• Published 20th Jun 2012
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Troubled New Home: What's Old Is New Again - SolvableSphinx



A burned out Twilight Sparkle gets sent back to a different universe's Episode 1.

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Chapter 1

Troubled New Home
What's Old is New Again

Written by Solvable Sphinx

Standard disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction that does not depict real people or events, and any similarities to such are coincidences. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is the property of Hasbro. All other franchises are the intellectual property of their respective owners. Distribution of this work for profit is strictly prohibited. Please support the official release.

<<<<<<<<<<========================================>>>>>>>>>>

It wasn’t the Ponyville library, but had done well these past few decades. The office, her one refuge, was kept obsessively clean. Her walls were covered with diplomas, degrees, certifications, and pictures when they were not covered with bookshelves. Her desk was made of the finest mahagony, crafted magically to bend the very fabric of space and time so that she could have comfortable naps when the desire fell upon her. The statue of Discord stood beside her door, it’s rather amusing expression covered by the coat she left upon it.

Twilight Sparkle was an intelligent, powerful, wise and kind pony of many years. The current data suggested that due to prolong and intense use of the Elements of Harmony, her mind and body were being warped into a new, more regal form. Therefore, she was Celestia’s protégé once more, and had to practice her ‘Princess lessons’ when speaking with all subjects of the Equestrian crown. This is what Twilight kept saying to herself as she listened to the supposedly distressed student pleading with her over the telephone.

“No, I will not give you a better grade,” Twilight told the person on the other end of the line. There was more talking on the other end, not quite audible to others in the room. Twilight sighed a little bit. “How unfortunate. What was her name?” there was more talking.

“Huh. You said she died two times during this semester alone. The data would suggest that since your grandmother is constantly dying and being reborn, you would be part phoenix. Which is false, since phoenix are incompatible with ponies. In any case, they’re much smarter than you,” Twilight said in deadpan. More babbling came from the other end.

“Well let’s go down the list, shall we?” Twilight asked, an edge of vindictive glee in her voice. “You’re always late to class. You’re always drunk. You are never keeping colt friends, and I had to console several of the talented young stallions you threw away because they needed a mother figure and apparently I’m it. Although the rise in social illnesses correlating to your arrival does not suggest you are the cause, I would still suggest testing.”

There was outright yelling now, although Twilight stood her ground. “Well, the data suggest that you could be defined as such if we were strictly keeping with the dictionary definition. Oh, the Chancillor? Do you mean our fair Princess Luna? Founder and head of the Royal Lunar University, of which you are taking classes and allowing you to pester me with all these wonderful toys?”

There was silence on the other end. Twilight smiled. “Gotcha. I won’t be handing out ‘emergency bonus grades’. Go to bed, fail the final with some semblance of dignity, and register for another semester. If you do well, this one will be forgiven. Now good night.”

Twilight hung up the phone before quietly tucking it away. Spike knocked on the door. “Come on in, Spike.”

The young dragon had entered into the office carrying a tray. “I got you some milk and cookies,” Spike said. He was larger now, more the size of Big Macintosh than a young foal. He seemed more mature, and in many ways he was, but at his core he was still the same Spike.

“You don’t need to treat me like a kid, Spike,” Twilight replied. “In fact, aren’t I kind of your mother?”

Spike grinned. “You hatched me, but that doesn’t you Mom. Your Mom is my mom. That's why I call her Mom, remember?”

“Fair enough,” Twilight said with a shrug. Despite her initial protest, she began to nibble on one of the cookies. “These are good.”

“Are they? I learned how to make them from Pinkie Pie,” Spike replied with a grin.

“Which means they’ll go to my flank,” Twilight replied with a sigh. “Or would, if I were a normal pony.”

“But you are a normal pony,” Spike said.

“No Spike. If I were a normal pony, then other ponies wouldn’t be treating me like some sort of Princess,” Twilight replied, quickly standing up and walking out of her office. Spike followed her.

“My love life is a mess, which I guess goes along with being ‘an egghead’. Or the fact that I’ll outlive most of my age cohort. My friends are all in corners of the world I have absolutely no control over. My family expects me to do… something…

“And to top that all off, I either have to deal with hero worship, insolence, or political chicken manure!” Twilight ranted off.

“How’s politics involved in this? You’re not a politician,” Spike replied.

“No, I’m not. I’m the Chair of the Arcane Sciences department. Which means I get to sign off on money. In fact, I get to sign off on all the money!” Twilight said with false enthusiasm. “Oh, I was dreading a life of studying subjects which intrest me, in relative solitude, while drawing a government paycheck for it. Now I get to spend all days fisical reports and requests and papers which I couldn’t give two bits about until my eyes go bad, which is oh so much better.

