It was early in the morning, and no life could be seen on the grassy streets in Ponyville yet. Only some shop keepers were preparing their stores at the market for selling their goods among the crowd in a few hours.
The birds had also just begun to chirp their beautiful songs as Celestia's sun made its way up the horizon, like every morning - to fill Equestria with light and warmth yet another day.
A lavender unicorn, woken up from the dim light that shone through a window directly in her face, sat in her bed, still half asleep. It had been a long night, like the several ones before, and her time asleep was almost not existing. Yet she knew she had to get up, even if her body and mind were crying for some more sleep.
Twilight, still sitting in her warm bed, rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. With a loud yawn, the purple mare pushed away her blanket, and slowly got up to her feeble hooves. She slowly managed it to the bathroom without falling over her own feet.
Ugh. So. Tired - but I can’t sleep now. There's too much to do. Let’s see... for the start of a day, a short checklist is always appropriate...
- Brush my teeth and fix my mane.
- After that, make some coffee.
- Eventually wake up Spike if needed
Yeah, that's a good plan to begin with.
The lavender mare took a hold of the toothbrush with her magic, dropped some toothpaste on it and began to scrub her teeth. Finished with that, she lifted her hairbrush, and drove it carefully through her mane, until she was finally satisfied with the look of hers. A half-lidded smirk in the mirror, and Twilight walked her way out of the bathroom, down the wooden circular staircase. Again a heavy yawn escaped her - it just made her longing for coffee even bigger.
Slumberous, the mare trotted down into the main hall of the library.
"Spike?!" the purple mare called for her number one assistant, "Would you please come down here for a second?"
Twilight hoped for a yawn, or any sign that the little baby dragon has awakened. But nothing could be heard from above.
Still fast asleep, I guess. Well, I can't blame him, he has been awake a lot in the last few weeks.
Twilight let out another heavy yawn.
Oh I almost forgot... Coffee. I'll wake Spike after I made some.
The lavender unicorn left the main hall and stepped into the kitchen. Her horn began to glow, and a small bag full of coffee beans levitated out of a cupboard over the room to a desk. Quickly a mug was following the coffee packet, and Twilight began to pour a specific amount of beans into the cup, but not too many and not too few. She wanted her coffee to taste always exactly the same.
Now the water was all that was left. A transparent bottle floated over to the coffee mug, and Twilight spilled the liquid on top of the beans. After doing so, she closed the bottle again and placed it back to where it belonged, the cupboard.
She levitated the cup carefully in front of her. Casting her spell on the mug, the beans dissolved in the instantly boiling water, and leaving all their flavor in it. Twilight took a fast sip. She was satisfied with the taste of it - bitter enough to shake her awake, but still not too bitter for her that it didn't taste anymore.
Twilight took a seat at the table, and sipped on the hot coffee between her hooves for a while. When she was finished, she placed the mug into the sink and trotted out of the kitchen.
Come to think of it. I'm really glad to be a unicorn. I wouldn't know how to make coffee if I was an earth pony or a pegasus. How do they do it? I need to study this sometime.
She made a mental note, and went up the spiral staircase to the next floor.
She opened the door to her bedroom with her magic. Spike was still lying in his basket right beneath her bed, snoring a little. The purple mare chuckled at the sight of the baby dragon. She stepped quietly over to her assistant, trying to suppress the clopping sound of her hooves on the wooden floor as much as possible.
Twilight whispered. She nuzzled her little baby dragon behind his ear-like scales.
Spike turned around, and slowly opened his eyes halfway. Twilight stood before his basket, smiling down at him.
"Morning, Twilight," Spike muttered.
"Would you please come down with me for a moment?"
Spike gave no answer, instead, he slowly crawled out of his bed, and hopped on Twilight's back.
"Only if you carry me," said the little dragon.
The mare chuckled again, and made her way down to the main lobby.
"I guess I overdid it again, didn't I?"
"Yeah. I don't know how you always create such a mess with just books and that kind of stuff. But, now that you have your answer, can I go back to my bed?"
With a sigh, Twilight turned around, simultaneously gripping Spike with her magic, placing the baby dragon in front of her.
She knew it's going to be hard to convince him for the task, except she offers something a dragon could never say no to. Silky and gentle, Twilight's voice almost echoed in the hollow tree.
"Spike, I need you to clean this up, okay?"
"If you do, I will get you whatever gem you want. Would that be a deal?" Twilight looked right into Spike's eyes - with a soft gaze, her sparkling purple eyes and with a small smile across her face. How could the dragon resist that expression of Twilight AND a gem as a reward?
"Aaah... fine," he grunted.
"Great!" Twilight gave her number one assistant a deep hug.
"How long do you think you will need, Spike? Maybe I can come back in time to help you?"
"I guess that won't be necessary, Twi. Leave things to me, okay? But don't forget the gem!" He smirked at Twilight and slowly began to pick up some near books.
With that, the purple mare nuzzled her baby dragon one last time as she then turned around to the entrance of the library. But before she could go any further, a loud belch came from behind her, flashing the room in pure green for an instant.
Twilight turned around, looking over to Spike. A neatly-rolled scroll with a red band and a golden seal had appeared in front of his eyes.
The scroll didn't even had the chance to be affected by gravity, for Twilight had already grabbed it with her magic, floating it over to her.
Spike murmured: "A letter from Princess Celestia. What would she want that early in the morning?" He scratched his neck.
“I don’t know," Twilight nearly sounded nervous, "but if she writes that early, it must be important!”
Hastily she removed the seal and opened the scroll. She began to read:
Dear Twilight Sparkle - my faithful student.
