Luna's education progressed rapidly with the discovery of the true nature of the machinery that seemed to grow everywhere, and of her shiny. Her search for another terminal led her into what she soon discovered to be, or to have been, a cleanroom. Complex machines, the purposes of which she could only begin to fathom, surrounded the little alicorn as she trotted through the large room. Her head swayed back and forth as she tried to take in all the sights and she paused occasionally to tap a surface with a hoof, curious at the varieties of sounds she could produce, or sniff at a particularly complex looking bundle of wiring, as if to determine by smell its purpose.
It was an odd habit, she mused to herself. Sniffing things. She knew intellectually that nothing so complicated as this would give up its secrets to her sense of smell. Yet this always seemed to be her first act when she encountered something unknown. It made her wonder again about what exactly she was. She had instincts like this, instincts that just didn't quite seem to make sense, like they had been bred in a different world than the one she had found herself in.
That line of thought brought her right back to her original purpose. She pulled herself away from a fascinating array of tiny mirrors to look around the room again. Celestia. She had to find out more about this "Celestia" that one of the messages had mentioned. They had called Celestia a pony. Luna looked sort of like a pony. It was a tenuous link, but it was the best link that she had right now.
A screen in the back of the room caught Luna's attention. She broke into a canter in her excitement, crossing the distance in an instant, and her horn began to glow. With a surge of magic she coaxed the machine into a semblance of life, hooves already reaching up to her neck to lift her shiny. But to her disappointment, the lights on the computer went out as quickly as they had appeared, and the device emitted a soft hiss, a cloud of smoke, and a sense of finality. She leaned forward instinctively and sniffed the smoke.
Acrid. Sour. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. Sniffing things was definitely a habit she would have to break, if she was going to find smells like that. She gave the computer a sullen, slightly accusatory look. Another surge of her magic failed to produce any useful result, so she decided that there was no further purpose in investigating this particular machine. And with that thought, the ever-practical filly turned away and resumed her search.
The first rays of the sun stole into Celestia's bedroom through its great east-facing window. They crept slowly throughout the room, illuminating the white walls and ceiling and the red plush carpeting, spreading outward as they traveled. Soon they reached the queen herself, laying on the white sheets of her alicorn-sized bed. They played across the sleeping sovereign's coat, wrapping her gently in their warm embrace, making the golden sun emblazoned on her flank seem to glow in the morning light.
Celestia rolled onto her back, cracking an eye open to greet her old friend with a smile. Her hooves stuck up into the air in what was most definitely not a queenly manner, kicking slightly as she wriggled in the feeling of its pure, clean warmth. This was the best part of the morning, she thought to herself. Just her and the sun. A sun that would never have to feel the clumsy touch of humankind. A sun that would never harm her world, her human family, or any of her little ponies. She basked in what was, for all intents and purposes, a perfect moment.
Sadly, the perfect moment was just that. A moment. Celestia rolled off her bed and onto her hooves quickly as reality returned, her activity that night passing in quick review past her waking mind as she lifted her brush from its place on her dresser. Animal activity was regulated in the Canterlot area. Weather would be clear that day, the crops were watered well enough. No major natural disasters needed to be averted. The moon's orbit was... close enough for now. She hated leaving things half finished, but she was already pressed for time, and she had needed the rest of the night for her new project.
There were an uncountable number of worlds out there. Quite literally, in all of her knowledge, she couldn't find a concise way to describe how many of them there were. Doctor Morrison's lessons on the many worlds interpretation rang in her head. Every possibility, every waveform collapse (or decoherence, he would correct her), everything that could have happened but didn't, every single one of these had created its own world in which to exist. To travel between them would require an act, conveniently enough, of magic. Which she had in abundance. No, the most difficult part would not be getting back, it would be finding where exactly back was.
She had thought that there would be some connection still between the old world and this one, some trace of her magic lingering in the place between places, but she had felt none. If it had once been there, it had long since faded away. Her initial hope had faded early in the night as her search had devolved before her eyes into a grand cosmic game of hot and cold. She would know immediately if she found it, she knew that much. The matter of her being simply wouldn't tolerate existing in a place where it already existed elsewhere, so other than here, the old world would be the only universe she could truly exist in without the constant use of magic.
Celestia shook herself. Continuing the search would have to wait until tonight. It would be time to open her court soon, and that meant that Michael would be here looking for her if she didn't get ready to go. She finished brushing out her mane and tossed her head, sending the pastel tresses floating into the air. There they hovered, suspended by the energy of the magic field that radiated off her body. An odd effect, but one that she had decided suited her quite well. With a final glance into her full-length mirror, she turned and trotted toward her bedroom door to start her day.
Perhaps, she thought, if she got her duties finished early, she could spare some of the day to continue her search.