• Published 9th Oct 2021
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The Once And Future Princess - Lets Do This



The return of magic has some unexpected consequences. So Sunny and her friends set out on a new quest: to find the fabled city of Canterlot...

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How One Came, As Was Foretold

Another long, tiring, timeless day of hiking cross-country brought them to the end of the Foal Mountain range. And long before they got there, their goal was in sight. It towered against the cloud-filled, dusky half of the sky, like a shadowy spire rising to the heavens -- Mount Canterlot.

As they ascended one of the hills surrounding the mountain itself, they finally came across a sign of habitation. It was a set of train tracks, reasonably well-maintained, that appeared to be heading that way. Following these, they quickly came to a well-appointed local train station.

And caught a train.

As they stood upon the station's platform, looking around in amazement, a horn sounded in the distance. A candy-colored train and set of passenger cars came into view, chuffing up the track. It pulled to a stop before them, and the doors to the front passenger car slid open. A mustachioed conductor looked out.

"You folks the only ones here? I don't suppose you have tickets, right? Never mind, forget I asked, force of habit. We've been told to pick up anypony looking for a ride, and bring them up to Canterlot. Climb aboard, if you're headed that way."

Sunny and her friends willingly trotted into the car, which turned out to be the First Class compartment. It was half-full of a mixture of earth-ponies in work clothes, and unicorns in richer, more expensive-looking garb. The two tribes of ponies were pointedly sitting on opposite sides of the car, each carefully pretending to ignore the other.

Finding seats by the windows, Sunny's group watched in amazement as the train car chuffed out of the station, then rattled up the track, swiftly beginning the ascent into the heights. And when the train had rounded a few turns and gotten out of the lower hills, it came around a bend and they saw, high in the distance...

"Canterlot..." Sunny whispered.

And she sounded heartbroken. For it was nothing at all like she'd expected.

The city was a wreck. There were the huge platforms, yes, with towers and spires built atop them. But the platforms were shattered, at least half their stone collapsed into the plains far below. The buildings remaining were crumbling and decrepit, looking gray and lifeless in the half-light from the Sun low in the East. And the sky all round the city itself was a mass of dark, gloomy rain-clouds.

"This place is supposed to be old, right?" Zipp asked, doubtfully. "Bit of a fixer-upper, if you ask me." And then she winced when Pipp fiercely elbowed her, nodding at Sunny.

"Well, we got here, at least," Izzy offered. "That's something. And you never know. There might still be books here, and ponies with answers. Right, Sunny?"

Sunny nodded, just to be agreeable. But she said nothing, and seemed to draw into herself, hunched against the back of her seat.

"Let's... just wait till we get there," Hitch said carefully. "See what we find."

The train made good time at least. Soon it had passed through the outer boroughs of the massive city, and rolled into what looked like a main terminus, not far from the ruins of a grand, regal palace.

Sunny thanked the conductor, who nodded agreeably to them all. And then she led the way off the train. And straight into pandemonium.

The streets of the city were thronged with ponies of every station and profession, milling about, some of them selling things, most shouting at one another. Taking care to stick close together, the group made their way up through town, following their snouts. They eventually arrived in what appeared to be a grand open pavilion or celebration area... if you ignored the broken, inexpertly barricaded far edge, where the platform had cracked and sheared off.

Off to the right, up a broad set of steps, were tall doors leading into what looked like an outer wing of the palace itself. A crude stage had been erected close to the stairs, and from this, ponies were loudly haranging the crowd. And the central topic of debate, it seemed, was who was entitled to rule the city now.

"... and it cannot be argued," declared a richly-robed unicorn mare with a jet-black mane, "that I, Sable Tress, am the rightful heir to the throne of Canterlot! My family has lived here for generations! Our investments practically built this place. You'll find the names of my illustrious ancestors adorning many a concert hall and shopping district in this great city!"

"Ha!" retorted a blond-maned unicorn wearing a top-hat and a spangled vest. "Money isn't everything. And it's incontestable that I, Gilt Wand, am the rightful heir to the throne. For it is I, and none other, who caused the Sun to rise again, thus saving all of us from the chill threat of endless Night!"

Izzy frowned. "Humph! He's got a lot of nerve," she grumbled. "We all know it was you, Sunny."

"Why, I've never heard such nonsense!" A portly, sandy-coated earth-pony dressed in overalls was climbing onto the stage, shaking a forehoof. "The name's Grain Bin, and I say who needs a bunch of nobles and fatcats lording it over us again, eh?" He swung to the crowd, gesturing fiercely. "What we need now is representation, for the hard-working ponies of the soil, the farmers and laborers who built and fed this monstrosity for generations! And I don't see why I've got any less claim to ruling this place than any of you well-hoofed parasites!"

"Well, I never!" Sable Tress lofted her snout, pouting. "A common pony, thinking to set himself up as equal to landed gentry?"

"You watch yourself, hayseed!" Gilt Wand said. "In a couple of shakes, I'll show you what true magic ability can do, in the right hooves!"

The crowd around the stage was growing tense. Ponies were glaring at each other, shouting over each other:

"Nobility and tradition should be our guide!"

"I say magic should lead! Might makes right!"

"No! It's time for a change! For equal representation under the law!"

"Peanuts? Popcorn? Anypony for a candy apple?"

This last came from an earth pony pushcart vendor, who was gamely struggling to maneuver his unstable, heavily-laden cart through the increasingly unruly crowd.

And then one of the cart's wheels accidentally rolled over someone's hoof.

"Hey! Watch it!"

The pushcart was shoved over, bowling over several angry ponies. Who got up and started pushing and shoving crossly. The crowd quickly turned violent, ponies throwing blows and shouting. And Sunny and her friends were in the midst of it all, hunched together for mutual protection.

Zipp bounced into the air, hovering and looking round. "That way!" she called, pointing. Hitch followed her, leading the others through the crowd, bodily throwing blocks and clearing a path for them. Together they all struggled across the celebration area, and then up the steps, coming to the tall doors. They pushed through these, then slammed the doors behind them.

And found themselves in a dilapidated entrance hall, with frayed red carpeting on the floor and a grand sweeping staircase beyond. The marble walls echoed with the sound of the doors closing, and the increasingly angry roar of the crowd outside.

"I may think twice before booking a tour here." Pipp reached up a shaking hoof to straighten her gilded headband. "Even the crowds at my concerts are more well-behaved than this."

"It's like there's nopony in charge here," Hitch said, amazed. "Nopony at all."

