• Published 8th Feb 2019
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Elements of Harmony - Starscribe



Starlight Glimmer rewrote history, erasing the Sonic Rainboom and stranding Twilight in an Equestria that suffered one disaster after another until it was barely recognizable. Twilight has to act fast if she ever wants to see her home again.

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Chapter 21: Magic

Twilight Sparkle was a coward.

She had no delusions about her qualifications for battle, no part of her thought that she was secretly a brave pony who belonged with these other brilliant, brave, kind creatures. So when the Princess of Equestria stood between them and casting the spell, Twilight ran with the others.

Some part of her was glad that the spell wouldn’t work out. She already had been on the verge of denying the spell to begin with, looking for any excuse she could find to refuse. The others didn’t really understand—not every creature was suited to think about the abstract and unknowable.

Twilight ran as quickly as she could, watching with an occasional glance back over her shoulder as her otherworldly copy provoked Nightmare Moon. Buying time for the rest of them to escape. Her other self was always looking for ways to make her look and feel ashamed—of course she’d be willing to sacrifice herself. That was just the sort of thing an Alicorn would do.

A few seconds later and they were up in the air, spinning about in a terrible battle. Twilight might not know much about great creatures like this, but she knew inexperience when she saw it. Twilight came from a world better than hers, a world where creatures didn’t starve, where the sun still shone, and where Equestria wasn’t constantly invaded by monsters. It was only natural that she wouldn’t know how to fight.

She was trying anyway, but Twilight didn’t have to watch to see how this would work out. What happens when she loses?

Did running not count as surrender? Was Nightmare Moon going to kill them as soon as she was done?

“We have to do something!” The bat-soldier Rainbow Dash waited at the base of the hill, drawing and sheathing her little sword over and over. At least she was smart enough not to pull it out against the Alicorn. “We can’t just let her fight for us!”

“We won’t be watching it long,” Rarity answered, grim. “Princess Celestia knew she was coming back, she had a thousand years to prepare, and she still lost. What are we going to do?”

It wasn’t just the two of them. As she watched, the other ponies gathered at the base of the hill, beside what had once been a schoolhouse. It was all boarded up now, the desks overturned, and the supplies looted. It hurt Twilight to see books treated so badly, scattered on the ground and left to rot.

“Has anypony been listening to her all this time?” Applejack asked, just a little frustration in her voice. “Don’t you remember? She said we used these Elements to beat Nightmare Moon in her world. Twilight will lose, because she doesn’t have them. But maybe she shouldn’t be the one fighting.”

“We could try,” Pinkie said. Her voice lacked its usual energy. “But if we do… she might come for our families after. She said she would.”

“I know,” Applejack answered. “But my family was prepared to sacrifice for Equestria, they always have been. My granny… well, she’s already gone. Big brother’s in the army, sister’s keeping them fed in the factory. I know they’re not here to ask, but if they were… they’d die for Equestria. Me too.”

“We should decide soon.” Fluttershy pointed up the hill, and Twilight followed her gesture. The other Twilight was falling, trailing flames from her coat. Dark magic buzzed around her, and she fought it off inexpertly. A few seconds later, she smashed into the ground with a terrible impact, spraying dirt in a huge crater near the map. Dark magic followed her down, hitting her without resistance. The pony stopped moving.

“It’s not her world,” Rarity said, standing straighter. “It never was. It’s ours. What kind of future do we want for it?”

“A better one,” Pinkie said. “We always did. She helped us, but… it was ours to get, not hers.”

“What about you?” Rainbow asked, looking up at her. “Twilight, you get a say in this too. I’m pretty sure these elements won’t do anything if we aren’t all working together.”

Twilight considered for one more moment. She could still imagine going back to Our Town, giving up her cutie mark again. There was a kind of safety there, with a pony who had protected them for so long. But Starlight Glimmer couldn’t fight the whole world for her. Sooner or later, Twilight had to do something right.

“I’ll do it,” she said. “We can stop her together. We… a-already d-did, right?”

“In another life,” Fluttershy agreed. “Another time. That’s how we know we can do it.”

