• Published 9th Nov 2013
  • 3,478 Views, 243 Comments

Adjacency - Frission



Obsessed with uncovering the magic responsible for creating the portal mirror she used to recover her crown, Twilight eventually manages to create a gateway to a series of worlds one step removed from her own.

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Chapter 5: Scattered

“Omigosh, something’s happening!”

The girls’ eyes followed the direction of Pinkie’s excitedly pointing hoof, watching as something shifted under the mirror’s surface. Shadows seemed to be approaching the pool of light. The wet, brown cloak on the floor vanished, tugged to the other side just a moment before the two shadows gave way. In their place emerged the two mares that had gone missing earlier that day, Trixie and then Twilight, with Trixie carrying the soggy cloak in one hoof.

“Well, this is ruined,” she was saying to Twilight, but was interrupted when a blue glow lifted it away from her.

“Oh my, this simply won’t do. Just dreadful! I shall have to make a suitable replacement.” Rarity smiled politely to Trixie, before eyeing the unfashionable garment with a barely disguised cringe.

“Twilight’s back! Woo hoo!” cheered Fluttershy, her voice rising by an impressive half-decibel in volume. “Oh, and Trixie too…” She smiled, blushing a little.

“Wait... so… what the hay just happened?” inquired Dash, fluttering down to be eye-level with Twilight. “Where were you? Spike got all upset and told us this crazy story about you two vanishing, and we came down here to look for clues and stuff. Then Rare says she sees you on the other side of this freaky glowing mirror and then fwoosh, vworrrp!” Rainbow paused in her explanation to start making silly sound effects, emulating the noises which came from the mirror as the two returned from the other side.

“And then poof! Suddenly you’re here!” finished Pinkie, who grabbed both Trixie and Twilight up in a great big hug. “Well, I guess not really a poof so much as what Dashie said,” she giggled.

Trixie’s eyes widened as she was embraced, her gaze darting rapidly around the room between the faces of everypony present. She squirmed uncomfortably in Pinkie’s unexpectedly strong grip, which was simply rewarded with the hug becoming tight enough to make her squeak involuntarily. Twilight was faring only slightly better, being a little more used to Pinkie’s hugs.

“Uh, Pinkie?” asked Applejack, stepping in to gently pry the three apart, “Maybe ya oughta give ‘em a chance to breathe.”

“Okie dokie lokie!” Pinkie relented, beaming cheerfully while giving the two a much appreciated chance to breathe again.

“Thanks, everypony. I’m sorry we gave you all such a scare. Especially you, Spike,” Twilight leaned over to give her assistant a nuzzle. Spike immediately replaced Pinkie’s massive hug with one of his own.

“I was so worried! Thank goodness you’re back safe,” he said, stepping back after a minute and looking up to her bandaged horn. “But what happened to you in there? Were there monsters? Zombies?” he gasped, eyes going wide. “Did they try to eat your brains?!

Twilight rolled her eyes just a little, shaking her head. “No, Spike, there weren’t any monsters, and there’s no such thing as zombies. I’m afraid I don’t really understand everything that happened, but we…” she trailed off, eyes locking on the original mirror standing dormant across the room, and suddenly realized that she wasn’t standing where she’d expected to be. “...wait, what?”

Trixie raised a brow and looked to Twi, noticing her shocked expression. Twilight shook her head and turned to look behind herself, her curiosity unable to be put off any longer. Her jaw dropped from what she saw, with Trixie turning her gaze and following suit a second later.

Her eyes traced over every new, magically-enhanced feature of Trixie’s mirror, staring at disbelief at what she beheld. From the brightly shining doorway, to the now ethereal constellations in the place of paint, to the almost holographic ring of magic sparkling around the rightmost star of Orion’s Belt. All of the imperfections in the wooden frame had vanished. Even the glue seams which used to conjoin the fancier pieces of trim had melded together into solid wood. None of it made any sense to the logical portion of her mind.

Twilight deadpanned, “...What.” The single word all she could manage to strangle out.

