Canterlot Castle, Guard Training Grounds
Shining Armor looked down at the letter that had just been delivered to him by Spike, who was now standing in front of him with a sheepish grin on his face. Like his sister, Shining was a prodigious reader; you had to be very well balanced to become the Captain of the Royal Guard.
The letter detailed a project that Twilight had been working on for the past couple of months on improving the effectiveness of the unicorns enlisted in the Royal Guard. His sister had taken the time to extensively cite her sources for her research in the note, herself and others, ending her message with a simple:
“I can’t wait to see you again.
P.S. I sent Spike to deliver this to you personally to get him out of my mane for a couple of days. It’s molting season and he needs an outlet for all those hormones. If you don’t mind letting him burn off some of that excess testosterone, put him through some basic training. It’ll do him some good to get some exercise.”
A mischievous grin stretched its way across Shining Armor’s face as he gave the baby dragon another look over.
“Private!” the captain called out suddenly, startling both Spike and the guard to his immediate right.
“Sir, yes sir!” shouted the private coming to immediate attention under his commanding officer’s scrutiny.
“Take this...” Shining Armor trailed off flicking a few strands of his mane out of his eyes with a causal toss of his head and looked impishly over at Spike, whose eyes had gone very wide and was shaking under Shining’s stern gaze. “...recruit to the barracks. Get him suited up for training.”
The private saluted again, grabbed the purple dragon by the tail, then proceeded to drag the kicking and screaming reptile away.
Ponyville, Local Public Library/home of Twilight Sparkle
Twilight sighed as she closed the book she had been reading and, encased in a soft purple glow, placed it off to one side. The book, Fantastic Spells and How to Use Them, had been entertaining, but not very useful. Most of the spells contained between the covers were so basic that Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns didn’t even cover them, much less consider them ‘fantastic.’
Even when she had the whole weekend to herself, to literally do anything she wanted, she was bored out of her mind. The project for her brother had left her drained. Surprisingly unwilling to dive right back into another long project, even though she had several of which to choose from.
Yes, Twilight’s insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding of all things had be satisfied, leaving nothing but idle thoughts and memories floating through the mare’s head.
She remembered the first time that she and her friends had faced the evils of Nightmare Moon. With the assistance of the Elements of Harmony, they overcame and destroyed the alternate personality that Luna had built around her hurt and jealousy. She also remembered the comforting warmth of Celestia’s sun as it returned to the sky, the smiles that Luna had sent her and her friends, and finally feeling as though she belonged somewhere.
She remembered chaos.
The draconequus Discord, a being of such a random assortment of parts that he could have only sprung from a diseased mind. Pain and suffering were never a part of Discord’s plan once he conquered Equestria, only chaos. He, like Nightmare Moon, was soundly defeated by her and her five friends using the Elements of Harmony.
The Elements of Harmony: the only subject in all of Equestria that eluded Twilight's understanding. Princess Celestia had never once forbade her from her research into the depths of lore surrounding the Elements, but had been very firm in her instructions that Twilight was not to perform experiments on the Elements themselves.
She shook herself from her thoughts and turned her gaze to her library.
As usual, it was in total disarray; bits of scrolls scattered all over the floor and tables, the few books that remained on the shelves were out of order, not to mention the stacks of books strewn about in various piles in random places.
Twilight wished that she had somepony to blame for the mess, but in her hurry to finish her report for her brother, she had gotten a little careless as to where her books ended up. With a small sigh, a soft glow engulfed several stacks and piles of notes; stacking and filing as she organized the books by hoof, perfectly capable of performing both tasks at the same time. Twilight finished with one shelf, the books organized and arranged just so, and turned to start in on a new one when there was the slightest hint of a tremor. The tremor was so light that there would be greater seismic activity from a bird, hypothetically, crashing into one of the library’s many windows. That being said, no matter how light the tremor may have been, all the books that Twilight had just finished organizing ended up back on the floor in a heap.
Twilight carefully placed a book on her current shelf and turned to the newest pile, with a frown on her face. In the hundreds of times that Rainbow Dash, or any other pegasus for that matter, had crashed into the library, they had never knocked down the contents of a single bookshelf. Usually, it was a side of the library that needed reorganizing, not to mention a glass or mug that would need to be replaced.
