• Published 20th Mar 2012
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My Choices: Twisted Tales Through Time - koolerkid



Twilight goes back in time to prevent Luna's transformation into Nightmare Moon.

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Chapter Ten

Chapter 10

“Twilight? Hey, Twiiiilight?” Trixie tried calling her friend for the third time. The purple filly appeared not to hear her, her nose still stuck in some big ancient tome she’d found. Trixie pouted; she didn’t like being ignored. However, she and Twilight had been best friends for just over five years now, and when you know somepony for that long you learn a thing or two about them. One of the things she’d learned about her dear friend was that there were only two things that could distract her from a new book. Since Trixie didn’t feel like finding one of the Princesses right now, that left only one option.

“Twilight, look out! A snake!”

“YAAAAAAH!” Twilight screamed, leaping from her seat in a panic and dropping her book on the table. It took her a moment to register that she was still in the Royal Canterlot Library, which was a snake-free environment. After she’d gathered her wits and gotten back on her hooves, she gave Trixie a mildly peeved look. “Y’know, you could have just tapped my shoulder.”

“I thought this would be more entertaining,” Trixie said, smirking slightly. “I was right.”

Twilight rolled her eyes and gave a long-suffering sigh as she returned to the table. “This book is a valuable antique, you know. It could’ve gotten damaged!”

“A little fall won’t hurt your precious book, Twi,” Trixie said dismissively. “We have more important things to worry about! Twilight, today I will drag you out of this stuffy library, and then you and I will go have some fun.”

“This again, Trixie?” Twilight asked tiredly as she examined her book for damage. Finding none, she carefully placed it back on the table. “I told you, I’m already having fun: I’m studying. And you should be too.”

Trixie pouted at her friend. “Twi, reading dusty old books all day is not everypony’s idea of a good time. I’m bored, it’s the summer, and I want to go do something.”

“Don’t you have some other friends?” Twilight groused, returning her book to its shelf and pulling out another ancient tome. “Less busy friends?”

If anypony else had said that, Trixie would have buried them under a scathing avalanche of insults. In Twilight’s case, however, Trixie knew her well enough to know she hadn’t meant any offense. She smothered the tiny spark of anger before it had a chance to grow, and continued. “This isn’t just for me, Twilight. You hardly ever leave the school these days. Do you even talk to anypony besides me and Princess Celestia?”

“I... um... there’s Spike...” Twilight didn’t return Trixie’s stare.

“Spike can barely talk, Twilight.”

“Um... Princess Luna...”

“Princesses don’t count.”

“...Dusty Tome...” Twilight’s voice sounded small and uncertain.

“...The librarian? Really, Twi?” Trixie raised an eyebrow. Twilight hung her head and didn’t reply. Trixie paused for a moment, then changed tactics. “Twilight... look. We’re friends, aren’t we?”

That got Twilight’s attention; she looked up from examining her book and gave Trixie a surprised look. “Of course we are, Trixie. Why would you even ask that?” She sounded surprised and confused, as if somepony had just asked “Is the sky blue?” or “Does Celestia raise the sun?”.

“Because we never do anything together!” Trixie explained. “When you’re not studying, you’re reading, or tinkering with magitech, or practicing spells. We never have fun together anymore, Twi. I just want to go do something with my best friend.”

Trixie could see the indecision on her best friend’s face. She simply couldn’t reconcile the desire to study with the desire to please her friend. Trixie felt her patience waning, and opened her mouth to say something she was likely to regret. Luckily, they were interrupted by the voice of Princess Celestia. “Why, that sounds like a lovely idea, Trixie!”

Twilight yelped and spun around to meet her mentor, while Trixie marveled at how stealthy the Princess could be, despite having a rainbow for a mane. “P-Princess!” Twilight exclaimed, her posture straightening. She always did that whenever the Princess was near, as if she was a naughty foal caught with her hoof in the cookie jar. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there!”

“I know,” the Princess said with a small grin. “Why don’t you want to go with your friend, Twilight? It might be good for you to get out once in a while.”

“That’s what I said!” Trixie complained. “She won’t listen!”

Twilight fidgeted in place nervously. “I... I can’t! I have a lot of studying to do, and I...” The studious mare trailed off in the face of Celestia’s mildly disapproving expression.

“Twilight... You’ve forgotten my most important lesson, haven’t you?” Celestia asked, shaking her head slightly.

“What? No! I haven’t!” Twilight exclaimed, panicked. “I’ve never forgotten a single lesson, Princess, honest!”

“Oh?” Princess Celestia raised an eyebrow. “Do you remember the lesson I taught you five years ago, just after you and Trixie had your first fight?”

Twilight blinked, startled, as Trixie gave her an inquisitive look. “Umm...” Twilight’s brow furrowed as she tried to concentrate. “That was a long time ago... I think... Um... didn’t... didn’t we not have any lessons that day?”

Celestia shook her head. “I see.” A gentle golden glow wrapped around Twilight’s book as the Princess levitated it back to its shelf. “That was the day I told you: ‘Your studies are very important and you should never neglect them, but there is nothing in the world more important or more valuable than friendship’.” She gave Twilight a warm smile. “Your studies can wait, Twilight. Go have fun with your friend.”

