediately reply. She continued to stare at the floating orb, deep in thought. After a few more minutes, Celestia replied.
“As you know, Equestria is a land of magic. Each creature here has innate magic, and expresses their magic in different ways. For ponies, it comes down to unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies.”
“With the obvious exception of great Princesses like you, Luna, and Cadance,” Twilight added cheerily.
The alicorn smiled. “Yes. With the exception of alicorns like us. Each race of pony is able to use their magic in ways that are unique to them. Earth ponies are connected to the magic of the land, and thus are able to grow food and plants better than anypony else. Pegasi are connected to the magic of the sky, and thus are able to control the weather.”
Twilight raised an eyebrow. “And unicorns?”
“Unicorns are connected to magic itself. They have more direct access to magic. Though some ponies, such as Starswirl the Bearded, have said that unicorns are connected to something else too.” The Princess pointed her hoof at Twilight’s cutie mark.
Twilight twisted her neck around to eye her cutie mark. She pondered the statement for a moment, until realization dawned on her. “The stars?” she asked, looking back up at Celestia.
Her mentor nodded. “Nopony knows for certain. But, what we do know is that every pony is magical in their own way, and has a hidden connection to magic. With proper training and perseverance, a pony can learn to access and use this inert magic.”
Princess Celestia closed her eyes, and seemed to freeze. The purple pony across from her opened her mouth to say something, but then thinking better of it, shut it.
Suddenly, the orb gyrated, pulsing, seemingly come to life. Twilight’s eyes were hypnotically glued to the orb, as it slowly started to move. The orb, still spinning on its axis, revolved around the unicorn’s head clockwise. Twilight held her breath, not moving. After making a full revolution, the orb stopped where it started, its light dimming. The orb halted its spin, once more becoming inert.
Celestia opened her eyes, and looking upon her protégé. “Answer me this Twilight. Did I use my magic to move that orb?”
The young unicorn shook her head in bewilderment. “How did you do that?”
“This orb here is very much attuned to the magic of ponies,” answered the Princess, glancing at the ball of light. “If a pony is able to access their inner magic, and use it, they can move this orb around, among other things in this room.”
“Other things..?” wondered Twilight.
“Yes. There are secrets this room holds, some of which even I haven’t fully discovered. The tricky bit about this room is that you cannot use magic like you normally do. Go ahead; try to illuminate this room with your magic.”
Remembering what they had talked about in the hallway minutes prior, Twilight closed her eyes, concentrating on her task. Illumination. She accessed the familiar part of her brain, where she knew she would find her store of magic. Though, as she tried to access her magic, she found it to be blocked off. Twilight panicked, trying to dig through the barrier in her mind to her magic. Try as she might, she could not get to the magic she needed to cast her spell. She opened her eyes, looking helplessly at the Princess.
“As you can see, no magic is allowed in this room. So there's no easy way of getting the orb to do what you want it to,” she said with a small wink. “The path to your inner magic is somewhere in your mind; to find it, you need to not only clear your mind completely, but also still your body. You must not move a single muscle in order to achieve the balance needed to access this special magic.”
The young unicorn lowered her head in thought, contemplating Celestia's words. “But wait,” she raised her head, looking at the Princess quizzically, “What does any of this have to do with my control of magic, if this doesn’t even involve magic?”
“The self-control and focus you will develop during this training will directly influence how you access your normal magic. So, the more you’re able to focus in this room, the easier it will be for you to focus, and to use, your normal magic. Not only that, but you will be able to use more and more magic easily as your training progresses, meaning you’ll be able to cast more advanced spells later on.”
Twilight smiled at the prospect of learning advanced spells. “Okay Princess,” she nodded. “I’m ready to start.”
Celestia smiled once again. “Very well. Try to move this orb up and down, if you can. As I had mentioned previously, to do so, you will need to both clear your mind, and to be completely still.”
Twilight looked down to the orb in front of her, analyzing it. She closed her eyes, imprinting its image into her mind’s eye. Clearing her mind of unnecessary thoughts, she tensed her muscles, freezing into place. Rise. The word scurried across her mind, followed by the image of the orb. Not feeling any different, she cracked open an eye to steal a glance at the orb.
The orb continued to float in the same place it had been, unresponsive.
Unfazed, Twilight shut her eyes tightly once more, emptying her mind of thoughts of worry and failure. Lift. The word appeared in her mind alongside the spitting image of the orb, and hung there for several moments. Twilight focused on the word, repeating it in her mind, and on what she wanted the orb to do.
