• Published 11th Nov 2011
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The Sweetie Chronicles: Fragments - Wanderer D


Sweetie Belle must find Twilight by travelling through different Fanfic worlds...

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Prologue

The Sweetie Chronicles: Fragments

By Wanderer D

Editors & Proof-readers: Trevor, understatedHyperbole, Cardslafter, Fifth Alicorn

o.0.0.o

It was a gorgeous summer afternoon in Ponyville.

The sun shone in the clear sky, the birds sang and flew cheerfully, the leaves on the trees swayed in the gentle breeze, and ponies chatted, worked, baked, and played merrily in the streets.

I wish I was out there, thought the young filly as she gazed out of the library window, but no, I’m stuck here, studying. She turned to glare at the open tome in front of her.

“Sweetie Belle?” a voice called from the kitchen, snapping her out of her reverie, “Do you like sugar in your tea?”

“Uh, yeah, Twilight! Just one cube!”

“Okay, one cube it is!” came the cheerful reply.

The young unicorn grimaced, partly in guilt at her current thoughts and partly because she knew Twilight would turn drinking tea into practice.

“Here you go,” the purple unicorn said with a smile as she set a cup next to the tome. She levitated her own cup a bit longer before she sat at the table, across from Sweetie Belle. “Did you finish the chapter?”

“Uh...” The filly looked down guiltily.

The purple unicorn gave her a gentle smile. “Don’t worry. Now, do you remember the spell we’ve been working on?”

The filly nodded. She had been right. Practice time. “Yes... Pres... pres - ti - digi - tation?”

Twilight chuckled. “It’s a long name, I know. Prestidigitation.” She looked to the younger unicorn expectantly.

“Presti-digitation,” the filly repeated, earning a slight nod that was Twilight’s way of wordlessly coaxing her on. “It’s... a very simple spell... I mean, an ele-men-tary spell... that has limited effects,” Sweetie repeated from what she could remember of Twilight’s rather exhaustive lecture. “It doesn’t do much, but it allows the unicorn casting it to create ghostly sounds, move small objects, paint things temporarily...” she trailed off, struggling to remember more.

“And,” the purple unicorn said, “it also allows for a bit of temperature manipulation.”

Sweetie Belle blinked. “Temporal what now?”

Temperature manipulation,” Twilight repeated, she looked at Sweeties slightly blank expression and sighed. “In other words, you can cool things down a bit with it, or warm them up.”

“Oooh... I get it!” Sweetie Belle grinned.

“Good, because you are going to use that to cool down your tea a bit so you can drink it.”

Sweetie Belle looked a bit dubious, but nevertheless turned her attention to the cup. Wisps of steam emanated from her tea, a silent statement of how hot it still was. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on the cup, feeling her magic circulate through her body until it concentrated on her horn.

However, her mind was clearly not on the task at hand as she noticed when she opened her eyes and found that her tea was now boiling hot. She watched the bubbles despondently until her mentor slowly cooled it down.

Twilight sighed and looked out the window. “It's okay, Sweetie,” she said after a moment, trying to maintain her cheery attitude, “I know you would rather be doing something else than sitting here with me reading these dusty old books.”

The younger unicorn almost flinched at the badly disguised undertone of sadness in Twilight's voice. “It's not that, Twilight, I promise!”

The purple unicorn glanced at her.

"It's just that... I mean, you're a great teacher and I enjoy learning with you... but... well, I miss Scootaloo and Apple Bloom."

Twilight nodded. “I know,” she said, sipping a bit of her tea, “But they're also taking lessons, Sweetie. Applejack took Apple Bloom to Appleloosa to learn about their apple farming techniques, and from there she's taking her all over, from Manehattan to Hoofington, to visit family. It's...” Twilight shrugged. “A family tradition.”

The filly nodded. “I know... and Scootaloo is being coached by Rainbow Dash for the freestyle competition...” She sighed. “Last summer it was easier...”

