• Published 3rd Feb 2024
  • 530 Views, 74 Comments

Starlight Glimmer Regrets Her Mistakes - MagicS

Now exactly how was Starlight supposed to know that a few changes to the past could cause the space-time continuum to collapse?

  • ...

Something Simple to Start With

Starlight and Spike fell through a kaleidoscope of colors where up and down as they were commonly thought of ceased to exist. The feeling of falling was ever present but what direction they were falling in seemed to change every second. It was just like they both remembered. If it was their first time doing something like this they might’ve gotten sick or disoriented, instead the two of them were almost bored.

Traveling through dimensions? What was so special about that?

Despite Discord being directly responsible for this portal, and the added chaos in the space-time continuum, things weren’t any more random or extreme than they were used to. Starlight and Spike kept close together as they fell, a brightness that seemed to always be in front of them growing stronger and stronger. The usual feeling of vertigo was either gone or their bodies had gotten used to it enough to overcome it. Around them the strange kaleidoscope of colors shifted and warped, seeming to squish down on them and push them closer to the light.

Starlight reached out and grabbed Spike’s hand, making sure they’d both get out of here at the same time and the same place.

Everything started to shake and vibrate, the world blurring around them, and they sped closer and closer towards the light…

Unicorn and dragon both fell roughly onto the grass as they exited the spinning portal through time and space. By the time their own eyes stopped spinning the portal had vanished and the two of them were now on their own here. Wherever here was.

Starlight grunted and stood up while Spike shook his head and did the same. At least they hadn’t fallen on some rocks or something.

“Where are we?” Spike asked.

“Good question...” Starlight said as she took her first real look around.

A dense forest surrounded the two of them, dark despite it being the middle of the day. Heavy foliage and vegetation grew up and around the thick trees while a surprising lack of noise from insects came from around. The two of them were standing on a path through the trees, overgrown with grass and weeds, likely not having been used in some time. There was a foreboding feeling to the forest and all the vines crawling around the trees, rocks, and bushes. Despite the silence both Starlight and Spike felt they were being watched from the shadows.

“Oh, this is just the Everfree,” Starlight said.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Spike agreed as he looked around too. “Been here way too many times to not recognize it. Why do you think the portal dropped us off here?”

“Well Discord said we should end up close to where the problem in this timeline, world, whatever, is. So the Everfree Forest must have something to do with it,” Starlight shrugged.

“What did we do in the Everfree when we were traveling through time the last time?” Spike asked.

“Uhh...” Starlight grimaced. “Nothing constructive, that’s for sure.”

Spike blinked. “Oh yeah… the castle got destroyed. And that underground cavern. You also closed off the Mirror Pool. Ugh… any of that could easily be the problem! It might all be the problem!”

“I know, Spike, let me think a little bit,” Starlight frowned. “What sort of things could happen as the result of us destroying the Castle of the Two Sisters and the underground cavern?”

Us destroying?” Spike raised an eyebrow at her.

Starlight flatly stared at him. “Well you were involved. Anyways—I’m thinking we should go check on the castle to see if it’s actually destroyed. Maybe we’re in a different timeline where that didn’t go through? Maybe Celestia rebuilt it? It would’ve been years between us accidentally destroying it and when Twilight and the girls found it again and confronted Nightmare Moon in it.”

“Celestia probably would’ve done something like that since the Elements were there...” Spike guessed. “I get the feeling if something like this world’s Twilight couldn’t get the Elements that there’d be a way bigger change and we’d probably be somewhere else.”

“The physical form of the Elements before Twilight and the others got them didn’t really matter either. From what Twilight told me at least. But there could be other problems that came up without the castle being there,” Starlight mused as the two of them started walking through the Everfree Forest.

“We could go into Ponyville to check up on things and see what’s different,” Spike shrugged.

Starlight bit her lip. “I’d rather not chance that right now. We should probably avoid going someplace where we could run into ourselves. Especially in a timeline like this where we were only around well before the Sonic Rainboom or I came to Ponyville.”

“Or before I was even born for that matter,” Spike said.

“Yeah. I think we should do our best to solve this on our own without causing a fuss. Other worlds… might be a little different, but for now let’s try and keep things simple.”

The two of them took an easy trot through the Everfree towards the Castle of the Two Sisters. Or whatever might have remained of it. The forest was familiar to both of them and Starlight knew she had nothing to really fear going through it. Any Timberwolf or other monster that tried attacking them was in for a rude awakening. They were more worried about a “friend” accidentally stumbling across them, but hopefully no one else would be in here.

