Author's note: Hi all. So I decided to try out a new format which is more like traditional novel formatting. Please let me know if you prefer this new style (indented paragraphs) or if you prefer the old double spaced paragraph style I was using. That will determine what format i use for future chapters. Please send comments about the formatting via private message so they don't clutter up the comments thread. Thanks!
Chapter 24: Summer Sun Morning
Sleep eluded James as he tossed and turned in bed, the words of Princess Luna playing over and over in his head, like a loop tape on a tape recorder. What did they mean? She continued to remain an enigma to him, with her talk of fate and forebodings of things to come. Be ready, she had told him. Ready for what? How could he be ready if she wouldn’t tell him what he was supposed to be ready for?
At least there had been one positive thing from the meeting. She had given him permission to talk to Twilight Sparkle. Perhaps that meant she was starting to trust him?
He rolled over in his bed again, staring out his window into the night. The full moon still shown through the glass, reflecting off the polished wood desk with a faint glow. That wasn’t unusual, in and of itself. But tonight, it only added to his anxiety. What was it she had seen? Would something happen at the Summer Sun Celebration tomorrow?
Part of him wanted to keep Twilight and the rest of his friends from Ponyville away from Canterlot tomorrow—especially knowing they wielded the Elements of Harmony. If whoever, or whatever, was such a dire threat to Equestria that it could mean the end of all living things, as Luna had said, the Elements might be in danger. After all, they had foiled several other serious threats to Equestria in the past. Would this threat intend on taking them out of the picture first? It seemed logical that it would.
On the other hand, would it make sense to try to assassinate the Elements at the Summer Sun Celebration? When security was at its tightest and the entire Royal Guard was on high alert? And if Luna was aware of a threat, surely she would have notified the Captain of the Guard. Wouldn’t she? And any necessary precautions would be taken? If, in fact, they were in danger, wouldn’t it be easier to go after them in Ponyville?
But then, sometimes the best way to hide was in the plain sight of a large crowd. In the small town of Ponyville, strangers in town would be noticed immediately and would attract much more unwanted attention. At the Summer Sun Celebration, they might be able to go unnoticed until it was too late.
But what could he do about it anyway? He couldn’t post a letter to Twilight telling her and the others to stay home. There was no mail service during the Summer Sun Celebration. And even if there had been, it wouldn’t get to Ponyville until long after they had already left the train station. Not even if he sent it via Pegasus Air Express. Not for the first time, he wished Equestria had telephones.
Asking Princess Celestia to send a message through Spike didn’t seem like a good idea either. What was he going to do? Go to the castle gate, try to convince the Royal Guards that he needed to speak to the Princess, and yes, it was important enough to wake her up over? Even if he was able to convince the guards, what would she say? A mental case. That’s what she’d call him. A mental case that had finally snapped from being away from his home world and brought here. And then she’d probably have him hauled away to pony nut house where ponies in white lab coats would tell him “we are only trying to help you”, and “we only want you to be well again.”
And she might be right. Maybe he and Luna were both insane? Could what Luna said have just been the rantings of a tortured mind that had broken down under everything it had been forced to endure?
He sighed to himself, feeling like he was caught in the jaws of a trap, any attempt to find a way out only causing the steel teeth to dig deeper into him. Deeper. Ever deeper. Part of him wanted to keep Twilight and the rest of his friends from Ponyville away. But another part of him, wished he could forget all this, and simply be back home in Chicago.
For the first time in a long time, he started really thinking about home. Had his friends back home even survived the quake? What about his family? Had they survived? If he could go home, would there even be anything left to go home to? Or would he find that everyone he knew and loved was dead, and he was all alone in the world. He’d probably never know.
He rolled over in bed once more. Exhaustion, excitement over the celebration, and anxiety over Princess Luna’s omen battled inside of him for supremacy. Eventually, exhaustion won out, and he fell into a fitful and restless sleep. For the first time since the nightmare Luna had given him so many months ago, he had nightmares again.
He dreamed it was dark out, with no moon to light the way. The kind of darkness so vast that he might as well have had his eyes shut while standing in a closet with the light off. Looking to his feet, a faint misty glow, almost ghost like, seemed to light the path for a few feet in front of him. He followed the path, afraid to do anything else. Afraid that if he strayed from it, he would fall into the chasm that surely lined either side of it.
