A ginger from the good ol' United Kingdom. I write about ponies and particularly like to develop background ponies into something more.
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Everyday Twilight did this ritual: check the mirror and see if she got her cutie mark. Everyday the result was the same: a blank flank.
Twilight was steadily growing up and she still didn’t have her cutie mark. With each day that passed, the fear of never finding out her special talent grew and grew. She didn’t just want her cutie mark - she needed it.
She felt empty without it and that unsettled her most of all. After all, surely you could only feel empty if you once had something? None of the books in library could inform her on why she felt this way. It was one of the few things that she didn’t know.
And that scared her a little.
Perhaps she was born with some condition that prevents ponies from getting cutie marks. An absurd notion but given her life before coming to Ponyville, it’d make sense.
First of all, she was born without parents. Okay, that wasn’t true but...she never knew them. In fact, she didn’t have any relatives as far as she knew. What she did know was that Princess Celestia had raised her ever since she was a baby. She lived within the castle for many years, not stepping a hoof outside.
Although she did have the privilege of reading many of the castle’s books. She had learnt to read at a very young age. So young in fact, it even surprised Celestia. During this time she met Spike, who also dwelled at the castle. This was unprecedented; none of the books Twilight had read mentioned a dragon staying within the walls of Canterlot and especially the castle.
She only had one friend here: Spike. Two if you counted Celestia, but she acted as a surrogate mother for Twilight. Occasionally Twilight made small talk with the guards but it was often short lived and always ended up with her retreating back to the books.
Twilight loved books, both fiction and non-fiction. Stories allowed her to unshackle the restraints of her life and imagine multiple worlds with countless adventures and possibilities. Non-fiction taught her the ways of the outside world. She was so interested in it all yet she could never leave the safety of the castle; the world was just too big. Whilst she had read many joyous things, she had also read many sad books too. This resulted in her fearing the lands beyond the castle and people she didn’t know; anypony could be mean at any given moment.
In addition to this fear, she lacked proper social skills. Even if a pony was nice to her, there was no way she could respond confidently enough.
So inside she stayed. It was like this for years until Celestia decided to send Spike to Ponyville to learn about the magic of friendship (apparently he also suffered from a lack of social skills though he was much more willing to learn about them). In an effort to find Twilight more friends, she sent her with Spike as his assistant.
Nevertheless, Celestia’s tactic had failed on the most part. Sure, Twilight did go out more often but she was always daunted by it all. Furthermore, she had made no new friends at all. The fact that she had a host of new books to read didn’t help things along either.
Twilight turned around from the mirror, deciding not to dwell in self-pity any longer. She had chores to do. Chores that she did very diligently but at times found them hard to do. She wasn’t exactly a do-it-yourself pony. Indeed, she was clumsy and weak.
Regardless, she tried her best to overcome her limitations. At first she was a complete disaster at her tasks but over time she had gotten adjusted to them. However, she still found some things awkward.
She scanned around Spike’s study room, looking for the broom. She found it leaning against the bookshelf opposite where the mirror was. Trotting over to it, she bit the wooden rod and lifted the broom up.
The broom easily dwarfed her in size, being just a little shorter than Spike’s height. It was uncomfortable to lift but Twilight had found that if she held the part of the handle that was closer to the hairs, it became easier to lift and control.Unfortunately she had to shake her head repeatedly in order to brush, which became nauseating after a while. Still, she carried on.
She would brush every room of the library down then reorganise some of the books. Thankfully, Twilight’s diligence at her job made it so that the library needed little maintenance. Therefore, she didn’t need to do much each day.
She started to shake her head at a steady pace, brushing the hairs of the broom against the floor. She walked slowly as she did so, covering more ground with each step that she took. The job was dull and took a while but Twilight knew that she would have her free time if she got it done. Time that she could use to read in peace.
She knew this would be a whole lot easier with the use of magic. However, there was one problem with that.
Twilight was useless at magic.
Despite all her years of studying the art and practicing she couldn’t even levitate a book. Even with Princess Celestia’s guidance, she had failed. This perplexed even the great alicorn, who couldn’t figure out any reason why Twilight failed to grasp the use of magic. She was a perfectly healthy filly after all.
Even after that, Twilight still practiced. Everyday she would try to harness the art of magic and everyday she would fail. Her hope of ever mastering magic was beginning to die because of this repeated failure. On the other hand, attempting it had become such a part of her life by now, it felt odd if she didn’t do it.
Perhaps one day she’d be good enough to even have a shred of the talent that Celestia possessed.
A few hours had passed and Twilight had finally brushed all the rooms in the library. Now, she would attend to her other tasks.
Except the rumbling of her stomach prevented this from happening.
Sitting in the library’s main room, she gazed at the clock on the wall. It was thirty four minutes past twelve. She should have had lunch already by this time.
Her belly rumbled violently again, “Where are you Spike?” she wondered out loud. She didn’t bother to check the library for food; she and Spike normally ate out. This wasn’t something Twilight enjoyed but it was a lot better than starving to death.
She decided to wait a while before planning a course of action. Perhaps this was merely a case of Spike running late? She certainly hoped that was the case.