It ended up being a mostly quiet trip with only a few blinking spooky eyes watching them as they traveled through the forest. Eventually they came into the deeper parts of the Everfree, where the castle had been built. Starlight had never asked why the two sisters chose to build their castle here in the past… it seemed like kind of a weird location. Maybe she’d ask when they got back from all of this? Twilight probably already knew.

Soon though they made it to a clearing in the forest where they could see the castle—or at least where it was supposed to be.

“Well this isn’t too surprising,” Starlight shrugged.

The ruins of the castle were undisturbed and looked almost exactly like how Starlight and Spike remembered them from when they had accidentally brought the whole place down. The one change was leafy vines crawling up all over the rubble—but even after years it seemed that even the Everfree Forest wasn’t too keen on intruding on the former royal establishment. What was clear was that Celestia certainly hadn’t seen fit to rebuild the castle. Whatever happened for Twilight to find the Elements and confront Nightmare Moon in this timeline had to follow a different path.

“So did something change from this? Something important enough to cause chaos?” Spike wondered.

“I don’t know… I think we should check on something else first,” Starlight said.

“What?” Spike asked.

“The town. We can stay in the forest and take a look at Ponyville, see if anything is different or missing. If Ponyville is the same then maybe the castle being like this didn’t really change anything,” Starlight said.

“And the portal dropped us off here because something else is going on and we still don’t know what,” Spike said.

“Precisely. But don’t be so defeatist, Spike,” Starlight said and started walking in the direction of Ponyville.

“It would be nice if Discord wasn’t asleep so we could just ask him about things...” Spike muttered.

“Well that’s the one thing I’m not going to mess around with if it can be helped. We don’t need more random chaos caused by him just being awake here,” Starlight said.

The trip to the edge of the forest was similarly uneventful with more creatures wisely giving the fearless unicorn a wide berth. Starlight and Spike had to step through quite a bit of vegetation to stay off the main paths and avoid being seen by a potential Zecora or Fluttershy, but it wasn’t the first time they’d had to travel through the Everfree like this. They trudged over vines, roots, and mud just so they could get a brief view of Ponyville and maybe figure this big mess out. At last the two of them stuck their faces out of a leafy bush on the outskirts of the forest and found themselves in position to spy upon this timeline’s Ponyville. What was different? What was the change? How did the Ponyville here differ from the one they knew back home.

At first glance, it didn’t seem to differ at all.

If one had taken a picture of the two Ponyville’s and overlaid one on top of the other there would’ve been no difference. Each house, each building, sat exactly where it should. Twilight’s great castle loomed in the distance and the School of Friendship could be seen far to the side of it as well. A picture perfect Ponyville full of happy ponies who had no idea things were different than they should have been.

“Huh, I guess the castle just isn’t that important,” Spike said.

“We still should keep it from Twilight that we knocked it over in this world,” Starlight said.

She pulled her head back through the bush and Spike followed her, the two of them still lost for the moment on what to do. What was the issue? What were they missing here and how was it connected to what they had done in the Everfree? Starlight sat down and frowned, bringing a hoof up to her chin and thinking as best she could.

“If it doesn’t have to do with the castle then maybe it has to do with the cavern...” Starlight started guessing.

“But what does that cavern have to do with anything in the first place? No one even knew it existed for ages. I guarantee it doesn’t have anything to do with the Elements of Harmony. I mean, it can’t be as important as Celestia and Luna’s old castle,” Spike shrugged.

“Maybe we’re thinking too big. Little things can be important too and even a small change can have far reaching repercussions. And it was Twilight who taught me that every individual friendship matters,” Starlight blinked and looked straight ahead. “Of course. If the cavern wasn’t there then she wouldn’t be here anymore.”

“Huh?” Spike tilted his head.

“That was Maud’s home, Spike. Remember? That’s how I knew about it in the first place. And that cavern was one of the reasons Maud chose to live in Ponyville—if it wasn’t there she might not have ever stayed here. We wouldn’t have become friends, she wouldn’t have met Mudbriar, and she wouldn’t even have as strong of a relationship with Pinkie Pie either. Us accidentally destroying that cavern probably caused Maud to choose to live somewhere else and because of that there’s less friendship and harmony in this world. It’s just a little thing but think about it? Maud was one of my first new friends, she became so much happier when she met Mudbriar and she became more honest with Pinkie Pie. Think of everything everyone is missing out on compared to back home?” Starlight grinned. “Yes, I’ve got it! I know that’s what we need to fix here! We have to find Maud and get her to move to Ponyville so she can get her happier life back!”

“Maud seems like she’d be fine no matter what to be honest,” Spike said.