Slowly, the chasm gave way to a room with benches. The people sitting on them were dressed in somber clothing. Mostly black, some gray. Faint sobs could be heard coming from some of them. At the front of the room, a casket, over which stood his mother, father, and sister. His best friend from Fermi Lab, Eric, stood trying to comfort them. He was afraid to look in the casket, knowing what he would find. But still, he felt compelled to walk forward. He did so, slowly approaching the casket, and his mourning family at the front of the room. Looking inside, as he suspected, he found his own body. It was dressed in a black suit and black tie. He looked away before taking in any more details, his gaze turning to a window at the side.
Outside, the buildings that had been Chicago smoldered, their once grand structures now twisted metal skeletons, tortured and reaching for the sky as if crying out to some god that was not listening to save them.
“No,” he said to himself, still looking away from the casket. “This can’t be right. I’m not dead. My body is not on Earth. I’m alive, and in Equestria.”
He forced himself to turn his head back, looking at the casket again. It still stood there, his body still in it. But now, six other caskets stood next to it that had not been there before.
He shuttered, but forced himself to look into the one next to him. Inside, the body of Twilight Sparkle. She almost looked like she was sleeping. But he knew she was not. And her horn was broken. Only a small jagged piece remained sticking out of the top of her head. In a way, it resembled one of the broken buildings outside the window. Bent, twisted, like a tower that had broken off near the base and left only the sharp metal support beams sticking out.
He turned away. To the other side, Rainbow Dash lay similarly in another casket. Her wings singed to a black charred appearance, like a partially burned piece of paper.
Again, he turned away. He couldn’t bare to look in the other caskets. Nor did he need to. He had no doubt what he would find.
To avoid looking at the caskets, he turned his head to look outside the window again. Where the smouldering ruins of Chicago had been, now stood the charred remains of Canterlot Castle. Only one of its grand towers remained standing. But its golden spire was missing, and the tower had become twisted and dark. Black smoke billowed from it as a smokestack in some dirty coal burning factory with its scrubbers inoperative. A bright orange and red flickering glow through the windows that still remained in the castle told the source of the smoke. Off the sides of the tower, the once proud banners symbolizing Princess Celestia and Princess Luna—symbolizing the grand nation of Equestria, now hung in black smoldering tatters, a symbol of all that Equestria had become.
He turned away from the window now, his back facing the caskets so he was looking out over the benches once more. Where the human mourners had once been, now there was nothing but emptiness. Not a single pony was there to mourn the loss of the Elements of Harmony. Without understanding how, he knew that it was because there were no ponies left alive in Equestria to mourn.
He broke out into a run now. He ran past the benches, down the misty, glowing, faintly lighted path. He ran, no longer caring whether he slipped, fell, plunged into the chasm that he was sure lined either side. He didn’t know where he was running to, neither did he care. As long as it was out of here.
He stopped suddenly, nearly colliding with a large iron door. Soot from the raging fires outside had turned it as black as midnight. Without hesitating, he put his hands against it, pushing hard. Burning, flesh singeing. He quickly pulled them away with a yelp of pain. Turning his palms upright, they still smoldered where a strange symbol had been burned into them by the hot iron of the door. But in the darkness, he could not make out what it was.
He kicked the door with his boot this time. To his surprise, it opened readily. He wished it had not.
Behind the door, in all her dark and twisted glory, the black alicorn, Nightmare Moon. She glared at him, her eyes blazing with orange and red flame, when she opened her mouth, all he could see was flame where her throat should have been. The heat of it was such that he felt his eyebrows singeing, smelled the putrid stench of the hair on his skin burning away. She spread her wings ominously, and they appeared to him as the wings of a giant bat, swooping down on its prey.
Her flaming eyes pierced directly to his soul as surely as a spear. Her wings folded back against her body as she started to walk nonchalantly towards the door. Each step she took rang like a hammer hitting rock. Sparks rose from the floor as the metal of her armored horseshoes made contact with the concrete. He moved to the side, giving way to her, not wanting her to touch him. He pressed against the iron door, not caring about the burning heat of the door that seared his back, as long as it kept her from touching him. As she walked passed, the smell of death reached his nose, like rancid meat left out in the sun.
