• Published 2nd Jan 2023
  • 6,426 Views, 548 Comments

Generational Divide - Boltstrike58

A tear in the time space continuum brings Twilight Sparkle and Sunny Starscout together.

  • ...

Chapter Two: Disruption


Twilight Sparkle hummed happily as she trotted down the halls of the crystal castle. In her magic, she held a serving plate, upon which sat seven different sandwiches, one of which had several small, precious stones sticking out of it. She'd prepared all of them by hoof just minutes before. When she reached her destination, Twilight pushed the door to the throne room open with one hoof.

"Lunch is served, everypony!" she proclaimed.

Inside the Cutie Map room, her six best friends were all parked on the thrones bearing their Cutie Marks, eagerly awaiting her arrival. Twilight gently set the plate down onto the map table, which was currently deactivated. Then, she lit up her horn again, sending each sandwich to the pony (or dragon) who'd requested it. Spike, of course, immediately dug into his gem-encrusted treat. Ever since he'd grown his wings, the drake's hunger had been insatiable.

"Mmmm-mmmm! Pretty good, Twilight!" said Rainbow, smacking her lips as she swallowed her first bite. "Your cooking's gotten way better since last time!"

"Well, I haven't got much to do while the school is out for summer vacation," replied Twilight. "So I figured I might as well practice. I'm sure I'll never be a Pinkie Pie level baker, but I can make some things well!"

"Hear, hear!" chimed in Pinkie, waving her forehoof in the air.

"Wait a minute," said Applejack. "I thought that you said you were gonna be workin' on your lesson plans for next year."

"I did. I already finished them," said Twilight as nonchalantly as one could say anything.

Rarity groaned. "Darling, I don't know how you manage to take on such a colossal workload," she said as she put one hoof over her forehead. "When the School of Friendship was in session, I barely managed to get my lessons done alongside my dress orders! Honestly, it's insane!"

"I think it's impressive!" added Fluttershy. "I've already started working on my lessons for next year, too. I'm not as far as Twilight is, of course, but I'm making progress."

"Even with the whole animal sanctuary you have to manage now?" asked Spike, in between bites.

"Yep! Angel's been a big help in keeping all the animals from fighting. Kind of odd, since he's just a small bunny, but he's learning to Stare almost as well as I do!"

"Ooh, you'd better be careful, Fluttershy!" said Pinkie. "If he keeps that up, soon you won't be able to stop his demands with your own Stare!"

Fluttershy opened her mouth to reply, only for it to suddenly clamp shut. She made an agonized grunting sound, lurching forward onto the map table like she was going to vomit. Her wings began to glow bright white, and from the way they were moving, it was painful.

"Fluttershy?" asked Twilight. "Are you alright? What's—"

But she didn't get to finish, as suddenly everypony in the room started feeling the same discomfort as Fluttershy was. The hooves of Applejack and Pinkie, the wings of Rainbow, and Rarity's horn all had the same light coming from them. As for Twilight, her hooves, wings, and horn all glowed, and she nearly fell onto her face from the pain. Spike was rushing between the ponies, asking in vain what was wrong. Then, there was a thunderous banging sound outside, and the glowing lights faded away, taking the pain with them.

"What...in Equestria...was that?!" exclaimed Twilight, as she shakily rose up again.

"I don't know," said Applejack. "One second, everything was fine, and the next, we're all aching like we've just been bucking apples all day. Where did that come from?"

"And why didn't I feel anything?" asked Spike. "I was so scared for all of you, but there was no pain for me."

Twilight shut her eyes and lit up her horn. The others, recognizing her working face, quieted down so she could concentrate. After about a minute, Twilight opened her eyes again.

"There's been some sort of disruption to Equestria's ambient magical field," she announced. "I think it's just contained to Ponyville, but we all felt it in the conduits we use to channel magic. I can't identify where it came from, though."

"But what is it?" asked Rainbow. "What kind of disruption could make all of us fall over like that? Even Discord's never made us feel that kind of pain."