“I... if you say so, Princess,” Twilight said doubtfully. “But... what will we even do? I haven’t just ‘gone out’ since I was a filly...” She turned to Trixie. “Did you have any ideas?”

“Honestly, I didn’t make any plans beyond getting you out of the library,” Trixie admitted. “I guess I didn’t really think I’d get this far.” She grinned sheepishly.

“I have an idea,” the Princess interjected. “I happen to know that there’s an exhibit at the National Museum of Equestrian History on Blue Star and the Equestrian Revolution today. Why don’t you and Trixie go and give it a look?”

Twilight’s face lit up like a light bulb. “A Blue Star exhibit? Why didn’t you say so before!” Her horn lit up, and with a brief flash, her saddlebags were suddenly in place on her back. “Come on Trixie, lets go!” She was already charging for the door before Trixie could even respond.

“Hey, wait up, Twilight! Not everypony can just teleport their bags to them, you know!” Trixie called after her excited friend, before turning to Princess Celestia. “Thanks, Princess. I’ve been trying to get her out of the library for ages.”

“It was my pleasure, Trixie.” Celestia said with a smile. “Like I told Twilight, there’s nothing more valuable than friendship. Now hurry along, or she might just leave without you.”

“Heh, yeah. Thanks again, Princess!” With that, Trixie galloped away.

Once the Princess was certain she was alone, her smile melted into a thoughtful frown. “This,” she proclaimed to nopony, “is not good.”

-----------------

“Celly?” Luna’s voice echoed through the empty Royal Equestrian Art Gallery. “Celly, are you in here?” She padded down the halls, flanked on both sides by a wide, eclectic array of artwork. There, a priceless Ponatello original; here, a foal’s crayon drawing. Here, a work of renowned genius; there, the unknown work of an artist with minimal talent. Nominally, the gallery was open to the public, but only the most avid art fans bothered to visit. Except Celestia.

Turning a corner, Luna finally caught sight of her sister, standing motionless in front of a painting. “There you are, Celly! I’ve been looking everywhere for you!” Celestia didn’t respond. “Celly? Are you alright?” No response. “What are you looking... oh.” Luna finally noticed what picture her sister was so absorbed in.

Lionheart’s famed magnum opus, The Last Teatime.

Luna was silent for several moments, staring at the picture with her sister. It was the pride and joy of the collection; Celestia’s fondest memory. That was the true purpose of the gallery; where others had scrapbooks, Celestia had her gallery, where her fondest memories were rendered into pictures and lovingly placed upon the wall, with equal care and attention regardless of whether they were a priceless masterpiece or something another pony would turn their nose up at during a yard sale.

Finally, Luna spoke. “What’s wrong, Celly?” she asked gently, placing a hoof on her elder sister’s shoulder. “You only ever come here when you’re upset; what happened?”

Celestia was silent, before finally whispering a reply. “I checked the wards again this morning.” She didn’t need to explain which wards she was talking about. “They’re coming undone. Just like the prophecy said. She’s coming back.”

Luna gave her sister a puzzled look. “Well... yes. That was the plan. That’s always been the plan. Your plan, in fact. I thought you’d be excited.”

Celestia finally moved, her gaze swinging away from the painting and onto her sister. Luna noticed her eyes were red and wet, as though she’d been crying. Luna couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen her sister cry. “What if the Elements don’t work, Luna?” she whispered. “Blue... Blue...” Her voice caught, unable to say the name. “She made a choice. Of her own free will. She chose to... to do what she did. The Elements... they can purify the tainted, they can repel the wicked... but I do not think they can undo a choice.”

“Celestia...” Luna said, eyes wide and puzzled. How could she explain that she knew, just knew, that Blue Star would have never willingly turned herself into.. that thing? How could she explain that other forces must be at work here? “Celly, using the Elements was your idea in the first place. You were the one who said, ‘if only we could find individual bearers, so the Elements could be used properly’...”

“And if I’ve just been deluding myself?” Celestia snapped, suddenly angry. “What if all that happens is that Darklight Star is banished again, for good this time? What if she’s turned to stone, like Discord? Or simply vanishes, erased from existence? What then, Luna? All our plans, one thousand years of hope, wasted.” She slumped. “What then, Luna?”

Luna didn’t answer right away. This wasn’t like her sister. Her sister did not mope, or second-guess herself, or ask herself “what if?”. “Celestia, what’s really going on?” she asked finally. “Something must have brought this on. Just a month ago, you and I disguised ourselves and went to Ponyville, making sure everything was in order for the plan. And now you think it was a waste?”

Celestia’s gaze fell to the floor. “It’s... Twilight,” she finally admitted, after a long pause. “Twilight Sparkle. I... I’m going to remove her from the Elements of Harmony program. I’m removing her as my student and putting her into the standard Advanced Learners track.”