“I swear by all gods old and new, and I mean this Spike, overseeing a thesis defense was the highlight of my month. My month! I should be the one defending research. Or making a new spell. Or studying all the new things going on in the fields of natural philosophy. The fields of natural philosophy. It’s dividing itself now because there so much to do and learn. And I should be doing that! Learning and doing! Not wasting my life in an office!”

“But Princess Luna asked you to do this, Twilight. And you were so happy to do it,” Spike said, almost pleadingly.

Twilight sighed, looking around as she walked. She was approaching the library now. For some reason it was a more comfortable place to sleep in than her own almost lavish bedroom. “Yeah Spike, I know. But you know what would make me happy right now? Going back to Ponyville.”

Twilight opened the door to the library and turned on the lights. This library was much more plush and intimate than Celestia’s, with comfortable carpets and places to sit for multiple body layouts. But it was all wood and brass, like some royal’s parlor instead of the comfortable reading place the Ponyville library was. “But you were in Ponyville last week,” Spike said.

“Not that Ponyville. I want to go back to the old Ponyville,” Twilight said as she found herself a particularly large pillow to lay down on.

“You’re going to mess up your mane like that,” Spike warn.

“It’s already messed up,” Twilight said with a yawn, before laying down. She stroked the luxerous couch, cooing lovingly to it. “Oh couch, I’m so unfaithful with my bed by sleeping with you. Nopony must ever know.”

Spike sighed. “Now your just being silly.”

“I’m a tired old mare, Spike. A lonely, tired, single old mare that even Cadence couldn't find a match for. I have a right to be silly,” Twilight replied, closing her eyes. “Turn off the lights on your way out, and wake me up before the librarian comes by and throws a fit.”

“Yes ma’am,” Spike wearily replied. He then turned off the light, leaving Twilight alone with her thoughts and dreams.
~ ~ ~The sun was bright in the face of Twilight Sparkle. Slowly she shook the sleep from her eyes. She felt so fatigued, but from the blurry image of the book laying on the desk she quickly decided that she was sleep reading again. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, then looked around.

She was in a library, but it was not nearly as baroque as the one she fell asleep in. Everything was either off white or brightly colored, brightly colored modern books sitting on the shelves. The glass windows let the sun into the atrium, which would decay the older tomes that Princess Luna favored making available for her students, researchers and printers. The giant globe and the hour glass sitting in the center of the room was perhaps the biggest giveaway to her location.

“Oh no no no no! I’m in the Canterlot Royal Library! I must have teleported here while I was sleep researching!” Twilight said frantically, almost reaching to the point of yelling. “Maybe if I used a spell to travel back in time… no, I don’t have any time for that! Where are my clothes?”

The mare looked around for the clothes that she normally wore, particularly her vest and sweater, before seeing herself in an antique silver backed mirror.

Twilight gasped. The pony before her was not her. She looked like Twilight Sparkle, but was a much younger mare of normal proportions, and with a relatively stubby horn. Twilight screamed, backing away from the mirror as quickly as she could.

“Twilight, what’s wrong?!” Spike yelled, running into room. Twilight could hear her heart racing in her ears as she saw her assistant and little brother figure appear at least fourty years younger. A full on baby dragon.

“I… you… you’re a baby!” Twilight babbled incoherently.

“I’m not a baby! I’m eight years old!” Spike replied indignantly. “Geez. What’s going on with you?”

“I don’t know! Maybe a spell backfired! Or anything!” Twilight yelled, before realizing that she was panicking. She then closed her eyes, and began counting quietly to twenty, her hoof lightly tapping on the ground.

“Uhh… Twilight? Are you okay? What are you doing?” Spike asked.

“Calming down,” Twilight replied. She still seemed somewhat panicked, but at least she wasn’t yelling now. “It’s an old zebra trick. If you count slowly, you give yourself enough time to calm down enough from panicking to make better informed decisions.”

“That’s… actually kind of cool,” Spike replied. “But why are you so nervious?”

“I don’t know,” Twilight replied. “That’s the problem. Anything could of gone wrong while I was sleeping.”

“You look perfectly normal to me. A bit tired, though. Maybe you should take a nap. I do it all the time, so it must be good for you!” Spike replied enthusiastically.

“Umm… no thanks,” Twilight replied, pulling down a book. “I need to figure out what happened so that I can go ahead and teach my class. I hate being late for class, especially if I’m the professor!”

“You… a professor? Seriously, Twilight, what’s going on. You’re not a professor. You’re Princess Celestia’s student,” Spike replied.

