• Published 11th Jun 2017
  • 9,072 Views, 566 Comments

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-jig - Justice3442



The mysterious Table of Harmony has called on Starlight Glimmer to solve a friendship problem at Canterlot Castle, but wait! A second cutie mark belonging to a magically inclined alicorn has appeared, and unfortunately for Twilight, it’s not hers.

  • ...
17
 566
 9,072

Chapter 1: The Hound of the Harmony Table

Author's Note:

Sorry to heap more required reading on you all, but this chapter will make slightly more sense, at least as much as it can, if you read The Order of Things here.

And hey! Accompanying blog post here!

Chapter 1: The Hound of the Harmony Table


“Sunset! Sunset, come quick!” a small purple and green talking dog cried from the classroom door.

Sunset frowned as she ceased absentmindedly fiddling with the red pendant that was dangling from a simple cord around her neck and turned towards the classroom door. Sure, she could lament the fact that her calm school day had just been interrupted, or wonder why it was that a talking dog was now so routine none of her fellow students so much as made mention of it, but mostly she was concerned that she wasn’t sure which green and purple talking dog had come to seek her out.

“Spike!” Sunset exclaimed as she got to her feet. “Did something happen to Twilight?!” Sunset’s frown deepened. Well the answer to that question won’t answer anything, genius!

“It’s Starlight!” Spike added.

Sunset sighed internally. Well, that answers it. “Sorry, Ms. Cheerilee!” Sunset said as she weaved around desks heading for the classroom door. “Duty calls!”

Cheerilee rolled her eyes. “Sure… Just teaching Human Geography here… Not like knowing how many people live in Ecuador is important or anything…”

“Thanks for understanding!” Sunset shouted as she opened the door to the classroom. “And also for noting this class is worthless!” she added as she followed Spike out, the small dogs nails scratching on the tile as he bolted.

“THAT WAS SARCAS-UGGGHHHHH!”

“Pffft, really? Sarcasm?” Aria Blaze said from the back of the class, her large purple boots resting on the top of her desk. She shook her head. “This class is full of the most useless information ever, and Sonata’s shown me charts on the names of characters from puppet shows.”

Cheerilee narrowed her eyes. “Aria. Why do you have to be so… so…”

“Truthful? Honest? Correct?”

“Untactful!” Cheerilee cried. Cheerilee motioned towards a green skinned woman with red dreadlocks who was sitting next to Sunset whose lilac-colored, rather bloodshot eyes were wide open and pointed towards the front of the room. “What can’t you show a little interest like Tree Hugger there?”

Aria glanced to her right. “Man, Tree Hugger isn’t even on this planet right now,” Aria said as she waved a hand in front of the green girl’s face.

Staring forward unblinkingly, Tree Hugger uttered, “Whoa, dudes… Did you know Jupiter has a secret fifth moon?!” She leaned closer to Aria. “NASA doesn’t want us to know about it ‘cause that’s where they keep area 51,” she whispered.

Aria jerked a thumb towards the stoner. “See?”

Cheerilee let out an annoyed sigh.


With a couple zaps, Spike and Sunset found themselves on the other side of a mirror that was surrounded by metal plated wooden doo-dads that blazed with purple energy. Spike used his claws to brush off some dust from his small, scaly dragon form. Sunset took some time to get used to her lower center of gravity and to admire her relatively new wings and looked with a small degree of satisfaction that her pendant was still present around her neck.

“Alright, what did she do this time?” Sunset asked as she folded her wings against her torso.

“Nothing, yet,” Spike answered. “But there’s the potential for some Starlight related trouble here, and all of Equestria might be affected!”

“You could have just mentioned the Starlight related trouble, Spike,” Sunset replied, “I could have figured out the scope of the problem just from that.”

“Fair ‘nuff,” Spike replied. He motioned for Sunset to follow him where the two made their way down a crystalline hallway flanked by door after identical door.

“So, what’s the sitch?” Sunset asked.

“Oh, you know the big table in the throne room?”

Sunset snickered. “What, did Starlight and Trixie lose it again?”

“You know about that, huh?”

Sunset smiled. “Twilight and I tend to use our journal to vent about whatever problems we dealt with when we talk to each other.” Sunset chuckled. “Plus the whole incident is something I get to tease Starry about,” Sunset frowned slightly. “Provided she doesn’t do anything we’ll all regret.”

“Well, the table shows Starlight’s cutie mark.”

“… Okay, and?”

“Uh, and it’s just her cutie mark?”

“Do you think Starlight did something to the table?”

“Naw,” Spike replied with a shrug. “Guess the table just wants her for this friendship problem.”

