Twilight Sparkle sat alone, reading from a rather captivating book she found while doing research in the Canterlot royal library. The book in question an ancient unassuming looking brown tome with no title or author, only a seal embossed on the cover depicting a unicorn's side profile.
From what she had read so far it appeared to be a history of the ruling class from millennia past. Each account had elegant portraits, images of dark magic wielding kings and what Twilight could only have assumed came from the mind of some greatly disturbed pony. A grotesque creature with features of animals of all sorts.
She had already bookmarked these pages for later but now she had her undivided attention on what had drawn her to this book in the first place. A chapter simply titled “The Elements of Harmony” this chapter was unlike the rest. It was detailed and told in a storybook fashion, retelling the old pony’s tale of how the mare on the moon came to be.
Nothing different from the stories she heard when she was just a foal but the fact that this is in a historically accurate tome was surprising. Celestia has long avoided questions about whether Nightmare Moon was real or not, letting pony scholars speculate if she ever was real or just some story so we could have a holiday where we get free candy.
The story concluded as most versions do with the sun princess defeating the nightmare and banishing her to the moon forever. Only this book makes note of her method of defeat, the titular Elements of Harmony. “Hmm the Elements of Harmony. I know I've heard of those before, but where?” She said aloud to nopony in particular.
The purple unicorn looked at her surroundings and realized the princess had begun to raise the sun. She'd stayed up through the night studying … again. Not that twilight minded, in fact she rather liked sitting down with a good read for hours on end. In her opinion a much more enjoyable way to spend an evening than chatting for what seemed like an eternity with self important unicorn nobles during social functions. That was the one duty from the princess Twilight did not have her boundless enthusiasm for.
Well enough self indulgent study, now she had important business to attend to. Now time to study for the research paper on magical artifacts she was putting together for Celestia. She rose quickly and just as quickly she came to regret that decision. Siting for four hours on your hooves tends to cut off the blood flow. Wobbling for a few seconds twilight could begin to feel the numbness in her extremities. “Owowowowowow OK walk it off Twilight, walk it off.” She said while hopping between her left and right sets of hooves.
Having regained enough feeling she decided now was the time to start running home, along the way a group of unicorns tried to engage her in conversation. “Oh hello Twilight, we’ve been looking all over for you, Moon Dancer is having a pre-summer sun celebration celebration. She wants to know if you can come?”
Twilight was sick of this 'Just because I’m the apprentice of princess Celestia everypony wants me at there pointless time wasting parties' she thought. “Uh sorry girls I’d love to but... I’ve got a lot of studying to catch up on” Twilight flashed an insincere smile and averted her eyes. Sensing the group's not being satisfied with the rather lame excuse the blurted out “Welp gotta go!”
Glad to be away from the intrusion Twilight galloped along and even made it to the bridge near Canterlot castle before she was being flagged down by another unicorn. She had an aquamarine coat with a greyblue mane and streaks of white. “Excuse me miss, can you lend a hand I'm a bit lost can y-.” Is all she managed to get out before Twilight rushed passed her. She was not going to let anypony distract her. She had some idea where to find more reference to these Elements of Harmony, but she had to go to her personal library to find it.
Excitedly Twilight threw the doors open scanning the room for her assistant. He should still be here this early, he usually doesn’t start his bubble bath for another couple of hours. “Spike where are you? We've got work to do! Spike Spi-ke” she added with a bit of flair.
“*Oof* Down here Twilight.”
Looking behind the door she saw Spike knocked down. “Oh, sorry about that Spike, I guess I shouldn't have been In such a hurry.”
“No prob Twilight,” the purple dragon said as he made the motion to dust off his pants... if he wore pants. “You said we have work to do, what needs done?”
“Yes Spike, I need the reference guide labeled Prediction and Prophecy. I think that it is up on the top shelf in the mystic section.” She waived her hoof in the general vicinity of the shelf. Spike hated having to get books from up there, it meant using the ladder, theirs was rather impractical having wheels for easy moment but no track on the shelf to hold it in place. Still he was eager to please and quickly scaled the ladder and located the book in question.
“Here it is Twilight!” Spike said with glee holding the book outward for his guardian to see.
“Ah good work Spike,” Twilight said with a praising tone. Her horn glowing, she telekinetikly grabbed the book and brought it near her. Unfortunately the baby dragon's hand was still attached and he still attached to the precarious ladder. With a satisfying thud all three objects landed on the floor. “Um … sorry” Twilight sheepishly added.