Luna blinked. She shook her head, as if to clear her ears. “You... you can’t be serious. Twilight’s our best candidate! Trixie is talented, sure, but Twilight...”

“Is unsuited,” Celestia said, with grim finality. “The Element of Magic requires more than simple magical talent. It is the lynchpin the holds the other together; its bearer needs to be open and accepting. She needs to be able to form strong connections to others, and to bring them together as a group. Twilight... can not do that.” She turned away. “I’ve isolated her by making her my personal student. She never interacts with the other students, even when she attends regular classes. She rarely speaks to anypony, save for the two of us and Trixie. Just today, I had to more or less order her just to leave the library and have fun with her only friend.” She shook her head. “Twilight cannot be the Element of Magic. She must not be.”

“‘Must not’?” Luna repeated, curiously. “Celestia... you’re not telling me something.” Celestia didn’t reply; she stood facing away from her sister, head lowered. “Celestia, please. If it’s important enough for you to abandon nearly one thousand years of planning, of hope, then you have to tell me.” Celestia remained as silent and motionless as a statue. “Tartarus, Celly! What could be so bad that you’d give up on Blue Star?”

Celestia whirled around, pointing an angry hoof at the painting. “Isn’t it obvious?” she demanded. “Look at her! Look at the picture! Look at it and tell me you can’t see it!”

Bewildered and a bit frightened, Luna turned to The Last Teatime. She looked at the painted representation of Blue Star. She looked so happy then... so carefree. So different from Luna’s last memory of her... “Celestia, what are you talking about?”

The elder princess heaved a sigh. “Can’t you see it?” she asked, but the fire had left her voice. “They’re identical. Twilight Sparkle and Blue Star. Save for the colors, they’re identical. Even their cutie marks are almost exactly the same.”

Luna raised an eyebrow skeptically. “Come on, Celestia. You’re just... being... huh.” Her eyes went to the painting almost against her will, and her brow furrowed. “Actually... now that you mention it... It is a bit uncanny. They even style their manes the same way.”

“Exactly. And we already knew that Blue Star dyed her mane and cast an illusion on her coat. For all we know, she could have been purple as well.” Celestia’s voice was heavy and resigned. “And it’s not just their appearance. Both abnormally powerful with magic, both brilliant beyond their years, both so friendly and open at first...” Her voice cracked. “And both becoming more and more withdrawn as time moves on.”

Understanding finally dawned over Luna. “That’s it. It has nothing to do with Twilight being unsuitable. You’re afraid that she’ll turn out like Blue Star did.”

“What if she is Blue Star, Luna?” Celestia asked, surprising her sister. “We have no idea how the Elements truly work. What if she’s a... reincarnation of some kind? Merely waiting for her memories to return to her...” She shook her head. “Or perhaps she’s a descendent of Blue Star, one she hid from us. Or perhaps a magical construct, meant to follow her hoofsteps...”

“Or maybe it’s just a coincidence,” Luna interrupted, firmly. “Celestia, listen to me. Twilight Sparkle is not Blue Star.”

“But...”

“No. Now it’s your turn to listen to me, Celly.” Luna insisted. “Whatever else she may be, Twilight Sparkle idolizes you. Everything she does, she does to make you proud of her. She would never, never do anything that she thought might hurt or upset you. She could no more betray you than you or I could stop ourselves from raising the sun and moon. If you told her to charge into Tartarus for you, she would. Loyalty like that is rare, Celestia, and you’d be a fool if you threw it away.”

“I...”

“I’m not done.” Luna wagged a hoof at Celestia. “If you remove her as your student, it would destroy her. She’d think you were disappointed in her, and it would crush her. If nothing else, Celestia, you can’t do that to her. I won’t allow you to.”

There was a long pause. Finally, Celestia spoke. “Do... do you truly think she can learn to make friends?”

“Why not?” Luna asked. “I did.”

Celestia blinked. “Oh. Oh, Luna.” She wrapped her hooves around her sister and pulled her into a hug. “I... I fear I may have been rather foolish. I’m just... I’m just so, so scared,” she whispered into her sister’s ethereal mane. “I don’t want to lose another one. Not again... not again...”

“Shhh... it’s alright.” Luna said soothingly, returning her sister’s hug. “You won’t. I promise. You won’t.”

-----------------

“Twilight, I know how much you like history...” Trixie said slowly. “But isn’t this a little much?”

Twilight tore her eyes away from the display case containing some of Blue Star’s original magical formulas. “What do you mean, Trixie?”

With a blank face, Trixie gestured at the cloud of books hovering around Twilight, floating in a violet field of magic. The book-cloud was so thick, Twilight could barely even be seen, except in the front where she’d left a gap to examine the exhibits. The other patrons of the museum were staring and whispering as they passed by. “Do you really need quite so many books?”

Twilight pouted. “Yes!”

Trixie sighed. There simply was no reasoning with Twilight when it came to books. Trixie was a a fan of the written word herself, of course, but Twilight... well, she was Twilight. “Ponies are staring, Twilight,” Trixie said, not really expecting to win this argument but willing to give it a shot anyway. “Could you at least put some of your books away? Please?”

