Author's Note: This is my first (published) fanfic. I have a couple others in the works, but I got an idea for this and wanted to write it before I forgot.
Edits done 4/5/13 My writing has improved a lot in a year, so I thought I'd improve upon my opening fic. No changes to the storyline though! Just some rewording here and there.
Once Twilight had an idea stuck in her head, she had to look into it. She HAD to find out everything she could find out about it. This particular idea had really piqued her interest. And curiosity had gotten the better of her. It was something Princess Celestia had said. She wasn't really even talking about the particular subject, it was just something she said in passing. Something Twilight took out of context. Maybe Twilight just misunderstood those few words anyway, but it was too late now, she had to find out.
After a few days of tireless research in her own library, she found nothing, and gave up. That is, until Spike mentioned the library in Canterlot. How could she have forgotten?! The Royal Canterlot library was a lot bigger, and much, much older. Certainly she could some information there! She didn't want the princess to know she would be coming to Canterlot, simply because the subject she would be researching might not be something Celestia would approve of. Twilight booked a hotel room, and bought a train ticket.
She wanted one of her friends to come with her, but they were all busy. It was the middle of apple-bucking season, "Sorry, Twi… I'm a might busy right nao." Rarity had to fill a large order for some famous pony "Oh dear, I'm already running behind schedule. Couldn't you find somepony else to go with you?" Fluttershy had a cottage full of baby bunnies to look after "Oh… um… I'm sorry Twilight, but I just have sooo many baby bunnies to take care of right now… you understand don't you?" Pinkie Pie was more than happy to go with Twilight "OH! That sounds like fun Twilight! We could have a party! Maybe Princess Celestia will let us use the castle ballroom again!" But then Mr. and Mrs. Cake butted in and reminded Pinkie that she had to foalsit Pound and Pumpkin. Rainbow Dash supposedly had some weather jobs to do, but she wasn't thoroughly convincing "Yea… sorry Twilight, I have to um… clear the clouds! Yea!" She wanted Spike to come with, but someone had to watch the library while she was gone...
So after Twilight checked into the hotel, she went straight to the library. She spent the rest of the day in the Starswirl the Bearded wing. It was already dark, but she was still skimming through a pile of ancient books and scrolls by candlelight. She had already unearthed a few bits and pieces of information, but not a whole lot that she didn't know already. A tiny pile of books and scrolls lay next to a shelf behind Twilight, the pitiful size of the stack was a measurement of the pertinent information in them.
The purple unicorn was exhausted and sleepy by now, and was becoming frustrated from having found so little knowledge, despite having skimmed through a hundred books by now. After another few books with nothing useful in them, Twilight's face was flush with anger. She grit her teeth. She couldn't take it any longer. Needing to vent her frustration she broke loose, and bucked the side of the bookshelf directly behind her, as hard as she could. The large shelf was ancient, but still constructed of sturdy old oak. It creaked and groaned as it absorbed the impact. A few tomes fell over sideways on the shelves, and it sounded like one might have fallen to the floor.
Twilight immediately regretted doing that, but she didn't feel particularly guilty, as if she thought the shelf deserved her wrath for offering so little knowledge. She walked around it to straighten up the books that had fallen over and pick up that one she heard fall on the floor. Strange, she didn't see any books on the floor… Walking completely around the shelf once more to double check, she still found nothing. She was certain she heard it, but it was dark and her eyes were tired, and the light spell glowing from her horn was somehow darker than she would care to admit. She opted to levitate her reading candle over to her and walked around once more, the candle hovering only inches from the cold stone floor. This time she spotted what had fallen, but it was not a book. Instead, it was a piece of wood, a small plank that covered the very bottom part of the shelf, that had been jarred loose. She levitated it back into its place, and hoped it would just stand there by itself, but it fell over again. Twilight gave a tired, irritated grunt. She was ready to give up for the night and just go back to her cozy hotel room where she could just pass out on the hard mattress.
But alas, the last thing she wanted was to leave any part of the library, especially the Starswirl section, damaged by her hooves. Twilight knelt down to get a better look at the stubborn plank of wood and the niche into which it refused to stay. She knelt even further and brought the candle closer. And then… she saw it. There it was, the unmistakable silhouette of a rolled up scroll sitting under the shelf. Hidden in the darkness for ages, if the pile of cobwebs encasing it were any indication. She jolted up and trotted around the room quickly, making sure there was nopony else present. This was a huge discovery! She had found something lost to time itself! In the Starswirl the Bearded wing!
