Luna, Celestia and Sunset stared at Twilight after her declaration, leaving the mare feeling rather self conscious now and afraid she had said something wrong.
"I mean, It's not like I'm going to leave you two to die, am I?" she stated, shrugging. "I would never live with myself if I did that; eternity is a long time."
Luna walked over, ignoring the pulsing chalk lines and pulled a hoof up to gently brush over Twilight's cheek. "Neither of us have met any pony so willing to risk themselves for another." She pulled back as Celestia joined them and turned to watch her sister.
Celestia sat down and let out a despondent sigh while taking a look at the map. "Luna is right. You are no ordinary mare, and I am not talking about being immortal. There's something different about you." She turned it over to show Twilight, pointing at the corner of the map. "Do you know how far Eden is?" she asked, receiving a shake of Twilight's head in response. "It's halfway across the world, Moon. It's a long way to travel and we are not even sure we will survive before reaching there."
Twilight turned her gaze away, not wanting to hear this. "You have my answer, Celestia. You won't get rid of me just because it might take a long time, or that we might die!"
Celestia let out her own huff of annoyance. “Moon, why are you- ugh! Why are you so kind to us?!” Stomping her hoof, she brushed past Twilight and exited the room.
Luna looked between Twilight and her sister, before sighing. “She’s right, Moon. We barely know you and you’re willing to go to the ends of the world for us. Why are you so invested in this?”
Twilight turned to face Luna and shrugged, giving her a deadpan look. “Oh, other than the whole, bad guy has control over the sun and moon part? Besides, it’s not like you won’t have the time to get to know me, right?”
Luna returned the look with a chuckle and nodded. “I- I guess that isn’t something we really considered. It was happening to us and that’s how it always has been. We were the only immortals until you turned up. But I concede that this affects everypony.”
Sunset moved over and coughed into her hoof. “As much as I’m enjoying this, perhaps it would be best if we decide how you would be finding these artefacts? None of them will be particularly easy to obtain. Titas will no doubt be wearing it and the Gryphons are notoriously dangerous.”
“That is true,” Luna began, nodding, “they don’t use any magic, but their numbers and sheer strength is something we lack. Not to mention their King is unstable, at best.”
Luna adopted a thoughtful look as she gazed down at the floor. “Even three of us cannot fight the Gryphon’s head on.”
“So, what? We sneak in and steal it?” Twilight asked, glancing between the pair. “From what I know of the Gryphons, their hearing is superb.”
“They do have amazing hearing, but they cannot stand high frequency notes. It doesn’t stop them, but it is painful. We used it in several skirmishes to high success,” Sunset added, looking proud of herself. “Though, I would assume the King’s personal guards would be trained against it.”
Twilight nodded. “That is a point, anything we can use to gain an advantage we should use. I’d rather not kill anything else.”
“I doubted you had any choice with those ponies, Moon. You were barely holding on when you found me.”
“I- I know. But it doesn’t mean I would want to actively go around and kill. It’s not right,” Twilight retorted, looking away. “It doesn’t mean I won’t defend myself.”
Quickly enough, the discussion ebbed away and Twilight excused herself to find Celestia. She exited and climbed the stairs back into the college. Their meeting had taken the better half of an hour and had left the college slightly more empty than Twilight would have expected for this time of the day.
Stepping up onto the smooth marble floor, she began to wander about the college to get the general layout. Every step brought back memories of her time at Celestia’s school. The smell of the hall, the ponies rushing to-and-fro to find their next classes and the professors teaching.
Stopping outside of an open door, Twilight leaned around and found one such professor teaching a class. She stood there, listening in to the lecture until a hoof poked her shoulder.
Turning around to see Celestia standing there, she went to talk, but the mare held up a hoof to stop her.
“Don’t. Let me speak, Moon.”
Twilight nodded, closing her mouth.
The burning sunset filtered through the floor-to-ceiling windows and painted Celestia’s features, helping them stand out against the suddenly drab and lifeless hallway. She wanted so bad to just leap at her and tell her everything, to admit her wrongdoings. Yet, thankfully, her fear of rejection, of failure held her back.
“Moon, Luna and I have watched so many ponies grow up and fade away. While it’s true that we don’t know you,” Celestia stated, giving a sincere smile, “ and I can’t speak for Luna, but I trust that she has the same thoughts as I do.”
It was clear that Celestia was simply rambling at this point, so she just decided to let her, mainly to allow herself some more time to gaze upon her image.
“I was being pig-headed before. I had to watch so many of my friends, and family, pass into their next life while I had to stay here. I foolishly thought that you would to, disregarding the obvious.” Celestia closed her eyes and steadied herself by placing a hoof on her chest, breathing in. “I would be happy if you came with us to Eden.”
Twilight’s smile grew as she leaned in and wrapped Celestia up in a hug, holding her tight. “I would have followed you anyway, you silly pony.”
