The steady 'clop-clop-clop' of Princess Celestia's hooves could be heard in the throne room as she paced back and forth, her brow furrowed and her head angled down towards the ground, her legs almost at a trot. She was lost in thought, and it took a moment for her sister to snap her out of it, by finally standing in front of her repetitive path and cutting her off.
"Sister, please! You've not said a word since your student-" she tried to say to Celestia, but the slightly taller and still somewhat older-looking Princess gazed at her sister, looked her right in the eyes. Luna was taken aback at the actual worry she saw....the genuine expression of concern that Luna could only recall seeing in the eyes of expectant Fathers waiting for their foals to be born, or a doting Mother repeatedly asking 'where is she?!' when her foal has gone missing. It tore at her deeply, to see her sister, the Sun Goddess, in such distress. Her tone became less frantic, but no less concerned as they continued to look each other in the eyes. "Sister, what....what happened in there?"
Celestia thought about what she should, what she could tell Luna, she could keep up this look of regal professionalism and regain her composure, but....this was Twilight! Or was it? This wasn't the Twilight she knew. "She....she cursed at me. She screamed for me to get out, and Spike already looked unnerved when I went in there. She has NEVER...." Celestia tried to say, closing her eyes and clenching her teeth in a pained expression. "All I did was go in to see how her studies were coming along, and the moment I mentioned the exams that were coming up, she just froze, and....she looked so exhausted and worn down, and her eyes were bloodshot. I should've asked how she was doing first, why didn't I?"
Luna was taken aback by the reaction. She had heard the language, heard the shouting from down the hall. Nopony would ever, SHOULD ever, get away with talking to one of the Princesses the way Twilight did! But here Celestia was, blaming herself. They were both sensible, and intelligent, she knew there was more to this than just some hurt feelings. "Celestia....talk to me. I'm your sister, you know you can always open up to me."
Celestia gazed at her sister, slowly stepping over towards their twin thrones, only differentiated by the colors both of the seats were made from, with Luna's being the darker, more violet-colored hue. With the return of much of her sister's strength came Luna's body returning to the way it was meant to look, not the small, almost foal-like shape she was in when the Elements of Harmony had purified her. No, now she looked regal, with poise, confident and strong like her sister, her wings large and her head held high. The only reason the two were so easy to tell apart was the obvious fur color differences, and their manes. Where Celestia's flowed straight and in a pastel rainbow color at all times, Luna's was dark, black as the void that she painted with her stars and lit up with her beautiful moon, her mane constantly flowing as if a mass of cloud being pushed around by an unseen wind, with shimmering images of star patterns appearing and disappearing in dim flickers constantly, making her mane seem to sparkle of its own accord.
"I don't think she's handling her courses very well, sister," Celestia said, her head hanging lower where she sat, her eyes shut. "Not in the slightest."
"Well that shouldn't be such a problem....just remove her from classes for a while. She IS your-" Luna began to say, but Celestia cut her off. "She refuses. Every time, she's refused. Every time I've offered to help, she keeps pushing me away, and her mood keeps becoming worse and worse. She's not taking care of her mane, I can tell she's not sleeping well enough, she's probably not eating right, and...." she said, her words slowly cutting off, as if she had more to say, but she felt there was no need to. She stared at the ground as Luna took to her throne next to Celestia, both of them sitting together so they could speak with less volume. "What should I do, Luna? I can't comfort her, she just keeps getting more and more edgy and....stressed out. Oh by the Creators, stressed out....!" she said, her head lifting suddenly and her eyes going wide. The moment she realized it, that was when she started to become aware of a change in the magical patterns of energy near Twilight's room within the castle....she bolted from her seat. "Celestia! Wait!!" Luna called out, the commotion causing several guards that saw the Princess running as fast as she could to follow suit, most of them barely keeping up with the two Alicorns.
'I should have seen it sooner,' Celestia thought to herself. 'I should have recognized the signs! I should have made her stop!!' she chastised herself, clenching her teeth and picking up the pace, cursing silently at the fact that the halls were too narrow for her to spread her wings and rocket herself to her destination. Her student had been a ticking time bomb this entire time, and she had just lit the fuse not minutes ago!
