Twilight was thoroughly enjoying her day off. Just some alone time in her private room, a soft cushion, a warm cup of team and the numerous books that lined her walls, stacks on her desk, and favorites she kept close to enjoy their pages once again. It was everything she ever wanted.
After she became a princess, she did not nearly have as much free time as she used to. She used to spend days just locked up inside, reading and experimenting. True, she still did that from time to time, but she had responsibilities now. Well, she was sure she was supposed to have a lot of them, her wings did not come with a checklist of things she was supposed to do, so she had made her own instead. She pretty much decided herself how much princess work and responsibility she had, but that was no reason to take it easy. If anything, her new stature had inspired her to work harder. She was the princess of friendship after all, friendship lectures, friendship science, friendship activities, long distance friendship, intimate friendship, there was always something that could be done.
But she still had time for her lifelong passion on her days off.
Reading some of her countless books, as a princess she now had access to nearly any litteral work she wanted. If her younger self could see the personal library she had now, oh she would faint on the spot.
She also spent quite some time in her laboratory, performing numerous experiments. That room had been rebuilt so many times she had lost count, too many explosions. But it was all worth it, after all, in the endless pursuit of knowledge, sometimes sacrifices had to be made.
Her current book was truly encaptivating, “The Modern Science of Writing, the wonders of the Oxford comma by Richard Ponkins.” she was going to spend the entire day enjoying and devouring its 500 pages of content. She was also enjoying a nice cup of tea while reading; true, coffee was the drink of progress, but she had already spilled a few cups earlier that day as her magic had been fizzling in and out. It was probably just some minor illness, and she was not the kind of mare who let something so minor stop her from her work. So, refusing to spill anymore, on herself or her work, she quietly sipped the tea, holding the cup in her hoof. Yes, truly nothing could be better.
Her door flew open, with such force that it literally flew off the hinges, sailed majestically through the room, only missing her face by a few inches and embedded itself deeply in the crystalline wall.
“Twilight! It's an emergency!” Celestia called out, bursting into the room with her horn still glowing.
“She is reading, quickly sister, before it is too late!” Having both the royal sisters barge into her bedroom would normally sent Twilight into a fit, since such an occurrence must be because of a disaster of some kind. However, Twilight had barely noticed the two other Alicorns now, her mind a little more preoccupied with the fact that she had almost just been beheaded by her own door a few seconds ago.
“You are right, there is no choice.” Twilight was however, rudely brought back to reality as a bottle was showed into her mouth. “Its for the good of Equestria Twilight, don't fight it.” The liquid burned like hot fire as some of it splashed against her taste buds. She struggled against Celestia's grip, but it only made her want to gasp for air, making her swallow even more of the vile stuff. She started to choke, she just could not swallow fast enough. “S-she is choking Luna, should I let go?”
Luna looked upon the bizarre scene with contemplation.
“I say, give it a minute sister, this is not a bad thing all thing consithe-
A flash erupted as Twilight disappeared, then reappeared in the middle of the room, coughing up clear liquid and gasping for air.
“W-what is wrong with you?!” Twilight sputtered, and the taste of the liquid now registered with her. “Vodka?”
“It's not enough, Cadence, hit it” And hit it she did, Twilights face crashed against the floor, her head was pounding, ripples of pain made it hard to even blink. She was rolled onto her back, three colored blobs stood above her, one white, one dark, and one very pink.
“W-we didn't kill her, did we?” The pink blob was panicking, it was moving in and out of her vision.
“What do you mean we, you were the one who swung the bat!”
“Don't be ridiculous you two, a little head trauma has never stopped us before, i'm confident that Twilight is fine… relatively speaking.” The three princesses were huddled over the fourth who were coughing, twitching and muttering on the floor.
“How long before she comes to sister?” Luna poked the prone form of Twilight.
“Hard to say, but I believe we did as well as we could in our initial assault.”
“Assault?! We are doing this for the good of ponykind!” Cadence cried out in shock.
“True… but you did assault her with that bat of yours.” Luna pointed out.