Twilight wasn’t sure that made her feel any better—but maybe it didn’t matter. She couldn’t hide behind better ponies forever.

Nightmare Moon turned away from the burned and beaten Alicorn, making her way down the hill. “Don’t think I forgot about the six of you,” she said, watching them. “You’re still important ponies in my kingdom. The Duchess’s time travel plan has some merit. When we use it to send me back, I’ll make sure the thought of rebellion never crosses the minds of ponies. I’ll guarantee that Queen Chrysalis is ashes before she even learns of our existence. It will be a sad thing to sacrifice the Empire, but… I’ve learned much of its magic since its arrival. With the right nudge, I could send it… to the moon, let’s say. Sombra can lead his rebellion in a city of the dead, forever out of reach. You will still save Equestria today.”

She wants to do what Starlight Glimmer did, but worse. Nightmare Moon doesn’t care how many ponies die so long as she wins.

“Yes.” Rarity stepped forward, braver than the others. Maybe it was because she knew this pony, so she wasn’t afraid to be close to her. Twilight sure was. “We’ve thought about saving Equestria, and we agree it’s a good idea. It’s just…” She looked away. “I’m terribly sorry Princess, but we’d rather not do it to secure your rule. We’re going to bring back the sun.”

Nightmare Moon looked like Rarity had smacked her in the face with a brick. She recovered slowly, more slowly than any attack Twilight’s double had used on her. “Even you? After all the trust I’ve shown to you, all the respect. What will your sister think? I know it will break her heart.”

Rarity tensed visibly, adjusting the necklace around her neck. The little gemstone on it didn’t look like much—certainly Twilight had seen more intimidating weapons before. Even Starlight Glimmer had better than this, and she didn’t fight Alicorns.

“Twilight told us we used these in her world to stop you,” Applejack said, standing up straighter. “Did you see? She brought the day back, just for a second. That’s what the world needs.”

Nightmare Moon laughed, her voice wicked and confident. There wasn’t a trace of fear in it—not of them, or what they’d said. “Before I burn you to ash, steward, tell your friends how well that worked for my sister. She tried to use the Elements you’re holding—but now she’s gone, and I rule Equestria.”

Rarity nodded grimly. “She was alone. We’re not.”

“Right.” Fluttershy joined her. All of them were standing strong now, except for Twilight herself. Five ordinary ponies, who Nightmare Moon could blast into oblivion the instant she wanted to. If I’m dead, at least I’ll die with my new friends. “Let us through. Uh… please?”

Her other self had already been hit with so many spells she probably wasn’t long for the world. Instead of too many of her, there would be none.

Nightmare Moon laughed again. “They’re going to tell stories about this, I’ll make sure of it. Let anypony else who thinks to defy me know the story of you six, and the agony you suffered before I finally allowed you to die.”

Her horn flashed, and darkness emerged. Twilight couldn’t read the spell so quickly, and wouldn’t have had a prayer of stopping it even if she could. But she didn’t retreat, or try to turn away from the spell. If she was going to die, at least she would die standing beside her friends. But I don’t have to die.

Twilight closed her eyes, thinking back to a hundred summer days with her older brother. Shining had been so proud of that little shield spell, a spell that he swore could block stones lobbed by trebuchet or even stop lightning. She knew the diagrams, even if they’d seemed to advanced for her. Maybe she could use them now.

Twilight aimed her horn upward, and tried to summon her shield.

There was a faint flash of purple, and Nightmare Moon’s attack went through it like it wasn’t even there.

She didn’t feel the strike of a terrible spell. Instead, something lifted her into the air, a magic that she couldn’t see. Light surrounded her, brighter than any nightmare spell. She felt it connecting them, lines of light that went from one of the necklaces to the others around it. Magic as powerful as any Alicorn—maybe more.

Nightmare Moon lifted into the air, her horn radiating so much magic it started to steam. “No! You can’t! Nopony can use the Elements with my sister gone!”

She aimed her horn at them, and a wave of darkness radiated from her. The ground between them turned chalky and white, dozens of feet of soil atomizing and blowing away in the wind. It was the kind of spell that could destroy an army.

