The crew of the Destiny make first contact with Equestria.
The streets of Canterlot were dark and vacant, the only light came from dim streetlamps, and the bright full moon above.
Down one lonely alley of the Equestrian capital, two young ponies trotted along, one of which hung her head in dejection.
Twilight’s heart had fallen, a minor accident had cost her a sibling, and it tore her apart.
“Soooo,” her companion said. “Are you going to be okay?”
She slowly turned her head to look up at the stallion next to her, before turning her gaze back to the ground. “No,” she said.
Red Rain sighed deeply. “You shouldn’t take it so personally-”
“-he hates me.”
“He doesn’t hate you,” he said, in an attempt to reassure the mare.
“I destroyed his work, why wouldn’t he hate me?”
“Because he’s not the type to hate. In all the years I’ve known him, he’s never hated anypony.”
“He’s hated me before.”
“No he didn’t. He just didn’t like you. There’s a big difference.”
“And now he’s back to not liking me.” Tears started to stream down the young mare’s face. “What do I do!?”
“Oh, don’t worry about it, he’ll get over it,” the pegasus explained. “It’s just, we’ll have to re-film all those scenes, that’s no big deal. Though it will cost a lot. It’s probably not feasible to go all the way back to Pensacolta, so we’ll have to find new shooting locations. Not only that, but it’ll have to be tacked on to the end of our shooting schedule, and our costume girl and makeup artist are both on contract and have other engagements once we’re done so we’ll need to restaff, which has it’s own problems because the new ponies’ll need to emulate the styles of their predecessors and that’s not easily done. Plus we’ll have to find caterers and we’ll need to pay everypony for the extra work, plus supplies and-Twilight?”
Red suddenly noticed the purple mare was no where to be seen. He quickly turned around and saw the unicorn several paces behind him, tears streaming down her face. “Twilight?”
“He’s going to hate me forever.”
He ran up to the mare, “Twilight, it’ll be okay!” He said, rubbing her shoulders. “We-we’ll find some more investors to fund it, and I’m sure there’s some nearby town that can handle a week of filming.”
Twilight’s tears started to let up. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Red replied. Then his gaze started to drift. “Though, the problem will be finding investors, I mean we can’t offer them shares of the proceeds since we have none to spare, so there’ll be no practical reason for them to invest, and I can’t think of anything else we could offer them.”
He turned back to Twilight, and noticed the horrified look on her face, her mouth agape.
“Twilight!” he said, grabbing the young mare. “It’ll be fine, I’m sure of it!”
“You can’t know that!” She screamed.
“Yes I… okay, I can’t,” he dropped his hooves to look into Twilight’s eyes. “But I’m not worried, and if anypony should be, it’s me!”
“Because I’m the one who’s the most responsible. I left the master reels near the fireplace, I forgot to make copies, and I… actually, that’s it. All you did was grab a bottle of whisky.”
She cast her eyes down. “I just want to go home.”
Red frowned as Twilight continued trotting toward the castle. He followed close behind.
Celestia’s eyes were glued to the book before her. Page after page was turned as she absorbed the information within.
Eventually, a clatter of falling literature broke the princess out of her reverie.
She lowered the tome, and looked directly at her sister.
“Sorry,” the younger princess said, her wings spread for balance, several books in her forehooves, and several more scattered across the floor.
Celestia’s eyes darted around, as her sister levitated all the books back into a neat pile. “Luna,” she asked. “Where’s Rainbow Dash?”
“Oh,” the princess of the night declared as she finished her job. “She was searching for a book in the twelfth section. I decided to return here, allow her time to browse.”
“The twelfth section?”
“It is alright sister. I trust Rainbow Dash, she is very loyal.”
“I’m sure, but given what’s stored there…” her mouth was agape, unsure how to continue. “There are limits to anypony’s loyalty, sister.”
Luna’s gaze began to shift nervously. Until her eyes settled on the front entrance of the library.
Celestia turned to follow her sister’s gaze, and she immediately spotted her loyal student, eyes red and bloodshot.
“Twilight?” Celestia greeted her.