Twilight smiled. “Well, it's a sign that you're growing up,” she said simply, “We all need to learn more to be able to be productive ponies of Equestria. I'm still studying under the Princess.”

Sweetie Belle nodded. “Yeah...”

“And I sent her a message just this morning about taking you as an apprentice,” Twilight stated proudly.

“You told the Princess I’m your apprentice?!” The filly smiled broadly. “Yay! That means I’m officially your student!” She blinked, smile fading away. “But... we've been studying together for a week now. Why did you only just tell her today?”

Twilight blushed and looked away. “Honestly? I thought you would walk away after the second day,” she confessed after a short silence, “I thought that... that you would get tired of my lessons, or find them boring, or that I would talk too much and you would get annoyed and skip meeting me and go play...”

Sweetie Belle smiled carefully and decided not to confess she would have done any of those things instead of coming over were it not for her sister making her Pinkie Swear she would attend each class while she was off in Fillydelphia- or else.

Regardless of her silence, it must have shown in her face, because Twilight's proud smile slowly faded away until it was completely gone. The purple unicorn's shoulders sagged a bit and she looked at the softly steaming cup of tea held in her magic grasp for a few seconds. She stirred the tea morosely. “Oh.”

Sweetie Belle gulped. “I'm sorry, Twilight...” she said after a moment, “I really do want to go out and play...” She cringed when she saw the unicorn's shoulders sag a bit more. “But... I- I am enjoying studying with you,” she said a bit reluctantly. She knew it wasn’t fair to make Twilight feel bad. The studious unicorn was only trying to help her.

Twilight dared a small smile. “I sometimes forget that not everypony loves studying as much as I do.” She chuckled. “And Cheerilee keeps reminding me that taking a break is a good idea.” She smiled as she looked up at the surprised filly. “I'm glad you told me the truth... and that you like my classes, Sweetie. Why don't we close the tomes, finish our tea and I'll treat you to some ice cream?”

The younger unicorn's eyes lit up. “Really?”

Twilight smiled. “Why, yes! You've been very good, Sweetie, you've been studying for 5 hours straight!”

The filly blinked. Had it really been that long?

Maybe... maybe I’m enjoying this more than I thought...

It wasn't long before the two unicorns were ready to go.

“Spike! We're going out for a bit; could you watch the library for me, my number one assistant?”

“Sure thing, Twilight!” the dragon called back from the upper level, where he was shelving books.

“Good.” The purple unicorn smiled. “Ready, Sweetie?”

“Ready!”

o.0.o

The sky was starting to darken by the time that Twilight and Sweetie Belle decided that they had taken enough of a break.

“Twilight?”

“Yes, Sweetie?”

The pair was laying down on the grass, listening to Lyra strum her lyre nearby in the dying light of the afternoon.

“I'm sorry I made you feel I didn't like your lessons.”

They had finished their ice cream, which had been a momentous occasion since Sweetie Belle had managed to hold it with her magic from beginning to end... something she had never done before.

The purple unicorn smiled and nuzzled the crusader. “It's okay, Sweetie. I could see that you were studying hard. And today you managed to levitate your Ice-cream from the moment we bought it until you finished it! I don't think yesterday you could’ve done it! That’s a huge leap!”

Sweetie Belle smiled, pleased with the praise she was receiving. The pair stood up and strolled through the park on their way to the Library.

“I think I know what to teach you tomorrow,” Twilight mused on the way.

“Really?”

“Yes. It's a bit more complicated but... I can start teaching you the basis for the spell.”

“What is it?”

Twilight smiled. “Well, given how you and the other crusaders get into so much trouble... how does a shield spell sound?”

The little filly's eyes widened. “You really think I can do it?!”

“Only one way to find out!”

o.0.o

As they approached the town proper and were just a few blocks away from the Library, they heard several shouts. Turning to look at the source of the commotion, both unicorns stepped back as two very angry-looking wolves in chains and metal muzzles pulled a wagon into the plaza.

