• Member Since 26th Jun, 2018
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Lets Do This

We're going to build an exact copy of Ponyville... right over there! We've got less than a minute!


What happened between Twilight's entrance examination and her entrance to the School proper? How Twilight got to know Celestia, Cadance, and Spike, and started on the road to becoming the Element of Magic.

Now has a Making Of: blog entry, with the original outline and commentary on how this story came to be written.

Note: If you'd like more in this same timeline, a darker "flip-side" companion piece to this story can be found here: Acolyte of the Lunar Court

In addition, the Hearth's Warming tale The Night that Luna Returned is essentially a direct follow-on to My Little Student, and draws on some of the Celestia-related aspects of this story.

Chapters (14)
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Comments ( 84 )

First off, Twilight and Cadance already knew each other. Quite well apparently. Why does the fandom continue to ignore that?

Interesting au though.

The part about how Spike and Twilight get acquainted is new and SO similar to how it happened.

Although Cadence was Twilight's foalsitter before Twilight got her cutie mark, even if that's a little bit of a plot hole in the show.

Nice, liked and followed. Make more!

How is it a show plot hole? I can see Celestia letting Cadance have as normal as possible childhood as she could.

And teenagers take on babysitting jobs all the time. I remember mine very well.

"... SO similar to how it happened."

Just curious -- I've only seen the show up through season 4, so (without spoilers) could you tell me where the scene has been done before? I'd like to see what I missed.

Yeah, I hear you, and I know their relationship is presented as Cadance being Twi's foal sitter from before her entrance exam, but thinking about it for this story that didn't quite work for me. It either means Cadance, an uplifted alicorn Princess happens to randomly be Twi's babysitter, which seems a bit of a stretch, or she was assigned to Twi by Celestia to secretly evaluate her abilities beforehand, which (though not beyond possibility for the All-Knowing-Celestia) seemed a little too creepy for the Cadance we know from the show. (It's difficult enough not making Cadance sound like Celestia's henchpony in the story as written!) Also, how in the world does brilliant Twi not know Cadance and Princess Mi Amore Cadenza are the same pony if Cadance had been her foal-sitter way back then. You'd think she'd have noticed a relationship between Cadance and her brother given how he's her B.B.B.F.F. I decided to have Cadance meet Twi as a result of Twi's entrance exam instead, and see where that took things.

Tirek knew Cadence a thousand years ago, Cadence was not a teenager during Twilight's fillyhood.

It would make more sense if Twilight never met ANY princess until she met Celestia. The idea of being acquainted with one prior is eyebrow raising.


Where does it ever say that? If it's never said in show, or shown, then it doesn't exist for me.

And that feels like a retcon into something that was two seasons old at that point. And the show has shown all arguments for something else are invalid.

By coincidence, the season 4 finale is next on my list to watch. It'll be interesting to see what new take on Cadance I get from watching it. Thanks!

I'm just saying it feels really odd for Twilight to have met Cadence prior to her cutie mark. Though it also feels wrong that Twilight hasn't seen Cadence for years until the Wedding episode.

I blame half of that on bad writting from Hasbro. Twilight isn't that scatter brained usually. Only reason I can think of.

Exactly. The Hearts And Hooves episode shows that Cadence does exist, but they could've done better.
They haven't revealed how they got to know each other. Just making sure you understand me now.

"They haven't revealed how they got to know each other."
Got it, thanks. I do want to find out what happens with Tirek in any case. I've had to be careful not to spoil myself too much for later seasons while researching the characters.

"The Hearts And Hooves episode shows that Cadence does exist, but they could've done better."
Are we talking about "Hearts and Hooves Day" from Season 2? That's a CMC episode (with Cheerilee and Big Mac as well) Or are you referring to a later episode that references H&HD?

The princess who originally took the love poison I think was Cadence. Or her mother.

And no, later episodes don't talk about it.