Twilight stood still for a moment, before pulling down a couple of more books. “Spike, what’s today?”

“Thursday. The day before the Summer Sun Festival,” Spike replied, which caused Twilight to pull down a few more books. “Need any help?”

“Not right now. I’ll take a nap after I do some light reading,” Twilight replied, before casually lifting two dozen tomes on theoretical magic with her own unicorn telekinesis.

“That’s light reading?” Spike asked.

“Actually, it’s… yes, Spike. Yes it is,” Twilight replied. “I need to get some more exercise anyway. Get some fresh air, see some friends. I’ll be in the park if you need me, okay?”

“Sure thing, Twilight,” Spike replied. As the young unicorn mare walked out, he began thinking to himself. “She’s sorta acting like normal, but she’s not making any sense. Who should I talk to?” At that, he smiled as the answer almost immediately entered into his head. “Princess Celestia! She’ll know what to do!”
~ ~ ~
“Okay… okay… plan. I need a plan,” Twilight muttered to herself as she walked down the hoof trail. Carriages were passing by on the bridge below, which itself was strange, but she didn’t pay it any mind. “Plan is… read! Reading always gets me out of trouble! Or into it. But generally out.”

As quickly as she set off to find her favorite spot in Canterlot, she found it. Sitting down in front of her favorite tree, with the ambient sound of foals playing and ponies enjoying a little bit of nature in the middle of a busy city, Twilight took out the first book.

“Okay, so, let’s see. A little bit of providence would be really nice right about now,” Twilight said to herself. She randomly flipped to a page, and began to read.

~ ~ ~

And it came to pass that three years before Her reign, that there was another ruler. For even as there are two rulers of the sky, there were two rulers of all ponies. The elder, who ruled the day, and the younger, who ruled the night.

Behold, for in those days all ponies slept safely at night, protected by their ruler. But she was a lonely Princess, and a jealous one. And in this moment of weakness, she fell to the chaos which sought to rule her heart, even unto Discord.

And thus she transformed into the Nightmare, and sought to dominate all pony-kind. And she spoke pleasing words unto the ponies of the land, even unto the five tribes (for in those day there were five). And behold, a third of the hosts of ponies followed her. And all of the mereponies followed the Nightmare, for they worshipped the moon before they were destroyed.

And there came to be a great war upon the land, and Discord reigned over all. The older sister, with heavy heart, used all her power to banish her Discordant sister, and restore Harmony. And those who followed her sister were purified, and brought unto Harmony, save the mereponies, for they become too Discordant and were swept away by Harmony.

The older sister was offered rulership of all ponykind, and refused. She instead became Chief Arbitor, and ordained those strong mares and stallions she most trusted to bring Justice and Harmony unto the land. And thus began the Reign of Judges.

~ ~ ~

Twilight stared at the book, dumbfounded. She began to flip the pages forward. She began to flip the pages back. And what she found, consistently, was a cross between a religious text and a history book. And it was all almost right, but very, very wrong at the same time.

Being a mare of science, a master of arcane, and an acknowledge expert in the fields of her study, she did the only thing which made sense to her at the time.

“WHAT IS THIS CHICKEN MANURE?!"

~ ~ ~

Princess Celestia sighed to herself as she reread the letter.

“Twilight Sparkle… I’ve really let you down, haven’t I?” she asked herself. She quietly paced in her office, thinking about the quickest and easiest way to make her most faithful student’s life better without… undue meddling.

Because it isn’t meddling. It’s helping.

“Aunt Celestia,” a certain nephew said as he stood by the door.

“Oh, Blueblood. Come in, my favorite first nephew,” Celestia said, motioning a comfortable cushion across the room from her.

“Aunt Celestia, I’m you’re only first nephew still alive,” the noble whine.

“So you know that I’m being perfectly truthful,” Celestia replied. “So, what little scandal are you needing me to wish away this time?”

Normally fur doesn’t flush. So the fact that Blueblood’s face became bright didn’t help him any.

“Oh, nephew, you’re such fun to tease. Unless… you didn’t have a bastard, did you?” Celestia asked.

“What? NO!” Blueblood replied, feeling indignant. “I’m still a virgin! How can I have a child when I’m… oh.”

“The fact that you are not a healthy, virile young stallion…”

“Oh gods not this conversation…” Blueblood whined.

“… is apparently a conversation best saved for another day,” Celestia replied, before sighing. “How is it that everypony is less modest but more prudish these days? Ah well. What is it that you need?”

“Well, I’m overseeing the general preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration. In your honor, of course.”

“Of course,” Celestia drolly replied.