She could only wait approximately five minutes before the hunger pains got too much to bear. She gulped, looking at the door that led to the outside world.
She would have to venture out there and get food herself. Sugarcube Corner was the best choice; you could bring food home from there.
She stuttered a sigh; she was beginning to get nervous. She headed to the kitchen and collected the money pouch from the table. It was full of bits that would be needed to purchase some lunch. She then retrieved her saddlebag, which was next to her bed. She equipped it and put the money pouch inside.
She was about to leave, but Smarty Pants caught her eye. He was lying in her bed all snug and neatly, like he usually was when Twilight was awake. Twilight decided to take her doll with her, propping him into the saddlebag so his head poked out.
Trotting lightly down the stairs, Twilight headed towards the door but froze just before it. Fear began to well up inside of her. This would be the first time she ventured outside without Spike. She’d be all alone.
Luckily, her determination to get something to eat began to fight her doubts. “Come on Twilight...you can do this.” She told herself in an attempt to calm herself. She looked back to Smarty Pants. Despite doing nothing, his mere presence was enough to give Twilight a little boost in confidence.
Princess Celestia had said that she found Smarty Pants with Twilight so the toy had been with Twilight her whole life. She had a strong sentimental attachment to him, as fillies usually do with their toys.
She took a deep breath and nudged open the door just a jar. She slipped through the doorway and closed the door behind her using her rear. Biting her lip, she looked around. Nopony was in sight, for now. This gave Twilight some relief and she began to head towards Sugarcube corner.
Her legs wanted to bring her back inside, but her stubbornness kept them going forward. Whilst she was afraid, she wouldn’t give up. Not now. Her head was locked in a position that meant she only looked at was in front of her. She didn’t dare to look to her sides, in case she saw another pony glaring right back at her.
She knew that it was an inevitably that she saw somepony though. As she got closer to Sugarcube corner, she began to see ponies she couldn’t put names too. She started to hurry along, going past them before they had a chance to look at her.
Sweat began to pour down her face and she could feel it. The nervousness was overpowering her the closer she got to her destination. What if somepony picked on her?
She began to gallop now. Her fight or flight instincts were kicking in and her body had decided to choose the flight option. Unfortunately, a galloping filly was bound to attract the attention of passers by. This thought only made Twilight go faster and stare at the ground to avoid everypony’s gaze.
Granted, she couldn’t see them. But she could feel them watching her, like she was an outsider. Like she didn’t belong. What should’ve been a simple trip to get food had turned into a horrific nightmare.
“Keep going...almost there...” Twilight kept this single thought running in her mind as she galloped.
The sun beamed its rays furiously onto Twilight, only serving to make her sweat more. She glanced up at the empty, blue sky. This was a bad decision, as it only made the world feel so much bigger.
Finally she reached Sugarcube Corner. Slowing down, she stopped just before the door in order to wipe her brow free from sweat and regulate her breathing. Once she was ready, she opened the door and cautiously entered the building.
To make her journey even longer, there was a queue that consisted of three ponies. She shuffled behind the last pony, who was a light aquamarine mare with a lyre for a cutie mark. She stared at the floorboards, only just seeing the green pony’s hooves so she could tell when to move ahead.
Twilight hoped that she wouldn’t encounter that crazy party pony known as Pinkie Pie. Since Pinkie was one of Spike’s best friends, Twilight often met her a lot. Her randomness was too much to bear for Twilight and every time they saw each other, she felt unsettled.
To pass the time, Twilight recited facts that she learnt from her books. She did this in her head of course, as to not gather unwanted attention.
Eventually, the aquamarine pony got served and walked away with her baked goods. Twilight slowly walked up to the encounter and peered up. Clearly, Mrs. Cake had not seen her because Twilight had to cough in order to get her presence acknowledged.
“Oh?” Mrs. Cake glanced over the counter, smiling as she saw Twilight. “Hello Twilight. Lovely to see you, what can I get for you?” she asked sweetly. She knew that Twilight didn’t get out much, so she didn’t want to scare her off. Especially when she was alone.
“Um...um...just three cupcakes and...a muffin. Please.” Twilight mumbled, avoiding looking at Mrs. Cake. Instead, she aimlessly looked around the counter and the floor. Maybe it was an unhealthy lunch but she deserved something nice for coming all the way out here by herself.
“Okay then, coming right up!” Mrs. Cake replied, heading into the kitchen to get the goods. Twilight’s order was vague but because she and Spike had ordered here before, the baker mare knew that Twilight was a fan of cupcakes with strawberry icing. As for her muffin, Mrs. Cake just guessed that she’d like chocolate chips. After all, who didn’t?
Back at the counter, Twilight impatiently waited for her order. She just wanted to be back at the library in peace, where no one could judge her.
Her stomach rumbled intolerably once more. In the rush of getting here, she had almost forgotten that she was hungry.
After a surprisingly short wait, Mrs. Cake returned with a brown paper bag which contained Twilight’s lunch. “That’ll be five bits.” She stated.
Twilight dug into her saddlebag, collecting the necessary change whilst making sure not to push out Smarty Pants. She jumped, dropping the bits on the counter. She then jumped again in order to collect the bag with her mouth. Lastly, she put the money pouch back in her saddlebag.
