• Published 27th Dec 2012
  • 6,182 Views, 202 Comments

Kinetics - Habanc



On behalf of her sister, Princess Luna tries to elevate the studies of her new student, Twilight Sparkle. However, when their plans backfire, they find themselves in a new world where magic is lost, and then have to survive the turmoil in its place.

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Book 1: Chapter 1

Warped

“But, how can I be expected to know what is the 'correct' way? I don't even know quite what I'm dealing with.”


“Ugh...” Twilight moaned, putting a hoof up to her forehead. “By the stars, that hurt.”

Princess Luna looked up at her from the grass. She was sprawled out, limbs in every direction. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her crown lying on the ground. “Wh-where are we?”

“I... I don't know,” Twilight replied, glancing around from her dazed, sitting position. “Some kind of forest, I think.”

Princess Luna gasped, and tried to spring her body into action. However, a lance of pain shot down her spine, emitting from her horn. Grinding her teeth together, she still managed to roll over onto her stomach, tucking her legs around her.

Taking in her surroundings, she noted that Twilight was right: Deciduous trees spread around them for as far as they could see, accompanied with a scattering of bracken, ferns and other undergrowth. Rays of sunlight dappled the ground, and very faintly, the gurgle of a stream or creek could be heard. For all it seemed to be, they could be in White Tail Woods during a peaceful, summer day.
But they weren't. Something went wrong as they passed through the link. It would be an immense situation of stupid luck if they ended up in White Tail Woods; and Luna didn't believe in such minute odds.

“Where do you think we are?” Twilight asked. She appeared to be trying her best to fight off panic.

“I don't know...” Luna stood up wearily, her muscles aching as they were forced to move. A light shock of pain once again came from her horn. “But, I do not think we are in danger.”

She looked around herself once more and located her crown, which was sparkling like onyx along a sunlight patch of grass. Focusing her magic, she tried to reach out and grab it with her telekinesis. Instead, she was greeted with what felt like a million pinpricks of pain around the base of her horn. With a grunt, she took a step back, shaking her head and stopping her spell.

“Princess Luna, what is it?” Twilight asked with a gasp, alarmed by her apparent discomfort.

The alicorn did not reply, but tried once more. The pain resurged as she attempted her spell, like needles stabbing her head. Clamping her jaw down, she poured in more effort to the levitation spell. The pain ascended, to a point where she felt she could not stand it any more.

A small spark fizzed from her horn, then gave a sharp popping noise and disappeared. Luna fell to the ground, panting.

“Princess Luna!” Twilight charged to her side. “Are you okay?”

“No...” She mumbled. Looking up to Twilight, she managed to utter, “My magic has burnt out.”

The lavender mare gave her a surprised look. “Are you sure? Whenever I burn out, sure my horn stings a little, but right there you looked like it was much, much worse.”

“But that's you, Twilight, you are a unicorn. I am an alicorn.” Luna stated weakly.

“So? We both use magic, so we both burn out. Usually its only a few hours until our magical reserves replenish.”

“That's the problem.” Luna slowly got up again, until she was in a sitting position. Her eyes were closed, and her forelegs were shaking slightly. “Alicorns don't burn out.”

-~-

“Sister, we do not think such a proposal would be beneficial for anypony. Why must you think of us like some foal, needed to be cradled slowly into this world! Our absence has not diminished our sharp mind or ability to adapt!”

Luna glared up at her sister, who had set the brush down on the floor next to them both. The warm glow of candles in Celestia's room lit up her face as it soured into a disappointed frown.

“Oh, cut the crap, Luna.” Celestia spoke brusquely.

Luna blinked. Even in her state of agitation, she was taken aback by her sister's rather crude choice of words.

Then, the tension snapped as Celestia stuck out her tongue at her and giggled lightly. Luna sighed as her sister once again began to run a brush through her ethereal mane; it didn't do anything, but the nostalgic feeling was admittedly comforting.

“I apologize for coming off a bit strongly, sister,” Celestia said in a softer tone, “but I felt it was the only way to get through to you. Besides, the royal canterlot voice was a bit excessive, hmm?”

Luna nodded sheepishly, like a scolded filly who knew she had done something wrong. Celly had pointed out to her soon after Nightmare Night that the “royal we” was no longer standard, mainly because it gave the Princesses a haughty and disconnected distinction, and the game of politics and ruling now required sovereigns who seemed more in-touch with their subjects. Luna had tried her best to not use it, but old habits died hard; occasionally it resurged in her voice when she was annoyed or upset.