“But none of my normal contacts will deign to handle the preparations for your arrive in Ponyville. None that I feel I can trust not to turn it into another carousal of corruption and nepotism, at least,” Blueblood stated.

“Hmm…”

“Aunty…”

“Nothing~”

“Aunty, everyone related you by blood knows when you’re meddling,” Blueblood said.

“Oh, I’m not meddling. I’m helping,” Celestia said with a smile that was too innocent to be real. “You need a manager, and I need to get my most faithful student away from those dusty old books. If anything goes wrong, it’ll go wrong in simply the most delightful of ways.”
~ ~ ~
Twilight slumped against the tree, exhausted. Her picks had been semi-random, titles that stood out among the familiar shelf faces of the library. But after reading through them all at a dizzying rate, she finally came to the undeniable conclusion.

“I’m in a different world…”

The first clue was the fact that the history was different. As she dug deeper, she found that natural philosophy had become natural science, and finally differentiated into the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and many more. At the same time, magical sciences were stuck at least a century back, and “arcane philosophy” was seemingly primitive at best. Even the language was different, a mix of old words and new that was familiar yet slightly jarring.

“It’s just… how?” Twilight asked to herself, lost in her thoughts.

“How what?” a voice asked, causing Twilight to scream in startled surprise. The mares looking at her recoiled a little at the sudden frantic act, before Twilight got her barings.

“Oh… uh… sorry about that,” Twilight said sheepishly.

“It’s okay. It was kind of my fault,” the mare apologized. She seemed familiar, but at the same time her name escaped Twilight’s mind. “We’ve just gotten presents for Moondancer’s party and we thought it would be nice to invite you along. So, want to come?”

“I… uh…” Twilight said, thinking for a moment. All these events were familiar, but at the same time she couldn’t quite place them. “I’m… not good with parties. Not the big ones.”

“Oh…” the mare said, obviously disappointed.

“But I could give it a try,” Twilight said sheepishly. “I can’t make any promises, but it could be a nice break from all this studying. When is it?”

“It’ll be in the south end of the park, three blocks away from the mall. It’s part of the Canterlot Summer Sun Festival, so there’ll be everything there. It’ll be great to have you there! The foals would love to see more of that magic that everyone knows you’re good at,” the other two nodded, giving broad smiles.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you then,” Twilight said, as she levitated the books and began walking away. Even as she warmed up to socialization, she was more at home with a close group of friends than a large gathering of strangers. It did have it’s own promise, though. There were several sociological experiments that she could…

“No. Bad Twilight. We have ethics boards for a reason,” Twilight said to herself as she walked by another familiar duo. She absently waved backed at their greeting, still thinking to herself about her situation.

Then it hit her.

“Wait… Summer Sun Festival?” she asked herself. “It’s… it’s today. It’s that day. The day I was sent to Ponyville and…”

She broke out into a run. If she was both somewhere else and somewhen else than her normal universe, then she was going to need all the information that she could get. Soon enough she got to destination, running into the library and panting for breath. She remembered why she decided to skip most forms of physical activities as a young mare, every muscle in her legs and her lungs burning from being pushed too hard. She didn’t relent, though, as she quickly took off her saddle bag and pulled books from the shelf.

“No,” she said, looking at one before tossing it to the side. “No. No. No. No. Ahah! That’s the ticket!”

“Umm… Twilight. What’s going on?” Spike asked, walking in from a different room.

“Research!” Twilight replied, grinning manically as she took a particular reproduction to the reading stand.

“Research?” Spike replied. The exact way that Twilight was talking was setting off a large number of alarms in Spike’s head. For a moment he was even sure that he saw some sort of dark, malevolent Royal reflected in the giant hour glass that formed the centerpiece of the main reading room, but it was gone just as soon as Twilight passed it. Twilight began to flip through the pages, her eyes moving across pages at an almost unnatural rate before they stopped.

“And there we go!” Twilight said, reading over the book. “Vague prophecy, nice round number that should be fairly distant in the future, vaguer way of bringing about the prophecy’s resolution that doesn’t quite add up to my version of the original events. All the elements are there, but it just needs a special spark.”

“That… sounds bad…” Spike said reluctantly.

“I know, right?” Twilight cheerfully replied to the threat of existential doom hanging over the nation.

“Shouldn’t we tell the Princess?” Spike asked.

“Tell her what? She wouldn’t believe some silly filly who can’t get out of a library. And if anything goes wrong, then I have the highest trust in my faithful mentor, Princess Celestia.” Twilight replied, seeming slightly manic and all too saccharine.

“That… sounds even worse somehow,” Spike said. “Should I be worried?”