“That’s because you don’t know her as well as I do,” Starlight chided. “And you know what? Even if this isn’t the main reason we had to come to this timeline then so what? We’re still helping a bunch of ponies. Harmony can’t have a problem with that!”

Spike thought for a second, his eyes searching around as he considered Starlight’s words. “Well… I don’t have any other suggestions… and you make a good point. Alright, let’s go help Maud. At least it doesn’t seem like we could make anything worse in this world by doing this.”

“Be more positive, Spike,” Starlight smiled.

“After last time? No,” Spike shook his head. “Where do we even go to find Maud anyways?”

“If she’s not in Ponyville there’s only one other place she would be,” Starlight said as her horn lit up.

“Ghastly Gorge? Really?” Spike said as he looked around the torn up gorge.

“That’s right. Maud told me a little after she moved into the cavern that the other place she was thinking of moving to was Ghastly Gorge. After all, she really wanted someplace that had plenty of rocks to study,” Starlight said.

“You think we can find her quickly?” Spike asked.

“Ghastly Gorge isn’t too big, and she should be the only pony around. If we see a tent or cabin it has to be hers,” Starlight shrugged.

“I guess that’s kind of nice for us—we don’t have to worry about running into anyone else,” Spike said.

The two of them started walking through the bottom of the gorge, exploring its insides and keeping one eye open for any of those eels they had heard lived here. But if Maud had managed to live here for a while without being eaten then they probably had nothing to worry about. Probably. Either way, the more they walked around the more they saw numerous dig sites and excavations, it was no wonder why Maud had initially been drawn to this place. Starlight, thanks to her friendship with Maud, and even Spike thanks to his closeness to Rarity both knew a decent amount about digging and rocks. So far though they hadn't found the one responsible for the digs or seen where she might be living. Maud was a quiet one who did a good job at fading away into the background when she wanted, they’d have to be careful not to miss her.

“Tell me if you hear a pickaxe striking the ground anywhere,” Starlight said.

“I could just fly and take a look around from the air,” Spike suggested.

“I don’t really think we need to do that just yet—also the eels might try and eat you if you get too close to the walls.”

“Right...” Spike grimaced as he looked up at some of the holes along the gorge’s walls. “That wouldn’t be fun.”

Starlight giggled and patted him on the back. “Don’t worry, I’d still rescue you.”

From there, the two kept walking through the myriad of gouges in the earth that made up Ghastly Gorge with not so much as a map or trail of breadcrumbs to rely on. It wasn’t like they were in a rush, technically speaking, but both would have liked to find Maud before the end of the day. As much as the flow of time seemed to mean anything right now.

Tink, tink, tink…

Starlight’s ears perked up. “Do you hear that, Spike?”

“Yeah, it’s coming from up ahead,” Spike pointed.

Tink, tink, tink, it kept continuing on.

The two of them followed the metallic clinking sound through the rocks at the bottom of the gorge until they came out into an open area cleared of any obstructions. Part of the ground had been dug up in a series of levels going deeper into the dirt, a simple green tent was propped up on one side of it, and a newly mined hole in the side of the gorge’s wall was being made while all the rubble and individual little pebbles from it were piled up and waiting for inspection.

And there was Maud, standing outside the hole with a pickaxe in her mouth as she tried to break apart a boulder into a smaller boulder.

“Maud!” Starlight shouted in joy and ran over to her with Spike right on her heels.

The earth pony didn’t look up from her work, she kept on picking away at the boulder as if she was still alone here.

Starlight skidded to a stop in front of her and smiled. “Hi Maud, it’s me, Starlight! Do you remember?”

“Yes,” Maud said around the pickaxe, her eyes briefly flickering towards Spike. “And Spike too.”

“Yeah, hi Maud,” Spike waved.

Tink, tink, tink...

“Well you’re pretty much how I remember you,” Spike said.

“No, Spike,” Starlight shook her head and gazed at the earth pony more intently. “Maud here is very lonely right now.”

Maud stopped her smashing of the boulder and looked up at Starlight. “Is there something the matter?”

“Wow, you really are a lot different...” Starlight rubbed her chin.

“Really?” Spike asked.

“Really,” Starlight nodded.

“I’m going to get back to my rocks now if there’s nothing,” Maud said and prepared to smash some more.

“Hold on,” Starlight said and gingerly took the pickaxe out of Maud’s mouth with her magic. “Actually the two of us are here because we want you to do something that we think will make you really happy.”

“I am happy,” Maud said as blank and monotone as usual.

“Because you’re surrounded by rocks and have Boulder with you so you’re not really lonely?” Starlight guessed.