"I don't know," said Twilight. "It doesn't feel like his magic, either. It feels like...something I've never felt before."

She would've continued, but a knock at the door cut her off. Twilight turned, powering up her horn as she did so, using it to pull open the door, revealing a familiar gray pegasus.

"Uh, hey, Twilight," said Derpy. "So...did you guys also feel that...whatever it was just now?"

"Yes," Twilight replied, her voice uneasy.

"And you also heard that big boom outside, right?"

"Yes. What happened?"

"Well..." Derpy fiddled nervously with her hooves. "It's probably best if you come and see this for yourself."

"I don't like this," mumbled Fluttershy as she got off her throne. The others followed her example.

Twilight stared, mouth agape, at the site smack-dab in the middle of Ponyville. Just above the surface of the grass, there now floated a bright, bluish-white hole in the air. The vortex, when viewed from head on, was an endlessly spiraling tunnel that had nothing at the other end. Or at least nothing that could be discerned. Around the void, a conglomeration of ponies had gathered, staring intensely at the new addition to the town.

"What...is that, Twilight?" asked Rarity, nervously hiding behind her friend.

"Well, I think we can safely say we found whatever that magic disturbance was," said Spike.

Twilight took a few more steps towards the hole, but made no move to go in. Instead, she lit up her horn yet again, and a soft raspberry aura surrounded the void. Twilight closed her eyes, focusing on the magic of the vortex. After a couple of tense minutes, she finally opened them again.

"It's a tear in the fabric of time and space," she said to everypony present. "At least, I think it is."

"You mean..." Applejack began, "if we go into that hole...we'll time travel?"

"Spike," said Twilight, as though she hadn't even noticed her friend talking, "send letters to Celestia, Luna, Star Swirl, and Starlight. We're gonna need all hooves on deck for this one."

Within hours, a research station was set up around the mysterious vortex. Tents were erected to conceal it from view, so that the ponies of Ponyville could move on with their lives. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna had sent for the best magical scholars in Canterlot to study the phenomenon. Star Swirl and Starlight were there as well, since they had the most hooves-on experience with time magic. Twilight trotted between the tents, observing everypony's work, before coming to the center, where Star Swirl was probing the void itself.

"It looks like your initial assessment was correct, Twilight," he said. "What we have here is a perfectly formed, currently stable tear in the time-space continuum. However, without passing through, I can't determine where or when it leads to."

"Thank you, sir," said Twilight. "At least we know what we're dealing with now. Have you been able to trace that magical surge that caused it to the source?"

"Unfortunately, no. The surge seems to have emerged directly out of the portal itself. My current theory is that, whatever caused this, it did so on the other side." He smiled a little and patted Twilight's wing. "And there's no need to call me 'sir.' You've more than earned the right to simply call me Star Swirl."

"I know, it's just a force of habit," replied the princess, grinning back at her idol.

A turquoise magical aura enveloped the tent flap, pushing it aside, and Starlight Glimmer stepped through. In her magical grip, she held several rolled-up scrolls.

"I finished collecting all the reports from around Equestria," she announced. "There are no reports of other magic surges or holes opening anywhere else. This was localized entirely to Ponyville."

"Good," responded Twilight. "We don't have to worry about time holes popping up all over the place and ponies panicking. How's the situation in town?"

"From what I've heard, Pinkie Pie is keeping everypony else distracted for now. Unfortunately, news got out about the portal before we could stop them, and it'll probably be in papers all over Equestria by morning. Unless Celestia and Luna want to shut down the press for a while, we can't keep the knowledge limited to Ponyville."

Twilight shook her head. "Shutting the flow of news off would only cause more unnecessary fear. Our best bet is to hope we can take care of this before the day is over. Have the other princesses arrived yet?"

Starlight nodded. "They're waiting back at the castle. They said you can take your time, they'll wait as long as they need to."