Okay, just to make sure I reviewed the episode (on fast-forward), and I agree the illustration in the spell-book does look a lot like Cadance. It may have been intended as an open door for connecting things up later on, which the show creators simply never made use of.

Given how the show's presentation of the "love poison" spell treats it simply as a legend of a prince and princess at some point in the past (might even have been before Nightmare Moon's time), I'm inclined to squint a bit and not read more into it than that. (BTW, another piece of semi-canon I'm assuming is the chapbook Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell, which provides a handwave of backstory for Cadance, indicating that she was discovered by Celestia and uplifted to Princess rank relatively recently.)

Cadence still wasn't a teenager when Twilight was a filly though. And Tirek sure knew who Cadence was. And it could also have been Cadence's mother who was love poisoned. I'm just saying that Cadence's existence was never portrayed as impossible in any previous episode, but they could've handled her a lot better.

And I also hope I don't sound argumentative. :twilightsheepish:

That's one of the cool things about the show -- the characters with the fewest lines end up with the most complicated backstories, usually fan created. I mean look at Derpy and Doctor Whooves, for example! :derpyderp2:

"Ah!" Celestia stopped her with a glance and a slight lift of the head. "She has asked me -- and now I am asking you -- to refer to her simply as Cadance for the time being. Twilight is a bright young filly and she'll eventually figure it out on her own."



Ah, rubber-duck debugging.

That's exactly where this comes from, though it's also because I wanted some justification for Smarty Pants being Twilight's favorite toy, and this seemed an appropriate way to give the doll its cameo appearance.

I'm surprised she's discussed Twilight's destiny with Cadence at all. Chessmaster types usually keep everything close to the vest, even with those they trust the most.

Even a chessmaster, staring down the barrel of a thousand years worth of revenge-rage aimed right at her royal head, needs all the help she can get. :twilightsmile:

Of course, this is young Twilight, i.e. before she starts freaking out about unexpected examinations. :twilightsheepish:

This looks like a great start. I'm definitely going to enjoy following this story

And also, Cadence's introduction to Twilight was pitch-perfect. :pinkiehappy: Awww...

Wow. This was a really good chapter for Twilight's first lesson. I liked a lot of the stuff in the lesson - the Gateless Gate in particular was a clever idea. Celestia is teaching Twilight some important stuff, and it really shows. Great work!

Aww... I like stories that offer this kind of perspective into Celestia, pre-Nightmare Moon's return. Cadence helping her to sleep is a really nice touch.

Awww... this was really nice. And great work tying in with the swingset scene too!

This was adorable, and hilarious, all in perfect equal measure. I love it! :pinkiehappy:

Okay, I love this origin for Spike's Dragon Code of Honor! :pinkiehappy:

That was an interesting little adventure...

This was a really charming read that kept everypony in-character while adding some nice twists and depth as well.

Well done, very well done indeed. :twilightsmile: I'm glad I read this story!

You just made my day! I'm very happy you got so much out of it. And thanks a million for the detailed feedback -- it's always a pleasure finding out what works (and what doesn't!) for readers. :twilightblush:

What a lovely little story.

Thanks -- I wrote it after seeing only the first season or two, so it definitely captures some of the totally-open-world wonderment I got out of the early episodes.

Fuller review here, but in brief: a delightful debut fic, strongly reminiscent of a (good) 2012 story, perhaps related to the fact that you hadn't seen much further at the time of writing. I enjoyed filly Twi's relationship with Celestia, and there was nice background for Cadance and Spike, though Cady is inevitably a bit lacking in depth for an up-to-date reader. Despite one or two minor irritations, this was a fic that made me smile a good deal. Faved! :twilightsmile:

Bravo! Truly majestic story telling.

Many thanks! A lot of this fell into place simply out of a need to express how much I got out of watching the early seasons of the show. Good to know it comes through so well!

This is a cute story that nicely fills in some of the blanks between Twilight's entrance exam and the show pilot. I like the detailed lessons on how unicorn magic works. However, I feel a bit cheated out of not getting to see a genuine infant Spike, since when Twilight next meets him he's nearly as cognizant as she is. Though it's still better than the comic making a small child raise a baby. I definitely don't consider that canon.

