Spike was waiting outside of the school door. He was almost bowled over by Twilight Sparkle as she sped towards the library. “So, how’d it go?” he inquired as he jogged to catch up with his mentor once he regained his balance.
“It was fine,” Twilight responded, not stopping, but slowing her gallop to a canter to make speaking easier. “Cheerilee was glad to have her students back safely, though she and Shooting Star brought an excellent point to my attention. We need to go home, Spike. I have a letter that I need to write to Princess Celestia.”
The slowing of Twilight’s stride made it easier for Spike to catch up; he fell into step with her. “Twi, you’re not making any sense,” the dragon declared with confusion. “What point got brought up, and what does that have to do with writing a letter to the Princess?”
“Wishing Star may know what kind of magic she uses now, but she still doesn’t know how to use it,” Twilight Sparkle explained. “Think about it: we’re leaving a wish granting unicorn that can’t stop herself from using magic if a wish is made in a school full of excitable foals.”
Spike shuddered at the thought. “It would be utter chaos if they knew about Wishing Star’s gift. Wait,” he stopped for a moment, and when he caught back up with his friend there was a smirk on his face as he snickered, “This had to be brought to your attention? Did Cheerilee or Shooting Star point this out to you?”
Twilight Sparkle blushed and stammered, “I-it was Shooting Star. I was just so happy for Wishing Star. I was so excited for her because she had figured out her special talent and I was so happy that I had helped solve the problem. I had no problem leaving her… until Shooting Star reminded me about the ramifications of untrained magic. That’s why a letter needs to be sent to the Princess.”
“Okay, powerful gift, untrained magic is dangerous,” Spike reasoned, “but what does that have to do with sending a letter to Celestia?”
“She wanted to be informed about Lucky Star and Shooting Star’s condition,” Twilight reminded her assistant. “I also want to ask Princess Celestia to set up an entrance exam for Wishing Star.”
Spike almost tripped on his feet in surprise. “What?! Twi, you can’t be serious. You want to take that filly away from her friends and family?” Spike questioned the lavender mare, his voice thick with incredulity.
“What else can I do?” Twilight replied defensively. “Wishing Star has a powerful, untrained gift and it would be putting her and everypony in this town in danger if she isn’t taught how to control her magic.”
“I guess,” Spike supposed, sounding rather doubtful. The pair had finally reached the library. The drake opened the door and held it, waiting for his companion to pass. “I just wish that there was another way for her to learn besides being sent away to Canterlot.”
“Be careful about using that phrase now,” Twilight joked as she walked through the doorway, “you know how powerful it can be.”
“Right,” the dragon teen replied awkwardly as he closed the door behind him.
As soon as she was in the library, Twilight began to transfer her notes and relevant tomes to her writing desk. She glanced back at her assistant, who was still standing in the doorway uncomfortably. “I know, Spike,” the lavender mare sighed, “but there’s nothing else for us to do. Wishing Star will be fine. With her gift, she may even be Celestia’s new student.”
“Well, if you think that it’s for the best,” Spike said doubtfully. He had finally closed the door and was now picking up books and shelving them. He narrowly avoided stepping on a volume of Equestrian History and skidding across the room. “Jeez, what a mess.”
Twilight Sparkle looked up from the folder that she was organizing and grimaced at the mess. “I’m sorry, Spike, you know how messy I can be when I’m trying to solve a puzzle. Is there anything that I can do to help out?”
The green spiked dragon shook his head and smiled at his friend. “Thanks for the offer Twi, but I’ll go faster if it’s just me and Owlowicious. Besides,” he added, his smile widening into a grin, “the sooner that you finish writing your letter to Princess Celestia, the sooner that we can go over to AJ’s for dinner.”
Twilight chuckled at her friend’s love of food. “Then I’ll get to work now so that we can go as soon as possible.” After making this statement, she left Spike alone to do his job while she did hers. When her database of summarized and duplicated notes was completed, the unicorn scholar began to pen her letter.
Dear Princess Celestia,
I am happy to report to you that the crisis of the immobilized colts has been resolved. After some research on my part, interviews from Wishing Star and her friends, and a spectacular epiphany on Wishing Star’s part, the colts were released from their state of immobilization. The filly Wishing Star was able to figure out her own source of power, which is how her brothers were released from the enchantment that was cast upon them. It turns out that Wishing Star has been gifted with wishing magic; you will find in the folder that I have attached to this letter a summary of the notes that describe all of my findings of the morning. These observations also contain my brief study on the subject of wishing magic, including information on the last recorded wielder of the aforementioned magic.
I believe that Wishing Star has a powerful gift, but it is untrained. You know better than I the dangers of not keeping a young pony with strong magic in check. I suggest that she be given the opportunity to take the entrance exam for the Canterlot Academy for Gifted Unicorns. If I may be so forward, I also believe that Wishing Star may be an ideal candidate for you next pupil. I trust that you will make that best choice for the young filly.
Your ever-faithful student and friend,
Twilight tied her message and packet of information up with a ribbon and seal that would ensure the safety of the parchments when Spike used his magical flame on the items. “Spike, I’m done with my letter to the princess,” she yelled, not sure where to direct her voice. “We can leave for Sweet Apple Acres as soon as you send it.”