“… Okay? So, why’d you grab me?”

“Well, you told me to get you in case there might be Starlight related problems!”

Sunset shrugged. “Sure, but… It sounds like the magical table thinks she’s got this… I’m sure she can handle whatever the issue is…” Sunset looked around. “Gee, no wonder Starry gets lost in this place. How do you figure out when to stop? I don’t remember the throne room being this far.”

“Oh, it’s right there…” Spike said as he stopped and pointed towards a Hallway.” We passed it once already.”

Sunset’s face tightened. “You’ve been walking us in circles?!”

“Just the one!” Spike insisted. He threw his claws up in the air. “You wanted me to fill you in! Figured you we should do that outside of earshot of Twilight and Starlight.”

“Spike!” Sunset said in a chastising tone. “Okay, you’re right, but still, this is Starlight we’re talking about! Time is of the essence! Every moment we waste can bring us closer to certain doom!”

Spike folded his arms across his chest. “Exaggerate Much? Besides,'s you just told me you didn't think this was a big deal!”

Sunset frowned. “Too much?”

Spike nodded and held up a claw, allowing for a little space between his thumb claw and index claw. “A little bit, yeah.”

Sunset shrugged. "Well, I'm sure the magic table thing knows what it's doing, but there's always a chance Starlight can endanger us or the entire planet between now and however long it takes her to get to her friendship problem."

Twilight’s blood-curdling scream sounded out from a hallway next to Sunset and Spike.

“Hah!” Sunset exclaimed. "Like that!" she added as she pointed down the hallway with a forehoof.

“Sunset!” Spike snapped as he bolted down the hallway. “We need to help Twilight!”

“I know!” Sunset shouted as she broke into a gallop behind Spike. “But just in case things are bad, I want to get my ‘I told you so’ out of the way in case it’s super insensitive to bring up later!”

Spike rushed towards a pair of massive double doors, pushing them open a hard shove which sent the doors flying open despite Spike’s small size. “Twilight?! Starlight?! What’s wrong.”

Twilight stared at the table in bewilderment. “This… this can’t be happening! I mean… She’s not even here!”

“What?! What?!” Sunset cried as she galloped into the room, and skidded to a halt.

“Sunset?!” Twilight exclaimed.

“Hey, Twilight!” Sunset greeted hastily. “What’s the problem?!”

Starlight let out a massive sigh. “Hello, Sunset…” she greeted unenthusiastically.

Sunset raised an eyebrow in Starlight’s direction. “Uh… Hey, Starry… Who pissed in your cereal this morning?”

“You know what?” Starlight narrowed her eyes. “It’s starting to look like you and Twilight took turns doing it.”

Spike shuddered. “Didn’t need that imagery, Starlight.”

Starlight pointed an accusatory forehoof at Sunset. “Hey, she asked!”

Sunset’s eyebrows lowered into an annoyed look. “Just trying to help. What’s the big deal any-Why the heck is my cutie mark floating above the big hologram table thing were Canterlot Castle is?!”

“That’s what I want to know,” Twilight said. She turned towards Sunset. “What the heck are you doing here?!”

“I just said I’m here to help!”

“With what?!” Twilight and Starlight exclaimed in unison.

Spike spoke up, “Sunset asked me to get her in case there was a possibility of Starlight related disasters she might have to help deal with.”

Starlight let out an indignant gasp as Twilight glared at Spike and then Sunset.

Sunset shot a dirty look at Spike. “Snitch!” she accused.

“Whoops…” Spike said.

“Sunset, what the hay?!” Starlight shouted.

Sunset gave Starlight a sheepish smile. “Okay… Now I pissed in your cereal.”

Spike threw his claws up in the air. “Could we stop with the gross cereal metaphor, please!”

“It’s just…” Twilight glanced at Starlight and Sunset’s cutie marks that circled above Canterlot Castle on the table’s map of Equestria. “You two aren’t even element bearers!”

“No, this is fine,” Starlight uttered indignantly. “Just make me more nervous about this whole situation, sure…”

Sunset shrugged. “Well, maybe Starry isn’t but I kind of am.”

“Uh. No?” Twilight replied. “I mean… my friends and I got the element stones. Though, the Tree of Harmony sort of took them back.”

“What?” Sunset pointed towards the red pendant dangling from her neck. “You mean like this?”

Twilight scowled at the pendant then looked back up at Sunset. “Well… Mine was bigger!”

Sunset rolled her eyes. “Real mature, Twilight.”

Starlight frowned. “Wait, you got like… an element necklace?”

