A/N: I’d like to credit the comic “Carry on the Legacy” by StarlightSpark. That was a big piece of inspiration for this fic, although, this Star Swirl is quite different of course. I’d also like to thank the bronies at TVTropes for support and advice as well as the prereaders. Naturally, as I’m not an employee of Hasbro, I have no claim to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. What I’m saying is that as much as I wish otherwise (because they’re cute and I need the money), these ponies aren’t mine. (You’re even welcome to use the OCs).
Study One: The Elements of Harmony
The blue, purple-maned earth pony adjusted her hat before sighing and rapping her hoof against the door. A gold plaque labelled “Dr. Tear Drop” was stuck just above eye-level. The door glowed with a pink aura before swinging open to reveal a grey unicorn mare with a heart wrapped in a bandage for a cutie mark. Her blue mane was in a bun and she had a pair of glasses perched on her muzzle. “Ah, you must be Star Swirl,” said Dr. Drop with a warm smile as her horn and the door stopped glowing.
“Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh,” said Star Swirl with a touch of bitterness as she lowered her head.
“Ah, yes,” replied Dr. Drop with a nod, “Dr. Note Pad sent me his notes on your case when he moved. But I‘m afraid that I’ve only recently received them. This morning, in fact. As such I haven’t read very far.”
“I suppose he wanted to keep them for our last appointment,” Star Swirl sighed dejectedly.
“Probably, but hearing your story directly from the source will probably prove beneficial,” Dr. Drop smiled warmly. “So let’s think of this as an opportunity! Why don’t you take the couch?”
“Sure,” said Star Swirl. She knew what to expect from her sessions with Dr. Pad and lay on her back on the couch, the bells of her hat jingling. Dr. Drop used her telekinesis to begin making notes with her quill.
“So, I believe that you are an earth-to-unicorn transmorphist.” began Dr. Drop.
“That is correct.”
“And you have repetitive cutie mark failure syndrome.” Dr. Drop raised her eyebrows and glanced over the top of her notes in concern.
“When was your last episode of cutie mark failure?”
“Three days ago.”
“And how do you feel during your episodes?”
“Helpless.” Star Swirl began as she waved a hoof. “Like everything’s pointless. That I should just lock myself away and do nothing, because the outside world is irrelevant and I have nothing to learn from it. I don’t want to make the effort to organise my stuff or even to read. I just lie there, dejected, not even thinking.”
“I see,” replied Dr. Drop before biting her lip. “The good news is that while unhealthy, at least that behaviour isn’t dangerous like some forms of cutie mark failure are. But I see that you associate your frequent cutie mark failure with being an earth pony.”
“Of course I do!” yelled Star Swirl as she quickly lifted her head up from the couch and scowled. “Look at this!” She pointed a hoof at her flank.
“…I see your cutie mark,” said Dr. Drop with a frown.
“Yes, but what does it look like!?” Star Swirl raised her eyes to the sky in exasperation. Dr. Drop leaned forward and squinted at the mark.
“It seems to be a star…in a swirl…ing vortex…of some kind?” She raised an eyebrow.
“Yes, but what does it mean?” Star Swirl sighed as she dropped her hooves and collapsed back onto the couch.
“I’m…not sure.” Dr. Drop widened her eyes. “A cutie mark’s meaning is not always obvious. Especially to outside observers.”
“I have the same cutie mark as my ancestor, Star Swirl the Bearded!” Dr. Drop raised an eyebrow.
“Who?” Star Swirl proceeded to facehoof.
“Doesn’t anypony know their history!?” she cried, flinging her front legs into the air. “He was the most important conjurer of the pre-classical era! He invented over two hundred spells! He was the teacher and later father-in-law of Clover the Clever! They even named a shelf in the Canterlot Library after him! I should know! I read every book on that shelf!”
“I…see.” Dr. Drop’s eyes had widened once more. “Well, sometimes a pony will earn a cutie mark identical to that of another pony. You may have noticed some ponies with the same cutie mark before. That’s nothing to worry about.”
“That’s not the point!” cried Star Swirl, flinging her front legs back into the air. “If we have the same cutie mark, we must have the same talent! Clearly, I’m supposed to carry on his legacy!”
“Well, that’s an admirable goal…”
“But how am I supposed to follow in his hoofsteps when I’m an earth pony!? I mean…it’s not like I haven’t tried…but it never works out!”
“What have you tried?” asked Dr. Drop, raising her eyebrows and widening her eyes.
“Many things! At first I tried getting into Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, but apparently, I didn’t ‘fit the requirements’.”
“You are slightly older than the foals we usually accept at this school,” began the yellow unicorn. “We do occasionally overlook that when the foal in question is clearly gifted, but we cannot overlook the fact that this is a school for gifted unicorns. Not earth ponies. As such, you don’t fit the requirements.”
“And that’s when you started wanting to become a unicorn?” asked Dr. Drop.
“Well, it’s not like I wasn’t envious of the fact that they could use spells and I couldn’t beforehoof, but that’s when I really wanted to do something about it, yes.”
“And you are aware that trying to permanently become a different pony type is against the law?” asked Dr. Drop with a raised eyebrow.
Star Swirl rolled her eyes. “’It’s dangerous and a denial of the pony you truly are. A pony is born the way they were for a reason.’ I know what they say, but I was hoping that pleading my case to Princess Celestia would convince her otherwise.”
“You went to Princess Celestia about this!?” Dr. Drop’s eyebrows were the highest that they’d been all session.
“Yes. I did. She listened to me but refused to turn me into a unicorn.”
“My little pony, I’m afraid that if I do what you ask, I’ll be depriving the earth ponies of a wonderful pony. The law is there for a reason. I promise you that you are fully capable of making your ancestors proud of you as an earth pony. There’s a reason that they married into the Cookie family after all.”
“The Cookie family? Is that where your earth pony heritage comes from?”
“Yes. I’m also a descendant of Smart Cookie.”
“...You know...secretary of Chancellor Pudding Head?” Star Swirl looked at the blank face of Dr. Drop. “Seriously! Why doesn’t anypony care about history!? There’s a play about these ponies every Hearth’s Warming Eve!” She threw a hoof into the air once again.
“Oooooooh!” said Dr. Drop with dawning comprehension. “The earth pony from the play that was smart enough to make friends with the other tribes!”
“Yes!” gasped Star Swirl, grinning at the prospect of actually getting somewhere.
“Well, haven’t you accepted what Princess Celestia said?”
“Well, I still don’t know how to take her advice. I actually went to see Princess Luna as well more recently. I’d heard rumours that she was good with transformation magic.”
“THY PRINCESS IS GRATEFUL THAT THOU HAST COME TO HER IN THINE HOUR OF NEED, BUT WE CANNOT GRANT THY REQUEST! ‘TIS AN INSULT TO THE EARTH PONIES TO BELIEVE THAT THY DESTINY CANNOT BE FULFILL’D AMONG THEM! ‘TIS INDEED HONOURABLE TO CARRY ON THE LEGACY OF THINE ANCESTORS, BUT TO INSULT THEM BY BREAKING WITH THE TRADITION OF THE EARTH PONIES AND JOINING WITH THE UNICORNS IS INSTEAD DISHONOUR MOST SEVERE!”
“I didn’t need my bells to hear a constant ringing in my ears that week.”
“But you didn’t decide to try being an earth pony after that?”
“How can I use magic as an earth pony?” asked Star Swirl with a shrug.
“Earth ponies have magic of their own.”
“So I hear,” replied Star Swirl as she rolled her eyes. “But my family has lived in the city since long before I was born. I never learned earth pony magic. I’ve never even seen it.”
“Well, maybe that’s the problem,” said Dr. Drop as she smiled once again. “Canterlot is a unicorn city. You’ve been surrounded by the obvious magic of the unicorns your whole life and that has made it difficult to see how to use your own magic. Maybe you should spend some time in an earth pony settlement.”
“Like Manehattan?” asked Star Swirl with a grimace. “I don’t know how I’d fit in there! All the unicorns there are servants! It would seem so weird to me!”
“Yes. A smaller settlement with a more even distribution of pony types is probably in order,” agreed Dr. Drop with a smile. “Preferably somewhere close so that you can still easily make your checkups. How about Ponyville?”
“Ponyville!?” asked Star Swirl as she lifted her head and readjusted her hat. “Isn’t that where the bearers of the Elements of Harmony live?”
“Who?” Star Swirl facehooved.
Only the saviours of Equestria, she thought to herself. But I really shouldn’t expect anypony to know that. I’ve only had to explain who Star Swirl the Bearded was a few hundred times. “Never mind! I’ll be happy to visit Ponyville. Maybe I’ll even get to meet Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic!” She gave a wide smile and her eyes shone with excitement.
“Who?” asked Dr. Drop with a raised eyebrow. Star Swirl rolled her eyes.
“Of course. You wouldn’t know her either.”
“Well, I’m at least glad that you’re excited,” said Dr. Drop with a smile.
“Of course! I’ll leave tomorrow!” squealed Star Swirl as she flung a hoof into the air before slowly lowering it and furrowing her eyebrows. “No, wait! I have to prepare, don’t I? I’ll need to check to see what I can find out about Ponyville! And find a place to stay! And pack! I’ll need a magnifying glass, a telescope...unless I can borrow one, books, ink, parchment, quills...this is a trip for education purposes, so I’ll need extra parchment...Does travel for education count as business or pleasure?” She tapped her chin.
Star Swirl maintained an awkward smile through the train trip as the other passengers stared at her hat. Some ponies could be so stuffy about fashion! But she wasn’t parting with it! When the train stopped in Ponyville Station, she got off carrying her overloaded saddlebags. As she walked through the station, she opened one and began to rummage through it. It wasn’t hard to book a place to stay with the new buildings being put up. She just needed to find her way. She pulled out a map by her teeth and tried to look at it as she walked out the station. “Shtoopid lack orf telekineeshish!” she groaned to herself.
“Hi, pony who is looking at the map and can’t see where she’s going!” came a bright, cheery voice from right in front of her. “Where are you going!? Is it on the map!? Can I look at the map too!? Can I come with you!?” Star Swirl dropped the map and her eyes popped as she stepped back from the bouncing, pink earth pony.
“Y-you’re Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter!” she gasped pointing at the pony. She had previously only seen her from a distance at the celebration of the defeat of Discord. She was so bouncy and cheerful. How could a bearer of harmony be so care-free? Her experiences fighting Nightmare Moon and Discord must have been horrifying, yet there was no sign of weariness or concern about what her responsibilities might lead her to do in the future. At the same time, there was no smug sense of superiority so common among the Canterlot elite and which she was far more entitled to.
“Just call me Pinkie Pie,” she said pointing her hoof at herself. “Only my parents call me Pinkamena. Or even just Pinkie! My friends call me Pinkie! You want me to be your friend, right? Do you? Huh? Huh?” With each word, her head inched closer.
“Y-you w-want to be friends with me!?” asked Star Swirl with a raised eyebrow as she pointed to herself.
“Of course I do, Silly!” chirped Pinkie Pie as she wrapped a front leg over Star Swirl and pulled her in for a hug.
It was disconcerting to see a national hero acting so foallike. She knew that the bearers of the Elements of Harmony were younger than she was, but the difference was small and she was sure that she hadn’t been so different at Pinkie’s age. In fact, she doubted that she had been as cheerful as Pinkie since she was a filly!
“B-but why would you want to be friends with me!?” asked Star Swirl, raising an eyebrow. This was a bearer of an Element of Harmony! She was almost as important as one of the princesses! Their social standings were nowhere near each other! The only other pony who had approached this level of friendliness to her back in Canterlot was Fancy Pants! And he had at least maintained...decorum. She was completely unsure of what to make of this. Was this how earth ponies were supposed to act? Is that why Chancellor Pudding Head had been elected? Because she was so...like this? Or was it a Ponyvillian thing?
“Because I’ve never seen you before and if I’ve never seen you before, then you must be new and if you’re new then you must not know anypony and your saddlebags are full so you must be staying for a while, maybe even moving here! But if you’re staying here and you don’t know anypony, then you’ll be all alone, because you’re not travelling with anypony, so you’ll be lonely! And if you’re lonely then that’ll be so sad! So you should make lots of friends and because I’m friends with everypony in Ponyville then it makes sense to start with me, duh!” said Pinkie at rapid speed. Star Swirl’s eyes widened in astonishment, but Pinkie Pie hadn’t finished. “But we can’t stop with me, so we’ll have to show you to everypony and the best way to do that is a welcome to...What’s your name?”
“Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh,” replied Star Swirl.
“A welcome to Star Swirl party!” cried Pinkie flinging her front hooves into the air.
“Um...The ‘Hundred and Forty Seventh’ part is kind of important,” said Star Swirl as she tentatively raised a hoof. “Otherwise somepony might confuse me with my father...or my grandfather, or my great grandfather, or...”
“Ooh! Ooh! We should have your party at Sugar Cube Corner, Star!” Pinkie Pie interrupted, pointing towards a building in the distance. “Sugar Cube Corner is the best place to have parties! I’ll come and fetch you when I’m ready!”
“Um...’Star’ is actually worse as it’s a fairly...common...” Star Swirl slowly turned around from looking at the building towards where Pinkie had been a second ago. “...name. Where did she get to!? And how is she supposed to fetch me if she doesn’t even know where I live!?”
“I’ll find out!” said Pinkie with a dismissive wave of her hoof as her head popped out of a wagon filled with carrots before re-submerging.
Star Swirl’s eyes widened to the point that they threatened to pop out of their sockets. “I...What!?...How!? ...How did she...!?” began Star Swirl before sticking a hoof inside the cart among the carrots and starting to rummage. “Are you in here?”
“You won’t find her, so please don’t stallionhoofle the merchandise,” came a voice from the front of the cart. Star Swirl turned to look at the orange earth pony pulling the cart. “Many others have tried before you and I have to get these on the next train to Canterlot. I’ve still got some time, but I don’t feel like repacking them after you’ve emptied the entire cart.”
“She...does stuff like that all the time?” asked Star Swirl with furrowed eyebrows.
“Yes,” sighed the orange pony. “That’s what she’s like.”
“But that’s not normal for earth ponies?” The pony raised an eyebrow.
“Fascinating,” said Star Swirl. She took a closer look at the pony, noticing that she seemed familiar. “...Are you related to Golden Harvest the Fourth?” The pony winced at the name.
“You know my mother?”
“Not well, but I’m one of her customers. I’m Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Carrot Top.”
“...You’re married?” asked Star Swirl with a raised eyebrow.
“You were given your father’s surname?”
“Look, it’s not what’s on my birth certificate, but it’s still what I’d like to be called, okay?” asked Carrot Top.
“...Um...Okay...” said Star Swirl as she gave an awkward smile. “So...Has Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter always been like this?”
“As long as I’ve known her,” replied Carrot Top as she rolled her eyes.
“Fascinating. I have to investigate!” cried Star Swirl, raising a hoof. “But I suppose that I’d better find my apartment and settle in first.”
Taking the advice of Dr. Pad, Star Swirl had started to keep a diary, though she had quickly expanded its use to a notebook of all her daily observations that interested her. She would use it to remind herself of that which she wished to study further and what she had discovered so far, even if the latter was later copied and organised into notes separated by subject of study. After packing, she began to write in that diary, knowing that she had encountered something important.
Meeting Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter was an experience both enlightening and yielding of a larger number of questions than I anticipated. She was certainly very different from what I expected a bearer of harmony to be like. Almost as if the responsibility doesn’t concern her at all. She offered me her friendship, which, apart from the usual benefits of companionship may allow me the opportunity to study the Elements themselves. Such an honour cannot be overestimated. In addition, she exhibited some form of spacial anomaly which is apparently typical of her, but not other earth ponies. Teleportation is considered a reasonably advanced spell and as a spell, only usable by unicorns. Is this a similar effect? Is this a case of advanced earth pony magic? Hopefully I’ll be able to investigate how this phenomenon works and maybe even learn to use it myself.
A knock on the door caused Star Swirl to drop her quill from her mouth. She grabbed the door knob and pulled, coming face to face with Pinkie once more. “You’d better be ready, ‘cause the party is and it’s all for you!”
“Ah, thank you,” said Star Swirl as she blinked at the sudden intrusion of exuberance into her new home and study. She supposed that she may as well follow and enjoy herself. Besides, she may even meet more of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony at this party. Maybe even Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic herself! Her head nodded as she tried to keep her eyes on the bouncing pony in front of her. “Is it really safe to bounce like that on the stairs?” she asked.
“Of course, Silly!” replied Pinkie with a giggle as they continued their descent towards the exit. “I do this all the time! It just comes naturally!”
“By the way, how did you find out where I was staying?”
“That was easy peasy! I know all the ponies in Ponyville and I know where they live, so I know all the places that don’t have ponies living there yet! So, I asked everypony who lived near those places if they’d seen a pony that looked like you move in and all the owners of those places if they’d sold them yet!”
“I see.” Star Swirl raised an eyebrow. She had to commend the enthusiasm even if it was rather disconcerting.
When Pinkie stopped, she waved a hoof in front of the building. “And here’s Sugar Cube Corner, where you’ll be having your party, but you should come here even when there isn’t a party even though I have lots of parties here because it’s a terrific place to have parties and I love parties because Sugar Cube Corner is amazing even without parties with all the sugary treats that Mr. and Mrs. Cake sell!” Pinkie paused to open the door to a room full of ponies, balloons, streamers, confectionery and other party paraphernalia. Star Swirl, however, set her eyes on only one individual and charged towards her before dropping to her knees.
“Oh, Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic, I know that I am unworthy to kiss the dirt upon which you walk, but if in your generosity, you were to grant me your autograph, I would be eternally grateful!”
“...Hello,” said Twilight with a nervous smile. “You really don’t have to do any grovelling. I’m just another pony. Why are you bowing and scraping in front of me? This is supposed to be your party.”
“But you’re Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic! The most powerful and elusive of the Elements of Harmony! You led your team in the defeat of Nightmare Moon and Discord! You stopped the rampage of an Ursa Minor singlehoofedly! Not to mention being Princess Celestia’s protégé!”
Twilight raised her eyebrows and dropped her jaw. “Oh! Well...thank you, but it’s really nothing to brag about.”
“So humble!” Star Swirl’s eyes sparkled to compliment her massive grin.
“...But if you really want an autograph, I’ll give you one.”
“Thank you so much!” cried Star Swirl as she rose from the ground.
“By the way, I like your Star Swirl the Bearded hat.” said Twilight as she pointed at it. “You even got the bells right! I know because I have one too and Princess Luna confirmed its accuracy for me.”
