A Student Once Lost

by Chiefs999

Chapter 5 - A Student Once More

Twilight stared at the large metal gate that obstructed her entrance into the Starswirl the Bearded wing of the castle’s library. Walking up to it she placed her hoof on the iron bars and gave it a small push, though as she expected it refused to budge. Taking a few steps back she glanced down at the lock, she had only been in this section of the library once when she tried to locate a time travel spell to warn her past self about not having to worry about the disaster that would never happen.

Giggling at the memory a sudden thought hit her ‘That spell allowed me to travel back in time for a few moments, maybe I can alter it somehow to allow me to permanently stay there, that would fix the time issue of my problem’ she thought though another thought suddenly hit her ‘why didn’t Daybreaker use this spell to warn her past self that she should actually heed my warning instead of dismissing it.’

‘Perhaps she was too focused on resurrecting me to consider other possibilities?’ Twilight shook her head not wanting to dwell on what Daybreaker could have done differently. Instead she had a potential answer to one of her problems and she needed to get inside to see if it would actually be plausible.

Unable to unlock the gate herself, Twilight headed back to the reference desk near the entrance of the library and rang the small metal bell on the counter which made a loud ding. A few moments later an elderly mare who had a magnifying glass hovering over a bunch of scrolls for a cutie mark came out from the restricted section of the library “How may I help you?” the librarian asked as she placed the books that she was carrying on her back on top of the counter.

“I have some research I need to do in the Starswirl the Bearded wing, would you be able to unlock the gate for me please?” Twilight asked.

The librarian narrowed her eyes behind her reading glasses “Starswirl the Bearded wing? I’m sorry unless given permission from our queen directly I cannot allow you inside.”

Disturbing Daybreaker while she was in the war room just to get permission to do her research didn’t seem like an appealing option to Twilight “Not even for an alicorn?” Twilight asked cockily, flaring her wings for added emphasis. Despite saying how much she hated abusing her status, she had to admit it was quite effective in getting what she wanted, or so she thought.

“I’m sorry, ever since the break in a few years ago our queen made it quite clear that only ponies authorized by her are allowed in there, and you aren’t authorized. Daybreaker would have my head if I went against her orders. Alicorn or not” The librarian replied dryly.

Twilight sighed in defeat as she retracted her wings back to her side. She was about to give up and walk away until an idea suddenly popped into her head. Rearing up onto the counter, Twilight rested her head on her hoof while the other idly played with her mane “Surely you heard of the rumours going around?” Twilight asked.

“The rumour about you courting our queen? I don’t think there is a single pony in Canterlot that hasn’t heard about that” The librarian replied with a raised eyebrow wondering where the winged unicorn was going with this.

“Tell me, how would you think our beloved queen would react when the mare she is trying to woo has to come in and ask her if she is allowed to do things in her very own castle?” Twilight asked, her purple cheeks turning a bright crimson red, unable to believe she was using the rumour of them courting to get what she wanted.

The librarian shuddered as she contemplated Twilight’s question. Twilight tapped her hoof on the countertop impatiently while she waited for her answer. With a sigh she decided to give the librarian an ultimatum “I doubt Daybreaker would appreciate being interrupted while dealing with an important issue in the war room, she wasn’t in the greatest mood after we parted ways” Twilight said with a deep breath as she got off the countertop and put her forehooves back on the ground "Though I guess there isn’t much I can do about it if I need permission, you are only doing your job and I will try and make sure she understands that, hopefully she won’t be too harsh about it” Twilight added as she slowly walked away ‘Three…Two…One’

“Wait!” the librarian called out.

'Always works' Twilight thought to herself.

Grinning, Twilight stopped in her tracks, refusing to turn around and waited to see if the librarian would continue speaking “Since you are courting our queen, I don’t see a reason as to why you shouldn’t be allowed inside” she continued as she opened one of the draws and grabbed the metal key ring with her mouth “Follow me please” she added, the keys attached clanking against each other with every step.

Twilight followed closely behind the librarian, back towards the Starswirl the Bearded wing of the library. Taking the key ring out of her mouth, she searched for the appropriate key and slid it into the lock, a loud clank echoed throughout the hallway as the iron gate swung open “Is there anything else I can help you with while I’m here?” the librarian asked.

Twilight stepped inside the circular room and breathed in through her nose, taking in the sweet smell of the ancient knowledge that surrounded her which primarily consisted of dust “I should be fine by myself, though Daybreaker’s personal detail may come looking for me, if you see them just tell them I’m in here” Twilight replied.

The librarian nodded as she gave the gate key to Twilight “Nopony other than you and I guess the guards are allowed in here. Be sure to lock up the gate and return the key to me on your way out” the librarian said before leaving the room, leaving Twilight alone to conduct her research.