Her frown deepened as yet another series of books propelled themselves off of a shelf with no apparent cause, followed by the rest of her books throughout the library, even the ones in her room.
“What’s going-” Twilight started in shock.
The next tremor was much more noticeable, sending Twilight, her books, and everything else jumping and flying around the room as though a giant hand where shaking the entire tree right out of the ground. Gasping and panting for breath, she carefully extracted herself from yet another pile of books and other debris, taking care to not damage her books any more than they had already been.
“There haven’t been earthquakes in Ponyville for nearly a hundred years!” Twilight muttered to herself, wincing as a book slipped off the top of her pile and landed on a bruised rib.
Once again, Twilight lit the room with her horn; all of the books and her pages of notes were quickly encased in her violet magic, stacked in as orderly piles as she could manage, and shoved off to one side of her library. She didn’t bother with the rest of the debris littering the floor. It could and would be dealt with later.
Whipping around, Twilight flung herself at her front door as fast as she could, her magic working the handle, only to find herself slamming into it at full gallop.
“Ow,” Twilight moaned as she rubbed her head with a hoof. The door hadn’t budged an inch, but it had gained a gouge where her horn had dug into the hardwood.
Various scenarios ran through her mind with frightening clarity. If the earthquake was powerful enough to sink the library to the point that her door was jammed, she could only imagine the amount of damage that Ponyville proper had suffered.
With a growl, Twilight lit her horn and dug her hooves into the worn wooden floor of the library; she needed to help her friends and the other residents of Ponyville and no simple door was going to stop her. The librarian let loose an awe-inspiring array of spells and blasts of magic, ranging from the simplest of unlocking spells to a spell powerful enough to have lifted the entire town hall right off its foundations and send it careening off into the distance.
When the smoke and magical nimbi had cleared, there her door stood, unmoved and none the worse for wear. With another growl of frustration, Twilight spun on her rear hooves and stormed up the stairs leading to her study and balcony.
“The balcony!” cried Twilight in relief, pausing mid-step on the stairs. She hadn’t considered the balcony. It was just high enough to provide a beautiful view of Ponyville during the day, but not so high that a pony in reasonable condition could not make the jump and worry about serious injury.
Giving herself plenty of time and space to stop, Twilight rushed this door flinging it wide with her magic. Thankfully, the door flew open without the least hint of resistance and Twilight rushed over to the wedge, looking for the softest place to land or somepony around to catch her.
Twilight’s scream echoed for miles.
Blue sky, no clouds, just pure blue sky. That is all that was underneath her library. The largest tree in Ponyville, having stood where it had sprouted since well before the founding of the surrounding town, was now flying well above its normal resting place.
Twilight threw a shield around the tree, snapping it into place with a audible pop, her eyes darting this way and that, trying to gauge where she needed to put the most of her considerable magical power to keep her inevitable landing from being sticky. Only to find the ground, along with the rest of Ponyville, a few metres above her head.
“Oh,” sighed Twilight in relief, letting her shield dissipate and sitting back on her haunches. “I’m just upside down.”
Twilight rubbed an eye with her hoof, a headache beginning to pound at the base of her horn. She sat there for a few moments longer, ignoring everything around her.
“Upsi-” was all that Twilight was able to get out before the balcony threw her, face first, onto the ground.
Scrambling, Twilight managed to un-plant her face from the dirt in time to see the great tree moan, creak, and snap as its limbs and trunk warped and folded in on itself, becoming smaller and smaller. Twilight could hear the faint sounds of glass shattering from within the tree as her worldly possessions were crushed.
And before Twilight’s eyes, her home slowly folded and twisted itself into-
“A bowl of petunias,” the purple unicorn said numbly as the bowl dropped to the cobblestone street with a soft clink.
She rubbed both of her eyes, not entirely convinced that her home, the library, had become a small bowl of potted flowers.
All around her, Ponyville warped and twisted like the library had, houses flipped upside down, some turned inside out, others had levels switch places, and, while she watched, one house took off like it had been shot out of Pinkie’s party cannon, streamers and confetti included. The fields of various flowers and trees snapped and crackled with a bizarre energy as they became large lollipops and other sugary treats.