“...This is an exact duplicate,” said Star Swirl as her eyes stretched open in wonder. “Are you saying that you have one just like it?”
“Yes. I dressed up as Star Swirl the Bearded for Nightmare Night. Unfortunately Princess Luna was the only pony who recognised the costume.”
“Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic knows Star Swirl the Bearded! This is the best! Day! Ever!” cried Star Swirl.
“I take it that you’re also a fan.” Twilight smiled.
“Of course! I’m his descendant! Of course, he lived long enough ago that a lot of ponies are his descendant, but I’m still part of the Swirl line and was named after him, just as many of my ancestors were before me. I’m Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh. It’s such an honour to meet you! Is it true that your cutie mark represents ‘magic’ itself and that your special talent allows you to copy or learn any spell?”
“Well, I’m happy to meet you as well,” said Twilight. “And yes, it’s true.”
“Wow! That’s amazing! I’m so envious! Star Swirl the Bearded’s cutie mark is believed to have a similar meaning, though obviously not an identical meaning as it looked different to yours and I have the same one, but I can’t use spells at all because I’m not a unicorn.” Her face fell at the last words.
“You’re not a unicorn?” asked Twilight with a frown. “...But you’re a descendant of a powerful unicorn and have the same cutie mark! How did that happen?!”
“I ask myself the same thing all the time,” Star Swirl sighed. “Apparently taking after his grandfather meant that Star Swirl the Fourth was the most powerful unicorn of his generation. As such, he was unimpressed by the unicorn fillies. He went to his wise and brilliant mother, Clover the Clever and asked her for advice and she introduced him to the daughter of her friend, Smart Cookie, who had much in common with her when it came to brains. They fell in love and got married and as a result, some of Star Swirl the Bearded’s descendants are earth ponies.”
“The fourth?” asked Spike as he snapped round suddenly. As Twilight’s number one assistant, he would obviously notice an apparent mathematical error. “If he was named after Star Swirl the Bearded who was his grandfather, wouldn’t he be the third at most?”
“No, because before he was known as Star Swirl the Bearded, his grandfather was known as Star Swirl the Second. His brilliance resulted in him being given a title to use instead of the Second, in his case based on his most famous physical feature. I hope that one day something similar will happen to me,” explained Star Swirl. She raised a hoof into the air. “They’ll call me Star Swirl the...!” She slowly lowered the hoof. “...something. I don’t know what yet. For now I have to make do with ‘the Hundred and Forty Seventh’.”
“Well, I hope that you are successful. You said that Star Swirl the Bearded’s cutie mark is believed to have had a similar meaning to mine? I had read that the meaning of his cutie mark had been lost to time,” said Twilight with a frown, “but if you have the same cutie mark, then he must have had the same talent that you have!” Star Swirl lowered her head and dropped her smile.
“The problem is that I had always assumed that his talent had to do with using magic, which obviously is a problem for me. I came to Ponyville to learn more about the kind of magic that I could do.” She then brightened again. “Hey, the Elements of Harmony are the most powerful magic known to ponydom! And they can clearly be used by earth ponies! May I look at them?”
Alarm flashed across Twilight’s eyes and she gave a grimace. “I’m afraid that the Elements of Harmony are kept locked up by Princess Celesta where we can’t get them,” replied Twilight. “For good reason too! It probably wouldn’t be a good thing if somepony else got their hooves on them.”
“It’s a pity, but I understand,” Star Swirl said with a sigh as she lowered her head once more. “Still, I’d love to hear more about them.”
“I’d be happy to teach you some time. Though, surely you’d want to start with the more basic aspects of earth pony magic anyway?” asked Twilight with a raised eyebrow.
“That is good advice.” Star Swirl brightened.
“I’m sure that Applejack would be willing to show you how to grow plants as well as any other earth pony.” Twilight nodded sagely.
Star Swirl’s eyes widened and she began to grin once more. “Really!? Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honesty would help me?!”
“I don’t see why not.” Twilight shrugged.
“Hey! If you eggheads are done talking egghead stuff, this is supposed to be a party!” complained Rainbow Dash as she flew over.
“Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty!” cried Star Swirl. “Is it true that your middle name is ‘Danger”? I was unable to verify that before I arrived.”
“Oh!” cried Rainbow Dash as she straightened at the mention of a less than perfect part of her record. “You...uh, heard about that?” She grinned sheepishly as she placed a hoof behind her head.
“Yes,” said Star Swirl nodding in excitement. “The article quoted you saying, ‘Danger’s my middle name! Rainbow Danger Dash!’”
“There are better places to learn about me than the articles that came out around that time.” said Rainbow Dash with an awkward grin as she stared at Twilight in apparent concern.
“So, you didn’t rescue all those ponies?” asked Star Swirl as her face fell.
“Sure she did!” said Twilight with a smile. “And now that she doesn’t use her catchphrase, she’s even faster.”
“Wow!” cried Star Swirl as she started to smile again. “I’d love to find out more about the other hero that showed up in Ponyville around that time though. Mare Do Well the Mysterious! Personally, I don’t get the whole, concealing your identity thing. I prefer to keep things out in the open, but as long as she’s helping ponies, that’s fine with me.” She gave a shrug.
“Um, Mare Do Well doesn’t do a lot of work these days!” said Rainbow Dash. “Didn’t you say something about needing help from Applejack? I’ll introduce you!”
“Thank you, Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty!” said Star Swirl as she allowed herself to be led to another part of the room.
“What’s with you calling everypony such long names?” asked Rainbow Dash.
“Why wouldn’t I?” replied Star Swirl. “It’s only proper and avoids confusion!”
“Weird,” said Rainbow Dash. “Hey, Applejack!” she called out. “The new filly we’re having the party for wants to ask you something!” An orange mare with a blonde mane turned around.
“Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honestly! I’m so honoured to meet you!” said Star Swirl. “I’m Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh!”
“Well, howdee do, Miss Swirl?” asked Applejack with a smile as she grabbed a hoof and started shaking. “Pleasure making yer acquaintance. But yah can jus’ call me Applejack. Everypony already knows that Ah’m part of the Apple family. No need tah be so formal on mah account! So, what can I do yah for?”
“Oh, uh?” began Star Swirl. Formalities were something that she was used to! Using full names and titles was just less confusing! Or was this just another difference between a large city like Canterlot and a small town like Ponyville? “I-I’d like to ask for a favour. I came to Ponyville to learn more about magic. Especially earth pony magic. Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic suggested that I ask you to teach me about growing plants. Is-is that all right?” She grit her teeth and winced. Applejack’s eyes widened.
“Yah wanna learn tah grow plants?” asked Applejack with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes!” said Star Swirl. “I’m an earth pony so I should be able to, but I never learned! But I’m sure that I could if I worked hard and learned from somepony like you!”
“Well, Ah never turn down a hard worker,” began Applejack. “Ah suppose that Ah could show yah how it’s done. If yah come to Sweet Apple Acres tomorrow then Ah could show yah what Ah do roun’ there an’ yah can learn from me.”
Star Swirl began to smile once again and grabbed one of Applejack’s hooves before hugging tightly. “Thank you so much! I’ll be there!”
A/N: I got that bit about Carrot Top’s mother from the Tumbler blog “Carrot Top’s Garden” (Check it out), but not everything about that blog is canon to this fanfic as will probably become apparent in chapter 6.
A/N: Wow! Thank you all so much for the support! I did not expect five stars. Now I have to earn them and maybe try for that elusive sixth! Thank you for the constructive criticism as well. I do appreciate it and have tried to bear it in mind for this chapter. For those who were wondering, yes, Star Swirl is based on the blind bag toy of the same name. I’m not the first to assume that she is Star Swirl the Bearded’s descendant, but I believe that I’m the first to keep her as an earth pony when making that assumption. I fully expect her personality to be jossed if she ever appears in the show, especially as she apparently “always sparkles” which suggests that she should be happier than I’m making her (at least for these early chapters). I’ve enjoyed the attempts to analyse her personality that I’ve seen in the comments. This chapter should be more fuel for that. I’d always planned for this chapter to give far more clues as to what her real special talent is. Feel free to guess and let me know if you want me to let you know whether or not your guess is correct. Once again, thank you to the bronies at TVTropes for their suggestions.
Study Two: Plants and Potions
Star Swirl finished packing everything she could possibly need for her lesson in how to grow plants and looked back up to her room. It may have been smaller than a standard Canterlot apartment, but at least that made it easier to keep everything clean and organised. Besides, it still had plenty of shelving space to store her extensive notes, a desk to write said notes and space to perform any experiments she needed to do. Well, she wouldn’t have moved into a place that didn’t cater to such necessities. She had put everything in its rightful place.
Nothing can go wrong now, she thought. I am sure to learn how to grow plants. Then I will finally be able to use magic as appropriate for a descendant of Star Swirl the Bearded. And I will fulfil the destiny promised to me by my cutie mark. She practically skipped out the door in her excitement and headed towards where she had been told Sweet Apple Acres was located.
As she trotted happily across the grass towards her destination, she realised that she was being followed. She had always been proud of her ability to notice important details that were typically glossed over, and the distinctive sound of hoofsteps was approaching. She turned around, squealed in excitement and ran towards a pair of ponies. “Rarity Belle, Bearer of the Element of Generosity! I’m so glad to have a chance to speak to you! I barely saw you at the party!” she continued squealing. “...Um...This is a good time, right?...If not...it’s fine.” She awkwardly dropped her smile.
Rarity stopped. She was wearing a yellow, wide-brimmed hat and was accompanying a white unicorn filly. “Good morning, darling. You must be Star Swirl,” she deduced. “I’d be happy to get to know you better. By the way, this is my sister, Sweetie Belle. And feel free to just call me ‘Rarity’.”
“Thank you!” said Star Swirl. “I want to know you better too! And it’s nice to meet you as well, Sweetie Belle.”
“Um...Nice to meet you too,” replied Sweetie Belle.
“Of course, I’d be happy to chat sometime, darling,” Rarity said with a nod as they reached the dirt path. “I hear that you’re from Canterlot. I’ve stayed there before, but I’ve never lived there. However, right now, I’m accompanying my sister to a play date at Sweet Apple Acres. We’ll have to arrange for another meeting to become more properly acquainted.”
“I’ve already told her that I can get to Sweet Apple Acres by myself though,” said Sweetie Belle.
“It’s not a problem,” said Star Swirl with a nod. “I’m on my way there myself. We can walk together.” The space between the houses began to increase as they headed further from the town centre.
“You are!?” asked Rarity. “Darling, are you sure that that...hat is appropriate for visiting somepony? Besides, you wouldn’t want it damaged at a farm now would you? I’d be happy to design a more appropriate one for you.” Star Swirl frowned and pressed a hoof against her hat before she continued to walk. The apple trees were already close and she could easily see the barn.
“Thank you for the offer, Rarity Belle, Bearer of the Element of Generosity,” she said. “You clearly live up to your element, but nopony. Touches. The hat.” A buzzing sound and a cloud of dust began to fill the air causing Rarity to throw up a hoof to shield her face and hat. The dust settled to reveal a pair of fillies on a blue scooter pulling a small, red wagon. Star Swirl blinked away the dust, and upon seeing the scooter, lowered her head and began following her instinctual reaction to the unfamiliar. She started examining it. Scooters weren’t common in the more privileged areas of Canterlot where she had grown up. The fact that she had spent most of her time indoors didn’t help either.
“Hey, Sweetie Belle! You’re late!” said the orange pegasus filly who had been steering. “We saw you from the farm, so we came to fetch you. Sooner we get started, the more crusading we can do.”
“Fascinating,” said Star Swirl with a frown as she prodded the wheel of the scooter. “As is typical, the wheels reduce friction, but with nopony pulling the vehicle, motion is provided by the wings of the driver or, in cases where it would be of assistance, gravity. I have to write this down!”
“Um, what are you doing to my scooter?” asked the pegasus as she turned towards Star Swirl.
“I’m investigating!” replied Star Swirl as she lifted her head and grinned. “Most vehicles in Canterlot are pulled by unicorn magic or sheer muscle. To see the gifts of a pegasus used in such a way is fascinating!”
“Ooookay!” said the pegasus as she glanced nervously at her yellow, earth pony companion.
“Girls, this is Star Swirl,” sad Rarity.
“You can call me Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh,” she said as she held out a hoof. “You also should call me Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh as it’s accurate.”
“Star Swirl’s here to visit Applejack.” Rarity explained.
“Oh! Applejack said that we might be havin’ a guest!” said the earth filly as her face brightened. “Ah’m Applebloom!”
“Applebloom?” asked Star Swirl. “You must be Applebloom Apple! You are Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honesty’s sister!”
“Tha’s right!” said Applebloom. “But nopony calls me that.”
“And I’m Scootaloo!” added the pegasus as she pointed a hoof at herself.
Star Swirl’s forehead creased slightly. “Scootaloo who?” she asked.
“What do you mean, ‘Scootaloo who’?” asked the orange pegasus with a raised eyebrow.
“I can think of fifteen pegasi who were named ‘Scootaloo’ off the top of my head,” replied Star Swirl as she raised her head and closed her eyes. “That’s not even accounting for unicorns and earth ponies, I’m sure with some research, I’d find far more. How do I refer to you so that it’s clear that I’m not talking about one of them?”
“Fifteen?” asked Sweetie Belle.
“Of course!” said Star Swirl. “They were all important figures of history who deserve to be known far better than they are. Of course, the average pony doesn’t care about any history besides what they had for breakfast this morning. Otherwise more would know of Scootaloo Spin the Swift, Scootaloo Bar the Mighty, Scootaloo Wheel the Brave, Scootaloo...”
“Is Scootaloo the Awesome taken?” asked Scootaloo.
“...Um...I...don’t think so...” replied Star Swirl before biting a lip. “This requires more research...But for now...Okay...Nice to meet you, Scootaloo the Awesome.”
“You have a funny way of talking!” said Scootaloo.
So I hear, thought Star Swirl.
The pegasus then grinned at her friends. “So, let’s get back to crusading! Our cutie marks aren’t going to earn themselves.”
“You’re trying to earn your cutie marks?” asked Star Swirl.
“Yes. They’re obsessed with it,” Rarity sighed.
“Ha!” snorted Star Swirl.
“Wha’s tha’ supposed ta mean?” asked Applebloom.
“As if getting your cutie mark will solve your problem of not knowing your special talent and your place,” Star Swirl said. “If you’re like me, that just makes things more confusing!”
“Are you saying that you can earn your cutie mark and still not know where you fit in?” asked Sweetie Belle.
“Of course!” replied Star Swirl. “I have my cutie mark and I don’t even understand what it’s trying to tell me!”
“Well, how did yah git yer cutie mark?” asked Applebloom.
“Well, my father taught me that I was named after Star Swirl the Bearded, just like he was,” began Star Swirl as she stared into the distance and her eyes glazed over.
“He told me about who he was and how he contributed so much to the modern understanding of magic. He sounded amazing to me. Well, he still does.” She gave a smile before continuing.
“I decided that I needed to know more about him. I read everything I could find out about him and the spells that he had invented, including the entire shelf in the Canterlot library that was named after him, more than once. Those books are fascinating.
“It saddened me that so few knew who he was. I decided that I wanted to make a list of every spell that he had invented. Complete with descriptions of how the spell is performed, what it is used for and which situations are most appropriate for its use. It was so satisfying to record the fruits of his labours.
“I imagined myself as him, recording the results of his efforts for the first time. I imagined what it must have been like. It felt wonderful.
“Then, while working on this project that I had assigned myself, my cutie mark appeared. I was so excited! Especially as I recognised it from pictures as the same cutie mark that Star Swirl the Bearded himself had. I knew that it was my destiny to follow in his hoofsteps.
“But then, I realised that as an earth pony, I could never wield the spells that Star Swirl the Bearded used. How could I carry on his legacy if I was incapable of doing what he did?” She finished with a melancholic sigh as her ears drooped and she lowered her head.
“You got your cutie mark from studying!?” asked Scootaloo before sticking out her tongue.
“Of course,” replied Star Swirl, “Studying is important.”
“That’s even more boring than the way Applejack, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie got their cutie marks!” complained Scootaloo.
“Getting one’s cutie mark is an important event for the pony in question, as it changes their lives forever,” said Star Swirl as she raised her muzzle into the air. “No matter how boring it may seem to an outside observer, it is still significant and you shouldn’t insult it. Especially if the pony in question is somepony as wonderful as a bearer of an Element of Harmony.”
“Maybe if we get our cutie mark by doing something,” replied Scootaloo, “we won’t have that problem because we’ll have proved that we can do it. Come on, Cutie Mark Crusaders! Let’s go!” She waved Sweetie Belle into the wagon. Sweetie climbed in and Scootaloo drove off.
“I hope that you weren’t offended by my sister and her friends, darling,” Rarity said with concern as they began walking again. They passed the wooden fence that marked the outskirts of the farm. Star Swirl gazed around in wonder. She had never been on a farm before. It amazed her that ponies were capable of growing such large apple trees.
“No need to apologise,” said Star Swirl. “They only spoke the truth. Even when the truth hurts, it’s better to be informed than to wallow in ignorance.”
“Hey Rarity! Hey Star!” came a familiar voice as Applejack trotted into view. “Welcome ta Sweet Apple Acres!” She indicated the farm with a wave of her hoof. “Ah see yah’ve met mah sister. Let me introduce yah ta the rest of the family!” She waved a hoof to direct them to follow her towards the barn where a large red stallion and a wrinkly green mare were waiting.
“Oh! You must be Edith Smith!” cried Star Swirl. “And you must be Macintosh Apple the Big!”
“Eeyup,” replied Big Mac.
“Ah haven’t been called that in a looong time,” said Granny Smith.
“And Ah don’t think that Big Macintosh has ever bin called that,” said Applejack as she glanced at Star Swirl with a raised eyebrow. “It’s kinda strange ta hear it.”
“Macintosh Apple is his name isn’t it?” asked Star Swirl. “And everypony refers to him as ‘Big’, don’t they?”
“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh.
“Then it’s an appropriate way to refer to him,” Star Swirl shrugged. “I’m Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Ah promised Star here tha’ Ah’d teach her about growin’ plants,” Applejack explained. “Ah thought Ah could do it while Ah was busy with today’s work.”
“And I’m eternally grateful,” added Star Swirl. “Though I think that just calling me ‘Star’ is too non-specific.”
“Yah are here tah learn abou’ growin’ plants?” asked Granny Smith.