Twilight walked back to the hidden bundle of knowledge. She carefully levitated it out, and despite the valiant efforts of the cobwebs, her purple magic pried it from its rightful place. She peeked under the shelf once more to be sure there was nothing else interesting under there. There wasn't. Walking very slowly and carefully (as if her walking pace might disturb the scroll suspended in the air by magic) she walked over to the desk she had been working at. Using both forelegs, she wiped all the books off the desk, just letting them crash onto the floor. She then delicately placed the scroll onto the desk, then went back and got the candle from by the bookshelf.
Twilight stared at the scroll for a minute or so, wondering in giddy anticipation what it might be. Somepony went out of their way to make sure nopony found this, but there it was, staring her in the giddy wide-eyed face. When she finally decided to unroll it, she realized that the seal on it was no ordinary seal. It was a magic seal. One that might have foiled anypony else, but not her! Oh no, she knew too much about magic, it is her special talent after all. She tried a few simple spells, to no avail. Then even a few more complex ones, but again she failed. But wait, she remembered something! She skimmed over something about magic scroll seals earlier that day! She dug through the pile of books she had looked through already, and luckily one title stuck out: 'Advanced Security Spells.' Twilight flipped through the pages faster than ever.
"AH HA!" She shouted ecstatically, pointing a hoof at the page as if she caught the tome red-hooved in a crime she suspected it guilty of. She read for a moment, then let the book fall out of her magical grasp and onto the floor. She trotted back to the scroll and zapped it with a burst of magic. Opening her eyes again, her smile fell to a disappointed frown. "WHAT?!" The seal was still there. Then, just as Twilight was about to buck something else, the deceptively normal-looking blotch of red wax disintegrated into dust and fell off the scroll. She breathed a heavy sigh of relief and smiled meekly at the scroll.
She checked her surroundings once more, somehow afraid she was being watched. It almost felt wrong, disturbing this thing that was obviously hidden for a reason. Yet she also felt this giddiness at discovering something once lost to time. Using magic, she very carefully unrolled the scroll. There was no title written on it, so she just started reading. After a few lines it became apparent that this was not what she was looking for. It was better. Way better. From what she read so far, it seemed that this scroll was written by the one and only Starswirl the Bearded himself, who was practically Twilight's idol. And the subject of the scroll? The spells and techniques necessary to control the sun and the moon. Twilight read the whole scroll, committing as much to memory as she could. When she finished reading, she sat back and reflected on what she just read.
Apparently, only alicorns were supposed to be able to control the sun and moon (or an army of unicorn mages) and even then, the magic required took a lot of skill. And, knowledge of the spells were a closely guarded royal secret, passed down through the generations, only to the ones who would be responsible for controlling the heavenly bodies. But somehow Starswirl found the secret spells, and even figured out the additional workarounds for a single unicorn to perform said spells.
This was an amazing find. Should she take the scroll? Should she put it back? Why couldn't she have her cake and eat it too? She would copy it. Looking around frantically, she quickly discovered that she had used all the blank parchment in this room for notes. It was getting really late, she wanted to hurry up and get back to the hotel for a good night's sleep, the last thing she wanted to do was to throw off here schedule. She dug through the pile of already-read scrolls and found a dusty old piece of parchment with only a little writing on it, something about the solution to some complicated and ridiculous spell Starswirl never figured out, and it had a completely blank back. Twilight scrambled back to the desk and got a quill and ink ready. She wrote as fast as she could. As soon as her pen left the paper, she rolled up both scrolls, put the copy in her saddlebags, and stuck the original back under the shelf, not even bothering with a seal. Instead, she put the wood plank back and used a quick and dirty spell to keep it locked in place.
Feeling exhausted, but still excited over this amazing discovery, she decided she would come back tomorrow and clean up this mess. Twilight left the library and trotted off through the dimly lit nighttime streets of Canterlot to the hotel.
The next morning, Twilight got up and left the hotel. She found a nice little restaurant to eat some breakfast. A few grass pancakes later and she started making her way towards the library. She began cleaning up the mess of books she had already read through, reshelving them in order as any good librarian would. After she finished up, she took a break and walked out onto a balcony to get some fresh air. Staring off into the morning sky, she couldn't help but wonder…
'What if I did it?'
This thought lingered far too long in her head, and developed too well. Just like the idea that brought her here in the first place. She idly looked around and spotted a nice crisp shadow on the balcony under her hooves, left there by part of the roof. Twilight sighed and rested her chin on the railing.
'What if I just moved the sun a teeny little bit? Nopony would notice…'
In her contemplation of the idea, a little Discord stood on the railing on one side of her face and a little Fluttershy stood on the other. Each of them nagged her with their opinions on the matter.
"Go on, DO it… you know you want to…" Little Discord chuckled.
"No! No! Don't do it! The princess will be so mad at you if she finds out…" Little Fluttershy softly begged.
