“What is it, Dash?” Twilight turned from where the Alicorn Amulet was under the microscope.
“I want to be able to become an alicorn, like you can. I’m already the most awesome pegasus, what’s wrong with becoming the most awesome alicorn?”
“…right.” Twilight pulled out a notebook. “Cadence told me how she ascended… let’s see…”
A flash of light enveloped them both. When it faded, Dash found herself on a small island in the middle of the ocean. Strangely, it was now night-time.
“Okay.” Twilight said. “Summon the Element of Loyalty.”
Dash frowned, and the lightning-bolt necklace burst into existence.
“Good. Now, then. I am going to post a letter in twenty minutes that insults the Wonderbolts and calls them second-rate losers. It is in your name. If you want to stop it, you will have to get back to Ponyville before then.”
The pegasus’ eyes widened. “That’s cruel and unusual punishment, Twilight! I don’t even know where we are!”
Twilight gave a wicked grin. “It doesn’t matter. Go straight in any direction from here and you’ll get to Ponyville. Just hurry – we’re on the other side of the planet.”
She vanished in another purple flicker.
Dash stared dumbfounded for a second, then shot into the air with a thunderclap of displaced air and broke the sound barrier before she’d gone a hundred metres.
Okay, I’m going at about two thousand miles an hour, and I need to go… a lot faster than that. Dash’s wings blurred as she kept ramping up the speed. Weather magic reached out in front of her and pushed the air aside, and more pushed her from behind.
There was a sudden burst of multicoloured fire, blinding her, so she closed her eyes and pushed harder.
Behind the pegasus, the plasma sheath recombined back into air molecules. And around her neck, the Element of Loyalty began to faintly glow.
Squinting against the wind and the heat, Dash looked down.
There was land, then water… then land again. Huh. I always thought the ocean was wider than that.
The prairie around Appleoosa blurred past, too fast for her to spot the town, and then she was coming into Ponyville and oh buck slow down-
Twilight dove for cover.
What looked for all the world like a meteorite shot overhead, set fire to the library, and embedded itself in the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters.
Luna shot upright in bed. “WHAT VILLAIN HATH DESTROYED MINE SPARE ROOM?”
Twilight leant over the hole. “Hey, Rainbow?”
A groan answered her.
“There’s some bad news, and some good news. I’ll give you the bad news first.”
What sounded like a more resigned mumble.
“Right. The bad news is, you obliterated your house on the way into town, broke every window and set fire to my house on the way through, and I think Applejack’s going to be annoyed about half her orchard as soon as she works out what happened. And you’re a hundred metres deep in a mountain.”
“What’s the good news?” Rainbow asked, a little more coherently this time.
“Well, you’re embedded a hundred metres deep in a mountain that you hit at seventy times the speed of sound, and you’re still alive. I think it worked.”
“It did?” A blue blur came flying out of the hole, flipped, and landed next to Twilight. Rainbow Dash had indeed picked up a horn.
“Right. That’s a check, then. It looks like I was right!”
“Wait, what?” Dash looked at Twilight. “I thought you said you knew how this worked.”
“Well, guessed…” Twilight shrugged. “Basically, from what Cadence said, it looks like becoming an alicorn involves both an action that’s related to the extreme edge of your capabilities – with your special talent involved, of course – and a magical catalyst, like a lump of Heart stone… or an Element of Harmony.”
Dash pointed her new horn at Twilight. “You tricked me!”
“Yep!” Twilight grinned. “Had to, or it wouldn’t have worked. I think.”
The new alicorn sighed. “Okay, what’s next?”
“Well, hopefully you won’t need to hit that kind of speed to reascend. I think once you’ve done it once it gets easier. I’m going to teach you Star Swirl’s spell, because that’s the only thing I know that can undo a transition to alicornhood, and we’ll test if you can do it with just the Element alone.”
Twilight pointed. “But we might need to do that next loop. I think we finally found out what it takes to turn Ponyville into an angry mob.”
Dash followed the pointing hoof, and saw Big Mac passing out torches and pitchforks with an amiable air.
“They’re not all that angry…” she said critically.
“Well, explaining would be awkward.” Twilight countered.
“Yeah. Alright, what’s the plan?”
The unicorn pondered. “Well, that island I teleported you to was nice…”
Twilight released her spell, and then released the parasprites. Four of the little magical bugs flew forwards, looked around for something they considered to be “food”, then locked onto the only thing that currently qualified.
Nightmare Moon’s armour.
