• Published 22nd Jul 2012
  • 36,255 Views, 7,113 Comments

Rites of Ascension - CvBrony

Twilight makes a new spell and starts the gears of fate with her ascension to alicornhood. (Writing started before Season 3.)

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Poetic Revelations

Although Canterlot was located on the side of a mountain, it never got especially cold in the city itself. Special wards were placed throughout the city to prevent it from getting overly chilly. Moreover, the best weather pegasi outside of Cloudsdale were stationed here. The environment was kept tightly controlled for the elite of pony society.

This made the fog rolling down the stairs leading to the princesses’ private chambers especially odd, and it sent the hairs on the back of Twilight’s neck up on end. Normally she would never think of being tardy willingly, but given all that had happened as of late, the strangeness of the sight allowed her to consider being late to grab her armor. However, she quickly dismissed the idea, remembering that both her lesson and torc were awaiting her in the same place: the chambers up beyond the fog-drenched stairway.

The light filtering in from the floor-to-ceiling windows was a deep orange as the sun set, and as the hues got deeper, the fog began to shimmer; little pinpricks of light dancing in the clouds like stars in the night sky. She inhaled to gather her resolve, which also let her taste the moisture now filling the air. It was not musty as the castle could sometimes be; rather, it was quite crisp. It might’ve been refreshing if she could have appreciated it in the moment.

When she came to the first small landing in the large stairway, more evidence of the special nature of what she was experiencing surfaced. The fog began to sing.

The time has come, and now we stand

Ready, and forever here;

Light burned in the tower's watch,

Striking blind the mystic seer…

Each word, each note sent a burst of light spreading through the speck-sized stars in the fog like a waterfall cascading down the stairs, while the sound itself welled up from the cloud to fill the marble room. Though there was only a voice, the lack of instrumental accompaniment wasn’t missed; rather, the voice was so entrancing that any attempt to add more sound might have only marred its quality. The calm yet forceful mezzo-soprano even rivaled Sweetie Belle, who had taken the world by storm as the superstar singer “Crystal Belle” in recent years.

The deep orange light of the sunset gave the song an almost ominous tone, and forced her to swallow before continuing up the steps.

Silver light, in fallen pyres,

Stoke the hearth and relieve the land;

Break the light, yet do not waste

The path of time that fate demands.

The light faded out slowly as she made her way up the stairs, and although it never became totally dark, it was enough to see the mist begin to shimmer.

When she came to the fork near the top of the stairs, it was clear that the mist was coming from Luna’s room on the left, rather than Celestia’s, which was straight ahead.

Pauseless in our sacred truth,

Faultless we between our horns;

Duty high and ever held,

As the call eternal warns…

The light dimmed even more as she slowly approached Luna’s doors with her head down low. While Luna had, long ago, almost begged Twilight to dispense with protocol around her, she was about to approach her as a student, and that couldn’t help but make her feel a little more intimidated. Celestia had said that Luna possessed unrivaled skill in battle; such a pony would naturally be intimidating to learn battle magic from, although this was tempered somewhat by the fact that said pony had already hugged her while squealing like a schoolfilly. Twice.

With another deep breath to further reinforce her ever-waning resolve, she pulled open the door just a tiny bit and poked her head in. The singing was louder now, and it was plainly clear why; Luna was standing on her balcony in a bathrobe, singing loudly amidst a small pile of books with her horn alight, a thick mist surrounding her, pouring off of her mane and onto the floor.

Crescent form, dreams sustain,

'Til the breach comes 'round again.

As the song ended, the mist stopped flowing from her, and Twilight couldn’t help but clap her hooves together. “That was amazing, Luna! I didn’t know you could sing like that!”

A small, slightly embarrassed smile formed on Luna’s lips. “Thank you, Twilight. Although, I do not like that version so much.”

“Version?” Twilight scratched her head.

“Yes, the lyrics are a very rough translation from it’s original form. It loses so much meaning…”

Celestia’s voice sprang to life in her memory. “I’ve been alive a long time, Twilight. Few ponies know just how long, so know how much I trust you when I tell you I’m almost ten thousand years old.”

“Twilight?” Luna asked.

She shook off her slight trance. “Sorry, I was just thinking. Princess Celestia said you two were nearly ten thousand years old, and that there were other civilizations, other alicorns, in your time. Princess, how old is that song? Was it supposed to be sung in your original language?”