To each his/her own, by all means! Yet having a "street-smart" Spike team up with a younger Twilight Sparkle had way too many entertaining possibilities for me to pass it up. (In particular, see Spike's practical joke in A Real Cool Spell -- that scene pretty much wrote itself!)

To my mind Spike is a constant, and I take the scenes of him as a baby in the series as a nod to the fact that he'd just been hatched. In a comment on Twilight Runs Away I note that I follow the pattern implied by Naomi Novik in her Temeraire novels, where dragons are born with language skills and pick up the language they hear while still in the egg. This isn't everyone's cup of tea, certainly, it's just my justification for my head-canon in depicting Spike in these stories.

Thanks for the feedback! :twilightsmile:

I had actually thought of the Temeraire novels when I read Spike's explanation of picking up language in the egg! To be fair, there's nothing in the show that contradicts your depiction of dragon development. I just wanted to read about baby Spike being cute. :rainbowkiss:

Sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what you're looking for -- get cracking and write it! Show us what we're missing! :twilightsmile:

"Not in the slightest," Celestia said. "It is what the School is for, the very reason for which I founded it. I am actually looking forward to it!"

They don't realize she means Twilight (or rather, whomever the Element of Magic turned out to be) specifically is the reason she founded the school.

From a literary perspective, yes, that IS how such people are usually written. Realistically though, someone who manipulates events and people with great skill would consider openness to be just another tool in their toolbox. Every tool has its time and place.

I like this better.

See Parting Words for arguments that Canon Celestia overdoes it... I'd explain how much I agree/did-agree with that Fic but I'm on a tablet and it has been a while since I read it.

Author Interviewer

You are so good at writing Cadence as good with foals. :D

Author Interviewer

That was a very unexpected role for Spike. I quite like it; I've already read a hundred fics about her trying to raise him when she's just a kid herself.

Author Interviewer

Kinda feels like you lost your way toward the end, but this was still a heartwarming and ineffably cute read. :)

:pinkiehappy: Well that's just silly... my way's right there where I left it!

Ahem, don't mind Pinkie. Thanks for reading, and glad you liked it! :twilightsmile:

how is it that it has taken me eight seasons to read a fic in which Twilight's entrance exam is explicitly the reason Cadance is her babysitter

That's the sort of idea that just makes such ridiculous amounts of sense in hindsight that I now can't see it any other way.

I see somepony’s been reading their Mumon…

Years later...

Twilight took a deep breath, letting it out as she sat. To the manager of the factory and the union representative, it would look like she was just settling into her chair, not that she was performing a breathing exercise to keep from flying off the handle over how this labor dispute had somehow reached the point that it called for royal intervention, much less being the royal who had to intervene. She opened her mouth to begin the opening statement she'd practiced last night.

"Anypony want a snack?" All eyes turned to Pinkie Pie, who definitely hadn't been in the conference room until now. (Granted, Twilight was pretty sure that the conference room hadn't been in her castle last week.) "Nothing goes better with tense negotiations than a jam roll!"

Picket Line shared a look with Downsize, and Twilight noted that said look was devoid of resentment or ire. Pinkie-induced confusion had left no room for either. Both gave vague affirmative noises as their brains tried to catch up to the mare out of nowhere.

Twilight, as inured to Pinkie as anypony could be, spoke for both. "I think that sounds wonderful, Pinkie. Jam rolls for everypony."

Pinkie snapped off a salute. "By order of Princess Twilight Sparkle!"

Twilight noticed somepony was laughing a few moments before she realized it was her. She cleared her throat. "Pardon me, gentlecolts. A fond memory. Shall we begin?"

A very cute and entertaining compilation of connected dots, though Spike came as something of a shock and the mysterious Luna voice pops up and never gets explained. Still, lovely stuff and fascinating ideas for the most part. Thank you for it!

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