“Yep. Ah was thinkin’ of doin’ some plantin’ tah show her how it’s done,” said Applejack. “That all righ’ with y’all?”
“Eeyup,” said Big Mac. “Education is important.”
“I can hardly complain if you have a prior arrangement, Applejack,” said Rarity with a smile. “I’ve already dropped off my sister and I was able to see you. I realise that things can be rather busy around here, so I never expected you to drop everything on my account.”
“Then let’s get crackin’!” said Applejack as she lifted her front hooves into the air.
A few minutes later, Star Swirl and Applejack were standing in a field of dirt. “All righ’,” Applejack said. “Now no matter how hard yah try, ain’t nothin’ goin’ ta grow if there aint no seeds in the earth. So firs’ yah gotta plant ‘em.”
“Ooh! Wait a second!” cried Star Swirl before pulling her diary and quill out of her saddlebags and planting a magnifying glass into the ground. She held the quill in her teeth while she looked through the magnifying glass. “Conshinue.”
“Well, firs’ yah gotta dig a hole like this.” She scooped out a hollow in the dirt with her hooves. “Then yah gotta put the seed in the hole.” She picked up a bag of seed with her mouth and tipped it until a seed fell into the hole. “Then yah gotta cover it up an’ give it some water an’ sunshine.” She covered the hole and picked up a watering can which she used to sprinkle some water over the newly formed mound. “Yah gotta let yer magic flow into the seeds so they can sprout. Jus’ don’t do too much at once or yah’ll tire yerself an’ the seeds out.”
“Right!” cried Star Swirl. She proceeded to plant a seed and once it was watered, she began to screw up her face in concentration. Her eyes twitched as her face filled itself with wrinkles.
“What are yah doin’!?” asked Applejack as her eyes bulged.
“I’m trying to force my magic out my horn...Okay, I don’t actually have a horn, not for my lack of trying, but at least I’m trying to force it through where my horn would be if it existed.”
Applejack facehooved. “Earth pony magic don’t use horns! Our magic flows through our hooves an’ tail! Yah can’t force it ta go up to yer head! That ain’t natural! Our magic connects us to the earth. We are earth ponies after all. It aint gonna work if yah force yer magic out into the air. Let it flow naturally into the earth an’ back. Relax an’ breathe.” Star Swirl let out a breath as she let go of the tension she had built up. “Watch,” said Applejack. She set her hooves firmly on the ground and looked expectantly at her mound. After an uneventful few minutes, dirt from the top of the mound began to shift and a sprout wormed its way into the light. Star Swirl pulled out a thermometer and planted it into the mound.
“Fascinating,” she said before moving it next to the mound and finally in the path between Applejack and the mound. She frowned at the subtle differences in temperature and packed it away. Throughout this, Applejack didn’t break her concentration. The sprout began to open its leaves and increase its height but Applejack suddenly looked up and it stopped. “As Ah said, don’t overdo it.”
Star Swirl nodded and copied Applejack’s stance. She began staring intently at the mound which remained motionless. Now that she was more relaxed, she could feel what Applejack was talking about. She could feel the magic aligning itself and flowing through her hooves and back. But her attempt seemed to not be making any progress. Finally, the dirt began to move and Star Swirl smiled. This process was far more tiring than it looked. Who would have thought that standing still could use up so much energy? The sprout finally peeked out of the soil and began to unfurl a leaf...before stopping less than halfway. Star Swirl looked up and panted for a few breaths before returning to normal breathing and taking a look at the result of Applejack’s efforts. The comparison was disheartening to say the least. She had spent over three times as long on her plant for such a pathetic result.
“Um...Well, I suppose that I can’t really expect to be as good as you,” she smiled nervously. “You’ve been doing this for years! I suppose that you were about as bad as me when you first started.”
“Um...Well...Not exactly,” Applejack said with a grimace.
“Oh!...Well...Somepony as great as you is bound to be a natural after all,” Star Swirl said before biting her lip. “I’m probably closer to the average pony’s first time, right?”
“Um...Well...er...Most ponies...do a bit better,” Applejack said apologetically.
“What!?” cried Star Swirl, her eyes bulging. “I’m below average even at the most basic of earth pony magic!? How...?! How is this...?! Oh, what’s the point!?” She collapsed into the dirt. “I’m never going to learn anything! So why even bother!? I’ll just lie here and waste away!”
“Ah’m sure that with some hard work yah could get a bit better,” Applejack said. “Yah don’t need ta worry that yah aint the best. At least yah managed ta make it grow. That’s somethin’ tah work on. ‘Sides, even the best farmer takes weeks ta go from seed to crop. So it aint like yah are so far behind.”
“No! It’s pointless!” moaned Star Swirl as she rolled in the dirt. “I’ve never been as strong or tough as other earth ponies but I hoped that my cutie mark would at least mean that I was more talented with magic. Instead, I see that I’m a failure! What kind of useless pony is below average at her special talent!? How could somepony who is below average at even such a basic magical task be a worthy successor to Star Swirl the Bearded!? No! I’m clearly meant to waste away in my own incompetence!”
“So yer not as good as most at growin’ plants!” cried Applejack. “Ah’ve seen plenty worse! An’ there’s plenty of stuff that an earth pony can do ‘sides growin’ plants! Are yah jus’ gonna give up like that!?”
“Yes, I am,” said Star Swirl from the ground. “I couldn’t even get it to spout one! Measly! Leaf! What kind of failure of an earth pony am I!?”
“Oh fer goodness sake!” cried Applejack. “It was still fine fer a firs’ try! Did yah want a whole tree ta sprout in front o’ yah? It aint like they’re magic plants after all.”
Star Swirl suddenly perked up. “Magic plants?” she asked. “You know about magic plants?”
“Sure do!” replied Applejack. “Ah know poison joke an’ the seeds of truth fer a start. An’ we grow zap apples righ’ here on the farm!”
“Could...Would you mind teaching me about them?” asked Star Swirl, her eyes shining with excitement.
“Well, there’s only one pony yah should go to if yah wanna learn abou’ zap apples,” replied Applejack.
“Ah firs’ discovered zap apples when Ah was a spry young filly,” said Granny Smith. “Ah found ‘em in the Everfree Fores’.”
“The Everfree Forest!” cried Star Swirl. “That’s so cool! I heard that the Everfree Forest just doesn’t seem natural! Is it true that the plants grow, that the animals care for themselves and that the clouds move all on their own!? I have got to visit it sometime! It’ll be fascinating!”
“It’s all true, but there be mighdy dangerous critters in there,” warned Granny Smith. “When Ah went into the fores’, Ah was nearly caught by Timber Wolves!”
“Oooh!” said Star Swirl, her eyes shining in wonder. “That’s so cool! I’d love to see a Timber Wolf up close!”
“Anyway, when Ah planted the zap apple seeds, the trees grew righ’ in front of us,” explained Granny Smith.
“Just like that?” asked Star Swirl.
“Yep,” replied Granny Smith. “There was a buncha lightnin’ bolts an’ the trees sprung up full grown.”
“May I see them?” asked Star Swirl.
“Sure yah can!” replied Granny Smith as she slowly loped along among the apple trees. “But Ah mus’ warn yah that there aint much tah see at this time o’ year. We already had our zap apple harvest this year. Now we gotta wait fer the signs agin.”
“Signs? What kind of signs?” asked Star Swirl before pulling out her diary once more.
“The Timber Wolves always start howlin’ jus’ before it’s time fer the leaves tah grow on the zap apple trees,” explained Granny Smith.
“Fascinating,” said Star Swirl after putting her diary down to talk. “So the question is, does the howling somehow encourage growth, do the wolves somehow sense that the tree is about to produce leaves or are the two phenomena caused by an unspecified third influence?”
“Ah don’ know abou’ that,” replied Granny Smith. “Ah jus’ know tah look fer the signs.”
“I must investigate!” said Star Swirl, raising a hoof into the air. “What are the other signs?” She picked up her diary and put it away in anticipation of her need to walk and talk. She would have to record what she learned later. She then ran to catch up to Applejack and Granny Smith.
“The second sign is a storm from the Everfree Fores’,” replied Granny Smith. “Lightnin’ runs up from the ground an’ along the branches an’ then the leaves sprout.”
“Fascinating,” said Star Swirl. “Usually lightning moves towards the earth.”
“The third sign is thunder, dark clouds an’ a flock o’ crows which forms the shape o’ an apple,” continued Granny Smith. “The trees spark an’ the flowers bloom. The fourth sign is a meteor shower. The petals fall off the flower and the apples form, but at that stage they be small, round, grey an’ unripe. Finally, another storm gives way to a rainbow. The colours o’ the rainbow spread through the orchard an’ colour the apples afore makin’ ‘em a more defined shape. Then they’re ready for pickin’. But if yah don’t pick ‘em all in one day, the ones on the trees disappear!”
“Fascinating,” said Star Swirl. She could see that they were approaching an area where the trees were bare. The contrast with the luscious trees which filled the rest of the farm was extreme. These were clearly the zap apple trees. She had to learn more about them. She charged towards the trees until she was right in front of one.
“What’s the hurry!?” called Applejack.
“The thrill of magical discovery waits for nopony!” Star Swirl called back. She returned her gaze to the tree before her and frowned in concentration. She leaned forward for a better look and sniffed the bark. She then pressed her ear against the trunk. She lifted her hoof and gently tapped the bark. Her frown deepened and she hit the tree with more force. The tree instantly sparked with electricity and jolted her away and onto the ground. Applejack and Big Macintosh immediately ran over.
“Yah all righ’?” asked Big Macintosh.
“Yah aint hurt are yah? Those trees don’t like ta be disturbed ‘fore harvestin’ time,” Applejack asked.
“I’m fine,” said Star Swirl as she wobbled to her hooves and her eyes settled from all the spinning. Her fur was slightly frazzled but it was a price she was willing to pay in the pursuit of magical knowledge. “This is fascinating. The mundane seeds drew the magic from your hooves through the earth, but the zap apples draw it directly from the atmosphere and concentrate it for rapid growth and electrical defence. During harvesting season, they must draw enough magic from the air to affect the local conditions which causes the signs.”
“Eeyup,” agreed Big Macintosh.
“Why do yah need a complicated explanation?” asked Applejack. “If yah wanna grow plants, yah jus’ gotta learn what works.”
“But I like learning how the magic works,” protested Star Swirl.
“Well, if tha’s what yah want,” said Applejack with a shrug.
“I do!” said Star Swirl. “I find the magical properties of these trees fascinating! It’s amazing that such a seemingly random series of unusual incidents is connected with their growth cycle!”
“If yah think that the trees’re strange, yah should see how we make the zap apple jam!” said Granny Smith.
“Really?” asked Star Swirl. “Are you saying that the magical nature of the apples also affects the process whereby they are made into jam?”
“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh.
“Ta make the best zap apple jam,” Granny Smith started to explain as she beckoned the others to follow her back. “yah gotta dress in rabbit suits an’ sing the alphabet to the water while hoppin’ o’er the waterin’ cans.”
“What!?” asked Star Swirl as her head snapped towards Granny Smith and she fell in line. “Really!?”
“Eeyup,” said Big Mac.
“Hmmm…” said Star Swirl as she raised her eyes and tapped her chin. “I’d have to see the process to make sure, but it sounds like the melody imprints the water with the idea of order demonstrated by the alphabet. The jam picks up the magical resonance in the water which makes the process less prone to unpredictable magical errors. Pity that I don’t have a great singing voice.”
“Yah also need ta be extra friendly with the bees fer the honey ta be sweet enough,” continued Granny Smith.
“Makes sense,” said Star Swirl with a shrug. “You wouldn’t want their agitation and stress hormones to influence the magic.”
“Then who woulda thought that the jars needed talkin’ to,” Granny Smith continued.
“Talking to the jars?” asked Star Swirl as she scratched her chin. “I suppose the glass absorbs the magic of the jam and is influenced by your voice.”
“An’ zap apples like pink polka dots!” added Granny Smith.
“Really!?” asked Star Swirl. “How do you accommodate that requirement?”
“Ah paint ‘em all o’er the kitchen,” replied Granny Smith.
“May I use some of the paint for some chromatography analysis?” asked Star Swirl. “Maybe I could find out more about why the zap apples like that colour.”
“Chromo-whatnow?” asked Applejack.
“Chromotography,” replied Star Swirl. “It’s a technique used in component analysis.”
“Sure thing,” said Granny Smith with a smile.
“So yah can see tha’ magic plants aint like ordinary plants,” said Applejack.
“Indeed,” agreed Star Swirl. “You said that there were other magical plants that you know about. I assume that they grow differently from zap apples. Is that assumption correct?”
“Sure is,” said Applejack. “The seeds of truth only grow when somepony tells the truth.”
“Fascinating,” said Star Swirl. “I suppose that’s how they gained the name. I wonder if they also only respond to vocal stimuli not influenced by deceit. May I look at them?”
“Ah aint got none,” replied Applejack. “Yah’d have ta get from Zecora.”
Star Swirl frowned. That didn’t sound like an Equestrian name. “And who’s Zecora?” she asked.
“A friend what lives in the fores’,” replied Applejack.
“This Zecora actually lives in the forest!?” asked Star Swirl. “That’s pretty badflank!”
“Yup,” replied Applejack. “Ah think she stays there so it’s easier fer her ta get what she needs fer her potions.”
“She makes potions!?” cried Star Swirl as a grin spread across her face. “Now I’ve got to meet her!”
“Ah suppose Ah could introduce yah,” said Applejack as she tapped her chin.
“Thank you!” cried Star Swirl as she prostrated herself.
Star Swirl’s head darted to and fro as she took in the sights of the forest. It was wonderful to experience something so different from the buildings in Canterlot. Applejack had pointed out a plant that she claimed was Poison Joke and had told her not to touch it. The blue leaves made her wonder if the plant’s photosynthesis had been modified to be different from mundane plants. She had to collect a sample for study sometime. Still, she trusted Applejack and would have even if she wasn’t the bearer of the Element of Honesty. She’d have to figure out a way to collect the sample without touching it. As they walked deeper into the forest, a gnarled tree came into view. Star Swirl didn’t know much about art, but she was sure that the masks that were covering it were not normal decorations. Applejack raised a hoof and tapped against the door. It was quickly opened to reveal the inhabitant of the hut. “You’re a zebra!” cried Star Swirl in astonishment.
“What you say, is certainly true. I haven’t seen you before. Are you new?” asked the zebra.
“Yes I am,” replied Star Swirl as she leaned in and began examining Zecora’s stripes.
“I welcome you to my place, but could you give me some personal space?” asked Zecora.
“I’m sorry,” Star Swirl replied sheepishly. “I’ve never seen a zebra before.”
“I accept your apology. Come inside. Have a look and see,” offered Zecora as she stepped aside to allow entry to the ponies.
“Thanks, Zecora,” said Applejack as she smiled and entered the hut. “It’s good to see you.”
“It is good to see you too,” said Zecora. “You are a friend who is honest and true.”
“I must say that I admire your dedication to your work,” said Star Swirl as her eyes roamed the shelves. “There aren’t many who would live in the Everfree Forest. I’m Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh. When Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honesty mentioned you, I knew that I had to meet you.”
“I am always happy to make a new friend,” said Zecora with a smile. “I was lonely when my reputation, I was unable to mend.”
Star Swirl roamed the shelves, looking at and sniffing the ingredients that had been placed in the various containers which adorned them. The labels identified some as plants which she had read about before, but others were completely new. A certain label caught her attention more than the others though. The plant’s petals were arranged in the shape of a heart and the label read, “Heart’s Desire”.
“What is this Heart’s Desire used for?” she asked, turning towards her host.
However, it was Applejack who answered with a scowl. “Yah don’t wanna touch tha’ ‘un!” she growled. “Mah sister got Cutie Pox from a potion she made using it tah try an’ git her cutie mark!”
“My friend, Applejack is quite right,” warned Zecora. “To use it incorrectly would cause a plight! I do use it in potions for the wishes of the heart to grant, but if used without care, it is a dangerous plant!”
Star Swirl turned back to the jar and chewed her lip as her eyes darted to and fro. It certainly sounded promising to help her achieve her goal. From the sound of things, Applebloom Apple had gained the cutie mark she wanted. She had just gained many more as well. She knew that Cutie Pox was dangerous, though she had believed it to be extinct. Thankfully, Applebloom Apple seemed to be fine now. Still, how could becoming a unicorn go wrong? It was perfect! Then she shook her head. Dr. Note Pad had told her to stop being so reckless in the pursuit of her goals. This would probably turn out like the time she had tried making an artificial unicorn horn. The explosion had put her in hospital and was what resulted in her being placed in therapy in the first place. More important than that, it had ruined a lot of her precious notes! She turned away from the plant with reluctance. “Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honesty tells me that you make potions. I would love to learn if you’re willing to teach me!”
Zecora blinked and walked over to a book. She picked it up with her mouth and carried it to her work bench before turning to a specific page. “I suppose that there are some recipes, I’d be able to teach,” she began, pointing to the top of the page. “The first ingredient in this one is a ripened peach.” She raised her head and grabbed a box and pulled it down, offering it to Star Swirl. Star Swirl smiled and picked up a peach, carefully trying not to chew or drool. She looked at the recipe, placed the peach into a mortar and smiled. She understood this recipe. It made sense! She had read enough about these ingredients to understand their properties and it seemed only natural that combining and preparing them in the way the recipe explained would result in the effects described. She picked up a pestle and pressed down hard into the peach. As the peach burst from the pressure, some juice squirted into Star Swirl’s eye. She quickly raised a hoof to her eye, but a she did so, she knocked over a bottle and the contents poured into the mortar. It began to fizzle and hiss as white smoke began to rise. Zecora reached her hoof over to grab the pestle, but Star Swirl blocked her with her own hoof.
“Wait!” she cried as she waved a hoof rapidly. “I know what’s going on! I can fix this! Um, maybe I’ll have more success if I talk like you? Um, I just have to rhyme, er, at the, um, right time? Um, if I, er, add the right ingredient, the, um, result will be, um, most expedient?” She turned her head towards a different shelf . She then ran towards it, grabbing another jar and heading back. As she started to run back to her station though, Pinkie’s head and tail popped out of another jar, despite the fact that she shouldn’t have been able to fit. Well, as fascinating as Pinkamena Diane Pie was, Star Swirl had to fix her mistake before anything else went wrong.
Pinkie’s tail was shaking and she was yelling, “Twitchy tail! Twitchy tail!”
Applejack covered her hat with her hooves and dived under a shelf. Her expression was terrified as she yelled, “Take cover!”