As she passed him, he pulled away from the door, backing up, to flee the building. But his feet would not obey him. Looking down, iron manacles had sprung out of the concrete and gripped his ankles firmly. He looked back up. The black alicorn was at the front of the room, looking into the casket that contained Twilight Sparkle’s broken body. She turned her head looking into the casket containing Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, then looked back at him and laughed with pure evil.
“Such a shame. What happened to the Elements of Harmony.” Her voice was dripping with sarcasm, laced with malice.
He wanted to respond, but he found his mouth would not obey him either. She took a few more steps, the awful sound of her hooves ringing in his ears, the sparks rising from the floor with each step. She stopped in front of the casket that contained his own body, looking down into it.
A stream of electricity shot from her horn to his body inside the casket, like an electric arc from an arc welder. He had to shield his eyes from the intense pulsating white arc. Still, he could see it reflecting off the ceiling, the walls, the floor, gyrating and flickering in a spasmodic dance of pure venom.
As the arc dimmed and went out, he unshielded his eyes. The casket was empty. He looked back at her. His body was standing next to her now, apparently alive. A chain ran from his neck to her forehoof, binding him to her like a whipped dog to the whim of a merciless and cruel master.
She turned her head to look at him again. “You may yet avoid their fate, human. Choose your allegiances wisely.”
He felt a weight leave his feet, looking down to see that the manacles had released his ankles. Without hesitation, he turned and ran out of the building. He ran and ran and ran. He didn’t care where he was running to, as long it was away. Behind him, the dark voice of the alicorn rang out again.
“Choose wisely, human …”
He awoke with a start, breathing heavily and shivering with perspiration. It was still dark outside his window. He quickly sat up, whipping his head toward the window. He breathed a sharp sigh of relief when he saw the towers of Canterlot Castle, their golden spires standing tall and proud, reflecting the light from the moon and the ground lighting below, their red and dark blue banners flying triumphantly in the wind. He fumbled for the light by his desk, turning it on, looking at the clock on his wall four o'clock. The sun would not start to rise for about another two hours.
As he calmed down from the nightmare, fear gave way to anger. She had promised him. Luna had promised him she would not give him any more nightmares. So why now, had she suddenly given him another one? Even more terrible than the previous one she had given him?
His conversation with Theory Point echoed in his mind now—how she had told him he needed to be more assertive. How he needed to stand up for himself more, especially when he had not done anything wrong. Well, he was certain he had done nothing wrong to deserve this. He climbed out of bed, determined to confront her about this latest intrusion into his dreams. He would do it respectfully, he decided, to avoid getting himself in any trouble. But confront her, he would.
Carelessly, he threw on his field uniform, even though he should have been wearing the dress uniform according to protocol. Then he threw open his door, leaving his room and quickly heading downstairs where he left, making his way towards the castle again.
He wasn’t sure he would find her this early in the morning, although she would be lowering the moon soon. Even if she did see him from one of the towers, would she come to him?
It didn’t take long for his question to be answered. Before he had arrived at the castle, he saw her, sitting on her haunches in one of the gardens just outside the castle wall. Apparently, he had not been the only one who had not bothered with appearances before venturing out this early morning. Her muzzle drooped towards the ground, mane hanging down over it carelessly, like tangled creepers down a wall. She wore her royal tiara, but it was crooked and off center. Something was obviously troubling her, but in his present mood, he cared little for her problems.
He turned off the path, approaching her, making little effort to be quiet about it. She looked up when she saw him and stood up. As much as he didn’t want to, he stopped several paces away and knelt, bowing to her. It won’t do you any good to get yourself in trouble for disrespect by not following protocol, he told himself as he did it.
“James. Please, rise,” she stated simply. “Your dreams trouble you.” There was none of the cold sarcasm in it like there had been when she said it the first time. Instead, her own voice sounded troubled.
“You promised me!” he responded sharply, while standing up.
“It wasn’t me, James. Although in this case, I wish it had been, and you probably will as well.”
“Then why was Nightmare Moon in it?” he challenged, the anger obvious in his voice.
She let his lack of respect and protocol slide. “It can take no shape or form. At least not yet. So your mind gives it form. As something you fear. I know what you dreamed, James. For I dreamed the same thing, although in my case, it was a waking vision.”
“Your Majesty?” he said, taken off guard. The note of anger in his voice was gone.
“An aisling, James. An ancient entity from The Beyond.”
