• Published 26th Oct 2014
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My Twilight Facade - axelsempai



Suddenly, I'm Twilight Sparkle and I don't want to be here.

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Friendship is Obligatory: Part 1

My blurry vision gradually cleared, the glaring white I saw for the past five minutes fading away. My eyes opened to see the world rushing past me, as if I was being dragged along. I focused my eyes on the landscape, a lush green field flying by. Actually, as I turned to my left, I realized that I was the one who was flying. White pegasi (you know, like the winged horses?) in regal gold armor were pulling a chariot through the sky. A chariot I was currently riding in, so I was essentially being dragged along somewhere.

My mind went back to reflect on the events that brought me here. Last I remember, I was walking through a flea market, shopping for DVDs and old video games, when I found a guy manning a flower stall. What was really strange about this guy was that he was selling "reagents", according to the sign. More to the point, he was wearing one of the dresses that Merlin would wear, complete with the pointy star hat. So I was thinking that he was a cosplayer taking things a little too seriously, right? I'll admit, I was being a bit of a prick, but I walked up to him and asking if he knew any spells. He said yes, and I asked him if he could conjure up a calendar that would tell him what century it was. He obviously sensed some mocking in my tone, so he tried telling me to leave him alone. I could have listened, but no, I just had to keep pushing. I just kept telling wizard joke after wizard joke, making him angrier and angrier. Eventually, I told him that wizards wear dresses because that was the only way they could associate with women, and he snapped. He jumped up from his chair, and started ranting like a madman, waving his arms around, telling me about how I need to "learn how to behave" or some shit. I wasn't really paying attention. Though, I wish I was, because he then punched me right in the heart with a glowing fist, and my vision went white.

So, now a couple of royal pegasi are pulling my chariot to my presumed judgement. It's funny, I was told that when I die (and I didn't expect a wizard punching me in the soul to be the way to go), I would be standing in front of some golden gates while an angel reads my sins off a scroll. I wasn't expecting the angels to be horses. Maybe if I get revived, I could write one of those "Guy Goes to Heaven and Details His Experiences" books that seem to be popular.

I sighed, and held my arms over the side of the chariot. Sure, I normally wouldn't feel very comfortable with my extremities outside a moving vehicle, but I was already dead. What was going to happen if I fell, I'd die again?

So I went to lay my head on my arms, when I noticed that my arms were purple, and fuzzy. And my hands were missing. No, it seemed that my arms were replaced by the legs of a technicolor horse. I looked over at my legs, and yes, there were hooves there, too. In fact, my entire body was replaced by equine features. I had a slim barrel, a tail trailing behind me, a mane longer than my usual haircut going down my neck, and... was that a tattoo on my ass? Okay, so I'm not dead. It's worse than that. Not only am I a horse, but I'm a horse with a night's worth of regrets sketched permanently on a private part.

I thunked my head on the railing of the chariot. I certainly learned my lesson: Don't mess with guys wearing dresses. You never know when they might be a wizard.

At this point, I realized that someone was talking behind me. I turned to face him, and I recoiled in shock. A small humanoid lizard with purple and green coloration, was reading from a scroll. I swear, if this tiny Barney-wannabe motherfucker is reading my sins...

Fortunately for the world, the lizard was only reading a letter. "And, I have an even more essential task for you to complete:" The lizard leaned over to me, as if to emphasize its importance. "Make some friends!" He gave me a large smile, expecting me to say something.

My mind tumbled around in place for a second, and I struggled to give a response. "Uh... I guess I'd better get started on that." I said uncertainly.

This seemed to satisfy the unnamed lizard. "That's the spirit, Twilight!"

Oh. I get it now. I'm not dead. My situation isn't even as easy as a simple transformation and teleport. I replaced someone from some weird universe, and everyone thinks that I'm that person. The biggest problem with this is that I'm a freaking horse! A talking horse, but that's still going to make communicating with others really difficult. Then again, I was talking to an anthropomorphic lizard, so I guess I'm overreacting.

Wait, I'm not overreacting, I'm under-reacting! I didn't even know that magic existed until just a few minutes ago, and I'm now in a magical dreamland as a talking horse with a tattoo on her ass! And yes, I used to be a guy. Take it from a (former) man, but when certain parts of our anatomy are missing, we tend to notice.

I stared ahead, taking it all in. I don't know anything about where I am, who I am, or what I'm doing. I supposed that I could try explaining the situation to someone, but I doubted that would do much good. Just imagine for a moment that someone you were very familiar with came up to you and said that they were actually an alien who replaced the real person, and wanted your help to return home. You'd say that they were crazy! Thinking back on my half-remembered encounter with the wizard, I realized that he sent me here like this for a reason.

Have you ever seen Quantum Leap? Because my situation was probably that. More than likely, that guy wanted me to be here, do something, and learn from the experience. Once I do what I need to and learn something cheesy, I'd return home.