Star Swirl tripped as she ran, knocking the mortar into another jar which cracked at the impact. The contents fell into the mortar and formed a large puff of black smoke and orange sparks with a loud bang. Star Swirl rapidly backed away in fright and bumped into the shelf behind her. Another jar from the top shelf wobbled before falling onto her head and breaking, spilling its white, powdery contents over her face. The disaster ended with her sneeze a Zecora stood slack-jawed and wide-eyed with shock.
The three ponies stayed long enough to help Zecora clean up the mess, but after that, Star Swirl decided that as informative as the day had been, she should leave any more practical work for today. She had a lot to write in her diary this evening. She also hadn’t visited the Ponyville Library yet. While smaller than Canterlot’s there was a good chance that it covered some subjects more extensively than the unicorn city’s library did and she was eager to see if any books could give her additional advice. Plus it gave her an excuse to see Twilight Sparkle, bearer of the Element of Magic again. She was eager to talk to her some more. When she made her intentions clear, Applejack and Pinkie Pie offered to show her the way which she gratefully accepted.
Like Zecora’s hut, the Ponyville Library was a hollowed-out tree. Applejack led Pinkie and Star Swirl into the library where Spike and Twilight were once again packing away books. Star Swirl eagerly took in the sight of all the books. While there were fewer of them than in Canterlot, there were stlil plenty that she wanted to get her hooves on. “It was comforting to be surrounded by paper and ink once more and the fact that it was located in a hollowed out tree made it all the more interesting. While the fact that the library wasn’t as big as Canterlot’s, it still had many packed shelves along the walls. Hi everypony!” Twilight greeted them. “How did the lesson go?”
With that, they related the tale of Star Swirl’s day. “I still don’t understand how Pinkamena Diane Pie, bearer of the Element of Laughter got there though,” she finished.
“My Pinkie sense told me that something was going to fall at Zecora’s place, so went there to warn her,” said Pinkie.
“What is ‘Pinkie sense’?” asked Star Swirl.
“Pinkie has different things that happen to parts of her body that predict the future,” explained Twilight.
“Really!?” asked Star Swirl as she rapidly turned to Pinkie. “I’d love to find out how that works! It sounds fascinating!”
“Don’t bother,” Twilight sighed. “I’ve tried myself. It doesn’t work. You just have to accept that it’s Pinkie Pie.”
“What do you mean?” asked Star Swirl with a frown as she turned back to Twilight.
Twilight went on to explain her disastrous attempt to prove that Pinkie sense wasn’t real. Star Swirl listened to the tale with rapt attention, and a frown as she chewed her lip.
“Well, that wasn‘t a very scientific approach, was it?” asked Star Swirl when Twilight had finished. “You were trying to prove that Pinkie sense didn’t exist, which is what you believed in the first place. A scientist should attempt to prove their own hypothesis wrong. It’s the principle of falsification. But you never accepted that you might be wrong until the end of the study where you just accepted it without trying to understand it! While using the EEG and attempting to follow her and record your observations were good ideas, your judgement was clouded by your own preconceptions!”
Twilight blinked. “Well, now that you mention it, I suppose that that’s true, but I’ve learned to trust Pinkie’s predictions now and Pinkie sense is a little outside my area of study.”
“But it’s not outside my area of study,” said Star Swirl. “How long have you been using this ‘Pinkie sense’, Pinkamena Diane Pie, bearer of the Element of Laughter?”
“I first started twitching when I was looking for the right place to roll the next batch of rocks after I got my cutie mark!” replied Pinkie.
“The next batch of rocks?” asked Star Swirl with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes! Back on my family’s rock farm!” Pinkie explained.
“I see,” said Star Swirl. “It looks like it’s time for me to organise a field trip.”
A/N: I can’t take credit for “Scootaloo the Awesome”. That joke was supplied by CDRW at TVTropes and I knew that I had to use it. I’m told by Red Savant that “Edith Smith” is another cultivar of apple and is therefore, possibly Granny Smith’s original name, assuming that her name isn’t actually “Granny” which is admittedly possible. “Edith” doesn’t seem like a normal pony name, but then again, neither does “Diane”. By the way, I haven’t decided on everypony’s full name. If there are popular fanon full names around, please let me know. I’d rather stick with popular fanon where I can.
A/N: Once again, thank you all for the support. One thing that happened in the comments is something that I feel the need to address though. It was pointed out that this fic could seem anti-transexuality. It was never intended to be as such. The moral, as the letter at the end of the story will indicate (and which I’m undecided who should write) deals with a far more common and mundane situation and I consider it to be far more in line with the show. Also, I recently noticed that this fic has been mentioned elsewhere. Thank you for the honour! To address a couple of your concerns though, the reason that Star Swirl has a cutie mark yet doesn’t understand it will be addressed at the end. I can say that it’s fairly simple though and has to do with a lack of self-acceptance. In the last chapter, Applejack was trying to politely say, “Yes, you kind of suck, but I’ve seen others who suck more than you do, so you’re not a total lost cause”. It’s understandable that Star Swirl seems a bit like a self-insert as I put a couple of my character traits into every character I use and Star Swirl got more than normal. We have a lot in common, but she’d be insulted by the comparison as I’m a procrastinating slob and she isn’t. There is more than enough difference between the two of us to easily tell us apart when it comes to personality. Anyway, this chapter and chapter six are probably going to be the two most controversial chapters. Speaking of chapter six, as I’d hoped, It’s About Time made what I want to do for six a lot more justifiable. ;P
Study Three: The Pie Family Rock Farm
“So, Star Swirl, how was your week?” asked Dr. Drop.
“Better than I’ve had for a while, even if it still came with some disappointments,” replied Star Swirl.
“Oh?” asked Dr. Drop. “Did you visit Ponyville like I suggested?”
“I did,” replied Star Swirl with a smile. “I like it there! I even got to meet some of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony! Including Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic herself! I’m not done though. There’s still so much to learn there!”
“So you found it an educational experience?” asked Dr. Drop. “Did it help you find the answers that you were looking for?”
“It started to,” replied Star Swirl. “I’ve already begun to learn, but there’s so much I still have to learn!”
“And how do you feel about that?” asked Dr. Drop as she gazed over her glasses.
“Excited!” replied Star Swirl as she sat up with a large grin.
“Excellent!” said Dr. Drop. “It sounds like you are making wonderful progress!”
“Well, I’d still hoped to be making better progress than I have,” Star Swirl confessed as she dropped her smile. “I don’t seem to have much talent for growing plants. That discovery caused me to have an episode. And I’m a bit too clumsy to make potions safely. Not that I’d mind if it was only my safety at risk, but what if I made a mistake with the potion and ruined it!?”
Dr. Drop frowned. “You shouldn’t devalue yourself that way, Star Swirl,” she said. “You are precious and don’t believe anypony who says otherwise, not even yourself.”
“All right,” sighed Star Swirl.
“So, I guess that you are going to spend the next week in Ponyville as well?” Dr. Drop asked with a smile.
“Actually, I’m spending the next week at a rock farm,” replied Star Swirl.
“A rock farm?!” asked Dr. Drop as her eyes widened. “Are you hoping to discover a talent with rock farming?”
“Well, that would be nice,” said Star Swirl. “but I doubt that that will happen. Star Swirl the Bearded wasn’t a rock farmer, so I doubt that our talent is specific to rock farming. I’m mainly there to investigate the upbringing of Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter as I’m hoping to discover more about how her abilities work.”
“I see,” said Dr. Drop.
“Yes. Everything will be great. I’ve already found out about how they supply several jewellers and I’ve prepared everything for my journey. Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic even gave me a checklist to make sure that I was ready!” She pulled out a scroll. “I’m so having this framed when I’m finished using it! Item one, read checklist, check! Item two...”
“I’m sure that you have prepared perfectly adequately,” Dr. Drop interrupted her with a raised hoof.
“Um...well, Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter says that we also need to have a party before we leave. I haven’t done that yet. She also says that we need to have another one when we arrive. She wanted to have one at the halfway point, but Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic said that we’d never get there if we had as many parties as Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter wanted us to have.”
“I see,” replied Dr. Drop, “But you still plan to enjoy yourself?”
“Of course!” replied Star Swirl. “I’m going to learn more earth pony magic! Then, I’ll prove myself a worthy successor to Star Swirl the Bearded!”
“I’m glad that you’re enthusiastic and optimistic,” said Dr. Drop with a touch of caution in her voice, “but please don’t take it badly if you end up disappointed. Remember that things don’t always go according to plan.”
“True,” sighed Star Swirl as her face fell, “but I’m going to do my best.”
“That’s the spirit,” Dr. Drop smiled.
“We’re travelling together!
On a road trip!
We’ll see the place where I grew up
It isn’t a quip!
My family will love you!
I can’t wait to see!
To show a friend around,
Is so special to me!”
Pinkie jumped up and wiggled her legs in the air as she finished her song.
“So when was the last time you visited your family?” asked Star Swirl.
“Last week,” replied Pinkie with a grin. “I stopped over to let them know that you were coming. They’re always ready for a sudden visit from me, but I usually arrive alone.”
“So, you visit pretty regularly?” asked Star Swirl.
“I suppose,” replied Pinkie. “Ponyville’s my home now though, so it’s just occasional visits. I’ve got lots of friends that I need to visit too!”
“And do they sometimes visit Ponyville?” asked Star Swirl.
“Inkie says that it’s difficult for them to visit because it’s a journey that takes hours,” replied Pinkie.
“Inkie?” asked Star Swirl.
“The older of my sisters,” explained Pinkie.
“Ah, Inkabella Susan Pie,” said Star Swirl with a smile.
“That’s right!” said Pinkie.
“But wouldn’t the journey take the same amount of time for you?”
“No,” replied Pinkie. “Whenever I want to go there, I just do!”
“What do you mean?” asked Star Swirl as she raised an eyebrow.
“I mean that I just pop off into a place that’s out of sight, like inside a box or something and then I’ll crawl out from under a rock or something and I’ll be there!”
“But...How?...How did you get there?”
“I just did!”
“I guess that I need to think about this some more before formulating a hypothesis,” Star Swirl muttered as she tapped her chin.
The scenery turned to a grey, flat plain, almost lifeless bar the scattered trees as they journeyed on. Star Swirl could not blame Pinkie for her boredom and attempts to add some excitement to the journey. Eventually, signs of habitation in the forms of small, wooden buildings and a steel water tower appeared on the horizon. As they approached, they saw that the area around the buildings were littered with rocks. The rocks were being pushed around by four ponies whose colouration was dull enough to blend into the background.
“We’re here!” cried Pinkie before she charged towards the building in a pink blur. She scooped the other pones together in a group hug and led them back towards Star Swirl. “Everyone, this is Star Swirl!” Pinkie introduced her. “Star, these are Inkie, Blinkie and my mom and dad!”
“Nice to meet you,” Star Swirl said with a smile and a nod. “I’m Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh. You must be Clydenselio Daniel Pie, Suzetta Nadine Pie, Blinkavera Vivian Pie and...” she turned to the dark grey young mare at the back of the group who appeared to be trying to hide behind her mane and Pinkie had pointed out as Inkie, “Inkabella Susan Pie.”
“That’s us all right!” said the even younger looking mare with a lighter coat and a smile. “Don’t worry about Inkie, she’ll be fine once she gets to know you. And feel free to call us by our nicknames. Our full names are a bit of a mouthful, even if it is tradition for them to be.”
“Welcome to our rock farm,” said the yellowish brown stallion with facial hair. “It’s always nice to know that Pinkamena has made so many friends since she moved out. Blinkavera, please show her to the guest room.”
“Sure!” said the younger mare and she indicated that Star Swirl should follow her. As they walked into the house, she started speaking again. “So you’re Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh?” she asked. “Does that mean that you were named after Star Swirl the Bearded?”
Star Swirl’s eyes gleamed and she smiled as she replied, “Yes, I was! I’m his descendant!”
“Really!?” asked Blinkie. “I don’t suppose you know if he really had a staff or if that was just artistic licence on the part of the Daring Do series?”
Star Swirl giggled, remembering that book. “Maybe in the later stages of his life,” she replied. “He did live a long time, after all. But I really doubt that it would have been a magical artefact or that you would need to bypass a lot of traps to get it or any pieces of it.”
“True,” Blinkie giggled back. “I’m aware that archaeology is less glamorous than Daring makes it seem. But I still enjoy studying it. I like precious things that come from the ground after all.” She pointed at her flank which had a block of gold ore pictured on it. “And here’s the room where you’ll be staying!” She opened a door to a small bedroom.
“Thank you. You’re studying archaeology?” asked Star Swirl as she walked into the room before taking off her saddlebags.
“Well, that’s my major,” replied Blinkie as she followed her in. “I do a couple of other sciences as well. Should we head out? Pinkie’s probably convincing Dad to have a party by now.”
“All right,” replied Star Swirl. “I’m eager to see how things are done around here.”
They headed outside, but it seemed that Pinkie had been waiting for their return to begin her attempts to convince her parents. “Right! Now that Blinkie and Star are back, we need to have a party!”
“Pinkamena, you know that we can’t party all the time,” her mother sighed.
“We have to finish moving the rocks from the north field to the east field,” Clyde elaborated.
Pinkie closed her eyes before snapping them open again. “But you’re going to have to move them back tomorrow anyway!”
“Really!?” groaned Blinkie. “I hate it when that happens. It makes me feel like I would’ve been more productive just studying all day.”
“Come on, Dad!” Pinkie begged. “It won’t take long to set up!”
“Pinkie’s prediction means that we can leave most of the rocks on the edge of the field,” Inkie finally spoke up. “It’ll cut off time for both today and tomorrow.”
“Well, if Inkabella says that we can manage that way, then I accept her calculations,” Clyde said. “But it’ll have to be a small one and we’ll need some help around the farm.”
“Okie doki loki!” said Pinkie before she rushed off into the shed and returned with...a second Pinkie Pie. Star Swirl’s jaw dropped, but Pinkie’s family didn’t even blink as the two Pinkie Pies joined them pushing rocks across the ground.
“How...? Why...? Who...? Why are there...?” began Star Swirl.
“We don’t get it either,” explained Blinkie, “but we’ve come to expect this sort of thing from her.”
“But, Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter, how are you doing this?!” asked Star Swirl.
“Oh, I just go somewhere over there,” said one of the Pinkies waving vaguely into the distance, “And then I’m here and there!”
“But that doesn’t make any sense!” cried Star Swirl.
“She’s Pinkie,” Blinkie shrugged. “Making sense isn’t something she does very often.”
“All right, it’s time to party!” cried Pinkie as she swung open the door to the barn.
“But the barn isn’t ready yet,” protested Star Swirl as she peeked inside.
“Not a problem for my party cannon!” cried Pinkie as she reached out and pulled a canon out of nowhere and pressed a button, covering the room in decorations and confetti.
“How did you...?” began Star Swirl. “Where did you get that from? You didn’t bring anything!”
“I saw that I needed it, so I fetched it,” replied Pinkie.
Inkie seemed to come out of her shell a bit more at the party, putting on a fancy hat and dancing along with everypony else, but Star Swirl still felt a larger connection with Blinkie. “So Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter can just pull objects out from a location that is unapparent?” she asked her.
“I guess so,” Blinkie shrugged. “I’m pretty used to it. I don’t even think of her as an element bearer. To me, she’s just Pinkie. My big sister.”
“I suppose that the extreme familiarity dulls the sense of wonder,” Star Swirl guessed.
“I guess so,” replied Blinkie. “But we still realise that she’s pretty amazing. She does throw great parties. She taught us all how to smile. And her visits are pretty productive to the farm as well. You’d have to ask Inkie how much. She’s the farm accountant after all.” She ended with a smile.
“Because of the extra pair of hooves?” asked Star Swirl with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, that does help,” Blinkie admitted. “But Pinkie is not as physically strong as we are. She left the farm fairly young. She didn’t develop muscles that are as strong as we’ve had to develop to shatter rock. Nor is she as good at drawing strength from the earth.”
“You can do that!?” asked Star Swirl.
“Of course,” replied Blinkie. “That’s part of being an earth pony. But Pinkie’s muscles aren’t what make her useful to the farm.”
“You mean her ability to be in more than one place at a time?”
“Again, that’s useful,” Blinkie shrugged. “But it’s not what I’m talking about. We rock farmers learn to sense the magical currents that flow through the earth.”
“Like the ones produced by earth pony hooves when they want to grow plants?”
“I believe that it’s similar, but on a more massive scale,” Blinkie replied. “We have to move the rocks that we mine around so that they stay within the flow. That makes the gems and minerals within the rocks grow faster. Pinkie has always been exceptionally good at sensing these flows. And after she got her cutie mark, she could sense not just where they are now, but where they will be in the future.
“Her...advice allows us to plan ahead...more effectively and optimise...our movement strategies,” Inkie added as she walked over. “It reduces...wastage and increases...productivity.” She looked at the wonder in Star Swirl’s eyes and turned away with a blush.
“Could you teach me to do that!?” asked Star Swirl.
“Draw strength from the ground and feel the flow of magic?” asked Blinkie. “Sure. But I’ve got no idea how Pinkie does what she does and she’s never managed to explain it to anypony.”
“Thank you!” said Star Swirl. “And I know what you mean. When I ask her how she does what she does, it almost sounds like she doesn’t know either!”
“That does sound like Pinkie!” Blinkie smiled.
The next morning, Star Swirl was led to a field of large boulders.
“These are the boulders that Inkie says are ready to be cracked open,” Blinkie informed her. “So they’re great for practice. Why don’t you give a demonstration, Inkie?”
Inkie blushed and turned her head so that her mane covered more of her face. “Alright,” she said. “Just feel...the strength of the earth beneath your hooves. Then draw it into your body...Let the earth’s strength...become your strength.” She lifted up her head and bucked with her back legs, shattering the boulder behind her and spraying the ground with gems.
“Wow!” gasped Star Swirl.
“Ooooh! Can I grab a few for Rarity and Spikey-wikey? They’d love some of these!” said Pinkie after she ran right up to the pile of gems.
“Sure Pinkie,” said Inkie. “That should be fine.”
“Okie doki loki!” Pinkie grabbed a few and rushed off.
“Right,” said Star Swirl. “I can try that!” She closed her eyes and focused on the ground below her. Once again, she felt a flood of comprehension. She could feel the strength that Inkie was talking about. She began to draw it up her legs to the rest of her body. Unfortunately, that proved to be far more difficult. Sweat collected on her crest as she grimaced with strain. Once she had managed all she was capable of, she let out a breath and bucked. “OW!” she cried. She wobbled away from the now superficially cracked boulder on three legs. “That hurt!...A lot!”