“Huh.” Twilight said, watching as Nightmare Moon ran in and out of doors, pursued by a gradually growing cloud of parasprites and slowly losing her armour. “It is funny when I’m not worried about them eating the town.”
Pinkie pulled a saxophone from somewhere, and started playing a raspy piece of music that seemed very appropriate. Especially when Nightmare Moon went into one door, and then came out of the other side of the street two seconds later.
Twilight tuned out Chrysalis’ ranting about how she’d be trapped in the old mines forever.
She was just waiting for the fireworks to start. Thanks to a single forged invitation, a bit of careful magic, and quite a lot of boredom…
Chrysalis finished belittling the annoying little purple unicorn, and closed the connection. Ah, that was good.
She’d had a point, though. It wouldn’t do to let the quality of her disguise slip, not this close to her triumph.
Checking in the mirror, she adjusted a few very minor details. The hair colour, the precise shape of the horn, and the coverts on the wings.
Green magic couldn’t be avoided, so she was being careful only to use it on Shining Armor – that one was so out of his gourd much of the time he probably wouldn’t have noticed if she’d detransformed.
Then, a wash of something… unusual came across her empathic senses. It didn’t feel like a pony, that was for sure.
Chrysalis turned, to see an unusual looking dark unicorn with an aquiline bearing.
“Who the hell are you?”
The connection to the purple unicorn reopened without her touching it. “Just to let you know, his name is Sombra. He’s the pony who took over the Crystal Empire. As far as he’s concerned, he’s finally found you – you being Cadance – and is going to… yeah, probably try and drain your magic, at the very least.”
Twilight grinned. “Imponysonating someone with their own problems is a right bitch, isn’t it?”
The room of Princess Cadance exploded in a fountain of black and green magic.
Everyone turned, shocked, to see Princess Mi Amore Cadenza and an unknown black unicorn locked in a spectacular magical battle. Cadance’ form was flickering, as though it was being projected onto a sheet of cloth in a high wind, and black chitin occasionally showed through.
“What the hell?” Celestia said, trying to make out what was going on through the storm of magic. “Isn’t that… Sombra?”
Twilight materialized next to her, with a badly exhausted Cadance along for the ride. “Hi, Princess. I found the real one! Where’d my brother get to?”
The Solar alicorn reacted automatically, pointing to the startled looking guard captain in a nearby plaza.
“Thanks! Right, hang on a sec, I’ll go get him.”
Twilight galloped off.
Cadance looked up at the explosions. “That does simplify my situation a bit, actually. I was wondering how we were going to handle Sombra.”
A badly singed piece of gold-chased card fluttered down from above. Celestia took it in her grip. “Er… Dear King Sombra. You are cordially invited to the wedding of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza and someone you probably don’t care about. Her room is shown on the included map. Yours, Twilight Sparkle. Twilight did this?”
The pink alicorn shrugged. “Like I know. I’ve spent the last two months in a mine. By the way, how’s the wedding planning going?”
“You’re still worried about that?” Overhead, Chrysalis dropped her shapeshift and started to concentrate on pure firepower.
“I have spent two months trapped in a mine.” Cadance enunciated clearly. “I have spent a lot of time dreaming about that wedding. If you tell me it is going to be called off because of something so minor as a war, then I think I might cause you and Luna to both fall in love. With the same stallion. That one from Cloudsdale with the giant biceps.”
Celestia shuddered. “All right, point taken.”
Hundreds of changelings shot into the air from all over Canterlot, hurrying to reinforce their queen, then got bowled backwards by a colossal blast of air.
“Has Sombra even noticed that the pony he’s fighting doesn’t look like you any more?” Celestia asked, suddenly curious.
“I doubt it. He never was all that observant.”
“Well, this is a fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” Chrysalis grumbled, staring down at Equestria hanging below them.
“Oh, shut up.”
“Twiiiliiight?” the blue alicorn moaned.
“What is it, Dash?”
“Well, sorry, but it’s taking me quite a lot of concentration to maintain this stability bubble.” Twilight flared her wings, slammed her forehooves onto the floor, and a magic circle bloomed out from her to five lengths in every direction. “There. Now, Dash, can’t you be at least a bit serious?”
“Why?” Rainbow Dash countered.
“We’re in the past. A long way in the past, in case you hadn’t noticed.” A raven shaped like a writing desk flapped past.
“I never was much of a fan of history.” Dash shrugged.
Twilight facehoofed. “I’d think even you would remember about how Discord was in charge before the Royal Sisters showed up.”