A loud pop derailed Twilight’s train of thought as Rainbow Dash’s cloud home came flying past the ponyville skyline like a punctured balloon, with its owner hot on its tail, swerving this way and that, looping around the town hall and off into the distance; in its wake, a pink jetstream that slowly bled into and filled the brilliant blue Equestrian sky.
‘No,’ Twilight denied vehemently, her calm demeanour and well-structured mind rebelled against the insanity surrounding her. ‘This can’t be happening. This is impossible...’
Her eyes wandered over to the bowl of petunias that had once been her home and stared, there was a small yellow note stuck to the bowl.
With a tremble in her step, Twilight walked over the bowl, pulled the note off, and read.
The note was an interesting construction, in both content and material. The ink changed font and color with every word.
“Oh no, this isn’t impossible, or very improbable. It’s chaotic in every sense of the word.”
With a snort, Twilight dropped the note and ground her teeth, steam slowly beginning to rise from her mane as two words lazily dripped off of the note and floated into the air:
Gathering the other bearers of the Elements of Harmony did not take Twilight long, Applejack had come galloping into Ponyville hollering about the apples in the orchard screaming and talking to her, pleading for their lives, “Ah can’t get any work done!” Fluttershy had to be carried by Rainbow Dash, her cottage had turned into an exceedingly fat dragon. The Carousel Boutique, like the library, had shrunk in on itself and become Equestria’s tackiest saddle. Sugar Cube Corner had eaten itself, leaving a depressed Pinkie poking at frosted crumbs.
Twilight lead her friends off in the direction that she could feel the presence of Princess Celestia.
‘The Princess will know what’s going on,’ she thought, comforted by the familiar magic that she could feel radiating from her mentor.
The scene that met their eyes was not something that Twilight, nor her friends, ever thought they would see in their lives. They had expected to find Discord cowering before the combined might of the two princesses, the Elements of Harmony swirling around the royal sisters once again confining the draconequus in his stone prison. Instead, Discord held a struggling Luna by the neck in one taloned claw, his thumb lazily wandering over the hollow of the lunar princess’s throat.
“Oh, now isn’t this so very delightful,” Discord crooned, his smile widening as he turned his attention from Celestia to Twilight and her friends. “I do hope you didn’t really think that brute force could overcome my stunning wit and charm.”
Twilight found herself grinding her teeth again, her horn blazing with barely restrained magic. She could feel her friends tense, ready for anything that he could throw at them.
“Do my words not impress you?” Discord cried, throwing his free arm out wide, pouting dramatically as the six ponies and princess continued to glare. “What about my latest interpretation of Ponyville, hm? Does it not scream chaos?” His pout was replaced by pure boredom. “Very well then. I suppose I’ll just have to make things more interesting for you all.”
His outstretched paw flared with the pink flame of chaotic magic and he quickly thrust the magic into Luna’s face. Twilight saw Pinkie flinch out of the corner of her eye as Rainbow Dash launched herself at Discord and Luna. She was unprepared for the wave of magical energy that exploded out from Luna as Discord’s spell made contact with her muzzle. Twilight gasped as Luna, before her eyes, regressed into a filly and vanished from Discord’s claw.
“Oh for the love of-” screamed Discord as he too, was engulfed in the pink shock wave and vanished.
“Sister!” screamed Celestia as both her sister and Discord vanished into the pink magic.
Twilight’s mind was racing so fast that her body did not react and could do nothing as Rainbow Dash flew straight into the blast, her forward momentum carrying her over the threshold and out of sight.
“Run, my little ponies,” cried Princess Celestia.
Twilight’s horn flared as she tried to cast the strongest shield spell that she could muster around her and her friends.
“You heard the princess,” shouted Rarity into Twilight’s ear. “Let’s get out of here.”
With powerful snap, Twilight’s shield tried to wrap itself around the five of them, but it was too late. The pink shockwave slammed into Twilight’s spell with enough force to force her to her knees.
“I can’t hold it!” shrieked Twilight, sweat pouring down her face, her horn nearly blinding in the magical intensity.
The wave burst through the shield, sending a magical backlash straight into Twilight’s brain. She was unconscious before she ever hit the ground.