Celestia’s cheeks darkened at those words, just before she wrapped her own legs around Twilight, holding her.
The pair pulled away a few seconds later due to the sound of a mare screaming in the entrance hall. Together, they leapt to their hooves and rushed over to find a pony galloping away from the entrance, horror etched on her face.
Twilight was just about to ask what happened as the front doors shattered open, causing her to cover her face.
Celestia moved forward so she could see outside at whatever had blown the doors open, before Twilight galloped over and barrelled her over. A second snap of electricity blasted its way over the top of the pair, hitting one of the windows and exploding, sending debris scattering across the floor.
Celestia whimpered as Twilight rose up once again to see five unicorns strolling up the steps of the college. Each pony was covered almost head to hoof in leather armour, along with numerous different weapons attached to their bodies. In addition, they were all wearing fitted masks that looked like they were burnt on. The front of the masks bore a symbol reminiscent of Star Swirl’s time-travel spell.
“Moon Light. You will give yourself over to us!” the pony at the head of the group ordered. “We will spare this town if you come freely.”
Twilight glanced down at Celestia, before her horn lit up. She used her magic to slide the mare across the floor and over to the stairs. “Get the others and run!” she shouted, turning back to the group. The sound of Celestia rushing off to find her sister and sunset echoed throughout the quiet entrance hall.
“Who are you?” she queried, holding her head high as she watched the group spread out in a semi-circle in front of her. There was no doubt now that they wouldn’t let her go without a fight.
Twilight tensed up upon hearing another scream from a different part of the college, then narrowed her eyes. With a flash of her horn, she shot out a pulse of magic towards the lead unicorn which burned against his cheat, before rolling to the side and dodging a spear that embedded itself in the marble.
Landing on her side, Twilight brought up her magical shield and rose to her hooves. After a second or two of barrage from the unicorns, they let up, only to levitate their weapons off of their backs and charge.
With a gasp, Twilight leaped back, only gaining a graze as a claymore smashed down in front of her, cracking the tile. Several crossbow bolts whizzed past her face, cutting her cheek before she landed.
She let out a cry and brought a lance of magic down upon the closest pony, throwing them straight to the ground and knocking them out cold. Her eyes went wide when white-hot pain shot through her flank and she turned back to see a spear sticking out of her. Blood leaked down her back leg as the spear twisted to try and keep her in place.
“Give it up, Miss Light. We have more than enough to subdue you.”
Twilight let out a quiet groan and with a blinding flash of light and a boom she was gone.
A second later, a flash was seen above them and she let out a cry and brought her hoof down on the lead pony’s head from above, throwing him down into the tiles face first!
Spinning around, she clenched her magic around the nearest cultist and blasted them out of the room, shattering the window in the process.
Hitting the ground, she stumbled from the wound on her flank, but growled as she summoned her shield once again, several lances of magic searing across it’s front, crackling the air around her.
Out of the corner of her eye, Twilight could see her wards and Sunset rush into the hall and stare at her in shock. Sunset used her magic to hold the Princesses back, as Twilight shouted, “Run! I’ll hold them off!”
Just then, one of the cultists pounced at her with a dagger in their magic, a snarl leaving their mouth. Twilight found herself caught off guard due to the Princesses and felt the dagger plunge deep within her chest.
Screaming out in pain, she threw the pony across the room with a crack of her leg, then took hold of the dagger and slid it out of her. A gush of blood sprayed out of her and she felt lightheaded, but she knew this wasn’t enough to put her down. It hurt like hell, but it was a small inconvenience next to what they would no doubt do to her.
Finding herself cornered by the cultists, she held her hoof against the wound, forcing pain to shoot through her. Smiling over to Celestia, Twilight clenched her eyes shut and lit her horn up. With a blinding flash, the three other ponies were gone, having been teleported outside the town walls. Seeing them disappear, Twilight sighed, then yelped as a cultist rushed her with a net.
She jumped away, eyeing an opening in the attack and spun around, bucking the pony into a nearby pillar. She didn’t want to think about if she had actually done any real damage to the pony, she just wanted to get away and regroup.
Seeing their comrade hit the pillar caused the other cultists to hesitate, then back off as Twilight took a step forward towards them. They would have turned-tale and run if not for the addition of another set of cultists that were dragging students from down the other hallway.
Seeing the additional ponies, Twilight was the one to hesitate, especially with the students in the way. Just then, Twilight felt a hammer hit into her side, throwing her against the wall with a ’thump’.
Shaking the stars out of her eyes, Twilight’s magic caught the head of the hammer, as it crashed down on her head. It suddenly stopped mere inches away from her horn, before crashing through the roof of the College at supersonic speeds.
Rising up, Twilight gripped the pony in her magic and threw them out of the College entranceway.
