Journal of an Alicorn Clone

by Tired Old Man

First published

A silly clone of Princess Celestia writes about her not-so-ordinary life.

Journals. Everyone keeps one, even if they call it by a different name. An autobiography, some online blog, or even fading memories in the mind regaled as tales to grandchildren, it's always recorded somewhere for someone to see or hear one day. And whether or not it's truth or fiction, it's always unique in delivering an individual perspective on life.

Celestia politely asked Sunny, her mirror pool duplicate, to write about her life experiences in one such journal.

Unfortunately for her, Sunny wasn't very good at following directions.

This is a side story to Letters from an Irritated Princess.

While knowledge of the whole series is not required, it is highly recommended that one has read the events beyond the Slice of Life Letter to have a better understanding of the circumstances. Otherwise, reading this might be confusing.

Correction: It will absolutely be confusing. Also made a small title change that should, in theory, be simpler.

The First Slice of Life Is Definitely the Tastiest!

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Dear... Journal?

Celestia said I should start keeping… whatever a journal is supposed to be. She made it sound pretty fun at first--I get to write whatever I want, whenever I want, and all I had to do was write it in a book! It... uh, really doesn't sound all that fun when I say it out loud like that, especially when she said that it was just me writing about my life experiences.

But then she posed it as a challenge. I needed to make some life experiences in order for me to write about them, of course! And my first challenge? Find a book to write in! YES! I was BORN ready for this, like, six hours ago!

Except I didn't know where to start. Luckily, she gave me a clue. I needed to find a place with a bunch of books that wasn't a bedroom; some place called a 'library', and it wasn't outside the castle. She made it sound very big, so it should have been easy to find!

It took me about an hour, but I finally found it! The library! I had never seen so many books in my life! Probably because this was the only library I'd ever seen!

But all the books I found in there already had things written in them! I didn’t see any blank book! Was I supposed to write in the space that’s left where there aren’t words?!

I hope that’s what she meant, because that’s what I’m doing right now! A bunch of these books don’t have a lot of room for writing though, but I found some that didn’t have a lot of words! They’re kind of like… what did she call those books with a bunch of pictures… Aha! Photo albums!

Except they’re not really photo albums. Photo albums don’t talk, but the ponies in these pictures talk with these funny white bubbles that come from their mouth. That doesn’t happen when I talk though, and this quill Celestia lent me doesn’t draw the bubbles either. Am I doing something wrong? Do I have to think about the bubbles first before saying anything? What if I think about them right now while talking?

...Nope, that doesn’t work. Darn, that would have been cool! ...I think. I don’t know what “cool” means either, but it sounds right! And I think that matters a lot!

Anyway, I guess this will have to do until I find a book with no words in it! And if I can’t, then these other talking picture books I found will have to do! They hid behind the tall bookshelves in the corner, and they’re inside this thin clear bag-thing I can’t open with my hooves. It kind of seems like somepony really didn’t want them to be found.

But if they were that hard to find, I bet nopony’s written in them either! I’ll get past that bag somehow, and then I’ll have more paper to write on! Now, how to get it open… Maybe if I use my teeth, I can--Oh! Hi Celestia! Can you open this bag for me? I need more books to write in!

Having a Birdbrain is Okay if You're Part Bird!

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Dear Journal,

I actually got a real journal now! Yay!

So, it turned out what I was writing on before was not a photo album, nor was it okay to write over the face of the pony with a nasty smirk and shiny black toupee. Celestia droned on and on about how valuable they were, why I should NEVER open the plastic bag they’re in, and something about preserving their quality as if they’re the last of their kind… but then why doesn’t somepony just make copies of it? What good is a book that no one can read?

I mean, I’m a copy of her. Luna Two’s a copy of Luna, and both of us are books! At least, I think we are. Celestia says she keeps trying to read me, so maybe we are part book? But we’re also sisters!

...Wait, are we? I think I’m sisters with Luna Two, but I don’t know for Celestia or Luna. But if we are, does that make a pool of sisters now? Ooh, I hope that’s the case, because then I can call Celestia my sister! And my head will stop hurting thinking about this! It’s a win-win!

Anyway, now that I have a proper blank book… what do I write about? Life stuff, right? Hmm...

Oh! So I took a walk in the garden this morning, and I saw some birds bathing in the fountain! They dipped their heads in and cleaned their face, shook the water through their wings and tails… it was amazing.

And then I looked at my sides. I had wings too! I wasn’t really sure how I didn’t notice them before, but they were all stretched out and big and feathery and white! And then it hit me.

Was I part bird? I wanted to know.

I had to know.

And that fountain had the answers!

Granted, the fountain was a lot smaller than I thought. Or maybe I’m bigger. Maybe both! Even so, I could do all the things I saw the birds do! Head dipping, rolling in the water, everything!

But was it awesome? Of course it was! And do you know what the best part was? Big Sis even saw me bathing! She kept shouting something, but I couldn’t hear it too well. It sounded like cheering though, so I just kept going! Then she got more worked up, and so did I, and it kept going and going until she dragged me to her room. I didn’t think I did anything wrong that time--it felt so right, so how could it be wrong?

...Big Sis? Did I just call Celestia that? Wow, that does sound good to say! That would make Luna the Big… Little Sis? Little Big Sis?

I’ll think about that later. But for now, I should wrap this up. Big Sis made a big deal about keeping this sort of stuff secret like her comic books. I’m not sure why, but that sounds like a good idea right now.

...I still think Luna Two should know. Ooh, maybe she’s keeping a journal like this too!

This Court Had No Tennis Rackets, But I Made a Racket Anyway!

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Dear Journal,

Celestia gave me a new challenge today. She said if I behaved for a whole week, I’d learn a few things about how to carry myself around others in the castle. What was it… manners? I think it was manners I had to learn, but I was definitely ready for it!

Except I didn’t quite get the challenge, as Celestia explained to me while I carried her on my back through the castle. I asked her why she didn’t stop me from doing that if that was wrong, and she said it would just be easier this way… which worked for me! If she didn’t have a problem with it, why should I?

Anyway, being a princess isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We have things we have to do, ponies to listen to (and ignore if necessary--she made that sound SUPER important), and a land to rule over with ‘benevolence’, which is a long word meaning we do good by others in our domain.

It sounded easy! How hard could it be to do the right thing all the time?

As it turned out, that can be very difficult. Especially when the right thing is sitting and listening to a court thing Celestia said was ‘sometimes’ boring.

Except it wasn’t just boring! In fact, if boring was a pony, they’d probably think listening to their grandma talk about their denture cleaner was more exciting! Because at least that has fizzy bubbles, and I couldn’t even bring a soda pop into the room!

I did bring my journal though, and drawing doodles of the ponies talking to Celestia helped a little. Most of them weren’t that interesting, but there was a big white pony with yellow hair that gave Celestia a funny-looking eye tic, and I think an extra wrinkle on her cheek. And then a light red, not-pink-but-maybe-peach? pony with a rose on her butt came in and my front hooves got all tingly like they wanted to touch her face. Hard. Multiple times.