And kick some wizard ass.

So that's it. I'll just play along. That wizard wants me to be Twilight? Then I'll be Twilight.

Hopefully not for long.

The chariot was descending into some small town. It was one of those old medieval towns with the simple houses with plain wooden roofs, but more vibrantly colored, as if I was in some kind of cartoon. It looked inviting enough, so I wasn't really worried about fighting some big monster. What was the worst thing here, a few brats that take your wallet? Oh man, if only I had some way to carry valuables with me.

The chariot was brought down into the town, and I looked around, taking note of everyone I saw. Remember how I was a purple horse? It turns out that I'm not an exception to the population. There were candy colored horses everywhere, smiling like they had no cares in the world. It was a comforting atmosphere, especially once I noticed that everyone also had tattoos on their asses. That made me feel a bit better about my tattoo, since it seemed that butt markings were the norm.

The lizard hopped off the chariot when we made a complete stop, thanking the pegasi for the lift. He turned to me, waving me over. "Come on, Twilight! Let's get going!" He said, enthusiastically beckoning me.

I blinked, confirming in my head what the lizard wanted from me. "Uh, yeah, sure. Let's go." I hopped off, subconsciously trying to stand on two legs because my brain hasn't fully comprehended that I was now a quadruped. For my efforts, I slammed face first into the dirt.

"Oh my gosh, Twilight! Are you okay?" The lizard asked, concerned for my well-being.

I quickly stood up on three hooves, holding the other to my sore face. "Yeah!" I yelled quickly. "I just have jet-lag, that's all."

The lizard glanced at the face-crater on the ground, then looked up at me with confusion. "What's jet-lag?"

I waved my hoof dismissively. "Don't worry about it, it goes away after a while."

The lizard nodded unsurely, but otherwise took my word for it. He unrolled a scroll and read a line. "So, we should get started on the preparations. The Summer Sun Celebration is tonight, after all."

I tilted my head at that. "Wait, I thought I was supposed to be making friends?"

The lizard gave me a suspicious look. "Now you want to make friends? But I thought you were more worried about Nightmare Moon."

I froze stiff. I was just caught in my act, and it didn't even take ten minutes. "Well... yeah, I'm still worried. I mean, I like sleeping, so why would I want any nightmares around?" I gave him a nervous smile. He wasn't taking.

I was going to continue yapping away, digging deeper into my hole, but something pink caught my eye. I turned to find a pink mare with a poofy mane giving me a long, scrutinizing glare, standing right beside me. The moment I looked into her eyes, her's widened in shock. She made a loud, prolonged gasp, jumping high into the air. If wasn't so confused, I would have been impressed by her vertical leap. She sprinted away into a blur before I could even say anything.

The lizard and I looked at each other again. "I'm not that scary, am I?" I asked.

"I don't think so." The lizard replied. He placed a finger on his chin. "Hey, what were we talking about, again?"

I held back a sigh of relief. It seemed my cover hasn't been blown yet. "I can't remember, either. So, where are we supposed to go?"

The lizard consulted the scroll. "Let's see. 'Banquet Preparations: Sweet Apple Acres.' It's the first thing on the list, so let's go there first."

I nodded, just going along with whatever the lizard was saying. I hoped that I could avoid any further incidents before this was over.
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Walking to Sweet Apple Acres was a chore. When I first started walking, I lost my balance often. The lizard gained a lot of ground on me because of my disorientation, and he had to stop to make sure I was okay. I yelled the universal excuse of "JET-LAG!" until he dropped it and watched over me with worry. Eventually, I steadied myself, and I start walking slowly. As we made distance, I started to pick up the pace. After a while, I was walking at what most would consider a moderate pace, and we made it to the apple farm.

Yep, it was a farm, all right. There were rows of vegetables, a chicken coop, a barn, and a house in the distance. Oh, and you can't forget the apple trees. They were everywhere. There were trees as far as the eye could see, shiny red orbs hanging off every single one of them.

Three guesses as to what their major cash crop was.

A loud "Yeehaw!" sounded nearby, made by an orange mare wearing a country hat galloping by the trees. She stopped in front of one of them, and spun around to buck that tree right in the bark. The kick was so hardcore, that the apples in the tree fell neatly into buckets below. I had to say, that was impressive. And just as I was about to ask how hooved creatures harvest fruit from trees...

The lizard elbowed me in the chest, motioning me to talk to the mare. I went up to her, and smiled. She smiled back. "Hello, how are you today?" I asked.

"Mighty fine, how are ya?" she responded with a thick country accent.

"Good." I extended a hoof for a handshake without really thinking about it. "I'm Twilight." I looked down at my proffered hoof. I just realized that I may have made a mistake in trying to shake hooves with a horse.

That fear was dispelled quickly when the mare wrapped her hooves around my own and shook it violently. "Ahm Applejack! Welcome to Sweet Apple Acres! What can ah do for ya?" She stopped shaking my hoof, but even then my hoof was still sore from that relentless assault.