“I understand how you feel,” Celestia continued, “but trust me, this is not some underhanded attempt to 'integrate' you back into society.” She rhythmically kept running the brush through Luna's mane. “I really do care for Twilight, as if, dare I say, she were my own daughter. She's very keen on learning everything and anything she can get her hooves on, and as such I try to teach her all that her schooling did not.” She sighed. “However, I've left a few holes in her education, and they're in places which even I do not know much about.”

“Why didn't you consult me?” Luna asked quizzically. The heat in her voice had long dispersed, now resonating with casual curiosity. “I could have easily given you a brief overview on how it works.”

“Oh no.” Celestia shook her head and chuckled. “I am not a very smart pony, and you know that, Lulu. Over the many, many years I might have been able to grasp at the most complex sciences within our own world, but merely comprehending the science of planar movement is too much for me.” She smiled and shrugged. “I still remember spending a decade trying to learn addition... And you accomplished that, in what, a few days?”

“Yes,” Luna gave an inward smile at her sister's praise, “but I still don't see why I must. Surely you could just give her some notes I would write down-”

“Ah, have you met Twilight Sparkle, sister?”

“Well, yes, I suppose I have at Nightmare Night-”

“Perhaps I have worded that incorrectly. Have you ever taught Twilight anything?”

Luna looked to the ground. “Oh. Umm, no,” she mumbled.

Celestia grinned. “Here's one of the first things I've learned about her, and she's always been consistent about it: for every question you answer, another two come in its place... You know, I've often joked privately that she might be related to a hydra.”

Luna didn't find it that amusing, and an awkward silence hung in the air. “Right!” Celestia continued on, a touch of disappointment in her voice, “Anyways, Luna,” her volume dropping back to her signature, caring level, “I feel it's time for her learning to ascend into some of the gaps I have left. The problem is, she would have, quite literally, hundreds of questions. For me, that's a problem because I wouldn't be able to answer them.” She looked Luna in the eyes. “You, on the other hoof, can.”

“Like I've said before, she is incredibly smart and talented. And while her current reports on the power of friendship is indeed important, I sometimes think I'm neglecting her scientific studies. Besides, we've been discussing for many, many years if any pony could understand and pass on this knowledge. I feel like she can.” Princess Celestia's face warmed into a smile. “So, could you teach her?”

Luna looked away. She knew, if she had any hope of clinging to her indignation (although really, when she thought about it, it made no sense for her to be stubborn), that she could not look up to her sister's face. She would break in an instant.

Celestia leaned a little closer. “Please?” she asked, her royal facade gone, with her rarely-used, sisterly, pleading tone.

And there it was, the cherry to top it off. Luna crumbled like a sand castle before a tidal wave. “O-okay,” she relented with a sigh. “How long do you expect this tutelage to take, Celly?” With the mood suddenly much more personal, she felt like using her sister's nickname was a nice touch to squeeze out some answers. Two can play this game.

“Oh, not much more than four weeks, but with Miss Twilight, you never know.” Celestia rolled her eyes. “Memories of 'the birds and the bees' come to mind.”

“Why are birds and bees so fascinating to her?” Luna asked, puzzled. Both types of animalia were indeed interesting, but also rather straightforward.

Celestia tried her best to suppress an un-ladylike outburst of snickers. “Oh, curse me for being so improper around you, Lulu... I'm afraid there are still some questions left unanswered in your quest to learn all that you've missed since you've been gone.”

“Oh...” Luna made a mental note to look that up in the library sometime. “So, four weeks? That's it?”

“Most likely.” Celestia nodded affirmatively. “Don't underestimate her, sister, she's very smart and very skilled at grasping concepts and ideas that one cannot see or feel.”

“So, when will she be here, in Canterlot?” Luna asked, getting up slowly, remembering she would soon have to raise the moon. She enjoyed her conversation with her sister, but she also had a duty to perform. That, and she couldn't help but feel exhausted after Night Court. “I'll need to prepare some notes and lecture outlines before she arrives,” she elaborated in the middle of a yawn.

“Tomorrow.”

-~-

“Tomorrow!?”

Twilight scrambled up to her bedroom, letting the scroll drop to the floor.