But it didn’t reach them. Twilight didn’t know how to make shields like her Alicorn self had, but she didn’t need to. The Elements grounded out Nightmare Moon’s spell.

“The night is over,” Twilight said. She could feel the magic building, without any input from her. The Elements knew where to find darkness, they barely needed the ponies wielding them. “Time for the dawn.”

Light swallowed her, and everything else. Nightmare Moon turned and fled, spreading her wings and flapping as fast as she could—but she wasn’t fast enough. Sunlight washed over her.

Then the moment passed. Twilight landed beside her friends, deposited gently by the Elements. In front of them was a patch of ground scoured by the Elements. Instead of being blackened by the magic, bright green grass now grew, along with bright yellow and orange wildflowers.

Light appeared behind her, brighter than anything Twilight had seen in so long she almost couldn’t remember it. Bright orange cut across the sky in a line, staining the clouds on the horizon and spreading slowly upward. The stars, beautiful though they were, vanished as the sky turned blue, and the moon finally set.

She turned back to their victim, and found the pony not completely gone, as she’d first thought from such a powerful spell. There was a little Alicorn there, young and blue and confused. She rose to shaky hooves, looking around in complete bewilderment.

“Where… am I?” she asked. Her eyes widened as she saw them, lingering on the Elements around their necks. Then she turned, surveying the empty town, broken windows, and lifeless earth under her hooves.

She dropped to the ground and started to weep.

Twilight considered going to her—but there was something else they had to do first. “Come on!” she said, running up the hill to where her Alicorn self had landed.

As it turned out, she hadn’t been blasted to a bloody pulp. Unlike with them, Nightmare Moon seemed to be trying to keep her alive. And now that the dark magic was gone, the Alicorn was waking up.

“Sweet Celestia,” she said, rolling sideways in her crater. “I can’t remember the last time I had a headache this bad.”

“You’re alive,” Twilight said, watching her. The other ponies approached from behind, watching with concern. “It almost didn’t look like you’d make it.”

“I didn’t,” she said, leaning forward into a standing position with a groan. “Next time I try to fight an Alicorn on my own, just hit me with a rock. The fight won’t end any different either way.”

Twilight said nothing.

The others, not so much. “That was amazing!” Rainbow exclaimed. “Your fight, I mean. Though… mostly I mean us. Since we won, and all.”

“Won is subjective,” Rarity said. “We haven’t saved the world in a stroke. There are two other enemies out there. Which will be quick to capitalize on our weakness once they realize Nightmare Moon is gone.” She glanced into the clearing, and Twilight followed her gaze. The Alicorn cowering there was younger than Twilight, and probably weaker too.

“You think Celestia will come back?” Applejack asked. “Nothing to keep her banished without Nightmare Moon around. Maybe that’s why the sun came up.”

“I think it won’t matter,” Fluttershy said. “We’re changing the past, remember? This is all going away.”

“If you say so,” Pinkie said. “But if you’re wrong, do you think I could throw a party? I’ve never tried a ‘congratulations on winning the civil war’ party before.”

“Sure, Pinkie. If we’re still around, you can have a party.”

The Alicorn looked them over, eyes more confident than the tiny alicorn. “You did it. Just like we did… of course you did. I should’ve known you would. That’s what we did in my world, only… a few years earlier. Now that you’ve got those, you have a way of stopping the others. Queen Chrysalis, Sombra… they’ll fall to the Elements just the same.”

“No,” Twilight herself finally said. She couldn’t stand in back and let everypony else decide the future of Equestria. The sun might be rising, but it wouldn’t matter. This victory wouldn’t matter, just like all the defeats wouldn’t matter. “You’re still going to beat them, aren’t you? Your time travel spell.”

“We are.” Twilight turned to one side, levitating the scroll in her magic and brushing off the dust. “But yes.” She walked past them all, to the artifact map with its strange illusion of Equestria.

Twilight still felt sick standing anywhere near it. Whatever it was, this thing shouldn’t be here. It belonged to another world, another time. It isn’t the map that’s wrong, it’s us.