I stretched my hoof, trying to alleviate the pain. "I'm here because of that Celebration we're having. I'm just making sure that everything is good to go."

"Ah, you mean the Summer Sun Celebration! Yup, we were in charge of caterin' this year!" She beamed at this, obviously proud of what that meant. If only I knew what the Summer Sun Celebration was. Applejack's normal smile returned, though her pride still showed. "We're all set, here! Would you like to sample some?"

"Are you sure that's a good idea? This is the food for the Celebration, after all."

Applejack waved a dismissive hoof. "Aw, don't fret. We've got plenty!"

I nodded, more to look like I knew what I was doing than anything else. "Okay, sure. I'd like to see what's going to be there, anyways."

Applejack gave me a big smile, and went over to a nearby tree with a triangle hanging off of it. She grabbed a spoon with a hoof (HOW?), and rang it loudly. "Soup's on, everypony!" She yelled.

Her call must have destroyed a nearby dam, because a loud rumbling was approaching me from behind. When I turned to face it, I saw a stampede of candy-colored horses rushing in my direction. I would have screamed in terror, but the mare in front of the pack was nice enough to throw me up onto the horde, turning a potential trampling into a forced crowd surfing.

They dumped both the lizard and myself onto picnic table, where I was trying to catch my breath and make sense of what just happened. Due to the recent trauma, I wasn't paying any attention to Applejack, who was busy introducing every single member of her extended family to me. I only caught the last three, when I finally got my bearings. She pointed at a big red stallion that she named Big McIntosh, a yellow filly with a pink bow she named Apple Bloom, and an ancient green mare named Granny Smith. I mean, damn, she must be old if her name is actually Granny Smith.

The whole time during introductions, everyone was placing apple-related treats on the table, which I guessed was the food they were going to serve. Applejack spoke next to me. "Well, what are ya waitin' for? Dig in!"

The ponies and lizard around me did just that, grabbing random food items from the table and chowing down with reckless abandon. The lack of table manners was a relief to me, since I would have to practice picking things up with my hooves like Applejack did. If I made a mess, no one would really notice. I looked over the food, but I noticed that there were no entrees.

"Uh, Applejack? Are we really eating dessert items for lunch?"

Applejack laughed at that. "We sure as sugar are!"

I smiled slyly. "I think I love you, already."

She laughed again, shoving a fritter into her mouth. I turned back to the food, and focused on a cupcake. I reached out for it, and made the same movements that I would usually make to grab something with my fingers. To my surprise, it worked, as the cupcake was now attached to my hoof. With a victorious smirk, I took a large bite and savored its apple-flavored goodness.

"So, where're ya from?" Applejack asked me.

The question caught me off guard. I swallowed my food and turned to the lizard, hoping to subtly get that info out of him. No dice, he was having a conversation with the filly, Apple Bloom. I had to say something, so I mumbled my answer. "Philadelphia."

"Fillydelphia, ya say? Ah hear that's a nice city. What's it like?"

I was so glad that Philadelphia sounded similar to a city that exists here. I looked to make sure the lizard was too busy to listen to me, and I started talking to Applejack, first about Philadelphia (never referencing humans in any way), and then this town of Ponyville. It was nice to relax somewhat after recent events.
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Eating at Sweet Apple Acres was a satisfying experience. The lizard and I said our farewells, and we went on our merry way. I'll admit, I still don't know what I'm supposed to be doing, but at least now I'll be doing so with some food in my gut. Wasn't I some kind of manager? And what was this about a nightmare? And why was I being told to make some friends?

That would have to wait, because the lizard's voice brought me out of my musings. "Okay, next is the weather. A pegasus pony named Rainbow Dash is supposed to be clearing the sky."

What. How does a... wait. We're not horses, we're ponies? Aw, man, that makes things even more emasculating. Anyway, how do ponies clear the sky? Do they kick them like apple trees? Until I learn otherwise, that's what I'm going with.

I looked up to see the numerous clouds still in the sky. Considering it was after noon and the clouds weren't gone, Rainbow Dash was either very lazy, or clearing the sky was harder than it seemed.

Since I was too busy looking at clouds to see what was ahead of me, I stepped right into a mud puddle. I shook one of my muddy hooves clear of mud with disinterest. The lizard noticed this, and called my attention. "Uh, Twilight? You have mud on your hooves."

I gave him a deadpan frown. "Oh really? And here I thought I stepped in chocolate."

He was about to respond to that, when something splatted next to me, covering my side in mud. It was a cyan pegasus with a rainbow mane, who was now covered in mud. Based on where she landed, if I were paying any attention to where I was going and walked around the mud puddle, she would have crashed right into me. That was lucky. "Are you okay?" I asked casually.