“Huh. So we’re that far back? Be neat to see what the Princesses looked like when they were younger.”
“No, you’re not getting it.” Twilight pointed from her to Dash. “We’re the Sisters this time. We’ve replaced Celestia and Luna.”
“…huh.” Dash absorbed that for a while. “Dibs on being Luna!”
“Twilight,” Dash said, as if talking to a filly. “Luna gets a thousand year nap.”
“Oh, what a world, what a world… my only regret is, that I never got to… sing! I am the enemy, I will succeed…”
Twilight tried to ignore Discord’s blathering. How long is this going to take?
“Twi! Can’t you make those elements go any faster?”
“I’m not used to using Honesty and Generosity, Dash! You should know how hard it is to use Elements you’re not used to!”
Dash shrugged, then wobbled and shifted to make sure the pair of necklaces around her wings didn’t fall off. “Laughter seems to like me.”
Stone crept another inch up Discord’s mismatched legs.
“…couldn’t you have come up with a better way of wearing these, than putting them around-“
“We are not having this argument again, Rainbow Dash!” Twilight snapped. “I didn’t see you coming up with any better options!”
An excruciating half hour later, Discord was finally sealed.
“Me, but that took too long.” Dash panted.
“I know… wait.” Twilight looked over suspiciously at her ‘sister’. “Did you just use ‘me’ as an oath?”
“Yeah!” Rainbow replied. “Why not?”
“…never mind. Anyway…” Twilight pointed over to a growing crowd of ponies in the distance. “I think it’s time for our first public appearance.”
Dash looked at her, confused. “What do you mean?”
“Well, we beat Discord, now we have to set up the government of Equestria. That means paperwork.”
The former pegasus gagged. “Can I launch my coup now? Please? I want to relax on the moon!”
“We don’t have all day, Miss Sparkle.”
Twilight blinked, disoriented for a moment as the Loop began. Where the hell am I? I hope it’s…
Then she saw the egg in front of her. Oh, cool. The entrance exam.
Having researched it, Twilight knew that technically there was no one answer to the exam. You were basically supposed to show your ingenuity. The examiners were even allowed to offer advice if you asked.
But… that was boring.
With a crackle, she fired an age alteration spell at Spike’s egg. Carefully modulating it to overcome the natural magical resistance all dragons had, she aged the egg in a matter of seconds to the point it hatched.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that several of the unicorn examiners had dropped their clipboards in shock. Her parents were a little startled too.
Oh, yeah, that’s a high level spell. Ah well.
“Did I do alright?”
A tingling in her flank reminded her that she also had the nearly-unique experience of getting her cutie mark for a second time. Twilight more or less ignored what everyone else in the room was saying to meticulously examine how the magic worked.
Hmm… that’s five thousand words of thesis that need to be rewritten…
“Huh.” Rarity said, and shrugged. “So much for being pulled sideways. Suppose knowing what my talent is going to be helps.”
Whistling to herself, she started digging gems out of the ground and constructing a dress. “Wonder if I can make enchanted items without it being too suspicious. Perhaps a Cape of Charisma?”
Fluttershy awoke falling out of the sky. Shaking off her brief daze, she frowned. While getting to know her animal friends was nice, she didn’t feel like quitting. Not this time.
While the demure pegasus wasn’t nearly as fast as Rainbow Dash, neither was anyone else. She still got back to the academy faster than she’d been falling.
Dash hit the sound barrier almost as soon as she became conscious. Seeing that Fluttershy could handle herself, she made a u-turn and aimed up.
A column of rainbow fire shot into the air over the Young Fliers’ Academy, climbing quickly until it was above the clouds. Now too far to be seen from the ground, she went Alicorn, wrapped herself in air, and accelerated.
Let’s see just how high I can go!
“Hey, Mum, Dad, Inkie, Blinkie, watch this!”
There was a thunderous explosion, and it started to rain chocolate.
“Pinkamena, what on this good green Equestria was that?” Clyde asked, coughing in the clouds of sugar.
“It’s my patent pending Pinkie Pie Cotton Candy Cloud Contraption!” Pinkie rattled off, bouncing. “It’s fuelled by Peridot, Calcite and earth magic!”
Inkie stuck out a tongue. “Hey, this tastes of strawberry.”
Pinkie kicked at the field. “Well, I didn’t have much chance to do taste testing… I was aiming for banana and chocolate.”
“Oh, I like them.” Clyde said. “Good of you to think of me like that.”
“I try!” Pinkie beamed.