“We said we would,” Fluttershy said, her own voice timid. “I mean… if we still want to.”

Twilight didn’t, but she wasn’t going to argue. They’d already made their decision. She could accept it.

She looked around, eyeing the faces of each of her friends in turn. She could see the deliberation there, the resolve. But none of them was backing down.

“What do we do?” Rainbow Dash asked. “Honestly, I’m ready to get it over with. This thing is awful. The sooner we’re done here, the sooner we’re done.”

“We could have supper at my place,” Applejack suggested. “If you’d rather time travel on a full stomach.”

“No,” her copy said. Twilight already knew she would. Now that victory was in sight, she was barely capable of seeing anything else. If they walked away, there was no telling how long the map would still be here. Maybe the changelings would destroy it before they could use it, maybe King Sombra would somehow know that his greatest enemy was gone.

“It won’t take long. Besides… if it isn’t going to work, I want to know that too.”

“I want a hug first,” Pinkie said. She wasn’t the only one to close in around her—they all did, one by one. Applejack, Rarity—they all moved in to embrace her. Twilight joined them, even if she didn’t feel quite the same affection for her copy.

She hadn’t been on all the adventures with her. It was obvious just how close these ponies had become. Twilight could barely imagine the dangers they’d been through together.

You beat Nightmare Moon, not her. You’re not a total failure.

“We’ll remember you,” Rarity said. “For what you did for Equestria.” She spoke through tears, and she wasn’t the only one.

Applejack was the first to pull away, clearing her throat and wiping the moisture away with the back of her foreleg. “If… if Twilight’s right, and all this is about to go away, could you… give me a message?”

“Sure,” Twilight nodded respectfully. “Anything.”

“Remind me to give granny a hug,” she said. “And to appreciate living at home with my family a little more.”

“Nothing from me,” Rainbow said. “I’m awesome here, awesome there. Or…” She winced, glancing sidelong at her metal wing. “Actually, one thing. Tell her to dodge left. Always left. Most ponies are right-winged, and so archers expect… yeah.”

“Sure.” Twilight giggled. “Though I don’t think that will be a problem.”

“Better safe than sorry,” Rainbow said. “Just thought I’d… while we’re passing messages around.”

“Nothing from me,” Pinkie said. “I think I already knew this would happen. Just, err… make me a cupcake. And tell me never to be a prison guard.”

Fluttershy only shook her head, leaving Twilight for last. Of course, what was she supposed to ask? This was probably the moment where she would wink out of existence. If this pony took her memories with her, then… she couldn’t keep existing, could she? The wave was about to collapse.

It’s okay. It won’t hurt. And thousands of ponies will get to live again. “Read some books for me,” she said weakly. “I never did get to find out how Daring Do ended.”

“Oh, cuz she’s a real pony.” Twilight waved a wing dismissively. “You’ll meet her, it’s not as exciting as you thought it would be. Honestly you grow out of the books as you get older.”

Then she turned away, walking purposefully to the map that hurt to look at. “Everypony, come here. These chairs… they have your cutie marks, or part of them. Sit down, and… that should do it. The Elements will be enough.”

Twilight wasn’t wrong. As awful as it was to approach the ruin, their presence was clearly having an effect. The map stopped flickering red, and parts of it started changing to blue. The images got clearer, and the broken crystal mended. The elements around their neck started to glow again.

“What about Luna?” Rarity asked, glancing down the hill again. “She’s crying like a filly.”

“She knows the nightmares she caused,” older Twilight explained. “If this doesn’t work, we’ll need to help her. Equestria needs every Alicorn it can get.”

“But it will work,” Pinkie said. “Look, it’s already working. Your map doesn’t hurt to look at anymore.”

Her copy didn’t have a chair, just the slightly torn spell. She walked up to the map, unrolling it along its surface. “Thank you all,” she said, and she was crying too. “You were—are—the best friends a pony could have. We’ll do great things together when this is over, just like we did before it began.”

No we won’t. We’ll be gone. But Twilight didn’t argue. As much as it hurt, this was right. Saving the world was worth a few memories. Or a life, in her case.