“Bucking get out of here!” she shouted at the terrified students, who had huddled in the corner of the room. “Now!” The ponies took the message and galloped away, leaving Twilight alone.
With a hiss, she felt a dagger slice through her leg when a pony jumped at her, splattering her blood across the floor.
She coalesced her magic above the pony and smashed it down upon their back, before leaping away and crashing to the ground.
Now without any pony around, Twilight was sure she could finally get herself out of the college. With a whip-crack and a burst of light, the mare vanished, leaving the cultists to lick their wounds.
It was mere nanoseconds later when Twilight, now alone, popped back into existence. Her head was still pounding and, despite the cuts and sore muscles, she was healing up quickly. 'Who the buck were they?!’ she thought, stumbling through a dark, dingy, Stonewall alley. She moved further back into the darkness as her eyes snapped onto a group of cultists that passed by.
The mare's body had layers of grime; sweat mixed with blood. Her mane was stuck fast to her neck and face, and she could feel her armour growing heavy while she leaned up against the wall.
"I need to think," she whispered, clenching her eyes shut. She could feel her hearing start to ring from the hit she took. "I can't think with all this ringing."
With a crack of her hoof, she hit the wall in frustration. Her eyes flicked around to focus on anything that would keep her mind busy. She couldn't think about what had happened back at the college. "I need to go back," she muttered, ears flicking in agitation as she stared at the wall.
The wind picked up, swirling leaves past her while the wall began to fade away, leaving the image of her room in Canterlot behind.
Looking back out into the street for a split second, Twilight stepped into the portal and felt the tell-tale pull of time travel hit her.
Her consciousness felt as if Discord had stretched it like taffy, forced it through several compressors and then deposited it harshly back into her head.
Stumbling out of the other side, Twilight's hoof shot to her stomach and she galloped away from the chalk lines as the need to empty her stomach grew. Making it as far away as she could, Twilight slumped down against the side of her bookcase and vomited up the contents from her and Luna's little outing; which was to say, not much.
While she didn't feel better per se, she did feel some relief in knowing she was back home, even if it wasn't with the two sisters. 'They'll be there when I go back, she told herself, shaking her head and wincing at a headache that still thumped through her from the hit she took earlier.
Twilight quickly took a look around, making sure everything was just as she had left it, then stumbled over to the stairs and descended, eager to have a hot bath and clean her blood covered clothes.
She didn't even want to imagine how Rarity would act once she saw the alterations, let alone the damage. She was sure that her friend would have an absolute fit at the state and Twilight wouldn't have an explanation.
How could she. It had been barely a few hours since she had received it from the mare and it was already ruined. Could she tell her what had happened? Surely Rarity would understand? Not about the intricacies of time-travel, of course; Twilight was a prodigy and even she could barely understand it, but about her falling for the sisters.
It would definitely help her to have somepony to confide in. She could just ask her not to say anything to the Princesses, on the infinitely small chance that they asked. Though, if either of them asked, it would most likely be Princess Luna.
At this, Twilight froze just outside of her bedroom, finding the whole situation to be exceedingly worrisome, at least for her. She actually went back in time, expecting to spend time with the Princesses and get to know them a little more. Maybe she was insane like many believed.
Standing in front of her mirror, Twilight could barely look at herself. Only now did see the whole extent of what happened in the fight at the college.
One of the armour plates on her leg had been ripped off, revealing her lavender fur beneath, which had been promptly covered in blood. Several parts of her armour had been slashed and even more was burnt off her. There wasn't really much to save.
"Good thing I can rest for a few days then," she commented, grumbling at her state.
It took a second, but Twilight guessed the armour wasn't really worth saving and used her magic to tear herself out of it. As soon as she was free, it was as if a weight had been lifted off her back, not to mention the remaining metal plates.
Inhaling deep, she bent down and stretched, happy to feel the cool air against her fluffy chest and back. Yet, there was one thing that Twilight was now dreading; the transformation back into her Alicorn form. The last time had left her panting and sweating and this time she knew would be no different. Still, she couldn't go out without her wings. That would be a dead giveaway for the Princesses and she couldn't really blame Discord.
Tossing her clothing on the bed, Twilight lowered her stance and cast the spell. A purple swirl began to encompass her body, focusing around her back as her wings began to force themselves out of her. Wafts of magical energy struck at the ground around her as her magic took a full hold in her body, beginning to change her back.
Several minutes of pain later and Twilight still managed to be standing, albeit shakily. Her chest heaved from her laboured breathing and a pool of bloody sweat had pooled under each leg. Yet, she was an Alicorn again and would be to finally be able to take a rest from almost dying every day; at least if no villains attacked Equestria.