“So, how’d you find the time to build this? Ah hope the chores are done.”
“I did my chores before I got to work.” Butter wouldn’t have melted in Pinkie’s mouth. It was even true – she’d finished it last Loop, but hadn’t found enough calcite. “Hey, why don’t we have a party to celebrate?”
“Ah do still want to come and see y’all, aunt Orange.” Applejack said. “Ah just don’t want to forget the farm, and all. How’s about ah spend the harvest ‘n plantin’ down there, and ah come here for the growin’ season?”
Valencia Orange clapped her hooves together. “That does sound nice. We’ll be waiting, then.”
“Right.” Twilight said, looking around the abandoned Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters that night. “Everypony happy with what they’ve done?”
There was general assent. Fluttershy raised a hoof. “For some reason, er, my cutie mark is a bit different. Do you know why?”
Twilight checked. “Oh, yeah, it is. Interesting. Well, butterfly with speed lines is close to your original one.”
She then rounded on Dash. “And what were you thinking?”
“I wanted to go as high as I possibly could!” the alicornified filly answered.
“Dash, I had to rescue from orbit. Now, you can’t go back until you’ve managed to untransform – it’ll be strange enough that you hit escape velocity.” Twilight sighed. “Okay. Here’s my plan. We basically all get lost in a few days, somehow, and each of us turns up back at home half an hour later with our Element – we say we just found them somewhere. That should mean Celestia intervenes and gets us introduced to one another.”
“That makes sense.” Applejack nodded. “Don’t she know where the Elements are supposed to be, and all?”
“Well, the Element of Magic starts a Loop nowhere at all. I asked about that once – apparently they do sometimes just disappear, when they’re not attuned.” Twilight looked from one face to the next. “Anything else?”
“Okay. The rest of you can leave – Rarity, you can get them home, right?” Rarity nodded, building magic for a series of teleports. “Good. Dash, pay attention!”
Rainbow Dash kicked the floor. “Aw, shucks. Okay, let’s try this.”
Several years later…
Nightmare Moon crept into Ponyville. This was the pathetic town that her sister’s Summer Sun celebration was to be held at this year… the perfect place to announce her return.
Bursting through the curtain, she began to laugh – then slowed, as she realized something was just not right.
Nopony was running. Nopony was screaming. And there was a giant banner announcing that ‘the Elements of Harmony’ were in Ponyville for the Summer Sun concert along with Celestia.
“Er…” Nightmare said, looking around and spotting the six ponies wearing Element regalia. “…wrong stage?”
A pink pony wearing what looked like her version of the Element of Laughter trotted over. “Yeah, I think it might actually be the wrong night. I don’t know how you got confused, but the special Nightmare Night stage show isn’t for another four months.”
“Oh.” Moon tried to play along. “Sorry?”
“It’s good your costume is so well done, though. That’ll be a great help.” The pony smiled knowingly. “Tell you what, I’ll walk you home later. Just sit in the audience with us for now.”
Bemused, Nightmare Moon followed her off the stage. Somehow, she couldn’t help but feel like this wasn’t in the script…
3.6 (Metal Wolf Chaos)
“Hey, Twilight, what’s on my appointments for today?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“Uh… looks like you have an interview with diplomats from Saddle Arabia over scheduling a Wonderbolts show in their capital.” Twilight replied.
Dash piloted her giant mecha forwards. “Sorry, I’ll have to cancel that. I’m off to SAVE EQUESTRIA!”
As the robot went to town on an entire small army, Twilight rubbed her temple with a hoof. “Something is seriously off about this Loop…”
“GIIIILDAAAAAA!” Dash roared, surfing out of the sky on a hunk of metal.
“RAAAINBOW DAAAAASH!” Gilda roared back, igniting the jets on her own giant robot and rocketing up to intercept her.
Twilight quietly let herself out of her prison cell. “Honestly. Did someone let Dash write the script for this one?”
Though she had to admit, the gigantic energy cannon on top of Canterlot Castle was actually pretty cool.
3.7 (gen 2)
“Note to self.” Twilight said. “Stop having Discord try on the Elements of Harmony!”
She crumpled up the paper she was working on, wished once more that she had a horn in this Loop, and tried to work out what clothes wouldn’t get her laughed at.
When she’d discovered that this Loop involved high school, she was cautiously optimistic. But then it had turned out that the actual lessons part of high school was almost irrelevant – instead, every other pony in the entire school seemed to consider dates, boys (or girls) and dresses much more important.