The pegasus jumped up from her prone position and shook off the mud, thankfully missing me. "I meant to do that."

Liar. "Uh huh. Anyway, you must be Rainbow Dash."

This perked her right up. "Yep, that's right! Why, you heard of me?"

"There's a pegasus named Rainbow Dash that's supposed to be keeping the sky clear, and you have a rainbow mane. I just put two and two together."

That answer seemed to disappoint her. "Yeah, well, you'll hear about me someday. I'll be in the Wonderbolts, you'll see!"

What the hell is a Wonderbolt? Are they important? You know what? No one cares. "Cool. Anyway, the sky is supposed to be clear for tonight."

Rainbow waved her hoof dismissively. "No problem. I can clear the sky in a jiffy." She made no move to do so.

Okay, since she was intent on standing still, I think I'll have to be the motivator. "No you can't."

Rainbow glared accusingly at me. "What did you say?"

"Oh, nothing. It's just that there are so many clouds!" I wailed in faux despair. "You won't be able to clear them before the Summer Fun Celebration tonight!"

The lizard tapped my shoulder. "Uh, Twilight? It's the Summer Sun Celebration, not the Summer Fun Celebration."

I waved my hoof dismissively. "Semantics."

The lizard gave me another suspicious glare, but Rainbow started talking first. "Hey, I'll have you know that I can clear these clouds in ten seconds flat!"

I smirked at her. "I hear a lot of talk, but I'm a man of action."

She raised an eyebrow at me. "Man of action? But aren't you a mare?"

I grunted in frustration at my slip. "Look, the point is, you can't do it."

Rainbow glared at me one second, then disappeared in a gust of wind. My mind processed the fact that she flew up into the air, and I looked up to see her. It was no use, she was so fast! My eyes couldn't follow her movements. The only hint of where she could be was when she smashed through clouds. Just as soon as it began, it was over. She landed in front of me with a smug look.

"See? Ten. Seconds. Flat. I told you I could do it."

I couldn't say anything. What could someone possibly say after everything they were taught about physics was revealed to be a lie? No living creature should be able to move that fast!

My dumbstruck expression was humorous enough for Rainbow Dash to start laughing. "You're pretty cool. We should hang out sometime." She continued to mock my understanding of physics by flying away upside down like she was lounging on a mattress.

"Whoa, she's amazing!" The lizard praised.

"Yeah, I guess she is."

The lizard opened the scroll, reading the next line. "Next is decorations. A unicorn named Rarity should be in charge of those."
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The town hall was easy enough to find, as it was the largest building around, save the mansions in the distance. Inside, blue fabrics were draped around the room. Blue banners were flanking the central balcony, one with a sun and one with a moon. White flowers were hung over every doorway. Decorations looked to be nearly complete.

"Beautiful." The lizard admired.

"Eh, I could do without the flowers. Otherwise, it looks nice."

"Not the decor! Her." The lizard pointed at the lone unicorn, standing central to the room. The unicorn was a regal white, with a curly purple mane. Just a glance at her was enough to know her personality traits. She was posed like royalty, scrutinizing every ribbon that floated by her. I noticed that her horn was glowing with the same blue aura that surrounded every ribbon near her, so I guess unicorns can use magic.

"How are my spines? Are they straight?" Asked the lizard, fussing over his appearance.

I patted him on the shoulder. "Dude, relax." The lizard gave me another funny look, but I ignored him, approaching the unicorn. "Excuse me-"

"Just a moment, please!" She interrupted. "I'm in the zone, as it were." She went back to her ribbons, finally deciding to use a gaudy red one. Why did she need a ribbon on that pole, anyway? There are ribbons nowhere else in this room! The unicorn turned to speak to me. "Now, then, how can I- Waaahh!" Her sudden yell startled me. "Whatever happened to you?"

I looked over myself to see what she was talking about, and I realized that I was still covered in mud. "Oh, right. Do you know Rainbow Dash?"

"Ah." The unicorn nodded, indicating that she knew what I meant. "I understand."

"Yeah. So, anyway, I just needed to check on the decorations." I took an exaggerated look around. "And it seems it's all okay. I guess I'm done here."

"Don't you want to clean up?" She asked.

"There's a river just down the street, I think I'll just use that."

Strangely, this "Rarity" lady, for I assumed that was her name, was offended by that idea. "Oh, goodness, no! You really must take a proper bath!" She trotted by me, and that blue aura surrounded me, dragging me behind her.

This goddamn unicorn carried me in her magic all the way to her gaudy house. She couldn't have just let me walk, no. I already hate unicorns, and their freaking magic.

It doesn't matter that it was pretty fun hovering in the air like that. It's the principle that matters!

So she drags me all the way upstairs and draws a bath for me. As nice as that is, I really wish she could have let me walk. I noticed the lizard was floating beside me the entire time, but he wasn't surrounded by the glowing aura. Was the power of love giving him the ability to fly? What, are we operating under cartoon physics? Actually, that would explain Rainbow...