And I almost did! I touched her face once before Celestia pulled me out of the courtroom. Apparently, what I did was not the right thing, even though she agreed that it was a good gut feeling to have. Even so, she sent me to my room and promised she would fix things while I reflected on my bad manners.

But I think there’s only one thing to reflect on. And that’s if you really feel like hurting someone, it’s probably not a good idea to actually do that. Nopony likes to get hurt, no matter how much they might want to hurt others.

Except if you’re not physically hurting them. Celestia did say she had a punching dummy with peachy pony’s face on it, and I get to use that next time! YES!

Bonding Over a Moon Dust Mishap

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Dear Journal,

This is the second day of trying to behave and learn manners. Celestia decided I shouldn’t leave the castle at all today. I knew why, of course.

Buuut I didn’t plan on staying in my room the whole day, either. So I checked to see what Luna Two was doing!

I have never seen a dusty room before I entered hers. Moon dust was everywhere--the ground, on the furniture, in the air, and even some in the hallway just outside the door! The guards outside wore these little blue masks around their mouths, too. Are they allergic? I could breathe it in just fine.

Anyway, she was busy making a bunch of moon dust castles. But I guess she put one near the door that I knocked over when I entered, because she made a huge fit over it! “It was a replica of the old castle! Augh!”

“Well, you shouldn’t have put it next to the door, silly! Why didn’t you put it somewhere else?”

“Because I ran out of room!” She said while gesturing to other dust models of other places in Equestria. Places like Canterlot, Manehatten, and even a floating Cloudsdale!
“I couldn’t find any other spots, and I wanted to save the best one for last…”

Then she started tearing up, and that made my chest hurt. I hated making her feel terrible, so I offered to help fix it, you know? “It’ll be just like it was before, except with a massive, sturdy wall in front of that door so it never touches the castle again! How does that sound?”

She looked up at me… and smiled. “Y-Yeah. Yeah! We’ll make it better!”

I nodded. “Yeah. We will.”

And so, I spent the whole day helping her with the new-and-improved old castle. I helped with the foundation and some of the basic construction, and her eye for detail was incredible as she carved out each archway and hallway with a set of tiny chisels. She even etched out a lot of the stained-glass window designs in the walls!

Meanwhile, my wall wasn’t as refined as the castle. It was thick and wide, and about half as high as the door. It wasn’t as tall or appealing as the old castle, but Luna Two said it had a “rustic charm” to it, and that put a smile on my face! I also built it so sturdy there was no way it would ever break or crumble, so this shouldn’t cause any more problems for Luna Two whatsoever!

And just so I don’t forget about the wall next time, I’ll write this reminder: The wrong door is not right, but the right door is on the right!

A Safe is Never Safe From Prying Eyes

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Dear Journal,

‘Tis the third day of learning manners, and today I decided to spend a bit more time with Luna Two. However, we did not mess around with her dust castles this time. She said she wanted them to dry after spraying them with a bit of water, so we couldn’t alter them while they were setting.

But that was okay, because I had a plan! We had yet to fully explore this big castle we call home!

Did I truly know how huge this castle was before today? Not really, not even when I had to look for the library! Celestia restricted me to just looking through one wing of the castle for that, which meant I had a whole other wing to explore! In addition, Luna Two hadn’t gone out of her room too much, so this new wing was as foreign to her as it was for me. That means we got to learn about this new place at the same time!

And we learned lots of things. They had a big dining hall that looked like the best place to host a party, a lounge place with a big sofa I could stretch my whole body over--I’m not sure why that is here, but posing in that chair felt oddly natural--and a kitchen that we will absolutely visit… later. When the chef isn’t around--she was absolutely livid when we took some grapes from the fruit salad bowl!

“Noooooo! Now the ratio is ruined! How am I supposed to fix this?!”

I shrugged and said, “Just add more apples!” before I popped one of those tasty little grapes in my mouth.


“If you’re short on fruit, add a different fruit! Easy-peasy! I don’t think this is supposed to be hard!”

While she was busy stumbling through some kind of response, we scurried out of the kitchen. We couldn’t spend our whole day discussing the composition of fruit salad when there was basically eighty percent of a whole castle wing left unexplored!

Or as we discovered, a huge hallway with a huger door at the end of it. It was ornate, thick, and locked up tighter than Celestia’s nightstand stuffed with super secret sweets! Neither of us had any idea of how to open it other than an odd little hole in the middle of the door.

Now, I know Celestia said that I shouldn’t use my head horn willy-nilly. Just because it’s a pointy thing I can put in any nook, hole or cranny doesn’t mean I should. And I did have a tiny voice in my head say I shouldn’t open that door.

Buuut that tiny head voice was also curious to know what was in there, so they allowed it! And to my complete surprise, the door opened!

What lied beyond was a treasure trove of all sorts of interesting and/or confusing items. Golden bits, ancient relics that could really use a dusting, little toys that looked very, very old but still functional (Note to self: ask Celestia if I can have one of them. Luna Two wants one too), and even half an eggshell in a box… for some reason!

But despite all the things in there we could have touched or taken, we left the vault with nothing. Why? Because it was all Celestia’s, and I am not her. If she put all of this behind such a big door, she really wanted to keep it safe. Taking any of it out without her permission is something only a terrible person would do.

I didn’t know how to close the door though, so as soon as I write this entry, I need to find her. She said she would be busy talking with Luna about something, but as soon as I see her, I’ll tell her everything that happened today.

...OH! There she is! Hi Celestia--Hey, that looks like a piece of Luna’s door and my dust wall! Why are they hanging from your horn?

Wait, you use that door too?! Wow, I… actually should have seen that coming.

Yes, and I should have told you about the wall. I’m sorry.

Um… so is this a bad time to tell you that I messed with another door today?

A Pink Pony Visited Me Today!

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Dear Journal,

It’s been four days since starting this manners exercise, I learned exactly how confusing things can get when I look exactly like somepony else.

Why? Because I went into Celestia’s bathroom at noon for a little potty break. I was happily doing my business, looking around at all of her fancy shampoos and conditioners and duckie…

...when all of a sudden, I heard this funny giggling sound. It echoed in the room for a while, and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. The open window, the door, the weird pink splotch on the shower wall, the cabinet under the sink, and even the pink pony standing inches away from me!

Wait. Uh, she was the source. Yes. Anyway, she asked me some odd questions. What did I do last week? Did I enjoy the gift two days ago? What am I going to do for my birthday party in a month? That last one’s a strange question to ask me--I don’t even know what mine is supposed to be! Is it Celestia’s, or the first day we met? ...What if it’s BOTH?! Do I get a double birthday?!

Honestly, I couldn’t tell her any answers to those questions. She tilted her head, and started squinting at me. Looking reeeal close at me, and even sniffing my hair. “Doesn’t smell like toothpaste,” she said, which is weird because that’s for your teeth, right? She paced around me, giving me more looks that suddenly made me want an adult.

Then she asked me something I could answer.

“You’re not her, are you?”

“Me? Nope!”

“Then who are you?”

“I’m her! ...but, uh, not actually her? I mean, I look like her if she is the same ‘her’ you’re talking about, but she is not who I am, because I am… me?”