Luna smiled. “Ah, you gathered that this tongue we use today is not our native one. Very astute. However, this song was considered ancient even when I was your age. The language it was originally written in equally so, and it was not what we grew up speaking.” She nervously held one foreleg with her other. “Would you care to hear it with the original lyrics?”

She couldn’t help it, and dove into a fast, deep bow. “I’d be honored!”

Luna smiles with pride and motioned to a clear spot next to her. “Come, sit down and listen.”

Twilight obeyed and quickly trotted over to Luna and laid down. The princess took off her robe, spread her wings slightly, and lit her horn again, repeating the song. The mist resumed flowing from her mane, practically glowing with power. It had only been five days since the coup attempt, and the lingering unease the whole city felt afterwards had still been at the forefront of her mind, until now. It had simply melted under the influence of Luna’s spectacular voice.

When the song finally ended, the face behind the voice told Twilight that Luna did not share her sense of ease.

“I’ll be honest, Twilight. I’m rather nervous about this.”

That was not the statement she had expected to hear, and the wide array of possible reasons didn’t make her own nerves any easier.

“You see,” she continued, “I am unlike my sister in many ways. Our understanding of modern magic script is one of them. I have a firm enough grasp, mind you. I can hold my own. But, I am unsure of how to teach someone so used to these ways of scientific magic. None of my spells have been written down as such.”

This was unexpected, but not entirely surprising to Twilight. “It’s okay, princess,” she said. “I’m reasonably good at copying spells from sight.”

This got a small and only slightly hopeful chuckle from the princess. “I know this, Twilight. But these spells are alicorn spells. They have elements in them from the other races and can’t be copied visually.”

“Oh.” Once again, unexpected but entirely logical.

“There is still a way, but I need you to be open minded. Before spell scripts, there was another method which was used to pass spells from master to apprentice: incantations.”

A red flag went up in the scientist’s mind. “I thought incantations were proven to be ineffective.”

“I appreciate the euphemism, Twilight, but we both know you meant to say the word ‘bunk.’”

Twilight’s eyes went wide. She actually didn’t mean that word specifically but it was remarkably close to the way she actually felt.

Another sigh left the princess. “The scientist mages did come up with a more effective script for passing magical knowledge; this is without question. That does not change the fact that they completely missed the point of incantations.” Luna stood up and assumed a firm, almost defiant stance against the sky as she walked to the edge of the balcony. “They weren’t a simple prayer or a sleight-of-hoof magician’s magic words. They were poems! Words meant to ignite the soul! The magic wasn’t in simply saying the words or the name of the spell, it was in understanding the meaning in the depths of the stanza! This was my domain, Twilight. The world of artists, poets, philosophers, lovers… the world of dreamers! I fear that it is all but lost.” She laid back down as she said that last word, and slowly turned her head to look back at the nascent alicorn.

“But you are a genius as well as an alicorn. In this, we are lucky. It is my hope that you will be able to feel the emotions in my art, and use them to drive the spells.”

Twilight nodded. This was starting to make a bit more sense. “I’ve heard of emotional states having effects on spell performance. Are you saying that the words are clues as to how to move the magical energies?”

Luna brightened considerably, standing and pointing at her. “Yes! Exactly! By the heavens, I might be able to teach you yet.” She cleared away some of the books around her, but her demeanor quickly shifted back to somber. “There is, however, one more thing I need to be clear with you about. In order to guide your magic and teach you, I have to be able to have access to more of my magic.”

This just made her confused again, and such a back and forth was proving frustrating. “Am I blocking you somehow?”

Luna looked over to something that wasn’t there for a moment. “In a way, yes. Well, sister is right, I should just show you. Please, promise not to be scared or run away.”

Twilight nodded, confident but no less confused.

In a moment, Luna’s body was enveloped in light and grew. Seconds later, a familiar and terrifying figure stood before her: Nightmare Moon. For many moments, neither pony moved nor spoke; they merely stared at each other. After all, this was Nightmare Moon, the self-proclaimed Queen of Darkness, at one time the greatest threat to all of Equestria. A being whose very sight always instilled fear in her, even in pictures or when Luna temporarily took the form as a “disguise”.

A possibility occurred to her, and she began to reason it out. Alicorns are supposed to grow larger as they ascend. Luna was much smaller than Celestia right after we first defeated her. She was barely any bigger than a normal stallion! Then, she was larger on her return to Ponyville, and then grew even taller later.