Cracking open the book she began searching for what she desired. “Lets see elements … periodic table... no... elementals ... nope.” Her eyes quickly scanning pages focused on the big bold friendly letters Elements of harmony. “Here we go... no entry just a reference, see Mare on the Moon.” she read in a matter of fact tone.
“The Mare on the Moon? You mean the scary story Shining Armor old us to freak us out when we wouldn't stop bugging him?” Said Spike.
“It's not just a story Spike.” She said while rapidly flipping pages settling on the correct one and began reading aloud. “A powerful being responsible for the death of princess Luna and attempting to engulf the planet in an eternal night. Defeated by use of the Elements of Harmony she was imprisoned forever on the surface of the moon.” Taking this in Twilight looked further down and saw a footnote. “It looks there is a prophecy associated with this legend!”
“The devotees of the moon predicted on the thousandth year of the Nightmare's imprisonment the stars will aid and abet her escape! This is the thousandth year!” Twilight was visually upset by this information. “Spike take a letter to Princess Celestia.”
“My dearest teacher, in my ongoing studies I’ve come across some unsettling information regarding Nightmare Moon. It is important we take immediate action. Lest all be lost to the darkness, I await your quick response.”
“Lest all be lost to darkness? Don’t you think your over reacting a little?” He said as he rolled the scroll up placed it before his snout and burned it up with his green flame, sending the ashes flying through the air toward the princess’s thrown.
“Spike the princess is a pony of reason, I know she'll see the gravity of this situation. Now we only have to wait for her reply.”
One reply from the princess later, Twilight found herself and Spike on an unwanted carriage ride to the town hosting this years Summer Sun Celebration. “OK Spike we'll get this checklist finished fast then were back to studying this book.” She said while levitating the open list near her face.
“Sure thing Twilight.” The diminutive dragon said “...But I’m gonna side with the princess here, you've been cooped up in the library too long, I really don’t think that prophecy is anything to worry about. I mean It was in a picture book for ponies sake!”
She was perturbed by her drakonic companions lack of concern. “Spike this is serious! An immortal mare of darkness is going to escape her imprisonment tonight, Tartarus bent on bringing about an eternal night AND THIS IS NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!” Twilight yelled as her eyes started to bug out as they did when she became stressed.
Spike could see this was not an argument he wanted to start. Knowing his lifelong friend as he did when Twilight got like this she needed to focus on her duties, working always seemed to calm her down. “Look Twilight were about to land so let's start this list and once were done I’ll do all I can to help you research Nightmare Moon. By the way can I take a look at the list I want to see who's up first.”
“Here you are Spike, sorry I yelled at you i'm just getting upset at nopony believing me.” She handed Spike the list and walked out of the carriage, thanked the royal guardsmen and stepped aside as they took off. Even if this trip was unnecessary she still found herself enjoying any time she got an opportunity to ride the carriage. Something about flying through the blue sky was thrilling.
Twilight forced herself back on subject “Alright who is first Spike?” Giving a cursory glance at the parchment spike saw the subjects Food Preparation, weather, decorations and music.
“Looks like first up is the food with” “EVERPONY LOOK OUT BELLOW!!!” the intruding voice coming from the skies above seemed to be associated with the Grey blur rushing at an unsafe speed bound strait for Spike.
When the dust cleared Twilight was not happy with what she saw, on the left stood a concerned looking Pegasus mare on her right Spike was lying on his flank in his hands were a pile of ashes from what was but ten seconds prior the list of all the pony’s Twilight needed to check on before the Summer Sun Celebration tonight. The Pegasus was saying something as she helped Spike up but Twilight could here nothing, only her thoughts of how little time she had, how much she already had to do, and now this. Her eye gave an almost unnoticeable twitch.
As the blond mare turned to Twilight the concerned look grew even more. “Oh no, I didn’t hit you too did I? I’m so so sorry! I was flying along when I got hit by a huge gust of wind and I lost my sense of direction, I couldn't stop and I had to make an emergency landing. Oh I just don’t know what went wrong!”
Twilight's eyes silently drifted from the pony in front of her to the pile of ashes, she gave the burnt scroll a good long look before she opened her mouth to give her well thought out and appropriate response “ahhhUHWOARGH!!!!!” The purple unicorn thought this expressed her feelings nicely.