Luna was never banished, Discord is Celestia's court jester, the Elements of Harmony do not exist, and Twilight grows more pompous and more egotistical every day. Celestia is not amused.
Luna was never banished, Discord is Celestia's court jester, the Elements of Harmony do not exist, and Twilight grows more pompous and more egotistical every day.
Celestia is not amused.
This story is on indefinite hiatus. I might revisit it, so it's not cancelled, but I'm not currently skilled enough as an author to do some of the things I wanted. Believe me, I've got the drafts to prove it.
Twilight Sparkle began her life as the daughter of two middle class unicorns. Her parents loved her dearly and did their best to raise her to be a kind, considerate mare. They taught her manners, they taught her poise, and they taught her to never take the last cupcake without asking.
Twilight Sparkle never found much use for these lessons because she preferred the secluded life of a book worm. Her only real friend was her brother, who never learned how to say "no" to mares, which would cause problems later in his life. He did everything he could to ensure his little sister wanted for nothing.
Twilight Sparkle was very intelligent and knowledgeable for her age. She took great pleasure in learning things, and as she grew older she would find she took even greater pleasure from using her knowledge to humiliate and spite other ponies. Currently, however, she was a demure and timid creature, who sought only the refuge of her mind in lieu of the complexities and insecurities of social interaction.
It would not be a lie to say her parents accidentally taught her to fear and be intimidated by social interaction when they insisted she learn how to behave in high society. It would not be a lie to say her brother's protective doting prevented her from taking the risks, which would have taught her many, many important lessons about friendship.
On a warm summer day Twilight Sparkle, a 6 year old filly, was sitting in a waiting room of Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. She was the youngest unicorn in a generation to be scheduled to take the entrance exam. With her were her parents, who smiled proudly at their prodigy daughter.
It would not be a lie to say she looked like a frazzled mess. She was out of her element. She was being asked to perform in front of strangers. She was being asked to volunteer to be taken from her cozy home for eight hours each day. She was being asked to end the life she knew, the life she loved.
"Don't worry about a thing, sweetie. You're going to do fine. You did very well when we went through the practice material back home." Her mother nuzzled her gently. Her mother did not understand Twilight's apprehension.
"Listen to your mother, darling. And stop chewing your hooves. Or fidgeting. Or having eye ticks. Polite ponies do not do those things. We want to leave a good first impression, yes?"
Twilight said nothing as she stared at the door of the testing room.
"Respond, Twilight. Yes?"
"We are in public. Please, call me "father"."
And so they waited. Many older unicorn foals, most of whom already had their cutie marks, came and went from the testing room. Some of the departing ponies had wide grins on their faces and were chatting excitedly with their families. Some of the departing ponies were crying and inconsolable. Moderate reactions were few, which was understandable because this single day would decide the futures and careers of every single applicant.
Twilight did not pass her test. Twilight obliterated her test. She purposefully sabotaged her own exam by overpowering every spell and losing control catastrophically. She purposefully put on a show for her parents to make it look like she was genuinely trying to pass, but was too frazzled to concentrate. She purposefully electrocuted one of her exam proctors over and over again when asked to entice lightning from a cloud. She purposefully crushed a bowling ball in her telekinesis when asked to bowl. She purposefully curdled milk into cheese when asked to pasteurize it. She purposefully turned the entire exam room into a botanical nightmare when asked to sprout a seed.
Twilight was breathing heavily after exerting herself so much. Her magic reserves were running lower than she had ever felt them before. Her legs were wobbling and her head was pounding.
One of the proctors cleared his throat, which broke Twilight from her exhaustion induced haze. She expected she would be told she had failed the test miserably. She expected she would be sent back to her cozy home in "shame". She expected she would bear the burden of her parents' disappointment, but be praised for her effort.
She did not expect how dramatically her future was about to change course.
"This... Has been an incredibly unique examination process. I believe I speak for everypony here when I say we received some very interesting and unexpected results. We wish to perform one more test before we deliver our final judgement."