“Holy Celestia’s socks, Twilight!” blurted Trixie, which elicited a soft, tinkling giggle from behind the distracted ponies.

“I assure you, my little ponies, if I had socks I certainly wouldn’t allow them to be filled with holes.”

“P-Princess Celestia!” gasped Spike, pointing back toward the stairwell.

Everypony turned immediately to the basement stairs, where the Diarch of the Sun herself was descending, a playful, serene smile upon her face. All eight immediately bowed as Celestia strode across the lab floor, coming to a stop in the center of the group. “I see you have been busy, Princess Twilight.”

Twilight stood up again and beamed, prancing happily up to her mentor and leaning up for a nuzzle. “Princess, it’s so wonderful to see you again! But why are you here?” She blinked, letting one eyebrow raise. “It seems like awfully convenient timing.”

“I received a letter from Spike telling me what happened,” she continued to smile, gently nodding to the young dragon. “so I came to investigate as quickly as I could. Even if he hadn’t, I could feel a magical disturbance all the way in Canterlot, and I feared something terrible had happened. I am glad to see that this was not the case.”

Celestia’s eyes were drawn towards the shimmering portal as she finished speaking. Even with millennia of experience hiding her emotions behind a well practiced mask, her expression slipped ever so slightly, eyes widening just a little as she stared at it. Twilight caught the subtle shift in her mentor’s expression before Celestia composed herself again, but the others, mostly still bowing, hadn’t seen it.

She turned her gaze back to the ponies that stood around her, smiling as they rose back to their hooves, but gave pause when she saw Twilight and Trixie’s bandages. “Oh my. It seems the two of you have had quite the adventure. I must say, what you’ve created here far exceeded my expectations,” she nodded, pointing a hoof to the burnt lines on the floor connecting the mirrors. “This was a rather clever solution.”

She turned her serene gaze to Trixie, giving the blue mare a closer look. “I don’t believe we’ve been introduced?”

“Trixie needs no introduction,” she huffed, dropping into her old mannerisms for a minute. It was a shield, Twilight knew, something she used to project confidence. It made her wonder what must’ve been going through Trixie’s mind while being addressed by one of the rulers of Equestria.

“But if the Princess insists, who am I to refuse? I…” Trixie reared back onto her hind legs for effect, and rolled her r’s to add to the flourish, “...am the Great and Powerful, Trrixieee!

Unfortunately, Trixie seemed to have forgotten the doctor’s specific warning against using magic. Instead of her normal show of fireworks, a pitiful spark shot out of the tip of her horn, immediately followed by a yelp of pain. The injured unicorn collapsed unceremoniously in front of Celestia, whimpering softly and nursing her head.

“Oh my…” responded the Princess with alarm. Fluttershy floated over to see if she could help, while Rainbow and Spike just facehoofed.

Twilight winced in sympathy. “Yeah, ah, we’re not allowed to use magic for a few days, doctor’s orders. We kinda pushed ourselves a quarter mile beyond ‘too far’ this afternoon. I’m guessing Spike told you about that in his letter?”

Celestia nodded. “Would you mind if I took a closer inspection?” She already knew what Twilight was going to say, and began gathering magic into her horn. Her former student’s affirmation was all she needed to release the spell she had called upon. Seven golden rings of magic appeared in the air, surrounding the mirror in a sphere. Each ring began to spin, pentagrams forming as they connected to one another in a dazzling display. Almost before Twilight could blink, it had completed, and everypony in the room was treated to a similar visual wonder to the one she had witnessed when she first successfully analyzed the first mirror.

Tangible information swirled around the gateway in a sphere of colors, the runes filling the air slowly blending from lavender to sky blue and back again. There were gasps, ooohs and ahhhs from the ponies looking on. Celestia remained focused, her eyes narrowed as she took in everything her analysis was telling her.