Princess Twilight Sparkle started reading. She spoke the Old Ponish with perfect confidence, her pronunciation precise and classically educated. It was enough to make Twilight feel inadequate all over again, remembering the education she should’ve had, but didn’t.

Starlight Glimmer had given her the chance to learn, but some things hadn’t been important enough. The knowledge of the ancients was a tool of oppression, it wasn’t worth wasting their time.

Twilight looked around the thrones at each of these new friends in turn. If she had one regret, it was probably that she hadn’t had the time to really get to know them.

The sky above the map tore open with a grinding, terrible roar. Lightning sparked and flashed along the edge, and through the void was only darkness. It opened right above Twilight, practically precision targeted.

She had just enough time to gasp before her and her scroll were drawn up into the darkness, vanishing from sight.

Twilight didn’t watch much longer. As the opening closed, the ground suddenly jerked out from under her. She fell three feet onto charred soil, bumping and squealing with pain. She whimpered, rolling onto her back with confusion.

The crystal map and its six thrones were gone, with only the black marks they’d left in the soil to prove they’d been there. Twilight moaned, shaking herself out and rising to her hooves.

“So… when do we disappear?” Pinkie Pie asked, the first to recover and bounce into the circle. “I was practicing for what I would say. Oh no, I’m drifting away! I don’t feel so goooood—”

“You’re not disappearing, Pinkie,” Rainbow Dash said, shoving her slightly to one side. “It’s probably subtler than that. We won’t know what’s coming, then… poof. World is reset.”

“Probably,” Fluttershy said, looking up at the sky. “At least we get to go with the sun above us. Knowing that… maybe, ponies would find a way to fix the world. We’ve got the Elements, and we’ve got a working sun again. You know?”

They nodded. The six of them sat together, looking up at the sky. Twilight waited for the inevitable… and kept waiting. She couldn’t say how long she was sitting there.

“Well, that’s long enough.” Applejack turned away. “You ponies hungry? Offer for supper is still good. Or… guess it’s breakfast now. Doesn’t make a difference to me.”

“Sure,” Twilight said, turning down the hill. “Let me get the princess first.”

Maybe she’d been wrong about the inevitability of time travel. There were other theories, and this was certainly a thorough test. Had all that been to get her other self home?

And to fix the world. We still beat Nightmare Moon. There are other monsters we still have to defeat.

But even if the world didn’t end, she knew they could do it.

After all, friendship was magic, and she had five of the best friends a pony could ask for.

Comments ( 20 )

Oh dear, so it was that kind of multiverse after all.

Once again, an excellent chapter.

“Well, that’s long enough.” Applejack turned away. “You ponies hungry? Offer for supper is still good. Or… guess it’s breakfast now. Doesn’t make a difference to me.”

Ah AJ, what a way to celebrate your continued existence :rainbowlaugh:

I wonder if princess Twilight will ever revisit this universe. And if so, how will she react to there being multiple timelines and the knowledge she left that one before helping them save the world.

Good story. I like a nice, concise adventure. I especially liked the mixing of the various villains instead of it just purely being a Nightmare Moon world and the chapters with Starlight's city. Kind of an open ended way to leave things but I feel it works since the "story" concluded, it's just that their world continues on.

On the one hand, this was what I've been worried about since the beginning.

... on the other, she left them with the Elements and a defeated Nightmare Moon (and hopefully a chance to return Celestia), so it wasn't just the "See ya, suckers; I'm back to my cushy life, and I'm going to leave you worse off than you were when I got here!" that I feared.

You should do an Epilogue of Twilight telling her friends everything that happened while she was in the alternate timeline.

Wow, I guess friendship really IS magic! Not that there was any doubt or anything, but I love how true to the show this whole story is. It could absolutely be a script to another movie, and it would be a good one.

“Has anypony been listening to her all this time?” Applejack asked, just a little frustration in her voice. “Don’t you remember? She said we used these Elements to beat Nightmare Moon in her world. Twilight will lose, because she doesn’t have them. But maybe she shouldn’t be the one fighting.”

Exactly.