"No, I'd better go now." Twilight put down the notes she'd been writing on the vortex, and trotted to the door. "Will you two keep an eye on the portal? If anypony comes out, let us know immediately, and don't freak out. Moondancer should be around if you need any help."

"We will," replied Star Swirl, lighting up his horn for another scan.

Making her way through the castle, Twilight reached the Cutie Map room once more. The other Element Bearers weren't present, but Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and Princess Cadence all were. Spike was busying himself by handing out refreshments to everyone.

"Twilight! Great to see you!" said Cadence, coming over to her sister in law and hugging her with one leg.

"I just wish it was under better circumstances," said Twilight. "We only ever seem to see each other when there's a crisis."

Cadence frowned a little, but said nothing. Twilight walked over to her throne and sat down on it, facing her three counterparts.

"Thank you for calling us, Twilight," said Celestia. "What are the latest updates on the void?"

"According to our scans," Twilight began, "it's definitely magical in origin, which explains the surge Ponyville felt before it opened. Star Swirl can't pinpoint whether it opens in the past or the future, but he believes it may have been opened on the other side. We've determined it's the only portal currently open in Equestria, but that's as far as we've gotten. Nothing's come out, nothing's gone in."

"I suppose that's one small victory," said Luna. "What about the void itself? Is it growing? Is the damage to the space-time continuum a risk to Equestria?"

"At the moment, it's stable. I believe somepony would be able to completely pass through it without harm. However, long term, I don't know what the consequences of leaving it open would be. In theory, if we just left it alone, it could...expand and tear Equestria apart."

"So, obviously, we need to take care of it before that happens," said Cadence.

"Yes, but like I said, whatever caused it appears to have originated from the other end," said Twilight. "We could begin work on a counterspell to seal the vortex shut, but without knowing the nature of the magic that caused it, that could take months that we don't have. We had Discord come over and try to close it, but it's immune to his magic. We're not sure why or how. The only way we're going to find out what caused this is to..." She paled as her brain caught up with her mouth.

"I understand, Twilight," said Celestia. "I propose we send an expedition through the time hole in order to determine the exact explanation for this occurrence."

"Are you sure, Sister?" asked Luna. "We don't have any idea where or when that portal leads to, and it could be extraordinarily dangerous."

"Oh, I agree. However, I don't believe we have any other viable options. If we don't deal with the portal now, it poses a danger to all of Equestria."

"You make a fair point," said Cadence. "But whom should we send through? If we send a group of royal guards, we might inadvertently antagonize whoever or whatever is on the other side. We've got enough on our hooves without starting a cross-temporal war."

Twilight took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and placed both forehooves on the table. Spike watched his older sister with fascination in his eyes.

"I volunteer," she said, breaking up the others' discussion. "I'll go."

The others all stared at her, eyes wide. Cadence's mouth actually dropped open.

"Are you sure, Twilight?" asked Celestia. "This mission is unlike anything you have ever faced before. Even with your journey through the mirror portal, at least I had some knowledge as to what you would face. Here, nopony knows what lies ahead."

"I understand," replied Twilight. "But I'm ready to step up and be the princess everypony needs right now. With my friends by my side, there's nothing I fear. Of course, I would never force them to go, but I'm sure they would come if I asked."

The expressions on the princesses' faces changed. Celestia smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes. By contrast, Cadence and Luna both bore wide grins.

"Very well, Twilight," said Luna. "If you truly wish to undertake this task, we will not stop you. We'll provide any support you need."

"Just make sure you come back safely," added Cadence.

"Don't worry about that. We'll make it," said Twilight, before she quietly swallowed.

"So, let me get this straight," began Rainbow. "You want us to go with you through that portal, which leads to an unknown time period, in an unknown location, on a journey we might not even come back from, that's probably fraught with danger. Is that right?"

"Pretty much," replied Twilight.

"Where do I sign?!" Rainbow exclaimed, her voice ecstatic and the widest possible smile on her face.