“Erm, yeah…” Sunset said. “Or something like that… Guess I haven’t kept you in the loop, but my friends and I got these Equestria stones that gave us powers during summer camp.”

“... Can you invite me to the next summer camp?” Starlight asked.

“We didn’t get them as prizes or ‘merit stones’ or anything!” Sunset said. “We got them when we were fighting some crazy nature manifestation that possessed a camp counselor slash co-owner of the place.” Sunset looked down at her pendant. “Plus my power works independently of the pendant… I just wanted to look pretty today.”

Spike smirked. “Like you need a pendant for that.”

“… Awww!” Sunset said with a chuckle. “Thanks, Spike.”

Spike rubbed a claw against his chest proudly. “It’s what I do.”

“So, what’s your power?” Starlight asked.

“Oh, I can read minds when I touch someone,” Sunset answered.

Everypony took a few steps back from Sunset.

“Not every time I touch someone!” Sunset exclaimed. “No need to treat me like I got the plague, alright? Besides! I don’t need to read minds to tell that I’m just ticking off everypony.” Sunset sighed and turned. “I should go…”

“No, wait!” Starlight said. “I’m sorry I got upset with you.”

Sunset stopped and turned. “Uh, really? I mean… I’d be pretty upset with me if I was in your shoes… horseshoes? Whatever…”

“Well, the table must be calling us for a reason!”

“It called you, Starlight,” Sunset said. “It’s probably just showing my cutie mark because it needs some magical maintenance. I’m sure whatever is wrong, I’ll just get in the way.”

The red and yellow sun cutie mark above the castle suddenly grew several sizes and began spinning even faster than before.

“See!” Sunset said motioning to the table. “Totally busted! Welp, I better get going…” she said as she turned again.

Spike piped up. “Or maybe it’s super important you both go to Canterlot. Like possible end of the world important!”

Starlight began to shake nervously.

“What?! No! That’s dumb!” Sunset declared. “Why would it need me to go there?!”

Spike scratched his chin. “Oh! I get it! You’re trying to avoid Celestia!”

“WHAT! NO! DUMBER!” Sunset said. “I love Mommy and would love to see her again!”

“So… You’ll go to the castle, then?” Spike replied with a raised eyebrow.

“Ugggh…” Sunset uttered. “Look, maybe the table just thinks Starlight could use some emotional support or something! I mean, Twilight can go!”

Suddenly, Twilight’s cutie mark appeared above Canterlot castle.

“Yes!” Twilight exclaimed enthusiastically.

A red circle with a slash through it appeared over Twilight’s cutie mark.

“No!” Twilight cried angrily.

Sunset peered at the table suspiciously. “You know… For a table, it’s really tracking our conversation pretty well.”

“Oh, I know why!” Twilight shouted.

“Oh?” Sunset said in interest.

“YEAH!” Twilight shouted as she stormed to one side of the table, crawled under it, and began to rap an angry forehoof against the side. “HEY! YOU! WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?!”

“Uh, Twilight?” Sunset said in a confused tone. “You’re yelling at a table…”

“NO!” Twilight insisted. “I’M YELLING AT THE TINY DOG INSIDE THE TABLE.”

“…Okay!” Sunset replied as she forced a smile and her eyes went wide. “Well, I think Twilight could really use some rest, and—”

‘KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!’

“OPEN UP!” Twilight demanded. “OPEN UP OR I’LL SHAVE RARITY’S CAT AND TELEPORT THE FUR DIRECTLY IN THERE!”

“Twilight, calm down!” Sunset said. “You’re yelling at a—“

“ALRIGHT, ALREADY!” A deep, masculine voice shouted back. “Geez! Keep yer non-existent shirt on!”

“—table?!” Sunset said in reply.

Sunset, Starlight, and Spike suddenly crowded around the table as a rectangular portion suddenly slid away revealing a tiny tan dog with a white underbelly, muzzle, and paws which sat on a small metal swivel stool, working a much larger, but still tiny, control panel with a collection of monitors set above buttons, knobs, and dials.

Sunset, Starlight, and Spike all stared in disbelief.

The dog smiled at the audience he had collected. “Guess that cat is out of the bag, huh? Or the dog is in the table.”

“Tiny… tiny Shiba Inu…” Starlight uttered.

Sunset turned towards Twilight. “Why the heck didn’t you tell me about this before?!”

“Because it would have sounded crazy!” Twilight fired back.

“Tiny dog…” Spike uttered. “Much small. Very control station. Wow.”

“You raise an interesting point!” replied Sunset.

“Thank you!” Twilight shouted back.

“Would ya girls keep it down?” The dog barked out. “We’re all justa few inches away from each other!”

