It was another ordinary day in Canterlot. The sun shone as it always had, birds sang their merry songs, and flowers bent softly in the gentle breezes. But for the School for Gifted Unicorns, all was quiet in comparison to the bustling activity outside.
In various rooms, young ponies of different ages were hard at work, perfecting their magical craft in their eager attempt to reach the next level. The School was rather large, but a couple voices could be heard echoing down the hallway thanks to the silent rooms - mostly due to the muffling spells so nopony could possibly overhear and cheat.
"Are you ready, Miss Sparkle?" Asked a rather stern voice.
A moments pause passed before the answer came. "I am."
"Very well. Let us begin your final exam with some 'basic' spellcasting." The sound of chalk on a board writing things down could be heard, and after a moment, the faintest sounds of magical power could be heard in reply.
For anyone stepping inside Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns (inside Twilight Sparkle's dream) a building that exuded warmth and acceptance on the outside seemed a bit bleak inside, with maroon walls and red diamonds on the windows of the classroom doors. One couldn't tell which room the unicorn being tested was in. This one building alone had lots of floors, with plenty of classrooms on each floor, so the seeker would have to find some way to find Twilight in the mostly-silent halls.
The faint creek of the door echo'd down the corridor as the shape of a stallion came into view. With the light fading behind him as the door closed, Night Light soon focused on the dream he had entered. Just a cursory look around could tell him where he was. The walls and windows were, well reminiscent of Celestia's School for Gifted unicorns, but he had only been in these halls once and that was for Twilight's first day of school when he dropped her off. Thus far, he couldn't tell if this was a dream or a nightmare yet. Personally it looked as if it was a nightmare at the moment. Like students were being whipped into magical shape literally. Walking down the hallway, he looked to the doors, hoping to find some sort of logic within their numbering or positioning that may let him know where she was.
As he walked further into the hall, his horn started to glow with all 10 candle lights of power. It was enough to help him see. Perhaps the faint glow of the light would call his daughter to him. That is if she was physically able to or not caught up in something that she couldn't step away from to give her father a hug. After the fifth door, he stopped and though. With this being Twilight's mind at work, he would need some reason to be there. Didn't want to break out Discordian illogical activities this deep in her subconscious. What? He may not be as magically gifted as either of his children or their rivals, but he did at least pay attention in class. Looking to his bag he closed his eyes and summoned forth his saddle bag with a boxed lunch and a bag of snacks, this should at least give him something to make it seem real enough.
As Nightlight stepped inside further and used his magic to illuminate the way forward, a unicorn with the cutie mark of a clipboard came up and asked, "Can I help you, sir? This is a testing time for all unicorns, so we need to ask you to keep your magic usage to a minimum." She seemed to be a secretary of sorts for the building, and her magic was maroon-colored as she held a clipboard and a quill, which detailed which unicorns were using what rooms and under what specific exams they were being tested on.
All of a sudden, five other ponies came in, each looking worried and exhausted. "We came as soon as we got the news. Is it true then, Twilight Sparkle is taking her final exam today?" Exclaimed a white unicorn.
The orange Earth Pony with three apples for a cutie mark added, "Ah hope she's doin' alrigh...Ah honestly hope she is. She's always been nervous 'bout these things."
A pastel yellow Pegasus noticed Nightlight standing there and asked a bit shyly "Uh, you here to cheer on Twilight too?"
Down the hall from somewhere in the school, more writing could be heard as well as more magical sounds. "Hmm...not bad for somepony your age. Not many can pull off that sort of spell." The stern voice mused out loud before adding, "But this is not over. It is more than just being able to cast a spell and expect it to work. One must also have finesse. In a way, being precise."
"I can do that, sir."
"Really? Then let's test that resolve..."
After a few moments, a gasp could be heard. "Princess Celestia?! I wasn't expecting you to be here..."
"Why wouldn't I be? I am eager to see my star student succeed. Now, shall we continue?"