Twilight walked down one of the many aisles that led to the inner circle of the room where a massive hourglass perched on top of a podium stood in the centre. Despite there being sand in the top half of the hourglass, the sand didn’t fall to the bottom like it was supposed to. Stepping forward to take a closer look, Twilight pressed her face up against the glass ‘Well the hole isn’t blocked off, it must be enchanted to symbolize the current time of the day and night cycle, hence why the sand isn’t falling’ Twilight concluded as she took a step back and looked up at the unmoving sun through the dome shape glass ceiling above.

Looking down the various aisles, Twilight tried to recall where Pinkie Pie found the time travelling spell. Only able to remember it being recorded on a scroll, Twilight walked down a random aisle and examined every scroll she came across ‘This would be so much easier if they bothered to label or organize these things.’

Twilight worked her way through the various bookshelves in a clockwise motion, she was beginning to doubt that the scroll was still here and that it was stolen during the break in the Librarian mentioned earlier. Putting the scroll she was currently reading back down she levitated the one next to it up and examined it. Her eyes widening as she read over the familiar looking text and diagrams “IT’S STILL HERE! YES!” Twilight squealed as she sprinted towards one of the few large tables in the room next to the hourglass.

Sitting down, Twilight laid the scroll flat against the table’s surface and read over it thoroughly. Starswirl’s spells were always a work of art and has been a huge inspiration to her, especially as a filly when Celestia read her bed time stories about his accomplishments and how she explained how similar she was too him.

His spells were structured in a way that even an inexperienced unicorn with a basic understanding of magic would be able to understand the purpose of his spells and even potentially cast it if their magic was strong enough.

However that also meant it came with a downside for ponies with a more complex understanding of magic, like Twilight. The spell was so well detailed and structured that it simply couldn’t be altered without the entire spell failing or backfiring in some way or another.

Twilight let out a frustrated groan as she rubbed her face with her forehooves, she should have known better than to get her hopes up like this. Leaning forward in her seat, Twilight read over the spell a second time, then a third. The more she examined the spell the more she understood the complexity behind it and how intricate it really was.

Briefly exiting the room, Twilight returned with a small stack of paper with a brass inkpot that had a quill hanging out of it, placing them both on the table Twilight once again sat down.

Levitating the quill out of the inkpot, Twilight tapped it against the rim a couple of times before attempting to reverse engineer the spell by breaking it down into its various sections and subsections. From there she hoped she would be able to break it down further into its individual components so she can reconstruct it with the reality travel spell whenever she figured out how to do so.

What felt like a couple of minutes to Twilight was actually two hours and she hadn’t even managed to scratch the surface of the spell. Putting the quill down, she let out a frustrated sigh as she glanced over at the steadily building stack of papers that she had been working on ‘There has to be a more efficient way to do this, it would take forever and even then the time issue is only half the problem’ Twilight thought.

Leaning back in her seat, Twilight stared up at the cloudless sky through the dome glass ceiling above, the sun still burning just as bright as it did when she first arrived here ‘We stopped Starlight from stealing every pony’s cutie mark a little over a month ago. That means that this spell isn’t as complicated as I’m making it out to be if she figured out how to do so that quickly’ Twilight continued her train of thought.

‘Didn’t Daybreaker mention something about not considering searching for me through other realities? Does that mean she knows how to do this herself or at least something similar?’ Twilight asked herself though her train of thought came to an abrupt halt when she heard a familiar yet angry voice “There you are! Do you know how long we have been searching for you?”

Twilight looked down to see the same two pegasi mares that she met earlier approach her. The white and cyan armored mares sat down at the opposite side of the table “We were instructed to meet you in the throne room, why didn’t you wait for us there?” The white mare whose name she recalled being Shress demanded.

“We are in Canterlot Castle, possibly the safest place for me to be in in all of Equestria. The amount of guards stationed here is ridiculous, I couldn’t even walk a few steps to Daybreaker’s chambers without a guard demanding what I was doing in a restricted area before meeting you both. I don’t need to be foalsat” Twilight exaggerated as she rolled up the scroll and pushed her work aside. Since they were pegasi it was safe to assume that they wouldn’t be able to understand what she was doing however it was better to be safe than sorry.

Shress took her helmet off and put it on the table, her long orange mane falling over her shoulders and down some of her back “I agree, however orders are orders” Shress stated as she took a deep breath “Our Queen tasked us with your protection. Do you know what punishment awaits us if she discovers that you have been alone for the past two hours?”

Twilight didn’t answer the question as she lowered her head, her ears laying flat against her scalp “I’m sorry, I didn’t consider the consequences that the both of you could face” Twilight apologized.

“What our queen doesn’t know can’t hurt her, apology forgiven” Shress responded as she crossed her forehooves underneath her chest.

“I will even put in a good word for you both” Twilight added with a genuine smile, her ears perking back up.

Shress returned the smile, if only for a moment before her expression turned back to her usual neutral one “My name is Shress, this here is Day Dasher” Shress introduced as she raised her hoof and pointed towards the cyan pegasus beside her “She is a mute, don’t let that discourage you from talking to her though, she is as loyal as one can get.”