Twilight opened her mouth as if to argue, when she suddenly stopped and gave Trixie an odd look. After a pause, she finally let out a sigh as her horn’s glow intensified. With a flash, she teleported all her books back to her room where they belonged. Trixie blinked in surprise. “I’m sorry, Trix,” Twilight said in a small voice. “You wanted this to be our chance to ‘hang out’, and I’m turning it into another research trip.”

Trixie had to concentrate to keep her jaw from dropping. Twilight, willingly ending a research rampage on her own? Without the intervention of a Princess? “I... it’s okay, Twi,” Trixie said, managing to push her shock away long enough to give her longtime friend a smile. “I know how much you adore history.”

“It’s not okay,” Twilight said firmly. “You were right, and so was the Princess. I’ve been a lousy friend.” Ah, so a Princess had intervened, after a fashion. “After we’re done here, you can choose what we do next. Promise.”

Trixie felt her smile growing. It had been such a long time since she’d been able to have any fun with her one and only friend. The museum hadn’t really been much different from the library, but now she had a blank check to make Twilight have the time of her life. She could hardly wait! “Thanks, Twi!” Trixie said, with heartfelt gratitude. “But I don’t mind if you finish up here, first. What was it that you were so excited about?”

Twilight’s face lit up again as her friend displayed interest. “Do you remember that book you showed me? ‘Equestria’s 100 Greatest Mysteries’?”

Trixie’s face scrunched in concentration. “Yeah, I think so... wait.” She gave her friend a flat look. “You’re not trying to solve the Mystery of Blue Star’s Disappearance, are you?”

“I am!” Twilight said excitedly. “I think I might’ve found a few clues that-”

“Twilight,” Trixie interrupted sternly. “Ponies have been trying to figure out what happened to Blue Star for a thousand years. If there were any clues left, somepony would have found them by now. Why in Equestria are you trying to solve an unsolvable mystery?”

Twilight pouted. “At least let me show you what I found. Please, Trixie?”

Trixie rolled her eyes, but smiled. “Oh, fine,” she said teasingly. “But I still think you’ve been reading too many Fetlock Holmes novels.”

Twilight playfully stuck her tongue out at her friend, then gestured at the display case she’d been looking at. “This page is an excerpt from one of Blue Star’s original research journals. Look at this formula here, near the bottom. What does it look like to you?”

Trixie leaned in, squinting to make out the cramped hornwriting. “Umm... hang on...” she said, concentrating as she tried to work out the formula in her head. “It’s pretty complicated... it looks a little like a teleportation spell, but parts of it are all mixed up, and the coordinates are all strange... wait, I recognize this part!” Trixie’s voice suddenly got high with excitement. “That’s the formula we learned in Advanced Magical Theory last week, isn’t it? The one Blue Star used in her time-viewing spell?”

“That’s right!” Twilight said, equally excited. “I think the reason the coordinates are so overcomplicated is because they’re not just coordinates for a place, but for a time.” She waved a hoof enthusiastically at the display. “Trixie, this is a spell - or part of a spell, I think - for true time travel.”

Trixie sat back on her haunches, stunned. Of course, temporary chronal displacement was a well-known theory, though Celestia and Luna kept the spells in the restricted Starswirl wing of the royal library. But those weren’t really time travel; you couldn’t change the past with mere displacement, because any changes you made had already taken place. Besides, you could only travel to time periods you had experienced, and using such a spell more than once was exceedingly dangerous. True time travel, on the other hoof, could theoretically alter the very course of history.

“I take it back,” Trixie said, in a mildly dazed voice. “You haven’t been reading too much Fetlock Holmes; it’s Daring Do you need to cut back on.” She shook her head, as if to clear it. “Okay, wait. Assuming you’re right and this is a time-travel spell, what does that have to do with Blue Star’s disappearance?”

“I’m getting to that,” Twilight chided. “See, the problem with this spell is the energy matrix-”

“The energy matrix equation is unbalanced, I know,” Trixie interrupted impatiently. “You’re not the only pony who passed Arcane Mechanics, Twilight. You’d need at least as much magical power as an Alicorn to cast this spell, probably more, depending on how far you wanted to go.”

Twilight shot her friend a look, and continued. “Well, yeah. So there’s no way Blue Star could have used this spell herself. But...” She guided her friend to a tapestry depicting a stylized representation of the Princesses fighting a shapeless mass of purple and black. “Around the same time Blue Star disappeared - some ponies say the same day - the Princesses fought some sort of evil entity. The exact details are lost, since it was hundreds of years ago and the Princesses don’t talk about it, but legends say the Princesses were very nearly defeated.”

“Where are you going with this, Twi?” Trixie asked, uncertain whether she should be interested or bored. History had never been very interesting to her, but stories of fighting great evils certainly were.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Twilight said, her excitement building up once again. “In a fight like that, the Princesses using every last ounce of strength to fight this entity, there would be tons of ambient magic just floating around. What if Blue Star tried to use it to power her time spell, maybe to warn the Princesses before the entity attacked or do something to weaken it, or something? It’s what I’d do!” She gestured back to the display case holding the time travel spell. “The thing is, without more power to fuel the spell again, Blue Star would get stuck wherever - or whenever - the spell sent her. So if the spell was even a teensy bit off...” She trailed off and gave Trixie a meaningful look.