Sweetie Belle blinked in confusion, but Twilight immediately groaned. “Oh, Celestia, why her?”

“Who?” the filly asked, confused.

“Watch in awe!” a voice demanded as the wagon stopped in the middle of the plaza. Blue smoke rolled over the ground and into the air as fireworks lit up the sky, drawing everypony to gather around the wagon as it unfolded into a stage, but still keeping a healthy distance from the wolves. An explosion in the stage made them look up as a mare in a cape and magician’s hat reared on her hind legs and addressed the crowd. “As the Grrreat and Powerful Trixie performs the most amazing feats of magic and ingenuity!”

“Oooh!” Sweetie Belle clapped her hooves together excitedly. “A showpony! Let's go watch!”

Twilight shook her head and sighed as she followed the excited Sweetie Belle into the crowd.

In an instant, Trixie's eyes had found the purple unicorn. “I see,” she said with scorn, “Twilight Sparkle is here again, to challenge Trixie!”

Twilight groaned and glared at the showmare. “Trixie, I don't care about challenging you. You said you were here to perform; go ahead, I won’t interrupt you.”

The blue unicorn laughed. “Trixie sees that you have learned your rightful place.” She looked down at the crowd. “Very well, if you are not here to interrupt, The Great and Powerful Trixie shall amaze you all!”

With a wave of her hoof, the two snarling wolves were levitated to stand on the stage on either side of her. “Since her departure from this town over a year ago, The Great and Powerful Trixie has undertaken a glorious quest. A quest of legendary proportions. She has toured the great marvels of not only Equestria, but of the world beyond its borders. And... recently, the most magnificent Trixie captured not one, but two of the most feared and infamous creatures in all Equestria!”

“Wow!” Sweetie said, “That’s amazing!”

“...” Twilight seemed to be about to say something, her eyes were fixed on the wolves, brow wrinkled in concentration. “Those wolves...”

“Behold!” Trixie shouted, pointing with one hoof at the wolf on her left, “Romulus!”

Twilight's eyes became pinpricks.

Trixie's other hoof slowly swept to point at the wolf on her right. “And Remus!”

“Amazing!” Sweetie Belle jumped up and down amongst the gasps of awe and amazement escaping the multitude of ponies around them.

“TRIXIE!”

Everypony stopped to look at Twilight.

The showmare growled. “What is it, Twilight Sparkle? The Great and Powerful Trixie has a show to perform, if you don’t recall.”

“Are you insane?! You caught Romulus and Remus and chained them in iron?!” Twilight's eye twitched.

Trixie snorted. “The Great and Powerful Trixie is not a moron! Nor is she an incompetent fool. She did not use simple iron.”

Twilight sighed and a trembling smile crept into her face. “Of- Of course, Trixie. I'm sorry, I forget you have traveled all over Equestria...”

Trixie smiled and nodded. “The Great and Powerful Trixie has!”

“... so you know a lot of the legends and myths of the world...”

“Yes, yes Trixie knows many legends,” the showmare said.

“... so you would have of course used at least silver thread along magically engraved and enhanced iron shackles with the appropriate runes etched in silver or even platinum...”

“The Great... what?” Trixie had begun to nod again, but stopped as her mind worked out what Twilight was saying.

“And...” Celestia's apprentice sat down, relieved. “You would have accounted for the fact that tonight is a full moon, so you would have included a moon-energy absorption spell.”

“Trixie... wait...” The blue unicorn was starting to get nervous as the oblivious purple unicorn continued.

Sweetie Belle was starting to get a bad feeling as her mentor kept talking, Trixie kept stammering and ponies all around them started shuffling away from the stage. “Um... Twi?”

“I'm really sorry, Trixie, I don't know why I would have doubted that a professional showmare would know to take the appropriate precautions when dealing with legendary were-creatures.”