Crashing out of her room, hitting against the wall and a bookshelf, she crossed into the bathroom and turned on her bath's faucet, allowing it to fill up with warm, clear water. Levitating a bottle of bubble bath, the mare allowed herself to crack a smile, while she poured, seeing the bubbles fill the tub.
By the end of her cleaning, Twilight had to empty the bath several times to clear away off the dirt, blood and matted fur that stuck to her body.
She now stood in front of her mirror once again, now seeing a completely different mare standing back. Instead of the tired and irritable unicorn, there was a regal, if a bit damp, alicorn.
Exiting her Chambers, Twilight found herself falling back into the same rhythm as before, and felt a smile grow on her face. She enjoyed the calmness which the castle provided, as well as the security of having the guards about. Not that she'd really need the guards, no pony would dare attack Canterlot anymore and if they did, there were three princesses to defend it.
Greeting the guards, royals and other ponies along her walk, she made her way towards the city, eager to be around other ponies that she knew would be up and enjoying Luna's night.
It wasn't a long walk, made even shorter by the Princess's excitement for being back, and she found a few of the regular guards posted around the castle were replaced with those she didn't know; yet, they knew her.
Her thoughts didn't immediately go full 'Twilight', as her friends had called it, but they were flicking back and forth to look for an explanation. 'They're just ill and needed replacements... all of them,' she theorised, not really believing herself.
Twilight, needing to figure out if what she had done was real or not, galloped through the halls of Canterlot Castle. She screeched to a halt in front of the nearest guard station, that was hers, and practically burst through the reinforced door!
Several of the guards levitated spears over towards the intruder, even though many of them were in temporary bunks, lounging about. As soon as they focused and saw it was Twilight, they lowered their spears and pulled themselves into formation.
“Princess!” they all shouted, holding a hoof over Twilight’s cutie-mark emblazoned chest armour.
One of the nearer Pegasus guards pulled away from the line-up and walked over to Twilight, who was glancing around at each of them. “Princess, we didn’t know you would be coming around. Is there anything you require?”
The guards had been briefed on Twilight’s quick shifting moods and did their best to stay calm while their Princess trotted about, inspecting them. Even though Twilight had ignored her question, the guard stood off to the side expectantly, watching the young Princess.
“Where are they?!” she asked, moving back and forth in front of the guards, who were growing slightly nervous.
“Where is who, Princess?” the guard asked, looking concerned. “We can try and find whomever you’re looking for?”
“No- nononono!” Twilight whimpered, her breathing quickening. “Silver Lance? Steel Hoof? Where are they?!”
Confused, the guard shook her head. “I’m sorry Princess. We don’t have anypony assigned to this regiment named Silver Lance or Steel Hoof. Would you like me to check with the others?”
Flicking her attention over to the Pegasus, Twilight rushed up to her, causing the guard to squeak and back up against the wall. “Are you sure?” she asked, her ears flicking back and forth.
The guard glanced between the door and Twilight, before asking, “Maybe it’s best if I go and get Celestia...”
“No!” Twilight shouted, causing the guard to cover her head and cower. “No- No Celestia, no Luna, they can’t know!” she muttered, quickly scrambling out of the door, leaving the worried guards behind.
She didn't have all the facts. She couldn't know, and that angered her, but she could take an educated guess. 'I- I erased them.' she thought, her blood freezing. She thought back to her talk with Zecora when she fought Starlight and stopped in the middle of the hallway.
'I'm just a foal playing with magic!' she screamed in her own head, feeling her anger rise. The only pony she could direct it was at herself. She messed up and removed ponies from her timeline.
She was the villain.
Moving once more, the ponies out and about kept their distance to the normally quite sociable Princess. Her mane and tail snapped and crashed around her like a storm.
Anypony brave enough would find themselves growing light headed from the aura that radiated around her, forcing them back as their instincts took hold.
Twilight wandered down the main street of Canterlot, glancing around at all of the ponies which could have never been born. Did she change any of these? There certainly seemed like there were more than usual, but she wasn't sure.
Her mood was soured and she really didn't feel like this was a good idea anymore. The more she looked around at her ponies, the more her anger grew. None of them knew what she had just done. In a fraction of a fraction of a nanosecond, their reality had changed.
It wasn't long until she had enough and chose to teleport away in a flash of light, fearing that her mood would hurt somepony more than she already had.
Reappearing back into reality, Twilight glanced about the place her spell had spat her out. She had chosen at random and was now looking across a grassy clearing in the middle of what seemed to be the Everfree Forest.
A fierce wind blew across the clearing and with it, Twilight felt her anger slip through her hooves. She stomped the ground and bucked, splintering a tree behind her as she let out a scream of frustration!
She had never felt this much anger and it should have scared her- but it didn't. In fact, Twilight could feel every ounce of her immense magical prowess flow through her, taking her breath away.
It was intoxicating, the lure to use that power. She could simply go back and fix a mistake here, an error there and everything would be back to normal, right?