And for some reason every pony was bipedal, which felt weird.
Once more, she tried to use magic – both unicorn and otherwise – and came up blank.
“I wouldn’t mind so much if the lessons were actually interesting… it’s like someone made the school just for the dating…”
3.8 (Law and Order)
Detective Rainbow Dash looked over at her counterpart, as she closed the cell door. “So, was it him?”
“Yep.” Detective Applejack replied. “It’s him alright. But we kin hardly say in court that ah ‘just knew he was lyin’ with my magical honesty powers’, can we?”
“Guess not.” Dash kicked the wall in frustration. “I still say we should have kicked him around a bit.”
“That ain’t legal, Dash.” AJ replied sternly.
“Yeah, yeah. At least we managed to get him in on suspicion.”
“Right.” Twilight adjusted her lab coat and glasses. “Okay, DNA analysis, fibre matching and a hoofprint check… that’ll take a week or two.”
“What?” Dash said, shocked. “You kidding me?”
“Well, if I actually had to use the equipment normally it would.” Twilight lit her horn, and the computer began flickering through databases. “Good thing I can just use magic.”
There was a ding as the computer spat out a hoofprint match. The DNA analyzer was next, and began printing a list of concordances.
“Wonder how they do it on the human TV shows…”
“Ah think they just make it up, Twilight.” Applejack said, deadpan.
“Oh, that’s disappointing.” Twilight picked up the sheaf of papers. “Right, that’s a good match on the hoofprint, complete on the DNA, and the fibres are from the same batch of material. But that’s all circumstantial.”
“That’ll be enough.” Applejack grinned. “With our prosecution lawyer.”
It was nice to know more than Twilight about a given Loop for once – though if this were a CSI partial fusion rather than a Law and Order partial fusion (Twilight having identified the differences) then they’d have just been watching Twilight do everything again.
“The prosecution may cross-examine the defendant.”
“…thank you.” District Attorney Fluttershy stood up, her wig slightly askew. “Now, mister Striking Sparks, I have an important question for you. Please listen carefully, and answer correctly... if that's alright, that is.” She gave him a look. “You are accused of grand larceny of jewellery from the shop of one Rarity Belle. Did you do it?"
Striking Sparks stared back, looking straight at her. The defence lawyer frowned, confused by the tactics being employed by the gentle pegasus.
"...Yes! Oh, I've wasted my LIFE!" Striking Sparks broke down sobbing. “I did it. I stole all the diamonds I could carry from that shop! I hid them in a flat belonging to my brother-in-law at the corner of ninth and main, on the sixth floor, flat D. It’s the sixth time I’ve stolen in five years, and I’ll give you the list of where everything else went and who helped me!”
“Wow.” Dash muttered, up in the gallery. “That’s one hell of a Stare she has now.”
“Yep.” Applejack nodded. “Ah helped her practice it all last Loop.”
3.9 (Power Rangers)
“Welcome, ponies.” Celestia’s voice boomed from some kind of magical portal in the centre of the room. “I have brought you here to become the Elements of Harmony.”
All six Loopers looked between themselves, and eventually shrugged. Meh, may as well go with it.
“I and my sister were caught in a time warp by King Sombra in the distant past. He is trapped, but his wife Chrysalis has been sending out bands of Changelings to attack Equestria.” Celestia continued.
“Wait, hold on a second.” Dash said. “Wife?”
“Yes.” Luna replied from inside the same portal. “Their wedding was quite nice, actually, but the reception was when the vagabonds struck.”
“Anyway.” Celestia overrode her sister. “The six gemstones before you are ancient magical artefacts. You can use them to become the Elements of Harmony, and fight off the Changelings.”
“What crystals?” Twilight asked.
There was a muttered argument in much quieter voices, then Celestia shouted again. “Spike!”
The dragon poked his head out of a door. “Yes?”
“Go get the Elements.”
“Sorry…” he disappeared into the back room, and came out again a few seconds later with a pile of gemstones. “Ai yi yi…”
“Right.” Celestia said, after they’d arrived. “Sorry about that. Now, er, take up the Elements, and save Equestria!”
Twilight moved forward, and picked one up in her magic. “I don’t see we have much choice, really…”
The others followed her and picked up their relevant gems – each one a jewel cut stone, but the same colour as the Elements they were used to.
“Now.” Luna added. “To transform, say-”
“NO.” Celestia interrupted her. “You don’t have to say Morphing Time, Power On, or whatever it was you were going to tell them! Just concentrate on the gem.”