You asked me to inform you about the ongoing progression of my sister, and that you would be eager to help if it was necessary in any matter. Indeed, your help is needed. Princess Luna isn’t herself anymore. Though Nightmare Night gave her a bit of composure, she falls to her old behaviour again. My efforts to stop the process seem to be worthless.
Thus I ask you now, Twilight Sparkle, for your offered aid. Look after my sister. Maybe you can reach her, where I failed to. If you happen to have any questions, I will explain everything to you once you’ve arrived. The carriage that takes you to Canterlot Castle will be provided for noon today.
Princess Celestia, Co-Ruler of Equestria.
Spike could see the gears in Twilight running while she read the letter. Her eyes went from left to right, going a bit lower with every line. She had read the letter a few times by now, but she couldn't fully comprehend it. She had to read it again, and again, just to make sure she wasn't missing a line that would explain at least something.
What does she mean with 'old behaviour'? What can I do for Princess Luna, what Princess Celestia is not able to?
She grunted, locking her gaze with the wooden floor. Too many unanswered questions at once.
"What's wrong, Twilight?"
No answer. Twilight was lost deep in her twisted thoughts.
"Twilight, you okay?"
Again, no response. Spike trotted in front of the purple mare, waving his claw in front of her face. Either she didn't notice or she simply didn't bother. She just looked like nowhere in particular.
Not that again.
He couldn't make her snap out of it in a gentle way. Of course he could've shaked her, but that would be just too rude for now. A few moments passed in silence.
Twilight opened her mouth.
"The... the letter. It was about Princess Luna... She is falling to her 'old behaviour' again, whatever that's supposed to mean. But Princess Celestia sounded really concerned, so it must be something important. I have to get ready."
"Get ready for what?" Spike asked a bit concerned.
"Princess Celestia asked me to look after her sister, though I am not sure what I can really do! I need to study this! But on the other hand, a carriage at noon is taking me to Canterlot Castle! There's so little time!"
Twilight started pacing around in the library, trying to find any books that were even just barely related to alicorns. Maybe they would give Twilight a proper answer. With her magic she levitated book after book in front of her and shaked her head every time as she threw every single one back across the room.
"No... no... no... no... NO!"
Twilight grunted again, and before she could do anything more, Spike stopped her in her trails.
"Twilight stop it! I know for sure that there is no book in here like a guidance to how to look after alicorns or something, so calm down!"
Twilight instantly froze. She couldn't believe how Spike could've just said something like that!
"Calm down? How can I calm down? What if I fail miserably and make things just worse? What if I disappoint Princess Celestia? Then not only she will be mad at me, no! Princess Luna too, because I couldn't comfort her in any way! I don't even want to think about what they will do to me if I fail them both!"
"And if it would be just that! No! As for today Applejack needs my help in the apple orchards, otherwise they wouldn't get the work done until the soon scheduled four-days-rain."
"Then Rainbow Dash wanted to show me some new tricks, with which she will get into the Wonderbolts instantly as soon as they come to see them!
"Well, fortunately Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie don't need me for watching over their animals or the baby cakes, that leaves me a little more time."
"But even with that, everything is out of order! I must be there for my friends, but how can I deny a request from Princess Celestia?!"
What do?! I need to come up with a plan, quickly!
Twilight panted heavily now, sweat rising from her forehead, slowly making its way down her face. Her heart pounded against her chest as trying to escape her misery.
That was enough for Spike. With a stern expression, he stood right in front of Twilight and looked right in her moist purple eyes.
"Twilight! Stop thinking like that! That makes absolutely no sense! First, you know Princess Celestia won't do any harm to you, no matter what! And neither will Princess Luna. You have freed her from Nightmare Moon, you should know that. Calm down Twilight."
"You really need to relax. Take a bath or something. You'll think a lot more straight after that, trust me. And forget the library. As I said before, I'll take care of it. If you want, I can write your friends a letter that they know that you're gone for some time."
Spike gave Twilight a reassuring smile. He stepped forward and embraced the lavender unicorn gently around her neck. A bit surprised, Twilight returned the hug, pulling the baby dragon to her chest.
And with that, Twilight's gaze softened, a small smile crawling up her muzzle.
"That'd be great. You really are my number one assistant. I don't know what I would do without you."
They stayed that way for a moment, and Twilight spoke again.
"Yet I don't know how long I will be gone, but I'll let you know once I have found out."
Twilight gently nuzzled the little dragon in their embrace, before she carefully let go.
"And a bath sounds perfect to me," said the lilac unicorn.
Spike just grinned at Twilight as she made her way up the round staircase to the next floor.
Twilight pushed the door to her bathroom open and with her magic, she turned the hot water on, which flowed into the bathtub. She levitated a small bottle to it, filling a bit of the soapy liquid into the water and watched the bubbles slowly coming up. After she was satisfied with the amount of bubbles, the mare placed the bottle back to its place. She stepped to the tub and let herself slip into the comfortable embrace of the hot bath.
Oh wow. This is just what I need right now.
The warmth spread deep into her body, relaxing every muscle, vanishing nearly all the agitation in her mind. Twilight noticed that she was still unfavorably tired after these long nights with such short amount of sleep. She let out a wide yawn, and in the warm bath of bubbles and water, she closed her eyes.
I wonder what could be the matter with Princess Luna. I haven't seen her since Nightmare Night, and that was several months ago.
A picture of the princess was the last thought that touched her mind; Luna, her soft, nightblue coat - her star pierced mane flowing in the solar wind - and lastly, her sparkling turquoise eyes, in which she could easily lose herself... even fall into them, and never come back, was smiling at her. Not more, but not less. And with the alicorn in front of her inner eye, Twilight couldn't prevent her falling asleep.