Those Forty Years

by Spell Writer

First published

After being trapped in the past by politics and new responsibilities, Twilight finds herself as the adopted mother of Luna and Celestia. This story is about those 40 years she took care of them. Sequel to My Faithful Student by me and FadFreaky

After being trapped in the past by a botched spell. Twilight was almost free to go home before a tragedy struck. Now staying in the past with her two new daughters and a kingdom under her, Twilight Sparkle, the Eternal Queen, shares her time with her foals before her return to the present.

In the present, a pony finds a certain journal left behind from those Forty Long Years, a pony who wishes nothing but revenge upon the Eternal Queen. A pony who hopefully, after seeing all the trials and tribulations of the Queen, will learn that forgiveness is the answer to her troubles. Or at the very least, learn the name of the Queen to enact revenge upon her immortal being.

Sequel to the very successful and well received, My Faithful Student, which was Co-Written by me and FadFreaky

(Coverart made for this story! Thank you Glitteronin!)

Chapter 1 - Prologue and the Coronation of the Eternal Queen

View Online

Chapter 1:

A shadow looms over a small white pedestal. Standing behind it and holding an old dusty book in her hoof. Laying the old book on top of the marble surface, the pony smiles at her find. Another book being added to a large pile behind her, which looms a good half a head taller than her. As she opens the book in front of her, the pages crinkle, releasing a fine layer of dust into her face. The pony coughs from the sediment entering her nose while ferociously blinking to remove the particles in her eyes. The pony thinks to herself as she backs away ‘This book must be at least thirty percent dust if every page is like that. I hope it’s readable.’ The cloaked pony’s thoughts are interrupted as she backs into an odd contraption, which hums to life with no noise. Large streams of neon blue light flowing from the box, through the cracks of the floor, and into the pedestal causing the indentations in the marble to release a faint glow. The book on the top of the pedestal floats a small distance above it’s resting place no higher than four inches and shines a brilliant light before releasing a cone-shaped beam out of it. The beam ending in a flat circle, showing moving pictures of what could be assumed to be, the contents of the book.

“Hm, how convenient.” The mysterious mare said to herself. Having witnessed this with no small amount of awe. While she hates what the forgotten alicorn did to her family, even she must admit that what the alicorn was capable of, was nothing short of incredible. But, now with this book, the mare would be able to not only find out who this alicorn is, but if she still exists today. Cackling to herself lightly. The mare rubs her hooves together as she watches the magical movie unfold in front of her. The sweet sound of the guards she tied up being the backdrop for the entire situation. Made it all the more sweeter as she prepared to learn more about the secrets of Equestria.

The circle began showing pictures, from the alicorn herself to important events in history that were never recorded. The pictures though, passed far too quickly, as if it were a rapidly paced slideshow rather than a movie. However, the book settled down after a moment. The movie starting at what the pony assumes to be the very beginning.

Twilight, hunched over her desk, writes fervently into a small book. The quill is a white plume, likely from a large bird, and the ink is the best of her time. The quill writing very nicely into the parchment paper the journal is comprised of. All of this acquired at her word and command for her comfort. After a moment, she begins speaking aloud in recognition and likely for spell checking purposes, of what she is writing. The purple alicorn is still normal sized at this time, having a mane that waves in the nonexistent wind with stars and constellations throughout it. The young queen currently residing in a room far too large for a single pony, with three desks, five chairs, an extra large bed and a walk-in closet. The room has been painted over already by the staff of the castle to resemble her colors, although this seems to bring only the smallest amount of solace to the alicorn’s face. Even the very nice writing implements not uplifting her mood.

“To whomever reads this diary, first I hope you know that this will likely be restricted information. Therefore, if you stumbled across this book at random, I have included a memory wiping spell on the final page of the book to be used by citizens that do not want to be in trouble. If you are a criminal reading this illegally, then I welcome you to learn as much as you can before you get caught. And, if one of the family members of a certain pony is reading this, I welcome you to learn what occurred such a long time ago. In this journal, I will detail every major event that will and has occurred to Equestria, me, and my daughters.”

As if on cue, or as if a cosmic force compelled it, Twilight gets tackled by a blue mass from just out of view. Luna smiling as she hangs onto Twilight’s neck. “Hi, future ponies! I hope I’m the bestest princess ever for you! Sorry, my sister isn’t here to say hi. She’s being moody today. Like, pretty much every day.” The little alicorn brightly smiles at where the recording magic is floating. Having a face that could stop the heart of even the strongest and toughest stallion.

Twilight laughs a bit and levitates Luna. Twilight setting the filly onto her neck, and letting the young Alicorn watch by peeking over Twilight’s own head. Twilight then exhales, but before composing herself a small amount, she begins putting on a regal bearing that mirrors her teacher’s. “To begin with I will start with my coronation. Since that event was fairly tame though I’ll include it in the prologue of this book. I wanted to make it it’s own chapter, but by my calculations, I’ll run out of numbers that ponies can actually understand in this time period if I do. However, in order to view the next chapter, you must be able to answer a trivia question about the chapter you have just read. Consider it a pop quiz at the end of each and every chapter!” The purple alicorn smiles brightly, her magic flaring up a small amount likely due to the excitement. This has the side effect of making the recording throughout this section even more detailed. Allowing the shrouded pony to see how exhausted the young queen is. Her wings not even folded up and drooping on the floor and a large layer of black bags under her eyes show that she has very little energy.

Yet Twilight continues to speak, undeterred. “Well let’s begin then. My coronation was only a week ago, so this should be pretty detailed.”

Luna smiles brightly, levitating a stack of papers, a quill, and an inkwell “Don’t forget something to take notes with! Only worthy ponies get to see what comes next!” The filly squees before dropping everything. Causing the inkwell to make a shattering noise as she carelessly dropped it to the floor.

Luna simply says, “Whoops.”

Twilight giggles to herself before shaking her head lightly, not enough to throw Luna off balance. “Clean it up, Luna. Go ask one of the maids for a washcloth, and make sure to clean it yourself.”

The filly groans and pleads to not have to clean it up, citing that they have maids for this purpose, but it falls on deaf ears, Twilight telling her to clean it up herself. The filly then exits the room to search for a method to clean the spill. Twilight then smiles at the recording crystal. “Well let’s get started for real now.”

‘Gotta get to the princess!’ Thought Glimmering Belle as she rushed through the stone castle, her hooves creating a clicking noise that echoed through the empty hallways. In her aura floats a very long and painstakingly crafted dress that she made by hoof, a skill that she has refined over the years before discovering her family’s unique magic spell. But, on this occasion, she could never give the princess… er, Queen, something that she made so carelessly. She put her heart and soul into this dress just for her special day and now she’s running late to give it to her!

“Oooh, Prism, if I get my hooves on you for making me so late! You and your descendants will be my family’s personal size bases!” The pink pony rushed towards the room, stopping for nothing. Knocking over guards, potted plants, and even maids who dared to get in the way. Finally, she reached the room, ignoring the guard at the front, bursting in with flair and pizazz. Using her magic to create explosions of light and a singular beam of light to come down from the sky the light show amazes everypony in the room. This beam would wreath her in light, giving her a wondrous glow as she said.

“I madeeee ittt! And, just in time!” The dress was quickly taken by the castle staff, the now glowing pink pony rushing to join the staff members as they attempted to subdue a struggling target.

“Now hold still darling! We need to get your mane right and get your dress on you, along with makeup because well, this work is shoddy!” Glimmering says as she looks over the struggling Twilight, who was not mentally prepared to have quite literally a full beauty treatment in front of the entire staff and her new friends. Glimmering diving in and beginning in assisting the staff as the rest of the Ye Old Six do their own work to provide for the coronation.

Prismatic Dash was out practicing for the ending flair. While Dash wasn’t actually her last name, Twilight tended to gravitate to using it if she needed to call her by last name. Most of her friends call her Prism thanks to her white coat and yet rainbow mane. She’s the only one not in the room at the moment.

Ambrosia Apple, while being more country-oriented and therefore less inclined to know how upper crust parties may go, is working with Cinnabar Pie to make the after party as amazing as possible. Those two constantly entering and exiting, getting approval from Twilight whenever she isn’t attempting to try and handle her own looks. Although Glimmering taking over seems to have calmed Twilight down quite a bit allowing Cinnabar and Ambrosia to talk to her much more often. The yellow and grey pony respectively are working the hardest out of the six. Both being earth ponies, there is some prejudice still in the air, but a hard look from the Queen to be has shut down any and all comments.

Sweet Breeze is here assisting the staff as well Using her animals to bring anything the staff might need from the rest of the castle, but she won’t be there for the ceremony itself. Being far too shy for that she opted to stay away from the event. But, she will likely change her mind by the time the event comes along. She can never decide on one thing to do and tends to be fairly easily convinced to go against her personal ideals. The brown pony is currently handling dressing the other two alicorns, Celestia and Luna. Since she, aside from their adopted mother, is the only one that they listen to one hundred percent of the time.

Celestia is on her third day without speaking even a single word to anypony aside her sister. The death of her parents still weighing heavily on her mind. The light in her eyes is still there but it is dim and quiet. Her distaste for her new mother hasn’t fully vanished, but she needs a pony to lean on, and Twilight is and always will be there for her. While she attempts to strain their relationship, she won’t be able to hold onto that forever. Luna on the other hoof is completely excited for Twilight’s coronation currently having lost her shy streak due to the intense excitement she is feeling. Jumping into her fancy light blue dress and trying to be as calm as possible for Sweet Breeze, who is currently doing her mane.

“Sister Sister! Isn’t it great!? Not only do we not have to be rulers when we’re this young, but we still have a family! Not only that but mom is gonna look great! Momma is resting with daddy and everypony loves our new mom! We shouldn’t have a problem with assassination attempts ever again!” Luna says with an excited look in her eyes. Brightly staring at her sister who is a hoof length away. After her sister doesn’t immediately respond, she does the only logical thing a filly would do in this situation and begins shaking her.

“Payyyy attention to meeeeeeeee.” Luna says with a whining tone of voice, shaking her sister to and forth who responds appropriately.

Celestia snapping back with a startling noise that alerts the entire room. “Stop. Shaking. me!” Celestia says as she removes Luna’s hooves from her shoulders, forcefully pushing her off.

“Don’t do that Luna! I appreciate your optimism, but mom and dad just died a week ago! Give me some space!” The white filly drew looks from the entire room thanks to her actions though. Causing her to rush out of it to get ready herself. Luna being quite downtrodden thanks to her sister’s actions, but putting on a half smile.

“She’ll get better eventually… Don’t worry everypony.” Luna says to kickstart the room again.

After about fifteen minutes, Twilight is all prepared and Celestia has returned. Both are prepared and dressed up. Celestia and Luna putting on their tiara’s and Twilight putting on her brand new crown. She styled it after her old element of harmony, sheerly because Luna and her friends said she should have a more ornate crown than the princesses. Her dress is a long luxurious purple dress with constellations weaved into it using diamonds and precious gemstones. The hem embroidered with smaller versions of her cutie mark, each with a single small diamond as the centerpiece, giving her dress a radiant look which was also (literally) blinding. Luckily, thanks to Glimmering’s skill, the diamonds were still beautiful but were not reflective. So the dress just shimmered in the light with a certain radiance about it. As she moved, Twilight’s poise was fixed by her assistant, serving as practice for how she should be during the ceremony. Head straight up. Strong stance. And a calm or fierce visage.

Twilight, her friends, and her children are then escorted to the ballroom. The event is as one would imagine. A young descendant of each tribe’s original leaders standing there in recognition of the ascension of the new Queen of Equestria. The ceremony begins with an angelic song about the history of Equestria, the booming noise so loud yet pleasant that everypony in the nation could hear it, but would not find it distasteful. Then, Twilight is anointed by each tribe’s representatives. The anointment ranges from drinking water from the pegasi, to planting a flower from the earth ponies, to casting a cooperative spell with the unicorns. It finishes with a hoof waving to the citizens that showed up, which is nearly all of them. (Twilight unsurprisingly excels at this part.) The ballroom was carefully decorated for the event. Having Twilight’s cutie mark on several large banners and even placing a large throne in the room for her to sit on in recognition of her ascension to Queenhood. Each banner was hoof embroidered by the best of the best, and each tailor and seamstress only made one, causing every banner to have minor differences from the other. While the nobles found this distasteful due to their businesses getting ‘cheated’ out of money, many ponies found it to be an amazing mixture of skills, and those that made the banners did not complain thanks to the sum of bits they were paid and the recognition that making such a thing brings to one’s work. The event ended with Twilight sitting on the throne (With a small amount of pushing from Celestia and Luna who reassured her of her place for the time being) to which everypony bowed to. After having everypony rise the event was over, however, that was not the end of the day’s work for the newly crowned Queen. For there were the afterparty and the matter of a certain pony’s due justice.

The flat viewing disk became blank after that moment. Showing Twilight back into her room, although the recording was clearly made later on as Luna and Celestia were both with her in a family hug. Twilight then says to the recording spell “Well that was the coronation. The after party is next of course. But to read that chapter you gotta answer a question! Hope you paid attention. Simply just place your hoof on the answer in the book when you have it. So mysterious future reader, ‘What color is Prism’s coat?’ That’s your question for the next chapter. Should be an easy one for you don’t ya think?”

The cloaked pony immediately puts her hoof on the answer. While she didn’t remember it off the top of her head, she knew what page the answer was on at the very least. She would say to herself, “You need better security than that to get in my way you tyrant. Now let’s see what happens next!” The book shudders as the correct answer is pressed, causing a Pink light to overtake the blue light. The book shifting to the next chapter, ready to show what happened next.

Chapter 2 - Afterparties, Old/New Faces, and Trying to be a Mom

View Online

The book shifts its picture, the cloaked pony pulling a chair from nearby and sitting in it. The picture shifts to a large stately ballroom, full of ponies of various shapes and sizes. The chairs and tables are very beautifully crafted and clearly made for someone of high stature. The ballroom is adorned with beautiful tapestries and lovely art of the new Queen of Equestria. The musician playing very old, but still very nice music. The song is the old queen’s favorite, and the new queen seems to enjoy it well enough. Nobles and common pony alike are enjoying the festivities, the nobles inside with the royalty while the common folk are outside, enjoying the simple party that was placed out with them. The Queen is currently in the high-class party. Completely exasperated by the constant brown nosing.

The first noble tried to convince her that he was obviously closer to the royal line than he actually was. Claiming to be her long lost cousin or something to that nature. Twilight brushed the pony off almost immediately, knowing that it was basically impossible for that to be the case. However, instead of getting a reprieve from the nobles she was instantly called into conversation with another noble. This one wanted to ban cheese from Equestria, and while Twilight was not one to enjoy cheese at all, she could never do that to those ponies that actually enjoyed the food. This cycle of conversation lasted until she finally was quite fuming, still yet another noble attempted dialogue with the now upset Twilight, concluding with the statement.

“My Queen! The previous queen was going to allow me to use the land at the base of the mountain to build a huge personal mansion and all I need is you-”

The noble gets interrupted immediately. “No. No and more no.” Twilight says with a clearly annoyed face. The noble having spent the last twenty minutes telling her that she will be the best Queen ever. Then spent another twenty minutes telling her that she would likely put the previous two leaders to shame. Finally, the noble did the usual and made a completely insane suggestion or demand that only managed to completely tick Twilight off. This time it was about making a mansion where she knew a town would eventually come to fruition. The only strange thing about the entire exchange is that this time Twilight was much… much madder than she usually would be in a situation like this.

Twilight continues “If I get a horrible, unfair, and stupid idea like that again, I will literally take all your land and money and give it to the nearest pony!” Almost instantly a large amount of the nobles circle around that noble. Causing Twilight to just squint her eyes and walk out of the room. Luna follows her new mother out, while Celestia attempts to resolve the situation inside.

Out in the hallway, Twilight just slumps against a wall, completely drained from all the punishment the nobles dealt with her. “What am I doing? What am I doing here?! I should be home… not here doing whatever this is!” Twilight grabs ahold of her own head and sighs. Completely distraught, until she feels a small amount of pressure on her sides. Looking down she sees Luna hugging her tightly. Twilight silently embraces back, the two sharing a hug that is worth all the words in the world.

“I know that we can’t replace the ponies you left in your time mom. But, I hope that while you’re here, you enjoy yourself. Although, I guess that’s not exactly enough is it?” Luna stops to think and just stares at Twilight for a moment. Many thoughts swirling through her head. Should she be a princess right now? A friend? ‘No there’s always a third option.’

Luna then tightly hugs Twilight, very abruptly and without any warning saying without concealing her age with large, fancy words. “Don’t leave us, mommy! Please! I don’t wanna lose two moms in the same week. I need you! Please don’t go. You’re the queen now even. Who’ll move the sun and moon without you?”

Twilight dizzily stares up at the ceiling with that comment. “Uh. I can’t even move the sun and moon though. I’ve never had that power. It requires a special type of talent and magic to do that, doesn’t it? I mean. Only you and Celestia were ever able to do anything with the sun and moon. Discord was able to as well, but he had to get you two out of the way.”

Luna just laughs a little, smiling at her mother she merely says, “Mom, mommy, and daddy passed their power onto you. They trusted you with Equestria and therefore the sun and moon. Just like the unicorns passed it to the first alicorn and they passed it on and along. You should be able to move the sun and moon. Although it is your first time so it might be a bit too much for you. I dunno who this ‘Discord’ is. But he won’t take the sun from you either.” Luna taps her forehoof to below her chin thinking for a moment as if she could actually think of a solution to this problem. Instead of any revelation or anything helpful like that though, she instead goes back to hugging her new mother.

“Oh well! We’ll figure it out! Probably.” Luna says with no hesitation anywhere on her face. The filly flying up and laying on Twilight's head like Flurry Heart will in the future to her mother. Only Luna is quite a bit heavier, forcing Twilight to move her down back to the back of her neck. Twilight giggles a bit before heading outside to the commoner party. A place she is much more comfortable being at the moment. Many commoners who recognize her and she recognizes bow, but only once. Afterward, they all talk to her as if they’ve known each other for their entire lives. The commoners do not encircle her either. Giving her breathing room at the suggestion of Prism, who was quick to notice the Queen’s disheveled appearance and tired countenance. Twilight is very thankful for the breathing space as she joins her friends for small conversations. Luna jumping down next to her and leaving to grab a snack.

“So what are your plans for Equestria now that you’re queen Twi?” Ambrosia asks casually, the mare standing with Twilight, Prism, and Glimmering.

Glimmering says shortly after Ambrosia “Yes, what are your plans darling? There’s plenty you know about Equestria thanks to your situation. I’m sure you can apply some of it right? Maybe? Sewing machines sound amazing, and I am hoping you could make me oneeee?”

Twilight sighs “Sorry, I really don’t want to mess with time more than I probably already have. It’s already gonna be awkward enough to go up to my teacher and hear her call me mom. If she even does. I have NO idea how to raise foals. Lucky Celestia seems fairly independent. I hope.” At this time, Luna returns with her snack in her mouth, sitting nearby and listening to the ponies converse.

The trio looks at each other and then look at Twilight with a shrug. Ambrosia speaking up while eating one of the apple fritters she made for the party. “I’m not too sure sugarcube. Don’t forget the two weren’t allowed to leave the castle much. So don’t be surprised if they end up being a bit clingy.” Ambrosia smiles at Luna, knowing the filly better.

Twilight sighs and looks around a bit. Of course, everypony at the party is staring at her here and there, but they avert their eyes when they meet. As one should when staring at their new queen. Twilight whispers to her friends. Luna, who was just a short distance away, heard the words. However, she didn’t want to believe them, to her Twilight was saying nothing. Her mouth was moving but words were not coming out, at least in Luna’s mind. Twilight glows her horn very softly before light began to pulse out of her rapidly. Teleporting somewhere else as the spell completed. Luna is narrowly able to grab onto her leg to go along with the teleportation. “No! Don’t go!” Luna says as she latches onto Twilight’s leg being swept up in the teleportation spell.

Twilight and Luna appear in a large, empty and windy meadow. Flowers growing in all directions and a soft, natural breeze going through the area. The area is peaceful, however not without the air of slight danger at all moments. A feeling that all living creatures feel when they are in a location that gets attacked or destroyed often. Luna detaches herself from her mother, looking around in awe at the pretty and natural state of the area. A lone tree resting at one end of the meadow. Twilight sitting down in place, her ears drooping slightly as she watches Luna run around. “Nothing is here yet. Why can’t there be something here yet?..” Twilight lays in the bed of flowers under her. Feeling a crushing feeling, though there is no magic on her nor a weight on her back.

Luna, blissfully unaware of her mother’s plight due in part to Twilight’s poker face, explores the broad field in front of her. Coming across a bright blue semi-transparent pony, sitting in the field. The pony perks her head up as she hears the filly stop prancing in the field. She would then stand and turn to Luna, her face bright and loving as can be. “Oh, I’m sorry. Did I frighten you? Please, don’t stop on my account.” Her voice was as sweet as honey and just as pleasing to listen to. Her voice carrying no malice. The pony would then walk up to Luna, who backs away a short bit in kind.

The pony stops when she notices this. Giggling. “Just step to the side if you don’t want me to get close. I’m going that way.”

Luna blinks with realization. “Oh! Sorry!” She says before she quickly moves to the side. The pony passing by and making a beeline to the sitting queen.

“Such sadness doesn’t befit a pony of your rank, my Queen.” The pony says to Twilight. Luna following from a small distance and listening to the conversation. Being a bit nosy in regards to her mother’s business.

Twilight looks up at the pony. Squinting her eyes a bit to see through the tears she was holding back. The pony boldly wiping the tears away with her own hoof. “There we go, my Queen. Tears don’t go well with your coat.” The pony giggles at her before offering a hoof to help Twilight stand up. Which she takes hesitantly, standing up.

“Who are you?” Twilight asks while tilting her head at the pony.

“I’m the Spirit of Harmony, my dear Queen.” The pony bows deeply continuing to say. “I make sure that Equestria stays as harmonious as possible. I’m sure you and I will make great friends.”

Twilight looks at the pony quizzically. “The Spirit of Harmony? Like Discord is the Spirit of Chaos? Are you two related by chance?”

The pony sighs “My brother is the yin to my yang as you would expect. Luckily, there is not nearly enough chaos in the world for him to come here. Of course, he may show up in the future, but for now, I have control over the power of chaos and order.”

Twilight brightly smiles, “If that’s the case, It’s a pleasure to meet you… uh, what’s your name?”

The pony thinks. “Hmm, well my brother went with Discord… so I’ll go with Concord? No, too formal and I’m not a stallion. How about Unity? Uni for short.” Uni smiles at Twilight, the alicorn visibly relaxing in front of the familiar force of nature.

Twilight holds out her hoof “Well then Uni, I’d love to be your friend!”

In the back of her mind, Twilight excitedly thinks ‘Something that’s even slightly familiar! I’ll take it!’ Uni shaking Twilight’s hoof with a smile.

“If you ever need anything my Queen, please just ask.”

With that, the pony walks away telling Twilight and Luna where she lives. A small forest just on the outskirts of the budding town. Twilight knowing it will be Whitetail Woods, once the original Canterlot falls to the Everfree, and eventually the castle with it to Nightmare Moon. Twilight sighs as she looks back towards the original Canterlot. She likely had less than ten minutes before the guards would realize she was gone now. Twilight picks up Luna, placing the filly on her back and begins the trek back to the castle, by hoof. “We’re gonna take the scenic route back Luna. So enjoy the walk alright?” She says with a well-exercised smile, nuzzling Luna in just the right way to tickle her. This causes Luna to laugh and hug her mom afterward.

The two return just as the search party was being organized. Twilight quickly being escorted to the main venture of the venue.

There was an eager silence in the crowd as the pony was taken to the execution stand. After being read out her wrongdoings, she was given another chance. Twilight saying “Spectator, if you say you’re sorry. Then we’ll let you go if you promise to reform. Please don’t make us do this to you and your family. You may have killed the Queen and King, but they put forth that they would love it if you were reformed.” The pony on the stand says nothing though. Simply staying quiet. Her own family yelling at the queen and their family member equally. The Queen’s grievances being said that she was a tyrant for allowing this execution to go forth. The family also yelled at their family member for getting their titles, land and other worldly possessions taken away.. The silence (aside from the yelling family members, but an invisible silencing bubble was placed around them to keep them quiet.) lasted several minutes. Twilight shaking a small amount as she realized she could do nothing. Spectator looking at the new queen.

“I regret nothing. Go to hell Queen and long live Celestia!” The pony spits out venomously staring at Twilight with hate and fury in her eyes. However her eyes eventually shift down to look at Celestia. Twilight pulling the white filly close to protect her. While Luna was left inside thanks to Twilight’s insistence. Celestia refused to miss this chance to see her parent’s murderer fall.

The next minutes went in slow motion for Twilight. Being forced to commence the execution. Twilight watched as a life was ended by her orders. There was no anti execution law yet. There was no long-term prison that could be used. There was no holding back the nobles in this situation. “There was no other way,” Twilight says to herself as she wanders back into the castle. Only lucid thanks to the intense cheering and excitement outside due to the execution of the treasonous pony. While the cheering only came from a small, select few ponies, her mind’s state made it sound all the louder.

Twilight did not leave her room for three days after that. Only the princesses and her aid saw her. During this time, Twilight studied and worked on her magic day and night only stopping to tuck her foals in for bed. Aside from the love from Luna and the moments of caring for Celestia, her magic studies were the only things that kept her mind off the events that just occurred. One night though broke her out of her slump. Hearing a very soft sobbing coming from one of her foal’s room late at night during a snack break. Twilight peeks into the room to see Celestia sobbing into her pillow.

“Why did you two have to go? Why mom? Why dad? Why couldn’t you just survive it? I miss you two so much.” Celestia says to a painting of her parents. Hugging a small pillow. Twilight sees this and thinks for a moment. Before quickly closing the door and rushing to a nearby room. A small amount of noise later and few failed attempts. Twilight returns to the room, entering it properly. Celestia looking at Twilight with slight anger.

“What do you want…? I’m busy.” The filly wipes her own eyes. Sniffling as Twilight sighs and sits next to her. Twilight then drapes a wing over her daughter.

“I heard you. Moms are good at that. I know I could never replace your parents and I doubt you want to deal with me for too long. So, I made you a friend that could help you through this. She’s helped me a lot in the past.” Twilight then levitates out her freshly made and stitched Mr. Smartypants doll. While not nearly the same quality as the original, in fact, it’s fairly shoddily made when compared to it, all the essential parts are there. Down to the loose eye.

“A doll? I don’t play with dolls though.” Celestia says as she holds it. However, much to her own surprise she can’t help but giggle a bit at it.

“Trust me. Mr. Smartypants will help you out a lot. At least, until you let me help you. She can dance, play hide and seek, and take down big white monsters with you.” Twilight says as she levitates the doll, making it dance a little. Play peekaboo. And has it tackle Celestia’s face. The filly giggling after a bit, trying and failing to compose herself.

“Alright alright! I get it. I'll take the doll.” Celestia says trying to pout, but failing to hold her interest in check. Her curiosity in the doll leaking into her eyes which twinkle lightly in the night. Twilight giving it to her with a smile before moving to exit.

“Wait…” Celestia mumbles out lightly. Just enough for Twilight to hear and stop. The mare looking back at Celestia, who continues after a long pause the filly clearly debating about something in her head. “Can… Can we have pancakes tomorrow?”

Twilight smiles “Sure, sweetie. I’ll make them special.” She then continues to exit before hearing Celestia again.

“Wait,” Celestia says again. “C-Can you stay with me and Mr. Smartypants until I fall asleep?”

Twilight brightens up a large amount, her demeanor changing from reasonably gloomy to her usual self. “Of course sweetie. Any time.” Twilight sits in bed with Celestia. Hugging her close, wings and all. Staying with her and singing her a lullaby. Only leaving the filly shortly after she sleeps.

The book shows a Lock on the screen. The question appears in the text rather than Twilight asking it. The pony reading it aloud “What was the name of the transparent pony in the story? That's easy.” The pony then selects the correct answer, causing the pages of the book to turn rapidly and forcefully. The aura of the book changing again. To a brown color as the next chapter begins.

Radiant 1 - The Radiant Empire of Frost and Lonely Memories

View Online

“THIS IS UNNECESSARY. CEASE!” Twilight yells at her assaulter. Preventing the pony that attempted to attack her from using the single bladed dagger that they brought. In this past year alone, thanks to her reforms to law, many ponies love Twilight for what she has done. Breaking the barrier between the nobility and the commoners through reforms and meticulous planning had led to nearly every pony in Equestria having some degree of wealth and stature. Granted this wasn’t quite a great accomplishment for such a small country. However, it was enough to cause the royalists to have an intense dislike of the queen. While she couldn’t prove anything, she is almost sure that they are the ones doing this to her. The assassination attempts reaching to a nearly bi-monthly level. At first, Twilight did actually have very close calls, but every time something seemed to just click in her head allowing her to pull off a defense. Much to the surprise of her fillies the first time.

However, Twilight still refuses to kill even those that try to kill her. Although the new reformation prison has quite a few ponies living in it. “Sorry Queen, but it’s just business, besides we both know how this ends. I'm the best at my job, better than all those that came before me to get you-” The assassin then takes quite a big hit in the middle of his monologue that knocks him down. Twilight sighing as she takes the dagger from the staggered pony.

“Look, I appreciate that you’d be willing to help ponies even if they’re completely misjudging me. I’ve told your employers several times that the nobility will get their powers in due time. Once Equestria becomes larger they'll have plenty of work to do so I have to prioritize. Guards! Another one for you all!” Twilight says, the guards coming in and taking the would-be assassin away. Twilight’s sky blue eyes were shining for a moment before settling back down to their natural, purple color. Luna walking into the room and looking at the guards drag out the cloaked pony.

“You really should make the castle more restricted.” She sighs before continuing, “this only happens because you allow ponies to come and go as they please. Although, the title you’ve gotten from surviving so many attempts mighta been worth it.” Luna finishes saying to Twilight before looking at her with a mischievous smile

“Eternal Queen, how many assassination attempts does that make in only the first year you've been Queen? Even the best of the best can’t touch you.” Luna says matter of factly. Twilight blushing a bit from the praise

“I still don’t quite get it. I wasn’t nearly this good at fighting back in new Equestria.” She sits down, sweating from the adrenaline wearing off. “At least I am here though, gotta protect my home somehow,” Twilight says while smiling, pulling her daughter over with her nearly invisible magic aura. Nuzzling her and giving her a massive hug.

“Honestly, it's a miracle I’ve come out of it unscathed these couple last times. I have to figure out something that doesn’t involve breaching everything I believe in. Unity’s reform center can only last so long and work for an even shorter time. While I can’t deny it’s effectiveness, it’s a bit strange to me that it’s even necessary.” Twilight says as she releases her daughter, who takes her place by the throne.

“Perhaps in the future ponies will be much more peaceful, but for now you’re doing very well mother. Even with Celestia.” Luna giggles a small amount sighing “I think she still has that doll you gave her last year. Even with her going through this phase of hers.”

Twilight sighs awkwardly “If I told anypony in new Equestria that Celestia had a rebellious phase they would probably have me instituted. Speaking of which, what is she rebelling against today?”

“Apparently she’s decided your curfew rule is stupid, so she’s planning on going to a party tonight at midnight. Although, you haven’t told her yet about your vision have you?” Luna smiles knowingly.

“I don’t even think I’ve told her that I learned divination magic. While being able to control time and space is fun and all, it’s still a bit too advanced for me right now. I Gotta start somewhere, and since magic is about as developed as a paper bag at this time period, I had to choose something that actually exists right now. Seriously, how do ponies get anything done without long-range teleportation? Sure it’s an advanced spell even in new Equestria, but it’s so convenient that at least one pony in a group of friends can cast it.” Looking at a book while she says this, Twilight rants a small amount about her new life. Casting spells left and right and making quite the light show. Showing off spells that don’t even exist yet in Equestria. At Least not in that time period. She continues her rant for a moment, not particularly looking for an answer from Luna. However, she still gets one.

“You could always begin with magic research. We’ll be okay you know.” Luna says solemnly. Looking Twilight in the eyes.

A mild silence overtakes the throne room Twilight visibly tensing up as she sits back. “Luna, there's a reason why only princesses know about that horrible event in Equestrian history. Even then, we don’t know all the details. But, what we do know is that it was directly related to science and magic. Ponies will push those things forward themselves, but I don’t want to be responsible for the “greatest most horrible event in Equestrian History.” At least, not yet. Eventually, I’m sure my curiosity will get to the better of me, and I’ll cave to some sort of research done by the government. But, that's AFTER and only after Equestria is secure and we’ve finished everything with what’s going to happen these next few years. Even with all my magic, I can’t see everything ya know. So let’s just take this one hoof forward at a time.” Twilight says as she stares at a blank piece of paper, almost willing it to defy her decision. Luna fidgeting in place as she says.

“The Radiant Empire then? Mom and Dad could never get along with their Queen. She was too idealistic they said. Like she always had her head in the clouds and her face in the skies.” Luna sighs a bit.

“Radiant empire? You mean Crystal Empire right? I don’t think I’ve heard anypony call the Crystal Empire, “the Radiant Empire” before. Also, who’s their ruler? The only pony I’ve heard of that’s been a ruler of the Empire is Princess Amore.” Twilight says as she writes on the paper in front of her. Making a list of things she needs to bring up with the northern country. Namely land acquisition as most of the area north of Canterlot future location is owned by the Empire or the Griffons at the moment.

“That's the Queen. Queen Amore de Concerto, one of the most aloof and odd ponies on the planet. She's a fairly nice unicorn when you can actually get her attention.” Luna says as Twilight stands up and exits the room. Luna following her mom closely as the pair head to Celestia’s room. The room’s door being bright and cheery.

“Then I’ll just have to get her attention. Hm. Luna, does the name “Crystal Heart” mean anything to you?” Twilight asks as she enters Celestia’s room unannounced, much to the teenager’s anger

“Mo- Twilight! You can’t barge into my room like that!” Celestia says, wearing reasonably regular clothes for modern times. But, for the time period they’re in, they are considered too revealing.

Luna says to Twilight. “She’s really gonna do this again? Mom, can’t you just, I dunno, scold her or something? You scold me all the time!” Luna not reacting to her sister as this event has been a good constant over the last year or so. She then backtracks to what Twilight said, Luna doing a mood switch and looking more excited at the mention of the Crystal Heart. “No, not really. Why? Is it going to be something important? OOH, does it make it warm up there? It’s so cold in the Empire. That's why they always have to get food from the griffons or us.”

Twilight sighs, talking to Celestia first in a calm, motherly tone. “Get yourself in working order my sweet sun.” She smiles brightly before continuing. “We’re heading to the Crystal Empire. Er. That is, the Radiant Empire.” Twilight taps her hoof to her own chin.

“Aw, but I was going to go to a party later! All my friends are gonna be there.” Celestia says as she reluctantly gets packing to go to the Empire. Knowing she won’t win this conversation.

Twilight helps her, packing Celestia’s bag in a blink of an eye. “Now now, you know you aren’t allowed out past curfew anyway, Celestia. Besides, you and your sister are going to participate this time. C'mon, let’s see what you might do, you two.” Twilight smiles tiredly as she exits the room. Thinking to herself.

‘That spell is way not ready yet.’ Twilight thinks to herself as she holds a small clock in her hoof. The object ticking normally, except it is a minute too slow.

After some time, Twilight and the two sisters begin their flight to the Crystal Empire. The trio flying on their own. This causing Celestia to complain a small amount. “Why are we flying there? We have a really nice chariot that we could take. It’s much faster even! This is gonna take days!”

Twilight giggles and responds. “Patience, Celestia. Once we get to the central mountain, I’ll teleport us the rest of the way. I just want to stop by there and do something is all.”

Luna looks at her mother questioningly. “But that’s griffon territory, I mean, we’re at peace right now but… Why would we start anything if we can avoid it- oh, it’s one of those meddling things you like to do isn’t it?” Luna grins knowingly, sticking her tongue out halfway before giggling.

“I suppose that means we’re waiting at the landing site then?” Luna asks comfortably.

Twilight responds with a giggle. “Nope! You two get to go into town with a friendship lesson!” This response causes both Luna and Celestia to groan. Even the normally optimistic filly Luna unable to find anything to be grateful about in this situation.

“Nooooo, come on mom! Those things are always so hard! Harder than even our studies!” Celestia complains as Twilight gives each of them a small notecard. Celestia looking hers over.

“Learn humility? What does this even mean?!” Celestia pouts at her mom, an eyebrow twitching as she tries to wrap her mind around the lesson.

“Celestia, you’ve already passed all the easier lessons. So… I’m giving you an open-ended lesson. Yours doesn’t have a due date. Just tell me when you learn it.” Twilight says as she flies around in a small maneuver. Having taken to flying very gracefully without abusing speed, she has become a slow, yet beautiful flier.

Luna reads hers next “mine’s blank…?” Luna looks up at Twilight who sighs.

“Normally if you were actually one of my students Luna, I’d have sent you somewhere to continue your studies. You’ve really taken to them.” Twilight smiles brightly with a small tear. “So your friendship lesson is easy. Just keep being you.” The notecard suddenly has “You” Written on it. Twilight continuing to fly ahead with very silent tears. Staying ahead of the two confused alicorns.

‘I’m sorry Luna, you may fail that in the future but… I have to try something.’ Twilight thinks to herself before rubbing her eyes to clear them up. Flying to the mountain.

Twilight creates a small and fairly hidden landing site for them. It’s at this time that Twilight separates from Celestia and Luna. Going to the location that will one day become Canterlot. A shade of her memories of the town appearing in her vision as she accurately remembers every building, pony and essential location. The mare walking through the imaginary town as she searches for something. Going to where the Fountain of Celestia will be in the future. Burying something there.

“It’s at this point where something. Unexpected happens, says a voice behind Mrs. “Eternal”’

Twilight blinks and turns around on a dime. Facing the voice. Only to be greeted by Discord. But, considering she isn’t standing in a massive amount of unrelenting chaos yet, she stays silent and bides her time.

“Look, I don’t frankly know if we’ve met yet, although you’ll be meeting me soon I’m sure. I’m Discord the Lord of all chaos and reformed friend of an Alicorn known as Twilight Sparkle. I was hoping you would be kind enough to point me to her so I can bring her home.” Discord says with a visible distrust, dislike, and disdain. Punctuating every word and sounding quite like a stuttering record. “Point me in the right direction, and I’ll be on my way.” He says with gritted teeth, holding up a pair of dentures that he is forcing to grit in his lion paw.

Suddenly, the picture vanishes in front of the cloaked pony. Leaving her entirely in the dark about the following events.

“Discord? Er. Is that really you?” Twilight says, having lowered her guard a small amount. The alicorn tearing up slightly, even though it’s Discord. It’s still something from home.

“... Oh, this is just rich. Who wrote this script! I want a rewrite!” Discord says, yelling at the sky with no effect to anyone or anything.

Discord then looks back at Twilight. Looking quite firmly at her. “Twilight, if that’s you then you know I can’t take you home. Not that I want to now.” The creature frowns at her. Twilight was taken aback by the sudden aggressiveness.

“Discord? What? What are you saying? I mean yes I wouldn’t go back anyway. But, why are you so mean?” Twilight says as she steps forward to him. However, Discord turns away and says.

“I have no intention of repeating the past.” The creature snaps his fingers. Slowly vanishing. “I’ll tell the others you’re okay.” He coldly says as his figure turns transparent and vanishes altogether. “Enjoy your life, Eternal.”

Twilight sits there stunned. Looking down at the grass. “What… What did I? no what am I going to do to him? UGGGH! The plot of this book is getting really convoluted, and it’s like the author actually expects me to figure things out the first time around when all the hints are in another book that hasn’t even been completed yet!” Twilight stomps the ground angrily. Over time though. That anger turns into sorrow, and then a pit of loneliness forms in her heart.

The picture returns after a moment. The cloaked pony shaking the book intensely to get it to work again.

“I’m so sorry.” She says to where Discord was before heading back to her foals. Composing herself along the way. Putting on a smiling face for the pair. Getting much more profound respect for her ex-teacher, who probably had one on almost all the time. ‘I suppose that friendship lesson is on hold for now.’ Twilight thinks to herself as she returns far more early than she intended.

Meanwhile, Celestia and Luna were enjoying the moment alone together. Enjoying possibly being too strong of a word for one of the siblings.

“Mom loves you more than me,” Celestia says frankly after a moment looking at her sister in jealousy. A small spark of fire coming off of her mane. “Why does she like you more than me? We used to be best friends, but ever since she became mom… All she does is hang out with you!”

Luna tilts her own head, “I’m sure she would if you’d ask Celestia. She loves you! More than almost anypony in the world! I think that’s why she's giving you so much space. I mean you always got the hard friendship lessons. Remember when you had to bake that cake with Marble Pie? Or when you and Radiant Rainbow got ta race all across Canterlot? You even got some tough ones like doing day court yourself! I’ve never even been allowed near day court yet.” Luna says with a smile, mumbling the last one.

Celestia responds with disbelief. Shaking her head and looking towards the sky. “I think that last one was just her not wanting to work. It was a slow day anyway. I don’t see the point in all these friendship lessons and stuff. Sure I got some… Excellent friends that I’m gonna miss, but the rest were just wastes of time and effort. I could be doing so much more! So much! I mean c'mon Luna. We’re gonna rule one day, and only one of us is gonna get to be Queen ya know.” Celestia sighs and sits down, looking at the note card she was given. “Right now, I honestly think you’re higher up in the running for that. I really do.” Celestia says, punching the earth beneath her.

Luna walks over to her sister and gives her a nuzzle. “Sister. Don’t be so upset, please. I’m sure momma has a plan for that. Maybe when she leaves, she’ll keep the title, and we can just be princesses together! Equals in everything!” The blue filly jumps in place with a bright smile. Accidentally jumping into Celestia’s pink mane and getting some in her mouth. This causing her to begin spitting out loose hairs as they got caught in her mouth. Celestia starting giggling and then full on laughing at her. Luna following shortly as the two roll around and eventually sit up next to each other. Celestia resting a wing over her little sister.

“I’ll think about it, Luna.” She simply says. Luna craning her neck, resting her head on her sister’s shoulder.

“Good. I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion I did. Now we should probably head into town so we can do these lessons!” Luna says with a bright smile. Earning her a playful wing thwap to her back from her sister. Luna returning the affection with a playful shove with a single hoof.

At this point, Twilight returns. She smiles and collects the sisters before leaving on the flight again. “We’re gonna let you two do the lessons in the Crystal Kingdom instead!” Twilight says to the two as they fly up into the air. The two sisters are confused, as their mother rarely changes plans, however in the end they think nothing of it. Mid-flight, Twilight stops and begins flying in a circle around her daughters. The two stop and try to keep up with the larger alicorn as she starts moving extremely fast. Celestia and Luna get grabbed by their mother who nuzzles them intensely on all their most ticklish areas as the teleport spell sets off.

They arrive at the Crystal Kingdom in a bright flash. The nation wholly covered in snow. From the fields outside of the town to the town itself. The familiar warmth of the crystal heart that Twilight had been accustomed to was glaringly missing. Bundling up warmly in thick clothing or, in Twilight’s case, a single scarf, the three alicorns enter the city. The city of Frost opens up to them, the town cold and yet still full of very lively ponies. Twilight carrying her smaller daughter, while her older daughter walks alongside her.

The book locks up again. The Quiz question appearing. “What was the name of the Crystal Empire before it was called the Crystal Empire?” The pony thinks for a moment. Remembering that Twilight and Luna said the name she unlocks the next chapter. Excited to continue on.

Radiant 2 - Growing Pains

View Online

Celestia, Luna, and Twilight enter the crystalline city. The Radiant Empire lives up to its name, the crystals shining brilliantly even without the sun’s direct presence.The snow is covering the town making the city feel like a perpetual Hearth’s Warming. The Crystal Ponies, just regular ponies right now, seem unaffected by the intense cold. How this is the case, is unknown to the trio, as the younger pair shiver in their winter clothes. The older alicorn looks unphased on the exterior. However, she would love nothing more than to get some hot chocolate and sit next to a warm fire at the moment. The trio walk through town with relative ease and the crystal ponies are paying them no mind. However, this changes as they get closer to the town square. When they reach the town’s western square, the group sees a large congregation of ponies approaching them, headed by the spirit pony Uni.

Twilight raises an eyebrow and is about to speak, but, Luna is able to vocalize her words first. “How did you get here before us?” Luna asks, looking incredibly surprised as she points at Unity. “You were in Canterlot when we left! I even made sure of that.” This does earn her a sigh from her mother.

Twilight then says “Luna, mind your manners around Uni, please. She’s only here to help. Although, what’s with all the ponies, Uni? Friends of yours?” Twilight asks the spirit. Uni just smiles and tilts her head, saying simply.

“Oh, just some ponies I’ve been working with. They all want to immigrate to Equestria! More ponies means more harmony which means more spread of Harmony!” Unity happily jumps into the air, doing a backflip and landing perfectly. “I can feel the energy and goodness now!”

Twilight sighs “Geeze, you and your addiction to yourself. Still, I guess that it’s better than the alternative.” Twilight thinks for a moment. Looking at Celestia and Luna. “Alright, you two handle talking to Amore. I’m going to work on the immigration for these ponies. It’ll be a good learning experience for you both.”

Celestia immediately goes pale as a ghost. “Wh- WHAT?! We’ve never even practiced trade deals! And, with all these things we want, how the heck are we gonna get it without your overwhelming… Everything?!” Twilight tilts her head. Celestia is motioning to Twilight fervently as she motions to her mother's body intensely.

Twilight walks up to Celestia and puts a hoof on her shoulder. “I believe in you, Celestia. You and your sister can do this. Besides, I’ll be there in an hour, maybe even less. Just hold down the fort with Amore until I can show up okay?”

Celestia bats the hoof off of her shoulder after a moment. “Do it yourself! I am not going into something this important, this unprepared!” Celestia walks away. Luna chasing after her after a moment. Twilight gives Luna an affirmative nod as permission to pursue her sister. Twilight looks at her hoof after the pair leave.

“Am I a bad mother, Uni?” She asks her close friend.

“No, you just need to work on those moments when you act like a Queen rather than a mother. You can’t be both you know.” She says matter of factly. Twilight is looking onwards at the now distant pair.

“I’ll make it work nonetheless,” Twilight says

“Then things won’t get any better my Queen. Just worse. This isn’t something that can be solved by continually throwing energy at it. Celestia is clearly distraught by your actions this time.” The spirit says pointedly.

Twilight looks at herself, “Maybe I should just talk to her, she might respond better that way.”

“Just give her her space, my Queen, your energy is more suited elsewhere at this moment. She’ll come around eventually. Besides, once Equestria becomes harmonious, you should have all the time in the world to be with your daughter. Eyes on the prize my Queen.” Uni says as she leads Twilight in the other direction.

Twilight simply responds. Still staring at Celestia. “Right. Eyes on the prize.”

Twilight and Uni get to work on informing ponies of what they need to do to immigrate. Due to the lack of trains or large transport, this wasn’t atypical for a visiting monarch to do, as ponies could only travel to other nations in large groups or when they were truly desperate. A visiting dignitary was the best time to be able to travel, especially when the dignitary was an alicorn. Twilight works hard as she writes, but due to the events that occurred, her thoughts drift. Uni noticing this and quietly shortening her friend’s stack of papers. The Eternal Queen stopping altogether lost in her own thoughts.

--One Month after the Coronation of the Eternal Queen--

“Celestia! This isn’t a good idea! Mom will get mad, and I don’t want to know how she punishes her children.” Luna says to her sister, who is currently preparing a very elaborate prank on her new mother, who is completely dead asleep.

“Come on Luna! Twilight is completely dead tired from raising the sun and the moon every day. This is gonna be the only chance we get to prank her before she gets used to it.” Celestia says as she continues rigging the prank. Involving water buckets, feathers, and everything she could think of to make the ultimate prank.

“This isn’t a good idea Celestia… She needs her rest. Please don’t do this to her. She was up all night alone!” Luna says with a childish stomp. The younger sister is angrily looking at her indignant sister.

Celestia stops, her smile fading away as she just stares at the sleeping form of her adopted mother, as if she’s contemplating something. She then says in a very sharp manner with no remorse. “Then you can just leave. I’ll handle this myself.”

Luna stops, stunned. “Sister?”

“Just go, you’ve never had my back in the past anyway,” Celestia mumbles out as she continues preparing her elaborate prank in quiet. Luna drooping and walking out of the room in silence. The eerie air is completely overtaking the room as Celestia works on her “prank.” Her actions are clearly more driven by anger rather than anything else.

“Why didn’t you warn us… Why didn’t you do anything? Why are you trying to replace them?! Why did you become Queen?! Why didn’t not save THEM!” Celestia moves over to Twilight’s table, smashing her hooves on the top of it. “Why didn’t… Why didn’t you help them?” Celestia says as she angrily throws everything off of Twilight’s table. Knowing that the new Queen is too exhausted to wake up. “And why do you only pay attention to Luna? I thought we were friends!” Celestia then kicks the table, activating the trap, running out of the room and leaving the noises of pain behind. Going down the hallway as she tears up, and leaving the castle as quickly as her hooves can take her.

Waking up to such an elaborate and painful trap was not how Twilight expected to start her afternoon. After raising and lowering the sun she usually slept for hours with her magic and energy completely drained. Still, Twilight lifts herself out of the bed and stands. Looking around the room as she begins to take apart the trap piece by piece. Taking the time to restore some form of order to her room. Looking outside at the setting sun Twilight exits the room. Using magic to mask the burns and damage done to her. Whispering to herself, although there is no one nearby, “I’m so sorry…”

The day passed as usual from there, and Twilight proceeded through court, talking with her ponies and going to several meetings. Throughout the entire time, Unity would never leave her side. The spirit being Twilight’s assistant throughout the day and night. Around nightfall though, an additional pony out of Twilight’s friends would join the pair as every night without fail. This time, Sweet Breeze comes by to spend the lonely night with her friend, as the others were too busy this time around to show up. “Oh! Twilight, what happened?” Sweet rushes past Unity, ignoring the spirit as Twilight sits down to prepare for her long night.

“I’m all right F- Sweet, just a little prank from somepony. It’s not a big deal. Just a few burns here and there and wounded pride is all.” Twilight yawns intensely. Closing her eyes for a moment as she takes a deep breath.

That was a mistake. As Twilight's mind relaxes, so do her defenses against her emotions.Tears begin falling down Twilight’s lavender cheeks. Quickly pulling her two friends together in a hug (Uni allowing the hug to happen by quickly solidifying herself), Twilight begins sobbing. “I need to talk to Celestia so badly, but every time I try to I can’t!” Twilight tightens her grip on her friends. Sweet Breeze trying to lightly pat Twilight, but being unable to in the stranglehold.
“Moving the sun and moon just drains me of my energy, not at all like the first time I did it! It was so much easier then. But then again, that was a special situation I guess.” Twilight releases her friends and just sits there.

Unity sighs and mechanically pats Twilight on the back, Breeze doing the same, but keeping her hoof away from the spirit. Unity then says “She isn’t worth the trouble right now. You need to rest more than worry about family.”

Twilight and Breeze look at Unity with some form of anger and disapproval. Breeze speaking up in a sharp yet somehow soft voice, “Family is much more important in this situation! Celestia hates Twilight! They need to make up, Unity! Yes, I know that this isn’t the best use of time at all, but Twilight should at least talk to her!”

Unity leans into the hug, booping Breeze, nose to nose. “If she’s exhausted from both work and talking to family, then who’s gonna do day court? She can’t risk canceling right now since she’s so new at the job and she can’t risk breaking her relationship with Celestia even more. So let’s just let Celestia grow up a little before we try to talk some sense into her. Eyes on the prize, right Queen?”

Twilight sighs and sits back. Her tears drying up as she stares at a nearby window. The one window looking out to where Ponyville will be. “Right. Eyes on the prize.”

Breeze stares at both of them whispering to Twilight when Uni leaves to prepare the guard shift. “I just hope you both agree on a prize.”

Celestia walks with a heaviness to her step through the streets, grumbling to herself. “I hate her so much. Those gifts she gives are just to lower my guard and push me to trust her.” Celestia kicks a nearby flower as she continues walking. Luna is walking in step with her from a distance.

“Celestia…?” Luna says to her sister, the word falling on deaf ears as her sister begins gritting her white and pristine teeth

“I’ll prove to her that I’m more useful than just a simple replacement. I’ll make sure she knows what I stand for and what I believe!” Celestia says to herself, completely shrouded by her own mind, her words attracting a crowd of ponies who watch her in worry. Celestia slows down and droops a small amount, ignoring the ponies “I’ll prove that… I’m worth being proud of too.” She mumbles in a quiet tone as she rushes off ahead her sister.

‘Magic, that’s something Twilight loves! I’ll get even better at it, and I'll prove that I’m worth at least as much as my sister! And I’ll do it all before she finishes with the talks with Amore too! I’ll be the strongest wizard she’s ever seen!’ Celestia thinks to herself as she rushes through the glistening streets. The crystals around her shading a dim light as she runs towards the castle. Her sister following behind in pursuit.

Luna’s following lasting until Celestia takes a hard turn and loses her, causing Luna to look around frantically. “S-Sister? Where did you go? Sister?” Luna turns and rushes around, searching for any sign of Celestia, finding no sign of her even after several passes. Celestia watches her sister from a corner, just out of sight.

“Sorry Luna, but I can’t let you get more ahead,” Celestia mumbles to herself as she silently sends a magical message to Twilight, telling her that she got separated from Luna. Celestia then walking away and entering the castle. Speaking to a guard, Celestia receives directions to the crystal kingdom’s unique and rare collection of magic books. She opens the room, seeing lines upon lines of scrolls and books in various boxes and chests. The guards are allowing her in due to her relationship with Queen Amore, and they leave her to her own devices. They also allow her to use the room as she needs, providing a desk and large amounts of parchments. Celestia immediately gets to studying. Going through scroll after scroll, looking for something new, impressive and excellent to learn. A faint whisper is touching the back of her mind, but Celestia waves it off as nothing. Far too quiet to be heard, but progressively getting louder as she continues stewing in her emotions of distrust, jealousy, and resentment.

“Mommy!” Luna says as she rushes to Twilight, hugging her chest and crashing against her leg. “I was so scared. I was all alone in this place! I couldn’t find Celestia and. And... “ Luna latches onto Twilight’s chest, burying her head into the soft lavender sea.
Twilight softly pats Luna’s back, rubbing it while making a “Shhh” Noise. This gives the filly time to work out what just happened mentally. Although, when Unity makes a motion to Twilight, reminding her that they’re already late for the meeting with Queen Amore, Twilight makes a fairly predictable move. “Hey, sweetie, would you like to come to the meeting with me? You could learn a lot about what you’ll have to do in the future if you do!” Twilight smiles sweetly at Luna, who perks up excitedly and nods. Rarely does Twilight ever invite her to see things. Usually, Celestia is the one that gets to see all the “boring” events.

“Can I ride on your back to the castle though? I don’t wanna get lost again…” Luna says with a soft tone of voice, just barely recovering from her ordeal of being alone for a whole five minutes. Twilight smiles and just scoops up her daughter, giving her a proper piggyback ride. Luna hugging close to Twilight’s flowing mane and leaning into it. “Ready!”

Twilight and Luna then head to the castle. A jaunty tune being played by some street performers. An intense blizzard is starting but becomes background noise to the trio as they walk. Occasionally a small pulse of magic would give a free moment from the blizzard, but generally, the storm rages on without remorse.
Around half way through Twilight looks at Luna. “Hm, we should probably find Celestia. She’ll wanna be there with us right?”

Luna, about to respond, gets interrupted by Uni who says. “No, we are not getting side tracked. We’re already late my Queen and she made her position very clear that she was upset. Let her calm herself down and give her some space. It’s what's best for her.” The transparent mare smiles softly. Warmly saying this without sounding scolding or mean in any way.

Twilight sighs “Maybe you’re right… she always does this anyways. I doubt she wants to come with us. I bet she’s still mad at me. Maybe I can make it up to her later! I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon with her out in the city!” Twilight smiles brightly as she comes up with her plan.

Uni smiles to herself. “As you wish my Queen!” and the trio continue walking. Luna silently worrying about the events to come.

“I dunno. That much land is gonna need something from you Queenie. Look as much as I’d love to give you that land, it’d look bad on me even more than normal if I just gave it away.” Amore, the princess of love, smiles. Her pink coat and multicolored mane are very well done and kept. She is relatively small compared to Twilight, who has grown significantly over the last few months.

The trio and the princess are sitting in a large ballroom. The ceiling significantly towering over them. Potted plants and banners lining the walls and the overhangs. Three guards sit in the room as they defend the royals inside. The castle is purely made of crystal as most of the town buildings are. It is fair to say that any dragon would love this place.

“I’m aware, and we’re willing to provide compensation as usual. Besides it’d be better if you and your ponies don’t starve. We simply don’t have the land to support two nations anymore though. Equestria is going through an upsurge of its population from both in nation births and immigration.” Twilight responds in kind. Luna is happily eating some ice cream at the table. Enjoying the conversation that is occurring and absorbing the information.

Amore thinks and sighs. “Look we want two things. Firstly, we want that you accept the Crystal Empire as a protectorate of Equestria. Moreover, to prove that you will protect us and treat us well, we want you to take care of a little problem we have.” Amore taps her hoof to her head. Thinking fairly hard for the sake of looking smart. “See we have an issue with poachers here in the empire. A lot of Phoenix, Ursa and even wendigos are relentlessly hunted for sport and left to rot. I’ve tried to send guards to stop them, but they aren’t particularly reliable. They get paid off, or worse, join the poachers.” Amore sighs very exaggeratedly, trying to pull a guilt trip on Twilight, which is very obviously working to a significant degree.

“That seems reasonable!” Twilight says almost hopping out of her seat. “I’ll see if I can talk the poachers down or at least scare them off for a while!”

Amore smiles, very pleased with herself as Unity sighs. “All right, I’ll manage writing up the papers for the land transfer then. When Twilight returns with the poachers in custody, we will officially recognize your nation as a protectorate and take the lands we requested. Is that fine?”

Amore nods very excitedly “Yes yes yes! That is perfect! I'll sign immediately on completion, no strings attached.” The unicorn princess almost jumps out of her seat. Not even trying to compose herself as she leaves the room happily. Completely forgetting about the conversation and talks as she leaves to prepare her signing makeup.

Luna says to Twilight. “Told you she was weird, momma. I’ll stay and see if I can find Celestia, she’ll wanna come along to this!”

Twilight nods “I’ll meet you two at the woods then. Come whenever you find her.” Twilight hugs Luna. Nuzzling her filly and giving her a familial kiss on the head before setting her down. Twilight leaving to get the work done quickly.

Meanwhile, Celestia slaving away at the books continues to hear a voice in her head. “This will make her proud.” and “She’ll finally notice you.” The voice slowly getting louder as Celestia throws a scroll and book at the wall in a rage. “AGHHHH there’s no interesting spells here! NONE. All of these are basic, or mom already has seen them!” Celestia looks at the door expectantly. Having been waiting for Twilight or her sister to come and get her for the meeting, where she would begrudgingly go where in reality she’s more than excited to see the legendary event. However, neither came until she was done. Did the event get pushed back?

Finally, Luna enters the library, Celestia slaving away at another book that she sets down as she sees Luna. “Sister! Sorry for running off like that. I thought you were behind me.”

Luna smiles, naive as can be as she says “Oh, it’s okay! Mom let me see the trade event and everything! It was so cool!”

Silence fills the room, Celestia hearing glass shatter that only she could hear. “You… went without me…?” Her excitement of going, even though she wouldn’t have shown it, crushing her. The only target for her anger being the pony in front of her.

Luna tilts her head. Speaking “I thought you didn’t wanna go-” A golden aura envelops Luna. The small filly squeaking as she is thrown out of the archives fluidly. The aura leaving Luna before surrounding the archive doors.

Celestia slams the door on her sister only saying. “Get. Out.” to her. Full of jealousy and spite as she looks around. Finally, following the voice, she had heard for the last several hours.

Following the voice, she heard the approaches a book. The beautiful black book laying on a marble pedestal that is covered by a glass case. “This will beat your sister. I can make you great! You’ll be number one.” Celestia hesitates, the young adult stopping her hoof just above the book. Her aura holding the glass open. “I… I shouldn’t do this.” Just as she turns to move away, the book says one last thing. The words reaching down to the very immortal core that every alicorn has.

“I can make her proud of you.”

Celestia never grabbed a book so fast in her entire life. Before she could even think, a swirl of energy surrounds and cocoons her. The darkness tightly surrounding her before forcing her to her knees as the weight of the magic pushes her down. Feeling no physical pain, Celestia screams out into the darkness, but not a single creature hears it. Luna already running away from the door. Unaware of the events occurring to her sister as she sobs, completely heartbroken by her sister’s actions.

The book flips to its next page.

Radiant 3 - Sisters Forever

View Online

Twilight leaves the castle, preparing to head to the outskirts of the Empire. She’s excited and has a small spring in her step as she walks. Dealing with poachers and bandits has become a regular thing for her. Honestly, though, she’ll never get used to her new strength.

‘ZAP! POW! ZZZZRRRT!’ Goes her magic as she knocks out creatures and poach ponies alike. Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, these ponies and creatures can’t be reasoned with.

“Attacking innocent critters for sport. You know for a fact hunting hasn’t been legal in undesignated forests for over two years now!” She says with a booming voice as she lands. The ponies and a single griffon cowering in place, their bodies bound by a light pink and dark purple strand of magic rope.

With a quiet sigh, Uni appears next to Twilight, the alicorn shuddering a little bit. “I’ll never get used to you doing that.” She says with a shake of her head. Uni coldly looking at the bound forms of the poachers lying in the cold snow.

“If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t still be alive Eternal.” The spirit says with a shrug. “You had no combat skills, and frankly had you not found out about me inhabiting you to sleep, It would have been preferable to keep you in the dark about me giving you a fighting chance.” She says simply

Uni then looks down at the tied-up Poachers with a glare, kicking one gently on the leg. “So what should we do about these… criminal-”

There is a little silence, as Twilight wonders what should happen with the poachers, although when Uni cuts off so suddenly, she does look over to check on her friend. A deep shudder escapes from the spirit, her body glowing blue and dark blue rapidly before finally it settles again. “Ahem… apologies, keeping my brother away isn’t the easiest thing in the world.” She says with a smile.

Twilight blinks “Fair enough I guess…? He is pretty strong, if not all-powerful after all.” She giggles a little bit to herself… after Discord’s redemption he was a great friend to the group… especially Fluttershy. Twilight shakes her head though, taking a deep breath.

Twilight exhales her breath, calming down a small amount. “Anyways, we can’t keep them out here, and taking them to your reforming prison would be about a two-hour detour.” She rubs her chin. I wish I had a spell for this situation but there just isn’t anything for me to use right now. I’ll have to make one later.’ Twilight thinks to herself.

“Hm… well there are more poachers to catch, so we can’t just stand here waiting for the guards to come either. I suppose we’ll have to take them with us.” Uni says with a sigh. “What a waste of time though.” With a grunt, she grabs onto the rope and begins to drag the restrained ponies behind her. “Let's get moving Your Majesty. The Radiant Empire is still in view and the Queen said their hideout was well into the forest. If we don’t move now we’ll never get done before night falls.”

Twilight sighs. “Yea, you’re right.” She says as she levitates the tied-up poachers with ease. “Let us get moving then. At least this is a pretty easy job right?” She says with a giggle

Uni smiles “We’ll be done by dinner at this pace. Then we can see the beautiful Radiant Empire in all its glory afterward.”

‘Make her proud’

Celestia smiles and laughs to herself as the dark magic finishes swirling around her, her body tall, strong, and beautiful. Looking herself over, it’s clear that the magic provided her with the perfect body that she would need to make her mom proud. “This… is PERFECT! With this power, I can do anything!” She says “I’ll show Mom and Luna, I’ll show every creature, pony, and critter in Equestria what I can do now!”

With morbid curiosity, she trots over to the nearby mirror in the room, an ornate, magical mirror that would normally show your greatest desires. But, since she had just achieved said desires, it just showed her reflection. Her beautiful mane, her tall stature. It was all perfect! She looked just like how she imagined she’d look in forty or more years!

“Yes~, I can work with this. Now let us see what we can do!” She laughs a little as she flares up her magic, shadowy bubbles of green and black flowing over her body. Flames replace her tail and mane as she gets more adornments over her body made of fire and intense flames.

‘Let’s make the empire perfect’

“The empire? No… let us not stop there… We can make all of Equestria perfect like this! I’ll show Mom that I can handle whatever she throws at me, that I am more of a princess than my sister could ever be!” She says with confidence and poise. “But the empire is a great place to start, good thinking Celestia.” She laughs yet again and pushes the door open with great force. Not realizing that she just hit her sister. Only a little ‘Oof’ was her only hint.

“If you’re going to sit in front of a door, then expect to get hurt.” She says coldly to whoever was there, before flying out the nearby window.

“Sister…?” said Luna, only able to watch as the tall pony left the room.

But there was no response. Celestia had already left, flying outside and enjoying her newfound strength! Listening to her new friend speak right into her mind.

‘Let's heat up the place, that will provide the Radiant Empire with access to their land.’

“Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? Mom really is short-sighted if she can’t even figure out that we can fix their major problem for them!” After a moment, Celestia lands in front of the congregation of curious ponies.

“Hello little ponies, I am Celestia, first princess of Equestria! Also known as your new protectorate! I am here for one reason and one reason only, to make your lives better! Now how about we get rid of all this snow!”

The Crystal Ponies murmur among their ranks. Getting rid of the snow of the Frozen North was thought to be impossible, and now this pony, claiming to be Celestia no less is saying that she’ll do it herself? It was too good to be true!


Celestia grunts, her eye twitching a little bit. “You don’t believe in me? Of course you don’t… of course you wouldn’t. It’s all about Luna and Twilight. Luna and Twilight. Well, you know what?” Celestia’s soft, warm glow begins to flare up.

LET'S SEE YOUR PRECIOUS QUEEN AND PRINCESS FIX THIS!” She says as she flies up and with a powerful surge of dark, terrible magic, the Radiant Empire sees the sun for the first time in this generation… And it’s horrifying.

First, the sun was quite nice. The shining light makes all the crystals in the Empire light up. It looks quite beautiful, and had Twilight not been so far away, she may have seen what was happening. Unfortunately, the effect would only last for so long. As the heat begins to set in, melting anything made of metal, the City starts to become hotter and hotter. Plants starting to wither and ponies beginning to sweat from the devouring heat. Fireballs rain from the sky and burn anything they touch as she yells out. “YOU LIKE THAT?! WELL HAVE SOME MORE!” The unhinged princess declares laughing and cackling as the dark magic further settles into her heart.