Her head jolted up as the connection was made. Her mouth moved and spoke even though her brain demanded it to be silent, but the only concession it would make was to shout at a whisper.

Luna is the disguise!”

“I see you have figured it out.” Even her voice was that of Nightmare Moon’s, although somehow a little less intimidating. In fact, it sounded as if it was Nightmare that was scared. Even her exact look was a little different. For instance, her colors had changed; she was a very dark shade of blue or even indigo rather than black. Her wing shape had changed, too, and the fangs were normal teeth. Still, if anypony on the street had seen her, they’d most certainly have identified this as the Nightmare herself. “Yes, this is the real me. It’s Luna here, not the insanity. I have to seal about two-thirds of my power to keep my, well, more approachable form.”

Inside Twilight's mind, a small war was in progress over what to do; logic and reason fighting on whether to be reassuring or nonchalant. There was an even louder voice demanding that she run, but it sounded farther away than it should have. While the voices were arguing, her body did the leading as she simply got up on four hooves, walked over to the dark mare, and gave her a hug. There was no fear in her eyes or in her legs, only caring.

That most terrified of voices in her mind was still screaming out to her What are you doing? This is Nightmare Moon! The embodiment of death and darkness! Bow down or beg for mercy or run away or something!

Her response to this chatter came from a new, vastly powerful internal voice. It simply told the other, Shut up, and amazingly, fear’s unwelcome voice was gone, just like that.

When the hug was finally over, she looked up to see a sight that maybe no one had ever seen before: Nightmare Moon crying. No, not the Nightmare. Twilight reminded herself. Luna. This is Luna.

“Thank you, Twilight. It is gratifying to be accepted as I truly am by somepony such as yourself. I normally only use this form when I have to scare enemy soldiers.”

Twilight giggled. “Or little foals on Nightmare Night.”

“Oh! Well, yes, there is that too.” Luna’s soft laugh, even in this form, was more mischievous than threatening now. “Now, come, it is time for your first lesson.”

The sky-like mist that extended from Luna’s mane and tail whisked around her, and as it left she found they were very high up on a cloud. The teleportation was completely unlike that of Celestia’s spell or her own; there was no warmth or churning of the stomach. She was merely somewhere else in an instant.

“You and your sister both seem to like giving me lessons on clouds.” Twilight said. “Celestia put me on one earlier.”

Luna paced a bit on the cloud, re-orienting herself. “Oh? Well, it makes sense when you think about it. There is more privacy here. I’ve taken us far outside Canterlot for this so we don’t have any spies, and if something goes wrong we won’t harm anypony. Tell me, how did my sister break the news to you? I know it must’ve been a shock.”

The question brought up memories she couldn’t quite entirely process, along with a headache. “She, kind of forced magic into my body and made me change. I had wings, and I could feel so much. I’m not sure how she did it, really.”

“Nightmare Moon”’s eyes went wide as if the Elements were being aimed at her. “Ouch. That must have been painful, especially when you changed back.”

“Honestly, I was just in a state of shock. I passed out right after it ended.”

The indignation on Luna’s face was definitely reminiscent of the Nightmare herself. “And here she was chiding me to be gentle with you! I’m sorry you had to go through that. Remind me to put an ice spell on her shower faucet again.”

The two shared a laugh before a somewhat awkward moment overcame them again. After some nervous waiting, Luna broke the cycle.

“Okay, time for lesson one!” She stomped once on the cloud, and a magic circle appeared below them. There were even a few symbols written into it already. “I’m sure you know what this is.”

Twilight nodded. “Magic circles are made and used for advanced spells to help guide the flow of magic or store it temporarily. Sometimes they even appear as a consequence of the creation or use of powerful spells. But I’ve never seen somepony create such a large one with just a stomp of their hoof!”

“It gets easier with practice, but for now don’t worry about it. You’re just going to focus on the casting. Ready?”

Twilight nodded and was almost shaking she was so happy. A magic circle this large meant they were about to try something really special.

“Then sit in front of me and face where I’m facing.”

Twilight complied, and quickly felt the other alicorn standing over her.