"Now hold up, sugar cube," interrupted Applejack. "I know you're the type of pony to run headfirst into danger and ask questions later, but not all of us are like that." She turned to Twilight. "Not that we ain't gonna support you, Twi, it's just there are risks involved. This is one of those times when your compulsive need to plan everything out might come in handy."

"I agree," said Twilight. "Especially since we know nothing about our destination. From our study of the portal, we've learned it was made by Equestrian magic, so we'll most likely still end up on Equestria. However, it'll probably be an Equestria we don't recognize."

"Yeah, but that just adds to the awesomeness!" countered Rainbow Dash. "Think about it! Us, in a completely unknown version of Equestria, working to prevent time and space itself from unraveling! This is cooler than any Daring Do story could ever hope to be!"

"I don't know, Rainbow," said Fluttershy. "What if the portal leads to a world filled with monsters the size of the buildings in Manehattan? Or worse?!" She started quivering at the thought.

"I'm sure it won't be that bad, dear," said Rarity. "No matter what, as long as we're working together, we can face anything."

"Besides, this is my chance to throw an epic, cross-temporal party!" said Pinkie. "Unless they've banned parties in whatever time we're going to, but why would they do that?"

"So that's it? You're all prepared to follow me on this journey?" asked Twilight.

"Do you have to ask?" said Rainbow.

"I'm with you to the end of the line," replied Applejack.

"I'm willing to get my hooves dirty for the sake of Equestria," added Rarity.

"Yep!" was all Pinkie had to say.

Everypony waited eagerly for Fluttershy to chime in, but the pegasus remained silent. Five pairs of eyes turned towards her, and she shrank back under their gaze.

"Oh, do I really have to?" she squeaked. Then a wide smile spread across her face. "I'm just kidding, of course I'll come!"

Twilight breathed a sigh of relief. "Okay. Everypony try to pack only the things you need. We're leaving in half an hour."

Thirty minutes later, the six mares gathered back in the tent that contained the vortex itself. Each had packed a set of saddlebags filled with the essentials. Even Rarity had managed to restrain herself from overpacking, though exactly why she'd brought sewing equipment was a mystery. They were surrounded by family and friends who were seeing them off, including Discord, Big Mac, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Starlight Glimmer, the princesses, and Spike.

"Ah, why can't I go?" protested the dragon.

"Because I need someone to look after the castle," said Twilight. "And Starlight's looking after the school. Don't worry, Spike. If it turns out to be safe, I promise, I'll take you on a trip through before we close it."

"You stay safe, you hear me?" said Discord. "We have our tea time coming up this week, remember?"

"We will," responded Fluttershy. "There's nothing we can't overcome together." Then she wrapped her forelegs around Discord's neck, and he hugged her back.

"Whatever's on the other side of that portal better be ready for the most awesome pony in Equestria!" cheered Scootaloo, jumping up and down. The other Crusaders joined their friend with equal amounts of enthusiasm.

"Aw, thanks, squirt," replied Rainbow, patting Scootaloo on the head. "I almost wish I could bring you three along to be my cheering squad."

"I think you'll be fine without that, Rainbow," said Starlight, though she was barely hiding the smirk on her face.

Meanwhile, Celestia and Twilight shared one last hug, while Luna and Cadence looked on. "I know you can do this, Twilight," said the white alicorn. "As long as your friendship endures, you can do anything."

"Thank you," replied Twilight. "We'll do our best."

She fired up her horn one last time, levitating her saddlebags onto her back. The others followed suit with their own hooves (with the exception of Rarity), and then they all walked up to the portal together. As they approached, the ambient magic surrounding it sent chills down their spines.

"Twilight?" ventured Fluttershy. "You're sure we can go through safely, right?"

"Of course," said the alicorn. "But you can hang towards the back if you like."

Fluttershy took that offer, positioning herself behind Pinkie and Rainbow. Twilight looked towards the void, and after taking one last swallow, she began to step through, the others on her tail.

Author's Note:

This is the last buildup chapter, I promise. In chapter 3, we'll see the two generations interacting for real. I'm super excited to show it to you guys.