The castle is in chaos as Princess Amore yawns a little bit. “First sun in over a hundred years and it’s gonna be the death of us. Not to mention it’s because of a teenager’s temper tantrum.” She says flatly. The guards and staff are actively in a panic as they run around to keep the castle from falling apart.

“AMORE please save us!” one says

Amore simply blinks twice. Grabs a marshmallow from her bag and starts roasting it on the nearby table. “I would, but firstly, that’s an alicorn infused with dark magic, I can’t beat that. I’m also not in the business of throwing my life away either. Secondly, Queen Twilight will get us out of this. She should be back soon.” She says as she eats the marshmallow.

“Uh, actually your majesty. The guards that were going to tailgate Queen Twilight saw the town’s plight and turned around.” The head guard says. “They’re trying to put out fires in the fields right now.”

Amore blinks again. “Oh. Well yea, time to panic.” She says, before taking a deep breath and joining the group for a nice run-around-in-circles panic session.

Luna wanders through the castle… and wanders and wanders. A loud ringing ran through her ears. Was that her sister that she just saw? Why was she so mean? What happened to her? All these thoughts ran through Luna’s head. Worry filled her little body as she could do nothing but think that this is all her fault in some way. “I shouldn’t have hogged mom… I shoulda been a better little sister.” The filly says to herself, not even registering the intense panic starting to build up around her. With quiet movements, she would wander her way into her room. With a little nudge of her nose to flick the covers up, Luna crawls into bed and lays there.

“I’m an awful sister,” she says quietly to herself. “Celestia even told me she feels isolated, I shoulda convinced Mom to go to her. But… we woulda been late for a really important meeting if we went looking for her. No… no, I shoulda have gone looking for her instead of joining Mom from the start. Then this wouldn’t have happened. Celestia would have been able to sit in with me and Mom at the end of the meeting and it woulda have been perfect! We could be… a family…” She whimpers a little bit.

Luna doesn’t get much more time to worry though as a loud thud lands in her room, eliciting a scream from Luna. “AAH?!” She yells as she backs up against the bedframe. A smoldering ball of hot plasma scorches in the middle of her room before the shell melts away. Revealing none other than Celestia herself.

“Hello, Sister. Enjoying the heat?” Celestia says as she levitates Luna with ease. Luna yelped a little from the heat of the magic around her body. “Oh wait, you probably didn’t even notice! You were probably too busy being perfect and studying or learning new ancient magic or something like that!”

Luna yelps again. “C-Celestia? You’re hurting me! Let me go!” She whimpers out. “Why do you look like that?! Why are you… well scary?!”

Celestia ignores her sister, though. "Scary?! You insult me, you little brat," she glares down at her sister, "Now apologize before I banish you to Tartarus!" she says with a booming voice.

Luna yelps and whimpers heavily, offering a wordless apology. Celestia smirks and continues to speak, "I came here to make sure you know that you aren’t needed anymore, sister," she says with a bright flash of light as she teleports herself and Luna up to the top of a tall spire of the crystal castle, flames and fire raining down everywhere as the land is forcibly heated over and over.

Luna looks on in terror. “T-the ponies!-”

Celestia giggles “Are getting what they deserve! They dared to doubt my power against the Frozen North, so just to shut them up, I proved that my magic was superior to any simple force of nature. After all, Nature only lives because of the sun!” She laughs maniacly. “And after mom sees how good I’ve done, how much I’ve accomplished, she’ll accept me. She’ll be MY friend again. She’ll take care of me like the old days! But she can’t focus on ME with you around!” She says as she tosses Luna backward.

The young alicorn tumbles back, barely catching herself on the slick ground as she slides right into Celesita’s magical circle. A powerful glow of dark magic appears underneath her as large spikes of black, flaming crystals appear around Luna. “Don’t worry though. You’re still my sister. So I’ll just keep you locked up here until Mom stops looking for you. Then we can send you off to some other family in Equestria where you’ll NEVER be a problem for me again!”

Luna whimpers a little and tears up. “B-bu-”

Celestia cuts her off with a hoof slam to the crystals, causing a large ‘BOOM’ noise to ring out. “I don’t want to hear it! Do me a favor and just disappear already! Now… I have to make sure the Radiant Empire is ABSOLUTELY perfect for Mother's return. As for you, don't go anywhere! Not like you can though.” She laughs heavily as she flies away, leaving Luna alone… and trapped.

Luna simply sits there… unable to register what just happened. Tears on her face as she watches her sister fly away. Weakly whimpering. “Don’t… leave me here…” She whimpers.

“M-mommy… help…” She says quietly. But nobody came. For the first time, in years, Luna was well and truly alone.

And the book's page turns.

Radiant 4 - Pride of the Sun/Struggles of the Moon

View Online

It was dark, almost pitch black. Luna was stuck seeing nothing but the glistening surface of the shadowy gemstones around her, reflecting her crying and scared face right back toward her. There is nothing she can do, her sister is just… too strong.

“M-mommy will fix this. Mommy always fixes stuff like this,” Luna says to her reflection, a little tremble in her voice as it cracks slightly. The last thing Luna wants is for her sister to be banished… or worse. Twilight won’t be happy when she sees the town’s state, and Celestia, or whatever controls her, won’t back down.

Her reflection smirks as it watches Luna’s curled-up form. Her reflection begins walking out from the dark crystals. “So that’s it, hm? Just going to let your sister win?” Luna(?) says with a smile.

“Oh, that’s no different now, is it? She’s always been prettier, better at almost everything except magic, and now you don’t even have that.” Luna(?) hums as she pushes the filly.

But there isn’t a response. Luna shook her head. “Mom may not be my actual mom, but she taught me more than anyone ever could. I know better than to give into YOU.” She says with a glare as she perks up at the presence of the other Luna. “You’re nothing but the dark, little tiny bits of my heart that are jealous of what my sister has. You are NOTHING compared to everything else going on right now, and the fact that you even dared to show up shows me how desperate you are to keep existing, Nightmare Moon.” She says with a happy smirk

Nightmare Moon is flabbergasted, attempting to speak… however, Luna has none of it. “The fact that you’re around means nothing to me. You’re just a dumb imaginary friend I made up, and all you did was make me even worse. Yes, I’m jealous of my sister’s relationships with all her friends, jealous that she’s so perfect at everything. Jealous that she was mom’s favorite and got to do basically whatever she wanted.”

With a huff, Luna continues, gently glowing with magic. “But she’s still my sister. She’s still family, and I will NEVER stop caring about and loving her, even when she’s like this.” She says as she stands up, sniffling a little bit but putting a brave face on.

“Fine, but don’t forget who got you through all that time. Who was there for you? Not Twilight, not Dad, not Mom, and certainly not Celestia. I’ll be waiting for the day you need me again.” Nightmare Moon says as she sinks back into the crystal.

“And when that day comes, I’ll make you regret abandoning me.” The ‘Imaginary Friend’ says as it returns to the reflection.

Luna shakes her head. “Alright… Celestia needs me, and I’m stuck in here. Come on, think. Thi-” Suddenly, the crystal wall crumbles to bits. Luna makes a confused “Wha?” as it happens.

Behind the crumbling wall is a heat-exhausted Queen Amore, already nearly unconscious. Her horn sparks gently, showing how intensely used it was to break the magical seal. The heat that surges through the crack is almost unbearable, Luna shuddering as she sees what’s going on.

The entire city is on fire, not just the flammable things. EVERYTHING is on fire. Fire comes from the crystal houses, the snow, and even water as the oxygen combusts from the intense heat. The only reason the ponies themselves are safe is due to all the unicorn’s magic, and it’s fading fast.

Amore would struggle and grunt to speak. “C-lestia is… in the throne room.” A dry cough escapes the Unicorn Queen. “Please… you’re our last hope.” She then gives Luna a Crystal. “This… is a siphoning Crystal… if you can pierce Celestia with it, the crystal will do its job and change all that negative magic into magic born from love and happiness.”

Luna shakes her head. “Wha? NO, I don’t want to hurt Celestia! I… I can’t!” But Amore has finally passed out from heat exhaustion, leaving Luna no chance to discuss this. Luna whimpers a little as she picks up the crystal before helping Amore to the last cool place in the castle.

Luna slides Amore into the broken magical circle, and with a little bit of hornwork, she completes it, minus all the dark magic, of course! The temperature inside the magic circle quickly begins to regulate and cool down, and Amore’s figure and breathing look better by the moment. The magical sigil was already pre-made with temperature regulation too! After all, Celestia didn’t want to hurt Luna either.

Luna then looks towards the city… and then down the stairs as she trots towards the throne room. She knows her sister would never actually kill anypony over something so petty… Right?

Luna begins to run as fast as she can towards the throne room as soon as that thought crosses her mind. The heat is getting to dangerous levels at this point, so there’s no time to waste. It doesn’t even cross her mind to wonder why she isn’t feeling the heat. She feels fine, maybe a little uncomfortable, sure, but overall okay.

Little did Luna know how much her sister needed her.

“STOP! Please!” Celestia says to the fiery pony in front of her, tears welling up in her eyes. The pair are in a dark, pitch-black space representing Celestia’s mind. “I don’t want this anymore! Stop hurting everyone!”

But the fiery pony scoffs in return. “You wanted this, didn’t you? Sure, you said that you want to make your mother proud, but it wasn’t me that started setting everything on fire.” She cackles a little.

Celestia winces a little. “I… I was just mad! You c-can’t seriously take the emotions of a teenager that seriously—”

The fiery Celestia clicks her tongue. “Ah ah. Don’t go blaming this on me, Celestia. This? This is all you.” She says as she circles Celestia, her flames gently brushing against the young mare. “All I did was give you the power to make your mother proud. Now who is the one that got so wrapped up in it that they let me take over? Oh, right, that was you too!”

Celestia’s head droops down, a tear dropping from her eye. “S-she’s not my-”

“Ah ah, no lying. You’ve long seen her as a mother. Not to mention she did adopt you too. So let’s drop the act.” The fiery Celestia says with a glare. “It’s unbecoming of the destroyer of the world, after all. There’s no reason to leave anything after all of this. Your mother won’t ever forgive you, everyone will abandon you, and best of all, it’s all. Your. Fault~. Celestia, the pony who loved herself so much that she ended up destroying everything in her own sun’s fire~.”

Celestia silently sits there. Unable to think of a single retort.

After a moment, the fiery Celestia grins before breaking the silence. “That’s what I thought. Now what is a good name for us now? Hmmm… I know… Call me, Daybreaker. With me, Celestia, we will destroy every single pony that dared to doubt you as the supreme and all-powerful pony you are!” She laughs maniacly as she holds Celestia close to her.

Celestia silently stares at the void beneath her, not reacting to anything the crazed creature beside her is doing. Celestia can do nothing but silently sob to herself.

“I’m so sorry, everypony. Please survive. Please…” She says as ‘Daybreaker’ disappears, only able to watch as she continues to do horrible things.

“Hm… The guards are late.” Says Twilight to Uni.

“I’m sure they’ll be on their way,” Uni says, stretching in the middle of the poacher’s camp. Twilight had already tied up and restrained all the poacher ponies. Some are unconscious, while others are awake but restrained well enough to be a non-threat. “Besides, with all the magic you used on tying them up and non-lethally knocking them out, we’re stranded out here until you can get a snack.” She says as she sits back, the fire crackling a little bit.

Twilight sighs. “We are REALLY far from the Empire. I hope Celestia and Luna aren’t worried or anything.”

Uni giggles. “I’m sure they’re just arguing about who gets to go out and eat with you tonight.” She says happily

Twilight blinks. “Why not both of them? We could go out as a family!” She says with a sigh.

Uni hums. “Oh, Your Majesty, I don’t think you three have had a single family dinner since you adopted them. Celestia only shows up when it’s just you two, after all. Granted, you aren’t the best mom in the world either, so I totally get it.” The spirit pony says as she grabs a tiny flicker of fire.

Twilight sighs. “Spike aside, I’ve never taken care of foals. Honestly, I didn’t ever expect to have my own, either! This is all new to me, and well—no offense Uni, but you give horrible parenting advice.

Uni giggles a little “I’m only here to advise for the sake and well-being of harmony across the land. Your family problems aren’t mine. Although, if you’re asking as a friend? I think you and Celestia should have a long talk. Probably. Either that or just zap her with some magic and make her adjust or something. Could also erase her memories of her previous parents.” She shrugs.

Twilight blinks flatly at Uni before looking over to a poacher. “See? Horrible parenting advice.” She says before she giggles.

Uni smiles and laughs too. Although, she thought her advice was pretty good. Maybe she is out of touch?... Nah, everyone else is wrong.

Luna rushes through the castle before she suddenly loses her footing, sliding down the melted stairs and yelping as she’s launched out of an open window! With a quick flap of her wings, she barely catches herself as she falls hard on the crystalline floor below. She groans and sits up, seeing the flames and fire around her. The city can’t take this heat much longer. Most of the houses are already melting and turning into molten crystals, and many ponies are on the verge of death.

Luna whimpers and quickly runs to a nearby citizen, the poor stallion suffering and sweating. “No… I’m too late already…? N-no.” She whimpers out.

Luna’s mind races, the filly trying to think of anything she can do to save the crystal ponies, with idea after idea running through her head rapidly to no avail. “AGH, I’m too young for this! Someone else should be playing the hero! Not a five and a half-year-old filly!... Er, seven. I’m Seven. Not five and a half.” She says with a giggle before realizing this isn’t the time to be lying about her age.

Luna then remembers. “The sigil! If Celestia can pull it off, then I’m sure I can.” She says, quickly grabbing a large shard of crystal that hasn’t fully melted. Luna grunts as she carries it with her magic. It’s well over five times her size, yet she’s managing to levitate it with her magic! All that practice is paying off!

“Now I just gotta…” She says as she starts to quickly turn the entire Crystal Empire’s roads and walkways into a large magical sigil. Ponies that haven’t fallen unconscious are watching her, some attempting to join in copying her movements, using whatever strength they have left to save themselves, their friends, and their families.

Luna works quickly, Lines here, lines there, showing a pony what to draw and how and even guiding the crystal ponies that have fallen to stay off the main pathways. Luna’s mind continues to work on overdrive as she begins to sweat. Not from the heat but simply from how hard her job is! The Crystalline City isn’t small by any means, and now she’s drawing a gigantic magical circle that encompasses the entire thing?!

Luna’s magic sparks and shudders under the weight of the massive boulder of crystal she’s carrying around. The spike has to be huge so that the sigil can be engrained deep within the city’s core. If it’s too close to the surface, then the spell will melt away before it has a chance to cast. If it’s too deep, the magic won’t have an effect. It has to be perfect, absolutely perfect, with no exception. Even now, she’s telling the ponies to make it a little more shallow than it needs to be so she can complete the circle itself.

With tears and nearly failing magic, Luna manages to complete the circle, resulting in a massive amount of her magic draining almost instantly. “AH!” she screams out before falling to the ground. A small groan escapes her lips as she struggles to recover from the sudden loss of magic.

A bright flash of light sparks out as the city returns to normal, all the fires, the horrible heat, and even the ponies being reset to the state they once were. The only change is that a beautiful snowflake pattern has appeared in the crystal underneath the streets, gently regulating the city’s temperature for all the crystal ponies and the structures within the Empire.

The spell would now be a permanent fixture of the city. It could be blistering cold, but the crystal ponies would never feel it. Sure, other creatures and normal ponies would get cold, but crystal ponies within the city’s borders could survive the harshest winters and blazing summers without batting an eye!

This change, of course, did not go unnoticed as a loud explosion appeared above Luna. Celestia landed on the ground before Luna with elegant yet frightening grace, a piercing glare showing from the small alicorn’s older sister’s eyes.

Luna now had to face the biggest trial of her life… Defeating her sister without a single drop of magic and barely being able to stand. If the little filly knew any curses, she’d likely have said one out loud by now.

With a struggle, she manages to stand up, her legs shaking simply under her own weight. Just as she’s about to speak, Celestia cuts her off with a glare and a burst of hot, burning magic that singes her coat. “You ruined everything. EVERYTHING. Just like you always do. You couldn’t even sit in a little prison like a good filly, could you? Well now… I don’t care if you were or are my sister. You’ll burn.”

Luna quickly dodges out of the way of a violently hot blast of magic. She may not have any unicorn magic left, but that doesn’t mean she can’t fly! Luna attempts to say something again, only to get cut off by another attack… and another.

The battle between the Blazing Sun and the Little Moon has begun.

The page turns… it’s hot to the touch.

Radiant 5 - Broken

View Online

"No. NO! Stop! Don't hurt Luna! Don't you dare hurt my sister!" Yells out a struggling voice. Daybreaker rolls her eyes as she continues to chase after the small yet surprisingly agile blue alicorn.

"Just enjoy the show, Celestia. Nothing can stop us from our goals once your sister is out of the way!" Daybreaker laughs as she fires beam after beam of magic at Luna. Scorched marks appear wherever the lasers hit. She's getting closer to hitting Luna with each blast too. The last one even nicked Luna's left flank!

"Please stop, Mom… please. Stop me. Don't let me hurt my sister!" Celestia shouts from inside her mind, restrained by chains of jealousy, hatred, and emotions. If she could just move, she could stop all this from happening.

"Please! I promise to be good. I'll eat all my veggies and show up to dinner! Please stop!" She tearfully screams out

"Too late for that now, Celestia. Too late. FOR THAT." Daybreaker says quickly as one of her magical blasts hits Luna directly on the back. Luna yelps and screams as she's knocked right out of the sky. Tumbling forward and crash-landing right underneath the castle.

"NOOOO!" Screams out, Celestia.

"And now, you have nothing," Daybreaker says with a chuckle that turns into an evil, maniacal laugh. "I will exist FOREVER! All this strength, all your wasted potential, is mine. As for you. Welllll." She smirks and casts a simple spell on the tiny part of her mind that Celestia inhabits. Celestia groans as she's forced to watch as Luna is shot out of the sky, over and over again.

"You should be a good girl and let the adult handle this. No reason for you to watch this next part after all." Daybreaker taunts before returning her focus to the task at hoof. She folds her wings slightly with grace and poise, gently gliding to the ground as her flaming mane and tail crackle with rainbow light.

"It hurts."
'What hurts?' A little crack rings out
'Everything. Everything hurts.'

A gasp escapes Luna's lips as she regains consciousness, her body flooded with adrenaline. She barely managed to use her wings to block that last blast.

"I'm totally out of magic. It's over." Luna says to herself, tearing up a little bit. Her wings feel like lead, and without her pegasus magic, they won't get her even an inch off the ground, much less help her avoid anything. The blue filly starts to tear up again, she gave it her all, but she still came up short. What can she do against overwhelming power like that? If she had magic, she could at least have put up a fight, but now? Now she's helpless. Utterly helpless.

With a struggle, Luna picks herself up from the ground, but not for any particular reason. After all, she can hardly hold herself up. She just wants to face what's coming with dignity, just like her father taught her.

That's when it hits her. Her father taught her a lot, sure, how to run a country, to not be lazy like her sister, and be a good leader even. But her new mom had taught her something he never did. She taught her how to deal with adversity, how to help other ponies, and most importantly, what to do when you're against overwhelming odds. If she couldn't fight her way out of this, she'd get the only other help she could get right now.

She'd call out to her sister and hope that there was something in there to save both of them. Scanning with her eyes, she sees that Daybreaker is busy with something, causing the filly to quickly look for something she dropped earlier. And there she finds it, underneath some rubble.

Laying on the ground is the draining crystal that Amore gave her. Luna quickly forces some of her life force into her horn to spark any magic she can. The crystal quickly adhered to her small horn with one quick spell.

With blurry vision, Luna stumbles and sits back against the strange, empty pedestal in the middle of the Radiant Empire. "Gotta. Stay. Awake." She says with a grunt, waiting quietly and watching as Daybreaker lands in front of her. Each step closer makes the filly wince a little as fiery hoof steps are left with each passing movement from her older sister.

‘Clip, clop, clip, clop.’ Then silence. Luna grunts as she repositions herself against the pedestal, pushing herself up and sighing. "Can I talk now?"

Daybreaker giggles. "Why? So you can beg your big sister? Going to cry for Mommy?"

Luna shakes her head. "I just want to talk. To Celestia. Please?"

Daybreaker hums. "Seeing how you're so pathetic and weak right now? I don't see how this could help you in any way." She giggles a little bit. "Fine. She can hear you now."

Luna sighs a little bit. "Big sis, I'm… I'm sorry for being such a baby. I just. I.."

Luna blinks a little. Wait. Why was she apologizing again? Did she actually do anything wrong?

-Six months ago, in Twilight's Castle-

Luna happily hops out of bed, rolling quickly and falling into a lump of blankets and a pillow draped over her head. "ACK! Nooo! The blanket monster got me again! Mommmmyyy! Big Sissss! Helpppp!" She whines quickly. Struggling to escape the blanket burrito she found herself in. After a moment, the door to her large room opens, Celestia bursting it open with magic, her horn glowing bright yellow.

"What? WHERE?" She says as she looks around before finally noticing the filly on the ground, stuck inside the blanket enclosure.

Celestia cracks a laugh. "Oh, THAT blanket monster." She giggles a bit as she gently frees Luna from her prison. Or at least, she attempts to. Celestia's magic acuity has never been the best, and even now, she's struggling with all the little knots and ties that formed when the filly fell off the bed.

After a few moments of struggling, the two sisters laugh next to each other, sitting on the defeated blanket monster. Luna smiles and says, "Oh, oh! I almost forgot—" At this point, though, Twilight quickly runs into the room. Celestia's face instantly grimacing.

Twilight would pant a little bit, her body glowing a light blue, signifying that she's merged with Uni. "Is everypony okay?" She says with a pant. Uni splitting their merger after a moment.

Uni would blink. "It seems like the issue was fixed, just like I said, Your Majesty. You were worried about nothing." She sighs a little bit.

Celestia would huff. "I'm literally across the hall, ya know. Course, I would help my sister if she screamed like that." She says to Uni

With an unperturbed blink, Uni responds, "Quite… Anyways, since there is no danger, I'll be taking my leave." She says as she walks up to Twilight.

"You have three meetings before breakfast, do not be late." She says simply before vanishing into whisps of light.

Celestia looks at Twilight with a glare. "Well, my sister is safe, and now I think I'll be going out with my friends." She says sharply, trotting out the door, only to be stopped by Twilight's hoof.

"Why don't you join us for breakfast? I can skip out on a meeting to eat as a family. Uni would understand, I'm sure!" Twilight says with a hopeful expression. But Celestia just rolls her eyes.

"You two have fun. I'm going out." She says coldly, brushing past Twilight. "I'll see you later, Twilight."

Breakfast was really lonely for Luna that day. Very Very lonely.

"Wait. You." Thinking back, Luna remembers what Celestia said to her, why she was so angry, and Luna's little mind finally puts everything together.

"C-Celestia, she's not just our friend! She's our mom now. And Queen of Equestria! She can't always be there for us. She has uhm. Duties? Yeah! Duties that keep her busy! And well." Luna closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

"Sis, I'm only gonna barely be six years old. Mom and Dad died when I was four." She sniffles a little bit, Daybreaker rolling her eyes. But Celestia, hearing all of this, realizes something.

"I was four! I hardly knew what was going on. All I knew was that Twilight was gonna be taking care of us. It was fun! Really fun!" She says with a grunt as she sits up, carefully charging up her horn with tiny shards of her life force.

-Two days after the deaths of Celestia and Luna's birth Parents-

"WHEEEEE!" Says Luna as she holds onto Twilight's mane, the pair flying around at high speeds around the castle, swerving, weaving, and flying in circles faster than anypony in Equestria ever could! But something was missing. Something, no, somepony important. Oop! Loop de loop! Yayyyyy!

Meanwhile, in Celestia's room, there is no noise, no joy. Just silent sobbing.

"Give her space, Your Majesty. She'll get over it soon." are the only words heard as the sun sets for the night.

"But you were never there. You never came to breakfast, never showed up for lunch, and didn't even come to my birthday party!" Luna croaks out, angry momentarily, before a little crack is heard, making her grunt in pain. "And even then. Even through all of that."

Celestia's deep sorrow by now has already nearly drowned her, almost entirely faded away. But the following words that come out of her sister's mouth shine like a little blue light inside of her broken psyche.

"I always loved you, sis. Always. Even now, you're still my sister and… I wuv you." She says with tears. She was unable to continue speaking from both her injury and her sadness. Luna knows she failed. Her sister likely was long gone by now, and without her trying to fight back, Luna's plan would never work.

Daybreaker laughs heavily, cackling madly. "That was your plan? I swear you're dumber than you look. Although, I suppose you are young. Now, if I remember correctly, there was a little promise in the air. If you were a bad girl, I'd give you a one-way trip to Tartarus!" Daybraker laughs as her horn charges. Luna closed her eyes.

And suddenly, Daybreaker is struggling to control herself. "NO! There's no way something so cheesy could actually have worked!" Suddenly, the fiery pony finds herself in her mindscape with Celestia. Who is fuming, glaring and furious, but most of all, free.

"Now, Celestia, what's the point? We both know I'm much stronger than you." Daybreaker says with a glare. A spark of her horn changed the scenery to a gradient, a fiery red behind her and a lovely yellow behind Celestia. The colors clash in the middle.

Celestia says nothing, though, nothing at all. There are no words. No words could ever voice how she felt at this moment. None except a straightforward phrase.

"Shut up and fight." She says before diving at Daybreaker. The pair fighting within Celestia's mindscape. Lasers, explosions, and fireballs crash everywhere around the area. Celestia not holding anything back at all. She may not be powerful, but this is HER mind! Celestia can be whatever comes to mind. Transforming into her favorite superhero, wondermare, she ties up Daybreaker with a lasso before bucking her high up in the sky. Another quick transformation into Daybreaker herself, she quickly appears above the launched demon, slamming her back toward the ground.

Celestia then makes chase, slamming her hoof right into Daybreaker's falling form before becoming the one pony she knows can't be beaten. With a flash, Daybreaker stares into the face of Twilight Sparkle. With a sudden gasp, Daybreaker quickly slides away in panic.

"You idiot, you'll destroy us both if you use that form here! This is your mind just as much as it is mine!" Daybreaker yells out

Celestia uses her mother's glare. "So be it." The all-powerful alicorn says as she starts charging up her spell.

But she never has to fire it, as suddenly Daybreaker begins to be torn straight from Celestia's Mind. The surprise causes Celestia to return to her usual self as she looks at what Luna is doing.

Luna took her chance. A bolt of powerful magic charging through her horn, glowing a bright red as it was not pure magic, but her life force turned into magic. The magic sparked and sizzled, her eyes blurry and watery.

But she knew that her sister was fighting with her. "As long as my sister is around."

Celesia smiles, causing her body to smile as well before Luna and Celestia both speak simultaneously, "We'll never lose to the likes of YOU!" Celestia then joins Luna's magic, the beam firing straight into her chest as an intense, dirty flow of dark magic starts to drain out of Celestia's body. A scream comes out of her mouth, but not from pain.

It was a scream of fear, not from Celestia, but from Daybreaker. "YOU CAN'T ESCAPE ME, CELESTIA! I AM YOU! YOU CANNOT DO THIS TO ME!" She yells out as she's ripped from Celestia's mindscape.

The black magic flows violently from Celstia's body, into the crystal, before the blast thickens as Daybreaker is removed entirely. Luna yelps and braces herself on the pedestal as the last of the dark soup gets drained by her horn and the crystal on it.

The draining crystal glows brightly as it shifts from a dark black to a beautiful, radiant color, floating into the air and spinning violently as it grows and grows. Beams of magic fire off in all directions as the clouds of the north begin to be pushed away by some force of magic. After a bright, powerful flash, a crystalline heart settles above the pedestal. The heart is no bigger than Celestia's head, but the magic stored inside is pure and good.

Celestia's body returns to normal with the blast of magic. Meanwhile, Luna's injuries are healed. The pair became crystalline like the other crystal ponies, although the enchantment likely wouldn't last forever. Celestia blinks and looks herself over before smiling. "We did it!" She says with a hop. Expecting her sister to do the same.

When she doesn't hear her little sister, she quickly rushes over. "No, no, no, no! Please. Be okay!" She levitates Luna and quickly listens to her heart. Exhaling a sigh of relief when she hears it still beating. Even then, she rapidly runs around the city, looking for a doctor to look at her sister. She doesn't even notice the glares and angry looks of the population. She knows she deserves them, but right now.

"Luna. Please be alright." She says with a crack in her voice, watching the doctor examine her sister.

Finally, Celestia sheds a tear for someone other than herself. Sometimes lessons are learned only when you realize what you have to lose.

The book's page turns yet again. The flames around the book die down, but the pages seem almost sad.

Crystal 6 - Lessons Learned

View Online

The next few hours were critical. Celestia never leaves Luna's side as the doctor examines the young filly. "Please be okay." She says weakly to her little sister. Finally, the doctor looks up from his examination, sighing slightly in relief as he finds nothing dangerously wrong with the small alicorn.

"Doctor, is Luna going to be alright?" Celestia asks nervously. She watches the doctor walk over to some cabinets and grab medicine from the shelves. Even though he may be an earth pony, he knows his stuff.

"Your sister will be fine, Princess. Luna is still an alicorn, after all. Her body is simply just exhausted. It seems like a textbook case of total magical exhaustion. Do not worry, though. I'll keep checking her up and ensure nothing else is wrong. For now, though, she needs rest. Perhaps you should find your mother so she knows what happened? Before you bring an angry mob to my clinic, that is." The doctor hums as he prepares a syringe with medicine, stopping to look at Celestia.

"Or perhaps not, stay here." He says as he motions to a nearby bench.

Walking back over to Luna and gently giving her the shot of medicine in the arm. "This shot will stimulate her body a small amount and help with her magic regeneration processes. A pony rarely ends up this drained, and as an alicorn, she's missing two types of magic entirely right now. She likely won't be able to fly or cast magic for a few days even after she wakes up." He says with a casual tone of voice. After all, no one, not even a Queen or a Princess, can debate with the expertise of a Doctor about medicine.

Celestia steps in place a few times. Sighing as she sits down on a bench and worriedly watches her sister. "So she's going to be oka- OW!" She says as she gets an injection right in her arm too! Celestia quickly stood and glared at the doctor. "What was that?!"

The doctor rolls his eyes. "Relax, Do no harm remember? Did you forget that you were in that fight too? Your body needs to be examined to ensure there's no residual dark magic in it or hidden injuries. Sit." He says as he pats the other examination bed.

Celestia has never been one to go to the doctor's office. She hates needles and syringes! (Although, in reality, she's just afraid of them.) The last time her Mom made her go to the doctor, she had to be held down with magic.

Celestia, this time around, though, had no fight left in her. Resigning herself, she walked over to the examination bed with a slow and nervous trot. "Just focus on my sister, alright? I'm fiiiin OWWWW. BUCK!" She groans as the doctor presses on her side and wing

"Mm. Language, there's a filly in the room." The doctor says as he continues to examine Celestia's body. "You have quite a few broken bones in your body. Likely due to the size transformation you went through. Not to mention a broken wing too." He says casually as he feels Celestia's wing. "It's a wonder that you're even standing."

Celestia tilts her head. "Broken bones and stuff should hurt, though! I don't feel a thing." She says with a grunt.

The doctor sighs. "Yes, being full of adrenaline will do that, but now that you know your sister will be fine, you'll probably feel the pain right about. Now."

As if on command or some dark magic, Celestia falls right onto the soft examination bed, she was sitting on, grunting and groaning. "Ow ow ow!" She can feel her broken wing now, which she further stressed by flying down to the doctor's office at such high speed, and she can feel her broken ribs and sprained leg. It seems like the Crystal Heart only healed Luna, likely because Celestia's body had far too much to fix for one burst of magic.

"Mm. You'll need some pain medicine. I'd send you to the hospital, but only the crystal objects were restored by your sister's magic, and our hospital was made of wood. Luckily, I had the forethought of having some medicines stowed away, or we wouldn't have any medicine left in the entire Empire." He says as he helps Celestia lay back on the soft bed. "You'll need a cast for the leg and the wing, along with a brace for the torso."

Celestia groans a little. "Buck, this hurts so much." She says with a grunt. "Don't worry about me. Just. Focus on Luna."

"Yes, yes, I will. I already did. Now let's make sure you aren't bleeding anywhere, please." He says as he grabs a magical tool, running the crystalline object over Celestia's body.

"We don't want any black." The doctor says to Celestia as the crystal flashes red over her wing. It flashes yellow and even orange in other places, but not black. "Good, no internal bleeding or grave injuries. We'll get you all set up with casts, and you'll have to stay here until your mother comes, and then we can transfer you home or to your local hospital. For now, though, just rest like your sister." He sighs. Treating someone who just caused so much destruction is exhausting.

Celestia grunts a little and lays back, keeping as still as possible. Looking at the wall, she finally gets the doctor's name from one of his many diplomas. "Thanks, Doctor Beaker." She says with a tired smile.

"Mm. Just doing my job, Your Majesty."

"Just. Call me Celestia," she says before falling into a dreamless sleep.

Twilight grunts a little as she levitates over thirty ponies and ten other creatures behind her. She didn't want to drag them through the cold snow but couldn't trust them to walk behind her. The guards from the Empire never showed up, so she and Uni foraged some food and made the trek back to the Radiant Empire themselves.

"I hope the guards are alright. Something feels wrong." Twilight says with a worried glare as she trudges forwards, the snow providing some resistance to her steps as her pegasus magic helps her resist the cold air.

Uni, though, has been eerily silent this entire trek. At the beginning of it, she was talking and chatting as usual, but moments ago, she froze up. And then she destroyed a tree with a single punch.

Uni grumbles, "Grn." She says with a grumble. Uni is utterly frustrated by something that happened, but Twilight doesn't know what.

Twilight blinks and tilts her head. "Uni, are you sure you're alright? You don't seem. Well, you don't seem like yourself right now."

Uni lets out a snort. "I'm fine, Your Majesty. Just. Frustrated with the results of something that happened elsewhere. There's too much disharmony in the world, even right now, and this delay is just a pain." She says with a glare at the poachers. The pair finally reached the hill that overlooks the Radiant Empire.

And what a sight it is. Twilight's eyes glimmer gently from the reflection of light off the crystals. "The Crystal Empire. That's what it looks like in my time." She says with wide, happy eyes. She finally, FINALLY has a place that she recognizes. But wait… How could the city have gone through such a drastic change?

Uni rolls her eyes. "Didn't you say that the Crystal Empire would eventually get taken over by somepony named Sombra? Perhaps it would have been better if the Empire had never realized itself. Too late now, though." She grumbles and continues. "We'll have to roll with the punches when that comes along." She says with a shake of her head. She is still frustrated by something.

Twilight shakes her head. "With the Crystal Empire realized, the crystal heart's magic will fill Equestria with joy and love. Ponies will get along even better than before!" She says with a smile as she opens her wings. "Uni, you can handle taking the poachers the rest of the way, right? Thanks!" She says before she quickly flies off!

Uni blinks. "HEY! Don't just! I'm the spirit of harmony! Not some sort of guard pony!" She yells out after Twilight. But she's gotten too far away. Uni glaring down at the poachers and huffing.

"Oh well. The game's just started patience Unity. Patience~. Eyes on the prize, after all." She says with a smile as her transparent horn begins to glow with magic.

A bright flash of light shines out from the top of the mountain. Too far for anyone to see. But when the poacher ponies deliver themselves to the guard, they all seem zealously repentant for their actions. How badly they wish to be punished for their crimes is almost creepy.

Celestia would wake up safely in a bed in the Crystal Castle. She grunts as she tries to sit up, but something stops her. After wiping away the grogginess in her eyes, the adolescent looks down at herself. She is lying in a reasonably comfortable bed, all wrapped up in casts around her wings, her barrel, and one around her leg. Luckily, there isn't much pain, but she's well-stuck. Looking around a little more, she sees Luna sleeping beside her and Twiligh-. No. Mom is sleeping with her head at the end of the bed. Judging by her internal clock, it's about 3 PM, just going off what she feels from the sun. There were no guards around like she expected, likely because her mother was here now and could easily defeat her if she went crazy again.

A slight blink and grunt are all needed to make Twilight perk up instantly, her very shallow sleep interrupted by the tiniest noises. "Celestia!" She says as she quickly looks over her daughter. Tearing up a little bit. "You're okay! You're really okay." She says with a tight hug, which causes Celestia to groan.

"AGH!" Celestia yells out. Groaning a bit. "Mom, stop, ow ow!" She says with a wince. Twilight quickly stopped her hug upon hearing the noises of pain.

"Oh no! Sorry! I didn't hurt you more, did I?!" Twilight says as she looks Celestia over, who giggles a bit.

"Nah, I think I'm pretty much already about as hurt as I can get. Sides getting my horn blasted off or something." Celestia giggles weakly before looking down at Luna. The smaller alicorn gently sleeping on the giant bed. "How's Luna?"

Twilight tilts her head, a little surprised that Celestia asked about Luna so quickly. "She's fine. The doctor cleared her yesterday when I got back from catching the poachers. She's not supposed to fly, use her horn, or do any farming for three days and then ease herself into doing that stuff again over three weeks."

Celestia blinks in confusion. One of those three just didn't fit! "Farming?"

Twilight taps her chin with her hoof. "According to the doctor, she almost fully exhausted her earth pony magic fighting Daybreaker. According to Luna, it was the only thing keeping her conscious at one point." She says as she sits on the large bed with the pair. Gently picking up Luna and holding onto her as she rests with Celestia, adjusting the white alicorn so she can reset her head on Twilight's shoulder.

Celestia winces from the movement and looks down. "I really messed up this time." She says with tears welling up in her eyes. "I'm so sorry, Mom."

Twilight tilts her head and lays back. "Messing up happens to everypony Celestia. I've had my fair share of mistakes, especially at your age and even a little older." She says as she thinks back to when her actions nearly destroyed Ponyville with her smartypants doll or when she cast a spell that swapped all her friends' cutiemarks. Then she also thinks further about how poorly she treated her Canterlot friends. She even sees some of them sometimes in Ponyville but never says a word to them.

"Even now, I make mistakes, but learning from them is very important. For what it's worth. I'm sorry for not making time for you as I should have. I just... I've never actually been a parent before. Sure, I had Spike, but he was more of a little brother to me and errrr." She face-hoofs, knowing she's saying too much. "Let's just say someone else was the one that raised him in my stead."

Celestia blinks. "It was me, wasn't it?"

Twilight ignores the question for the sake of the timeline. "Either way. Uni was right. I can't balance being Queen and your Mom at the same time. So from now on, I'll take every Thursday off to be with you two."

Celestia and Luna both perk up. "REALLY?" they say excitedly. Luna hopped up on her hooves and happily jumped on the bed. She then stops and looks at Celestia and Twilight, confused as to why they're staring at her. She then remembers that she was faking being asleep.

Twilight looks at Luna as the filly quickly acts like she's asleep again, diving down and hiding her head underneath a pillow. "You were faking being asleep for how long?"

Luna blushes a bit. "T-ten minutes. You two were having an important conversation thingy." She mumbles. "But is it true? Are you gonna be with us every Thursday?"

Twilight giggles a little at her filly's antics, saying, "Mhm. Uni will be in charge of making sure my schedule is as free as possible. Of course, I won't be able to do it perfectly, so you two may have to accompany me on my other days while I attend to my duties. We'll run Equestria as a family."

Celestia smiles softly and tears up a bit. "I. I was scared you were gonna banish me or something. I mean, how could you forgive me after everything I did?"

Twilight hums a bit. "Oh, I don't know about that, after all. All I can see is that my daughter is hurt and that the Crystal Empire has been improved with both of my daughters' magic. History doesn't really go back this far after all." She says with a wink. "We will have to have a conversation later about your use of dark magic, and when you get better, we'll have to do something for the ponies of the Empire for you to apologize, BUT for now. Well, I'm just happy you two are okay." The trio then hugs gently, mainly to ensure not to hurt Celestia.

Meanwhile, a few rooms over, Uni is buried in papers. Her head bursts up from them. "I. Am not. A SECRETARY!" She yells out as a paper floats onto her face. With a tug, she pulls it off, reading it. "Oho. Now that. That's an idea."

A few days later, the three Royals are standing behind a lovely little stand at a festival hosted by the newly formed Crystal Empire! Twilight, Celestia, and Luna happily make fruit pancakes for all the civilians. While Celestia hasn't fully healed yet, she's recovered enough to wander around with assistance, either from crutches or somepony else.

The festival is for the renaming of the Radiant Empire. Now and forever to be known as the Crystal Empire! New traditions and ideas constantly flow Amore's way, but that isn't important to the three royals right now. The three instead choose to be sales ponies for the day! Their booth sells crepes and pancakes to the civilians of the Crystal Empire with a smile on their faces.

Luna happily squeaks out. "Mom! Two crepes and one pancake platter! Banana and strawberry for the crepes and Pineapple for the pancakes!" She says as she writes down the pony's order with a pencil in her mouth. While Luna misses using magic, she knows she should give it a break to become fully healthy again! After all, she's never used that much magic in such a short period before!

Twilight nods and gets to work on the pancakes and crepes, Celstia happily plating and adding the fruit and sauces to them afterward. "Order up!" She says happily as she slides the food over with her magic. Their line only gets longer as the day drones on. Celestia happily serves and sheepishly apologizes to the ponies she recognizes, mainly for hurting them and their friends. Luckily, her Mom's food is magical because it always puts someone in a good mood.

Finally, around 8 PM, the booth closes for the night. Mainly so the trio of alicorns can explore and enjoy the last bit of the festival. All the bits they made were going to the town's rebuilding efforts. Luckily the crystals were undamaged, but much furniture, crops, and even parks were entirely destroyed. Twilight said she'd provide whatever the Empire needed to get back on their hooves straight from Equestria's coffers.

So, for now, the trio are sitting on a bench, eating some of the crepes that Twilight saved just for each of them. Luna has a chocolate banana crepe, Celestia enjoys a strawberry cream stack of pancakes, and Twilight happily chows down on an apple and cinnamon crepe. If it weren't for Twilight's size or their status as alicorns, the three would look like any average family.

Luna breaks the silence as she munches on her food. "Unity's idea for holding a festival was brilliant." She says idly, happily munching down, getting whipped cream and chocolate sauce all over her face. Twilight giggled and levitated a napkin over, wiping her face.

"It was a smart idea. Unity apparently found my plans to host a friendship festival in Canterlot and decided to change it for this. She's almost as good at me when planning things on the fly." Twilight says as she looks over to Uni in the distance. The transparent blue unicorn trotting around and chatting with ponies all over, likely spreading the good word of harmony or something like that.

In reality, Uni was having a fun night. After all, even spirits need a break, especially when something doesn't go their way.
After a moment, the fireworks begin. Celestia smiles a little as she watches the colors and explosions happen in the air, saying, "It's so pretty." She says idly as she leans on Twilight's side. Twilight nuzzled her head and pulled Luna close with a wing.

"It sure is my little sunshine. It sure is." Twilight says. If only she knew that this was only the beginning.

The book slams shut with a violent crushing noise. Flipping through the pages with a fast intensity. With a smile, the pony watches as it arrives at the next chapter. Easily answering the question, locking it away. The holograms of the alicorns appear once again.

Twilight smiles at the camera and says. "See? Even Celestia had her ups and downs at times. Sometimes we all forget the lessons our teachers and parents taught us and think that we know better than them. It's especially hard when you don't feel heard by the people you love and care about. Luckily, as I'm sure you know, Celestia is quite the pony now, and I couldn't be more proud of her." Twilight then sighs. "This next chapter isn't my brightest moment, honestly. Included at the end of the book is a set of spells that only should be used when Equestria is in mortal peril. You'll see why after you read this next chapter."

The next chapter's title reveals itself.

-Equality 1 - A New Spell and Harmony for all-

Intermission - Month One

View Online

It's been a whole month since Twilight disappeared.

Equestria is fine at the moment, at least. A little dragon lying in a bed far too large for him sits up. Tirely sitting up, Spike grips a little purple pony plushy he has. Rarity made it for him and… and

"I-I please come home, Twilight. Please." He says quietly into the plushy. Hugging it tightly as he lets out a small tear. He's never been apart from Twilight this long, and just being apart for such a long period hurts his heart.

But what hurts more is that there are ponies and even a certain draconequus who know what's happening and refuse to tell them any details. At first, Spike wasn't sure that they knew. Discord played it off and said she was okay before he skulked off to his dimension and locked himself there for two weeks. That alone told us all that she was probably in trouble.

But that's expected from the self-proclaimed Lord of all Chaos. He never expected Celestia and Luna to do the same.

The mane five were packed up and ready to head to Canterlot. Twilight had been missing for two weeks, and Discord still hadn't returned from searching for her. Their only hint was a half-destroyed time spell and Owlowiscious' incessant hooting. It took a while for Fluttershy to translate, mainly because the bird was so stressed out by whatever happened. After a good five days of calming him down, getting him rest, and staying at Fluttershy's house for safekeeping, Owlowiscious finally told them she was working on some strange and unfinished spell again.

The five mares were quietly waiting on the train as it took them to Canterlot. Spike found the spell and sent it to Celestia with his enchanted fire breath. He was by far the most stressed out of all six creatures there. The air was tense, and the usually happy atmosphere of a trip to Canterlot was missing. Even Pinkie had her 'serious face' on, although that mostly involved her trying to cheer everypony up with small talk.

At first, they thought Twilight had simply locked herself up for a booksortcation. It used to happen all the time, after all. Twilight may be the Princess of Friendship, but even she needs time to rest and relax doing what she loves, and all her friends respect that. After all, they all deal with their stress differently. Even just last week, Fluttershy was missing for a day so she could just lay in a field with bunnies and other critters because the stress of her friend missing was starting to get to her.

Rainbow Dash finally breaks the silence. "You think the Princesses will know what to do?" She says with a nervous, almost worried tone of voice. Without Twilight, things just didn't feel the same to her. Sure, she and Twilight had their differences. After all, Twi was a total egghead. Even then, though, the two cared for one another and tried to help each other whenever needed.

And something was telling Rainbow that her friend needed her. She could feel it deep inside where the element of loyalty rested in her body.

Rarity hugs Spike close to her side. "I'm sure they will, darling. After all, we and Twilight have saved Equestria countless times. I doubt they'll leave her in her time of need." She says, all too unconvincingly. "Twilight would never have left Spikey Wikey alone like this without good reason. I'll bet the spell likely failed or malfunctioned, just like when we all swapped cutie marks."

Applejack rubs her head a bit. "Ah still barely remember that. Even after Twilight told us about it, but this isn't the first time, and ah doubt it'll be the last un. Twi does love try'n out stuff that she finds interestin after all."

After a moment of agreement, spirits get high again. The Friendship Express finally stopped in Canterlot. Unlike Ponyville, which is quiet and gloomy with the disappearance of its Princess, Canterlot seems almost. Cheery. Several public work orders are happening, and the city is being upgraded rapidly daily. The group doesn't even have to go to the castle to run into one of the princesses, as Luna, who usually is asleep at this hour, is writing away at a clipboard in the middle of town.

"No, no, no! The fountain is supposed to be over there, and the statue right here. Then once they're in place, my sister and I will extend the town with the materials and some magic. Okay?" Luna says to Handyhoof, a light blue, hard hat-wearing earth pony. Who nods a little bit.

"We can do that, but we'll need to see what we're working with first, then Princess. So if ya can extend the square before we get to work, that'd make things smoother. Until then, we can work in the park you and your sister already extended." He says as they look over the map. Luna rubbed her chin a bit.

"It's not optimal, but that will work. My sister and I will extend the area once the materials come in." Luna says before nodding to the workpony, who nods back. She then writes something down on her dark blue clipboard with white paper. Turning around and almost colliding with the curious Pinkie Pie.

"Ack!" She says as she's caught off guard by the curious Pink ball of chaos, stumbling backward a tiny amount while accidentally knocking Pinkie down, who simply just bounces off the ground like rubber and hops back up.

"Hi, Princess Luna! We were hoping to talk with you and your sister today!" Pinkie says excitedly as she bounces up and down in front of the Princess. "But uh, what with loud construction noises?" She says curiously as she looks around the rapidly evolving Canterlot. Even the very expensive Unicorn Builder's Guild is here, magically extending and moving much of the city.

Luna blinks before teleporting her clipboard and quills away, "Oh, we're simply preparing for something that should happen in the next few days or so. But we always have time for you girls. Come!" She says with a happy trot in her step. The five followed behind quietly. This was a stressful time for them, but Luna overlooked that. In fact, they haven't ever seen her THIS happy.

Rainbow Dash even mumbles, "Did a changeling replace Princess Luna or something? She's really. Excited?" She says with a curious look as they all head into the palace, which also has been heavily redecorated. The guards are all wearing much more opulent armor that looks ancient and old but still absolutely beautiful. The guards even looked more capable than usual.

But there's no time for gawking. The group wanders into the throne room, where Celestia and Discord are at the end of a very heated discussion.

"And you were keeping this from me till now. WHY?!" Discord yells out with an angry voice. Celestia sighed a little bit, took a deep breath, and waited for Discord's angry tirade to finish. She knew that the draconequus wouldn't do anything now. Especially after his foray into the past recently. After all, now that he knows, not only is Fluttershy holding him back, but also a tall, purple threat hanging behind Celestia at all times. The thought of it makes her giggle a little, she won't lie, and the smug look on her face absolutely shows it.

The draconequus showed up a few minutes before the last train into Canterlot, which carried Twilight's friends. Celestia had been expecting the group of six to show up at any moment, so she got herself ready with her tiara and waited quietly on her throne for the conversation to come. She didn't expect Discord to appear the moment he finished his investigation.

It was amusing to her, though. Discord turns bright red in the face as he gets increasingly frustrated. "You KNOW how much your mother and I fought. Not only that but how many TIMES we fought!"

Celestia snorts. "Fight is a strong word for an altercation that lasted about twenty minutes the last time you showed up." She says simply. Holding a smile on her face, not noticing the doors behind Discord open. She's just enjoying his tantrum far too much. Although, considering the time he came from. Agh. It's all so fuzzy when she thinks about that time period. What happened again? Luna got hurt by something. At least, that's what she thinks. It's like trying to find one rock in a stream filled with other stones and dirt. The memory just wasn't coming to her.

"Do you not think it pertinent information that not only am I friends with the second biggest enemy of my existence because of YOUR trickery, but that very same pony is your student and the Eternal Queen of Equestria!? The very one that passed the law that said you and your sister would rule together, the very same pony that disappeared after her thousands of years reigning?!" He says furiously. Celestia giggles a little in response.

"Discord, she was only back there for fortyish years, give or take a few. Besides, Mother was very clear about not telling you. Said it would be a surprise for you." Celestia says with an amused grin, remembering that day when Discord turned Twilight's mane into candy and his third launching into the far reaches of space by her horn. "Besides, it's not going to stop you from playing pranks or ruin your relationship with Fluttersh-" She finally notices the ponies behind Discord, her eyes going wide as she looks at him. "Discord, wa-"

Discord "Alicorn. Years." He says simply

Celestia sputters a bit. "What?"

Discord finishes before vanishing. "Alicorn years. Forty ALICORN years!" He glares before snapping his fingers and disappearing in a puff of little Fluttershy yays. A door slamming shut somewhere else in the universe.

There was only dead silence from both Princesses, the air getting heavy. Celestia finally breaks the silence with one phrase. One she hasn't said in quite a long time. "Oh, buck me."

Equality 1 - A New Spell and Harmony for All

View Online

It's been a few alicorn years since the… incident at the Crystal Empire. In the meantime, Equestria has gone through a few troubles, the only ones being a short scuffle with the Dragon Empire and a new treaty with the Griffons that took ten years to get right. About… two generations of ponies have passed already, and to say the least, Twilight now realizes the fundamental differences between Alicorns and Normal ponies. Longevity and a slower aging process are just the obvious ones, but there's so much more.

The Eternal Queen sighs as she writes in a small journal, noting all the little things she's observed throughout the last few years. Mumbling to herself while no one is around in the earliest hours of the day. "Note that Full blooded alicorns like Celestia and Luna actually mature physically and mentally on Alicorn time, while introduced Alicorns like myself only begin to mature at the same rate as a full-blooded alicorn after the first A-Year has passed. Other ponies seem to have increased longevity based on their exposure to Alicorn magic and their continued proximity to Full blooded alicorns." Twilight says out loud as she writes in her book.

She then continues. "Unfortunately, this does mean the first alicorn year we, erm, I went through was about as lengthy as you'd expect. I do miss the friends I made when I first came here, but I can take solace in the fact that we were friends for many, many years. As expected, science and magical studies have improved and pushed us into a new era. We are finally getting something akin to trains and vehicles for ponies. However, I am cautious since the great calamity was only known to be triggered once our technology hit a certain level." The lavender pony then taps her pen to her chin. 'Pens really are more convenient than quills. Shame that they don't have them in the future... Maybe I can learn how to make a few and take it forward.'

After a moment of contemplation, she continues to write, idly flicking her wing and casually knocking out the fifth assassin this week with one swift, pegasus-powered blow. This one was another dragon. 'How sad…' she thinks to herself. Sighing a little bit to herself. At this point, people just came after her life as the ultimate challenge. Still, after surviving three wars and several assassination attempts throughout the last few years, she's effectively the best of the best when it comes to fighting… although it didn't come without a cost. "Celestia still continues skipping magic lessons to go out with her friends. I'd scold her on it, but she's heard it enough times that she's stopped going to plays without at least doing some supplementary studies. She's old enough to make her own mistakes now, so I can't hold her hoof. I can just be there for her when she stumbles and help her get back up. As for Luna, she's finally a proper teenager, even if she has lived longer than anypony alive, aside from me and her sister. The alicorn aging process is very fascinating, and hopefully, I'll have some time to be able to explore it later. Either way, Luna is actually quite the happy girl, a pretty big difference from modern times… I think." Twilight sighs a little bit. "I actually can't really remember the time period I actually come from anymore. Not too well, at least. Days and Hours feel like nothing now, but before what I dub the 'alicornification' process completed, the last few generations worth of standard years were slow."

Twilight looks over to her desk, a memory crystal lying on the side, which she picks up with a gentle cast of her horn. Completely transparent magic envelops the crystal and the ivory horn on her head. Twilight's magic has gotten to the point where she no longer needs proper, written spells in most cases. She can now simply just will the magic to do the result she wishes, something she learned from her now countless years of practice with her horn. Of course, this raw power doesn't come without its downsides. While she may be able to weave whatever spells she likes, her ability to control traditional magic spells has waned significantly. This resulted in much of her older, weaker, yet fun and helpful magic being inaccessible, such as her old teleportation spell, or even just a fun spell like making a specific book fly to her. Granted, she can copy the effects with her new casting methods, but as she learned when relearning teleportation, that is easier said than done.

The purple alicorn looks into the crystal and sees an image of six ponies and a dragon smiling together. She can recognize one pony, being her old self, but the others just don't ring a bell anymore. Even without her memories of them, though, just seeing the picture pulls on her heart, a gentle pang, a want to see them again. She's long forgotten why she kept the crystal there, but no force in Equestria would get her to move it from her desk. Just seeing the picture of herself and what she can only assume were her friends, well, it fills her with hope. Not just any hope either, but a particular hope, a hope in the knowledge that once this is all done, she'll have a home to return to. Even then, though, the fading of her old memories does nothing to stem the pain her heart feels about them and for them… especially for her little brother.

How did she end up with a dragon little brother? Twilight doesn't even remember that story too well. Luckily, Celestia and Luna have told her the tale plenty, with varying degrees of correctness. Once they realized that Twilight had fully 'experienced' their first alicorn year together, the duo was glad to share all the stories their mother had told them when they were fillies. It became a fairly common thing to see, Twilight asking Celestia and Luna about the stories she used to recount to them when they were younger. Some of the stories definitely sounded like they broke some sort of timeline rule. Still, in reality, Twilight had long realized that any changes to the past can't have an effect on the future because once you change something, everything course corrects to the right point in time. Even if it simply is by removing the traveler before significant events happen or having the traveler fix their own changes. The only pony that would be affected by this is herself and anyone directly affected by the changes upon herself, meaning mainly Celestia and Luna.

"Mngh," Twilight says as she closes her journal. Standing up and stretching a little bit before glowing brightly with magic. The sun and moon obey her as she shifts the time of day from early morning to a much more gentle and sunny morning. The pegasi scheduled a sunshower today, so Twilight begins her morning rounds with a soft step and dragging the would-be assassin behind her. After all, today is the unveiling of the new peacekeeping spell that she and Uni made together, and she can't be late.

Breakfast was bland. Although, that's what happens when all you have time to eat is oats and a cookie. Twilight quietly walked to the reformatory after seeing if any of her daughters wanted to come with her to the unveiling (neither did, they both had plans for the day.) While she never really enjoyed the reformatory's existence, for some reason she can't really remember, it has been invaluable in teaching ponies and creatures better ways than crime. It's also much more preferable than execution or turning them to stone.

As she enters and has a guard process the dragon, she meets Unity in her warden's office. The pair would chat for a few minutes, mostly small talk and how Unity was doing with her family. The Spirit pony may be cold and calculating at work, but she managed to net herself a Stallion a few years back and has been there for all her descendants as a wise yet intense ancestor they can call on. Either way, the pair would go to the cell blocks where only the worst of the worst ponies are held. Getting everything ready.

Two hours later, Twilight and Unity stand together in front of the high-security prisoners. Unity speaking first. "Alright, you ingrates. We're here because you're the worst of the worst, ponies who don't want to learn the way of harmony and don't even make an attempt to put your talents to good use. It took a while, but we finally devised something special for you all."

Twilight then speaks, her voice loud and booming so all the ponies can hear. "We have developed a spell that will help you all realize what you have done and what is at risk for you. The spell will only be undone once you all stop being malefactors that could and will be a problem for Equestria. Till then, though, you all will suffer the same fate." She says dryly. Her heart had long forgotten the idea that all ponies have some good in them. After all, many of the ponies in this room have attacked her directly in some manner, or her guards trying to get to her. It is tough to forgive someone who wanted to hurt you in such a manner. After all, the nobility really does not like Twilight.

The guards quickly restrain the ponies with magic. Twilight closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her horn begins to gently shimmer as it glows with her old magic aura, although it is much more intense and powerful than it once was. The spell casts on all the prisoners in the room with a bright white flash of light, lifting up all the ponies in the air. With a small pluck, all their cutie marks are removed and replaced with a simple equal sign. The idea of it being to make sure the ponies cannot use anything more than their natural abilities. No talents, no skills. They would have to learn as effectively as blank flanks. Although, Twilight herself only fully understood the effect of equal marks once it was far too late.

Many of the prisoners panicked or screamed, but they fell on deaf ears. Twilight and Unity exit the room with poise and return to the warden's office. Before finally, Twilight exhales and lays her head on the desk. "That. Was horrifying. We are never using that spell outside of emergencies, and when its use is vital, got it?" She says to Unity with a glare.

Unity just shrugs. "Eh. It was whatever. I still think we shoulda replaced their marks with a Harmony symbol or something. That way, we could just send them back into the world without worrying about them." She says as she goes over some papers.

Twilight glares. "We aren't brainwashing ponies! We're here to teach them and hold them if they truly can't be reformed. At some point, I'll just banish them from Equestria if necessary." Twilight mumbles to herself in worry. Looking at Unity putting the glowing marks away into a small vault.

Unity shrugs. "Relax, we're only doing it to the worst of the worst, as we agreed. It's better to have and not need it rather than need it and not have it." She says with a shrug and giggles. "Now excuse me, Your Magesty~. I have some ponies to teach." Unity grins to herself as she leaves. She always enjoys this next part. After all, all those who oppose harmony are her enemies!

Twilight sighed and headed home for now. Mainly to get the day's work done. News of the new spell leaked out the very next day, with many ponies now fearful of what was to come.

If only they knew.

Twilight would sit down at her desk. Celestia and Luna both sleeping on her bed. The night sky gently shines through a window, peering into the room and letting a gentle, yet cool air flow in. The Lavender alicorn smiles at the sleeping pair. The two had played all day and completely ignored their magic lessons again. She did scold them a little bit for doing so. After all, they need to know their way around magic better than anypony, but Twilight couldn't stay upset with them.

The Eternal Queen would then grab a blank book, gently casting some magic on it. The book would glow gently, with a soft, almost warm light glowing off of it, a title appearing on it. "To My Friends. By Twilight Sparkle."

"To my friends in the future. I hope you get to read this book at some point. I'm writing this book to let you know that I'm doing okay, things always change around here, but I'll be back soon. I can't divulge everything since this book will have to survive. Who knows how long to get to you. But I did include some fun stuff with it." She then grabs a little bag enchanted with a stasis spell on it. "Firstly, some snacks of my era. I have a feeling one of you would love to try some more than anything. Next, some lovely magic thread and sweet zap honey jam. Share the jam with everyone! Next up, some local noble ponies and I are starting something called the Wonderbolts. Dunno, if they'll last till modern time-" Twilight then hesitates a little. Before erasing that last part. 'I don't want them to know that I can barely remember them.'

She then continues. "Next, a Mark I Wonderbolts flight suit! Probably belongs in a museum, but ya know. Something special." She says as she puts the purple and blue flight suit into the bag. "Next, a book on ancient animal diets and feed, and last but not least." Twilight sighs a little. "I'm sending a plushy of myself... I hope it makes the trip. It's not well made, but it's the best I can do." She writes in the book. Her ears flattened down before finally writing.

"I miss you all. Till we meet again.

- Twilight Sparkle"

Equality 2 - Friendship or Eternity

View Online

Harmony and peace. Those two words are the only thing that can describe how Equestria is now. Twilight and Luna find themselves happily strolling down the road, the mother-daughter combo a common sight in the streets now that Twilight and Unity deem it safe to explore freely. Currently, the pair are enjoying a lovely snack of ice cream in a wonderfully air-conditioned building. The Pegasi have a heat wave scheduled for the next two days, so ice cream is perfect for the current climate.

"I wish big sis was here," Luna says in a pouty tone, the teenage alicorn eating her triple scoop blueberry surprise. According to the ice cream shop owner, the surprise is that they ran out of blueberries? Kinda a silly thing to call a surprise, but a bit familiar in a sad way too. That doesn't matter, though. Twilight at least has an hour or two to spend with Luna before work begins.

"Celestia is helping out in the griffon kingdom. Tensions are high now that a new king is in charge. She'll be back in a few days, Luna. Your sister is even better than me when it comes to negotiations." Twilight giggles a little bit. She is enjoying a strawberry sundae with extra oats on top, a recent favorite, as many of her old favorites just don't taste that good anymore.

"Ya know, Mom, you used to be pretty good at negotiating yourself. It's still weird not seeing you handle it yourself, handing it over to Celestia so readily." Luna says with a note of her delicious ice cream. While she may be trying to have a serious conversation, to her, it's still the best thing ever to have a lovely ice cream with her mom and not have to do her magic studies for the day! Mom's magic lessons are hard as heck, after all. "Still means we can stick together!" Luna says with a happy hoof pump, causing her to hit her ice cream bowl, launching it in the air. A little gasp and a 'Noooo!' escape from Luna before suddenly the bowl is right back in front of her, Ice cream and all!

Twilight would let out a tiny giggle before saying, "Be more careful, sweetie~. We don't wanna create a mess for Mrs. Creme." She nods as she wipes Luna's face with a napkin Twilight avoids the previous statement. This does cause the blue alicorn to waggle her hoof to stop the napkin! She almost manages it before suddenly her face is clean.

Luna huffs, "Hey! No fair! Time magic is illegal!" She huffs a bit and pouts at her mother. Twilight cheekily smiled her fake smile while putting the napkin down.

"Ah ah~. Mommy spent many years studying said magic so she could use it~. Mommy will use it if nee-."

Twilight doesn't get to finish her sentence, though, as something just feels… wrong. "What is THAT?" she says as she stands up and peers out of the building seeing buildings beginning to float and ponies sliding by on the road. Twilight takes a single step forward before she almost slips herself. "Woah?! Soapy roads?!" She says as she catches herself with a flap of her wings, beginning to hover in the air. Something about this all feels really familiar. Like really familiar. She just can't… remember. A tiny spark of hope fills her chest as a smile creeps on her face. Even though she doesn't know why.

After a moment, she hears a squeak from Luna, the smaller alicorn sliding on the soapy road and nearly passing Twilight by at high speeds. "Mommm! Help!" she shouts as she almost hits a wall. Only to be stopped by Twilight's wing catching her. It's utter chaos out there. Buildings that are floating are spinning like gravity just isn't working. Of course, ponies are beginning to get quite scared and freaking out! This is just intense deja vu for Twilight, but there isn't much time for her to think about that now. In this case, she has to think fast on her hooves, er, well, wings.

“Not that… not that… THERE!" She quickly glows her horn, flashing a powerful spell that spikes outwards. All the scared ponies suddenly flash before they appear safely on top of and inside of houses. Luna lets out a little 'Woah' when she sees her momma's magic work so well. She knew her mom studied magic almost every waking moment of the day. After the last set of friends passed, she was never the same.

"Phew… that was close," Twilight says with a mumble before looking at Luna.

"Luna, make sure everyone is okay. I'll handle this." She says with a glare. Twilight had remembered. Vaguely. There was something she did a long time ago with her friends. Meaning… "AHGN Whatever! Nothing punching the problem can't fix!" Twilight rushes towards the city center with a crash, landing hard onto the road and breaking the soap on the top while caving it so she can stand safely on the land underneath.

"DISCORD! I know you're there!" She says, yelling loudly, her royal voice booming across the entire town, the very earth shaking and her body glowing as a bubble of pure harmony encases the area, restoring it to normal.

This, of course, does not go unnoticed, as a deja vu-inducing voice rings out around Twilight.

"Oooh~? Now who is this? I heard Celestia was gone and expected an easy time playing with ponies, but this is unexpected~." Discord says with a smile as he flies around the engraving on the fountain. Twilight glares at him as he moves about like a snake through the water.

"I've heard a lot about you, Discord. I'll give you one chance to fix Canterlot before I send you to next Tuesday. Literally." She says as the glare intensifies. She will defend her ponies to the last breath if needed, and as for sending him to next Tuesday. Well, she can do that literally and figuratively now!

"I won't have you messing with my ponies!" As she says that, Discord quickly appears behind her with a flash of light, a small burst of chickens appearing with him as they all panic and run around the entire town square. Loud clucks and coos rang out.

'Good thing Celestia ISN'T here.' Twilight thinks to herself.

"Oooh? You've heard of me? By who? Was it the Queen? Maybe the King? Hmmm. No. Far too obvious." He says as he rubs his chin before he perks up. "Wait a minute. Undetectable by me, incredibly strong, chaos magic not working on you directly." He says as he snaps his fingers at Twilight. "That means… My sister," he says with a blink of realization, which begins to turn into a small, unbridled rage.