“Do not be alarmed, I need to be close to help guide your magic if need be. Now, remember what I told you about incantations? I need you to listen to my words and repeat them, think about them, and most importantly, lose yourself in them. Let them guide your heart and your magic into the proper movements. Now, open your stream of magic into the circle and don’t worry about having to hold back. This one needs a lot of power.”

Lighting her horn, she started to push power into the circle, only to feel it practically leap up at her and demand more. She increased the power in intervals, but each time the circle just kept demanding more and more magic.

“Remember what I said about not holding back? I’ve built a limiter into the circle so you don’t need to worry about overloading it. Just let it all flow.”

It was very rare for Twilight to be able to really push all of her magic out to her fullest extent. Even when she did, she didn’t feel it was as impressive as some other ponies she’d seen, which was one of the reasons being told she was so powerful was a surprise. Though her recent battles proved that getting used to it would become necessary, there was always a desire to hold back to prevent disaster, since spells one lost control of had a nasty habit of exploding in front of one’s horn. However, if she could really let loose here… She strained her back a little and drastically increased the flow of magic to her horn. It still wasn’t enough. A couple of minutes passed, and by the end the amount of power being stored by the circle would be enough to demolish a large portion of Ponyville. It was beyond anything she’d ever had to use in a single spell before.

It wasn’t until a large majority of her magic reserves had been used by the spell that the circle finally seemed to have enough power.

“Very good. Close your eyes, and repeat my words. Do not worry what the spell should do, let it tell you what it’s doing instead. Do not merely speak, feel. Listen to the meanings, hidden or otherwise, and let them guide your spell. Remember, this is important. You must let your emotions guide you to cast this spell or any other spell recorded with incantations—especially those meant for alicorns.”

Twilight blinked in confusion. “Um, but that’s not how magic works. It’s focus and concentration that—”

Unicorns cast magic with focus and concentration. Do not be deceived by the fact that you’re using mostly unicorn magic. Pegasi and earth ponies use their emotions to control their magic, and this is an alicorn spell. Here, you must have both. For alicorn spells, it is absolutely critical that the correct emotions be used. Now, close your eyes.”

Twilight closed her eyes, but the light from the circle was leaking through her eyelids. She forced herself to ignore it as she listened to the words.

Standing on the edge of endless darkness,

Thirteen paths in heaven’s dance;

Echoes in the sky show perfect starkness,

Right the path of mother’s lance.

Despite her best efforts and her great care to repeat the words exactly as spoken, Twilight could feel Luna completely hijacking her spell and correcting it. The feedback from the correction was so extreme it started to twist her horn. Feeling as if she just got an exam back covered in red ink, her chest tightened and her mouth dried up in the cold air. Swallowing, she tried her best to shake it off and keep up with her fellow alicorn’s pace as the cadence of the incantation shifted to something new.

Mountains, valleys, and plains alike,

Carved by geology’s merciless scythe;

Seas and oceans and lakes alike,

Crests cut the land with a ravaging knife!

Twilight nearly lost control. Not of the spell, but of her thoughts. Luna’s voice wasn’t just speaking the words anymore, it was shouting them. No, not even that. The words were pouring out of her mouth and washing over her ears, striking her back and shaking her hooves. Each new syllable pounded harder than before, and then Twilight finally… let… go…

Oh grant me the strength to raise the oceans,

The grace to dance in the shadow's place,

A poise to repeat unending motions,

And rhythm to keep unceasing pace!

The younger alicorn’s mind gave up. Her mouth was repeating words that made no sense, yet she was belting them out like a life’s creed, or a battle cry. Her legs were bouncing her up and down in the ever rushing tempo, tossing all logic somewhere in the direction of the Everfree. As her brain surrendered, her heart rejoiced, dancing with Luna’s infectious rhythm.

Stars await for fury tempered,

Comets soar through heaven’s sight;

So for all that is remembered,

Bow and tremble, join aright

For thy beacon of the night!

Luna didn’t even say the last line; she stopped just short of it. It didn’t matter. Twilight continued the chant alone, bellowing the final words all on her own, knowing just what to say from the very depth of her power. Lightning cracked through her horn, sparking the spell to complete its destiny. Violent light and power blasted up from the magic circle, knocking her back and choking her lungs. Mouth open and gasping, she struggled and grasped at the cloud underneath her to keep herself in the right position to watch the light rocketing up into the sky. Flipping onto her back, she saw the spell split into innumerable smaller beams before rejoining and arcing across the sky, down over the horizon. A couple of seconds later, she scrambled to her hooves to race to the edge of the cloud in time to see an arc of white light rippling in an ever-expanding shock wave across the heavens.