“How could she expect me to get ready and pack for a month-long stay in Canterlot, all within a single, twenty-four hour span!?” she ranted to herself as she hauled out her suitcase and started diving through her dresser. “I mean, I know hardly anypony comes into the library, but I still need somepony here to look after it while I'm gone!” She pulled out a stack of fresh notebooks from the back of her sock drawer, cramming them inside the case and hoping for any extra room for clothing. Good thing she had planned for an emergency like this; nopony knew when they'd be called away on a moment's notice.

“To make me even more anxious, this is Princess Luna teaching me! Princess Luna!” The soft patter of footsteps started to sound on the staircase. “I mean, what if she doesn't like me?” Twilight gasped. “I know she appreciated the help on Nightmare Night, but what if she's changed in seven months?”

“Twilight,” Spike said as he came into the room, holding an alfalfa bagel and a mug of coffee on a tray, “I really don't think she's changed. Huh, I thought you'd be more excited to learn from Princess Luna, she probably knows a ton of things Celestia doesn't.” He set the tray down on the desk in her bedroom.

Twilight managed to stuff in a single pair of socks into her suitcase before zipping up the main compartment. She'd find quills, rulers and compasses to fill the rest of it later. With a sigh, she sat down on the chair in front of her desk and took a sip of coffee.

“I know,” Twilight conceded. “It's just that Princess Luna is an entirely different pony from Celestia. The princesses probably share all the scientific information they know, and Princess Celestia sent the letter so she obviously knows the subject... I just don't know why, or even what, Princess Luna has to teach me, which is why I'm worried.”

She put her hooves up to her face. “The letter never mentioned what I'd be learning, just that I'd be learning something new and complex. Trust me, if Princess Celestia sent for me to come up to Canterlot tomorrow for some private lesson on nanomagic with her, I'd be ecstatic and probably not be putting myself through a fit.”

“But, all your friends have been trying to help you with this.” Spike shrugged. “These constant nervous attacks aren't healthy.” Twilight looked away, knowing he was right. Her blood pressure was abnormally high for a pony as young as her. “And besides,” he continued, his voice growing cheekier, “they're getting kind of old.”

Before Twilight could get off her chair and retort, the baby dragon snaked out of the room and down the stairs. His giggles could be heard as he descended.

Oh, what's the use, Twilight thought as she deflated, setting down her drink and nibbling on the bagel. It's true. I shouldn't be so worried, there's no way Princess Luna would have offered to teach me if she didn't want to.

It's not like Princess Celestia would make her do anything like that. No, that'd be silly.

-~-

The chariot landed with the only grace a pair of guardponies could know. None. Twilight felt like her stomach had done a flip by the time her aerial vehicle had come to a stop. For the first few moments, she had to hold herself up on the railing to keep from falling over.

Thanking the guardponies and grabbing her suitcase, she carried herself up to the palace doors. Pushing the doors open, she stuck her head inside. “Hello?” she called out. The sound of her voice echoed throughout the large and tall entrance hall. She instantly felt very small.

“Good morning, Twilight.” A familiar voice replied. Twilight whipped around, looking back out into the palace courtyard. She found herself looking at Princess Celestia, hovering neatly over the ground before touching her hooves on the manicured grass.

“Princess!” Twilight cried, setting her suitcase down and bounding over to her, barely bowing beforehand. With a sheepish smile, she leaned up and nuzzled her neck.

“How are you, my faithful student? Was the ride over alright?” she asked considerately. The princess seemed to glow in the late morning sun.

“Oh, I suppose it was fine.” Twilight waved a hoof. “A little turbulence, that's all.”

Celestia chuckled, beginning to walk along a path leading around the palace, and bidding Twilight to follow her. “Well, I guess no method of transportation is perfect. Running makes you tired, flying is complicated, and teleporting can be miscalculated.” The two turned a corner, and it became clear to Twilight that they were heading for the gardens. “If only there was a way for us ponies to just work off the static charges of the particles whizzing around us, then that would be interesting. Don't you think so?”

It was a game of theirs. Princess Celestia would propose an idea, and Twilight would give some evidence to help validate or refute her claim. The lavender mare often wondered if it was her mentor trying to see where her prejudices lie.

“If only.” Twilight sighed. “However, because an organism is generally neutral, such an idea would be implausible. Any charge required to harness the repulsive forces of the molecules around them would be quickly dispelled, as long as they were touching the ground. If they weren't, and a charge were placed on the body, the results would be... counteractive to your aims.”

“Hmm.” Celestia nodded slowly. “I guess you're right, Twilight.” She looked up towards the garden entrance. “Now, head on inside. Luna said the garden would be a great place to start your introduction, and undoubtedly she'll be waiting for you.”