“Yes,” Maud answered.

“So you didn’t feel like you were potentially missing out on anything by not moving to Ponyville?” Starlight asked.

Maud was quiet for precisely three seconds. “No.”

Starlight smiled. “I can always count on you to be honest, Maud.”

“So—wait? She does regret not moving to Ponyville?” Spike asked as he looked between the two mares, still understandably confused by Maud.

“Sometimes I think living closer to my sister and other ponies could have been nice. Potentially,” Maud answered.

“That’s exactly right, Maud!” Starlight smiled and put a hoof around her shoulders. “But you didn’t really miss out on anything just yet, you can still move to Ponyville and get closer to your sister and start making new friends and everything!”

“The reason I chose Ghastly Gorge though was for my career and interests. It suited them better. And still does,” Maud said.

“And there isn’t a fancy jewel cavern outside of Ponyville anymore...” Spike shrugged.

“Hmmm...” Starlight thought for a moment before a grin reappeared on her face. “I’ve got it! Now Maud, I know you don’t care about architecture but what about studying the stone and masonry of an ancient, one of a kind, castle?”

Maud blinked.

“I see I’ve got your attention. In the Everfree Forest right outside of Ponyville there’s the ruins of that ancient castle. Haven’t been touched. You’d be able to look over and study them to your heart’s desire. And it’s close enough where you could shack up with someone in Ponyville or set up your tent somewhere nearby. Sure it’s the Everfree but there are plenty of ponies who know how to safely deal with it by now. Sound interesting?” Starlight fluttered her eyelashes expectantly.

Maud blinked again. “You had me at masonry.”

“Yes!” Starlight cheered and hugged her. “So you’ll move out to Ponyville?”

“I suppose so. I’ve already done most of the work I wanted to out here. I can study something new now,” Maud said.

“Great!” Starlight hugged her again and looked at Spike. “Score one for friendship!”

“This actually went a lot easier than I thought… better not jinx it for next time,” Spike said.

Starlight perked up and let Maud go. “Oh right! Before we go and you head to Ponyville I should probably tell you some things. When you get to Ponyville, make sure you become friends with me.”


“And look for a pony called Mudbriar, you’ll get along with him.”


“And be more honest with Pinkie Pie about how you don’t like surprise parties.”


“And lastly—when you see me and Spike next time, don’t mention any of this. Just act like this meeting never happened.”


Starlight sighed in relief and placed her hooves on Maud’s shoulders. “You’re a gift, Maud.”

“I know. I’ve been told that many times.”

Starlight laughed and stepped back, giving Maud a wink. “Your sense of humor is just as good as always too.” She exhaled and wiped a hoof across her forehead. “Whew! Alright then, have fun moving to Ponyville Maud, Spike and I are gonna be leaving now.”

“Goodbye,” Maud said and turned to start gathering her things.

Starlight gave her one more wistful look before she grabbed Spike and the two of them started walking away.

“So are we sure that’s all that needed to be done?” Spike asked her as they stood alone in another part of the gorge.

“I’m positive. This is going to have a lot of positive repercussions where friendship and harmony are concerned. Trust me,” Starlight said.

“I wish I could trust you that easily...” Spike muttered but then shook his head. “Alright, I mean I still think you’re right about that and all, but I figured we’d have to do bigger things than this with each world we travel to.”

“I’m sure we will for some of the places we visit but little personal problems like this are important too. This is a big fix in its own way,” Starlight smiled.

“Discord time then. Better get that next portal open and head off as fast as we can,” Spike said as he reached into his bag and pulled out the Discord flute.

It was still weird seeing him like this. Looking more like a doll than something that was ever alive. Spike flicked him on the head a couple of times to wake the slumbering Draconequus up.

“Hey, Discord! Yoohoo! We’re ready to go!” Spike said as he shook him.

“Enough, enough, I hear you!” Discord shouted in his miniature form, his head suddenly animated. “Stop shaking me already!”

“Sorry,” Spike said.

“So everything’s done here?” Discord asked as he looked between the two of them.

“Yep!” Starlight nodded.

Discord didn’t look entirely convinced but he shrugged anyways. “Meh, I’ll take your word for it. Hopefully everywhere we go to gets finished as quickly as this one.” With a snap of his fingers another glowing blue portal was created and Discord went rigid once more. “Hop on in, and wake me up a little more gently next time, please.”

Spike put the Discord flute away and he and Starlight stood before the new portal. Whatever their next destination was, they felt a little more assured of themselves after the success they had here. Together they walked on through and the portal closed up—leaving this world and its ponies to their own devices.