"Oh but she'll never find out if you only move the sun a tiny little bit!" Discord dismissed with a wave of his paw.
"…But, but… what if she does…?"
"She won't my dear! How could she possibly know?!"
"It's her sun, I think she would know…"
"Don't be ridiculous! Do it Twilight! Prove that you're the best at magic!"
"No, don't! You're already the best Twilight, you don't need to prove anything to anypony…"
Little Discord shot Little Fluttershy a dirty look then walked along the railing, climbing up and over Twilight's snout as she followed him with her eyes, and over to Fluttershy. He tapped the top of her head with a clawed finger. Little Fluttershy turned gray. "Do it! Show us you can!" Discord said.
Little Fluttershy flew up and looked Twilight straight in the eyes, "Pfft, I bet you CAN'T do it!"
Little Discord chuckled an evil laugh.
"Yes I can!" Twilight insisted. The figments of her imagination poofed out of existence. Twilight looked at the sun (well, as close to looking at it as she could get without hurting her eyes) and she fired up her horn. She remembered all the directions from the ancient scroll, and an aura of purple magic grew from her horn. She grit her teeth and squinted her eyes in concentration. The scroll was lacking in details though, so she had to improvise, she would slowly apply the spells, carefully controlling the amount of power she was putting into it. This way, once the sun started to move, she could just let it move the shadow on the balcony an inch or two, then stop.
Twilight was stuck in magical concentration for a good two minutes, constantly eyeballing the shadow on the balcony, which had not moved yet. Her head was spinning from magical exertion already, but she persisted. Slowly she applied more power, until at long last, she saw a noticeable movement in the shadow. Seeing this she got excited and started to stop applying magic. And then, all of a sudden, the shadow moved again… a lot this time. Too much, too fast, oh no. She tried to kill the magic as fast as she could, but in less than a second, the shadow swept across the entire balcony. Once the purple light from her magic was gone, Twilight looked up in shock and awe. Her jaw dropped, mouth agape. Her eyes were wide in terror. Her left lower eyelid twitched uncontrollably. The sky was completely black, save for the night stars. The moon was missing as well.
The large ornate double doors were kicked open with a powerful burst of golden magic. Startled awake, the inky blue alicorn princess of the night looked around her bed chambers to see her sister at the door with a really nasty look on her face. Luna sat up in her bed, scooting up so her back was pressing against the headboard, as her sister approached angrily. Fearing the worst, Luna panicked and shouted at her sister, "NO! NOT THE MOON! DON'T SEND ME BACK!!!"
Celestia ignored her pleas and leaned in closer to Luna's face. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, LITTLE SISTER?!"
"NOTHING! WE SWEAR, WE DID NOT DO IT!"
"Then tell me… why it's night so early!" With this, Celestia used a burst of magic to yank open the heavy velvet curtains on all the windows in the room.
Luna shot a quick glance at the darkness outside, then back to her raging sister. "We did not… do it?"
Seeing truth in her little sister's teary eyes, Celestia backed off, turned around and walked quickly out of the room, closing the doors behind her. She could apologize to her little sister later.
Luna sat in her bed, clutching her blankets, quivering in fear.
"I want reports from every town in Equestria. On my desk. NOW!" Celestia barked at her advisors, who quickly ran away to go to their work. She was not one to yell, so her advisors and the royal guards were shaking in fear. "Guards! Go check the sculpture garden and make sure Discord is still there!" They all skipped the traditional bowing and just ran for it.
Celestia trotted quickly to her office chambers. She burst open the door with magic and levitated a quill, ink pot, and parchment to her. She scribbled a letter and used magic to send it off somewhere in a burst of smoke.
Spike burped up a scroll in a burst of green flame. He opened it and read it.
I may need you and your friends to wield the elements of harmony again. Please get ready to leave for Canterlot.
Spike thought aloud "Gee, the Princess is usually more formal with her letters, this must be important! But what should I tell her?" He pondered for a moment then fetched his writing supplies. He wrote a letter back.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Twilight is not here right now, she went to Canterlot yesterday to do some research at the library.
He rolled up the parchment and blew it on its way in a wisp of green flame.
Back at the castle, Celestia received the letter. She hurriedly unrolled it and read it.
'If Twilight is in Canterlot, why wouldn't she have told me?'
Just then a few royal guards ran into the office and one of them proclaimed "The statue of Discord is still in place, your highness!"
