• Published 24th Mar 2013
  • 3,803 Views, 65 Comments

Listen For a Sparkle - Clarice

Snowdrop's final snowflake "star" has fallen with last winter's final snow. Twilight Sparkle is ready to begin the next level of her studies -- starting with bringing the blind filly back to the present and experiencing some new t

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Chapter 1

Twilight sat idly behind her desk in the Golden Oak Library, gathering all her scrap notes from the planning of Winter Wrap-Up and magically whisking them off the desk, her aura on the slivers of parchment fading as they fell softly into a small wastebasket. She yawned weakly to herself, glancing up and out the window above to catch a quick glimpse of the sun on the early spring morning. For a moment, she leaned her forehooves onto the desk and began to think, briefly fading into a quick daydream.

A lot had changed since last spring. As seemed the norm by now, there had been plenty of lessons learned and experiences had, from the run-in with Queen Chrysalis and her changelings to the re-emergence of the Crystal Empire and her adventure to recover the crystal heart, from the challenges she faced in preparing for the Princess’ test to the art of writing her own magic. In many ways, it seemed like just another year in Ponyville, with everypony working to keep things running smoothly and the townsponies generally quite happy. In all reality, as far as Equestria as a whole was concerned, not much had changed. But for Twilight… for Twilight, everything seemed different now. Princess Celestia had told her that it was her destiny, sure, but… what did that all mean? She certainly felt like she same pony, thought like the same pony, even studied and read books like the same pony she always had been. But she was a Princess now. Princess Twilight Sparkle. Past the title, what would this all come to be? She had wings, sure, but what was her duty now that she was a princess? Was she simply to continue what she had always been doing, or was it her job to take charge and move on to something new?

Twilight sighed weakly, trotting away from her desk and across her Library’s main room. She picked up a feather duster from the table which lied at its center, making her way slowly over towards a shelf and dusting at the top of the books which sat neatly organized in their correct places there. Princess Celestia had given her no real direction as to what she was to do after the coronation festivities ended just a little over a month ago, so the best option appeared to be simply returning to where things had been before that entire ordeal had started. She’d have had trouble leaving her newfound friends, more than two years ago now, after getting their help recovering the Elements and defeating Nightmare Moon! With all she’d learned since then, all the memories she’d made, be it dreams, laughs, hugs, or even the occasional bout of crying, how could the Princess ever expect her to leave now? She wasn’t giving up the friendships she had and the memories she made, so Ponyville and the Golden Oak Library were here to stay… even if everypony thought she needed to be treated differently now. Eventually, she presumed, they’d all realize she can be treated just like everypony else, just like she used to be – not as a princess, but simply as a friend.

Twilight made her way back to the table in the center of the room, returning the feather duster to its typical resting spot and looking at the heavy wooden statue that sat perfectly symmetrical in the center of the round table. Surely it would just take a bit of time, some conversations with everypony in passing, and hopefully not too many awkward scenarios where ponies would bow to her in the street before the word got around that those types of formalities were unnecessary. Just some time… but how much?

A stray paper fell from the pile which sat atop the center table, flittering slowly to the floor without the faintest noise. Catching it out of the corner of her eye, Twilight snapped quickly out of her thoughts, honestly quite happy that something came up as a distraction from those questions that constantly plagued her. Winter Wrap-Up had done a good job distracting those thoughts as well, but that had finished two days ago. Now here she was, back in the grove with nothing special to do, no assignment to work on, and too worried to efficiently study independently. She levitated up the entire stack of paper on the table, placing the piece that had gone stray right on top, and tapped the sides of the stack on the corner of the table to align them all up again. With a weak smile, she gently dropped the neat stack back where it belonged and continued along, working through her morning chores.

Spike burst the Library door open with a force strong enough that it wouldn’t have been surprising if a gigantic flood of water rushed in behind the baby dragon. The freshly organized stack of paper on the center table immediately blew over, making a mess of parchment scraps all around the circular room. Twilight lazily rolled her eyes, turning around and going to pick up the papers once again, getting ready to scold her dragon before he cut her off. He was breathing hard enough that the flood water was sure to burst through the door at any moment.

“Twilight! TWILIGHT!” The little dragon gasped for a breath, leaning one of his tiny claws down to his knee while pulling out and holding up a scroll in the other. “I got… this special letter… from Princess Celestia! It said it… said it was urgent!” The dragon took a few steps away from the door and into the room, slowly calming down and beginning to breathe normally. “I got here as… as fast as I could!”

Twilight didn’t need to hear anything past ‘Princess Celestia’ before the mess of papers were left ignored. She practically dragged Spike across the room, pulling the scroll from his little claws with overwhelming excitement. Could it be a new assignment for her? Something in a far-off land that only the Elements of Harmony would be able to solve? Practically teeming with curiosity and desire for a new distraction, she pulled the seal off the scroll and levitated it in front of her muzzle, beginning to read.

My dearest Twilight,

With this coming of the new spring, Luna and I have come across a serious predicament that needs to be resolved. It would be best to explain this directly to you, so I shall refrain from doing so here. You are the most capable pony I could imagine for the task at hoof, though I shall warn you in advance – this will be different than any assignment you’ve ever had before. Consider it the beginning of the next level of your studies, my faithful student. Only you will be able to work towards completing the first portion of this task. Please come to Canterlot Castle as soon as possible to begin working at once.

Signed, P. Celestia

Twilight grinned and gave Spike a quick nod, her signal of determination that the baby dragon surely knew by now. “Spike? Fetch me my things, please… just a few quills and my saddlebags! It appears I’ll be travelling to Canterlot!” She rolled the scroll back up and held it by her side, dashing over behind her desk once more and making sure everything was where it would need to be, assuming she would be gone a few days.

“Here, Twilight!” Spike lifted the nearly empty saddlebags up as high as he could and gave them a small nudge, managing to successfully sling them across the purple alicorn’s back before taking a few steps away. Twilight lifted the flap on her left and gently placed the scroll inside, then pulling the strap of the bags taught and hurriedly making her way towards the door. “If I’m quick, I’ll be able to make the next train! But I must be going immediately.” She magically pulled the door open, giving a glance back to Spike while she trotted out the door. “Keep everything under control while I’m gone, okay, Spike? I’ll be back as soon as I can… but I’m not sure what the Princess needs. There’s some bits in the bottom-left drawer of my desk if you need to go buy more food. Don’t waste it!”

Spike gave Twilight a small wave, sad that she was going to be gone for a few days, but excited to have the big library all to himself. He smirked as the door quickly clicked shut and watched Twilight gallop down the street for a moment before turning around and heading to the kitchen for a tub of ice cream.

Twilight ran all the way across Ponyville as fast as her hooves could take her, still preferring the “normal” way of travel over that of the air. Luckily, most of the town was still resting from the grueling work to wrap up winter, and the streets were still relatively empty at this time of morning. She dashed up to the station platform and into the first train car, grabbing a seat and excitedly waiting for the train to Canterlot to depart, curious of what she would be tasked to do.