Twilight stands tall, unfazed by Discord in the slightest. She remembers now her memory journal had a lot about this creature. "Discord, a draconequis, self-proclaimed master of all chaos and spirit of chaos. That sums things up well?" She says with a cocky smirk. Twilight may not remember how Discord was in the future. But her past self was smart enough to write down how strong the creature was.

And how to beat him.

Discord is far too busy flying around to find his sister, wherever she may be hiding. Suddenly he turns around and quickly flies up to Twilight, getting face-to-face with her. "Where. Is. She?" He says with a reasonably intense glare, Twilight meeting it with her own, resulting in a long-standing staring contest.

'Is he asking about his sister? Of course, he's probably worried about her.' Twilight quickly thinks.

"She's on a trip with her family, and probably won't be back for a few weeks." She simply says. Ever since the creation of the Equality spell, the crime rate has basically been reduced to zero! So the reformatorium closed down about one or two standard years back.

"As for where, well, that is classified information." She says with a shrug. Twilight has no intention of letting Discord roam free, so the less information he has, the better.

Twilight then takes half a step back, bumping into Discord, who suddenly appeared behind her. "Oh, I am sure it is, but I have zero intention of leaving until I find her. My sister is not only the most dangerous spirit out of us all but also probably the most insane." He says as he wraps an arm around Twilight's neck. The pair also stands at about equal height, with Twilight being ever so slightly taller than Discord! This allows them to glare at each other equally without straining to look the other in the eyes.

"So you won't tell me where my sister is? Hmmm? Well, that's alright. Now that her seal has broken and I can enter this realm, I'll just have to spruce up the place. That always makes her come running! Oooh, how about clouds that rain chocolate chip cookies instead of water?" Discord says with a smile as he tries to snap his fingers. Suddenly he finds himself cratered into a nearby mountain, with a bright flash of purple being the only hint of what happened. It was instantaneous.

"Ow! Wait!? That actually hurt?!" Discord yells out suddenly as he pulls himself out of the mountain. That shouldn't be possible! No matter how powerful a PONY could get, they shouldn't be able to actually DAMAGE him. Sure, banish him, maybe even break his corporeal form or seal him away, but actually DAMAGING him? "That should be impossible!"

Suddenly another Discord appears. "Ah yes, Twilight Sparkle, she's much more powerful here than she is in the show. By quite a bit." He waffles. "Good luck other me. I'm totally rooting for you!" He says as he sits back with a little flag with Discord's face on it as he eats some popcorn.

Before he can retort, Discord has to quickly snap his fingers to dispel one of Twilight's magical blasts, turning it into butterflies made of actual butter. The butterflies then promptly fly off in random directions.

Unfortunately, Twilight expected that, as she crashed into Discord and launched him straight towards the small earthpony village outside of Canterlot. It doesn't have a name yet and is pretty open, so it's a perfect place for something like this! Twilight sends Discord right into the earth below with a quick maneuver of pulling back, stopping time, and slamming down on his frozen body! She then lands nearby with a dynamic superhero landing.

But this time, it didn't hurt? Twilight instinctually held back. The first punch was simply because she didn't realize that Discord was that fragile. Her sparring matches with Uni always ended with Twilight on the floor knocked out or Uni calling the fight when she got hit once. She didn't expect Discord, whom Uni always claimed was even stronger than her, to be that soft.

Twilight clears her throat. "Discord, I don't want to fight you. In fact, I'd prefer if you and Uni worked out your differences and figured things out. You're family, family might fight, but it shouldn't last forever." She says with a sigh. "Come on? Maybe if you two just talk it out?"

Discord gets up from the ground and dusts himself off, with Twilight helping with a simple weave of her magic. Her main objective, namely to remove Discord from Canterlot, worked well! Hurting him wasn't in the plan, but the fact that she could does helps in the long run.

Discord glares at Twilight. "As much as that sounds lovely, your highness. I'll have to pass. My sister is the most low-down, disgusting, and vile creature in the multiverse. You'd do well to also avoid her as much as you can before it's too late." He says with a glare. "As for me, well, I have to do my job. I do not intend to lose to a pony, and Equestria seems perfect to begin an Empire of Chaos like the old days with me and Grogar." He sighs happily. "Now those were the days, he was a visionary, you know. Monsters everywhere, ponies in terror, complete and utter chaos~." Discord says with a happy smile, remembering days long past.

Twilight, on the other hoof, was not quite in the same place as Discord. For some reason, her thoughts were only getting more jumbled. Her patience was already running relatively thin, her heart racing and thumping loudly in her ears. Quickly trying to calm herself, she says, "Discord, your sister is like family to me. I do not want to hurt you or her. Or anything of the sort." She says firmly as she creates a little table out of stone.

"So, can we please come to an amicable solution? Something we can both like? If you want, we can even find you someplace where you can spread chaos and really have fun! You could even let loose from time to time. Just. Don't threaten my subjects." She says firmly… why is she being so nice to Discord? Why does she want to come to amicable terms so badly?! Then it hits her.

'He was my friend.' Yes, it took her this long to remember, but Discord, yes, this very Discord, was her friend in the future. Sure, he was a bit difficult. Sometimes you could even say he was wrong. Such as when he helped Tirek or the first time they met before his reformation. But that little spark of hope truly burned brighter now.

"Please, Discord." She says with a sigh. "I'm asking you as someone who will greatly impact your life in the future. Just. Stop before we ruin everything we will have." She says with a nervous rub of her arm. If she could just have that one little bit. That tiniest feeling of home that she's getting from Discord. The slightest hope that she might be able to hold onto who she was.

Well, it'd be worth it.

"No," Discord says simply.

The glass cracks

Ah. Of course not. It's never that easy. Discord is saying something else, sure, likely explaining why. They are likely talking about something completely irrelevant, like the old days. Old days. That's what they are. That's what they always will be. If she's changed so much that she can't even convince a single draconequis to stop. One that she knows more about than she cares to admit. One that she specifically wrote entire journals about just so she can remember him. What was even the point? Would she even be able to stay the Princess of Friendship when she goes home? Is she even still the Princess of Friendship now?!

The glass crunches as something steps over it.

Something broke. What broke? Why is she even worried about it?

Who broke it? What broke it? Why is it so hard to? Think about this? What is wrong with her?

Discord. Discord broke it. It's broken. Everything is gone. There isn't anything for her left. This was it. She knew she was going to run into Discord. She remembers she wanted to make friends with him. She wanted to be there with him. He was the only one who could connect her with her friends. She was even going to ask him to send the journal forward if she was successful.

More glass cracks. Shards fall everywhere. The small alicorn holds her head.

Had she failed? Was she this much of a failure? Why? Why did all this have to happen? This was supposed to just be a short trip. An hour tops. Why didn't she listen to Owlowiscious?! Why is she remembering everything now?! Even with all her studies into time magic, there's no way to undo the spell she's already under. There's no way to go home earlier. Her friends. Everyone. How long has she even been gone?!

Surge after surge of memory flows through her mind, like a tempest of thoughts that has no sign of stopping. But none of them were happy. They all reminded her of the life she lost, the friends, the family. At this rate, she may only see her brothers again once she's thousands of standard years old. Will he even recognize her? Will any of them? Will they even accept her back?

The glass cracks further, littering the floor around Twilight. The crunching gets louder as something approaches the small alicorn from behind.

'No. They won't,' Says a voice deep inside Twilight's head. Causing her eyes to widen.

'You are nothing like you used to be. You're stronger, better, and capable; you're running all of Equestria with an iron hoof. Ponies both fear, love, and respect you. Those who need to fear you, fear you. Those that are innocent love you for what you've brought. And those that need to respect you do so! You are not a Princess.' The voice says, sounding soothing, familiar, and tempting. Quiet and soft like a precious blanket.

The glass shatters, with nothing remaining between the small alicorn and the tall one.

All the weight, all the pressure. All those years of seeing her friends she made in this time period die of old age pass on without a thought, leaving her behind. All that hope that she could make one permanent friend that reminded her of her old life, all that hope.

Gone. In an instant. In its place was nothing but the void.

A void the voice was all too willing to replace.

'You are no Princess. You are a Queen.'

'Rise. Queen Twilight Sparkle.' Says the voice, fully revealing itself as a Mirror, reflecting back Queen Twilight's form.

And with that, the Princess of Friendship vanished.

Discord had been ranting nonstop for the last minute. Before Twilight finally breaks the silence.

"Shut up." She says.

Discord blinks. "I beg your pardon?"

"I. Said. SHUT UP!" And with that, a massive burst of magic flows out, a deep, purple flame firing up into the sky, draping the blue-colored surface in a deep purple. Stars appear all over the sky as the sun and moon join the glimmering lights above.

"I. Only wanted one thing. One thing in this life. One singular thing. It was my hope. It was my hope." She says with a stutter in her voice. A final tear dripped down her face.

"But when do I ever get what I want? When do I ever deserve to have a quiet night with a book? A day without a friendship lesson to teach or learn? OR even just some time to be a normal mare and go out to a club, EVEN JUST A BOOK CLUB?!" With each step forward, another memory in her mind breaks. Cracking and shattering noises rang out, but only she could hear them. Every step forward left scorches of flame on the ground that not only ate away at the grass but the very time the grass had remaining.

"Or maybe I just wanted to make my teacher proud? But NO, the universe had to say, 'Oh, let's strand her in the past where she has to take care of two foals, an entire country, and deal with EVERY SINGLE MAJOR THREAT IN EQUESTRIAN HISTORY!" She yells out.

"Well, no more. If the universe wants the Princess of Friendship to solve all its problems. Then too bucking bad." She says furiously

The flames wreath down around Twilight, the sky turning a dark purple as the tall, powerful purple alicorn is entirely wreathed in pure magic. Ethereal clocks, stars, flames, ice, wind, water, and earth floating around her. Her cutie mark changed as each individual star now shares space with a sun or a moon. While the central star is almost entirely cracked down the center.


Eternal 3 - Broken and Cursed

View Online

Discord was on the back hoof. So much so that he didn't even have time to edit the writing of this story in his favor. Not that he even could, with his opponent being so overwhelmingly more powerful than him. His movements weren't getting sloppy or tired, but the barrage of magic, physical attacks, and even tricky moves of the magic meant he was utterly stuck on the defensive.

"No pony should be this powerful! What ARE YOU?!" Discord growls out as he continues to flick away and transform the blasts of magic coming from the angry alicorn. With one quick swipe of his hand, several flying pigs with lances and dizzy eyes start sporadically flying around in a panic.

This, however, does nothing as Twilight suddenly appears behind him. "Gotcha," Twilight says. There is no fanfare behind her voice. In fact, it just sounds cold. A chill runs up Discord's ears as he braces himself for what's to come, as a tide of purple, fiery magic blasts him violently through the air. Twilight simply just watching as the 'Lord of Chaos' is launched far away. She knew that Blast was far too weak to eliminate him entirely. Discord should be pretty hurt, but that isn't why she isn't chasing.

She wanted to destroy him, not hurt him.

"I'm still instinctively holding back. Hmph." She says as the flames die out, leaving nothing but magical clocks and sparkles floating around her. "I can't keep doing that to escape this cycle. I refuse to keep playing my part in this dumb story made for children. When Uni comes back, we're going to finish this. One big cast of the Equality spell across Equis should remove all the disharmony from Equestria. After that, I can focus on other nations and really show them that just because we're nice doesn't mean you can push us around."

Twilight giggles to herself. "Hope you got all that. Now if you don't mind." She says to the air in front of her. Her eyes glared into hundreds of souls. "I don't like being watched."

The fight was over in an instant, at least from Luna's perspective. It was full of colorful lights, magic spells, and explosions that wrecked the countryside.

Luna was not exactly happy about this at all. She's seen her mother tired, disappointed, and mad sure. After all, you can only take so much from nobles and their lies before you get frustrated.

This was different, though. Twilight's magic had no regard for safety or even just incapacitation of its target. The wild beams crashed around the countryside, leaving craters and small pockets of frozen time all over the place, not something that is easily fixed. Canterlot survived most of the blasts, although the walls will need some tending to once the enchantment wears off. The little towns littering the exterior, though, well.

Luna lands in a small village just outside of what would be the Everfree Forest in the future. The buildings were crumbled, ponies frozen in time or in various states of flux. One building, in particular, is constantly making and unmaking itself. It's almost like Twilight had a vendetta against this town in particular. Luna herself has visited this town several times, hundreds even! Mostly with her mother to see her friends. That all stopped a while back, though.

-A few alicorn years ago-

The Alicorn trio wandered through the small village to get some pears and apples from the local farms. Sure, they could get the maids or castle staff to do it, but it was more fun this way. Luna happily skipped along the dirt road while Celestia and Twilight talked about things that go way over the blue alicorn's head.

"Once we get some apples, we can make some candied apples and popcorn and watch a play!" Luna says with a happy skip as she rushes ahead. She was in charge of the money this time, so she's happily loaded up with her saddlebags, trotting along with a smile. Meanwhile, Twilight would rub her head slightly, wincing slightly and sighing.

"Remember, Luna, only apples and pears today. Don't go buying sweets randomly. I'll be talking with my friend at Sweets Central." Twilight says with a smile as she trots to the sweet shop.

That was the last time she saw her mother smile in earnest. When they met up later, she just seemed tired. Tired and sad. Luna and Celestia were obviously worried, but Twilight wouldn't say anything about what had happened.

Since then, Twilight has spent most of her time cooped up at the castle. After that, Celestia was put in charge of pretty much all the foreign policies and meetings. Twilight said that Celestia could handle it better anyways.

In reality, that was the last time Twilight saw her friend, having met them right at their end. She had lost so many throughout the last few years. From her perspective, everything was so quick, ponies coming and going in a blink of an eye. It was becoming impossible to keep up with everyone, especially with how accelerated an alicorn's perception of time is. This wasn't the first time either, sure ponies seem to live significantly longer in this era since this was only the third generation that passed on, but that doesn't make things any easier.

Twilight was tired. The Queen hardly got to spend any time with her friends because of work. She barely had time to even do anything she enjoyed anymore. Equestria was just plain old getting too big for her, not to mention she wasn't exactly a leader back at home yet, either.

Ah, that too. Studying time magic led her to find a spell that let her see into other routes, other timelines of her life. She's seen what should have happened. The spell would have just failed normally, left her in place, and she was off to another adventure the next day with her friends and family. Course, this didn't happen in her reality. Instead, the spell kicked off and dropped her here. It's like the universe had it out for her since the start.

Why was it always her and her friends fixing everything? Sure, she understood that eventually Celestia, at least in a different timeline, intended her to take over Equestria. That doesn't really explain why she almost constantly left the fate of her entire kingdom in the hooves of six normal ponies. Aside from the situations when they were captured, which would never have happened in her current timeline, Celestia and Luna seemed to leave everything to them almost the entire time.

There had to be something out in the cosmos that was doing this to her across all those different timelines. There had to be a reason why she wasn't allowed to live in peace without all these problems that came from being an alicorn or a ruler. Was it just her 'destiny' to be a hero at this point? Did she or any of her friends even ask for that?

Worst of all, the bonds she made and all her friends left behind would eventually become pain.

Because Immortality is a cursed thing. So Twilight searched for a spell, and when she didn't find one, she decided to make one herself.


And that was that. Twilight spent most of her time studying magic, having figured out how to control time not long afterward. No one dares to mention how unhealthy it was for her to spend over twenty hours a day studying since she is the Queen.

Luna shakes her head, trying to poke at the magic surrounding the town with her own. However, this is not the best idea, as she quickly gets knocked back by the sheer amount of power radiating from the spells on each of the ponies. Luna knew she could not fix this, even with her sister's help. Her mom was just, frankly, too powerful at this point.

"This is gonna be a problem," Luna mumbles as she flaps her wings to fly up, something she usually doesn't do. The blue alicorn flew to the castle as quickly as she could. This was no time to be a kid, after all.

Equestria was in danger if her mother was this upset.

A short while later, Luna meets up with Celestia outside the castle. Luna called in backup because she didn't know what she was dealing with here.

With a quiet yet worried step, the pair walk into the castle.

The air in the castle was stale, with the guards wandering the halls and doing their duties. It was almost like everything was frozen to the pair. There was no laughing from them or their mother's friends wandering around the castle. The guards are even wearing their more efficient battle armor, and all the curtains around the windows are drawn shut.

Luna quickly shifts behind Celestia, who puts a wing over her little sister. "I don't think Mom is corrupted by dark magic like I was. This place would be empty if that was the case." Celestia says, wiping the sweat off her face. She had just flown at top speed to return to Canterlot from the Griffon Kingdom, so she was rightly exhausted.

The pair take a moment to ask the guards where Twilight is. He shakes his head but still points them toward her study, where the team starts running as quickly as they can.

The door is large, with runes glowing gently all over the surface. Celestia and Luna stare as they try to decipher the spell, locking them out of the study. Celestia finally huffed and knocked on the door violently. "MOM! Are you alright?!" She says with a worried tone in her voice.

Apparently, that was enough! The doors push open as Twilight reveals herself from inside. A soft gaze comes from her eyes as she hugs the pair. "Sorry, sweeties, Mommy was wrapped up in something." She says as she closes the door. Taking a deep breath and giggling.

Celestia opens her mouth to try and say something, but Twilight cuts her off. "I don't really have time to play with you two or do anything today, though. I'm working on something for when Uni returns. So you two can do what you like. Celestia, I hope the talks with the griffons went well?"

Celestia blinks. "Uh yea, they went fine, but uh m-" She gets cut off again. A little bit of frustration escaped her with a snort.

"That's wonderful. They won't expect us when we declare war later then." Twilight says with a completely neutral and very fake smile. "You've done great, Celestia. enjoy your day." She says before she shuts the door in their faces, the slamming motion barely missing a small piece of paper floating out due to a draft in the study.

Celestia and Luna both blink in a confused manner before the pair fall into a sitting position. For anyone else in all of Equestria, that would have looked like a normal, overworked mother telling her kids to go play outside while she finishes her daily duties.

For Celestia, however, that entire experience was a threat. 'Don't get involved, you two.' was the underlying message. Celestia is completely frozen in place, shuddering a little bit. She couldn't even imagine what might have happened if she had spoken out of turn. To say the least, Celestia felt afraid for the first time in a long time.

Luna, on the other hoof, was a bit more. Subdued. She's never seen her mother angry. After all, she was more of the perfect child when compared to her sister. So this was all new to her. In fact, the only reason she sat down was because she was still hiding behind Celestia.

"Wow. Mom was kinda rude there. We didn't even get to ask her to fix the little town." She says with a mumble as she picks up the paper.

Reading what's on it does give Luna some pause, though. "Oh. Uh. maybe we should be worried, sis." Luna says as she holds the paper over to Celestia, who takes the sheet in her own magic aura and reads it.

"Worldwide Harmony Project:

Step 1: Remove all cutiemarks that have any dangerous or violent means associated with them. Replace marks with equality symbols for three days.

Step 2: Rewrite cutiemarks into something more suited for peace and harmony. Return marks to their owners

Step 3: Enact plans for the fall of the Dragon and Griffon Empires. The Crystal Empire will handle itself when Sombra shows up.

Step 4: Equestria and the world will be like it will be in the future, and I can finally rest.

Step A1: Find changeling hives? They haven't been around at all since I've come to the past.

Step A2: Find Discord and trap him. He's the only one that can really ruin these plans.

Step A3: Have a family dinner again. It's been ages."

Celestia shudders a little bit. "She's gonna use that creepy spell on everypony? But why?" Celestia says as she stands back up. The pair quickly retreated from the front of the study as they heard Twilight searching around the room. More than likely searching for that specific paper.

Luna mumbles, "I dunno, but Mom has been acting really weird this past year or so." She mumbles a bit. "She's gotten forgetful, and she's constantly just studying her magic. She won't even come outside to watch me and my friends play like she used to. Mrs. Evergreen has had to be the chaperone for the last few normal years." Celestia and Luna manage to get out of the castle. With a quick flap of their wings, they start flying to a nearby mountain.

At the top of the mountain is a small tree, but the tree isn't important. On the tree is a small wooden treehouse, built reasonably well by the two sisters shortly after their battle years ago in the Crystal Empire. The pair made it to have a little place they could bond and make sure that never happens again.

In her study, Twilight just quietly scoffs.

The pair of alicorns gently walk into the tree house. It wasn't exactly built for their new sizes, but it would do. Putting the paper on a corkboard on the wall, the duo sit down and sigh in relief. Luna broke the silence first. "So… what do we do sis?"

Celestia shakes her head. "I dunno. We can't exactly fight Mom directly. Something IS going on, but I genuinely don't know what."

Luna blinks a little bit and giggles as she looks at Celestia. "Wellll. Mom still sleeps at night. I'm up all night. Sooo."

Celestia looks at Luna with a glare. "No."

Luna smiles. "Yes~. It's time for Detective Luna and her lackey Officer Celestia!" She says brightly as the pair are suddenly in a detective outfit and police officer outfit, respectively!

Celestia grimaces. "Luna, this isn't time to play!" She says with a slightly annoyed voice. Luna, however, just smiles.

"Who said I was playing? You have that unlock spell you've been using to sneak out at night!" She smiles at Celestia

"And you do what exactly?" Celestia says with a raised eyebrow.

Luna just deadpans. "I can see in the dark. Comes with the cutiemark. Come on, sis, we have to help Mom. If not, Mom, at least do it for your friends. Cuz we both know that boy you like has a spear master cutiemark." She says cheekily

Celestia sputters, "I do not like him! He's just a really close friend!" She huffs out.

Luna giggles. "Sure~."

With that, the plan was set.

-13 Days Remain until Unity's return-

Eternal 4: Detective Luna and Constable Celestia on the Case!

View Online

Celestia and Luna return before their bedtime. After all, it's easier to snoop around a location if you're already in it. The pair, however, do not sleep. Instead, Celestia and Luna sneak out of their room once Luna detects that Twilight is asleep. Silently, the team woke up in their adjacent rooms. The moonlight peers into each of their rooms, gently illuminating them. Celestia's room is exceptionally pink, with bright colors, a large bed, and several books strewn about the room. Trophies from her little tournament wins in sports adorn the surface of the various shelves in the room, with a singular bookcase sitting in the corner. The bookcase is empty because all the books are part of a book fort in the corner or strewn on the floor haphazardly. With a deep yawn, Celestia stands up from bed and wanders out of the room.

Meanwhile, Luna quickly jolts out of bed. Her room is much more night-themed, with blue lighting and blue all over the room. A small plushie sits on her bed, watching over it for any monsters or evil creatures. Unlike her sister, Luna keeps her room very tidy, spending much of her day inside it. As she stretches, she sees her walls covered by bookshelves, and books adorn every single one. She looks towards her small board, which is dedicated to her friends, and several old and new pictures decorate the corkboard with little threads linking them all together. With a giddy smile, Luna wanders out of the room, the pair meeting up in front of Celestia's door.

A yawn escapes Celestia as the pair meet up. "Mmfn. Alright, Luna, let's finish this so I can sleep." She stretches. "I did fly here from the Griffon Empire, and I'm exhausted." She says tiredly, a little slouch in her neck as she looks at her sister.

Luna smiles. "No worries, we're just going to give a little quick lookie and see if we can't stop Mom ourselves. Even just figuring out what's wrong would be nice." She mumbles. Luna, looking quite downtrodden. Celestia feels heartbroken at this, so she pulls Luna for a close hug.

"We'll always have each other, Luna. We'll fix Mom together." She smiles brightly. Celestia happily holds Luna close while her younger sister shakes off her doldrums. Luna perked up after a hug and nuzzle.

"Alright Sis. Let's do this before Mom wakes up from her nap." She says with a quick trot. The pair walked quickly towards Twilight's study. The duo sneak around the castle, avoiding being seen by the guards and maids as they approach the study. About mid-way through, Celestia pokes Luna while the pair are waiting for a guard patrol to pass.

"Uh. Sis, why are we hiding? We're literally the princesses. We wander around at night all the time. Especially you." Celestia says with a confused blink. Luna then perks up her ears at the comment with a little blush.

"Oh, right. Sorry, I just. Really got into the whole spy thing." She says with a little giggle. The pair walked towards the study. The maids and guards pay them no mind. They act like they aren't even there, like proper guards. The maids look at the pair, but one glance and they know better than to say anything.

The pair make it to the study. With a push of magic, the team opens the large, ornate doors. With a quick look around, the pair see that the entire area is covered with magical paper, glyphs, and prototype spells of all types. Quickly, the duo get to work, looking over the table and through any of the books lying around. While they don't know precisely what they're looking for, the pair know their paper is only the seventh out of thirteen pages.

After a search, though, they conclude that the notes aren't there. All the things they find are on simple spells that Twilight has been working on for ages now. Teleportation, better levitation spells, and other spells she brought back from the future. Still, they keep looking, and after a little while, each of them finds something.

Celestia finds a small notebook wedged between two books on the shelves. With a curious tilt of her head, she flicks through the pages.

She reads only two before closing the book quickly. The Alicorn is mildly shaken before she opens it again. With a sigh, Celestia reads it through for any hints within the pages.

-Section 8-

Magical analysis of Starswirl's spell. While on the surface level, the spell is straightforward, especially for me now. It has some irregularities that have been strangely placed throughout the magic spell and is different from all other universes that have a similar spell in place. While the spell originally was supposed to fail, I have found that the magic that I cast was Unusually complete. Not by Starswirl either, as his spellwork is, unfortunately, several times less refined than whoever filled in the gap. Whether it was me or someone else is to be figured out. Unfortunately, I won't be able to find out until I return to the futu- I mean. Present. However, I have discovered a few things about the spell and its ongoing effects with this in mind.

Firstly, the spell has a contingency in it. Things will progress as written regardless of the proper flow of time, which means that this spell can break and change time against all laws.

Secondly, the time dilation between this time period and the present extends and is shortened, meaning my return will be unchanged as long as there is more work to be done here.

Thirdly, the time dilation is only one way. This means that if I were to visit my friends in the present, then things would fall apart in the past due to my interference.

Adjustment of the spell would be needed for me to make any further progress.

-Section 16-

Test number 180. I think I found my error in the previous spell's anchor section. Recreating a spell from just a single cast is proving to be complicated. Even after this failure, though, the damage is getting much more minimal although, just like how Unity said. It seems like the backlash is starting to have adverse effects. Although, it's mostly just headaches that are fixed with bed rest.

-Section 121-

Test number 1223. Failure. The spell didn't sustain a proper balance between present and past. Adjust the linking section by .8.

Ambrosia's descendant invited me to dinner. So I'll finish up tomorrow.

-Section 122-

Test number 3400. Failure.

Why is life so short?

-Section 123-

No test today. I have… somewhere to be.

-Section 124-

Test number 4000.

There's no point, even with thousands of years.

I'm never going to see my friends again before this era changes me entirely. Today is my last test after this. I think I'll take Luna out for some ice cream. It's time I live for myself. Suppose friendship causes this much pain. Then what's the point?

At least this way, I can enjoy the time I have with my daughters. Maybe I'll run into Discord at some point. He's not much of a threat to me anymore, so perhaps… maybe I have a chance there.

I miss remembering their faces. But, well. Who can remember someone they haven't seen for thousands of years?

-Section 124A-

Test failed.

Celestia closes the notebook quickly. Twilight was trying to find a way home. All this time, she felt so alone. At the same time, Luna and herself were already adjusted to how Alicorn years were and how normal ponies had fleeting lives. Twilight, however, lived entirely differently. She lived for those small moments, for those few days. She was forced to adjust to the rapid-fire nature of an Alicorn's life.

She must have felt so alone.

Meanwhile, Luna was having her own moment, noticing a small scrapbook lying in the corner of the room. With a tilt of her head, she gently levitates and holds it up. Celestia would have never found it. The room was so dark after all.

Luna opens the book, looking over several pictures that Twilight had taken over the years.

She sees pictures of their first meeting. Her interrogation with the king.
The first time she met her friends' ancestors. All the little adventures they all had together, wandering the countryside and spreading happiness.

The first time, one of them died. Twilight was stricken by grief for days. She hardly left her room, only leaving for her duties and nothing more.

Even then time passed, the pictures slowly lost more and more of her friends until none were left.

Then, it picked back up, and the group was revitalized by four of their kids.

And the process repeated. The group dwindles each and every generation. Ultimately, the only one who consistently was friends with her was Cinnabar's descendant.

She had just died a little while back, too. No wonder Twilight was so upset when they came home. Twilight barely left her room after that, and that's when things really started to spiral down.

All the other pictures were just of her and them. Celestia and Luna loved taking pictures with their mom when they were out and about. The final image was of Twilight and Unity. Luna never particularly liked Unity. It's obvious that she's just around for her personal benefit. Even then, though, she's been more of a help than not.

The pair simultaneously sigh, reminding each other of their presence. With quick movements, Celestia puts the notebook in her bag while Luna teleports the scrapbook to her room. "Did you find anything?" They say to each other at the same time, getting a small giggle from each other.

They shake their heads as the moonlets in a small beam of moonlight. Just as they're about to give up, the pair notice a glint in the corner. A small gem sits in the corner, shattered but still brilliantly shiny, even in moonlight. They've seen gems like this before.

"Unity's room. She's hiding all the stuff in there." Luna says.

Celestia nods. "Mm.. Only Unity's room has these crystals. Not to mention, she knows no one would dare go in there. Cept she didn't imagine that it'd be us." She giggles as she puts the gem away and leads the way up to the Magus Tower. Luna follows behind.

The pair arrive in front of two large crystalline doors. With a little push, they enter inside. The room itself is small, with a small bed against the wall to make way for the massive amount of magical tools all around it. Gemstones line the walls, and a large, magical ball of light glows brightly in the center. Celestia quickly notices the desk, a large pile of papers uncovered by dust lying on the table. "There they are." She says, quickly trotting over to the desk to gather the pages.

Luna, on the other hand, enters and instantly feels drained. "Huh? What's going... On?" she stumbles and staggers a bit, feeling all her ideas, even the next chapter for her Celestia x Unknown Spear Guy fanfiction, flying out of her head. "Whats." She grunts a little as she staggers forward. "My head. Hurt." After a moment, the feeling passes, shaking her head and looking up at the orb. "Celestia, what is this thing?" She asks quickly

Celestia, in the meanwhile, is reading through the papers, writing things down, and looking over to Luna. "I dunno, but Unity's manuals are alphabetized, so I'm sure you can find it if you look." She says. "In the meanwhile, I'm gonna figure out what Mom is planning," she quickly says as she looks over the papers, having them all floating in front of her.

Luna nervously walks around the room, seeing the magical tools as the headache dulls from piercing to throbbing, consistent pain. She looks over towards the desk Celestia pointed her to, a small shelf underneath it with red binders all along it. Trotting over, the younger sister notices several crystals on the table, showing different scenes of Twilight's memories.

"I guess even Unity realized that Twilight was forgetting. I'm glad she's trying to help." She says with a sigh. Although, some part of her feels. Wrong.

With a shrug, she digs through the folders and finds the one about the various orbs in the room. "Here we go. The harmony orb. A defensive orb that drains creativity and negative thoughts in its local surroundings. Currently in prototype 1. It cannot affect creatures without darkness in them. Fully pure creatures and those cleansed of their darkness in the past are unaffected by the orb currently. It needs to be adjusted still if the harmonization spell is to be cast on time."

Luna looks up at it and tilts her head. "I guess that's why Celestia was unaffected." She mumbles to herself and rubs her horn a little. She shakes her head. "No. That's in the future. Right now… Right now is right now." She mumbles a bit before she trots over to the orb. The bright object swirls in the air and spins rapidly, cutting through any breeze that dares to hit it.

Celestia joins her after a moment. "I got all the pages and info we needed. Did you figure out what the orb is?" She says. Celestia curiously looked at the orb swirling above the pedestal.

Luna responds with what she learned, the pair curiously watching the magical object with deeply curious expressions. Luna breaks the silence after a moment, though. The younger sister trotted up to the orb with a smile.

"If mom needs this to cast that spell. Then the best thing to do is just yoink it, right?" She then grabs the orb, unable to hear Celestia trying to stop her over the loud noise of the sphere.

"Luna NO! Unity traps her stu-" That's all Celestia can say before a bright light envelops the pair.

Eternal 5: Harmony and Discord

View Online

A little groan escapes Celestia's mouth as her vision clears. Being forcibly banished away always made her feel sick to her stomach. With a little grunt, Celestia stands up in the clearing she and her sister landed in. Her sister isn't in sight, but there is a small indent in the ground next to her, perfectly shaped for the size of her sister.

Luna trots back into the clearing with the orb in hoof as if on cue. "Celestia! You're alright." Luna runs over quickly, putting the sphere in her bag before her little trot. "I figured out where we're at. We're all the way at the peaks of peril." She rubs her head a bit, still disoriented by the sudden teleportation they received.

Celestia stands up with a struggle, her head having a splitting headache. Looking around at the desolate landscape with nothing but dust and dead trees around them. They were lucky enough to land on one of the few patches of grass situated this far from the area's primary water source. "Luna, we need to get back quickly. Mom is going to try and… 'fix' everything by force, she just. Wants things to end." Celestia shakes her head, trying to clear out the cobwebs still.

Luna sighs a little. "I know. Mom hasn't been the same since her friend died. She's just not used to things, even now." Luna shakes her head a little bit, grumbling lightly. "But what do you expect?! You made her princess of friendship! You knew this would happen eventually! She was gonna outlive her original friends, too!" She says with a huff. Luna knows how hard it can be to lose people you care about. She did almost lose her sister after all.

Celestia is taken a little aback by that outburst. "I haven't even done that yet!" She says with a glare at her sister. "Heck, I don't even know what I will be thinking in the future. Mom only tells us stories from her perspective. It's not like she can read minds. Er. Can she?" Celestia grumbles a bit, feeling called out by her sister for something she hasn't even done yet. Although, Luna still shrugs at the question.

Luna calms herself down, "Not like it matters. Let's just get home quickly before Mom does something she'll regret." She says with a nod. Celestia nodded back at her sister. The pair then try to spark up their horns.

And nothing happens.

Celestia is the first to say something. "Luna. Please tell me your magic isn't disabled." Celestia says with a worried crack in her voice. This isn't the first time the pair have been without magic, but this is the first time it's been out of their control.

Luna grunts a little as a tiny spark of magic flies out of her horn. "I-. Ngh. Come onnnn!" but her horn barely produces any light. "Gnf. Nothing. I can feel the magic, but there's something stopping it!" Luna lets out a grunt before she pants. The younger sister feels like she just ran a marathon from just sparking her horn that tiny bit.

Celestia and Luna continue trying to get any little bit of magic out. Even just trying to fly but with no luck. Ten minutes pass, and the pair are utterly exhausted from their attempts. No amount of magic escaped their horns. In fact, it felt worse, thanks to their attempts! All their magic started feeling balled up and compressed inside their chests, resulting in Luna feeling horribly sick while Celestia staggers and sways on her hooves.

As Celestia sways and staggers, she feels intense delirium and nausea set in. "Oh, I'm gonna be sick," Celestia says with a green face, grunting and heavily sweating. A groan escapes her as she swallows her nausea, trying to stop herself from doing something unbefitting of a princess. Luna, unfortunately, didn't have such discipline, as the younger sister ran into a nearby bush to hurl. A loud groan escapes Luna's mouth as the pair stagger towards the mountain to find someplace to camp. The entire area is wreathed in darkness, preventing them from seeing very well.

Luna grunts a little bit. "My night vision isn't working either." She says with a stagger. "We need to get somewhere bright to ughn. Rest and stuff."

Celestia nods quietly. Her head feels light and airy. A quiet realization sets in that she hasn't slept at all tonight. The pair trot quietly to the peaks, the older sister getting more delirious as time passes.

As the pair arrive at the peaks, Celestia suddenly grabs Luna and silently hides behind a tree, something having set her on high alert, even through her delirium. "Blue." She whispers gently to Luna. With a peek around the corner, the pair look towards the walkway that leads to the center of the mountain peaks. Their eyes scan over the area before they finally find the source of the pale blue light.

Standing at the base of the peaks is a familiar Unicorn. Pale blue and gently glowing. She is no longer fully translucent like she used to be but is still instantly recognizable. But why is she here?! Celestia sweats a little bit. If Unity finds them and notices the orb, she'll know they sifted through her room! So she keeps Luna silent, the pair watching the glowing pony trot towards a nearby cave, almost like she's looking for something.

Twilight had sent a message not too long ago notifying Unity about what happened. The pale blue Unicorn smiles to herself, giggling a little bit. It had taken a while, but Twilight finally saw things her way. With the alicorn's assistance, she should be able to finally bring the world to perfect order.

Of course, that means a few kinks in the plan need to be ironed out. Unity's brother appearing is the least of her problems. The daughters are the biggest issue.

They know something is up, and that is not good for business. Unity may have a life here now, but that doesn't mean she will stop her ambitions. That means taking care of the garbage as quickly as possible so she can focus on the more dangerous roadblocks. That's why she snuck out of her vacation a little early. Her daughter and husband would understand if they woke up early. Probably. The Unicorn quickly heads towards a nearby cave, an oddly shaped hole out in front showing that someone landed here ungracefully. A smile creeps on her face, Unity giggling as she trots towards the cave, hearing the ranting coming from inside as she gets closer, a small wave of nostalgia hitting her.

"I cannot believe that the Lord of all Chaos was not only defeated by a pony, but now we're stuck hiding in some cave in the middle of nowhere! This is hilarious! No wonder I came back to watch." Says a familiar voice before another responds.

"You know, you went through this too. You could at least help!" Discord says to himself, the second Discord smirking and watching from a little multicolored lawn chair floating and spinning around the cave. "Sorry, you know the rules, no breaking time as it's supposed to flow, too much paperwork." Says the other Discord, floating papers with the word 'Work' appearing and flying around the cave. However, the lively conversation is stopped as they hear a crack come from the mouth of the cave.

The pair stop as they see who decided to grace them with their presence, as Unity walks into the cave with a smug smile. "Discord~. Future Discord." She says with a giggle, "I heard down the grapevine that you got utterly defeated by Twilight." She giggles a little bit as the pair just glare at her, moving around the cave, never breaking their gaze on her.

"Sister." The pair of draconequus says as they glare at her. Discord waving off his future self, who snaps his fingers and disappears with a puff of smoke. "You know you don't belong here. This world is mine to keep the balance in. Your presence is throwing everything off!" He says with an angry face. His close proximity to Unity prevents them from using much of their powers. After all, there are rules for spirits like them. Meaning for once. Discord didn't have any tricks. He wasn't playing coy. No, he was just angry.

Unity sighs and shakes her head. "Come now, brother. This world is too GOOD for balance. The ponies are basically helpless without heroes or their leaders. Every other nation acts like they're tough, but in reality, they're all just for show. This world is nothing more than a storybook for children to read. A show for them to enjoy. At least this way, the ponies can become whatever they want, pulled away from the goddess's design!" She smiles, "I know you'd love that too." She says as she tries to slink around her brother. However, Discord never lets Unity get too close to him, constantly keeping an eye on her. "You were written to be a villain, after all. Ponies don't understand chaos. They don't WANT it. Your existence is a blight to them! Even with all the great roles under your belt, a godlike being in space, a templar ascendent under a great deity. Even with all this power and experience, there is no end for you here. You'll be stuck here trying to bring balance forever. Meanwhile, regardless if I fail, I'll move on. I'll continue to other worlds, helping their heroes achieve a happy, purely harmonic ending. True harmony! Chaos forever trapped because he decided to follow cosmic RULES!" she says with a smile.

"But of course, you can join me on Discord if you want. Stop working with those old spirits of balance and let loose! You're the spirit of chaos! Why should you ever have to pay attention to anyone else?" She says with a smile as she reaches out her hoof. "Come brother, let's do this together! You're the spirit of chaos!"

Discord thinks about her words, his eyes shifting down and up towards her before standing up straight. "You're right, sister." He says with a little sigh.

"You're right that ponies will never accept me. You're right that they'll always view me as a danger to their livelihood. I'm the spirit of chaos, and they're beings of harmony." He says with an almost defeated tone. "But. You have shown me something today, sister." Discord continues, starting to reach for Uni's outstretched hoof, to the horror of their audience.

Then he stops. "You're still completely bucking insane! I may be the spirit of chaos, but at least I care enough to do my JOB! Worlds like this need a little chaos. If I have to play the villain again, so be it!" He then transitions his hand into a snapping motion, launching Unity out of the cave with a sudden burst of loud music! Specifically, a random cord played on an untuned piano linked to a giant speaker. Discord follows the launched Unity out of the cave, ignoring the two bushes that rustle nearby.

"What you want is no better than entropy! The very force you and I fought against together!" He says with a glare. "You're just throwing that all away for what? A little bit of an ego boost? Your ego is already bigger than the sun itself! You're NO hero! You're supposed to be a supporting character at best!" Discord says with a furious voice, although anyone can see that he's nervous with his fidgeting and wiggling tail. He has sparred with his sister in the past. Sure, He won a handful, but his sister reigned supreme between them in sparring matches. He did, however, have one advantage.

Unity would stand up and sigh. "Awwww, brother, how unfair. You know my magic has rules." She says with a sad face, Unity giving him wide eyes before suddenly launching a punch at Discord, hitting the draconequus right back into the cave. Stretching her right hoof a bit. With that, the battle begins in earnest.

Discord grunts as he picks himself up from the rubble he was launched into. "You seem just fine in a fight, even if you can't use your magic to hurt other spirits." He says with a grunt as he snaps his fingers yet again. A small squirrel suddenly being infused with chaos magic. Growing to giant size with red eyes and sharp teeth. Slamming its paw down towards Unity, who ducks out of the way quickly.

Unity giggles. "True, true. I can't use magic against you. But that doesn't matter when I'm miles stronger than you." She says with a grin, letting out a burst of magic from her horn. The squirrel suddenly shrinks back down. All dizzy and cute before it scampers away at Unity's behest. Unity smiles as she stands back up, having knelt down to pat the squirrel. "But you are right. Without magic, at best, all I can do in a real fight is go for a draw. So can we not, bro~?" The pale blue Unicorn says before suddenly appearing in front of Discord, her eyes having a red light behind them.

The Lord of Chaos blocks her sudden punch with a growth of bright yellow vines, each one sprouting flowers that blast her with hot, flaming marshmallows! A sudden 'SHWING' cuts the vines down, making them land with a thud on the ground. "Ooh toasty." She says with a giggle as she eats a marshmallow. Unity was utterly unscathed from the attack. She even puts out any loose fire with some magic. "You can't win, brother." She says with a smile, even ensuring no damage is spread.

Discord glares before saying, "Neither can you. Even if we simply fight for all eternity, at least you'd no longer be doing any damage to this world!" He says, huffing. "You'll run out of energy eventually anyway. Moving like that must cost you some endurance!"

Unity stops and puts her hoof to her chin, pondering something before saying. "Mmm… Well, that's true. Fine, this was getting boring anyway." She then reaches into her bag. Six small stones floated out and swelled around her rapidly before suddenly merging with her. "I suppose. I should end this." She smiles softly. "Sorry, brother, but if you're my enemy, I must put you into TIME OUT." She then glows her horn.

Discord scoffs. "Now I know you're desperate. Your magic can't hurt me." He says with a grin. The council made sure of that.

Unity giggles. "True. But how about someone else's?" She says before firing a massive wave of gem-shaped barriers right at Discord, enclosing him between four of them, her horn glowing a bright sky blue. She then rears up, her forehooves glowing orange and pink as she slams them down. A shockwave of rainbow-colored energy rolls out, knocking Discord off his feet and onto the ground as the gems enclose him inside a solid prison. Her horn then begins to glow a familiar pink as she smiles. "Now."

"Goodbye, brother." is the last thing Discord hears before a massive rainbow-colored beam fires at him. Leaving nothing behind but a statue of the draconequus and some scorched marks on the ground. Unity giggles to herself, quite proud of what she did. "Mmm, I believe that makes us one hundred wins in my favor, seventy-one in yours. Only this win is a bit more impactful. I think it counts as at least ten." She snickers, "Now, while you're trapped in there, I want you to think LONG and hard about what you've done. I mean, you scarred a poor, cute squirrel." She tsk tsks, shaking her head confidently.

"I'm sure you're wondering what just happened. 'She's not supposed to be able to use magic against spirits! The council took that away from her the last time she rebelled!' Well, you forget, I'm much smarter than I look. And I already look pretty smart. Just a little bit of research into some tools from the future, and boom! Access to six of the most powerful and varied magical toolkits across Equestria. Not to mention, it enhances my power enough to ignore that stupid rule you all put on me." She grins as she opens her mouth to continue to gloat.

But the sun begins to peek over the horizon. "Hmph. I gotta get back to my family. But before I go." She says as she holds up a glowing hoof. "You can take this back." Forcing it on the frozen Discord, a terrible green magical circle appears beneath the pair. Unity's body and mane begin to flow violently in the wind. Her body starting to solidify more. After one more moment, she's a solid, beautiful mare. Her mane is a bright assortment of colors, her eyes a beautiful green as wings unfold from her back. "Perfection~. Thanks for my powers back, Discord~." She says with a smirk as she waves a hoof. The wings disappeared shortly afterward. "I dare you to try and stop me~." She giggles heavily as Unity finally disappears in a bright flash of light.

With that, the area settles. Two presences approaching the statue. Who they are? He doesn't know.

Eternal 6 - Some Rain and a Sunshower

View Online

Three translucent creatures appear in a black space, each one taking a different form from a race in Equestria. A yellow Dragon, a red Griffon, and a pink Kirin appear within the contained space. Each one sparkles with a small amount of magic as they silently observe each other. The dragon is the first to break the silence.

"The seal has been undone on Unity. She is whole again." He says with a sigh. "The laws set in place on that world are now in jeopardy. I propose a reset on the planet. This is only one timeline of many. Its loss will not be missed."

"Come now, Mist. There is more that can be done without pulling the plug. Not to mention, we lack the numbers to do a full reset. Now that Discord is frozen in stone." The griffon sighs, "The laws have long been in jeopardy since the arrival of your favorite pony in this time period anyway. Correct, Cleo?"

Cleo sighs a bit, her body shifting from child to adult to elderly. "Time is holding on by a thin thread because of Twilight Sparkle. Her desperation to break my laws is… Cute." She says with a shrug. "But correct, your object of affection is quite a problem, Mist. She's completely broken mentally."

Mist grumbles, "Through no fault of her own. Unity has been extracting her harmony since day one. All that strength she has is turned against her. Even the elements of her time won't resonate with her anymore at this rate. I'm afraid the damage will be permanent."

Cleo shrugs, angrily saying. "No spoilers, not for someone who created this branch of the timeline with his experiments. I just evened the score by having the father and mother killed earlier than normal."

"Enough. Both of you." Says the griffon with a glare at the both of them. The red spirit gently fades and changes into a pony. Unfazed by the glare and change, the other two spirits still allow him to continue. "The fault lies with Gloria. Or as she's called now Unity," he says with a simple hand-talon motion.

"Focus on the matter at hand and hoof you two. Infighting will do us no good." He says

The pair look at each other for a moment and nod. Cleo speaking after a moment. "Fine, in that case, I propose heroic assistance. What say you, Equus." She says with a rub of her nose. "This is your well-being we're talking about."

"Very well," Equus says. "Cleo, repair any damage Twilight may make with her time magic. If you must, seal the ability away for as long as possible. Mist, I am granting you a single direct intervention. Use it to save your precious Twilight Sparkle at the right moment."

Cleo and Mist nod. Cleo smiled. "I know exactly who to send to help, too." She giggles a little as Equus changes again from Pony to Yak. Mist and Equus tilted their head in curiosity.

Celestia and Luna crawl out from their hiding spots. The pair just had front-row seats to the entire fight.

They were scared. The two sisters nervously look at Discord. If he was so easily beaten by Unity, then what could they possibly do to deal with her themselves. Not to mention, she seemed to have gotten even stronger after the fight happened! Beating Unity at this point just seems. Impossible.

Celestia staggers a little bit. Her body is worn out from the day's efforts. Luna rushes over to help Celestia stay standing. "I think we're safe for now. Let's use uh. What did Unity call him? Discord? Ohhh, so that's Discord." She says, getting a little distracted.

"I thought he'd be taller." Says Celestia as she leans on Luna a little bit. Catching her footing for a moment with Luna's help. As she leans off of Luna, Celestia's ears perk up. Her wing covered her little sister defensively. "Who's there!?" Internally, she screams, 'Please don't be Unity, Pleaseeee don't be Unity!'

A small flash of pink shines across the sky. The bushes rustle and shift as a tall, pony-like creature walks through the foliage. Celestia tilts her head as Luna peeks from under the wing. The pony has an extra fluffy mane, a long red horn, and a thin tail with a tuft of hair on the tip. The most prominent feature is the layer of dragon scales along their back. "I thought I heard something going on." the creature says. "I never expected to find two young ponies out here." Are you two alright?

Celestia carefully puts her wing up. "Who. No. What are you?" She says with a confused expression. She's never read nor heard about what she's looking at. The tall creature smiles a little. Her curiosity is peaked, but her worry about protecting Luna overtakes that feeling quickly.

The tall mare smiles softly. "Please don't be so alarmed. I'm not here to hurt you." She says as she looks over to the statue of Discord. "Although, I see that you have quite the story to tell. I am Sunshower Daze. Leader of the Kirins." She motions for someone behind her. "And this is my Daughter, Rain Shine." She says with a smile as a smaller Kirin, about the same age as Celestia, walks forward from behind the much taller mother.

Celestia lowers her guard after a moment and lets out a sigh of relief. "We could really use a place to rest. If you guys have a place to spare." She says eagerly. After all, she isn't getting a sense of deceit from this 'Kirin.' "I'm Celestia, and this is Luna. We're uh. Really far away from home." She says with a mumble. "Not by choice either."

The Kirin looks over to Discord and nods. "We can provide you with a bed for the morning and a warm meal. She then gently glows her horn as she grunts. Lifting up the statue with a small struggle. "Please follow me."

The pair follow quietly behind Sunshower, the group walking towards the mountain and into the crevice. A small path reveals itself before the group as they walk, a pony-made road leading them into a small village of tree houses and small huts.

"Welcome to Season's End!" Sunshower says with a smile. Sweating a small amount as she drops the statue of Discord in the back of her home. "Please. Come in." The door is gently opened with magic, revealing a quaint house perfect for a small family. Sunshower walks inside and sighs for a moment. This was starting to become a hassle. "Feel free to use the room at the end of the hall. There's only one bed in there, so I hope you two don't mind sharing."

Celestia smiles tiredly. "Thanks. A lot." She yawns a bit. "You sure we aren't intruding?" She tilts her head.

Sunshower just giggles. "It's not a problem, Celestia. Please, you two, get some rest. Then we can talk about things when you two wake up. Take all the time you two need." She waves her hoof. The pair of Alicorns walked to the room to pass out.

Daytime comes and goes as the pair sleep their exhaustion away. Celestia and Luna wake up and stretch. The duo looks outside, noticing that it's around noontime. Celestia sighed. "I've never been disconnected from the sun this long. It feels cold." She mumbles to herself.

Luna sighs. "You're telling me. It feels weird being tired at night. Even if it's just a little bit." She shakes her head as the duo walks out of the room towards the living room. Rain Shine hums as she practices her singing in the living room. Humming and singing a familiar song. She stops when she notices her guests.

"Eep! Uh. How much of that did you guys… hear?" Rain Shine says with a mumble, blushing heavily from being caught practicing singing.

Celestia tilts her head. "Only the end of it. You're an excellent singer, though." She says, "Not to mention you know that song too! Guess it really does transcend racial barriers, like mom said." She says with a rub of her chin.

Rain Shine smiles bashfully. "Thanks. I'm gonna be singing it at the open mic this week. It's a good song to start off with." Rain Shine stands up while speaking, trotting to the nearby kitchen and putting food on the dining table. "Mom won't be home for about an hour. So you two have some time to eat before she gets back. Hope you two don't mind some salads, though. We don't really eat anything too fancy out here."

The pair sit down, Luna being the one to speak this time. "No worries, Mom taught us to not be picky." Luna happily munching down on some cabbage and lettuce. Celestia doesn't even speak, just eating down her meal.

Rain Shine leaves the two to enjoy breakfast, heading out to tell her mom they've woken up. Just in case she can come back early. Which she does.

Sunshower walks into the house just as Celestia and Luna finish washing the dishes. Even without magic, the pair will still be respectful in someone else's home. Celestia noticed the tall Kirin first. "Oh! Mrs. Sunshine. We were just cleaning up. Thanks for the food." Luna happily nods as she puts the dishes to the side.

Sunshower smiles. "Well, what thoughtful guests. You've been raised well." She then motions for them to sit on the nearby couch. Sunshower taking a nearby chair. "So. Tell me everything."

Celestia and Luna look over at each other. Divulging every little bit of information, they have up to this point. Sunshower doesn't interrupt nor ask questions. She hardly reacts, just listening and idly watching the pair of Alicorns.

The conversation finally dies down. Celestia finishing. "And I think she's been messing with Mom since they met. Those gemstones we saw in her room, those aren't just normal memory stones."

Sunshower sighs. "Unlikely," she says, having broken her own silence. "She's been fragmenting pieces and bits of your mother's spirit, slowly making room for the personality she wants to foster."

Luna picks up what's being said and mumbles. "That's why Mom has been so obsessive since the start. She didn't just forget her lessons and old life. They were being stolen. That's why Unity had the Elements of Harmony!" Luna's voice getting louder and peaking at the end of what she said.

Celestia grunts a little. "Ahhhh! We could do something if we had our magic, but we're just flies to her like this!" She says with a sigh. "We can't even make it home in time to stop her if we have to walk!"

Sunshower rubs her chin. "This is troublesome to hear. Ponies and Kirin have never been close friends in the past, but we certainly do not want a pacification spell to be cast on us."

Luna then looks outside. With these realizations, she's even more determined to fix this. "Mom is still in there somewhere. The one that helped us back when mom and dad were alive. Your best friend Celestia. She's still there." Luna sniffles a little. "We just have to figure out how to bring her back."

Celestia stares at the ground. "She's Mom now, Luna. Regardless if it's the Eternal Queen or the loving Princess." She sighs. "But you're right. We have to figure out a way to free her. It's just."

Rain Shine pipes up after a moment. "Creativity, right? It's hard to think of a plan?"

Celestia and Luna nod together. Celestia replied, "Mhm. The pacification spell had already started when we left. It's draining creativity out of everything in and on Equus. Since we lived in the castle, ours is sorta mostly already gone. We've just been winging it this entire time."

Luna then perks up. "Actually, wait. There is one creature that still has creativity! We saw him earlier!" She then motions outside, right at Discord's statue

Celestia gulps. She was hoping to avoid this. "W-wait Luna. If mom's stories are still right. He takes over Equestria from US at some point! Maybe we should just. Leave him there?"

Luna leans in and nuzzles Celestia. "That's the future, sis. We have to deal with the present. Sides, I don't really see any other option. Besides, we have to figure out how to free him first. We don't have magic to do a de-petrification spell."

Celestia looks over to Rain Shine and Sunshower, who both tilt their head. Sunshower shook her head after a moment. "Apologies, but we don't know the petrification spell, much less a de-petrification spell to fix this in the first place." She says sadly. Before perking up. "Although, there may be a way to unseal your magic, even just a little bit. We could go talk with the village shaman."

The alicorn duo looks at each other. "Well, it's worth a shot. Even just a diagnosis would do us some good." Celestia mumbles out.

Sunshower smiles. "Excellent. Rain Shine, take them to Zera's hut, please. I have a few more duties to attend to today that I put off." Sunshower would then lead the group outside, trading some goodbyes as the group heads to the local shaman.

Elsewhere, Twilight is sitting in front of the spell, focusing on the pacification spell. A silent, stale air around her. Quietly, she gazes up at the reflective surface of the machine, the core component orb missing from the center. However, her reflection is what she's most interested in.

"So you did survive, Princess. No. This isn't survival. This is meddling. Isn't it?" Eternal says silently to her doppelganger in the mirror-like surface.

There's a small silence before the reflection giggles a little, saying. "I have no idea!" Her reflection says the much more color-saturated and younger-looking pony says back to her. "All I remember is darkness, and now I'm here. This hyper, almost insane level of magic is way above my head, but I'm here now and well."

Princess Twilight sighs. "Let's talk. Without anyone else trying to stop us. Please?"

Eternal 7 - Healing

View Online

Thoughts fly through Eternal Twilight's head. A little sigh escapes her lips as she gently allows her horn to glow. Princess Twilight doing so in tandem. A pinkish hue'd magic mixed with the white/transparent magic around the tall alcorn's horn. A bright flash of light springs out, coating the area with a soft but gentle feeling as Eternal looks around the various books lining the walls of the small building she appeared in. Everything outside the building is just a pure white void, a deep nothingness, except the little library built into a tree she finds herself in.

"Hey." Says a voice from above. The smaller Twilight walked down the stairs with tea cups and a kettle in her magic. "I made some tea, but uh. I don't know if it's gonna be any good. We haven't exactly practiced making tea in a few centuries now." She mumbles a little as she sets a small table in the middle of the room of the library.

Eternal silently watches Twilight. "This is. Uh." She rubs her head a little.

Twilight sighs a little. "Dunno, I can't remember either. It's the last refuge for what's left of our mind, though." She sits down and sips the tea, gagging a little before putting some lemon in it. "Yep. That. That really sucked." She sighs and slumps.

Eternal sits down, not even bothering with the tea. Wincing a little at the memory of how horrible the taste is. "Why are you here? I could have sworn I destroyed you." She says with a raised eyebrow. "We don't need your idealism or optimism anymore. There's nothing left for us."

Twilight shrugs. "Aside from our daughters, country, future, friends we made. Do I haveeee to go on?" She says with a bit of snark, Twilight giving her taller half a cheeky wink. "We have a lot around for us. It was just. Hard. To see past everything when Discord threw us to the wayside." She says with a small sigh.

Eternal twitches. "HE didn't even hear us out. Much less try to understand anything. However, what do you expect? Discord is one of the only memories we have… left?" She mumbles as if she just realized something for the first time.

"Why, right?" Twilight says silently. "Why are we forgetting all this stuff? I've been trying to figure that out, too." She mumbles as she levitates a familiar book nearby. Eternal getting a little excited.

"Predictions and Prophesies!" She says with a smile. "That's the book that. That." She rubs her head.

Twilight shakes her head. "Just. Relax, alright? It starts to hurt if you think about it too hard. Sides, the book is empty anyways." She says as she flips through the pages at a rapid rate. Each one is blank. "All of these books were full, too. After all, we read every single one at least three times!"

Eternal rubs her chin and giggles to herself. "Ahhh, Rookie numbers." She says, almost with a half-cracked smile. "How many times have we read Ages and Eternities to the fillies? Six hundred?"

Twilight giggles. "Six hundred and twenty-eight times. They love hearing about their old home, even if they don't remember it too well anymore. They moved away at such a young age, so any reminder of that land of Alicorns just makes them giggle." Twilight happily smiles, feeling more comfortable.

Eternal snickers. "We haven't read that to them in ages." She mumbles to herself. A thought passed through her head.

"Isn't this a little weird? We're basically talking with ourselves here. I mean, we're the same person." Eternal says with a tap of her chin. Twilight shrugging.

"I dunno. We weren't always split like this. You were just a persona I used when I needed to be cool, intimidating, or when I was fighting an assassin." She sighs, the pair rubbing their left shoulders. The Princess has a large scar sitting on that shoulder, while Eternal's body does not. "Got rid of the scar finally, though. That's always a bonus." Twilight says to Eternal with a half nod.

Eternal and Twilight sit together in silence. Twilight breaking it first. "I. I know you don't want me around." She says with a little droop. "Life. It's so much easier when you ignore all the little things and pain that happen as time passes. There's so little of who we used to be left at this point that we're both scared."

The atmosphere becomes sullen and grey. The two alicorns are unable to look at each other. "I'm sorry that I couldn't protect us," Twilight says after a moment. "Whatever this magic is or disease. Whatever is causing all this stuff to happen? It's beyond me. Heck, I hardly understand our own magic at this point!"

Eternal mumbles, "What have you been doing this whole time then? We were one and the same. Twilight, you designed most of the theory that I use today! Why did you disappear?!" She grumbles, "Why were we split like this? I. I don't know how to handle this stuff. I've lost so many friends, so many people. Why would anyone do this to themselves?!"

Eternal smashes her hoof on the table, which resists the impact without any struggle. Twilight looked silently before smiling a little bit. "You know why. It's why you blame me even. Losing someone it's a special type of pain that never goes away. It fades and gets dull, but there will be moments when it comes back in the future. As for where I've been. I don't know, I don't remember."

Eternal glares. "Then what's the point?! Why would anyone want to do this to themselves?! We're an alicorn now. Our friends would never have lived as long as us. We would have to watch EVERY single one of the-."

Twilight gives her larger self a tight hug. Keeping her close to her. The smaller alicorn knows herself well and does not want that line of thinking to come out. "I know." She mumbles, "I know. But you know what's supposed to help with that?"

Twilight mumbles, "The memories. All those good memories." She whispers. "But they're all gone. So all we have left is all that pain, all the hurt." She continues to say. "I can sorta handle it. Maybe. Probably not, though. We can't just lash out at everyone else for it! This isn't who we are! We fix problems! We don't create them!"

Eternal sniffles a little. "Why? Why do we have to fix all these problems, though? Why do things keep happening to us? Sure, we get some breaks, but even then, SOMETHING always happens to us or our friends. Why do we have to be the pony that fixes everything? Why couldn't we just… have a normal life." She mumbles. "Why are we so important?"

Twilight's ears fold downwards. "I don't know." The smaller pony says, the pair staying in silence in the library. Neither of them had a good answer. Neither of them had a good idea. Both Twilights knew that they had a choice. They could complete the pacification spell and free themselves. They would never have to worry about troubles again.

But they would never regain what they'd lost.

Alternatively, they could fight back. As they have been doing. Working against the despair together. They could recover their memories, the good and the bad. But they'd still be stuck in this eternal hell of being the 'hero.'

Eternal and Twilight sit together on the small bed upstairs. "I really hate this."

"Me too."

Luna and Celestia find themselves in front of an old, worn hut built into a tree. The tree itself is a tar black, with ooze around the roots. Rain Shine smiles as she approaches the eerie hovel. "Welcome to the local healer's hut. Just don't touch the ooze." She says with a motion of her hoof as a giant air bubble in the ooze pops, releasing steam upwards that causes a little butterfly to suddenly fall unconscious.

Luna shudders. "That smells awful." She waves her hoof in front of her face. Celestia sniffed the air and gagged as well. They still push forward, though, the pair waiting behind Rain Shine as she knocks on the door.

"Zera! We have two patients out here!" She shouts as a reasonably tall female zebra opens the door. Her mane was black and white, with dreadlocks running down the side. She would look down at Rain Shine before looking up at the two alicorns.

"Hello there, Rain Shine. I can already tell that these two alicorns are on the decline. Come in so I can examine." Zera quickly moves inside the hut. Zera sighed a little. "Better. Now I don't have to rhyme." She says as the group enters the cabin.

Zera would sit on a chair and grab a small pipe, taking a puff of it as she looked at Celestia and Luna. "So. I see you two are hurt. Did the guy or gal that did this to you get their just desserts?"

Celestia and Luna look at each other, confused. "Pardon me?" Celestia says after a moment. Zera sighed a bit and exhaled her smoke. A puff of the fragrant incense floated up into the air and out the window.

"Did. You. Win?" Zera says with a wave of her hoof, accentuating each word.

Celestia and Luna both look down and shake their heads. "No. We didn't even get to fight. It was a t-"

Zera stands up. "Got it. Wasn't a battle injury, then we can begin the surgery." She says as she digs through the drawers. "Warrior injuries are important. Fixing them would be abhorrent." She mumbles. "Since these were unfairly gained, they will not be retained."

Celestia whispers, "Didn't she say she'd stop rhyming?"

Rain Shine giggles. "She does it by habit. You'll hear her breaking it from time to time. Either way, she's still the best healer this side of Equestria." The small Kirin smiles and tilts her head.

The two sisters look worried as Zera begins preparing the examination table, the zebra double-patting the table. "Come. It is time for the fun."

The two sisters walk over to the table, sitting down as Zera examines them. Feeling their body with her hoof. Using powder on them and generally testing out every facet of them. She even stretches their wings and pokes their horns after around half an hour. Zera sighs. "Well, I have good news: your illness will be simple to lose. A cure of the simplest order." She nods.

Celestia and Luna sit there waiting before they realize that she isn't going to complete that rhyming scheme. "Oh, erm." Says Luna. "So how do we fix it then?" She tilts her head.

Zera smiles. "It is very simple, my friend. A bath in a mana pool and your illness will end. Three days of relaxing and one sleep will bring the results you seek." Zera says as she pulls out a giant cauldron. Grabbing several potions from the nearby rack and pouring them into the cast iron object.

Luna gulps. "Three days?! We don't have that long!" She says with a worried noise. "There has to be another way!" Celestia nods before saying next.

"Normally, I'd be all for a relaxing day, but my sister is correct. We need to get back to Canterlot as soon as possible." Celestia winces a little.

Luna sighs. "Sister. I think we only have one option at this point. Zera, is it possible to make a potion to let one of us cast magic for a little bit? Even just for like five minutes?"

Zera rubs her chin. "If you sit in the mana pool, you should be able to. But it will damage your body. Afterward, your magic will not be as hardy." The two sisters look confused for a moment before Zera sighs.

"Whoever does it will have their magic permanently weakened. A lot. This is why I avoid rhyming." She says simply. "You'll probably struggle to levitate stuff for a few years. You might EVENTUALLY get back to your original strength, but it'll take a long time.

Luna widens her eyes and bites her bottom lip. But, it was her idea, so she began to say.

"Then I-"

"I'll do it then," Celestia says with a step forward. Luna looked at her big sister with confusion and worry.

"Celestia? But you don't even want to do this! I should be the one doing it." Luna says with a worried tone. Celestia leaned down and smiled.

"Just because I don't want to do it doesn't mean it isn't the correct choice. Your magic. It's everything to you, Luna. I do not mind being the weaker sister if it means protecting what you care about." She then gives Luna a hug. "Rain Shine, Zera. Take the mana pool outside to Discord's statue. We have a Lord of Chaos to free. Luna and I will join you after we talk a little."

Rain Shine tries to say something. But refrains as she nods. "Of course. Zera, help me out, please?" She tilts her head as she and the zebra carry the large pot outside. Leaving the two inside the hut.

Luna looks up at Celestia. "I don't want you to do this. This is my idea anyway!" She says angrily. Luna tearing up. "I don't want you to hurt yourself like this!"