“Great, I’ll send the papers as soon as I dry these dishes,” Spike called from the kitchen.
As Twilight waited for her assistant to finish his final chore, she looked around the library’s main room. What had once been a chaotic jumble was now spotlessly tidy. The table had been cleared of its teatime dishes and the wooden horse head once again rested in its original location at the center of the table again. The cushions were stacked neatly against the wall, all of the books back on their proper shelves. “How did he get this place so clean in such a short amount of time?” the mare wondered aloud.
“Twi, I’ve been helping you for years; a quick cleanup is nothing.” Spike said as he returned to the main room, using a corner of his vest to dry his hands. “Anyway,” he added, “I had Owlowicious to help, and it did take you longer then you think it did to duplicate those notes of yours.”
“Heh, I guess that’s why you’re still my number one assistant,” Twilight praised him. When Twilight Sparkle looked out the window, she saw that it was indeed later than she’d anticipated; the sky was turning the soothing orange, blue, and purple that promised the coming of night. “Wow, it is getting late,” she confirmed, “Can you send my message now? We can go and have dinner with AppleJack and everypony else as soon as you do.”
“Sure thing, give it here,” Spike instructed and Twilight gave him the sealed documents. With the papers in hand, the light purple drake walked over to a window and opened it. He blew a sparkling green flame onto them, and the papers dissolved into a dusty, magical haze that floated out on a breeze towards Canterlot. Spike closed the window, readjusted his vest and walked over to the front door. “Can we go now please? That Lucky Star colt ate just about everything in the basket that Pinkie Pie sent and I’m really hungry now.”
“Sure, Spike,” Twilight giggled, “It’s getting dark and I’m sure that the Apples are waiting for us.” Spike opened the door for Twilight, and the two left the library.
* * *
A couple of hours later found Spike and Twilight Sparkle in the middle of dinner with the Apple family. They had received warm welcomes from Apple Bloom, AppleJack, Big Macintosh, and a very pregnant Fluttershy. The mares spent some time giggling over listening to the kicks that the foal was giving in Fluttershy’s belly, while the two males drank a mug of cider and sat in companionable silence. When dinner came around, more discussion and pleasantries had been attempted, but the curiosity of the adventure that Twilight and Spike had had overruled all other topics of conversation.
“And then there was this huge flash of light!” Spike exclaimed, quickly expanding a space between his claws to illustrate the event. Though Twilight had been adding information that was being forgotten in the retelling, she let her assistant do most of the talking. Spike had been telling the events of the day in great detail and everypony was too entranced to interrupt. “When we could all see again, it was clear that the wish had worked and the brothers were no longer frozen,” he concluded.
There was a collective cheer from everypony at the table. “So, all of the foals are okay now?” Fluttershy enquired.
“They’re all fine,” Twilight assured. “After Lucky Star and Shooting Star were remobilized, I let them rest and have a snack. After that, Spike and I escorted them back to school.”
“Hoo-ee!” AppleJack whistled. “Wishing magic! Ah’ve never even heard of that kind of magic.” She marveled.
“Ah can’t believe that the new family in town has kids,” Apple Bloom exclaimed. “Ah need tah tell Scootaloo so that we can invite them to the CMC club.”
Twilight Sparkle addressed AppleJack’s comment. “It is a rather unique ability, and Wishing Star’s magic is not only quite different, but also very powerful. In fact, when I wrote my letter to Princess Celestia this afternoon, I recommended that Wishing Star be given a chance to take the entrance exam for Canterlot’s school of magic.”
“What did the princess have to say about that?” AppleJack queried.
“I don’t know yet,” Twilight replied. “She hasn’t answered…” Spike interrupted with a loud belch, followed by a bright green flame. The shimmering dust quickly took the shape of a scroll as the drake snatched it out of the air. “…yet,” Twilight finished lamely. “So what does it say, Spike?”
Spike unrolled the parchment, cleared his throat and began to read aloud:
Dear Twilight Sparkle,
I am overjoyed to hear that the colts that were frozen have been freed. I am impressed with the ingenuity and persistence that the foals described in your notes possess. I am also intrigued by the magical gift that the filly Wishing Star uses; wishing magic is almost unheard of, even in most circles of scholars that study those sorts of rare spells and enchantments. From the extensive information that you’ve given me, I agree that Wishing Star has a powerful, but raw talent for general magic. Once taught to control her gift, she will likely make a formidable magician. However, from the observations that were included in the information that you sent me, I can conclude that it would be unwise to separate Wishing Star from the bonds that she has made in Ponyville.
I have also noticed that your letters to me have been rather lackluster as of late. It is my belief that the ideal solution to both of these dilemmas is for you, Twilight Sparkle, to become the filly Wishing Star’s teacher in magic.
Best of Luck,
“That’s wonderful news, Twilight,” AppleJack congratulated. “I bet that ya’ll make a great teacher.”
“Eeyup,” Big Macintosh agreed.