Rarity placed me down. "I'll be downstairs when you're finished. If you need anything, just let me know!" She left the bathroom closely by the lizard. When the door shut, I let out a sigh.

I climbed into the tub, and soaked in the tub's hot water, feeling more relaxed in an instant. Judging by how my day went so far, I would need to relax as much as possible before this was all over. I couldn't let the situation stress me out. I needed to think this out.

What was my end goal? What requirements must be met before I can go back home? All I knew so far was that I was Twilight, and I'm overseeing preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration. If earlier conversation with the lizard was anything to go by, I have at least three goals: Prepare for the Celebration, do something about this "nightmare", and make some friends. How the third one applies to me, I'll never know, but the first two were probably more important. The celebration was already handled, it seemed, so that left the nightmare. Didn't he call it "Nightmare Moon"?

Now, considering my timely appearance, the Summer Sun Celebration and "Nightmare Moon" are possibly connected. But how, and why does a celebration based on the sun have anything to do with nightmares and the moon? I couldn't come to any conclusions without all of the information, so I decided that I would research as much as I could before the end of the day.

Eventually, I cleaned off the mud and emptied the tub. I went downstairs to find the lizard fawning over Rarity while they were holding a conversation. "Thanks for letting me use your bath, Rarity, but we should be going soon." I said.

She looked looked over and smiled at me. "It's no problem, darling. May I know your name?"

I nodded. "Twilight."

"It's good to meet you, Twilight. I hope we can talk again soon, hopefully under better circumstances."

I concurred and gathered my lizard friend, leaving Rarity behind with a friendly wave.
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"Wasn't she wonderful?" Asked the daydreaming lizard. At some point, he hopped onto my back and let me do all the walking. Just as well, I suppose, since his constant daydreaming about Rarity was making him dead on his feet. My only problem about his choice to ride me was that I don't like being ridden.

"I suppose." I reluctantly agreed. It was very nice of her to let me use her bath and give me a chance to catch my breath from all this weirdness. That being said, I was trying to focus on the task at hand. "What's next on the list? We still have a job to do."

The lizard shook his fantasies away, and read from the list. "Oh, uh, music! It's the last one."

I smiled at that. Great, with this busywork out of the way, that would give me the chance I need to learn a thing or two about "Nightmare Moon" and its connection to the Summer Sun Celebration. To think, I was already on my way back home and I just got here.

Suck it, wizard.

I stopped when I heard an melodic series of bird whistling. Strange, did birds organize into orchestras here? This I had to see. The lizard hopped off my back as I walked over to the sound, crawling through some high (and very thick) bushes to find a bunch of birds in a tree, whistling along with the directions of a yellow coated, pink maned pegasus. I listened to the bird choir from my hiding place, amazed at the singing of the birds and the skill it must have taken for this pegasus to train them.

I noticed pretty quickly that the blue jay was singing awfully. I mean, this little bastard was probably doing it on purpose, he was so bad. Not only was he out of sync, and out of tune, he was looking the wrong way! What a little asshole! Naturally, the pegasus had to stop the practice just to set him straight. I couldn't hear what she was saying between my distance and her apparently low volume.

Like a dunce, I just realized that I had a job to do, so I stepped out of the bushes. "Hello!" I called from a distance.

This startled her, and her startled gasp frightened her birds, who flew away like the little cowards they were. She looked back at me, visibly trying to regain some composure.

I felt a little guilty for making her birds fly away like that, even though they would have flown away at anything. "Sorry about the birds. I was just checking on the music, and I heard their whistling."

The pegasus landed in front of me, pawing at the ground, avoiding eye-contact with me. I stood there for a moment, waiting for her to respond in some way. The silence was getting awkward, fast. I looked around for the lizard, but I couldn't see him anywhere. Judging by the slight rustling in the bushes, I guessed he was hiding in there for some reason. What the hell was he doing, rubbing one off?

I rolled my eyes at the thought, and turned back to the pegasus, who could only look at me from the corner of her eyes. She still avoided eye-contact. I sighed. "I'm Twilight. What's your name?"

"Um... I'm Flutter..."

Flutter? Was that what she said? I sighed again. "Well, you must be pretty talented to train those birds to sing like that. It was pretty good."

Flutter just shrunk behind her mane, squeaking something in response.

I closed my eyes and seethed in my mind. I tried polite conversation and I tried flattery. Since I doubted challenging would help me talk to her, I ran out of ideas. I was going to ask her if she was in charge of music, but she wouldn't even talk to me. You know what, fuck it. I have places to be. If anyone asks, I'll just say that I did my job and hope no one calls me out on it.

"Well, I'd better get going." I noticed her birds coming back, landing on the tree again. "Oh, and your birds came back. So, I'll just leave you to it."

Another squeak was her response.