“Details aside, lets get everything set up, Cadence you bring in the heavy things, Luna, you handle the…
Twilight was never fully passed out, it was more like a haze, she had heard bits and pieces throughout the whole thing, even felt her body being moved. When her sensed properly came back to her, she expected a massive headache and even gritted her teeth in anticipation, she remembered the initial impact and the pain from the bat. However, nothing so major came, it was instead just a lot murring pain. Annoying sure, but something that could be ignored.
She could also hear multiple sound surrounding her, voices that she knew.
“Nice form on that hit by the way, have you been practicing?” She heard Luna speak. Opening her eyes she found herself put in front of a television, she did not recognize the show, she could never afford to put aside enough time to watch anything unless it was a learning program. To her right was Celestia, intently watching the show, and resting on several large pillows. To her left, Luna was chatting with Cadence.
“I have actually, shiny and I do it three times a week.” Cadence replied, grabbing a imaginary bat and giving it a few swings through the air.
“It certainly shows.”
Twilight returned her attention to herself, she had first thought that she could not move her legs due to some damage she had suffered, but that was not the case. She let out a slow sigh.
“Why am I tied up?” She could have magiced herself out of there in a heartbeat, but that would most likely make her headache resurface.
“Oh, you are awake,” Celestia was the one who answered her, Luna and Cadence were still talking with each other, their topic having moved onto stallions and why Luna should visit the crystal empire. “How are you feeling Twilight?”
“Like someone hit me in the head,” the answer was quick and blunt, but it did not phase Celestia, she only smiled.
“I know it must have been unpleasant, we tried our best to heal up the area, but because of the circumstances it might not have been entirely successful.” Twilight knew that she should question this, that it held some amount of importance based on how Celestia said it, she just could not bring herself to care over the confusion and annoyance that was her situation.
“Why am I here?” She was tired, hurting and confused, in no mood to beat around the bush. Celestia looked towards Twilight but refused to meet her eyes.
“None of us wanted to do this Twilight, but you gave us very little choice in the matter.” Celestia shook her head, her billowing rainbow mane flowing back and forth with the movements. “Oh watch this with me Twilight, I love this scene.” Two hooves in golden shoes grabbed Twilight by the head and twisted it towards the television.
“What in the hell?!” She tried to fight the sun princess, but it was futile, she did not have the physical strength to combat the solar princess on her best days, in her current state, she was helpless.
“Shh, this is where ambasador Snazzyhoof confesses his love for Boulder Bottom.” True enough, Twilight was forced to watch as the drama in question unfolded on the screen. The stallion had set the stage, rose in mouth and even a fireplace in the background, as he confesses his undying love for the mare in question. But she brushed him off, saying that their love could never be, it really was hitting all the cliche checkmarks. Rolling her eyes, Twilight noticed that both Luna and Cadence were now also entranced by the drama.
“She want to but she c-can't.” Cadence held up a handkerchief to her eyes, as Twilight started struggling harder against her former mentor. To hell with a headache she though and poured more and more mana into her horn, this insanity had gone on long enough. The entire room was illuminated as her horn lit up, sparks started shooting off it, causing small burns on the nearby pillows and carpet. But no matter how much mana she poured into her spell, it just seemed to drain right back out. What was going on, she was top graduate at her class, she was Twilight freaking Sparkle, element of magic. This was supposed to be like nothing to her. But after a solid minute she could not take it anymore, it was if Discord himself was pounding the inside of her head with a mallet and the spell ended. Her head grew heavy, but it was still held up by Celestia, pointed towards the television.
“So it has reached even you. Im sorry Twilight, I truly am.” She felt the wings of her mentor surround her in a hug as panic started to set in, her breathing was quickening and her chest felt tight. “I will explain everything if you promise to keep watching, can you do that for me Twilight?” Words would not form in her mouth, all she could do was nod. “Good. I hoped that we could stop it before it grew this bad, no one pony alone should be able to affect it this much… but nopony could have foreseen you Twilight.”
“W-what's going on with me?” She gasped.
“With all of us, Twilight. Magic in its entirely is failing.”
