no_vampires_plz: (coronation gown)
The Great Hall of Canterlot Castle has been the site of a variety of significant events and celebrations. It was where Shining Armor and Princess Cadance were married. It's the site of the annual Grand Galloping Gala. Twilight Sparkle even managed to pull some strings and celebrate her nineteenth birthday here a couple of years ago.

But today she, her friends, her family, a host of well-wishers, and the three crowned Princesses of Equestria are here for a very different reason.

"We are gathered here today in celebration of a momentous occasion," Princess Celestia begins. "My most faithful student, Twilight Sparkle, has done many extraordinary things since she's lived in Ponyville. She even helped reunite me with my sister, Princess Luna." She gives Luna a fond smile before she continues. "But today, Twilight Sparkle did something extraordinary. She created new magic, proving without a doubt that she is ready to be crowned Equestria's newest princess. Fillies and gentlecolts, may I present for the very first time, Princess Twilight Sparkle!"


"Say something, Princess," murmurs Celestia, giving Twilight a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

"Oh. Um..." Twilight clears her throat, steps forward so she can better see the throngs of ponies in the plaza below, and begins. "A little while ago, my teacher and mentor, Princess Celestia, sent me to live in Ponyville. She sent me to study friendship, which is something I didn't really care much about. But now..."

She looks back over her shoulder toward the five ponies watching from the doorway.

"...on a day like today, I can honestly say I wouldn't be standing here if it weren't for the friendships I've made with all of you." She beckons them out onto the balcony with her. "Each one of you taught me something about friendship, and for that, I will always be grateful. Today, I consider myself the luckiest pony in Equestria. Thank you, friends. Thank you, everypony!"

The crowd erupts into cheers once again.

"Twilight!" Shining Armor breaks free of the crowd in the Great Hall and gallops up to his little sister. "I'm so proud of you!"

Twilight reaches out to hug him, but hesitates when she sees the expression on his face. "...are you crying??" she says, suppressing a giggle.

"Of course not," says Shining Armor, hastily dabbing at his eyes. "It's--it's liquid pride. Totally different thing." Then they both burst into giggles as they give each other a proper hug.

"Way to go, Princess!" cheers Apple Jack.

"Best coronation day ever!" whoops Pinkie Pie.

"We love you, Twilight," says Fluttershy, before she and the rest of the Ponyville ponies grab Twilight up in the biggest group hug they can manage.

Now Twilight's the one blinking back tears--sorry, 'liquid pride.' "I love you too, girls."

no_vampires_plz: (chillin' with my fillies)

A mark of one's destiny, singled out alone, fulfilled...

Twilight gasps and pulls out of her friends' embrace. "Wait a second, that's it! I understand now. I know how to fix the spell!"

She doesn't bother trying to explain. She just gallops back to the library, with five very confused ponies following in her wake. She picks up Star Swirl the Bearded's notebook from where she left it on the table, summons a quill pen, and starts writing:

From all of us together, together we are friends.
With the marks of our destinies made one, there is magic without end.

As she writes the final glyph, she can already feel power building. The Element stone on her tiara flares with a brilliant light, sending a pulse of magical energy through the room. The other Elements flare in response, each sending a beam of magic back toward Twilight. The sheer force of it leaves the ponies powerless to move--all they can do is stare in shock and confusion.

Twilight, surrounded by an increasingly powerful aura of magic, is likewise paralyzed and shocked--but only for a moment. It's okay, says a wordless voice inside her. This is meant to be. She closes her eyes, and waits for whatever is coming next.

The light increases to a blinding flash.

Then, abruptly, it's gone.

And so is Twilight.

===>

no_vampires_plz: (pensive)
Twilight has been lying on her bed staring out the window for... well, Spike's not sure how long it's been. Too long, is what it's been. He has to do something to cheer her up.

"Come on, Twilight. You'll figure out a way to fix this." He gently lays a claw on the unicorn's shoulder. "These are your friends."

