• Published 26th Oct 2012
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Simulacrum - OrphiusOlyandra



Twilight is dying due to using so much magic. Now she has to save Celestia from an illness

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Chapter 1

18/03/01

Recently, I have realized that relying entirely on the Elements is a foolish course of action, for even the best-laid plans can be derailed. After all, ponies are variables and not even a Princess can plan that out. To that end, I have developed a contingency plan – one that will hopefully allow for Luna's eventual return if the worst was to happen.

Using Starswirl's research into amniomorphic magic as my starting point, I have already made great strides. It is a shame he died before being able to move onto alicornian genetics, and in that respect I am working blind. However, from his and all subsequent research, I have already begun unraveling the intricacies of pony genetics. Even as I write this, unique species markers are being identified and their links to each species’ unique magics are being worked on. I am glad that the creation of the School of Amniomorphics was passed by the Council, for that will greatly speed up my research.

Perhaps the greatest hurdle in my studies is in the area of the soul. Knowing Starswirl, he probably scoffed at the mere idea of such an immaterial thing existing that could not be proven, but it is my belief that he was wrong. There is little doubt in my mind that there will be scientists out there who believe in such a thing, but the simple truth is, they would never admit to wanting to study on such a thing. It's a shame really. In this endeavor, I will be working alone, but that is nothing new.

One way or another, Luna will return to Equestria.


"Archmage Sparkle."

"Please doctor, just call me Twilight." The chair scraped across the wooden floor as I sat down opposite him. "You said you had my results?"

"Well..." He ran a hoof through his orange mane before adjusting his glasses. "The thing is, we know what's wrong, but we don't know why. We do, however, have a hypothesis." Out of the filing cabinet came a large folder. "Have you heard of Clover the Clever's hypothesis of bodily limitation?"

"Of course. She speculated that the pony body is only able to withstand a limited amount of magic being channeled at once before the energy being transmitted starts having detrimental effects. However, there was no supporting scientific evidence because nopony has ever had the requisite amount of magic output described. Furthermore, the existence of the Princesses seemed to contradict her work."

Realization dawned and my eyes widened.

"Of course. The migraines after spell use! It's so obvious, how could I have missed it?" I was on my hooves as I began pacing. "Doctor, do you realize what this means? We proved Clover the Clever's final work! I am living proof of her final hypothesis! Oh, just think about the advances in medicine this would make. The advances in magic! I assume you have proof right?"

"Archmage Sparkle! This is a serious matter. From the data we've collected, your nerves have steadily degraded over the course of your visits, with the most serious offense being after your phenomenal shielding spell that saved Manehattan from that rogue storm cell. If you continue using the same intensity of magic that you've been doing for the past couple of months, you'll be dead in five years!"

My happy little trot stopped and I just stared at him. Something in my eyes must have alerted him to the fact that I was seriously pissed off. When I next spoke, it was with an intentionally flat voice that was barely above a whisper.

"I am Archmage Twilight Sparkle, Princess Celestia's most faithful student, and it is my duty to protect Equestria. If that means dying in five years, then so be it, but I will not leave this country hanging when I can make a difference. Whether that's through powerful spells or advancements in magic, I will not stop."

Even if it meant never seeing Cadence and Shining's foal. Never see my friends achieve their dreams in life and fall in love. Even if that meant never finding my own special somepony or getting my first kiss or going on my very first date. It seems so silly now, my fillyhood dream of having an arm of the Royal Library named after me or inventing some new spell or even discovering a new branch of magic.

A part of me wanted to run away, to completelyignore my duty, and I hated myself for even thinking that. I loathed it with a passion that had ever only been directed at Discord. There were ponies out there who lived in far worse conditions than I did, who died a far younger age than me, who were treated far worse than me and worked in jobs that squandered their talent. Yet here I was, fretting over my own death when I had already achieved so much and had such a good life. Who was more important? A single lavender unicorn or the entirety of Equestria?

And yet, despite all that, I still wanted to run.

Oh Clover, was this how you felt when you squared off against that dragon? You knew that it would lead to your death and yet you did it anyway because it was your duty. Did you feel this way too? This sense of dread and anticipation, of anger at yourself for feeling scared, of wanting to run away. How did you deal with this?

"I- I am not saying you shouldn't." I resisted the urge to rub my temples at the sight of him shrinking away. "Just that you should stop using magic when you don't have to. We believe that if you don't use magic then your nerves should naturally heal. Minor magic like telekinesis should be fine, but with your body in the shape it's in, we would rather have you err on the side of caution."