Night Light stopped at the questioning of the mare. Flashing his trademark smile he was about to answer before five other ponies came in to check on their friend. Twilight. A bit of pride welled up inside as it seemed she made herself a little group of freinds here. And that was all a parent could ever need. Want is another thing. Then the yellow one asked if he was here for her too. "Well kind of. I'm her father and since she is taking a real important exam, I figured i would bring her her lunch so an upset tummy tum doesn't distract her." He then looked to the clipboard mare and then up to his horn. "My apologies for this. It's not something I can shut off."
He gave a small glance to the friends that came to cheer Twilight on. The Orange one really did seem like the honest hard working type. Probably the new center piece of the group. The Pink mare was kind of jittery. One could only guess what the balloons meant. The white one had an elegant Canterlot style voice, the cutie mark seemed to suggest something with jewels, perhaps she worked the mines in Ponyville. The shy one had butterflies, perhaps she was a florist or insect researcher, would explain the quiet tone. Finally, there was the one with the rainbow colored mane and tail. She seemed different from the others. Maybe a marefriend of one of them. What if it was Twilight's mare friend? Another thing added to the list of things he must investigate. He only saw them in passing at the wedding, so he didn't really get to know them.
Hearing the answer, the five friends nodded. Rarity - ever the fashionista and socialite - recalled him at the wedding, and later on talking to both Twilight and Shining Armor. "Well, we can all wish her luck together then. I do not believe you know our names, so I shall introduce us. I am Rarity, owner of the Carousel Boutique clothing store where I design and sell exquisite dresses and clothes for any occasion. The overly-hyper pink pony..."
"...Hi I'm Pinkie Pie!" The curly-maned Earth Pony said in a rush while popping in really close to Nightlight. "Ponyville's resident party planner! WOOHOO!". The shout earned her a rather stern look from the secretary.
The orange pony in the hat spoke up next. "Ah'm Applejack, owner of Sweet Apple Acres. The shy Pegasus over there is Fluttershy. She tends to all the critters."
And the rainbow-maned pony flew off the ground and did a somersault in the air. "Rainbow Dash is the name, fast-flying' my game."
Once introductions were over with, the secretary unicorn looked up after finding Twilight Sparkle's name, having the inclination that was who these six ponies meant. Who could easily forget Princess Celestia's protege? "Miss Sparkle is in one of the study rooms upstairs. But perhaps you should wait until she is finished...from my notes her testing is rather extensive and long..." But she figured that no pony would listen to her regardless of the circumstances, so she stepped aside and gestured down the hall. "Just keep going up. Room marked with the sun. That's Her Highness's personal study room. Now if you'll excuse me..." She walked off, shaking her head.
"Come on, y'all! Twilight needs our support!" Applejack exclaimed as she tore off in the direction of the stairs, the rest following suit either by leg or wing movement.
Fluttershy turned back to look at Nightlight and smiled a little. "Twilight's lucky to have a caring and kind father like you..." The soft-spoken Pegasus spoke up before following the others down the hallway still littered with magically-sealed doors and eerie red diamonds on the windows that seemed to become more prominent as the group ascended.
As the group progressed upwards toward the room where Twilight Sparkle was, the voices from within that room could be heard, and getting louder as they neared.
He listened to them introduce themselves, trying to nonverbally help them keep the volume down, though it didn't work. And he didn't need to for Fluttershy. Thus far, she was his favorite. Apparently this mare had dealt with these five before because it was almost the same sentance before she gave them direction to the room they were not supposed to disturb. He also noted that they almost immediatly corrected what he thought thier cutie marks represented. But at least he knew what type of gifts to bring for them when he pays his first visit.
After the others started heading up,he offered an apologetic smile to the secretary and followed the girl upstairs. Catching the sight of the red diamonds getting more noticable he stopped half way up and looked back to Rarity. "Excuse me Miss Rarity? I don't come in here often. Perhaps you know something about what these red diamonds could be?" Despite the fact she was a clothing designer, he was gambling on since she was a figment of her daughter's imagination, she might have some access to all of those Twilight smarts he was infinitly proud of.
The question from the blue unicorn caused Rarity to glance over at him, then to the diamonds on the windows to the classrooms. "Those? Well if I had to wager a guess, my thoughts would be they either incorporated a rather disturbing shade of red into the school. Of course I wouldn't know about how they designed this place originally; this is the first time I have been here, same as the rest of us."