All six nodded, and the gems glowed in unison.
“I wanted them to be called the Pony Rangers.” Luna sulked.
“Oh.” Twilight said, staring up at the eighty foot tall Changeling standing in the middle of Manehattan. “That’s new.”
“Hey, Twilight! Don’t be so upset!” Pinkie shouted from behind her. “Look!”
Twilight turned, and looked up. And up. And up again for good measure.
“We get a giant robot!” Dash and Pinkie shouted in perfect unison.
“…where’d that come from!?”
“Well, Spike gave us the keys to a garage after you left, and there were five giant robot animals in it! I just put them together like a jigsaw puzzle!”
“Now, Rarity!” Rainbow said, apparently driving the robot that was making the head. “Form emerald sword!”
“Can you even do that?” Twilight asked, then blinked. “Huh. Apparently yes.”
“I have returned!” Sombra shouted. “Now, dearest, why didn’t you try to free me from the moon?”
Chrysalis gave him a toothy grin. “Well, you needed your beauty sleep, dear. A thousand years wasn’t nearly enough.”
“Oh, you are evil.” The king tossed his head. “But I like you. For some reason.”
“You only married me for my enormous horde of interchangeable minions.” Chrysalis accused, then shrugged. “Eh. I’d have done the same. Now, where should we attack next?”
There was a slam, as Sombra bucked down the door of the Elements’ base. "We have captured the pink one! Now, if you want her to live-"
"Want who to live?" Pinkie said, from behind the others.
Sombra sighed. "Chrysalis! Next time, capture one of the ones who isn't pink!"
"We already tried that with the purple one!" Chrysalis shouted back.
"Grah." Sombra turned to the Mane 6. "Which of you can NOT teleport, fly faster than sound, or otherwise easily escape?"
Everypony pointed at Rarity.
"Thank you for your assistance. We'll see you in a week or two." Sombra trotted out again, and was wreathed in black shadow which dissolved to nothing.
“Should we have told them that?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yep.” AJ replied.
“This is hopeless!” Chrysalis said. “I mean, LOOK!”
Sombra followed his wife’s pointing hoof. “Are those changelings… holding their hooves over their ears?”
“No. Chrysalis replied, simmering. “Because they don’t have them. That batch don’t have ears, and she’s still whining enough to annoy them!”
“Should we just send her back?”
Chrysalis nodded. “Go ahead. I give up. There’s no point trying to capture them. Let’s just try more giant armies.”
“I did have a plan to make evil Elements…” Sombra mused. “We could try that?”
After a pause, Chrysalis thwapped him with her wing. “That’s stupid. But… actually… hmmm. Do we still have Discord’s phone number?”
Two giant robots wrestled in the ruins of Canterlot.
Twilight trotted up a nearby hill. “Hi, Chrysalis, Sombra, Discord.”
“Grah.” Sombra said, then Chrysalis shook her head at him. “Sorry. Hello.”
“Where did you get this idea from?” Before them, the Megalicorn picked up half of Canterlot Castle and used it as a bludgeon against the Dark Changewing.
Discord pointed at himself. “The giant robot was all moi.”
“And Sombra here came up with the idea of negative Elements. Speaking of which…” Chrysalis looked around. “Where is the Element of Dark Magic?”
“Oh, dear…” Chrysalis shook her head. “You just couldn’t resist, could you?”
There was an explosion of red magic, and Trixie appeared. “Trixie found a replacement!” The alicorn amulet swung from her neck. “And is this Trixie’s counterpart?”
“Yep.” Twilight nodded. “Look, can we skip the normal fight and get straight onto the giant robot one?”
Trixie mulled it over. “Trixie thinks this is acceptable. Wagonlord, form!”
A gigantic thing of wood and canvas rose from the ground, held in Trixie’s telekinetic grip.
Sombra turned to Chrysalis. “Don’t you miss the days when battles were small?”
3.4 part 2 (from Madfish)
"…And so, in her boredom, Princess Rainbow took to pranking the whole of Equestria, until a particularly humorous jape on the Elements of Harmony themselves resulted in them giving her a timeout on the moon. But it is said that after one thousand years pass she will return, completing her Final Joke of Doom."
Finishing reading that last line, the personal student of Princess Twilight, Society of Creative Anachronisms member and self styled 'Knight of the Arcane' Luna did the maths on her abacus. Checking it twice, she came up with a four digit number that she found extremely worrying.