Charging her horn and lancing a beam of energy into the forest, slicing several trees in half as they crashed onto the forest floor, Twilight growled and ground her teeth. She had so much power, but she felt so powerless against the whims of the universe.
If it was Starlight all over again, she would know what to do; it was a tangible threat that she could go against. It was infinitesimally harder against her own self control.
Closing her eyes, she let out a choked sob and fell to her knees, wings splayed out around her. The aura that she had put out was gone now, leaving a filly pretending to be a princess.
Yet, as she could just about feel her tears fall, Twilight felt the air freeze in place and a harsh silence befall the clearing.
Opening her eyes, she scanned around her, before finding, possibly, the one being she hated more than herself.
She saw his serpentine body slither and contort in a geometric impossibility as he descended from the sky, leaving behind a trail of light. His arms were open, in an invitation to hug, with his regular expression of smugness on his face.
"What do you want, Discord?" Twilight asked, rising up and moving back. "I'm in no mood for your chaos!"
"Oh, but my dear Princess," he began touching down on the ground. "You don't need me for such things. I can already see your mind is perfectly chaotic."
She stated daggers at the draconequus, yet it meant nothing to the Spirit of Chaos. He took a step forward, then fell through the suddenly liquified floor under him. Twilight gasped as he popped his head out of her flowing mane.
"Won't you buck off!" she shouted, ruffling a hoof through her mane, not finding him there.
"Now why would I do that when I have my favourite bookworm right here?" Discord purred, reappearing beside her and slithering around her barrel. Raising a brow, he leaned in and sniffed. "Is that, lavender I can smell? Good taste in shampoo, Twilight!" he chuckled, holding up a sign with 'ten out of ten'.
Leaning in again and ignoring Twilight's hoof by phasing around it, he sniffed. "Is that time-travel I smell? You naughty mare!"
Twilight froze up, her legs trembling.
Quickly unravelling himself from around her, he hovered before her and pouted. "And you didn't ask your favourite draconequus to join you?"
"I, uh, don't know what you mean!" She replied, turning and trotting off through the grass.
With a snap, Twilight's hooves slowly began to take root in the soil, anchoring her to the spot. She looked down in horror she found her hooves and the bottom half of her legs had become tree trunks. Grunting, Twilight only managed to tire herself out while she tried to uproot, even while she felt her roots dig further down.
"Discord! Change me back!" she ordered, glaring at him.
"No," he hissed, flying over and staring her down, anger flashing across his face.
To Twilight's credit, she did last a good two seconds before her gaze shot to the floor, instinctual terror filling her from the apparent sight of an angry Discord. Compared to his power, she was still but a foal.
"You're gonna plant yourself there and listen!" he stated, pulling away and landing on the ground. Crossing his arms, the spirit sighed. "Do you want to know why I consider you and I friends?" he asked, not receiving a reply. "It's because, other than Fluttershy being your friend, I know that you don't buck around. You don't lie, or have any secret agenda. So don't hurt my feelings by lying directly to my face!"
Twilight could only glance back up to see Discord simply standing there. No chaos erupting, no big 'I told you so', just him looking annoyed with his arms crossed.
Opening her mouth, the mare closed it and lowered her head. "You're right; I'm sorry," she grumbled.
"Hm? What was that? I couldn't quite catch that."
"I'm sorry," she huffed, a little louder.
"No, once more?"
"I'm sorry alright!" she cried, clenching her eyes shut to keep herself from sobbing. "I seriously bucked up."
"I know. I felt the change."
Twilight looked at him in shock. "What? How?!"
With a flick of his hand, he zipped his fingers across his mouth, causing his mouth to actually zip shut. "Trade secret, Twinkly. Business would be ruined," he said, his voice echoing throughout the clearing.
Twilight groaned. "How do I put it right?! I erased countless lives!"
"No, you replaced countless lives, Twilight, there's a difference. Plus, they're only replaced for you and I. Everypony, the Princesses included, don't know any better."
Frowning, she remembered that the ponies were all friendly with her. "But that doesn't make it right! I changed history. I did exactly what I stopped Starlight from doing! I'm a monster," she whimpered, head hung low.
Discord rolled his eyes and moved closer. A grimace appeared in his face as he moved a hand out and softly stroked Twilight's head, a 'shh' leaving his lips as her mane began to melt into taffy as he ran his claw through it. "Don't be such a silly pony."
Feeling her own mane stretch and contort forced her to grimace. "Discord."
"Ugh! Fine!" he groaned, clicking his fingers, then drifting away from her as her mane snapped back and morphed back into hair and the bark around her hooves crumbled apart, freeing her.
He twirled and spin in the air, humming. "You're not a monster, Twilight," he stated, rolling his eyes around and around. "Even you make mistakes! Yes, I know. The great Alicorn of Friendship making a mistake! Preposterous!"