Celestia nodded and waved a hoof at the guards to leave. She went back to thinking, but before she could get very far, some of her advisors came in with papers in their mouths. They spat them out on Celestia's desk. "Reports, your highness!" Again, she nodded and signaled for them to leave. She looked at the reports. Ponyville: nothing special. Fillydelphia: nothing special. Cloudsdale: running low on rainbows. Baltimare: nothing special. Los Pegasus: proud to report a 1% decrease in crime rates. Celestia stamped a hoof on her desk. It wasn't Discord and all the cities so far were reporting nothing unusual, other than the sun missing. And she didn't want to raise the sun again until she determined who or what caused it to move in the first place.
A few minutes passed by and more reports came in, with nothing out of the ordinary being reported. All hooves seemed to point to Twilight. But how could she have performed the spell? It took years for Celestia to learn to do it, and decades for her to be any good at it. But she was in the library, without telling Celestia, so she was probably researching something… forbidden. Celestia got up and flew out through an open window.
Twilight lay on the balcony, panting and sweating. She had been trying to raise the sun for half an hour now, to no avail. After she caught her breath, she got up and, as nonchalantly as she could, left the library. The ponies in town were all acting a little strange. But considering the sun had been blotted out in the middle of the morning, they were taking it quite well. Twilight hurried to her hotel, and quickly locked herself in her room.
She collapsed on the bed with a sigh. She curled up into a ball and starting stroking her frizzled tail nervously. "Why hasn't she fixed the sun by now?" Twilight was losing it. "She's going to send be back to magic kindergarten! Or… or… banish me! Or… throw me in a dungeon! Or maybe banish me to a dungeon IN magic kindergarten!"
All of a sudden, the room's door burst open. "TWILIGHT SPARKLE!"
Twilight screamed and rolled off the bed. She poked her head up from behind the bed and didn't like what she saw, so she ducked back down and cowered in fear. Celestia approached her. Twilight looked at her again and could see fires burning in her eyes. "TWILIGHT SPARKLE!" Twilight hopped up and looked around, terrified of what Celestia would do. Celestia kept approaching, she backed Twilight into a wall, and completely invaded her personal space.
"DID YOU LOWER THE SUN?!" Celestia demanded.
Twilight couldn't cough up any words so she just nodded weakly, trying as hard as she could not to look the princess of the sun in the eyes.
"WHY?!" She demanded again.
"I… I… I… just wanted to see if I could do it… I'M SORRY!"
Celestia suddenly became calm, but remained visibly angry. "How did you do it?" She squinted accusingly at her protégé.
Twilight levitated the copied scroll out of her saddlebags. "I… f-found this scroll in the library… and I…"
Before she could say 'I copied it,' Celestia shot the floating scroll with her magic and it burst into flames. It burned in an instant, the ash slowly floating down into a small pile on the floor. Twilight's mouth was still open.
"…and you… what?" Celestia questioned, looking at Twilight with her head cocked sideways.
"And I took it… here," Twilight lied.
"This is forbidden knowledge, Twilight." Celestia lowered her head to meet Twilight's eye level. She walked even closer, forcing Twilight to sit down with her back against the wall. "Only the Royal Sisters may know how to move the sun and moon." She inched her face closer to Twilight's. "Do you know what happened to the last pony who did what you have done?"
Twilight gulped loudly, her face distorted with fear. She shook her head 'no.'
Celestia touched her horn against Twilight's, and gradually moved her face closer to Twilight's, grinding their horns, until their noses touched. Twilight could see the fires of rage burning in the sun princess's eyes. "Nopony does."
Twilight's left eyelid started twitching. After staring into Twilight's soul for a moment, the princess backed off. In the blink of an eye, the sun shot back up into the sky, illuminating the hotel room with mid morning sunshine. Celestia put on her usual regal smile and stance. "Now if you'll excuse me, Twilight, I have to get back to the castle. I'm expecting an apology letter." She gave a big, friendly smile, and trotted gracefully out of the room. Twilight just fell over sideways.
Two days later…
"…and then… and then she said," Twilight frowned and furrowed her brow, and said in a deep voice, "NOPONY DOES!" Her friends all giggled at this.
"Gosh, Twi, I didn't think the princess could be so intimidatin'…" Applejack commented.
"Well yea, I could see her being that angry. I'd be pretty ticked if somepony moved my clouds around!" Rainbow Dash said, pointing a hoof to the sky.
"I'm just glad it's all over, now I can get back to what I was researching in the first place!" Twilight noted happily.
"MMM! These donuts you brought from Canterlot are delicious!" Pinkie said, balancing a donut on her nose briefly before allowing it to fall into her mouth.
"What did you go there to research anyway darling? You never told us." Rarity asked.
"Interdimensional travel!" Twilight said.
"Interda-what-nao?" Applejack asked, with a hoof to her chin.
Twilight smiled. "Ah, I'll tell you later Applejack, once I figure out how to do it."