Day Dasher rolled her eyes at the comment as she took her helmet off as well and placed it next to Shress’s, revealing her unnaturally white tomboy mane style “And we are queen Daybreaker’s personal guard” Shress continued with a small bow followed by Day Dasher who seemed more hesitant in doing so.

Twilight took the opportunity to glance over at her research while their heads were lowered, quickly turning over a piece of paper that had the word ‘time travel’ written as the title “My name is Twilight Sparkle” Twilight introduced, not really knowing what else to say about herself since she was a nopony before the Nightmare Moon incident.

The guards raised the heads and stared at Twilight as if silently urging her to continue “W-well…I can’t really say much about my origins since Daybreaker wants to keep that a secret though what I can say is that I’m not from Equestria” Twilight replied nervously, it wasn’t a lie however it wasn’t the truth either. Shress seemed to understand though the glare she was receiving from Day Dasher was unsettling.

Thankful that the cyan pegasus couldn’t talk, Twilight tried to steer the conversation away from herself. Since she couldn’t continue her research she might as well try to get some answers to the few remaining questions she had “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions? Equestrian history especially over the last few years is a little hazy for me” Twilight asked.

Shress nodded her head, gesturing for Twilight to ask away. With the sign of approval Twilight cleared her throat “What happened to Discord, the spirit of chaos and disharmony?”

Shress looked over at Day Dasher who just shrugged, not really taking a particular interest in the conversation going on “Discord as in the Draconequus?” Shress clarified as she turned back towards Twilight who nodded in response “He is a stone statue in the castle’s sculpture garden and has been for the past 1000 years.”

Twilight had a feeling that would be the case since the elements of harmony were never used against Nightmare Moon meaning Discord would still be imprisoned and unreformed “I was led to believe he escaped at some point, I am glad to know that isn’t the case. What about Tirek?” Twilight asked.

Twilight watched Day Dasher in confusion who covered her ears with her hooves “You haven’t heard about the great battle!” Shress exclaimed as she reared up and slammed her forehooves on the table, her neutral expression and straight-to-the-point demeanour completely gone.

Twilight jumped at the sudden bang, now understanding why Day Dasher covered her ears. The cyan pegasus grabbed her partner by the wing and roughly pulled her back down on the seat “Don’t give me that look!” Shress pouted earning a shake of her head from Day Dasher before grabbing the quill and a blank sheet of paper.

“I didn’t know there was a single pony that hasn’t heard about this story” Shress said in disbelief. Twilight began to wonder if she was talking to the same mare as before, she was a lot more talkative and lively now “Oh well that just means I can expla-“ Shress continued but was interrupted by Day Dasher who held a sheet of paper up in front of her.

‘Answer the question only or we’ll be here for hours.’

Shress read the writing on the paper before turning to look at her partner “But then she will miss the good parts” Shress whined causing Day Dasher to raise an eyebrow. With a defeated sigh Shress pushed the paper aside “Fine” she grumbled.

Clearing her throat Shress turned her attention back towards Twilight “When Tirek escaped from Tartarus, he stole magic from every unicorn he came across with the intention to rule over Equestria. Queen Daybreaker and Nightmare Moon had a dream about his return.” Shress explained trying to keep it short and relevant to Twilight’s question.

“The two deity’s were forced to put their differences aside and worked together to defeat Tirek before he became too powerful. They lured him out to San Talomino desert just south of Los Pegasus where they battled it out.” Shress continued.

“I wish I was there to witness the fight however we would have only been in the way. Our queen didn’t care to explain what exactly happened but we could guess from the massive scorch mark crater left behind how the fight ended” Shress finished as she leaned forward onto the table expectantly “Though if you want to ask her what happened yourself and share the details with us later.” Shress hinted.

Day Dasher once again grabbed Shress and pulled her back down on the seat “What is with you? You have been acting weird ever since our sleeping shift started” Shress asked with a hint of annoyance.

Day Dasher’s eyes darted between Twilight and Shress repeatedly before dismissing the question with a wave of her hoof. The cyan pegasus leaned back in her chair and stared out of the glass ceiling, letting the two continue their discussion in peace.

Twilight had her suspicions that Day Dasher didn’t like her and so far it was being confirmed, though the reason as to why that would be the case was a mystery to her ‘Daybreaker must have been incredibly desperate if she resorted to working with Nightmare Moon to defeat Tirek. I guess they needed to, he would just drain their magic if they fought him by themselves. Though since they are aligned with their celestial powers it meant they could use their full power and actually stand a chance, unlike in my reality where they had to rely on me and the elements of harmony’ Twilight thought.

“That definitely wasn’t the kind of response I was expecting though I will be sure to ask for more details about the fight itself whenever I catch Daybreaker in a good mood. Anyways what happened with Chrysalis?” Twilight continued with her questioning.

Shress cocked her head to the side, obviously confused as to who Twilight was talking about “Chrysalis? I don’t believe I have ever heard of this being before” Shress responded.

“Chrysalis is the queen of the changeling swarm” Twilight explained.