I don’t know if that was a good explanation, but she thought about it and seemed to like it! “Ooh, this will be fun!” she said with a great big smile and twinkling eyes. “I’ll keep my eye on you, Tia lookalike!”

And then I blinked, and she completely disappeared! I think I saw a pink blur just outside the bathroom window, but I can’t be sure of that.

But I am sure of one thing.

I... have a FAN! I don’t know about a friend yet because I don’t even know her name, but I think that’ll change soon when she visits me next time! I’m not sure when it’ll happen, but that seems guaranteed! I can’t wait to see her again.

Oh, Celestia! Guess what?! A funny pink pony saw me today!

Huh? Yeah, we talked for a little bit. She wanted to know about me, something about birthdays, and then she grinned as wide as the moon! I didn’t even know we could make a huge smile like that and--hey, why are you getting all sweaty? Is it hot in here?

Yeah, she’s totally coming back! She didn’t say when, but I think it’ll be on your birthday! Isn’t that great?!

Sampling Local Blends to Blend With the Locals

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Dear Journal,

Celestia took me to one of her favorite spots to wind down today. She said this would be the next step in learning proper manners, and it involved a good friend of hers! I had no idea who that was, but I was so happy to find out!

Except there was a dilemma. Two Celestias walking the streets would have been a big problem, but Celestia saw this coming and said she’d monitor me while in disguise. But how?

Apparently, all she had to do was change her hair color! And her smell. I pointed out that her hair still smelled like toothpaste, so she spent a few seconds more to make it smell like strawberries! I really want to learn how she did that, and she promised me she would tell me how later.

I’m holding her to that promise. I want my hair to smell like vanilla!

In the meantime, she wanted to introduce me to some of her habits, to understand how she functions. To that end, she escorted me to a small café that smelled like coffee and tea leaves! I know, it didn’t sound all that appealing to me, but she promised me the owner would know just what to make for me!

Curious, I walked inside. Behind a bar with fancy little stools was an odd, lanky-looking tan pony wearing a brown apron that I think wasn’t actually brown to begin with. He turned around and greeted me like I was a diligent patron, which was super strange because it was my first time here, you know?

“Oh, Celestia! Glad to see you!”

“Y-Yeah! Great to see you too!” I said, because I’m supposed to be her right now!

Then he glared at me for a moment. “You’re not her. I’m talking to the one with the pink hair next to you that--” he sniffed the air “--smells like strawberries?” He shrugged. “Well, at least it isn’t toothpaste this time.”

Apparently, Celestia said he’s some kind of shapeshifting bug, so he knows what a good disguise is supposed to be! I guess that also means he knows how to spot fakers. I guess that meant I had a long way to go before I can act proper like Celestia.

“I’ll consider that a compliment, Cuppa Joe.” Then she turned to me. “And this is my double. Her name is, uh, Tia Two.”

“...You really need to come up with a better name for her.”

“I know, I’m working on it. In the meantime, how about something to start off our morning?”

He nodded, and turned around to a bunch of fancy machines that made coffee... I think. “Same as always, Celestia?”

“Hold the fudge, as always,” Celestia said with a small smirk on her face. “And what will you have, Tia Two?”

That was the hardest question today! Just looking at the menu made my head spin from so many options. Hot and cold teas and coffees of so many blends and mixes my head felt all screwy just from reading all of them! But the strange thing is that all of them incorporated fudge, and yet Celestia didn’t want any in hers. Weird… but it couldn’t hurt to try it myself!

“One mocha latte, extra fudge please!”

The barista pony froze for a moment, and turned his head. “Are you… certain you want that?”

Celestia shook her head at me with wide eyes, as if what I had just said was the worst thing I could have possibly ordered. But how could I? It’s on the menu, so it’s gotta be tasty! Who would put awful-tasting food on a menu on purpose?

“Of course!” I replied.

“...I see.” He faced Celestia again. “I know this is on your tab, but I gotta be sure. Are you okay with her getting that?”

She mulled it over for a while, even bringing a hoof to her head while thinking it over. Then she sighed. “Let her have it. Do your worst.”

Cuppa blinked, then went back to brewing our coffees. “Alright then. I hope you enjoy it.”

A few minutes later, and we enjoyed our drinks. I don’t know why they seemed so concerned--that coffee was awesome! They made it sound so crappy, but I showed them! Even so, Celestia made it clear that I shouldn’t order that coffee too often. So I won’t get it the next time I visit. Or the next time. Or the time after that, I guess.

I’ll order it at least once a week, though. That doesn’t sound often at all!

Second Opinions Are a Good First Step for Perspective

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Dear Journal,

I’m writing this entry in the current absence of your owner and my sister, Tia Two. She would be here to write this, if she wasn’t busy pulling every curtain off the rods and tipping every potted plant in sight.

Simply put, whatever she had yesterday gave her energy. A lot of energy. ‘Bashed a hole in my door and cracked her dust wall screaming, “Here’s sister!”’ levels of energy. I didn’t know how loud and strong my screaming could be until I blew the door off its hinges and sent her and the door flying. The dust wall was still mostly intact though. I give credit to my sis--she knows how to build a wall.

Anyway, Celestia and Luna have spent every minute since last evening trying to contain her. Twenty eight attempts later, and they’re still no closer to getting her quarantined.

Their last attempt came close with some special Moon Cookies though! At least, I think they were special since they mentioned putting sleepy stuff in them, and I know Luna normally doesn’t do that. I haven’t gotten tired from eating them, at least.

Neither had my sister. She had maybe four cookies from the plate those two placed in the hallway, and I guess Celestia doubted Luna actually put the sleepy stuff in them because they didn’t slow down Tia Two at all.
So she tried them herself.

She promptly faceplanted into the carpet one minute later.

With her out of commission, Luna and I had to take up the reins. And together, we came up with a plan. A simple, crazy plan that involved rope, some cream puffs, and a large cardboard box.

First, we hid in the box in the throne room. Then we ate a few cream puffs, joking and giggling and making a commotion inside a very unusual location! Soon enough, Tia Two showed up and demanded entry into our box!

We refused at first. This was our snacking box, and not just anypony could gain entry for such delicious cream puffs! If she wanted in, she had to calm down, say pretty please with sugar plums, and maybe we’d let her in.

Which we did eventually, and then when she was about to take a bite out of the first cream puff, we tackled and hogtied her! She didn’t see it coming, nor did she see us still sharing the cream puffs with her once we got her under control.

A few hours after her capture, she finally weaned off her sugar high. Her face was as bittersweet as her words, but at the same time, she realized how out of control she became. Unfortunately, Celestia was still sleeping, so her lecture on my sister’s behavior would have to wait.

Until then, we still had some cream puffs left to eat. Tia Two only got two more--getting her wound up again would wind up causing further disaster.

I hope she's learned something important from this. I doubt it, but hope all the same.

Huh? Yes, I did break the door off its hinges, Luna. Was that a bad thing?

Shouting lessons? Really?! YES!

Oh, uh, sorry Luna. Should I do something about your indent in the wall?