Staring up at the spirit, Twilight sighed. "You didn't say how I put it right."
"What? But what about those I ki- replaced? They were never born!"
"I mean you could, if you want to risk what happened with Starlight," he said, shrugging and summoning up a couch to flop down on. "I really don't mind. I had fun with the Princesses in that time-line."
Twilight could only look confused as she stood there, going through her memories of her adventure with the Princesses. "Should I tell them?"
Turning over to Twilight, Discord let out a 'hmm' and shrugged. "You're the expert on reforming and second chances. Should you?" He brought his hands up to his face and stared over at her, worried. "Do you think they'll send you back to magic kindergarten for your blatant misuse of time travel?!"
Twilight took a step back from that outburst, mind racing. "Well, maybe- I mean- I don't know!" she whimpered, finding herself hyperventilating.
Plopping herself down on her rump, she placed a hoof on her chest and clenched her eyes shut, trying to hold a breath to try and calm herself, to no avail.
She grew light-headed as it became harder to breath, until she felt a talon press softly against her forehead and the warm sensation of chaotic energy wash over her body.
Opening her eyes, Twilight saw Discord gaze down at her in disappointment. The expression stung, especially coming from the one being that had tried to make her life hell in the past.
She didn't even need to say a word as Discord smirked down at her. "Don't worry your pointy head. I just calmed you down a little. You're so much cuter when you're not panicking," he chuckled. "Don't tell Fluttershy that though," he finished, before adding, "No really, don't."
Twilight couldn't help but crack a smile. He may be the embodiment of chaos and her antithesis, but he was still her friend, even if he showed it in a strange way.
"Thank you, Discord."
"Look, Sparky. I could snap my claws and make Celestia and Luna think they're annoying little geese. That's the power beings like us hold.”
Twilight could only look on, unsure of where it was going.
"Even I make mistakes sometimes. You're new to this whole schtick," he continued, gesturing at her. "Mistakes are allowed, especially time travel mistakes."
Twilight sighed, before looking worried. “How do I not make them? What if I make one too big to fix?!”
Discord shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never made one that big. As for not making them, you’re gonna have to learn that the hard way. But think of it like this. If the world hasn’t ended yet...” He let that settle as he smirked.
Something ‘clicked’ in Twilight’s head and she gazed up at him. “If the world hasn’t ended right now, that means it can’t ever end due to me going back. The time with Starlight was an isolated event due to the map containing us in a time loop until I fixed it. Discord, you’re a genius!”
“Well, I wouldn’t go that fa- argh!” he groaned, being pulled down and hugged by the purple pony princess. “If you must, purple horse.”
Giggling, Twilight pulled herself back and chewed on her bottom lip as Discord floated back up and began to spin around in circles. "If I tell you something, will you promise you won't tell anything else?" she tried her best to keep a neutral tone, but a few nervous quivers could be heard.
Discord stopped spinning and slowed as he spat out his tail. "You have my word, Princess Sparky!" he announced, saluting.
Taking that as a 'yes', Twilight chewed on her bottom lip as she felt her cheeks darken at the thought of the Princesses. "I, uh," she mumbled, her nerves showing. "I've fallen for the Princesses!"
Discord, stared at her for a few seconds, then smirked.
"Discord!" Twilight whined, stomping a hoof. "I'll, uh, stonify you!"
"I can't help it. You look so damn adorable when you're flustered like that," he declared, chuckling and floating down to her side to nudge her. "I'm no Cadence, but perhaps you should, I don't know, tell them? I see the way they look at you, or give you hugs that last a couple of seconds too long."
"Wait, what? Don't be silly," she stammered, fighting back another embarrassing blush. Even though he was most assuredly lying, Twilight felt herself grow giddy at the prospect of her Princesses actually doing so and let a smile appear on her face.
"Though, both Princesses? Isn't that a little greedy?" he asked, disappearing and reappearing on his couch. "I didn't know you were into that sorta thing?!"
"It's not like that!" she huffed, glaring at him once again. "I just-" she turned away and began to tell him of what she had gone through with her time travel. "They're just so amazing. How could I not! I already kinda crushed on them, before this, but now," she admitted, trailing off.
Discord, to his credit, laid there listening to the Purple Pony Princess, idly eating grapes. Once she had finished, he threw the grapes behind the couch, which resulted in an explosion, then ran his fingers over his goatee in thought.
"So, you've fallen for four Princesses. I gotta admit, I respect the hustle," he laughed, grinning at her. "Equestria's very own antisocial bookworm getting frisky with two pairs of Princesses, it warms my heart."
Twilight narrowed her eyes and blasted a beam of magic at him, which bent around the draconequus's form.