Shress nodded slowly “We don’t know the reason why however the changeling threat has steadily decreased over the years. We have tried hunting them down however there is no trace of them anywhere, we haven’t had a single changeling incident in over five years so it is safe to assume they moved on, one less problem to worry about if I say so myself.”

The fact that the changelings possibly set up their hive elsewhere didn’t come as a surprise to Twilight since changelings fed on love which must be in short supply in this part of Equus “What happened to the Crystal Empire upon King Sombra’s return?” Twilight asked.

Shress stared at Twilight in disbelief “I understand Tirek since you are not from Equestria and it only lasted for a few days, but surely you must have heard about the Great Crystal War? How we fought against the mind controlled crystal ponies while Cadenza and ex-captain Shining Armor snuck into the Crystal Empire to search for the crystal heart before restoring it, resulting in Sombra’s defeat and the freedom of the crystal ponies? This war lasted months.” Shress explained, trying to keep things short and simple.

Twilight shook her head in response to all of those questions “No, all I know is that the Crystal Empire is currently independent, why is that anyways?” Twilight asked, relieved to hear her brother’s name though was concerned by the fact that he was referred as ex-captain.

Shress didn’t reply right away “I don’t mind answering questions about events that have already passed. However if you want the answer to that one I think you should talk to her majesty herself” Shress responded after a while.

Twilight understood where the guard was coming from “Can you at least tell me what happened to-“ Twilight started but cut herself off “Actually never mind, I’ll just ask Daybreaker herself whenever she is in a good mood. I have a bit of reading I would like to do in the meantime, would you mind giving me some privacy?” Twilight asked.

Shress shook her head “Her majesty has assigned us to watch over you until her return” Shress argued.

“Then can you both stand guard at the doorway or something? This room has only one entrance point and we are all alone in here” Twilight countered.

Day Dasher put her helmet back on and tapped Shress on the shoulder to get her attention, she flicked her head to the doorway, gesturing for her partner to follow her before standing up and exiting the room. Shress had second thoughts about this however it didn’t go against Daybreaker’s orders and wouldn’t be any different from what they usually did “As you wish” Shress replied with a small bow as she put her helmet on and followed the cyan pegasus out of the room.

Twilight watched the guards exit the room, she tried to peek around to get a glimpse of their cutie marks however they were covered by the golden plated armour with Daybreaker’s insignia inscribed on it. Once the pair of guards were gone, Twilight pulled her research back in front of her and quickly read over her notes ‘There has to be an easier way to return home’ Twilight thought to herself as she got up and continued searching through the various books and scrolls that surrounded her, putting anything that was even remotely relevant to what she was looking for on the table to have a more thorough look later.

The doors leading into the war room swung open as Daybreaker stormed out with her fangs bared. The meeting didn’t go as well as she would have liked with her sisters movements being too erratic. They didn’t have much to go off other than the assumption that Twilight was the target, and there was no way she was going to let anyone take her away from her again.

With everything finished until Raven sets up their next court session, Daybreaker was excited to spend the remainder of her time with her protégée. The thought of teaching Twilight and spending time with her again was enough to relieve some of her pent up frustration.

Knowing Twilight she would most likely be somewhere in the library with her muzzle buried in a book so Daybreaker decided to check there first.

Stepping into the library, Daybreaker scanned the room unable to see the lavender mare anywhere, with a small huff she decided to check the other wings. There weren’t many places she could imagine Twilight being since she gave her guards specific instructions to not let her leave the castle grounds.

Walking down the hallway, Daybreaker poked her head inside the various rooms, quickly scanning them for Twilight before ducking back out. Completely bewildered as to where her student could be. Walking around the corner she spotted her personal guard stationed at either side of the Starswirl the Bearded wing.

Not giving them a second glance, Daybreaker stepped inside to see a lavender horn poking over a stack of books on the table. Smirking, she snuck around the bookshelves and approached Twilight from behind who was distracted by the numerous books and scrolls opened in front of her “This is a restricted area, who gave you access to this wing?” Daybreaker asked as she looked over Twilight’s shoulder to see what she was working on.

Twilight immediately slammed all the books shut with her magic “Daybreaker!” Twilight yelped in surprise as she turned around to face the flaming deity “That meeting went faster than I expected.”

Daybreaker raised an eyebrow, confused as to why Twilight would close all of her books like that upon her arrival “I was gone for over two hours” Daybreaker replied as she picked up one of the books Twilight had closed with her magic and opened it up to the ‘table of contents’ page “This area is off limits to any pony, I would have made an exception for you if you had asked but I must know who allowed you inside without my permission” Daybreaker demanded as she began reading it.

Twilight immediately felt guilty for getting the librarian in trouble “I pressured the librarian into letting me in, I said how pissed off you would be if I disturbed you while in such an important meeting for something so trivial, I knew you wouldn’t mind however I didn’t want to go through all that effort just to get inside” Twilight explained as she shuffled uncomfortably in her seat, her wings twitching ever so slightly “and I may have used the fact that ponies think we are courting to further persuade her…so if you are going to punish anypony then it should be me, I promise you she wouldn’t have let any pony in otherwise” Twilight defended, her face turning a dark shade of red while tapping her forehooves together.