Something happened just then, something Twilight hadn’t seen earlier that day. A single point in the stream of runes began to glow brightly, forming a sphere of light which obscured it. When Celestia reached out a hoof to touch it, it reacted by ending her identification spell. A line of violet light shot through every constellation on the mirror’s frame, connecting them one by one in a flash that lasted mere seconds. The mirror’s surface flashed blue and violet when the line hit the still-highlighted star, and two smoky motes of light floated out from it.

Before anypony could react to this latest development, the lights shot over to Twilight and Trixie’s horns, changing to match their coats in color. Twilight felt a comforting warmth spread through her horn into the rest of her body. Her heart fluttered with joy: It felt like love, like a hug from her parents, like a feeling that everything was going to be alright, warming her from head to tail, and to the core of her heart.

Trixie managed to stand on her hooves again as the light faded to nothingness, no longer cringing in pain. Then the bandages came undone from both of their horns, revealing that there was no longer any trace of their horns’ physical damage.

“What was that?” asked Rarity, stepping forward to look up to Celestia.

Celestia looked on solemnly, giving a small sigh. “Well, Twilight and Trixie have created a new gateway leading to other worlds, but I fear even their combined magic wasn’t up to the task. You used your Element, didn’t you?”

Twilight nodded, prompting Celestia to continue. “I’m afraid I have bad news, my little ponies. As I said, creating an artifact of this power was simply too much for you to bear. The Element of Magic allowed the spell to complete, but in doing so it burned off your potential magic to fuel it. A small part of both of you has been sent to every reality now connected here. Those motes of magic which just returned were the first of many.”

“What?!” yelped Trixie, the sudden action making Fluttershy jump away. “But… but without my magic I’m… I’m—”

Twilight cut her off. “So it didn’t just heal us, we were in that condition because we’d lost all of our magic? What do we need to do to get it back?”

Celestia wrapped a wing around each of the unicorns in an attempt to comfort them. “If I had to guess, I’d say spending time in another world allowed a part of it to reconnect with you, and my actions just now allowed what was already seeking you to pass through to ours. The simplest way to continue to restore your potential for magic will be to visit each world connected through your gateway long enough for your magic to find you.”

To make her point, Celestia touched an unlit star, the tip of Ursa Major’s ‘tail’. The doorway of light blinked out of existence while the selection ring moved to this new star. When it settled into place, the star lit up, and the doorway reappeared with a quiet fwoosh, appearing a faint green hue this time.

“Ooooohhhh…” Twilight beamed, her eyes wide as she saw the magic in action. “So that’s,” she paused to count the constellations with her hoof. “Oh wow, fifteen worlds, if each constellation represents one.”

“Actually, Twlight,” Celestia corrected, her tone making Twilight worry, “it’s every star.”

Trixie groaned, loudly. “But I’m supposed to be fixing my reputation in this town! How am I going to do that gallivanting across the multiverse? This could take months!”

“No problem, sugarcube. The lot of us will be happy ta help.” Applejack stepped forward, the other girls nodding in affirmation.

“We will?” blinked Rainbow, which earned her an elbow in the side from AJ. “Oof! I mean, of course we will! What’re friends for?” She regained her cocky smirk quickly enough, fluttering over to wrap a hoof around Twilight’s shoulder. “If Twilight says you’re cool now, that’s good enough for me. ‘Sides, she needs our help too! She is cool, right Twi?” Dash looked to Twilight’s face in time to see her smile.

“Yeah, she’s ‘cool’, Dashie.”

“Cool.” Dash nodded.

......Loyalty......

Trixie pinned her ears back, blushing at the unexpected response from the girls. “Really? You can all forgive Trixie for what she did, just like that? I… T-thank you. And I’m sorry. I should have apologized to everypony last time I was here, not just Sparkle.”

All right!” Pinkie cheered loudly, throwing a ball of confetti and streamers across the room which managed to cover everypony. “This is gonna be so great! Oooh! I can’t wait to see what’s on the other side of that thingy! I’ll go look!” With that, the pink pony charged at the mirror as fast as she could.

“Wait!” Celestia called, but before she could stop her, Pinkie leapt into the air—and smacked right into the doorway of light, stopped in place as if it were still a solid wall of force. Slowly the pony slid to the floor and fell over on the ground comically, unfazed by what certainly looked like a painful experience.

