“Hey Twi, have you read the newspaper today?” Twilight Sparkle’s dragon assistant asked.
“No, I haven’t. Is there anything new?” Twilight asked, silently hoping for a science column.
“I don’t think there is anything new, but it’s really odd.” Spike said, giving the grey paper a quick look over.
“What could be so odd? Ponyville is pretty much the most bizarre town in Equestria spike.”
A slight chuckle escaped the lavender unicorn’s lips. Twilight used to live a quiet life, as quiet as one could be, studying under the tutelage of the Equestrian sun goddess, Princess Celestia herself. After the fateful encounter with Nightmare Moon, she decided to stay here, in Ponyville, with her newfound friends. Day after day, month after month, new adventures of happiness and struggle would make themselves found to the trio of friends. Be it the god of chaos, a parasprite storm, or an attack on Canterlot, they always pulled through and saved the day. Nothing could tear apart their now everlasting bonds.
Picking up the grey pages with her magic, twilight read the newspaper title:
‘Old unicorn mare found dead on the edges of the Everfree forest.’
Giving the passage a quick skim, she saw that the cause of death was old age, and that dried tears littered the old mare’s face. The mare herself could not be identified, but would be given a proper burial later this week. A slight frown spread across the face of the studious unicorn, her day glooming at the sight of the story.
Spike, seeing her obvious distress, quickly addressed her. “Hey Twilight? Don’t be sad, the old mare probably had a good life. I know something that will cheer you up.” Twilight, swiveling her head, looked to the dragon assistant. She saw that the little guy had begun setting up a book fort big enough for her. “Do you remember these? You used to love them as a filly!” A smile once again danced on the lavender mare’s face, before assisting Spike in the construction of the fabled book fort, completely forgetting anything about the article. Both of them continued to play, minutes merged into hours, as book fort launched various attacks at pillow fort. At the end of the day, both of them were exhausted, deciding to cuddle up against each other for a good night’s rest.
The smell of eggs, pancakes, and toast filled the library as Spike set to work fixing up breakfast. Twilight still slept on top of the book fort, long since fallen apart, oblivious to the prodding of the book’s edges. What woke her up was the soft smell of food waiting for her. Fluttering her eyes open, she saw the pile of books around her. Deciding to give her number one assistant the day off today, she quickly arranged the books back onto their respective shelves. One book in particular caught her attention. ‘An egghead’s guide to time-travel.’ She had been dying to learn more about time travel after her previous encounter with it. She quickly placed the book off to the side, resuming her work.
Spike, hearing noises coming from the living room, called out to Twilight about breakfast being ready. Having finished the job of re-organizing the books, she set off to the kitchen. Once she got there, she was gladly greeted by mountains of pancakes, golden eggs, and perfect toast. Realizing neither of them ate yesterday after their playing, her stomach was growing louder by the second, her mouth practically drooling. Spike himself settled on a plate of emeralds, with diamonds as dessert.
“Dig in. I realized that we did not get to eat dinner last night, so I made a little more than normal.” Spike said, while chewing emeralds.
“Spike! What did I say about talking when your mouth is full?” Twilight said with a stern, yet playful tone.
“Sorry.” Spike once again said with his mouth full. The unicorn glared at him, before laughing.
“Oh Spike, what would I do without you.” She playfully nuzzled him.
“Your food is getting cold.” He duly pointed out. She gave the dragon a soft smile, before beginning to eat.
So much food, not enough time.
After the enormous breakfast, the two quickly retired to do as they please. Twilight told spike that he had the day off, to which he responded by speeding off to the home of Rarity. Twilight herself decided to finally read that book. Picking it up off of the small stool she placed it on earlier, she headed up to her room.
After finding a cozy spot to lie in, she quickly pulled up the book and began to read. What surprised her was that this book had the same time travel spells as the one in the Canterlot archives. After facehooving, she began to read even more. More surprise came to her as she saw experimental spells, ones that would grant a user an undefined amount of time in an era of their choosing. Excitement filled her eyes, widening them as a filly would eye a gigantic lollypop. How had she not seen this here before? The scientific side quickly began to take mental notes, ignoring a foreboding feeling deep within her. This was a goldmine to a scientist; she could go back and spend a day with star swirl himself! The inner filly inside twilight bounced around.
Quickly looking over the objects necessary, she set about preparing the spell. At first glance, it looks complex, but to a studious unicorn, such as Twilight, all that was needed to pull of the spell was raw magical power.
Once all objects needed to perform the spell were set, she quickly started to channel energy, her horn shining multiple shades of red through purple. The foreboding feeling inside her grew more, expanding to occupy her entire body. The studious mare decided that the spell and research was more important than odd feelings of dread that filled her body.
The magical energy in her horn was putting pressure, and creating a soft, but noticeable, heat that emanated from the horn. Nearing the final stages of the spell, she grew a smirk. This was easier than she thought! She fired off the spell, making sure to focus it on herself. The familiar feeling of teleportation made itself known. She looked around her, instead of instantly appearing at her destination with normal teleports, this one seemed to take longer. After a few minutes, she came to the conclusion that this was probably a side effect to the experimental spell. She closed her eyes, and let herself be caried by the winds of magic.
After a few boring hours, she could finally see something else other than the colorful and pulsating cylinder of magic she inhabited. Reinvigorated, she prepared for the medieval times and snow of star swirl's era. A blinding flash of light happened unexpectedly, forcing her to rub her eyes once she was out. Her hooves felt as though they were on extremely dry and cracking dirt. Once she regained her vision, she excitedly looked around.