“The Beyond, Your Majesty?”
“From beyond the magical barriers that protect Equestria. There must be a spot in the barrier that has weakened enough for it to make its presence felt outside the barrier.”
“The Elements. Twilight and the others, they—”, he began frantically, but Luna motioned for him to stop with a raised forehoof.
“I saw it too, James. But they are safe. At least for now. If the barrier were weakened enough for anything behind it to actually come through, we would know it. And they would not be taunting us with nightmares that alert us to their plans.
He took a deep breath, with a shaking, staggering sound to it. The sound of fear that comes from dealing with the unknown. Luna was right about at least one thing. He was now wishing that she had given him the nightmare. At least then he could write it off as her toying with him. Instead, it was some evil magical entity from The Beyond that was toying with him.
“So now what?” he finally asked.
“You and I will speak with my sister in the morning. A delegation of unicorns will be sent to find the weakened spot in the barrier and repair it. And in the process, hopefully discover what caused it to weaken in the first place.”
“My family. How did it know about my family? My friends? Their faces?”
She shook her head. “It didn’t. It’s like a mathematical formula, James. It provided the formula. Your mind filled it in with actual values.”
He nodded in response. He had not failed to notice that she had spoken in terms of mathematics for his benefit, since it would be easier for him to understand then if she had tried to explain it in terms of magic, and he felt at least a little bit relieved that the thing had not been able to read his mind. But he was sure Luna could still smell his fear and uncertainty.
“Rest easy James, and enjoy yourself tomorrow. It cannot harm you or your friends from Ponyville,” Luna assured him. “But you must not listen to anything it says. For the aisling is the servant of the antithesis of the Element of Honesty. Everything it says is a lie intended to deceive, mislead, and trick.”
She turned, and started walking away from him now. He knelt and bowed as she did so, then looked up. “Your Majesty?”
She stopped, turning her head back over her withers to look at him. “Yes, James?”
“You said it appears as something you fear … What did it appear to you as?”
She looked at the ground, frowning and pausing. Then she looked back up at him. “The same thing it appeared to you as.”
She then turned her head back forward, spread her wings, and was gone.
He turned as well, started walking slowly back to the dorm. Would Luna lie to him? Possibly. But even if she would lie to him, he didn’t think she would lie to her sister. The fact that she was the one who had stated they would talk to Celestia about it made the idea that she was lying to him less likely.
Why would this … aisling she called it … be interested in him? And the weakening barrier … Could the object be drawing energy from the barrier? Would that explain the weak spot? If it was, that might mean the weakening barrier was only a side effect of something else. Something even more sinister than the dream he had?
At least now, Celestia would be aware of his concerns regarding the safety of his friends from Ponyville. If Luna was right, and they were safe for now, he would feel a lot better hearing Celestia confirm it. After all, she’d never allow The Elements—her prized personal student—to be placed in unnecessary danger, would she?
Arriving back at the dorm, he climbed the stairs to his room. Then he laid the class 1A uniform out on his bed. The Summer Sun Celebration was one of those rare occasions where even the class 1B uniform he normally wore was not considered to be formal enough by Canterlot’s sophisticated standards. He had to refer to the guidebook again to remember where everything on the class 1A uniform went, and how he was supposed to wear it.
He undressed, showered, fixed his hair, and made sure he had done everything else necessary before putting on the most prestigious of uniforms at the Academy. Then he carefully started to redress in the Academy’s highest and most formal attire. The main material of the uniform consisted of white and dark purple velvet, the colors of Celestia and Luna. Gold and silver embroidered around the edges symbolized the golden light of the sun and the lunar light of the moon. Two shoulder cords, one gold, and one silver, were to be worn over the right shoulder. On the front of the jacket, on each side, replica banners of the coat of arms of Celestia and Luna hung on either side. Gold buttons in the shape of the sun with a silver moon superimposed over the center served to button up the front of the jacket.
He finished putting everything on, then looked at himself in the mirror. He surprised even himself at how formal and dignified he looked while wearing it.
He glanced at the clock on the wall again. Almost six o'clock. Celestia would be raising the sun soon. Tomorrow, on the second day of the celebration, she would raise it in a grand public display. But this day, it would raise like any other.
He went over the guidebook one last time, checking over himself in the mirror to make sure he had everything just right. When he was sure he did, he left his room and the building again, walking back towards the castle.