Pinkie’s sisters winced sympathetically. “Maybe you should stick with hammers and pickaxes,” suggested Blinkie.
“Another form of magic that I’m not good at,” Star Swirl sighed. “But I still want to continue the lesson. Please teach me to sense the flow of magic like you mentioned yesterday.”
“Okay,” said Blinkie. “If you’re sure. Like before, you have to feel the earth beneath you, but this time, you’re feeling for its pulse and following it. Feeling all the energy within it and what it’s doing with that energy.”
Star Swirl tenderly lowered her injured hoof to the ground and closed her eyes, letting out a breath. She once again she felt the earth. Once again she quickly understood what she had been told. Better than before. Much better. She. Felt. Everything! She mentally scolded herself for that hyperbole, but it was understandable after suddenly experiencing something like this for the first time. Finally! She had finally discovered a form of magic that she was really, really good at! The flows of magic that Blinkie mentioned were so obvious, they were barely worth commenting on. She could feel them even from beyond the horizon. She noted the vortices in their flow, their width and depth and speed. She could easily track the energy as it moved along the path. And that was merely the beginning! The magic radiated out of the stream as falloff and bathed the surroundings. She could feel the individual leaves, the composition of each boulder, the hoofprints of each member of the Pie family. She opened her eyes with a gasp and let go of the connection.
“That was amazing!”she cried. She really couldn’t hold it for long. The strain of spreading her mind over such a large area was too much. But it had been worth it. She’d found a form of magic that she excelled in. And she could use it any time her hooves touched the ground. Also, she finally understood Pinkie sense. It was so simple. Merely a variation of what she had been taught here at the rock farm. Like herself, Pinkie was clearly gifted in this form of magic, though she doubted that even Pinkie had her scale. Still, Pinkie had managed to feel the phenomena the magic picked up even before they happened. The strain on her mind had to be incredible. But of course, Pinkie had managed to spread the strain over her entire body rather than containing it in her mind. It was impressive and Star Swirl instantly knew that these two tricks were beyond her. As good as she was with the basic form of the ability, she could never handle the strain to twist its applications in ways like that. It was sad, yet she was still happy to finally have an area in which to excel. But there was no way that she was done with her studies. In fact, this ability should only make the task easier.
The next day, they went down the mine shaft. “Tell us where to dig, Blinkavera,” asked Clyde.
“Give me a moment,” Blinkie requested. She walked up to the wall of the mine and pressed a hoof against it. She closed her eyes and began tapping along the walls. “Here!” she cried, opening her eyes. “The deposit extends in this direction. This is where the best rocks are!”
“I’ll grab the picks!” Pinkie offered zooming out of sight. This time, Star Swirl closed her eyes and felt for the magic once again. Pinkie was fast, but she was easy to find through this sense. She felt Pinkie stop next to the picks. Then, something weird happened. Pinkie’s body connected to the earth like her own had. Then the felt he earth beneath Pinkie somehow fold, yet not fold at the same time. The fold felt more primal, more basic, more fundamental, more in the background. She hadn’t noticed this before, but it was as if Pinkie was interacting with the earth’s own earth. The fold snapped back again. This all took place in a far shorter period than a second, but everything hadn’t returned to normal. No. It was not normal in the slightest. As the fold had snapped back, it distorted into a tube of microscopic thickness which led to the same point at which it began. But not for long, as Pinkie picked up the tools and walked back towards them, the tube lengthened with a Pinkie on each end. No. That wasn’t correct. Star Swirl could feel that now. There weren’t two Pinkies. Only one existed at a time, but this Pinkie flashed from one end of the tube to the other at a mind-boggling speed. A speed so fast, that everything treated her as two ponies. Pinkie walked (if such speeds could be referred to as walking) back into the cavern, giving the impression of being two ponies. She passed out the picks and they began to dig.
This is ground-breaking! thought Star Swirl. I have to consider this some more before deciding what it means!
“You wanted to see us, Star Swirl?” Sue asked as Pinkie’s family entered the room.
“Yes,” said Star Swirl as she looked up from the sheets of parchment on which she had hastily written notes and scribbled diagrams. “I believe that I need to speak to you away from Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter.”
“Why?” asked Clyde.
“I am trying to better understand her powers, but I believe that if I discuss this with her, it may result in her losing some of them.”
“Really!?” asked Inkie. “Why...would she lose them?”
“It’s just a hypothesis,” Star Swirl admitted. “I’m not sure. That’s why I need to discuss this with you. Have any of you seen her split in two, or appear out of what appeared to be thin air, or the items she fetches appear?”
“Well, no,” Blinkie admitted. “We just see the end results.”
“As I thought,” said Star Swirl. “I believe that those abilities are related and Pinkie can’t perform any of them while being watched.”
“Why not?” asked Sue.
“I believe that it relates to the predictions of the physicists Fine Line and Wizened Birch,” began Star Swirl. “Fine Line discovered that the fabric of space and time could be manipulated and in fact was automatically done so by gravity. I believe that Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter is manipulating this fabric to create portals which she uses to manifest these powers.”
“So it’s based on gravity manipulation?” asked Blinkie.
“Possibly,” replied Star Swirl. “I’m still in the early stages of my study. “
“Well, it would make sense as gravity manipulation is the traditional way that earth ponies grip with their hooves,” Blinkie shrugged.
“What!?” cried Star Swirl. “We can grip stuff with our hooves!?”
“Sure,” said Clyde “Only small, light objects, but we can do it.” He walked up to the table and placed one of his hooves on a pencil before lifting it, carrying the pencil with.
Star Swirl’s jaw dropped. “I...Well, that’s useful. I need to learn that some time. Still, this is performed at a rather more complicated scale, manipulating the very fabric of reality including forces which I didn’t believe were possible to interact with. Wizened Birch said that it was impossible to observe such phenomena as the observation would affect it. It was impossible to work out both where they were and what they were doing at the same time. He called this the uncertainty principle. As such, Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter can’t manage to manipulate the energies to create these portals while being watched.”
“And why do you think that telling her will cause her to lose these powers?” asked Blinkie.
“I believe that if she realised what she was doing, she would start counting as an observer,” replied Star Swirl.
“So, she can do it because she doesn’t realise what she’s doing?” asked Clyde.
“I believe that that’s part of the explanation, yes,” Star Swirl nodded. “I’m still studying though. This requires more research. Am I correct in my assumption that this began after she gained her cutie mark?”
“That’s right,” replied Sue.
“That makes sense,” said Star Swirl, tapping her chin. “Gaining a cutie mark typically results in a boost in magic strength. Still, I’m sure that there is more to this. I’m going to ask Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter for more background.”
The next day, Star Swirl approached Pinkie as they headed for the rock field. “So, Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter, I was wondering, how did you get your cutie mark?”
“Oh, that’s a super doozy of a story!” squealed Pinkie with a smile. “I was right here on the farm, moving rocks from the south field to the east field when it happened. There was an explosion and a rainbow! It puffed up my hair and gave me a massive smile! I’d never experienced joy like that before! It turns out that it was all because of Rainbow Dash because...”
“Wait!” Star Swirl interrupted. “Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty was involved?”
“Yup!” replied Pinkie. “It was her sonic rainboom, after all! That’s what gave me the joy which inspired me to throw a party for my family to get my cutie mark!”
“Do you think she’d be willing to tell me about it?” asked Star Swirl.
“Sure!” replied Pinkie. “Dashie loves talking about her tricks! She’s told the Cutie Mark Crusaders before, after all!”
“Who are they?” asked Star Swirl with a frown.
“Applebloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo,” replied Pinkie. “Don’t you know them? I could introduce you!”
“That will be unnecessary,” Star Swirl replied with a smile. “We have met. I simply was unaware that they had a communal name. I approve! It simplifies things. But now, I need to find out about Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty’s sonic rainboom.”
A/N: As most of you have probably guessed, I’m drawing mainly from Ask the Pie Sisters here. However, I did decide to make Inkie the family accountant and Blinkie an archaeology student based on the fanfic Inkblot. I recommend those both. Also, it gave me an excuse to make Blinkie a Daring Do fanfilly. Actually, I see that my resulting interpretation of Inkie is a bit like a female Big Mac. Shy, attractive, doesn’t speak much, good with numbers and the strongest member of their respective families. Also, this chapter comes with Star Swirl’s biggest success so far. I’m assuming that just as unicorns typically learn spells related to their special talent, other ponies also have any magic related to their special talents boosted. Anyway, we’ll be back in Ponyville soon after the start of the next chapter. While I only need Fluttershy in chapter 5, I’d like to have her turn up for a bit in chapter 4 as well as she’s my second favourite and could do with more screen time. I’ve got ideas for her last name, but I’m still taking suggestions (the same applies to just about anypony).
A/N: I LIVE! Okay, sorry that this took a while even for me considering the fact that it’s of lower length and plot intensity than average. Real life has not been kind to me recently. On the plus side, I now have an account at FIMfiction dot net for those who would rather follow and comment there (like normal, I’m Sereg). I’ve also started a blog there as it comes standard so you can complain to me if I’m being slow among other things. Also, seriously, thanks for the support and please talk to me, I appreciate comments. For those who were wondering, yeah, I was referring to the fact that many consider it a sin to try explain Pinkie when I called last chapter controversial. For a long time, I left the dates of these events vague as I wanted to avoid being jossed where possible. My basic plan was to have them occur as late as possible in season 2 or if possible right after season 2. I now know that the most feasible time is for the events to have begun before the end of season 2, but end afterwards and that the wedding has to occur around here. As such, the wedding happens right after scene 1 (That episode was awesome by the way).
Study 4: The Sonic Rainboom
“So Star Swirl, how was your week? Did you enjoy your time at the farm?” Dr. Drop asked.
“Oh, it was very interesting!” Star Swirl smiled. “And I learned a form of magic that I’m good at!” she squealed. “Not to mention learning more about Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter! Unfortunately, I can’t copy her abilities.” Her face fell.
“Well!” said Dr. Drop. “That’s still very impressive. And remember that even for us unicorns, knowing more than a few spells is very unusual.”
“But I’m the descendant of Star Swirl the Bearded!” Star Swirl complained with a voice that bordered on a whine as she swung a hoof into the air. “He invented over two hundred spells! Why can’t I be as amazing as him!? Why can’t I be an amazing magic user of legend!?”
“We all have our own purposes in life,” said Dr. Drop. “Do not be upset that yours is not the same as your ancestor’s.”
“But how can I live up to him if I can barely use any magic at all!? How am I supposed to feel if my cutie mark tells me that I’m supposed to be like him if he’s an amazing mage and I can barely use the magic of my own tribe?!”
“We are more than our cutie marks, Star Swirl,” Dr. Drop replied. “Two ponies with the same talent can be very different.”
“But why do I have to be different from him!?” Star Swirl said.
“Because you’re not the same pony,” replied Dr. Drop. “Do you really think that your ancestor would want you to be exactly the same as him? Why should you go and invent all the spells that he did if he’s already done so? Stand on his accomplishments and do something new.”
“I... see...” said Star Swirl.
“Well, do you have any ideas?”
“Well, I was going to try studying Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty’s sonic rainboom next.”
“I... see,” said Dr. Drop as the pegasus terminology flew over her head. “Well, I hope you enjoy it because we’re out of time for this session. See you next week.”
Star Swirl was glad that she had stayed in Canterlot for the wedding between Princess Mi Amore Cadenza and Captain Shining Armor Sparkle. While the invasion was scary, the changelings were fascinating and she wished that she had a better opportunity to study them. Their magic seemed to have similarities to that of an alicorn and that transformation magic was just so wonderful. If only she could do something like that. Then of course, she had actually seen the sonic rainboom of Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty! It had seemed really familiar but she decided that she needed a better look at it for a proper study. Still, the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony had been busy at the wedding themselves, so it wasn’t like she had made an avoidable delay in her studies.
“Hey there!” called a voice as she left Ponyville Station once again. “Hi! You’re Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh, aren’t you?”
Star Swirl turned around to see a very familiar looking green unicorn with a lyre cutie mark. She was standing next to a cream coloured earth pony and was waving enthusiastically while wearing a large smile. “Yes, I am,” replied Star Swirl. “And you’re Lyra Heartstrings. How do you know me?”
“I was at the party! I love parties! Especially Pinkie’s parties! They’re so much fun! And you’ve also come up in conversations a few times. But how do you know me?” Lyra asked while bouncing up and down with a massive grin.
“You’re Lyra Heartstrings who was entered into Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns due to her musical abilities,” replied Star Swirl. “I looked up all the unicorns whose stay at Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns overlapped that of Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic’s. Plus, you were one of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza’s bridesmaids.”
“Oh right,” said Lyra as she stopped bouncing. Then her mouth drooped and her eyes filled with tears. “When we asked Cadance why she was acting so strange, she put us in that horrible cave! It was so awful!” she bawled.
“Lyra. You’re safe now. No point in crying,” said the earth pony accompanying her as she rolled her eyes.
“Oh, right, the monster who was pretending to be Cadance was beaten! Yay!” she instantly perked up. “Anyway, Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh, I just wanted to say that Bon Bon and I can totally relate to wanting to be something that you’re not and so we’re supporting you!” She indicated the earth pony standing next to her.
“Hey! Don’t pull me into this!” said Bon Bon. “I don’t want any part of your weird hobby!”
Did her voice just change? wondered Star Swirl as she raised her eyebrows and lifted her head in astonishment.
“Hey! I don’t criticise your hobbies!” complained Lyra as she pointed at Bon Bon. “And they’re what I’m talking about! You’re always speaking in the voice of one of the characters from your plays! That’s how much you want to be them!”
“Ah’m jus’ practicin’! It’s called gettin’ inta character!” replied Bon Bon in a third voice.
“Exactly!” Lyra nodded as if this proved her point.
“Hiya Bon Bon! Hey there, Lyra! Hello Star!” came a familiar voice. “I brought Dashie like you wanted, Star!”
Star Swirl turned around and came face to face with Pinkie and Rainbow Dash.
“Hey Star,” said Rainbow. “Pinkie told me that you wanted to see my Sonic Rainboom.”
Star Swirl brightened at the sight of the two mares. “Oh yes, Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty! I really want to see it again! Up close!”
“In the same place that you did your first one!”
Rainbow lost her smirk. “The same place I did my first one? Why?”
“I want to better understand the conditions under which the first one formed,” Star Swirl explained. “Especially as it led to Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter earning her cutie mark and discovering her powers.”
“But I was in Cloudsdale at the time!” said Rainbow Dash, pointing in the direction of her home town. “How are you going to get there?!”
Star Swirl’s face drooped. “You’re right. How could an earth pony like me get into Cloudsdale?”
“Why don’t you ask Twilight to use her magic?” asked Pinkie.
Star Swirl brightened again. “Having Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic use her spell on me would be so awesome!”
“All right! Then let’s go see her,” said Rainbow.
“You want to go to Cloudsdale?” asked Twilight.
“Specifically, to the exact place that Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty first performed a sonic rainboom,” Star Swirl explained.
“But Rainbow, didn’t you say that you did it in the middle of a racing course in Flight Camp?” asked Twilight.
“So, are there any clouds suitable for watching from that point?”
“Um, now that you mention it, I suppose that there aren’t,” Rainbow replied as she placed a hoof behind her head and looked off to the side. “But I could put some there!”
“And Cloudsdale will have no problem with you placing a bunch of clouds in the race track for training foals, who are likely to end up flying through the clouds, losing their way and crashing?” asked Twilight with a raised eyebrow.
“Oh, right,” said Rainbow Dash. “But it should still be fine if I only bring a few. And we can get somepony else to move Star’s cloud when she needs it!”
“I suppose that that could work.” Twilight tapped her chin.
“So, does this mean that you’re willing to use the spell?!” asked Star Swirl as she eagerly leaned forward.
“I guess that it should be fine.” Twilight shrugged.
“Yay! Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic is casting a spell on me! This is so cool!”
“All right. Calm down. And you can seriously stop addressing us so formerly. You aren’t in Canterlot anymore,” requested Twilight. She scrunched up her face and closed her eyes as her horn and Star Swirl’s body were enveloped in a red aura.
When the aura dissipated, Star Swirl gasped and lifted a hoof to her grinning face. “This is amazing! Your magic has reconfigured itself to align with my own body, whilst providing the natural pegasus buoyancy to atmospheric water!”
“That is how it works, yes.” Twilight smiled. “It’s good to discuss this with somepony who understands the intricate details of magic.”
“Oh, I’d love to talk about this some more!”
“But we’ve got to head off to Cloudsdale, so it’ll have to wait,” said Rainbow Dash.
“Didn’t we decide that you needed help with that?” asked Twilight.
“And I know the perfect pony!”
“Who?” asked Twilight.
“Fluttershy, of course!”
“Fluttershy Posey, Bearer of the Element of Kindness is going to help us!?” squealed Star Swirl as her grin widened. “I can’t wait to meet her!”
“Fluttershy’s last name is Posey?” asked Twilight with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes. I had to go through the archives to find that out!”
“She doesn’t spread it around,” explained Rainbow Dash. “Apparently, some of the fillies in flight camp teased her about having an earth pony last name. As if that ever held me back!”
“That’s awful!” said Star Swirl. “A name shouldn’t make you feel ashamed!”
“Well, I think that she’s better about her past these days,” said Rainbow Dash. “Let’s go see her.”
Rainbow dash flew overhead, leading Star Swirl to Fluttershy’s cottage. Star Swirl hurried to keep up. She was excited to meet the last of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony and didn’t want to get lost after all. She slowed down as Rainbow Dash landed in front of a door at the edge of town. It appeared to be the entrance of a hollowed out hill. Rainbow rapped her hoof on the door.
“Hey! Fluttershy! You in there?” she called out.
The door slowly opened and the edge of Fluttershy’s face came into view. “Rainbow Dash? Is that you?” she asked.
“Fluttershy Posey, Bearer of the Element of Kindness! It’s such an honour to meet you!” squealed Star Swirl as she charged forward.
“Oh, um...Hello,” replied Futtershy as she flattened her ears, lowered her gaze and backed away from the door. “Um, just Fluttershy is fine.”
“Hey Fluttershy! This is Star Swirl,” Rainbow Dash introduced her with a wave of her hoof before flying closer and whispering “She’s a bit weird about names, but don’t let it bother you.”
“Oh...Um...All right. If you say so Rainbow Dash.”