“Oh wow, that world is pretty!

“So let me get this straight,” Twilight was saying, everypony having adjourned to the upper floor for dinner. “Only Trixie and I can use our portal?”

“That appears to be the case. Your magic is what created it, so it is attuned to you both,” Celestia confirmed, sipping a cup of camomile tea. “Anypony else who tries can only see the other side.”

Twilight nodded a little, frowning. “That’s so strange, it doesn’t behave at all like the original. As far as I can tell, that is.”

Applejack walked up to the table, scooting a plate of apple dumplings in front of everyone seated. She’d generously offered to do the cooking tonight. “Shoot… How are we s’posed to help if we can’t even go with ya?”

“In time, my sister and I may find a way to do something about that. Unfortunately I cannot stay in Ponyville to do so, as much as I would enjoy the time off.” Celestia smiled. “Still, if any of you can find time to assist us in Canterlot, it would greatly aid in finding a solution. Until then, please stay safe.”

Trixie looked up from her dumpling when she felt a gentle nudge from the princess’ wing. “That goes for you too, oh Great and Powerful one,” she continued, giggling playfully as the showmare’s face turned pale. “Can I count on you to keep Princess Twilight safe?”

“Uh… I…” sputtered Trixie, looking across the table at Twilight. The younger princess was trying to lift her dumpling with her magic, but all she could manage was making it glow before the spell sputtered out. Trixie’s eyes widened a little, then she closed them with a nod, finally finding her voice. “Yes, your majesty!”

“Excellent! Then I must be on my way, though I hope to hear from one of you soon. Thank you for a wonderful meal, Applejack.”

“Aww, weren’t nothin’, princess,” beamed AJ.

Celestia rose from the gathering and bowed politely to everypony gathered, before vanishing in a burst of white magic. The sound of her chariot taking off could be heard outside, and looking through the window, Twilight saw her and her guards vanish into the evening sky, towards Canterlot.

“So, what do ya’ll think the princess meant about helpin’ her out in Canterlot?” AJ looked back to the table, tipping back her hat a bit.

Trixie snorted. “Isn’t it obvious? If they’re going to alter the mirror to allow any of you to pass through, they’ll need to know everything about your personal magic. That almost certainly means experimenting on volunteers.”

Applejack looked a bit uneasy at that prospect, as did Rarity. “Ah… I s’pose that makes sense.”

“Ooohh! I want to go first, pick me!” Pinkie bounced in her seat, but then deflated back into place with a pout. “Awww, but I’ve got seventeen parties to plan this week, I can’t go…”

“Hey, I’ve got some free time coming up, I can go help out. ‘Sides, they’ll probably need someone tough at first, and that’s me!” Rainbow Dash spread her wings out with pride, earning polite chuckles from some of her friends.

“Thanks, Rainbow, I’m sure you’ll be the perfect mare for the job. Right, well, we will need to get properly outfitted if we’re going to be exploring strange new worlds,” said Twilight, pausing to get Rarity’s attention. “Think you could put my ‘royal wardrobe’ on hold for a bit? I’d like to spend tomorrow getting ready, and maybe you could find us some exploration gear? Suitable for scientific field study, of course.”

Rarity put on a serious expression as she started to think. Her eyes scrutinized Twilight and Trixie carefully as she measured them up, and she paced quietly around them. Twilight smiled inwardly as the white unicorn’s eyes suddenly lit up. Knowing her friend, she had just been struck by her fashion muse.

Idea! Oh I know just the thing!”

The next morning, Twilight and Trixie split up to collect what they’d need to start their expeditions. Twilight said she was headed straight to ‘Quills and Sofas’ to stock up on writing supplies and blank journals to record their progress and findings, so Trixie decided to head over and see Rarity first. She decided to bring her stage costume for reference, knowing it really didn’t matter if she was seen in it or not. She wouldn’t be hard to spot either way, and the star-covered garments made her feel a little better. ‘Like a security blanket.’ She had to stop and snort at the thought, rolling her eyes when she got a weird look from a passing stallion with an hourglass cutie mark.

