• Published 9th Feb 2013
  • 11,275 Views, 43 Comments

The Next Level Of Your Studies - cleversuggestion

Twilight Sparkle gets a letter from Celestia that sets her on a quest for knowledge which will transform her more deeply and completely than she ever imagined was possible.

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5. New Moon

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A bright multicolored flash and a roaring shriek flooded her mind. With a sudden soft pop, they disappeared, replaced by nothingness. She was overcome with the sense of being lost in a lightless, soundless cavern. She could feel the space and its immense emptiness, but she could not remember what had been there, could not see what was there now, only had the maddening sense that everything was missing, placed just outside of her reach. As she fumbled around, she heard voices echo throughout the cavern, prattling on about inconsequential things she could not understand.

She felt heat on her coat, then heard a new voice that stood apart from the rest. Groping about, she found her memory, but it threw a permissions error when she tried to query it. She could not place who the voice belonged to, but something about it said power. Power meant it was a threat, but she could not find her defenses. Where was her shield, what was its status, how did she raise it? She was operating blind, and her projections for the future were growing gloomier by the cycle.

Then the voice turned to her, its volume and focus shaking everything. “Princess Luna!

That phrase she understood; it was the name of a personality file, last altered at 6784628249. But that terrible voice was not a reference; it was a command-

Her mouth opened and lungs expanded, air rushing to fill them. Her eyes shot open, pupils rapidly focusing on the bright white pony that towered over her, wings spread wide, long horn held high. Celestia, she thought, and then the princess spoke again, advancing all the while.

“It has been a thousand years since I have seen you like this.” Celestia knelt down on the dusty floor, radiating calm and effortless grace. Luna recognized their surroundings as the council chamber, though neither the names nor faces of any council members came to mind, which was as worrying as its decayed appearance. The smell of rot and dust, the once bright stone gone gray with exposure to the weather contrasted sharply with Celestia’s bright youthfulness and shining jewelry, looking just as Luna remembered her. “Time to put our differences behind us. We were meant to rule together, little sister.”

What differences? Her memory wasn’t cooperating with her, and she didn’t have time to figure out why. Whatever they were, they were somehow enough to ruin their castle and waste a thousand years, as confirmed by her internal clock. Why couldn’t she remember what had happened, what had brought them to this room? Even though Celestia had joined her on the floor and made conciliatory gestures, Luna’s tactical position was clear.

“Will you accept my friendship?” Celestia stood back up, and Luna flinched away. Surprisingly, no attack came, and so she contemplated the situation. Her magical reserves were spent and her body ached all over. She could not remember why they were fighting. All she had left was the meagerest bit of physical energy and a sharp horn.

She felt a flash of anger, then lunged upwards and forward. Celestia jerked her neck back, shock on her face. Didn’t think that would work, Luna thought sadly, and quickly covered by generating tears and rubbing her cheek against the cold, gleaming gem on Celestia’s necklace. “I’m so sorry! I missed you so much, big sister!” Why did I try?

Celestia leaned back towards her, and seemed to be crying as well. “I’ve missed you, too.”

Luna was too busy holding herself together to pay much attention to the other ponies scurrying about or to the change in scenery as she was transported from the ruins to a garishly painted town. She briefly forced herself to focus on each one; these ponies had been there at her reawakening, and so there must be something important about them. Only one of them was obviously important; she was a powerful unicorn, despite her young age, and there was something about her facial structure, her coloration, the sound of her voice; something familiar. It took far more energy than she would like to hold her head up, to look forward, but little details could be the clues she would need later to piece together what had happened.

Remember them for revenge, part of her whispered, you are not awakened, but put to sleep. She saw herself stabbing them, not just Celestia but the two pegasus fillies carrying a garland of flowers towards her sister, the pink one that would not stop moving, the whole crowd of ponies congregating together into a crushing pressure on her mind, even the unicorn that she knew but could not remember.

She took a deep breath and focused inward. Sleep did sound fantastic, right about now: time to recharge, time to mend. She imagined that angry voice as a part of herself. Looking at it from a distance, she saw that it was behind the lunge on Celestia. It writhed, screamed, and dug its talons into her, but she reached out and held it firmly. Her steady hooves were more patient than its desperately scrabbling claws, and so she slowly pulled it off of her and placed it in a mental box she conjured. Do not fear, she said to it as she slid the lid of the box into place. I will come back for you, when I can. She released the breath, feeling her tension release with it.

She looked back outwards, seeing the crowd of ponies anew. Now, their worried expressions did not look hostile, but concerned. Concerned about her. She looked down at the garland around her neck, surprised. They were celebrating her return, not Celestia’s victory over her. Somehow that filled her with warmth, and she looked up at Celestia, smiling at her.

Celestia smiled back, then walked over to speak with the unicorn. Luna faded from notice, slinking onto the chariot, barely able to keep an eye and an ear open.

Twilight Sparkle, she heard Celestia call the purple unicorn. Who was this pony who did not feel the need to bow around Celestia, who seemed to genuinely like the Princess, and be liked by her? Why did that cause echoes of a deep pain to reverberate throughout her mind? I need sleep, she thought wearily, too tired to notice the rustling coming from the box she had stored her rage in, and the rainbow-colored vines creeping around it, locking it tight.