“May we come in?” Rainbow asked.
“Um...Sure. Go ahead if that’s what you want.” She opened the door wider and led them inside.
“I really am so glad to finally meet you, Fluttershy Posey, Bearer of the Element of Kindness!” cried Star Swirl.
“You know about me, Star Swirl?” asked Fluttershy as she cowered.
“Call me Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh. It’s more accurate,” said Star Swirl. “And of course I know you! Everypony should! You’re amazing!”
“I am? Everypony!? Oh my! Eep!” Fluttershy lowered her head until it was hidden behind her hooves.
“Yes, I even have copies of all your photographs from your modelling career!”
“Oh dear. I...um...didn’t like modelling.”
“But you were so good at it!” cried Star Swirl. “At least I assume that you were. I actually know nothing about the fashion industry, but you seemed to be pretty successful and you’re Fluttershy Posey, Bearer of the Element of Kindness! How could you not be?!”
“Um...Please just call me Fluttershy. I...prefer it...if that’s okay with you.”
“But...” began Star Swirl before stopping at Rainbow’s glare. “All right. I’ll try. It’s just so difficult to talk about ponies as if nopony has ever had that name before. As if, all the other ponies who had that name should just be forgotten like Star Swirl the Bearded was. I don’t want that to happen to anypony else. Especially a pony as wonderful as you.”
“That’s so sad,” said Fluttershy. “But just because we use simpler names, doesn’t mean that we’re forgetting all those other ponies.”
“I suppose that you’re right,” Star Swirl sighed.
“Anyway, Star and I are here to ask for a favour,” said Rainbow.
“A favour?” asked Fluttershy.
“Yes. We were hoping that you would assist us,” explained Star Swirl. “Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic cast a spell to give me the ability to walk on clouds-”Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes at this. “-but I need the aid of another pegasus to move the cloud on which I’ll be standing while I watch Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty perform her sonic rainboom in Cloudsdale.”
“You...want me to...position a cloud in Cloudsdale?” asked Fluttershy.
“Yes, could you do that for us, Fluttershy Po-“
“Star, Fluttershy’s my oldest friend. Don’t make her uncomfortable,” warned Rainbow.
“Right, sorry.” Star Swirl grinned sheepishly and blushed as she lowered her head. “Do you mind doing that for us?”
“All right...if...that’s what you want.”
Fluttershy slowly lowered Star Swirl onto the cloud. “Um...Is that okay, Star?” she asked.
“Yes, thank you Fluttershy...Bearer...” Rainbow Dash glared at Star Swirl. “Thank you.”
“Right, so how do you want me to do this?” asked Rainbow Dash. “I’m a lot faster than when I was a filly, so the sonic rainboom will be a lot easier to pull off now.”
“I need you to try to recreate the conditions of your first sonic rainboom as much as possible. The same speed, same turn angles, same position of the rainboom, everything.”
“Pfft. Easy peasy.”
“Well, where will the sonic rainboom happen?” asked Star Swirl.
“You see that cloud hoop?” Rainbow asked, pointing at the lowest circle of cloud. “It’ll be right there.”
“Fascinating. And what will the angle of the sonic rainboom be? I need to know what plane I’ll be working with.”
“Well, it’ll be flat.” Rainbow Dash shrugged.
“So parallel to the ground. Very well. I’ll need the cloud to be lower then. I want to be in the path of the sonic rainboom.”
“Are you sure?” asked Fluttershy. “That doesn’t seem very...safe.”
“Sacrifices must be made for magical progress!” announced Star Swirl as she raised a hoof into the air. “Besides, how bad could it be?”
“Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be fine, Fluttershy,” added Rainbow as she waved a hoof dismissively.
“All right. If you’re sure.” She slowly lowered the cloud until it was level with the hoop. Then Rainbow flew off. But it wasn’t long before she was in sight again. This time as a rainbow streak, rushing through the loops at supersonic speed. She soon rose into the air before diving again as she accelerated. The cone around her narrowed as her speed increased before beginning to shimmer with various colours and electricity sparked around her. The cone gave way as she reached the lowest hoop and it exploded in an array of colours and a thundering sound as Rainbow instantly rose again in an acute angle as a rainbow trail followed her. The rainboom she left behind quickly spread and rammed into Star Swirl at high speed. She was surrounded by colour and her skin stretched from the force as the cloud was swept backwards. She clung to the cloud, yet still slipped back, a rear hoof falling off the edge. She tingled and struggled to breathe as her body was soaked in magic. She felt the sparks of electricity from the loose electrons wash over her with the wave and witnessed the atmospheric distortion which broke up the light.She let out a gasp as the wave passed and the ringing in her ears stopped. Stopped? Why weren’t their bells ringing around her head? Then she noticed that despite her mane standing on end, her head felt rather naked. She leaned over the edge of the cloud and sure enough, her hat had landed on the ground. Her lip quivered, but she stayed strong. While she loved that hat, it was a duplicate of her role model’s and reminded her of her connection to him after all, it would be easy to fetch and she had work to do. She had felt the magic in the rainboom easily this time and not only could she analyse it now, but she recognised why it felt familiar.
She had been in Canterlot Library as she often was. While the research of the earlier Star Swirls had ensured that her family was nobility and fairly well off, she didn’t want to merely live off her inheritance. An attitude her parent’s approved of despite the fact that that was what she essentially still did. After all, without knowing the meaning of her cutie mark, not having the physical capabilities of an earth pony and missing the magic of a unicorn, it was difficult to find a place where she could be productive. She enjoyed being a student though and she loved to read. So she spent a lot of me in the library, hoping to find inspiration in addition for her quest for more information about her ancestor. She even worked there part time for a while, hoping to one day gain access to the Star Swirl the Bearded wing. But that didn’t last as she wasn’t actually very good at placing books on the higher shelves. Still, she loved books as they were a means to import knowledge from one to another. She always respected that. It was noble. There was a reason that she revered her teachers. On this particular day, however, she was busy climbing the ladder with her long, spindly adolescent legs with a book she had just finished rereading in her mouth in an attempt to reshelve it on the Star Swirl the Bearded shelf. It was in an out of the way corner of the library, but was right next to a window which had a lovely view of Cloudsdale. She was just slowly and carefully lowering the book onto its shelf, when there was a large boom and her eyes filled with colour. She immediately fell over, scraping the ladder against the shelf and knocking over all the other books which landed on top of her a split second after she hit the floor. “Star Swirl! What have you done!?” Book Mark, the head librarian had whispered angrily.
“I’m sorry...I’ll clean it up...but...I’m Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh...none of the other Star Swirl’s would have done this.”
Star Swirl blinked. She wasn’t a helpless filly anymore. Sure, she still hadn’t found the meaning of her cutie mark or a way to fit in society, but she liked Ponyville and had made a lot of progress in her studies. Speaking of which, it was time to put her hat back on and discuss what she had learned. “Do you mind putting me back down on the ground? I seem to have dropped my hat.”
“All right,” Fluttershy offered, before plucking Star Swirl up and slowly lowering her to the ground.
“Thank you.” Star Swirl picked up her hat with her teeth an awkwardly flung it round until it landed on her head, before pressing a hoof down on it to properly fit it. Rainbow Dash flew over.
“So, what did you think? Was I amazing?”
“Yes! You were completely amazing!” Star Swirl cried. “Your magic boosted your wings' abilities and propelled you to well over the speed of sound! Then, they ripped away the electrons around you in sparks of electricity, ionizing the atmosphere around you and generating a prismatic effect from the light refraction which spreads in a wave of magic along with the pressure generated with the sonic boom! The concentration of magic in the spreading bubble is enormous and can easily explain the awakening of the abilities of Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter as the additional concentration of magic in the atmosphere acted as a catalyst! I’m sure that many other ponies had similar awakenings of their abilities!”
“I’m not sure what that means, but I’m guessing that that’s the egghead way of telling me that I’m awesome. Am I right?” asked Rainbow.
“That’s a rather good summary, yes!”
“Rainbow Dash helped all of our closest friends get their cutie marks. So it looks like you’re right,” explained Fluttershy.
“Wow! Fascinating. To think that the magic of a pegasus played such an important role. I clearly have a lot to learn about magic,” said Star Swirl. “Let’s head back to Ponyville. I have to plan a visit to the spa.”
A/N: The spa? Some of you may be wondering. Next chapter is mainly tying together a few loose ends before the meatiest chapter. As such, the theme will be a little less...structured than the others, but Fluttershy will be the most important character after Star herself and as such, the title will relate to her. I’ve been planning a Lyra and Bon Bon scene for ages and it happened to fit in perfectly here, so there you go. Any comments, queries etc., I’ll be happy to hear them. I eventually went with Posey for Fluttershy’s last name in reference to the G1 pony she was based on and the fact that there’s also been a pony named “Rosey Posey”, making it a valid last name. It also fits with the fanon that Fluttershy is part earth pony and I see that the Lunaverse recently independently chose the same last name for her.
A/N: Well, I was able to get this one out faster, though once again I apologise for the short length and the loose...connectedness that I warned you about. As I said, this is mainly tying up loose ends before moving onto the final stretch. I must warn you though that when you reach the last paragraph, please do not jump to conclusions and start becoming hysterical. First read my author’s note at the bottom before you do that. I will say that I have no intention of making this a crossover or forcing my fans to watch something that they haven’t needed to so far.
Study Five: The Stare
Star Swirl smiled as she got ready for the day. She had a lot of plans and that meant that she was likely to enjoy at least some success simply due to probability. Mentioning her plans to visit the spa had turned out well as she’d been invited to Fluttershy Pose- she paused. She really needed to stop referring to her that way if she disliked it. Anyway, Fluttershy had invited her to join in with her regular session with Rarity Belle, Bearer of the Element of Generosity whom she’d been assured wouldn’t mind. Indeed, she’d received confirmation that Rarity would be delighted for them to spend time together. She packed a basket containing not only the money she’d need, but also the jars and equipment she’d need for both the visit to the spa and her later plans. She lifted the basket in her mouth, adjusted her hat and trotted happily to the spa.
“Ah, Star Swirl, there you are,” said Rarity from just outside the spa as the earth pony arrived.
“I’m not late am I?”
“Of course not. Fluttershy and I have just arrived. Now come along.” Rarity waved them inside. “The usual. For my new friend Star Swirl as well. My treat.”
“I have the Bits to pay for myself,” argued Star Swirl.
“Nonsense. It’s only fair that I treat my friends once in a while. Especially when it means that I get to hear more about Canterlot!”
“Okay, but I spent most of my time indoors and wasn’t really that involved with the elite, despite my ancestry.”
“Well, I can’t really hold that against you,” said Rarity as they walked into the sauna, “The same was true of Twilight after all. Even despite being Princess Celestia’s student, having a princess for a foalsitter and a brother as a captain of the royal guard.”
“You mean Princess Mi Amore Cadenza?” asked Star Swirl as she raised an eyebrow. She immediately dropped it again as she felt her sweat shift. The heat was far too uncomfortable for her to understand why someponies did this for pleasure. “She foalsat for me as well. As well as most of the noble families.”
“You and Twilight were born into noble families!?” gasped Rarity.
Star Swirl rolled her eyes. “Well obviously. How else could Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic have afforded such an education? Why would she have been foalsat by a princess even before earning her cutie mark? Why would Captain Shining Armor Sparkle have risen through the ranks so quickly unless he was being watched more closely than normal and why would he have had the opportunity to get to know a princess well enough for them to fall in love? Princess Celestia is known to reward great contributions to ponykind with nobility. Did you really think that such a famous author like Twilight Velvet would still be a commoner?”
“Twilight Velvet?” asked Fluttershy. “Isn’t that...Twilight’s...”
“Mother. Yes,” Star Swirl finished.
“I’m afraid that I wasn’t aware of her books,” said a flustered Rarity.
“Well, they’re technically written for foals,” Star Swirl said with a shrug, “but they’re still worth a read considering who her daughter is.” She gave a grin. “There are probably some copies at Golden Oaks Library. Maybe we should head there after this. I’d like to see Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic again, after all.”
“Perhaps that would be a good idea,” agreed Rarity.
“Well, as for myself, my ancestor completely revolutionised the study of magic as I’ve been trying to explain to everypony for years.” Star Swirl sighed.
“Are you all right, Star?” asked Fluttershy in concern as she looked at the squirming earth pony.
“The heat is a bit much for me. This is my first time in a sauna.”
“Your first time?!” gasped Rarity. “And in a spa in general?”
“Then we must make sure that you enjoy yourself! And that you don’t overdo it. Perhaps we should cut our sauna time short.”
They quickly moved onto the next area and dressed in bath robes. As Aloe and Lotus began to apply their face masks, Star Swirl said, “The main reason that I’m here today is because I have an unusual request. I’d like to store our hoof clippings and Rarity Belle, Bearer of the Element of Generosity’s horn shavings in the labelled jars in my basket.” Everypony present froze and stared at her with round slowly blinking eyes. “If that’s okay with you, that is,” she added with a nervous grin.
“Well...if that’s what you want,” said Fluttershy.
“It’s...an unusual request, but far be it from me to deny you something that I no longer have use for anyway,” replied Rarity.
“Zeese is a very strange thing to ask for, but ze customer is always right.” Lotus shrugged.
“Thank you so much!” Star Swirl grinned.
“And how has your week been Fluttershy?” asked Rarity. “You were helping Star Swirl and Rainbow Dash over in Cloudsdale, weren’t you? How did that go?”
“Oh...Well, it was a bit scary when she almost fell off the cloud, but otherwise it was nice.”
After their session at the spa, they followed through on their plans and headed to the library. “Good morning, Twilight,” Rarity said in greeting to her fellow unicorn as she walked through the door.
Twilight looked up from the sheets of parchment on her desk and the quill which had been dancing across the paper returned to the ink well. “Morning Rarity, Fluttershy and Star Swirl.”
“Good morning,” the Pegasus and earth pony agreed.
“What can I do for you?” Twilight asked as she walked over.
“Well Twilight, earlier today, Star Swirl informed us that your mother was a foal’s author,” explained Rarity.
“And so Fluttershy and I were wondering if we could try her books. This is a library after all, so we thought that we’d each take out a copy.”
Twilight’s eyes widened. “...Oh!” she hurried over to a shelf and began frantically searching lifting books with her telekinesis before putting them down again. “Spike! Where are Mom’s books!?”
“In your bedroom, where they always are!” came a reply from upstairs.
“No! Not my copies! The library’s!”
“What!?” came Spike’s voice again and he quickly hurried into view. “The library’s copies? Twilight, I’ve checked before. The library doesn’t have its own set.”
“Really?” asked Twilight. She turned back to her visitors. “Well, you can borrow my personal copies if you’d like.”
Rarity frowned. “Twilight, it’s silly for the library not to stock the books of a famous author who is also the mother of the librarian. Such books should be on proud display!”
“You’re right Rarity,” Twilight admitted. “I’ll order some. But before I do, I was just finishing up a report for Princess Celestia. Spike, seeing as you’re here now, you may as well send it straight away.”
Star Swirl frowned in confusion at that statement and watched as Twilight quickly signed the parchment she was working on and neatly packed the sheets together before rolling them into a scroll and floating it over to Spike. Spike then inhaled and blew a green flame over the scroll, burning it up as the flame swirled in a vortex before disappearing.
Star Swirl’s jaw dropped in horror. “Why did you just burn up Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic’s work!?” she cried. Spike turned towards her with a look of confusion on his face.
“Oh Star Swirl,” sighed Twilight, “Spike just sent the report to Princess Celestia.”
“Really!?” asked Star Swirl she slowly advanced towards Spike, lowering her head to his level. “I don’t really know much about dragons, fascinating as they are. I must admit that the flame didn’t behave according to my expectations. Green isn’t a typical flame colour after all. And I suppose the whirling vortex was due to the teleportation effect?”
“Um, yeah,” Spike said. “Princess Celestia taught me how to do it.”
“Really?” asked Star Swirl. “Fascinating. Do you think that you could teach me?”
“Well, you can’t magically produce fire, can you?”
“No.” Star Swirl’s ears drooped in disappointment. “I’m still interested though, could we still arrange for me to study your flame? A green teleporting flame is something that I’ve never come across before. It’s fascinating!”
“Well, I’m kind of busy with my chores right now.”
“I understand. I’ve got some other studies planned for today, myself. Maybe I could learn more about how you use magical fire some other time. Is that okay?”
“Thank you! I’d better head home to start my other studies. Goodbye.” She picked up her basket and left.
Star Swirl stared through her microscope and frowned. She lifted a hoof to a knob and twisted scowling in concentration to channel the gravity through her hoof enough to twist the knob. The focus improved as she intended, but using her hoof was still difficult. The only advantage it gave her at the moment was that it freed up her mouth. Still, she was happy to be improving her magical abilities. She concentrated once again on the sample she was examining before her eyes brightened. That was the last of her samples and she could now report her discoveries. She turned to her diary and lifted a quill with her mouth, beginning to write. She had already reported most of the day’s events including her interest in Spike’s abilities and intention to study him further. She quickly added her latest discovery. That while pegasus and unicorn hooves were structurally similar on a microscopic level, earth pony hooves were far more similar to a unicorn horn (or alicorn). Pleased with her discoveries, she packed up and lifted her basket, carrying it outside in preparation for her next task. She stared into the distance at the Everfree Forest and realised that she wasn’t actually sure where to go. Being an indoors pony from the city meant that she wasn’t really used to navigating through dense clumps of trees. She might be able to find what she was looking for after a while, but her psychologists wouldn’t approve of her taking such a risk. Admittedly, they may not have approved of her entering the forest at all but there was no need to be excessive when it was not called for. She shook her head. She knew the way from Sweet Apple Acres. While visiting the Apple family would use up some of her time, it would still be pleasant to see them again and doing so would prevent her from becoming lost. She trotted off in the direction of the farm.
“Hello, Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honesty!” Star Swirl said in greeting before wincing. If Fluttershy disliked being addressed that way so much, maybe there were others who felt the same way. She had to learn to address ponies in ways that they were comfortable with.
“Hey there, Star!” Applejack replied as she looked up from the soil that she was attending to. “What brings yah round tah these parts?”
“Well, I needed to...” began Star Swirl before her jaw dropped. Applejack had just lifted the watering can with her tail. “How did you do that!?”
“Move your tail like that!” cried Star Swirl. “There’s no muscular structure in your tail! It’s just hair! How do you move it like that?!”