Daybreaker’s ears twitched at the last part, her mind heading straight into the gutter “I-I see” Daybreaker stuttered before clearing her throat as she put the book back down, nothing really standing out to her that would warrant Twilight researching that particular book “However I don’t care about the reason why she let you in, she had specific orders to only let ponies I authorize inside and by doing so is considered a security breach” Daybreaker responded sternly “You may disagree though I have to punish her accordingly so she will never make this mistake again.”

As much as Twilight wanted to argue back she didn’t have a valid response to that argument, there was already a security breach in that wing before that warranted this extra level of security “I understand, she is old so just be careful…please” Twilight pleaded.

Daybreaker closed her eyes and took a deep breath, she hated it when Twilight spoke in that tone “Fine, I will tone down the physical aspect of her punishment” Daybreaker retorted with a small groan, it wasn’t much but it at least made Twilight smile “It looks like you have started a little project, anything I can do to help?” Daybreaker asked, a hint of excitement in her voice.

The times where she and Twilight stayed up late to restore an incorrectly recorded spell or decipher an ancient document, where the only light emanated from the burning candles that surrounded them were the moments Daybreaker cherished the most. So seeing Twilight working and struggling on a project of her own got her hopes up.

Twilight’s eyes lit up, it looked like she was about to say yes however her expression slowly shifted to a more regretful and saddened one “As much as I would love that…this is something I must do myself” Twilight responded sadly.

There was no response from Daybreaker whose gaze slowly trailed down to her forehooves. Twilight wanted nothing more than to take her up on her offer, however there was no telling how Daybreaker would react if she discovered that she was trying to find a way to return home.

Wanting to make it up to the deity, Twilight leaned across to nuzzle the underside of her chin, lifting her head back up with her own “However I do seem to recall a certain pony promising to teach me magic” Twilight suggested playfully.

Daybreaker still appeared to be saddened but she returned the display of affection with a nuzzle of her own. Taking that as a sign of agreement Twilight pulled her head away and got out of her seat “let me just put these books away then I will be right with you” Twilight said as a magenta aura surrounded the books as they flew back to where she had originally found them.

Just before the books reached the bookshelves, Daybreaker overwrote Twilight’s control on the books and returned them back to the table “You are the only pony other than me that has access to this wing. I will give you a copy of the key so you can come back and continue with…what are you doing again?” Daybreaker asked curiously, getting sidetracked from what she was going to say originally.

Twilight couldn’t afford to hesitate in her answer so Daybreaker wouldn’t pry further “Oh you know…I never really had the time to be in this wing back in my reality and I wanted to see if I can break down Starswirl’s spells and recreate them for different purposes.” Twilight replied.

Daybreaker seemed convinced with the answer judging by the way she laughed “Trust me, it is impossible to break down Starswirl’s spells without using his decoder. After many failed resurrection attempts I looked for an alternative method, time travel being one of them. There is one by him that allows you travel back by a maximum of two weeks if I recall, unfortunately the existence of this spell had completely slipped my mind and a few years had already passed since your death. Anyways I worked on that spell during every waking moment for months and made no progress on it whatsoever, no matter how deep I dived into that spell you can’t break it down without his decoder. It isn’t limited to that spell as well, he encodes all of his spells…at least the ones that he has successfully completed anyways, he doesn’t encode incomplete or failed spells.”

“I know for a fact this decoder exists, there is a mention of it in his private journal that I have hidden away though I have no idea where it could possibly be. He didn’t want anypony reconstructing his spells and using them for its unintended purposes. It is probably the biggest reason why he is still widely known till this day, because nopony has come close to his level of depth and understanding of magic” Daybreaker explained.

Twilight now began to understand the reason why she was struggling so much and how it felt like she wasn’t making any progress “I see, so I need this decoder in order to be able to break down and restructure his spells. Would I be able to have a look at his journal at some point?” Twilight asked.

“If you believe it will help with your project then sure, however I will have to retrieve it after our next court session” Daybreaker replied with a grin.

Twilight rolled her eyes at Daybreaker’s condition “Fine, I will join you for court session again” Twilight replied as they both made their way out of the Starswirl the Bearded wing, locking the gate behind them as they went to begin her training.

Twilight knew that Daybreaker didn’t approve of her barriers, that much was obvious from the moment they first met and was something that she made clear was going to be improved on, however Twilight never expected her first lessons to be so hooves on and intense. “I thought you said you would never hurt me!” Twilight yelled out from behind her steadily cracking magenta barrier which was being assaulted by a stream of red magic launching out of Daybreaker’s horn.

“That was when you thought I was going to lash out at you for speaking up against me. I don’t take any pleasure in doing this and am only doing so with the intention of making you stronger” Daybreaker retorted as she kept up the pressure on Twilight’s shield “I’m not even using my celestial powers, with enough time and practice you will easily be able to fend off this type of attack.”