I glared above me, cursing at whatever deity cursed this girl to be so passive. "Okay, see ya around." I walked back to the bushes, finding the lizard leaving the bushes at my approach. He looked a bit... relieved? Okay, I really don't want to know what he was doing back there.

I heard a loud gasp behind me, followed by a low voice yelling loudly. "A baby dragon!"

Before I could look behind me, Flutter slammed into me, flinging me away without any effort. Naturally, I landed on my face again, but I found that I was already used to such impacts. I recovered to see Flutter and the lizard talking for a bit.

"Oh, I've never seen a baby dragon before! And he's so cute!" Flutter internally squee'd at the lizard. Yeah, I have a few things to say about all this. For one thing, how can she be so scared of me, but this fanged beast that was following me all day is cute enough for her to... wait, did she call him a dragon? I've been following around a dragon all day!? A fucking dragon!

What? How was I supposed to know he was a dragon? He doesn't even have wings!

It was fortunate that neither of them were paying attention to me, because I don't think I would be able to smoothly explain why my eyes were bugging out. The dragon was smiling proudly, so I guess he was taking this well. Whatever, I had things to do. I needed to get out of here before something even crazier than Flutter flip-floping her personality on me happens. I forced a smile, trying to act calm. "Well, we'd better get going." I walked by the dragon, and he started following me.

"Wait!" Flutter trailed behind me, though she had her eyes on the dragon. "What's his name?"

I froze in place, suddenly petrified by the simple question. I've been here for hours, and I still had no idea what the dragon's name was. My mind raced for some kind of excuse or something to squeeze past this situation, but fortunately, the dragon spoke up to save me from my dilemma. "I'm Spike!"

Flutter gasped. "Oh my, he talks! I didn't know dragons could talk!" You and me, both, sis. "I just don't know what to to say!"

"Maybe you two could find something to talk about?" I suggested.

"Good idea, Twilight! What do you want to talk about?" The question was directed at Flutter.

"Well, I want to know more about you." Flutter said.

The dragon, Spike, nodded. "Okay, what do you wanna know?"

"Absolutely everything."

This piqued my interest. Here I was, a complete outsider, about to listen in on a very important conversation. I would need to know more about Spike, especially if I'm supposed to be close to him in some way. Were we friends? Mentor and student? Scribe and assistant? I was very interested to find out.
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Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful for this opportunity to learn more about the dragon I was traveling with all day, but who knew his story would be.

So.

Fucking.

Tedious.

It took about an hour of him blathering away, during which we started circling around town because I didn't know where I was supposed to be going next. Eventually, I was able to sneak into the conversation to ask Spike where we were going, and I was pleased to hear that I was staying in the local library. A place filled with information? Sounds like the place I was looking for. Still, I had to listen to this shockingly boring story of a baby dragon.

Long story short, I was apparently responsible for hatching the dragon egg from which Spike hatched. Since then, I was taking care of him as a surrogate parent before he decided that he wanted to start helping me and became my "number one assistant". Details beyond that were sketchy (I may have zoned out a few times), but I was somewhat sure that Spike was supposed to be like a little brother to me. Being an only child, I can only imagine that pretending to be an elder sibling will be a difficult task.

Finally, we arrived at the library, and my first thought at the building was "Bitchin'". It was this gigantic tree with windows and balconies, a stargazing platform, and a door with a candle symbol on it. Sure, the beehive worried me a little, since I didn't know if this body was allergic to bees, but who cares? I'm staying in a big tree-for-a-house! Screw tree-houses, I lived in a tree!

My enthusiasm for my stay was hampered greatly by the exchange I heard from my followers.

"...and that's the story of my whole entire life! Well, up until today. Do you wanna hear about today?"

"Oh, yes, please!"

I groaned loudly, making extra sure that they could hear me, but I don't think they cared. Since I had no interest in hearing someone else talking about my day, I tried ignoring them as I opened the door with my strangely dexterous hooves. Spike followed me inside, but once we went inside the completely darkened room, Fluttershy seemingly disappeared.

"Hey, why's it so dark in here?" I heard Spike asked. Even better question: who closed the door on us? Great, now I couldn't see anything.

"Okay, please tell me we have some way of lighting this room." I groaned, half-pleadingly.

I think Spike was going to suggest something, but he was cut off when the room exploded with light, followed shortly by "SURPRISE!" being yelled by no less than fifty ponies. I jumped at the sudden noise, looking about at all the ponies that surrounded me. I should be surprised that these ponies were here, but in retrospect, it should have been obvious with the way my door was unlocked.

I was going to question how so many ponies fit so comfortably in the room, but I was brought out of my inquisitive mind by a poofy pink pony hopping up to me. "Surprise!" She shouted, as if I didn't understand what was happening (I didn't). "I'm Pinkie Pie, and I threw this party just for you! Were you surprised? Were ya? Were ya? Huh huh huh?" She asked, bouncing around me the whole way.