Sunny nodded sadly. "Magic has returned. Canterlot has returned. But not the Princess. And all ponies here can do is argue and fight about who gets to rule in her place." She shook her head. "I was hoping we'd find somepony, maybe even Princess Twilight herself, in charge of things. Somepony who could answer some of our questions..."

"May I help you, my dears?"

They all turned in surprise, and found a gray-maned, richly-cloaked dowager descending the staircase, calmly and regally. She was escorted by a pair of fierce-looking armored guards. And trotting at her hooves was a small brown colt, wearing a peaked blue hat with tiny bells around the brim.

"Come along, Cinnamon. Don't dawdle!" the elderly mare said to the colt. And then she smiled at Sunny and her friends. In that particular way that suggested an explanation was expected.

"We didn't mean to intrude," Sunny said. "The crowd was getting unruly outside, and we were looking for someplace safe."

"Of course, my dear. And you are...?"

"I'm Sunny Starscout, from Maretime Bay. And this is Hitch, our local Sheriff. And my friend Izzy Moonbow, from Bridlewood. And these are the pegasus Princesses, Zipp and Pipp, from Zephyr Heights."

"Charmed to make your acquaintances, all of you." The elderly unicorn dropped a carefully measured, arthritic curtsey. "And I," she said in return, "am Lady Da. And if you're looking for somepony in authority, I suppose I might do. I'm the closest thing to actual hereditary nobility left in this crumbling old ruin." She smiled mirthlessly. "They've even asked me to rule, more than once. But of course I don't want the job."

"Seriously?" Zipp looked amazed. "Why not?"

"My dear Princess," Lady Da replied, "they can't even get my latté order right at the café! So how am I expected to rule anypony?"

Trotting closer, she eyed the five ponies with varying shades of misgiving. Princesses or no, she seemed to regard any non-unicorn with lofty -- though not unkindly -- disdain. Even Izzy received little more than a raised eyebrow. To which the purple unicorn responded with her usual carefree, beaming smile.

"I imagine," Lady Da said, "you're all here to press your own claim to be the ones who should rule. The ones who caused the return of magic and so on."

"It's no claim, your Ladyship," Zipp retorted.

"Not a bit," Pipp agreed.

"Sunny here brought us all together," Izzy added. "Uh huh! And she brought back magic, and brought back Equestria... and she's even talked with Princess Twilight herself!"

"Izzy!" Sunny warned.

"What? Lead with your strong suit, I say."

But Lady Da merely looked amused. "My dears, everypony and their sister is here, making much the same claims. And it's going to take a lot more than a smile and a very charming personality for an earth pony to get noticed." She smiled at Sunny in a kindly way, despite her words. "And as for a unicorn from Bridlewood..." Lady Da's snout wrinkled slightly. "Well, it would be a challenge indeed for a forest unicorn, a tree-hugger, to make inroads in what's left of high society around here."

"Huh?" Izzy looked at Sunny, puzzled. "I've never hugged a tree in my life." She leaned closer and spoke behind a hoof. "Pro tip: if a tree ever tries to hug you back, run!"

"Still," Lady Da went on, a little wistfully, "if you could prove what you say, then I for one would back you in a heartbeat."

"Really?" Hitch said. "I mean, you hardly know us."

"Perforce, Sheriff, I've had to become a sharp judge of character." The dowager smiled thinly. "And what this city, and Equestria as a whole, needs in my view is a leader much like the Princesses once were: caring, and selfless, and singular in focus. Wanting only the best for us, all of us. A leader who leads by example, giving us reason to reach beyond ourselves. Who brings out the best in each of us, so we share our abilities and talents, instead of keeping them to ourselves. A Princess," she finished grandly, "who deserves our best, because she encourages us to seek the best in ourselves."

She chuckled lightly. "Oh listen to me, do. Rattling on, like the aged pensioner I am. Dreams like that are a-bit-the-bushel, trust me! Now, you are more than welcome to wait in here until things have quieted down outside. But I wouldn't get my hopes up about making an impression, not with this crowd. Honestly, it would take a miracle to bring this lot together!"

So saying, she nodded kindly, then trotted off down a side corridor accompanied by the colt and by the guard ponies. The guards eyed Sunny and their friends for a moment with disinterested sternness, then faced front, ignoring them.

"Sunny?" Pipp asked, surprised. "Why didn't you show her your magic? The wings and the horn?"

"And the fact that you can move the Sun?" Zipp added. "That's pretty hard to ignore, take it from me!"

"I tried," Sunny said, desperately. "All the time she was talking." She shook her head. "But the way I feel right now... I just don't have it in me. And what good would it do?" She tossed her forehooves in exasperation. "They wouldn't believe it. They'd just say it was an illusion, a trick of some sort." She sighed. "Lady Da was right. We're not going to convince anypony here. We might as well just turn around and head back home. Before the ponies back in Maretime Bay start to worry about us. We'll find some other way to move the Sun. Maybe Izzy was right and I just need more practice."

The group sat in unhappy silence for a moment, unsure what to say.

"Well," Zipp said quietly. "Having come all this way, I would like to see what kind of Audience Hall they had in this place."

"Really?" Pipp stared at her. "You've never shown much interest in the trappings of royalty back home."

"It's not that I'm not interested," Zipp retorted. "Someday I'm going to have to take over from Mother, I know that. But I have been sort of keeping it at wing's length until now. And well... I'd just like to see what kind of standard I'm going to have to live up to."

Izzy nodded readily. "I'd like to take the tour, if there is one. Just so we can tell the ponies back home about it. 'Cause you know they'll ask."

"Hey, I'm in," Hitch said, and his rabbit nodded in agreement. Then Hitch put a hoof on Sunny's shoulder. "But it's not up to us, is it? It's your call, Sunny. What do you say?"

She looked up at them, and managed a smile. "Sure, why not? Just so we can honestly say we've seen it all."

------------------------------

They met few guards as they trotted along the chilly, echoing marble corridors. What few they passed merely glanced their way then marched onwards, apparently seeing nothing that concerned them.

By process of elimination, working ever upwards through the palace, they came at last to the tall, ornately-carven doors of the Audience Hall. And found that the doors appeared to be locked. Hitch put his shoulder to one, and shoved hard, to no effect. Zipp and Pipp tried the other, with the same result.

Zipp glanced around, at the ceiling overhead. "There's more than enough holes in the roof around here," Zipp noted. "I could always try flying around, through a window or something, and see if I can open the doors from the far side." She spread her wings, readying herself to take off.

"No, wait!" Izzy's eyes were wide, the hairs of her mane standing on end. "Sunny... you give it a try."

Shrugging, Sunny reached up a hoof and gently shoved the doors.

And they clicked open and swung wide, as if they'd never been locked at all.