“Twilight...” Trixie began slowly. “Are you saying you think Blue Star disappeared because she got lost in time?” At Twilight’s enthusiastic nod, Trixie just sighed. “Don’t be ridiculous. That just sounds like a bad episode of Doctor Whooves.”

-----------------

Princess Celestia was staring out her window, enjoying the sunlight on her face. Behind her, the office was almost completely dark, save for the sunlight that shone in around her. Celestia did not much care for darkness herself, but her guest preferred it greatly. “Thank you for coming on such short notice,” the Princess said mildly.

“But of course,” came the voice of Bright Eyes from the darkness. “It’s the duty of any citizen of Equestria to come at the call of a Princess.” Was there a hint of mockery in the pegasus’ voice?

“Is that how you see yourself?” The Princess was tempted to turn around, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to see Bright Eyes, not so long as she still had her borrowed cloak. “I would have thought your Order considers itself apart from Equestria.”

“Oh no, not at all!” Bright Eyes assured her. “In fact, I like to think we care more about Equestria than anypony, except its Princesses, of course.”

“Mmm.” The Princess didn’t respond right away. “I remember your predecessor, the first Bright Eyes. She was a good-hearted mare. Clever. Kind. She only ever wanted to help, even after... what happened to her.”

“...Yes, I know.” Bright Eyes’ voice turned somber. “I aspire to live up to her example every day.”

Celestia nodded slowly. “Unfortunately, her attempts to help... occasionally went astray.” She sighed. “And so it has always been with the Order. For nearly a thousand years, you and yours have promoted progress and development in Equestria. We have your Order to thank for the myriad social and technological developments we’ve been graced with. Your scientists discovered gemstone technology, magitech, and holographic interfaces. Your diplomats organized the meetings with the Changeling Queens, oversaw the integration of the other species into Equestria, and even convinced me to pass the Open Borders law. I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say the Order of the Stars is responsible for Equestria as we know it today.”

“Why, thank you, Princess!” Bright Eyes said, sounding surprised and enthusiastic. “I don’t like to brag, but-”

“However,” the Princess interrupted harshly. “Your ceaseless investigations and insatiable curiosity has more than once led you beyond what you could control. You very nearly discovered the destructive power of the liquid rainbow detonator while researching a new power source. Your diplomatic overtures to the dragons ended in disaster. You’ve broken holes into Tartarus twice, performed experiments with a flagrant disregard for the sanctity of life, and have overall caused as many disasters as any of Equestria’s deadliest foes.” Finally Celestia spun around, her eyes burning into the shadows where she was certain Bright Eyes hid. “I have allowed you to continue your operations under my supervision, because I believed - and still believe - your contributions outweigh your near disasters. But the fact remains that your good intentions often have dangerous consequences. That is why I’ve kept you a secret from my sister all these years - her own enthusiasm for progress would blind her to the dangers you present. My caution may seem paranoid to you, perhaps even to the point of technophobia - but I believe it is necessary to keep you from destroying Equestria.”

There was silence for several, long moments. Just as Celestia suspected Bright Eyes had left, her guest spoke again. “Where are you going with this, Celestia?” The representative of the Order sounded unusually subdued. “Or did you only call me here to rub my face in my failures?”

The Princess fell silent, turning back towards the window. The darkness hurt her eyes. “I’m sure you’re aware of the... unusual circumstances surrounding your founder’s condition, and why she founded the Order.”

“Of course. How could I not?” Bright Eyes sounded... almost mournful. “It was a tragedy, even if it led to the formation of our Order.”

“Yes, it was.” Celestia breathed in deeply. “If you know the story, I’m sure you know of your Order’s... connection with the being known as Darklight Star.”

The air suddenly became thick with tension. “...Yes. I’m familiar with it,” Bright Eyes replied slowly.

“Good. Now, answer me this.” Celestia spun about again, glaring at the shadows. “Is the Order of the Stars affiliated with Darklight Star in any way?” Light began to emanate from the Princess, and the shadows pulled away as if burned. “Do you or your Order intend to release or otherwise aid Darklight Star in any capacity? And most importantly...” She strode forward, her inner light revealing the cloaked pegasus crouching in a corner. “Do you have any influence over or interest in my student, Twilight Sparkle?” She glared down at Bright Eyes. “Do not dare lying to me. You shall regret it.”

There was a long silence, as if Bright Eyes was thinking. Finally, a single golden eye peered up from beneath the hood. “I can say, with absolute certainty,” the pegasus began slowly. “That the Order has no interest in aiding, freeing, or otherwise assisting Darklight Star, nor do we have any interest or designs for Twilight Sparkle.” Bright Eyes stood up straight, and strode for the door. “I hope that was sufficient, Princess. Do try and do something about that paranoia. It’s unbecoming.”