As a disc of pale light peaked over the horizon, her heart danced and raced with overwhelming joy as she saw the spell was exactly what she had both suspected and prayed.

“Congratulations, Twilight Sparkle,” the smaller, more familiar Luna said. “You just raised the moon.”

In the center of Princess Celestia’s dining room stood a perfectly still Twilight Sparkle. Her eyes were as big as dinner plates, and her smile as wide as the sea. Around her, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Spike, and Princess Luna stood watching, plainly worried for their friend. Applejack walked up and waved a hoof in front of Twilight to no avail.

“I think I broke her,” the princess said. “Does anypony know how to snap her out of it?”

“What exactly did you do?” Spike asked, scratching his head.

“I had her raise the moon. She did a good job, but then smiled and froze up like this… I broke her, didn’t I?”

The three friends shared wide-eyed looks before Rainbow gave out a loud sigh. “Alright, stand back everypony. I’ll get her out of this.”

She strode right up to the catatonic mare, stuck out her tongue and planted it in Twilight’s ear. Four awkward seconds later, she pulled back out only to receive the strangest looks she’d ever gotten.

“That worked last time, I swear!”

Applejack flailed her forelegs about. “And just how in the hay did ya manage to find that out? Fer that matter, what in tarnation would possess you to—”

“I don’t even want to know,” Spike interrupted, covering his ears.

“We aren’t like that! Really! There was this—”

“Don’t. Want. To. Know,” both Applejack and Spike said in sync.

The night princess broke out into laughing so hard the windows were rattling, only speaking after the rest of the room stood silent for a few moments. “Oh, Gods! Hehe. Okay, I’m done now. Hehehehehehe. Really. I’m going to get Tia, she’ll know what to do. Hehehehehe…”

The three others were almost as frozen as Twilight as Luna strode out of the room laughing.

“Did I just do something embarrassing in front of somepony that will remember it for a few eons?” Rainbow asked.

“Eeyup,” Spike answered. Applejack responded to that with a bop to the back of the head.

Slowly, Twilight began to give signs of breaking out of her frozen state with a small laugh; one that progressively got bigger and bigger. When she was using nearly a third of her lungs per laugh she stopped laughing and started jumping around the room screaming “Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes!!!”

Applejack stepped in front of her and lightly held her with her front legs, trying to stop her jumping but only managing to make her bounce a little in place. “You okay, sugarcube?”

“Hehe, more than okay! I just raised the bucking moon! Me! I did it! Hahahahahaha! Oh, I can’t tell you how awesome this feels! Actually I feel rather tired. That spell takes a lot of power. But I did it! I could see the magic move over the horizon and yank the moon up! You wouldn’t believe the kind of power the princesses wield like nothing! I knew they were strong, but they do this every single day without even feeling winded! I know I’m not that strong yet but I still just raised the bucking moon! Eeeeehehehehehe!”

Twilight resumed jumping with full force, but after two more leaps her right front knee gave into exhaustion and sent her tumbling into the ground face first. “Oww,” she said in a moan.

“You okay?” Spike asked.

Twilight rolled over on her back. “Yeah. Whew, that… That took a lot out of me. I’m shaking a little. Hehe, look at me, the next alicorn ascendant, falling right on my face like a school filly.”

Applejack chuckled a bit. "Eeyup, kinda big contrast compared to the papers."

Twilight's head tilted while upside down. "Papers?"

"You didn't see!?" Rainbow exclaimed. "You're all over the news, Twilight."

Twilight was on her hooves in an instant. "What!?"

"Ahem!" Spike strode into the group waving a copy of a newspaper. "Secret Hero of the Battle of Canterlot. Twi—"

The purple mare tore the newspaper away from him with her magic and read it aloud.

Twilight Sparkle, long known as the personal student of Princess Celestia, has been named by an anonymous source as the true hero of the Battle of Canterlot. This source states that she both defeated dozens of enemy soldiers and personally sent the coup's leader, General Towers, into the hospital in critical condition. Additional sources have informed us that Twilight Sparkle is also under consideration to be the first pony to carry the title of Grand Mage since Stellar Horizon held it over seven hundred years ago.

"How did they find out about this? It was supposed to be classified! Tell me they never mention the word 'alicorn.’”

