"No, no, no! That's not right either!" Twilight said testily, stomping impatiently around the ground floor of the library.
"What's wrong, Twi?" Spike asked, peeking down the stairs at the pacing unicorn. Her hair was more frazzled than usual, and her eyes had small bags under them.
"I just can't do it, Spike!" her horn glowed brightly for a few moments, before dissipating in an instant. She let out an exasperated sigh, growing impatient at herself.
"What are you trying to do?" he asked curiously. Twilight rarely acted this way, but Spike knew that when she did, it usually had something to do with her trying a spell. Though she was exceptional at magic, she wasn't perfect.
"A spell," she said simply. Spike gave her an unimpressed look, telling her that he knew she was doing a spell, but wanted a more specific answer. Twilight sighed, seeing that she had given Spike knowledge he already knew. "I'm trying to do a spell to make me more focused and organized. By using it, I hoped to be able to do more in a smaller time frame, but I just can't seem..."
"To focus?" he finished with a chuckle.
"Spike, now isn't the time. The girls will be here in a few minutes and I need this spell to work!" she mumbled, horn burning vividly once again, just to sizzle out just as quickly as it glowed. "Ugh, this isn't working."
"Have you ever tried the spell before?" he asked, deciding that he should try and help her figure out why she couldn't do it.
"I never needed it before," she shook her head, biting her lip a she continued pacing. "I slept at the scheduled time, so it's not that I'm tired. I had breakfast, so it's not that. I triple checked my schedules, so it's not that..."
"Why do you need it for anyways?" he asked as he grabbed a book of spells off of the shelf, after Twilight trailed into silence.
"It's just I promised the girls I would help them, but ended up promising I'd help all of them. By using the spell, I thought I'd be able to pull it off," she said remorsefully.
"I'm sure they won't be mad if you just explain-"
"A promise is a promise, Spike," she said, interrupting him softly. She felt it her responsibility to do what she promised, and trying to get out of doing favors would be against what she stood for. "They shouldn't have to settle just because I couldn't handle it all."
"What about this?" he asked as he read through a page of the book he had grabbed.
"What about what?" she asked, trotting towards him in excitement.
"There's this spell that makes a clone of yourself, so you could do that," he said, skimming over the spell. "That way there would be two Twilights to do everything you promised, instead of just one slightly more focused Twilight."
"I can't have a clone of me running through town. Think of the paradoxes!" she exclaimed.
"It says that the spell works until the clone finishes what you set out to do," he said, flipping around the book to show her. "You don't have anything to worry about sending it back to where it came from or anything."
"No, it's a reckless thing to do," she said quickly, looking away from the book to avoid any temptation. "Didn't I just tell you about paradoxes?"
"Uh, yeah," he said slowly, lowering the book.
"You do know what a paradox is, don't you?" Twilight asked, turning back to Spike to investigate him.
"Of course I do!" Spike said, clearly agitated, showing that he didn't know what the word meant.
"What is a paradox?" she asked rhetorically, grabbing a dictionary from the bookshelf with her magic, flipping it open to read the definition out loud. "A statement or proposition that, despite sounding reasonable with an acceptable premise, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory," Twilight explained, and then closed the book with a satisfied smile and placed it back on the shelf, turning away from Spike. "If I have a clone of myself running around it would cause nothing but more trouble."
"It's either this or you tell them you can't help them all," he said, making Twilight come to an abrupt stop. Spike chuckled quietly to himself. As smart as Twilight was, the one thing she hated was going back on her word.
Twilight bit her lip again, deep in thought. On one hoof, bringing in a clone could be risky. Not only does it seem like a terrible idea in general, mostly due to the fact that using the spell might make the universe implode or something equally horrible, but she felt there would be other risks as well. On the other hoof, she had promised her friends she would help, and her friends were the most important thing in the world to her. She then thought that the spell would not have been recorded if it had a chance of anything causing anything super dangerous to happen. Then again...
There was a sudden knock on the door, and Twilight's head snapped towards it in fear. Her friend had arrived.
"Twilight, are you in there?" came the voice of Rarity.
"Of course she's in there! Where else would she be?" Rainbow Dash asked with a chuckle.
Twilight grabbed the spell book with her magic and closed her eyes forcefully, thinking carefully, but quickly, about what would happen. A promise is a promise, Twilight thought to herself. She opened her eyes and quickly read the spell under her breath, horn glowing brightly. The room filled with a bright violet light, making Spike and Twilight gasp in shock as they became temporarily blinded. Their eyesight returned a few seconds later, and Twilight looked round the room. There was no double in sight.
"It didn't work," he said in a voice that was a mixture of happiness and annoyance. Happy that she wouldn't have to face any repercussions of the spell, but annoyed that she hadn't succeeded with the spell.
"Ya goin' t' let us in, or are we goin' t' stand out here all day?" Applejack asked jokingly, knocking on the door.
"You go let them in, I have to put this thing back where you found it," Twilight sighed, wondering why her magic wasn't working today.
Spike shrugged as he walked up to the door and opened it.
"Why, hello Spike," Rarity said warmly, giving Spike a small smile which made his heart skip a beat.
"Hey," Spike said dumbly, before stepping to the side to let the girls in.