Sighing, I sat back down with a plop. "Fine. Do you have my medication?"

"You're out already?" With a sigh, he pulled out another bottle for me. "You need to stop eating these as though they're candy."

"Sorry doctor, but we're right in the middle of a major breakthrough involving three dimensional amplification matrices using crystals as the..." I trailed off at the flat look he was giving me. Somehow, he reminded me of Celestia back when I was a filly and had done something silly. "What if I use as little magic as possible?"

The look remained.

"And only take the pills only when absolutely necessary...?"

His gaze softened and to my surprise, he laid a gentle hoof on my foreleg. "You are a marvelous mare, Archmage, and the world would be a lesser place without you. Please, don't throw away your life so needlessly." His gaze hardened once more. "But keep this up and I will send a personal missive to Princess Celestia detailing your condition in full."

"I'll-" A burst of green flame appeared before my face and quickly scanning the contents of the letter, I stood up. "Sorry doctor, Princess Luna needs me."

"Before y-"

His words were cut off as the world around me blurred together like a wrecked painting. Hitting the ground, I swayed on my hooves and squeezed my eyes shut in a vain attempt to dull the pounding against my head. Note to self: Teleporting across Canterlot is not a good idea.

"Archmage, are you alright?"

Looking up at the concerned guard, I gave him the reassuring smile I practiced every day before my mirror. "I'm perfectly fine, just miscalculated how much energy I needed to make that teleport, that's all."

"Heh, only you could say that with a straight face." Glancing over my shoulder, I watched as Spitfire swooped down into a neat landing. "Don't worry, I'll make sure the great Twilight Sparkle doesn't die on her hooves."

Getting onto my hooves, I hid a wince of pain behind an eye roll. "I take it Princess Luna contacted you too?"

"Yep." Side by side, we walked up the stone steps and into the great hall. "I just hope she hasn't called Rainbow Dash in as well. Remember the last time that happened?"

We both shuddered at the memory. Trying to hold a storm in place for hours on end, while being pumped full of pain medication, just so they had enough time to rescue everypony was not fun. Add on the annoying nobles who demanded they let the commoners drown just so their houses wouldn't get wet and...

At Spitfire's amused expression, I stopped growling with a blush.

"I don't know about that." Both our heads snapped across to see Dash in her Shadowbolts’ uniform. "Seeing Twi turn all those stuck-up ponies into potted plants was totally worth it."

I blushed brighter than ever, and attempted to hide behind my mane only for Dash to nudge me playfully. A huge smirk was plastered over her face as she launched into an epic retelling of the incident. If I didn't know better, I'd have thought neither of us had been there... and that it hadn't made headline news. Every time that day was bought up, every single time we got into an argument, Dash would remind me of that little explosion.

"-light?Twilight?Hellooooooooo."

"Gah!" Jumping away from Dash's face, the cyan pegasus burst out laughing.

"You should have seen your face!" Though she was on her back, Rainbow Dash somehow managed to stay in the air. "For such an egghead, you sure crack me up."

"Oh harhar," I replied with a huff. Unfortunately, that just compelled Dash to ruffle my mane as though I was a little foal.

"Stop fooling around," snapped Spitfire. "Princess Luna called us up for a reason and considering it's all three of us, it's not a good thing."

"Yes ma'am," we replied in unison.

Out the corner of my eye, Dash made a face at Spitfire and I had to bite back a chuckle. Though I didn't hang out with the new Shadowbolt unit often, I was around the castle enough to know that Dash could just be as much of a slave driver as Spitfire. Considering Spitfire helped mentor both of us in leadership skills alongside Celestia and Luna, it wasn't really a surprise.

We stopped before the double doors to Luna's studybefore the guards allowed us to pass, and together, we entered the darkness. The doors slammed shut behind us with a resounding boom, leaving us in the starlit room. No matter how many late nights I spent in this room with the Princess, it always took my breath away. Wrapped in an eternal shroud, the only sources of light were the pseudo-stars that floated all around us. Though they were only a basic light spell, the amount of focus required to create so many, and the fact that they pulsed to a silent song always stunned me into silence. Really, I shouldn't be so surprised considering this was Luna. Beside me, Spitfire could only stare on in slack-jawed wonder. Not a surprise really, Celestia's study looked like a rundown motel in comparison.