Spike shook his head. "No, but you should see the editorial section. They're all about you."

"Editorials!?" Twilight flipped through the paper in a scramble. "Oh, why do they always forget to list the editorial columns in the table of contents… Aha!"

Twilight’s eyes moved at an incredible pace as she took in the editorial at her highest reading speed.

"Super soldier?! Ultra-unicorn?! 'Celestia's secret weapon on the battlefield!?’" She tossed the paper down with magic. "They're making me sound like some kind of bloodthirsty, all-powerful, trigger-happy battle mage!"

"Isn't that what yer supposed to be training for here?" Applejack asked, and everyone looked at her in shock. “Er, I mean just the battle mage part.”

"Well, sort of, but not really, I mean, grah! I'm not just a walking weapon! And I'm definitely not—" Twilight lifted the paper back up to read it again. "'A dark, lethal shadow cast over the towers of Canterlot and ponydom.' What does that even mean!?"

"Now calm down, Twi, we both know that these papers can take things a bit out of proportion. And it's the alicorn thing that's important ta keep secret, right? You bein' Grand Mage and all was gonna be announced in a couple months anyway, no big deal." Applejack was doing her best, even giving her a small hug, but Twilight still felt like she was being unfairly judged. Even if some of what they were saying had a bit of truth.

"Yeah, don't pay attention to those wannabes!” Rainbow strode up to her, flying just a bit. “I mean, how many of them have, and I quote from Twilight Sparkle, Faithful Student of Princess Celestia, Lady of the Solar Court, Element of Magic, Grand Mage of Equestria, Alicorn Ascendant, and librarian extraordinaire, 'raised the bucking moon'?"

Twilight couldn't help but cringe at the list of titles, yet she chuckled at the quoting of her own profanity. "You're right, Rainbow. I did just raise the moon. Excuse me, the bucking moon. I've no reason to let this stop me now. Hehehehe… This is just so awesome!" She felt an intense desire to move and jump with joy as she remembered seeing the moonrise. Her body took her mind's yearning to leap and pushed it one step further, completing an in-place and flawless backflip to a momentarily stunned stunned audience.

“Whoa, talk about channelling me! How’d you do that?”

“Do what?” Twilight’s grin hadn’t subsided in the least.

"That backflip! I didn't know you could do that, sugarcube!"

“No, not that,” Rainbow said to curious looks. “You used an air current to boost yourself, like a pegasus would. Here, watch.” Rainbow did a perfect execution of Twilight’s backflip, even while keeping her wings locked. “Did you all feel that? The slight breeze?”

Applejack blinked in realization. “Actually, yeah! I think I felt it with Twilight too.”

“Wow, cool!” Spike said. “Hey Twi, try it again!”

“Ah, repeat an experiment. Okay, let’s give this a shot.”

Twilight jumped up a couple times, only to find gravity relentlessly pulling her down without any hope of a backflip. She wasn’t exactly the most athletic mare in existence, and though she kept her shape reasonable, a backflip would normally be beyond her. As her hooves hit the plush carpet again, frustration began to set in and she struck the carpet before realizing whose carpet it was and trying to make it look like she didn’t just do that.

Rainbow sighed. “You’re not doing it right. Try it again.”

“Just how is she supposed to do it, Rainbow? I know I’d be tryin’ to jump if I were her.”

Rainbow blew a raspberry at Applejack and strode up to Twilight. “It’s not about jumping, it’s pegasus magic. You need to want to be in the air, just like you want, I dunno, your trees to grow or something. Here Twi, jump again, but this time don’t want ‘to do a backflip’. Want ‘to be in the sky’. Really think about it, it’s the first lesson any pegasus learning to fly needs.”

Twilight nodded. “Okay, here goes.”

She closed her eyes and thought of the sky. She’d never flown before, but she’d experienced falling, flying in a hot air balloon, chariot riding, and even walking on clouds. Putting her experiences together, she thought of flight, of being in the sky as part of it. Her imagination took over and she felt the rush of air around her, wind whipping in all directions as it roared. Filling her lungs with fresh air, she took a leap. It wasn’t until the last possible moment that she opened her eyes and found her face right next to the very top of the very, very high ceiling in the dining room.