Applejack chimed in. "They look like the shade of an apple that's about to rot off th' tree."
The white unicorn looked over at her and gave a disgusted look before adding, "Not the shade I was looking for, but I suppose it would suffice. A building such as this should have beauty both inside and out...at least I would think so if I designed this place."
The blue pegasus zoomed back to the rest of the gang. "Stop gawking around and talking about colors and designs! We gotta get moving! We wanna be there to congratulate her when she..." Her voice suddenly cut off as an aura of maroon light surrounded her and the other four friends, then vanished leaving Nightlight alone in the hallway just as he approached the door to Princess Celestia's personal room.
If Nightlight were to peek through the window (and the rather large red diamond that covered it), he would see that Twilight was gasping in horror as her friends were in magical bubbles off to one side, and a tiara that held a magenta six-pointed star off to the other. Princess Celestia had a frown on her face as she glanced at her student while the instructor cleared his throat. "Final question. Your magic, or your friends? Keep in mind this will effect the fate of all Equestria."
The five friends inside their spherical prisons started screaming at her to not worry about them, but the magic blocked out their voices, and worse yet, they were filling up with water. Rarity tried using her magic to create a bubble within the bubble, but her magic didn't work either. Twilight just stared in horror before trying to get to them...but the stern-faced unicorn stopped her. "Decide quickly, and they'll be released. Delay in your answer...and well..."
The purple unicorn glanced over at Princess Celestia, who said nothing. "Princess...?"
"This has to be your choice, and yours alone." Was all the royal alicorn said.
Well there goes that idea. Thier commentary was a little more insight than he had. At least he had some point of reference to the shade, but not much else. When Rainbow Dash returned to see if they could get a move on, he was surprised to see them poof out. Perhaps it was punishment for talking so loud during test time. Wouldn't explain why Fluttershy poofed away too.
This question would be answered when he came upon the test chambers his daughter was in though. With everything tinted a rotten apple red, thank you Applejack for that reference point, he could see that they were now trapped in bubbles. Magically muted. Well at least Twilight could see that her friends were there to support her. Wait? Water? Why were they being filled? What type of test was this? Friends or Magic? Of course Nightlight knew the answer he would choose, but he also didn't have as much magic as his daughter had. No where near that amount. All he could do right now was wait and observe. The Princess he knew would never see citizen in any real danger, but this was also the Princess according to Twilight, her personal student. There might be some internal fear that was causing her to become like this. Tapping his horn on the glass he just gave her a smile.
Her magic - and that of the Element itself - or the lives of her friends. What sort of unfair choice was that? And why did Princess Celestia - her mentor and ruler - just stand there waiting for a result? Was this really her choice? There was no way she could choose one over the other! Her magic was a special thing sure, but the bond she had with the five ponies was equally special! But if the lives of her friends was more important than the wellbeing of Equestra...how would that look in the princess's eyes?
There was a tapping on the glass behind her, yet it sounded faint. Still, Twilight turned around to see a familiar face tinted by the red diamond and the sun mark on the door, but she knew that smile from anywhere. Dad! At least he didn't get swept up in this important choice of her existence; that would have made things all the harder. But still...she knew what she had to do as the purple unicorn glanced back at the five bubbles - now almost full as her friends were struggling to take in air while pleading with her silently to forget them...or was that to save them?
Taking a deep breath and meeting the eyes of the instructor and Princess Celestia, Twilight Sparkle announced her choice. "While my magic has made me the pony I am, I wouldn't be much without my friends. I cannot in good conscience abandon them to such a fate. I'll give up my magic, just let them go!"
The two looked at each other with grim expressions. "You have decided then. But this isn't just your magic you are yielding." The stern-faced unicorn stallion stated, popping the bubbles just in time. "You also forfeit your part as an Element of Harmony. Without this, you singlehandedly placed Equestria in great peril."
Her horn glowing a golden color, Princess Celestia spoke up next, her voice tinged with disappointment and anger. "Since you no longer cannot use magic, you are no longer my student, and are expelled from this school. Farewell, Twilight Sparkle." The magical aura soon surrounded the purple unicorn, Nightlight, and the five friends and teleported them outside, where all of Equestria was slowly turning dull, dry, and grey.