“W-what? How can that be? Magic is an integral part of all things, its theorized to be one of the foundational building blocks of the universe, i-is Tirek on the loose again? Has he found some way to siphon all the magic from a remote place?” Her mind was racing, almost forgetting her pounding headache in trying to reach a answer to this problem. “Perhaps he has gained some ancient artifact and is channeling his power through it, if his ability to absorb magic is entirely biological its possible that-” a hoof was held up to her lips, silencing her.
“Here Sparkle, have a drink and calm down.” Luna presented a glass to her, the clear liquid inside was obviously more vodka, the smell made her nose scrunch up. Despite the earlier event, this massive revelation that had been dropped on her made her agree, a drink was needed. It burned on the way down just like before, but in a more comforting manner this time.
“Just watch the drama and let us explain Twilight,” Celestia continued. “You see, what you said about magic is… not necessarily true. It's what a lot of smart ponies believe and think, but in the end it's just that, theories. The truth is that us Alicorns discovered, ages ago, the true source of magic.” Twilight silently thanked Luna who poured her another shot before she could start to panic again. “You see, the cause of magic… is ignorance.”
“I… w-wh… what?”
“Yup, the dumber the better.” Cadence chimed in, while this had all gone down it seemed she had even made herself a martini.
“Exactly. Magic, as far as we know, should not work. But the sheer ignorance of ponykind, in its entirety, makes them so oblivious to that fact, and somehow, through the power of this lack of knowledge, magic exists.”
“But… if… No, no that can't be.” She looked up at her mentor, but her head was forced back down to watch the soap opera once again, where the main stallion from before had somehow gained a identical twin who was also madly in love with the same mare.
“Its true, it's why I had to hit you with the bat, sorry about that by the way.” She heard Cadences apology, but her mind was still mostly stuck on Celestia's revelation.
“I told you that she would take this badly, we should have just drugged her.” Luna commented from the side, pouring herself a shot this time.
“Shush Luna. Cadence is right though, it's why we had to take such drastic measures.” Celestia sighed. “I had hoped that you would stop, or at least take your self imposed studies less seriously after I had sent you to ponyville to make friends. And especially after you became a princess, but no, you never did stop. Your intellect and pursuit for knowledge is offsetting the balance Twilight, we never thought it possible but it happened. You have single handedly outweighed the ignorance and stupidity of all of Ponykind, causing magic to grow weaker, and disappear.”
“N-no but…” Twilights mind was racing for answers. This was insane, how could any of what she had been told be true. How could she not trust her fellow princesses though? “B-but what about you? Perhaps not Cadence but you and Luna are fountains of knowledge.”
“Hey!” came the angry, insulted voice of Cadence from the side.
“It's all a facade Twilight,” continued Celestia. “I use big and lengthy words without knowing what they mean. I know it makes me sound smart and wise, but most of what I say, I have no clue what actually means,” she admitted. “Ponies say that me and Luna rule Equestria as a Diarchy. I have no clue what this means though, and I don't seek the answer out. I stay ignorant”
“That makes no sense!”
“Exactly, and you have to learn to embrace that Twilight.” Luna chimed in. “As for me, I can't read, it was a choice I made and im quite happy with it.” A few stray hairs were poking out of Twilights mane at this point, her world being turned on its head.
“B-but, I have seen you in the library with me on multiple occasions, I see you staring at pages for hours on end!”
“All pretend, I find it calming, to stare unto the words, and make up my own ideas about what is written there. I nearly started a war with the zebras you know, I replied to a trade agreement offer with insults and anger as i had fantasized that they insulted our glorious mane rather than the actual meaning.”
“Yes, that was a rather fickle situation. You have gotten better in later times tho, even hired a secretary who reads everything out loud to you.” Celestia added, all while Luna nodded, seeming really pleased with herself.
“I...b-but...You...no,” Twilight wanted nothing more than to curl up into a ball. “I refuse to believe this. This is all some sick prank, it has to be.”