“Ahhh!” She let out a slight scream as she acted on intuition, turning and placing her hooves on the ceiling for another jump, this time straight towards the floor. With red carpeting fast approaching, she swung her legs back under her and landed with a ground-shaking thud powerful enough to knock over her friends.

Silence draped the room for a solid minute as her friends all looked around and found their footing again. Meanwhile, she stood with her legs locked and upright, stunned both at having been on the ceiling and that she managed to get through such a landing completely unharmed.


“Oooffff.” she said, getting to her hooves.

“That air current I imagined, was it real?”

“You practically summoned a small dust devil.”

Twilight looked around and realized that the room was utterly trashed.

"Uugh, I'm going to get it now. Look at this place!"

"Oh, she won't care." Spike's reassuring words were ineffective. "I mean, you can summon wind! That's gotta have something to do with pegasus powers, right? You'll be as powerful as the Princesses in no time at this rate!"

Twilight sighed and shook her head. "Pegasus powers maybe, but I'm still nothing compared to the princesses, even at a thousand times the average for unicorns."

“Whoa, hold on.” Rainbow came back into the conversation with an incredulous sounding voice. “A thousand times the average? You’re that powerful? The Princesses are that powerful?”

“Makes sense to me,” Spike said. “I mean, we’re talking about ponies that can toss around the sun.”

“It does sound kinda out there, sugarcube. Are you sure?”

Twilight nodded. “Well, think about it. Before the Princesses took control of the sun and moon, hundreds of unicorns were needed to raise and lower them. That’s all they did because it exhausted them, and only strong ones were chosen for the task. The princesses raise and lower the sun and moon each day, and Celestia did both for a thousand years every single day without fail. They aren’t even tired afterwards! A far cry from me. I just raised the moon, and I’m a bit out of it even with Luna helping me.”

Despite the analysis of her own limits, things felt better somehow. "A thousand times an average unicorn… Raising the moon… Maybe it will be okay in the end."

Twilight had just enough time to finish that sentence before the source of a familiar voice ran in, with an equally familiar sister behind her.

“What happened here? Twilight? Are you ok?”

The sight of Celestia running into the room was exactly what Twilight needed to break out of her locked stance, and scrunch down into a small ball.

Spike ran right up to her. “It was so awesome! Twilight can summon wind! She jumped clear to the ceiling!”

Twilight squeaked and got even smaller.

The Princess of the night bellowed. “Ha! I told you she was farther along than you thought, Tia. She’s bound to randomly discover all kinds of things at this rate.”

Applejack came forward and placed herself in front and to the side of Twilight. “We’re powerful sorry about this, Yer Majesty. We pushed her to try.”

Luna just kept giggling. “Oh, Tia’s always hated this room anyway. Maybe we could get rid of this ugly bright red and get something darker. Perhaps—”

Celestia sighed and interrupted. “You aren’t redecorating my dining room, Luna.”

“Foo.” Luna’s expression soured.

The elder princess went up to her pupil and knelt down with a welcoming face. If she was trying to calm her down, it worked; she could feel herself more relaxed by the second.

“I’ve been feeling tense lately as well, my student. Come, I have something special to show you. I assume everypony could excuse us for a little while?”

The group all bowed, save Luna, as the two mares walked out of the room with Twilight dutifully following her mentor out the door, but stopping just before exiting through it.

“Wait,” Twilight asked. “Why is my ear wet?”

Author's Note:

Whew! Been a while, huh? Sorry it took so long, but there's some bad news. Next chapter will be quite some time still. I'm currently working on a lot of material in block two, which is only halfway to two-thirds done. But it was taking so long I wanted to give you guys something, which meant releasing this chapter a bit early. Why? Well, because it was vastly, vastly more mature than the other parts of the block, mainly because it was written first and written a long, long time ago. I wrote most of this before block one was even done! Thus, it is far more 'done' than all the other pieces of the block, which are under heavy construction, either with missing pieces, major issues to correct, or even need total rewrites! Follow my blog to hear about updates as they happen.

Also, everyone welcome Fausticorn to the editing team! She's done a lot for the story already, from editing to setting up various resources for the team, including the public IRC channel where I host chats!

You probably also noticed some poetry in this chapter! Well, you should thank AlicornPriest for that, because it would have absolutely sucked had it not been for his guidance. Here's a look at how bad it used to be...

I hope you guys think this is all worth the wait! :)

Updated Sept 3rd, 2014 for formatting improvements.

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