Hitch exchanged a glance with his rabbit. "Ahhh... I probably just loosened it up for you," he said.

"Izzy?" Sunny stared at her in amazement.

The unicorn shrugged. "The doors were magically sealed. I could feel the spell charging up, whenever you moved towards them."

"Me?"

Izzy beamed. "It takes a Princess!"

Sunny winced at that, and looked down, ashamed. "I'm not a Princess," she whispered. "I don't deserve to be. I don't know nearly enough. And I keep landing everypony in worse and worse trouble as a result. I'm an accident waiting to happen... not a Princess."

She felt Izzy's hoof touch her shoulder, and looked up.

"You are one to me," Izzy said, seriously. "And I don't need some dumb set of doors to tell me that. I know you, Sunny. The real you. I know how much this matters, how much you care. And I'd follow you in a heartbeat, wherever you led us. You know that."

"That goes for me, too," said Zipp. "And I am a Princess -- or will be, someday. But... if you ruled here, I think I could be happy being in charge back home. Knowing I'd have somepony like you to turn to, if things got tight."

"Hear, hear," Pipp added softly.

"You know how I feel," Hitch said. "You're my friend, Sunny. I'd back you all the way. You got my vote."

"So, c'mon!" Izzy waved a hoof. "What are we all waiting for? Let's go check out your throne room!" Laughing, she bounded away through the open doors.

With a grateful smile, Sunny followed her, the others right behind her.

And her momentarily feeling of warm happiness crashed back to cold reality again.

In the cavernous marble hall their hoofsteps echoed loudly, hollowly. Like everything else in the city, the chamber was old, disheveled, and apparently abandoned. Once-red carpeting was torn where it wasn't simply frayed. The curtains on the stained-glass windows were wispy rags. Atop the dais at the far end, the throne itself was toppled, its tall back snapped in half, the cushion leaking stuffing from multiple rips in the stained fabric. And the roof itself had collapsed in several places, revealing the looming gray rainclouds overhead.

Sunny came to a halt, midway up the central carpet. She sat down hard. She held her mouth tight shut, to keep from sobbing aloud.

"There's nothing here," she finally gasped. "No experts, no answers, and no Princesses." She glanced around at the others. "We did come all this way for nothing. I'm so sorry, gang!"

The others gathered around her, trying their best to console her.

Then voice rang out sharply behind them.

"Excuse me! Who opened this door? Quickly now, who was it?"

They looked round, guiltily. Lady Da and her guards were standing in the open doorway. The elderly pony was staring at them, with a look of stern astonishment.

Sunny winced. "I did, your Ladyship." She got up and turned to face the dowager as she strode towards them. "I'm so sorry. If we're trespassing, we'll leave. We just had to see..."

"Oh, my dear! You misunderstand me." Lady Da gestured to the open doors. "These doors have remained shut, ever since the magic was lost, many moons ago. Ever since Equestria itself began to slip away, bit by bit, into the mists of time. Nopony could open these doors, try as they might. Without magic, they simply could not be opened."

"Seriously?" Sunny asked. Her Ladyship nodded.

"And those with a more fanciful turn of mind," she went on, "started saying that one day a pony would arrive who could open these doors. And that pony would be..."

"... the Princess?" Izzy said, eagerly.

Lady Da gave her a flat look.

"That is how these urban legends tend to go."

Behind her, more ponies were appearing at the doorway, an entire crowd of them. In the lead were the ponies from the stage outside: Sable Tress, Gilt Wand, and Grain Bin. They were looking astonished, and more than a little put out. "Lady Da!" Sable huffed. "What is the meaning of this? Who opened these doors?"

Sunny was about to speak, but Pipp nudged her. "Let me take this, Sunny."

"Are you sure?" Sunny whispered back.

Pipp nodded, smiling. "Press agent, remember? Besides --" Her eyes narrowed. "I speak influencer."

Turning to the crowd, Pipp gestured grandly with a wing. "Look no further, citizens of Canterlot! For here she is, your new Princess, as promised in song and story: Her Royal Highness, Princess Sunny Starscout!"

Sunny tried a smile, hoping that she didn't look too demented.

The response was an uproarious laugh from the crowd. "An earth pony?" Sable Tress snorted. "Really! Is this somepony's idea of a joke?"

"I agree!" Gilt Wand snapped. "An earth pony could never have opened these doors! The most pure, noble, and powerful unicorns in the land have tried and failed!"

"And what's wrong, I'd like to know," Grain Bin growled, "with an earth pony succeeding where you wimpy ivory-tower toothpick-heads have failed? If all it takes is strength, we've got that in buckets!"

"It is simply not to be believed." Sable Tress sniffed. "Now who was it really. Lady Da? Was it you?"

"Oh, I know it seems impossible," Pipp went on. "I myself found it hard to believe, at first. But here you have before you, live and in person, the mare who brought back magic -- who brought back Canterlot itself. And has now arrived to claim her throne!"

She turned and gestured to the other members of the group.

"With her are her loyal Court, gathered from the far-flung domains of all the pony tribes. From Zephyr Heights, we have Crown Princess Zephyrina Storm, Mistress of Wind and Weather!"

Zipp didn't need coaching. She leapt up and took wing, arrowing through a gap in the roof. She began ping-ponging back and forth across the sky, clearing away the looming gray clouds, revealing the pale orange sky overhead.

"From the mysterious forests of Bridlewood," Pipp called, with sultry look, "we have Sunny's court Sorcerer and advisor on magic, Isadora Moonbow!"

"That's me!" Izzy excitedly waved a hoof. "I also do sparkle readings!"

"From Sunny's own home town of Maretime Bay," Pipp went on, "we have her bodyguard and Master of Beasts -- Sheriff Hitch Trailblazer!"

Hitch uncomfortably took a step forwards and bowed. Then turned to the rabbit. "Back, back I say, dangerous critter!"

The rabbit glanced around. And then got it, and looked fierce -- at least, as much as a long-eared gray ball of fluff could.

"And I," Pipp said, "have the great honor to be Her Highness's seneschal and Minister of Social Media -- Princess Pipsissewa Petals, at your service!"

She bowed grandly. And In the silence that followed, a pony at the back of the crowd bounded and waved frantically. "It is her! Pipp! Pipp! I'm your biggest fan! Pipp-pipp-hooray!"

Pipp smiled in return. "Pipp-pipp-hooray!" she called back lightly.

The rest of the crowd just stared at Sunny, who felt distinctly on the spot. And then they began grumbling amongst themselves.

"How do we know she's a Princess?" somepony yelled.

"Yeah! We need proof!"