Bright Eyes passed into another shadow, and Celestia was alone in the room.

-----------------

Princess Luna was in the observatory, staring at the night sky.

Luna rarely visited the observatory anymore. There were too many memories here, too many ghosts. One thousand years ago, she’d often sat here with her only true friend in Equestria, a young unicorn with knowledge and wisdom far beyond her years. They’d had conversations that would last hours, talking about every conceivable topic - food, magic, the sky, politics, games, memories... the choice of topics ran the gamut from inane to profound. Even when Blue Star began to withdraw from the public, towards the end, she would still visit. The visits became shorter, the conversations less informal - not only did Blue Star become more distracted by the day, but Luna was overwhelmed by depression in those last few days - but they never stopped. Not until a month before the end, when she would disappear for days at a time, and not even her hoofmaiden knew where she’d gone...

Luna shook her head, forcing her thoughts back on the present. She’d had a narrow escape today. Her sister had very nearly given up hope for Blue Star’s rescue. Luna had had a brief moment of panic, where she truly believed Celestia would undo a millennium of careful work - both the work they had shared, and that which was Luna’s alone.

Luna sighed, and her horn began to glow with a gentle blue light. The pedestal on which her telescope sat slid aside, revealing a staircase that descended downwards, into the darkness. Nopony knew about these stairs, not even her sister. Technically, they weren’t even a part of the castle - one could argue they didn’t exist at all, and were merely a sort of solid dream. Nopony but Luna could find them, much less use them.

Luna began the long walk down.

Luna had nearly told her sister the truth today. She had been sorely tempted. If her sister knew the truth, she would have never given up on Blue Star; never even considered it. But she didn’t.

It was bad enough Luna knew the truth. If Celestia knew, it would tear her apart.

So she’d kept quiet, like she had for centuries. Carefully steering her sister so that she would neither despair nor forget, carefully feeding her hope and optimism. Making sure Celestia neither sought the truth, nor gave up entirely. She encouraged her sister when she came up with the plan regarding the Elements all on her own (she thought). She used her own talents to help identify prospective couples with the promising talents and personalities, while her sister encouraged relationships between them. She provided encouragement, and guarded against moments of doubt, like the one today.

Celestia had far greater pony skills, but Luna was subtle by nature and knew her sister well. She never suspected the Night Princess’ manipulation.

Luna was roused from her thoughts when she reached the bottom of the stairs. Unlike the stairs, the cave at their foot was very real, but buried so deep in Canterlot Mountain, below even the old crystal mines, that no magic or technological means would ever uncover it, even without the aid of Luna’s many protective spells. There was no light here save for the glow of Luna’s horn, but the younger Princess was at home in the dark. She strode forward, to where a row of display cases sat on pedestals, at the very center of the cave.

In the early days, shortly after Darklight Star’s banishment, Luna had come here every day, staring at the parchments she’d rescued, trying to understand. These days, she came here even less than she visited the observatory above. Every time she looked at the papers, her stomach twisted with guilt and shame. Today, though... today she needed to look. She needed to remember what had kept her going for the past millennium.

Before her were the half-burnt remains Blue Star’s diary, found under a pile of ash in the fireplace of her room. Just a hoof-full of pages, many of which made little sense, referencing places and ponies that didn’t exist in what Luna could only assume was a highly complicated code she’d never been able to crack. Other pages were unreadable, burnt beyond recognition.

A few of them, however, held The Truth.

Not the whole Truth. There were bits missing. Much the journal had burned away. What pieces had survived, however, Luna had preserved and studied. From the fragmentary remains, Luna had been able to discover at least part of what really happened one thousand years ago.

Luna went to the fourth page in the row; the first one that contained anything readable. She knew what was written there by heart, but she reread it anyway. The top was mostly intact, but it grew more fragmentary closer to the bottom.

“Time is growing short. Luna becomes more withdrawn and depressed every day. The corruption is setting in; it may already be too late. There is still one chance, but I don’t know... -ay be my only chance to protect Princess L... I don’t know if... but I don’t have any other option. I just hope... -estia can forgive me someday. By drawing the... -self, I should be able to trans... with any luck, I should be the one who becomes Ni-”

It had taken a long time to figure out what the remains of the page had once said, and even longer for the implications to set in. Something had happened to her, and she hadn’t noticed. Something terrible and wrong. Blue Star, however, did notice. She’d saved Luna from... something. Luna still didn’t know exactly what.

When Luna had first comprehended what that page meant, it had felt like a punch in the gut. It was my fault, she thought to herself then. If I had noticed, if I had done something, Blue Star wouldn’t have...

At first, she’d wanted to tell Celestia, to explain to her that Blue Star hadn’t betrayed them. Celestia had been so upset by the appearance of Darklight Star, Luna would have done anything to ease her pain. The next readable page, however, had changed her mind.

Luna moved to that page now, eighth in the row. Like the first, the contents of this page had been burned into her mind.

“...can’t leave behind any clues. If the Princesses ever lear... -uilt would destroy them. That would defeat the entire purpose. Betrayal will hurt less then the guilt. They’ll blame me, not... can continue with a clear conscience. I don’t want them to worry.”

