• Published 29th Aug 2018
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Those Forty Years - Spell Writer

After being trapped in the past by politics and new responsibilities, Twilight finds herself as the adopted mother of Luna and Celestia. This story is about those 40 years she took care of them. Sequel to My Faithful Student by me and FadFreaky

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Intermission 2 - Year One

One year had passed since Twilight's disappearance—one entire year with the Princess of Friendship missing. Day by day, time ticked forward without stopping. It's nearly impossible to keep something of this magnitude a secret for so long, so the princesses gave a general story of what happened. Twilight's disappearance was all over the news, ponies far and wide feeling the effects of her vanishing.

Yet, even then. Something was strange. Equestria had been entirely at peace this past year. There were no monsters, no villains that the Princesses would need to take up arms against. There were no signs of time breaking or even major friendship problems happening (Although the smaller ones still did from time to time). It was almost like everything had frozen like the flow of time had been set on a loop without looping the ponies themselves.

The Mane 5 were the only ponies that truly mourned for their friend. On many days, Celestia and Luna would be approached by at least one of them to try and attempt a rescue. However, even with their help, they did not have another copy of the spell that Twilight used in the first place. All they could do was wait.

Spike took it the hardest. The little dragon was utterly furious with Celestia and Luna. He had just lost the closest family he could ever have. It was rare to see him leave his room, except to get food during the day and sit out in the garden at night. He purposefully slept through the day to prevent Luna from speaking with him in his dreams and refused to talk with Celestia.

Twilight's parents were… surprisingly okay with everything. When asked by Spike why they weren't angry, Twilight Velvet simply smiled. "A mother knows when her daughter is okay. Twily is just fine, Spike. Lost. But she's just fine." Nightlight was much more forlorn the first few days, but his wife seemed to have convinced him over the year. Although, he always finishes conversations about Twilight with a laugh and a wide smile.

"When Twilight comes home, I'm giving her the biggest hug. And also a very stern talking to. I think I'll even read up on some dad puns. Just to get the point across." He'd say. His smile covered up the pain of missing his daughter. However, he did indeed seem to believe she was okay.

Spike would shift around in his bed. Idly staring at the ceiling. Hardly having been taking care of himself, he'd turn on his side and stare out the curtain. He'd quietly think back to his wandering around. He personally told Twilight's family what happened after all.

Shining Armor was inconsolable, even now. Bringing up Twilight in his presence is enough to make him break down once he gets to be in private. Cadence took it well on the outside, but Spike has repeatedly seen her chow down on much more ice cream than is healthy. Honestly, Alicorn anatomy is scary sometimes.

Spike bounced around places to stay. He'd stay with Twilight's parents occasionally, but being there reminded him of Twilight. Sometimes, he'd go to Ponyville for a night or two, but never longer. Twilight's brand-new castle simply sat dusty and unused, even after all the work they all put into it to make it a home. No one dared to step in there, either because it brought back painful memories or because whenever somepony tried to, Celestia or Luna would usually greet them at the door with a pretty intense glare. They were intensely protective of the castle, almost more so than their own.

The purple dragon pulls himself out of bed, stretching and wandering through the halls. It was almost nightfall, so he might as well get some food. The Princesses would be swapping places today, and the guard change always meant there were fewer ponies around and about to see him. Avoiding the Princesses in their own castle was hard work, but it was the only thing he actually put his mind to nowadays. Taking some food lovingly put out for him by the royal chef (The Chef knew about Spike's habits by now and always kept a plate ready to warm for him around this time), Spike would gently blow some of his magical fire underneath the plate. While his flame may, on direct contact, send something to Celestia, it was still hot enough to warm things when not directly hit. Grilled Cheese always tastes better when you eat it piping hot.

The little dragon would walk outside to the garden as he always did. Sitting down on a chair quietly, looking up to the stars. He could see Princess Luna walking inside the castle from below. While he didn't have anything in particular against Luna, he also knew from his many interactions with Applejack that the sisters were hiding something about Twilight.

-Around 8 months after Twilight's Disappearance-

The throne room is pretty busy today, full of Twilight's closest friends. Celestia and Luna are down on the lower floor with them rather than up on their thrones. The two sisters are more than happy to hear any solutions that Twilight's friends might be able to devise.