"Forsooth!" she swore, grabbed the abacus and book with her telekinesis, and took off at a gallop. Somepony called out to her, but she shot past too fast to catch what was said. She was on a mission! Her liege needed to be warned!
"We must be prepared, Squire Spike! This must be a test of our ability; we will complete the tasks that will keep the expectant populace calm while our liege prepareths for the unknown Final Joke." Luna expounded.
“Prepareths?” Spike said, dubiously. “I don’t think that’s a word. And stop calling me Squire.”
“But ‘tis thy rank, is it not, brave Spike?”
The lengthy argument over the precise definition of ‘squire’ as opposed to ‘armsdragon’, ‘courtier’, ‘page’ and ‘overly romantic unicorn’ continued for most of the trip to Ponyville.
“The ponies who inhabit this town are truly unhinged.” Luna said, shaking her head. “What remains to be done, Squire?”
Spike rolled his eyes. “The main remaining issue is the weather. If Princess Twilight’s cometary display is to be properly seen, the weather has to be perfect.”
“Verily.” Luna nodded.
“That’d be my job!” A white pegasus landed next to them. “Hi! My name is Celestia. My special talent is to remove clouds from the sky. Watch!”
The pegasus flared her wings, darted into the air, and spun in place twice. Air shot out in lumps, smashed into various small clouds, and made them fall apart.
Luna closed her mouth. “’twas most impressive, fair Celestia.”
“Oh, you flatter me.” Celestia shook her tricoloured mane. “Oh, are you here for the sky display?”
The unicorn nodded. “Indeed, though-”
“I love it!” Celestia said, speaking over the top of Luna. “Especially when the sun rises right at the end, and it makes the colours of the sky change from deepest black and violet right through the spectrum to blue!”
“…agreed.” Luna looked over at Spike, unsure.
“But don’t let me keep you.” Celestia added. “I’ll keep an eye out for you tomorrow.”
In a blur of white, she shot off.
“That was strange.” Luna muttered. “Another for the theory that ponies here are a little crazy.” She spotted Spike snickering. “Er, ahem, I mean… lord, what fools these ponies be.”
The six Elements of Harmony blasted their foe, enveloping Danger Dash in rainbow light.
When it faded, what stood there was a blue alicorn barely taller than any of the six Element bearers.
“It is done.” Luna said, wobbling slightly on her hooves. “Repent, blaggard, or-”
“I hope you’ve learned your lesson.”
Princess Twilight materialized abruptly in the hall, and every pony bowed automatically.
“Oh, rise, all of you.” Twilight said, shaking her head. “All of you, in particular, deserve not to bow to me. You’ve managed to knock some sense into my sister, Princess Rainbow Dash.”
“Twi.” Dash said, staggering over. “Worst. Time. Out. Ever.”
The purple alicorn frowned, a little put off. “How so?”
“The Elements kept me awake! All thousand years. Every time I dropped off to sleep, there was this bzzz and they woke me up again! I just came back because I wanted to shut them up!” Dash ranted. “Now, get out of the way of that window. I’m going to go into my room, and I am going to go to sleep, and I am going to not come out again until… until… what’s a good holiday after midsummer?”
“That’d be the Day of Danger, when we fire off fireworks by the tonne.” Princess Twilight said. “It was supposed to be in memory of you, but I think it turned into ‘we need to keep her distracted with shiny things so she doesn’t prank us’.”
“Right. That. Anyway, don’t wake me until the Day of Danger, the one after next.” Princess Dash shot off at two hundred miles an hour, barely moving by her standards.
“Wow. She really is off her game…” Twilight muttered. “Anyway, where were we?”
Celestia couldn’t help but think something was a little off about her favoured student.
Not only had she found the Elements of Harmony with frankly slightly disconcerting speed, but she’d also assembled a team of ponies who were fully compatible with them so fast that she’d managed to catch Nightmare Moon on the way down.
Then she’d begun doing some extremely esoteric research into pegasus magic, material that Celestia found herself totally unable to follow. Something about “interferometry with standing waves of magic forming in the pinnules”.
Still, at least she seemed happy. But it was getting a little worrying how vague her reports were about the occasional trouble going on in Ponyville…
Flim and Flam materialized with their cart in a large, grey-floored room.
“Oh, hello.” A blue unicorn said, looking up and adjusting her large hat. “Trixie sees that Twilight Sparkle got disturbed when doing research again.”
Next to them, a huge crate of food slammed to the floor.
“Right. Trixie will show you around. This is the mezzanine level. A large number of rooms are provided on the upper floors, and the lower floors are where the space suits are kept.”