The crowd looked expectantly at Trixie, who took two steps back. “Were... creatures?” she managed to ask weakly.

“Why yes,” the purple unicorn, still oblivious to the growing panic, carried on, “Like, were-weasels, were-chickens, and other variations of the lycanthropic effect...” Sweetie Belle gulped when she saw Twilight Sparkle's expression change to one of horror as Trixie’s cringing finally dawned on her. “You... didn't know?!” the purple unicorn gaped.

A hush fell over the crowd as Twilight looked to the horizon in horror as the sun finally set and the moon began its ascension, the celestial orb casting its silvery light over the town of Ponyville.

The growling of the wolves stopped. Sweetie Belle turned to look at them, a chill running down her spine. They were... growing. The wolves had already been large -about the size of Big Mac- and while they had looked feral and dangerous, the chains and muzzles on them had given the citizens of Ponyville a sense of safety.

But now, as the wolves grew, their chains snapped one after another with an almost musical cadence and the illusion of safety was shattered. Their forelegs bulged along with their paws, which extended into clawed hands, the fur on their shoulders and back became darker and thicker. They stood on their hind legs which also became solid masses of muscle, easily keeping their bodies upright. Their lips curled back in a snarling smile, yellow fangs almost seeming to glow in contrast with their black coats. The iron muzzles burst as their heads grew and now the werewolves were easily three times the size of Big Macintosh... and apparently hungry.

Sweetie Belle screamed, the sound snapping the paralyzed ponies into action as everypony ran for their lives. In front of them, the two werewolves turned their attention to Trixie with malevolent smiles on their faces.

The showmare took a look at them and immediately her horn blazed into life. Chains magically wrapped themselves around the two creatures as Trixie took a step back, her eyes narrowing in concentration.

For a moment, Sweetie held hope that it would be enough to stop them, but Trixie’s next actions burst that small bubble of hope.

“Catch!” the showmare shouted, her magic levitating both creatures into the air as they started breaking the chains with little effort and threw them into the crowd, straight towards Twilight and Sweetie Belle.

Twilight’s magic flared in response to the threat. For a moment, she caught both creatures in the air, but their continuous struggle made it really difficult for her to keep them in place.

Trixie immediately cast another illusion spell, creating blue mist around her and her wagon. When it dissipated, they were gone.

As the ponies around them ran about in a crazed frenzy, the younger unicorn pressed close to her mentor. “Twilight? What do we do?”

“Just stay close, Sweetie...” Twilight ordered through clenched teeth. unexpectedly, one of the panicking ponies crashed into the purple unicorn, and sent her sprawling to the ground, disrupting her concentration.

The were-creatures landed right in front of them. Sweetie screamed and jumped back as a clawed hand tore the ground where she had been seconds ago.

“Sweetie! Run!” Twilight shouted, jumping between her and the werewolves, horn glowing bright, but a backhanded swipe to the face knocked her to the ground. The young unicorn ran, her eyes wide in panic as she searched quickly for a place to hide. Behind her she heard the werewolves howl and the excited yips of a predator on the hunt drawing closer. She ran around the corner of a building, and dove behind several trash cans, hoping that the smell of rotting food would throw the wolf off her trail as she cowered in fear.

She couldn’t see it, but she could still hear the creature as it slowed down and growled. The pads on its feet silenced its steps, but the creature’s deep, rumbling breaths threatened to make her scream and reveal her location as it slowly approached her hiding place.

Sweetie Belle cringed as she searched her mind for any possible way out of this situation. There was no Twilight right next to her, or even Fluttershy to use her Stare and scare the monster away, her sister would have at least been able to use her magic to fight it off.

It was getting closer now. From between the trash cans, the filly could see other stacks of boxes and trash in the small alley. She was in between Sugar Cube Corner and Ponyville’s four-star restaurant, The Clover, so there was a lot of trash around. An idea began to form in her mind, as she remembered Twilight’s earlier lesson.