"If it was time magic, maybe Daring Do knows of an artifact that could help us! It's worth a shot, at least." Rainbow Dash says with a sigh. She had long revealed to her friends and the Princesses that the famous pony was real, precisely for this reason.

Celestia shakes her head. "To my memory, Twilight and Starswirl destroyed all the time magic artifacts shortly before she returned to the present. She didn't want anyone else to get trapped." She quietly says.

Luna nods in response, awkwardly saying, "Twilight." she then pauses and clears her throat, drinking some water nearby.

"Twilight was very thorough about it, too. The only thing my sister's student left was Starswirl's spell, which was purposefully left unfinished." She continues after a moment after rubbing her forehead. It was far too early for Luna to be up, but she and her sister promised the element bearers that they'd BOTH be there for them. Not to mention, they had to make sure they didn't learn too much.

"UGHHH… Twilight, why do you have to be so good at this stuff?! It's like she purposefully blocked our ability to go help us!" She shouts with a groan as she stuffs her face into the fine carpet below her.

"Ahm with Rainbow Dash on this un. It's almos't like Twi didn WANT us to com'n and help her like she wants t' stay in the past." Applejack says with a rub of her chin.

At that, Celestia and Luna both tense up for a moment. The action was only caught by Rainbow Dash and Applejack. The two notice simultaneously before Rainbow Dash finally breaks the eerie silence between the two observant ponies.

"AGH! I can't do this anymore!" Rainbow Dash says with a jump to her feet. Her sudden jump caused the rest of the ponies to perk up in surprise. Even Pinkie, who already knew almost everything going on to a certain degree, was caught off guard by Rainbow's sudden jump.

"What are you two hiding?! You both always avoid questions about when Twilight will be back! Not to mention you two SUCK at lying whenever we bring stuff up and-" Suddenly, she's grabbed from behind by Rarity, who covers her mouth with her hoof.

"And what Rainbow Dash is trying to say, Princesses. It seems like you're hiding things from us to a degree. We believe. Same with you, Pinkie Pie." Rarity says, trying to prevent Rainbow Dash's more intense wording from putting the Princesses too hard on the defensive. The last time Rainbow had an outburst, the two sisters simply called the meeting off then and there. This had to be done perfectly, with no easy, socially acceptable escape methods.

Pinkie Pie blinks as she tilts her head before realizing what Rarity is saying. “Ohhhhhhhhh well uhm. Sorry! The writer doesn't want me to give EVERYTHING away. It's way too early for that! Besides, it's just a hunch right now." She says with a smile, although that just makes Rainbow Dash flail more. This entire event has put a reasonably rough strain on everyone's relationships. It was hard to be mad at Pinkie, but especially in these moments, it was possible.

Celestia and Luna let out a confused but still relieved sigh. Although when she'd look at the rest of the element bearers, she'd realize something. 'Oop. They actually got me stuck here. Rarity asked it so reasonably that leaving or avoiding the question could irreversibly damage our friendship with them.'

Celestia would then look over at Luna, finding that.

Luna was completely asleep?! The blue Alicorn mumbled quietly to herself, "Mmmmnng, Celestia. Mom and I don't want to eat doughnuts for breakfast again. It's the 30th time this week. Yes. 30th.”

Celestia looks visibly in turmoil about everything. Her eyes close as she quickly runs through everything possible in her mind. Celestia wracks her mind with as many ideas as possible. She even scrunches her face a little bit in the process.

But then Fluttershy spoke up for the first time across almost all 70 meetings. "I never noticed that Princess Celestia has the same thinking face as Twilight." She says quietly, the rest of the group looking towards her with curious faces. They would then look back at Celestia, who is just simply dumbfounded.

'Well, of course, I have the same thinking face as Mom. I only saw her like that almost every day after we freed her from Unity.' Celestia thinks to herself with a little giggle.

"Twilight likely picked it up from me, Fluttershy. It's reasonable that a student's thinking face be similar to their teacher's." Celestia says with a smile, although internally she's loudly thinking, 'I cannot WAIT until I can stop calling her that. All I did was teach her the bare basics she taught me.'