A few moments later, the unicorn opened her eyes to check on her progress. Unsurprisingly, the orb hadn’t budged. Slightly annoyed, she once more shut her eyes, determined to keep trying.
Several hours later, Twilight slammed her hoof on the ground, infuriated. “I can’t do this!” she shouted, frowning in anger. Her shout rang through the room, echoing off the walls, amplifying it. She angrily looked up at Celestia, who watched her intently with a calm expression on her face. Realizing her ire was doing no good, her shoulders sagged, defeated. “…I can’t do this. How am I supposed to make this orb move without using magic?”
“You can do this my young student. But I did not expect you to be able to do so on your first day. We will try again soon. For now, perhaps you ought to return to Ponyville for some rest.”
The small unicorn nodded, her forelegs buckling, exhaustion sweeping over her. “That was a lot more tiring than I expected,” she sighed.
Celestia nodded understandingly, walking forward to open the door with her hoof. “It often takes more energy to focus your mind on a task, than it does your muscles. Come my dear, the day is nearly done.”
The purple pony obliged, standing up, and slowly trotting towards the door, into the hallway. The Princess stepped out, closing the door behind her. Raising her horn, she let a golden magical aura flow through it, popping a small scroll into existence in front of her, levitating it to Twilight.
“This scroll here is a one-way teleportation spell to Canterlot Castle. Good for one use. It's your ticket back here for the next lesson, the day after tomorrow,” the white alicorn paused. “I still would ask that you refrain from casting any major spells for the time being. Try to stick only to basic spells and enchantments. You're still unsure of your new power, and I would rather not see harm come to you, nor your friends.”
Twilight nods, retrieving the scroll with her own magic. “You have my word Princess.”
* * *
Continuing to hone her focus with Celestia during the following two weeks, Twilight noticed her ability to concentrate had been dramatically increased, despite seeing little visible progress otherwise.
“Spike!” called out the purple unicorn, running around frantically, searching her bookshelves. “Where is the scroll that the Princess gave me? I need that to get to Canterlot for the lesson!”
A small baby dragon came waddling down the stairs, holding a tightly furled scroll in his claw. “Here it is!” he exclaimed, jumping down the last step.
“Thanks Spike!” Twilight breathed, relieved. “So, I should be back in a few hours after the lesson, as usual. Would you kindly get dinner started by then?”
Her scaled assistant saluted. “No problem Twilight! I can def-” his words halted, as suddenly he clasped a claw over his mouth, as if trying to hold something back. Unable to contain it any longer, Spike let go of his mouth, expelling a small cloud of magical smoke. The two of them watched as the smoke swirled into a small fireball, and then poofed into a scroll. Falling to the ground, the scroll rolled over to reveal it was bound by a small blue ribbon, with a dark blue wax seal keeping it closed.
The purple-and-green dragon grabbed the scroll, eying the emblem on the seal. “This is from Princess Luna!” he cried out, breaking the seal off with a swipe of his claw.
“What's it say?” the inquisitive pony asked, glancing over his shoulder.
Her assistant recited, “Dear Twilight Sparkle. Tonight, I will be teaching your lesson. Rest until your arrival, and please arrive after sunset. Regards, Princess Luna.”
Gasping with excitement, “Princess Luna will be my teacher tonight!?”burst out the young pony, her eyes gleaming. “Oh I can't wait!”
* * *
Twilight found herself standing face to face with the towering doors of Canterlot Castle, the courtyard around her enshrouded in darkness. Lights of the guard ponies bobbed up and down on the ramparts of the castle, as they walked to and fro on duty. Looking back down in front of her, she noticed that the normal day guards had been replaced by gray-coated, bat-winged pegasi. As she stepped forward, their yellow eyes snapped towards her, gazing fiercely.
“Who goes there?” barked one the guards.
“T-twilight Sparkle, here to see Princess Luna,” replied the unicorn, stammering awkwardly.
The pegasus raised a hoof, signaling the opening of the door. As it creaked open, the purple pony dashed inside, unwilling to spend any more time under the piercing stares of the guards.
The door clanging shut behind her, Twilight's eyes adjusted to the dimly lit hall. At the foot of the stairs, stood a dark-coated alicorn, her blue mane flowing calmly.
“Welcome Twilight Sparkle. I am pleased to see you here,” came Luna's voice, echoing slightly through the darkened hall.
Smiling slightly, the small unicorn trotted forward, replying “It's great to be here. The castle sure does look different at night.”
The Princess nodded slightly, turning to the stairs. “Come child, though the night is young we have much to do.” She slowly ascended the stairs, turning to the left.