I'm Going On an Adventur...ous Field Trip!

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Dear Journal,

Day seven is here! It’s the last day of my behavior training, probably! I have almost no idea of what happened for most of day five and six in quite a few spots, but I must have done plenty for Celestia to send me away for some foreign relations practice!

Except I’m not actually going across an ocean or anything like that. Celestia still wants me on the mainland, so she’s sending me to the Crystal Empire instead!

This is my second time on a train… and the first time going alone. Initially, I was completely scared at the idea of doing something this big all by myself, but she said I wouldn’t have to worry. Her niece would we waiting for me when I arrived, which I guess technically also makes her my niece from another aunt that’s also me?

However it’s supposed to sound, this means I’m getting to meet more of her family! Well, when I get there, because I’m on the train right now.

I had no idea a train could move this fast. Trees become blurs, ponies become blurs, even my projectile vomit from getting all woozy on this train became a blur out the window! A mare in the room behind me screamed after the vomit left my sight. I bet she’s finding this as exciting as I am right now!

…Oh. My. Goodness! There’s a pony with a cart loaded with candy and sweets walking right down the aisle. And they’re calling for customers! Where is that bag of bits Celestia gave me for the trip? Where did I put it where is it WHERE--oh no he’s coming closer and I can’t find it!

I really want some of those treats on his stand! That means I got to stall him… but how? How do I slow him down--AAAA he’s almost at my seat! Quick thinking time!

Hi there, mister candy pony. Is there something wrong?

Well, I’m lying down in the middle of the aisle. I’ve, uh, fallen and I can’t get up. Yes. That is exactly what’s happening right now.

If I wanted to get up, I could. But I can’t, not while my bag of bits is missing. I think it’s on the floor, but it could be anywhere and--huh? No, I haven’t checked my travel bag. Do you think it could be in there?

Hey, it really was in there! Thanks, candy pony! And yes, I do want to buy some candy. How did you know that?

I do this all the time? Wow, I really must love your candy if I’ve stopped you this much!

Uh, half the cart please. No, not the whole cart--I’m trying not to be selfish.

Thanks, and--wait! Actually, I have one more request. Do you have any pillows? I’d like to take a nap later since I’m starting to feel sleepy.

Thank you!

The Crystal Empire is Pretty, Sweet, and Pretty Sweet

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Dear Journal,

Magic sheep are the cutest, smartest little creatures ever! Why jump over a fence when you can just magic the fence out of the way? Or you just magic it right out of existence so that you never ever have to think about it again! They must really hate jumping or really, really love walking!

Either way, the fence is gone, and I didn’t get much rest on the way to the Crystal Empire. But that’s okay! I woke up with a lot of energy to burn thanks to all those cart snacks!

The train just arrived at the Empire’s train station. It is exactly as shiny as I thought it would be! Oh, the ponies are shiny too! Well, some of them are. Some of them seem like tourists--like me, because I’m not shiny, and neither are they.

Many of these shiny crystal ponies move around through the streets, buying and selling, talking and smiling! Most of them don’t seem to mind me as I move around the city, although there are a few that cast me some odd glances. They’re just as shiny as the hard candies I’m eating as I walk the streets… mmm, watermelon!

And then there’s a pony so clear I can see right through them! Hello! Do you know where I can find a “crystal princess”? Do they sell it at one of the market stands? Or is it the princess of this empire?

What’s the matter, did I get it wrong? …What if it’s both? It’s both, isn’t it? Wow, you are really quiet for a crystal pony I can see right through unlike all of the other crystal ponies. And you haven’t even moved since I approached you! Are you a mime? If you’re pretending to be a statue, you are very good at it!

Wait. Upon closer inspection, you are actually just a lifelike crystal pony statue. Oh well, at least you were honest with yourself, and I should have seen right through you! Well, I am already. Sort of.

...but I can’t see through the other crystal ponies. Does that mean… they have something to hide? I wonder about that.

Oh darn, this watermelon candy’s finished. Let’s see… ooh, grape is a nice color and flavor! It even looks just like that house right behind mister statue. It’s nice and purple and… and…

It looks just like this candy. It couldn’t be, could it--no, Celestia said it’s not candy. Yet if she knows it’s edible and she’s telling me it isn’t just so I won’t try it just like she did with her super secret sweets hidden behind her nightstand…

There’s only one way to get to the bottom of this. It’s time to have a taste.

Unfortunately, the Crystal Castle is Not so Sweet

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Dear Journal,

I sampled a dozen or so houses, and thus far, none were made out of candy. I would have sampled more, but Celestia’s--er, my pink niece found me and quickly escorted me to her castle before I could try any more. Such a shame--I was certain the fourth tasted like snozzberries, but that’s been the only exception to the other salty, earthy crystal houses.

I suppose that experiment will have to wait. For now, Cadance has just shown me my room to stay in for the night. I made myself perfectly clear that I was not going to eat her castle during my stay, and I mean it. I bit a piece off of a corner pillar when she wasn’t looking.

Still salty. Still earthy. Palatable, but nowhere close to sweet!

Anyway, I have some free time left until dinner’s served, so I’m using it to explore the castle right now. Or at least I would, if there wasn’t this obnoxious orange guard pony following me around who says he’s here to make sure I don’t eat anything.

The nerve of my niece! It’s not like I’m going to walk by the kitchen this instant and--oh my stars, I smell a fruit parfait just past that door!

What do you mean I can’t enter? It smells ready to eat right now!

I have to wait? Well, then I’ll just wait until it comes out that door and I’ll devour it as soon as it clears the door frame. And you’ll still get in my way?

Listen up… what’s your name? Okay, let me restart. Ahem, listen up Flash Scenty! I will get through that door one way or another and eat that parfait. If you insist on stopping me, then you better keep an eye on that door at all times! Because the second you stop guarding it, I’ll get in. It won’t matter if you know I got in--it’ll be too late then.

So you are going to stay right there? Good, because I’m not interested in eating anything but that parfait, I can guarantee you! Now, I’m going to walk away from this door, okay? I know you won’t move, right?!

...Wow, I can’t believe that worked! Now I have free reign to explore this place! And it looks like my first stop is the throne room!

Wow, and I thought the roof of Celestia’s throne room was too dang high! The floor is pretty much the least interesting spot to see, just a carpet, a standing sign of some kind, and a crystal chair, but this roof feels like it could go on forever and ever and--OW!

Ouch! Owie! Wow. This. Is. A. Long. Flight. Of. Stairs! When. Is. This. Going. To. End?! Seriously?! It. Is. Still. Going!

Whew. Okay, I’m at the bottom now. Who thought it was a brilliant idea to just cover a stairwell in carpet and hope no one noticed?! They should have left a warning sign--OW!

Oh, there’s the warning sign. “Danger! Carpet for decoration only. Do not walk on!” Well, what’s the point of a carpet like that? Was it really just there to cover up that hole? I guess the ponies here must really like hiding things like--huh. There’s a door here.

I don’t know why, but I don’t like this door. I want to open it, but at the same time, leaving it closed sounds like a good idea.