"No, Princess! Please!" Twilight cried out and attempted to open the doors to plead with her, but no familiar magenta glow coated the doors, or her horn. In fact, her cutie mark had faded away. She tried again and again, but nothing happened. Finally giving up, the former student of Princess Celestia fell to the ground and started sobbing.
Night Light watched on from the window and gave a nod of agreement when Twilight made her choice. But then came the look of the administrator and the Princess. They looked rather grim. He could barely hear what they were saying now, well mor ehe could barely understand what was going on. He knew a little about the Elements, and he knew the story of how they gained them, even if he couldn't place the faces with the names. But something just sdidn't click in. And then he and the six mares were clicked out.
Like when she was little and they had to cancel a trip for some reason, he just stood there, watching as his little Princess pounded on the door pleading. And once that was over, she collapsed and cried. Despite this being a dream, it honestly broke a father's heart to see his daughter in such a state, not the losing all your magic and cutie mark state, but the crushing despair of the one you looked up to shutting you out. Walking up behind her, he just fell down next to her and rested his horn against hers. "Twilight. I know this is hard for you right now. You haven't lost everything though. Your friends are still here, your dad's always going to be here for you. You know Spike is never going to leave you alone." His horn slowly turned off it's light show now that they were outside.
After a few moments of sitting with his little filly, he raised her chin and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Honey. I want you to do what you've always done better than me, think. Did Princess Celestia send you all the way to Ponyville, charming and Magical as it may be, just to study Magic?"
Now that the seven ponies were outside, Twilight felt completely alone. Even as her father came up to try and console her worries, she still felt like she failed. She was a disappointment to the princess, she pretty much abandoned Equestria to whatever grim fate awaited its denizens, and without even her own magic, she felt so vulnerable and helpless, as if all those years of studying meant nothing at all. Glancing up at her father, she tried to smile before hearing the voices of the five friends a bit further away. Were they leaving too? Getting to her feet, she ran off after them. "Wait!" The purple unicorn shouted. "I know that our friendship means the world to me, even without what magic I have. Please understand that if it wasn't for the fact your lives were in danger..."
"...That you'd abandon us?" Applejack finished with a bit of disgust in her voice that took Twilight by surprise.
Rainbow Dash spoke up next, hovering in midair while crossing her forelegs. "What a way to show loyalty, Twilight. Sorry, but I'd rather stand with somepony that actually cares about everypony, not just those in danger."
"How am I to cheer everypony up when Equestria looks like Dumpsville?! If I wanted that, I would have stayed on my mom and dad's rock farm!" Pinkie Pie - looking deflated and angry at the same time, stated while getting into the now-powerless unicorn's face before running away and crying.
And of course Rarity had to have her say, not wanting to be left out. "While I appreciate your generous nature in wanting to keep us alive, it just wouldn't do well with Equestria looking in such a state. I'm certain word has gotten around Ponyville that you would rather give up the wellbeing of every pony just for the five of us. That truly is not what I would call 'being generous'."
And Fluttershy just looked like she was going to cry, too hurt to even say a word. The yellow pegasus soon followed the others, leaving Twilight alone...with Nightlight some distance away.
Failing her friends, her mentor, and Equestria...this was all too much. Twilight Sparkle started to walk away while murmuring softly, "I'm going away. Forever. If you want to visit your failure of a daughter...I'll be in Tartarus languishing in my shame." The most important choice of her life, and it seemed like each decision was the wrong one...it was as if the princess was expecting her to fail. But why? All Twilight wanted to do was be the perfect student, as well as a good friend...but how could she do that if she was forced to choose between the two, especially if her skill in magic as well as being the Element of Magic itself was part of who she was?
No magic, no friends, no royal mentor... It really did seem that Twilight had fallen.
Seeing Twilight almost smile, made him think everything was going to be ok and he could drop the dream bomb on her without seriously messing with her psyche. But when she ran away to try and talk to her friends, it showed something else. A little insecurity about why she was friends with them. And then they went off on her. With each word, the unicorn stallion got a bit angrier. When Twilight started to walk away and talk about failure of a daughter in tartarus, there was an audible crack in his head. Standing up he stomped his hoof down and lost his smile. "I AM NOT BELIEVING THIS!" In a bit of rage that hasn't been seen since the Vase incident with Twilight and Shining as young foals, the Homekeeper marched right up to the six of them and just looked to them.