I glared suspiciously at her. "How did you get in here? Did you break in?"

I couldn't tell if she giggled, or if she was just shaking with excitement and ignoring my question. "Remember me? I saw you earlier today while you were talking to that dragon, and I went up to you and I realized-" She stopped mid-sentence to mimic her large gasp from the first time we met. "See, that's because I didn't recognize you, and if I didn't recognize you, that must mean you're new, because I know everypony in Ponyville!"

I sat down, hoping in vain that I could keep up with her rambling. I was doing well so far, considering she spoke exclusively in run-on sentences. "And if you're new, that means you haven't met anyone yet, and if you haven't met anyone yet, you must not have any friends, and if you don't have any friends then you must be lonely, and that made me so sad, then I had an idea, and that's why I went-" She gasped again. "I must throw a great big ginormous super-duper spectacular welcome party and invite everyone in Ponyville! See? And now you have lots and lots of friends!" She stepped aside slightly so that I could see everyone that I met so far: Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy, all of who were giving me welcoming smiles.

I blinked, processing as much of that rant as I could. I took a breath, and looked back at Pinkie, who was smiling expectantly, as if awaiting my approval. "So you threw a surprise party for me so I could make some friends?" I asked to get confirmation.

Pinkie nodded vigorously.

I smiled, looking slyly at Spike next to me. "And you were worried about me making friends." Spike glared light-heartedly at me, while I turned to Pinkie. "Well, alright, let's get some drinks out here and let's party!"

Pinkie giggled approvingly at my answer, and we all set out for the table with a large bowl of punch on it, complete with a ladle and a set of cups next to it. Though, what got my attention was an unlabeled brown bottle on another table, completely unopened. I grinned at the bottle. So it was that kind of party, huh? I figured this would be pretty juvenile with all the streamers and confetti, but I guess I was wrong if they were serving alcohol.

"I call dibs on that beer." I told the others, as I approached the bottle.

"What's beer?" I heard Pinkie ask. In hindsight, I probably should have picked up on that.

I corked open the bottle and drank from it. Setting the bottle down, I started to realize a few things pretty quickly. For one thing, that was some spicy beer. Thick, too. With how badly my mouth was burning and how hot the room suddenly became, I was starting to suspect it was actually hot sauce, and not beer. That was roughly the first half a second from my drink. Then the next second I came to the conclusion that I did not drink beer. It was, indeed, hot sauce. Really hot, hot sauce. My mane caught fire, it was so hot.

The next second, the urgency of my situation hit me like a brick, and I screamed noiselessly in my pain. I instinctively shoved my way to the punch bowl, and drank straight from the ladle, not bothering with the extra step of using a cup. It took five drinks before the burning subsided enough for me to think rationally again, and I gasped for breath with my head on the table.

"Are you alright, darling?" I heard Rarity ask.

I looked over to find the others looking at me with a small amount of worry. I steadied my breath. "You know what? I've had quite the day, and I'm getting tired." I tried hiding the exasperation in my voice, but I'm not sure how well I did. "I think I'm just going to pick up a book, and read myself to sleep upstairs."

No one stopped me from browsing some of the bookshelves for a book to read. They even wished me a good night, helping me find the book I needed. Myths and Prophecies. Hopefully this told me everything I needed to know. With the cover of bedtime reading, I doubted anyone would bother me during my research.
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Damn ponies and their disco music. It hasn't been the Seventies for forty years! Play something more modern! Preferably power metal.

I already miss Blind Guardian.

After hours of such distractions, I finally finished reading the books I brought upstairs. I say books, because the one book I brought with me initially was not enough to learn everything I needed, so I made a few trips downstairs, made up an excuse about needing "something more boring to read" each time, and returned to my bed to continue reading. Strangely, Spike kept giving me funny looks whenever I made my excuses. I could figure that out later, though, because I needed to review my findings.

Based on my research, it seems that Nightmare Moon, also known as the Mare in the Moon, is an old pony's tale used regularly on a holiday called Nightmare Night to celebrate old horror stories. In this case, a story about an ancient evil alicorn whose name was lost to time, who became bitter and resentful towards her more beloved sister, and they battled over the right to rule their shared kingdom. The legend speaks of the Elements of Harmony, which the Good Sister used to banish her Evil Sister to the moon. More distressingly, the Evil Sister was said to have the power to move the moon in its orbit. I don't know how I could possibly stop such a powerful opponent, and the books say nothing about who the Good Sister is. Worse, if my calculations are right, Nightmare Moon was set to return tonight. Frighteningly accurate, I know, but that's what the books lead me to believe.