The only pony that didn't seem affected was Dash, but considering she was captain of the Shadowbolts, it wasn't a surprise. Instead, she casually strolled up to Luna and asked, "So, how bad is it?"

"Worse than last time. Walk with me." The alicorn's eyes were sunken and her cheeks matted with tears. Casting a concerned look at the two pegasi, we silently did as she bid. "My sister is not well. We had hoped it was just a common cold, but it is far worse than I had imagined."

When had this happened? I saw her just two days ago and she was perfectly fine! Sure, her muzzle might have been a bit pink, but that was because we were having a bit of wine along with our twice-weekly philosophy discussion. There was no shortness of breath, no coughing, no sneezing. She seemed as healthy as the day we met. Out the corner of my eye, I could see my look of shock reflected on Spitfire's face.

"I will say this now, I am offering you the opportunity to partake in a mission, but if you refuse, I will make it an order." Luna stopped before her bedroom door and faced us. "It will be dangerous, and you will be working on a time limit."

"Do you really need to ask?" Plastered all over Dash's face was her trademark cocky grin. "I am the Bearer of Loyalty for a reason."

"And she's my mentor," I added.

"This is Princess Celestia we're talking about here," said Spitfire. "If it weren't for her, I'd be living on the street somewhere. You'd have to throw us in a jail to stop us from helping."

"Ha! You think bars could stop our resident egghead?" That quip earned Dash a flat look from me.

"This is not the time for jokes," snapped Luna, and we all immediately froze. "We- I am sorry. It has just been stressful for all those involved. Thank you though. Please, sit and I shall explain everything."

Opening the doors, we all stepped in. Unlike her study, it was boringly plain. A simple alicorn sized bed, bookshelves against the walls, a large writing table as well as the usual closet, bedside tables, fireplace, bathroom and nightlights. There was no fancy magic here, or anything that even indicated royalty. Truth be told, it was probably smaller and even plainer than my own room; something that Celestia felt necessary to jab me about every other day.

Princess...

Taking a deep breath, I locked gazes with Luna. "How bad is she and what do we need to do?"

She held my gaze with equal intensity, the two of us silently communicating a slew of things with nothing but familiarity. And then, she sighed a sad little sigh and her shoulders drooped.

I could taste the tension on my lips.

"Celestia is sick. Very sick. The good news is there is a cure. The bad news is it's located in Yggdrasil."

"Ya- What now?" said Dash.

"Yggdrasil. The tree at the center of the world, the birthplace of the alicorns," replied Spitfire.

"Technically, it was the location where the Princesses were first sighted," I correct automatically. "It's also a myth."

Luna gave an amused smile. "I can assure you, the place exists. In fact, it lies beyond the western border of Aviana, in the center of the Crystal Desert. Celestia and I hid it under the greatest enchantments we have ever cast, and locked it using the most complex spell ever devised. It is an ancient place, one with secrets no being should ever hold or understand."

"Wait. You mean you were the ones responsible for the unique magical resonance frequencies that Professor Sunshine identified over a century go? The ones that completely disrupt and nullify all magics cast within the Crystal Desert?" My entire body was trembling with barely contained excitement. "How? If that is a spell, then it breaks almost every single rule we know about magic! I mean, if you tell me how it was cast, then we can-"

"Spike sent your journal to Celestia."

"He what!" There was stuff in there! Private stuff about- Oh no, it had stuff about my perfect date. Where I’d want to go, the stuff I’d want to see, the type of pony I’d want to date me and my fantasies.

Not that… not that it mattered anymore. Dead in five years right?So much for my hopes and dreams.

Laughter finally penetrated my thoughts and I glared at Dash, who was currently too busy rolling around on the ground to notice my death glare. Just one look. All I needed was for her to look into my eyes, and then bam! She'd be on fire. I could do it too! I could invent the spell right now if I wanted to.

“Ah hem!” A bright red blush appeared on my cheek as Luna reprimanded us. “If you two are done? Good. If the doctors are correct, we believe our sister has no more than seven days to live. It's lucky we caught it as early as we did, otherwise there would be absolutely no hope of getting the cure in time. The good news is I've devised a teleportation anchor that will let you teleport the cure right back once you temporarily turn off the spell we cast, so you have a total of seven days to get there.”