Twilight is silent for a long moment before she responds.

"You're right, Spike." She slides off of the bed and trots over to the mantelpiece, where an old photograph of Twilight and her six pony friends stands. "They mean more to me than anything. My friends..."

My friends...

Just thinking about them--everything they've done for her, everything they've done for each other--gives her a warm feeling inside. One that spreads through her whole body, radiating out of her like light, like magic...

"Twilight? Are you all right?" asks Spike, but Twilight barely hears him.

Everything they've done for me. Everything they've done for each other.

"I've got it!" Twilight's head snaps up. "I know what to do!"

"You do?"

Twilight grabs a jeweled chest off of a nearby shelf--the same jeweled chest that the Elements of Harmony were stored in back in Canterlot. "I may not be able to remind them of who they are," she says as she gallops down the stairs, "but I can show them what they mean to each other." She tosses five of the Elements into the chest and settles the tiara of the Element of Magic onto her own head. "They'll find the part of themselves that's been lost so they can help the friends they care about so much! Come on, Spike!"

Armed with magical artifacts and a newfound sense of hope, the unicorn and the dragon set out into the rainy afternoon.
no_vampires_plz: Twilight in profile, looking down, tears welling up in her eyes (sad)
Twilight bursts back through the doors of the library. "This is bad, this is very very bad--" She has a hunch she knows what's the cause of all this, and if she's right...

Spike is close behind her. "What's goin' on? Why is this happening??"

"Last night, when you were taking one of your seven-hour bubble baths, I got a special delivery from the Princess," Twilight explains. "It was an old spellbook belonging to Star Swirl the Bearded--"

"That crazy grandpa pony you dressed up for on Nightmare Night?"

"--the famous unicorn wizard, yes," says Twilight, gritting her teeth. "There was an incomplete spell in the back of the book that Princess Celestia wanted me to finish. I cast the spell so I could find out what it was, but nothing seemed to happen... but now I know something did happen!"

She gestures toward the display case containing the Elements of Harmony. Something is different. The colors of five of the six gems--all except for Twilight's own--have somehow been mixed up. "The spell has changed the Elements of Harmony! That must be why their cutie marks are all wrong!"

"So just cast a counterspell to switch 'em back," suggests Spike.

Twilight flips through the notebook frantically, but-- "There is no counterspell!"

"Why don't you just use that memory spell you used to fix everypony when Discord was here?"

Twilight shakes her head. "It's not their memories, Spike. It's their true selves that have been altered."

"Zecora's cure for the cutie pox?"

"That won't work either!" Twilight wails. She shoves the notebook into Spike's claws and walks away, frustrated and defeated.

"...maybe it won't be so bad," offers Spike. "Maybe your friends will grow to like their new lives."

Twilight sighs. "No, Spike. They're not who they were meant to be anymore. Their destinies are now changed... and it's all my fault."


===>

no_vampires_plz: (thoughtful)
It's extremely rare for Twilight to get a knock on the door this late in the evening. When it does happen, it's usually Apple Bloom and her friends asking for help with their homework, or Pinkie inviting her to one social event or another.

Tonight, it's neither. It's a courier with a package for Twilight... from Canterlot Castle.

Twilight grabs the parcel away and slams the door so abruptly that she almost cracks the courier in the snout. It's not that she means to be rude; she's just stunned and intensely curious. What could Princess Celestia possibly be sending that she doesn't trust to be delivered by Spike's magic fire? (The fact that Spike is in the middle of a bath upstairs is beside the point. Twilight knows from experience that the Princess won't hesitate to interrupt Spike's bathtime if there's an urgent message to be sent.)

The package contains a single sheet of parchment and an old spiral-bound notebook. The parchment reads:

Dear Twilight Sparkle,

The spell contained on the last page of this book is Star Swirl the Bearded's secret unfinished masterpiece. He was never able to get it right, and thus abandoned it. I believe you are the only pony who can understand and rewrite it.