Hoping that the trashcans around her disguised her and her horn's light well enough from the werewolf, Sweetie concentrated on conjuring up the simplest spell she knew.

Something shifted in a trash pile further up the alley from where she was hiding, clattering to the ground. The sniffing stopped and the world was silent but for the distant shouts outside the alley. She could hear the creature’s breathing, it was calmer now. She could almost sense it looking intently at the pile on the other end of the alley.

Fighting to keep quiet and afraid to even breathe, she tried again. But this time, she varied the spell.

From the pile of trash a came a soft, whimpering noise. With a scratch of claws scraping the ground, the werewolf bounded forward to land, with a howl, on top of the pile. Its claws tore into the bags, ripping through wood and bags full of trash as they sought their prey.

Sweetie Belle carefully slid out from behind the trashcans, and, without taking her eyes of the werewolf, slowly backed out of the alley. Her heart was beating wildly inside her chest, and she feared that it would give her away to the wolf.

As she stepped back as slowly and silently as she possibly could, she backed into a trash can. The metal lid slid off, scraping its way to the edge of the trashcan before it clanged onto the ground beside her.

The werewolf whipped its head around, eyes ablaze with anger at having been tricked. Sweetie Belle turned and galloped away, desperately trying to find help or another place to hide. But despite her best efforts there was no-where to hide, and being in the middle of the plaza, she could only weave through discarded carts and spilled goods in trying to put off her seemingly inevitable fate.

A paw came down hard on her, knocking the filly off her hooves. The world spun crazily around her and she found herself on her back, gasping for breath as the wolf’s muzzle hovered over her face. There was a vicious gleam in his eyes and Sweetie Belle knew this was it.

“I...” she gasped and closed her eyes tightly. Goodbye sis...

There was a shout and suddenly the weight of the werewolf was gone. Sweetie Belle opened her eyes to see Big Macintosh standing protectively over her, glaring at the werewolf now sprawled out on its side. Slowly, the beast stood up, growling fiercely at the draft pony.

“Good job, Big Mac!” Twilight shouted as she slammed the growling werewolf with his packmate, sending both to the ground in a dazed heap. The purple unicorn galloped to their side and took a quick look at her apprentice. “Are you okay, Sweetie?!”

The filly was barely able to nod, her body was shaking so much.

Twilight trained a fierce look on the werewolves. “Nopony, no creature, no monster threatens my student!” she growled, as her magic enveloped her body.

A blast of magic shot into the air and storm clouds formed high above them, slowly obscuring the moon. The werewolves howled in anger as gleaming chains broke through the windows of a nearby forge, wrapping tightly around them, reinforced by magic. The ends of the chains then buried themselves into the floor of the plaza, pinning them to the ground.

Metal bars followed, slamming down one after the other around the were-creatures, until they were completely surrounded. A large piece of metal landed roughly atop the makeshift cage, sealing them inside.

“Big Mac! Did you get it?!” Twilight shouted, her magic pulsating as she struggled restrain the creatures, chains and all.

“Eeyup!” The stallion quickly moved to the side and brought a cart filled with silver: plates, cutlery and even a vase or two. “This enough, Twilight?”

The purple unicorn’s answer was to levitate the entirety of the carts contents and, in an amazing feat of magical strength, crunch them around the bars and metal top of the cage. It was crude, but soon the bars all had silver cutlery covering them. With another pulse of magic, two more long chains crossed on top of the metal slab that was keeping the wolves inside and buried themselves on the floor of the plaza.

Twilight then released her magic and collapsed, exhausted, right next to a now completely in awe Sweetie Belle.

The wolves broke the first set of chains now that there was no magic to reinforce them, but each time one of the creatures lept at the bars, they would howl in pain and growl. The cage was makeshift, but they would be contained.