Celestia sighs and kneels down. Hugging Luna. "Luna. I'm your big sister. I trust you and." She hesitates a moment. "I really want to do this. I know how much your magic matters to you. Especially your time with Mom and all the lessons she's given you." She sighs a little. "And well. I don't want to ever hurt you again, Luna." She mumbles quietly.

Luna perks up and looks at Celestia. "Wha? Celestia, that was years ago! It's okay!-"

Celestia yells out. "No, it isn't!" She says with a wince. I hurt you! I greatly, deeply hurt you, Luna. You almost died because of me! Heck, a part of me WANTED that to happen!" She grimaces. "Every single night, I still have nightmares about it! Now I have a chance to ensure I'm never a threat to you again!" Celestia says with a sigh.

Luna hugs Celestia closely. "So that's why you never let me into your dreams. It's not cuz you have a boyfriend or something. Sis, why didn't you say anything?" She says quietly. "I never blamed you for what happened. It was hard on you." She taps her hooves together a little bit.

Celestia sighs. "No. It was all my fault. It was a total temper tantrum. One that almost destroyed a country and you. Mom always said my chance to redeem myself would come. And this is it." She smiles. "So, sis, please. Let me handle it. I want to do this. I know it's naive and probably silly to you and everyone else." She choked up for a moment. Stumbling over her own words.

"But this is something that I know I have to do. So please just let me be your big sister." Celestia then embraces Luna tightly, just wanting a moment with her sister.

Luna is washed over by Celestia's emotions and her own. No longer angry, the small alicorn just hugs Celestia back, leaning in and holding tightly. "Okay, sis. Guess you won't be stuffing me in bubbles anymore." She giggles a little bit. Trying to lighten the mood.

Celestia just snickers a bit. "I'm sure I'll figure it out again. I have always been ahead of you in magic when I put my mind to it~." She teases back before sighing, sitting down, and looking out the open door. "After this is over, let's go on vacation with mom. Leave everything behind to the regent and just. Have some fun."

Luna tilts her head, approaching Celestia and sitting next to her. "I thought we were gonna send Mom home." She mumbles, "If we had let her go earlier, this probably wouldn't have happened."

Celestia jerked in place. Talking about sending Mom home always sets her off. Tears begin to drop uncontrollably as Celestia starts to think of the future. "I know. I know it's selfish, but." She looks over to Luna, who leans into Celestia's side. They've had this conversation many times, no doubt. "I don't want this to end either. I know that she has to go back eventually and that I'll be the teacher in the future! But... I don't want a student. I want Mom! I don't want her to go!"

Luna keeps her composure. Thinking about the future like this always made her sad, too. "Neither do I." Is all Luna says. Hiding the singular tear that drops from her eye.

Eternal 8 - Resolve of the Spirit

View Online

Celestia and Luna approach the fenced yard. A thick silence surrounds the pair as they march forward, each having a stoic and serious expression on their faces. As they arrive at the lush yard, they find Zera and Rain Shine waiting for the pair. Discord's statue sits in the center of the garden, his expression of fear and surprise immortalized in the stonework of his statue prison. Zera looks up and sighs. "The mana bath is prepared. Both of you soak, so at least one can begin your recovery through the day." Zera says with a scratch of her head. "Wait. I was trying to rhyme there. What happened?"

A slight crackle of magic flows over the land. Centering from Canterlot, a cloud of bright white magic flows outwards. Celestia and Luna's eyes widened. "The first stage of the spell is completed?! But we have the orb!" Says Luna. The entire forest town came to a standstill as the usually creative kirin began to suffer the spell's effects. Writers suddenly get intense writer's block. Poets stumble over their words and miss rhymes. Musicians and artists lose their ability to sing and draw. Everyone in town, especially Zera and Rain Shine, grunt as all their creativity and curiosity are snuffed out like a flame.

Celestia and Luna's horns glow a small amount as the spell washes over them. Their Alicorn physiology resisted the brunt of it, leaving them both extremely ragged in the process. The pair struggle to move for a moment. A little yell escapes Celestia and Luna's mouths as the cloud entirely passes. With a grunt, the two fall forward on their front hooves, panting and struggling to stand.

"We. Need to do this NOW." Celestia says with a worried tone of voice. Luna nodded in agreement. This was not a time for protests or arguments. This was a time for action. The two resolve themselves as Celestia helps Luna into the cast iron cauldron. Hopping into it herself after a moment. The two instantly feel the block on their magic starts to melt away. Luna sighs slightly in relief while Celestia prepares the spell in her mind.

Celestia takes a deep breath and remembers her mother's lessons. Celestia mumbled to herself as she thought back to them.

Twilight smiles at Celestia, her back covered with a blanket underneath which a sleeping Luna lays. The new mother can't help but smile as she watches her daughter sleep before getting back on topic with Celestia. "Magic is a special extension of oneself. Your potential is only limited by your willingness to improve and the time you put into it. Eventually, when your magic reaches its limit, you can create and even discover new magic. Breaking your own limitations and even the limitations of magic itself. But the most important thing about it isn't your horn. It's here." She then puts a hoof on Celestia's chest.

"Your intentions and want to use magic, whether it's to save someone, protect someone, make two ponies fall in love, or yes, even raising the sun and moon, are what guides how your magic will grow." Twilight gently pets Celestia on the head. Wincing a little as she rubs her own forehead.

Celestia misses the wince, however, and tilts her head. "So. For example. When I wanted to hurt Luna, my magic facilitated growth in that direction?" She tilts her head.

Twilight nods. "In that regard, though, you did have QUITE the magical boost from an artifact, too. Your combat magic still improved dramatically, though, just like how Luna's defensive magic became so much stronger afterward, too."

Celestia perks up. "Or how your time magic is so much stronger now!" She says proudly. "I get it! But what if someone just wants to be good at ALL magic?" Celestia says with a tilt of her head. "Say tooooo open a school? Or maybe even take a student or two in the future?"

Twilight giggles. "As I said, your intentions guide your magic. If you want your magic to grow in that direction, I'm sure it will." She smiles. "But you're not gonna get off the ground if you don't do your homework, so make sure to do it after today's lesson!"

Celestia nods "Right!"

As the memory runs through Celestia's head, she smiles. Her horn glows with her golden hue as she works with her magic. What does she want?

To Free Discord.

Why does she want to do this?

To protect her sister and save her mother.

What are your Intentions?

Celestia opens her eyes. "To redeem myself in the eyes of myself." She says as her horn glows brighter, sparks of magic starting to sizzle and burn from it. Her body forced the blockage in her magic system open with the help of the mana pool. Celestia's insides feel like they're burning up from the surge of magic. She knows she will only get one shot to cast this spell. This spell will contain everything: her will, resolve, and deepest regrets. Casting them all in her magic, she hopes- no, she KNOWS she can break the curse on Discord.

With a bright, blinding flash of light, consuming Celestia for a moment as even her cutiemark begins to pulse, the spell is cast. Celestia slumped in the bath, her horn charred from the tip down to the base, cracks forming all around the ivory focus's exterior. But the spell worked.

A large crack chisels and breaks vertically down the front of Discord's statue as a bright rainbow color attempts to hold it together. The magic sustaining the form slowly fails as each strand of color begins to SNAP one at a time. Finally, the stone statue crumbles apart, Discord falling backward out of the pose and onto the ground with the sound of a falling metal pipe.

"What? I'm. I'm not stone anymore?" Discord says as he stands back up. He looked around and saw the strange group of ponies before him. "Oh~! And what do we have here?" He says, standing over Celestia and Luna. Celestia struggled to even move, much less talk. Luna swallowed audibly before saying.

"Uh. Discord, we wanted to talk with you about Unity." She says quietly. Worried about Discord's reaction. The spirit of chaos stiffens up, his jovial attitude suddenly stopping as he looks at the blue alicorn with a glare.

"Since you and your sister freed me, I suppose I'm obligated to at least listen. But, before you do say anything." Discord stands up straight, glaring down at the ponies beneath him. "Unity may be my sister, but she means nothing to me. She is MY problem, and I will be the one to deal with her. She is MY only goal here now, and until she's sealed away entirely, I will NOT be convinced to do anything else." He says with a glare. Celestia and Luna look at each other.

Luna tilts her head. "Actually, that's perfect. We don't like her either." She says with a smile. Celestia nodded in agreement. Discord looks at the pair with surprise.

"Wait, what? But your mother was clearly enchanted by her. Why were you two not?" Discord says, flabbergasted that his sister would make such a dangerous mistake. Luna shifted over to the other side of the cauldron to look up at Discord. Celestia slumps a little bit as she just relaxes in the mana bath.

"Well, she was fine at the start, but she became much more strange after a while. She always tried to convince Mom to leave us be and not help us out in our moments of need. It even ended up with some. Dangerous events. After Mom stopped listening to Unity, she began to change. It was small at first, little things here and there. Missing a birthday to work, obsessively studying magic. But now she's gone completely off the deep end!" Luna says with a huff. "Mom. She isn't like that! She's mentally stronger than all of us! There's no way she'd actually want to do this under normal circumstances! Unity had to have done something to her. Like when they would merge or whatever!" She snarls. Discord blinked and rubbed his chin a little bit.

"Merge, you say?" he says as he thinks to himself. "How is that even possible? That means the alicorn must have been exposed to Unity's magic in great doses before. Hm." He thinks to himself for a moment. "If she's been exposed to both Unity's magic and mine, though, that means I may be able to fuse with her as well. I'd have to get close to her again to find out. Hm." He thinks quietly to himself. "For now, though, you two look like you'd be dead weight in a fight. Especially her." He points at Celestia, whose eyes trail to the ground. Rain Shine glaring at Discord.

"Hey! She burnt out her horn, freeing you from your prison! You could at least be thankful!" Rain Shine says with a spark of blue blame coming from her mane. Discord snaps his fingers as a pail of ice-cold strawberry ice cream crashes down on Rain Shine.

"Now, now. No Nirik stuff. We don't have the budget to show that off in this chapter. Save it for later." He says simply. Rain Shine, shivering a little underneath the ice cream as the flames snuff out from the magical soft serve. Celestia waves her hoof as she sits up.

"No, he's right. Sorry, I won't really be helpful in this upcoming fight." She grunts a little. "My horn is cracked and broken. Not to mention, my magic pathways are utterly in ruin, too. I couldn't use magic even if I tried." She says weakly. "But someone had to pay the price for freeing you from that curse. I can still use my hooves and wings, though."

Discord sighs a little bit. "So we're running with a moon alicorn, an alicorn who doesn't have unicorn magic, and the wonderful and always capable Lord of Chaos! Hm." He taps his chin. "Eh, I've worked with worse odds. Firstly, we need to fix up the one that can still use magic. Removing my sister's curses is my specialty." Discord stands up, suddenly in a shaman's outfit, resembling Zera's own ensemble, who is suddenly wearing none of her tribal piercings, much to her annoyance. Luna nods in response to Discord. While she may not trust him, he is their only chance at this point.

With a snap of his claws, a surge of chaos magic washes over the small group. Zera and Rain Shine close their eyes as the latter finishes digging her way out of the ice cream. Trying to look away from the flash of insanity around them. A reasonably intense surge of magic crashes through all four creatures due to the chaotic light.

As the shockwave clears away, Celestia and Luna open their eyes. Celestia's mane now gently sparkles, with blue stripes and twinkling stars scattered throughout it. No longer is it just a bright, shiny pink. Her horn is semi-repaired, but due to the extensive damage, it would take a while for it to heal, even with Discord's magic assisting it.

Luna, on the other hoof, now has gentle twinkles and stars throughout her blue mane, which has darkened a small amount from the magic. Her body required much less energy to repair, so her changes are minimal. A slight cough escapes her lips as she spits out feathers. "What happened?" She says as she looks at Celestia and then Discord, who has quite a smile on his face.

"Simple, I protected and restored you all from Unity's magic. My sister is incredible at her blessings, but that meant I had to become equally good at removing them." He smiles proudly. "No, no, no praise is required; the aesthetic changes for all of you are temporary anyway. Aside Celestia. You'll have to live with having blue in your mane now. Your horn still isn't useable, but it should heal relatively faster. Probably. Or it'll turn into a feather duster, heck, if I know." Discord chuckles a bit as he watches Rain Shine start singing and dancing. She is happy to have her creativity returned to her. "For now, we are in a truce. I still fully intend on doing my duty later on Princesses. But my sister is a much more important problem to handle. Do understand, though, that I am NOT your friend."

Celestia, now able to stand and move on her own, helps Luna out of the water, stepping out herself as she looks up at Discord with narrowed eyes. However, she then holds out her hoof. "Sure Discord. You watch our backs, and we'll watch yours. But once Unity is dealt with, no matter how long it takes…"

Discord smirks as he takes the hoof in his claw, shaking it. "Then all bets are off. Then there are my terms. I get the final strike on Unity. Whether it's her destruction or sealing away. In exchange, you will have my assistance until she is defeated. In ALL facets, not just in combat." He pulls his arm away, leaving his hand shaking Celestia's hoof. Celestia jumps a bit in surprise, almost wanting to gag as it appears on his arm. Still, she composes herself after a moment, curtly nodding at the spirit.

"Very well, and in exchange, to the greatest extent of our power, we will get you that final strike against Unity and assist you in sealing her away and defeating her to save Equestria." She smiles. "And you can get a medal afterward. After all, it's only fitting for someone willing to help with something so important." Celestia's thoughts ran through her head for a moment. Perhaps they can avoid an altercation with Discord entirely in the future if this goes to plan. To which Luna elbows her in the side.

Celestia lets out a small sigh. Luna is correct. Time will course correct itself. That does mean they'll have to take the punches as they come. They aren't ready yet, but they will be. "Alright. It's a deal."

Rain Shine steps up and smiles. "And when that fight comes, we'll be there to help. I'll gather the bravest Kirin to assist. You all have friends in us!" Rain Shine says proudly, puffing her chest out and holding her head high. "After all, saving Equestria is about as noble of a cause as you can get. I hope you're all willing to work together with us!" To which Celestia and Luna nod.

Discords stomp his hoof. "Not that I do not appreciate the sentimental hogwash of a new friend being made. But we are on a time limit here. My sister is already at that castle you live in with your mother. I can't sense anything else, though." Discord says as his stomp gathers the attention of the group near him. "I won't be able to teleport us directly to the castle anymore, and we will need your mother's help to defeat my sister. Even combined, Unity is far stronger than us at the moment. If my theory is correct, which I always am, we must first fix that… THING you call a mother."

Celestia and Luna both glare. "Mom is not a THING. She's our mom, and you will respect her as such." Says Celestia with a gaze that could force terror into the coldest of hearts. However, Discord just rolls his eyes. He has no intention of being friendly or respectful towards something so strange.

"Anything that can deal proper damage to a Spirit is an anomaly. Unlike mortals, we don't get injured, even if we take damage. But she can hurt us spirits, which is another reason we need her. That, however, also means that Unity needs her, so that will be double the win for us~." Discord says with a grin. "Now, I shall teleport us to that town just outside of…?"

Luna pipes in. "Canterlot."

Discord nods. "Right, Canterlot. Eugh, what a terrible name. Either way, I'll teleport us to that farming town just outside. Once I do, Unity will sense me. She and your mother will come, one way or another." He points at Luna. "You will stay with me and help distract them while your sister goes to the castle and recovers those memory crystals you found. Once we get those, we can fix your mother with a little bit of chaos magic. Unity is not the objective today. Unfortunately." Discord grimaces. He simply cannot believe that he's not only relying on mortals but even worse, he's relying on PONIES of all things. Still, they're his best bet at defeating his sister. There is no redeeming her in his mind. Not anymore.

"So that's the plan then." Says Twilight to Eternal, who just looks at her with a surprised look. Twilight feels a little uncomfortable after the drawn-out silence.

"Uh. Is there something wrong with my face or something? Or did I miss something? I hope not. We're running on theory here, and I don't know how our time magic works too well anymore. Can we even hold back?! Nnn.. I'd normally do a lot more research on this stuff!" Twilight says with a worried sweat and squeak.

Eternal giggles slightly at the sight of her other half's worried rambling. "No, no! I was just. Surprised. You figured all that out just from the limited clues we have? That's really… cool. I wish I had that kind of critical thinking." She mumbles a bit to herself. "Alright, let's play our part then."

Twilight nods. "Remember. I'll protect our minds. You just play along." She smiles

The spell ends with a fade of white. Eternal walks out of the room. Marching her way to Unity's study. The blue Unicorn should be there soon, according to the note they got in the middle of the night. As the pair enter the room, they instantly spot their target. Walking over to the nearby desk, a flash of light surges from the center of the room, revealing Unity, her wings unfolding and her solidified form appearing.

Unity smiles a little bit. "I heard there's a party going on. Finally, see things my way, hm Twilight?" She says with a smile.

Eternal blinks in surprise but takes a deep breath. "Mhm. I… I just want to go home." She mumbles a little bit. Unity gives a soft smile as she tilts her head at her puppet.

"Don't worry. I'll make sure that happens. Just for you." She says with a gentle caress of Twilight's cheek. Her eyes sharpen as she looks at the taller alicorn. "Or not." Unity's horn lights up quickly as it repels Twilight backward with an outwards burst of magic, the taller alicorn barely parrying the spell with a swift blast. Both alicorns land across the small bedroom from one another, glaring at each other with mutual hatred. Twilight is in a charging stance, while Unity just stands there in a relaxed pose. "Tsk tsk. Twilight, Twilight. We've been merged so many times, not to mention you hold so much of my power. Do you not think I wouldn't notice the return of the little RAT." She says with a smile as she reaches over to the nearby desk to grab something. Eternal watches closely as Unity picks up a crystal. "It seems you need a reminder. You have nothing and will never have anything. You've changed far too much for your previous friends to ever care about you again-"

Twilight and Eternal yell out in tandem, "Shut up! Our friends would NEVER abandon us! We may not be able to remember them. Hell, we may never remember them, but every little feeling in my heart tells me you're wrong!"

Unity grins. "That's all I needed to hear!" She then raises the crystal as the duo in one body charges at her. Bright green, thorny vines lash out from the crystal as Eternal feels all that hope suddenly ripped out from her very soul. A cry of pain lashes out from her mouth as she falls forward. Unity grins widely as she watches the tall alicorn fall. Her plan was foolproof, and there was no bigger fool than Twilight Sparkle.

"Like it? I call it the stone of hope. Every last bit of hope you had was just ripped out from your body. I don't need YOU anymore, Twilight. I just need your body and magic. You can just go to sleep."

Twilight and Eternal grunt on the ground. "You'll… Never… win." She says as her mind struggles to keep from fading away from the influence of the crystal, the vines tightening and making her yell out in pain.

Unity just giggles. "Oh, I already have." She winks as the duo falls unconscious. Slumping forward with a groan. After a moment, Eternal stands back up with a blank look of hopelessness in her eyes, Unity just smiling and giving a little clap. "Perfection~. True Harmony of self, too tired to do anything except listen. Now. We have a spell to finish 'Your Majesty.' Let's go~." She giggles happily as she walks out of the room, leaving the Stone of Hope with all the memory crystals she's extracted from Twilight. Eternal wordlessly follows Unity with not a single noise or word.

In Unity’s mind, she had won. True peace will finally fall across the entire world.

Finally, Unity got to be a hero.

Eternal 9 - Hero vs Hero

View Online

Unity hardly got a hoof out the door before a jolt of familiar energy hit her. Her eyes widen as she feels Discord teleport near Canterlot. Her very presence likely prevented him from teleporting right in front of her, but this. This is a problem. If Discord is still active, the spirit council has a proper majority. Unity's eyes sharpen as she squints. "Change of plans. It seems like my brother wasn't defeated after all. I don't know if it was one of his tricks or if he was freed by meddling." She bites her lower lip, mind racing as she tries to think of what to do.

Then it hits her. If Discord was free, why is he here instead of getting her sealed with the rest of the spirits? With a proper majority, they could all come down and dispose of her with ease. Even with her full strength, she couldn't beat all four of them.

Unless. Discord wants revenge. He doesn't WANT the others to get involved, so he's going off script on purpose. A grin appears on Unity's face, a half-cracked smile full of malicious intent. That means that she does have a chance here. She could easily defeat the other three with Twilight's strength and the pseudo Elements of Harmony. It's just Discord's ability to negate her own and vice versa that would shift the tide. If it's just him, this will just be a repeat performance of earlier. "Well, Your Majesty. We have a spirit of chaos to subdue. This time permanently." Unity giggles a little as she flashes her horn, the duo teleporting violently. The teleportation left behind a charred spot in the castle, which would begin to ooze and fester a dark liquid. Almost as if the castle was becoming ill, the ooze started slowly spreading across the area, cracking stone and destroying the castle as it spread.

Celestia, Luna, and Discord wait, having spent the last few moments looking around the small village they appeared in. Celestia and Luna used their authority to quickly evacuate the villagers. Some refused to leave, of course. But the small hamlet was now mostly deserted except for the two Alicorns and a single Draconequus. Luna nervously readies herself as Celestia stands tall and proud. Refusing to show any weakness in her poise. With his half-lidded eyes, Discord looks at his arm, which is suddenly covered in wristwatches. Each wristwatch was pointing at a smiling face of his sister. "Hmm. She's here." He says simply as the group is greeted by a large burst of green magic. Celestia steadied herself for the battle to come.

Luna simply sees the state that her mother is in, her heart twisting in pain as she cries out. "Mom!" But both Celestia and Discord block her run forward. One with a claw and the other with a wing. Unity tsking a little to herself as she sees the two younger alicorns.

"I wasn't expecting the daughters. You masked their presence, Discord. How unlike you to think ahead. Maybe you have matured." She says with a snicker.

Discord shrugs and chuckles a little. "I suppose it had to happen eventually. But let's be honest here. We should really get on with this." He says with a serious expression. Few things would ever make Discord take things seriously, even in battle. His sister, however, is one of those things. He knows he cannot win with half-measures.

Unity perks up and smiles. "Well then, if you're so excited to have a repeat of earlier. Then be my guest!" She smiles as she flashes her horn. The pseudo Elements of Harmony appear around her.

As the Elements appear, however, they begin to jostle and shake, to the surprise of every creature around. Eternal's lip curled up a small amount, even with the hopeless facial expression forced upon her countenance. The Elements shake and jostle as they suddenly start to be pulled from Unity's presence, stopping in a small group between the two parties. The Elements of Magic, Generosity, and Kindness crash into Celestia suddenly with great force. Followed up by Loyalty, Honesty, and Laughter crashing into Luna. The two alicorns yelping as the stones quite literally magnitize to their dirty regalia. The gems glow gently as the regalia begins to glisten and glow, cleaning itself and becoming proper jewelry for princesses of a country.

There is only surprise among the two spirits. Before Unity yells out loudly in realization. "Twilight Sparkle. You prepared THIS far ahead?!" She says with a noise that can only be defined as a guttural growl of hatred. "FINE then. If we're doing this the hard way. Then we do this the hard way!" With a stomp of her forehooves and a glow of her horn, plates of magical armor appear on all four hooves. The impact of her stomp caused the area to shake, causing the disoriented alicorns to stumble. Unity yelling out. "Give me back those Elements and surrender. Even without them, Discord can't win. None of you can beat me. I am the hero of this story. I will bring the world to harmony by force if I must!"

Discord cracks a smile and laughs a little at his sister, which soon transitions into full-blown hysterical laughter. "Oh, sister." He says as he starts to keel from his laughter, several floating mouths laughing with him. "That sounds like what a villain would say." He smirks, almost cockily, at Unity. "Congratulations, Sister, I knew you had it in you. You've officially become the very thing you hated."

With that, Unity's temper snaps as she charges forward. "Discord is mine. Keep your adopted spawn off of me." She says curtly to Eternal, who, unable to disobey, flies directly at the two sisters. Discord smirked as he suddenly teleported to the side to avoid his sister's attack, revealing a thin orange portal he kept hidden behind his body. The female spirit flew right through with her momentum.

Discord nods. "I'll keep her busy as long as I can." The two alicorns nod their heads before focusing their attention on Twilight yet again. Discord jumps through the portal, which closes behind him in an instant.

Finally, the three alicorns clash. Luna and Celestia use all their strength just to block Twilight's initial charge.

The Worst Event in Equestrian history had begun.

The battle began. With strikes flying between both sides. Twilight's magic against Luna's magic, and Twilight's physical strength against Celestia's.

A beam of intense, mastered magic fired from Twilight's horn crashes into Luna's magical shield. Sparkles and shards fall down around her as a crack forms from the strength of the beam. Luna grimaces a little as the feedback from her spell hits her, sweat beading down her forehead.

"Mom! Stop! Please!" Luna yells out as Twilight suddenly disappears. A yelp escaped Luna's mouth as she could feel her mother's sudden appearance behind her.

A loud crack and grunt from Celestia rings out as she blocks the incoming strike from Twilight. "Huh?" rings out from Celestia. The weight of the blow knocked her back, sending both alicorns flying backward in a heap. They can only barely catch themselves in the air after a short tumble. Luna had to instantly bring up her cracked barrier to block Twilight's follow-up attack.

But now they were on the correct side of the battlefield. After all, their objective wasn't to win. It was to save their mother.

Celestia looks at Luna worriedly, who pants a little, tears running down her cheeks. Yet, Luna gently smiles after the short cry and nods. Resolute. "Celly, I'm ready. Don't worry about me. Let's save Mom." She gives a wink, even if her eyes are watering with both fear and sorrow. Luna was ready, and Celestia.

Celestia had to trust her sister. "You better be okay." She then gives Luna a quick hug. Before she quickly dashes towards the castle with a swift beat of her wings. Twilight perks up as she sees what's happening. With a quick teleport upward, she nearly strikes Celestia's fleeing form with a blast of magic, which is blocked yet again. Luna, tearfully smiling behind her barrier.

"I'm your opponent, Mom. But don't worry." Luna tilts her head and smiles softly. "We'll save you no matter what!"

A pulse of magic flows out from the castle as the pacification spell begins in earnest. The sky behind Luna becomes a dark purple as Equestria's growth begins to be stifled by the magic. Luna grunts a little as entire concepts are removed from reality. Nonmagical electricity? Phones? Planes? All the tremendous technological advancements they made in the last centuries began to fall apart one at a time. Disappearing entirely.

But she didn't have time to worry about it now.

The battle would continue.

Celestia exhaled in relief as the beam was blocked behind her, taking flight towards their castle, gasping as she saw large, black vines beginning to grow from the city. Ponies flee from the town in a panic as the growth starts to overtake everything. She quickly looks up at the castle, then down to her subjects in danger. With a frustrated yell, she dives right down and rescues as many ponies as possible. "Go go! Scatter! Do not go south! Quickly!"

"Why is this happening?!" Says one pony in a panic.

"I don't know," Celestia says honestly. "But please. Run. Do not worry about the castle. It may be lost, but we will survive."

With the tiny droplet of magic she has access to, thanks to Discord's healing. Celestia struggles greatly as she forces a portal to open. A pulse from the pacification spell shortly removes the spell's formula from existence afterward, causing the portal to shimmer.

"NO!" Celestia says, worried. Without the portal, the ponies wouldn't be able to escape safely! The element of generosity begins to glow brightly once the formula is removed. The portal begins to solidify as the element of harmony protects it from the effects of the pacification spell. "Quickly! I can't open another one, every creature in!" She says as she rushes around, helping every pony from the city escape into the portal. Flying around, digging ponies out of the rubble with her hooves, and carrying them off of heights as the vines and dark trees begin to destroy stone houses and the walls around the city.

Just as she thinks the evacuation is over, she feels something pulling her wing. She looks around in a startle as she sees some small squirrels pointing into the rapidly growing forest.

"Oh no." Celestia rushes right into the forest. With a fast trot, she quickly escorts all the critters and creatures of Canterlot into the portal, too. By the end, the ivory alicorn is sweating and panting from the portal spell, her horn burnt out entirely as the magic ends. With the end of the portal comes the end of that spell, wholly lost to time. Even then, Celestia forces herself to move forward, her horn cracking and chipping with each step.

Celestia's vision blurs lightly as she forces herself to move forward. Only stopping when she hears a little peep. Her ears perked up gently as she saw one critter who missed the portal. A small, young phoenix.

Celestia stumbles over and kneels down. "I'm so sorry, little one. I don't have the magic to get you out of here." She says with a defeated sigh. She could have sworn that the phoenixes from the royal gardens escaped, but she supposes she could have missed one. Now they're both stuck. The phoenix tilts her head and flies up onto Celestia's back. Giving another little Peep.

Celestia tilts her head as the element of kindness begins to glow. "You want to come? That's why you stayed behind?!" She shakes her head suddenly and looks at the phoenix. "Wait. Why can I understand you?!"


"No. I've never been able to understand critters! This is new to me." Celestia says with a huff. "Still, I don't know about-" She then sees the battle in the distance and the pace of the growth around her. "Actually. I think you would be safer with me." The Ivory Alicorn giggles nervously. "What's your name?" She asks the phoenix with a worried smile.


"Philomena huh… I like that. Hope you don't mind some death-defying adventures with an alicorn that can't use magic anymore." Celestia says with a weak smile.


"That's what I like to hear!" Celestia’s resolve further strengthened now. "Come, Philomena! We have a country to save!" She says as she rushes forward with her new friend. The phoenix flew ahead of her, the gentle, warm sparkles of magic coming off the magical bird. Celestia feels refreshed as she trots through the powder, her horn gently glowing as the chips and cracks start to repair. With all of that complete, the Element of Magic begins to glow.

Luna never thought she'd taste blood again. Here she is again, though. It's not much of it. After all, a purely magical fight is usually all just feedback damage from spells hitting spells.

Still, her mother was incredible at magic. Could she win? Would she have to hurt her mom to stop this insane stuff from happening?

Luna just giggles to herself. "No. Luna Sol Sparkle doesn't give up anymore." She smiles a little at Twilight.

"Mom." She says as she blocks another blast. The magical spells always being enough to shatter her barriers in a single blow. Followed by a quick teleportation spell to avoid the follow-up strike.

"I know you can hear me in there. So. While we fight, just listen, alright?" She says as she avoids attack after attack. Another shield crackled from a beam striking it. Twilight could end the fight whenever she wanted. After all, Luna has no defense against time magic. Thus, Luna long picked up that her momma was fighting against the control over her, preventing the use of anything too dangerous.

"I'm sorry. I'm sure Celestia is, too. We were so happy to have a mom that we didn't notice all the bad stuff happening to you. We weren't able to see through Unity's plans." She swiftly dodges a beam. Luna grunting. The beam was so much faster and hotter than Daybreaker's.

"But." she sighs, "I'm also sorry about something else. I read your journal." With that statement, Twilight freezes up as the element of honesty begins to gently glow.

"I. I know what's going to happen. Between me and Celestia. This. This spell wasn't only for you, was it?" She says with a smile and a head tilt as she watches Twilight stiffly standing on a cloud. Luna smiled a little.

"You always taught me that even at the darkest moments, we should always have a smile. That we shouldn't be afraid of the future." Luna looks downwards as she lands on a cloud. "It's okay, mom. I'll be fine." She says with a smile. "Because I know you'll save me in the future!" She says with a tearful yet wide smile. "I'll always be your daughter, regardless if I'm Nightmare Moon or Luna Sparkle! So you better not do this again!"

The Element of Laughter begins to faintly glow. "I will save you. No matter what. I will not abandon you here. Mom, consider this a rescue mission. Celestia and I will save you from Unity, and then we can all be a happy family now AND when you go home!" She then glows her horn as all three Elements swirl around her, synchronized with Luna. A three-colored rainbow flashed out. Forcing Twilight to block for the first time in this battle. A little smile of pride appears on Twilight's face as her light pink barrier cracks under the weight of the pseudo artifacts' magic.

Two battles rage on, three minds having the same thought at once.

"It's up to you now, Celestia."

"Run, my little sunshine."

"Get moving already!"

Celestia feels a rush of adrenaline as she heads into the overgrowing castle. Philomena would land on her horn, the gentle glow from the phoenix lighting the way forward.

Eternal 10 - Celestia's Kingdom Part 1

View Online

Celestia rushes through Canterlot, black vines, scraggly trees, and strange flowers starting to sprout and creep upwards. A dark ooze coating the floor washes over Celestia's hooves, causing her to gag and shake it off. "What is this…?" Celestia says in bewilderment as she flaps her wings, beginning to hover above the ground. The tar-like ooze seems to be eating away at the stone and woodworking of the houses. Entire streets and buildings become consumed by the liquid, leaving nothing but strange patches of grass, giant vines, and an ever-increasing canopy of dark trees.

"This isn't good. Stay close, Philomena." Celestia says before flapping her wings and flying forward. Celestia is as careful as possible and only lands once the pair reaches the castle's steps. The castle and city are falling apart, with trees, vines, and other foliage forming within its walls, cracking and damaging everything they touch. It's almost like this forest has intelligence, as each sprouting tree crashes out in ideal locations to destroy more and more of Celestia's home. Rubble forming at an alarming rate.

Just as Celestia steps forward, the ooze in front of her begins to shift, spinning violently as three black and yellow orbs start to form. Wood and bark from the nearby trees start to magnetize onto the orbs as green magic begins to swirl within them. Celestia takes a defensive step back as three Timberwolves appear from the magical globs. "What?! That's not possible! Mom and Dad defeated Grogar. Why are there monsters in Equestria?!" She quickly grabs Philomena with a wing and dives out of the way of a Timberwolf's pounce. A loud splat rang out as Celestia got a mouthful of the ooze and a large glob on her face.

"PEGHF. Gross! It tastes like tar or something!" Celestia gags violently. She's never tasted tar, but nothing else can describe it. The taste is worse than even rotten food! Philomena quickly flies and grabs Celestia's mane to try and force Celestia to stand. Of course, the small phoenix can not hoist the Alicorn up, but the tugging sensation recentered Celestia enough for her to notice the second attack by the wolves. Lurching up with a hoof and slamming it into the monster's softer underbelly, she knocks the beast over her, the force of its pounce helping launch it. With a loud thud, the creature slams into the ground, sliding due to the black ooze and spinning out of Canterlot entirely.

Celestia blinks and looks mildly surprised. Her birth parents always told her that monsters were not something to be trifled with. But these ones seemed almost cartoonishly inadequate at combat. They weren't even attacking all at once! Celestia smiles with a little bit of confidence from this realization. "Alright, if mom and dad could do it. Then I can, too!" She says as she prepares herself for the battle.

The battle lasts around thirty seconds. Celestia uses her wings to her advantage to avoid and push the Timberwolves out of Canterlot. Using the ooze to her advantage, the final two monsters would find themselves sliding into the forest as the slippery substance is entirely frictionless for the creatures. The timberwolves even escaped with only their pride wounded. Celestia exhales in relief as she notices more oozing orbs begin to form. This would only stop once she finds the source.

"Quickly, Philomena," Celestia says as she rushes into the castle, the monsters forming as she makes it inside her home.

Celestia closes the large door behind herself and the phoenix. The fiery red bird lit a small area while the three elements of harmony glowed gently to provide light around Celestia herself. The castle was falling apart at the seams! Celestia thought about all the dangerous magical books her birthparents and mother collected. They would all be buried with this place once it fell apart. Celestia knew she didn't have time to go through and save everything. Much of it was likely already far too dangerous to approach since the traps could have shifted or changed from the castle's destruction.

Celestia rushes towards the Unity wing of the castle. Her mom's memory gems should all be there in Unity's room. Then, she can worry about undoing the pacification spell. Ignoring all the monster core… thingies forming around her, Celestia rushes to Unity's room. "Faster. Gotta go faster!" She says as she takes flight, running forward as quickly as possible, her mane stretching a bit in color as she blasts through the halls.

Then she hears it. The sound of fighting coming from nearby. "There are still ponies here?!" She says with wide eyes before flying towards the noise. "Why can't things ever go smoothly?!" Celestia groans out a little. Celestia burst into the destroyed ballroom, finding the entire remains of the royal guard battling various monsters. Chimera, Timberwolves, even Changelings, and a Bugbear!

Celestia's eyes widen before she quickly knocks the bugbear out of the sky with a swift kick to the back of her head, knocking it out in a single blow. "I'm here everypony! Push quickly, spears front and mages on backup!" The guards see Celestia, many smiling and cheering before beginning an attack with their invigorated morale. Celestia quickly begins helping the guards kick out all the evil monsters from the ballroom. The efforts of all twenty-odd ponies resulted in all the monsters running away or being launched out of a broken stained glass window. Celestia pants a little bit from exertion as Philomena flies around the area, the gentle, warm sparkles filling all the ponies in the room with just a little more energy. Celestia can't help but smile as she feels her stamina restoring.

There's no time to lose to relaxing or revelry. Celestia speaks to the Sergeant the moment the battle ends. "Quickly, you all need to get out before the castle comes crumbling down." But all the guards stand firm. "Wha?"

"Your Majesty, it's our duty to protect YOU. As long as you're in the castle, we will stay, too." The Sergeant says with a straight face before all the guards bow. "Please, allow us to help to the best of our ability." He says before bowing to Celestia.

Celestia bites her lip. She doesn't want anypony to get hurt. However, the guards would likely follow her, with or without permission. "Fine. But only the healthy. The wounded must go." She says firmly to the group after taking a moment to think about the best course of action. To which the guards nod and agree. None of them want their injured to fight. After a moment, one unicorn and an earth pony are quickly helped out of the castle, exiting through the broken window. A single pegasus going with them to protect them. "Take the secret exit. The area is far more dangerous now." Celestia says to the leaving group. The duo nod and wish everyone else good luck as they quickly leave, the pegasi saluting Celestia before following suit.

The large group then bursts out of the ballroom, evicting all the monsters that have formed inside the castle with magic, brawns, or tactics. The three pony races work together in perfect tandem to defend their Princess. Celestia quickly says. "I have to get to Unity's room and workshop. The rest of you need to stop the monsters HERE. However, if it starts to get too dangerous."

The Sergeant smiles. "Princess, each of us took an oath to defend you and your family to the last breath. Once you escape, we will escape. Now go. Save Equestria. We will be your rearguard." He says with a smile. Celestia bites her bottom lip before nodding. "You better win Princess! We're all counting on you." The Sergeant says before grabbing a fallen spear and charging right into the fray with his fellow guards with a loud. "GAHHHH, come and get me you monsters!"

Celestia worriedly watches the fight before rushing forward on her quest. Once this is all over, she's throwing the entire castle guard a party, a big one. Like the biggest one she can without Mom getting angry about wasting tax money. Celestia quickly dashes through the decrepit castle. Stones from the walls and ceiling crashed around her as pulses from the pacification spell and the growing ooze continued to damage and reshape the area.

But she made it. Celestia and Philomena see the double doors that lead into Unity's room. She hears some noise from upstairs, but that is far from vital to her right now. Celestia goes faster, speeding up faster than she's ever flown. Quickly twisting in the air, she slams her right shoulder into the double doors, blasting them open with great force. Only then does she notice the fountain of ooze coming from just in front of the doorway. A festering pustule of disgusting tar releases the ooze flowing constantly from the rug below, creating a limitless amount of the black ooze, which is destroying everything around her.

With a stomp, Celestia forces her hoof down on the pustule, popping it with a loud SQUELSH noise. Her entire leg ends up covered with the tar, which she shakes off with disgust. The strange liquid ceases its flow, but not without consequences. The area begins to shake and stir as Celestia rushes to Unity's window, holding onto it as the earthquake shifts and stirs. Celestia, seeing the very land around the castle starts to shudder and twist, pulling apart at the seams. The castle shakes and writhes as it is ripped in twain, leaving only the main hold atop the rock it was once on. The rest of the town begins to crumble, falling into the crevice that is slowly forming. Years and years of pony history crumbling to dust in an instant.

When the shuddering stops, all that is left is a decrepit, old castle on a plateau in the middle of a forest, with a deep trench around and nothing linking it to the other side. Canterlot City was utterly destroyed, and everything else along with it.

This broke Celestia's heart. Everything Ponies had, all the progress, all the love and care they put into their city, and now there was nothing left. Nothing left of her birth parents. Nothing left of their legacy. The garden, the statues. They were all gone.

Celestia closes her eyes momentarily and forces herself to focus on other things, yet her heart screams for revenge. Revenge on the single creature that destroyed everything. Philomena seemed to sense Celestia's turmoil as she landed on the Ivory Alicorn's nose and gave her a feathery hug.

Celestia holds back some tears. The time for sorrow would come later. That's what her birth father would say. Yet, Celestia has another voice in her head. Once much more recent.

'It's okay to be scared, angry and sad. Just remember that I'm always here for you. No one will judge you for your emotions. They are not weakness.' With that, Celestia allows a few tears to drop before she reaches with her hoof and begins gathering all the crystals. Tears fresh in her eyes, stinging them, she runs out of the room. Accidentally, having grabbed an extra artifact in her rush, a small stone lying in her saddle bag. Glowing a light green.

Celestia pushes into the mage tower, the crumbling building missing many of its stairs. With several flaps of her wings, she flies up to the top of the tower. The magical spell is swirling and spinning as she enters the room, revealing a sight she never wished to see.

She sees Discord and Luna writhing inside the spell, squirming as their magic is used to power the spell. The door slams behind Celestia as she hears a loud Peep. With a quick flap of her wings, she narrowly avoided two magic beams that crashed down where she stood. Twilight, her mother, lands in front of the door while Unity crashes down with a grin.

Unity giggles and says, "Nice attempt. I have to admit, Celestia, this plan was truly incredible! You ALMOST got me." Unity's grin breaks out into a full smile. A curled smirk mixed into it that exuded confidence. "Course, as I said several times. Discord has ZERO chance against me. I think we both knew how this was going to end."

Celestia steps back a tiny amount. Trying to think of a way out of this. What is she going to do? What can she do?!

"Nothing. You can't do anything, Celestia. I win. I WIN. Game over. You lose. This is MY story now. Once the world is pacified, I can push back this strange forest, fix whatever is going on with my magic, and we will have a perfectly harmonious world! But you deserve a reward since you did get this far." Unity says with a smile that reeks of maliciousness, yet, on some level, she also seems to be sincerely interested in Celestia now. The smile reminds Celestia of how Unity used to look at Twilight, sending shivers down the Ivory Alicorn's spine.

"Join me, Celestia. We both know you wish to bring harmony to the world, too. Your methods are just far too shortsighted, like your mother's were. This world is mine now. So give up your sister your family, and join the winning side." She grins as she holds her hoof out.

Luna and Discord grunt as they float inside the magical apparatus. Discord saying something first. "You might as well, Celestia. I'm out of ideas." He says as he groans out in a small amount of pain.

Luna just smiles a little bit. "You got this sis. You always do." She giggles. The three elements synced with her glowing gently in response to being close to the other three. Celestia looks downward as she approaches Unity.

Upon which she punches Unity as hard as she can in the face. All her anger in that one singular attack. Enough to make the green and blue Alicorn flinch. Celestia glaring. "Never."

Unity smirks as she allows Celestia to return to her spot in the room, rubbing her cheek slightly. "Ya know. I know that it's bad for someone to enjoy pounding someone into the dirt." She spits a bit on the ground. "But I am SO going to enjoy putting you in your place, Celestia Sol."

Celestia smiles a little as Philomena chirps in her ear. "That's Celestia Sparkle to you." With a glow of her horn as one last crack repairs itself, infused with the power of both the sun and phoenixes. Celestia fires a single blast of magic.

Time almost feels as if it's slowing. The confidence on Unity's face slowly faded to surprise. Then, terror as she saw the beam she was expecting to come at her wasn't actually aimed at her.

It was aimed at the artifact instead.

Eternal 11 - Celestia's Kingdom Part 2

View Online

"NO! You IDIOT!" Unity yells out as the beam crashes into the magical artifact and spell. Wreaths of light and strands of magic swirl into the magic and surround it. Glowing glyphs and dangerous energy begin to spark and shudder through the barrier containing Luna and Discord, who stand up in surprise as the swirl of magic begins to crack the barrier. Chips of glass-like magic begin to shave off the surface of the torrent of magic as the ribbons of magic tightly wrap around the sphere, shattering it in an instant.

Discord and Luna are quickly pulled out of the artifact's grasp as the solar alicorn raises a barrier with her magic. The sphere shatters after a moment, releasing all the contained magic. Unity rushed over to the artifact and tried to hold it together with her magic.

"NO NO! You idiot! Without the spell going, we can't get back anything that the spell stole! You RUINED EVERYTHING!" With that, the spell explodes, destroying what was left of the castle except the front keep. Celestia, Luna, Discord, Twilight, and Unity all raise or hide behind a barrier as the magic explodes. Particles of white magic shine outwards as they float in the sky, each little dot of energy bashing on the magical shields like a sledgehammer to concrete.

What happens next is worse, though, as all the particles start siphoning into the remains of the artifact, imploding with deadly force. A massive shockwave of magic, creativity, and history bursts out. Thousands of years of progress, centuries of knowledge, gone in an instant. Celestia grunts as the barrier she put up is hammered by more and more energy. A little growl escapes her mouth as she yells out. "AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" With a dark gold flash of her horn, the barrier is reinforced with more magic. Celestia has to protect her sister. She HAS to do this!

Luna would stand up and glow her horn, the barrier suddenly gaining a bluish tint, a perfect yin and yang of day and night hardening the magical fortification. "You don't have to do this alone, Celestia." She says with a smile. The pair smile a little as Discord shakes off his injuries briefly. The Draconequus would stand up and roll his eyes at the sight so hard that they pop out.

"Oh, fine. I suppose I should get us out of this mess." He then snaps his fingers as the ground beneath them gives away, being turned into a cheese block. His eyes jump back into their sockets as the implosion's shockwave finally launches them out of the building, barrier and all. The trio is fired out of the crumbling mage tower like a cannonball. Crashing into Equestria Mountain, the prominent landmark at the center of Equestria. With a loud CRASH, the group slams into the mountainside, the barrier easily consuming the impact's force with a loud DING noise. The mountain behind them now has a large crater from their crash as they see the extent of the devastation caused by the magical implosion. Not only was their castle no longer visible underneath the large canopy of the encroaching forest, but the entire train system was entirely eradicated! However, the three do not have much time to think about it as Twilight and Unity suddenly appear, the duo blasting the heroes with their magic.

The barrier shudders and shakes under the impact of the pure magic firing at them. Celestia and Luna struggle to keep the barricade up. Discord was entirely helpless in this endeavor, his magic being sealed by his sister's presence. He could help had he learned any sort of pony magic, but his reliance on purely chaos magic resulted in his downfall, both now and in the fight he had earlier, unlike his sister, who was more than versed in using mortal magic.

Unity screams, "Once you three are out of the way, I'll fix everything!" She says as she whips her horn. The magic twists and shapes into a cleaver as it slices through the barrier as if it weren't even there.

"AHHHHH!" The trio yells out as they're launched to the side. The shield shatters into shards of light, which twinkle and crackle as they bounce along the floor. The impact of the blade was too strong for anypony to hope to defend against.

"No more Mrs. Nice Unity!" The Spirit says in a guttural growl. As Unity lands, she begins stomping toward Celestia, Luna, and Discord. Her horn glows a bright green as the black ooze drips from her magic. Twilight follows behind wordlessly. Discord grunts a little bit as he helps his allies stand up. The trio looks ragged and tired from the explosion and the fights they've been in. Only Celestia is in any fighting condition, and with Philomena nowhere to be seen, she no longer has her infinite source of healing and stamina. Still, she steps forward to meet her mom and Unity, glaring daggers at the Spirit.

Celestia glows her horn, holding her wing up to block the view of Luna and Discord behind her. Unity smirking. "Oh, a little stand. How quaint. What do you expect to happen? I'm the Spirit that gives heroes their preferred outcome. I'm the one who sets up all those reversals through the 'magic of friendship.' I'm the one that gives that sudden power-up when things go badly! What can you do without my support? Huh? NOTHING." She says as she fires a blast of magic at Celestia. The alicorn's barrier shattered instantly on contact, sending her flying back, all the memory shards and the Stone of Hope rolling out of her bags.

Yet she still stands up afterward. Stumbling a small amount, "You don't get it, do you?" Celestia says. "I'd do anything for Equestria and my family. This is nothing." She says as she holds up her wing again. Panting a small amount.

Unity, stunned, stands there for a moment. Before she bursts out laughing. "You are seriously stupid! You know that? Equestria is done for. Your little explosion sent that magic spell everywhere. Not only did you send Equestria to the Stone Age, but every single contingency spell in there for all the other races just went off, too." She smirks as Celestia's eyes widen in horror.

"That's right. The dragons? All their magic was just siphoned away and slammed into one staff. The griffons just lost their lucky idol. All the yak villages? Gone, all that's left is Yakinsan. The Kirin? Well, guess who can't control their emotions anymore? Once we're done here, I'll be the savior of all those countries and people. You have no chance of defeating me, Celestia. The terrors are only just beginning." She says with a smile. "I cursed this land to forever be beset by monsters, terrifying villains, and horrors beyond your wildest dreams. Ponies will never live in harmony because you REJECTED MINE!" She says as she rears back to fire a beam at Celestia.

"AGH?!" It never comes as a blast of magic hits Unity from the side. The two Royal guards that evacuated from the castle earlier. Those two injured guards smile as the Unicorn's horn sizzles a small amount, the earth pony rushing forward and slamming Unity away. The following beam is blocked by Twilight's wing with ease.

"Princess! Don't worry about us. We're your shield! Do what you need to do!" The earth pony says as he struggles with Unity, his strength barely able to fend off Unity's overwhelming physical power. Meanwhile, the Unicorn stumbles as she teleports to avoid Twilight's magic blasts, explosions, and beams.

"Just please do hurry up!" The Unicorn says quickly as she vanishes with a pop, appearing just out of range of Twilight. Forcing the controlled alicorn to make chase. Unity is unable to give different orders at the moment. Celestia nods as she quickly rejoins with Discord and Luna, the pair sorting through Twilight's memories. Discord also finds the stone of hope, looking at it with dismay.

"Disgusting, she used an ancient artifact from before we spirits came here. No wonder your mother is completely under her thumb now." Discord says with a glare towards his sister. "Unfortunately, I don't know how to undo this. I'd need at least ten minutes to break past this barrier."

A still silence settles in the hopelessness of their situation as Discord continues. "On top of that, Unity is blocking my chaos magic at the cost of her harmony magic. So I can't fix Twilight." He says sadly. "I'm sorry."

Luna gulps and then looks at the fight. Before she rushes forward. "Well, if we're stuck, I'm at least gonna go down fighting!" She says bravely as she runs forward towards Unity and the Earthpony guard. When she arrives, the blue alicorn slams into Unity's side with great force.

"LUNA!" Celestia says as Discord sighs.

"May as well join her." He says as he grabs some rocks from the ground nearby. "Nothing to be done, Celestia. We just have to hope that something knocks some sense into your mother." He says as he rushes forward. Joining the Unicorn in fighting Twilight. Celestia looked down at the gemstones and the Stone of Hope. Celestia thinks and thinks, trying to figure out a solution, something she can do.

But nothing came to mind. Celestia felt utterly lost. She didn't have the fast thinking of her mother. What could she do if even Equestria's strongest and wisest pony was already defeated?! Everything was falling apart around her. Equus was already decimated by the pacification spell's explosion. Equestria would take decades to recover from the damage done. How could she possibly think straight right now?! There has to be something she can do.

In the dark space where the spirits reside, the three spirits reconvene with worry. The three spirits watch the battle. Luna and Discord were both losing their respective fights. Screams of terror and pain ring out towards them. Mist winces, Cleo gasps, and Equus closes his eyes in sorrow.

Cleo's ears flatten down as she says. "They're… going to lose." She mumbles, "Unless we break the contract."

Equus shakes his head. The contract was everything. It was the binding laws of Equestria and beyond. Equestria would never be the same if they were to break it, and any other world they've touched would change with it. They could not risk everything for one measly planet!

Yet. The spirits all wanted to. They did not want a world snuffed out simply because one of their own rebelled. They never wished for another disaster like this to happen, But it did. It was their responsibility to handle it. It is their fault for all the chaos Equestria has gone through. A failed test here and there created Grogar. A failed experiment resulted in the main hero being whisked through time, which allowed one of their own to cause all these problems.

Mist simply raises her hoof. "In favor." She merely says as Cleo repeats the action. Equus looking between the two. He had the final vote. Without it being unanimous, they could do nothing. Yet. His hoof/claw/hand is raised. "In favor. The contract is broken. Mortals shall design their own destiny now. Choose your vessels, and then we shall begin."

Just as Unity charges right towards Celestia's back, Twilight blasts Discord and the Unicorn away. Time starts to slow down before crawling to a standstill. A tick-tock of a clock ringing out, Celestia opens her eyes as she sees everything and everyone frozen entirely, the flash of light from time stopping having blinded her. As she turns, she sees Unity's hoof frozen in front of her face. A scream escapes her lips as she falls back in terror.

The terror, however, was not directed towards Unity. Instead, it was directed towards three newcomers. A Yellow Unicorn, a Red Kirin, and a Pink Kirin stand in the center of the battlefield. "NO NOT MORE SPIRITS." Says Celestia with a whimper. She could barely handle the two they already have. Even if they were allies, she'd never sleep at night if this happened again. But the Red Kirin just chuckles as he suddenly changes to that of a teenage dragon.

"We aren't here to help Unity. She has broken the laws of the spirits enough where the contract has been broken by vote." Says the red dragon with a shake of his head. "As such, we must all go our separate ways. I simply wished to see the world we created with the goddesses of creation and imagination one last time." He sighs a little, wistfully thinking of times before.

The Pink Kirin smiles a little as she suddenly becomes very elderly, to Celestia's surprise, "But per the contract. We must pass on the guiding of Equestria to others now. Normally, we would do this once mortals reach a proper level of technology and mysticism. However, thanks to our folly and rules, we unfortunately must do it now." She sighs a little as she bows to Celestia.

The Yellow Unicorn, who eerily looks similar to Twilight, smiles. "But, we've seen how much trouble our co-worker has and will cause you. So, we're bending the rules a little bit. Consider it our final meddling." She says with a nod. "Rather than giving the future of Equestria to some deity, we decided."

They all say in Unison. "That ponies deserve a chance to command their own destiny. You have changed our outlook on mortals, Celestia." Celestia winces a small amount from the loud booming. Twilight starts slowly shaking off the time-stop magic in the background, causing the Pink Kirin to look at her with a wry smile.

Celestia looks at the group bewildered. "Wait… what do you mean by that though? Like. Being in control of our own destiny?" She says with a confused mumble. "And who are you guys?! Like really? This is so weird and doesn't make any sense." This causes the three to look at each other in bewilderment.

"Wait, they don't teach about us in schools or anything? How rude!" Says one.

"Well, that does mean we get to do the intro sequence." Says another.

"Oooooh! Let's do that! Alright on three. One, Two, Three!" One counts down before they both take a 'cool' pose. The trio, smiling before the yellow one, says.

"My name is Mist~! I'm the Spirit of Magic, and my chosen vessel is Celestia Sol Sparkle~! I hereby bequeath all my strength, energy, and power to her. To twist the destiny of magic itself from now and unto the future!" She says with a smile. "I hope you use it well." She says with a wink as she starts to glow. The Spirit of magic shakes a small amount as she becomes a small yellow orb. The orb bursts into a shower of light, and all the light is suddenly absorbed into Celestia's body with a loud wooshing noise. A little grunt escaped Celestia as she felt everything. Magic, knowledge of it. She can feel the laws of magic and the twists of it beneath her hooves…

And then it's all gone. Like the powers never existed in the first place. "What did… what?!" She says, confused. However, the spirits do not stop. The pink one speaking next.

"I am Cleo, youngsters. The Spirit of Time. I officially." She then changes to the form of a filly. "Decwee that, my powahs." She then switches to the state of an adult. "To manipulate, change, and write the laws of time shall go to my chosen vessel, Twilight Sparkle. With this, the Alicorn barrier is broken. Alicorns will experience time no differently than other creatures. Though their long-lasting lives will ring on." She says with a smile. "A final gift to my best friend's favorite pony." She then glows bright pink as the orb flies into Twilight.

The memory crystals begin shaking and shuddering with great intensity as they fly up. Spinning around the Queen of Equestria before they slam into her body. The Stone of Hope follows suit, shuddering and shaking as it cracks down the center, turning to dust. Twilight shivers as she stands in frozen time, the surge of power and the return of her memories giving her a massive headache. Twilight raises her hoof to rub her head a little, looking around in confusion. "I'm… back?" She says

"I'M BACK!" Twilight laughs happily as she scoops up Luna, Celestia, and even Discord in a big hug. Laughing and crying a little bit as she holds onto the trio. Even if Luna and Discord are still frozen in time. Equus smiles as he watches the moment before sighing and saying. "Ahem."

Twilight blinks and looks over to Equus, her eyes going wide. "You're-"

Equus smiles and chuckles. "In the flesh. Equus at your service. As my final decree for all of the world. I leave the planet's fate to Ponies, Griffons, and all other mortal creatures. You shall all dictate your own destinies and the destinies of monsters everywhere. Twilight Sparkle, Celestia Sparkle, Luna Sparkle. You three shall carry the majority of my strength. Use it for the good of the world." He says with a bow. The red Spirit glows gently as he disperses, gentle lights entering into Twilight, Celestia, and even the frozen Luna.

With the spirits disappearing, time slowly returns to normal. Unity's punch is blocked by Twilight's wing with ease. A loud booming noise rings out. The Spirit of Harmony's eyes widen as she sees the fury on Twilight's face. The sheer anger for having DARED to steal her best memories away, for having DARED to manipulate her into damaging Equestria, and most of all, for having DARED to force her to hurt her daughters! Eternal and Twilight move in sync as she throws a magically charged hoof punch at Unity. A loud CRACK rings out as she breaks the Spirit's shoulder.

"Nice shot, Princess. Didn't think you had it in you." Eternal says as an invisible ghost behind Twilight. Twilight's mane sparkled gently with stars and a passing comet, her eyes sharp but not piercing like her alter ego's, and a large scar adorning her left shoulder. There is some hope that Unity would perk up and say this was a test in the back of Twilight's mind. However, Twilight knew how farfetched that hope was. This creature was no better than Tirek regarding how blatantly malicious she was. Even as the Spirit yelled out loudly from the pain, there was hardly any remorse in Twilight's eyes.

"UNITY! As Queen of Equestria, you are SO under arrest!" She roars, the two guards fighting with them, pointing their spears at Unity. Who just starts giggling slightly to herself, sounding extremely deranged.

"It was perfect. My plan was perfect. But no, you just had to ruin it. There was no reason for me to lose. I had everything. EVERYTHING. THE ONE THING. The one thing I didn't expect to happen, the one thing that could have saved you all. Of course, it happened. Of course! They broke the contract. We're stuck here now, Discord. Stuck here forever." She says with a laugh as she yells, grabbing her arm with her magic and forcing it back into place. "Fine." She says with a deranged laugh, her smile growing widely as she lets out a guttural scream from the pain of setting her arm back. "If you want a villain, I GUESS I can play the part. I hope you enjoy your little peace without me, your Majesties. Because HARMONY is playing for the other team now!" The insane Spirit glows her horn bright green. A massive teleportation spell starts to form as Twilight tries to shine her horn to stop it. Eternal yelling out.

"TWILIGHT YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO CONTROL THAT MAGIC!" She yells to the Princess. Unfortunately, the loud noises of the teleportation spell mask the words. Who's horn starts to sputter and sparkle before doing nothing. Her magic flow is too pure to be concentrated into simple magic spells like the Princess is used to.

"GOODBYE Equestria! I'll be leaving and taking my family with me. Don't worry, though. They already loved me for who I was." She says with a grin. "They longggg hated all of you anyways, so this will be an IMPROVEMENT." Unity laughs a little bit, looking up at Twilight with a grin. "Good. Bye. Stupid Alicorns!" She then vanishes with a burst of magic, the shockwave of the massive teleportation spell causing a small explosion, no doubt a gift from Unity as a final profanity. Twilight blocks the shockwave with her body, protecting everyone behind it until Celestia and Luna squirm free! The duo jump to the side and raise their shield together as Discord joins in to assist.

"UGH! I'll do it!" Says Eternal as Twilight nods. Swapping frames of mind with her other self. A gentle glow of magic bursts out as the scar on her shoulder vanishes. Eternal standing up as the cosmos and stars in her mane gently twinkle in both forms, their cutiemark fully restored. With a glow of her horn, she projects her own barrier to help, the pure magic strengthening the group's shield as they invert it, trying to contain the explosion.

"No more damage to Equestria." Says Celestia.

"We will protect it! One way or another." Says Luna.

"Ugh. This is so cheesy. Who's the writer of this thing?! Fine, but only this one time. Ahem. Know this, Sister. I will find you." Says Discord with a grin. "Okay, that WAS fun."

Twilight smiles as she steels her resolve, Eternal returning control to the Twilight after casting the spell. She can easily sustain the magic after it's released, but the insane magical formulas for casting them will take practice. Twilight can't help but feel elated, even in the face of the danger. Even without her friends, even without everything, she had her family. She was home.

So she yells out like the others, even if it is something silly that you would in a cheesy novel. "I won't let you hurt another one of My Little Ponies," Twilight says with her soft smile, her horn glowing in intensity as the barriers collapse in on the explosion spell, snuffing it out entirely.

The group would cheer and jump, smiles and tears on every face as the relief washes over everyone. Even Discord seems relieved and ecstatic, pulling out a whiteboard with "Unity | Discord" Written on it. Unity's side has several uniform tally marks. Discord grins widely like a teenager as he puts a duck sticker on his side.

Celestia and Luna hug tightly with each other. Twilight smiles at the duo before they rush over and tackle her to the ground. The two guards hug each other in relief of their victory. Ponies across the land dig each other and themselves out of the rubble of their homes. Others come out to see the damage done.

But they're all alive. Cheers ring out as relief washes over the country.

In the griffon lands, the chaos from the pacification spell stopped. The country is at its weakest since ancient history. Yet, they were alive. They could rebuild. The Yaks, no longer restrained by the spell, could rebuild their settlements, and the Dragons decided on a single Dragon Lord to wield their magic.

Not all were happy. The Kirin were in Mourning at the loss of their leader, and the griffons were still missing their idol. But the world, for once, seemed safe. It seemed like it was happy. Their destinies truly felt like it was theirs.

As Celestia, Luna, and Twilight look off the mountain. Twilight giggles a little bit to herself. "Ya know, I always wondered by Canterlot moved up to the mountainside. I guess we know now, huh?" She giggles lightly as she looks down at the forest. “The Everfree forest. Guess I did cause the worst event in Equestrian history, huh?" She mumbles

Celestia and Luna lean into Twilight. Celestia smiled a little. "Welcome to the 'we messed up' club. Party of three." She says with a smile, "It'll be alright, Mom. It's a new day, finally." She says as she watches the sunrise. Twilight's horn glows gently as she instinctually raises the sun.

The trio watches the sunrise on a new day, the ball of plasma shining rays of light all along the ground. The illumination of the world brings hope for a better tomorrow.

They had won. Equestria. No, Equus was saved.

Elsewhere, a disgruntled spirit says, "For now." Unity sighed a little to herself. Thinking constantly about the plan and where she went wrong. She would be back, but for now, she'd let the ponies enjoy their peace. Twilight is crippled, and Equestria will never be the same. She may have lost, but the war will continue.

Unity joins with her family. Her husband and three foals walk with her as they leave for places unknown. The Forbidden West will be their home for the time being until their return to Equestria.

"Repose, Hearthfire, Gentle Light, time to go." She says quietly as her foals run ahead to places unknown. Dust flies up as the young foals excitedly run forward. Their parents give each other a hug before they run after them.

Intermission 2 - Year One

View Online

One year had passed since Twilight's disappearance—one entire year with the Princess of Friendship missing. Day by day, time ticked forward without stopping. It's nearly impossible to keep something of this magnitude a secret for so long, so the princesses gave a general story of what happened. Twilight's disappearance was all over the news, ponies far and wide feeling the effects of her vanishing.

Yet, even then. Something was strange. Equestria had been entirely at peace this past year. There were no monsters, no villains that the Princesses would need to take up arms against. There were no signs of time breaking or even major friendship problems happening (Although the smaller ones still did from time to time). It was almost like everything had frozen like the flow of time had been set on a loop without looping the ponies themselves.

The Mane 5 were the only ponies that truly mourned for their friend. On many days, Celestia and Luna would be approached by at least one of them to try and attempt a rescue. However, even with their help, they did not have another copy of the spell that Twilight used in the first place. All they could do was wait.

Spike took it the hardest. The little dragon was utterly furious with Celestia and Luna. He had just lost the closest family he could ever have. It was rare to see him leave his room, except to get food during the day and sit out in the garden at night. He purposefully slept through the day to prevent Luna from speaking with him in his dreams and refused to talk with Celestia.

Twilight's parents were… surprisingly okay with everything. When asked by Spike why they weren't angry, Twilight Velvet simply smiled. "A mother knows when her daughter is okay. Twily is just fine, Spike. Lost. But she's just fine." Nightlight was much more forlorn the first few days, but his wife seemed to have convinced him over the year. Although, he always finishes conversations about Twilight with a laugh and a wide smile.

"When Twilight comes home, I'm giving her the biggest hug. And also a very stern talking to. I think I'll even read up on some dad puns. Just to get the point across." He'd say. His smile covered up the pain of missing his daughter. However, he did indeed seem to believe she was okay.

Spike would shift around in his bed. Idly staring at the ceiling. Hardly having been taking care of himself, he'd turn on his side and stare out the curtain. He'd quietly think back to his wandering around. He personally told Twilight's family what happened after all.

Shining Armor was inconsolable, even now. Bringing up Twilight in his presence is enough to make him break down once he gets to be in private. Cadence took it well on the outside, but Spike has repeatedly seen her chow down on much more ice cream than is healthy. Honestly, Alicorn anatomy is scary sometimes.

Spike bounced around places to stay. He'd stay with Twilight's parents occasionally, but being there reminded him of Twilight. Sometimes, he'd go to Ponyville for a night or two, but never longer. Twilight's brand-new castle simply sat dusty and unused, even after all the work they all put into it to make it a home. No one dared to step in there, either because it brought back painful memories or because whenever somepony tried to, Celestia or Luna would usually greet them at the door with a pretty intense glare. They were intensely protective of the castle, almost more so than their own.

The purple dragon pulls himself out of bed, stretching and wandering through the halls. It was almost nightfall, so he might as well get some food. The Princesses would be swapping places today, and the guard change always meant there were fewer ponies around and about to see him. Avoiding the Princesses in their own castle was hard work, but it was the only thing he actually put his mind to nowadays. Taking some food lovingly put out for him by the royal chef (The Chef knew about Spike's habits by now and always kept a plate ready to warm for him around this time), Spike would gently blow some of his magical fire underneath the plate. While his flame may, on direct contact, send something to Celestia, it was still hot enough to warm things when not directly hit. Grilled Cheese always tastes better when you eat it piping hot.