"Geez," muttered Zipp, flapping down to rejoin them. "Like, the doors weren't enough for you?"

But Pipp smiled at Sunny. "Go on," she said. "Show them!"

Sunny took a breath, and nodded. And summoned her wings and horn. This time it worked, with her friends gathered close around her, their friendship and support adding to her magic somehow, making the gleaming, ethereal appendages glow brightly.

The crowd gasped, those in back craning their necks to see.

"And now, Sunny," Pipp breathed. "Show them what else you can do."

"I still can't raise the Sun," Sunny whispered back.

"Then lower it, just a bit," Pipp said. "Just to make the point."

Sunny nodded, and turned, feeling around with her heightened awareness. She found the Sun, hovering low over the eastern horizon, beyond the mountain's peak. Pointing a hoof in that direction, she concentrated, just as Izzy had taught her. She imagined the Sun and Moon on a see-saw, which she only had to... tilt slightly.

And was surprised: it was much easier this time, making the Sun set. The pale orange sky overhead, visible through the rents in the ceiling, faded to the color of burnt coals, then to the chill, star-filled purple of late evening.

That got the point across. The crowd gasped, a little fearfully.

Zipp nodded, with a smirk. "I say we hide it entirely," she muttered. "And threaten not to bring it back, unless they listen to reason."

"Absolutely not!" Sunny stared at her, shocked. "We're playing with fire as it is." And she immediately turned to raising the Sun again. And found that raising it was somehow much harder. She could barely move it at all. "Izzy! I need a little help here."

But Izzy shook her head, smiling. "You can do it, Sunny," she said. "It's all you, remember? And we're all behind you. Right, gang?"

The others nodded, smiling proudly. And with the warmth of their trust fueling her magic, Sunny felt the Sun shift, just a little. And then start moving again. With relief, she brought it back up to where it had been before, standing just above the horizon, in the pale half-light of early dawn.

"Well..." Sable Tress said uncomfortably. "That... certainly puts a different spin on things. But what happens now? Do you just... take over? Are we supposed to just bend knee to you, swear allegiance, follow your commands -- just like that?"

There were similar disgruntled murmurings from the rest of the crowd. And Pipp was about to reply, but Sunny put up a hoof. Her wings and horn still glowing, she turned to address the crowd herself.

"That's not what we're here for. We're not here to rule anypony. If anything, we're here to help keep an eye on things, if you'll let us. I'd say the pony tribes should continue to rule themselves, as they have done. My friends and I can act as, well... a kind of a higher court so to speak. Helping sort out differences between the tribes that can't be dealt with any other way."

There was murmuring among the crowd. Some of it sounded positive, almost relieved. Sunny pressed on.

"Because the magic is returning," she said. "And with it, the Equestria that ponies once knew. And that's okay! This is how ponies used to be. It's how ponies should be. Living and working together, just like me and my friends. I know it'll be strange, and hard to get used to. I know that from personal experience, believe me! And too, it may be a little frightening at first." She smiled down at Cinnamon. The small colt was peering nervously around Lady Da's forelegs. In return, he smiled back. "But strange is kind of the new normal now," Sunny went on. "And we're all going to have to get used to it. But I know we can do it. I know we can make this work. We can get there -- together."

She smiled hopefully, at her friends, and at the crowd before her.

Please, she thought. Let me help. Let me help bring it all back.

For a moment, nopony said a word.

Then Lady Da stepped forward. And curtseyed deeply.

"Princess Starscout," she said, simply.

The ponies behind her, nobles and commoners both, blinked in shock. And then hurriedly moved to follow her example.

"Princess!" they shouted, in rising eagerness. "Princess Starscout! Yeah! Long live the Princess!"

"Uh, Sunny?" Hitch said, staring at her. "What's happening?"

Sunny looked at her wings, her horn. They were blazing alight, gleaming with an unearthly radiance -- like the Sun itself, she thought hectically.

And then she was rising into the air, lifted by the growing allegiance of the crowd before her, as they stared up at her in awe. It was like drawing power from the leylines at the stone circle, but also different: this kind of magic she could handle. She felt it gathering, flowing all around her. Her eyes gleamed. Her mane and tail slipped free of the hair-clips and rippled on unseen winds.

And then there was an explosion, and the magic flooded outwards. With her heightened awareness, Sunny felt it reach out to the ruined city, repairing it and restoring it. The broken platforms rose from the plains below, reattaching and healing themselves. The aged, dilapidated towers and dwellings of the city were renewed, glittering and gleaming in the coruscating light. And the magic washed outwards, down the mountain, renewing the land. And upwards too, chasing away the dark clouds from the sky.

And then, then Sunny realized... she knew how to raise the Sun.

Turning gently in midair, she stretched out a forehoof towards it. And with the wishes and dreams of her new subjects supporting her, backing her, giving her the power she needed, she easily lifted the golden orb, up and up and up, until it stood high in the brilliantly blue, cloudless sky.

She had no idea what time it was supposed to be now. So she put the Sun at half-past eleven, because it seemed about right. And gave it just the gentlest push to get it moving on its own again, for the rest of the day at least.

Then she looked down at her friends. "What do you think, gang? Good enough for now?"

"Oh yeah!" Zipp called back, pumping a hoof.

"Yay, Sunny!" Pipp added.

Hitch landed on his rump, staring up open-mouthed.

"Magic!" he gasped.

Izzy glanced at him. "Bing-bong!" she said mischiveously. And then grinned. "Juuuust kidding..."

------------------------------

Later that day, after seemingly endless rounds of introductions to noble ponies and officials and staff and excited citizenry eager to get a glimpse of the new Princess and her court, Sunny and her friends managed to escape to the relative quiet of an upper tower balcony. There they stood, leaning on the stone parapet, looking out on the revitalized landscape.

Below them, Canterlot itself sparkled under the late afternoon sun. Beyond, rolling meadows and cliffs dropped away to the plains below, green with trees and pastureland. And in the distance, across the plains, they saw a small suburban center, with houses and farms, even a windmill.

"That looks like Ponyville," Sunny said, glancing at the map in her journal, which now showed the city of Canterlot by name. "And that," she added, pointing to a distant cloudbank bedecked with rainbows, "looks like Cloudsdale. It's coming back, just like we hoped it would."

"We'll need to go visit them," Pipp said. "See who's there, whether they need any help."

"Pipp and I could fly over to Cloudsdale," Zipp offered. "Be kind of an advance party, let them know we're coming."

Sunny shook her head. "We should all go, together. It'll be better if everypony sees us together as a group. Just like Princess Twilight and her friends. We need to be an example for everypony now."