With the right nudge, I could send it… to the moon, let’s say. Sombra can lead his rebellion in a city of the dead, forever out of reach. You will still save Equestria today.

Interesting idea, someone should write a story about it.

She didn’t feel the strike of a terrible spell. Instead, something lifted her into the air, a magic that she couldn’t see. Light surrounded her, brighter than any nightmare spell. She felt it connecting them, lines of light that went from one of the necklaces to the others around it. Magic as powerful as any Alicorn—maybe more.

There we go.

“The night is over,” Twilight said. She could feel the magic building, without any input from her. The Elements knew where to find darkness, they barely needed the ponies wielding them. “Time for the dawn.”

Oh hell yeah. Good line, Twilight.

Hey, we get Luna back this time, too.

There was a little Alicorn there, young and blue and confused. She rose to shaky hooves, looking around in complete bewilderment.

“Where… am I?” she asked. Her eyes widened as she saw them, lingering on the Elements around their necks. Then she turned, surveying the empty town, broken windows, and lifeless earth under her hooves.

She dropped to the ground and started to weep.

Yeah, that's fair.

Hah, so that's the answer. Alicorn Twilight and the map leave, but this reality remains.

“Well, that’s long enough.” Applejack turned away. “You ponies hungry? Offer for supper is still good. Or… guess it’s breakfast now. Doesn’t make a difference to me.”

Practical as always. They're going to need more of that to fix the rest of the world next.

That was very interesting. I don't know what your plans are, but I'd love to see more of this in a follow up story.

How much you wanna bet there's a sequel on the horizon?

Starlight Glimmer snapped from her stupor as she watched the impossible: the sun rose for the first time in years. The ponies around her murmured, shouted, or cried out in disbelief, but Starlight just stared, dumbfounded. She did it.

As suddenly as the stupor came over her, so too did a terrible realization. She has the scroll! If she leaves, I'm stuck here!

Starlight slammed her remaining bits onto the bar counter and bolted for the door, shoving her way past a stallion as she ran. "Where are you off to in such a hurry?"

She didn't even stop; just cast a glance over her shoulder. "I have to get home!"

It's over already?! I could've read like 30 more chapters of this!

Comment posted by duckmagee deleted Jun 15th, 2019

kinda feel we need a epilogue chapter showing twilight back in her world and other twilight in a world with the sun back

9679226
Seems like a fine time to end, setting up for the possibility of a sequel... :trixieshiftright:

And another tale closes- or at least this chapter of one. Fitting that the POV switched for the last installment.

Kept me guessing up until the end too. At first it seemed to make sense for Starlight to be the final boss- so to speak- but then it was never going to be that easy to avoid Nightmare Moon. And this battle pretty much anointed the new start this world is (apparently) getting.

9749196
No, from Arizona by way of NYC. Ever watch Tiny Toons?

It's a good fic but it could be good a epilogue or semi-sequel, see Ali-Twilight telling the story to her friends after taking Starlight and see what happen to Starlight in that timeline, and at the same time, with Uni-Twi and the other elements see how the planet recover and they take Chrysalis and Sombra, not to say that Tirek comment that it was not going to be easy

.......Wait.....This is how you ended it? I'm mean it's a great story and all and I have read stories that ended like this but come on!! We know what happens here but what about in Ali. Twilight's home? And what about Glimmer? I need a conclusion here, not very satisfied here. To many questions. But over all I'll say it was a fun ride just want a bit more final with the ending.

9447046
If you had just gone straight for about 90 more minutes, we could gave had coffee...
But NOOOOO... you had to go find the Bush estate...

It reminds me of DBZ where Trunks went back to the past from a messed up future and after defeating Cell he went back and the future was still messed up but he was stronger and beat Cell in his timeline.

So Twilight was in a different reality.

9659050
There was such planet in Jack from Shadow.

From scientific side "tidal locked" planets wouldn't be rare, it's assymptotic state a planet eventually reaches. Earth got a "condition" actually, being a binary system of planets. Now , on outer sides of Goldilock zone great portion of planet will be habitable, just ecology would be.. weird.

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