Twilight paused.. “Princess, isn't the room to the right?” she asked, unsure.
“We are not going to be training there tonight. I have something else in mind for you,” she answered, continuing on.
Puzzled, Twilight scurried after the dark pony, her hoofsteps ringing against the cold stone of the stairs.
Winding their way through the castle, Luna escorted the purple unicorn to the inner castle gardens. As they trotted through the foliage, Twilight could hear various animals and their calling sounds, the gardens teeming with life even at night. She followed the Princess to a small clearing, where she stopped, and turned to look at Twilight.
“Now, Twilight Sparkle, we are going to be training in a different manner tonight,” she said, eying the unicorn with her large teal eyes. “Instead of your usual focus practices, I will be testing you on your magical prowess. Are you ready to begin?”
The small pony blinked, slightly taken aback that was about to be tested. Smiling confidently, she replied, “Yes Princess. I'm ready to pass my test.”
The dark alicorn smirked wryly. “Very well. Without moving from your spot, please begin by casting a ring of flame around yourself.”
“But Princess, I've never-” began the protesting pony.
“The test has begun!” interrupted Luna. “Do you intend to pass? If so, then complete the challenge at hand!” eying Twilight challengingly.
The purple pony gulped. I've never cast elemental fire magic before! she lamented to herself. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply, opening her reservoir of magic. I hope this works.
A small fountain of flame spouted from the tip of her horn, winding its way around Twilight's head. Her eyes opening, she watched as she guided the fire around her, cutting the flow once the flame formed a full circle. The flaming halo surrounding her, she looked at Luna. “That was easier than I expected, considering I've never cast fire magic before!”
The Princess settled down, crossing her hooves. “Next, I want you to take the ring, and weave it into a helix.”
The hours of the night falling away, Twilight continued to demonstrate her magical abilities for Princess Luna, each task more challenging than the last.
“Excellent!” cried out the night Princess. “You've successfully managed to manipulate the orbs of water into water sculptures!”
Her breath ragged, Twilight weakly smiled at her mentor. Floating around her were three small statues of ponies in different poses, each made of clear, flowing water. “Thank you...Princess,” whispered Twilight, her head hanging slightly.
“Now, I want you to preserve these sculptures by petrifying them,” stated Luna.
The unicorn's head shot up, her ears flicking. “Wait what? You want me to turn water... into stone?!” she screeched. “That's impossible!”
The alicorn fixed her stare on the smaller pony. “It is not impossible if you put your mind to it! You have proven tonight to be capable of magic most can only dream of! Now petrify these!”
Twilight's eye twitched. Knowing arguing with the Princess would be futile, she sighed, resigning herself to her task. Calling upon the last dregs of magic in her mind, her horn sparkled a bright pink. She squeezed her eyes shut, furrowing her brow in total concentration.
Around her, the statues halted, the water unmoving. Before Luna's eyes, the statues seemed to be slowly filling with a dark material. The material rose through the statues, inch by inch. As the bases of the statues were turned to stone, Twilight gasped, her horn's aura flickering. She pushed with her magic, though the flowing stone would not rise. Forcing her magic out, the unicorn sagged to her front knees, desperately trying to complete the spell.
As the last of her magic dried up, Twilight fell forward, her face hitting the soft dirt with a small thump. The statues around her suddenly reverted fully into water and exploded, drenching the pony in cold liquid. Lying there, gasping for breath, Twilight avoided Luna's gaze, knowing she had failed.
“Twilight Sparkle, that was the most impressive display of magic that I have seen in over a millennium. Well done, well done indeed. Everything from conjuration, to illusion and transmutation, among other schools. I am very impressed.”
Pushing herself up shakily into a sitting position, the little pony still looked elsewhere. “But...I failed the last part of the test...” she muttered.
“Pray tell, are you really going to feel bad that you were unable to complete a spell that even I have trouble with?” inquired the Princess.
Twilight's eyes fixed on Luna. “You have trouble with this spell? But, but you're Princess Luna! You can control the moon!”
Luna's gaze met her student's. “Celestia and I may be powerful, yes, but we are not omnipotent. There are spells that even we cannot cast. Nonetheless, what you have done tonight would surely make even some of the most advanced unicorns envious. To be able to do so much, at such a young age... truly, you are a very special pony, Twilight Sparkle. The Element of Magic indeed.”
She stood up, spreading her wings, approaching Twilight. “You have most assuredly earned your rest. Come, let me take you home.”
Previous: Chapter Two