Sunset stared into the little hole in the table in bewilderment, working her mouth a bit before coherent words finally came out. “Uh… Hi? I’m Sunset Shimmer…”

The dog nodded. “Yeah, I know who you are. I remember watchin’ ya grow up in the castle. Ya used to say some pretty messed up things in your sleep.”

“Okay!” Sunset said as worried smiled appeared on her face. “Totally creeped out now!”

“Name’s Order,” the dog greeted. “I help these girls keep the peace in Equestria …” Order turned to look at Starlight. “Sometimes from each other.”

Starlight let out a sad whimper.

“Okay,” Twilight spoke up, “so why are you sending Starlight and Sunset to Canterlot Castle?”

“Well, I can’t just tell them that!” Order snapped. “I mean, c’mon! What would be the point if I just told ya girls how to fix yer friendship problems?”

“… We’d fix things and faster and with less damage?” suggested Twilight.

Sunset waved a forehoof in front of Twilight. “No, no… I think the creepy, tiny, talking dog has a point. I mean… We’d never learn anything for ourselves if he just told us exactly what we should do and why.”

“See!” Order replied as he motioned out to Sunset. “That girl gets it!”

“… Just like Mommy…” Sunset muttered.

“I mean, she’s troubled, but she gets it!” Order added.

Twilight narrowed her eyes. “Okay, but why them?”

Starlight sighed. “Thanks for the vote of confidence, Twilight.”

“Yes, why us?!” Sunset exclaimed.

Starlight turned and glowered at Sunset. “Really?”

Sunset grinned nervously and shrugged her shoulders slightly.

“There’s problems in Canterlot Castle that need, fixin’ alright?” Order replied. He pointed at Sunset with one paw and Starlight with the other. “Those two are the girls ‘ta do the fixin’!”

Starlight frowned. “Wait… problems, plural?”

Spike raised a claw. “Question.”

“Yeah, little guy?” Order replied.

The three ponies present all raised their eyebrows in the tiny dog’s direction.

Spike continued. “If you called on Starlight and Sunset, why didn’t their cutie marks vibrate? Can you only do that for element bearers?”

“Oops!” Order said as he turned towards his control panel. “Almost forgot the best part!” he said as a paw slapped a couple buttons.

‘Buzz! Buzz!’

“Ah!”

“Wha!”

Sunset and Starlight suddenly stood up, both their heads hitting the above table with twin thuds. Rubbing the pained spots, they turned to glare at Spike who smiled sheepishly and shrugged.

Twilight sighed. “So… What… You can just butt dial anypony in Equestria?”

“That’s not what that means, Twilight,” Sunset said. “Though, this version is way more accurate.”

Order shrugged. “Pretty much, yeah.”

Twilight groaned. “Great… Why don’t you just get everypony in Ponyville or even all of Equestria to solve friendship problems!”

Order narrowed his eyes at Twilight. “Hey. Keep moanin’ like that and I just might.”

Sunset closed her eyes shook her head as if trying to clear the weirdness she was seeing. Opening her eyes, she noticed nothing had changed. Scrunching her lips to the left side of her face, she said, “So you’re the animal-anthropomorphic representation of order in Equestria.”

Order smirked. “Obviously.”

“And you’re a dog…” Sunset added.

Order narrowed his eyes slightly. “What? Ya think it’d be better if I was some pony or alicorn? ‘Cause that’s pretty speciesist of ya to even think.”

“No, no!” Sunset said waving a forehoof in front of her. “I just, you know, thought of order more as just an esoteric concept…”

“Oh, suuuure, some crazy creature that looks like it was the result of some bizarre pony, dragon, lion, eagle, goat, and elk orgy as the spirit of chaos is fine—”

Everypony winced.

“Didn’t really need that image in my head, thanks…” Sunset said.

“Ugh, no kidding…” Starlight added.

Order continued, “—but as soon as you all find out there’s a tiny dog trying ‘ta keep yer cockamamie magic world from falling apart, yer all up in hooves about it.”

“Alright, sorry!” Sunset said.

Order looked around. “What? Is it question the living embodiment of order day? I try to keep ya ponies on the straight and narrow and all ya do is complain! Yer all worse than my ex!” he screamed.

“Alright, already!” Sunset snapped. “I already said I was sor… You had an ex?!” Sunset’s face began to twitch uncontrollably. “The manifestation of order got married and divorced?!”

Twilight’s expression went distant. “I have so many questions and concerns…”

Order shrugged. “Well, ya. I mean… We tried our best, but it’s hard living with the same entity for century after century, you know?”