Fluttershy tilts her head. "That's true. But it's still nice. It reminds me of her a lot." The cream-colored pony smiles a little before hiding behind her mane to cover up her embarrassment. She really wanted to diffuse the tension. It wasn't fair to the princesses that they were being so hard on them. They just wanted to know if their friend was okay.

"It's almost comforting to me, I guess. Like as long as you're here, we still have hope to see her again." Fluttershy says quietly as she finishes speaking.

Celestia smiles a little. The Princess was incredibly proud to be her mother's daughter, both of them. Just being compared to Twilight like this was enough to bring her guard down.

At that moment, when she opened her mouth next, Celestia slipped up entirely. The fact that she could keep it up this long was a testament to how much she used to practice for this day. After all, Celestia knew her mother's notebook in and out. She had so much preparation. However, there was always one problem with this plan of hers.

Celestia was a terrible actor. This was a fact that no one ever brought up. While she was good at deceit, any extended lies were always kept up by her sister. It's why, during Celestia's solo rule, TOO much of the truth was spread about Nightmare Moon. She simply had trouble keeping up lies. Something likely caused by the influence of using all six elements when she was only genuinely attuned with three.

At least, that's the excuse she mentally goes with. In reality, she was always bad at acting, culminating in one singular slip-up. "I had a lot of time to practice it with m-mfnnnn." She covered her mouth with her magic, but the damage was done, everycreature in the room knew now one fact.

Celestia WAS hiding something about Twilight. The following uproar from the five was tremendous. Rainbow Dash was pestering, Rarity was laying verbal traps, and Pinkie was bringing in some cupcakes with big exclamation marks on them. Luna was still asleep. It was a mild chaos, enough to make Discord proud. But two things caught Celestia's attention the most.

Fluttershy and Applejack's duo stare. Celestia had always been particularly weak to three things: cake, Fluttershy's genetic magic, the stare, and the look of disappointment from an apple. She had grown some resistance to it to a degree, but she was pretty close friends with her mother's friends for a while, which developed these mental weaknesses over several millennia.

The Apple family's disappointment was like getting attacked by Timberwolves. It was just a gentle yet stern hit on the heart. The only thing worse was your mother saying, "I'm not mad, just disappointed." to you.

Fluttershy's familial stare, however, was another monster. Mother did some research on it in the past. Apparently, when used on a non-animal creature, it amplifies the guilt someone has hidden. It wouldn't work on her as long as Celestia kept a clear conscience. All of this meant that this combo was a combo from Tartarus itself.

"FINE!" Celestia says with a yell. "Yes, I am hiding something. However, there is much I can not tell you all." She says with a grumble. Luna sat up and stretched from all the noise, looking somewhat exhausted.

"Did you have to yell, sister? I was having a lovely dream." Luna yawns loudly as she looks at Celestia. Luna's eyes, however, sharpen when she sees Celestia's 'I messed up face.'

"Ah, the last time I saw that face, I almost died beforehoof in a blaze of fire." the blue Alicorn says wistfully, stretching in place. Sighing a little, "Alright, somepony, fill me in."

A few moments pass as the Lunar Princess is told what just happened by her sister. Luna just laughed a little. "Ahhh, I told you that you'd be unable to keep this up for long, sister." She sighs a little bit.

"Very well, it has been a while. So relax, grab some popcorn, and let us tell you some things that cannot leave this room." Luna says with a smile.

The two princesses then tell Twilight's friends a somewhat edited version of Twilight's story in the past. Although they leave out some key details, such as Twilight's injuries and their adoption, the rest of it is truthful. Luna is more than aware that Applejack would likely have a sixth sense of these lies by omission, but she ends the story with a simple statement.

"That is all I can tell you. The rest Twilight requested she tell you herself. Unfortunately, as she outranks us, we cannot disobey her request." Luna says simply before shuddering.

"Trust me, you never want to upset her if you can avoid it. She can be pretty intense with disciplining. So… so many hours spent writing lines on a chalkboard." Celestia adds on with a shudder of her own. Luna snorting.

"Lines are nothing. That one time I forgot to do my duties, she had me go out and solve twenty friendship problems before the end of the week. Even you didn't give her such hellish requirements!" Luna huffs a little.

Celestia chuckles. "To be fair, my requirements were all up in her head in the first place. Meanwhile, you almost ruined the Grand Galloping Gala with Philomena. Twenty friendship lessons were on the lower end of the discipline she hoofed out."