“Don’t want us to worry.” Luna repeated out loud, slowly. “You saved my life, sacrificed your sanity, your freedom, and you didn’t want us to worry.”

Luna had learned long ago how to keep her emotions on the inside. She didn’t cry. Any tears she would have shed had been shed long ago anyway. Instead, she merely pressed a hoof to the display case holding the ancient, half-burned parchment. “I will save you, Blue Star,” Luna whispered to the darkness. “I swear it.”

-----------------

Comments ( 519 )

An update, at last! Huzzah!

That fits in nicely.

Poor Twilight. :twilightoops:

:fluttercry: WHY TWILIGHT WHY!!!

At first I was really happy that an update came, but then I finished reading the chapter.

ha. "twilight sparkle is not blue star" yeah...hope she didn't make a bet on that. amazing chapter, made my night.

THANK YOU MASTER THANK YOU!:applecry:

Update! Hallelujah!:pinkiehappy:

Oh Luna, if only you knew...:ajsmug:

And both princesses are hiding things from each other. That can't end well. :facehoof:

One more thing: update faster!:flutterrage: Otherwise I'll have to unleash the ninjas. You don't want me to unleash the ninjas.:pinkiecrazy:

Oh man I have been waiting for this for so long. Do you know you have partially inspired me to write my own fic? Do you know the evil you have wrought?

Also,

“Celestia, listen to me. Twilight Sparkle is not Blue Star.”

:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:
Silly, Luna, you are both right and wrong at the same time.

So the Order is Section 31 from Star Trek. Interesting. Man lots of plates in the air here.

I want to see Blue Star, and also what will happen to her when she discovers that there is another her in this timeline now.

Bucking MOAR!!!!!!!!
Thanks for finally updating. :pinkiehappy:

You get a thumbs up, just for that picture.
And another story makes its way onto my read later list.

Twilight is the best pony. And in this story also 20% better than that.:twilightsmile:

The awkward moment when the Elements blast Darkstar and Twilight Sparkle meets... Twilight Sparkle. :pinkiecrazy:

Instead of chocolate, I yell UPDATE!!!!

Holy shit. You're alive. :rainbowhuh: Huh, will wonders ever cease?

YES. YES. YES.


YES.

:yay:



I'm SO FUCKING HAPPY it's incredible. This has been at the top of my top 5 for months, but I had begun to forget why. Now, though, I remember. Please don't let me forget again.

CDR

GET ON WITH IT! I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Twists and turns, twists and turns. So, filly Twilight is looking into time spells (the same spells that adult Twilight used to trigger these events in the first place, I'm assuming), Celestia is close to figuring out that Blue Star is somehow connected to Twilight, the Order of the Stars has under pain of Celestia admitted to having no interest in filly Twilight or in assisting Dark Star (probably assuring us that their interest in in filly Trixie alone), and Luna has known and kept secret a larger portion of the truth for the whole thousand years. You'd almost think Discord was involved.

That entire last section just gives me chills. Interesting how what Celestia views as betrayal is perhaps the highest form of loyalty, the willingness to sacrifice what could be your very existence for those you hold dear.

The game is set... the pieces are in motion.

The players have moved....

(My feel for this chapter.... :twilightsmile:)

AT LAST!

Man. It's been a while since I've had this "wow that was great oh dang it now I've got to wait a few weeks for more" feeling. Still, wonderful chapter. I don't think I've ever read Celestia so completely wrecked with self-recrimination, and mournful Celestia is practically a meme in these parts.

10/10, great to see you back in action again.

1733811 Same here. Guessing right is not happy-making. :fluttershysad:

Some might not like the time-shifting, but it gives you the perspective of both parties, and "foreknowledge" and guess-work fill in a lot of holes.
Not that I'm happy to have guessed right. Twilight saving Luna by losing herself - Brrrrr! Serious chills. And a few tears. :fluttercry:

Oh, damn this is good. Had a hard time deciding between this and Doctor Who, glad I chose this.
So, Luna knows and will propably apologize to Blue as soon as she's sane again(maybe she banished the Nightmare herself during her little exile[If time even passed for her]), and many minds will be left confuzzled, but I predict glory.
Also, it's nice to see Twi go in the same direction of uncovering the prophecy/Blue stars spells/goals.
Lastly, imagine how Luna must have felt when she read that. The punch in the gut line was good, but trying to imagine it for oneself? Damn, that must've hurt.

Well, I'm sure a lot of people have commented on the obvious, so I'll just say it's pretty awesome how your techno-magic Equestria lets you make television references now ("Doctor Whooves").

Okay, and the rest of the chapter was spectacular, too. But I suspect everyone else said that.

Welcome back! :pinkiehappy:

Luna needs to sift through all she has left and try to connect with present data. It may just solve the problem of the odd named ponies.

I can't wait though for Twilight to well, meet herself....

Oh god so many thanks! I didn't expected the update to come so fast after I asked you!