Thankfully the boutique was only a short journey away from the library, though its elaborate design was a touch overdone for her taste. Trixie reached out to the door with her magic, trotting straight into it without a second thought, and promptly smacked face-first into it. “Owww…” she grumbled, rubbing her face for a second before pushing the door open with her hoof instead, the tinkling sound of the shop bell ringing through the building.

“Oh good morning, I’ll be right with you!” called Rarity from the upper floor in her posh accent.

Trixie shrugged and looked around for a place to sit, finding a comfortably plush couch obviously placed for waiting customers. Rarity was true to her word, moments later descending the stairs with a variety of patterns and cloth floating in front of her.

“Now then, welcome to Carousel Boutique, where—” her eyes lit up when she saw Trixie. “Ah! Just who I was hoping to see.”

Trixie waved to Rarity, though she still felt fairly awkward in her presence. “I rather doubt that, but I did have an appointment.”

“Oh, don’t be silly, dear. Now, come along, we have much work to do!” Rarity chimed, tugging Trixie along to the fitting area.

“Hey Twilight, you in here?”

Twilight looked over to the door from the register at Quills and Sofas, just finishing up her purchase. “Right here, Spike. Where was I… ah, nineteen… twenty!” She was carefully sorting out her bits by hoof, her magic barely able to push the small pile of coins forward to the clerk’s side of the table.

“Thank you, Princess. Enjoy your day!” Penwright, the store’s morning clerk, stuffed the bits in the register, smiling to his best customer.

While Twilight started putting everything in her saddlebag, Spike scampered over holding a letter and a small parcel. “Twi, Princess Celestia just sent these for you. It looked kinda important.”

“Alright, just a minute, I’ll have a look outside. Can you give me a hand with these?”

A few minutes later the two left the shop, Twilight’s bags packed neatly full of notebooks, paper, quills and other various writing supplies. Spike handed her the letter, and she found it was thankfully light enough that her diminished power was still enough to levitate it.

My dearest Twilight,

As you may have suspected, I could find no recorded cases of anything such as the predicament you and your friend Trixie now find yourselves in. A unicorn’s magical potential was, until now, thought to be immutable. I’m certain we could theorize on the implications or effects of this for weeks, but it’s best we stay on task.

It has taken us some time, but Luna had a brilliant idea which allowed us to devise a means of tracking your lost magic during your travels, which should help shorten the time you need to spend in each world. The pendants included with this message will allow you to visibly track the pieces of your potential, in the same form as we witnessed last night. For lack of a better term, we have dubbed these ‘Motes’ for the time being. From the moment you arrive in another world they will naturally be seeking you out, but being able to see them should make this task much simpler, as getting within close proximity should make the rejoining process immediate.

Bear in mind, this is all theory at the moment. The magic enchanting the pendants should be reliable, but the rest is up to you. Good luck, and be careful.

With care,

Princess Celestia

“Motes, huh?” Twilight blinked. “Not a very scientific term, but I suppose it fits... Spike, go ahead and open the box.”

Spike did so, using a claw to slice off the ribbon holding the unassuming brown box shut. Pulling off the lid revealed two silver pendants with long chains, each set with a single large gem: One a blue sapphire, the other an amethyst. As Twilight leaned over to inspect them more closely, she felt a ping of resonance from the amethyst pendant.

“What are they?” asked Spike.

“A gift from the princesses. Here, see for yourself.” She traded Spike the letter for the box, reaching in and putting on the amethyst pendant. As soon as it was in place around her neck, she faintly felt that same warm sensation she had when the first mote had healed her.

“Thank you for bringing these to me, Spike. Let’s go check in with Rarity, she and Trixie should probably be ready by now.”

It had taken twenty minutes just for Rarity to get a complete set of Trixie’s measurements. A large part of that time was due to the fact that the showmare couldn’t quit fidgeting, or breaking down in a fit of giggles every time Rarity tried to wrap the measuring tape around her stomach.