“Ah this?” asked Applejack as she turned to look at her tail. “It’s nothin’. Really simple like. Remember Ah told yah that earth pony magic runs through our hooves an’ tail? Well, as the magic runs through our tail, yah can twist it an’ use it as easy as if yer tail was a leg or somethin’. Give it a try. It’s not really hard.”
Star Swirl concentrated on her tail. She could indeed feel the magic flowing through it. She tried to twist her tail and it responded! After a couple of twitches to get used to having an additional appendage, she lifted her tail and used it to adjust her hat. “Thank you! This will be really useful!”
“That’s all right. So yer parents never taught yah any o’ this stuff?”
“No. I don’t think they even know about it,” replied Star Swirl. “I’ll have to teach my father. But I don’t mind. I like teaching stuff. I even use to line up my dolls when I was younger and teach them about the workings of the Universe.” She smiled fondly at the memory.
“Ah was wonderin’ if maybe yer parents weren’t earth ponies. Mr. and Mrs. Cake are earth ponies, but their twins are a unicorn an’ a pegasus. Not easy fer ‘em tah parent ‘em.”
“Lucky foals,” muttered Star Swirl. Applejack pointedly raised an eyebrow as she glanced back at Star Swirl. “I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being an earth pony. It just gets so frustrating to me. It would be so much easier if I were a unicorn. And I know, nopony’s ever managed to switch before. They’ve all had these horrible accidents and then the newspapers remind us that we shouldn’t try to copy them because Princess Celestia doesn’t want anypony else to get hurt. But with my cutie mark, it makes it difficult for me to think that I should be an earth pony. For example, your talent is running an apple orchard, right?”
“Now, it wouldn’t be impossible to do that as a unicorn or Pegasus, but it would be more difficult. For you, your cutie mark fits your tribe, but for me...”
“Ah thought that yah didn’t know what yer cutie mark meant.”
“I don’t.” Star Swirl sighed. “But I feel like, even though it was wrong of me to decide that it must have to do with using magic, it’s still related. Is the fact that I’m disappointed that I’m not a great conjurer like my ancestor holding me back from acknowledging what my true talent is?”
“Only yah can answer that un, Star,” replied Applejack.
“You’re right.” Star Swirl smiled. “Thanks for the talk. I really appreciated it. But I don’t want to hold up your work anymore and I’ve still got some more plans for the day.” She lifted up her basket and headed off in the direction of Zecora’s hut.
Star Swirl dropped her basket in front of the patch of blue plants. She had to be very careful to avoid touching them. She lifted a jar and held it steady between her hooves as she unscrewed the cap with her lip before setting it aside. She then picked up a long pair of tweezers and gently used them to grab the stem below the nearest flower and pluck. She was about to place the flower into the jar when she heard a deep growl.
Star Swirl slowly lifted her head and dropped the tweezers at the sight in front of her. How did she miss the sound of a fully grown timberwolf sneaking up to her? Well, that had an obvious answer. She was too excited and distracted by the opportunity to study poison joke.
The wolf obviously knew about the dangers of the plant as it slowly circled around the patch. Star Swirl stared at it. It was a magnificent creature. The fine blurring of plant and animal. The mixture of tree and carnivore. Bark layered over the supple form of a sharp toothed predator. Its eyes gleamed as it starred at her. It was beautiful and she was glad that she had the opportunity to see something so majestic.
She wondered what being eaten would be like. It may have actually been worth it to become part of so great a magical creature. The wolf continued to approach and opened its jaw, drool dripping from its fangs. Suddenly, it snapped its jaws shut and began to slowly back away as it shivered in apparent fear.
“What do you think you’re doing, young cub?!” came a familiar voice. “You do not try to eat the ponies walking here! Is that clear!?” Star Swirl slowly turned around to meet the gaze of Fluttershy. And what a gaze it was! Fluttershy was flying above them, but staring intently at the wolf. Star Swirl recoiled from the glare.
She could feel the waves of disapproval emanating like some kind of gaze attack. Her mind was immediately filled with thoughts of how disappointed her parents would be at how she hadn’t prepared for danger, of how her psychologists would disapprove of her reckless behaviour and how she hadn’t attempted to escape, of how her new friends would be upset if she had so simply thrown away her life and how she should have ensured her safety for the benefit of future studies. It bordered on traumatising and it wasn’t even focused on her. The wolf scampered away, tail between its legs and Fluttershy turned to Star Swirl as she landed.
“It’s a good thing that I was here and it wasn’t part of a pack,” she said.
“...Yes,” agreed Star Swirl. She was still a little taken aback by the encounter. “How-how did you do that!?”
“Oh...um...well, that was...The Stare,” said Fluttershy as she blushed and turned away. “I don’t really like using it much...but sometimes...it...helps.”
“That was amazing!” cried Star Swirl. “It was clearly a magical ability. I could feel you projecting your disapproval through your eyes. Do you mind...teaching me?”
Fluttershy’s eyes darted about in concern. “I...don’t know about that. Maybe...if you come with me to my cottage, we can discuss it there. It’ll be safer.”
“All right. I’d be happy to visit your cottage.”
Fluttershy and Star Swirl sat at the table, drinking tea and discussing the day’s events. “Thank you again for saving me,” said Star Swirl.
“Oh...um...That’s all right.”
“But I’d really like to learn how to use The Stare from you.”
“Um...I don’t really...like using The Stare,” said Fluttershy as she turned, allowing her mane to cover her muzzle and an eye. “I only use it when one of my animal friends is...misbehaving...or in emergencies.”
“Well...I think that I got a pretty good idea of how it works. Maybe if you just gave me some pointers?”
“I don’t know if I’d be able to help you with that...”began Fluttershy before being interrupted by a white rabbit which bounced towards the table. He stretched his forelegs towards Star Swirl before making an exaggerated shrug.
“Oh, this is Star Swirl, Angel,” Fluttershy explained before turning back to Star Swirl.
“Star Swirl, this is Angel Bunny.” She once again turned towards the rabbit. “Star Swirl thinks that she can learn The Stare.”
Angel turned pointedly towards Star Swirl and raised an eyebrow as high as it could go as he slowly folded his forelegs.
“What? Don’t you think I can do it?” asked Star Swirl.
Angel rapidly shook his head.
“What if I prove it?”
Angel slowly unfolded his forelegs and pointed one towards Star Swirl before making a beckoning gesture.
“Oh Angel, are you sure that you want her to test it on you?” asked Fluttershy.
Angel nodded rapidly.
“All right, but please don’t hurt yourselves,” Fluttershy requested.
Star Swirl got up and walked over to Angel. “Okay. Look at this!” She leaned forward and scrunched her face into a frown as she glared at Angel.
Angel began to twitch. He lifted a paw to his mouth and his eyes began to water. He suddenly collapsed and began hitting the floor as he shook in silent laughter.
“That...wasn’t supposed to happen,” said Star Swirl.
Star Swirl sighed. “I was doing it wrong, wasn’t I?”
“Well...irritation isn’t really the...easiest way to activate the stare. And...to do it to just prove a point...isn’t going to work well either.”
“Right, disapproval. Of course.”
“And...it’s a...certain...um...type of disapproval. The type that...a mother would feel.”
“Right! Of course! Your kindness actually makes your stare more powerful! Naturally, I’m nowhere near as kind as you. But, I suppose that I can work on it. It’s a difficult ability to study or practice though.”
“Well...that was part of what I meant earlier.”
“I suppose so. I’m not going to just give up though. Well, thanks for everything anyway.”
After her visit with Fluttershy, Star Swirl trotted back towards her apartment, her basket hanging from her mouth. Her eyes scanned the crowds as she moved through the marketplace. Suddenly she froze. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Something that she thought was completely impossible was in front of her. Was she wrong about this? Apparently so, as her eyes focussed on the impossibility. An hourglass cutie mark on a brown earth stallion.
A/N: Okay, firstly to make this very clear, my version of Time Turner/Doctor Whooves is NOT meant to be THE Doctor. I haven’t even watched many episodes of Doctor Who yet myself (though I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far). While there will be minor references to more traditional interpretations of Doctor Whooves, this is meant to be a different character. He actually has more in common with the TARDIS than with The Doctor himself and even then, he is nowhere near as powerful. He was also born a completely ordinary pony. Gallopfree is a little village outside Trottingham. Not a different planet. He’s never been to space, has never owned a TARDIS, has one heart, can’t regenerate and has no experience with travelling around with humans. What he IS will be explained. Twilight Velvet is a toy pony who is generally considered to be the toy of Twilight’s mother, making them the same pony. Her card also indicates that she is an author. Also, Twilight being nobility makes much more sense than her not being nobility, so there we go. Also, Celestia ennobling for writing good children’s literature strikes me as the kind of thing she’d do, but I think that Twilight has older noble blood in her from other evidence. I consider The Stare to be a magical ability, but even if Star Swirl was using it correctly, which she wasn’t her ponyality isn’t as suited to it as Fluttershy’s is. I’m also considering putting up a blog post on some background information for those who are curious about, for instance, why Twilight’s mother’s last name is “Velvet” rather than “Sparkle”. As always, I welcome questions, comments, suggestions, etc. Only two chapters left. The climax and the denouement.
EDIT: Made some slight changes to a few scenes.
Because seriously, what else was I going to name this chapter? I said that I’d be making references to more traditional interpretations and that includes Doctor Who jokes. Also, there’s some minor shipping in this chapter. Apologies to those who don’t like it. However, it’s too convenient for me not to use. Also, the last chapter, as some of you may have noticed, was rushed and not up to standard, so I’ve made some slight extensions to it to make things more in character.
Study Six: The Doctor
Star Swirl blinked in astonishment as she stared at the stallion’s flank. She shook her head and raced over to him. “Excuse me. Do you mind if I talk to you over there?” she asked as she pointed to a secluded alley.
“I don’t suppose that there’s anything wrong with having a chat over there,” said the stallion as he allowed himself to be led towards the alley. “I’m perfectly fine with having chats. I rather enjoy them, though I must admit that this is a rather strange place to have one unless you’re trying to hide something but I don’t believe we’ve met at least I don’t think so, which would mean that a secret meeting would be unusual...”
“Um...Sorry to interrupt...and take you away from the marketplace...but I would like to introduce myself. I’m Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh.”
The stallion’s eyes widened and he grinned. “A Star Swirl! Fancy that! It’s not everyday you meet a Star Swirl! This is just brilliant!”
“You know what me being a Star Swirl means?” asked Star Swirl as she raised her eyebrows in shock.
“Of course! You’re a descendant of Star Swirl the Bearded! Brilliant chap!”
“You know Star Swirl the Bearded! Wow!”
“Of course I do. As I said, he was just brilliant!”
“Okay. So...my next question is...who are you?”
“Oh. I’m the Doctor.”
“Just the Doctor should be fine...”
“No! It’s not fine! I know lots of doctors! I gave you my full name! Why can’t you give me yours!?”
“Well, if you must know, my full name is Doctor Time Turner Hooves, though I’m sometimes affectionately referred to as ‘Doctor Whooves’, so you’re welcome to call me that if you want to.”
“...I’ll call you Doctor Time Turner Hooves,” replied Star Swirl. “So, what are you a doctor of anyway?”
“Temporal mechanics,” replied Doctor Whooves.
Star Swirl raised an eyebrow. “What does that involve?”
“A surprisingly large amount of running, among other things.”
“All right,” sighed Star Swirl. “Let me get to the point. I wanted to talk to you because I saw your cutie mark and back when I lived in Canterlot, I heard...rumours.”
“I suppose that it would make sense for you to hear certain rumours,” said Doctor Whooves. “Why don’t we get a bit further out of sight.” He led her further down the alley. “So what kind of rumours did you hear?”
“Well...I heard that the Canterlot Archives have a wing named after Star Swirl the Bearded where they keep his most secret and dangerous spells. And that this includes a branch of magic that he invented himself.”
“I heard that this branch of magic was time magic. And that after he invented time magic, it became possible for unicorns to develop a special talent for using time magic...and that their cutie mark would then be an hourglass.”
“You are brilliant. You know that? Because you are. Yes, you are.”
“I’ve...seen unicorns with hourglass cutie marks before...but this is the first time that I’ve seen one on a non-unicorn. So, I was wondering...If the rumours were true...how did you end up with a cutie mark for using time magic?”
“Because you assumed that only unicorns could get a cutie mark like that?”
“Normally that would be true, but due to the nature of how I earned my cutie mark, it doesn’t apply to me and neither does it apply to some of my former classmates, now my colleagues. So, you’d like to hear how I earned my cutie mark?”
“Well, I don’t know if you know this, but young unicorns occasionally have these magic surges.”
“I’ve read about them, yes.” Star Swirl nodded.
“Reading doesn’t prepare you, let me tell you that! I have two unicorn fillies and trust me, it’s a nightmare. Thankfully one’s a young adult now herself so I don’t have to worry about that happening to her anymore. Anyway, back when I was in school, my class was busy playing together outside when a friend and now colleague of mine, maybe you know her? She lives here in Ponyville and was one of the Princess’s bridesmaids.”
“Colgate Minuette?” asked Star Swirl as her eyes widened.
“That’s her. Brilliant mare that. She has this little trick of knowing exactly how long it’ll take her to perform any task or travel any distance, so she’s never late. Nor is she early. She arrives precisely when she means to. I tend to get too distracted to pull that off, even despite the fact that I always know down to the nanosecond what the time is. Anyway, she had a magic surge while we were playing. One thing you may not know is that the magic surge closest to when a unicorn earns their cutie mark tends to be the most extreme and tends to relate to their special talent and let me tell you that a large scale surge of time magic is not a pleasant thing to deal with. The class was scattered around time and Equestria. Now, we are trained to deal with situations like that, but it can take a while for retrieval to collect everypony.”
“You’re trained?” asked Star Swirl.
“Of course. We may have day jobs, but we aren’t going to allow a pony who can travel though time to do as they please before teaching them how to control their powers and offering them a chance to work for the government. That’s how Princess Cadance knew Colgate after all. Anyway, before we were picked up, some of us had some interesting adventures and decided that we liked time travel. I myself ended up in Appleloosa just before the buffalo attack. We enjoyed it so much, that some of us, even some non-unicorns, ended up with hourglass cutie marks. Then our natural pegasus and earth pony magic adapted itself to perform similar functions to time spells. I’m pretty good at it. My unusual way of using time magic has made me the best in Celestia’s service. Still, even those who didn’t end up earning their cutie marks there were still affected. My wife was actually the closest to the surge, and since being thrown into the future of Ponyville to witness the beginning of a Cutie Pox outbreak, one of her eyes always sees the world as it was 18.3598672 seconds earlier. Messed up her coordination a bit and she usually has to point the eye elsewhere for most tasks.”
“So...what you’re saying is that a cutie mark can give abilities beyond what the pony would normally be capable of?” asked Star Swirl as she glanced nervously at her flank.
Doctor Whooves frowned. “Why do you ask?”
“I was wondering if I’d be able to use unicorn spells if I’d earned my cutie mark in uniocrn magic.
Doctor Whooves frowned as he quickly looked at her flank. “But you didn’t earn a cutie mark for that.”
“Yes. Deep down I know that even if I’m not yet sure what it does mean.” Star Swirl lowered her head.
“But you’d be able to work out what it meant if you were to truly think about it.”
“I...suppose so...but...Hey! You can travel through time, right!?” Star Swirl eagerly raised her head and widened her eyes.
“Yes, I can.”
“Can you take others with you?”
“I actually prefer to have companions on my journeys, so that’s a yes.”
“Well, I’d like to see Star Swirl the Bearded because I have the same cutie mark as him!”
“I know that you have the same cutie mark as him.”
“I’ve seen him before.”
“Well, I have to meet him! Even though I could work out the true meaning of my cutie mark eventually, I want to meet him anyway! He’s my role model!”
“Are you sure?” asked Doctor Whooves.
“Then wait here.” He began walking forward and glowing before fading away. Star Swirl stared at the last point she saw him with widened eyes and a slack jaw. Suddenly, he was by her side again, this time wearing a cloak. He threw another one over her. “Dress warmly. You’ll need it where we’re going.” He gently placed a hoof against her barrel and pushed. Everything disappeared in a whirl of blue.
When Star Swirl could see again, she found herself in a stone room. She was also freezing. She lifted her head to look around. Doctor Whooves had turned blue and was dimly glowing. She looked back at her hooves to discover that the same was true of herself. In the corner of the room, somepony in a brown cloak was sitting at a desk, reading and writing. Star Swirl got to her feet just as the door to the room flung open.
“Claver se Apert! Wher aren thou? Ik ofgangan eouwer hineheden!” cried a unicorn wearing a long cloak and a crown as she barged in. “Ik aren chald an baudy! Bayne me an conveyen me! Ik wuschen arecchen thou!”
“She’s speaking Classical Equestrian!” gasped Star Swirl.
“Uh uh!” said Doctor Whooves. “It was called Unicornian at this time.”
“Ik honouren your wuschens, Aldera,” said the brown cloaked pony as she got up from her desk and quickly levitated over a bucket which she filled with water.
“But I don’t understand what they’re saying!”
“Oh!” said Doctor Whooves. “Of course! Easily solved though.” He tapped her once again with his hoof and a ringing filed her ears before clearing again. “Now you’ll hear them in the closest equivalent modern language.”
The bucket of water landed in front of the crowned unicorn and the cloaked one began to concentrate as the water started to bubble and steam. The crowned unicorn dipped a hoof into the water.
“This is acceptable. I’ll discuss the matters at hoof while you attend to me, Clover.”
“Yes, Princess,” replied Clover before the Princess’s cloak floated away and Clover began scrubbing the royal fur.
“They’re Clover the Clever and Princess Platinum!” Star Swirl gasped.
“Once again, you are brilliant,” said Doctor Whooves.
“The earth ponies and pegasi refused to cooperate with me, so I have made alternate arrangements.”
“Did you try being polite like I suggested, Princess?” asked Clover.
“My other advisors said that we needed to show those uncivilised brutes their place,” replied Platinum as she lifted her muzzle.
“Your Highness,” Clover said, “I requested permission to accompany you because I felt that I would be able to help negotiate a diplomatic solution.”
“And while I missed having you with me, I agreed with Father that you were more needed here, searching for a solution to all this cold. However, the good news is that I spoke to him on my way here and he agrees that you should accompany me on my next mission!”
“And what mission is that, Princess?”
“Our mission to discover a new land for the unicorns to settle, of course!”
Clover gasped. “You’re planning mass emigration, Princess?!”
“It’s certainly better than waiting here!”
“But finding a new land capable of supporting us will be very difficult, Princess,” Clover protested. “Where will we find a land with enough food to feed us all? We can’t grow it ourselves!”