"Can't just talk the talk," Hitch agreed. "Gotta walk the walk." He noticed the rabbit, standing beside him, striking a determined pose. "Aw geez," he said. Then he shrugged. "Eh, might as well roll with it, I guess." And he struck a pose too, looking sternly proud. The rabbit cheered excitedly, and then fell over backwards in a faint.

Sunny laughed. "You've still got it, Hitch." And then she suddenly looked wistful.

"What is it?" Pipp asked.

"I just realized. We need to let the ponies back home know what's happened. They'll be expecting us back soon."

"They've probably already guessed, from the Sun," Hitch said. "But we can head back, fill them in on the details."

"And I should probably stay here," Sunny said. "There's no end of things for a new Princess to do. Lady Da is kind enough to help, but..." She sighed. "I'm going to miss Maretime Bay. I wish I didn't have to be a Princess so far away from home."

"Then don't be," Zipp said.

"What?"

"Seriously." she shrugged. "Mother always says, a Princess is as a Princess does. If you want to rule Equestria from a lighthouse in Maretime Bay, I'd say that's your call. Let 'em come to you, if they have anything urgent that needs your attention."

"I agree!" Pipp said with a smile. "Somehow, the idea of a Princess ruling from a lighthouse just feels right. After all, we're supposed to be leading the way now, guiding Equestria out of the darkness."

"And," Izzy said, "it'll mean you're that much closer to all of us. When ponies from Bridlewood and Zephyr Heights want to come see you. After all," she added aggressively, "you're our Princess. We saw ya first, honey!"

Sunny smiled and nodded. "Absolutely!"

"Well then," Zipp said. "Who's up for a little exploring? I want to check out the rest of this palace, before we go anywhere else."

"Sunny's palace," Izzy corrected her.

"Our palace," Sunny re-corrected. And motioned for the others to go ahead. "I want to hang out up here for a bit, where nopony official can find me for a while."

The others trotted off willingly, chattering and laughing together. Hitch had finally given in and allowed the rabbit to ride on his back. And Sunny grinned, pleased that she had such wonderful friends.

Then she settled her chin on her hooves on the warm stone of the parapet in front of her.

"We did it," she murmured to herself. "We found Canterlot..."

Indeed... said a voice beside her. A very good first step. But there will be many more challenges ahead.

Sunny turned and stared at the tall, smiling lavender alicorn, suddenly sitting beside her.

"Princess Twilight?"

Twilight nodded. "Princess Starscout," she answered formally. And then settled a comforting forehoof around Sunny's shoulders. "I'm proud of you, Sunny," Twilight went on. "Very proud indeed. You know how to lead your friends, how to be there for them. You know how to reach ponies, in ways that even I had difficulty with at first. And you know how to take on challenges and deal with them. I couldn't have asked for a better successor."

"Thanks." Sunny bit her lip nervously. "Um, Princess Twilight? About that cloud of dark magic, at Ponehenge?"

"That is one of the challenges I mentioned." Twilight nodded. "And its influence will rarely be so obvious. You'll need to be on your guard, from here on."

"And... that other pony I met there? The dark pony? The one who helped us?"

Twilight smiled. "She's an old friend, actually."

"Really? Is she a Princess, like you?"

"In a way. I'm the Princess of Friendship. And she... well, she's the other sort. She calls herself the Princess of War, sometimes. And you can trust her, Sunny. Though she does have her own way of doing things. You'll just have to get used to it."

"But... you could stop her, couldn't you? Aren't you more powerful than she is?"

Twilight shook her head. "You don't understand. She looks after me. She always has. And I suspect right now, she's looking after you as well. Though it may be hard to see at times. It's just how she is."

"Oh. Well, that's a relief. I guess." Sunny sighed.

"What is it?" Twilight asked. Though the look on her face suggested she already knew.

"I'm just worried," Sunny said, "that one day I'll find things have gone too far. That I've landed us in a mess that even I can't find my way out of."

Twilight nodded understandingly. "That's why you have your friends. They can help you. And you'll have me as well, for those times when it all gets a little too much to cope with."

"Thanks." For a while, Sunny stared into the distance, considering.

Then she stared up at the Princess, puzzled.

"Princess Twilight, why do you only appear to me when I'm alone? And not when my friends are around?"

Twilight smiled, amused.

"Because sometimes you need somepony to talk to," she said gently. "And your friends, well..."

She leaned close, whispered in Sunny's ear:

"... they have you."

The End

My Little Pony: A New Generation, its characters and indicia are the property of Hasbro.
No infringement is intended. This story is a work of fan fiction, written by fans for fans of the series.

Comments ( 54 )

I'm guessing the magic of the leyline in canterlot pushed Sunny from half-baked Alicorn to full with permanent horn and wings.

Dan
Dan #2 · Oct 9th, 2021 · · ·

Princess of war? Ohai Tempest.

Convenient train conductor pony and maybe the Vendor pony... Discord?

11008509
Makes sense of the stomps-hooves bit, anyway. :rainbowlaugh:

Dan
Dan #4 · Oct 9th, 2021 · · ·

11008525
And selling concessions during a borderline-riot.

11008526
I was referring to the Tempest as War Princess guess, actually.

"In a way. I'm the Princess of Friendship. And she... well, she's the other sort. She calls herself the Princess of War, sometimes. And you can trust her, Sunny. Though she does have her own way of doing things. You'll just have to get used to it."

An old friend could that be fizzlepop berrytwist AKA Tempest shadow

Ok wow that was pretty something so after getting out the forest they took a train ride to Canterlot but when they got there it looks really in bad shape once they got there there was a crowd of ponies arguing at each other and with all the hesitation and panics and everything they ran inside the castle any meet up with an old unicorn name lady da so after they explained to her and she talked about how are used to be they checked out the castle and they found a door and apparently it only can open by somebody who believes which Sunny did open the door once they got inside this place was a mess before they were about to head back home everybody in Canterlot who open the door and pipp explain that Sunny open the door the other Ponies did not believe that so they had to show them how Sunny activate her magic to move the Sun but then she explained that no matter how hard life can be they can pull through together and it looks like her magic increase and she can move the Sun and the Moon witch that was pretty cool everybody was pretty surprised so it looks like things are going to be very different for her and it looks like Twilight showed herself to Sunny again and it looks like she has a lot of work to do this was a pretty interesting story and it feels like this is going to be a series by the way this was good keep up the good work

"It is simply not to be believed." Sable Tress sniffed. "Now who was it really. Lady Da? Was it you?"

Of course, what did I expect. The very exclusive doors opened after who knows how long and it’s definitely the pony that’s been there for the entire time you knew the place.