“My goodness, I’ve never dealt with a client quite so ticklish before,” chuckled Rarity as she finally managed to get the numbers she needed.

“Eheh… yes, well, I’d appreciate if you didn’t tell that to anypony.” Trixie’s face was flush from laughter and a touch of embarrassment.

Rarity smiled with a wink. “Worry not, your secret is safe with me. Hmmm… yes, this will do. I did most of the work in advance, so now I just need to make some adjustments to the fit.”

“Why are you being so nice to me?” Trixie frowned, the abruptness of her question making Rarity’s magical grip on the measuring tape falter. “I remember you from my last two visits, you know. I changed your mane, I forced you to sew all those banners with my face on them. So why? Has Twilight put you all up to it?”

“Well… I can’t say most of us didn’t have our… reservations when we heard you had returned to ponyville again. Still, a lady doesn’t do things as petty as hold grudges; Everypony deserves a second chance, after all. Besides,” she smiled, “when Spike informed us of your visit, he spoke quite encouragingly of your recent change of heart. He really can be stubborn sometimes when it comes to judging a pony’s character, so if he trusts you, I do as well.”

Trixie furrowed her brows, this wasn’t the reaction she’d expected to hear. ‘Had I really done anything to deserve that from him?’, she wondered. “Well, that explains tolerating Trixie’s presence, but the niceness?”

Rarity smirked coyly, taking out her notepad as she jotted the last of the measurements down. “That is simply what I do. Now then, go ahead and have a seat, I’ll bring down a few possible outfits for you to try on shortly.”

......Generosity......

True to her word, Rarity wasted no time finalizing the new ensembles. When asked, she explained that since starting to do business with Hoity Toity in Canterlot, the speed at which she was capable of completing dresses had increased dramatically out of sheer necessity.

The first outfit resembled something Daring Do would wear, but in colors complimenting Trixie’s coat rather than ‘That garish green and khaki mess’ depicted on the books. Trixie vetoed it quickly, not being a fan of pith helmets.

The second was a version of the girls’ oft-used ‘stealth suit’, an all-black affair made of a flexible material. This variant was covered in straps, belts and buckles all around the legs and torso, most lined with pouches and pockets for carrying small items. It also came with a figure-eight shaped mask which just covered the wearer’s eyes. This was rejected as well, it wasn’t exactly going to help anypony blend in, especially when Rarity tried to add a cape to the ensemble.

It was while the third and final outfit was being tried on that the boutique’s bell rang out to signal Twilight’s arrival. Trixie, getting dressed in one of the fitting rooms, could hear the two strike up a mild conversation outside. Fiddling with the last bit of her outfit, she stepped out for everypony to see.

This outfit was composed of several pieces, starting with a simple yet practical blue vest, lined with several pockets along the front. This was complemented with a larger, white pouch slung around the vest with a white strap. The material of these appeared somewhat stiff and thick, and didn’t billow or shift like silk or cotton. Trixie’s legs were encased in four long, rather chic white boots, but they looked designed more for handling rough terrain than a runway. A tastefully embroidered blue cloak covered the rest of her body, strapped around her midsection with a set of sturdy buckles. The cloak was completed by a hood with a long point down the front, covering her mane and horn, and almost hiding her eyes from view. On her flank rested a pair of sturdy blue saddlebags, missing any cutie mark insignias intentionally. A silk mask completed the set, wrapping around her muzzle and throat and forming a scarf that trailed behind her as she moved.

“Whoa…” Twilight stared, evaluating the outfit next to Rarity. The fashionista seemed rather pleased with the results as well. “If I didn’t already know that was Trixie, I wouldn’t even realize it was her standing there.”

“My, I think this is the one! Tell me, how does it feel? Is the fabric comfortable? Anything too tight?”