That sobered us all up. Seven days? That meant no more late nights, no more debates or days out in Ponyville. The mere thought of the Princess no longer being around was like a spike through my heart. She taught me so much, raised me to be the mare that I was today, and without her, I feared for Equestria. It’s not that Luna wouldn’t do a great job, but she wasn’t Celestia. No pony was Celestia. No pony could ever be, or will ever be Celestia.

And to think I was getting all depressed and whiny over having five years left when she would be dead within the week. Seven days. Even a lifetime spent by her side would not be enough for me. Was it selfish? Probably, but…

“Seven days.” Standing up, determination permeated my essence. “Alright. We’ll need to calculate the most efficient route through the gryphon territories and then a path through the Crystal Desert. I’ll also need to calculate the optimal distance to magic ratio when it comes to teleportation so that-"

So what? So that I could kill myself in seven days rather than five years? But really, what was the point of living for so long if that meant Celestia died? I would never be able to live with myself if I didn't try everything in my power to save her. After all she's done for me... for everypony... it'd be the greatest sin ever committed to not do everything in my power.

"So that we can cover the maximum amount of distance per day?" Spitfire looked at me curiously.

"Huh? Oh! Sorry, just working some stuff out," I lied with a nervous chuckle, though from the way Dash was looking at me, it was obvious she didn't totally buy it. "Actually, why don't we discuss this over dinner? That way we won't waste any time."

"Would you like to see Celestia first?" asked Luna.

A frown creased my brow as I thought it over. On one hoof this could be the last time I saw her ever, but... Did I really want to see her? Sickly and pale, feathers falling out and struggling to even breathe? Sure, I was probably overstating it, but that wasn't how I wanted to remember my mentor. That wasn't the last image of Celestia I wanted to take to my grave. I closed my eyes, and there stood the Celestia I remembered. Proud, strong, powerful.Something to aspire to, to admire, to love, and worship. The greatest beacon Equestria ever had and will ever have. That was the Celestia I wanted to remember.

"No. Seeing her will just slow us down. I'd rather we figure out the logistics," I replied.

"Look at you, all business." Dash leaned forward in her seat, and cracked her neck. "Then let's get this done."

"The sooner we leave, the sooner we return," added Spitfire.

The three of us looked expectantly at Luna who simply touched her horn to a nearby mirror. Shimmering and wavering, her reflection vanished only to be replaced by the head chief. "We require four servings to be delivered to my room immediately." With a simple wave of her horn and the mirror returned to normal. "In the meantime, I've already made some plans and calculations that'd I greatly appreciate your input in..."


Time Till Death: Six days, seventeen hours, twenty-three minutes

"I'm sorry, but this is as far as I take you." Luna gazed off over the desert landscape of the Badlands. "I'd take you further except-"

"Except that Article 38-1 of the 1046 Statute of the International Court of Justice stipulates that Princess Celestia –amended last year to include Princess Luna – has power equal to an army and any unauthorized travel by said Princesses can be considered an act of war." My eyes ran across the barren land before glancing up at the night sky. Dinner, an hour's rest, and now here we were, ready to save a nation. Turning back to my companions, I blinked in surprise at their slack-jawed looks. "What?"

"Twilight? Never change," Dash chuckled at my blank look as she took the lead.

"Twilight, before you leave there is one final item you will need." Luna levitated a vial of blood to me. "This is Celly's blood. You will need to input a drop into the equipment located at Yggdrasil in order to obtain the cure."

With a parting hug to Luna, I was forced to run to catch up to the other two. Hitting a brisk trot, red dust was kicked into the air as we moved. Beside me, Dash stayed on the ground, her body mere inches from mine while up above, Spitfire zoomed off into the air to scout out our immediate surroundings. Eyes narrowed and breathing hard, hooves hit the ground one after another as I forced myself forward.

Seven days. Slightly less than seven days to be accurate, but I didn't care about that. Seven days to save Celestia.

"Slow down!" I looked at Dash as though she was insane.

How dare she? How dare she! Slow down!? This was Celestia we were talking about. Seven days to travel almost six thousand kilometers. An impossible feat in the best of times and we were doing it in the middle of winter, with limited resources, while trying not to be detected by the gryphons! And she wanted me to slow down? How dare she! Loyalty my flank. In fact-

"Pace yourself damn it!" Dash screamed at me.

Pace myself. Of course. I immediately reined my speed back, but the damage had already been done. My coat was slick with sweat and my breath came in short pants. Legs trembling already, the dull ache was a constant strain on my body. Though my lungs screamed at me for respite, I ignored it and conjured an image of my beloved mentor. Princess Celestia would not pay for my mistakes or my fear.

