In The Shade of Time

by Silver Scrolls

The Solution

Her eyes ached and her mind felt like it was wrapped in cotton. Twilight leaned back in her chair and rubbed her temples with her wingtips, sighing heavily.

How long have I been at this?

Time was a moot point now. She needed some other way to measure time. As if on cue her stomach growled and it came to her. Measure it in meal times. That would makes this the, sixth mealtime since it had started.

She pondered it for a second and decided that didn’t work well either. Ponies didn’t get hungry on a schedule or eat on a schedule usually. Frustrated, Twilight groaned and shoved herself away from the notes. Who cared about measuring time, she was just trying to distract herself from the problem at hoof anyway. Slowly her eyes drifted towards the chalk circle sitting in the center of the room.

Twilight’s ears drooped and she closed her eyes in shame, flashbacks of the fight she’d had with Rainbow over the broken spell flashed through her head. Very little of what she had said had been wrong but, had Rainbow really deserved all that? As frustrating as it was to admit, she had gone a little too far in her rage.

Her decision made Twilight pushed herself away from the desk and stand up. After a short stretch Twilight moved towards the door. First she needed to find Rainbow then she needed to apologize, followed by not losing her temper again; that would solve nothing. Lost in thought Twilight didn’t notice the pegasus in question sleeping just outside the basement door as she opened the door and subsequently tripped over Rainbow.

Mumbling to herself, Twilight rolled over and looked back to see what she had tripped over.


Rainbow’s ear twitched, causing the mane around it to sway a little.

“Hey Rainbow.” Twilight stood up and poked Rainbow with a hoof.


“Hey.” She tried getting her attention again by drawing the word out in a sing song fashion before poking Rainbow again.

Grumbling, Rainbow swatted at her hoof. “Five more minutes, Fluttershy.” She curled up tighter and buried her face under a wing.

Twilight couldn’t help but smile and bite her lip so she wouldn’t wake Rainbow. Should she play a prank on her? Yes, yes she should; it was only fair after all of the pranks Rainbow had played. “Rainbow, dinnertime.” Twilight put on her best Fluttershy impression as she spoke.

Rainbow’s ears twitched and stood up, a groggy face emerging from under her wing. Yawning she stood up and stretched. Seemingly at random she began a wobbly walk away from Twilight, mumbling as she went. “Thanks Flutters, I’ll just...” Her words stopped in the same moment that her face met the wall. Cursing under her breath she put a hoof to her nose and rubbed it.

“Hardy har har, Twilight.” She looked back over her shoulder with an irritated glance.

“Morning, sleepy.” Twilight chuckled. “Hope you had a good nap.” She snickered again. “I haven’t quite prepared dinner yet so feel free to use the restroom.” With that said Twilight turned to walk away but paused a few steps away and scuffed her hoof on the floor. “Oh and Rainbow, sorry about earlier.”

“Hm, oh yea.” Rainbow’s ears drooped and her head dropped a little. “It’s okay, I mean, this is all my fault.”

Twilight shook her head. “No, it’s not. I have some blame, too. We can talk more about it at dinner. Go freshen up and I’ll see you in the dining room next to the kitchen. Okay?”

Twilight tried to give Rainbow a reassuring smile but it was overshadowed by her guilt. Rainbow hadn’t deserved her wrath like that for something she was so prone to doing.

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” Rainbow matched her smile guilt for guilt.

Twilight vanished around the corner leaving Rainbow alone to find her way to the bathroom. Both lost in thought for the moment as they mulled over their situation and the brief bit of levity in it all. For a just a second they both thought that maybe it could be worse, at least they had each other.

~ ~ ~

Rainbow and Twilight sat together on the balcony, a small table between them. Dirty plates and cutlery sat on the table beside a bottle of wine and one glass. They had decided to move from the dining room to the outside about halfway through dinner. Both of them found the eternal sunset oddly comforting, like a promise that maybe, just maybe, they would be able to get out of this mess and see it set.

Neither of them knew what to say, so dinner had been eaten in relative silence, both ruminating on their plight. Rainbow finally broke the silence, her face a mask of fear and worry.

“So now what Twi?” She turned to look at Twilight, the barest tinge of hope hidden by a quivering lip.

Twilight took a small sip of her wine and took a deep breath. “I...” She paused and found her gaze drawn to Sugarcube Corner. “I don’t know.” Her glass clinked against the table as it was set down.

“Every book on the subject is in the basement. I pulled everything from every known library in the world; Star Swirl’s private library and study, the crystal empire, the Canterlot Archives, the princess's private books, even Sombra’s secret study had a book about it and they are all downstairs.” She took another drink from her wine glass, sighing heavily as she shook her head.

“As for getting help from another expert in the field, everypony or creature who could help me isn’t even aware of what’s going on. I’ve been wracking my brain all through dinner and I have nothing. No answer to this puzzle.” Gently she rested her chin on the railing of the balcony and sighed heavily, lapsing into an even heavier silence than before.

Rainbow brushed back a bit of her mane behind her ear and looked over at her house. She could almost see the rainbow falls she’d installed in her backyard. The taunting echo of Scootaloo’s laugh filled her ears. A sad smile lifted her lips and wet the corner of her eyes as she thought about how she’d never hear that laugh. Never again would Scootaloo rain accolades down on her during an afternoon flight lesson. Never again would she have dinner with the little daredevil. Never again would she bring the sleeping, tuckered out Scootaloo home to her parents and help them tuck her in. Never again.
Rainbow jumped as a wine glass suddenly flew past her head out over the edge of the balcony. It spun through the air spewing red wine in a gorgeous arc that slowed to a stop.