Spike tried his best to keep his distance from his 'boss', Twilight's lack of sleep making her grumpy usually, yes, especially now that they were back in Canterlot doing what she used to do best: out-study and out-smart everyone else in her class. Now, though....now, she was different. She wasn't Twilight. Every second that passed she seemed to be dwelling on something other than the book, and it was showing in the scowl on her face. Then there were the things, the words muttered under her breath as she paced the room, book glowing with a more and more intense amount of magical energy the more upset she seemed to get.
Soon she just screamed in an indescribable frustration and threw the book in Spike's direction, making him drop several others he was carrying over to her that she'd outright ordered the 'annoying purple midget' to get for her. She'd been like this for several days, and he was hoping that at the sight of Celestia coming in to check on her, Twilight would at least calm down some, maybe be reassured about the upcoming exams, but....well, he'd never expected to see a young Unicorn like Twilight get angry enough at a single question to make Princess Celestia shrivel in her presence and back out of the room, with Twilight in her face all the way until she could slam the door and get the Princess out of her disheveled mane. "Everyone, irritating! Everything in this damn place, it ticks me off!" she grumbled, growing louder with every few words, her voice elevating until finally her horn glowed and an entire stack of books went flying across the room. "Get out!" she shouted, suddenly turning her head to look in the thoroughly terrified little purple dragon's direction. "GET OUT!!!" she screamed at him, and he barely managed to open the door and rush his way out into the hallway before several more books flew in his direction, thudding and skidding across the polished marble floor.
Her entire body was shaking, and even she could tell something was wrong. She was smart, she was intelligent enough to know that things had gone too far, but she was quickly losing her own coherence. "Wh-what's wrong with me....why am I here?! WHY AM I HERE?!?!" she shouted to no one, her horn lighting up in a powerful blaze of lavender magic, several books being ripped from their shelves with enough force to send paper scattering through the air, torn out of their binding by a young, stressed, infuriated, and thoroughly broken young mare. "This damn castle, all of these Goddess-forsaken classes!" she screamed, her anger only continuing to get worse, and her magic more and more intense, the hinges on her door creaking under the building maelstrom of air pressure in the room.
Celestia could feel it, and Luna could now too. That much power wasn't natural, that wasn't born from simply knowing how to control magic. That was power born from pouring your very essence into it, and they could feel the anger emanating from it, pulsating in steady waves of increasing ferocity. "No....!" Celestia said with a certain amount of dismay as the door suddenly ripped off of its frame and was tossed across the hallway, only to smash and splinter against a stone pillar. Wind whipped up in the hallway anywhere close to Twilight's room, the circulating air holding a harsh magical aura that could only be felt, not seen, and Spike had already found himself hiding behind several of the guards....who were equally as hesitant to go anywhere near that room. A horrible, furious scream wailed through the wind rushing out of the room, and something could be heard smashing against one of the walls inside.
"Guards! I want everyone near this room vacated at once! No one is to come inside or disturb us!" Celestia commanded, and they quickly obeyed. They may have been afraid, but at least two of them ran past the doorway to get to the other side of the hallway, and start getting confused, and even scared unicorns out of their rooms and far, far away from what one could only define as a whirlwind of hate. Spike had remained, in disbelief that this was coming from Twilight, and because he was torn: leave her like this, or stay for when the Princess eventually managed to fix whatever was wrong....right? 'The Princess can fix this, right?!' he suddenly found himself wondering, his claws fidgeting against one another in his own grip on himself, just watching from a safe distance while Celestia began to approach ground zero. Luna was suddenly standing next to her, and she gave her dark-furred sister a stern shove. "Don't interfere! This is my fault, and I'm going to fix it."
Twilight could hear a voice. A familiar voice, through all of her screaming, everything that she'd ever felt that she never let go, so many things, so many memories that she thought she'd forgotten had come bubbling to the surface like a furious volcano of emotion just waiting to erupt, and her current state was the result. She was angry, but she was equally scared, mainly of herself. She felt weak, helpless, barely aware of the damage and carnage she was causing around her, her eyes glowing white with magic-addled tears running down her cheeks and dissipating into the whirlwind of air before they could ever reach her chin. Even as her magic raged out of control, her bed tossed against one wall and almost completely upside-doown, the room torn apart and in shambles with papers flying everywhere, she herself had collapsed in a heap on the ground and began sobbing uncontrollably. She hated everything right now. Nothing else mattered except everything she hated. There was nothing good, only bad. These feelings, these thoughts continued to consume her and make her condition worse and worse, her chin hitting the ground while her forelegs came up and planted her hooves over her face. She muttered something to herself in-between her crying, but when she heard that voice call out her name again, her anger suddenly had her upright and turning to face her, glowing eyes focusing on the Alicorn standing in the doorway as if she were ready to commit any crime imaginable to make her suffer and pay for intruding upon her right now.