Pain was just a message. Ignore the message, ignore the pain. Focus on Celestia, focus on the goal, ignore all else and achieve. As long as I have the drive, I had the will. Don't slow down even for a second, to do so was suicide. Once I taste that sweet ambrosia of a slower pace, I will never let it go. Not only was the body an obstacle associated with the search for knowledge, but also for saving a Princess it seemed.

I licked my lips, tasting blood from how dry they were. Each breath bought a fresh wave of dry dust to my mouth, choking me from the inside out. How long have we been running? An hour?Two? It was so hard to tell in this dusty place. The sun was always high above our heads, and the barren landscape never changed. I wouldn't be surprised if we had been running for an hour or even a day. I was so sore, and so tired, all I wanted to do was collapse for an ho-

No.

With nothing, but a feral growl, I pushed myself forward and was rewarded with Dash’s eyes widening in surprise. A second later, a sharp tug on my tail sent pain flaring through my body. Hooves flailing in the air, I was just as suddenly released and hit the ground at an awkward angle.

"What!?" I growled at the blue pegasus.

"Pace yourself damn it!" she yelled back and to my surprise, there wasn't even a hint of panting in her voice. "Keep this up and you'll be too sore to run tomorrow!"

With a shake of my head, I tried to find my pace again.

"What the Tartarus are you two doing down there?" Spitfire was suddenly beside us, her wings beating at a slow steady pace and just like Dash, there wasn't a hint of panting in her voice. "This isn't time for playing."

"She's not pacing herself," said Dash.

If I wasn't so busy panting, I would have come back with a witty retort of some kind. I could do it too! Something like... like...

"Enough!" We were forced to stop and Spitfire threw up a dust storm before us. "We're stopping and resting. Then Twilight will do her first teleport."

"What!?" If it wasn't for Dash’s restraining hoof I would have yelled at Spitfire right there and then. "We've... we've barely been running for an hour."

"Almost three actually." The Wonderbolt chuckled softly at my look of surprise before her eyes suddenly hardened. "We all want to get to Yggdrasil as fast as possible, but you seriously need to reconsider your attitude. Keep going on like you are and you'll endanger this mission."

I held her gaze for a brief second before looking away with a scowl. "Whatever."

With a deep breath, I began pulling my magic into my horn doubling my headache and causing the base of my horn to burn. Eyes glowing white, I lifted into the air while electricity danced around me. With a simple scrying spell to make sure we weren't going to end up in any mountains, I released the long range teleportation spell.

The jolt of re-entry forced me to bite back a cry of pain.

"Geez Twi, warn us next time." Though Dash spoke in her normal voice, each word was like a hammer to the face.

"It's pretty late, we should rest of the night," said Spitfire.

"What!" I flattened my ears against my head as my own voice left my ears ringing. And here I thought my week long mad study session with a grand total of ten hours sleep, followed by sitting three exams in a row while stricken by the gryphon flu was bad. My current headache made that seem like nothing in comparison.

The two looked at me curiously.

"I'm... I'm sorry..." I deliberately kept my voice muted, mostly due to my headache, but from the way their eyes softened, I wasn't about to start complaining. "Can we at least walk for another hour or so? It'll be a cool down so we won't be as sore tomorrow."

With a sigh, Spitfire looked up at the sky. "Thirty minutes."

A happy grin spread over my face, but before I could take a single step, Dash's hoof was on my shoulder, forcing me to look her in the eyes.

"Walking. Got that?" Though her tone was jovial, the hard edge in her eyes told me she was completely serious. "This is a cool down so that you'll be able to run tomorrow."

Normally I could have nodded, but with my migraine, I just knew that'd be a bad idea. So instead, I gave her a sheepishly smile and began walking.


Time Till Death: Six days, thirteen hours, fifty-six minutes

"-over Princess Celestia and wants to get there as fast as possible. We all do."

I blinked the weariness from my eyes as Dash's voice brought me out of my slumber. My eyes cracked open just enough for me to make out the blurry shapes of Spitfire and Dash. Though my headache was still there, the lack of light helped a lot. What were they talking about?

"No." I heard rustling, and out the corner of my eyes, I saw Spitfire roll over so that she was no longer facing me. "It was more than that. I've never seen a pony that driven before, and I've seen ponies running from dragons."

"You obviously don't know Twi then." The laughter in Dash's voice was evident even to my sleep addled mind. "Did I ever tell you about the Smarty Pants incident?"