“I know that it's hard to believe Twilight, but sacrifices must be made for the greater good. Just look at Cadence, she-”
Everypony looked over to see Cadence, laying on her back, her wings sprayed out and her forelegs held close to her chest and her hind legs up and splayed out, leaving very little to the imagination. Her tongue flopped out over the vodka bottle that was still in her mouth. A weird sound, not too unlike snoring but more akin to wheezing due to the bottle, that distorted and amplified the noise, came from her as her chest rose and fell.
“-Cadence is a raging alcoholic. She did not need nearly as much convincing or persuading as Luna and I did in our days.” The three of them shared a moment of silence, staring down upon the pink trainwreck. “You don't need to share her enthusiasm, frankly I don't recommend it.” Celestia looked at Luna who nodded knowingly. Her horn lit up along with Cadences tail, but it flickered out again just as quickly as it came.
“Urgh, fine.” Luna bent down and bit the tail instead, and with a grunt of effort, she dragged the drunken, unconscious princess out of the room, leaving only Celestia and Twilight.
“Here, have a drink with me.” Celestia brought two shot glasses with a green glow to them, holding one of them up to twilight.
“I thought you said to not follow Cadences example.”
“We are having a drink, not an entire bottle,” the sun princess smiled. “Bottoms up,” she assisted Twilight in emptying her glass before downing her own. The green liquid not only burned, but made their entire body tingle and itch on the inside for a few moments. “Rotgut absinthe, my favorite.” She let out a slow breath, and a cloud of green smoke escaped from her lips.
“Is there no other way?” She pleaded.
“We would not have shown up like we did if it was. Our little ponies rely on this ignorance, as do we. We have gone through great steps to ensure that our ponies remain as stupid as they do. And we need it to stay like that.” A small smile graced Celestia's lips. “Just look at Discord, or Pinkie Pie, there is a perfect example of what ignorance can bring you if you truly embrace it my former student.”
“Hehehe, h-he, they, impossible. Pinkie could never, but I couldn't, and he did...” that was the last straw that broke the dam, and Twilight started laughing hysterically between ramblings of logic and sense. “Books… what about my books?
“We will confiscate the majority of them for the moment. I have left you some other reading material in the meantime.” Celestia got up and walked towards the door. “I trust you to do what must be done. I would rather avoid, having to make an emergency visit like this again.” With that, she walked out, leaving Twilight alone in the room.
“Wait, you forgot to untie me!” Twilight shouted after her. “Just leaving me with this, what am I supposed to do?” Her eyes wandered until they fall upon the television once again.
“Kiss me mr Snazzlehoof, make me your mare!”
“COME BACK HERE AND LET ME OUT!”
“Romance novels? That's seriously uncool, did Rarity get you these?” It had been a few days. She eventually got free from the chair, but not before suffering many, many hours of that godforsaken show.
“No Rainbow Dash, and it's not that bad,” it was, “they have grown on me.”
“If you say so,” Rainbow trotted around Twilight, looking at the bookshelves. “Think you went a little overboard though.” Every single book on the shelves, was a romance novel of some kind. Trashy romance, historic romance, steamy, even some with light touches of fantasy.
“What do you want Rainbow?”
“Hm? Oh, ye, me, Pinkie and Applejack are going to the bar. Wanna come along?”
“Rainbow, the right way to say it is, Pinkie, Applejack and… nevermind.” She put a red bookmark into the novel, and closed it shut. “You know what? A drink or ten sounds perfect right about now.”
“Really?” Rainbow looked up, her eyes wide with surprise before a grin set in. “Awesome, didn't think you liked drinking.”
“Then why would you ask me to join you?” She asked, only getting a shrug in response from her pegasus friend. “Urgh, anyway, figured I might as well start. Couldn't hurt.”
“That's the spirit Twilight, come on now, the girls are waiting.” Being her impatient self, she started pushing Twilight towards the door.
“I feel like i'm going to regret this,” Twilight spoke.
“Oh definitely, but hey, that's part of the fun. Now let's go, a night of partying is waiting.”
“Heh, yeah,” a ghost of a smile came over Twilights features. “Lets go.”