"Now now, Twilight," Discord warned. He let out a 'tsk' and stretched his limbs out, until they popped off and kept going, floating away. "If you want my advice, and let's be honest, why wouldn't you; You would do well to think on this. There's a saying; using time travel for your own ends and your own ends unravel."
She couldn't think of anything to say, only giving a nod of her head.
"Maybe talk to your friends. That's what you do, right? When you're stuck with a problem?" he asked, rolling his eyes. "I wouldn't know as I'm never invited to many get togethers."
"Oh? I didn't know you wanted to join us. You can come to our bi-monthly sleepovers!"
Discord's eyes widened. "Actually, no. I'd rather be back in stone."
"Oh, but you'd love it! We could even braid your goatee and paint your claws!" she laughed, watching him quickly build a pillbox to hide in.
Twilight paced back and forth, inside of her castle’s throne room while she waited for her friends to arrive. The talk with Discord settled her nerves, for the most part, but she still felt the guilt from her prior actions and had spent the rest of the day, as well as the next day learning the replacement pony’ names. She was prepared to admit to what she had done to the other Princesses at some point and thus, filed it away for when it would be more appropriate.
The door latch opening caught her attention and she spun around to see Spike enter the room, reading a book. He had quickly blossomed into a handsome teenage drake, of which caused many a mare to swoon around Ponyville. A loving smile worked its way onto her face, remembering the pudgy baby she had helped raise.
The young drake looked up from his book and smiled. “Oh, Twilight. I didn’t realise you would be here,” he chirped, walking over to her. Quickly, he leaned in and wrapped his arms around her neck, hugging the Princess tight.
“It’s good to see you as well, Spike. How have you been?” she sighed, enjoying the hug and finding her nerves settling even more. Pulling back, she flicked her eyes over to the book cover to see that it was an old Daring-Do book. “Haven’t you read that one already?”
“I’ve, uh, been well enough. We talked the other day, remember?” he queried, raising a brow. At the other question, he flipped the book over. “I dug it out of my old room. It’s a classic!”
Twilight giggled. “I guess I’ve got a lot on my mind. I’ve got the girls coming over soon for some,” she began, pausing for a second to think of the right words, “help with mare problems.”
Spike held his hands up and chuckled. “Well, I’m sure I’ll be no help there then. I’ll be in my room as I have stuff to pack anyway,” he stated, beginning to make his way back over to the doors. “Tell Rarity I said hi, alright?”
“Of course, casanova,” she teased, waving a hoof as she watched him leave the room, door closing behind him.
Several more minutes passed before the first of her friends trickled into the throne room and took their places. Twilight had told them it was a friendship emergency; something she wasn’t particularly proud of, but she felt like she would go crazy if she spend another minute in Canterlot Castle with the objects of her frustration.
The first to arrive was Pinkie Pie, bouncing onto her throne with her usual enthusiasm.
“Commander Pinkie Pie, reporting for duty, ma’am!” she giggled, saluting Twilight. “Where are we dropping? Toasty Trench?”
Twilight couldn’t help but smile at her friend’s antics and returned the salute. “Commander, We will hold until the other commanders have arrived.”
Pinkie nodded, sliding down the crystal throne as she sat patiently. She kept glancing over to Twilight, a grin on her face. “Sooooo, Twilight,” Pinkie began, tapping her hoof against the map’s edge. “Been up to anything exciting recently?”
Twilight’s eyes widened for a quick second, then she forced a smile. “I, uh, that’s actually why everypony is coming over.”
“Ooh, fun! I can’t wait to hear all the juicy gossip!”
Fluttershy and Applejack were the next ponies to enter the throne room, side by side, chatting away about something, which gradually faded as they took their seats. As usual, Fluttershy was her usual timid self, but had arrived wearing an apple necklace, along with a light flush plastered across her cheeks.
Twilight glanced across to Applejack and found the pair exchanging looks, which filled her with happiness.
Quickly though, the doors opened once again and in walked the final pair of Element Bearers, Rarity and Rainbow Dash. Of course, the pair were as close as could be, their tails wrapped around each other as they giggled under their breaths.
Seeing Twilight and the others, they broke apart and took their seats after nuzzling each other.
Now that all of her friends were seated, Twilight took one last look around at them and smiled. “I want to thank you all for coming at such short notice,” she thanked, looking down at the map. “But, I have to admit that Equestria doesn’t have a friendship problem.”
Everypony else, other than Pinkie looked around, confused.
Applejack was the first to speak up and asked, “So, you called us here for nothin'? As much as I love seein' you all, I’m sure that everypony has stuff they need to do.”
“Applejack’s right, darling. I need to start on your clothes for the Fashion show.”
Seeing that her friends would no doubt be a little annoyed at being called here for apparently no reason, she held up a hoof. “I, uh, kinda misspoke. Equestria doesn’t have a friendship problem; I do. Specifically, the romantic kind.” Twilight winced, expecting some sort of harsh backlash at such an inappropriate use of her powers and for her friends to storm off, never to talk to her. Instead she received several looks of disbelief, as well as a large grin from Pinkie.