“Oh...” Twilight replied, crestfallen. She had wanted to spend some time with her teacher, but unfortunately it seemed as if fate had other plans.

“Don't fret, my little pony,” Celestia reassured her, bringing her face down to Twilight's level, “I'm sure we'll have some time to do things together as well.” She smiled warmly, as if reading the bookish unicorn's mind.

Twilight smiled back. “Okay.” With one last quick nuzzle, she departed from the Princess and entered the sunlit gardens.

Stepping inside, Twilight instantly felt happier. It was just something about how wonderfully-placed the flora was, creating a harmonious dynamic between shade and sunlight. Simple leaves seemed to sparkle like jewels, and the summer flowers appeared to bloom for her.

Hmm, maybe I shouldn't be so worried about Princess Luna not liking me, she thought to herself as she weaved around hedges and under trees. She obviously picked a great place to meet at.

It took a few minutes, but soon Twilight found her. The lunar princess was sitting atop a velvet pillow, a row of neatly-trimmed shrubs to her back, the shadow of a nearby ash tree surrounding her. A small, marble-topped table was in front of her, a teapot and two teacups set out on it. She sipped from her own cup momentarily, her starry mane waving lazily in the windless air. Her regalia even glittered in the pre-noon light, despite her dark, sapphire blue coat and mane. She was quite the sight; not as grand as her sister, but still commanding grace and a unique sense of serenity.

Looking up from her drink, the alicorn caught Twilight's eye and smiled, beckoning for her to sit down. The purple mare managed to eek out a smile back, and slowly walked towards a pillow of her own. Lessons with Celestia were never like this; they always entailed a demonstration or a display, and often they'd be walking or moving whilst the solar diarch taught. Lectures in the garden weren't uncommon, but often they'd meander through and around it multiple times during the lecture's duration.

This was different. They were sitting down, having tea and in the coolness of shade. It was a change Twilight felt she would have to get used to during her stay on Canterlot. Adjusting to Princess Luna would take some time.

“Good morning, Twilight Sparkle,” Luna greeted her, the last vestiges of the smile she wore earlier still on her face. “How has your day been so far?”

“Decent enough, I suppose,” Twilight replied, sitting down across from her. Unknowingly, she found herself staring at the starry alicorn. It had been a long seven months she had seen her last. It was a relentless period filled with a hectic holiday season, then a winter wrap up, and all sorts of odds and ends along the way; she didn't have much time to herself. The memory of Princess Luna had gotten slightly blurry, but now, sitting in front of her, she once again seemed very real. Not too tall, but still holding a two to three inch height over most ponies; she did not look overly intimidating, yet beneath her smile and warm expressions, undercurrents of mysticism trickled to the surface..

“Is there something wrong with my mane, Miss Sparkle?” Luna asked, suddenly flicking her eyes up to her crown and adjusting it carefully.

“Oh!” Twilight snapped from her zoning and revelation, suddenly feeling very embarrassed. Not more than thirty seconds had gone by, and already she had managed to offend her new teacher. “No, nothing like that,” she backtracked. “Sorry, I was just lost in thought. It's nice to see you again, Princess.”

“And you as well, Twilight. It's also on much better terms, that I am grateful for. A simple conversation over tea sounds much nicer than a night spent frightening foals, does it not?” Princess Luna grinned, taking another sip of her drink.

Twilight chuckled. “I guess it does,” she replied. Although, one thing the princess had just said irked her. “A simple conversation over tea” sounded too casual for anything she was hoping to learn. A “heated debate on metaphysics,” or a “lecture on the latest development in arcano-teleportation” would be more to her liking. She wanted something for her mind to chew on for the entire night, not a 101 class.

“Now, I would guess you're wondering why I've decided to have my first meeting with you here, and not in my observatory or some gilded, ancient library.” The princess glanced at their surroundings. Twilight nodded her head in agreement. “The reason is, what I am to tell you today is a concept very difficult to grasp, and if you cannot fully understand it, I am afraid that all further learning will be flawed and incomplete.”

The boring tune of her “simple conversation over tea” suddenly struck a dissonant chord. Twilight's ears perked up, her eyes flashing with uncontrolled curiosity. Concepts were her favorite, especially the difficult ones; they may be hard to figure out, but the wonder they provoked was intellectually delicious.

“In order for you to absorb all I'm going to tell you, there must be no distractions, and your mind must be as clear as it can be. Are you ready? Do not be afraid to say no, and take some time to reign in your faculties.” Princess Luna looked her in the eyes, only the slightest touch of concentration in her expression. She still seemed remarkably placid.