The little dragon would walk outside to the garden as he always did. Sitting down on a chair quietly, looking up to the stars. He could see Princess Luna walking inside the castle from below. While he didn't have anything in particular against Luna, he also knew from his many interactions with Applejack that the sisters were hiding something about Twilight.

-Around 8 months after Twilight's Disappearance-

The throne room is pretty busy today, full of Twilight's closest friends. Celestia and Luna are down on the lower floor with them rather than up on their thrones. The two sisters are more than happy to hear any solutions that Twilight's friends might be able to devise.

"If it was time magic, maybe Daring Do knows of an artifact that could help us! It's worth a shot, at least." Rainbow Dash says with a sigh. She had long revealed to her friends and the Princesses that the famous pony was real, precisely for this reason.

Celestia shakes her head. "To my memory, Twilight and Starswirl destroyed all the time magic artifacts shortly before she returned to the present. She didn't want anyone else to get trapped." She quietly says.

Luna nods in response, awkwardly saying, "Twilight." she then pauses and clears her throat, drinking some water nearby.

"Twilight was very thorough about it, too. The only thing my sister's student left was Starswirl's spell, which was purposefully left unfinished." She continues after a moment after rubbing her forehead. It was far too early for Luna to be up, but she and her sister promised the element bearers that they'd BOTH be there for them. Not to mention, they had to make sure they didn't learn too much.

"UGHHH… Twilight, why do you have to be so good at this stuff?! It's like she purposefully blocked our ability to go help us!" She shouts with a groan as she stuffs her face into the fine carpet below her.

"Ahm with Rainbow Dash on this un. It's almos't like Twi didn WANT us to com'n and help her like she wants t' stay in the past." Applejack says with a rub of her chin.

At that, Celestia and Luna both tense up for a moment. The action was only caught by Rainbow Dash and Applejack. The two notice simultaneously before Rainbow Dash finally breaks the eerie silence between the two observant ponies.

"AGH! I can't do this anymore!" Rainbow Dash says with a jump to her feet. Her sudden jump caused the rest of the ponies to perk up in surprise. Even Pinkie, who already knew almost everything going on to a certain degree, was caught off guard by Rainbow's sudden jump.

"What are you two hiding?! You both always avoid questions about when Twilight will be back! Not to mention you two SUCK at lying whenever we bring stuff up and-" Suddenly, she's grabbed from behind by Rarity, who covers her mouth with her hoof.

"And what Rainbow Dash is trying to say, Princesses. It seems like you're hiding things from us to a degree. We believe. Same with you, Pinkie Pie." Rarity says, trying to prevent Rainbow Dash's more intense wording from putting the Princesses too hard on the defensive. The last time Rainbow had an outburst, the two sisters simply called the meeting off then and there. This had to be done perfectly, with no easy, socially acceptable escape methods.

Pinkie Pie blinks as she tilts her head before realizing what Rarity is saying. “Ohhhhhhhhh well uhm. Sorry! The writer doesn't want me to give EVERYTHING away. It's way too early for that! Besides, it's just a hunch right now." She says with a smile, although that just makes Rainbow Dash flail more. This entire event has put a reasonably rough strain on everyone's relationships. It was hard to be mad at Pinkie, but especially in these moments, it was possible.

Celestia and Luna let out a confused but still relieved sigh. Although when she'd look at the rest of the element bearers, she'd realize something. 'Oop. They actually got me stuck here. Rarity asked it so reasonably that leaving or avoiding the question could irreversibly damage our friendship with them.'

Celestia would then look over at Luna, finding that.

Luna was completely asleep?! The blue Alicorn mumbled quietly to herself, "Mmmmnng, Celestia. Mom and I don't want to eat doughnuts for breakfast again. It's the 30th time this week. Yes. 30th.”

Celestia looks visibly in turmoil about everything. Her eyes close as she quickly runs through everything possible in her mind. Celestia wracks her mind with as many ideas as possible. She even scrunches her face a little bit in the process.

But then Fluttershy spoke up for the first time across almost all 70 meetings. "I never noticed that Princess Celestia has the same thinking face as Twilight." She says quietly, the rest of the group looking towards her with curious faces. They would then look back at Celestia, who is just simply dumbfounded.

'Well, of course, I have the same thinking face as Mom. I only saw her like that almost every day after we freed her from Unity.' Celestia thinks to herself with a little giggle.

"Twilight likely picked it up from me, Fluttershy. It's reasonable that a student's thinking face be similar to their teacher's." Celestia says with a smile, although internally she's loudly thinking, 'I cannot WAIT until I can stop calling her that. All I did was teach her the bare basics she taught me.'

Fluttershy tilts her head. "That's true. But it's still nice. It reminds me of her a lot." The cream-colored pony smiles a little before hiding behind her mane to cover up her embarrassment. She really wanted to diffuse the tension. It wasn't fair to the princesses that they were being so hard on them. They just wanted to know if their friend was okay.

"It's almost comforting to me, I guess. Like as long as you're here, we still have hope to see her again." Fluttershy says quietly as she finishes speaking.

Celestia smiles a little. The Princess was incredibly proud to be her mother's daughter, both of them. Just being compared to Twilight like this was enough to bring her guard down.

At that moment, when she opened her mouth next, Celestia slipped up entirely. The fact that she could keep it up this long was a testament to how much she used to practice for this day. After all, Celestia knew her mother's notebook in and out. She had so much preparation. However, there was always one problem with this plan of hers.

Celestia was a terrible actor. This was a fact that no one ever brought up. While she was good at deceit, any extended lies were always kept up by her sister. It's why, during Celestia's solo rule, TOO much of the truth was spread about Nightmare Moon. She simply had trouble keeping up lies. Something likely caused by the influence of using all six elements when she was only genuinely attuned with three.

At least, that's the excuse she mentally goes with. In reality, she was always bad at acting, culminating in one singular slip-up. "I had a lot of time to practice it with m-mfnnnn." She covered her mouth with her magic, but the damage was done, everycreature in the room knew now one fact.

Celestia WAS hiding something about Twilight. The following uproar from the five was tremendous. Rainbow Dash was pestering, Rarity was laying verbal traps, and Pinkie was bringing in some cupcakes with big exclamation marks on them. Luna was still asleep. It was a mild chaos, enough to make Discord proud. But two things caught Celestia's attention the most.

Fluttershy and Applejack's duo stare. Celestia had always been particularly weak to three things: cake, Fluttershy's genetic magic, the stare, and the look of disappointment from an apple. She had grown some resistance to it to a degree, but she was pretty close friends with her mother's friends for a while, which developed these mental weaknesses over several millennia.

The Apple family's disappointment was like getting attacked by Timberwolves. It was just a gentle yet stern hit on the heart. The only thing worse was your mother saying, "I'm not mad, just disappointed." to you.

Fluttershy's familial stare, however, was another monster. Mother did some research on it in the past. Apparently, when used on a non-animal creature, it amplifies the guilt someone has hidden. It wouldn't work on her as long as Celestia kept a clear conscience. All of this meant that this combo was a combo from Tartarus itself.

"FINE!" Celestia says with a yell. "Yes, I am hiding something. However, there is much I can not tell you all." She says with a grumble. Luna sat up and stretched from all the noise, looking somewhat exhausted.

"Did you have to yell, sister? I was having a lovely dream." Luna yawns loudly as she looks at Celestia. Luna's eyes, however, sharpen when she sees Celestia's 'I messed up face.'

"Ah, the last time I saw that face, I almost died beforehoof in a blaze of fire." the blue Alicorn says wistfully, stretching in place. Sighing a little, "Alright, somepony, fill me in."

A few moments pass as the Lunar Princess is told what just happened by her sister. Luna just laughed a little. "Ahhh, I told you that you'd be unable to keep this up for long, sister." She sighs a little bit.

"Very well, it has been a while. So relax, grab some popcorn, and let us tell you some things that cannot leave this room." Luna says with a smile.

The two princesses then tell Twilight's friends a somewhat edited version of Twilight's story in the past. Although they leave out some key details, such as Twilight's injuries and their adoption, the rest of it is truthful. Luna is more than aware that Applejack would likely have a sixth sense of these lies by omission, but she ends the story with a simple statement.

"That is all I can tell you. The rest Twilight requested she tell you herself. Unfortunately, as she outranks us, we cannot disobey her request." Luna says simply before shuddering.

"Trust me, you never want to upset her if you can avoid it. She can be pretty intense with disciplining. So… so many hours spent writing lines on a chalkboard." Celestia adds on with a shudder of her own. Luna snorting.

"Lines are nothing. That one time I forgot to do my duties, she had me go out and solve twenty friendship problems before the end of the week. Even you didn't give her such hellish requirements!" Luna huffs a little.

Celestia chuckles. "To be fair, my requirements were all up in her head in the first place. Meanwhile, you almost ruined the Grand Galloping Gala with Philomena. Twenty friendship lessons were on the lower end of the discipline she hoofed out."

The two sisters would laugh for a short time. They could genuinely act like themselves in moments like these, where they were among friends.

As the day ended, the Mane 5 and Spike sat together in Twilight's room at Canterlot Castle. Sure, they each had their own rooms, but it felt right to have meetings in the empty bedroom. Rainbow Dash broke the silence that loomed over the still shell-shocked ponies.

"Twilight. Twilight is literally the Queen of Equestria. Like. The literal, Faust given ruler of Equestria." The Rainbow Maned Pony says with a crack in her voice. She'd never believe it if it came from anypony else! However, Princess Luna's honesty, when she was being honest, could rival Applejack's. So, aside from those things she had to leave out, they can take the rest of the information as accurate.

Rarity sits up. "I've been making dresses for the Queen. No, if what they've said is true, a large section of my BLOODLINE has been making dresses for the Queen?! Do you think my designs will go worldwide when Twilight gets back? Ooh, you think she'd model for me?!" Rarity's mind is utterly in both work and freakout mode.

"WAIT! What if the designs she originally had are too garish for her tastes now?! I must have dresses waiting for her when she returns! One hundred percent. She'll need an entire new wardrobe too!" Rarity says as she now begins to freak out.

Applejack rubs her chin. "Yah know, the first patron of Sweet Apple Acres WAS said to be the lost Queen of Equestria. Ahm guessin that bein true means that Twi is enjoin mah apples even now."

In the past, Twilight munched on an apple fritter. She doesn't know why, but she wanted one that day.

Applejack just seems pleased with that statement. Chuckling a little bit to herself as Pinkie stretches. "Didja know that Cinnabar Pie helped her run the first-ever Grand Galloping Gala?! It was the most chaotic party in all of Equestrian History!" She says with a smile.

Rainbow Dash giggles. "Even more than our first one together? Er… guess that would be Twilight's like… 40,000th or something?"

Pinkie Pie shrugs. "Nah, more than that. Alicorn years are weird. Either way, mhm! I mean, the old King and Queen DID sorta die shortly afterward. It's why the Gala has that short memorial for the original King and Queen at the end of it.

Applejack perks up a little. "You reckon Twilight had any foals? Or like a special somepony?" She says curiously.

Pinkie Pie shakes her head. "Don't think so. A royal wedding would sooo be in the Pie family's 'biggest parties hosted ever' registry. Besides, Celestia said that Twilight would be back, so she probably didn't have much to hold her there."

While Pinkie knew the general gist of the story, she was missing some key parts. The knowledge of Celestia and Luna's adoption was not something she was actively aware of but something she had a significant hunch about.

Spike would finally say something, having been relatively silent since his angry outburst in the previous meeting last month. "I'm just glad to hear she's okay and that she misses us." He mumbles a little bit. His words ripple throughout the group, each one of the ponies looking down.

They all missed her, too.

-One year since Twilight's disappearance-

Spike thinks back to that night with a quiet mumble to himself. Tonight was the night, though that he'd finally learn more.

If the Princesses wouldn't talk, then only one other creature could. He just had to ask the right way. With a sip of his drink, he'd place the plates to the side on a nearby table. His note should have reached there by now. After all, the mail service has its way when it comes to getting places. Spike would stretch and stand up. "Discord, are you there?"

The Lord of Chaos would twist on the topiary nearby, revealing himself, his voice muggy and his eyes tired.

"Hello, Spike. I must say, I expected your letter months ago. I suppose Celestia and Luna HAVE been trying to keep this on the down low." He says as he appears in the nearby chair next to Spike. Spike would join him shortly, sitting down in his original chair. Over the past year, he and Discord had relatively gotten closer, primarily out of convenience rather than friendship. Discord chats with him from time to time, mainly to check up on him. He even admitted it was a favor for Twilight from the past, which made Spike quite happy when he was told.

"Alright Discord. If you help me, you can GM the next O&O game we play with Big Mac." Spike says with a sigh. Discord sitting back and looking up,

"Annnnd?" The spirit of chaos says.

"And you can make the next mega campaign, too, even though it was my turn." Spike frustratedly grumbles as he looks over to Discord. He was looking forward to running the next 6-month campaign, but now he'd have to wait a year and a half to get his turn back.

Discord nods. "Fine, but remember, this has to stay a secret from Twilight's other friends." He says quietly. "Twilight is frightening when she's angry."

Spike tenses up. "Why does everyone keep saying that first? Twilight being mad usually just makes her like… burst into flames for a bit or even just make her yell. She's never been the type to do anything bad to someone."

Discord tilts his head back and forth. "Eeeeehhhh. Depends if you get Eternal or Twilight. If you get Eternal, you'll be doing laps or, worse, sparring with her. If you get Twilight, however. It's. So soul-crushing." Discord sighs as he melts into a puddle, waving a white flag.

Spike blinks. "Eternal is Twilight's alter ego, right? The one corrupted by that-"

Discord glares. "Do not finish that sentence."

Spike tenses up, his entire body and mind sending off danger signals! He's never heard Discord actually that MAD before. "O-okayyy."

Discord curtly nods. "So you just want to know what Celestia and Luna left out, right?" He says quietly, mainly to bring down the heat of the conversation a little.

"Well, aside, one thing about it. I'll tell you the rest that pertains to Twilight. Firstly, Twilight has a scar on her left shoulder. Dunno why, but she got hurt, and it never healed right." He says as he makes a Twilight doll appear, except it has a scar on it's left shoulder.

Spike stands. "Wha?! She got hurt that bad?!" Even Spike knows that a leg injury could be highly devastating to anypony. That just made him worry a ton.

Discord, however, waves his hand. "Bah, she's fine. Next thing, though, Twilight is now the oldest Alicorn in existence by a fairly… huge margin. I could get into the mechanics of how time magic works, but basically, her 22 years of living here in this time were transferred back in time with her as Alicorn years. Hence, the huge growth spurt she got only a few months in. When she hops back, since she's the Spirit of Time's chosen, her age WON'T do that again. It basically keeps her age consistent."

Spike blinks, utterly confused by the explanation, even with it simplified. "That was the easy explanation?"

Discord sighs. "Unfortunately, yes." He says frankly.

Spike scratches his own head before shrugging. "We'll come back to that later… anything else?"

Discord shrugs. "Oh, Celestia and Luna are your nieces." He says casually as he drinks a glass of orange, leaving the juice behind. He never really cared for the juice. Spike nearly spits out his tea, coughing a little bit. His brain registered what was said, but the concept broke him momentarily. The little dragon freaked out just as well as Twilight, staring up at Discord before shouting.

"WHAT?! Twilight adopted Luna and Celestia?! Or wait. Wait. Is she their original parent?! Like, what do you mean Discord?!" Spike screams out before suddenly, his mouth is covered by a blue hoof from behind. Luna standing behind Spike and glaring at Discord.

"DISCORD!" Luna yells out as she gives the spirit a massive death stare. She was furious, to say the least. "How dare you!? That was the one secret Mother specifically told us to NOT mention. I should put you back in stone for that!" She says with intense fury. However, the spirit of chaos simply just sighs and throws his glass of orange juice away.

"I know you're mad, but let me just say two things. Firstly. YOU KEPT THIS A SECRET FROM ME TOO." Discord yells out as he clashes head-to-head with Luna. "And secondly, if anyone deserves to know. It is Spike! Out of every creature, pony, animal, or whatever, the one thing he NEVER deserved was to lose his best and closest friend. You dare call yourself her daughter thinking that way, Luna?! Sometimes, you have to weigh the value of keeping a secret against the pain it brings everycreature! EVEN I learned that from her, how could her best student fall short like that? Did your stint on the moon jostle something up there?!"

Spike quickly runs between the two and attempts to push them apart. However, the two are far too angry to listen to the baby dragon as they continue to glare at each other. "Guys! Stop yelling! Getting angry at each other isn't what Twilight would want!"

Luna, in her anger, snaps out to Spike. Everything was going wrong because of the dragon and Discord. "DO NOT DARE TO ATTEMPT AND ASSUME YOU KNOW WHAT MOTHER WOULD WANT." She yells out in her Royal Canterlot Voice. Spike stumbles back a little.

But not because of Luna. Luna sees that his eyes aren't on her but rather behind her. Even Discord piped down. Luna stiffens up and creaks her head backward. Luna fully expected to see Celestia behind her. After all, Celestia was incredibly protective of Spike still, not only because she had helped raise him but because he was Twilight's most valued companion in her life. Luna turns her head as her nose squishes into someone's torso. Wait, she wasn't THAT much shorter than Celestia anymore.

Twilight, although flickering, raises an eyebrow down at Luna, who slowly backs away quietly. The blue Alicorn turned around before quickly saying with a smile and a jaunty voice.

"Sorry, Spike, I am feeling very unwell. I think I'll go back inside-" As she steps forward, her tail is caught by magic. Dragging her back.towards Twilight. "NOOO! NOT LIKE THISSSS."

Spike looks up at Twilight with amazement, a little fear, and tears. "T-Twilight, is that you? Why are you flickering like that?"

Twilight smiles a little and tilts her head. "I missed you too, Spike." She levitates him and pulls him into a tight hug. "I created a spell that would let me visit whenever possible. I wanted to test it out to visit Luna and surprise her, BUTTTT." She looks over at Luna, glaring down at her. "Spike, can you hold your ears for a second?"

Spike looks up at Twilight. Her height would easily tower over even Celestia. It takes him a moment, but he finally responds, "Oh! Uh. Sure." He then covers the sides of his head and closes his eyes. When he opens them moments later, he sees Luna lying on the lounging chair Discord was sitting on earlier, her eyes stuck as comical swirls. Luna's legs twitch a small amount, causing Spike to ask, "Gee, Twilight, what did you do?"

Twilight just giggles a little bit, responding to Spike after a moment. "Oh, I had to scold a naughty filly, is all. I never expected Luna to be that rude. Sorry, Spike." She says as she hugs him tightly. Her fur is soft, softer than he remembers, and her hugs are even better than they were before. Spike feels so happy, but then he remembers what she said earlier.

"You can't stay, can you?" Discord asks for Spike, knowing the Drake would be too scared to ask that question. Twilight smiled at Discord in thanks.

"Unfortunately, I can't, not yet, at least. Celestia still barely knows Tax code, and Luna is. Mmm. To put it gently, she's still a bit too naive to take over. However! I do plan on visiting you guys from time to time. Just uh. Not like this." She mumbles, "This was just a test run of the spell. I don't want everyone to know my relationship with the Princesses for now. I'll tell the girls when I'm ready, but." Twilight's horn glows awkwardly. Her magic seems off to Spike as the Alicorn grunts a little. "MMmmmn. This is still so complicated. Ah, there!" She then releases the spell, as Spike has seen her do so many times. Suddenly, he's greeted with the sight of the Twilight he remembered. Small, nerdy, and, most of all, his big sister. "Well, since the eggs are out on the field, let's chat with everyone. I already froze all the castle staff, so let's wake up Celestia and chat for a bit." She then puts Spike on her back, who clings to her. Twilight levitated Luna behind her before looking back at Discord. "Discord, you're invited, ya know." She cheekily says. "I know you love being invited to stuff~."

Discord smiles and perks up. "Oh? I'm ACTUALLY invited to something for once? Who are you, and what have you done with Twilight Sparkle~?" He says with a chuckle as he follows the group inside, Twilight rolling her eyes.

"I figured you'd say that. Just don't bring any guests," Twilight says in response as they all enter the castle, winking at Discord. That face never ceased to bring both anger and amusement to him. The purple Alicorn would disappear by morning, but Spike never felt better. Hopping out of bed and running out to eat with the Princesses in the morning.

Maybe, just maybe. There really was a light at the end of this story.

Intermission 3 - A Visit Three Months Later

View Online

It had been a year and three months since Twilight's disappearance. Yet somehow, everything felt brighter for the Mane 5 these past few months. Celestia and Luna hosted events almost weekly to raise the spirits of everycreature who wished to come. The events ranged from just a 'Meet the Princesses' day for foals to small competitions with the two royals being the judges. It was a day like any other in Ponyville. The dirt roads were freshly dusted, and the houses were newly painted. It was almost as if everypony felt they needed to be productive today! Spike was even around, although he was mainly with Rarity when he visited Ponyville for a long-term visit. Spike, to his credit, though, seemed much more happy. The girls hardly knew why he was in such higher spirits, but they weren't complaining. Each of the five had one location in mind. They would visit Twilight's castle, mainly to just relax together. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Spike were the only six creatures allowed to enter the castle anyway, and these past few months, they had been making it a habit to visit it. Even though none of them particularly wanted to clean it.

The five ponies, plus one dragon, met up near the crossroads leading up to the castle, a large patch of land sitting empty next to it. The six were talking about their days and their general day-to-day lives. Rarity glowed her horn with its gentle blue hue to open the doors to the castle. The group enters the foyer one at a time, Rainbow Dash closing the door behind them. With a loud THUD, the door settles back into its closed position, the group happily pressing forward to their newly made, most common meeting spot.

The throne room of Twilight's castle was unique, having one seat for each of her friends, plus one more specifically for Spike himself. The element bearers hoped to make many more memories in that throne room with Twilight, but they had decided to make memories as well as they could because that's what Twilight would want.

As they approach the throne room, Rarity pulls both doors open with a flick of her horn. She had spent some time practicing magic these past few months. While she didn't have much talent for it, it was her way of remembering her friend. The unicorn entered with a little gasp upon seeing into the room.

Applejack was next, approaching the throne room and seeing Rarity frozen before it. She would trot up to her friend, her family was more of the type to take momentos of those that were lost. So she had Spike help her pick something out as a memento from Twilight. They settled on one of Twilight's many scarves, magically enchanted to keep the wearer at the perfect temperature. No matter how cold or hot it was outside, Applejack could wear it and forever have a memento of one of her best friends. As she rushes to Rarity's side, she, too, freezes up. Although, unlike Rarity, she leaps into the room with dramatic speed. This last year had undoubtedly softened her up more than she was willing to admit.

Rainbow Dash didn't even need a moment to react. With her eyesight, she saw what was going on from the doorway. Quickly taking flight, she dashes straight into the throne room, the speed she took causing a small shockwave that caused the fine rug leading to the throne room to fold on itself. A slight twinkle on her mane. While Rainbow Dash wasn't one for anything too fancy, she still had something to remember Twilight by, too, a simple mane ornament, perfectly sized and positioned to be proper regulation for the Wonderbolts, of each element of harmony's cutie marks, with Twilight's at the center. The shockwave of Rainbow's flight shakes Rarity from her stupor, who drops all pretense of poise and professionalism to rush into the room next.

Fluttershy and Pinkie trot up next. Pinkie happily ran into the room, suddenly holding a big platter of cakes and cupcakes on her head and back. With a quick trot, she enters the room, party canons setting off all over the throne room.

Fluttershy, while the meekest of the group, still couldn't contain herself entirely. She would wait quietly for an opening before the waves of the ponies inside led her to rush inside. Fluttershy went with a simple locket of a picture she took with Twilight and the rest of their friends. It kept them all close to her heart.

In the room, Spike finds all the ponies in a small heap around Twilight's throne, with Twilight happily hugging them all. The purple alicorn looks utterly exhausted, but with a grand smile, she just holds each of her friends in one big hug. It was an impressive feat, considering she was currently in her non-queen-sized form.

It would take almost half an hour (A hour for Spike and Pinkie) for Twilight to finally not be stuck in a tight hug. "Phew, I was worried you girls would suffocate me with your love for a second there!" Twilight says with a giggle and a smile on her face. Rarity was blanching a little at how unkempt Twilight's mane was, but otherwise, she seemed like the Twilight they all missed. The only change was that Twilight's entire body would sometimes flicker gently. Flashing in and out of existence every few moments.

Spike smiles as he sits next to Twilight, stretching in his chair. "How long can you stay Twilight?" He asks with a tilt of his head. With her flickering body, he figured she couldn't stay just like last time. Twilight smiled a little, proud of Spike's astute observation.

"Oh, I can stay for about six hours. It's the last bit of magic I have left in the artifact." She says idly. Rainbow Dash perking up.

"Wait, you still have to leave?! But I thought you were like… back back." She says with a mumble.

Twilight sighs. "Sorry, not this time. Just a little longer." She says with her head bowed to them. The girls looked at each other and sighed.

Rarity smiles. "It's alright, darling. We just miss you, is all. Your last visits were sooo. Sudden. Considering you only appeared for around five minutes. We hardly got to talk to you at all."

Twilight rubs the back of her head. "Yeah, this magic is a bit unwieldy. I barely learned how to use it PROPERLY a few months ago."

Eternal chuckles in Twilight's head. 'And even then, you still can't cast any proper spells alone.'

Twilight rolls her eyes to herself. 'You're not exactly the best teacher you know. If you had just WRITTEN down the theory you added to mine, I'd already have it all figured out!'

After the short silence, Pinkie tilts her head as she looks at Twilight's facial expressions. "Are you arguing with yourself again, Twilight? Do you need double the cupcakes and cakes for parties, too?"

Twilight's train of thought is broken by that question, causing her to giggle. "No, Pinkie, I'm fine with just the normal amount." 'Wait, nooooo! You never leave any cupcakes for me! I blame Celestia for giving you such a massive sweet tooth!'

Rainbow suddenly and instantly dives forward into the center of the room. Standing on the crystal at the center of their chairs. "WAIT! If Twilight is only gonna be here for a few hours, then we totally need to catch up! The right way! Pinkie!"

Pinkie hops up and salutes. "Yes, Sargent Rainbow?"

Rainbow smiles. "Not a Wonderbolt yet, but I love the enthusiasm! Get a little party ready for when Twilight leaves. We each get Twilight for an hour! That leaves one hour at the end for us to all relax and have some cake before she has to leave!"

They all nod as Pinkie runs out of the castle. "I'll be back in a little!"

Twilight's face changes to one of confusion. "Wait, wha?" Before she suddenly feels herself getting pulled outside. Spike chuckles a little as he's placed on her back.

"You shoulda expected this. They've all missed you a ton, Twilight. Oh, wait, but." Spike rubs his chin.

Twilight pits the heel of her hoof into the ground to try and slow down a little from the pushing. While this form was much weaker than her natural form, she was still several times stronger physically than she originally was. Each of the pushing ponies finds themselves stumbling forward as Twilight becomes, in effect, a block of tungsten for them to push. "Hold on, girls. Let me just put on a cloak or something if I'm going out. I don't want ponies to freak out, ya know!" She says quickly. The rest of them giggling.

Rarity sighs. "Fine. But if you're putting something on to hide, then I insist we go to my boutique last. I want to give you the entire nine yards, darling. A new outfit, some mane taming, and an intense bath. I'd love to take you to the spa, too, but we don't have that time."

Rainbow smiles. "Then I call dibs on first. I wanna see if you're any better at flying than you used to be! Don't you go easy on me either!"

Applejack smiles. "Ah just want to give ya some cider to take back with ya. Ahm sure, you have plenty from the past, but nothin can beat Granny Smith's recipe!."

Fluttershy smiles a little. "Oh, well, I just wanted to show Owlowiscious that you're okay. I can bring him here, though, instead." She had expected this to a degree, having been the only pony of the group not pushing.

Pinkie Pie suddenly appears out of nowhere with several boxes. "I just want ya to have fun before going back! So just make it to the party~! Oh! And help me decorate the cake!"

Twilight smiles "Alright! Rainbow, let's head up to the raceway." 'Do you mind?'

After a moment, Twilight's horn glows gently as she and the rest of the group, aside from Pinkie, teleport to the Ponyville Cloud Raceway. She challenged Rainbow on the same obstacle course so many times when she was avoiding her castle. For Twilight, that was so very long ago. Even then, though, she felt she could give Rainbow a run for her money this time!

Setting down each of the ponies with a simple cloud walking spell on them, Twilight and Rainbow fly up to the starting ring where Pinkie was waiting, around fifteen balloons tied to her torso as she whisked a bowl of cake mix. "Alright, fliers!" Pinkie says with a smile, "On your marks! Get set! GO!"

Twilight and Rainbow quickly zoom off. In terms of pure speed, Rainbow has Twilight beat. However, surprisingly enough, Twilight is keeping up thanks to her flight handling. Her sudden turns and diagonals, not to mention her 180s, were flawless! 'Rainbow Dash has us utterly beat still, huh?' Eternal says to Twilight as the latter flies as fast as she can.

"Well, we do better turns than her. Considering how much action this body has seen." Twilight responds to her shadow, quickly skidding in the air as she makes a solid 45-degree turn, losing hardly any momentum. Rainbow was always around a full pony's length ahead of her, if not more, but Twilight didn't fall dramatically behind like she used to. As Rainbow flew right through the finish line, Twilight followed soon after, landing right on a cloud with a wipe of her brow. Twilight was sweating a small amount from that race. "Geeze, Rainbow, you're so much faster than any of your ancestors. It's not even funny." Twilight laughs loudly to herself.

Rainbow pants a little as she lands. That was actually a rough race for her. While Twilight didn't have the speed to keep up with her, those absolutely perfect corners and drifts meant that her friend was keeping up on sheer technique. "Heh. Well, that's good to hear. No replacing the best, after all. Besides, I have Wonderbolts tryouts in a few months." She says with a broad smile on her face. However, the pegasi did notice something else. Twilight was hardly tired from the race.

Rainbow would land on Twilight's cloud and smile. "Although, you're not exactly the same either. That was some incredible flying Twilight. Let's go again! I still got plenty more time in my hour!" She says as she flies up.

Twilight would smile excitedly. "Alright! Let's fly till we drop! Show me that you deserve to be in the Wonderbolts, Rainbow!" The two would race fifteen more times. Twilight won two races, while Rainbow won thirteen.

Twilight groans, "AGH. I shoulda had you on the last one!" She says as she flexes her wing. "Needed to flex the outer edge of my wing just a little less to take that turn and overtake you!" She and the group are heading to Sweet Apple Acres so Applejack can grab the cider barrels she wanted to give Twilight. After that, they were going to go to Fluttershy's cabin to see Owlowiscious. Eternal chimed in after that statement, overwriting whatever Rainbow said to Twilight, 'That would have been the difference between Unity's hoof slamming into your wing and you cleanly dodging. Need to shape that up, Twilight.'

The comment would make Twilight sigh, 'Not everything has to be about that. Let's just relax.'

Eternal would mumble back, 'They're your friends, not mine. I still think visiting this era is a mistake. We have duties to our ponies in the past still before we can relax!'

Twilight sighed as she looked to the group, putting Spike down. "Excuse me for a moment. I have to have a conversation with myself for a moment." She says to the group. Walking just out of hearing distance. The rest of the group curiously watched Twilight… and inched closer so they could hear.

"Stop saying that, Eternal. We're the same pony. They're your friends just as much as mine. Heck, I can literally FEEL that you want to be friends with them. Putting on aires won't work on me." Twilight says before suddenly her mouth and expression change.

"That might be the case, but we have bigger problems to worry about. You've been slacking for the last three months on hunting her down. Do you not even care? When she comes back, she will not have mercy towards any of us!" Eternal says back. Before Twilight takes control over again.

"We both know this as a fact. We need to relax and recover. So just stop being all business and let loose a bit! How about this: you can have the first cupcake IF you just stop being such a fuddy-duddy! It's the last time we can come back to this era for a visit. The next time, it's permanent! So let's have fun before the chaos starts," Twilight says softly to Eternal, who stays silent momentarily.

'Applefritter. First apple fritter and you have a deal.' Eternal responds in Twilight's head. 'I won't be around forever, so I want to try one when it's actually warm and toasty.'

Twilight sighs. 'Deal.' Before she turns around and returns to the group, each pony quickly slides back over to act 'natural.' Twilight joined them with a smile. "Sorry about that, girls." She says with a happy smile.

Fluttershy smiles a little. "Uhm. We talked amongst ourselves a little, by the way, Twilight. We want to get to know… um… the other you too. Before you go." The rest of the girls nod, including Applejack, who barely returned in those last moments. Twilight looked quite surprised at them. Her eyes would narrow for the briefest of moments.

"Eavesdropping is a bad habit ya know girls," she sighs. She said that out of habit from dealing with her daughters. "But alright." 'WHA? No! I ref' "use!"

Eternal blinks as she's suddenly in control of the body. Standing stiffly. Unlike her better half, the mental apparition knows her existence is limited in this world. She would eventually fully merge with Twilight once the alicorn finally accepted her as a piece of her instead of continuing this charade of being a separate entity altogether as a sort of... mental defense mechanism.

Because of this, She had zero intention of making any sort of relationship with anypony except Twilight! But now she's stuck hanging out with the ponies she's going to be forced to say goodbye to eventually?! Eternal raises her hoof and puts on a forced smile. "Hi! Erm. I'm Twilight's other half, uh…" She says awkwardly. "AGH This is impossible. Twilight, take it back!" Meanwhile, Twilight is just cracking up in her mind, laughing at how awkward the undefeatable Queen is.

Rainbow chuckles a little. "Ya know, I thought you'd be more intimidating. Spike told us that you're the half of Twilight she made to deal with all the dark stuff from Equestrian history."

Eternal perks up. "Well, I am better than her at fighting, flying, and being a little intimidating." She says as she relaxes a little, Eternal's shoulders lowering a bit as she takes a deep breath. Rainbow leans in a small amount in response, seeing the Alicorn relax.

"Fighting?! Now this stuff I gotta hear! You can tell us about it while we go to Fluttershy's house, right?" Rainbow says with an excited expression. Eternal looked confused but sighed as she responded in kind.

"You really don't change, do ya, Rainbow Dash? Sure." Eternal smiles, "And before you ask, just call me Eternal. I don't have a name aside from Twilight, after all. Let's not be confusing about it."

The rest of the day was full of fun memories for both Twilights. Twilight spent a good half an hour hugging her pet. The grooming she got from Rarity was first class, as always. Finally, the party that ended the day brought back so many memories of her first time coming to Ponyville. Eternal told some edited stories of ancient history, and the group got to know both halves of Twilight. As the party raged on, Twilight watched the girls from her seat, a slice of cake on her plate. "You know. You ponies are crazy." Twilight says with a smile to her friends before she lets out a small chuckle to herself. Time was up for her visit, though. The little orb in her bag gently pulsed as a sign that she had to leave.

The other element bearers just giggle a little in response before they each respond. Rainbow starting out. "Heck yeah, we are. Just like you, Twilight. We'll be here waiting for ya."

Rarity smiles. "Take care of yourself better! Remember, breathe and relax! Rule Equestria well for us, Twilight!"

Applejack chuckles. "Ah, believe in ya, sugarcube. Come back us in one piece!"

Pinkie hops up. "When you get back, we're gonna have a party so big that all of EQUESTRIA will be there! So you both better be ready!" She says with a smile.

Fluttershy smiles softly. "I'll keep an eye on Owlowiscious for you, Twilight. Just come home so he can finally have his friend back."

Twilight giggles. "Thanks, girls."

Spike finishes as he hugs Twilight. "Just. Come home soon, Twilight." Twilight would then hug everypony before giving each of them a soft nuzzle. Twilight would disappear after another moment in that simple time it took to blink.

Elsewhere, a pony reads through a book for the 30th time. "There has to be something I missed in here. WHERE are you, Eternal?!" She mumbles as she stomps her hoof on the ground below her. She's lived as a typical 'good' pony for so long. Eternal HAS to show up soon! At some point, the Queen will return, the object of her hatred will appear! And then she'll…

A blank expression crosses the pony's face. "Oops. I forgot to actually make a plan for when she appears. Uhhh." The pony rubs her own head before getting an idea. "Wait. I don't gotta do it alone." She says as she picks up a picture with her hoof, the green earth pony smirking as she lifts up the frame. "I do have some distant cousins that have forgotten their duty to our great grandmother… Maybe I should remind them~."

The pony puts down a picture of three ponies. A pink-colored filly with a blue mane, the same green pony, and a light purple pony with a dark purple mane with a single teal streak through her mane and tail are together in the image. The trio awkwardly together at a family reunion party.

Unity 1 - A (Un)Comfortable Peace

View Online

The destruction of Canterlot and the snuffing of the pacification spell rippled in waves outwards, reaching the farthest ends of Equus and beyond. All races across the planet were irreversibly damaged by Unity's plan. Yet, on this warm day, Twilight, Celestia, and Luna work together to rebuild Equestria, specifically Canterlot Castle! Twilight hums a little as she draws up the blueprints for Canterlot Castle, using her knowledge of how it looks in the future to her advantage. Meanwhile, Celestia and Luna's help in the mix. Throwing in ideas here and there to make the castle more homely! "It's gonna take a few days for the construction of the castle to get started, but after that, it'll only take a week to get the castle built. The city around it will grow naturally from there." Twilight says idly. "It'll go even faster if we chip in and help alongside them, so everypony that got pushed out by the forest should have a place to stay. I still can't believe it took us a month and a half just to get everything settled enough to start rebuilding."

Celestia sighs happily. "Thank Faust that the Apple family was willing to give us some land to build a temporary shelter for the ponies that didn't have anywhere to go. With technology basically being sent back to ancient times, we don't even have major ground transportation anymore." Celestia says with a mumble as the group walks towards a nearby royal chariot. It's a simple chariot made of solid wood and painted gold to make it look regal. The pegasi guards waiting to pull the group to their next destination. With Equestria so damaged, the three royals hardly ever had much time to be with one another, traveling all across Equestria mainly to help link all the isolated cities due to the 'Worst Day in Equestrian History.' Celestia and Luna even turned a good portion of it into a book! The first edition would be coming out soon, according to the publisher. As the trio was flown down to Ponyville, they were greeted by a gruff-looking earth pony walking towards them with a hard hat.

"Hello Princesses." Says Cross Tracks. The yellow earthpony tilted his hard hat up a little bit. "We should have all the old coal engines on the train tracks in a few days. Granted, we wouldn't have gotten this far if everypony didn't chip in so much. We got everypony who's free helping us out at this point! Even some Canterlot ponies are pushing up and through with us, too. Never thought city folk would actually be so useful."

Twilight looks over at the groups of ponies working together. Unicorns work hard at affixing wood to metal to create tracks while earth ponies heave and ho, pulling old, large train engines to the train tracks. Pegasi were flying in shipment after shipment of building materials and coal. It was a beautiful sight of true harmony. "We're lucky that some of the trains we had in museums survived the cataclysm." Twilight sighs, rubbing her own forehead as she speaks. "Although, it's gonna be hard to progress on upgrading them, considering we don't know how they work anymore. Once the government is back up and running properly, we'll have to make sure to fund transportation research again."

Luna nods. "It would be prudent, right now, Equestria is too big for the little bit of influence we have. Pegasi can only fly so far in so much time, and magic theory was regressed quite a bit, too. Considering that you had to teach us something as basic as teleportation again."

Twilight nods. "To be fair, teleportation is considered an advanced spell even in my era. I don't think magic theory will ever get as advanced as it once was." She sighs and deflates a little at that. Magic was her passion, and now she's seen the golden age and the fall of it.

Twilight then sat down and rubbed her head a little, trying to uplift her mood. "I really messed up there, but nothing to do about it. Just gotta keep moving forward." Twilight takes a deep breath, exhaling carefully. "Anyways, you also said something about needing to tell us something else in your letter?"

Cross Tracks nods as he looks up from his clipboard. "Since you all don't got a place to call home yet, someone dropped off a letter for you three at the Ponyville Post office. Cupcake told me about it when she did her delivery rounds since I said I'd see you today."

The trio looks at each other in confusion. "A letter?" Twilight says with an interested inflection in her voice. "Hope it's not from Unity." She says with a sigh. "But thank you anyway, Cross Tracks. Good luck on the train system." Twilight would nod to the two sisters, the group heading towards the post office. They do, however, stop for a few milkshakes from the local cafe first, Twilight happily sipping on her strawberry oat milkshake with a hum. Celestia sips on her chocolate shake while Luna is enjoying a vanilla shake.

As the three royals enter the post office, the ponies around them move out of the way and generally try to be respectful. However, many of them aren't as awestruck as one would expect. Twilight, Celestia, and Luna were familiar sights around the newly named town, even before the chaos of Canterlot's destruction. Now that they were temporary residents of the village, ponies were much more accustomed to the sight of them.

The three happily enjoy chatting as they wait in line, reaching the front as a fairly old mare sees them. "Ah, Princesses! I have your package right here. Give me a moment." She says as she turns around, walking down from the stool and grabbing a box from the shelves behind her. The elderly pegasi lumbers forward, walking and stumbling around without proper balance. It was a wonder she could fly, yet she was one of the best mail ponies in her prime. The pegasi slowly lumbers back onto her stool and puts the box atop the countertop.

"Thank you very much, Dizzy Doo. I hope your family is doing well." Twilight says as she pays for the package. She looked it over and got an excited look on her face. "Is this what I think it is?!" She says quickly before rushing to the door. "Girls, quick, let's get back to the house. Gotta open this as fast as we can!" She then heads out of the post office in a rush.

Celestia and Luna giggle a little. Celestia looked over and waved to the elderly mailpony, trotting out of the building.

The group would head to the end of the block, a small yet humble tree house greeting them. Twilight sighs happily with a broad smile as she heads inside the building. She even has to shrink herself to fit inside! Even then, though, just the fact that the Golden Oaks was alive and well in the past. Well, nothing could replace this Library, even after her short breaks back in the present. Neither castle she lived in, or would live in, would ever feel as much as a home as the Golden Oaks. In fact, she spent a good portion of her time with each of the girls just avoiding her castle in the present time. But, by the time she returned for the 8th visit, they had made it personalized just for her. 'Shame it's going to collect dust for a while longer. I'll have to clean it when I get back. And I have to figure out how many presents to bring. I don't know how long I've been gone, but it's a hundred percent longer than two weeks like originally planned.'

Of course, the Library itself was hardly ever used as such. Even in the current era, she's barely seen more than a single pony or two come in to actually get a book. Twilight trots into the front room, placing the box down with a thud. Unwrapping it while Celestia and Luna enter into their temporary home.

"Aha! I knew it!" Twilight says with a grin. "We finally got a lead forward. Star Swirl the Bearded finally showed his face!" She says excitedly. Twilight is hopping a little in fangirl levels of excitement. "I knew having a few guards keep their eyes out for any of the Pillars of Equestria would pay off eventually! That means they're all gonna be around within these next few years! Even just having one on our side could be helpful."

Celestia sips her milkshake. "That also means that they will handle many of the major threats across Equestria as well. Gives us more time to worry about ruling and preparing for Unity." She says with a sigh. "Shame they'll be a bit too outmatched by her strength, but there isn't much we can do there. In the end, it'll be us versus her."

Luna bops Celestia's head. "Celestia, don't ever write off our friends~. There's a reason why we're rushing to get Equestria in working order. We must mend many relationships before we can properly deal with our opposition in the future!" Luna says excitedly as she sips her drink. Twilight giggles to herself with pride. Luna has grown into a fantastic Element of Harmony bearer.

"You know what?" Twilight says as she puts the box away, the alicorn smiling softly at her daughters. "I've decided not to worry about Unity." She says simply. Causing a specific aspect of herself to scream out in her head. "I just want to enjoy my time with my daughters. The future can wait. Besides, you two have a lot of magic to relearn if you're gonna grow into Princesses that can rule Equestria together~." She says with a little chuckle. "My entire life after I became an Element bearer was just jumping from issue to issue, villain to villain. I didn't even get to enjoy my brother's wedding, for Faust's sake." She continues, Twilight looking over to the fake elements of harmony. Each stone has entirely petrified itself, as their distance from Unity caused them to power down completely. They were useless at the moment, but they were still symbols of the three Alicorns' bonds with each other and other ponies. Twilight doesn't know where the REAL elements of harmony are. After all, the Tree of Harmony wasn't in its cave when she checked.

"So. I'm making the executive decision on this matter. We're gonna be a family. The pillars handled everything when they were around without our involvement the first time around. Aside from getting Star Swirl to teach you two some magic, we'll enjoy our lives. Understand you two?" Twilight says with a bright smile.

Celestia and Luna smile brightly. "So we get to live like normal ponies for a while? That sounds. Fun." Celestia says excitedly, ideas sifting through her head that cause Philomena to worry from her perch in the room. How much Phoenix powder will she have to use to fix Celestia up now that she's released?!

Luna smiles happily. "That does sound pretty fun. But. Well." She mumbles, "I dunno, I just don't want to get caught off guard, is all. We should be strengthening Equestria. Not flying by the whims of our mood."

Twilight sits back on a cushion set out around the table. "I know it's strange, but trust me. Even I had to take breaks after big events and problems. You girls aren't experienced enough to hop face-first into the hero business. Not yet." She waves her hoof. "Take it from somepony that's been doing this for a while now. We all need a nice long break, and at the very least, we know Unity won't be showing up till AFTER the sirens attack in a year or two. So. Let's take this time to rebuild and recover." She says as she stands up. "Or if you two are so excited to fight Unity, you can always spar with Eternal~."

The two alicorns instantly break out in a sweat. Eternal's ruthlessness doesn't stop just because they're sparring. Every fight with Eternal is always a matter of life and death! Well, at least to the two young Alicorns. In reality, Eternal would never hurt the girls TOO much. However, she is more than willing to push them to their limits and beyond. "We're good." Says Celestia, very quickly. Luna just sipped on her drink quietly, nodding in agreement.

Twilight giggles a little. "We will have to have you two spar with Eternal sometime to ensure we stay limber. I doubt Unity will come at us with anything less than her full attention, so we need to RELAX while we have a chance."

'You're having trouble convincing yourself of that, ya know. Your foals are gonna notice. I did teach them how to be very observant~.' Eternal says to Twilight with a spiteful yet somehow playful tone in her voice.

Twilight takes a deep breath. "Even then, I also need to take some time undoing some of the damage Unity and I did to Equestria's laws. The reformatorium was such a terrible decision." She rubs her forehead. "Gotta fix the image ponies have of me, too. But still, I stand by what I said."

Celestia and Luna look at each other. Wordlessly having a conversation just through expression alone. The pair figured the break was for more than just the two of them. No, Twilight needed a break just as much as anypony else. The sun and moon pair almost forgot that their wordless, ever-trucking-along mother was just a tiny aspect of Twilight. Now that their true mother is back, she's no different than a regular pony. She gets tired, angry, and disappointed. "I think we all need a break, actually," Celestia says. "You don't have to put a strong face on for us, Mom. We understand if you need to relax, too."

Twilight smiles a little. "That obvious, huh? You'd think I'd have better control over my poker face than this." Twilight giggles tiredly, laying her head on the wall behind her as she sits fully reclined. "Unity was right about one thing, ya know. I am really homesick." She says as she rolls around the drained power orb on the table. The duo knew that Twilight had already used it to visit her friends in the future, although the limited amount of magic meant she was still stuck. "I thought visiting them would take the edge off, but it just made it worse. So much worse." She mumbles as she holds up a picture that she brought back with her from the present.

Celestia and Luna sigh a little as they look at the group photo. The pair giggled a little as Celestia pointed at Spike. "So that's Uncle Spike?" Celestia says to lighten the mood.

Twilight giggles. "Yeah, Spike would flip if you actually called him that in the future. Although, pretty sure everyone will flip if we let out that I'm your mom." She mumbles to herself as she sits back. "Keeping it a secret is gonna be a massive pain."

Celestia nods, saying, "Not to mention, we need to keep you safe from any unknown variables. Especially in the future." Celestia then grabs a grape from the nearby bowl, tossing it into her mouth and munching on it.

Luna follows up, finishing her milkshake as she stares at it. "Best no one, including your friends, know you're the Eternal Queen when you return." She says quietly. She still doesn't want to let Twilight go, but they have a deal. When Celestia and Luna felt ready to rule, they promised to tell Twilight.

Twilight sighs a little. "I wish we could figure out the powers the spirits gave us. But all I got in the end was small flashes of the future. Just random, short tidbits of what's to come." She grumbles as she rests her head on the table. "I wish we could ask Discord for help, but he's made it very clear that he isn't our friend. I don't even know where he went."

Luna raises her hoof. "I do! He told me where he's at in case we hear anything about Unity." She says with a smile. "He told me that he and I are… Kindred spirits, I think." Luna mumbles a little. Everyone in the group knows precisely why he said that through different means and mediums.

Twilight stands and walks between her two daughters, wings unfolding as she pulls them close in a tight hug. "You two will do just fine. Don't let Discord psyche you two out this early on!~" Twilight says with a giggle. The trio snuggling tight. "Mm… yea, we need a break."

Celestia nods. "Yeah."

Luna quietly nods. "I think a day trip would be nice!"

Twilight tilts her head. "A day trip hm…" She would have preferred to have a week or so to just relax, but a day trip seems like a better use of their time. "That's not a bad idea. It clears all the checkboxes, and we can take a break, relax, and recover. Then afterward, we can see how we feel! If we need more time to relax, then we can take it. If not, then we can get to work."

Celestia rubs her head a little. "Mmng." She looks between Luna and Twilight. If there's one thing she knows about those two, it is that once they get to work, they'll forget to take care of themselves. Heck, even she was a bit of a workaholic. Being on an extended break might make Celestia itch for something to do. "We can try it. But let's add something on top of that."

Luna and Twilight curiously look at Celestia before she smiles and says. She had a happy grin on her face. "Let's always start our days with a big breakfast together! Keep it as a tradition for all of time~!" She nods happily as she boops Luna's nose, who gives Celestia an annoyed stare. "That means you especially! I don't wanna have breakfast alone." She huffs out. Celestia knows that she will be alone for a thousand years in the future, so she wants as many good memories with her family as possible!

Luna smiles. "Alright! Thennn. I call the location!"

Celestia grins. "I call activities!"

Twilight pats the two. "Guess I'll handle food. Celestia, try not to plan only thrilling stuff to do~." She says happily as she grabs a book of places from the Library's shelves. Gently setting it down in front of Luna as the three plan their vacation.

Unbeknownst to them, however. They weren't the only ones planning a vacation this time around.

“I’m boredddddddddddddd.” Unity groans out to no one in particular, leaning out of her emergency 'I almost lost' shack she built with her magic. "I miss having a toy to manipulate." She huffs a little to herself. The alicorn flapped her wings a little as she looked up at the sky outside. "How do ponies fill their days out? Gardening is boring, cooking is whatever." She suddenly flumps forward, grumbling to herself.

As Unity lays her head on the window sill, she feels a little tug at her side. She turns her head lazily and looks down at one of her foals. Which one was it again? Ah, right, Unicorn. "Hey, there, Hearthfire. What's up, kiddo?" She says to her middle foal. He was an energetic one and loved to read books. Unity knew he would be a great mage when he grew up! Hopefully, that'd pass down.

Hearthfire leans into his mom. Staring outside. "When can we go back to Equestria, Mom? It's so empty out here," he mumbles a little, causing Unity to tense up. Regardless of her thoughts, she didn't WANT her kids to suffer out here with her in their exile. That's why she'd teleport them to and from school as needed. After all, the Princesses and the Queen were looking for HER. Not her family. "My friends want me to visit their house and stuff. And it's really awkward telling the teacher where I live when we live out in the middle of nowhere." Hearthfire taps his hooves together as he sits next to his mom.

Unity sighs and mumbles, her muzzle scrunching as she responds to him, "You're not the only one. Your sisters poked me about the exact same thing." She says as she sits up, reinvigorated by her sudden idea.

"Alright! Let's go to Equestria for a few days." She smiles. "I can use some magic to keep eyes off of me for a while. So, as long as we don't run into Twilight or my brother, we can have a nice little vacation! It has been like. A month and a half after all. They'll be utterly swamped with rebuilding Canterlot and making a new castle around this time, so it's the perfect time to go on vacation! You can even invite all your friends. We got plenty of bits, after all." She says confidently! "My plans for Equestria might have failed, but I can plan a vacation better than anypony else! And there's only one place to go!"

Luna and Unity say simultaneously, pointing down to the same book, just in different places. "Rainbow Falls!"

Luna smiles as she holds her hoof on the atlas. "We can make it to the festival there and ride some rides if we leave tomorrow!"

Unity says to her family excitedly, her eyes twinkling with elation. Having gathered her family for the idea. "There's pretty good food there, AND it's far enough away from central Equestria that the royal guards won't be snooping around either. So we can enjoy everything."

Twilight and Unity both say to their respective families. "As a family!"

Unity 2 - The Festival of Rainbows

View Online

"Gnh," Twilight says as she glares at the obviously disguised Alicorn before her. Celestia and Luna are on the Ferris wheel behind her, one of the few things that survived the pacification spell. Why did Unity have to pick today to show her face?!

Unity is not particularly happy either! The Alicorn spirit just wanted to have a nice vacation with her family. Now, she is stuck sharing a bench with her greatest enemy, and Celestia and Luna incidentally made friends with her kids! "For Faust's sake, at least TRY to act like we're getting along for our kids. Not my fault Celestia and Luna can't see past a simple disguising spell."

Twilight glares back. "What are you even doing in Equestria?! You're the one that self-exiled!" She grumbles a bit, the pair putting on a forced smile as they wave to their foals, who are having the time of their lives on the Ferris wheel with each other. Even though Celestia and Luna are significantly older than the other children, they have only begun to age at average speed these past few months. Effectively, Celestia was a young adult, around the same mental age as Hearthfire, while Luna was the same mental age as Repose. Gentle Light was the youngest of the group, being a small filly, but she was just happy to be along for the ride!

Unity rolls her eyes. "Like I'd tell you. Don't you have a castle to rebuild? Oh wait, you can't. Giant dangerous forests tend to prevent ponies from building in them~." She says with a grin, Unity sounding very proud of herself.

Twilight sighs and rubs her forehead with a hoof. How in Faust's name did this happen?!

Twilight, Celestia, and Luna land in Rainbow Falls with little fanfare. Sure, a crowd watched them in awe and amazement, but that was par the course for the trio. In fact, because they were in more casual clothing, the group was more or less left to their own devices. However, Twilight did spot ponies watching them and pointing in excitement at seeing the Princesses. Celestia and Luna, on the other hoof, were oblivious, due in part to their excitement of being at a festival! Not to cut ribbons or to do anything, oh no, their only goal today was to have fun as a family! Twilight idly pays for their entry fee, even though the booth worker tries to insist on a free ticket for each of them.
Meanwhile, Celestia and Luna are already scouting out the best rides to hop on. There were races, chariot rides to replace the old rollercoasters, a Ferris wheel that somehow survived the magical calamity that hit Equestria, and tons of food stalls everywhere. There were even simple festival games one could play for prizes.

"Okay, so there's some stuff mom can't come with us on, so we'll play some party games together, then we can hit the funhouse! From there, we go all the way over to the glass maze, and then we can start focusing on rides after Mom goes off to the exchange." Celestia says quickly. "Finally, we'll meet up together to watch the rainbow meteor shower! It only happens once every ten thousand years!" Luna nods excitedly, panting and huffing out of her nose in excitement!

Twilight finally meets up with Luna and Celestia. "Alright! Did you both figure out what we're doing today?" She says as she trots up, somehow already carrying a bucket of chocolate chip cookies in her magic.

Celestia and Luna nod at Twilight. "Mhm!" Celestia says with a smile. She was so excited that she felt like a filly again, back when she and Twilight were running around and having fun planning for the Gala. Those were the days. "Just remember, for all three of us. No working! We're here to have fun. Don't try to be a problem solver, don't engage any changelings, and let the guards do their jobs for once! Just don't get pony-napped and have fun!"

The trio nods, each of them taking a deep breath before they each just giggle a little. Luna said with a snicker, "We really are a mess if we have to force ourselves to not work. This will be a good break! I wanna make some new friends anyways." She nods excitedly.

Twilight stretches her neck a little. "I wouldn't mind finding someone to gush about you two at." She says cheekily as she hugs her daughters. "Now we have two hundred tickets. Let's use them all and have some fun doing so!"

Meanwhile, as the royals head off, another group of ponies trot into the fairgrounds. Unity stretches a small amount as she pays for the entry fee. Unfortunately, her husband was a bit too busy with his work to join them today, so it's just her and her fillies. Not that she's complaining, really. His job is to put bits on the table. "Scheming just doesn't pay well in this era. Tis a shame." She says to no one in particular. Trotting over to her foals. "Alright. We have fifty tickets to play around with. If we need more, we can get more-." Unity tilts her head as she thinks she sees the tail end of a wavy tail turning a corner in the distance.

"Mom, are you okay?" one of her foals says to her, Hearthfire poking her side as she freezes up. Unity jerks a little as she takes a deep breath. There is no way that the royals are here. They would be in charge of something if they were anyway! Those workaholics would never take a vacation right now at all times.

"I'm alright, sweetie. Let's go have some fun on some rides. I think chariot races are right up everyone's alley, right?" Unity says with a smile, her children happily responding as they run ahead to the chariot races. A simple game, really. Everypony is strapped to a chariot, and the first one to cross the finish line by any means aside, teleportation is the winner. The catch is that you're in teams of two. One pony pulls, and the other steers. It's an intense game of teamwork! The winning teams even got a little plastic trophy. Which Unity's children were very excited to get!

However, it was after that that the vacation all went wrong.

Her children just wanted to go into the funhouse. It was harmless enough, but those places are sacred for children. No parents allowed, is what they said! So they asked her if they could solve it on their own. Unity was many things: insane, a wanted criminal, and a plotter, but she refused to be a bad mother on top of all of that. Did she believe in everything she did? Absolutely! She never does anything by half measures. That's why heroes always win in the end, after all, because of her efforts to help them!

"YOU!" is the only word she heard before quickly summoning one of her two gauntlets. Unity's entire stratagem in fighting is using the skills of heroes she's helped in the past. The issue is very few heroes fight well on the backfoot. With a loud CLUNK, the spirit slides backward as her armored foreleg blocks a borderline dangerous blast of magic. The loud noise made every pony in the area turn.

In that quick moment, Twilight and Unity are just whistling together on the two benches in front of the funhouse, neither wishing to scare such a large group of ponies. The fairgoing Ponies stared at the duo with various confused expressions. One pony smiles, however, and begins to speak to her special somepony. "Queen Twilight seems to have a new friend! How nice. It has been a while since she really went out." The random pony's comment seems to diffuse the tension entirely as all the fairgoers go back on their way.

"Put it away," Twilight says under her lip to Unity, who still has her gauntlet on her leg. Unity smiles her fake smile towards the crowd as she whispers back under her breath.

"You stop charging your horn, and I will." She says venomously to Twilight, who's still preparing another spell. The two are stuck in a deadlock for around five minutes before Twilight sighs and lowers her magic from her horn.

Course, this gives Unity a chance to flick her leg out and punch Twilight in the shoulder the moment she does. It's not hard enough to do any damage or anything, but it's enough to prove a point. "Checkmate~." Unity says with a cheeky smile before the gauntlet vanishes. "I win. That's ninety-five to eight." She says proudly and smugly.

Twilight glares a little at Unity, upset by the cheapshot and the creature's presence. "Unity, you better NOT be planning anything. It's been literally millennia since my family had a break BECAUSE of you. I swear if you ruin my vacation with them, I'll eviscerate you!" She says with a low growl, trying to keep her fake smile as she whispers. Celestia and Luna shouldn't be taking THIS long to get through a simple funhouse, right?! Well. Then again, she and her friends did get stuck in Discord's maze.

Unity scoffs. "Wha? No! I'm not here to fight you, thank you! I have a life outside of you! You and your little friends got me stranded here anyway. It's not like I can just pack up and leave." She huffs as she stomps her hoof on the bench.

Suddenly, both mothers' ears twitch as they hear something. Standing up as they each stretch. "You stay away from us, and we'll stay away from you, alright?" Twilight says aloud. Unity nods in agreement.

"Trust me, I'd rather not fight you before my children. They're adorable and soft. I'd rather them be raised well. Rather than them being full of hate for you." Unity says with a wave of her hoof, shooing Twilight back. "Besides, they have school, and I doubt seeing their mother and the Queen of Equestria fighting would do well for little Gentle Light's nightmares."

Twilight sighs in relief, "I'm glad Celestia and Luna are still a little too inexperienced to be fighting you anyways, so it's best that we just avoid each other for the immediate future. I doubt I can convince you to leave and be with your family without trying to return for revenge anyway." She says as she levitates some drinks she was holding for Celestia and Luna.

Unity scoffs and laughs, mumbling back, "Of course not. I will take Equus, Your Majesty. Nothing will stop me from trying in the end. After all, I have nowhere else to go anymore, thanks to you and your daughters. This world is far too chaotic to leave as is. I will personally make sure that Equestria is in a perpetual state of true harmony forever. But as long as my kids lead me around, I can't exactly drop what I'm doing to fight you."

Twilight growls under her breath. "Entropy is not harmony, firstly. Secondly, that's fine. I want to spend time with Celestia and Luna anyway."

Unity shrugs. "Then call me the Spirit of Entropy. Not like it matters in the end." She says as she lightens up, seeing her foals exiting the funhouse. The smile is short-lived, though, as the two mothers see something that, frankly, is the one thing they were hoping to avoid. Celestia, Luna, Hearthfire, Repose, and a sleeping Gentle Light walk out of the spinning tube, representing the funhouse's exit. The group laughing and chatting about… well, nothing of substance. Celestia and Luna were happily talking about their favorite foods and places to go in Canterlot, while Unity's children were all talking about little games they've made up, what books they like to read, and even giggling a bit at Gentle Light's ability to fall asleep anywhere.

Twilight smiles awkwardly as Celestia and Luna meet up with her. "Heyyyyyyy you twooo! Uh… I see you made new." Twilight coughs a little before an idea springs in her head. "Friends! Yea!" She says with a smile. 'Friendship between Celestia and Luna might be just what we need to demoralize Unity. This is perfect!'

Unity's surprise disappears faster than Twilight's. Unity's smile became soft and motherly when she saw the group. She even seems proud. "You three made friends with the princesses?! I hope none of you said anything rude!" She says with a genuine smile. This is good for her. She initially didn't know what she would do if she LOST against Twilight in the end, but if her kids ended up being friends with Celestia and Luna, their future would be secure at the very least. Not only would her line live on, but she could actually give her foals a proper choice now. Excellent.

"We weren't Mom. Don't worry about that! In fact, they're the ones that wanted us to be a bit more natural with them." Repose says with a smile, "They're great too! Celestia wanted to see if we could hang out today with them, too? Maybe?" The filly smiles brightly as she hops in place.

Unity and Twilight both cringe a little and look at each other. Twilight takes a deep breath. "If that's what you two wan-." That's all she manages to get out before the group of young adults (And one foal) yells out in happiness. They are far too starved for fun and amusement due to their situations, so having a free pass to have fun is the best thing ever! The group of five runs off, challenging each other to various games and events around the festival, leaving their two moms in the dust. Twilight and Unity sigh simultaneously as they sit on the bench before the Ferris wheel, following their families around for about an hour before being told to 'not wait up.'

"Guess the family vacation is derailed now, not that I'm upset that they made friends," Twilight says with a sigh as she stands and trots ahead. Unity followed quietly. The spirit wasn't stupid. She knew the only thing stopping this was their respective wants to be with their families.

Unity sighs a little to herself, putting on a smug face to irritate Twilight. "Guess business always finds a way to put itself before pleasure, huh? They'll be distracted for at least a few hours. Shame, I was really looking forward to trying a chocolate-covered banana." Unity's pride prevented her from even suggesting a temporary truce. Now that their kids were off having fun with each other, nothing would stop what's coming.

Twilight sighs a little. "Yeah, well, I hate you, you hate me, and our kids are distracted." She says as they exit through the back, ending up near the waterfall's source at the top of the mountain after a short flight. "I guess I'm just too much of a workaholic to take a proper vacation."

Unity giggles. "Since when was being a hero work for you? Hmmm, Twilight~? In fact, when was the Princess of Friendship the one that initiated these altercations~?" She says teasingly as she takes her position on the other side of the small lake. "I thought you found being a hero fun! All the friendships, relationships, the difficulty. Oh, wait. You don't have any friends here, do you?"

Twilight winces. The comment made Twilight feel physically ill, her stomach twisting as she walked to the lake's edge. Unity was correct. Usually, these fights would be done surrounded by her friends, but here she is. Alone. Taking the time out of a vacation to handle business AND being the one that initiated it. "What am I even doing? Cadence would be horrified if she saw me acting like this." Twilight says with a grim look on her face. Even then, though, her horn glows as she prepares for the fight. She has some armor for combat, but it's just collecting dust in the basement of her destroyed castle. It's not like she would have brought it to a festival anyway.

Unity stands up straight and sighs a little. Rolling her eyes a little. She would then look down at the same rainbow water before saying, "Sometimes you just gotta play with the cards you were dealt in life, Twilight. Let's get this done quickly so whoever loses doesn't have to miss out on the rest of the day with their kids." Unity winces a little. She doesn't particularly want to fight right now either, but as far as that goes, she doesn't feel like she has a choice. "It's a beautiful day today, isn't it Twilight?"

Twilight closes her eyes and just smiles a little. "Yeah, I wish we could enjoy it. Birds are singing, ponies are cheering. Not to mention, the rainbow meteor shower will start in an hour." Twilight's spell finishes casting. Her limited abilities with her new magic really hamstring her here. Twilight's magic reinforces her body with a soft pop, a shiny gleam running across her coat.

"Not swapping to Eternal for this, I see. Brave." Unity mumbles, the spirit trying to extend this as long as she can. "I will restore harmony to Equestria, and then I'll finally have a place to call home."

"We both know you have too much power over her. This is something I have to do. I'm not gonna let you off by just knocking me out with one magic spell." Twilight says with a giggle. The tension in the air was thick, but the two combatants were just talking like old friends. However, Twilight and Unity are too proud to back off, no matter how dearly they want to be with their families. "I will protect my ponies and my daughters from you."

This is the lot they drew in life, after all. The hero versus the villain. But neither predicted what would happen next.

As the two charged forward, they would each suddenly clash into shields. Twilight smashes into a golden and blue hue barrier while Unity crashes into a teal one. Unity's hoof strikes right through it but is quickly caught by a purple hoof.