“There must be a fitting land out there somewhere,” replied Platinum as she dismissively waved a hoof. “I’ll find it soon enough. Now, I need you to start organising the expedition. I’ve already discussed it with Father. It’s been decided that we can only afford an expedition size of twenty.”
“Twenty!?” Clover gasped. “That’s it!? Your Highness, is such a small size even safe?!”
“We’ll be fine,” said Platinum dismissively. “We’ll include a large number of guards. In addition to being my personal assistant, you shall be the scholar and head mage.”
“Me, Princess!?” asked Clover as she pointed to herself with a hoof. “Don’t you think that it would be better if somepony more qualified...”
“No!” growled Platinum. “We don’t have the space. Nor do we have the resources to support a middle-aged academic travelling through poor weather! We know that he’s asked to be let out, but Father and I agree that he needs to stay in the library where he is safe and actually doing something useful! You are welcome to speak to Star Swirl the Bearded about this, but he is not leaving his library until we fetch him and bring him along with the rest of the Unicorn Kingdom to the new land!”
“May I speak to him now, Princess?” asked Clover as she lowered her head.
“Isn’t he teaching a class at the moment?”
“He is, but I can wait for it to end.”
“Then you may go as soon as I’m dressed again.”
“So, can’t we interact with them?” asked Star Swirl.
“Not using this particular type of magic. Watch,” Doctor Whooves replied before walking right up to Platinum. “You know, you’re so thick! You’re Miss Thick Thickety Thickface from Thicktown, Thickania. And so’s your dad. See, nothing here.” He pressed a hoof through Platinum’s head which passed right through. Star Swirl facehooved at the blatant disrespect to a former government leader.
Clover quickly dried and dressed her Princess before opening the door and walking into a passageway.
“I think that we’ll want to follow her,” said Doctor Whooves as he led Star Swirl into the passageway.
They followed Clover through the passages. As they passed shivering, malnourished unicorns, Doctor Whooves would mutter, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
They eventually arrived at a door. The door swung open with the power of Clover’s magic to reveal a room full of bookshelves. She slowly walked in as Star Swirl and Doctor Whooves followed. A voice filled the air. “And so, due to the roundness of the planet...”
Star Swirl turned to face the voice and gasped. There, standing with his large eyebrows raised at the sudden intrusion was Star Swirl the bearded. He was wearing his usual outfit, but his beard had not yet turned grey. It was still the same pinkish purple of his modern descendant’s mane. He was standing in front of a small group of foals and pointing his hoof at a diagram of the solar system. “...Um...right, because of the roundness of the planet, it is always sunrise somewhere and sunset somewhere else and we unicorns are responsible for maintaining daylight at the right times for the entire planet. But we still need to sleep, which is why we charge our telekinesis with extra magic to allow for long term periods of rotation. This is why the whole planet is dependent on us unicorns. Any questions?”
“Why do we need to move the moon?” asked one foal.
“Well, that is because the moon is important for the tides, which I’ll be teaching you about tomorrow,” replied his teacher. “And I believe that that’s all we have time for today. It seems that another student of mine wishes to speak to me.” The foals packed up and left the library as their teacher approached Clover. “It’s so annoying having to insert so much propaganda into my lessons, but I can’t really afford to give the king and his advisors reason to restrict my freedom any more than they already have,” the stallion sighed. “But what brings you here, Clover? I thought that you’d still be attending to Princess Platinum. Your next lesson isn’t supposed to be until this evening. Unless the Princess wants another schedule change?”
“No, it’s not that, Master. Did you hear about how the negotiations with the earth ponies and pegasi failed?”
“I suspected as much,” replied Star Swirl with a roll of his eyes. “But they of course want us here. Partially because I’m too ‘valuable to risk’ and partially because they don’t like the fact that I’m actually interested in non-unicorns. If only they knew that a large number of the spells that I invented were based on the magic of other species. The opportunity to study the pegasi and earth ponies would provide a great leap in my research, but instead, I’m stuck here where I’m ‘safe’.”
“I’m sorry, Master,” replied Clover. “But I have more bad news. Princess Platinum is organising an expedition to find a new land for us to settle. And she says that you can’t come.”
“She says that they don’t have enough space. The expedition will only be twenty ponies.”
“Twenty!? May as well be two. This has disaster written all over it. Though I have to admit that the Princess is probably right about me not being the best choice. I’m not as fit as I used to be. And while my magic is diverse, you know that it isn’t particularly powerful. I’m a teacher, not a warrior. The foals need me.”
“But I need you too!” cried Clover. “I’m supposed to go on this mission as well! Without you! The Princess wants me to be the expedition mage! I’m not ready for that! Especially if it means that I can’t learn from you while I’m gone!”
Star Swirl looked down at her and smiled. “Clover, I am an excellent magic teacher, if I do say so myself. After all, my special talent is to understand and explain magic.”
“Of course!” gasped his descendant.
“When, King Silver asked me to send my best student to be his daughter’s personal assistant, I chose you because that is what you were and still are,” her ancestor continued in oblivion. “You also were able to grasp some of my teachings that few other unicorns have. The ones on how we are dependent on the other tribes. I have moulded you from a talented filly, to a brilliant mage beyond even my own son. There’s a reason they call you ‘the Clever’. Trust your mentor when he tells you that you are wrong about this, for you are ready for something like this. Just remember what I taught you. With you in a position of authority, this mission actually has a decent chance of success.”
“Thank you, Master,” said Clover as she raised her head and smiled as tears filled her eyes. “I’ll miss you.”
“And I’ll miss you. So hurry back when you find this place. Also because I’m bored and hungry. Did I tell you how they gave me a plum for one of my rations!?”
“Yes, Master. You did.”
“Plums! I hate plums! They get their juice all over my lovely books! If we do end up moving, I’m going to cast a spell on my new library that makes it impossible to bring plums into it!”
“This chap hates plums as much as I hate pears,” said Doctor Whooves. “Or apples. Apples are rubbish. This filly once forced me to buy an apple. Luckily the rest of my family eats them.”
“Are you insulting the fruit grown by Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honesty?” growled Star Swirl.
Doctor Whooves was spared from answering however as the past Star Swirl continued, “Well, I’m sure that you have a lot of preparation to do and a lot more goodbyes. We can have a better, happier one, closer to the time. My son will want one as well. He’ll also miss you a lot.”
“Star will miss me?” asked Clover. “I thought that he was jealous of me for beating him in every test you gave us.”
Her teacher laughed. “That isn’t what he feels any more. Now get to it. Your homework is to enjoy the rest of your time at the Unicorn Kingdom.”
“Thank you, Master.” Clover left the room and Star Swirl returned to his books.
“Wait!” cried the modern Star Swirl. “Time magic is an entire branch according to the rumours, so this can’t be the only time spell, right?”
“Yes. There are many others, but I felt that this would be the most applicable to the situation,” replied Doctor Whooves.
“I want to talk to him!” she cried. “Can you do that?”
“There’s a spell that will allow that, but you won’t be able to change anything, it’ll only last a few moments and you’ll become immune to any future castings.”
“Use it! Please!”
“Fine.” He tapped his hoof against her and instantly disappeared along with her blue glow, which was replaced with a much brighter white one which blasted wind and sparks into the library before vanishing again. She looked like her normal self again.
“What are you doing in my library!? How did you get here!?” asked Star Swirl the Bearded as he stared at her with wide eyes. His horn began to glow and her body was covered in the same aura. “Interesting.”
“I’m from the future! I’m your descendant!” she cried.
“An earth pony?! My descendant?! I see that you do have my cutie mark and my mane colour. And I’ve never felt magic like this before!”
“Please, I wanted to talk to you.”
“Oh, that’ll be a great idea. To hear all about the future. But this magic is fascinating. I can sense how space-time is completely distorted around you. Now, applying the concept that space-time acts as a stretchable, four-dimensional membrane, this means that magic can be used to stretch space-time in a way to connect unrelated points within the space-time membrane.”
“Yes, I did notice that when it was used on me...”
“So, you aren’t the caster?!”
“Well, no. It was used on me. It is completely out of my ability. Time magic is the special talent of the one who brought me here...”
“Time magic?! So a whole field then!? Yes! I can see how various applications of the distortions could be formed using slight variations in the magic. And this could be used to find various ways of overcoming paradox. Is this the only time spell that you’ve experienced?”
“No, it’s the second...”
“Confirmation that multiple spells are involved! Excellent! This will be great for my research! Finally! Something new to occupy myself with! So, did the same pony cast both spells upon you?”
“Well, it was his magic both times, but...” She poofed and suddenly, she was once again glowing blue and a laughing Doctor Whooves was visible and audible.
“I’m sorry!” he laughed as the older Star Swirl glanced around in confusion. “I’m so, so sorry! But this is just like what happened when Twilight experimented with time and she had me laughing as well! She tries to warn her past self of something and never gets the words out! Not to mention that this spell causes a time-loop and like all time magic, can’t change the past. Still, it appears that I have you to thank for inspiring Star Swirl the Bearded to invent time spells.”
“I can never talk to him again, right?”
“No. We can’t always get what we want. For example, I want a ginger mane, but its current dark colour doesn’t work well with dye.Though sometimes what we can get is surprising. For example, I accidently caused my wife to miss her Best Young Fliers contest, but I was able to arrange for a colleague to take her to the future to enter a different one.”
Star Swirl smiled. “It was enough. I’ve spoken to him and finally know what my cutie mark means. I can return to modern Ponyville now. I know what I need to do.”
Doctor Whooves smiled and tapped her with his hoof once again.
A/N: My Middle English is probably awful, but I tried. Here’s what they’re supposed to be saying:
“Clover the Clever! Where are you? I require your services! I am cold and dirty! Bathe me and accompany me! I wish to speak to you!”
“I honour your wishes, Princess.”
Star Swirl’s hatred of plums comes from the excellent fic, Words Failed Her. King Silver seems to be a popular name for Platinum’s father and I like it. So, Star Swirl’s talent is finally revealed to those who hadn’t worked it out, though as others have said before, she’d have worked it out eventually herself. How easy this would have been will be apparent next chapter. Which brings me to my next point. Next chapter is the last of this fic. I’ll put up a blog post about my plans for future fics as well as background to this one though.
A/N: So, we come to the final chapter. I hope that you all enjoyed it and are satisfied with the conclusion. I also hope that I’ve increased Star Swirl’s popularity a bit and that I’ll be seeing more of her in future fanworks. I know that this chapter is technically much shorter than Equestria Daily guidelines allow, but it’s the final chapter. What am I supposed to do? Also, if you enjoyed this fic, look forward to my future fics.
Study Seven: Star Swirl
“Come in,” the doctor said as she opened the door.
Star Swirl bounced in with a huge grin and her eyes shone with glee. “Hi, Doctor Drop!”
Dr. Drop blinked. “Did...you just refer to me without using my full name?”
“Yes I did. That’s okay, right? I thought that you might prefer it. But if you don’t, I’ll go back to calling you Doctor Tear Drop. But I’ve realised that I already made it clear that I know that you are different from any other hypothetical Doctor Drop.”
“No, that’s actually good news, Star Swirl,” said Doctor Drop with cautious optimism, “I also, see that you seem happier than usual. I’d go so far to say that you’re...sparkling.”
“Sparkling?” asked Star Swirl with a raised eyebrow before returning to her grin. “I like that! I think that from now on, I’ll always sparkle! Just like Twilight Sparkle! She’s so awesome! Which makes sense for the bearer of the Element of Magic.”
“So, I take it that you had a good week?”
“You have no idea!”
“Would you...like to share it with me?”
“I don’t think that I should tell you everything, but I finally discovered the meaning of my cutie mark!” She rolled her eyes. “So obvious now, but I was just too stubborn to acknowledge what, deep down, I instinctively knew.”
“I’m glad that you’ve made such a breakthrough Star Swirl,” Doctor Drop smiled. “It does tend to be such internal conflicts which cause problems like that. Now you can begin to move past that.”
“Oh, I am!” replied Star Swirl. She plopped herself onto the couch. “But after I discovered the meaning of my cutie mark, I was so annoyed! Why couldn’t I have figured that out for myself!?”
“Don’t you think that you would have managed to figure it out eventually?”
“Well, I do. I was getting pretty close, but with hindsight it seems so obvious! I should have known the instant that I earned my cutie mark in the first place! In fact, deep down I did know! I just...”
“Didn’t want to acknowledge it?”
“That is typical of these cases, Star Swirl. You don’t have to feel angry with yourself over that.”
“But why would I refuse to acknowledge something that would make me happy?”
“Maybe because it would mean acknowledging that it wasn’t what you’d hoped it was?”
“That’s the conclusion that I came to. That and the fact that I was so excited by the idea of being like my ancestor, I didn’t think to question it until recently. I was so enamoured by the idea of being a great mage like Star Swirl the Bearded, that I didn’t think that maybe that wasn’t what my talent was meant for. But why did it take me so long to realise that?”
“You were blinded by your admiration for your ancestor and your desire to be like him. That’s something that you’ve only recently been able to move past. While there was nothing wrong with admiring your ancestor, it is only recently that you’ve begun to accept that maybe you weren’t meant to be exactly like him.”
“Yes, I realised that as well. But unfortunately, only then. It’s a good thing that you sent me to Ponyville, because my new friends who I made over there have allowed me to make a lot of progress. If it wasn’t for them, it probably would have taken me even longer with how stubborn I was being. That’s why, after I realised all of that, I rushed over to Golden Oaks Library to tell Twilight all about it. I was so excited! And after I told her...”
“So, it sounds like you’ve learned an important lesson,” said Twilight.
“Well, did you hear about how ever since I moved to Ponyville, I’ve been studying the magic of friendship?”
“Yes, I heard about that, Twilight.” Star Swirl nodded.
Twilight blinked at the informal address. “Wow...you really have changed!”
“I still think that your title should be acknowledged,” Star Swirl explained, “but I’ve already done so myself and you claimed to prefer this. I’m not going to confuse you with another Twilight.”
“Thank you. You’re right about me preferring it. But anyway, I thought that I may be able to use your experiences as part of my studies.”
“Really!? You want to use my experience as a data point!?” Star Swirl grinned and leaned forward.
“Yes. And did you know that as part of my studies, I write to Princess Celestia about what I’ve learned?”
“No,” Star Swirl gasped as she shook her head. “I mean, I suppose that it makes sense that you are in communication with your supervisor, but wow! To exchange letters with Princess Celestia is pretty amazing! Why, where are you going with this?!”
“Well, not only do I do so, but Princess Celestia also asked some of my friends, specifically Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Rainbow, Rarity and Spike to write to her as well. And Applebloom and Sweetie Belle have also written such letters to her before. So, I was wondering if you’d like to be the one who writes to Princess Celestia about this.”
“So you wrote to Princess Celestia about your experiences?” asked Doctor Drop.
“Absolutely! I’m happy to tell others about my story! Which is why I made copies of the letter.” She pulled a scroll out of her bag. “Go ahead and read it! I want others to learn from it! Which is great as Twilight’s publishing it as part of her studies.”
Doctor Drop levitated the letter over and read:
Dear Princess Celestia,
Twilight is letting me write to you because I have learned an important lesson. I once asked you to turn me into a unicorn, because at the time, I believed that that was the only way to fulfil my destiny as promised to me by my cutie mark. However, you told me that I was perfectly capable of doing so as an earth pony. I now see that you were right.
When I earned my cutie mark, I was excited not just because I had earned it, but because it was the same cutie mark as my ancestor and role model’s. Rather than stop and think about what I’d done to earn it, which would have allowed me to easily realise its meaning, I simply celebrated that I had something else in common with him. That in itself wasn’t a bad thing, but I chose to continue ignoring the evidence for what my true talent was and simply decided to try and make myself more like him. While there was nothing wrong with me having a role model and admiring him, I forgot that there is nothing wrong with the fact that I’m different from him, and that even though we had the same talent, that didn’t mean that we had to use it in the same way or that there is only one right way to use it. For example, Rarity Belle, Bearer of the Element of Generosity has a talent for finding and creating beauty, and she has decided to use that talent to make outfits. She could have used it in a different way, but that is the way that works for her and the way she uses her talent is at least as much a part of who she is as the talent itself.
Since moving to Ponyville, a village that I’ve come to love and intend to make my permanent home, I have made new, wonderful friends who have taught me so much, and one of the things that they’ve helped me to discover is my true talent. The one that I would have easily discovered myself from simple introspection were it not for my stubbornness and determination to be something that I’m not. I saw Star Swirl the Bearded as a mighty, powerful, mage, and I became enthralled by that image, wanting to fit it, while completely ignoring the fact that the image was not of who I was meant to be, and that being something else was okay and would actually make me happy. I’m so grateful to my new friends for breaking through my stubbornness and helping me realise that.
Star Swirl the Bearded used his talent for understanding and explaining magic to invent new spells and mentor younger unicorns, but just because I have the same talent, doesn’t mean that I should follow the same path. No. I shall apply my talent by continuing to learn about all types of magic, and I’ll compile my discoveries by writing them into a guide, so that everypony can learn all about magic. And making those discoveries and ensuring that they will be preserved and learned about by future generations will not only make me happy, but I believe that Star Swirl the Bearded would have been proud of me using my talents in such a way as well.
Your Loyal Subject,
Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh
PS. One day, when I finally have a foal of my own, I’m going to name them...anything but Star Swirl. Seriously, I’m not putting somepony else through the stress of feeling like they have to live up to that.
A/N: I debated about having Twilight write the letter, but eventually decided that Star herself was most appropriate. I also hope that the letter was done properly as even the show sometimes handles the moral a bit messily, and I REALLY don’t want to have messed that up. I was also wondering if I should have Star Swirl earn a title in the fic, but really, she’s just starting. She has time. I got the idea for the PS from Wolfwood2 from RPG.net. I also recently heard that Lauren Faust intended for Scootaloo to be a handicapped pegasus who was never meant to fly and would eventually have an episode where she learned that even though she admired Rainbow Dash, she wasn’t meant to become a stunt flyer like her and had to instead accept her true talent involving her scooter. As someone who had a disabled mother, I approve of the idea and I also feel a bit of vindication as this fic has a very similar message. Finally, my next ponyfic is on the way. I was going to call it Many-Trick-Pony until I was informed that it could be read as a euphemism for a prostitute. So right now, it’s untitled. Stay tuned though.
EDIT: Many-Trick-Pony is up and this fic is now the first in a series. The second is up and is called More than Forty Blinks.