"Twilight, that was incredible!" Sweetie gushed, grinning ear to ear at the collapsed unicorn.

"I'm just glad you're okay, Sweetie," Twilight whispered, chest heaving from exertion but smiling. She nuzzled the younger unicorn as other ponies began to venture back into the plaza.

o.0.o

“That Trixie should be arrested!” a pony shouted as a contingent of unicorns from Canterlot slowly transferred the wolves into a more secure cage the next day.

To say the citizens of Ponyville were not happy with the showmare would be a gross understatement. They were livid. Furious even. Although the Ursa Minor had ravaged the town, destroying many buildings, it was the fact that one so young had nearly died that enflamed the hearts of Ponyville's citizens.

Buildings they could replace. Sweetie Belle, nopony could.

“Find her and throw her into a dungeon!” Aloe added, the spa pony stomping a hoof, her eyes ablaze with righteous anger.

“Strip her of her magic!” a pegasus shouted, more than one unicorn wincing at the suggestion, although none of them looked inclined to disagree with the punishment.

Twilight and Sweetie Belle stood side by side, silently watching the proceedings as the crowds began to shout more an more for the showmare’s head... or at least her arrest. The Canterlot unicorns were hard pressed to keep a professional look as the town almost rioted right then and there.

“Twilight?” The young filly looked up at the purple unicorn.

“Yes, Sweetie?”

“I really want to learn magic,” the crusader said, looking at the snarling wolves. “I never want to be so scared again.”

Twilight smiled and nuzzled the younger unicorn. “I’ll do my best.”

o.0.o

“Morning, Sweetie,” Twilight said brightly as the filly made her way down the stairs of the library.

The white unicorn yawned and waved a hoof. “Morning, Twi. Morning, Spike.” It had been a week since the incident with the werewolves, and she was still having trouble sleeping.

“Hi, Sweetie!” Spike’s head poked out of the kitchen. “Guess what I made? Pancakes!”

The filly smiled as she made her way to the table, where she joined Twilight. “What’s the plan for today, Twi?”

“I should be receiving a few things from Canterlot,” the purple unicorn said, “I requested some books and devices to help your training along with some items for my own studies.”

The little unicorn sighed as she looked at the gorgeous day outside. I know I asked her to teach me as much as she could but... we haven’t have a break in days!

Twilight caught the filly looking outside and smiled gently. “But don’t worry too much about it, Sweetie. Why don’t you take a break? I have to unpack a lot of sensitive equipment and it’s a lovely day outside! You could visit Pinkie Pie or Fluttershy while I do that.”

“Really!?” The white unicorn bounced up and down. “Yay!” she hugged Twilight. “You’re the best, Twilight!”

The purple unicorn chuckled and wondered if this was how Celestia felt when she became excited. “You deserve it Sweetie, but breakfast first, and you have to feed Opalescence before anything else, okay?”

“Okay!”

It was late afternoon when Sweetie Belle came back. She had kept her promise and fed Opalescence, and had spent most of the morning walking around town or cleaning up the Cutie Mark Crusaders HQ.

“Twilight!” she called as she walked into the library. “I’m back!” There was no answer. “Twilight? Are you home?”

She walked towards the kitchen until she heard a noise. Walking towards it, she found the door to the basement slightly ajar. Inside, she could see a veritable kaleidoscope of shifting colors inside casting strange shadows on the wall.

“Are you down there, Twilight?” she called. There was no reply, but for a moment she thought she heard her mentor’s voice downstairs.

Opening the door and carefully making her way downstairs, she was able to hear more clearly.

“Okay, Spike, you have to do three turns only!”

“Gotcha, Twi!” There was cranking sound. "Gosh, this thing is labor intensive!" Spike added, sounding somewhat grumpy.

“I know, but I want to finish this before Sweetie comes back.”

Sweetie stopped.

“Why?” Spike asked, unknowingly echoing the filly’s thoughts, “Do you think she’d get in the way or something?”

