• Member Since 25th 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!


The opening titles of MLP have always felt like they were from a different version of the show. This is that version...

Fed up with being useless at magic, a blank-flanked Twilight Sparkle does the only thing she feels she can do... she runs away. Fortunately, she has a good friend along for the ride...

Now has a sequel: Nightwaker, which presents the return of Nightmare Moon in this timeline.

Featured 10/16-10/19/2018 -- thanks, everypony, for your kind support and feedback on this version of the pilot story!

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 68 )

continue this?

I certainly could do at least the other half of the pilot in this timeline, if there's interest -- Twilight takes on Nightmare Moon, not knowing what her magic will do... :twilightsmile:

This is beautiful.

Absolutely loved this story!!! Very entertaining!

I wish this was the actual first episode. Oh, well.

It's been so long since I've seen a premise like this played straight. I love it, it feels fresh!

Thanks much! I knew I was covering familiar ground here, so it's marvelous to hear it works for you! :twilightsmile:

I'll probably superimpose this story on the opening whenever I watch and rewatch the episodes now.

So is Twilight a kid in this? I mean, she's in magic kindergarten and a blank flank so...?

Are the others children in this? I assume Pinkie volunteers at Sugar Cube Corner since she lives with the Cakes, but Rainbow works with the weather team and Rarity has her boutique; are they the only two adults out of the rest of the girls?

This was a truly great work on this alternate version of the pilot. I absolutely loved how Twilight met Spike and the others here. And the exchanges, characterizations and future adventure set-up were all well done in all the right places.

I particularly liked Twilight's motivation for her frustration (due to not having found her calling YET), Spike's own issues concerning Sunset (as well as Celestia's obvious pain concerning what I'm guessing to be her and Sunset's VERY recent falling out) and the elements of "Cutie Mark Chronicles".

Just about the only real issue I have is when the guards arrived in Ponyville AND at Twilight's home, Shining Armor wasn't with them either time (since it seems to me that he would probably be VERY worried about his little sister and he's DEFINITELY in the guard at this point in time, which would make this an EXCELLENT place to introduce him MUCH sooner than he was in canon). Beyond that, this is a VERY beautiful piece of work.

Of course, Twilight only JUST getting her mark AND getting bullied so much in Magic Kindergarten would make her MUCH more likely to sympathize with Apple Bloom and HER future friends down the road, which is another great detail.

So, yes, I WILL most certainly be looking forward to more from this universe.

Remember the scene from Lesson Zero:

:twilightoops: "Do you know what teachers do to students who don't pass? They send them back a grade! But she won't just send me back a grade. She'll send me back to... magic kindergarten."

Magic Kindergarten (at least this is my theory for this story) is a remedial class low achievers get assigned to, a last chance to make it or fail. So this is Twilight at the same age as in the pilot episode, but without the shock of the Sonic Rainboom to spark her magic early. Consequently her magic is so weak, she's been sent back often enough to have wound up in Magic Kindergarten. And as a result, she impulsively decides to run away before they toss her out -- which happens to be exactly what she needed to do...

Thanks for reminding me!

Just about the only real issue I have is when the guards arrived in Ponyville AND at Twilight's home, Shining Armor wasn't with them either time (since it seems to me that he would probably be VERY worried about his little sister and he's DEFINITELY in the guard at this point in time, which would make this an EXCELLENT place to introduce him MUCH sooner than he was in canon). Beyond that, this is a VERY beautiful piece of work.

A very good point! Okay, my (hastily constructed) theory is that Shiny was still busy tearing apart the cellars of the school looking for Twilight, assuming that she'd gone to ground in a favorite hiding place.
(In a different story, My Little Student, Twilight goes missing and I hint at exactly this.)

Ah. Ok. Thanks for answering.

Thanks very much for the response.

And, yeah, that DOES actually make sense.

This was a super interesting first chapter. I LOVE Spike and Twilight being really REALLY close if not the same age, hell Spike best chance might be older than this Twilight. It just make them feel so much more like friends instead of her younger servant. He just feel more like a equal to her this time around. And honestly they make the PERFECT pairing in this. I mean he is her first friend, and this time not out of obligation but because he wanted to be her friend. HE is close to her age, he helped her out of a bad place. He understand her better than anyone else. I just can't help but see when they get older them being the cutest little nerd couple.