The ponies and dragons present all looked at each other and shrugged.

“Especially the bitch that was my ex,” Order muttered.

Starlight narrowed her eyes. “Maybe if you didn’t call your ex a bitch you’d still be together.”

Order gave Starlight an indignant look. “Hey, that’s OUR word! You can’t just use it like that.”

Starlight cocked an eyebrow. “What?”

Twilight spoke up. “I think he meant that ‘literally’, as in his ex is actually a female dog.”

“Oh… my apologies,” Starlight offered.

Spike smirked at Order. “Bitches, am I right?”

“Spike!” the mare’s present all said in unison.

“Naw, it’s fine,” Order said. “The kids a dog when he swaps worlds, so it’s okay when he says it.”

Spike grinned to himself and brushed a clenched claw against his chest. “Heh… I have ‘b’ word privileges.”

Twilight let out a groan.


Sunset and Starlight trotted down a Ponyville street, their saddle bags bouncing lightly on their backs as the passed ponies going about their business. Ponies who often stopped to stare at the unknown alicorn. Although usually not one to mind a little extra attention, Sunset’s mind was anywhere but her immediate surroundings. She threw her head up sighed. “I can’t believe I’m going home after all these years based on the vague recommendation of some tiny, creepy dog!”

Starlight cocked her head slightly. “So you were trying to avoid going back to the castle.”

“Well, yeah!” Sunset admitted. “I mean, I’m at least on speaking terms with Celestia again, but talking to her is a lot different than going back to the castle where I spent a great deal of my childhood and wayward teen years.”

Starlight nodded. “Sure, sure… I can relate. I mean… I was nervous about talking to Sunburst, but luckily I had somepony who forced me to talk to him under pain of farting noises to embarrass me!” she growled out.

“Hey!” Sunset said in a protesting tone before she glanced up towards her eyelids and thought for a moment. “Okay… Sorta hypocritical of me…”

“’Sort of’?”

“Look, I reconciled with Mom, Cadance, and even Twilight!” Sunset stared forward, her turquoise eyes unfocusing a bit. “But there’s plenty more ponies in Canterlot my bratty, youthful self-ran afoul of… Not to mention I might end up getting into many heated arguments with Celestia! I mean, that’s not good for anypony.”

Starlight sighed. “You handled things well enough back at the Crystal Empire… I mean… I mostly just screwed things up!”

“You saved everyone from that huge storm!” Sunset pointed out. “I mean, sure, you also did it by condensing the moisture in the air into a giant iceberg in the sky that almost crushed everypony, but you helped there too! Sooo… Net positive goodness!”

Starlight groaned. “Well, I guess it’s a good thing I have you to keep me from screwing up too bad.”

“Honestly, I think you have… whatever the problem is in Canterlot,” Sunset said. “I mean, the weird talking dog didn’t even Bat-signal me until Spike dragged me to this side of the mirror.”

“… Bat-signal?”

“Cutie mark signal, whatever…” Sunset put a forehoof on Starlight’s shoulder getting the mare to stop. She smiled. “Look, I know you’ve gotten better and even dealt with that whole changeling thing. I’m sure you don’t need me for this one, but I’ll be around if you need me. To paraphrase something I heard quite a few times during summer camp, Yooooou’ve got this.

Starlight smiled. “Thanks, Sunset. It actually means a lot to hear you have confidence in me.” Starlight frowned and turned back towards Twilight’s castle. “At least somepony does.”

Sunset shrugged. “Eh, Twilight just responds with paranoia to every problem she’s not asked to help solve directly. I wouldn’t let it get to you.”

Starlight dropped her eyelids slightly and tilted her head. “… You didn’t…?”

“… What?”

“You know… Read my mind?”

Sunset pulled her hoof up to her forehead and closed her eyes. “I’m sensing… sensing… That you’re nervous about this whole trip and scared you’re going to disappoint Twilight and the rest of your friends.”

Starlight gave Sunset a startled look.

Sunset pulled her hoof from her forehead and grinned. “I don’t need mind reading for that!” Sunset said. “Anypony can figure that out just from talking to you. Don’t worry, you’ll knock ‘em dead!”

Starlight winced.

“Not literally.” Sunset chuckled and shook her head. “Hey, the sooner we get there and you fix this problem, the sooner I can get home before things get to awkward, or angry, or violent, or all of the above with my Mom.” Sunset looked around. “How are we getting to Canterlot anyhow?”

Starlight shrugged. “The train, of course.”

Sunset’s face tightened almost on instinct. “You bitch!” she growled out.

“Hey!” Starlight protested. “You don’t have ‘b’ word privileges!”

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!