The two sisters would laugh for a short time. They could genuinely act like themselves in moments like these, where they were among friends.

As the day ended, the Mane 5 and Spike sat together in Twilight's room at Canterlot Castle. Sure, they each had their own rooms, but it felt right to have meetings in the empty bedroom. Rainbow Dash broke the silence that loomed over the still shell-shocked ponies.

"Twilight. Twilight is literally the Queen of Equestria. Like. The literal, Faust given ruler of Equestria." The Rainbow Maned Pony says with a crack in her voice. She'd never believe it if it came from anypony else! However, Princess Luna's honesty, when she was being honest, could rival Applejack's. So, aside from those things she had to leave out, they can take the rest of the information as accurate.

Rarity sits up. "I've been making dresses for the Queen. No, if what they've said is true, a large section of my BLOODLINE has been making dresses for the Queen?! Do you think my designs will go worldwide when Twilight gets back? Ooh, you think she'd model for me?!" Rarity's mind is utterly in both work and freakout mode.

"WAIT! What if the designs she originally had are too garish for her tastes now?! I must have dresses waiting for her when she returns! One hundred percent. She'll need an entire new wardrobe too!" Rarity says as she now begins to freak out.

Applejack rubs her chin. "Yah know, the first patron of Sweet Apple Acres WAS said to be the lost Queen of Equestria. Ahm guessin that bein true means that Twi is enjoin mah apples even now."

In the past, Twilight munched on an apple fritter. She doesn't know why, but she wanted one that day.

Applejack just seems pleased with that statement. Chuckling a little bit to herself as Pinkie stretches. "Didja know that Cinnabar Pie helped her run the first-ever Grand Galloping Gala?! It was the most chaotic party in all of Equestrian History!" She says with a smile.

Rainbow Dash giggles. "Even more than our first one together? Er… guess that would be Twilight's like… 40,000th or something?"

Pinkie Pie shrugs. "Nah, more than that. Alicorn years are weird. Either way, mhm! I mean, the old King and Queen DID sorta die shortly afterward. It's why the Gala has that short memorial for the original King and Queen at the end of it.

Applejack perks up a little. "You reckon Twilight had any foals? Or like a special somepony?" She says curiously.

Pinkie Pie shakes her head. "Don't think so. A royal wedding would sooo be in the Pie family's 'biggest parties hosted ever' registry. Besides, Celestia said that Twilight would be back, so she probably didn't have much to hold her there."

While Pinkie knew the general gist of the story, she was missing some key parts. The knowledge of Celestia and Luna's adoption was not something she was actively aware of but something she had a significant hunch about.

Spike would finally say something, having been relatively silent since his angry outburst in the previous meeting last month. "I'm just glad to hear she's okay and that she misses us." He mumbles a little bit. His words ripple throughout the group, each one of the ponies looking down.

They all missed her, too.

-One year since Twilight's disappearance-

Spike thinks back to that night with a quiet mumble to himself. Tonight was the night, though that he'd finally learn more.

If the Princesses wouldn't talk, then only one other creature could. He just had to ask the right way. With a sip of his drink, he'd place the plates to the side on a nearby table. His note should have reached there by now. After all, the mail service has its way when it comes to getting places. Spike would stretch and stand up. "Discord, are you there?"

The Lord of Chaos would twist on the topiary nearby, revealing himself, his voice muggy and his eyes tired.

"Hello, Spike. I must say, I expected your letter months ago. I suppose Celestia and Luna HAVE been trying to keep this on the down low." He says as he appears in the nearby chair next to Spike. Spike would join him shortly, sitting down in his original chair. Over the past year, he and Discord had relatively gotten closer, primarily out of convenience rather than friendship. Discord chats with him from time to time, mainly to check up on him. He even admitted it was a favor for Twilight from the past, which made Spike quite happy when he was told.

"Alright Discord. If you help me, you can GM the next O&O game we play with Big Mac." Spike says with a sigh. Discord sitting back and looking up,

"Annnnd?" The spirit of chaos says.

"And you can make the next mega campaign, too, even though it was my turn." Spike frustratedly grumbles as he looks over to Discord. He was looking forward to running the next 6-month campaign, but now he'd have to wait a year and a half to get his turn back.