Thanks much! My headcanon about Spike has always been -- as Naomi Novik implies in her Temeraire series of books about dragons in colonial-era history -- that dragons are born with language skills, and automatically pick up the language they hear when still in the egg. And I also assume that given how old they are as a species they're naturally wise and even-tempered when still very young (the way humans are trusting and imaginative at the same age). So in this story, Twilight and Spike are the same ages as in the original pilot, but Twilight is operating from much more of a social/positional disadvantage here. So it makes sense that their friendship is more evenly balanced. But it doesn't hurt that Spike is just such a great friend, no matter what universe he's in! :twilightsmile:

I am so with you there on all of that. I still can't help but think how funny it would be by the time she graduate she is dating Spike or some clear romantic tension there between the two of them. And Celestia seem SOOO much like the type to tease the two of them all the time about it lol.

This was amazing. And everyone is perfect!
Twilight is analytical but stressed. :twilightsmile:
Spike is supportive but independent, and appreciated. :moustache:
Rainbow is boastful but recognizes her mistakes. :rainbowwild:
Pinkie is hyper and fun but knows when to tone it down. :pinkiesmile:
Rarity is a good listener and generous even as she is overworked. :raritywink:
Applejack is... a tour guide. :applejackunsure: I guess it's really in the second half where she shines isn't it? :ajsmug:
Fluttershy is shy but making an effort to come out of her shell. :yay:
Angel is demanding but still encourages Fluttershy to assert herself. :heart:
And Celestia is nearsighted and lacking in certain teaching/sister qualities. That lines up.

Thanks! I did try to show that each character had a flaw, past or present, which affected the path they'd taken in life, thus making it easier for this version of Twilight to relate to them all and find the connections with them that start to unlock her own abilities.

Applejack is... a tour guide. :applejackunsure: I guess it's really in the second half where she shines isn't it? :ajsmug:

Yeah, in the original, A,J. is the honest and hospitable pony with the insane number of relatives, which I tried to imply here. Also, I pulled in her trip to Manehattan from Cutie-Mark Chronicles as her "flaw", that is, her attempt to be something that wasn't her true self, which gets Twilight thinking about how she might be able to find her true calling somewhere other than the School.

She leaned closer. "And just to be fair, I'll tell you a secret of mine..."

She glanced around conspiratorially, then whispered:

"I'm allergic to spackling paste!"

Twilight stared at her, deadpan. "Really? How did you find that out?"

"It's a long story. All I'll say is I was out of frosting one day and they really need better labels at the hardware store!"

:rainbowlaugh: Best Pinkie Pie line I've seen all month!

Yeah flunking entrance exam is a great turning point in time.
This story is nice too if anyone is interested in such what-if scenario (only with much more changes):

Continue this, please!

I would love to read another chapter,this was wonderful <3

A great story that catches the early show's tone pretty well. Especially the incorporation of the intro is a nice touch. Good job!

"This place is mostly magic to begin with!" Celestia said calmly. "So no harm done. And it wouldn't be the first time I've had to redecorate like this."

Heh, subtle reference to the movie, right?

they only want me to read dumb, boring textbooks that are full of mistakes.

Yep, that's Twilight, alright.


So...did Sunset run off today, or...?

And a third entry where we see what happened to Sunset.

In case you add them as chapters or separate stories, I'm following both you and this story.

I liked this very much!

So... are they adults, or fillies? Is Twilight a grown mare, still in Magic Kindergarten without her cutie mark, and that's something that happens sometimes and doesn't surprise anypony? Or is she still a filly, and the Summer Sun Celebration got shifted back in the timeline?

Most importantly, what happened earlier in the timeline, probably with the Sonic Rainboom, to cause these changes?

Just to summarize from some of the comments below:

(a) the characters are the same ages as in the original, the key difference is Twilight's magic and social standing being much lower, hence her decision to run away (I assume only that her magic wasn't triggered on her entry to the school; what happened with the Sonic Rainboom is probably best left as a topic for a Cutie-Mark Chronicles set in this universe.)