“Oh no, Spike. No worry at all. Worry not I. Why? Because I’ve been invited to a Party!” Twilight said, slightly manic gleam in her eye growing to worrying proportions as she slowly approached the baby dragonwith an overwhelmingly fake sacarine smile. “And I’ll go there in a pretty dress and dance and meet all the colts! Doesn’t that sound exciting?”

“Twilight… you’re scaring me…” Spike said with a slight whimper.

Twilight seemed to sober for a moment, before sighing. “Sorry Spike. The last few days have been… very stressful. I just… need to go home and relax. Yeah. That.”

“Well, I’m not sure about home, but maybe this will help,” Spike said, opening up the scroll in his hand. He cleared his throat, before he began reading the scroll.




To my most faithful student Twilight Sparkle,

As you may already know, it will soon be the thousandth Summer Sun Celebration. Although many place both within and without the borders of Equestria shall celebrate the event, I shall be celebrating in the town of Ponyville, the modern settlement closest to my old home.

Very few unicorns are interested in magic these days, and I am glad that you are continuing your tribe’s proud tradition in your own way. But you must simply get away from those dusty old books once in a while. You are a young and capable mare with a lot of potential, and for that reason I am giving you your first official royal duty:

You are to travel to Ponyville at your earliest convenience by Our own privately supplied pegasus drawn carriage to supervise the final preparations of the Summer Sun Celebration. Ensure that the food will be pleasing to Our guests, that the entertainment shall be marvelous, and that Our guests shall celebrate the Day in a safe and secure township.

Unofficially, I know how you get. Don’t stress over it, and don’t be afraid to send a message to myself or Prince Blueblood if there is a problem that you can’t handle.

I’m also giving you an unofficial duty: Make some friends. It may seem a tad out of touch coming from a Royal as old as I am, but trust me, life’s too short to spend alone in some library.

I hope you have a wonderful time managing the most important and well covered festival in all of Equestria.


Sincerely,
H.M.S.M. Princess Celestia, Sovereign of the Sun, Regent of the Moon, etc., etc.




Twilight stared Spike and the reading of the letter. She had no words, but instead began walking to the nearest wall and lightly banging her head against it.

“Umm… Twilight? What are you doing?” Spike asked

“Maybe if I become dumb this will all go away.” She said, with far too much exhaustion in her voice. She then sighed, and stopped it. “You know what, forget it. Let’s go.”

“So soon?” Spike asked. “Don’t you need to pack up?”

“If this Ponyville has a library and a restaurant, then I think I’ll be okay. Let’s go, Spike. It’s the most important Summer Sun Celebration in a thousand years. We need to make sure the Princess gets a proper debut.”
~ ~ ~


Day 1, about 1:00 pm

Like all other prolonged journies into other worlds or times, I am keeping a journal. I’ve already used ‘Sparkle’s Ontological Inertia’ to ensure that it will return in my home time and place, even if I do not come out of this alive. Hopefully this doesn’t end up as nightmare inducing as some of the other logs I… or rather, possibly different versions of me… have produced.

Maybe this will be one of the ones where I do not outlive my generation, settle down, and have a family? And not watch as my nieces and nephews have their own children and reach middle age? I shouldn’t let myself fall into depressive introspection, at least not while there’s things to do and exciting new things to learn. At least I’m finally out of that cramped office and away from those nagging tenured faculty, hungry post-docs looking for positions and lazy undergrads learning that the world won’t cater to them for the first time.

I do not know truly where I am. It appears to be some sort of alternate world. Things here appear mostly the same, but at the same time different. The differences are somewhat fascinating, yet worrying. There’s a lot more diversity here, but a lot more violence and conflict. What are the philosophical implications of this?

I’m living through another version of the day I met my friends. Once again, I am being forced to solve some crisis that I have no control over.

The magical sciences are at least a century behind in this version of Equestria, while the natural sciences are at least a century ahead. What does this mean? Is this a dream, and I’m finding a way to make myself the most important unicorn in Equestria while giving myself something new to play with while reliving fond memories? I hope it is. I do not want to think that I’ve accidently killed this universe’s version of me.

I shouldn’t panic. Heck, maybe I should have fun with this. This is something new, and for once I’m only responsible for myself. I’ll start worry if the week has passed and it looks like I’m not going home.

Maybe this is what I’ve always wanted? A fresh start where nopony knows me. I’ve always toyed with the idea of running away, maybe building a wagon and being a showmare in some distant land, but I’ve had too many responsibilities…

Baby Spike’s giving me an odd look. I’ll finish this up later.

Twilight Sparkle