Twilight took a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment. The occasional chirping of birds floated in the background, but for all intents and purposes, the garden was reduced to the soft fluttering of leaves. “Okay, I'm ready, Princess,” she announced, opening her eyelids.

Princess Luna set down her tea. “Good. Now, I want you to think over this for the next five minutes, and once it is up, I will ask you what you think I meant.” The alicorn suddenly looked up to the sky. “There are more worlds than this one.”

Something funny happened with Twilight's brain. It itched. Princess Luna's statement seemed so simple and elementary. Of course there are more worlds than this one! There are millions and billions of other planets out in space, and ironically enough, all built by the pony in front of me, Twilight thought. But still, something told her that Princess Luna wasn't talking about merely planets. Perhaps she's using “worlds” to signify perspectives? I wouldn't be surprised if this is a philosophy course.

However, no grand revelation came to her by the time Luna spoke up. “Your five minutes of contemplation are over. Tell me your thoughts, Twilight Sparkle, do not feel like you must censor anything because of who I am. If I am to teach you properly, I'd like to know how your mind works and operates,” she said. Her gaze fell down expectantly on the lavender mare.

Twilight exhaled deeply. “My brain tells me that you're saying something I already know. It's an established fact that there are many other words in our universe.” She tapped a hoof to her chin. “However, my mind says that you're not quite talking about that. It annoys me though, because I cannot get much farther than that.” Shrugging, she sighed. “The best I could come up with is that there are other ways of looking at our universe.”

“Hmm.” Luna's eyes widened ever so slightly. “You know, that's not a bad way of looking at it. Very creative, Twilight, and impressive because you still do not totally understand the weight of my words.”

Twilight smiled. She felt a little dismayed that she missed the point of Luna's statement, but the burning desire to earn her teacher's praise had already returned to her heart. Such a nectar was hardly ever paralleled in her soul, and as such it filled her with a glowing joy.

“Let me alter my previous statement, to make it be clearer on your own logical terms,” Princess Luna continued. “There are more universes than this one.”

“Bu-whuh!?”

Twilight's brain started hurting. She instantly broke into a wave of thought-exercises and mental projections on the immensity of such a statement. “Wh-where is your proof?” she managed to blurt out.

Princess Luna shrugged. “I could name some things, but it's up to you to believe me or not. Where do you think the changelings originally came from? Do you really believe dreams are just a manifestation of your own mind?”

The scholarly unicorn's eyes burst wide open at the last question. “Of course they're manifestations of your own mind! Decades, perhaps even centuries of research on dreaming has proven it to be true during stages of REM sleep.” She realized her voice had risen considerably. Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to regroup. “Sorry, Princess... But what I mean is that, no offense intended, your words do not topple thousands of hours of scientific study.”

“Fair enough, from your point of view,” The royal mare replied. “But, I have studied from inside the mind, while those you cite have only observed from the outside, shrouded with messy assumptions.” She sipped her tea, seeming remarkably confident.

“That's not possible.” Twilight shook her head. “I don't believe I've ever read a credible scientific journal that states dreams aren't from this universe... A-and besides, Princess Celestia never mentioned anything like this in the years I've studied under her.”

Princess Luna rolled her eyes. “Well of course not.” A glimmer of laughter sparkled in her eyes. “You did not hear this from me, but she fears the questions you'd ask.” She smiled at Twilight's flabbergasted reaction. “Besides, she has never been strong on the subject of the planes and the travel between them.”

A spark shot off in Twilight's brain. “Wait, you can travel between worlds?”

“Call them 'planes', Miss Sparkle. “Worlds” is a rather vague word to use now that I think about it,” Luna replied, not missing a beat. “And yes... Although travel has only been done by a select few. Celestia and I are the only native travelers here, but I must admit I do most of it, maintaining the dreams in the plane above us. Chrysalis, Discord and the essence of Nightmare Moon are other travelers, but they were not created here.”

That was it; the massive dump of conjecture was too much for Twilight. Princess Luna seemed too confident for this to be a lie. Sitting straight, eyes relatively neutral, calm composure, unwavering in the noon sun, she was definitely telling the truth.

“Twilight, are you okay?” Princess Luna asked. “You've been sitting there silently for minutes on end, and you have hardly touched your tea...” She frowned slightly.