First was Applejack. "Do you honestly expect any pony looking at their friends in mortal peril to think about anything else? I'm proud of Twilight for saving you instead of keeping her magic." His eyes then darted over to Rainbow Dash in the sky. "Loyalty is standing with your friends and loved ones even when the world turns against you. Are you seriously going to abandon the friend who literally gave up everything to see you survive?" With a snap to Rarity, his rage was literally coming to a boiling point. "If word has gotten back to Ponyville in the thirty seconds we have been here, somepony was expecting her to fail and had somepony ready. Somepony that was already here. She was given two options lose your friends forever or loose your talent forever. Tell me what choice you would have made in those thirty seconds you had to think."
Next he marched right up to Pinkie Pie. "You I am most ashamed of. The first thing I heard about you from my daughter was how you got them through the scariest part of the Everfree by teaching them to laugh at ghost. I had to sleep in Twilight's room until she was three because she was afraid of the dark. Now look at the world. The world looks dark, gloomy, and desparaging. Don't you think this is exactly the job of somepony who cheers others up?
Sighing, he turned to Twilight and stood next to her. "If this all happened because the Elements of Harmony was lost, it was a truly unavoidable situation. Because if you chose your magic over your friends, five of the Elements would have been lost and thus this. You are not a failure Twilight." He looked over Twilight's shoulders to the other five, seeing how they would respond. Realizing that they were giving up a friend in literally the most dire situation they ever had.
At the rather angry words from the blue unicorn, all six of them turned around as he marched over and gave the 'former' five friends a piece of his mind. While all of the Elements were addressed before he stood by Twilight once more to support his daughter. The other five just stood there, dumbfounded at such an outburst before Rainbow Dash - ever the hothead - flew over and got right back into Nightlight's face.
"Well EXCUSE me, Mr. Know-it-all Dad, but you clearly don't have the very FATE OF EQUESTRIA on your shoulders, do ya?!" She gestured to the surrounding grey, lifeless landscape. "Without the Element of Magic, we can't protect the land from ANYTHING! The Princesses could be in danger right now, and we can't do a flapping thing about it because SOMEPONY chose friends over trying to make sure that everypony else has a life!"
Since Fluttershy was too hurt to say anything, Pinkie Pie simply nodded in agreement. "I don't think I would be able to give up who I am. That wouldn't be a good thing at all!"
Rarity on the other hand felt a little guilty, being a fellow unicorn and all. "Granted I wouldn't be anything without my ability to help create wonderful designs, although I highly doubt being able to lose a generous nature because of it..." This caused her to get a stern look from AJ and RD, earning them the response of "What? Did you all forget that even when those stones were broken, the Elements were still there?"
"Well 'scuse me, but ah'd rather deal with somethin' a bit more concrete here." The orange Earth Pony interjected. "Ah'd rather see mah kinfolk safe than havin' t'give up who ah am. Wouldn't you feel th' same if she were in danger? And it was th' choice of what made you who you were, and her life?"
Hearing the discussion, Twilight turned around and faced them all, the dejected look still on her face. "But...I failed. In the worst possible way. If I chose my magic, I'd lose you all. I couldn't deal with that, because I knew deep down that the bond we share as friends means a lot. But...I can never be Princess Celestia's student again...and after all that work you did to get me in, Dad..." She sighed and laid down on the ground, hiding her face in her hooves. "I let you all down. And everypony everywhere is paying the price for my failure."
Nightlight just watched as the others started to let his words sink in. While it seemed like Rainbow Dash was the tough one to let things sink in the others seemed to at least catch what Twilight was feeling. Looking at Twilight still feeling a bit dejected, he just stood firm, though his smile came back after the eruption of Mt. Dadsuvius. "This wasn't a mistake Twilight, and you didn't let me down. I've always been proud of you. ALways will be. Because of all the hard work you put in." He then turned and looked back to the castle. He had to get Twilight to break herself free from this. It was the only way she would grow stronger. And she had her own little army behind her. But how. There was an impenetrable fortress behind them and world destruction in front of them. It was more of a prison than anything he could think of...