Twilight nodded. "Princess Starscout," she answered formally. And then settled a comforting forehoof around Sunny's shoulders. "I'm proud of you, Sunny," Twilight went on. "Very proud indeed. You know how to lead your friends, how to be there for them. You know how to reach ponies, in ways that even I had difficulty with at first. And you know how to take on challenges and deal with them. I couldn't have asked for a better successor.”

I’m guessing there’s more coming?

"Because sometimes you need somepony to talk to," she said gently. "And your friends, well..."

She leaned close, whispered in Sunny's ear:

"... they have you."

D'awwww

Well, that escalated quickly. Sunny better know how to navigate politics and red tape quickly or everything would come crashing down in a week.

The whole “farm boy becoming king” trope always overlooks the fact that said farm boy has no idea how to actually rule until he gets chewed up by the jaws of bureaucracy. This is something even Twilight in canon suffered from.

This is pretty much a King Arthur selection story, except the courtroom doors replaced a sword in the stone.

11008969
The thing about the Arthurian mythos is that it's based on tragedy: the Sword in the Stone "miracle" merely obliges everyone to publicly hail Arthur as King, but by itself doesn't really do the job of convincing the populace to accept Arthur in their hearts. Hence the need for Arthur to use force to try to unite the country, which leads to the Round Table as a "diversion" for the competitive instincts of his Knights, and then ultimately to the tragedies that follow.

Sunny and her friends learn that fully persuading a populace to take Sunny to their hearts as their new Princess requires a much harder balancing act, of apparent miracles (the doors, plus Sunny's initially limited powers), along with some carefully-timed persuasion. Plus acceptable role-models for belief, like Sunny's friends, and Lady Da. What we now call influencing, which is Pipp's strength here. Sunny's alicorn-level power, and hence her legitimacy as ruler, is directly fueled by the acceptance of her subjects. She has to convince them to follow her, instead of their following their own interests. This is what many "just wait until she sees the tax-code" parodies seem to miss: such problems exist when you haven't really persuaded others to help you solve them.

Even in G5, it seems, willing friendship (or at least adoration to start with) is the power that works to unite the pony world. And that positive message is one reason so many of us got sucked into this fantasy mythos in the first place -- it's nice seeing comedy "win out" over tragedy, as a driving narrative force.
:twilightsmile:

Interesting little story would of been cool if Luna showed up with twilight

11009139
What do you think the Princess of War is for? Celestia, Princess of the Sun, had Luna, Princess of the Moon, as a kind of counterposing force and reality-check. And the Princess of Friendship has her own version.
:twilightsmile:

11009101
true. let's hope she can find good delegates to handle all the other political stuff and decide which areas she herself are good at. That's is how she gets a functioning court.

Also, this is my 1500th faved story on Fimfiction. Congrats.:yay::twilightsmile:

ya know alot of ponies, myself included, though zepyhr hights was formerly canterlot but that would make argile's map there very inacurate if thats the case...unless the entire southern half of equiss snaped off of equestria just past where ponyville was...cause the nearest southern ocean to canterlot in twilights time was several 'weeks' travel thru the badlands to mount aris and the kingdom of the sea ponies.

11009151
No, you're not wrong, there is plenty of evidence to suggest Zephyr Heights is, was, or on the same mountain as, Canterlot was, and there is increasingly more evidence popping up from behind the scenes to suggest this was, indeed, the intent of the G5 production team. In fact, there's enough evidence now corresponding with G4 era landmarks that I can just about plot the Mane 5's path they took, going pretty much right through what we would think of as Central Equestria.

Admittedly, from the moment I first saw this story pop up, I've been resisting the urge to point this all out, knowing full well that in so doing...it'd probably mess up the entirely plot the author has put together all for the sake of a quibble. :rainbowlaugh: So I won't blame them if they choose to ignore these details altogether for the sake of their story. But...for the record...

11009216
https://www.equestriadaily.com/2017/08/map-of-equestria-updated-for-movie.html yeah about that...

edit: this is a map of equestria as of the movie, and its suronding kingdoms...notice how far away from the ocean canterlot is...as i said though it could simply be that argiles map is very inacurate and only provides the most basic of directions and the distances are much further then indicated, im asuming brindlewood is what used to be the white tail woods, horse shoe bay though...its positioning is too far south and west for it to have been manehaten or vanhooover so it may have been seteled after whatever happend...perhaps even its the home of the former earth pony residents of ponyvile?

also sorry if my wording comes off as snarky, not intended more just trying to be consise and to the point.

11009216
11009248
Myself, I still think there's enough left unstated yet, that the series (and fanfiction) could go lots of ways. This story is just one such option. And I freely admit I could be wrong -- it's up to the production team to decide what's canon. (But always remember confirmation bias, too: it's easy to see confirming "evidence" for an initial idea or preference.)
:twilightsmile:

11009141
Well if your implying that Luna is also the princess of war then that's great!
But if your not then I will probably figure out in the future

11008509
Eh, the one consistent thing about Miss Princess of War is her "flame-orange eyes," but Tempest's eyes are very blue.

11009367
if you take Twilight's"flame rage" state from the episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen" s something that really happened as not just a visual gag Magic can make eye colors change based on mood. Of Tempest became a Alicorn somehow glowing red eyes could just indicate she is mad.

11009437
But why would you not take an obvious visual gag (complete with abstract, non-diagetic background) as not a visual gag?

11009506
Because it's a cartoon set in a universe where the warping of reality in that manner is totally normal possibility and not outrageous. It's a universe where spontaneous musical numbers just happen and everyone accepts it as the norm.

A cute story, the last bit with Twilight was in my opinion the best part. The journey to Canterlot felt kinda rushed if I am going to be honest, like you could have had rich details on the land and lore, the ups and downs of a long adventure not just cave henge city yay. This is again just my opinion and I really do hope there'll be more to come.

11009557
Many thanks! Yes, there's certainly scope here for a much longer "there and back again" story, with many more adventures while Sunny and her friends are roaming in the returned Equestria. I was deliberately keeping it novella length, though, so it was readable in one sitting, and to focus on the key point here: namely Sunny needing to embrace her role as the "High Princess" of Equestria, in order to properly and responsibly deal with the return of magic.