Wait, who am I kidding? Of course I’m going to open this door! What’s the point of a door if it’s never opened? It might as well be a wall!

Beyond the Door Lies... My Castle?

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Okay. So, this door just opened up into Celestia’s bedroom.

I am so confused right now, because I have opened and closed every door in her room, and not one has led to some spooky basement stairwell in her niece’s castle! Oh sure, there was a secret entrance that kind of looked like a hidey hole (note to self: use for hide and seek with my sister later), but that’s all!

Opening the hallway door, I notice something missing: guards. Weird, because I usually see guards somewhere in the hallway at all times, especially guarding the doors to our bedroom during naptime!

Wait, does this mean I’m alone? Nopony’s here to tell me I can’t do things… right? I wonder...

Celestia, if you’re here, I’m getting into your secret snack spot! I know you really don’t want me in there, so if you wanna stop me, you better do it right now!

...Right… now!

I-I’ve opened the door! These cupcakes are right in front of my face!


Elsewhere, in a different but equally familiar castle…

“Sister, is something the matter? You’re spilling your tea on the table.”

“I-I’m not sure why, but I feel remarkably perturbed right now, Luna.”

“Is the tea not to your liking, Biggest Sis? I didn’t mess up your Moon Tea, did I?”

“No no, the tea is fine, Luna Two. It’s to die for, but I just… I need to go.”

“Sister, where are you going?”

“You haven’t even tried the biscuits yet!”

“I need to go check on something this instant. It’s for my peace of mind. I’ll be right back, okay?”

“Very well, but don’t keep us waiting long. Littlest Sister here has worked hard on this lunch, you know.”

“I promise, I’ll be quicker than lightning!”

“Wow, you’re going to move faster than a thousand feet per second?!”

“...Luna, you really need to teach her what a metaphor is.”


Oh. My. Goodness! I really am alone! I ate every last cupcake and nopony stopped me! I’m free, I’m free, free to do whatever I please!

Folded bedsheets and neatly placed pillows? Ruffled and tossed about! Neatly organized regalia drawer? Nuh-uh, not anymore! I can be as messy as I want and no one will stop me--Oh hi Celestia! I guess I’m… not alone, am I? Also, you seem surprisingly calm even though I ate all of your secret cupcakes and ruined your bedroom!

Huh? Dinner? But I already ate, so I’m not--okay, I guess we teleported to the dining table right this minute! And she’s bringing out… oh no.

No no no no no! NOOOOOO!


“Okay, I must be going crazy. I could have sworn this room looked like a total and complete mess right now, but it isn’t. Everything is where it should be, my regalia drawer is still organized perfectly, and my cupcakes are still neatly tucked away behind the nightstand… so why did I think…

“It must be the nerves. Paranoia, that’s it. Tia Two isn’t even here, so of course nothing happened… I hope she’s doing alright out there…”


A bowl of peas?!

I hate peas! You hate peas! This punishment is way over the line! I refuse to open my tunnel for this choo-choo train! I would rather take a bath with you cleaning me again!

...Wait. I didn’t, uh, mean that at all! I can bathe myself, you don’t need to--whoa, it’s suddenly wet now! But of course it is, since I’m in the bathtub!

...I’m in the bathtub. She’s humming right outside the door, and it’s not a fun humming!

Celestia, no! Not the loofah! That’s too much soap and--AAAAHHH I’m sorry I ate your cupcakes, just don’t scrub me with that lathered thing! Please! NOOOOOOoooooo...

…Ah… Haa… is this… the stairwell again? Cadance? Is that you?

Yeah, that door showed me things. Fun things, then nasty things! Peas, a mountain of peas and… and a sudsy loofah! It was horrible! Get me away from that… that monster of a door!

Thank you. And yes, I’m still hungry. I’ll eat… so long as it doesn’t have any peas.

Counseling Couples is so Easy, a Dummy Could Do It!

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Dear Journal,

Despite dinner being a vegetable medley soup served with salty crackers, it did not have peas, much to my relief. It had shredded baby carrots instead, which were quite welcome in my eyes… but now that I think about it, couldn't they have used shredded regular carrots? It’s shredded either way, so what’s the difference? Flavor, maybe? It was quite tasty.

Cadance and her husband, Shiny Armor, couldn’t stop staring at me as I ate--was I eating the soup wrong? I couldn’t be, since I ate the appetizer salad just fine with a spoon. The other utensil was a fork, and Celestia taught me to never use the same utensil for different meals (something about proper dining etiquette?), but there were only two utensils available, so what choice did I have?

Anyway, I barely managed to hold a conversation with them. Who knew they would be so talkative, telling me all about their state of affairs. Or they would have, if I didn’t interject with a simple question.

“But you seem like a nice couple! Why would you have an affair?”

Suddenly, the air became thick and cold. Like jelly, except you breathe it because it’s still air? It wasn’t fun to breathe, however, since Cadance had a glare that could melt a cold, frosty mountain of ice cream. And it wasn’t directed at me.

I did not like this situation one bit, and neither did Shiny. But I had a foolproof plan to fix this, and Celestia taught me just what to do for a tense situation like this:

I know her, and she knows I can get under her skin, and she hates that. So if you say something that gets her riled up, play it off as a joke before bla blah bluhblah bla bli blahblah blah.

I still can’t believe I memorized most of that warning! Usually I only make it halfway before everything just sounds like different pitches of “blah”. Anyway, her advice sounded… well, sound, so I followed it.

“Hah! I’m kidding! Of course Shiny wouldn’t do such a thing to my dear niece, right?”

“Never, Princess Celestia! Not in a million years!” he quickly replied just as Cadance’s eyes drilled divots into the back of his head.

I smiled as wide as I could, almost as wide as that pink pony from before. It kind of hurt to smile that wide though, so I settled for a smaller smile that didn’t stretch my mouth so much. “Good! Because you should never do it behind her back, you got that?!”

“I would never!”

“And if you ever consider it, you ask for permission first! Understand?”

“I will! ...Wait, what?”

“You better wash your hooves and brush your teeth afterwards too!”

“Uh…” Whatever Shiny Armor had to say died on his tongue. Even Cadance’s rage fizzled away into confusion equal to her husband. Did I say something wrong again? I hoped not, but now things were weird again, and this time I did not want to stay. I quickly came up with a foolproof plan.

“Anyway, thank you for the meal. I will go to my room, and absolutely not sneak into the kitchen later when the Flashy pony isn’t looking. Toodles!”

Best. Escape Plan. Ever. Now, about getting past that kitchen door… I have another idea of how to do just that.


“Shining, dear?” Cadance finally uttered after what seemed an eternity passed in the dining hall.

“I would never cheat on you!” came Shining’s rapid-fire response.


He took a deep breath. “Sorry. I just wanted to say that one more time. I mean it.”

Cadance smiled softly. “Thank you, Shining. That means a lot to me… well, it means a lot to us, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, it does.” Shining looked back to the doorway Celestia left through. “And, uh, now that I got that off my chest, what are we going to do about Celestia?”

Cadance pondered on this for a small moment. “I think I’ll just write a letter to Luna about this. Tell her that her sister is… not feeling well.”