Slowly Rainbow looked over and saw Twilight standing by the railing now, her chest expanding. An ear-splitting wail echoed out over the town and Twilight slumped against the railing. She waited, pleading to the heavens to hear the sound of her wine glass shattering against the ground below.

How could she have been such a fool? Not even Star Swirl had been able to unravel time travel in any useful way. Starlight had been able to go back in time but only a single point in time.

A growl rumbled up from Twilight's throat and she fired several blasts from her horn at the offending wine glass that hung motionless in the air. Tears spilled from her eyes, her blasts growing frantic until she slumped against the railing.

“Why?” She punched the balcony floor. “Why did I have too, why?” Her hoof hit the crystal floor with each exclamation. Turning her face up she looked at Rainbow. “I am so sorry. I am so so sorry that I dragged you into this.”

Slowly, unsure of herself, Rainbow reached out with a wing and pulled Twilight close. “Shh. It’s okay.” She bit her lower lip and patted Twilight on the back. “It’s not that bad, at least the company is good.”

Twilight laughed a little and hiccupped halfway through and Rainbow relaxed a little.

She gripped Twilight a little more confidently. “And hey, imagine all the pranks we can set up, a final goodbye from us to everyone else.”

“Of course you’d think of pranking everyone at a time like this.” Twilight sniffled and wiped her nose. “But it’s not okay, Rainbow. We are the only ponies either of us will ever speak to again and it’s my fault.”

Rainbow shook her head and let Twilight go. “No we aren’t, you’ll fix this somehow. It’s what you do, whether it’s a friendship problem or the world ending, Twilight Sparkle will fix it.”

“But that’s just it, I don’t know what to do Rainbow. I can’t think of anything to break this curse and now all I can think about is how I damned you with me. I was so fascinated with that spell I let it blind me and now, now we are going to die alone.”

Twilight turned and looked up at the glass and the several balls of magically congealed anger left over from arcane venting spree encircling it. She squinted and slowly her mouth opened up in an ‘O’.

“Rainbow do you see that glass?”

Confused, Rainbow looked up. “Yeah, it’s still floating with all your magic ball-things. What are you getting at?”

~ ~ ~

“So what’s with all the suspense Twilight?”

“I have a plan.”

That one sentence froze Rainbow in her tracks. “A plan?”


“And that would be?”

Twilight smiled. “Do you remember the wine glass I vented on?” Rainbow nodded. “That gave me the idea. If I can tweak the time spell to interlock with other iterations of it then all I need to do is figure out how far the spell’s range is and recast is over and over until it covers the whole planet.”

Rainbow’s mouth slowly opened. “Oh...” and then morphed into a coy smile. “And you said you wouldn’t be able to fix it.”

Still grinning, Twilight stopped bouncing. “Well it’s not perfect.” Her smile faltered a little. “We need to find different points on the planet, go to those points on hoof or by wing and then cast the spell.” Her smile vanished completely. “And, well, that will take years. Maybe even a lifetime.”

“So you’re saying to fix this problem, to undo this frozen time, we have to trot the globe?” Rainbow’s smile was radiating enthusiasm and she bounced from side to side slightly. “Go places and see things I could only have ever dreamed of seeing?” She was almost squealing with delight. “I get to do something I never thought I would get to because I chose the Wonderbolts instead, and I get to do it with a friend.”

Twilight shook her head and sighed. “It sounds great when you say it like that but you don’t realize that we might finish up and come home as wizened old mares who only have a few years left.”

The bouncing pegasus slowed down to a stop over several bounces and her wings drooped with her ears but then she perked up. “I’d rather have a few years left with everyone than none at all. I say let’s do it, what’s the first step?”

Twilight smiled, Rainbow excitement was infectious, and began to explain. “First we figure out how far the spell can expand, then we calculate how many times and where we need to cast the spell. It’s mostly math but I will need to tweak the time spell as we go. The math can take me only so far, I will need to actually cast the spell to make sure I have the math right and that’s going to be the hardest part.”

Rainbow’s smile glowed as she looked around the map room. Sheets of paper littered the room and two sets of saddle bags sat in the corner by the door. “Judging by everything here, you already got started on the preparations.”

“I did.” Twilight looked around the room, her eyes lingering on the chandelier decorated with memories her friends and her shared. “Our first destination is Manehatten. According to my calculations the spells range should end somewhere around there.”

Both mares looked at eachother, bright smiles on their faces. Rainbow spoke up. “You think Coco Pommel will be there?”

“What are you planning Rainbow?”

“Who me, plan something.” Twilight raised an eyebrow at Twilight. “Just a little letter to Coco from Rarity, to be found when the world starts moving again.” Rainbow snickered. “Harmless really.” Twilight rolled her eyes. “Do you think we’ll have any time to sightsee while we are there.”

“I don’t see why not. I mean the actually spell casting shouldn’t take long and the math is mostly solved just need to plug in the values for the final piece.” Twilight stacked several sheets of paper and slid them into a binder. “You ready to go?”

“Do you even have to ask?” Rainbow smiled. “I get to go globetrotting with my best friend, this is gonna rock!”