(b) Magic Kindergarten is a remedial class at the School for seriously underperforming students, so it's quite common for older students to wind up being sent all the way back to it, as a last step before they're let go completely.

(c) Sunset's unexpected departure is moved up to the eleventh hour, the day before the Sun Celebration, thus completely wrecking Celestia's carefully laid plans and leaving her feeling seriously burnt and in the lurch (hence her anger toward the end)... until suddenly she's presented with Twilight, who unwittingly steps right into the role Celestia always thought she needed to groom Sunset for.

In a real sense, though, the specific backstory isn't that essential (though it's fun exploring it, I agree!) I set out writing this story wanting only to answer the question I'd wondered about since the very first episode: where the hay were Twilight and Spike going in that balloon in the opening scene? I decided they were running away, and all the rest of this fell out of that. :twilightsmile:


"This place is mostly magic to begin with!" Celestia said calmly. "So no harm done. And it wouldn't be the first time I've had to redecorate like this."

>>> Heh, subtle reference to the movie, right?

In a sense -- not directly, since this is set long before the movie, but I did consider the movie to be license to add a few extra "blockbuster" touches like this to the original story, like Rainbow clearing the entire sky at one go , or A.J. hauling five loaded carts into town by herself. :ajsmug:

I enjoyed this story immensely. Love seeing a different beginning for Twilight while also keeping it vaguely familiar.

Ah, okay! That makes sense. In the show, Magic Kindergarten was depicted as being a room full of foals.

True, though that was Twilight's panic-attack vision of it, so that could be taken as visual hyperbole, for heightened embarrassment. But it could also be read as literal memory, depending how one wanted to spin it for narrative purposes.

Another excellent story as always. I quite enjoyed this alternate take on the first episode. :twilightsmile:

This is such a fantastic one-shot.

With all that we know about the future and the stories that come, this alternate pilot works beautifully. It sets up so much world-building and future story/plot lines, and yet keeps the main flow of the story fluid and the characters compelling and interesting.

I just love this version of Twilight and Spike. No version of Twilight amongst the thousands of FimFiction stories I've read has resonated so strongly for me to say so.

Favouriting this without any regret :scootangel:

Keep up the good work :twilightsmile:

Wow... high praise indeed, and it's appreciated! It probably has something to do with Twilight being the pony among the Mane 6 I most strongly identify with: bookworm, checklists, obsessing over forgetting stuff, check, check, check... :twilightsheepish:

I hope you go the route for Sunset to redeem her.

She always seemed like she had mommy issues with Momlestia.

Edit: Bookmarking this for future sequels.

and it turns out the only reason the School took me in was because they'd lowered the entrance requirements

Does this mean that my favorite showmare is/was a student around this time?

This definitely does fit in with the theme. I see Celestia is a bit more bitchy temperamental. I'm also guessing that Sunset left recently (hence her attitude.) I really hope you continue this 'verse.

That was a great read. My new preferred canon!:moustache::twilightsmile:

Many thanks! I'm really grateful for all the support readers have expressed for this version of the story! :twilightsmile:

This is good. I can see a few stories about what happen if they mane six are little foal during the show.

Yes. A thousand and one of yes.

Oddly enough, I could easily see this scene for some reason going into the Season Four opener (referencing how the opening segments seem to evolve)

Spike: It is amazing how much things can change in just one year.

Twilight: I know. To think I've come so far in such a short amount of time, yet I still have a LONG way to go.

Spike: I know. You've gone from a picked on, frustrated blank-flank who had yet to discover her true potential, err, no offense -

Twilight: None taken. You're just being truthful.

Spike: Thanks for being cool about it. Anyway, you went from THAT to being a multiple-time world saver who has recently become quite literally the THIRD most powerful pony in Equestria.

Twilight: To be fair, I have had A LOT of help EVERY time as far as the "'world-saving'" thing goes, as for a lot of other stuff. As for the "'THIRD most powerful pony in Equestria'", well, I think you're exaggerating on THAT.