"MOM! You promised!" Both groups of disgruntled ponies yell out. Celestia and Luna glare at Twilight while Repose struggles to hold onto his mom's hoof. He inherited her strength, sure, but Unity is still a monster in her own right.

Twilight and Unity sputter as they quickly try to find an excuse for their actions. Celestia and Luna snort as they start pushing Twilight away. "Alright, Mom. That's enough. I don't care if you're fighting Unity, Discord, or the ghost of Grogar. We're going to have FUN today! We'll have to drag you around if you can't behave!" Luna says with a pout. Upset that Twilight was about to break their promise.

Twilight blinks. "But that was-" Celestia cuts her off.

"Yes, it was Unity, but she's here to enjoy the festival too. So LET her. You always said that ponies need to be forgiving and gentle. Well, be that way. Stop trying to act like something you're not, Mother. You aren't Eternal. You don't need to act this way." Celestia says as she pushes Twilight far enough to where they aren't in danger.

Unity, to her credit, is less confused about this than Twilight. The Alicorn spirit seems a bit more embarrassed. "Sorry, sweeties. Mommy got carried away." She giggles a little bit. "It's just, you know, Mommy and Queen Twilight don't really like each other."

Hearthfire sighs a little. "It's alright, Mom, but you promised us a family vacation. Fighting against the crown is not part of that. We all have our purposes. Today, we just want to enjoy being with our mother and not see her end up in a duel to the death. What would Gentle Light think if she was awake."

"But I am awake." Gentle says from Repose's back, peeking out and looking curiously. Repose gently boops Gentle Light's nose, beginning to tease her sister a little bit while Hearthfire and Unity have their conversation.

Hearthfire smiles at his mother. "We didn't become friends with the Princesses for nothing after all. We came to an agreement with each other. We are permitted to come and go from Equestria as we please."

Celestia continues from where Hearthfire left off. The group has settled around two ponies worth of distance away from each other. "However, in exchange for this deal." She points at Unity with a thick glare on her face. "You may not attack Equestria until Canterlot's construction is complete. On the other hoof, we will allow you and your family to live within the borders and their everyday lives. Gentle Light has told us how much you care about your children after all, and we would all prefer if, regardless of you and your husband, they would have a chance to make their own decisions as they grow up. Of course, this is only possible if BOTH of you agree." Celestia says to Twilight and Unity.

Unity is the first to speak. "Yes. I agree. As long as you and your family understand, this will NOT sway me off track. This is for my family, not for you." Unity says as she takes a floating paper that was given to her by Luna. Signing it quietly. "I also never intended on indoctrinating my children to believe the same way I do. They've always been encouraged to think what they wish. Whether it's my harmony or yours."

Twilight takes the paper next, reading it over and glaring at Unity. Every fiber of her being is telling her to not do this. Every bit of her is dripping venom to attack Unity. But... why? Twilight shakes her head. This isn't who she is. She is NOT Eternal. She does not want to think like her. But even then.

'You know what we should do. She hurt us. She will do it again.' Eternal says to Twilight, who shakes her head. 'You're a Queen! Think of your ponies!'

Twilight mumbles to herself. Looking up at Unity and then towards Celestia and Luna. "I'm trusting you two here. I'm the Princess of Friendship, not forgiveness." She says simply as she signs the paper. "But in honor of what we once had Unity. Consider this your severance pay. I hope your children make the right choice in the future."

Unity smiles warmly as she hugs her family. "Whatever they choose, I'll be proud of them. Even if they side with you and your fillies in the final battle." Grinning at Twilight a little. "That's what differs between you and me, Twilight. I don't delude myself into thinking that I'm 100% right." She says with a giggle. "Or do I?" Unity gives Twilight a wink, cheekily smiling as she stands up. "Come, sweethearts. Let us go get dinner before the meteor shower. Oo and a chocolate-coated banana."

Unity's family leaves without an extra word aside from Hearthfire, who bows and says, "Till we meet on the battlefield, Princesses. Oh, Queen Twilight, I'll join your school in the spring. I'd appreciate some material to catch me up on classes." With an insincere smile, he says, "Send it along when you can." He then trots off to catch up with his family.

Twilight just falls back and groans. "Can one of you be Queen now?" She says with a mumble. "I miss just being a do-nothing Princess so badly."

Luna raises her hoof. "I'll do it!" Which only gets looks from Celestia and Twilight. "Ohhhh right. Yeah, that'd be a bad idea." She giggles a little with a blush.

"I'll think about it if you can actually pass the policies test with higher than an eighty-eight. You always get fooled by the trick questions." Twilight says with a smile as she lays back on the ground. Celestia and Luna joined her after a moment.

"Guess we aren't going back to the festival," Celestia says with a stretch. "It was fun, but I've had my fill of crowds looking at me so much. I should look for something that lets me disguise myself as a normal pony."

Twilight smiles as she glows her horn gently. A little cloud appears with a basket with food, a folded blanket, and a telescope, all neatly packed on top of it. "Well, we may as well stake our claim up here for the meteor shower then. It does start in an hour or two." With a HUMPH, Twilight sits up and starts unpacking everything, setting out the blanket and food, the three sitting and eating together. Ponies of all types, including Unity and her family, trotted up the hill to find a spot to sit.

'You don't seriously think Unity will give up, do you?' Eternal says to Twilight. Twilight is idly eating her daisy sandwich as she watches the sky with Celestia and Luna.

'No. Unity won't, but she also won't endanger her family.' Twilight mumbles to her other half. 'Before you say something incredibly terrible, though, we aren't doing anything to them. We have an agreement.'

Eternal scoffs 'Involving innocents in our plans would be a bit much, even for me. Besides, as a fellow mother, I know how she feels.'

Twilight looks over to Unity. 'Yeah. We do.' Twilight hugs Celestia and Luna closely. Giggling a little as she wipes Luna's face. "Eat more cleanly, silly." Twilight doesn't even turn as her ear twitches, saying, "Celestia, no eating dessert before your sandwich! I did not give you bits to only eat fried ice cream and cake all day!" Celestia sheepishly puts the fried dough balls down as she eats her healthy sandwich.

Unity sighs as she sits with her family, watching the sky and ignoring Twilight entirely. The Alicorn not even hiding herself anymore, which draws much attention and even some anger from the ponies surrounding her. Unity just closes her eyes and sighs a little.

Hearthfire leans against his mother. "I got your back, mom. Don't worry. Sorry about stringing you along, though. We had a feeling that if you heard about the plan, you'd sorta ruin it."

Unity scoffs in response to that, "Excuse me! I strung along the Queen for literally millennia. How could I ruin a plan?" She huffs at Hearthfire, who chuckles.

"Probably because you're a bit of a total control freak, mom. We can help out sometimes, too, ya know. We may not. Agree with all your actions and ideas, but you're still our mom. At the very least, you can trust us to help you when it counts." Hearthfire's eyes twinkle as he watches the first meteor pass. "It's starting."

"I dunno what you're talking about, brother! I'll always follow Mom. Sides, the world could do with a touchup." Repose says as she pushes him a little on the shoulder. Giggling a small amount. "Also, being a Princess seems fun."

Unity smiles as she watches her children bicker momentarily before waving for them to quiet down. As all the ponies on the mountain and even down at the festival look towards the sky, several streams of Meteors swish by through the sky. Across most of Northern Equestria, streaks of rainbows ignite the sky and give off a lovely rainbow hue. Both Unity and Twilight smiled softly. This was worth it.

Unity 3: Relationships

View Online

The days after the festival passed with little fanfare. Much of Twilight's time was occupied by preparing the castle's construction, but Celestia and Luna understood. The two sisters instead spent most of their time going out into Ponyville, happily meeting and chatting with everypony around. By the end of the three days Twilight spent on Centarus Mountain, now renamed Canterlot Mountain, Celestia, and Luna were friends with most of the town! Twilight didn't take long to notice how Celestia was often surrounded by several ponies, each listening to the Ivory Alicorn with extreme attention.

Meanwhile, Luna spent much of her time helping out the community, whether it be helping out at the orphanage, local school, or even at the shelter (Where she spent much of her time). However, today, the trio were meeting for a particular reason. Twilight lands in the center of Ponyville, sighing a little in nostalgia as she sits in front of a small cafe. The larger-than-life Alicorn draws much attention from the local ponies, who are curious about where she's been. Braver ponies wave to her and say, "Good morning, Queen Twilight!" Which always got a smile and a wave back from her.

"Morning Gumdrops! Don't be late to work again! Hi, Hard Melody! I hope you have a great performance tomorrow! Say hi to Record Keeper for me. It's been a while!" Twilight says with a bright smile. When it came to Ponyville, she made sure to know everypony there. Truth be told, if she wanted to mess with the timeline, she could have easily turned Ponyville into the capital city of Equestria. However, she did not wish to exacerbate the feud that recently started between the Apples and the Pears. It was silly that a feud started just because of a simple contest that the Pears lost by one point. "I should really fix that at some point. Although, I didn't even know the Pears lived in Ponyville before."

Twilight hums happily to herself, sipping some coffee she ordered. She wasn't due to meet with Celestia and Luna for around an hour and a half. Even though she can see Celestia from here, Celestia is currently in the center of around twenty ponies her 'age.' Trotting from shop to shop to buy whatever they can while a sale is going on to commemorate the start of the construction of Canterlot Castle. Twilight lightly giggles to herself. "We do make way too many festivals for tiny things." She says aloud to herself. She was not expecting anypony to respond.

"Well, it is a pretty big event! After all, it's not every day your royals must rebuild an entire castle from the ground up." Says a pony from behind Twilight. While the voice is familiar, it's not Unity levels of familiar. Twilight curiously turns and looks.

"Moondancer!" Twilight smiles as she sees her one and only friend in this generation, "Or, well, Moondancer the Tenth would be more accurate. What are you doing here? I thought you were on a spiritual journey to find yourself." Twilight smiles as she stands and changes tables to sit with her friend. The unicorn giggles a little as she sips some coffee, Twilight smiling broadly at having someone to talk with.

"I was! But then I heard and saw what happened. The uh. Train? Thingy disappeared right from under me, and I went flying forward. I nearly broke my arm, but your magic lessons paid off. I came running back, but I guess the action is over." Moondancer says as she looks at the Everfree Forest. "Course, considering that my house was in Canterlot, I feel like I'm gonna be homeless after a while." She says with a defeated sigh. "So, where's the tag along?" Moondancer says as she looks around a little.

Twilight twitches a little. "Hopefully, miles away from here. However, I wouldn't count on it. Unity is the one that caused all that stuff to happen, although part of it was also my fault." She says with a little sigh. "Unity and I came to a truce, though. She'll hold off on her attack and live like an average pony in Equestria until we finish building Canterlot. After that, she'll render her judgment if she so sees fit. Upon which time, I'm going to punch her."

Moondancer nods a little. "Uhuh, uhuh, so we're just going to trust the megalomaniac not to do anything evil then? Seems really far-fetched and kinda crazy." The unicorn says bluntly to Twilight, who giggles a little in response. "Remind me to do something illegal so I can get away with it for free." She says teasingly, Twilight sighing to herself.

"You try saying no to the double attack of Celestia and Luna. They somehow made friends with Unity's foals, so we're both stuck!" Twilight grumbles a little. "Not to mention, it's almost school season. I hope Star Swirl got my letter. I haven't had a free minute to go and find him myself yet." Twilight rubs her forehead a little and sips her tea to calm her nerves as well as she can.

Moondancer tilts her head, tapping her chin a little. "Hmmmmmm. What does a Queen do when she can't do everything herself? Oh, that's right, exhaust herself trying to do everything when she can just as a friend or two to handle stuff while she does other things." Moondancer says with a very obvious smirk, which fades when she notices Twilight's facial expression.

Twilight looks sad, quietly staring down at her teacup. "Sorry, Moondancer. It's just been a rough couple of months when it comes to that. I did trust Unity, so her betrayal really hit hard. I know you and the others always encouraged me to trust everypony to help, but." Twilight sips her tea carefully, calming her nerves down as she mumbles. "The last time I trusted somepony that much, they mind-controlled me and nearly destroyed Equestria. It's just tough to trust somepony after something like that." Twilight says with a little mumble. "Not to mention, now one of her kids will be attending my school, and he's brilliant! His magic potential is greater than anything I've seen in this era!" Twilight says with a bright face.

"Buttt, you're worried that if you teach him too much, he'll become an enemy later. Righttt?" Moondancer says as she leans forward. Twilight nodded in response to the statement after a moment passed. "Well, I guess I see where you're coming from. I mean, I'm TOTALLY a scary pony with centuries of experience and the magical experience of twenty thousand different archmagi of history!" Moondancer says in a grandiose manner, giving a little wink to Twilight. "Although the Twilight I remember, wasn't this worried about such simple stuff, I mean, come on. Look at me, Twilight." The pale yellow unicorn with a red mane says, her mane braided down neatly. "I'm basically a hippy. I couldn't be a danger to you or your weird magic even if I tried."

Twilight giggles a little and smiles. "Thanks, Moondancer. I really appreciate the cheering up." She says with a happy tilt of her head.

Moondancer looks at Twilight with a tilted head. "I wasn't exactly trying to cheer you up yet, but I WILL gladly take the credit!" She says with a smile. "Now. What do you need to say to Star Swirl, eh? I'm happy to chat with him, punch him, and drag him here by his beard if necessary." Moondancer clacks her hooves together with an excited smile on her face.

Twilight's eyes go wide. "No, no, no hurting or punching him! Ugh. I forgot your family comprises most of the royal guard's elites. Your grandma would be so disappointed to see one of the mares in her family being so headstrong." Twilight says with a little giggle to herself.

Moondancer huffs, "Oi! Just because I got the family curse." Twilight mumbles something before letting Moondancer continue. "Doesn't mean I can't TRY to be worthy of the royal guard! I may not have my brother's skill with a spear or my other brother's barrier magic abilities. BUT! My general magic cutie mark means I could be an epic court mage! Ooh, maybe even lead my own battalion! Pleaseeeee, don't make me go back to studying normal magic!" She whines out as she thuds her face on the table. Twilight sighs a little.

'Was she always like this?' Twilight said to Eternal with an awkward smile on her face.

'Yep, she hates having a magic researcher cutie mark. Moondancer has been trying to get into the guard most of her adult life. She just can't pass the entrance exam.' Eternal responds with a mumble.

'Why? Does she not know her stuff?' Twilight asks curiously, Moondancer continuing to whine and complain in the background.

Eternal laughs 'Eh?! No! That's not it at all! She'd be a great guard! She gets hyper-intimidated in the self-defense section of the test and freezes up! She gets so excited that she zones out! She and I have sparred at least eight times and offered her a skip on it each time! She always turns it down!'

Twilight tilts her head. "Moondancer, if you want to be part of the guard that badly, then why haven't you accepted the pass I've offered you before?" She says with a curious expression, Moondancer perking up in response and tilting her head.

"Well, duh! It's because I want to do it right! Look, as much as it's SO incredibly frustrating. A good guard can't freeze up like that! I want to be your personal guard, ya know! I can't have any excuse. I will do it right! That way, when Unity comes back, we can fight her together!" Moondancer smiles, "Er, well, at least I can try to help. It's hard to account for a creature that is genuinely that much stronger than me. I'll give a real good shot, though!" The unicorn stands up with a hup, saluting Twilight. "Your Majesty. Your future guard will go and handle this mission you gave her! I will make sure to get Star Swirl here before school starts!"

Twilight giggles. "Moondancer, you don't need to salute! You aren't a guard yet!" She says with a smile. "But when you're ready, I'll always have open tryouts for you." Twilight nods happily and gives a little fake salute back, which Moondancer accepts. The unicorn trotting away excitedly.

'Wow. You are GREAT at getting ponies to do what you want.' Eternal says with a blink.

'Quit it. It's called friendship. Moondancer is just trying to help. It's not like I'm sending her on a death mission.' Twilight says back to Eternal as she notices Celestia and Luna approaching.

'Call it whatever you like. It's still impressive. Commanding a country requires either fear or trust and love. I did it through fear. So forgive me if I draw some comparisons.' Eternal says casually.

'Quiet.' Twilight says to Eternal. 'Just... Quiet.'

Celestia and Luna sit down, smiling at Twilight, who takes a deep breath. "Alright, let's talk about where Unity is gonna stay."

The school was complete! A large, three-story building stood on the side of the mountain, the framework of the castle overlooking and casting a slight shadow over it. Twilight takes a deep breath and smiles, the large building built to her specifications. Bunks for the students, plenty of classrooms, and a large lunch hall are just some of the amenities at the School of Magic! Since the construction of Canterlot City would bloom out from the castle, Twilight made efforts to ensure that the first building built was the School of Magic since that was one of the many buildings she knew the exact coordinates for. The castle was finally liveable, with the bedrooms being complete. Meaning the Royals could move in whenever they wished. They agreed to do so once the builders completed the main throne room in a week. Officially, this marked the re-opening of the Equestrian Government!

This event resulted in a literal mountain of paperwork suddenly being dropped on Twilight's head at 1 AM. "AAAAAAAHHHH HELP! THE PAPER APOCALYPSE IS HERE!" Twilight screams out as the papers suddenly appear over her newly made bed. Celestia and Luna busted into the room with horns glowing before suddenly being caught by the tidal wave of documents! By the time they gathered all the documents and itineraries, it was already 3 AM, the papers giving each royal their fair share of paper cuts. Twilight grunts as she puts the final stack of papers on the floor, looking up at the massive piles of work.

"So this is what it looks like when the government doesn't exist for four months." Twilight mumbles to herself, in awe at the number of tax documents, building permits, and, worse, foreign advisory documents that sat before her.

'Normally, I'd suggest abusing time magic to do this, but you still can't hold the spell for longer than a few minutes.' Eternal says with a mumble.

'Well, we can always sw-' Twilight begins to say before Eternal interrupts her.

'Ah ah! You aren't piling all this work on me. Besides, you're the original anyway. You're the one that will absorb me in the end.' Eternal responds before mumbling. 'If you can ever accept that we are the same pony, that is.'

'NEVER.' Twilight shouts at Eternal, snapping at her. 'I don't care what you say. You're nothing but a blight on everypony's life around you. You may have been me at one point, but not anymore. Once I figure out how to get you out of my head, I will.' Twilight says with a snort.

"Luna, get some coffee ready. It's going to take a few days to get through this all." Twilight says as she stares up at the documents. "I'll need you two to help me out if you get free time, but focus on school first!"

Luna nods as she rushes off to get some coffee from the kitchen. They hadn't hired any kitchen staff, but the royals had long learned to make the basics of food. While Luna had no real skill with proper cooking, she could make coffee without being supervised about half the time without blowing up the kitchen. Celestia trots to a stack, pulling papers down and working on them individually. "Luna is gonna explode the kitchen again, you know," Celestia mumbles as she separates the paperwork into two neat piles. One pile is for stuff that matters, and the other is labeled 'Noble Trash.' Celestia sighs as she watches the Noble Trash pile increase in height at an alarming rate. "You're still going to talk with these nobles, right?"

Twilight struggles and grunts with her horn. Eternal was in no mood to help her, so she worked her wildly unfamiliar magic. After a moment of trying, she takes a deep breath. "Come on. You can do it. You're the Element of Magic. Relax." She says as she feels everything around her, gently letting her magical aura seep out and slowly levitating tens of papers. She sorts them with her eyes closed while she responds to Celestia. "It's on the calendar. No promises that it'll continue after I leave, though. Only five or six nobles are worth their salt even in the future." Twilight says with a little grunt, finally losing concentration as all the papers she had levitated flutter to the ground. She doesn't stop, though, clearing her mind and trying again, thinking back to her conversation with Star Swirl not but two days ago.

Star Swirl sighs as he watches Celestia put Luna into a magical bubble. Luna was floating around the newly walled Canterlot gardens as Celestia watched. Celestia smiles and says, "Okay! Now try running!" Luna saluted and began to run in the magical bubble, causing it to land on the ground from the sudden weight and skid around like a wheel! Luna runs at top speed before she slips, causing her to start rolling with the bubble right at Star Swirl. The old unicorn blankly stares at Celestia before glowing his horn and popping the golden bubble with a loud -POP!- Luna lying on the ground as her teacher catches her in his silvery magic aura.

"AGAIN! I think I almost got it this time!" Luna says as she hops up and runs towards Celestia. The pair chatted quickly about ways to modify the spell and change it to be more controllable!

"They're a hoofful, aren't they?" Twilight says from behind Star Swirl, who turns and sighs.

"They are. Different from what I expected. I expected more haughty or difficult students. Instead, they take what I say and twist it into something. Uh." Star Swirl trails off as he tries to think of what to say.

"New? Different?" Twilight says curiously, trying to hold in her inner fangirl.

"I was going to say incredibly stupid and dangerous, but that works too." Star Swirl responds with a deadpan expression. "The aerial barrier spell is meant for subduing flying opponents in the heat of the moment, not for." He motions to the two, trying their little barrier rush maneuver again, which is working! "That."

Twilight giggles a little. "Sorry about that. Celestia and Luna tend to hyper-focus on an idea when they share it. Especially if they both like the concept, while they're doing their thing, have you, perchance, figured out anything about what we spoke of before?" Twilight says with a mumble.

Star Swirl perks up. "Ah, yes! Your inability to use your highly refined magic. Well, you're in luck. I have indeed figured out what the issue is. Currently, your pool of magic, erm, mana, in this case, is split in two. Half of your psyche has control of one portion, and the other controls a much smaller, less helpful amount. Now, with the purity of your magic that hardly matters, one drop of your mana is enough to power tens of thousands of unicorns for a week. But the rules of magic became more stringent because of the purity of it."

Twilight nods a little. "The rules of magic..." Twilight blinks for a moment before closing her eyes. "Erm. I forgot what those were. That's like foal hood basic level stuff." She giggles a little as Star Swirl stumbles as if he's been hit with large bricks.

Star Swirl sighs as he readjusts his cloak and hat. "The rules of magic are simple: One, magic grows with regard to how it is being used. Two, magic grows in relation to what kind of magic is being used."

Twilight nods. "Right, that's why if you use combat magic a lot, you get better at combat magic. I knew that, but those rules don't concern me here."

Star Swirl sighs. "There are three more laws of magic that used to be passed before the time of even the alicorn ruling days. In Princess Platinum's reign, there were three more rules of magic: Three, magic is in all things. Four, magic is willed rather than controlled. And most importantly to you: Five, magic reacts to the turmoil within oneself. Your magic is weak, not because of your abilities or lack thereof, but because of something bothering you deeply. Until you solve that issue, you won't be able to use any powerful magic you might have in you."

Twilight groans a little as she rubs her head, about to say something before she's suddenly crashed into by an out-of-control Luna.

Star Swirl chuckles. "I think it's lunchtime now." He says as he trots inside.

Twilight sighs as she takes a deep breath. 'Focus.'

A gentle glow of magic pulses out of her body as all the papers, Celestia and even Luna, who is currently putting salt into the coffee instead of sugar, suddenly freeze. Twilight opens her eyes as she feels the intense drain of her small mana pool, but the feeling of success is too much to bear. Twilight stands up, smiling widely as she says, "I DID IT!" The spell dropped shortly after. Celestia looked at Twilight with a confused expression.

"Mom? Were you always standing up? Wait, did you?!" Celestia says happily as she stands up, Twilight nodding and getting a big hug from her daughter. "YAY! I'm so happy for you! You figured out the issue?"

Twilight smiles. "Mostly. There are a few more than I have to deal with first." She sighs as she nuzzles Celestia. "But I'm not ready to handle those just yet." The Queen says in response, closing her eyes as she levitates entire stacks of the pages at once. "Butttt, that doesn't mean I can't steal a page from Eternal's book and do this! Sorting spell! Sorting spell!" Little twinks of Twilight's magic fire off as the papers sort themselves rapidly. In the end, three large stacks of documents needed reading, while ten large stacks of noble drek and one stack of good ideas from some nobles who would absolutely be finding themselves promoted soon. With the pot of coffee in hoof and the mugs of salty coffee thrown out the nearby window, the trio began to chip away at their duties. Throughout the day, even with construction going on, guards, servants, and even Moondancer ran in and out of the castle, delivering paperwork, notes, and even beginning foreign relationships once again, one page at a time.

Equestria was back! Hitting the world scene once again!

Unity 4 - School Days

View Online

"And in general, as someone uses magic, it begins to express itself in specific ways. For example, a pegasus that flies fast but tends not to train its control will usually have trouble making high-speed turns, but one that practices their control can make turns at any speed it can handle. Practicing your magic works the same way! While having the theory is necessary, just as with anything, your skill and method of using magic will reflect the effort you put into growing it." Twilight says with a smile to her advanced magic class. The nobles were surprised when Twilight said she would open a school, but the idea was a rousing success. Young ponies far and wide were beginning to move and become live-in students at her school, encouraging more ponies to settle down around the now half-built castle.

As Twilight begins to switch slides, she sees a hoof raised. "Hm? Oh, Moondancer, what's your question?" She says. After all, the school does not discriminate based on age. In fact, the advanced class is mostly adult ponies!

Moondancer lowers her hoof. "How do cutie marks play into how your magic grows? Because, obviously, it makes some aspects of your magic stronger and others weaker."

Twilight nods. "So, just as with talents and such, cutie marks help you learn things that align with your special talent faster, but you can understand this as having a higher natural affinity to working in that. For example, my talent is magic, BUT that doesn't stop me from, say, learning how to cook well. It just means that somepony else with that talent will have a easier time. Just because your talent is to be a scholar doesn't mean you can't use that to be something else. In your case, being a Royal Guard. I encourage you to pursue things and use your talents in unique ways because that's how we grow together." She says with a smile.

Twilight's lessons would continue for the rest of the day. However, she wasn't the only teacher in the school. A small explosion happens a few doors down the hall as Star Swirl teaches a class of his own, comprised of only teenagers to young adult ponies that show exceptionally high levels of promise. The magic theory and application class was always hectic because of one pair of alicorns. "I did it, Celestia!" Luna says with a happy grin as she makes a bubble of dragon fire float around the room. The rest of the class took cover behind a desk near the back while Star Swirl watched with a tired and curious expression.

"While I admit that is very impressive, now what?" Star Swirl says curtly. "You have a ball of fire stuck inside a barrier preventing it from exploding, but it has no practical use like that now, does it?" The words from Star Swirl make Luna and Celestia flinch a little. They honestly didn't expect to get this far.

"Couldn't it be used as a replacement for precision demolition tools? Assuming you can shrink the spells, they could fit in places to create focused and accurate explosions." Says a voice from the back, Hearthfire taking some notes on the spell that the two sisters created. "For example, applying Misty Hoof's theory of Spell Reduction, we could replace explosives with two ponies casting spells instead." Hearthfire then steps forward and casts the third component, shrinking the spell to a small dot. "All the explosive power in a small space. Even if we just used the concept for excavation, it could save a lot of time for ponies that have to lay tracks down going through mountains or even miners."

Star Swirl hums. "That is the correct answer. Ten points to each of you. Remember, new magic should have a reason to exist. If you cannot explain the purpose, then it is pointless. Unfortunately, even just magic that is a spectacle is acceptable, although I do not see its value personally." Star Swirl watches as the alicorns and the unicorn cheer a little before clearing his throat and motioning to the spell.

Celestia and Luna's eyes open in realization. "Oops! Sorry." Celestia says as the pair dispel the small orb with ease. The bell for lunch rang gently through the school.

"Remember, you all have teleportation practice after lunch, so do not eat anything heavy." Star Swirl says to an empty room, everypony having already bolted out of the classroom. The elder unicorn's ear twitches as he hears someone enter his class "Hmph. You were correct, Twilight. Celestia and Luna are incredibly skilled with magic. Where Celestia fails in her magical strength, she makes up for it with her creative thinking." Star Swirl pulls out some papers with many red marks on them before continuing.

"Meanwhile, Luna's magic is potent, but her creativity needs some work. Yet, they still lose focus so quickly that they have yet to learn any standard spells. I'm worried that they won't learn how to teleport until after the castle is complete at this rate. They only recently learned the standard version of the shield spell rather than their duo spell." Twilight sighs as she hears all this.

"They were the closest to the pacification spell when it happened, not to mention Luna told me Celestia was pretty badly hurt. She doesn't like to talk about it, so I don't know what happened." Twilight sighs a little as she watches Celestia and Luna from the classroom. Celestia is happily chatting with her friends while Luna is relaxing alone with a book with her friends. "I need them to be ready, though. The castle is almost halfway complete. Not to mention that you've been even more busy with hero duties recently, Star Swirl." She says to him with a worried tone in her voice. "The other teachers are good, but no pony can teach magic theory like you."

"Aside from maybe you, Twilight. Even then, should anything happen to me, I know you'll make the correct decision regarding our students." Star Swirl says as he joins Twilight at the window. The pair looked down to the courtyard. "I do worry about Luna, though. She's become much more reclusive these past few months. It's almost as if something is eating away at her." Star Swirl sighs a little and grabs his lesson planner. "Either way, it is far from my place to interfere with such things. I must go now, your Majesty. We spotted the sirens again in Trottingham, so I must go now as we agreed. I will return when the battle concludes." He says as he exits the room with a flash of white light. Twilight sighed a little as she watched down to the courtyard.

"And as much as I hate to say it, you're the only pony qualified to teach about this stuff," Twilight says with a serious face to Unity. Who is just sitting in her Canterlot 'home' with a smirk.

Unity giggles at Twilight and raises an eyebrow before looking up at the Queen with a smug expression. "You're so desperate to teach ponies about me and Discord that you'd be willing to ask me for help? Oooh, that's going to cost you, ya know." Unity smirks. "Not that I mind. You probably asked Discord first, and he said something like, 'Teaching creatures is boring, so no.'"

Twilight sighs a little. "As much as I hate to say it, you're the only creature in Equestria that understands harmony magic better than I do. I was studying back in my time period, but I only have a surface-level understanding of it! So, I'm trying to offer you a job here. You can help teach ponies, including your own son and daughter, just as a guest speaker because, frankly, no pony wants to deal with you longer than they have to anyway. The least you could do is help fix some of the problems you made with Eternal."

Unity sighs a little. "Tsk tsk~ I made them with you, Twilight, but even then, It was your daughters and your actions that made the spell incomplete. However, the resulting damage was unfortunate. So I'll make you a deal. I will teach. However, in exchange, you have to promise me one little thing."

Twilight glares at Unity. "What?"

Unity smiles. "Nothing too big, honestly. I want you to promise that even after our fight in a few months if you somehow win, my family will not be bothered because of their relationship with me. Change their names, identities, whatever, but I want you to be sure that you or anypony else in this chaotic world will never dare to hurt them." She says with a glare.

Twilight blinks in surprise before giggling. "You are a mom. Gee. Fine, but you promise the same to me. Leave Celestia and Luna out of any chaotic, insane final spell you might have."


"Today, we will be having a guest speaker. Some of you know her, regardless of her history and future problems. She is here to teach about specialized and unique magic. She's the only one that can with any authority." Twilight says with a sigh. "Unity, welcome to the stage, say anything evil, and I will punch you."

Unity stands at the front of the auditorium with a stretch of her wings. "Hello, I'm Unity. Let's get some brass tacks out of the way. Firstly, yes, I am the villain, but we have a peace agreement right now, and a request from even an old ex-friend is hard to say no to. So, I am here to teach you about the unique and specialized magics of the world. I'll need Twilight, Celestia, Luna, Moondancer, and you, Storm Arts."

As the requested ponies come to the front, a pony in the crowd raises their hoof. "Yes?" Unity says.

"Are you gonna fight Twilight in the future?" The nameless pony asks with a tilt of her head. She's a young filly, probably at most ten or eleven years of age.

Unity giggles. "Young ones such as you shouldn't worry about that. Don't worry. I'm not here to do anything untoward. Probably. Now, onto the lesson. Here, we have two ponies with Unique magic, Two ponies with Specialized magic, and one with both. Can anypony tell me who?"

One pony raises her hoof, and upon being called on, the pony stands and points. "Queen Twilight has both, uhm. Princess Celestia and Luna have unique magic, and Moondancer and Storm Arts have specialized magic?"

Unity claps. "Correct! Good work! Keep an eye on that one, Hearthfire. She's a catch." A groan escapes from the back of the auditorium, the colt hiding his face behind his notebook. "Queen Twilight has specialized and unique magic: her refined spell casting and time magic. Celestia and Luna have the sun and moon unique magic, respectively. Finally, Moondancer has her analysis magic, while Storm Arts has his weather magic. Now, what are the differences between these types of magic?"

The room goes quiet as everyone, including the ponies on stage (Aside from Twilight), thinks a bit before Hearthfire raises his hoof. Unity nodded at her son with great expectation. He would say shortly. "Unique magic is something that would only be possible to learn or develop with some boost, such as how Queen Twilight can move the sun and moon due to the blessing the previous King and Queen gave her. Meanwhile, specialized magic is something anypony can learn, but it requires a particular mindset and tons of practice to do so."

Unity smiles broadly, very happy. "Correct! Mostly! That's my boy!" She giggles happily, getting a little giddy. "See, Twilight, even your daughters were stumped by that one~." Twilight gives Unity an annoyed glare, which makes the Spirit cough to compose herself. "Correct. Unique magic is provided to you by your talent or a blessing. Hence, you usually find them passed down through bloodlines or given out by those who already have them. While a group of ponies may be able to mimic the abilities of the magic, such as when unicorns used to move the sun and moon together, the one with the unique magic can do it effortlessly." Unity exhales and takes a drink of water to clear her throat. Many ponies are engrossed in the lesson as she walks in front of the lineup.

Unity then continues, "Meanwhile, specialized magic can be learned with effort and work by anypony. However, unlike what my son said, talent does play a role in your capabilities with this subset of magic. The world does not play fair. Don't get it mixed up. Moondancer, for example, due to her talent in magical theory, will always be more potent in her analysis magic than even my son. Even if they both became masters in that field, she would always have a hoof up on him. However, I was told not to preach today, so I'll leave that there." Unity nods as she motions for everypony to retake their seats. "Any questions?"

Around twenty-five hooves pop up, but one question in particular catches Unity's ear. "What does your magic count as then, professor?"

Unity tilts her head. "Ah, my magic? It's specialized, of course. Somepony can learn how to do harmony magic, but figuring out how to use it would require much effort. The inverse, however, chaos magic that of my brother, is unique. Ponies cannot learn it due to your natural inclination to harmony, and it would take an exceptional pony to use it without negative afflictions. I suppose the only pony in Equestria that could pull it off is the Queen herself."

Twilight raises an eyebrow. "Giving me hints now? Sounds like you're wavering~." Twilight pulls out a notebook and writes something down on it.

Unity smiles. "I just want a good fight. Anyways, that's pretty much everything on those types of magic. I hope you all learn and work on yourself so you can each become specialized and unique in your rights!" Unity then dismisses the class. As the ponies all leave, Unity begins hugging Hearthfire tightly as she dotes on him. Twilight is doing the same to Celestia and Luna, much to the trio's chagrin!

"You want to do what?" Discord says with a confused expression as he looks at Twilight.

Twilight stretches a little "Unity, and I used to do it all the time. Why would this be any different?"

Discord deadpans, "I could give you an entire list of how it would be different. Are you even synchronized with chaos enough to pull something like this off? Harmony, I understand, but-" Discord is cut off by Twilight staring at him.

"If you want my resume, I destabilized a town, erupted in flames when I got angry about something, and nearly destroyed Equestria because I was depressed," Twilight says flatly. "Besides, if it gets bad, you can always break the spell yourself. I may not trust you, but we both know this is our best shot."

Discord sighs. "Fine. Let's give it a shot." He says, "Don't blame me if you go insane."

"Oh, don't worry, Discord. I'm long past that point."

Unity 5 - The Beginning of the End

View Online

Months passed with little fanfare. Celestia, Luna, and Twilight lived their lives, each story recorded neatly in the two sister's book. Stories about their efforts to bring everypony together and return Ponykind to the world stage and several measures of the Pillars of Equestria in defeating and sealing all sorts of monsters. The castle was nearing completion. In fact, it would be complete on the morrow. Twilight sighs in her throne room, looking at the stained glass windows of the various achievements she's made with her daughters, from restoring the yaks to finally shaping up the nobility. Twilight's past few months had been busy compared to the school life that Celestia and Luna got to enjoy. Twilight looks down at Star Swirl, Rockhoof, Mage Meadowbrook, Flash Magnus, Somnambula, and Mistmane, each with a focused expression on their faces. Twilight sighed a little. Eternal had long abandoned her after one of their previous arguments, leaving Twilight with her personal thoughts.

Finally, Twilight speaks, "And you're sure Stygian is doing this on purpose? He never seemed to want power to the point of wishing to drain it from you all." Star Swirl raises his head and glares.

"He stole our precious relics, your Majesty. Whatever he may be trying to do is irrelevant. It is either that he is trying to seal us, drain us, or control us. I refuse to allow that to happen. His gravest mistake was bringing us together because we have the ability to oppose him." Star Swirl says with a focused expression. "We just wished to tell you that we were leaving. If we do not return, we have succeeded in our efforts."

Twilight bites her lip while she doesn't know precisely why Star Swirl is missing in the future. She just has a very negative feeling about this entire situation. To her awareness, Star Swirl disappeared long before Nightmare Moon, meaning this would fall perfectly within that timeframe. As Twilight opens her mouth, a voice in her head whispers out. 'Do not meddle fruitlessly.'

"Fine, if you all agree to do this, I will not stop you. However, I am very disappointed in all of you for jumping to conclusions so rapidly." Twilight says as she watches the pillars begin to leave one by one. "None of you learned anything from me, did you? Especially you, Star Swirl." Twilight stands up from her throne, glaring down at the elder unicorn. The leader of the pillars stands headstrong and steadfast against the pressure the Queen radiates from herself. "If you truly go through with this, I will not bail you out, my old friend. I suppose you still have much to learn, even at your age."

"What is advice from one who refuses to accept their own failures? Perhaps you'll have something worth giving me aside your magic one day." Star Swirl says before closing the door behind himself.

Twilight grumbles as she sits on her throne with a deep sigh. "Star Swirl, you better come back so I can REALLY tear you a new one."

But Star Swirl never came back. Neither did any of the pillars. Twilight never heard or found out what happened to them. All she could feel was the forces of friendship and harmony screaming out before everything went silent. "Mm. I hope you're satisfied with your choice, you old grump." Twilight says with a sigh from her balcony. She looked down at the planes behind her, towards the Everfree forest and even Ponyville. Equestria was complete. Today, the flag would be installed on the top of the castle. For everypony other than the royals, it was a glorious day. Canterlot was nearly complete! The walls were built, the royal guard was permitted to roam the city, shops were opening, and everything was going well. However, for the royals and those in the know, the flag being set was the beginning of the end.

Twilight sat down at the breakfast table in the dining room with Celestia and Luna, serving the pair a huge stack of her famous double-decker oat and butter pancakes. "So today is the day, girls," Twilight says as she eats with her family. Celestia and Luna are already wearing their armor. Meanwhile, Twilight herself was wearing just her chest guard.

Celestia and Luna nod. "We're ready! Nothing Unity sends at us will work!" Celestia says with a broad smile, "We've been preparing all this time! Unity won't know what hit her!"

Luna giggles. "Besides, there's no way we can lose. Mom's been practicing with Discord even. There's nothing that can beat us now." The youngest princess says confidently as she finishes her pancakes.

Twilight smiles. "I appreciate your faith, sweetie. I really do." She giggles a little bit before looking down at her plate of food, completely untouched. Twilight takes a few nibbles before taking a deep breath. "Alright. Let's get going, girls. The flag ceremony won't wait forever." Twilight says as she stands up and motions to the door.

Celestia and Luna smile and rush forward to head out the door. Twilight joined them, walking behind them as she said, "I'm sorry, girls." Twilight's horn glows as she swiftly and accurately casts a spell on Celestia and Luna. The pair stumble forward as they fall asleep. However, Luna can resist the effects much more than her sister, speaking as she starts to struggle and sway.

"M-mom? Why?" Luna says as she falls forward a little. Twilight gives Luna a close hug. "W-weren't we good enough?"

Twilight closes her eyes and hugs Luna tightly. "You two are perfect. In fact, you two would be great in the fight. I have no doubt."

Luna whimpers as she struggles to keep her eyes open. Her mother's magic was just too overwhelming for her to resist. "Then... why?"

Twilight hugs tighter as she holds onto both Celestia and Luna. "Because I don't want to see my fillies hurt like last time. Don't worry. Mommy will win. Just for you two." Twilight says with a smile before gently glowing her horn.

Celestia and Luna vanish from the hallway in a soft flash of light. A chuckle rang out from around Twilight now that she was alone. "What a touching moment. I think I'm going to cry!" Discord says with a laugh behind Twilight, who glares at him. "Ah, the love of a mother, willing to abandon every little thing for their children. Even when they know it will endanger many others, hmm~?" Discord says as he makes three plushies, one of each alicorn royal, hug each other.

Twilight glares at Discord. "OKAY, yes, it's true. I sent them away because I didn't want my first-ever kids to get hurt. Is that so wrong?! Sure, I may not have been the mother of the year doing this. Heck, I'm definitely not Queen of the Year either. But is it so wrong to care about my Children?! Unity, your sister, is more dangerous than anything they've ever fought, especially now. You know it just as well as I do." She says as she lets out a little grunt. "Our chances of winning even with them are astronomically low. I won't put my daughters through that. No matter how much they hate me afterward."

Discord chuckles. "Oh, Twilight. How delightfully naughty and, dare I say, evil~. Congratulations on joining the "People that do good because it's convenient for their goals club!" Or the PDGCC!"

Twilight glares. "How is doing this evil?! Sure, it's not good, but I do it out of care for them!"

Discord rolls his eyes, "Does no one understand how these things work? That's simple Twilight Sparkle because it was their choice, and you took it away. Now, rather than being able to talk them out of going." Elsewhere, Celestia and Luna wake up in a familiar place, eyes burning with anger and determination. Discord continuing. "You just made them want to prove that they can stand with you even more."

Celestia groans as she wakes up in the middle of some grass, struggling to stand up. "Ugh, I knew setting a wake-up spell on myself was smart." She shakes her head to clear it of the fog that the knockout spell left on her. Celestia sighed a little as she reached over and shook Luna awake. Luna jolted up and twitched.

"MOM!" Luna yelled out as she looked around herself. "Faust as my witness, I am going to spend the 1000 years on the moon just thinking of how to grill into Mom when I see her!" Luna yells out loudly, "Heck, I'll start now!" Luna says as she throws her helmet onto the ground, the helmet slamming deep into the dirt below.

Celestia smiles as she puts her hoof on Luna's shoulder, being silent for a moment. "We'll do that together." She says simply as she starts trotting to the familiar peaks.

Luna looks over to Celestia. "Uh oh. Uh. Sis. Mom did it out of love, you know. Right?" She says nervously.

Celestia nods with her eyes closed, navigating the forest and craggy rocks quickly. "Of course I do, Luna." She curtly says. "Mother likely had this planned out since the beginning. After all, she doesn't do anything like this without a plan."

Luna blinks. "So you aren't mad?" She tilts her head at Celestia.

Celestia giggles. "Oh no, no, Luna. I'm not mad." She says as they reach the crevice that leads into the Kirin village. Celestia's eye twitched. "I am utterly FURIOUS!" She says as she starts running full speed down into the village. "Mother likely never prepared anything. No Kirin backup. Never told the Crystal Empire. She's going to fight Unity alone. Even though she promised she wouldn't try something this stupid. Why mom?! Seriously, you choose NOW to actually act on your maternal instincts? Couldn't you have done that? I dunno? AGES ago?!" Celestia then grinds to a halt, causing Luna to slam into her.

Luna winces a little as she pulls back. "Why'd you stop?" Luna tilts her head.

Celestia's eyes are wide, no longer angry or calculating. There was just... fear. An intense fear. "No. That can't be right. Mom wouldn't."

Luna tilts her head and tugs on Celestia's wing with her magic. "Sister?"

Celestia turns to Luna as she begins to run forward at high speed. "We have to hurry!" Celestia says with a squint in her eyes, rushing forward even faster than before.

Luna rushes behind Celestia, trying to keep up and even having to fly. "Why?! What's going on?! Celestia! Tell me!"

Celestia turns and yells out. "Mom knows she can't win!"

Twilight takes a deep breath, repeating an old yet beneficial method of calming herself that Cadence taught her when she was younger. Deep breaths, centering thoughts. Yet her legs continue to shake. There wasn't excitement in her body for the completion of the castle. There wasn't any worry about the fight ahead. The anticipation of everything, however, was tearing herself up inside. Thus far, everything had been to plan. Celestia and Luna were sent far away, and the two hadn't yet relearned teleportation. Luna was close but needed to get there before she could teleport such a long distance safely. Celestia was the only wildcard. While her magic could support a long-distance teleport spell, she would be dangerously low on energy afterward. As long as Celestia didn't see this coming, she'd be stuck and safe, too.

"This plan is totally doomed." She laughs to herself, just saying to no one as she just laughs. After composing herself, she just weakly smiles. "Well, let's get this started."

Twilight walks out to the balcony of the castle. Smiling down at the crowd below her, Twilight begins her speech. "Ponies of Equestria and creatures beyond. Finally, after the devastation brought on by our resident evil villain, ponykind has recovered. Equestria is safe and stable. Finally, Canterlot has returned, and the trains are running again. Equestria is whole once more and stronger than ever. Ponies helping one another and creatures joining us in harmony and love. We are a united nation built on a foundation of love and friendship. As such, I invite you all to celebrate today and be merry and joyful as we again complete the seat of power and government for Equestria. May it never fall and stand the test of time." She shouts as she motions up to the guards above. The flag is carefully placed into its spot on the top of the castle. The Equestrian flag is modernized to have Celestia, Luna, and Twilight on it. Twilight smiles as she watches the cheers and nods from all forms of creatures. From ponies to yaks to dragons, each creature was cheering for the revival of the pony country.

Twilight smiles softly as she enters the castle. Looking over to Moondancer. "Moondancer. Make sure everypony stays safe, okay?"

Moondancer nods and bows. "Of course, what's a personal guard for?" She says with a giggle as she watches Twilight leave. The laugh ended instantly once the door closed. "She seriously thinks I'm not gonna go? Twilight really can be shortsighted sometimes." Moondancer shakes her head as she grabs her armor. "You teach friendship and togetherness, but you try to protect everyone when things get complicated. Not with them or alongside them, but on your own. Well, too bad, Your Majesty. If you wanna try me for treason later... then that's fine." She takes a deep breath as she trots out the door.

Unity sighs as she gives her children a hug. She watched the entire event. But now it was time for the end. "Alright, you four. Repose, be good to your father. He may be a little bit of a brick wall at times, BUT that doesn't mean you can be rude. Hearthfire, continue being you, regardless of what Repose or your Father say. I'm proud of you for making your own path. Gentle, I hope to see you again one day, just to squish your cheeks again." She says happily to her family. "Wish me luck, Repose."

Repose giggles. "Good luck, mom! I'll be rooting for you!"

Hearthfire sighs. "I hope you lose mom. You're still crazy." He rolls his eyes. "But, stay alive, alright?"

Gentle Light tilts her head. "Welllll, I'm a filly, so eh? Just come home, momma!"

Twilight and Unity meet each other to the north of Canterlot. Eventually, Cloudsdale would be fully built above them, but it was perfectly and utterly empty right now. Discord appears behind Twilight as Unity prepares herself. Twilight bit the bottom of her own lip. "You still have a chance to live a quiet life with your family, you know. You don't have to do this."

Unity smiles softly at Twilight. "Sorry, your Majesty. But I've come too far and lost too much to stop now. If I could leave and take my family with me, I would. That isn't an option anymore, though. So. If you and my brother wish to prove that Equestria is better off now than under my rule." Unity rears back, materializing her gauntlets on her hooves, the solid metal objects glistening with gemstones and magic. Clearly, they have been improved since the last time they were being used. Unity's stomp is strong enough to shake the earth and jostle Twilight enough to force her to fly. "Show me your resolve."

Twilight takes a deep breath. "Alright. Let's do it then. Discord?"

Discord smirks. "Ah ah~! How are you supposed to ask Twilight~?"

Twilight grits her teeth a little before saying. "Oh mighty spirit of chaos, lend me your strength. PLEASE."

Discord takes a video of the entire thing before tossing the camera off-screen, the poor camcorder floating in the distant abyss now. "OF course! Let's begin!" He then wraps around Twilight, a bright light flashing as the two fuse like Twilight and Unity had before. The result is a much taller Twilight, who exudes intense chaos magic from every aspect of her being.

"OH, I FEEL GREAT! We definitely need to change scenery here, though." Twilight says as she grabs the backdrop and rips it up. Balling it up into paper before tossing it with the camcorder. She then grabs the scene of the nearby mountains, slamming it down on the blank background. The pair of alicorns fall down as their location shifts rapidly, both catching themselves with a quick beat of their wings. "Ooh, and it must be twilight for a fight like this. I mean, it is my name!" She then waves her hoof as the sun and moon instantly shift to the witching hour of the day. "There we go. Now." Twilight stomps with a wild grin on her face. "Let's get this started, sister!"

Unity 6: Kindness and Loyalty

View Online

Unity and Twilight clash between the two mountain peaks sparks flying in all directions as Twilight's hooves clash with Unity's gauntlets. Unity smirking a little. "Merging? Psh and I thought what we had was special Twilight~!" She says playfully with a giggle. Twilight glared through the sweat on her brow before Unity simply swung one of her arms up, breaking Twilight's guard and sending the alicorn flying into the mountain with a decisive punch. The impact caused a heavy ringing to pierce through Twilight's ears, making her groan lightly as she tasted Iron in her mouth.

Twilight's horn glows just as she's about to hit the mountain, the side suddenly becoming incredibly bouncy, sending Twilight right back to Unity and giving her a free punch right back at the spirit's face! The dull feeling of her hoof on Unity's face makes the wildly chaotic alicorn grin. Discord's influence makes her immensely enjoy every little bit of damage they can inflict on their sister. "Welllllll, we did, but you had to go and ruin that, didn't you?!" She says with a giggle as her horn glows again, the mountain that Unity was flying at suddenly becoming sticky like glue!

Unity sighs a little in disappointment as she flips in the air, gently flashing her horn as the chaos magic in the air vanishes. The sugary ambiance instantly fades to normal. Twilight's smile quickly shifted to a worried glare. "Really, Twilight, I'm disappointed. Discord's magic is canceled by mine, just like mine is negated by his. Your fusion is pointless!" The two then return to fighting, large pulses of magic ringing across Equestria with each clash.

Celestia and Luna rush past the foliage that protects the Kirin village from view. Instantly, they see a group of Kirin arguing with each other, each flaring up into Nirik form as the argument peaks. Celestia and Luna's eyes go wide before Celestia rushes between the group. "WOAH! What's wrong?!"

The first Nirik growls. "Autumn Fall says it was my turn to water the flowers, but it was not! It was Marbelle Spring's turn!"

Marbelle Spring growls out next. "It was not! I do Tuesdays and Fridays! Today is Wednesday! That's Autumn's turn!"

Celestia sighed a little as she watched the trio continue to bicker, their flames getting hotter, causing Celestia to jump a little. "Uh. Excuse me." She says, but is quickly ignored. Celestia's eyebrow twitched a little "EXCUSE ME!" She shouts, startling the Nirik, who all look at her in surprise. "Is this really something you three should be arguing about? Firstly, yes, it is Wednesday today. I'd know. The sun has made that many rotations. Secondly, while I understand that you may have your own reasons for being upset over the schedule, do not forget that even I can be forgetful, and I'm an alicorn, for Faust's sake!" She giggles. "What I'm trying to say is that it's better if you talk things out reasonably rather than causing each other grief. Okay?"

The Nirik look at each other and finally calm down, returning to their more stable Kirin forms. Autumn blushes a little. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so aggressive with you two. The alicorn is right. We should at least TRY to get along." She says with a soft smile. The group tears up a little as they all hug. "How about we all water the plants together today! Then we can fix up the schedule for tomorrow!"

Celestia sighs a little as she waves the group off, Luna giggling as she says, "Couldn't resist, huh?"

Celestia sighs a little. "Mom really rubbed off on me in that way, I guess. Now come on, we need to find Sunshower." Celestia then continues her sprint towards Sunshower's house. Luna follows behind as they pass through the village. Most of the kirin are in a state of discontentment at the moment, with some angry, others sad, and many just isolating themselves.

'What happened here...?' Luna thinks as they arrive at the house. Celestia knocks on the door the moment they approach the building.

"Is anyone home? Sunshower? Rain Shine?" Celestia says. The door creaks open slowly. A voice coming out from within.

"Come in..." Says a dreary voice. The two sisters enter the house. The home is dirty and seems almost grey. Much of the objects inside are covered in dust and grime, plates littering the table, each one dirtier than the last. "Oh. Celestia, Luna, what a nice... visit." Rain Shine says with a mumble, huddled up under her blanket.

Celestia's heart drops after seeing this. "Oh. Oh, I'm so sorry, Rain Shine." She says with a somber expression.

Rain Shine looks over to Celestia and Luna with a weak gaze. Luna looked between the two and seemed confused. "Did I miss something?" Luna says with a tilt of her head.

Rain Shine laughs a little at Luna's comment. "Never change, Luna, please." She says simply as she continues to rest on the couch.

Celestia closes her eyes a little. "I know how you feel, Rain Shine." She says quietly. "But now more than ever, you need friends with you." She says as she sits next to the tall Kirin. Luna sitting next to her, too.

Rain Shine looks at Celestia and Luna with a shake of her head. "How could you ever know? You two still have a Mom." She says with a mumble. Luna gasped a little at that comment.

"No... what happened?!" Luna says quickly. Her eyes shifted from worry to extreme sadness for her friend.

Rain Shine giggles a little. "Dunno. There was a pulse of magic, and all the Kirin suddenly lost control of their emotions. There was... such a big fire. Mom did her best to try and calm everykirin down. But. She couldn't just leave the fire alone. Now she's gone. Everykirin expects me to take charge, but. I don't know how to do this. I can't do what my mom did! She was the reason why Kirin never became Nirik before. She was the only one that everykirin trusted! I can't be a leader! I just wanted to be a singer!" Rain Shine breaks down into tears afterward. Celestia and Luna looked at each other and hugged her.

Luna mumbles, "We lost our birth parents, Rain Shine. It's not... well known anymore in this era. But. Twilight isn't our actual mom."

Celestia closes her eyes and winces a little as she thinks back. "Eclipse and Solace Sol. They were. Honestly, pretty terrible parents." She says with a weak, dry giggle. "They were difficult, hardheaded, and hyper into the whole commoner vs noble thing. But they were still mom and dad." She mumbles quietly.

Luna fidgets. "I was. Too young to really remember them too well at this point. I think I was effectively like. Three or four? At the time, Alicorns aged way differently from normal ponies. It wasn't as hard for me, but even then. I still think about Dad from time to time." She giggles weakly.

Rain Shine hugs her blanket tightly, holding onto the one thing her mom left her for dear life. "Does it ever go away?"

Celestia twitches a little. She opens her mouth to say something, but Luna cuts her off. "Celestia, no. This isn't a time for that." Celestia flinches, looking down as she's chastised by her little sister. Luna then continues. "No. It. Really doesn't."

Rain Shine looks up to Luna with a curious and yet pained expression. Luna continued to speak. "The pain. It never goes away. Your heart will always have that... gentle, aching feeling. As time passes, you find things to help you think about other things. Happiness to fill in that gap. But it's still there." Luna says with a weak smile as she hugs Celestia closely. "It's always there because you were loved, and now it's gone." Luna and Celestia both tear up as they embrace Rain Shine. Who also begins to close her eyes. "But the pain isn't a bad thing. It's the memory of what you had. No one tells you to smile or be happy when you remember her. That's asking too much of anypony. But afterward, even if you just remember her for the life she had, the things she did? It can make that pain just a little more bearable."

Celestia giggles a little. "Or you could be like me and go completely power-hungry." With a dry laugh, Celestia grimaces. "Sometimes, you just need to scream, and that's okay. Sometimes, you just need to be with friends who are willing to listen."

Celestia and Luna then hug Rain Shine. Just staying with the Kirin while she cries, screams, and lets everything out. The two sisters were silently being there for their friend.

Celestia breaks the silence after a moment. "Better?" Rain Shine sniffles and shakes her head.

"Not really, but I don't feel alone right now." Rain Shine says as she wipes the tears from her face, eyes still red but with a much calmer heart. "What brings you two back here? I hope everything is okay."

Celestia and Luna wince in tandem. They wanted to avoid burdening their friend with more problems, but Rain Shine was quick on the uptake. Giving them both a welcoming smile, she leans on her two friends. "Come on, you listened to me cry for almost five minutes straight. I'm stronger than you give me credit for." Rain Shine says before the two alicorns nod, and Celestia gets her up to speed. "WHAT?! Why didn't you say so first!" Rain Shine yells out as she stands up. Glaring towards Equestria. "We won't be able to get there very quickly though. Unless you two can open up some sort of portal or something." She says with a mumble.

Celestia and Luna fidget a little. Luna speaking first. "I could, but I sorta haven't re-learned that spell yet, and Celestia doesn't have enough magic after the last time we fought Unity to cast a portal spell."

Rain Shine winces as she looks at Celestia. "So we'll have to use the train then. It'll take almost an hour, if not two, to make it over to Canterlot from here, not to mention the extra time to move such a large group to wherever the fighting is." Rain Shine closes her eyes. "Mmn. Alright, we'll go with the backup plan." She says as she stands up. "Hope me and Zera are enough because I don't think we have time to get everypony together. The rest will come as they come."

Unity lands in front of Twilight, the purple alicorn groaning a little as she struggles to stand up. Scratches, burns, and bruises adorn her body, each stinging more than the last. Twilight winces a little as she stands up. "This isn't going well," Twilight says with a giggle to Discord.

Unity sighs in disappointment. This fight was just. Too easy. "I told you, I'm not holding back Twilight. Every little thing I've done up to this point was a half-measure. Maybe you could hold a candle to my raw strength after another million years, but as you are right now. Alone, with no one behind you. Well, what's a princess of friendship to do with no friends? You abandoned everything you ever were, a Queen, a leader, and a princess, just to protect your family. I do respect that about you, though. Rather than take the chance of losing your family, you decided to sacrifice yourself so they can survive no matter what. You throw away your morals and teachings quite quickly when things become hard or dangerous, don't you? All in the name of protecting your family, when in reality." Unity smiles as she suddenly glows her horn. "You're just the same scared little Alicorn you were when you came back in time in the first place!" Unity fires a powerful beam of magic at Twilight, the crackle of the magic electrifying the air as it strikes Twilight directly. With a loud crash, a massive cloud of dust settles over the battlefield. Unity swiftly beat her wings to clear the cloud, expecting to see Twilight defeated.

"What?!" Unity says as she sees Twilight standing, barely, the Purple Alicorn standing in front of Discord, who's groaning on the ground from the backlash of the sudden separation he just experienced.

"Analysis complete." A voice from behind Twilight rings out. The two alicorns looking at the newcomer. Moondancer smiles as her horn glows bright orange. "Sorry, Twilight, I know you said to stay at the castle. But isn't this the point where the hero gets some unlikely backup in every story?" She snickers a little as she looks at Discord. "Discord is down. He'll be awake in 240 seconds. I'll provide support this time. You fight, and I analyze. Together, we can beat this annoying, ugly, inconsequential spirit into next Tuesday!"

Twilight opens her mouth to protest her friend's arrival, but she smiles instead. "Thank you, Moondancer. I'll be relying on you." Moondancer winked in response as she cast her magic onto the battlefield, an eery, golden glow suffusing everything. Twilight and Unity glow briefly as large amounts of information are quickly given directly to Moondancer.

Unity twitches a little bit, ignoring the glow of the area. Analysis magic is meaningless to her. After all, she's a spirit. She could never fall to something so basic! "Now annoying and ugly I can bear. But inconsequential?" She says as she glares. "Now that IS a new one. I'm the spirit of harmony, little pony. I don't care if you're the second coming of Faust. You're GOING to get punched for that! YOU DO NOT GET TO DECIDE WHEN THE HERO GETS BACKUP!" Unity charges right at Moondancer, who just stands there and smirks. Unity's eyes widen as she sees Twilight firing a thin magic beam. The spell zig zags through the air before it pierces right through Unity's right gauntlet, shattering it and hurting Unity's hoof. The resulting force from the spell was enough to send Unity reeling back, grunting as she held onto her injured leg.

Moondancer laughs a little, smiling in the face of danger. "As I said earlier." The Royal Guard glares at Unity. "Analysis complete. Let's kick some flank!"

"Are you sure you'll be okay?" Celestia says to Zera and Rain Shine as the two stand at the ready to get teleported.

Rain Shine smiles. "I think my mom would be disappointed if I came this far just to chicken out at the end." She giggles. "You two better hurry up and get the rest of the backup, though. Who else do you need to speak with?"

Luna looks towards the east. "Celestia is going to stay here and try to send as many kirin as possible to go and help. Meanwhile, I'll be with you two in Canterlot to try and convince Amore, the Griffons, and the Yaks to help. Mom has a good relationship with the Crystal Empire and the Yaks. The only wildcard is the griffons, but well. We have to try."

Celestia smiles. "Relax, Sis, we got this." She giggles nervously. "Let's just hope Mom can hold on till we show up."

Luna tilts her head a little and smiles up to the sky. "Oh, don't worry about that sister. Just like you had your plans, I had mine. Mom isn't alone, not by a longshot."

Unity 7 - Generosity, Laughter and Honesty

View Online

"To the left!" Moondancer calls out loudly, Twilight nodding as she swoops up and counterattacks Unity's punch with perfect timing. The spirit groans as she takes a perfect aerial dive to the face. The spirit was getting pushed back?! How?!

Unity loudly yells as she catches herself on the ground, screaming to the sky and raising her wings. The pain wasn't enough to overtake her rage. She shouldn't be losing. All her plans, even baiting Twilight into merging with Discord. Thwarted by one measly, loyal pony! "WHY WON'T YOU JUST LET ME WIN?!" Unity screams out. "I don't care what Discord said! I'm just trying to bring true peace and harmony to the world! So what if you lose some of your free will in the exchange. Isn't that better than living in a world of danger and strife?! Why are you fighting so hard to protect and encourage chaotic behavior?!"

Twilight glares at Unity, landing between her and Moondancer. "You still don't understand anything, do you? Harmony should be treasured, but life is made of ups and downs! If you remove every little choice and force everypony to conform to your ideals, sure, your own harmony is satisfied, but they'll be suffering in exchange for it!"

Moondancer giggles a little. "You can't laugh and play if every day is a party. You can't express yourself if you have no choice. Living life may be hard, but that difficulty makes it worth living. Improving yourself and doing something that everypony said you can't!"

Unity's eye twitches as she removes her remaining gauntlet, the metal object falling to the ground with a thick thud, burying itself into the earth below. "Thoughts like that is why this world needs to be fixed. Every other world I've been to was happy to have permanent peace. Maybe it's because it was at the end of their stories. I know better, though, once everypony is safe and protected from everything chaotic, everything dangerous. They'll learn to love it! Because they'll be safe!"

The fight's tide shifted dramatically. Unity began to fight with completely foreign techniques with a strange, almost key-shaped blade. While the weapon didn't cut, its damage was very real. Unity giggled manically as her strike with the blade clashed against Twilight's armor, denting it deeply. "It wouldn't be a final boss if I didn't have phases~." Unity says with a smirk, seeing Moondancer's horrified face. "Oh, little Moondancer, where is that bravado from earlier?! HM?"

Luna, Rain Shine, and Zera all suddenly appear in Canterlot. The flash of golden light that transported them fades from their vision, Luna looking around with worry as she sees the panic on Ponies faces. Many ponies are stacked near the balcony or flying above it, watching the fight in the distance. Luna fidgets in place for a moment before rushing towards the group. "Rain Shine! Wait with Zera and help the Kirin that get teleported by Celestia! We'll be leaving in a few minutes!" Luna yells out as she quickly flies towards the large group of ponies. Her eyes searching for a specific pony amongst the crowd.

Luna quickly lands in front of Amore upon spotting her. The lazy alicorn princess watching the fight from a random couch she must have either teleported or lugged the entire way. With a swift flap of her wings, Luna lands in front of Amore. "Princess Amore!"

Amore looks over to Luna and tilts her head. "Oh! Luna, what a wonderful surprise. I thought your mother sent you away for your own safety. I told her that wouldn't work anyway. Sooooo, whatcha need, lil moondrop?" She smiles as she sits back on her couch. Amore smiles towards Luna, who gives a little smile back. "I need your help to save my mom! How about a little adventure?" Luna says confidently with a smile. "I'm getting all the ponies and friends we've helped and seeing if they'll come along too." She tilts her head. "It's not gonna be much. I don't wanna put anypony in too much danger... But mom needs some help!" She nods confidently. Amore smiling at Luna.

"Well, who can say no to that." She giggles a little as she nuzzles Luna on the head. "What's the plan then? I do hope you have one, right?"

Luna blinks and giggles awkwardly. "Uhm. Celestia is thinking of one now, but we really have nothing aside from 'go help mom' right now." She mumbles to herself. "We're bringing a small group of Kirin that are willing to help out, but Celestia's magic won't hold out long enough to teleport them all. So, right now, we're just trying to see who's willing to help out. I don't know how many ponies we'll get besides the Royal Guard."

Amore smiles a little. "Then look a little further. Every creature here you or your mother have touched in some way, from helping the Yaks by supplying them with the things they needed to rebuild to how you calmed the wars in the griffon lands. They were all small things you did from here in Canterlot, but remember, the choices you, your sister, and your mother made rippled outwards, changing the world for the better. Your sister's generosity, smile, and honesty were all necessary to bring Equus back to its former glory." Amore smiles as she nudges Luna towards the stage. It was set up for singers and bands to play, but all of them had run away at the first signs of the battle.

Luna nervously fidgets. "W-wait, I'm not the speaker of the family! I can't make a speech! Besides, Celestia is way more popular and." She squeaks as suddenly she finds herself on the stage. Amore smiling at her.

"You can do it, little moondrop," Amore tells Luna before she trots to prepare the Royal Guard and her own forces.

Luna gulps as she stands in front of the fallen magic stone. It replaced the lost microphone technology and worked just as well. Luna takes a deep breath as she closes her eyes. 'You can do this.' "Everycreature!" Luna says into the microphone. All the panicking ponies, the worried griffons, and even the few yaks that were curiously watching the battle stop and look toward Luna. Each of them curiously watched her. Waiting for her to say her peace. "Everycreature, right now, my mom, Twilight Sparkle, is out there, fighting for the right for us to live our lives the way we want to. She's out there, mostly, if not entirely alone. She needs our help to fight against Unity. I know, It's scary, and I'm not asking you all to risk your lives. But even the slightest bit of help could turn the tide. Even a single pony, griffon, yak, dragon, whatever, could make the difference. We all need to unite as one world to show Unity that we believe in natural harmony, not her forced version of it! So please, I beg of you all, help me. Help your friend. Help the Queen. Whatever you might believe or want!"