Wait...Prison? His horn flickered with a bit of light, before clearing his throat. "Twilight. I don't think your test is over. Sometimes the questions ask you to explain your answer. Perhaps this is what the Princess wants you to do now. Prove why you chose your friends over your magic. We need to go back in and speak to the Princess." Yeah, breaking into the impenetrable fortress would be tough. But as long as Night Light remembers this is a dream that his daughter was trapped in, he could offer some support.
How could he say that he was still proud of her, when she pretty much made the biggest mistake of her entire life?! It didn't make any sense at all! "But Dad, you and Mom wanted me to get into the school so badly...when I made it in, you couldn't be any happier. But now...look at me. How are we to speak to Princess Celestia when I have no magic at all?"
"Allow me, darling." Came Rarity's voice as she strode up to the doors and with her magic, opened the doors. Then Applejack - to make sure that they wouldn't close - stood in front of one of them as a doorstop. "Although I may not technically be a student, who is to say that I cannot inquire about a possible spot for Sweetie Belle?" The white unicorn gave a wink.
"Go on, you two. Maybe there is a way t' undo this mess, just like b'fore when we dealt with Discord." AJ stated, giving a grin.
"But...I already explained to her why I made that choice. Because my friends mattered far more to me than anything." Twilight answered, turning to Pinkie and Fluttershy, who were slowly coming back. "You guys remember how I didn't stand up to Trixie before when she tried to show off, all because I feared I would become what she was?"
"Why of course I do, silly!" The pink Earth Pony replied. "Even after she humiliated Rarity, Rainbow, AND Applejack, you STILL didn't want to face her. But had you stood up to her, those two troublemakers wouldn't have dragged the Ursa Minor into this and nearly destroyed Ponyville."
The purple unicorn glanced up at her father. "That's just one of the things that I just couldn't go through. I didn't want my friends to think of me as someone who valued my magic over anypony else...but if given the choice again, I'm not sure. I just...I just didn't think it would get that far."
Rarity spoke up again, peeking out of the doorway. "I hate to break up the discussion...but..." It was then that a familiar white alicorn stepped out of the doors, prompting the six mares to bow before her. Yet something was off about the princess's crown and necklace; instead of the usual purple diamond, the gems on both were red.
Glancing down at Twilight, Celestia frowned. "I thought you would have left by now, seeing what you have caused."[/i]
Hearing those words, Twilight glanced up, already in tears again. "Please...I explained my reasons for choosing my friends over whatever destiny I am supposed to have as an Element of Harmony. What else could I have done?"
That was when Applejack stepped up with Rarity in front of Twilight. The two glanced at each other in mutual understanding for a second before the orange pony spoke. "Princess, we b'lisve that Twilight made th' right choice. Were it us in her place, and our little sisters were inside those bubble things, we'd make that same choice."
Rarity nodded in agreement. "My honest friend speaks the truth. And I would completely hate myself if anything horrible were to happen to Sweetie Belle; I would do anything to make sure she is safe and sound."
"Um, if it's okay with everypony else, I would be so sad if one of my little critters were to be hurt in even the tiniest way..." The timid yellow pegasus managed to get out, looking up almost shyly at the princess.
But before the other two could speak their mind about all of this, Celestia cleared her throat. "But this was Twilight's decision to make. She was warned of the consequences of either choice. If that is her wish to place this land in peril instead of using her magic for the greater good, then she needs to deal with the consequences. And that means no longer being my student...or being worthy of the magic she once had."[/i]
Last Edit: Jun 10, 2014 23:31:52 GMT -6 by Deleted
The Fun Has Been Doubled! is a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic moderate-to-advanced forum roleplay. Set after the events of the fifth season, we currently have no overarching plot. Instead, we simply have created the world of Equestria for you as a giant playground to have fun in and to explore the magic of friendship. Canon characters and original characters are available for you to play as, both ponies and non-pony species alike! Just remember that we are account-per-character and we'll be fine!
So why don't you stay for a while, look around, and let us know if we should get a welcome party started for you.