“Wait, really?” Dash asked, jumping up and zooming over to her. She wrapped a hoof over the Princess’s neck and grinned, squeezing. “I knew me and Rarity would wash off on you, nerd,” she teased, “So, who is it? One of the guards? A maid?!”
Twilight sighed then returned Dash’s emphasis with a groan. “Rarity and I, Dash. Not me and Rarity,” she corrected, giving a deadpan look to her friend and receiving an eye roll.
“Well, it’s about time, Twilight. Can’t say I’m not interested now. It isn’t everyday that a Princess gets with somepony,” Applejack spoke up, chuckling.
“Oh, Applejack. Isn’t it so romantic! Twilight finally finding somepony to call their own!” Fluttershy sighed, fluttering her wings. “Maybe it’s somepony we know!”
Rarity and Pinkie were silent, throughout, waiting for Twilight to explain her problem. Pinkie, despite her giddiness, held back for Twilight’s sake, not wanting to overshoot the mark like normal.
“Girls!” Twilight called out, giggling when everypony quieted down. “It’s kind of complicated,” she trailed off. Over the next few minutes, she explained what had happened the day previous, leaving out a few of the more ‘gory’ details for Fluttershy. “So, uh, that’s about it. I kinda fell for both sets of Princesses,” she mumbled, giving a sheepish smile.
No pony in the room said a word as they tried to process what their friend had told them. All of their expressions changed from confused, to worried, to happy, to horrified and finally to concerned again at the end.
Rarity coughed into a hoof, gaining everypony’s attention. “Now, Twilight. I don’t know much about time-travel, apart from what you tried to teach me after that unpleasantness with Starlight. And despite the utterly fantastic attempt, I don’t remember much. But from what I remember, you described it as something no pony should ever do, even under the most dire circumstances.”
Twilight winced, hearing that. “I did say that, didn’t I,” she muttered, looking down. “I- I just wasn’t thinking!”
“Putting aside the time-travel for a moment, you know you’re going to have to choose one of the pairs, right?” Applejack asked, causing Twilight to wince again. Another thing she didn’t want to think about.
“That’s assuming that they choose Twilight,” Pinkie added, looking between her friends, receiving shocked faces in return. “What? Love goes both ways.”
Twilight closed her eyes and shook her head. “Pinkie’s right. I’m putting my feelings ahead of theirs by assuming they would even want me in the first place. After all, it was only a couple of days that I got to know them.”
Fluttershy, who was being characteristically quiet decided it was the best time to speak up. “From what you said, you can just go back anytime you want, right? Why not spend some time with the Princesses here?”
“I would, but I just- I mean-,” Twilight began, looking down once again and finding herself with a blush growing over her cheeks. “I just get so flustered around Celestia. Luna not so much, but I still get tingles whenever I look at her.”
Fluttershy let out an ‘aw’ upon hearing that, whilst Dash fake-gagged next to Rarity. “Twilight’s got it bad,” she laughed, before a kiss from Rarity onto her cheek caused her cheeks to explode red.
“Now now, dear. No teasing,” Rarity whispered into Dash’s ear.
Dash looked about to argue that, but let out a huff. “I guess...”
“Look, Twilight. You’ll probably know what I’ll say about this. Lying to the past Princesses ain’t right. The longer it goes on, the less chance you’ll have with either. I’m just a simple farmer, but even I know that the Princesses won’t forget that in a hurry.”
“But, what if they hate me? Luna said neither of them really remember that far back, but how would they forget something like that? And if they didn’t, would they hate me now?”
The other ponies in the room tensed up, preparing for one of Twilight’s meltdowns by thinking of things to take her mind off the problem.
Applejack held her hooves up. “Woah there, Twi. Hold it,” she ordered, chuckling as the others visibly relaxed. “There’s nothing to suggest they hate you, is there?”
“Exactly. So, stop being a silly pony and go and tell them!” Applejack ordered, shaking her head, while everypony else nodded.
“I’m with AJ on this one, hun. You would feel so much better about yourself if you just explained the situation to them. Even if they remember it today, I doubt they’d hold it against you,” Rarity agreed. “It wouldn’t do well to keep it bottled up. Especially from the description of the spell you used to hide yourself.
With a sigh, Twilight leaned back in her chair and nodded. “I- I guess I’ll have to tell them. I can’t say I’m from the future though; Even I have to have some standards with paradoxes and all that,” she joked, doing her best to hide the guilt that came along with it. “Thank you, girls. I’ll have to think about it some more, and Fluttershy, I think I’ll do as you suggested. I’ll tell Celestia how I feel and ask for a date.”