“Is that all you’re going to say?”

“No, of course I’ll give details! Like the fact that she’s taken a bite out of at least a dozen homes.” Cadance paused. “And probably ours when we weren’t looking.”

“You think she did?” Shining asked.

“You think she didn’t?”

“Fair point.” Shining began trotting toward the doorway. “Alright, I’m going to make sure she went to her room. You can write--”

“Out of the way!” The warning shot down from one end of the hallway seconds before Celestia zoomed by, pushing a service cart filled to the brim with delectable strawberry fruit parfaits. Angry shouting chefs (plus one very frustrated guard) chased her down to the other end before they rounded a corner and vanished from Shining’s view.

Cadance had a hoof firmly planted on her forehead as she groaned, “Shining, what happened now?”

“Celestia just ran down the hallway with a service cart full of fruit parfaits,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone.

Shining hadn’t turned his head, but if he did, he’d see his wife’s eyes enlarging into dinner saucers as he continued, “Are you going to mention that in the letter too--”

“Are you sure you saw that?” she interrupted.

Shining turned his head, and raised an eyebrow. “Yes. Is something wrong?”

“Do you think she’s going to eat them all?”

Shining smirked. “Do you think she won’t?”

Shining had never seen his wife move faster in his life. Blasting by him in a pink blur, she turned down the hallway to give chase. Shining merely stood in awe as he heard her bellow out, “She is NOT going to eat all of those! I will find her, and I will have one!”

The Long Ride Home (Wasn't so Long, Actually)

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Dear Journal,

This moment marks the last steps I’m taking in the Crystal Empire today. But that’s okay, since I had so much fun while I was here! The feeling appears mutual for Shiny and Cadance, since they’re waving goodbye as I’m boarding. I’m waving back at them while Luna ushers me onto the train.

They’re, uh, still waving. I wave harder. Shiny stopped waving, but Cadance is still going. She wants to be the last to say goodbye!

But I want to be the last! And I will--Ouch! Um, Luna, do you think the train ponies will notice a little dent in the guide railing?

Luna sighs before ushering me inside the car. As I take a seat, I can see she has a look on her face, and it’s not one of the happy looks. She doesn’t seem too excited to see me, and if I’m honest, I’m not excited to see her.

“So, ‘sister’, it is my understanding that you’ve been giving Cadance a great deal of trouble while staying here.”

“I know.” The words came out without hesitation. “If you’re here, that means they told you about what I did.”

“Indeed. But…” She looks back to Shiny and Cadance, who is still waving as the train leaves the station. Cheeky niece. “Something seems amiss here.”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t they seem… unusually happy?”

Happy? Oh, that’s right, she doesn’t know about the stuff that happened while she was on her way here!

“That’s because a lot of stuff happened while you were on our way here! Stuff like board games!”

Luna raises an eyebrow. “Board games?”

“Well, more like just one board game, but a very long one!”


Sitting in a throne far above ground, the Gleaming Warlock glared down at a dimly lit coliseum occupied by a stalwart pink paladin pony boasting battle-worn steel plate armor and a long, red-and-white-striped candy cane lance, its tip broken--no, chewed off at the end. Beside her stood a white pony with tears streaming from her eyes, clothed in a thick, dirty white robe and clutching a curved stick with a small string dangling from the thin end like a cheap fishing rod without its hook.

Before them, a massive eagle-headed quadrupedal beast lied on the floor of the arena, slumped over and wheezing. It was not quite dead, but hardly fit for combat as it was just a few minutes before.

“I can’t believe this! How could this happen?!” the warlock bellowed. “Glut the Ravenous Griffon can’t have been bested so easily!”

“Well, that’s what happens when he eats a rat swimming in disease! What did you expect?!” The pink paladin declared, pointing her chewed spear threateningly at the Gleaming Warlock.

“Silence! I will not stand for such impudence!” he retorted.

Suddenly, the white pony spoke. “I want my rat back!”


“I want Sir Rattington the fifty-fourth back! We shared so much time together, almost forever! And now it’s… it’s all gone!”

“Celestia,” the pink paladin spoke, “You knew that rat for less than two hours.”

Forever!” ‘Celestia’ sunk into the floor, weeping and wallowing in her misery.

The Gleaming Warlock sighed. “Cadance, I knew you shouldn’t have used her rat as bait. Now look at her!”

“He was going to have over a hundred babies! Granted, he didn’t even find a girl yet, but he would have!”

“What?! Your fat griffon ate my candy cane lance, so what else was I supposed to come up with?! I didn’t think she grew that attached to the rat either! She used him as a flail, for heaven’s sake!”

“He is the best flail ever, and don’t you forget it! He… he was…

Cadance groaned. “Can’t you bring him back, Shining?”

“No, I banned necromancy for this game!”

“And again, what kind of evil warlock bans necromancy?!”

“The kind that thinks it’s disgusting!”

“You’re disgusting!” ‘Celestia’ interjected. “I want my rat back, and I don’t care what condition it’s in! Even if I have to get in that griffon and pull him out of their stomach myself!”

Cadance gagged, then looked at Shining Armor. “So do you want to reverse that stance, or spend a few minutes narrating a journey through Glut the Griffon’s colon--”

Shining’s response couldn’t be hastier. “OKAY, I have a better idea!”


I stop for a moment, observing Luna’s excited and curious face as she asked, “And? What happened next?!”

“Well, the evil warlock heard my pleas and made Sir Rattington a familiar! Which is great because all the other familiars they talked about were complete strangers even though they are called familiars. How does that even make sense?!”

Luna snorted. “Well, any stranger could become a familiar if you were to befriend them over time, much like your rat.”

I purse my lips. “I suppose that’s true, but they’re still strangers before I get familiar with them.”

“Indeed. So that explains how cheerful they were.”



“Something else happened that made them super happy! Way before the board game!”


Wait, or was it after the board game?


Yes, it was definitely after.


Situated in a large bedroom fit for a queen (formerly for a king), two mares and a unicorn with taped-on cardboard wings were hopelessly deadlocked, tangled in a struggle for superiority, dominance, and most importantly, how to place their right forehoof on a green dot ever so slightly out of reach.

“Honey, you need to shift your left wing a bit,” Shining declared, his right hoof extended out between his wife’s left hind leg and wing tip as he eyed a free green space.

“Kind of busy here, Shining,” Cadance grunted, trying to reach past a very in-the-way ‘Celestia’ whose right wing and left foreleg crossed to form a nigh-impenetrable barrier blocking her from the nearest green dot she could find. “Celestia, your left foreleg is in the worst position right now!”

“Say that to your husband’s stiff wings!” ‘Celestia’ shot back, huffing at the fact that were it not for those paper flappers, she’d have a clean shot at a green dot resting beneath Shining’s tummy that she hoped he hadn’t noticed yet. That did not stop her from trying, however. “C’mon, just a little more, and I’m about to--”

“Hey! Watch where you’re pointing that horn! I’m… er, extra sensitive down there!”

“I’m being careful, Cadance! ...Wait, why is it sensitive? Is lunch not agreeing with you?”