Arriving at the castle, he nodded politely to the unicorn guards on either side of the gate.
“Doctor Peterson,” the one on the right acknowledged. “Her Majesty, Princess Luna informed us you would be visiting. Follow me please.”
The guard turned and motioned with his forehoof to another guard behind the iron barred gate, which was still closed this early in the morning. With a loud clang, a lock slid backwards and the gate began to rise, the click, click, click sound of the ratchet device on the wheel sounding entirely too loud in the early morning silence. One the gate had opened far enough for them to pass under, the guard led him inside, another guard from the gatehouse taking up his post outside the gate.
Once inside the courtyard, he was led to the main door of the castle which was then unlocked from the inside and opened. Then, he was lead through the now relatively familiar corridors and stairways of the castle until they arrived at the great arched double doors to the throne room.
“Her Majesty will be with you as soon as she finishes raising the sun,” his guard escort informed him.
“Thank you, sir.” He nodded politely, and then just stood there waiting in silence, along with his escort.
Princess Luna showed up after a few minutes. Both he and the three guards at the door bowed to her and she gave them permission to stand. He was surprised to see her, having expected she would already be in the throne room with her sister when he arrived. He didn’t question it though, and the two of them simply stood next to each other, facing the grand doors, waiting.
Several minutes later, a clang echoed off the walls as the door was unlocked from the inside. The two great doors swung inward, opening to reveal the red velvet carpet leading to the throne at the end of the room, where Princess Celestia was seated.
He walked down towards the front of the room, Princess Luna walking next to him. Stopping several paces before the stairs, he knelt and bowed. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Princess Luna make a slight curtsy to her older sister. It seemed slightly stiff and forced, making it seem as if there was some slight tension between the two sisters.
“Please, stand. It is good to see you, James. Sister.” The white alicorn stood up, stepped down from her throne and walked down the stairs until she was standing in front of them. She looked at James. “I must say, that uniform does look good on you.” She smiled.
“Thank you, Your Majesty,” he said, standing up.
“My sister has already briefed me. Tell me of you dream, James.”
He spent the next several minutes telling her about his nightmare. For a brief moment, he considered leaving out the part where the thing that appeared as Nightmare Moon had warned him about choosing his allegiances carefully, worried it might lead her to think he could be a betrayal risk. But only a very brief moment. No, he trusted her completely, he realized. He would put his very life in her hooves and trust her fully with it. And so he told her everything, leaving no detail unspoken.
And she listened, simply letting him talk. She didn’t interrupt him even once. Only when he had finished and been silent for several seconds, indicating he was done, did she finally speak.
“I am sorry, you had to go through that James,” she nuzzled the side of his face gently with her muzzle. “You may rest easy in what my sister told you. It cannot harm you. And it cannot harm Twilight or the others. At least not yet. The fact that it is appearing in nightmares and visions means the barrier has not weakened enough for it to actually pass through. If it had, we would know it.”
“The Beyond … What exactly is it, Your Majesty? Where did it come from?”
She hesitated for a moment. “I will need you to keep an open mind, James.”
He nodded. “Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Alright. The natural state of everything is silence, stillness, the lack of any movement. There are no actions, there are no reactions. Before any of this,” she waved a forehoof at their surroundings. “Before the entire Universe. That is all there was.
“At the moment of creation, when the very first movement occurred, the very first action—at that moment, the inaction, The stillness, the lack of movement, was pushed to the boundaries of the Universe. And there, it is held, in The Beyond by the magical barriers maintained by my sister and I, and a delegation of unicorns that are part of the Royal Guard.
“But always it is striving to return the universe to that natural state. To break through the barrier. To reclaim that which was taken from it. Even when it is held behind the barrier, we see its effects. It is the antithesis of movement. The enemy of all that moves, and therefore all that is life.”
“But … this entity in my dreams. Wasn’t it life? Doesn’t it move?” he asked.
“Yes. And therein, things become a little bit paradoxical. Before the moment of creation, the … stillness … for lack of a better term, was not aware of its own existence. But at the moment of creation, it also became alive, and became self aware. One of the things it became aware of, is what was taken from it. So now it strives to get it back. And it does so, by trying to return everything on this side of The Beyond to that state of stillness and non-movement. That is what becomes of anything it touches on this side of The Beyond. Stillness, lack of movement. In simple terms, everything it touches becomes as death itself. What you experienced in your dream was a messenger, if you will. There are many more like it.”