Oh sweet Celestia, I can't wait to actually KNOW what happened that changed Twilight in the past. It's such a big tease, we know she did something but you're no leaving any clue! Ugh! Keep up the good work sir.

Update! And easily one of my most anticipated updates, too!

Thanks for making my day.

Woooow, it was so long, soooo long that I was worried it will never be updated again.

Poor Twilight, she decided to suffer Nightmare Moon fate and keep all blame to herself, it is good that Luna found out her half burned Diary, or else Celestia and Luna would not even consider saving her with elements of charmony ( Celestia was willing to risk Twilight life to safe her sister, but I do not think she would do it for Blue Star, normal unicorn who is not part of family ), Twilight realy overdoo herself.

Hopefully everythink will resolve well, after all her order of star did quite a nice job changing Equestria ( no more changeling war and genesoide of starvation in Changeling hive, hurray ), I wonder did Blue Star apointed some sort of secret mission for tham, and how will they react when they find out that they master is Twilight Sparkle from other time line, or meaby with changeling help, they already know, DUN DUN DUUUNNN.

Hopefully we wont need to wait for next chapter update, there is so much in this story what we hope to find out, and I m afraid of waiting half of the year for another avesome chapter.

You made me cried, again.:fluttercry:

When I looked at my bar and saw that a story had updated, I suddenly heard the Hallelujah chorus. I was confused until I saw what updated and then burst into to tears of joy. :pinkiesad2: (only a slight exaggeration) Reading this chapter has assured me even if the wait is long, it is worth it for this story. You even answered one of my burning questions about TwiBlue this chapter :twilightsmile:

This made my day :pinkiehappy:. I have waiting for this to update for a long time

1734405
Oh? Which question?

Oh wow I forgot about this story completely. Well nice to see it's still going.

Oh, so much meta and so much irony.

You know, I keep thinking that, when Blue Star is finally freed, she has sadly gone quite mad. A mortal living with that kind of corruption for so long? I can just imagine her, babbling away, not quite certain of where she is, but at the same time, she knows what has just transpired:
"Timelines, timelines. One chance, one change. One spell to alter, one mare to try and fix. Oh, where oh where have my friends gone. Who are my friends? It's all so confusing. Surprise or Pinkie Pie? Posey or Fluttershy? Firefly or Rainbow Dash? Sparkler or Rarity? Two Applejacks, one a filly, the other a mare. And where's Spike? Oh, where's my number one assistant? Too many names, too many times. Nightmare Moon? No, I am Nightmare Moon! Or I had to be...had to save Luna. Save her from the darkness...darkness and a thousand years...Mare in the Moon, no more!"
Then she zips over to present Twilight.
"YOU! You or me? The advisor or the librarian? The revolutionary or the Element of Magic? Too many names, too many lies. Who are you? Who am I? Am I Darklight Star? Am I Blue Star? Am I Twilight Sparkle?"
"What?"
"Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria, there was a faithful student who was lost in time, thrown more than a thousand years back, before a princess became a monster. She tried to stop the monster from happening, and made an unbelievable sacrifice. Oh, my friends...I'm sorry...so sorry...I didn't want to, but I had to...had to stop the Nightmare, even if I had to become the Nightmare...Oh Celestia, forgive your faithful student...forgive your advisor...forgive your friend...I'm sorry, girls...I can't make that picnic..."
Tears...


What do you think? Yeah, I do this kind of stuff a lot...

Another glorious chapter Kooler :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

Ah, so good to see this story update once more. As always, you don't disappoint with your updates! :twilightsmile:
So all the pieces are coming together... I wonder how the eventual confrontation is going to go, seeing as Darklight Star already knows about the elements of harmony and how they were used to defeat Nightmare Moon in the initial timeline. Something tells me that this isn't going to be easy...

"Twilight Sparkle is not Blue Star."

BZZZT!!

I'm sorry Princess Luna, you don't win the jackpot. As, thanks for playing our game and for being such a wonderful contestant, we've got these lovely parting gifts for you!

I was a little disappointed by the Order. I was hoping it was Blue Star friends somehow made immortal

1733769 for princess Celestia and to save Luna.

I love this Now the explanations become even more solid. cannot wait for the next chapter.:twilightsmile:

I'm glad this continues! Pleas don't make us wait this long for the next chapter.

Didn't I just ask you the other week when this was going to update?

1734423
TwiBlue's biggest motivation for turning into Darkstar, I was wondering if she did it so she would be banished to the moon for 1000 years to see her friends or if she did it to stop Luna from becoming Nightmare. So that questions has been answered in the journal, and now I can't wait to see Twilight's reaction to Twiblue

1734591
Geez, man. That was... chilling. Reminded me of a Doctor Who fic I read once, where the Doctor never escaped the Pandorica, and ended up being found by an alternate universe Doctor after completely losing his mind. Creepy.

I've said it before, but just to put everyone's mind at ease, I do not do Bad Ends. The ending will be at least partially positive, promise.

Gah, that just raises more questions! No... must be patient for the awesome reveal...
But I wanna know now! :applecry:

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