“Uh, y-yes! That’s exactly it!”

“Then maybe you should go to the bathroom!”

“No! I will stay and win, auntie!”

‘Celestia’ shrugged, or at least made as much of a shrugging motion as she could whilst tangled up in two other ponies. “Your loss either way!”


“Goodness, I didn’t know Shining could play Alicorn Twister.”

I nod. “Apparently anypony can play if they have a horn and wings. Even fake ones!”

Luna looked down for a moment, deep in thought. But not too deep (maybe she went into the shallow end of the thinking pool), since she raised it up again. “So it seems my fears were misplaced. Despite your faults, everything appears to have worked out in the end. Except for the house damage, at least.”

“Oh, Cadance said she would handle that, so I don’t think that’ll be a problem--oh no. OH NO!”

“What? What is it?!”

“It’s him!” I point to a pony pushing a cart loaded with sweets. “Mister Candy!”

“Mister Candy?” She turns to see who I’m pointing to, and giggles upon seeing who it is. “You mean the pony pushing the service cart?”

“Yes! And he’s coming closer! Luckily, I know just how to stop him!”

“You mean like this?” Luna rose from her seat, took a few steps, and promptly fell in the middle of the hallway.

“Hey, that’s what I did! How did you know?!”

Luna snorted. “You thought you were the only one?”

Meanwhile, Mister Candy pony pushing the cart stops, leans on the handlebar and grins sheepishly. Although he’s still a bit farther away than when I stopped him, I still hear his response clearly:

“It’s a good thing I packed three more carts.”

The Key is in the Details!

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Dear Journal,

I found a key today! A special, top-secret key that presumably goes to something incredibly important! It has to–this wasn’t hidden under Celestia’s mattress for a terrible reason!

...Was it? No matter. What is important is figuring out what it goes to!

Unfortunately, searching the room seems fruitless. I tried the normal doors, the walls, her secret safe, the super secret safe within the secret safe that I still haven’t opened, and of course the super-duper secret safe that’s definitely in the super secret safe, even though I’ve never seen it before! Hunches are awesome!

Wait, what if it goes to that door that’s a shortcut to Cadance’s house?! Granted, that door didn’t have a keyhole in it, nor has that door appeared ever since my visit to the Crystal Empire… but it’s still worth trying! It might not have an obvious keyhole–I mean, my horn unlocked a door in the castle, so who knows what it takes to unlock that door from here!

Open sesame! Presto door...o? My curiosity seeks what is near; oh secret passage, please appear?!

Okay, random door chants don’t seem to work. Maybe it needs a Crystal Empire chant or something. Picky door.

In the meantime, maybe this key opens something else not in this room. Perhaps another room in the castle? Luna’s room?

Nope, not Luna’s room. The door is open though, and Luna Two’s here! Hey little sis! Whatcha doing?

Aw, reading again? But that’s for squares, and we’re mostly rounded circles!

No, I haven’t read shape theory. I read a children’s shape book though; why do you ask?

Oh, right! Why I’m here. See, I found this key in Celestia’s room, but I have no idea what it goes to. It didn’t unlock anything in her room, so I wondered if it unlocked something else in a different location. You wouldn’t happen to know of anything locked in here, would you?

Hmmm, it doesn’t work on Luna’s wardrobe. Nope, not on this ornate music box either–the keyhole is too small for this. Hey, what about her wall safe?

What do you mean you don’t know about a wall safe? Have you checked behind the nightstand? That’s where mine is, and I have another hunch! Yes, a hunch that’s where yours is too!

Sis, I know that look. That’s the look of a nonbeliever, which means you don’t believe me! Well, go on and check back there! See for yourself; tell me if I’m wrong.

Hah, told you! Now, let’s see if this key works… and of course, it doesn’t. I don’t know what I expected, but at least you know where your secret safe is now! Except they’re not secret anymore because both of us know where they are!

Wow, I am absolutely terrible with secrets. Who knew? Anyway, it doesn’t seem like this key will open anything here, so I guess I’ll try some other spots. Are you coming? It doesn’t look like you have anything better to do than reading some stuffy old book, so why not?

Hooray! I get an investigative partner, like that one detective you like. Yeah, the Fetlock guy! So does that make you Trotson–

W-Well, of course I read the Fetlock stories! Why? Because… he’s not a square! That’s not important right now!

And, uh, so is Paying Attention to Key Words.

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Alright! First stop: the Tower of the Unknown!

Well, that’s what I call it. It’s down this old wing of the castle that Celestia says used to be the residence of some Swirly guy. Whoever he was, she said a lot of nice things about him. Respectful stuff, like he was very important to her.

I… don’t want to cause a mess in this place. If it gets really messed up, it’ll mess her up. I know that… I know that. Huh.

Anyway, the locked tower door is just past this big room filled with all these books and scrolls and things that really could use a duster so they don’t look neglected–sis, what are you doing?

More reading?! I took you away from a book not even ten minutes ago and you’re already reading another one?! That’s not what we came here for!

Okay, yes, these books might be mildly interesting to look at, but we came here for a key and a keyhole, not to look at Swirly’s scrawlings and personal book collection–OW!

I’m fine, just tripped over a stack of books as tall as me… maybe a bit taller, but that doesn’t matter! What does matter is that I get up and get to that door back there and–OOH! Luna Two, quit giggling and come here!

Do you know what this is? “Tiny Tall’s Big Book of Beastly Transformations”! Look, it has instructions for how we can turn ourselves into rabbits, monkeys, spiders (ew), falcons, griffons, and centaurs too! And that’s just flipping through the pages at random!

Oh, we are absolutely going to use this! Actually, how about we try it right now?!

Okay, you stand there. I’ll just find a creature that seems simple and small. Ah, here’s one! Now, hold still while I charge this up… and there!

Luna Two? Where’d you go? Luna?! Luuunaaa!

Oh there you are! I could barely hear you down there! Also, why are you so teeny tiny? I tried turning you into a rat!

An ant? No, I’m pretty sure I… oh, the Rat spell is right next to the Ant spell. Um… oops?

Don’t ask me why–I didn’t write this book! They have a cockatrice next to a tat-zoo-worm in here! It’s like this book was thrown together based on any animals that just came to them!

Hold on, I’ll just find the counterspell… where’s the counterspell? It’s not on the ant page. Sure, I’ll check the index...

I can’t find the index page! No, it’s not in the back of the book, and it’s not in the first few pages either! Who edited this book?!

AHA! I have no idea who you are, Dr. Disco EZ. M.D., but when I find you, you’re going to fix this mangled mess of a book! I can’t read this thing anymore. Luna, you try.

Oh. Right. Ant. Hold on, I’ll find a bigger animal to turn you into so you can read it. Ooh, this one looks like it’ll work! It’s an elephant!

No? But it’s bigger than an ant! You’re making a fuss over nothing! Now stay still, tiny sis! We’ll fix this together!

Aha! See? Nothing went wrong at all!

Um… I think this floor dropped a bit. I hope it’s just me, but I have a sinking feeling about this.