“Um, everypony,” Fluttershy tried to interject. She was the only one to notice that Twilight Sparkle had not moved or spoken since Spike had finished reading the letter to the group. As usual, her quiet voice rendered her observation and attempt to get noticed fruitless.
“Yeah, Twilight was real helpful when Sweetie Belle was workin’ on her magic,” Apple Bloom added. The chatter amongst the ponies continued as Twilight Sparkle was as immobile and statue-like as one of the colts that she had saved that morning. She sat rigidly in her seat, staring straight ahead at nothing. Fluttershy continued to try and call anypony’s attention to her friend’s frozen state, but gave up when Apple Bloom stated that she was getting dessert from the kitchen, and AppleJack and Spike began clearing the table. The pregnant mare finally got her husband’s attention, finally being able to share her concern over her unmoving friend.
When Big Macintosh saw what had his wife so worried, he called to his sister. “Uh, AJ?”
“What do you need, Mac?” AppleJack shouted back from the kitchen, ignorant of the concern in her older brother’s voice.
Spike, however, had noticed; he popped his head back into the dining room and saw that Twilight was not moving. “Hey, what’s wrong with Twilight?” he asked, walking back into the dining room to check on his friend.
“She, um, she hasn’t moved since that letter from the princess was read,” Fluttershy stammered. After hearing this, AppleJack rushed into the room. Apple Bloom was close behind with a pile of dishes that had been stacked haphazardly on her back, a pie resting on her head.
Spike was waving a claw in front of Twilight’s face. “Twi, what’s wrong?” The frozen mare still didn’t respond, she just stared ahead with glassy eyes.
“Maybe she’s in shock,” Apple Bloom suggested uneasily. Seeing the normally put-together mare in such a pathetic state was off putting for everypony to say the least.
“So, does this mean that I can have her slice of pie?” Spike joked. Fluttershy, a recently developed maternal instinct kicking in, glared the draconic teen with her famous ‘stare’. “Sorry, sorry, bad joke,” Spike apologized, holding his claws up in surrender. Fluttershy mercifully released the drake from her baleful gaze, and turned her attention to trying to care for Twilight.
Meanwhile, AppleJack had been attempting to revive her friend from her catatonic state. The orange mare prodded Twilight, lightly slapped her cheeks, and clapped her hooves in front of the unicorn’s face. None of AppleJack’s methods were working; Twilight Sparkle stayed as unresponsive as ever, her eyes still glazed over with shock. “Ah can’t snap her out of this,” the working mare at last announced. “This is some bad case of shock, and Ah don’t know what to do.”
“So what do we do now?” Spike inquired.
“The only thing we can do is try acting normally, and wait for her ta snap out of it,” AppleJack declared. Everypony agreed to this plan, and plates were passed around. As an experiment, Apple Bloom set a dish with a slice of pie on it in front of the catatonic Twilight Sparkle. She hoped that the comforting and familiar smell would help bring her back to herself.
As if by second nature, Twilight used her magic to levitate the fork that had been placed beside her plate. Slowly, with a mechanical pace and precision, the fork scooped bits of pie off of the plate and brought them to the mare’s mouth. No other part of the unicorn mare moved, only her fork and her mouth as she ate. She still stared ahead at nothing, her eyes glassy and unfocused.
“I think that you’re right about her being in shock,” Spike decided. “AppleJack’s plan is probably our best action. This has been a big day, with a lot of new things for her to think about. Plus, it’s been awhile since Twi’s been given a lot of responsibility like this. The best we can do is wait for her to snap out of this.” So the Apple family and Spike continued to eat dessert and socialize, but it was not as hearty or free-flowing as it had been earlier in the evening. At the end of the night Spike was able to convince Twilight to get into a standing position, and walk her out the door.
As Spike was walking out the door, his arm was caught by a strong, slender hoof and spun around to face AppleJack. “Are ya sure that she’s gonna be alright?” the earth mare asked with concern.
The drake looked over his shoulder at his charge; the lavender mare was standing at the bottom of the porch steps, still glassy-eyed. Twilight didn’t seem to be able to move without somepony propelling her forward at the moment. “She’ll be fine,” Spike assured AppleJack. “If she’s not back to normal by tomorrow, I’ll get one of the weather ponies to soak her with a cloud or something.”
“If yer sure…” AppleJack trailed off doubtfully.
“I am; she’s a tough gal, she’ll bounce back,” Spike promised. “Now, it’s been a long day and I think that Twilight could use some rest: I know I could.” The amethyst dragon bid his friends goodnight and descended the steps of the porch to stand beside his mentor. He slung an arm around the catatonic mare’s neck. “Let’s go home now, Twi,” Spike murmured. He led his friend away from the farm, through the orchard, towards town. The pair walked in silence, making good time until they walked past city hall.
Twilight Sparkle suddenly stopped, not letting her assistant prod her forward. “Twilight, what are you doing? Are you all right?” Spike inquired with growing worry.
Twilight did not answer him; she stood stock-still, with her joints locked. The filmy glaze dissipated from her eyes as reality set in. When the truth of the events that had transpired during dinner came crashing down upon the mare, Twilight Sparkle screeched. “I’m supposed to do what?!”