Trixie cantered around a little in a circle, getting a feel for moving around in it. “It feels rather nice, actually. The fit on the vest is good, I was worried about that when I saw it. Boots are comfortable, I’m not too warm,” she stopped, nodding to the pair, her smile hidden under the mask. “Ooh, and the cloak feels just like my stage outfit. It’s perfect!”

“Excellent!” exclaimed Rarity, proud of her work. “I had to take special care with the vests, it’s a new type of armored fabric. Not really haute couture for dresses, but seeing as you two might find yourselves in trouble eventually, it should be perfect for these. Wait right here, Twilight—I’ll have one just like it ready for you momentarily. In your colors, of course,” she added. Just before heading back to the work room, she paused and turned back to face them, biting her lower lip. “Oh dear, there is one problem, though... That material is rather expensive...”

“Well I’m sure I can cover it, Rarity, that’s fine,” spoke up Twilight, nodding confidently.

“Just how much are we talking, here?” asked Trixie, a bit more cautious.

“Welllll……” the white unicorn dragged the word out, “It’ll be about three hundred bits.”

“What.”

“....each.”

What?!

“Alright, note-taking supplies?” asked Spike, starting at the top of Twilight’s ‘Expedition Preparedness Checklist.’ He, Twilight and Trixie were back at the library, preparing for their first jaunt through the portal.

“Check!” chimed Twilight, adjusting her saddlebags.

“Snazzy exploration outfits-slash-disguises?”

“Check!”

Trixie grumbled a little from the other side of the room. They had opted to go ahead and buy the new outfits, despite the cost, and Trixie had surprised Twilight by insisting on paying for her own. Still, she wasn’t grumbling too loudly—the mare seemed rather pleased with her new look.

“Snacks and drinks for the road?”

“Check.”

“Extra bits?”

“Check!”

Spike checked off boxes down the list as they went on like this for a few minutes, reaching the end of the parchment. “And last but not least, pendants?”

Twilight nodded, each mare’s pendant hanging around their necks. She had taken the time to explain them to Trixie on the way back, and shown her the letter from Celestia.

Trixie nodded back to her, reaching a hoof up to touch her own pendant. “It’s warm.”

Twilight smiled, turning back to Spike. “Check. Right, that’s everything!”

“You girls be super, mega, ultra-special careful out there, okay?” Spike set down the checklist, looking up to Twilight with wavering eyes. “I won’t be there to protect you like usual, after all.”

Twilight grinned and leaned down to nuzzle him, gently wrapping the little guy up in her wings. “We’ll be careful.”

Trixie smiled softly behind her mask at the exchange, then turned to walk up to the portal, examining the glowing stars carefully. “So, any preference on where to start?”

“Let’s take this methodically, for now, and go to the next star in Orion’s Belt.”

“Right,” Trixie nodded, tapping the center star in the constellation with her hoof. The mirror’s low hum went silent and the light flickered and went out for a second, before flaring back to life with a fwoosh and a loud thrum. The light was a slight violet hue now, and a light fog was pouring out of the bottom of the frame. “You know, we really should come up with a name for this thing.”

“Oh I thought so too!” beamed Twilight. “I had a couple ideas, what do you think of ‘Gateway of Stars’?”

Trixie deadpanned, staring Twilight in the eye. “Twilight, I mean this in the nicest way possible and as a friend: that is the most terrible name I’ve ever heard for anything, ever.”

“Ouch,” commented Spike.

Twilight pouted a little. “Eh… well, alright, I guess it was a bit unwieldy. What about ‘Moongate’?”

“Actually,” Spike spoke up, “didn’t that Lord Trottingham guy use that in his ‘Ultimare’ books?”

“Oh, right. That wouldn’t be very original then,” agreed Twilight.

“Well I guess it’s not that important, one of us will come up with something eventually.” Trixie shrugged, getting back on track.

Twilight nodded in return, adjusting her cloak. “Right then, what’s that word Time Turner always going around saying?”

“I think he just likes ponies to call him ‘The Doctor’,” corrected Spike. “...He’s weird.”

Twilight smirked, then gleefully shouted "Geronimo!" as the pair plunged into the light.

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