Discord nods. "Fine, but remember, this has to stay a secret from Twilight's other friends." He says quietly. "Twilight is frightening when she's angry."

Spike tenses up. "Why does everyone keep saying that first? Twilight being mad usually just makes her like… burst into flames for a bit or even just make her yell. She's never been the type to do anything bad to someone."

Discord tilts his head back and forth. "Eeeeehhhh. Depends if you get Eternal or Twilight. If you get Eternal, you'll be doing laps or, worse, sparring with her. If you get Twilight, however. It's. So soul-crushing." Discord sighs as he melts into a puddle, waving a white flag.

Spike blinks. "Eternal is Twilight's alter ego, right? The one corrupted by that-"

Discord glares. "Do not finish that sentence."

Spike tenses up, his entire body and mind sending off danger signals! He's never heard Discord actually that MAD before. "O-okayyy."

Discord curtly nods. "So you just want to know what Celestia and Luna left out, right?" He says quietly, mainly to bring down the heat of the conversation a little.

"Well, aside, one thing about it. I'll tell you the rest that pertains to Twilight. Firstly, Twilight has a scar on her left shoulder. Dunno why, but she got hurt, and it never healed right." He says as he makes a Twilight doll appear, except it has a scar on it's left shoulder.

Spike stands. "Wha?! She got hurt that bad?!" Even Spike knows that a leg injury could be highly devastating to anypony. That just made him worry a ton.

Discord, however, waves his hand. "Bah, she's fine. Next thing, though, Twilight is now the oldest Alicorn in existence by a fairly… huge margin. I could get into the mechanics of how time magic works, but basically, her 22 years of living here in this time were transferred back in time with her as Alicorn years. Hence, the huge growth spurt she got only a few months in. When she hops back, since she's the Spirit of Time's chosen, her age WON'T do that again. It basically keeps her age consistent."

Spike blinks, utterly confused by the explanation, even with it simplified. "That was the easy explanation?"

Discord sighs. "Unfortunately, yes." He says frankly.

Spike scratches his own head before shrugging. "We'll come back to that later… anything else?"

Discord shrugs. "Oh, Celestia and Luna are your nieces." He says casually as he drinks a glass of orange, leaving the juice behind. He never really cared for the juice. Spike nearly spits out his tea, coughing a little bit. His brain registered what was said, but the concept broke him momentarily. The little dragon freaked out just as well as Twilight, staring up at Discord before shouting.

"WHAT?! Twilight adopted Luna and Celestia?! Or wait. Wait. Is she their original parent?! Like, what do you mean Discord?!" Spike screams out before suddenly, his mouth is covered by a blue hoof from behind. Luna standing behind Spike and glaring at Discord.

"DISCORD!" Luna yells out as she gives the spirit a massive death stare. She was furious, to say the least. "How dare you!? That was the one secret Mother specifically told us to NOT mention. I should put you back in stone for that!" She says with intense fury. However, the spirit of chaos simply just sighs and throws his glass of orange juice away.

"I know you're mad, but let me just say two things. Firstly. YOU KEPT THIS A SECRET FROM ME TOO." Discord yells out as he clashes head-to-head with Luna. "And secondly, if anyone deserves to know. It is Spike! Out of every creature, pony, animal, or whatever, the one thing he NEVER deserved was to lose his best and closest friend. You dare call yourself her daughter thinking that way, Luna?! Sometimes, you have to weigh the value of keeping a secret against the pain it brings everycreature! EVEN I learned that from her, how could her best student fall short like that? Did your stint on the moon jostle something up there?!"

Spike quickly runs between the two and attempts to push them apart. However, the two are far too angry to listen to the baby dragon as they continue to glare at each other. "Guys! Stop yelling! Getting angry at each other isn't what Twilight would want!"

Luna, in her anger, snaps out to Spike. Everything was going wrong because of the dragon and Discord. "DO NOT DARE TO ATTEMPT AND ASSUME YOU KNOW WHAT MOTHER WOULD WANT." She yells out in her Royal Canterlot Voice. Spike stumbles back a little.