"Hello girls," Twilight smiled shakily, turning to greet her friends.
"Twi, Ah think we need t' have a little chat," Applejack said, instantly seeing Twilight's state and what caused it.
"About what?" she asked, pretending not to know what Applejack was talking about.
"Ya know what Ah'm talkin' about," the farmer muttered, narrowing her eyes on Twilight. Not out of anger, but out of worry for her friend. "Look at ya. Ya promised t' help us all, and in th' end ya wound up in over your head, didn't ya?"
"Yeah," she smiled sheepishly at the farm mare for reading her so well, even if it was obvious.
Twilight looked around the room at each of her friends, but noticed Pinkie had still not entered and was standing by the door. Twilight tilted her friend and motioned inward, inviting Pinkie in. Pinkie looked back at her tail, which shot up, then down, then Pinkie's eyes started to flutter. The girls watched as this repeated a few times, knowing it to be her Pinkie sense.
"What's wrong, Pinkie?" Fluttershy asked nervously, quickly looking around the room for signs of trouble.
"I don't know," Pinkie said honestly as her eyes began to open and close repeatedly. She shook her head, making her temporarily lose connection to her Pinkie senses. "I've never had this happen before."
"Well, come inside just in case anything bad happens out there," Twilight said, motioning inwards once again, not wanting to see Pinkie come to harm.
Pinkie nodded and hopped through the doorway, and when she did the room began flashing different colors, then the sound of four men yelling, and a fifth girly scream, erupted in the center of the library. The girls began shrieking as well, matching the volume of the other yells. The girls opened their eyes and stifled their screams once they caught sight of five monsters laying in the middle of the room, squirming about and screaming.
"What are those?" Spike asked fearfully, slowly backing away.
"I-I don't know!" Twilight said quickly, going into a defensive stance, preparing a spell in case the monsters attacked.
"Dammit, Gavin!" one of the beasts yelled, still not having opened his eyes. "What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything!" one with a strange accent - Gavin - testified, trying to rub the sting out of his eyes while he lay on the floor.
"Gavin, are you lying?" one with weird markings on his arms asked as he clambered off the floor lazily, vision blurred.
"No, I'm not!" Gavin yelled defensively, not getting up due to him expecting just to get knocked back down. "I can barely open my eyes!"
"What do you guys think?" the marked one asked, turning to the blurred out blob he believed to be his happier companion. "Ray?"
"He's totally lying," another with a peppy voice, Ray, chuckled.
"Of course he is!" the angry one snapped.
"Michael, shut up and calm down," the fifth one with hair reaching down from his head to under his chin nodded, climbing to his feet and began rubbing his arm. "I think I landed on my elbow. You okay, Geoff?"
"I think so," the marked one - Geoff - nodded.
The five then began rubbing their eyes again, and now the colored mist over their eyes began to fade, allowing them to slowly get back their vision.
"They can talk?" Rarity asked in confusion.
The five stiffened at the sound of the voice.
"Who just said that?" Geoff asked. "Jack, was that you?"
"No, it wasn't me," the bearded one - Jack - muttered.
Rarity bit her lip, not liking having the monsters attention. Twilight moved towards her friends and stood in front of them, ready to defend. She wrestled with what to do next. The creatures were twice their size, but stood on their hind legs and were wearing clothing. It soon snapped in place that they had spoken the same language as her and the others, so she should start with the inquiries.
"Who are you?" Twilight asked, but her voice was shaky, both from fear and amazement.
"Who flipped the channel to the Hub?" Ray laughed, eyes still closed.
"We don't have cable in here..." Jack muttered, taking off his glasses to clean them.
"Okay, now I'm sure our stuff messed up," Geoff sighed. "Who's going to be the one to tell Burnie, because I'm totally not doing it."
"Who are you?" she asked again, more firmly this time, and saw the one named Michael was staring at her with a look of confusion.
"Just out of curiosity, are we dead?" he asked Twilight, now giving her a look of astonishment.
"What? No, you're alive," Twilight said slowly, now advancing towards them. If they had meant to attack, they surely would have by now.
"Dude..." his jaw dropped after having interacted with the purple unicorn. His eyes grew bright and he turned to Ray.
"No..." Ray muttered in return, turning to Michael with the same expression.
"Seriously?" Jack asked, putting his glasses back on to look around. "What are you two-"
He almost jumped back after he stopped mid-sentence when he put on his glasses to look at where they were. The colors were vibrant, almost painfully so. But it wasn't the colors that made him nearly stumble, it was the fact that in front of him stood half a dozen small horses. Panic set in, he looked over to the now not-so-angry Michael and the even happier Ray, who were both positively beaming, then back to the ponies. From the pair's excitement he knew exactly where he was. He didn't know how and he didn't know why.
This is just a dream, He thought to himself, trying to calm down. He looked over at Geoff, who was giving him the same look of uncertainty. Now how the hell do I wake up?
"Where are we?" Gavin sputtered as he jumped to his feet, looking around the room in a panic. Though they were all technically foreign, they knew that he was not from where the other four were from.
"Equestria!" The pair that were standing next to each other yelled together, pounding their fists together triumphantly.