The ponies in the crowd murmur to each other, the griffons and yaks talking among themselves. "Isn't it their job to save us? Why would we help?" "Why would the Queen need help? She too strong for even Yak!" "Eugh, why would we help ponies out here? Unity might be bad, but we aren't here to risk our lives fighting a crazy spirit thing!"

Luna winces a little as she hears all the mumbling before a single pony steps forward. Hearthfire hopping up on the stage. "OI! Aren't any of you listening?!" He shouts. "Look. Clearly, you all have some serious issues. My mom may look nice on the outside. But she's a virus on this world. She will not stop just 'harmonizing' the ponies. She will go after each and every one of you! Luna, Celestia, and the Queen are all doing their Faust-given best to try and save all of you! And you can't even give her the time of day? At least listen to what she has to say! You all know how much Luna cares, after all! Equestria hasn't had a single nightmare in over a thousand years. That's all because of her. So you can at least show a little RESPECT for your princess." Hearthfire says with a grumble as he motions for Luna to take the lead. "Sorry, princess, but I can't let my mom win without a fight. You have my horn. If you'll have it." He says as his legs shake in intense fear. "Even if I have to force myself through it. I won't run away."

Luna smiles brightly. "Of course!" The rest of the gathering mumbles to one another as more creatures and ponies walk forward to Luna. "Thank you so much, everyone. I won't let you down. We'll be going once my sister gets here!"

Dazed. That's the only word that can define what Twilight felt right now. The strange weapon that Unity brought forth wasn't the only trick she had. Strange lasers which pierced through her shields, blades made of nothing but pure magic. It was impossibly difficult to keep up with the angry spirit now. "Gng..." Twilight says as she stands up.

"Twilight, we could really use a time-out right about now!" Moondancer says nervously. The unicorn was still unscathed, but that was primarily thanks to Twilight playing Vanguard the entire time. Twilight giggles a little.

"I already have been. It barely slows Unity down at this point. She's gotten used to it. Why do you think Discord hasn't woken up yet?" She grunts a little as she falls forward. Heavy, burning pants escape Twilight's mouth as Unity tries for another flurry of attacks. The Queen's shields and hooves fight off the attacks, yet again, a thin beam cracks through her barriers and shocks her again!

"Heheh. Dealing with technology from the space age sucks, doesn't it?" Unity says with a smirk as she watches Twilight fall forward, the stun beam finally working to disable her opponent. "Well, it has been charming, Twilight Sparkle! But that being said, I do believe this is my win." Unity says as she charges her horn. "Shame. You didn't even make it to phase three. I guess my expectations of you were way too high."

Moondancer quickly runs up to Twilight, the alicorn groaning on the ground as her hooves and body don't want to follow her commands. Moondancer looked down at Twilight and shook her, trying to get her moving again. Unity smiled and continued her monologue. "I know this is totally cheesy, but I'll be honest. I think I deserve a victory monologue here. Finally, this world will be mine. With you gone, no pony has the strength to fight me. Discord is helpless against my power, and once I seal him away, he'll never be able to match it! I've won! I've finally WON!" She laughs heavily as her horn glows with its bright green aura. "Goodbye, Twilight Sparkle!" Unity says as she fires a large blast of her magic, using every bit of her mana in this one shot.

Moondancer closes her eyes before whispering something into Twilight's ear. Time falls still as Twilight gasps. "Goodbye, Twilight."

The beam hits true, as Moondancer is launched far away. As she rolls on the ground well over half a mile away, several loud thuds, crashes, and dust clouds form. The unicorn skips off the ground with each impact, each hit across the earth, making her bounce just a little less than the one prior. Finally, she stops with one last roll. The tom colt unicorn lying on the grass, quiet and motionless.

Twilight's eyes go wide. "NOO!" She says as she forces herself out of her paralysis, her horn blasting Unity with a bright beam of magic. The spirit of harmony is barely able to defend against it. She had spent all her magic to ensure Twilight wouldn't survive the blast! She didn't expect someone to be willing to do that! She thought that Moondancer would have been frozen with fear! Unity shakes slightly as she watches Twilight run over to her friend. The spirit knows she's gone too far... but sometimes there's a cost to victory. Even then, though, this left a sour taste in her mouth.

"How long are you going to be afraid Twilight?" Unity says to her. Watching Twilight holding her friend. "Will it take the destruction of all you hold dear to stop me?" She says with a glare. "How dare you... How dare you turn me into the one thing I hate the most."

Twilight just holds onto her friend. Tears drop as she cradles her closest friend. "I'm so sorry, Moondancer. I'm so sorry." She says as she whispers quietly. "I'm no Queen! I'm barely a Princess of Friendship anymore. I don't know what I'm doing. I just wanted everypony to be safe and happy. I just wanted... No." She says as she stands up. Laying her friend back down in the grass. Twilight turns to Unity with tears in her eyes. "I was running away, wasn't I?"

Unity tilts her head curiously in response. Interested in seeing where this is going.

"I was running away because I was scared. I was scared of my friends in the future not accepting me once they found everything out. I was scared that my teacher wouldn't accept me as her mother when I returned. I mean. Come on. I have one friend in total, zero now. I'm not exactly riding at the high of my life." Twilight says with a wince. "But. That was just what you wanted me to believe. Isn't it? You preyed on my fear when I was your friend, Unity. You played with it and molded it into something that I'd never be able to get over."

Twilight thinks about the words Moondancer just said to her. That last whisper. 'You were the best friend I've ever had, Twilight. Thanks.'

"You made me think I had to be a Queen or the Princess of Friendship. Sure, maybe some ponies and creatures will blame me in the future. Maybe some will remember what we did and the chaos it caused." Twilight yells out. "But I refuse to be manipulated by your words, what you told me, and how I've been trying to live. I CAN be both. I can be the Queen of Equestria and the Element of Friendship. Fighting you like this was NEVER the answer, was it?! That's just what you wanted. Well Unity." She says, "This fight is over. I'm going to do what I do best. Beating evil villains like you!" She says.

'So you finally accept it?' Eternal says to Twilight, the first words she's spoken to herself in a while.

Twilight smiles. "I do." With those words, Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship, became Twilight Sparkle, Queen of Friendship and Equestria.

Unity 7 - The B Side

View Online

"She's going for a swing! Duck!" Moondancer says directly to Twilight's mind through a thin yet visible strand of magic linking their horns. Twilight quickly flaps her wings to duck underneath the attack. With one swift motion, Twilight raises her horn and fires a concussive blast of magic at Unity's hoof, launching the gauntlet off of it. The resulting noise rings loudly like a gong, shockwaves releasing from the hoof and making Twilight and Unity wince. Unity winces from the pain of all the energy flowing into her leg while Twilight's ears ring from the loud noise.

"Eep!" Moondancer says as the gauntlet crashes next to her, the object slamming deep into the earth below, nearly buried entirely by its own weight. "HAH! We got you!" She says with a cocky grin. Unity and Twilight both landed with disoriented stumbles, Unity shaking her head and clearing it first. Glaring directly at Moondancer, the spirit growls lowly.

"You're getting in the way, Moondancer! Don't do something you'll regret!" She says with a deep glare. She knew she had to change up strategies now. Luckily, she had more than one card up her sleeve. "Why do mortals get in the way of everything? Why do you all insist on doing things YOUR way? Don't you realize that higher beings such as myself and Faust herself have plans for you all! Why would you go against the literal spirit of harmony?! If I say something is harmonious, that makes it harmonious!" Unity says as she stomps her hoof.

Twilight blinks. "What? I couldn't hear you over the ringing in my ears. Can you say that again?" She says with a cheeky expression. She could read lips, but it was still funny to mess with Unity. The spirit alicorn glared as she glowed her horn.

"Oh, we're being funny now, are we? You wanna be funny? Let's be funny. Once I get rid of your friend here. You'll be all alone! I'll tell everypony how you helped me oh so nicely prepare the pacification spell, how you designed it. I'll ruin your name!" Unity says venomously, glaring directly at Twilight.

Twilight steps forward. "That was Eternal. Not me!"

"SAME DIFFERENCE!" Unity shouts furiously, disgusted by Twilight's delusional statement. "You and her are the same pony. How long will you deny that? How long will you hold yourself back because you can't accept that you AREN'T PERFECT!"

"I AM NOT A TRAITOR!" Twilight yells out in a mixture of panic and fury as the two clash. Unity's new weapon of choice is a strange, key-shaped weapon. The tool? Weapon? Sword? Strikes Twilight right on her armor. However, the weapon dents the armor instead of deflecting off and is held right in place.

"FREEZE!" Unity says as a blast of cold magic freezes Twilight right in place, frozen in a block of ice. "Now. YOU." She says as she glares right at Moondancer.

Moondancer yelps, "TWILIGHT!" She says as she takes a ready stance. "You won't get away with this!"

Luna appears with Rain Shine and Zera in Canterlot. The trio quickly searches for allies among the creatures in Canterlot, Luna rushing towards the only pony she knows will help if she asks. She has to help! Luna runs right towards Princess Amore, the pink alicorn yawning as she eats some grapes given to her directly in her mouth by one of her guardspony escorts. "Amore!" She says as she slides up to the pink princess, who holds a hoof up.

"If you're going to ask me to throw my soldier's lives away and endanger them to rescue your mom. That's a big no." Amore says flatly, Luna's ears dropping instantly. "Your mother and Unity are far too ahead of anything an average pony can manage to interfere with! At best, we distract her. At worst, we distract your mother. Is that what you want?!" She says as she stands up from her seat.

Luna stumbles in surprise, having never heard Amore so resolute. "But we have to try! Without some sort of help, she'll... She'll die!" She says with a whimper. "Please!"

Amore's ears flatten a little, the alicorn trying to resist the teary-eyed gaze from Luna's face. "Gnh. I'll ask for volunteers. Okay?" She says after a moment of struggle. "I won't promise any direct help or anything of the sort, but as a protectorate of Equestria, we do have an obligation to help out." Luna's eyes brighten in response to this. "BUT. Only if you can get a proper group going. We need more than just you, your sister, a Zebra, and a few Dragon Ponies." She says as she motions to the motley crew, wandering around and quickly trying to speak with as many ponies as possible. Most of the time, they get denied, but a few do accept.

Luna nods. "We'll have the Royal Guard with us! That's a pretty big group!" She says with a quick double nod. "And once Celestia gets here, she can ask the civilians to help if they can. Mom has touched a lot of lives over the years! I'm sure some will help! Even if it's just to repay her for something she did for them!" Luna bounces in place as she watches the flow of Kirin ponies appear one by one with similar flashes of golden light. Celestia's teleportation magic looks beautiful, but Luna knows her sister won't be able to keep it up much longer.

Amore hums. "No. You do it." She says simply.

Luna blinks, confused. "Pardon?"

Amore leans down and smiles. "You do it, or I'm out. That's the deal." She says with a gentle yet excited smile. "After all, you're a princess too. You need to learn eventually. So go and inspire your ponies. Unless you don't wantttt my help. In which case, I can go back to eating grapes and watching the end times happen!"

Luna blanches a little, looking up towards the stage where the band was playing earlier. She wasn't good at public speaking. That was always Celestia's place to play. But now she HAD to?! Or she'd lose the backup of the only other alicorn on the continent?! "I'd almost instead try to find Dad's map to the Alicorn village and ask for help there," Luna says flatly with a deadpan expression.

Amore smiles cheekily, leaning down to boop nose-to-nose with Luna. "Do you have time to go and appeal to those silly, old, and annoying alicorns that live across the planet? We both know you haven't relearned teleportation yet. So." Amore says as she nudges Luna towards the stage. "Do your job as a princess and appease a foreign dignitary." She says cheekily as she sits back. "And make it good! I wanna see tears in the audience!"

Luna stumbles as she falls forward towards the stage. Huffing. Amore was right. She didn't have time to go anywhere else. It was solidly do-or-die time here. Taking a deep breath, Luna finds herself unable to control her adrenaline. "FINE!" She says in her Royal Canterlot Voice. Everypony suddenly turned towards the princess in a startled fashion.

"EVERYPONY, Griffon, and even you, Yaks! My mother needs your help. We need ponies willing to go out and disorient Unity so we can recover my mom and assist her. We need Unicorns for a shield. Yaks, we need you to stun Unity. Griffons, you can help with the distractions in the sky! All creatures across Equus need to come together to save each other and ourselves. We need to work together! Like my mom always taught us, we are stronger as a unit, as friends and family. Not separated in panic. My mother went alone to protect her family and everyone else from danger. But how are we going to feel if she comes back?"

At this moment, Celestia teleports into Canterlot, stumbling a little as she feels her lack of magic. Her ears twitch in recognition as she hears what Luna is doing. Curiously watching from the crowd.

"I don't want to owe my mother more than we already do. She's done so much for everyone, selflessly even! She stayed behind when my sister and I needed her most. She could have left and gone home to the future thousands of years ago if she wanted. Even in her darkest moments of weakness, she still cared enough to leave behind just enough for us to free her from Unity's control. We need to help her now. We all need to chip in and do our part! Who's with me?" Luna shouts. Celestia giggles as she sees the shadow of her birth father behind Luna. A genuine feeling of sisterly pride forms within the ivory alicorn. Cheers erupt from the crowd as they quickly surround the two sisters. Getting details on the plan and beginning to execute it.

Luna pants heavily as she sits on the stage. After waiting in line for the past five minutes, Amore approached the front with her entire guard. "Where do you need us chief?" Amore says to Luna with a smile. Luna smiles and grits her teeth.

"Don't EVER do that to me again. Please. You never had any intention of saying no, did you? I could slap you if I wasn't so mentally exhausted!" She says as she gives Amore a loving yet still frustrated gaze. "You're all going to the front line. Not because I'm angry, but because well. We need as many casters as we can. Send any pegasi to go with Celestia for the air division. The earth ponies can help with the scouting parties. We need as much land flat for quick movement as possible." She motions to a large group of earth ponies already working to make a straight, smooth path to the battlefield in the distance. Their stomps, shovels, and even their limited magic allow them to mold the earth into a perfectly level environment.

Amore smiles. "Well, I'm glad you grew a little because of it, Luna. No slapping, though. The face is my money maker." Luna gives Amore a death glare, causing the pink alicorn to stiffen. "Alright, alright! You heard her, everypony get moving!" She says as she rushes ahead, mainly to get out of Luna's slapping distance.

Celestia giggles a little bit as she watches Amore run away so quickly. With a gentle step, she sits next to her sister and hugs her tight. "I'm proud of you, Sis. You did great. Hey, wanna be my general instead of co-princess when mom goes home?" She says cheekily, causing Luna to roll her eyes and push Celestia on the shoulder.

"Oh shut up, you dork," Luna laughs before the two stand up. The battle had quieted down in the distance. "I can still sense Mom. So she's okay. Hopefully, they're just taking a break or something." Luna mumbles, "But we should hurry anyway. Everything we need should be ready in a few minutes."

Celestia nods. "Well, you made the plan, so I trust you." She says as she nuzzles Luna on the head. The blue alicorn smiled a little.

"Well, it was on the fly since Amore put me on the spot. But it looks like everycreature agrees with it." Luna lets out a small sigh before smiling up to Celestia. "Let's get this done. After all, this is the first time everyone is working together!" Luna laughs happily. "Maybe after this, Equus will be united once and for all. Maybe."

Celestia giggles a little. "I wouldn't count on it, but at the very least. We're all working together this time." Celestia says as she pulls out a sketchbook from her room, using a swift teleportation spell. Flipping through the pages, the alicorn opens the book, showing off an Equestrian flag with all the races of Equus united on it. It's just a drawing in crayon, but the meaning was there. "One day, right?"

Luna smiles. "Yeah. One day, for sure!"

Moondancer yelps as she ducks a buck from Unity. The tom colt smiles as she catches a leg and pushes up, causing Unity to flip forward. "HAH! Ah." She says as Unity sees herself in mid-air, flapping her wings. Moondancer smiled sheepishly. "Oh right, you're an Alicorn. Does that mean I have to call you Princess Unity?" She says with a curious expression. "Or would it be Unity the Princess of Idiots?" She says with a cheeky smile, Unity growling as she swoops down and tries to attack Moondancer again! The unicorn ducked and dodged every blow at the very last minute. Before raising up and hitting the spirit in the chest!

Unity doesn't even flinch as she looks down at Moondancer. "STOP DODGING!" She says as she attacks the slippery unicorn, the swings always missing at the last moment. "You can't even hurt me anyway! You're too weak! Just lay down and submit!"

Moondancer giggles. "Heh. You said submit." She says with a chuckle before ducking another attack. "And hey! What? You think I'm just gonna stand there and take it?" She says with a wink before yelping as she ducks, grabbing her helmet that was somehow floating above the blade swing. Moondancer puts it back on her head before teleporting behind Unity. Trying to rush towards Twilight.

Unity quickly turns around, "GRRRNNN." She says as she furiously glares at the escaping Moondancer. Diving towards her and continuing her assault! Moondancer escapes every attack untouched.

"Oops! You almost got me there!" She says as she balances on one leg on top of the blade. Unity tries to swing up to hit Moondancer, who gracefully lands on the ground before her. "Normally, I'd say something like, 'Oh, there's a good person in you somewhere. Please stop this friend!' But you're an irredeemable jerk. You're probably proud of it too!" Moondancer giggles a little. "But I can keep you busy forever. You hear me? I will not let you hurt ANYPONY else!" She yells out.

Unity pants heavily as she stares down Moondancer, glaring at her with extreme disdain. Before an idea hits her. "Oh, fine. You're right. I can't hit you. Gee, you remind me of a smiley trashbag from another universe." Unity says as she glows her horn. Moondancer preparing to dodge the attack. "If there's one thing I've learned about creatures like you. Is that you're WAY too easy to play!" She says as she rears back and fires a blast of magic right at the frozen Twilight.

Moondancer's smile changes to a look of horror. "NO!" She says as she rushes forward, hitting Twilight out of the way. The ice holding the alicorn in place shattered as she fell to the ground. Time slows down in Twilight's perception as Moondancer just gives her a smile. "Sorry."

And everything moves again. Moondancer being launched right into a nearby rock. As the magic blast vanishes, she falls forward. Falling to the ground face first. Lifelessly lying on the ground.

Unity just laughs. "Oh, that was SO incredibly predictable! How beautiful! What a LOVING sacrifice! How worthless it'll be in the end! How easily forgotten it will be!" She laughs boisterously, her horn steaming gently.

Twilight just looks in horror. "No... MOONDANCER!" She says as she rushes to her friend. "Please... Please wake up. Please!" She says as she holds her friend tight. Unity just giggling a little.

"OHhhh, should I let the little guard wake up? Should I give her a second wind? Maybe a 'Oh, she dodged at the last second?' HMMM... Nah. Sorry, Twilight, but I'm not going to help a hero who's fighting against the commandment of a greater being. Your friend can stay in the dirt, where she belongs." Unity says with a laugh... although tears stream from her face. "Ugh... why... am I crying?"

Twilight just buries her face into her friend's chest. "No... I told you to stay home. Why didn't you listen? Why is this happening? No. Please let this just be a dream. I didn't want this. I didn't want any of this."

'And yet it happened.' Eternal says behind Twilight. The two are back in their black space within their mind.

'Twilight. You can't keep denying everything. You have to accept it and move on.' Eternal says quietly as she kneels down by the two ponies. 'There will be a time for grieving. There will be a time for forgiveness. But right now, you have to accept what happened.'

'NO. I don't. I can't. I can do something. We can do something!' Twilight shouts.

'There is NO WE!' Eternal says as she makes Twilight look at her. The two doppelgangers stared at each other. One panicked, and the other serious. 'There is only you. Please. Stop this. You can't keep running away. They will forgive you. Just like... Moondancer did.' Eternal says before hugging her other self.

Twilight pants and heaves. Breaking down into tears as Eternal mumbles, 'Don't let Moondancer's sacrifice be in vain.'

Twilight closes her eyes as she holds onto her friend. 'I... I did it all, didn't I? It was my feelings, my desire to go home and see my friends. My want to not be Queen. My fear of losing myself. It was all me. I gave that power to Unity. It wasn't you.' She says as she looks up at Eternal, who smiles and hugs Twilight. The other Twilight begins to fade away gently.

'We were always one pony. Sometimes, you need an imaginary friend to help you see the bigger picture. Sometimes, an evil spirit unicorn makes the friend real. But Twilight. In the end.' Eternal says as she fades away. 'It was you. You are the Princess of Friendship.'

'And you are the Queen of Equestria.'

Unity 8 - Unheard

View Online

Unity grunts as the surge of magic comes out of her opponent. "What?! How?!" The sudden power-up Twilight got makes the spirit mortified! To her knowledge, things like this have to be approved. Events like this have to be influenced by Unity herself! They can't just spontaneously happen! Defeating Twilight's friend should have shattered her confidence, not made her get a power-up! No NO!

Unity quickly charges forward with her weapon. If she can catch Twilight off guard, she could end this in one strike! The larger alicorn may be stronger magically, but her physical strength should still be leagues below hers! Unity rushing in with extreme speed, striking towards Twilight!

The blow lands with a loud clunk, the blade getting stuck inside a barrier as the taller alicorn stares down at Unity. "I was talking to you," Twilight says with a glint in her eyes as sparks of magic surge over her body, reminiscent of when she contained the cumulative magic of all the alicorns in Equestria when she fought Tirek. That was ages ago, but the memory still burned bright in her head. It was her first and only real fight with something even slightly close to Unity's level. This time was different, though. Not only was the magic all hers, but she could easily manipulate and control it. Twilight felt at the peak of her life, but now wasn't the time to celebrate her newfound mastery of magic.

A flick of her horn causes the barrier to solidify, ripping the weapon out of Unity's magical grip. The blade clacks and clambers on the ground before skidding away, disappearing into a green light once it gets a distance away. Twilight's horn glows as another thin shield, this one with her brother's cutie mark, again blocks the blade. "You won't catch me off guard anymore, Unity." The shield moves rapidly as it easily blocks every attempt at hitting Twilight. Magic spells ricochet off it, blows bounce off with a loud TWANK, and the barrier shines after every flurry to taunt Unity.

"Stop it," Twilight says with a mumble. "Let's just stop, alright? There's been enough bloodshed for one lifetime." She says softly, Twilight wincing as she stands her ground. "Let's just. Talk." She says as she swings the floating shield at one of the blows, causing the weapon to fly again into the distance.

Unity snorts a little. "Talk then. You're just giving me more time to figure out a way around this anyway." She says with a smug expression. Internally, however, Unity's mind is racing for an opening or a method to get into Twilight's defense. It's clear to Unity that she cannot bait Twilight to continue fighting correctly, not with the defensive magic she has. No, Unity has to wait until the battlefield changes in some way.

Twilight sighs a little. "Why? Like really? Why? I get that your idea of harmony is what it is, but everyone thinks about taking over the world or doing something wrong! I've even thought, 'Hey, I can borrow this book from the library for an extra day. No one will miss it.' But my impulse control stops me from doing dumb stuff that will get me in trouble! So WHY?! You're supposed to be a force of good! You've told me stories about all the worlds you've helped all the people! You helped people get home when your brother's meddling stranded them out in the middle of nowhere! Where is that Unity?! The one that values balance, the one that did her job?! Where is that friend who shared long talks about nothing and who was by my side?! The one that helped me figure out my potential?!" She says with a glare.

Unity sighs a little. "Seriously? This again?" She shakes her head. "Twilight. I don't know when you thought I was your friend. I never was, though. Ever." She smiles, "After all, I've been working at this for a WHILE. Like long before I even met you." Unity grins at Twilight. "Think about it. Every single time something happened, every time we talked. It was constantly pushing you towards the actions you took. Going into the mountains to deal with the bandits? I unlocked a room for Celestia to explore that happened to have the book inside. Not to mention slowly pushing you away from your family? Making sure that Celestia and Luna never got all the attention they should from their dearest friend, their adoptive mother. Creating problems that forced you to take hours upon days upon years of work to fix? Can't forget the lovely whispers I sent into Celestia's mind, making her increasingly upset with her sister and you until she broke?" Unity says with a wave of a hoof. "Truly one of my better moments."

Twilight hoof twitches in anger for a moment. Those actions and their blatant pride almost made Twilight swing at Unity. But Twilight stays her hoof. She knows that if she tried to attack Unity, the fight would still not be in her favor. Not yet. She needed to play for time. At her current strength, she could pull off a miracle. But she needs her daughters with her. She needs her allies.

She needs her friends. Fighting alone was foolish. She let her worries and her insecurities win out, pushing away the ponies that could have helped her in the fight. The worst part was that she didn't even pay for it. Her best friend did. "That still doesn't explain the before," Twilight says through gritted teeth, eyes staring down at the spirit with a glare that just said, 'Watch what you say.'

Unity hums to herself. "Oh. OH the before?" She smiles as she giggles. "Sure. Why not. That sounds like a good waste of time. Besides, we can't beat each other, can we?" She says with a glint in her eyes. She's figured out Twilight now. "You don't know how powerful you are and don't want to... well, finish the job. You want me to 'see the light.' or something stupid. Right?"

Twilight sighs a little. "I don't think I could have made that any less obvious. After all, I said that the fight was over." She exhales a little, letting out a sigh. The puff of air full of magic sparkles as she takes a more relaxed stance. "I don't want to attack you because I'm sure it'd destroy more than just you. Besides, unlike Sombra, you aren't a being of pure darkness. You can still choose to be redeemed. You can still come back and become a good pony again. That's your choice, after all!" Twilight says with a smile as she quietly stands there.

"I feel like. In another world. Maybe even in another branch. We could have been excellent friends." Twilight says with a weak smile. "Hanging out, Chatting. Making Equestria a better place. Heck, Moondancer liked you for a while. Although she figured you out way before me. I guess that's why you always sent her away on those long, horrible tasks." She mumbles quietly to herself.

Unity blinks flatly at Twilight. "You too? Seriously. Maybe, sure, but we don't live there. We live here. You had just as much of a choice to help me willingly. You didn't have to oppose me. You didn't have to go out of your way to fight back against me. Heck. How about this? Let's stop fighting, and you can join my side? We can bring Equus to a new age of harmony, and you'll never have to worry about being the hero again." She says with a smirk. "See? That's what you sound like! From my side, you sound like the villain. Sure, my methods might not be the best, BUT they work. They bring the end result. They function well. They are proven to be 100% successful." Unity says as she starts to get heated. Glaring back at Twilight.

She then continues, "Meanwhile, you're relying on what? The goodwill of everything across Equss?! Do you know how many monsters are still out there, creatures that didn't even come from me? Things that Grogar, Tirek, and MY own brother created! Monsters they left out there that attack ponies, hurt griffons, and antagonize dragons?!" She grits her teeth, Unity glaring at Twilight. "Yet, you'd prefer to leave them alone! You're endangering your ponies with inaction! You have to DO something. My family is out there!" Unity stomps a hoof on the ground in anger.

Twilight blinks. "Wait. Is this seriously just because of your family? Like, I get it, it's scary, but-."'

Unity cuts Twilight off instantly, "I know what you're going to say. 'You can't live your life in fear!' Don't go there. It's terrifying to think that one of them could be hurt. It's scary to think that one day, they'll disappear. Do you know how long it took me to even have them?" She says as she looks up. "This is the first family I've ever been ALLOWED to have. The first creature I've fallen in love with that I could actually pursue. The first one that I've shared my immortality with! That's right! My husband is immortal, and he will be forever!" She shouts. "Every time I fell for someone before, every little time I've wanted something. I've done my best to get the smallest of rewards every time. Sure, I may not be as fancy as my brother at it, but I did MY JOB!" She yells out as an orb of white magic engulfs Twilight and Unity. Unity's words mash and sputter together into nonsensical sentences.

A black space of creatures stands together. Each one has technological modifications to their bodies. Aliens of different types, unknown to pony kind, show themselves, a memory from Unity's deepest recesses. Twilight and Unity watch from a floating bubble nearby, the pair's minds now within the memory spell.

The first spirit speaks as the memory twists into something Twilight can understand. Although she knows what humans are from her brief stint in Sunset's dimension, these ones looked far different from those. "You two are retiring?!" The spirit says to the two colorful spirits standing side by side. "You can't retire! You're the spirits of harmony and discord! Without you, the universe will be disorganized and impossible to manage!"

Unity mumbles. "That's my mom and dad. Ally and Enemy. The original spirits of harmony and discord. They're retired now. The rest... well, they aren't significant, honestly." She says with a grumble as the memory plays out. She didn't want this to happen this way, but stopping a memory spell is more annoying than letting it play out once it starts.

Ally sighs a little. "Well, we have a solution. Unity, Discord, come here, sweeties!" She says as the two spirits run in excitedly. Unity is a small filly, while Discord is an adorable little draconequus, no taller than half of Twilight's leg. "These two will be taking our places now that we are retiring. Look, aside from time and soul, we're older than almost all of you. We need this. Unlike time, we can't just flick ourselves to a younger state and soul... Well, soul is just weird, honestly." Enemy nods

"I have no idea how soul is so happy to be working the same job since before time was even a concept, but more power to them." He says with a sigh. "Still, I'm tired. Bringing chaos to those worlds and being the antagonist in everything is exhausting. Being hated... It's not fun anymore. It's just heartbreaking. Especially when the worlds lose." He mumbles as he gives the small Unity a pat on the head. "These two will do a better job than both of us.

The memory then shifts, Unity and Discord looking over some things on the center table of the dark room. "YOU SENT THEM WHERE?!" Unity yells out.

Discord blinks. "The Delta Quadrant. Duh. It was fun! You shoulda seen the chaos it wrought on their ship! It was like BOOM BANG POW!" He says as he picks up a weird-looking toy from the table, shifting it in the air as he makes the noises.

Unity groans a little. "Do you know HOW LONG this will take to fix?!" She groans out. "I'm gonna have to place so many technology upgrades, maybe even some temperamental ideas in some of the scientist's heads. Ughhh! Discord! Why?! You know I can't meddle directly in worlds like you can!" She says with a pouty face. The pair were barely older, at most maybe 10 years old each.

Discord waves his hand. "PAH! It'll be fine! Seven seasons with a couple of specials, and it'll be all done neatly wrapped up. Ooh, we could even try to convince time to do something about it. Break a rule or two along the way~!" He says as he nudges his sister, who glares at him with intense violence in her eyes. He rolls his eyes and sighs, "Whatever, while you're cleaning that mess up, I'm gonna go mess more with the other captain. It's more fun than being here." He then snaps his fingers and vanishes, leaving his sister alone in the dark space.

Unity screams into the table. Piles of papers surround her, thousands of worlds cycling through her head. All of which need her influence to give the heroes even the slightest chance.

The scene then shifts again. Unity sighed a little as she stood disguised, watching the ship finally return. Bags under her eyes as she sits on a bench in an unknown park. Everything seems so... different here. Twilight mumbled to herself as she was only able to watch.

"Told you it'd be fine! They're more resourceful than you give them credit," Discord chuckles in his disguised form, watching the celebration from their collective spot hidden away. "Shame you can't tell anyone about what you did for them. All that technology must have taken so much work to create."

Unity mumbles something into her hands. "Seventy-five thousand Years." She mumbles out. "It took. Seventy-five thousand years in whitespace to fix this."

Discord laughs. "BAHAHAHAAH. Incredible! Well, you win the pin for the most effort on this one, sister! The teleportation only took about thirty seconds to enact! Just a little error in some code, and that station went completely berzerk! These games we play are so much fun." He says with a bright smile as he pats Unity on the back. "I hope we have so many more!"

Discord then vanishes. Unity stumbles a little bit as she returns to black space. "Only seven hundred thirty-nine more cases to go."

The memory shifts yet again, Twilight stumbling a little. "Yeesh. Your job sucks."

Unity rolls her eyes. "Mn."

The memory begins as Twilight sees Unity and Discord in the black space room. The pile of papers surrounding Unity has gotten much taller. Meanwhile, Discord is just sitting in his designated chair, eating popcorn. "Come on, sister! I can only cause more chaos once you solve more of your cases! Like, balance is essential, but you'd think fifty thousand chaotic-infused worlds would be, like, the bare minimum to keep balance." He then munches on popcorn.

The memory Unity shakes a little in her chair. "Ugh. Discord, brother. Please. Lay off the chaos, just for a little bit. I haven't slept in, like... Ever, actually." She says dumbfounded. "I can't even remember the last time I had a break! Bro, please calm it back a little bit. Like some of these are easy. But did you really have to send someone into an alternate future of their world to test them?! Or this?! Starting a WAR?!"

Discord chuckles at the comments, clearly taking them as compliments. "Yeah, those two are great. My magnum opus, you could say." He laughs a little and leans back in his chair. "Pick up the pace 'hero'! We don't got all day! I don't wanna imbalance the multiverse, but I have SO many more good ideas!" He says as he bounces in place excitedly, clearly excited to spread more chaos.

Twilight mumbles, "Discord cares enough about balance to restrain himself? That's. Suprisingly mature of him."

Unity sighs as she waves a hoof. "He always cared about balance more than anyone in the spirit realm. Those rules he talked about were his. They became guidelines that all spirits across all multiverses use." She smiles a little at that memory, "I am a bit proud of him for that. He spent centuries in white space figuring it all out. When he came out of it, he was like."

The scene shifts as Unity and Memory Discord speak in tandem, Unity puffing out her chest and talking as if she were Discord: "I FIGURED it out! The maximum number of worlds that can be chaotic is fifty thousand! That's around the amount of planets that can be corrupted by chaos before collapse happens from imbalance!" She then makes a quick motion with her hoof to mimic snapping. "However, my studies also show that worlds can never be 100% harmonized. A fully harmonized planet could tilt the universe's balance irreversibly into the negatives! Although it is just a theory!" Then, the room applauded at Discord's discovery as spirits of all types ran to examine his findings.

Twilight sputters, "WAIT?! WHAT?! Wouldn't harmonizing Equestria ruin balance?!" She says with a crack in her voice. Unity wasn't so desperate that she'd risk the entire multiverse for her family, right?!

Unity blinks. "Eh. Small price to pay." She shrugs in a jaded fashion.

Twilight grits her teeth. "Reason. Now."

Unity sighs and mumbles. "Fine."

The memory changes one last time. Blackspace is looking quite different this time. The memory fades into view, revealing Unity standing inside a magical circle, looking distraught as Discord stands to the side. The rest of the elder spirits looked down at the pair.

"Explain." Time glares furiously at the young spirit, "We have given you MANY chances, Unity. But this. This is a new low."

Unity bangs on the sides of the sigil. "I didn't do anything wrong! So the hero saw me! It happens! I didn't. I didn't do anything wrong! I wasn't even doing my duties at the time!" She mumbles as she shyly says, "I just wanted to try some candy apples at a fair for once. It looked fun. I even brought some home!"

A bang on the desk rings out. "That would have been excusable, but then you made contact with the hero, did you not?" Time says with a glare. "Do not lie. Your permission to go to the mortal realm is a privilege, NOT a right." Unity's eyes open wide as sweat begins to bead on her head.

She opens her mouth and bites her lip a little. "I... I did. But I didn't say anything wrong. I think." She mumbles.

Time glares. "Unity Concord Chaos, do not lie to the council!" the spirit shouts, "You expressed interest. You expressed your adoration for the hero. You explicitly made yourself something memorable to the hero in question! Not only that, but you planned to revisit them, did you not?! Did you not think we wouldn't find out?!" Time says with fury in his voice.

Unity whimpers a little in reaction to the anger. "But Discord makes friends on the mortal side all the time! Why can't I? At one point, he even made friends with people and creatures that he was enemies with! Besides, the Hero WON! Their story was over! I couldn't ruin anything!"

Time sits back. "Discord is permitted to make relationships because relationships beget chaos and disharmony when appropriately used. You, however, do not. Your job is to HELP the heroes INDIRECTLY. You are NOT part of their stories. You are supposed to be insignificant. Your job is to make sure the heroes have a chance to win if THEY make the right choices. NOT to be the hero yourself, not to be their friend or part of their party, just because their world was saved now, doesn't mean it couldn't be in danger in the future! You have been sloppy for the past twenty thousand years." Time says with a glare. "You are the most powerful spirit among us, yet you are more immature than your brother." The elder spirit shifts and glares down at Unity. With a sigh, the spirit raises a gavel and brings it down.

Time puts on an official voice as they say, "As such, we have decided as your punishment for repeatedly failing your duties: The council shall seal the physical prowess, magic, and combat abilities you are proud of. Effective immediately. Perhaps with this, you'll stop going down to the mortal realm to train constantly, and you can focus on your duties instead."

Unity blinks "What?! NO! PLEASE! I didn't just give these to myself! I earned them! Each and every one! Don't, please! Brother, please! Please help me! Don't let them take it away! Say something, they'll listen to you! It's all I have!"

Discord winces as his sister pleads to him, about to speak up. However, he flinches, seeing something in the distance. Twilight cannot see what he saw, which makes him quiet down. But his actions spoke louder than words. He said nothing. He didn't even acknowledge his sister, walking away instead.

Unity's scream rang out across the dark, empty void as a flash of green light rose around her. "Please! NO!"

As the flash of green light fades. Unity mumbles on the floor, her energy drained, her color faded. "I just wanted to feel special. I just wanted to try some candy. Some food. Maybe make a memory or two." She says with a sniffle.

Several voices from out of view begin to whisper around Unity. "Heroes don't do what they do for recognition." "They do it because it's the right thing to do. That's like, Harmony 101." "I can't believe you're your mother's child." They say with disgust before Unity is left alone on the ground. The spirits were happy that Unity's 'rebellion' was stopped. If only they knew that this sparked the actual rebellion in her heart.

Unity 9 - Show Me

View Online

"No one was on my side. No one. Not even my own brother. Do you know how that feels, Twilight? I just wanted a single friend. One. Sure, I liked the guy a bit. He was nice, pleasant to talk to, and easy on the eyes. But I did put my work first! I mean, I did my job to get the hero to that point! So what if I enjoyed a festival?" Unity grumbles aloud to herself.

Twilight sighs a little. "I don't think that was the problem, though. Wasn't it just because you interacted with the major actors in the world?" She says quietly. "Sometimes, rules can be unfair, but they're there for a reason."

Unity shrugs. "Probably. But they never bothered to explain it to me or my brother. It was just something that they assumed we already knew. Mom and Dad never taught us anything about the job. We showed up, Mom and Dad gave us basic instructions, and then they left to explore the cosmos! We weren't even a thousand years old at that point!" She says with a glare at the memory versions of her parents. "We haven't even seen them since then. No visits, no letters, not even a stupid magical sending spell!" She says as she kicks over the table in her memory out of frustration. The table flickers for a moment before it returns to its initial position.

Twilight sighs a little as she watches Unity's frustration. She feels for the spirit in some way. After all, she does remember how it felt to be written off by her close friends back at her brother's wedding. Twilight's experience with it was minimal, however. She had no frame of reference for being treated so poorly because of her position. Being the princess's student, then a princess herself, and finally the Queen of Equestria meant she had more ponies that preferred to brown-nose rather than oppose her through most of her life. "That doesn't mean you have to take it out on all of us. Even some of your children don't agree with you. For Faust's sake, you even encouraged them to do so." She says with a frown.

Unity sighs a little as she looks up into the dark void, the memory spell finally fading away little by little. "I know I'm doing the wrong thing, Twilight." She says with a quiet mumble. "I just don't care anymore. Making a world of pure harmony is all I want now. I want to do it to show everyone that harmony and good aren't supposed to be all about sacrifice. That even heroes and their supporters want some recognition." She giggles a little. "Why are the good guys always expected to do things out of the kindness of their heart? Because it's necessary?! Every world, every story, always has someone thrust into the hero thing because something horrible was going to happen, or something horrible happened to them!" She says as she gets in Twilight's face. "Even you didn't have a choice. You got yourself involved in saving your mentor, yes, but that was her entire plan from the start! In all the timelines, all the universes that you've seen, tell me. Twilight Sparkle. Tell me honestly. Did Celestia ever actually NEED your help?" Unity growls out as she glares at Twilight with blazing eyes. The memory spell suddenly rebuilds itself as the scenery shifts.

Twilight steps back and raises her head, looking down at the angry spirit. "I don't know." She says honestly. "Maybe? But does it matter in the end?" She says softly. "It's what I chose to do. Sure, I didn't sign up for the aftermath. I mean, saving Equestria every thirty seconds gets exhausting, and Tartarus, I'm getting way too old for this." She laughs, Twilight just smiling as she hijacks the memory spell. Scenes of her and her friends fighting against the various villains shine in the background. "But how about I teach you a lesson about heroism for once? Since you wanted to be one so badly." She says with a smile. "Your parents clearly didn't teach you what you needed to know. What kind of pony would I be if I didn't at least educate you a little bit." Twilight says smugly as the scene shifts to her and her friends relaxing at a picnic.

"Being a hero, yes it comes with ups and downs. It's something that will consume your life and take it places where you never wanted it to go. You'll have to fight and uproot your life over and over to protect ponies and, in your case, creatures that may never even care or recognize your efforts. Honestly, it's a pretty awful deal." She laughs a little to herself. "Even I've gone through a phase of questioning why I still do it. After all, my daughters would be even better at it than I am." She smiles and sighs.

"So why? Wouldn't it just be easier to fix everything at once rather than playing the reaction game? I mean." Unity shifts the memory spell to the reappearance of the Crystal Empire. "Destroying the Empire would have prevented the chaos of Sombra." She then moves the scene again. "As morbid as it is, destroying my brother's statue would have been prudent, too! And don't get me started about the Storm Kingdom!" She says with a snort. "So WHY? Why put everyone in danger when we could fix everything?! Why let monsters go free or try to fix their problems? Why not just have the elements blast them apart like they did Sombra?!" She says with a glare.

Twilight sighs a little. "Good doesn't exist in a vacuum. If you take away everypony's ability to make their own decisions to create harmony, you're effectively just enslaving at that point." She says with a sigh. "Ponies are naturally inclined towards harmony. We have that benefit compared to other creatures, even on Equus. It's special, but it also makes us easier to manipulate." Twilight says with a glare toward Unity. "We're trusting and loving and don't need some creature to force us to become even more like that. Nor do we want to push that on other creatures, either! Every creature, person, pony, griffon, and otherwise deserves to make their own choices. If they make the wrong choice, that's the bed they've made." Twilight then cuts Unity off as she's about to say something. "HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we can't forgive. Everyone deserves a second, third, and even fourth chance! Sure, at some point, there is a limit. But even you, Unity. Even a creature that's caused no end of undue pain and suffering has some good in you. The reason why the Elements destroyed Sombra is because he wasn't even a pony anymore. Darkness had entirely devoured his spirit and soul." She sighs a little

"Besides, I understand how you feel. It's a scary thing to be a mom for the first time. You don't want anything to happen to your family. But this isn't the right way to go at it!" Twilight says with a squint. "Trust in everypony! We can work through whatever is needed together rather than against each other. The wendigo won't be coming back anytime soon."

Unity closes her eyes. "We both know that Equestria is constantly in danger in the future Twilight. I haven't seen hide or hair of my descendants in any of your memories." She says quietly. "And you've traveled the world time and time again. I... I want to make sure they survive." The memory spell fades away as the pair quietly stands in the field. A breeze passes over them. The pair calmly look at each other as Twilight begins to speak.

"I'll make sure they're safe myself if needed. So please, Unity. I know that you didn't say anything before. But I know there's a glimmer of good in you." She says as she quietly mumbles. "I know there's a piece of you that wants to do the right thing. Someone that's just begging you to stop. If you're willing and listening to me." Twilight mumbles out. "Let's forget about all of this. Let's stop fighting and make Equestria a better place together." Twilight smiles as she holds out her hoof towards Unity. "The right way. As friends."

Unity quietly stands in the field. She was staring at the ground, quietly thinking to herself.

What should she do? Can she trust Twilight? No. She knows she can trust Twilight.

But she can't trust everypony else, not after everything Unity has seen. There's too much she doesn't know. There's too much unknown to believe in something so idealistic. But at the same time. She doesn't want to discredit Twilight, either. "No. But. I will give you a chance, Twilight." Unity says as she suddenly clashes her bare hoof against Twilight's shield. "Show me instead."

Twilight blocks the attack with ease. It's weak, very weak. Unity wasn't even trying anymore. It's almost as if the spirit wanted to lose now.

"Show me that Ponies can protect their own. Twilight, show me you're willing to do what needs to be done. Show me that you have half the resolve of your friend. You better be able to beat me when I'm holding back this much, right?" Unity says as she makes her hoof glow with magic as she continues her assault on Twilight's shield. "Just fight Twilight. I can trust you, but I must see that you can protect everypony. Show me that strength that you've grown with." She says as she flips over the shield and lands behind Twilight. "I know you have it. You've been holding back since the start because some part of you wanted me to go with you." She says with a giggle. "I'm not part of this story, Twilight Sparkle, but I am part of it in the future." She says with a chuckle. "So let's play this out until the end. Come and beat your villain hero."

Twilight's heart drops a little bit. "You figured it out, too, then?" She says quietly.

Unity weakly smiles and tilts her head. "You've been trying to meddle with everything, ya know. I had a feeling you'd try to do something about me, too. But unlike Luna, I'm not worth the effort, Twilight. I don't get to have a chance at redemption. I don't have a place in this world." She dryly says as she lets a tear fall. "The other spirits were right. My parents would be so disappointed with me. I've gotten too deep into this world now." Unity says to herself as she glows her horn gently.

Twilight closes her eyes. "It doesn't have to be this way, Unity. We can figure something out."

Unity shakes her head in response, puffing her chest out. "Don't worry, Twilight. As the spirit of harmony, to defeat the great monster known as Unity. You have my support." She says with a smile as she flies up. "Goodbye, old friend."

As she says that, the rustling and movement of the ground finally reaches them. The small army of ponies, with Celestia and Luna at the front, get to the battlefield. Only to see three large flying machines appear in the sky. Unity is putting on her best evil face. "It's over Twilight! I hope you're ready to take on the combined force of technology several eons ahead of yours!" Unity then shouts, commanding the literal spaceships. "FIRE!" Two ships then fire thin, powerful beams of hot plasma while the third begins to charge up. A loud, piercing noise rang out as it began to charge up its powerful cannon. Twilight's shield quickly enlarges as she protects herself and the ponies behind her.

Twilight grunts. "Unity! It doesn't have to be this way!" She says, "We can still figure something out!" She says worriedly.

Unity smiles. She loved that Twilight was still trying, but this was her destiny. "I'd worry about yourself, Twilight." Under her breath, Unity mumbles wordlessly to herself. "Support approved. Let's give them one last show. Increase bravery."

A surge of energy begins to flow through the shield as all the unicorns in the army begin to support their Queen with their magic. Pegasi, Yak, Griffons, and even a few dragons push on the shield to help with the pressure.

Unity then continues speaking to herself. "Support Approved. Increase will and resistance."

Twilight then feels a surge of energy flows through her. Reminiscent of when she used the rainbow form against Tirek for the first time. All that power and energy from friendship and magic. The shield cracks and breaks, but the surge of magic suddenly restores it to pristine condition. Twilight mumbles, "I'll find a way to save you, Unity. One day."

Unity smiles quietly to herself. "Okay. Final Support. Unlock the power of friendship." She says as she uses the last bit of energy, she has to empower Twilight and the other 'heroes' fully. A smile creeps on Unity's face as she sees Celestia and Luna quickly crash towards their mom. The trio glowed brightly. "Yamato cannon. FIRE!" Unity shouts, the final machine blasting a firey plasma ball into the shield.

The shield wildly sparks and shudders under the weight of the attack. Unity yelling out, "DO IT TWILIGHT!"

Twilight closes her eyes. "Two friends in one day." She scoffs at herself. "This is gonna take some therapy." She then glows her horn as the shield hardens, the plasma from the machine quickly being absorbed into the barrier as heavy vibration rings outwards. The pulse knocked Unity out of the sky and launched her far away. The pulse continues to ring out as it destroys all the flying shiplike machines, each cracking and shuddering as they fall apart in fiery explosions, disappearing into sparkly magic. A loud, piercing noise rang out, deafening all the creatures in the area briefly, aside from Twilight and her daughters.

Celestia and Luna's jaws drop as they see the spell's result. "Woah. That was. Kinda crazy." Celestia says with a cough. "Can you teach me that?"

Twilight giggles. "Sorry, sweetie. You may be my adoptive daughter, but that was something special that my brother gave me for a rainy day. I can't use it again." She says quietly.

Luna watches the shield slowly fall apart before it shatters into light. "That's a shame. So what about Unity? You think she's well. Ya know?"

Twilight sighs. "She wants me to finish this myself as myself. So. Since I always do this with others. Want to come?" She says with a smile towards Celestia and Luna. The two curiously look at each other before nodding.

Twilight smiles. "Alright." The trio then flew towards where Twilight's spell sent Unity flying. Celestia and Luna were quick to notice Twilight's mood, however.

Celestia would speak up after a moment. "Mom? Are you alright?"

Twilight looks over to Celestia. "Right now? Yes." She says quietly. "But don't ask me again in five minutes."

The trio land at their old castle, the decrepit building still falling apart as a brick lands near them. Even just stepping around it seems dangerous to a degree. Expecting to go inside, Celestia and Luna begin stepping towards the building. However, Twilight takes a sudden turn, instead walking down a natural staircase leading towards the ravine that opened around the castle. The two sisters curiously followed their silent adoptive mother, who began to walk through the gorge for a short while. Finally, the trio arrives at a cave. Twilight sighed a little bit. "Celestia, Luna. I want to ask that you two wait out here. However, I know that you two won't listen. So it's just me asking rather than telling. You're free to join if you like. I won't stop you." She then goes inside the cave without a word more.

Celestia and Luna, of course, enter the cave. They don't want Twilight to fight Unity on her own! They aren't going to let her make that same mistake!

The trio finds Unity in the back of the cave, quietly sitting on a stone. The blast had gravely injured the spirit. Even with an untrained eye, it was evident that she was no threat to anyone. Twilight raises a wing and motions for the two sisters to stop as she walks forward. Unity giggles quietly. "Couldn't convince them, eh? Fair enough." She says quietly. "At least my children aren't here to see this." She says with a giggle.

Twilight smiles softly. "Yeah. I wish we could do this another way."

Unity tilts her head. "Hey. I'm just glad I'm useful even in the future." She says proudly. "Sorry for all the trouble." She says as she stands up. "Alright. Let's not get too sappy. Sides. You have another friend to worry about. One that is worth way more than me." She weakly smiles, grunting as her leg gives out under her. "Hey Twilight. You think that in another life, we were close friends, right?"

Twilight nods as she glows her horn with unrivaled, powerful magic. "Yeah, I do."

Unity laughs a little bit to herself. "Life is so unfair. Why do they get to have all the fun, right? I mean, think about it. There's a version of us out there just having frozen yogurt or something instead of... this." She says as she falls to the ground. Laying on her side. Weakly panting. "Totally unfair."

Twilight grimly looks away. "Alright. It's ready." She says quietly.

Unity grins. "Come on. Not even a response? You're hurting my cold, calloused heart here, Twilight." She says with a cheeky smile. "I'll be watching Twilight. I will be back someday. We can catch a movie and eat some pie then. SOOOO, save me a seat." she says as the spell envelops her. A bright light suffuses the cave, blinding all inside.

When the spell lifts. Unity is gone. All that is left is just a crystalline tree. Gently waiting.

Gently watching over all of Equestria.

Unity 10 - Peace

View Online

The battle was over just as fast as it started. However, it was slow and agonizing to Twilight. In the end, she never expected to win the fight. She didn't want anyone to get hurt, and honestly, regardless of her ideals, she knew that the battle was Unity's to lose. She didn't know what was going through that spirit's head. Was it a cry for help? Was it in desperation to be there with her family? In the end, destiny won out, though. Sure, Twilight had sealed Unity away in the Tree of Harmony. It wouldn't be hard to release her even. But the necessity of the crystalline tree meant that the spirit wouldn't be free anytime soon.

Luna and Celestia look up at the tree with curiosity. "Woah," Celestia says as her eyes twinkle gently from the radiating light. "We have Elements of Harmony now! Don't worry, we won't forget about these things." She says as she gathers up the gemstones with her magic. The glistening relics look more like regular gemstones, Celestia curiously looking them over for any scratches or changes. "Weird, these Elements don't look the same way you showed us, Mom." The Sun Alicorn curiously says as she looks over the gemstones in her magic. Celestia looks over to Twilight, who is lost in her thoughts. A little nudge from Luna causes Twilight to jerk up as her mind processes the question.

"Huh? Oh yeah. That's how they looked like for you two. Probably can't change them since my friends won't be born for a while." Twilight mumbles out before a thought hits her. "Moondancer." She says before she glows her horn, vanishing in an instant. The two sisters are left alone in the cave suddenly, causing them to worry neigh instantly. With a pair of flashes, Celestia and Luna teleport out of the cave, but not before Celestia gives the tree a little tap on the trunk with her hoof.

"I don't know what you meant by showing you. Luna and I obviously missed a lot. But don't worry. We'll make sure that we prove you wrong one way or another. Then we can all be ACTUAL friends." She says with a smile before teleporting with a flash of light.

The battlefield was full of cheers, creatures and ponies alike already poised to return to Canterlot to complete the day's festivities correctly this time. However, in a small corner off towards the trees of the opposite hill, Twilight reappears. A group of guards was already standing where her friend lay. "Move." Is all Twilight says as she rushes to the side of the only friend she had left in this era. It was far too late, though. 'At least she didn't suffer' is the only rational thought that passes through Twilight's mind. She had lost friends before, but only to old age. Even in the few wars she participated in as a nation, she never allowed her soldiers to take risks that would put them in danger, preferring to do much of the extremely dangerous fighting herself. The ones that did were her elites, who could handle themselves better than any other soldier she had. "Someone tell her brother." She mumbles. "I'll get everything else ready myself. She... Deserved better." She says, the guards nodding and leaving to find Moondancer's brother, who should be in the area.

Once her guards are gone, Twilight holds her friend tight. "I'm sorry, Moondancer. So very sorry. You barely got the job as my bodyguard, and this happened. You did deserve so much more than this. I'm going to miss you." She mumbles quietly.

A few minutes later, Celestia, Luna, and Moondancer's brother, Sunsinger, approached Twilight. The next few moments were full of sobbing, anger, and silence. Celestia and Luna just quietly watched the conversation between their Mom and the grief-stricken brother.

"I'm sorry for yelling, your Majesty," Sunsinger says with a mumble, holding onto his sister. "I just wish there was something we could have done. She was never really built for combat. Did she help?" He quietly asks. The males in his family have always been great guards and soldiers for Equestria. They had been trained since birth to accept losses like this. Even then, though, it doesn't make it any easier.

Twilight tiredly looks over to Sunsinger, letting off a little smile. "She did great, Sunsinger. It was me who failed." She says quietly. "I wish I could have protected her better. I should have guessed she would show up, even though I explicitly told her not to come to the battlefield. She upheld her family's honor." She giggles weakly, Twilight's eyes tearing up and sighing. "She has a place with the rest of the guards of your family. I'll make sure to get all the necessary work done." She mumbles, "I'll personally deliver the flag to your mom and dad later today."

Sunsinger nods as he stays seated next to his sister a little longer, watching as Twilight walks away. "Your Majesty, wait." He says with a mumble. "Don't blame yourself, please. We all know how hard you can be on yourself in these situations."

Twilight mumbles something to herself before saying to Sunsinger. "I know it was her job to keep me safe. That doesn't make being the survivor any easier." She says quietly. "Time will heal the scar eventually, though. Don't worry. This isn't my first time losing a friend." She mumbles as she leans and hugs Celestia and Luna closely. Celestia and Luna keeping pace with their mother.

Twilight went directly to her study, prepared the folded flag, and arranged for the funeral of her friend. While many people were cheering and having a wonderful day, for a select few, the day was instead full of quiet solitude. Twilight just dryly giggles to herself. "So this is how the Summer Sun Celebration started." She mumbles to herself as she quietly walks alone through the empty backstreets of Canterlot. Many of the ponies who live in the area were at the festival. The proper opening of Canterlot WAS a day to commend, with the holiday eventually turning into the Summer Sun Celebration. Few ponies will remember the reason for the celebration. The consensus in the future is that it's to celebrate the first day of summer and Celestia's birthday. Twilight lets out a dry giggle at the thought. "Celestia was born in winter! I dunno why everyone thinks she was born in summer." She sighs a little as she talks to herself. "Here we go, talking to myself again. This time, I don't even have a weird, broken version of me to talk to." She mumbles as she heads to the nearby house.

Moondancer's family lived in a reasonably small housing complex. The houses inside the complex were designed for mid-nobles at best. Taking a deep breath, Twilight removed her crown from her head. She then slides it into the pocket of her saddlebag, using her hoof to knock on the door. Twilight's formal military outfit adorns her body. In reality, it's just fancy armor, hardly practical for actual fighting. Celestia and Luna questioned why she was doing this herself, and honestly, Twilight was wondering that, too. She had only known Moondancer for a few years—standard years on top of that. To Celestia and Luna, Moondancer's life was a simple footnote in theirs, a blip on the map that ended too soon.

With the knock on the door complete. Twilight hears rustling and movement behind it, a lovely couple of ponies opening it. Seeing the Queen makes them smile, but silence and sorrow overtake their expressions. Moondancer's father stands frozen while her mother breaks down in tears. Her friend's mother quickly embraces Twilight after she hands off the folded Equestrian flag to the family, mumbles and words exchanged. Neither of them wanted their daughter to become a soldier, but it was her wish to do so. Moondancer understood the risks of joining the guard. She knew that this was a possibility. The three just silently stand outside of the house. Twilight is there for her friend's family. Elsewhere, another family is also having a conversation about their lost member.

"Mom lost." Says Hearthfire, remorselessly looking at his family members as they sit together. Hearthfire, Repose, and Gentle Light are together, enjoying the festival, specifically the free food. "Well, not that I didn't tell you all. She played her cards way too early."

"Twilight cheated! I know she did! Mom was way stronger, better, faster, everything! Not to mention she didn't have any help either!" Repose says with a glare as she chomps down a big roasted carrot, glaring at Hearthfire. "I bet you were there with the army that bailed out Twilight! Weren't you?!" She says accusingly to Hearthfire, "Traitor!"

Hearthfire shrugs. "I did say from the start that I thought Mom's idea was stupid. No one would like to have their freedom taken away."

Gentle Light raises her hoof. "I didn't like that either, but she did say we were exempt because we were her precious family!" She says with a smile.

Hearthfire scoffs. "Drop the act, Gentle Light. Dad isn't here for you to pull around by the nose anymore." He says with a roll of his eyes. "Shoulda figured that the dad of the year would up and vanish the moment his precious wife got beaten down."

Repose snickers. "Dad was always a coward, never actually did anything to help or hinder. Twas like he was a zombie or something."

Gentle Light munches down on some food idly. "He was pathetic. Talk about a total failure of a father figure. Hearthfire was more interesting than him, granted Dad did take all the money with him."

Hearthfire shrugs. "I can get a job anywhere."

Repose snickers. "I'll just use my abilities and steal or swindle what I need. Someone in the family needs to keep track of the true history of the world. Maybe our descendants can finish what mom started."

Hearthfire glares at Repose with his horn glowing. "Leave my descendants out of any crazy, maniacal ideas you might have Repose! Just let us live in peace for once. Mom gave us the option to follow our paths."

Gentle Light watches the argument between her brother and sister, idly stealing their food in the process, munching down on whatever she can get her hooves on.

Repose smiles. "No promises, brother. One day in the future, somepony will find out what happened, and I'll make sure my side of the family is ready for that day." She stands up. "I suggest you make sure your families are ready for the same. My descendants will fight till the end for Mother's ideal world, even if we have to destroy Equestria to get there." Repose then stomps off, leaving Hearthfire and Gentle Light behind.

Gentle Light blinks. "Wowwww. I was going to teach my foals and fillies how to manipulate everyone, but Sis really takes the cake on the crazy loopy scale. I don't care if my descendants become villains or heroes, honestly. I just want things to stay interesting." She then hops off the bench. "See you, bro. I'm gonna find a rich family to adopt me or somethin. Don't talk to me ever again." She then waves coldly at him, Hearthfire stopping her before she takes any more steps away from him.

"My wallet first, stranger." He says with a glare, causing Gentle Light to go pale for a moment.

"Tch." Gentle Repose says before she passes the bag to Hearthfire, looking angry that she got caught.

"And the bits inside." He says with a deeper glare, causing Gentle Repose to get even more upset.

"Fine!" She says as she puts the bits in his hoof. "Annoying brother being a jerk," she grumbles as she trots away, raising her wings and flying off into the dark sky.

Hearthfire glares a little as his sisters trot away. "Will Equestria ever meet your high standards, Mother?" He says to the sky, grumbling a little. "I think while our family lives, Equestria is going to always be in danger." He sighs. "All I can do is make sure my descendants don't fall for it, I suppose." He then reaches for his food, finding his plate empty. With a grumble, he gets up and heads off to grab more food.

"I think I'll become an archeologist," Hearthfire says to himself. "Having alicorn blood in me comes with benefits, after all." He chuckles as he takes his plate of food, leaving Canterlot. "I'm going to enjoy this peace you got for us, Twilight Sparkle. Hope you don't mind if I nudge my nose where it doesn't belong, though." He leaves Canterlot, going in no particular direction. Excitement appeared on his face as he thought about all the secrets and rare objects he may find.

"I hope this peace lasts forever." Celestia idly says as she leans over the railing of her balcony. She talked to herself as she watched the moon rise into the sky. "Mom's story in the past is almost over. I can feel it." Celestia closes her eyes and tenses up. "I don't want her to go. But we can't just keep her here either." She mumbles, "Maybe just a little longer. Sorry, future me, I don't want to let her go yet. We can keep her for a few more months, right?" Celestia sighed. "Soon, but not now. Soon, but not now." She mumbles quietly.

Luna leans over Celestia's shoulder. "Mom doesn't have to go yet, Sis, relax." She says as Celestia yelps in surprise and stumbles a bit. Luna lets out a tiny giggle as she sees Celestia fall into a potted plant. "Sister, I don't think you're meant to wear potted plants." She laughs a little bit to herself before helping her sister to stand up. Celestia gives Luna a little flat pout because of the comment.

"Lunaaaa!" She grumbles out, glaring at her sister with a deep exhale. "Don't sneak up on me like that!" She then dusts herself off before getting a cheeky idea. Quickly snatching Luna up in a hug. "But if I'm gonna be wearing something weird, you can join in!"

Luna makes a surprised yelp before stepping back to try and back away. "Wait!" She then gets scooped up, the pair getting filthy from all the dirt the two are throwing around. The two sisters roughhouse as Luna tries to escape the hug while Celestia tries to keep Luna stuck in it! By the end of it, dirt lines most of the room, the two sisters having broken all the vases while they were playing, the pair laughing together. "Mom is gonna be so angry," Luna says as she lays on the ground.

Celestia continues to giggle. "You're not wrong. Not wrong at all." She says with a laugh before getting a little serious. "Luna. Do you think we're ready to rule?"

Luna sighs as she looks up to the ceiling. She sighed a little bit in response. "No. Not yet, but. Probably very soon. We should send momma home soon. We'll see her again, though. In the future!" She says with a giggle before winding down. "I'll miss her too, I mean. I am gonna spend Faust knows how long on the moon alone."

Celestia mumbles, "Hey, I'll spend the same time here alone, too. It's going to really suck." She says quietly.

Luna smiles. "That's why we must make the best of everything we can! Let's have plenty of parties, play, enjoy each other's company, and be good sisters! Then we can be even more excited to see each other again after everything ends." Luna smiles brightly.

Celestia's face lightens up as she stares up at the ceiling. "Yeah. Let's do it."

The door then opens to their room. Twilight blinked as she looked around the room, dropping her tea at how filthy it was. Staring down at Celestia and Luna before looking up at the room. "You two are in so much trouble."

The two sisters look at each other, then at their mom, before the pair bolt away! The chase begins anew!

Unity 11 - Comfort

View Online

Celestia and Luna idly relax in the castle gardens. While the castle is complete, the gardens still need to be fully populated with flowers and hedges! So, the two sisters take it upon themselves to make the area look nice with some supervision by the local florist and arborist. However, due to their positions as Princesses, the pair quickly realize that the two professionals let them do whatever they like.

Celestia is the first to notice this, approaching the two professional ponies and tilting her head. "I wanted to get your actual opinions. You don't need to feel so restricted just because we wanted to help." She giggles a little. "Luna and I just want something to do together, so we'll stick with our patch, and you two are free to do the rest of the garden as you please."

The two professionals stammer a little, the florist shaking her head. "No, no! Princess, it's alright! We like what you're doing!" She says with a grimace before sighing. "But, say you wanted to make the place more pretty. It would be best if you move the roses from the center to the exterior of the circle patch." She says with a careful smile, giving a suggestion as carefully as possible.

Luna peeks over, hearing what was said. "Got it!" She happily says as she glows her horn. The flowers quickly get transplanted around carefully. The arborist is getting a bit of nerve off of the successful suggestion.

"Also, perhaps a willow would do better there instead of an Oak tree?" He points over the corner. "It would tie the area together and bring a feel of wholeness while also enclosing the area better."

Celestia smiles. "See? We don't bite." She giggles as she glows her horn, helping adjust the trees. "We're just here to help. So please, don't be afraid to ask us to assist as you would any of your employees." She tilts her head with a gentle smile before trotting back to help plant more trees.

Celestia and Luna happily work on their small plot, which Twilight set aside for the two to plant whatever they like. Celestia hums a little as she looks towards the castle. Planting some red posies and sun blossoms idly. "You think Mom is okay?" She tilts her head, asking Luna idly as the pair chat.

Luna giggles. "Mom is okay. I'm personally more worried about Discord." She sighs. "He was angry with us. Not that we had much of a choice in the matter." Luna pats the ground gently, neatly planting some moonflowers, a perfect duality to Celestia's side of the plot. Half the flowers will bloom at night, and half will bloom in the day. Luna mumbles quietly to herself. "We did sorta mess up, though."

Twilight sighs as she listens to Discord continue throwing his tantrum. She had long zoned out and begun thinking of other things. There were a few ceremonies she had to go to. A couple of new restaurants that she had to help open with the ribbon cutting. Heck, she even had to go to the brand-new orphanage and hospital she funded. Of course, however, she couldn't leave Discord in this mood. Waiting momentarily, she finally sits upright on her throne, the largest of the three thrones in the throne room. "Let me get this straight then, just to recap. You're angry because we beat your sister? I mean, that's understandable. She was sorta evil and crazy, though."