And the thought is that if this story does well (as it definitely seems to have -- thanks, gang!) other stories could go into detail on the returned Canterlot, as well as the other lands and characters that carry over to the new series.
:twilightsmile:

11008509
Actually, the vendor pony is a backhanded Terry Pratchett reference: specifically Dibbler, the inveterate sausage salesman, who's always looking to sell something during any kind of gathering, no matter how serious. I was really tempted to have him say "Can I press anypony to a candied apple... onna stick?" But I thought that would be pushing it.
:twilightsmile:

11009545
In an episode where the character in question disbelieved in the possibility of "warping reality in that manner" and where every other character ascribed the ability to do so to one [different] unique character. Nope, not buying it.

11009248
A counterpoint, then--here's an image of an officially released poster:
static.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/0/0f/MLP_G5_%27Follow_Your_Heart%27_poster_by_Trends_International.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20210808233127
Note the map background--essentially the same as the G4 map (clipped though it is)...except with Zephyr Heights named in Canterlot's location. Likewise, Bridlewood seems to be somewhere near either White Tail Woods (as you suggested) or closer to Vanhoover, and Maretime Bay around G4's Baltimare (if not the same city just evolved into Maretime Bay).

You may already know this, but I also know the Mane 5 go right through what was once the Ponyville area, because they pass right by what's confirmed to be the Tree of Harmony not long after leaving Zephyr Heights, and I can confirm from the surrounding terrain during that scene that it matches the right location for where we last knew the Tree to be in G4 (though Everfree seems to be gone, interestingly enough).

That suggests that the Mane 5's path from Maretime to Bridlewood took them largely right through what would have been central Equestria. On hoof, it took them about two to three days (not counting the day spent in Zephyr Heights) to make the whole trip to Bridlewood. Considering that G4 could make that same voyage by train in under a day, this does seem fairly accurate (especially when you consider that the G4 ponies often traveled from one side of their country to the other within a day or less on a regular basis) to the distances as shown in G4, when adjusted accordingly for travel by hoof.

Further, Zephyr Heights being Canterlot (or at least on the same mountain as it) makes sense because remember that old station (incidentally, it appears it had been for airships, judging from the preponderance of what looks like lifting envelopes left hanging orderly around within) Zipp took them to? It seems it had once been a central traveling location for everywhere else in Equestria, which would make sense for a location that had either been or close to the capital of the nation.

(It's also worth noting that the station also lists all of the G5 towns by name but none of the G4 towns, which suggests the pony tribes drifting apart was a relatively recent event, given it's clear that the ponies were still united when that station was still in service, but that's a point for another day)

This all to say nothing of the fact that the mountain Zephyr Heights sits on just looks a lot like the same mountain Canterlot had always sat on right off the bat, and considering the movie's staff went the extra mile to match up their terrain with G4's in other areas...

Yes, this would all mean Argyle's map is not totally to scale...but that's not totally surprising, because no in-show map ever shown in MLP ever has been by deliberate design (so the show's staff don't have to be precisely accurate about the distances if needed for the plot). The locations, however, might still be loosely accurate, in that if Maretime Bay is indeed around Baltimare, that would put Zephyr Heights and Bridlewood somewhat to the north of it, and Bridlewood farther west than all the others, which is still more or less consistent with Argyle's map (I expect Argyle had to fudge the distances a little because he didn't have enough page space. But he may have taken the time to draw out a more accurate and larger map at home, as there is evidence he was working out the locations for all of these cities, G4 or G5, there).

It's true that none of this is necessarily definite confirmation of this all being the case...but for the moment, the evidence does seem to be leaning heavily in that direction.

Anyway, obviously I've been putting a lot of thought into this as of late, so...I figured I might as well make use of it and put it out there for a change. :rainbowlaugh:

11009624
Fair enough, I think part of the problem was that you used fairly generic descriptions and similar wording for most of the journey aside from the 3 or so "stops".

Maybe a bit more variety in the landscape or like weather/moods/etc.

In any case I'll keep my weather eye open for any sequels or side-stories.

11009832
11009248

A counterpoint, then--here's an image of an officially released poster...
Note the map background--essentially the same as the G4 map (clipped though it is)...except with Zephyr Heights named in Canterlot's location.

I hadn't seen this myself, thanks for the pointer! It is suggestive that Zephyr Heights is shown as a city on the side of the mountain, much as Canterlot looked in G4. Though the Zephyr Heights we see in the movie could arguably be said to have a different geometry entirely, and be set in and around a number of peaks, which are not snow-capped, as Canterlot Mountain was (at least, in the map of Equestria -- I'm not finding a good example of it being so in the G4 episodes where the city appears). Of course, we're not seeing Zephyr Heights from a distance, so it's possible it's actually positioned like Canterlot was, or was built higher up the mountain, above the cloud-line. But the poster could also have been promo art, hinting at an association without actually confirming it. So it could be read either way.

You may already know this, but I also know the Mane 5 go right through what was once the Ponyville area, because they pass right by what's confirmed to be the Tree of Harmony not long after leaving Zephyr Heights...

I don't think this is well-supported, even given the "confirmation", for one big reason: the tree in the movie is pretty clearly made of wood. (Scroll to about 51:46, where there's a tight close-up.) When last we saw the Treehouse of Harmony, it appeared to be still made of crystal. Of course, in the intervening time it might have pulled a Pinocchio ("I'm a real tree now!") and become living. And the chasm nearby is similar to the one near the Castle of the Two Sisters... but then where's the Castle? I don't see any ruins left. So... I have doubts here.

(It's also worth noting that the station also lists all of the G5 towns by name but none of the G4 towns, which suggests the pony tribes drifting apart was a relatively recent event, given it's clear that the ponies were still united when that station was still in service, but that's a point for another day)

I gave the destination board at the back of the station hall a close look myself, when booking up for the previous story, and it appears to list both G4 and G5 cities. (Bridlewood, Maretime Bay, Zephyr [Heights], Neighagara, Manehattan, and three others too damaged to read clearly.) But you're right, it does appear to be a hub of some sort. Though this could be because Zephyr Heights took over as the main hub when the pony realm shrank down to just the three settlements.

This all to say nothing of the fact that the mountain Zephyr Heights sits on just looks a lot like the same mountain Canterlot had always sat on right off the bat...

It is suspiciously tall, though comparing the glimpse we get of it around 25:38 in the movie, with images from G4 of Canterlot Mountain and Canterlot's position on it, plus the surrounding plains, I think a case could reasonably be made either way. That is, we don't really see enough of the summit, or a city on it, to be able to say for certain.

I expect Argyle had to fudge the distances a little because he didn't have enough page space. But he may have taken the time to draw out a more accurate and larger map at home, as there is evidence he was working out the locations for all of these cities, G4 or G5, there).