Twilight grit her teeth together as more cracks continued to form around her barrier. She tried her best to maintain it for as long as possible however the constant stream of magic was beginning to overwhelm her. It didn’t take long for the barrier to shatter causing Twilight to stumble back and lose her bearings.

Daybreaker sighed loudly as she looked around the advanced training ground while Twilight reoriented herself. There were numerous guards from all three tribes here, using the equipment that has been provided for them to further strengthen themselves. The earth ponies worked on their endurance and physical strength. The Pegasi using the cloud based obstacle course above to improve their speed and agility while the unicorns practiced their spell casting, each taking turns being either the aggressor or defender, similar to what she and Twilight were currently doing. All of them pretending like they weren’t paying attention to the two alicorns duelling.

Staring at the obstacle course above, Daybreaker pondered if that would be too big of a step for Twilight due to how weak her wings are. Though she was broken out of her thoughts when Twilight eventually spoke up “Why do I have to do this? I’m not a war mare and I have no intention of becoming one” Twilight argued as she raised her hoof to rub her horn, wincing slightly.

“My sister has set you as her target Twilight, she knows she can’t beat me in a fight so you are the only way she can get to me” Daybreaker retorted. She couldn’t afford to go easy on Twilight, she had died once before because she didn’t know how to properly defend herself and she wasn’t going to let history repeat itself.

Twilight wasn’t happy about it however she understood the logic behind Daybreaker’s words and was willing to press on for now “The reason why your barriers are so weak is because you aren’t casting anything along with it, it is just a shield made out of pure unrefined magic which is incredibly inefficient in numerous ways” Daybreaker explained.

“Why didn’t you start off by telling me that instead of beating me down to begin with?" Twilight groaned.

Daybreaker ignored Twilight’s complaining and created her own barrier. It was similar compared to Twilight’s however the only difference other than it being red instead of magenta was that the entire surface was covered in numerous hex shaped tiles “It will be easier if I show you, attack me” Daybreaker ordered.

A grin formed on Twilight’s face at the opportunity to get some payback for her unnecessary beating earlier. Without a moment’s hesitation, Twilight fired a magenta beam also made of pure unrefined magic at Daybreaker’s shield, the tiles that were hit by the stream of magic flickered slightly “Really? Even your attacks are pure magic?” Daybreaker complained, not even slightly fazed by the attack.

“If my combat magic is so horrible then you can go and complain to my teacher” Twilight insinuated causing Daybreaker to snarl momentarily before regaining her composure and continuing on with her explanation.

“The hex shaped tiles that you see divide my barrier into different sections. This is quite effective against most attacks, however it is quite vulnerable to area of effect spells or weapons with a large surface area. Though I will teach you how to counter those another time.”

“Breaking the barrier down into sections means you have more control over where you allocate your magic, for example you may want the front to be stronger than the sides. This means an attack to any tile that you have fortified would be able to withstand the assault much easier compared to a well-balanced shield like yours would. Do note that you are weakening other parts of your shield to make another part stronger, if they break through the weakened part of the barrier then it will completely shatter. With this you have full control over the strength of your barriers” Daybreaker finished as she waited for Twilight to finish her assault so she could teach her how to do it herself.

Twilight let out a defeated sigh as she cancelled her attack and lowered her head “My brother excels at these types of spells, I should have asked him to teach me some of them in his free time” Twilight mumbled, a little disheartened that her spells were considered pathetic.

Daybreaker’s eye twitched when her ex-captains name was mentioned though she was more concerned about Twilight “I never taught you combat magic Twilight and I hoped I never would, I’m teaching you now so you can defend yourself until I or my guard arrives to assist. Combat magic is different from the other types of magic I taught you and I don’t expect you to pick it up in just a few hours, it takes months if not years of dedicated practice. Later we will be strengthening those wings of yours so you can fly away should you be outmatched or outnumbered” Daybreaker explained as she walked up to Twilight and put a hoof underneath her chin, forcing her head up while smiling reassuringly down at her.

This brought a weak smile to the smaller alicorn’s face. Daybreaker supressed the urge to lean down and kiss Twilight right then and there, to tell her that everything was going to be fine, that she wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to her for as long as she breathed. However she wanted her confession to be more special than just a tender moment. Returning the small smile Daybreaker reluctantly let go of Twilight’s chin “You have potential Twilight and not just in magical prowess. You are a quick learner, faster than any pony I have ever seen. Effective problem solver, able to break down and resolve complicated tasks, you certainly proved that in court earlier with the school house teacher” Daybreaker started.

Twilight’s smile only grew as she quickly regained confidence in her abilities “You are dedicated, to a point where I had to assign a night guard to patrol the library to stop you from studying. And that is only the beginning of your many wondrous talents. I’ve raised you since you were a filly and I do not regret for a second how you turned out” Daybreaker finished.

Twilight didn’t respond and instead just leaned against her mentor, enjoying the praise she was receiving. After a few moments Twilight eventually pulled away and took a fighting stance, spreading her hooves apart and keeping low to the ground “So, are you going to teach me how to create that barrier or am i going to have to figure it out by myself?” Twilight smirked with newfound determination.