He nodded slightly. Although the more he tried to wrap his mind around it and think about it in scientific terms, the more mind-bending it became. Maybe if he had a thousand plus years to ponder it like she had had, he would be able to fully understand it. But for now, he’d either have to reject it outright, or take her word for it. And it was easier, at least for now, to take her word for it. An explanation that only made partial sense, seemed better to him than no explanation at all.
“But why is it interested in me, Your Majesty?” he finally asked.
She sighed, shook her head slightly. “That, is something I don’t have the answer to. It could be that it recognizes your talent, as do I. It could also be because of your fate being tied to Twilight Sparkle’s.”
So she is aware of what Luna said about my fate being tied with Twilight’s, he thought to himself.
“But whatever it tells you, James. You must not listen to it,” she continued. “It speaks only lies intended to trick, deceive, and manipulate,” she said, reiterating what Luna had told him earlier.
He nodded in understanding. “Yes, Your Majesty … Could the weakening barrier be tied to the strange object we found? Could it be drawing energy from the barrier? Or from the beyond?”
“It should not be possible to draw energy from beyond the barrier. And although I have never heard of a way to draw energy from the barrier itself, I cannot rule it out as being impossible. It is worth investigating.”
“I will look into it, Your Majesty.”
“My sister can protect your dreams, so that nothing from The Beyond will be able to interfere with your sleep again.”
“I appreciate the offer, Your Majesty … But I wonder if I might gain valuable insight from what it tells me in dreams? I can deal with the nightmares. If there is the possibility of garnering useful information from them.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure, James? I don’t want you to be tormented. You’ve been through enough, and you are doing more than enough for me and my kingdom.
“I’m sure, Your Majesty,” he nodded.
“Thank you, James.” She smiled slightly, the nuzzled his cheek again. “Again, you can rest easy knowing that it cannot harm you. And now, you should go. I believe there will be a train arriving from Ponyville soon with six ponies and one small dragon who will be very happy to see you again.”
He smiled slightly when she mentioned the train from Ponyville. “And I will be very happy to see them as well. Thank you again, Your Majesty.”
He knelt and bowed to her, before standing and turning on his heel, walking down the carpet towards the other end of the throne room. When he reached it, guards on the outside unlocked and opened the doors. Once he was clear of them, they swung the heavy doors shut, re-securing the lock.
Once James had left, and the doors were closed, Luna turned to her sister. “Foregoing my dream protection spell is risky, sister. It may continue to taunt him and try to frighten him and convince him to abandon us if the time comes where he is forced to choose.”
Celestia nodded. “I know it is, Luna. But I trust him, and I hope you are beginning to trust him as well. And he is right. One of them may let potentially valuable information slip during a dream.”
Luna nodded slightly, although Celestia could tell her sister still wasn’t entirely comfortable with the decision. Then she made another slightly stiff and forced looking curtsy before turning and leaving the throne room herself.
James walked briskly towards the train station, the sun now well over the horizon. He tried not to think about the nightmare, or the possibility that there might be more of them to come. Maybe he should have let Luna use her dream protection spell on him? He wasn’t fond of the idea of letting Luna mess around in his head again, even if it was, ostensibly, to help him sleep better. But there was something else. A certain sense of pride and indomitable spirit. If Luna had the same dream he did, and if she were going to have more nightmares like it … well, if she can handle them, so can he. And besides, the other part he had told Celestia was also true. He might very well gain useful information from the dreams.
Again, he found his conversation with Princess Celestia had comforted him. She had confirmed what Luna had said about the entity that had visited his dreams not being able to harm him or the Elements of Harmony. And again, he had come to trust her with his life. If she said no harm would come to him, he believed no harm would come to him.
By the time he arrived at the train station, he had successfully put the nightmare on a back burner. He was determined not to let it ruin his first Summer Sun Celebration and his time with his friends. He looked at the arrival board, finding which track the Ponyville Express would be arriving on and starting off towards that track. The sun was high in its arc, the sky blue and clear, the air warm. It was the first day of the biggest party in all of Canterlot, and his friends from Ponyville were coming. And to top it all off? The train was on time. It was going to be a great day.