“Oh!” Twilight replied, recovering from her overload-induced, coma-level stupor. “Sorry, I was trying to take in all you just said. It was... a lot to handle.”

“That's fine,” Luna shrugged. “However, if you took much longer, I would have drank your tea to save it from getting cold.” She let out a chuckle. “We might have quite a bit of time on our hooves, but unfortunately we're running low on Ashen Noble tea... Only a few hundred pounds of it are grown on the eastern shores each year.”

She shook her head. “Oh, I am sorry for rambling like this; I'm just afraid old loves never die, and I've always loved my tea. Nevertheless, do you have any questions, Twilight?”

“Did... Did you say you maintain the dreams in the plane above us?” The bookish unicorn asked slowly.

“Oh, why yes, I do.” Princess Luna nodded, casually examining her hoof. “It's a rather easy job. Besides guiding a few lost ponies from time to time, there's not much to do in there anymore.”

“Anymore?”

“Well, long ago, there used to be beings, spirits from another plane that'd try to get into ponies' heads via their dreams.” Luna twitched slightly at that.

“What?” Twilight couldn't quite believe what she was hearing. “Wait... Even if I did believe that there are many universes, how would that even work? Can't only you and Celestia travel to other planes?”

“Yes, but not everything is physical, Twilight.” Princess Luna sighed, and chewed her bottom lip momentarily. “Well, long story short, dreaming is the ability to peer into the realm above us.” She fidgeted uncomfortably, “It's a really bad explanation, and it's all very complex, but it's the best I can tell you for now. Basically, a dream is forging a cognitive link between this plane and the one above us, which operates in a very different manner, but follows the same time line.”

“...And through that link, those spirits you were talking about would get into some ponies heads?” Twilight asked, slowly putting the pieces together. She rubbed her temples, trying to soothe her headache.

“Very good.” Princess Luna raised an eyebrow, smiling slightly. “But, the conversation on dreaming is for another day. And... I hope you don't go telling other ponies that there once were spirits trying to infect our minds in the 'dream world.'” She looked to the ground momentarily, “I've been able to keep the number of incidents down to just one in the past thousand years.”

Twilight was about to ask about who it was, but promptly understood her new teacher's words and kept quiet.

After a pregnant pause, Princess Luna exhaled and looked back up to the lavender mare. “So, you might be asking yourself, 'why am I learning this?', correct?” Twilight nodded. “Well, it's that Celestia has noticed you hold a thirst to learn all you can, whether it be from professors, books, or observation.”

The alicorn grinned. “I too might have noticed, in the few minutes we've been here.” Twilight smiled sheepishly. “Anyways, sometimes even these professors and texts do not know it all. After talking with me, Celestia believes, as your mentor, that you would enjoy studying about planes and how they have, and possibly will, affect our lives.” Luna finished with a chortle, “Besides, we both agreed it'd be a good time to dump this field of knowledge upon the scientific community.”

“You and Princess Celestia want to share this with me?” Twilight felt very, very flattered. The day had took an wild spin. Often, she had dreamed of discovering some new facet of knowledge, but never before had she thought it'd be dropped at her hooves. Beginning to feel light-headed, she put a forehoof on the ground to keep her from falling over. So much to think over and review, and so little time!

“You do know how much my sister cares for you, do you not?” Luna asked. “Ponies like you are rare, and Celestia does as much as she can to help you see your potential... I can only assume she feels you are ready for this.”

“What about you?” Twilight asked back. “You do realize that I'm now expected to pass on all this knowledge, if I really come to believe it, to other scientists and scholars, right?”

“Well, yes, but I believe Celestia knows that too. If she didn't think you were up to it, she would never have consulted me.” Princess Luna took one last sip of her tea, before setting it aside. “As for myself, I think you do possess the ability to understand and visualize planes – you've already exceeded my expectations. However, it is yet to be determined whether you can interpret it in the correct way.”

“But...” Twilight still felt dizzy. She had never asked for this, and her bearings were nowhere to be found. She desperately wanted some sense of familiarity. “But, how can I be expected to know what is the 'correct' way? I don't even know quite what I'm dealing with.”

“A system of planes, all connected with those they are adjacent to; its ordered like a Cartesian grid, if you will.” Luna replied. “Those vertical to each other operate on the same time line, while those horizontal to each other work under relatively the same conditions.”