I looked at the clock in my room, and noticed that it said 4:02, so it must have been a little fast, or maybe I lost track of time. Checking outside, the stars that would "aid in her escape" were still where they were supposed to be, so I still had some time. That was good, because I needed some kind of plan. No way could I fight a mad goddess, and who knows how much truth there was to this legend. Was there even a Good Sister? If there was, is she still alive like her Evil Sister? The books give no hints as to the Good Sister's identity, nor were there any clues on where she might be after all this time. That left one final option. I would have to find the Elements of Harmony.

I didn't have much time. I mean, sure, I had a few hours left, if the speed and distance of the stars from the moon was any indication, but the sooner I found these artifacts, the better. I'd rather not risk the safety of this world or my chances on returning home by wasting too much time. However, these books said little about the Elements themselves, so I would need another book.

I got off the bed and walked down to the door, when it swung open suddenly, revealing Spike with a lampshade on his head. "Hey Twilight, it's almost time to watch the sunrise." He told me.

Right. Every year, at the Summer Sun Celebration, the ponies would watch the sunrise alongside their sovereign ruler, Princess Celestia. It seems I would be given the honor of being there this year. Still, I had to be as in-character as I could, and I couldn't just refuse going. Reluctantly, I nodded and followed Spike to the Town Hall, where most of the town ponies were milling about, listening to the one I assumed was the mayor giving some kind of speech. I half-listened, more in a hurry to leave and research the Elements than I was to celebrate. While I would most definitely miss these festivities, I would rest easy knowing that my saving of this world could be celebrated in private with tons of alcohol back home.

So I stood there, looking at nothing in particular, when my lazy gaze drifted up to the moon through the sun-roof. I noticed that the stars started moving faster than they did before. I stopped breathing when I realized what that meant. I was wrong. I didn't have hours, I had mere seconds to find the Elements before Nightmare Moon returned. My eyes were like pinpricks when the stars disappeared behind the moon, and the image of the Mare in the Moon, plainly visible at any other time, vanished.

I started breathing raggedly, paying attention once more to events around me. The mayor was finishing up with her speech, and was introducing the princess. "...the good, the wise, the bringer of harmony to all of Equestria... Princess Celestia!" Finishing her introduction, the curtains were pulled. The ponies expected to see the princess in all her glory, but instead there was nothing. The ponies began to murmur. Princess Celestia never no-showed the Summer Sun Celebration. Seeing her missing now was starting to panic the others. For once, I was able to join in, perfectly aware as to what was happening.

My eyes locked on a blue cloud of magic where the Princess should have been. The cloud surged, then receded behind a frightening black winged unicorn, wearing olden battle regalia that marked her as a warrior. Her mane flowed freely in her power, blown by nonexistent winds. Her blue eyes were narrowed into dragon-like slits, which bore into everyone they saw. If there was a pony that could strike fear into the hearts of others, this was her. This was Nightmare Moon.

Spike passed out next to me. He couldn't handle this, and to be honest, I wasn't sure how I was still standing. Nightmare Moon stood tall, and looked among the crowd, no, she looked down on us.

"Oh, my beloved subjects." She began, her voice dripping with malice. "It's been so long since I've seen your precious, little sun-loving faces." She spoke with such contempt, that I was surprised that she hadn't started attacking us yet out of cruelty.

"What did you do to our Princess!?" Rainbow demanded. She flew forward to charge at Nightmare Moon, but Applejack realized the futility in attacking, and caught her by the tail.

"Why, am I not royal enough for you? Don't you know who I am?" Nightmare asked accusingly.

I breathed hard, trying to get my senses under control. I had to do something. I don't know what special abilities my persona has, but I knew that I was the one to stop this. But I needed time to figure out what that was. I needed the Elements, but I couldn't let this Nightmare stand around blasting random ponies. But I had no way of fighting back, and I doubted she would let me walk away. I figured it was time for another bluff.

I stood taller, trying to look more confident. "I know who you are." Nightmare Moon turned to regard me with a look of slight interest. "You're Nightmare Moon, the Mare in the Moon."

The ponies around me gasped, but Nightmare looked impressed at my knowledge. "So, somepony remembers me. Then you know why I'm here?"

I nodded, a slight glare on my face that I hoped came across as determined. "Yeah, I know exactly what you're going to do. But it won't work, for I alone know your secret weakness!"

Nightmare Moon, to her credit, didn't look very convinced. That didn't stop everyone else from gasping in surprise. "My secret weakness? Pray tell, what could that be?"

My face started to lose its edge, and I forced a crooked smile. "No, I don't really know your secret weakness. I'm just distracting you while an ambush party sneaks up on you right..." I looked just past her, as if I was looking at something behind her. Naturally, there was not. "Now."

Nightmare Moon spun around to face her phantom foes, but she realized too late that my entire speech was an elaborate bluff to distract her from my next course of action.

I picked up Spike, placed him on my back, and ran out of the building. I left behind a room filled with confused ponies and a bewildered goddess, who I could hear laughing at me from halfway to the library. She wasn't following me, which was good. I needed more time.

I needed to find the Elements of Harmony.

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