“Thank you.” Twilight squeaked, picking up her order and starting to head out of the door. The queue had gotten a lot bigger than it was when she entered, so she was glad she had gotten here when she did.
“No, thank you! Have a nice day Twilight!” Mrs. Cake called out. She then turned her attention to her next customer, smiling at them in an inviting manner.
Twilight hurried out of the door as quick as her legs could take her; partially due to hunger, partially due to wanting to get back home. By now, she didn’t care if anypony thought she was weird because she wouldn’t need to face them when she was back at the library.
She got back quickly thanks to her speed. She rushed inside and slammed the door behind her. After checking if Smarty Pants was still there (he was, his head still poking out of the bag) she sighed deeply with relief.
She had done. She succeeded.
Now she just had to reap the rewards she had sown. Not bothering to take off her saddlebag, she entered the kitchen and put her food neatly on the table. The hunger was simply too much now, so she just devoured her food in silence. This created a spread of crumbs on the table, which she’d have to clean up later.
For now, she sated herself. She was now safe, secure and alone.
And best of all, the food was delicious.
Twilight had reorganised books and fed Peewee yet Spike had still not returned. The unicorn began to worry for Spike’s safety but for now, she had personal duties to attend to.
It was her biggest dream to master the art. She had seen the wonders magic could do: levitate things, teleportation, transformation and too many other things to list. Even the most simple levitation spell looked amazing and incredibly useful.
As such, levitation was the spell she practiced the most.
Spike’s study room had many items that could be used for levitation, namely books. Sliding a book titled ‘Star gazing: A beginner’s guide’, she dropped it on the floor in the middle of the room and stared at it.
Inhaling deeply, she began to concentrate all her efforts into trying to levitate the book. She closed her eyes since that meant she wouldn’t be distracted by anything else. She imagined the book in her mind and her magic coalescing around it.
Slowly but surely, she began to feel her horn tinkle with weak magic. It was merely a flicker but it was still magic nonetheless. This wasn’t enough though; she had done this countless of times before.
She had to try harder. She began to grit her teeth and clench up every muscle in her body. She began sweating again due to the amount of effort she was putting into this.
“Just a little more...you can do it Twilight.”
Her horn began to tinkle even more, due to the fact that she was generating more magic. The same purple magic had begun to surround the book. It began to tremble, slowly but surely raising from the floor.
Twilight opened her eyes slightly to check on her progress. She gasped as she saw the book floating from the floor. It was only a little bit but this was a huge achievement for Twilight. She stared at the book, deciding to press on.
Her heart started to beat rapidly now as the excitement of her success bottled up inside of her. The book floated up slowly, getting to a few inches off the floor now.
She couldn’t believe she was doing this! Everything was going so well!
That is, until the magic in her horn started to die out. The energy sparked out from her horn, vanishing into thin air. The book returned to normal and dropped with a thud onto the floor.
She had succeeded...yet she had failed. She had only held the spell for around ten seconds, at best. Whilst it was a monumental victory, it didn’t feel worthy enough for Twilight. She wanted to do better. She knew she could do better.
So why was she so useless?
She screamed in frustration and swatted the book hard so it skidded across the floor, banging into the wall.
She was a failure.
The distressed filly lowered herself to the floor and covered her face. She remained like that for some time, thinking of why she had failed and beating herself up about it.
Not even Celestia could teach her magic so why did she bother trying herself? She clearly was incapable. A shame to unicorns everywhere. And most of all, a shame to herself. Her parents must have abandoned her because they could see how much of a failure she was. They just didn’t want her.
It was already night when she had begun practicing but she hadn’t realised this until she raised herself from the floor and looked out the window. Her eyes were watery so everything looked a little blurred but it was apparent enough that it was time for bed. She wanted some rest anyway; it had been a long day.
Wiping her eyes, she slunk from the study room and directed herself to her bed. She had put Smarty Pants back under the covers so he was cosy. She blew out the candles that lit the bed area, although she left the ones in the main area lit so Spike could find his way around when he returned.
She crawled into her bed and wrapped herself with her bed sheets. She cuddled Smarty Pants to make her feel better but to no avail.
Spike was always back by the time Twilight was in bed, without fail. Except today, it seemed. Now she felt vulnerable and she had no one to make lighten her up. She liked being alone but now she was too alone.
She wasn’t scared. She was upset. Spike knew that she had tried, and failed, to perform magic but he was always there to comfort her when she did.
Not this time.
She pulled the covers over her head, wanting to hide from the world. It was a little hot under the bed sheets but she ignored the discomfort.
She closed her eyes and attempted to get to sleep. But sleeping is hard when you’re crying.
Her body stuttered from the sobbing and not even Smarty Pants could reassure her. She tightened her hold of the doll to squeeze some joy out of it but this gambit failed.
She curled up in her bed, tears rolling down her cheeks. She wanted Spike or Celestia to come home so she could just hug and cry into them. She wanted to hear them say that everything would be alright, that one day she’d get her cutie mark, she’d master magic and she’d have friends of her own.
By the time she was deep asleep, tears still streamed from her eyes.