The two alicorns lost track of time as they spent the next few hours practicing various defensive spells. Daybreaker was surprised that Twilight was able to last as long as she did. However she was more impressed by how far Twilight had come in such a short amount of time. She was now able to perfect the hex tile barrier, being able to effortlessly allocate her magic to any tile she liked as if it was second nature to her. However it was clear that Twilight lacked combat experience since she always fell for feint attacks though she knew that would be improved in time, she mostly did it to throw Twilight off guard and retain her concentration.

Twilight was doing well with her other more situational barriers however she was struggling to remember which barrier was effective against which type of spell and by the time she figured it out it would be too late.

Twilight winced as she pushed herself up off the ground after failing to block one of Daybreaker’s attacks, she was completely exhausted and sore all over however she was determined to press on. Once upright her hooves quivered beneath her as they struggled to support her weight, Twilight grit her teeth together as she stared at Daybreaker’s horn, ready for the next attack.

Daybreaker admired her students dedication however everypony had a limit and Twilight had clearly passed hers “We should stop for now” Daybreaker stated.

“But I’m so close, I know I can block it this time, I just need to concentrate on the magic build up on your horn to determine what ty-“ Twilight started but was cut off by Daybreaker who shook their head.

“You’re pushing yourself too hard, if you're that desperate to learn how to identify an attack spell while it is channelling then you will just have to study the theory side of combat magic” Daybreaker interrupted.

Twilight wanted to argue though she had to admit she was feeling incredibly sore and exhausted “Very well, did I at least do a good enough job for you to teach me that illusion spell?” Twilight asked.

Daybreaker chuckled having completely forgotten about the proposal she made “Yes, I will teach you how to do that at the beginning of our next training session” Daybreaker replied as she gestured for Twilight to follow her while making her way towards the exit.

Twilight went to follow Daybreaker however she was more exerted than she thought, after a few steps her forehoof gave out from underneath her causing her to tumble forward, Twilight closed her eyes and braced herself for the rough landing however something soft and warm broke her fall.

“This took more of a toll on you than I had thought, I should have eased you into your training” Daybreaker said as Twilight reopened her eyes to see her resting against Daybreaker’s warm soft chest with her large white wings wrapped around her barrel to support the rest of her body.

Twilight cheeks burned a slight shade of red as she pushed herself off Daybreaker and back onto her wobbly hooves “T-Thanks, yeah I guess we did get a little carried away, best thing I can do is just to relax until I feel better” Twilight agreed while Daybreaker kept her wing wrapped around her form to help her stand upright “Despite how more hooves on and intense your lessons are, I look forward to doing this again.”

Daybreaker smiled as she left the training ground with Twilight who was leaning against her side for support, her large white wing still draped across Twilight’s back. As they walked through the streets of Canterlot back towards the castle, Twilight noticed that most of the ponies they passed were staring intently at them, some talking and whispering amongst themselves while others looked between them and whatever it was they were reading.

Twilight wondered why they weren’t running away like they did when she first arrived in Ponyville however she recalled what Apple Bloom said about the towns being more afraid of alicorns than the cities. The amount of staring made Twilight feel uncomfortable causing her to subconsciously press further against Daybreaker’s side.

Daybreaker noticed this and wrapped her wing tighter around her students form “Is everything alright?” Daybreaker asked concerned, not acknowledging the stares they were receiving.

Twilight decided this wasn’t worth Daybreaker’s attention “I’m fine, the training just took a bigger toll on me than I thought is all” Twilight replied with a small laugh “Sorry for having to rely on you like this.”

“I did say I wanted to take you under my wing again, maybe I meant that in more ways than one” Daybreaker replied playfully.

Twilight’s cheeks turned a brighter shade of red “E-Earlier, during court you said that I meant more to you than Canterlot itself…” Twilight started, her cheeks turning redder as her voice became slightly higher pitched “D-Did you really mean that?”

Daybreaker stopped in her tracks causing Twilight to whine loudly as she put too much weight on her forehooves. Daybreaker thought back to when they were in court and replayed the events in her mind, unable to recall ever saying that. She looked over at Twilight who was blushing profusely at this point, with a smirk she leaned down and whispered in Twilights ear “Even more than the sun itself.”

Twilight’s ear twitched as Daybreaker’s warm breath tickled the fur on her ear. A feeling of warmth accompanied those words as Twilight tried to calm down her rapidly beating heart while also struggling to regain control of her breathing. Twilight noticed that more ponies started to crowd around the stationed alicorns to see what the commotion was about.

Getting overwhelmed with what Daybreaker had confessed and the attention they were receiving, Twilight’s mouth quivered as various responses flooded her mind “L-let’s just head back” she eventually said. Taking a step forward Twilight completely forgot about her injuries and her hoof gave out from underneath her again, accidentally pulling Daybreaker down with her.