"Twilight, please, let me talk to you!" Celestia tried to call out to her over the roar of the wind and the flapping paper that threatened to start leaving paper cuts, but for the most part her fur and mane stayed in teh way enough to stop that from ever being an issue. "YOU!!" Twilight hissed out through her teeth, loud enough to be heard plenty clearly by the Princess. Suddenly, she felt that maelstrom coming under control, and she knew she, the Goddess of the Sun, was in a very bad position right now.
"You're the reason I'm here!" she shouted, accentuating the last word with a book that came around within the swirling wind and bashed Celestia in the side of her head. She grunted and stumbled sideways, barely keeping her balance from the surprise impact, but then another hit her, and another, the wind constantly swirling and changing directions now, like a vicious invisible serpent, bludgeoning her with whatever it could ensnare in its violent grasp. "I came here because YOU wanted me to do this!" she continued on, a table coming at her from above next, which she side-stepped and tried to move in closer to Twilight after, only to be met face-to-face with one of the legs that had been snapped off of it. She felt and heard a heavy, nasty-sounding 'thr-KRACK!' when the heaviest end of it impacted the side of her face, and she cried out in pain while blood shot out from a suddenly busted-open part of the inside of her lip, cut open by flesh being slammed and ground against the edge of one of her teeth. The leg of the table itself had hit her so hard under Twilight's infuriated magical strength that it had cracked in half, falling to the floor nearby just as she hit the ground as well.
Luna had looked inside just as she'd seen her sister struck down by a surprise blow to the head, she could see the blood that had shot out of her mouth when her head had twisted almost limply to the left from the impact, taken completely by surprise. This was like dealing with something both tangible and intangible, its reach and where it was going to attack from unidentifiable until it was almost too late. Twilight didn't even seem to be aware of the dark-furred Alicorn Princess rushing to her sister's aid, but Celestia was. As she tried to get upright again, another book nailed her across the other side of her face, and then a table smashed itself across Celestia's side. Despite the pain and the injuries she'd sustained, easily having a broken rib from that last strike, she called out to Luna. "DON'T YOU DARE STOP HER!" Celestia screamed over the howling air all around them.
Luna wasn't sure what to do. Should she attack Twilight, and try to knock her out? No, her sister wouldn't allow it, she'd do everything in her power to stop that from happening. The only other option was to assist her injured sister. "Let me help you get close to her!" Luna cried out, Twilight having backed herself into a corner, huddling up away from the two of them, just glaring at Celestia with those glowing, white eyes. Those menacing, hate-filled, unbelievably powerful magical eyes. Celestia knew she couldn't make it on her own, Twilight wouldn't let her, she was lost to her own fury, her magic having taken over, and when it would stop, who knew? She couldn't afford to wait this out, this wasn't something that should have to be waited out. "Alright!" she called out to Luna, and stumbled to her feet only to get yet another book slammed against her skull, almost impaling the book on her horn, but it was just to the left. Luna ran over to her and quickly began to act as her sister's shield, not questioning why her sister didn't do this herself, though if she had, she probably would have figured out exactly what was happening here.
Twilight Sparkle, one of the most intelligent and skilled Unicorns in Celestia's entire school, her prodigy, was having a nervous breakdown and collapsing under the pressure.
Twilight was having an infuriatingly hard time hitting her now, that unseen shield from Luna blocking her from all sides. "STAY AWAY FROM ME!!" she screamed, a snake of random objects making a trail and trying to slam down on Celestia's back, but none of them made contact, only being repelled away. The injured Alicorn limped over towards her student, slowly but surely, looking her in the eyes. She could see her lips moving sometimes between her screams, but she couldn't hear what she was saying, but it was something she was saying over and over and over in-between her bursts of fury. "I came here to make YOU PROUD OF ME!"