Is that how she thinks of me? Sweetie Belle thought, tearing up a bit, Even after all that effort...

“Don’t be silly, Spike,” Twilight replied, still out of sight, “Sweetie is a really smart filly; I’m sure if she were around to help we would be fine.”

“Then why...”

“It’s because I want to concentrate on her studies Spike,” Twilight confessed, “She has a lot to learn and magic like this might confuse her. She needs to learn the basics first and she is very curious, so I know she would try and understand this...” The purple unicorn sighed. “It’s like my old professor used to say: You have to build a solid foundation.”

“What is this, anyway?”

Sweetie Belle finally reached the end of the steps and looked into the lab. In the middle of the basement was a huge crystal orb floating over some sort of machine. Spike was patiently watching and switching some levers while every few moments Twilight would cast a spell into it."

“Well, Spike, this sphere allows me to cast spells that affect time and space itself; it is an ancient artifact that I am making the subject of my thesis,” Twilight explained, as she cast another spell into it, “Princess Celestia was very generous to let me use it.”

“You already have a thesis planned?” Spike asked, impressed, “That’s amazing Twilight!”

“Well... I... okay, I really just wanted to study it, I haven’t really thought much about the paper itself...”

Spike chuckled. “Well, you at least know what you’re trying to do right now?”

Twilight shot the dragon a dirty look. “Of course I know, Spike!”

“Right.” The dragon rolled his eyes, clearly not convinced as her glanced to the stairs and spotted the filly. “Hey, Sweetie Belle!”

Twilight stopped and looked over her shoulder with a small smile. “Hi, Sweetie! Don’t be shy, come in, I’m just about finished.”

The filly stepped carefully into the room, doing her best to avoid touching the machines or getting too close to the crystal orb.

“Um, hi Twilight,” she said once she was safely in one of the corners of the room, “So, is this what Princess Celestia sent you?”

“That’s right!” Twilight smiled. “But that’s not the only thing!” She pointed at a nearby table with a lot of other devices on it. “Those are for you to practice! Go on, take a look!”

“I think I’ll stay here until you finish, if you’re almost done,” Sweetie Belle said.

Twilight smiled at her and nodded.

The filly watched the purple unicorn for a moment, but other than concentrating magic while Spike adjusted knobs and wrote down numbers, Twilight didn’t seem to be doing much.

Sweetie Belle sighed. I should have just gone to the table. She glanced at it, trying to make out the different objects on top of it. There was a strange cube and several smaller ball-like items lying there, just outside her sight.

Sweetie Belle stole a glance at Twilight and then at Spike. Both seemed completely fixated on their project, Twilight had even closed her eyes in concentration. Biting her lower lip, she looked back at the table. I wish this thing didn’t take up most of the space in the basement! her eyes followed the contours of cables and machine. I think if I levitate them, they won’t touch the machine and they should just float past the orb... she smiled to herself. Okay... here we go, just like in practice...

Her horn started glowing with a soft white aura and slowly several objects started to float. Sweetie Belle’s eyes narrowed as she commanded her magic to bring them to her. Twilight will be so proud of me!

The young unicorn’s magic carried the objects past the table and over the machines. It was when they were passing the Crystal Orb that things went wrong.

Twilight’s eyes snapped open as she tried to cut her spell short, but she couldn’t! She looked in horror as the white magic aura around the magical items was suddenly sucked into the crystal. The magic items floated there as their magic was forcefully stripped from them.

“S-Spike!” Twilight shouted, “Go to the other room and cut the energy source!”

Spike turned around at her shout and his eyes widened in horror as he saw the items starting to shake and smoke started to pour out of them.

“I’m going!” he shouted as he hopped over the machines and ran into another room. There was a short pause and then... “I can’t! I turned it off an' on, but it won't stop!”