For Every Action, Something Something Opposite Reaction

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Meanwhile, in the exact same castle but in an entirely different unwrecked tower (for now)...

Far away in the Tower of the Sun, Celestia sat in a thick, cushioned red chair. Her horn shone faintly as the rest of the room appeared slightly blurry from where she sat. She smiled–silence truly was golden, and in her case, that was a bit literal as a light gold aura enveloped the walls, floor and roof, hushing the outside world. The only break in this barrier was a small hole, open at the main doors just enough to hear any knocking, and let her respond as necessary.

She held a clean newspaper in a thicker golden glow–the Crystal Times. Her eyes scanned the front page headline.

“Crystal Diet: Princess Celestia’s Secret to Success?!”

Below the headline was a photo of ‘Celestia’ gorging on a corner of a crystal home with two very distraught homeowners off to the left side of the photo. A deep sigh escaped her lips, partly of irritation, partly of relief. At least the press assumed it was a new dieting trend instead of spinning it in a far worse direction.

Of course they wouldn’t think it was a diet trend if they didn’t imply you were fat too, a small inner voice reminded. Celestia rolled her eyes in response before reaching for a cup of tea, a small slip of paper with the number 46 printed on it in bold black ink. A small smile returned to her face as she took in its minty, earthy aroma–soothing to the senses, just as Cuppa Joe promised this blend would smell, and presumably taste. Yes, all she needed was to bring it to her lips and take a sip, and today would go smoothly–

“Sister!” Luna cried in alarm as she barged into Celestia’s room. “I bring grave news!”

What was once a dry newspaper was now a tea-soaked mess held by a startled princess in an overturned, not-relaxing-whatsoever chair. And what was once a silent room shattered as the dampening spell broke as soon as she hit the floor.

“Luna, knocking! We’ve talked about this!” Celestia shouted from under the chair.

“My apologies Celestia, but I’ve heard a terrible disturbance in the castle!”

“And–” Celestia slowly crawled out from under the chair “–what of it?” Standing upright, she took a small moment to replace her fallen crown and readjust her mane back to proper flowing condition. “I’ve already heard of at least four disturbances today: two from some distraught maids cleaning up the remnants of a hoof-paint fight, and another from the chef who swears they’ve triple-locked the cabinets to still find them empty. Just an hour ago Blueblood filed a complaint swearing I disrespected him by calling him ‘Ponce Blueblood’.” She paused. “Which is actually hilarious, but still inappropriate of ‘me’ to say.”

Luna snorted, repressing a fit of giggles as she spoke, “Hehe… Be… Be that as it may, sadly I have a fifth incident to add to your woes.”

“I gathered as much. What happened?”

“You mean you didn’t hear?” Luna asked, her head tilted to the side.

“No, I put up a sound-dampening bubble around the room, except for a small hole aimed towards the door so I could hear if anypony was knocking.”

“Right. Of course. Ahem, it appears that the west wing had suffered a structural collapse just moments ago.”

Celestia blinked, and her eyes shrunk. The West Wing? But that was… no, they wouldn’t dare mess with anything over there! I specifically lectured them to stay out of the west wing!

And lecture she did. She had prepared a chart of relative anger to damage caused, pictures of fiery destruction drawn in crayon, and even hired a magician to make the explosions even more explodey with enough fireworks to almost set the classroom on fire. Which, in hindsight, was probably overkill.

But she believed they used a real clincher: puppets! A complete reenactment done with sock puppets! She and Luna put so much effort into the acting, the carnage wreaked upon the cardboard building props! The clones gave them every last bit of their attention, clinging onto their words of warning! No room for doubt lingered that they knew by then that the west wing was off-limits to them!

“Starswirl the Bearded’s wing?” Celestia asked, despite knowing full well that the answer would be...

“I’m afraid so.”

At first, nothing. One second, two, five, ten. Then Celestia crashed through the balcony doors, spreading her wings and blasting out of her tower at such speeds that the tower swayed slightly from the recoil of her launch. Casting her eyes down to the castle, she honed in on the spot where her greatest mentor and confidant had taught her about much of the world.

And saw a caved-in pile of wood and rubble, scrolls and books scattered about in the debris.

Witnessing the devastation before her, something began to bubble up within Celestia. The air around her began to dry up as that bubbling thing started boiling instead.

Celestia had a name for this thing she felt. Anger was too simple; perturbed too formal. No, this was primal.

This was rage. Pure rage.

As Celestia not-so-gracefully descended to the wreckage, Luna barely had time to shout one question at her before she vanished from Luna’s vision.

“Sister, do you want me to get Janitor Jenkins?!”

“Tell him he’s going to need a bigger trash can!”

When You're in Big Trouble, Don't Stay In the Rubble!

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Dear Journal,

I am probably in big trouble. The whole castle wing collapsed under little sis’s weight.

Now, this problem would be pretty big enough on its own, but the screaming in the distance that's getting closer by the second brings bad news. But that’s not even the worst part!

I can’t find Luna Two! I was able to find the journal just fine since it landed near me in the rubble, but she landed farther away and I can’t see her! Luuuna! If you can hear me, please scream at me for turning you into an elephant! I totally deserve that!

Sheesh, she was so big! How hard is it to find an elephant in some rubble? It should be like finding a haystack in a barn! Except the haystack is big, blue, and has a huuuuuge nose!

Seriously, where is she?! All I see that’s different from rubble is this weird dark… round thing. It’s big, maybe as big as an elephant, but Luna’s not down there! It’s just nothing but darkness, and there’s no way she’d be down there! She doesn’t like being in darkness that deep.

It terrifies her.

Oh no, the screaming’s getting closer! And it sounds like mine, but it’s not me! Ooh, if she finds out that all of this happened because of that silly key… Aha! I think I have a way out of this! First, disposal of evidence! I just toss the key in the garden to find later, because if I don’t have the key, then I couldn’t have unlocked anything!

There! One key sent far, far away, but not really that far! Next, this rubble!

...Wait, I don’t have a glue bottle with me. I can’t fix this! And the screaming is right behind me, yelling my name--

Uh-oh. H-Hi big sis! Um, what are you doing here?

Oh, this? This was, uh… what is that thing that ponies blame for causing trouble they can’t actually explain?

Gremlins? I mean YES, it was GREMLINS! All the gremlins, out of nowhere! And they turned little sis into a big elephant wrecking ball that ruined the castle wing!

Yes! I am absolutely, positively, undoubtedly certain that is what happened! And now I’m trying to find Luna Two in the wreckage, but she isn’t here!

Deeper? I don’t know about deeper--wait, does this wing have a basement? Oh, you need to show me how to get in there!

Just look for a big hole? Okay! That shouldn’t be hard to find in this rubble. I just have one question!

Is this deep, dark rounded tunnel thing over there the hole you’re looking for? Because I looked down there from the edge earlier and didn’t see her in it.

You really think she’s in there?! But it’s scary down there, especially for her!

...Well, if she is down there, then she needs help. And the more time we talk about it, the less time we’re helping her with!

What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m jumping in! I don’t care if it’s falling again--this time, I want to fall!