Spike: I don't. I mean, technically, Cadance is in charge of the Crystal Empire, which, while ALLIED with Equestria, isn't part of Equestria proper. Right now, only Celestia and Luna themselves outrank you in Equestria. Not to mention, as an alicorn, you; like Celestia, Luna and Cadance; have all of the main abilities of ALL THREE of the main pony tribes.

Twilight: As I said before, I've got a LONG way to go before I get the hang of the Pegasus AND Earth pony parts. As well as getting the hang of the politics that come with being a Princess-in-training.

Spike: And I will stand by you every step of the way - as will every friend we've made in Ponyville.

Oopsie. Getting WAY too ahead, I must admit. But, like I said, it would be for the start of Season 4 anyway.

Wow, it would take a while to get that far in this, but it's interesting to explore.
How about this, as a stab at what that scene might look like:

Spike trotted into the room, humming to himself. And found Twilight flopped on her bed, head buried under a pillow, groaning miserably in embarassment. "Haouwwwwuh!"

"Aw, c'mon Twi! The flying practice didn't go that badly! You're improving!"

"Oh sure," Twilight muttered indistinctly. "I just managed to face-plant three feet in the ground. And I'm just lucky alicorns are immortal or it would've been my grave!"

"Huh, so you're getting used to being a Princess. Don't worry about it! You'll get there." Spike clambered up to sit on a corner of the bed. "Remember when we first ran into each other? You didn't even have your cutie-mark, and I was a so-called assistant with nopony to assist?"

Twilight pulled her head out from under the pillow, and looked thoughtful.

"Yeah... it was all so simple back then!"

"I mean, then you became Princess Celestia's student, and got a handle on your magic, and you've saved Equestria, what... three times now?"

"Thanks, but I did have some help with that, Spike."

"Sure, but who was it who kept everyone together? Kept us organized? Kept us focused? You did, Twi! Without you, Equestria would be toast! And then you figured out Star Swirl's spell, invented an entire new kind of magic -- and became an alicorn Princess!"

"Yeah..." Twilight extended a wing and stared at it doubtfully. "If I can just get a handle on flying, I might even look like a Princess."

"Not just a Princess, the third most powerful Princess in Equestria!"

"Fourth -- Cadance rules the Crystal Empire. I'm still just the librarian in Ponyville."

"Ehhh, technically the Crystal Empire is just an ally with Equestria," Spike pointed out.

"And with Cadance on loan to rule them, that means it's effectively part of Equestria."

"Whatever. Point is, of the ponies anywhere near Canterlot, the only alicorns who outrank you are Celestia and Luna."

"Why are we having this conversation again? Are you trying to encourage me to take over?"

"I'm reminding you how far you've come! So if it's difficult right now, don't sweat it! You've handled worse before."

Twilight sighed, and stared out of the window. "Sometimes I wonder, Spike. Why does this kind of stuff keep happening to me? Why does my life keep changing? Why do I keep having to deal with complete game-changing upsets to everything I thought I understood? Just when I got to like the whole saving-Equestria deal, going on adventures of all kinds -- wham, I'm a Princess. And now there's paperwork and politics to deal with!"

"You just haven't found the fun side to it yet, the part that fits how you do things. Look at it this way -- when it comes to politics and paperwork, Celestia and Luna can handle anything. And when an empire lost for a thousand years and powered by a love-filled gemstone needs a Princess to rule them, Cadance is the obvious choice. But you're still the go-to Princess when the world needs saving, right?"

"Yeah, I kinda am, aren't I?" she said, amused.

Spike beamed. "There ya go! And I'm here to help ya, every step of the way. And so are all our friends in Ponyville. We're all behind ya, Twi!"

Twilight smiled at him. "I don't deserve friends like you. I never have, right from the beginning. And I don't think anypony ever does. C'mon, let's go see if Rainbow's up for another lesson. We've only got two days until the Sun Celebration, after all."

"And then maybe some lunch afterward with the whole gang?"

"You know it, Spike." Twilight nodded. "Let's do this!" :twilightsmile:

Yeah, that DOES look pretty good at that. Thanks for sharing.

Wait, what scroll was Celestia reading from?

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