My cheeks turned bright red and I was glad that it was night, otherwise there was no way they could have missed it.

"Many times."

"Oh... well then, you know how driven she can be. I'm surprised she even let us sleep." Dash's chuckling reached my ears. "For such an egghead, she sure can run. She came fourth in the Running of the Leaves this year. Did you know that? That's pretty damn awesome and trust me, I know all about awesome."

Silence.

"Just keep a leash on her. We don't need a novice screwing up this mission."

"Hey, she's been on mi-"

"None of them were covert operations or high pressure," snapped Spitfire in a whisper. "This is beyond her usual field of work, whereas we do this on a monthly basis. Just keep an eye on her. Now get some sleep, we'll be getting up at dawn."

Once more, a sigh reached my ears, and after a couple seconds of ruffling, silence descended. Whether it was a minute or an hour, I did not know, but eventually Spitfire's soft snoring reached my ears. There was a grunt of frustration to my left followed by more shuffling, and I couldn't help but smile at Dash's antics. If there was one thing that annoyed her more than anything else, it was snoring.

Once more, that pit of ice formed in my stomach as I realized I hadn't even said goodbye to my friends. Sure, Dash was with me, but what about AJ or Rarity or Pinkie or Fluttershy or Spike? Silent tears rolled down my cheek as the truth finally hit home. This could very well be my last mission and I didn't even say goodbye. What kind of friend was I?

"D-Dash?" I whispered into the silence.

"Yeah, Twi?"

My throat was suddenly dry as I considered what to say. There was so much I wanted to tell my friend, so many things that I had never said before, that I never thought needed to be said at all. But now that I was here, with death looming over me with its wings outstretched, I didn't even know where to start. How do you condense years of joy into an essay, let alone a couple minutes worth of words? Where do you even begin?

"Twi?" She turned to face me, but in the darkness, there was no way she could see my tears.

"I just... I was just wondering how far you would go to serve Equestria, that's all."

Stupid! Why did I say that?

"How far?As far as they needed me to go. I am the Element of Loyalty, you know." There was no doubt in my mind that she was currently puffing out her chest in pride.

"Even if that meant dying?" I asked.

"Yeah." There wasn't even a hint of hesitation or doubt in her voice. "After all, I am just one pony, while Equestria is thousands. If my death would help save even a fraction of those living in our borders, then it'd be worth it. Plus, it'd be a totally radical way to go out, and there'd be a statue of me and everything! Totally awesome."

"And... and your friends?" My words were barely the ghost of a whisper, but Dash still managed to hear me.

"They'd understand." For once, I heard doubt in her voice. "But even if they didn't, I'd still be doing the right thing, and in the end, that's all that matters."

The way she spoke about it made it sound so easy. So what was the right thing in my situation? The obvious answer, the only answer, was to save Celestia. She ruled the nation, she brought joy to everypony. She would live forever. Alongside Luna, they were the foundation of Equestria, and without them, everything would fall to chaos. I was nothing more than a name in a history book. A mortal that would eventually die anyway.

"Why'd you ask anyways?" asked Dash.

"Oh, you know, egghead stuff," I replied as I allowed my eyes to drift close.

Thank you, Rainbow Dash, for giving me an answer. Perhaps, I should stop over thinking everything like you always say. Whatever the case, if these are going to be my final days, I am glad that you will be by my side the entire time.


08/04/02

Over the past year I have made numerous strides within the fields of genetics and amniomorphic magic and I thought (somewhat foolishly) that I was ready to study alicornian genetics. I was wrong. So very wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw today. Instead of the standard twobase pairs that I have grown so familiar with over the past year though, it was a complex array of six different bases, and this greatly increases the complexity of the genome. Over all, that means recombination between pony and alicornian DNA is impossible. (Note to self: Need a new term for the alicornian genome). More than that, the chromosomal number is different from that of a regular pony and it aggressively attacks any foreign DNA or RNA introduced. My original plan had been to introduce sections of pony DNA into the alicornian genome to produce a new, viable, genetically distinct body to host Luna's soul (or at least her memories). As it is though, there is no way for that current plan to work.

A year of research, wasted.

For now, I have decided to turn to other creatures in the world – namely the dragons. While not immortal, they do not age and are highly resistant to disease, much like an alicorn. If luck is on my side, then they will hopefully share the same genetic markers, but I do not have high hopes.