Sweetie Belle for her part couldn’t concentrate much on what was happening. She looked around as things seemed to slow down. She saw Twilight turn to look at her with a horror. The purple unicorn was shouting something, but she couldn’t hear her.

It was then that one of the small ball-like items exploded. To Sweetie’s eyes it seemed as if it broke into pieces with fire slowly making its way out, only for it to very slowly spiral into the crystal, which started to turn orange.

The next one followed the same fate, only slower if possible. She saw, with a horrifying slowness, how the magic exploded into Twilight Sparkle. The purple unicorn was completely engulfed in magical flames, but her worried eyes never wavered from Sweetie Belle.

There was a bright flash of light and when she could see again, she only saw a crystal figure of a unicorn where her mentor used to stand. Another item exploded, got syphoned into the crystal sphere and then it was her that was covered in magic.

As the world bent and shifted around her, she saw, in a dreadful moment of clarity, Twilight shatter into pieces that were caught in the magical maelstrom. They floated in the air and flashing out of sight before Sweetie could even lift a hoof in protest.

The world shook around her. The sphere cracked. Suddenly everything was moving much faster and there was an earsplitting cry as Sweetie Belle screamed.

o.0.o

“AAAAaaah!” She jerked violently violently, finding herself struggling against something warm and stifling before she rolled to the side and fell. “Oof!”

Sweetie Belle shook her head and groaned. “Uhh... wh-what?” She detangled herself from the comforter and looked around, blinking.

She was in her room. She shook her head. What am I doing here?

Her eyes snapped wide open.

The crystal orb.

The magical items.

The explosion.

“Twilight!”

In a panic, she slammed the door open with her magic and quickly ran down the stairs.

“Sweetie Belle!” A voice called just as she was about to open the door and run out.

“Huh?!” The filly unicorn did a double take. “Sis?! When did you get back- Wait... if you’re here... how long have I been out?”

Rarity looked at her younger sister with a bit of trepidation. “I... believe you went to sleep early last night, Sweetie.”

“I... I did?” Sweetie Belle sat down. “Wow. I must have been really tired... and that dream!”

“What dream?”

“I dreamt that Twilight had a horrible accident and... and...”

“It’s okay, Sweetie,” Rarity said, comforting the smaller unicorn, "Twilight is fine, I promise. I just saw her last night before-”

“Wait!” Sweetie Belle interrupted. “What time is it?!”

“About 8:30... why?”

“Oh no! I’m late!” Sweetie panicked.

“For what? It’s your vacation.”

“But I’ve been studying really hard with Twilight, I can’t miss a class! I’m getting really good!”

“You... you have?” Rarity blinked. “Good at what?”

Sweetie Belle’s horn glowed for a second as her saddle-bags floated up to her and settled on her back.

Rarity’s mouth fell open.

“Anyway, I can’t stay! Sorry, sis, I've got a shield spell to learn!" the filly shouted in excitement as she ran out the door and closed it behind her.

Rarity stared at the door for a second before clamping her mouth shut with an audible snap.

o.0.o

“I’m late, I’m late!” Sweetie Belle groaned as she galloped towards the library. She thought she heard somepony shouting her name, but she ignored them as she reached the Library.

Surprisingly the door was locked. Sweetie Belle frowned. “Oh, she must still be working with those items Princess Celestia sent her!” she said, brightening. “But as her apprentice, I know the spell to open it!”

A few seconds later, she had closed and locked the door behind her. The library was quiet as usual, save for the sound of somepony humming to herself from the bathroom.

Sweetie Belle walked towards the bathroom door, but stopped when she heard whoever was behind it approaching.

The door swung open, and Sweetie Belle smiled.

“Sorry about being late... Twi... ligh...” She blinked.

Staring down at her, toothbrush frozen mid-stroke, wrapped in Twilight’s favorite towel, bubbles of toothpaste all around her mouth and eyes wide in surprise, Trixie stood, gaping at the filly.

o.0.o End Prologue o.0.o