“Oowww” Twilight whined as she stared up at the larger fiery deity who laid on top of her, their bodies pressed firmly against each other “Hehe sorry” Twilight apologized as Daybreaker’s amber gaze locked with her own purple hues.

Daybreaker didn’t like how Twilight put her in such a vulnerable position, especially in front of all of her subjects. Though the way their bodies were pressed together and how they stared into each others eyes made her quickly dismiss that thought.

Instead of getting up, Daybreaker leaned further down and nuzzled the side of Twilights neck, her lips brushing ever so slightly against her fur, her face scrunched up at the odor though she didn’t pull away “As soon as we get back you are taking a bath, queen’s orders, you absolutely reek” Daybreaker ordered.

Just as Twilight was about to reply, a hooded figure slipped through the crowd and charged towards them. The unknown entity took advantage of their ruler’s vulnerable state by throwing a dagger at the distracted deity.

Not having much time to react Twilight put everything she had into one small barrier. Assuming that she wasn’t the target, Twilight lit her horn as a disjointed hex tiled barrier that only covered Daybreaker’s vitals suddenly appeared. With how drained and exhausted she was from their training session she didn’t have enough strength to create a barrier that would completely cover Daybreaker’s form and also defend from the surprise attack at the same time.

The assumption of the hooded figure aiming for one of Daybreaker’s vitals was correct as the tip of the blade connected with one of the spread out tiles located at the back of her head. The dagger ricocheted off the barrier, landing on the ground while Twilight’s barrier immediately shattered upon contact. The hooded figure kept charging as he pulled out another dagger from under his cloak and thrusted it towards Daybreaker.

Once the first attack had been deflected it gave Daybreaker enough time to react to the second. Swinging her body around Daybreaker used the armor on her wing to bash the ponies hoof causing him to lose grip of his dagger as it slid across the concrete. With the figure completely disarmed Daybreaker switched to the offence, lighting her horn a large blast of fire engulfed the assaulter’s form.

A few seconds later the flames died down and a brown earth pony stallion covered in scorch marks laid unconscious on the ground, his cloak completely burnt off. All the ponies that had surrounded them earlier retreated as soon as the fight began though some brave enough hid behind various objects as they watched the fight unfold.

Twilight tried to push herself up but her hooves refused to co-operate “Breaking your barrier down to cover the areas where he would most likely strike. I have to say I am impressed with your quick thinking” Daybreaker praised as she helped Twilight get back on her hooves.

The two alicorns made their way towards the unconscious stallion and stared at him “Why would somepony try to attack us like that?” Twilight asked curiously.

Daybreaker narrowed her eyes “Because he is working under my sister” Daybreaker replied confidently.

Twilight raised an eyebrow “But he isn’t a bat pony, how can you know that for a fact?”

Daybreaker raised her forehoof and pointed at the stallion’s flank “His cutie mark” she replied. Twilight’s eyes travelled down towards the stallions flank, her eyes widening at what she saw. Even though some of it was covered by the black scorch mark there was no mistaking that cutie mark.

“Starlight Glimmer” Twilight growled as she stared down at the black equal sign cutie mark he possessed.

Daybreaker’s gaze immediately shifted towards Twilight “You know of my sisters Protégée?” she asked surprised.

Twilight snapped towards Daybreaker, her mouth slightly agape “Nightmare Moon’s protégée!? Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner!?” Twilight demanded.

Daybreaker narrowed her eyes, not liking being yelled at but she let it slide since Twilight prevented her from coming to harm “I don’t see how informing you about Starlight would have affected anything. Did something happen between you two back in your reality?” Daybreaker countered.

Twilight realized that she never explained how she was brought to this reality in the first place “Sorry…Back in my reality my friends and I stopped Starlight from stealing other ponies’ cutie marks. She wanted a world where everypony was equal, with no special talent dividing them and I quote ‘We don’t separate ourselves by more than name’” Twilight explained with an exasperated sigh.

“Starlight is a powerful unicorn. Just like me she spent her entire life studying magic and is the one who sent me to this reality so I wouldn’t interfere with any of her future plans” Twilight finished as Daybreaker nodded her head, hanging onto every word Twilight spoke.

“I see” was all Daybreaker said as she turned her gaze back towards the stallion.

Moments later a squad of pegasi guards swooped down from the skies and landed in front of them “We came as soon as we saw the smoke my queen, what are your orders?” The squad leader asked as they all saluted.

Daybreaker gaze was fixated on the stallion, not paying the guards any mind “Lock him up in the dungeons and alert me the moment he wakes up. We are going to have a nice long chat, you are all dismissed” she ordered, a sinister looking smirk grew on her face as the guards saluted once more before flying away with the stallion in tow.

“We still need to finish our discussion about your life back in your reality, there is still a lot I don’t know about you and I want to change that” Daybreaker said as they continued their walk back to the castle.

Twilight smiled and nodded “That sounds fine to me, I have a few new questions that need answering as well” Twilight replied as she focused on Daybreaker’s hooves so they would be walking in sync and not have a repeat of before.