“No, that's not what I meant.” Twilight closed her eyes. “Unlike you, I don't even have to ability to consciously feel or experience these other planes. Actually, I still don't have any proof they exist.” She sighed. “I'm not trying to compare you to your sister, but Princess Celestia always used demonstrations to clear up things for me. Just feeding me information like this, and expecting me to fully grasp or believe it without seeing it in action, is very hard.”

Princess Luna clicked her tongue off the roof of her mouth for a few seconds. “So... You feel you need a demonstration before you can fully understand me?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I guess I could enter your dreams the next time you forge a link, but I don't know how long that'd be.” Princess Luna took a moment to mull it over. “Honestly, I think it'd delay your learning for a few days to a week. Is that what you really want?”

She stared into Twilight's eyes. “We are not too far apart, you and I.” Luna muttered. “I know the hunger to absorb every bit of knowledge we can. I know that, right now, your brain is hooked. The seed has already been planted, and if you don't nurture it to fruition, it will eat away at you for years to come.”

“Then take me there.” Twilight said impulsively. The thought seemed to jump right out of her mouth. Luna's words were right, as much as her mind hurt from processing all the information she had just been told, it felt good. Learning was a strenuous, but rewarding game; and she wanted to win.

The starry princess sat back slightly on her pillow, remaining silent for a few moments. “I'm not sure I can do that.” She responded finally.

“Why not?” Twilight asked. She was riding on a wave of excitement, of realization that she was on the precipice of discovery. “If we can transgress into the plane above us cognitively, then what's there to say we cannot physically? If you can survive there, why can't I?”

“But, there exists the problem of traveling there,” Luna pointed out.

“Well, how does it work?”

“It's the breakup of our bodies to a molecular level, moving them to another plane via an energetic link, then reassembling them on the other side.” Princess Luna shifted slightly. “It's very risky.”

Twilight laughed, before remembering who she was laughing at, and bit her tongue. “You do realize you just described basic teleportation? The only difference it seems, is that unicorns cannot visualize the plane they're traveling to, and therefore cannot send their broken-down particles there.”

“True,” Princess Luna conceded, “But you also forget the fact that a link must be created between planes. And that is something only Celestia and I can do.”

Twilight tapped a hoof to her chin. “But, couldn't you just keep the link open for me to go through?”

“Well, possibly,” Luna exhaled, obviously knowing her argument was starting to crack. “But, there also lies the problem of you not knowing exactly where to send yourself.”

Twilight grinned. “That's easy then, I could just follow your resonant trail.”

Princess Luna scowled slightly. She had forgot about that, one of the largest discoveries since she had been gone. Apparently, the movement of teleporting particles emitted a certain resonant frequency, which magically-gifted unicorns could hone in on, and, instead of visualizing where they wanted to teleport, remember the certain frequency and direct their own teleportation to follow.

Unfortunately enough, one of those magically-gifted unicorns was right in front of her.

“I guess, in theory, it could work.” Luna muttered.

“So, can we just try? It'd be a great way to help me grasp this planar concept,” Twilight reasoned. “Besides, I don't think I'll have a chance to experience anything like this in my life.”

“But I'm here to teach, not to lead groundbreaking research,” Princess Luna said. Her expression now showed breaches in her serenity. It was true, she was like Twilight; and also within her, the desire to discover had been lit.

“Princess Luna,” Twilight addressed her, standing up. “I understand we have not met each other in a while. But, if I can ask you to do me in a favor in return for helping you on Nightmare Night, this would be it. It's scientific discovery!” The threw a hoof up in the air for emphasis. “Only so many ponies have ever had a chance like this, and it's one of my lifelong dreams to be able to find out something new.”

Twilight leaned closer to the table. “If I have to, I'll even take the time to erect some magical counteragents to minimize any danger. I learned them while studying under Dr. Cloppenstein here in the palace, and, please do not tell Princess Celestia this, but they've prevented me from being blown to bits on more than one occasion.” Her pupils grew slightly larger. “I'll take any precautions you see fit, but if you say we're similar ponies, then you can sympathize with how I feel right now.”

The lunar goddess' brow furrowed. Thoughts whirred in her head, weighing each side of the argument. This wasn't just any old laboratory experiment, this was one of alicornian proportions and its potential risks were both unknown and possibly irreversible. Dr. Cloppenstein was indeed the most celebrated scientist of the century, and his counteragents were infamously sound and secure, but they simply weren't formulated to resist the mechanics of any world other than Equestria. Additionally, this was her sister's protégé, a budding dynamo of unparalleled intellect, a pony destined for great deeds, a pony whom Equestria could look up to one day. And to top it off, she was also the embodiment of magic, an element of harmony.