The truth was the proctors had already decided Twilight was going to pass. Her young age and sheer power were more than enough to cinch her acceptance. After all, how could one so young be expected to control a power so great? The final test was meant to determine exactly how powerful she was, not determine the status of her application.
Twilight gaped. They were supposed to tell her she was garbage. They were supposed to tell her they didn't want somepony, who couldn't control her magic. They were supposed to tell her she was a disgrace, who deserved to be locked away... with plenty of books. They were supposed to tell her to just go home. But they had not and Twilight vowed on her precious book collection she would screw up the next test so far beyond recognition they would have no choice but to turn her away.
After a significantly long wait they brought an ornate box into the room. Twilight could see the form of a speckled object, but could not identify it until they set it down in front of her. It was an egg.
"We want you to hatch this for us, Twilight."
She squeezed her bleary eyes as she spoke in a wobbly voice. "But... I've never done that!"
"We know. This is a special test. Just do what comes naturally to you."
And so she did the only thing, which made sense to her exertion addled mind. She pumped all of the remaining magic of her tiny, frail body into the egg. She put every bit of magic she could find into it until the egg shone with a serene, lavender light. Neither she nor anypony else realized she was pulling from far beyond her natural magic reserves. She was pulling from the very essence of her self. She was pulling from her soul.
She would have died that day if the egg had not hatched into a fully grown dragon and destroyed part of Canterlot Castle. The destruction alerted the Princesses, Celestia and Luna, who quickly slew the dragon and poured their healing magics into the fading light of Twilight.
Not many ponies have the honor of having their leaking souls restored by the Divine Blessings of the Princesses. It had not happened in many generations, and it will not happen again. It will not happen again. On that day Twilight became more than a commoner. She had been infused with the Light of Sun and the Shine of Night and she became the Mortal Inheritor of the Sunset.
If this were a fairy tale this story would end here, but it is not. This is a story of ego and pride mixed with humiliation and shame. This is the story of the Twilight Sparkle, who never rose above her faults, who never learned the true value of friendship, and who never became a hero.
"Your student, Celestia." Luna growled her frustrations.
Celestia rolled over in her bed. When she attempted to stand she became tangled in her sheets and flopped onto the floor in a mess of legs and fabric. Like a cat, who was caught in an undignified position, she pretended the incident never happened after she extricated herself and assumed a proper pose. "What has she done now?"
"She insulted the minotaur ambassador when he regaled a tale of his youth at the dinner party. She tore apart the details of his story and accused him of being a liar because, according to the "Almighty Inheritor of the Sunset", his story was impossible!" Luna was making quotation marks in the air with her hooves and her face made a mighty, sarcastic derp when she announced Twilight's obnoxious title.
Celestia's posture collapsed in defeat. "What did we have to give him to make reparations?"
"Oh, nothing, he was very amiable about it."
"That doesn't sound like a minotaur ambassador, Luna. What's the catch?"
"Nothing. That's the point. The trade negotiations are off, and it wouldn't have happened if your little student weren't such a brat." Luna spoke with an edge of malice in her voice. "I helped remake her life, Celestia, and I can unmake it, too."
At this point Celestia was a frumpy mass laying on the floor. Her breathing was sharp and exasperated as she thought about her student. Twilight hadn't always been this caustic, but in hindsight the signs of her transformation were unmistakable. The way she started mimicking Blueblood's posture, her pretentious use of words, that little scoff she had started to develop...
"Honestly, Luna, I don't know what to do. Her story has granted her an immense amount of popularity among our subjects, so I can't just remove her from the public eye without causing a scandal... I can't leave her in the public eye without her causing a scandal, and I can't kill her without causing a massive scandal." Celestia was normally a well spoken mare. However, currently her jaw was resting heavily on the floor, which impeded her proper enunciation.