Her face slowly falling as she took in the scenery, or rather the lack of it. All around her, instead of the lush trees and grass she expected, was Barren wasteland. A few blotches of what appeared to be cubes made out of stone stood in the distance. She had no choice where to go. Another feature that intrigued her was that the sky was a never-ending twilight. Shades of blue danced around the wasteland. Looking up for the guidance of the stars, she instead saw gloomy clouds of black. Feeling overly depressed, Twilight continued onward to the smooth stone cubes in the distance.
As she got closer to the massive behemoths of stone, details slowly appeared. Cracks danced across the stone, and odd remains of beings lay around the stone structure. Twilight looked around the monolith of stone, hoping to find an entrance. With her luck, she found a hole on the opposite side of the structure. It would be a tight fit, but she could get in.
She squeezed and squirmed her way in, only to be met with darkness. Not panicking, she set to work casting a low-level light spell. Realizing that it did not cast, she tried harder. Still nothing, she began to panic. Reaching out to the leylines of the planet, she felt nothing. Leylines were essential for the survival of a race, it inhabited the planet itself. It manifested from the races that used it, mainly ponies. Equis was full to the brim with magical leylines. Should this planet be Equis, hopefully not, then anything living here was now long dead. Another realization hit her. If she could not use magic, then her special talent, the thing that made Twilight her, was now useless. Silent sobs began, only to intensify from our purple little unicorn. The one thing she had worked upon her entire life was now void. Sobs intensified even more, as the wasteland did nothing but listen.
Twilight awoke to the feeling of emptiness, hunger and thirst. She shuffled around, only to feel light objects move around her. Lifting her tear-stained face up to see, she could barely make out the same skeletons from outside, only smaller. Futilely trying her hoof at magic once again, she stumbled in the darkness, trying to find something to help her. To her surprise, she found a button. It was either button pressing, or starvation. Twilight decided it could not get any worse than this. She pressed the button, only for the room to become a blinding white again.
"Main systems booting... booting successful. Energy levels at 96 percent, back-up generators at 100 percent. Estimating time till depletion, 112 years." A robotic voice said. Twilight, still recovering from the array of blinding light, only yelped in surprise as she heard a voice.
"Sound input detected. Scanning target." At that point, she felt a slight tingly sensation all across her body, from her hooves up.
"Scan complete. Species recognized. Equus Caballus, a pony. Gender is female, and has developed multiple mutations that allow sentient thought and voicing." No longer frightened by the mysterious voice, Twilight looked up to the now illuminated room. She could now see the detail of the skeletons. Most of them were small, and curled up. Some were hugging each other. Others just sat, alone.
"Hello?" She asked the voice, not expecting a response.
"Hello, welcome to refuge number 1823. I am your A.I. Syphis, ready to assist." Twilight, her face showing confusion, opened her mouth, only to be cut off again from the machine. "An A.I. stands for artificial intelligence. We are programmed to help and serve our inhabitants. No, we cannot read minds; we simply choose the best and most logical response." Syphis said in a monotone voice.
As Twilight was about to say another thing, her loud stomach growl cut her off. The machine quickly swirled around, gears and cogs turning deep inside.
"Ponies eat grass and a variety of herbs. Enjoy." Syphis said, before dumping a plate of grass in front of Twilight. She looked down at the plate before her.
"Could I please have some water?" She strained to ask, a dry throat rendering her unable to speak well. Another round of cogs and gears turning, and a small cup of water appeared, which was greedily swallowed by the mare.
"Food storage low, enabling rations to ensure survivability." Syphis said. "Please sleep, so energy is not spent as much."
"I'm sorry, but I can't do that. I need to find a way back." Twilight said, to which the ai responded.
"We will assist whichever way we can." The machine said.
"Thanks for the help." Twilight responded.
Days turned into months, months turned into years. Syphis made sure to make the food for Twilight last, even if that meant she would not eat some days. Time churned on, making Twilight change into an older mare by the second. She had long since resigned the fact that she would never see her friends again. Another couple of years went by, making twilight learn about technology, rendering her cutie mark useless, as it slowly disappeared.
At the age of 133, she was now an old mare, having had only a few years to know how to live, before it was all taken away from her. She was now proficient in quantum theory, and many other advanced fields of science. By now, she had spent most of her life gathering parts for her blueprint, a plan to get her back to Equestria.
"Syphis, statistics." Twilight said, voice now of an old mare. Her coat had lost its luscious sheen and turned a sickly grey. Her eyes were now empty, no life in them. They just seemed to stare off into the distance.
"Power at zero percent, generators at 60 percent. Loss of power imminent in the next 6 months." Twilight's eyes showed nothing, before deciding it would be time to go back.
"Syphis, it has been a good run, but could you direct your remaining power to the teleporter?" She asked, also having developed the same monotone voice as the ai.
"Anything, it has been a good run Twilight Sparkle. I wish you the best of luck." Syphis said, before everything went dark. She knew her way around the structure by heart now, her limbs no longer as flexible as before. She had a hard time climbing and walking, taking a painfully slow time. As she turned the corner, she saw her contraption, the object she spent so much time making.
"Goodbye, Syphis." She let out a small tear, as she headed to the portal. No sound came from it, but an invisible wind bristled from it. She threw one last look at the facilities behind her, as she stepped through
Another waiting of time as she passed through had occurred. She patiently waited for the cylinder to end. Few more hours passed by, and the tunnel of colors ceased to exist. She felt her magic return to her, felt energetic, and most of all, she felt happy. She knew her time was short, minutes at best, as she looked upon the sky. Her eyes shed tears of joy as she saw the full beauty of the sky above her. Thousands of colors danced across her field of view. What caught her attention was a bright glowing, a star being born. Its bright blue light shone above the cosmos. She could feel her life beginning to drain, but she was happy. She saw the night sky one more time in all its glory.
“Hey Twi, have you read the newspaper today?”