Discord squinted at Twilight. "You weren't listening, were you?" He says with a little bit of gruff in his voice. Mildly peeved that someone dared to ignore the Lord of Chaos!

Twilight sighs. "Sorry, Discord, but you've made it clear that we aren't friends right now, and I have a lot on my plate. Forgive me if one of your famous tantrums isn't exactly what I need right now." She says bluntly. Twilight leans forward with a flat look on her face. She doesn't want to deal with this stuff, but Discord would eventually be a friend she valued.

Discord grumbles, "I was promised I'd be the one that defeats her. That's why I'm angry." He says with a glare. "What did you even do to her? Did you actually...?"

Twilight blanches. "What?! No! Of course not!" She says with a huff. "I don't do that. Not anymore. Not ever again!" She says with a shudder. "She's still around. Waiting. I may have even convinced her." She says idly, sighing a little bit as an old wound in her heart opens back up. "Just a bit too late, I guess." She mumbles quietly.

Discord gumbles a little. "And you still refuse to tell me where she is?"

Twilight smiles weakly. "Sorry. You don't know the location in the future. So I can't tell you Discord. You understand, right? You did make the rules yourself." She says with a little bit of vindictiveness behind her voice. It's a poison that doesn't go unnoticed by Discord.

Discord glares at Twilight. "So we're playing that card then. Fine. My deal was with your daughters anyway, your Majesty. So, as long as you're in charge, there won't be any consequences. But when you're gone, and your daughters are in charge. I will tear through Equestria to find my sister. Just you wait!" He says with a growl before snapping his fingers and vanishing away in a small explosion of glitter, coating the entire throne room in the sparkly, hard-to-remove substance. Twilight's barrier blocks the glitter from hitting the thrones, at the very least.

"This is gonna take forever to remove." She groans a little as she falls back on her cushioned throne, sighing as she stands up and trots out of the room, stopping next to a guard. "Someone tell the maids that there's a glitter emergency in the throne room. They'll know what it means."

A guard nods and trots out with Twilight as she heads into the lower city. The guard splits away to go to speak with the maids. Twilight hums as she walks past the garden area, smiling as she sees Celestia and Luna working contently in the gardens. She leaves them to their own devices, though, heading down into the city and waving to the various ponies she comes across. Some smile and wave back. Others still don't fully believe in her. But in general, everypony is quite happy. She had decided to rule in the way she knew best, being fair to everypony.

With a jaunt in her step, she heads towards the noble sector of the town. She knocked on the door of one of the larger mansions in the area. The mansion itself could easily be confused for a small castle or keep. Being five stories tall and as long as a hospital, it houses a noble family and then some! "Plaid Skirt! Are you home?"

After a moment, loud crashing noises can be heard behind the door. "ACK! Neat Quilt! I told you not to store your sewing machine here!" Suddenly, more noises of mass destruction are heard behind the door, including but not limited to A kazoo, several pieces of armor crashing to the ground, two cardboard boxes being crushed, a small explosion, and, of course, the sound of somepony stepping on building blocks! Finally, the door opens, revealing a very neatly cleaned-up foyer and a frazzled 34-year-old mare peeking from the doorway. She's a cream-colored mare with a brown mane, her cutie mark being a sewing thread weaving through buttons. "Oh! Your Majesty!" She says with a smile as she steps outside of the house. "My apologies, I thought we were meeting at five-thirty!"

Twilight giggles a little bit. "It is five thirty, Plaid Skirt." She says with a little chuckle. "Don't worry about it, though. I had a feeling you'd be busy today!" She giggles a little. "Your foals are getting ready for buck ball tryouts after all, not to mention the new line of clothes coming out for all three of your stores in the area." She nods gently. "So I came to you this time. Consider it me learning my lesson this time. Finally." She says with a smile.

Plaid Skirt smiles and leans gently. "Hmhm~. It only took you a month of trying to rule completely by yourself." She giggles a little bit. "So, what did you need help with, Queen Twilight?" Plaid Skirt tilts her head gently.

Twilight stretches a little. "Well, Celestia's ACTUAL birthday is coming up in a month or so. We always have a small party for it at the castle. But." She sighs. "Well, I want this one to be exceptional. So I was hoping you could point me in the right direction to a few nobles that are good at organization that could help me plan an entire holiday for the day."

Plaid Skirt nods. "The same for Luna's birthday the month afterward, too?" She says idly with curiosity.

Twilight nods. "Of course! I want everyone to remember the two celebrations forever! Then, of course, there's the gala, but I have that handled. There are just many parties to handle at the end of the year. So I do need help to handle that." Twilight grimaces. "Last year was a total disaster trying to handle it myself." She laughs a little to herself.

"Well, that is what happens when you underestimate the amount of work that goes into running significant events like that. Even Eternal allowed us to help from time to time. Well, you did that, is." She shrugs. "Don't forget, not all of us nobles are here to try and drain Equestria for their benefit. Some of us do wish to help." She smiles softly. "I'll get you that list of nobles that could help during the two timeframes." She says as she heads towards the door. "I suggest you speak with them soon so we can get a head start! After all, a festival isn't a festival if no one could get the day off or something silly!" She says as she digs behind her door, freeing a pile of papers. After a moment, she passes the documents over to Twilight. "These are the nobles you'll want to speak with. I can vouch for each of them. Just beware Golden Bit's son. He's a little. Problematic."

Twilight nods. "Alright. Thanks Plaid Skirt. I appreciate it a lot." She smiles as she takes the papers and reads through them. "This will save me tons of time. I appreciate it. A lot." She then hugs the noble before excusing herself. Twilight waves as she leaves the large mansion's yard with a spring in her step. With all the time saved, she can pursue her interests now, too! How long has it been since she visited the library and just immersed herself in books?

Far too long, honestly.

Twilight takes a deep breath and trots to the library with a smile. As she enters the marble building, she takes a deep breath. Books lined the walls, but many empty spaces remained, revealing how much more the ponies needed to discover to recover all the greatness they had lost. 'It's so empty right now. I can't believe how many more books will line the shelves as the years pass.' Twilight sighs happily and trots up to the librarian. After an exchange of pleasantries, Twilight checks out five books. As Twilight looks up at the sky for a moment, her facial expression changes to a slight grimace.

"Well, we've been putting it off long enough, huh?" She idly says as she trots elsewhere.

At a quiet field, Twilight sits down on a blanket. It's been a year and a half since that faithful day. So much has happened, but everything felt so comfortable. "I know it's cliche, but I guess survivor's guilt is an actual thing." She laughs dryly to herself as she speaks aloud. "I wonder what you would have said to me right now—both of you. I bet you'd BOTH be so tired of me dragging my hooves around, eh? And you'd try to drag me into one of your crazy schemes again." Twilight laughs as she pulls out some flowers, laying them by two graves near her. "I know one of you is still around, at least regardless of whether you'll be a problem in the future or not; it doesn't make this any easier. But I'm doing good. I think. Equestria is happy, my fillies are sticking together, and there hasn't been a war in ages. I guess the honor of being the only soldier to fall in combat goes to you and you only, eh? I don't know if that's an honor, though."

Twilight tiredly smiles as she leans back against a tree, the sapling she planted to mark the area. With a little stretch, she settles down underneath it. "Ya know. You two were the best friends I've ever had in this era. Even the ancestors of my best friends don't measure up. Although I'm sure that was my fault. I need to see ponies and others for who they are. So I don't get tricked." She says as she wipes down one of the stones gently. "And so I can get to know them." She giggles a bit. "Home, you two don't mind me being a nuisance for a while. I haven't had a chance just to read a book in centuries!" She smiles a broad smile as she takes the two stacks of books she has with her. She places them nearby as she levitates the top book, a lovely black book titled "Pon's First Shop."

"Alright! Here we go!" Twilight says as she cracks the book open. "Once upon a time!"

Twilight enjoyed her books for the rest of the day. For once, she didn't need to worry about anything. There wasn't a monster to fight or a hero problem to solve. Not even a single friendship problem! No, today, she could rest, relax and enjoy the day. Twilight felt what it was like to be an average pony for the first time in a millennia. Just like when she was Celestia's student or a filly, she could relax and do what she loved. "I suppose today's lesson is to take some time for yourself. To take a moment and breathe." Twilight says to herself. "I'll do my best when the time for action comes, but for now. I think I deserve a break." She giggles a little. "So I sure hope that nopony comes wandering up with something silly and lets me relax!"

A little rustle from nearby is heard from nearby. But Twilight ignores it.

Twenty books to go~!

Chapter 35 - The End of the Beginning

View Online

Twilight idly sits on her throne. Smiling, she listens to one of her nobles give a report.

"The changelings haven't been too much of a problem. Celestia and Luna are handling most of the danger from them. We lost track of Discord a few months ago. He has not been seen since then. I think he found out we were keeping an eye on him." The noble says as he reads through a small stack of papers floating in front of him, a gentle pink hue coming off his horn. Twilight sighs a little and nods for the noble to continue speaking. After clearing his throat, he continues speaking. "Other than that, there haven't been any significant issues, your Majesty. Equestria is in a good place right now."

Twilight exhales a little and smiles. "Thank you! That'll be all." She says with a smile. The noble nodded and left the room after excusing himself. Twilight stretches a little on her throne. "Mmm. The last meeting of the day went pretty well if I do say so myself! Fourteen hours of work, and I still feel fresh." She happily says as she turns to her assistant. "Tell Celestia and Luna when they get home that I'll be out tonight! Oh, and tell them not to forget about game night tomorrow!" She says as she rushes out of the throne room, doing two backward hops to keep eye contact with her assistant as she leaves. As she exits the throne room, she flicks her head back, causing the crown on it to be thrown in the air, landing upside down on its cushion next to the door. Twilight giggles a little as she levitates it and sets it upright.

"Wahoooo! I have all day to myself. No monsters to fight, creatures to scare away, and most of all, no laws to sign." She says with a hum as she casts a simple spell on herself. With a weave of magic, she returns to her original, smaller, younger form. "Mmm." She stretches a little as she gets used to her smaller body. "Heheheh." Twilight giggles as she rushes off into Canterlot, long strides and quick jumps allowing her to bolt into the city proper. The town itself is preparing for a large festival, a huge one. Why? Well, because it was the first Summer Sun Celebration ever! The festival celebrates the first summer sunrise of the year and Unity's defeat. While Twilight wasn't particularly interested in the event itself, she could see something fun if she had been keeping track of time correctly (Which she knew she did). With a quick leap into a bush, a few startled ponies, and a confused pair of construction ponies, Twilight sets up her spying spot, binoculars at the ready.

Twilight giddily smiles as she watches through the binoculars. She then spied on two ponies who ran into each other and had an awkward moment together. The pair were stumbling over their words as they tried to help each other clean up the mess they created. Twilight smiled as she watched curiously. "So that's how my family line started. I think Dad said that he collided with Mom at top speed when he met her. Maybe it's just fate. or a curse." She says to herself. Learning about her family history had been a prominent side activity for her. Of course, she never got invasive, just idly watching and hearing things here and there. But she knew her family line started on the first summer sun celebration and had to learn how. After all, even the books on her family tree don't go this far back! With a bright smile, Twilight sits back and sighs as she escapes out of the bush, leaving the two stammering ponies to their devices. "I wonder if Cadence would scold me for doing this." She taps her chin for a moment.

Then she fully remembers how Cadence used to be, giggling to herself. "Nope. She'd probably join in." She hums as she continues on her walk. After all, she had more objectives for today than just spying on two unwitting ponies! With a spring in her step, she heads off to the next spot on her list.

Twilight happily walks to a nearby building. The magic school is going in full force inside. As she trots into the building, she says hi to all the teachers. Ponies of all types waved back as they saw her, from Amethyst Star's ancestor to Sunset Shimmer's. So many ponies gave her a warm fuzzy feeling in her chest as she greeted every one of them. Twilight had long passed the school to Celestia, who wanted to manage it. "Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns," Twilight says as she exits the building. "Doesn't quite roll off the tongue like Twilight's School for the Magically Gifted, but I'm not gonna complain." She says idly before snickering as a thought passes through her mind. 'The school is gonna look so different after I blow a hole in the roof.'

Twilight hums as she continues her walk, waving to Hearthfire as he passes. "Hearthfire! If you wanna be my court mage, now is the chance!"

The alicorn-blooded unicorn laughs a little. "In your dreams, your Majesty. But perhaps for your daughters.~" He chuckles a little, having returned to Canterlot just last month to settle down and enjoy his life. While his sisters were nowhere to be found, he had become an archeologist and adventurer of good renown, even if he had allegedly stolen from the local museum a few times. "Ap ap! They never proved that!" He said to Twilight, effectively reading her face.

Twilight giggles in response. "Sure. Just remember when you're done to return the maps, alright?" She smiles. "Oh! Before I forget." She grabs a book from her room, using an inverted teleport spell. "Put this book safely away in a tomb or dungeon. It has THAT in it."

Hearthfire raises an eyebrow. "And you trust me with it? Bold." He says with a smirk as he takes the book in his magic.

Twilight shakes her head. "Not bold. We both know that you're the only pony in the world that would find a ditch so deep that no one would ever see it. I can't destroy the book because your mother made it indestructible. However, I believe having a written record of history and even those three spells we made is necessary to move forward. Just keep it hidden so I can find it when I return to the future." She smiles as she gives Hearthfire a wave of the hoof. "Good luck on your next adventure, though!" She then trots off quickly.

Hearthfire chuckles a little to himself. "Ahh, Twilight got me pretty good there. I guess I'll oblige. This doesn't mean I'm working for you, though!" He yells at the retreating Twilight, who just cheekily smiles at him as she rushes out of town.

After a short run, the Queen happily rushes to the graves of her friends. With a smile, she puts two little candles on the headstones and some wreaths, her horn glowing as she continues caring for the objects. "Doubt you two would wanna be left out of the festivities!" She laughs a little, genuinely smiling as she puts the garlands over the headstones. "Keep watching over me, Moondancer!" She says as she starts trotting away. "And Unity, make sure you enjoy the show!" She hums as she leaves the two graves, all neatly cleaned and tidied up, flowers adorning the area, and the small sapling has grown into a large tree, glowing with crystalline fruit that shines in the moonlight.

Twilight takes a deep breath as she stretches her wings. Taking flight, Twilight heads off towards the Everfree Forest. With a beat of her wings, she quickly lands in the castle, avoiding monster and beast alike. None of them even dared to get close to her. Trotting down to the crevice, she looks into the cave where it all ends. The small crystal sprout has finally grown into something resembling a tree. "Almost there. Don't drag your hooves now, tree. We all need you more than you'll ever know." She says as she puts her hoof on the tree. "My time here is almost over. The first cameras were made around this time, and well, I was not there at the first Summer Sun Celebration. So, I'm guessing that Celestia and Luna will send me home tomorrow morning." She smiles softly.

"This adventure sucked at the start. I almost kicked the bucket six times. Not to mention being branded a traitor, messing with the timeline to no end, and creating you. Was it worth it? Mmm. Yeah. I think so." Twilight says with a smile to the tree, sparkles gently shimmering in the cave's light. "So do me a favor, Harmony. Do better than Unity or even me. Take care of this land while I'm gone. Help Celestia and Luna, help everyone that needs it. Spread your roots far and wide so that Equestria and, most of all, the creatures across Equus live happily and in peace, even if it means that I end up a hero. It's all worth it in the end." She giggles to herself. "I'm sorry that I ever doubted you. But at least give me a break when I go back, alright? I'm not as young as I used to be!" She laughs heartily, Twilight smiling as she stretches in place. "Oh, and send a message to my friends in the future. Tell them. 'I'm coming home!'

Twilight then exits the cave, looking up towards the sky. With a glow of her horn, she gently moves the sun and moon across the horizon. She smiles quietly with a hum to herself and a tilt of her head. "Well, if this IS my last day here. Then let's have some real fun. How about an adventure for old time's sake?" Twilight smiles as she leans down. Take a deep breath as the Tree of Harmony glows gently. "Let's see how it feels to be Rainbow Dash for once." Twilight closes her eyes with a gentle exhale, focusing intensely on herself and an old connection between herself and her Pegasi friend, a long age bond. She felt the link between herself and her friend, a link that had not degraded even slightly over these millennia. Twilight bolts out of the cave with a gentle blue glow overtaking her body. Flying at speeds she couldn't even believe.

A short trip around Equestria never hurt anypony! Twilight happily flies across Equestria, helping anypony that needs it. While Twilight's story in the past was coming to a close, she felt free. She felt loved. She felt what it was like to be adored and cared for. She learned more about herself than she'd ever learn otherwise. Whether she was better off after her adventure in the past is yet to be seen. Even Twilight herself had some worries. Would her friends accept her back in the future? How would her relationship with Celestia and Luna change? Reservations and thoughts of this nature went through her mind, but Twilight wasn't worried. She could deal with anything life threw at her. She was ready for anything that could happen. Sure, she wasn't invisible or all-knowing, but she had matured. She wasn't the same mare who distanced herself from relationships because of pain. She wasn't the mare that tried to do everything herself to protect everypony.

She was Twilight Sparkle, Queen of Equestria—the Queen of Friendship. She learned to rely on others, and she learned to face the pain of loss. She learned what it was to be a Queen.

And most of all, she learned how to be a mother. Nothing in her future could ever be harder than that!

As Twilight opened the doors to the dining room the next day, she smiled at Celestia and Luna with a big grin. She knew what would be happening that day, so she made all their favorites! "Enjoy some pancakes, sweeties! We have a long day today."

The two sisters look at each other and fidget in their steps. Twilight smiled softly to give them the courage they needed to speak. They were fighting against themselves for a moment before they finally spoke. "Mom, Luna, and I have something to tell you," Celestia says.

Luna blinks. "Wait, that's today?! But my birthday is next week..." She mumbles to herself. "I thought we were gonna tell her about the vase we broke!"

Celestia gives a side look at Luna. "Yes, today, Luna! And when have we ever told Mom about anything we break?" She says with a huff before she looks at Twilight with a smile. "We've noticed that you've been a bit more off and on lately. I think we're ready, Mom."

Luna mumbles to herself quietly before closing her eyes. "Yeah, Mom... I think we're ready to rule." She says with a smile. "It uh. It won't be easy without you. But I hope you're okay with that."

Twilight smiles and hugs both her daughters. "Of course, I'm okay with it, you two. I told you both that when you two were ready, you could say so. I appreciate you two letting me go home now." She says with a smile before teasing them both. "I was getting worried you two would never fly the nest." She huffs proudly as she puffs out her chest. "But my fillies are adults now. They need to do their jobs." She says with a double nod. "BUT that doesn't mean we can't have one last breakfast together and, of course, a short scolding for breaking ANOTHER vase!" She says as she motions to the table, revealing many pancakes of all their favorite flavors. "How about it? One last breakfast with Mom before she goes home?"

Celestia and Luna wince before their eyes brighten up at the sight of the several rows of pancakes in front of them, rapidly nodding before they have one last breakfast with their mother.

It was the best breakfast they ever had. Scolding included.

Epilogue: Reunion

View Online

With a flittering sparkle, Twilight returns from the past. The crystal castle's floor creaks gently as she finds her footing on its slick yet dirty surface. The room has not been cleaned in quite a while as a layer of dust settles from her return. A cough escapes Twilight's mouth as she tries to brush the dust away. "Agh. Dusty." She mumbles as she quickly trots her way out of the room. With a rapid trot, she closes the door, trailing dust behind her. Twilight squints as the sun shines in her face, the rest of the castle bright and colorful due to being cleaned nearly every day for the past year! Twilight squints as she re-adjusts to how colorful and bright everything is in Equestria now.

"Gee, you'd think the sun would have a smiley face on it or something." Twilight mumbles to herself, cracking a smile and giggling as the thought surfaces. Her imagination gets the best of her as she mindlessly wanders through the halls, only stopping once she's filled with amusement. "Let's not give Celestia any ideas. That'd be bad. Now uh..." Twilight blinks after a moment of looking from left to right.

"Where was the front door again?" Twilight says as she stares at the doors all down the hallway. Twilight awkwardly smiles as she thinks to herself. 'Everything in here looks the same. How did I ever navigate this place?! Uhh...' Twilight then pushes a door open at random, peeking into it, revealing a pristine and hardly used kitchen. The next door reveals a bathroom, then a spare bedroom, and finally, the castle library! This revelation does give her pause, but not for the usual reasons one would think. With a quick trot forward, Twilight rushes to a nearby shelf, digging through books. While she doesn't intend to read any of them, she still treats them gently as each book gets piled and sorted behind her by alphabet and subject. Twilight breaks out in a cold sweat as she opens the book she was looking for, quickly reading down the magical pages and finding it full aside a tiny corner of the final page.

A sigh of relief escapes her lips as she raises a quill and inkwell. With a quick and dirty note, she writes. "I need a few hours to get re-settled. Long story. Will give you a replacement soon. Just wait for the portal to open!" Twilight then closes the book shut. One friend notified and done! Now, there's just the astronomically sized list of ponies left. Taking a deep breath, Twilight closes her eyes and begins to light her horn with its colorless yet magical hue. She should have done this earlier, but her sense of being lost outweighed the need for the spell.

"Alright. Probably the best place to do this." Twilight mumbles to herself as a plume of magic surrounds her, wrapping around like a bloomed purple flower, which quickly tightens and returns to a bud shape. Twilight opens her eyes as the magical flower falls away, stretching her hoof and body, which had returned to its shape and size from before she left all those centuries ago. A little giggle escaped Twilight's mouth as she saw the absurdity of what she just did. Sure, her powers were leagues ahead of anything that anypony could pull off. Even her daughters wouldn't be able to stand a candle to her, but even then, changing her shape so drastically was still something that she only theoretically thought she could do.

"I feel really short." This is the only comment that comes to mind at that moment. Twilight takes a step forward and gets used to a smaller, quicker gait, returning to wandering the castle almost aimlessly, leaving behind a mass of sparkles in the library's air. It would be nearly two hours before Twilight managed to navigate through her home to the front door. Could she have just teleported out? Sure, but that would defeat the entire purpose of the exercise. However, such activities can have unforeseen consequences.

Twilight sighs in relief as she finally finds the entry hall. "Faust above, who designed this castle? A toy company?... oh right, it was Unity." The thought alone makes Twilight's skin crawl as she shudders momentarily and presses her hoof on the door to push it open.

It doesn't open. At least immediately. Twilight blinked momentarily before questioning if it was a pull to open the door. However, she finds the same resistance, only this time inverted upon trying to do so. The door's resistance and having gotten lost earlier very quickly annoys Twilight. 'Okay, I did not just come home after who knows how long to be defeated by a door!' She says to herself before putting both hooves on the door and pressing with all her might, even using both her alicorn and earth pony strength in the act.

Twilight slams the door open with one mighty shove, causing the five ponies trying to enter the castle to fall backward in a heap on the dirt road in front of the castle, a large dust cloud forming around them as Twilight pants from her magical exertion.

"WAA?!" Says a high-pitched, intense voice as she falls right into the dirt road. Pinkie Pie is on the bottom of the sudden dogpile.

"Hey!?" As Rainbow Dash loses control from the sudden launch, says a tom coltish voice. However, she catches herself before falling over, thanks to her position in the air. Her victory is short-lived as Applejack tumbles onto her and causes her to join the dogpile.

"WOAH!" Applejack says as she feels enough weight to put Big Mac to shame. Unfortunately, unlike her friends, she was one of the two putting the most hoof grease into the door-opening attempts. Physics dictated her sudden push as she was thrown backward in the air, colliding with Rainbow Dash and falling into the pile.

"eep!" Said Fluttershy as she ducked down to avoid her friends getting thrown in the air. She had barely arrived at that moment with her basket full of snacks. Luckily, she had successfully avoided any impact from her friends, but she was still startled by the sudden crash.

"Oh my?!" Rarity said after her magic was overwhelmed, not only by physical force but, at its core, broken by the attempt to assist her friends in opening the door. The levitation spell she was using had no chance of magical backlash from being overwhelmed, but the loud cracking noise that rang in her head was enough to startle her. But that couldn't stop her from seeing who was standing on the porch of the castle. "Twilight...?"

Twilight herself was more startled by the sudden thud and loud noises. But it didn't take a genius to realize what was happening as the purple alicorn stood stunned at the top of the steps. She didn't exactly know what to say to them. In fact, she planned on using the time it would take her to wander from house to house to figure out what to say. Without that luxury, Twilight just smiled awkwardly, waving with a hoof. For her friends, it had been well over six months since they saw her last, and even then, it was only for a few moments. However, the first words she said to them were like a friend visiting an old pal. "Hi everyone. I'm back." She says awkwardly.

A moment later, Twilight's friends tackle her in a massive hug. Twilight tensed up in those microseconds before the hug made contact. "TWILIGHT!" They all say simultaneously. Twilight takes a moment before she finally begins to hug them back. A bright smile appeared on her face.

"I'm back everypony," Twilight says with a happy smile. She felt warm. She felt loved. Most of all, though, she felt so thrilled to see everyone again, properly this time.

"You aren't gonna leave again, right? You said next time we saw you that you were here for good!" Rainbow Dash said after the hug finally broke up. Twilight used the moment of silence to look at each of her friends.

"Mhm! Sure am! It took a while, but I did everything I needed to." She smiles brightly. She sighs as she notes every little difference she can spot.

Rainbow Dash didn't change too much. The loyal pony's mane was a little more unkempt, and a Wonderbolt's trainee pin was in it. Rainbow Dash seemed horrifically exhausted, though, yawning uncontrollably after a moment.

Applejack seemed the same, although Twilight could tell that the mare was physically and magically stronger than in the past. She looked pretty tired, too. In fact, on close observation, all her friends looked tired. Almost as if they hadn't slept too well.

Pinkie Pie was quite happy and content, still her bubbly self! Although her mane is quite a bit more poofy than previously.

Rarity was happily wearing a fancy scarf that Twilight had never seen before. Likely one of her newest. Rarity was also obviously using dye for her mane to some degree, although Twilight was proud that she noticed, considering how perfect Rarity's mane was, even with the dye.

Finally, Fluttershy. She seemed the least affected by time but also the most exhausted of the group. Twilight rubbed her forehead. That's right, Fluttershy probably had to deal with Discord after the 'conversation' she had with him previously. That would be a lot to unpack if he said too much.

Twilight giggles off the worry for now. That was a problem for future Twilight. Besides, it may not end up needing to be solved, and if it was, then she could just as easily make a point to Discord later.

"Erm, Sugarcube, yer expression is a lil intense." Applejack says after a moment. Twilight quickly shakes her head as an awkward, dry laugh replaces her dark smirk.

"Ahahah. Sorry, I was thinking about something for later. Uhm. It's only ten in the morning. How about we head inside and have a snack in the castle? Although, I'm guessing that Pinkie will probably want to plan a welcome back party, though." Twilight says as she tilts her head and leans on the crystal wall behind her. "Mmm. How about we meet for lunch in a few hours? I have to tell my family I'm okay, not to mention Celestia, too." She mumbles to herself.

The girls all giggle, Pinkie smiling. "Well, I would love to have a party, but spending time with you now would be nice." The rest of the mane 5 agree with the sentiment, too.

Rainbow Dash chimes in after a moment. "Yeah, I have practice today, so I'd need to talk with Spitfire to make sure I can take today off... Hey, how about I come along? Spitfire is in Canterlot right now for an event so I can catch her there."

Applejack hums, "Sadly, ah can't go. If I wanna make it to a party, then I'll have to make sure that I finish all the farmwork in time.."

Fluttershy taps her chin. "I can come along with you and Rainbow Dash if you don't mind Twilight. I still need to apologize to Tree Hugger for the Gala." She mumbles quietly, which causes Rainbow Dash to give Fluttershy a little tap on the shoulder.

Rainbow huffs at the comment, rolling her eyes. "You've been apologizing to her every time you see her Fluttershy. Nopony could have expected Discord to bring a weird monster like the Smooze to the Gala out of jealousy."

Rarity adds, "Yes, I do believe the one that should continue apologizing to her is Discord, although even then, he's done a swell job of that. It has only been a few months since then. Either way, I will join both of you in Canterlot. I must inform the Boutique there that I will not be available for the rest of the day. Although it's not like I get too much business up there, there is SOOO much competition. Perhaps a little help from a friend would be nice?" She says with a sigh before giving Twilight a poke in the side.

"Hm. Sure, although I haven't done any modeling before. Just go easy on me, alright?" Twilight says with a genuine smile. It sounded fun and, most of all, simple. How bad could doing one little endorsement of a friend's business go? Especially when she knew Rarity's work was far beyond a cut above the rest.

Rarity was positively ecstatic at the answer, smiling widely upon hearing the confirmation. "Oh, thank you, Twilight! I really appreciate it. This will breathe life into the Canterlot branch of my Boutique! Perhaps it'll even reach the number one spot!" She says with excitement. "Let us not tarry then! We must be off so we can make it back for the party!"

Pinkie smiles widely. "In that caseeeee, I'll get the castle ready for the party. No peeking!" She then rushes inside. But a moment passes before she trots back out of the door. "Waiiiitttt. Snacks first!" She says with some pep, "We did come to have a little breakfast together. How about we have some snacks while we're all here?"

Everypony looks at one another and nods in agreement. Twilight had just eaten, but at the very least, spending half an hour with her friends wouldn't do anything terrible. Celestia and Luna can wait a little longer! The group happily sits outside the castle, Pinkie going in and out of it between her chats with the others. The small, short, thirty-minute moment-to-moment chats just felt right to Twilight. Sure, Twilight was never starved for attention back in the past, but something was always missing. This comfort was missing, just the normalcy of her friends and the comfort they brought. They didn't pry into anything that happened. They just treated her like she was never gone. Albeit, there were some questions, mainly pokes about what happened and for details, but overall.

It was calm. There wasn't a monster or creature looming in the background. No great disaster or a desperate noble needing help with something. Twilight was just hanging out with her friends with no strings attached.

Finally, Twilight stood up as a conversation was trailing off. After taking a moment to stretch, she smiles at her friends. "Sounds like I missed a lot. I'm happy for you all, though! I mean, let's be honest, Rainbow Dash getting into the Wonderbolts program was a given. It's the same with Rarity getting into Manehatten and Canterlot. But Fluttershy, you're running an entire pet sanctuary now? I'm thrilled for all of you! Sorry that I couldn't be here to share it with you all..." She says awkwardly, the rest of her friends looking over at each other. Applejack smiles and puts her hoof on Twilight's shoulder.

"Well, yer here now. We can all show ya how we've all changed and grown when yah get the time. We're still your friends, Twi, and that won't change." Applejack smiles. "But, Ah do have to get back to the farm so I can make it to the party tonight. Everypony should get to doin' what they need to. Twi's party needs to be good, alright, Pinkie? Make it BIG!" She says as the group nods. Twilight noted that Applejack seemed to be the leader of the group when she was gone. Either way, everypony helped clean up the picnic before going on their way, Twilight trotting toward the train station with Fluttershy and Rarity behind her. Rainbow Dash would join them soon, but she had to grab something from her house first.

As Twilight walked through Ponyville with her friends, she felt some nostalgia. The town itself had not changed much, if at all, since she disappeared. Even then, though, her memory of the town's layout was hazy at best, no, due in part thanks to the millennia of being gone. The Ponyville of the past was much more condensed, and the buildings were tighter together. In the present, though, Ponyville was a lived-in town. The townhouses were moved to be more comfortable, more were added and built, and the houses themselves were upgraded from their wooden walls to stone and thatch.

Usually, such wanderlust and nostalgia would show on one's face. But not Twilight's. Usually, one would express sadness, worry, or even excitement in these situations. Instead, though, Twilight's expression was just a smile. The smile was well-practiced but genuine nonetheless. Twilight's thoughts drifted and shifted as she trotted along, mainly thinking about what she'd say to her mom and dad... Not to mention Celestia.

"Uh, Twilight. Are you alright?" Fluttershy says as she pokes Twilight on the side. The group had arrived at the train station, much to Twilight's surprise. "You were glaring a little."

Twilight blinks "I was?" She said with a confused voice. She wasn't trying to glare at all. Even Rarity was a little confused by the comment.

Fluttershy tilts her head as she tries to explain. "You looked upset like Discord does sometimes. Uhm... It's kind of like silent anger, I guess?" Fluttershy said after thinking about it for a moment. "Either way. If you want to say something, I think you should. Just remember not to be mean about it, alright? That's what I told Discord, at least."

Twilight takes a moment before she giggles a little. Fluttershy caught on that fast? She really had grown. "Of course, Fluttershy. Thanks, though I was just. Frustrated, I guess."

Rainbow Dash took this moment to land nearby. "Got it! Sorry, I had to grab my badge, or I wouldn't be able to get into the barracks!" She says with a little smile. "Although frustrated? I know that feeling. Even with all the help you girls gave me with the Wonderbolt exam, some of the tests we have to take every so often are still rough! But worth it. Only a few more months and I can take the test to become a fully-fledged Wonderbolt instead of a trainee!"

Twilight smiles. "Well, we'll all be there to cheer you on during your test."

Rainbow Dash smiles and nods. "Justttt make sure to buy a ticket this time. We don't want another Lightning Dust incident."

Twilight smiles a little. "Relax, a tornado couldn't stop me even if it wanted to." She says confidently, "But we'll be properly seated at the benches this time."

Twilight then glances around for hidden Applejacks before rubbing the back of her neck and saying sheepishly. "Even I'd have trouble keeping everypony safe in the middle of a tornado."

Rainbow Dash tilts her head, staying silent for a moment before answering. "Well, yeah, duh. Even the best Wonderbolts would have trouble keeping that many ponies safe in an intense storm. Especially one made by yours truly." She says with a smile

Twilight would just let out a little giggle. In reality, Twilight could save an entire town's worth of ponies in the middle of a storm. Maybe even blindfolded if she were having a good day that day. But if she said that, Rainbow Dash would almost certainly want to race or something similar.

She didn't want to show off her newfound abilities TOO soon. After all, surprises are fun. With a whistle, the train would come into the station. Twilight and her small group trotted onto the train and sat in a small group seating booth. There would be a moment of silence as they all got settled before Twilight would break the silence. "Oh. Huh. Uh, quick question. What day is it today anyways?" Twilight, with the Spirit of Time's power, had the luxury of knowing the exact time, but dates were a ponymade concept, which wasn't part of her powers.

Rarity blinks. "Oh, that is quite important. It's Tuesday, Darling. It's precisely one year and twenty-three days after you disappeared." Rarity says, as a matter of fact. "I apologize. I suppose time travel would be a little disorienting.

Twilight nods and calculates the exact date of that. "Thanks, just gotta get reoriented. So that means it's the town hall at the castle today..."

After a moment, a smile appears on Twilight's face. But this smile isn't one of happiness or thrill. No, this is a devious smile. Reminiscent of Discord or Unity even. "Oooh. That gives me an idea!~" She says with a devious giggle.

The rest of the group tilt their heads with varying levels of curiosity and worry. Rainbow chuckles a little. "Well, if you're gonna be pranking somepony, then make sure you make it good, alright, Twilight?" With a nod, she continued, sitting back on the seat. "If you need some pointers, don't be afraid to ask! Pranking is still my thing, ya know. Althoughhhh, I betcha picked some stuff up, so make it good, alright?"

Rarity perks up at the mention of that. "Oh! I had a question along those lines, Twilight. Knowing you, you weren't idle either. Anything fun~? New spells? Ancient magic? Perhaps something to help with clothing and outfits and such?" She tilts her head. "I've been having a horrible amount of creator's block recently." She sighs loudly

Twilight sighs. "Sorry, creator's block isn't curable with magic. You just gotta let it pass. Try doing something else for a while. I personally like to watch plays or go to events. Ponies tend to give the best ideas for things. Maybe you could observe as you wander around Canterlot, see if you notice something you like, and base your next project on it?"

Rarity's eyes twinkle intensely. "That's genius! Twilight. Could I make an outfit based on you and the princesses?! I could call it the princess line of clothing! The tagline could be 'Feel like a princess'! It'd be perfect!"

Twilight leans back and blinks twice. "Oh! Sure! I'm sure they wouldn't mind. I sure don't! Although you shook off that creator's block quickly."

Rarity giggles. "Darling, sometimes all you need is some advice and help. The worst thing you could do with creator's block is stress!" She says with a nod of her head.

Rainbow Dash chuckles a little. "Says the one saying it was the world's end yesterday." Fluttershy giggled a little, too, in agreement.

Rarity huffs and plays along with a smile. "Well, it was! I haven't made a new style of dress in over half a season! It was horrible! Just horrible!" She then giggles a little bit. "In all honesty, I had that idea ages ago, but without Twilight around, I felt the set wouldn't be complete. So I must insist that you come to the Boutique after you speak with the princesses and your family! At the very least, I can get the design phase started."

Twilight smiles. "Sure thing, Rarity. I'll, at the least, try. If not today, tomorrow."

Rarity rubs her ivory chin, contemplating something. "Tomorrow would be best. I apologize for my excitement. I completely forgot about the party for a moment. Tomorrow then."

Twilight smiles. "No need to apologize, but sure. Tomorrow then."

The train pulls into Canterlot station after around an hour, the small group happily talking and interacting with one another. Twilight shares some small stories about the girl's ancestors. Rainbow Dash's eyes sparkle with excitement as she hears about her long legacy of speedsters in her family. "WOW! Ya know, I honestly thought that I was the only one. My mom and dad aren't exactly fast or crazy good fliers. Heck, my dad sometimes forgets he has wings." She says with a giggle, "Although my mom has solid wings. Prism musta been from my mom's side of the family." She mumbles as she tries to work things out in her head, but then she gets a thought.

"Speaking of solid wings." Rainbow Dash says as she suddenly gives Twilight's left wing a poke. Twilight hardly budges from the gentle push, but it catches her off guard. "What the heck kinda training were you doing to go from the wings you used to have to these? I hardly recognized you briefly when you came out of the castle."

Twilight blinks. "Wuh? My wings are the same, I think?" She says as she looks them over. She knows she didn't mess up the disguise spell, so how could Rainbow see her improved wing strength?

Fluttershy looks over Twilight's right wing with a squint. "They do look the same Rainbow. Are you sure they're different?" Upon hearing that, Rainbow squints and looks at the unfolded wing Twilight was looking over.

"I dunno. It FEELS like Twilight's wings are stronger, and I mean WAY stronger. Heck. Stronger than mine even." Rainbow says curiously.

Twilight sighs. "Well, you're half right. I am a WAY better flier than I was before I disappeared. I could probably beat you a good sixty percent of the time, Rainbow~." She says with a smile. She saw no reason to hide her wing strength since Rainbow could see past her guise so easily and passively, although she did wonder why. "What gave it away anyway? Just a feeling?"

Rainbow rubs her chin. "I dunno. They seem like they're glowing. Like everypony with wings, there is some sparkle or light around them. Like my wings glow is as bright as the sun, but yours is just as if not brighter."

Twilight nods as she listens to Rainbow curiously. "So. What about that pegasi?" She points at Derpy, who is flying through the air.

Rainbow tilts her head as she looks and squints. "Kinda a light greyish sparkle, not too strong but not too weak." She says with a smile.

Twilight's eyes sparkle intensely. "Rainbow! I think you can see pegasus magic! That's incredible! I've never heard of anypony that can do that! When did you learn to do that?!" She says as she hops a little in place. Rainbow is chuckling a little at the question.

"Uhm. About half a year after you disappeared! It was real weird but kinda cool." Rainbow says with a bright expression. Being able to see pegasus magic was something unique to her. That's amazing! That just made her even cooler!

Twilight smiles. "We have to do some tests on it to see its limits. That could revolutionize all the industries that use flying! But later."

Rarity giggles. "Need to look stuff about it in the library? That'd be refreshing to see."

Twilight hums and giggles. "Maybe a little. But not enough to make a day of it." She says confidently. "Would be a good excuse to read all day, though." She sighs as they finally leave the station. Twilight smiling. "Alright, we'll meet at the Doughnut shop in an hour. If I'm late, that means either the princesses or my parents held me up a bit. Either way, I'll get my balloon from Celestia so we can get back to Ponyville quickly. Sound good?"

The group nods, and each pony goes their separate ways for the moment. Twilight sighs as she heads to the castle. As she's on approach, though, a slight chill runs down her spine as she enters the castle. The guards are too busy to notice her as they organize all the ponies going for the town hall meeting. With a little flap of her wings, Twilight slides forward on the clean and waxed floor of the castle, sliding along the floor and turning around and freezing time for the moment. "Discord."

"Twilight," Discord says, standing up straight from his attempt to touch her. "Just wanted to see if it was you. I couldn't be too sure after all. Considering everything." He says with a glance, "You've gotten short."

Twilight snerks. "And you've gotten old." She says with a smirk.

Discord gives a half-cocked grin as he tilts his head. "Says the one that's literally timeless. A little bit of an unfair comparison, don't you think?"

Twilight smugly smiles back. "Come on, Discord, why would a lady like myself ever be fair about her age?" She says with a little arrogant tone, the two staring each other down for a moment more. The duo then breaks down and laughs a little. "Nice to see you again, you self-proclaimed loser." She says with a smile

Discord huffs and chuckles. "And It's good to see you too, old lady. Don't forget your walker before you have your chat." He says with a grin. "So am I invited to the welcome back party? I hope so. I did put aside today so that I could show up~."

Twilight rolls her eyes. "Put aside time when you don't even work anymore, sure. But of course, Discord. I'd never wanna go to a party without my frienemy." She says with a cheeky smile and a sarcastic tone. "How could I EVER relax without your constant verbal insults."

Discord dramatically falls onto a random couch, his claw up against his forehead as he cries out, "Oh woe is meeee. My first best friend doesn't understand sarcasm when she hears it. Ohhh, what a world!"

Twilight rolls her eyes again and flicks Discord on the nose with her magic. "Says the one that ignored the sarcasm from me a second ago. Still, it is good to see you again, Discord." She says with a smile. "We can get lunch tomorrow, alright?"

Discord hums, "Tomorrow doesn't work. I'm having a tea party with Fluttershy at my house. Does Friday work for you?" He says as he pulls out a pocketbook made of flowers, his reading glasses appearing on his face.

Twilight thinks a little bit. "Fridays, the girls and I usually rest to prepare for whatever adventure happens on Saturday. But I don't really need to rest anymore, so I think that could work. Ten o'clock as usual?"

Discord nods. "I'll be late or early as usual. Or on time. Probably." He nods. "Now, don't be late. I'm excited to see what kind of chaos you're bringing to that throne room~." He says with a grin.

Twilight's eyes twinkled a little. "Oh, don't worry. I have a little plan for my lovely family." Twilight then slinks away to the main hall, time resuming as she does so.

Ten minutes later, the throneroom guard motions to Twilight, who is wearing a cloak and hood. Of course, Twilight had already spoken with the guard about this. She wanted to surprise the princesses, not make a national emergency.

"Ugh. I'm so tired, sister." Luna mumbles quietly to Celestia as the two watch the ponies cycle through. "I understand waking me up for the earlier question, but why must I stay awake?! I'm exhausted. Not to mention, this will throw off my schedule tonight."

Celestia sighs and whispers back. "Because the last time I let you return to bed, the ponies were upset that only one got to see both princesses. It's a strange source of gloating. Besides, you can bear with a single night of exhaustion." She mumbles, Celestia huffing a bit. After all, she fully believes her sister has a more straightforward job. How hard could it be to replace some flowers and explore the dreams of other ponies? Their mom did it alone for several millennia, and she looked just fine!

Then, a noise rang out, breaking Celestia's train of thought. Twilight raises an eyebrow as she stares at Celestia. The guards had already left the room, aside from a few. Since Twilight notified them about her presence, they much preferred to give the student and teacher their space for the moment at the behest of the 'younger' princess. "Ahem... I was going to do a big reveal. But you two seem to be a little lost. Was a thousand years that hard, you two~?" She says with a grin as she lowers her hood.

In an instant, Celestia and Luna tackle and hug Twilight. "TWILIGHT!"

"M-" and time is frozen as Twilight haphazardly puts up a sound barrier before allowing Luna to finish her sentence. "-other!" the two sisters hugging Twilight tightly.

"Luna!" Celestia says with a quick look around, calming down once she sees the barrier. "Phew... LUNA! Careful!" She says with a glare.

Luna huffs and glares at Celestia. "Let me have this thank you. Sorry if I'm a little starved for attention!" She grumbles a little and hugs Twilight tightly.

Celestia sighs. "Sorry, Twilight, I know you wanted to keep a bit of a lid on this stuff, but... I did miss you, too. A lot." She mumbles a little to herself as she hugs Twilight tight."

Twilight giggles a little. "You can still call me Mom in private! Just give me a bit of a warning." She says with a smile. "Or if you see me not disguised, I suppose." She says as she drops her disguise, scooping her daughters in a tight hug. "I can't say I missed you two since, from my side, I was only gone for like. Five minutes or so. But It's still great to see you two again." Twilight then releases her daughters, looking around and sighing a little nostalgically. "I do like what you've done with the castle. It's lovely." She says with a happy nod.

"But, Celestia. We have to have a conversation. A long one." She says as she looks right at the ivory alicorn with a glare.

Celestia blinks and nervously fidgets. After a moment, she tries to puff up her chest and take control of the conversation. However, as she looked up, she met with the towering figure of her mother standing point-blank in front of her. Not much intimidates Celestia. After all, she is the High Princess of Equestria! The most powerful pony there!

Except she wasn't. Twilight was both intimidating and insurmountable. Her very presence was thinning the magic in the room at a rapid pace. Celestial gulps and gives an awkward smile, entirely cowed by her mom. "Y-yes, Mom," she says as she sits straight down.

Twilight sighs. "Where to start? Firstly, you and Luna ARE equals, right?" she says, starting with the elephant in the room. Celestia nodded quickly and rapidly in response.

"Of course we are! We rule together-" Twilight cut off Celestia by raising a hoof.

"So where is Luna's throne? Is there a reason she only has a cushion in the Grand Hall? I know she has a throne in the proper throne room, but you two hardly ever use that room aside as an office. Explain." Twilight says with a glare.

Celestia blinks and confidently smiles. "Because Luna doesn't do day court! And when she does night court, she uses the throne just like I do!" she smiles and nods. Twilight humming.

"So if you were to be there for night court, you'd sit on the cushion?" Twilight says with a tilt of her head.

Celestia nods. "Of course! In the rare moments that it happens, I suppose." She says with a mumble as she thinks to herself. "Although. I don't remember the last time that actually happened. Ohhhhh." She says as her eyes widen as Twilight raises an eyebrow.

"There it is. Luna's night court is hardly ever full, and I doubt she has to wake you up very often, Celestia. Meanwhile, most ponies prefer to use day court for obvious reasons. You should have noticed, but your little sister is exhausted because you woke her up. You should know better. At the very least, give her the same respect you'd give to yourself. She's your fellow princess." Twilight says with an annoyed smile.

Luna blinked curiously. She never really considered why she didn't have a throne with her sister. Luna had always assumed it was either because it was too expensive or simply that her sister didn't believe she had yet earned it. After all, she hadn't been on the throne with her sister in over one thousand years. However, a sudden dizzy spell hits her head as she swoons a little. "Ugh."

Twilight catches it with a glance, sighing a little. "Luna, go to bed, please." She says, turning towards Luna and hugging her. "Whatever reason your sister said to keep you here isn't worth your mental and physical health."

Luna pauses, almost about to voice a complaint, but she sighs and nods. "Alright. I'll take my leave then. We can talk soon, though, right?" Luna asks with a smile, Twilight giggling and nodding in response.

That was all Luna needed. She would nod slightly to Twilight and her sister before taking the side door to go back to bed. Twilight watched Luna leave with a smile before sighing. "Celestia, I want to know exactly what happened between you and Luna. Not JUST this last time either. What happened at the Crystal Empire when I was out with Unity? Why did Luna end up becoming Nightmare Moon even after everything we did to try and prevent it? And of course." She turns towards Celestia. "Why? You know exactly what I'm asking about Celestia. You knew what would happen if I completed that spell. You KNOW that I would have finished it, regardless of whether I had known the truth. Instead, you kept it from me and stranded me in the past for literal Millenia! Did you even remember that time worked differently back then?! Do you know how much of my life I missed because of you? How worried my FAMILY was going to be?!" She says with a glare, trying to be angry, before exhaling and sitting down.

"Worst of all, I can't even be mad at you. You're my daughter, for Faust's sake. Even then, though, I don't think you realize how much harder you made my life." Twilight says as she rubs the back of her neck with a hoof. "I can't enjoy the same things I used to. Adventures are probably going to be boring as heck." Suddenly, Twilight jolts up, her self-preservation instincts kicking in with a rush of adrenaline. "And NO, I am not going to take over leading Equestria again." She says with a rise in her voice.

"You and Luna handle the politics. I'm retired from the actual princess duties. Oh sorry. Queen duties." Twilight says, nipping the prospect in the bud as quickly as possible. Celestia winced a little at the snap response, about to respond, before a voice rang out from nearby.

"So it WAS you." A pony says from a nearby corner. Somehow, she had gone entirely unnoticed this entire time. "I mean, I had my suspicions, considering your disappearance. But honestly, I just assumed you got assassinated or something. Or tripped and fell into Tartarus." The green earth pony smiles at Celestia and Twilight with a half-cocked smirk.

Twilight raises a wing instantly. "Celestia. Who's this?" She questions. The pony in question was in a maid outfit, and that expression was far too familiar to Twilight. Celestia silently tries to remember, but Twilight breaks the silence first with her revelation. "You're Spectator's descendent."

The pony smiles. "Wallflower, at your disservice. I believe you knew my great great grandma, Unity." She says with a smirk, the mention of the name causing Twilight and Celestia to both prepare their magic. Twilight's horn shimmers while Celestia envelops her horn in a golden hue. Yet Wallflower smiles in the face of her two overwhelming opponents. "Oh, so impatient." She says with a giggle, "I'd be careful, Twilight. Equestria isn't as dense with mana as it used to be. It would be a shame if you hurt somepony. After all, this barrier spell is already pretty intense!"

With those words, Celestia's horn suddenly fizzled and sparked, a grunt escaping her mouth as she stumbled backward onto her throne, groaning as Twilight's spell drew magical energy out of her body. "Wha- AGHH!?" Twilight's eyes widened in surprise as she dropped the barrier spell and the spell she was preparing in her horn, only using her magic to disguise herself and nothing more. Twilight's magic had almost entirely drained the natural magical energy in the room to the point where it was draining it from the ponies themselves. In other words, Celestia.

Wallflower cheekily smiles at Twilight. "Oh noooo. Is the element of magic unable to use magic?! Psh. What a silly conundrum. Oh well.~"

Twilight's glare intensifies. "I can still use regular spells, you know. And unlike your ancestor, I doubt you're even slightly immune to them." She says with a glare.

Wallflower hums as she looks over her hoof. Looking up towards Twilight with a smug look on her face. "Maybe I am, though. After all, ponies do call me 'The true descendent' for a reason. Although, honestly, I find that name quite demeaning. I mean, I'm doing this because I want to, not out of obligation to Granny Unity. But I digress. Are you willing to take that chance?"

Twilight winces in response. The backlash from hitting Unity's defenses with ordinary magic was well ingrained in her mind. It could easily cost her a limb, or worse, her life, taking her reduced powered state into account. There was a reason why Moondancer avoided using too much magic against Unity, especially offensive magic.

Wallflower smirks at Twilight's hesitation. "Well, I'll take your silence as permission to leave. Wouldn't want that brain of yours to problem solve itself out of this situation." She says with a wave of her hoof. "Watch your back 'Your Majesty' because you're going to go through the worst I can throw at you from now on."

Twilight glares and grits her teeth. "Just leave my friends out of this if that's the case."

Wallflower sputters "Well duh! I'm not a horrible pony. You're the only one I care about. If they get in the way, they're collateral, sure, but I'm not going to go out of my way to ruin their lives, nor Celestia or Luna's. But I welcome you to all work together to try and stop me. It sounds like fun." She says with a subdued smirk. "See ya~." She says before vanishing behind the doorway. Even as the guards finally show up, they can't find her anywhere. Wallflower disappeared entirely.

Twilight was startled by Wallflower's speech. Typically, she would have done something midway through it, but the small crowd of ponies watching meant she had to use the little bit of magic left to distort their hearing. There wasn't enough left for her to put up another perception barrier or something similar. "Celestia, are you alright?" She asks quickly, helping her daughter stand up.

"I'm fine, Twilight. Just a little tired. The rest of the day, court is canceled. On account of that, it seems there's another villain on the horizon." Celestia grimly says, the crowd of ponies dispersing after a moment.

Celestia and Twilight quietly sat down on the throne room floor once everyone had left. Twilight breaks the silence. "Why is magic so thin?" She asks, the pair catching their breath, not out of any form of exhaustion but out of sheer anxiety.

Celestia sighs. "That's—a long story. Simply put, I had to use the spirit of magic to force the Elements of Harmony to banish Luna when she became Nightmare Moon. Because of that, the regulation of mana and its creation across Equestria became much weaker. Luckily, everyone was still using standard spells by then, but your magic draws in far too much of it." Celestia winces a little. "I didn't expect it to draw in that much, though."

Twilight's eyebrow twitches a little. "I already scolded you about your treatment of your sister. I won't do so again. But I do expect you to help your sister more than you have. Perhaps learn what she does for Equestria. Rather than the mental warfare you both go through every day." She says with a glare. "We've all gone through more than we should in a lifetime. Let's not make each other's lives harder, too." She says gently to Celestia, giving her a pat on the side.

Celestia nods but giggles after a moment. "You know. I tried not to think of you as Mother while you're like this, but you've matured beyond what you were as my student. It's hard to see past that." She sighs and sits back. "Are you sure you don't want to rule Equestria again, Twilight? Things were so better under you."

Twilight laughs loudly and looks up at the ceiling. "Celestia, did you forget the Millenia of mistakes I made? The constant pain I put you and Luna through? Not to mention the damage I did to myself?" She sighs a little, Twilight looking quietly into the space above them, her eyes unfocused and tired. "You might remember the good days, the adventures, the stories I told you at night, and the little gifts we got for being good rulers, but that was less than half of my very long rule. There was so much wrong with what I did. So much loss. So many wars. Now, there's peace, and I have no idea what to do with it. Even after those last few years with you two as ruler. I'm just tired."

Celestia tenses up for a moment before drooping her head a little. "I understand. For what it's worth, I think you did a better job than I ever could." She says with a little laugh, Celestia sighing quietly.

Twilight smiles. "You've only been in charge for around two thousand years. Give it some time. You'll surpass me faster than you think. Do you know why? Because you aren't alone. You have your sister through everything, even your troubles. I'm willing to help if you wanna take a short break, though." Twilight says with a tilt of her head and a gentle nuzzle to her daughter.

Celestia giggles a little and nods. "I'll hold you to that. Anyways." She stands up and stretches a little. "I'm sure you want to see Spike, so I'll let you go, for now, Mother." She reaches down and hugs Twilight tight. "Make sure to keep everypony safe. Just like you always do."

Twilight smiles. "Course, Celestia." She says as she watches Celestia trot away. Twilight stood up and trotted to the grand door. With a gentle push, Twilight opens the door and smiles at the waiting dragon on the other side of it. The two share a tight and close hug.

Spike holds on tight. He was far too overwhelmed with emotions to speak. Twilight sighs and holds onto him, tears streaming from their faces as they quietly share a moment, reunited at last. Spike is the first to break the silence. "Welcome back, Twilight." He says with a broad smile and tear-laden eyes. There was so much to talk about, so much he wanted to ask. Yet, in the end, he could only be happy that she was finally home.

Twilight holds tight to Spike, the pair taking around five minutes to recompose themselves. They would chat, but right now, it was just a moment to be together. "You wanna come with m-"

Spike cuts Twilight off. "Absolutely."

With that, the two head out of the castle. Twilight goes back to her fillyhood home in Canterlot. A long meeting with her parents ensues as questions fly back and forth. In the end, Twilight is quite late to the meet-up she promised her friends. They understood, of course.

Now, if only she had remembered the chariot, too! It would take another twenty minutes before Twilight would return with the chariots. They would make it back long before the party, but they were around thirty minutes later than they wanted to be.

Fluttershy, Rarity, and Rainbow quickly take off to get some final things ready for the party in less than an hour, leaving Twilight and Spike alone at the castle. Twilight hums as she takes a spare empty journal she grabbed from her house, trotting into the castle.

"Sunset was messaging a ton when you were gone," Spike says. "She filled up the book before I realized it. I told her to leave you some space at the end. Good thing I was keeping an eye on it!" He says proudly, Twilight smiling and nuzzling him gently.

"Very good work, Spike. I'm proud of you." Twilight says with a bit of pep in her step, heading towards the second library, a large decrepit machine resting inside. Twilight looks over the machine with a sigh, grabbing a toolbox from the ground with a quick burst of magic.

She repairs the machine in less than a second.

Twilight smiles. "Well, good to know. Time stop drains about half of the mana in the surrounding area for around twenty seconds of stop. It'll have to do in the future." She smiles as the portal begins to shudder and shake, sparks of familiar pink magic surging down the wires and into a mirror. With a tremendous crash and spark, the portal opens, a bright flash of white light shining.

The portal also drained whatever was left of the mana in the air. Causing Twilight's transformation to be disabled.

"WOAH!" Sunset says as she tumbles through the portal, falling flat on her face at Twilight's hooves. Twilight herself was caught off guard by her transformation being canceled, but there wasn't anything she could do about it until nature restored the ambient magic.

So she just ran with the punches because, at this point, she couldn't be bothered. Even if this happened before the mane six, she probably would just run with it. It's not like she's attached to the secret or anything.

She wants the right time to come for it. As usual, though, fate is cruel.

"Ce- wait, no. Twilight?! Is that you?!" Sunset says with her eyes wide. Pinkie passed by in the hallway and answered for Twilight.


Twilight, unphased by Pinkie knowing her secret already, nods to Sunset. "Yep! Here's the replacement book you wanted." She says as she lifts the book over. Her transparent magic surprised Sunset enough to the point where she utterly forgot to catch the book, which landed on the ground with a loud thud.

Twilight stares at the book with confusion before looking up at Sunset with a confused expression. Sunset waited another few moments before yelling out. "Okay, NO! You do not get to nonchalant this! Explain! What happened?! Why did you disappear for so long?! Why are you taller than Celestia, and why do I want to hug you?!" She says with a grumble.

Twilight hums a bit. "Well, I was stuck in the past. I got locked down back then because I was made Queen of Equestria. Time worked way differently back then because of how dense magic was. Celestia and Luna are my adopted daughters, and I dunno, probably because we haven't seen each other in ages?" Twilight says before she sits down. "But if you want the long story. Then you'll have to come to the party tonight. Bring the others, too! You haven't shown them around Equestria yet, right?"

Sunset blankly stares as she digests the information Twilight gave her. A few moments later (Along with some willpower), Sunset responds quietly. "Wuh? Well, no, but wouldn't two Pinkies cause the end of existence or something? I feel like that'd cause chaos."

Twilight giggles. "Relax, we've had to deal with more than just two Pinkie Pies before. We can manage, besides. I want to see everyone and explain as much as possible."

Spike cuts in. "To a degree, though." He says bluntly. "I still don't think keeping all the 'being Celestia and Luna's mom' and your time as Queen a secret is a good idea, Twilight."

Twilight winces a little. "Spike, I don't even want to think about some of the stuff from back then. I'll tell them when I'm ready, promise. Right now, though, I just want to relax." Twilight sighs tiredly and sits down, stretching her neck a little.

Sunset looks Twilight over a little. Her eyes quickly lock in on the various scars and scratches over her friend and mentor's larger body. "You really do look like you've been through hell. Erm. Tartarus. I can see why you wanna hide it." She says as she gently traces a scar going down Twilight's side with a hoof, primarily out of blank curiosity.

Twilight just giggles. "Sunset, I don't know how it is in your world, but touching someone's scars without permission is commonly considered rude here." This comment causes Sunset to jolt out of her stupor.

Sunset studders and tries to find her mental footing as she apologizes quickly with a bow. "Sorry! Sorry. Just. I've never seen a pony who's actually war-torn before. Not even in books." She says quietly, curiously looking at Twilight. "Heck, that's not even the only thing. I haven't practiced magic in who knows how long, and I can feel the pressure you put out." Sighing, she stands straight up and lifts the book with her magic, sliding it into her bag. "I'm definitely not jealous of you anymore, though." She laughs a little to herself.

Twilight snickers. "Mm, infinite magic, but no way to use it. I do need to figure out the mana issue at some point. At least when I'm outside, I can use most of my magic freely." With a thoughtful tilt of her head, Twilight thinks quietly to herself. "Hey, Sunset, you're a senior in high school now, right?"

Sunset blinks and nods. "Yeah. I'm graduating in a few months. Why?" She tilts her head before taking a moment longer to think. "Oh. Uh. I don't know about that. I mean, all the girls are moving away for University, and without an ID, I can't exactly do that." She mumbles. "I've gotten by this far, though. I don't wanna move back."

Twilight tilts her head. "Erm, I wasn't actually going to suggest that. I was wondering if you wanted to see Celestia anytime soon! It's your choice to live where you want to live, Sunset. But. Well." She mumbles, "Ya know, I'm glad you had a good life there. Even if it was hard."

Sunset sighs a little and shifts in place. "I just. I'm not ready for that, honestly. Not yet, at least. It's like. I dunno."

Twilight rubs her chin. "Arguing with your adoptive mother, then running away to another dimension and being all pouty there?" She continues, "Then you only find out later that she was trying to protect you and raise you to be better?"

Sunset blinks. "Uh. Yeah. That hits the feeling on the nose. Like, Celestia raised me, I don't really remember my birth parents too much." She mumbles quietly before chuckling. "Heh, guess that makes you my grandma," Sunset says teasingly to Twilight, who rolls her eyes in response.

"If you want, I don't think you could handle my level of doting," Twilight says as she boops Sunset on the nose. "Either way, though, meeting with Celestia is your choice, Sunset," Twilight says as her magic shines momentarily, restoring her disguise. "I'll support you either way." She nods and continues after a moment. "Besides, I've kept bigger secrets from Celestia over the years."

Sunset taps her chin a bit. "Wait, so are you gonna be high Queen again? I always wondered why Celestia was just a princess all this time." Sunset's eyes light up. "Does this mean you know all the Pillars of Equestria? Ohhh! What was Clover the Clever like? And Starswirl the Bearded?!"

Twilight smiles and giggles. "I'll tell you all about it at the party, alright? But as for your first question. Nooooooo never again. However, I do have a plan for that, too. I was saving this for later, but would you like your old position as a student back? Celestia and Luna probably won't last much longer in office; for all I taught them, they're far too fun-loving to stay active royalty much longer. Probably like... Four seasons worth at most." Twilight says to a stunned Sunset before continuing. "Course, you'll have to get back up to speed. It'll take a while, so you'll have plenty of free time to visit your friends AND make new ones. You won't have to worry about finding a job since bits are worth a ton in your dimension, and I can handle your schooling, too."

Sunset blinks and shakes her head. "Are you sure? The other world is a bit more advanced than Equestria."

Twilight smiles and tilts her head. "Try me! Trust me, I can certainly get-"

Sunset rubs her chin before cutting Twilight off. "Integral of e to the two x power."

Twilight rubs her chin a little. "One-half e to the two x power plus the floating constant."

Sunset continues, "The Derivative of E to the power of x to the second power."

Twilight giggles. "Easy one. Two x e to the power of the second power of x."

Sunset sputters a bit. "Calculus hasn't even been invented in Equestria! How the heck?"

Twilight cheekily smiles. "It was actually uninvented in Equestria. I'm lucky enough to be one of the only two ponies that still remembers it. I can certainly teach you too if you wanna avoid the cost of schooling in that world, too." She giggles a little.

Sunset rubs her forehead with her hoof, conflicted in her mind. On one hoof, this is a massive chance for her. On the other, she'll miss her friends dearly. "I. Can I get back to you on this? I just need to think about it." She says with a mumble.

Twilight giggles. "Of course, Sunset, I wouldn't want you to jump into this blindly. It's an offer and stands for as long as you need."

After this, Twilight and Sunset spend around half an hour chatting with each other, with Spike joining in the mix. Sunset would then go back through the mirror to speak with her friends and see if they wanted to try to attend the party, too.

With only a short time before the party starts, Spike and Twilight sit together in the library. Silence overtakes the room as Spike looks over to Twilight. "So uh... Twilight, are you sure you're alright?" He says as he looks up towards the very tall alicorn. Twilight just wistfully stares at the mirror and her reflection.

"Aside from Pinkie, who won't push her nose into it unless I give her an opening, the rest of the girls will ask and ask about every little thing that happened if they see me like this Spike. Every little thing, from the wars to the fights and monsters, they'd ask about everything. Sure, I'm sure some of them have an idea about what's going on, but. I don't want them to see exactly who I've become."

Spike tilts his head and continues to listen as Twilight speaks. "I've killed, hurt, nearly destroyed Equestria, almost died, got hurt, saw my best friend killed because I was too mentally weak. Heck, Rarity would faint seeing me like this." She says with a laugh. Without any cosmetic magic on herself, Twilight's body is adorned with scars and scratches that never fully healed right. Usually, she has some level of cosmetic magic on to look presentable, but right now, she has none.

"Then why'd you tell and show Sunset?" Spike asks, confused by Twilight's actions. If she really did hate how she was, how her body looked, then why was she so willing to talk about it?

Twilight just giggles. "Because I want to tell everyone, I really do, Spike. But. I'm just a coward now." She says with a little dry laugh. "I'm scared of what they'll say and think. Sunset is like me, so I knew she'd not really dig into anything. Sure, she'll be curious and poke at it from time to time, but she's like Celestia when she was younger. I know that type well enough. Sunset and I, on a one-on-one basis, are close. We used to write literally every night, after all." She sighs. "And I guess I'm way more scared of the girls and their reaction than Sunset's. Way more." Twilight says truthfully, resting her head on the floor of the room. "There's just too many ways things can go wrong. It can blow up in my face in way too many ways. I mean, think about it. I'm Celestia and Luna's mom. That alone would change anypony's perspective of me."

Spike looks as if he's about to protest before thinking about it for a moment. Ponies were swift to make assumptions, and word traveled quickly. He truly couldn't refute that statement, not confidently, at least. "Well. I think you should still take the chance. Maybe not today or tomorrow. But soon." He says. "Keeping secrets from your close friends like that sucks. So just. Do your best with it, Twilight." He says with a smile. "Now, how about we get ready for the party."

Twilight takes a deep breath, sighing a little as she does so. "Let's do it."

Twilight and Spike stand up, trotting out of the room to get ready. Twilight's disguise returns as they exit the room with a gentle sparkle of her horn. She didn't know what the future held for them. But she knew one thing.

She was home after those long years. She was finally home.