“The what?” Flim asked.
“Space suits. Did Trixie stutter?”
“Trix…” A griffin stepped out of a nearby door. “You have to explain things to the newbies. Hi, I’m Gilda. This is a moon base, by the way.”
“We’re on the moon?” Flam said, shocked.
“Everyone – pony, griffin, or whatever – who annoys Twilight Sparkle too much ends up here.” Gilda shrugged. “I have to admit, it is pretty cool. And honestly… I pissed off a pony who teleported me to the moon, and provided a base. She could have done worse.”
“Why are you so accepting of this?” Flim said.
Trixie pointed to some much larger doors. “That… would be the spaceship in the hanger over there. Trixie calls dibs on captain as soon as we have enough to crew it.” She looked sullen. “Trixie could totally have run it by herself, but the computers demand a minimum crew size.”
“Yeah.” Flam said, after contemplating that with his brother for a moment. “That is pretty cool.”
“Er…” Rarity ventured. “Where are you sending them all?”
Twilight shrugged. “Space camp.”
3.5 part 2
Nightmare Moon stayed shrunk into her seat as much as possible the whole time Celestia was on stage, only beginning to relax when the elder alicorn finally left.
“So, er…” she cast around for a topic. “What do you all do, then?”
Apparently her conversation skills weren’t great after so long on the moon.
“Well,” the pink pony started. “I’m Pinkie Pie, and I’m in charge of Pie Enterprises. Well baked ideas for any occasion! Here, have a moondial.”
Nightmare caught the strange device, which had a triangle on it. “…right. What do I do with it?”
“Put it on your lower foreleg, silly!” Pinkie said, holding up her own to demonstrate.
Still feeling a little silly, Nightmare complied. The triangle spun around a few times, then stopped, and cast a shadow despite there being nothing to cause it.
“It shows the time by using the position of the moon! Look, it has the phases, too!” Pinkie pointed to the orange pony next to her. “This is Applejack.”
“Charmed.” Applejack said, nodding to her.
“She’s kinda-sorta-got a financial lock on the majority of farming in the country.” Pinkie said. “I’ve seen her speak to farmers and Manehattan socialites in their own styles without missing a beat!”
The blue pegasus butted in. “I’m Rainbow Dash, official fastest pony on the planet. I do space missions!”
“…how?” Nightmare asked, feeling a little overwhelmed.
“I fly up!”
Nightmare waited. “Wait. That’s it?”
“Well…” Dash stretched the word out. “Twi does give me that air bubble spell so I don’t explode, but apart from that it’s all me. I fly up there, drop off a satellite, and come right back down on my own.”
The purple pony stepped in, seeing their guest a bit lost. “Satellites are something that sits in orbit and transmits or measures things – like radio.”
“And you invented ‘em, Twilight!” Dash pointed out. “Don’t be modest. Wish you wouldn’t give me so many geostationary ones to lift, though, that is a long way up!”
Twilight shrugged awkwardly. “It’s the best place…”
“Oh, sorry, I forgot.” Dash took the conversation over again, making Nightmare look back and forth between them like she was watching a tennis match. “This is my best friend Fluttershy. She’s usually the one who catches me when I come back down again.”
“That’s just a favour, though…” Fluttershy said. “Normally I work making sure the launch area is nice and clear, and sort out the logistics, and so on. It keeps me run off my hooves, but it’s… good work.”
“And I know you invent things…” Moon said, pointing to Twilight. “What about the Element of Generosity?”
“I’m surprised you don’t know.” The white unicorn said. “I am Rarity, Dressmaker and Crafter to her highness, founder and owner of the Rare Materials company and item enchanter extraordinaire. Dear, you do look nice, but that regalia could be enchanted to increase the effect, you know. Make you a much more visually stunning pony.”
Nightmare Moon felt vaguely insulted. But it was tempting…
“By the way.” Twilight said causally. “Don’t try anything, Nightmare, or we’ll use the Elements.” Nightmare stiffened in shock, but the six Element bearers stayed perfectly at ease. “So long as you’re not harming any pony, you’ll be fine. Hay, maybe you could try and work through your issues yourself.”
“Heeey!” Pinkie all but bounced out of her chair. “Maaybe we could go out clubbing tonight! Dash usually does with me, but the others are all such boring stick-in-the-muds.”
“…clubbing?” Moon asked, rolling the unfamiliar word around in her mouth.
“Yeah! Night clubs, you know?”
“This idea intrigues me.” Nightmare admitted.