But on the other side, this was a chance for her to learn herself. Twilight was right, she could sense the fires of wonder flaring inside of her. For Luna, too, they were beginning to flicker and burn. Such an opportunity rarely presented itself these days. The last time she had discovered anything meaningful for the pony populace had been long before her exile. Even more, this was much more significant to Twilight; the limitations of being mortal meant that this was likely a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

And her conscience couldn't bear the burden of guilt if she denied the unicorn that.

“All right,” Luna announced with a sigh. “We shall try.”

-~-

Twilight's horn, after many, many minutes, had finally stopped glowing. “Alright, the countermeasures are in place.” She took a step towards Luna, and as she did, the sunlight warped oddly on the inches of air around her body. Brief flickers of blue and red revealed the hexagon-constructed layers of magic wrapping over her body.

Luna looked over to her. “Are you sure you've done it right? I've caught up in journals on the latest counter-arcano spells, but I remember reading that each countermeasure is only supposed to be a hair-breadth wide. Maybe a thousand years ago, would three inches of countermeasures be appropriate, but I don't think so now.”

“Oh, no this is right.” Twilight smiled, sapping a little joy from being able to tell her new teacher something new. “I used Dr. Cloppenstein's own experiment volatility defense quotient to determine an appropriate coefficient to scale my countermeasures with.” Seeing Luna's slightly curious face, she recited what she could in her sleep, “You take the number of unknown and uncontrollable variables, multiply it by your volatility factor, and then divide it by controlled variables times ten. Usually volatility factors are determined based on the nature of the experiment and what it's intended to test, but since this is...” Twilight gulped, “quite literally out of this world, I just set the volatility factor at its highest at fourteen.”

“Ah...” The alicorn nodded slowly. “So, what did you come up with?” She asked, while slowly readying her linking spell.

“Roughly thirty-four,” Twilight grinned. “When you combine that with the recommended seven to five to two baseline, I ended up with two hundred and thirty-eight layers of physical repulsion, one hundred and seventy electromagnetic dischargers, and sixty-eight magical rerouters.” She felt immensely proud of herself, yet she couldn't tell why. “Hopefully it'll be enough.”

Luna smiled. “And here I thought I had over prepared. Nevertheless, are you ready, Twilight Sparkle?”

The lavender mare nodded anxiously, realizing the unknown void of possibilites stretching out before them, and stepped over beside her new mentor, waiting for her to begin the spell.

“Okay. I'll begin forming a link,” Luna informed her, “and while I do that, you're going to have to be ready to intercept my resonant trail. There will be an open window for maybe two seconds, at most. After that, I will have teleported through.”

“Alright.” Twilight nodded once more.

Princess Luna breathed deeply. She closed her eyes, and her horn began to glow softly. Subtly, she began to feel the presences of the planes around her. It was like a low, monotonous buzzing, except it didn't affect any sensation. Rather, she became aware of them mentally, slowly getting a generalization of what each one looked like at the moment and “where” it was.

That was the easy part.

Forging an energetic link was a different process all together. Some deep... magic, was it? No, that wasn't quite it. “Ability” was the closest thing she could ever think of, which she also used to raise and lower the moon. If the princess focused, drawing upon this ability from the depths of her soul, the fuzzy awarenesses of the planes around her grew sharper. Drawing upon even more concentration, she could heighten her clarity on a certain plane.

Once the plane was as clear in her mind as the world around her, a temporary link was forged. She was looking into two places at once. From there on, just a spell to hold the link open for a few seconds and a quick teleport, and she'd be in another universe. Even after millenia of contemplation, neither she or her sister had unlocked why it worked; they just accepted it and used this new tool they were given.

Beginning to call upon her linkage spell, the other three, adjacent planes began to be drowned out, as the “dream” plane above them began to take precedence. Even with her eyes closed, she could slowly begin to see this new world. It was a dark realm, lit up in brief flashes as organisms in their own universe dreamt. Then, she felt it.

“The link is forged,” Luna said while keeping her eyes closed. Twilight muttered a reply, but she did not hear. Gathering her magic, she visualized entering this new plane she saw. Her teleportation spell beginning to charge, she could hear a slight hum emitting from her.

And right as her spell reached its zenith, she heard an accompanying hum sound near her.

Then the world popped and turned white.

Author's Note:

This is the revised version of Chapter One.

I'm still looking for proofreaders/editors if anyone would like to help. If not, I'll manage all the same.