But not because of Luna. Luna sees that his eyes aren't on her but rather behind her. Even Discord piped down. Luna stiffens up and creaks her head backward. Luna fully expected to see Celestia behind her. After all, Celestia was incredibly protective of Spike still, not only because she had helped raise him but because he was Twilight's most valued companion in her life. Luna turns her head as her nose squishes into someone's torso. Wait, she wasn't THAT much shorter than Celestia anymore.

Twilight, although flickering, raises an eyebrow down at Luna, who slowly backs away quietly. The blue Alicorn turned around before quickly saying with a smile and a jaunty voice.

"Sorry, Spike, I am feeling very unwell. I think I'll go back inside-" As she steps forward, her tail is caught by magic. Dragging her back.towards Twilight. "NOOO! NOT LIKE THISSSS."

Spike looks up at Twilight with amazement, a little fear, and tears. "T-Twilight, is that you? Why are you flickering like that?"

Twilight smiles a little and tilts her head. "I missed you too, Spike." She levitates him and pulls him into a tight hug. "I created a spell that would let me visit whenever possible. I wanted to test it out to visit Luna and surprise her, BUTTTT." She looks over at Luna, glaring down at her. "Spike, can you hold your ears for a second?"

Spike looks up at Twilight. Her height would easily tower over even Celestia. It takes him a moment, but he finally responds, "Oh! Uh. Sure." He then covers the sides of his head and closes his eyes. When he opens them moments later, he sees Luna lying on the lounging chair Discord was sitting on earlier, her eyes stuck as comical swirls. Luna's legs twitch a small amount, causing Spike to ask, "Gee, Twilight, what did you do?"

Twilight just giggles a little bit, responding to Spike after a moment. "Oh, I had to scold a naughty filly, is all. I never expected Luna to be that rude. Sorry, Spike." She says as she hugs him tightly. Her fur is soft, softer than he remembers, and her hugs are even better than they were before. Spike feels so happy, but then he remembers what she said earlier.

"You can't stay, can you?" Discord asks for Spike, knowing the Drake would be too scared to ask that question. Twilight smiled at Discord in thanks.

"Unfortunately, I can't, not yet, at least. Celestia still barely knows Tax code, and Luna is. Mmm. To put it gently, she's still a bit too naive to take over. However! I do plan on visiting you guys from time to time. Just uh. Not like this." She mumbles, "This was just a test run of the spell. I don't want everyone to know my relationship with the Princesses for now. I'll tell the girls when I'm ready, but." Twilight's horn glows awkwardly. Her magic seems off to Spike as the Alicorn grunts a little. "MMmmmn. This is still so complicated. Ah, there!" She then releases the spell, as Spike has seen her do so many times. Suddenly, he's greeted with the sight of the Twilight he remembered. Small, nerdy, and, most of all, his big sister. "Well, since the eggs are out on the field, let's chat with everyone. I already froze all the castle staff, so let's wake up Celestia and chat for a bit." She then puts Spike on her back, who clings to her. Twilight levitated Luna behind her before looking back at Discord. "Discord, you're invited, ya know." She cheekily says. "I know you love being invited to stuff~."

Discord smiles and perks up. "Oh? I'm ACTUALLY invited to something for once? Who are you, and what have you done with Twilight Sparkle~?" He says with a chuckle as he follows the group inside, Twilight rolling her eyes.

"I figured you'd say that. Just don't bring any guests," Twilight says in response as they all enter the castle, winking at Discord. That face never ceased to bring both anger and amusement to him. The purple Alicorn would disappear by morning, but Spike never felt better. Hopping out of bed and running out to eat with the Princesses in the morning.

Maybe, just maybe. There really was a light at the end of this story.

Author's Note:

No bio for intermission chapters! Enjoy a little short story, though! Twilight can visit the present very sparingly for reasons that will be revealed once we get back to the main story. If you actually care to know now, here's a spoiler, though. She's using the power orb that Celestia and Luna stole from Unity to power the spell. It has a very limited amount of magic left in it, and without Unity, she can't recharge it.

Anyways. There is more to this intermission. It's not story-relevant, but it doesn't fit in Celestia and Luna's Guide, so expect one more intermission chapter, mainly of Twilight visiting her friends and family. Maybe, just maybe, if there's enough interest, we can have one of Twilight with Celestia and Luna specifically. But no promises!

As always, I hope you enjoyed! :twilightsmile:

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