"... And if she ever feels gypped she knows more than enough about our personal lives to cause another scandal if she wanted." Luna plopped herself down next to her sister.
"You really distrust her that much?"
"She insulted a minotaur ambassador. A. Minotaur. Ambassador. Whatever trust she earned when she was young completely evaporated tonight. Maybe you're willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, Celes, but I'm not."
"I'm glad we're on the same page, then. My time as her teacher is becoming intolerable. She'll correct every niggling, insignificant, irrelevant detail!"
"Perhaps... Perhaps we could arrange an accident?"
"She's the Inheritor of the Sunset. What kind of accident could we arrange, which would inflict any kind of lasting harm on her without outing our influence?"
"The moon, obviously!" Luna spoke with demonic glee and the room became ominously darker for a moment, just a moment.
"And when she doesn't return?"
"One of us transforms into her and takes her place?"
"We'd be caught before the century ended."
They both stared ahead in quiet contemplation, neither of them knowing quite how to handle their predicament. Things had been relatively simple and routine before Twilight, and now they and Equestria were paying for a selfless act of compassion.
"We can't harm her, but we need to reliably keep her out of our affairs." Celestia began listing the facts of the situation out loud. "When Blueblood became problematic we nudged him to start frequenting the local bars and brothels until he became an STD infested alcoholic. That worked pretty well, but I doubt we could trick Twilight into trapping herself in a self destructive cycle, which wouldn't bring us down with her."
"Well... Why would that be so hard?"
"What do you mean?"
"Do you remember that time she turned in that assignment late? She was a frazzled mess and beyond irrational. Her weakness is her love of studying."
"And how would that not bring us down with her? Remember, that was the time she cast the Want It, Need It spell." Celestia cringed as she remembered the horror of that day. That was not a good day. That was not a good day.
"Ah, but here's the trick, sister, if she does it away from us, say, in a little podunk town on the edge of our borders..."
Celestia caught the mischievous gleam in Luna's eyes. ".. Then it wouldn't be a problem. After she settled she'd have low media exposure, she'd fade from public consciousness, and who cares about some backwater sinkhole?"
"Exactly, and I believe I know just the place. It's on the border of the Everfree, so for her to eventually have a deadly accident wouldn't be too surprising!"
Excitement was filling the room, but Celestia wasn't completely lost in it yet. "That's great, it's a great plan... But how do we get her there?"
Luna cupped her chin with her hoof in contemplation as she considered the problem. " ...Well, you'll be upping her workload soon... So after she starts getting frazzled tell her you think moving to a quieter location would benefit her studies. Shove her in whatever poor excuse for a library the town has, and keep a constant supply of books heading her way."
"That... That works. I think this will work. It won't keep her away forever, but it might at least give us enough time to patch things up with the minotaurs." Celestia smiled in genuine happiness, a rare occasion those days, but then a stray thought passed through her brain. "Y'know, we've come up with this plan to sweep her under the rug... But shouldn't we try talking to her first?"
The sisters looked each other in the eyes for several long moments. Then in unison they spoke.
I have arrived safely in Ponyville, although the name is a misnomer. It is hardly a village. It is more of a hamlet. It should be called Ponyhamlet, although that might lead less educated ponies to believe it has a significant boar population. For their benefit and to avoid a misconception it should be called Ponydonklet to reflect its moderate donkey population.
As I was saying, I have arrived safely in Ponydonklet. Golden Oaks Library is cozy and has better insulation than the drafty castle library, but its selection is deplorable. I wish I could blame that on the locals borrowing the books, but that is not the case. Their familiarity with classical works aside, I also find myself feeling perturbed by the knowledge of anyone being able to enter my new home at any moment. I much prefer the privacy of my chambers in the castle.
Regardless, I will do my best to stay calm and continue studying. I know how important my education is to Equestria.
Speaking of my studies, I have completed my first assignment in Ponydonklet. As you requested, since I will be living here for this period of my education, I have made strides to become acquainted with the locals.