We don't know for certain it _is_ Argyle's map, any more than the map of old Equestria (with Twilight's castle on it!) on the wall of his work area. And the journal it's part of has Twilight's mark on it, not Argyle's, which raises questions about where he got it. (He could have made it, and put the star on it himself as a reminder, but we don't know for certain yet.)

Not disputing the conclusion you're drawing (well, maybe a little, but that's okay), just noting that there's room for doubt here. What's cool about all this is, at this stage of the game there's lots of room for interpretation and interpolation like this. What do we consider "canon" and part of the world? And what is an accident of the development of the movie? Text and meta-text, as they say. Much like Argyle himself, we're piecing together what we see of the G5 world and comparing it with the "historical documents" we have of G4 (see what I did there?), and drawing a variety of conclusions.

Reasoned analytical fan debate for the win!
:twilightsmile:

11009898
Canterlot was shown having expanded considerably in The Last Problem, and probably continued to do so for awhile longer afterwards, so my current theory is that Zephyr Heights started out as a pegasus centric housing development and/or neighborhood built higher up the mountain that eventually took dominance and became a city of its own as the years passed by.

But that's speculation on my part.

What's not speculation is the Tree of Harmony bit, because I'm not kidding about that--the movie's staff have legit come forward and confirmed that it IS the actual Tree of Harmony. Not a reference to it, not a little callback, the legit Tree of Harmony.

The current theory as why it's wood now and not crystal is that the disappearance of magic had something to do with it, and the wood form is sort of it's "sleep mode," so to speak. Either that, or the Tree yet again altered its appearance sometime in the intervening years (which would also explain the absence of the treehouse element).

I think what happened to the Castle of the Two Sisters is that it finally just decayed away entirely (or at least enough that the remaining foundations became buried underground), which suggests the extreme time frame that has passed between G4 and G5--we're talking probably thousands--PLURAL--years here. That's part of the reason why I brought up the idea that the station suggests the separation of the tribes happened more recently, because if that is true, then that would suggest Twilight's era of friendship and unity ran on likely uninterrupted for a couple of millennia before the division happened. Seeing no nation can claim anything close to that in the real world, I'd say that's pretty darn good for the G4 group. :ajsmug:

Anyway, the Castle of Two Sisters might be gone, but the Tree still appears to be in the same spot as it was regardless, because immediately after passing the Tree, the Mane 5 have to cross a crevasse...much like the one that had always been sitting in front of the Castle of the Two Sisters. :raritywink: Heck, the tree even sits on a nice little knoll, which, incidentally, the Castle of Two Sisters had always been shown to be sitting on itself, so...

I only referred to it as Argyle's map because Prysmkitsune did, so for consistency's sake. I agree it could just as easily be Sunny's map, or somebody else's entirely. Regardless of its ownership or creator though, the original point about it still stands--it's probably not meant to be taken to be to scale.

Like I said originally though, I don't expect you to change anything in your fic because of this, nor do I blame you for choosing not to, and indeed had hesitated bringing any of this up at all for fear I was just being a Mary Mary Miss Contrary in doing so. The only reason I'm bringing it up now is that the subject got broached, and there seemed to be interest...so I threw in my two-bits on the matter. :twilightsmile:

11009668
They had diffrent explanations but it still happened,even Twilight came to the conclusion while she could not understand what Pinkie did she accepted it in the end. Regardless a magic pony's eyes glowing red while angry when thier natural color is blue is minor effect in comparison to the magic effects shown off in the show.

Wow that was phenomenal! All the characters were so well written that I could hear their voices easily, great job! With the story and the pacing and everything coming so well together at the end this legit felt like it could be the premiere of the start of the show! Definitely an amazing read :twilightsmile:

11010041
Thanks so much! I was shooting for more of an actual full-team adventure with this one, and also exercising my ear for the ponies' individual voices, as a way of getting to know them better, so it's a shot in the arm to hear that worked so well for you.
:twilightsmile:

11010394
You did wonderfully! Not only did they all feel different when they spoke it was very easy to put their voice to it and their actions and words flowed with each other very smoothly and naturally. It felt like watching an episode. If they ever need more staff I'd vote for ya lol :twilightsmile:

Sunny winced at that, and looked down, ashamed. "I'm not a Princess," she whispered. "I don't deserve to be. I don't know nearly enough. And I keep landing everypony in worse and worse trouble as a result. I'm an accident waiting to happen... not a Princess."

An accident waiting to happen is also a solution waiting to happen.😜😋🤯🛠️⚒️🔨🔧🔧🔩🗜️

"I agree!" Pipp said with a smile. "Somehow, the idea of a Princess ruling from a lighthouse just feels right. After all, we're supposed to be leading the way now, guiding Equestria out of the darkness."

Like a princess ruling from a library

"In a way. I'm the Princess of Friendship. And she... well, she's the other sort. She calls herself the Princess of War, sometimes. And you can trust her, Sunny. Though she does have her own way of doing things. You'll just have to get used to it."

It's Sunset Shimmer isn't it?

"In a way. I'm the Princess of Friendship. And she... well, she's the other sort. She calls herself the Princess of War, sometimes. And you can trust her, Sunny. Though she does have her own way of doing things. You'll just have to get used to it."

Tempest Shadow?

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the Tree of Harmony gradually adapted to it's low magic levels by becoming a mostly mundane plant. Especially if Twilight's influence was part of the deal.

As for the castle, it was already in ruins and a thousand+ years abandoned by the end of G4. Even longer with no magic to preserve it? It's probably collapsed inward into it's foundation and become covered with soil and vegetation.

Ponyville is probably a tremendous archeological find though. With as much traffic as the town got, there has to be tons of artifacts and such from the last high-mana era. Never mind the School!

*Lip smack* Noice! :raritywink:

Seriously though, great job! I could totally picture this actually happening!

Canterlot!
Canterlot!
Canterlot!


It's only a model.

11010430
And anyway, you can't possibly turn out worse than the last one. So cheer up, k?

11010641
It's a beautifully clever reference if it is indeed referring to Fizzlepop Berrytwist!

i think it's safe to say that CANTERLOT IS BACK! by Celestia i hope this get's to be cannon, this is EPIC!

11011350
those ponies like to put a pony with no ruling experience to rule over them
no wonder why they kingdom Fall :rainbowlaugh: :rainbowlaugh: :rainbowlaugh:

A crude stage had been erected close to the stairs, and from this, ponies were loudly haranging the crowd.

Did you mean, haranguing?

This last came from an earth pony pushcart vendor, who was gamely struggling to maneuver his unstable, heavily-laden cart through the increasingly unruly crowd.

You're missing something between last and came.

She chuckled lightly. "Oh listen to me, do.

Are you sure you didn't mean, Go, at the end?

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