Princess Celestia


Twilight can't believe what she's reading. A spell from Star Swirl the Bearded? The Star Swirl the Bearded?? One of the greatest and most influential unicorn mages in the history of Equestria? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A once-in-several-lifetimes opportunity. Even though it's getting late, Twilight can't resist having a look at the spell right this second.

The pages of the notebook are faded and yellow with age, but still legible. The final spell appears to be a verbal incantation--something that would have been common in Star Swirl's day, but is rarely used in modern Equestria. Magic words may be powerful, but they just aren't practical for day-to-day spellwork. Twilight frowns in concentration as she translates the Old Equestrian glyphs and sounds out the words:

"From one to another, another to one.
A mark of one's destiny, singled out alone, fulfilled."

...and that's it.

"It doesn't make any sense," says Twilight to herself. "It doesn't even rhyme." Aren't all incantations supposed to rhyme? What does Princess Celestia expect her to do with this mish-mash?

Well, there's no point in puzzling over it now. She's got a clear schedule tomorrow (mostly); she can worry about it then. With a yawn, Twilight sets the notebook down on the table and trots back up the stairs to her bed. Maybe the incantation will make more sense once she's slept on it.

She never thinks to turn around and see the flickering lights emanating from the Elements of Harmony in their glass case.

===>

no_vampires_plz: (pensive)
Despite her misgivings, Twilight passed on Fluttershy's invitation to the rest of her pony friends. At six o'clock that evening, she, Spike, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie are all gathered on Fluttershy's front lawn.

"I can't believe we're having a dinner party with Discord," says Rainbow Dash.

"This evening is sure to be a disaster," agrees Rarity. She looks over her rhinestone-trimmed taffeta gown. "Glad I didn't bother wearing my fanciest outfit."

"Fluttershy thinks this is the way to reform Discord, and asked us to give it a chance," Twilight reminds them gently. Here's hoping she doesn't regret this.

...oh, who is she kidding? She knows she's going to regret this.
no_vampires_plz: (to the library!)
"She's really alright with him staying there?" remarks Rarity after Twilight comes out of the cottage.

"That's what she said," replies Twilight with a shrug. Not that she entirely believes it, but she's not about to second-guess Fluttershy's judgment... yet.

"Personally," says Rainbow Dash, "I think we should come up with a backup plan, in case this whole 'befriending' business doesn't work out."

"Rainbow Dash is right," says Rarity. "This is Discord we're talking about, girls. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have another trick up our sleeves."

Twilight smiles. "And I think I know just the trick..."



...well, Twilight wasn't lying. She thought she knew just the right spell to use on Discord as a backup plan. But finding it is proving to be harder than she anticipated.

"That's weird," she remarks to no one in particular as she pages through The Magic of Moods: Better Living Through Mind-Changing Spells. "The spell I had in mind isn't in here. Spike, where are the other books I asked you to pull?"

"Right here, Twilight." Spike is staggering under the weight of a stack of books twice his height.

Twilight levitates the stack out of Spike's hands and lifts them up in a circle around her, flipping through each one in rapid succession. "I really want to have a reforming spell up and running pronto."

"But what if he makes the Elements of Harmony disappear like he did last time?"

"Princess Celestia cast a spell protecting them, remember?" No reforming spell in Arcana Mens Mentis, none in 1,001 Extremely Useful Enchantments, none in Extremely Advanced Magic for Eggheads. Twilight swears she saw a reforming spell in that book just last week, but--

Wait a second.

Twilight drops all the books in alarm. "Uh oh..."

"What's wrong?" asks Spike.

"Princess Celestia didn't cast a spell protecting our books! Everywhere I thought I'd find the reforming spell..." Twilight picks up Extremely Advanced Magic for Eggheads again and fans out the pages. Sure enough, someone has torn a page out of the book.

And it doesn't take an egghead to figure out who.
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