My first acquaintance met was a fellow unicorn named Rarity, a couturier, whom I have commissioned to fashion my public and private attire. She is posh compared to everypony else here and knew of my importance, but her accent was a dismal facsimile of the magniloquent, nasal tones of the Canterlot elite. I gave her an impromptu enunciation lesson while she took my measurements, but I fear the lesson gave her no benefit because she kept losing her composure.
She really should learn to focus more on her presentation.
Next I met an obnoxious pony named Pinkie Pie. She is an excellent baker, but my praise ends there. She's flamboyant, disruptive, and long winded. I wish I could say more about her personality, but even the locals say she is incomprehensible. She has a strange immunity to my mute spell and likes to throw parties.
I do not like her, but she thinks we are friends already. The word, "acquaintance", does not appear to be in her lexicon.
The only other notable pony is named Fluttershy, a competent veterinarian. There was an accident involving a surprisingly intimidating lapin. I won't point hooves, but her house was incinerated. Because of my involvement I have graciously offered Fluttershy the use of the guest bed while I'm paying for her home to be rebuilt. This arrangement initially seemed to work well because she is quiet and shy, but her stupid rabbit keeps pestering me. I'd kill it, but I feel I'd be crossing a line if another of her animals perished.
I am still hard at work on my assignments. I have nothing more to report at the moment.
Your brilliant student,
P.S. Shortly after arriving I devised this spell, which will allow us to be in constant contact, Princess Celestia. We may be separated by miles, but our minds can still be as close as ever.
Luna peered at Celestia over the top of the letter. "And this is the first of how many letters?"
"23, Luna, and that's a short one."
"She's only been there for three days! She's already managed to burn down a house, make an enemy, and leave a pony homeless!"
"Believe me, Luna, I kno-" Suddenly a wisp shot through a crack in the window. It collided with Celestia's horn and quickly materialized into another scroll. It shot forward and bonked Luna in the nose.
Celestia quickly recovered from the mild shock of the letter delivery and spoke again. Annoyance dripped like venom from her voice. "Believe me, Luna, I know."
"Even when she is away she still finds ways of disrupting our lives!"
Celestia grumbled under her breath as she picked up the scroll in her magic and roughly unfurled it. She read it aloud. "Something something, the Apple family charges too little for its apples and should be charging more, something something, legislation and regulations, something something, natural monopoly, something something, tastes like ragweed." Celestia tossed it over her shoulder into the fire. "I can't go anywhere withou-"
Suddenly, a wisp shot through a crack in the window. It collided with Luna's horn and quickly materialized into another scroll. It shot forward and jammed itself in Celestia's eye. "Son of a brutally violated lamprey! Gah! I think... Titty whackers, I think I have a paper cut in my eye!"
"You're fine, it's just vellum. It doesn't have a sharp edge."
"Says you, you just got it on the nose!" Celestia stamped her hoof in frustration. "What's it say? What was so important she had to send you a letter 30 seconds after sending me a letter?"
"What do you mean me? Why shouldn't she send me a letter, too?"
"Because you only know her in passing. You haven't spent the past 15 years as her mentor."
Luna fumed as she roughly opened the letter. "Well, then, perhaps she's wising up you're not as great as you think you are..." Luna paused as she read the first couple of lines of the letter. "... Never mind. I hate that mare."
"Why? What does it say?"
"Just read it for yourself."
Celestia grabbed it with her magic and quickly scanned her lopsided eyes over its contents.
Dear Princess Luna,
Today I learned a valuable lesson about boasting. I thought you might appreciate this story because it aligns with some of your past history. Perhaps you can learn from my example and help prevent future incidents from occurring...
Luna crossed her forelegs and glared."How does she know about that, Celestia? That was over 1000 years ago and it was a private dispute between you, me, the albino Raccoon Queen, and the heir apparent of the Octopus Lord."