Finally, she was too close for Twilight to possibly stop her now, and Twilight curled up almost fetally, glaring at her. "Don't touch me! Get away from me! Just leave me alone....!" she desperately pleaded in an aggravated tone, the winds slowly beginning to die down as Twilight's reserves began to dwindle. Her anger never subsided though, her eyes slowly beginning to return to normal as she stared into Celestia's eyes, those understanding, always compassionate....but at the moment pained and sorrowful eyes. She felt the Sun Alicorn's forelegs slowly wrap around her neck, the larger Goddess's body gently nestling in next to and against Twilight's own....and the anger simply gave way to the tears. "Why? Why did you bring me back here....?" she asked, as if pleading for an answer, any answer, that could make everything she was feeling right now go away. Her mind felt burnt out, and her body exhausted, her magic utterly drained. Twilight's entire body was trembling, and Celestia's heart shattered as she both felt and heard her student fall apart in a crenscendo of wailing cries and sobs. All of the tattered book covers and papers, random destroyed parts of things that used to be cabinets, tables, and parts of Twilight's bed, all of it fell to the ground all around them as her magic gave out.
Celestia felt herself beginning to tremble as well, she didn't need to cry or shed tears to feel her student's pain. It was too much. She knew it was too much the moment she could finally hear what her student had been uttering to herself throughout the entire ordeal.
"Please....! Just let me go home....!"
With a shaky breath, both from the pain in her side and from she herself being on the verge of tears upon realizing the horrible mistake she'd completely missed this past year and a half, she turned her head to speak to Luna, just holding her student close to her, not daring to move from that spot, nestled against her comfortingly on the ground. "Sister....please. Arrange for a transport to Ponyville, and send a messenger pegasus, the fastest one we have....tell him to contact the other Elements of Harmony, and have them go to the Ponyvi-....Twilight's Library."
Luna lowered her head a distance away from the two of them, just watching the scene that had unfolded before her. She could only feel a fraction of the pain that those two were going through, but it was enough for her to respect her sister's wishes instead of demanding that the doctor take a look at Celestia first, after the things she'd been hit with. As Luna left, Spike felt it safe enough to step inside, tentatively stepping towards the two that were nestled against each other against a far wall, him stepping over tattered remains of many of Twilight's favorite books, pages from a multitude of them. Somehow, the very sight of it was ghastly to him, to see Twilight so willingly rip apart one of her favorite things in the world. "Princess? Is she....?"
Celestia looked up from gently nuzzling Twilight's shaking form to try and comfort her through her cries, speaking softly, and with a cracked voice. It could barely be seen, but she was crying as well, a few tears trickling down otherwise pristine cheeks of white fur, tainted by bruises and small bits of blood in certain places. Yet, she would not heal herself, despite having all the power she could possibly need to do so. "Spike....I will understand if you want to stay here, after what you've just witnessed....you don't have to go back with her," Celestia said, and Spike blinked a few times. "Go back....to Ponyville?" he guessed, and Celestia just nodded, looking down at her trembling student, whose sobbing had given way to bleary, wide eyes. Twilight was in shock at what she'd just done, and a flurry of emotions in her were still swirling about, like a washing machine tossing her emotional insides about and making sure everything mixed together in a horrifying mess. Her mind was muddled and she couldn't think. She couldn't recall yesterday. She could remember most everything, but she couldn't recall yesterday. Why? What was wrong with her?
"Pr-Princess....?" she said, her voice shaky and broken, her looking up at her with those wide-terrified eyes. "I'm....I'm sorry...." she barely managed to squeak out to her, and Celestia just lowered her head and gently nuzzled her student, those forelegs still wrapped around her. In that moment, Spike had made up his mind. "Sorry Princess, but Twilight's my boss....she'll have to do worse than this to make me stay away," he said, hoping that would at least, somehow, lift the lavender unicorn's spirits....but she didn't even acknowledge him. Celestia just nodded to Spike once, and then turned her gaze to Twilight, shaking her head. "No, I'm sorry, my faithful student....I'm sorry for not seeing my mistake fast enough."
"I'm sorry for ever asking you to leave behind everything else you cared about."