“I messed up princess,” she explained, distressed. “I destroyed my brother’s work.”
“We were having fun, drinking, just having a good time, talking about… stuff, then-”
“-Rainbow should have been back by now!” Luna said, facing the back of the library.
“What?” Twilight asked.
“Rainbow Dash was looking for something to read, that was twelve minutes ago. It should not have taken her this long,” she trotted back to the rear of the library. The two mares followed her.
“Flying horses?” Scott asked, incredulously.
Several members of Destiny’s crew were sitting in the ship’s Observation Deck. Through the window, they could clearly see the ship’s nose pointed directly toward a bright yellow star in the distance. It was still hours away, barely a point in their field of vision.
But no one was paying any attention to the view. They were too concerned with their latest discovery.
“More than that,” Eli explained. “I examined the footage, in order for a creature with that kind of wingspan, she’d have to be only a few dozen pounds, which doesn’t seem possible considering her size.”
“Well, I’m just guessing.”
“Nevertheless we know they can speak some type of language,” Young explained. “So once you arrive, your first objective will be finding a way to communicate.”
“After that,” Destiny’s chief scientist explained. “We need to establish trade, and try to learn as much of their history as we can.”
“Aren’t we jumping the gun a bit there?” The Lieutenant asked. “I mean how can we communicate with an alien species?”
“Hard work, persistence, bit of luck.” Everyone looked at the scientist. “Well, I didn’t say it would be easy.”
“There’s also the fact that this is primarily a diplomatic mission,” the Colonel explained, directing his attention to the two soldiers before him. “So no going above sling ready unless you’re absolutely certain there’s a threat. We can’t risk a misunderstanding.”
“Yes, sir,” Greer responded.
“Alright,” Young ordered. “Go suit up.”
As Scott, Greer and Chloe left, Rush turned around, and leaned against the railing at the front of the observation deck. It wasn’t long before the Colonel joined him. “Hell of a view,” he said.
“Yeah,” Rush replied, rubbing his hands aggressively.
He turned to look at the bearded scientist. “You seem nervous, Rush. Don’t ever think I’ve seen that.”
“Well, there’s a first time for everything Colonel.” He started walking away from the railing.
Young turned around. “You don’t think you can do it.”
Rush stopped in the door frame. “They speak a different language.” Turning to face the commander, he continued. “I wouldn’t even know how to begin.”
“Bring some fruit, it’ll be a good way to break the ice.”
“That won’t fix the bigger problem.”
“No, but it’ll be a start.” As the senior scientist left the bridge, the Colonel yelled after him, “Just try Rush.” He lowered his voice, knowing Rush was out of earshot. “You’re the only one who can.”
The Colonel turned back to look out the window. Enjoying the phenomenal view before him, a mess of blue, green and purple gasses, surrounding the system. It was a sight to behold, and a sight he enjoyed.
Rainbow’s attempts to find her way out of the storage room were unsuccessful. Her eyes failed to properly adjust to the darkness, so she had to navigate by hoof. Memorizing where the nearest wall was, she flew straight towards it, trying not to crash into any artifacts.
Eventually, her navigational skills payed off, as she found a door frame, ornately decorated. She was at the exit. Carefully navigating up the stairs taking one step at a time, she found herself growing frustrated at the slow progress.
After what felt like an eternity, Her hoof impacted a flat wall before her. Tracing her hooves up, she confirmed her suspicions. This was the doorway out. Feeling up the wall to her right, she found the button Luna used to open the passage from within.
Rainbow aggressively impacted the button, and she could hear the bookcase move in response, before quickly receding into the ceiling.
The sudden burst of light shocked the mare. “AH!” she exclaimed, as her eyes slammed shut and her wings quickly folded in shock. She started to fall down the stairs, but quickly caught herself, her hooves pushing outward against the walls, allowing her to hold her position..
Once she regained her balance, she brought her hooves to eyes and rubbed them. Blinking several times, and rubbing her eyes a bit more, she adjusted to the light, and proceeded out the entrance, suddenly remembering what she saw in the chamber below.
A grand smile came to her face, and she quickly flew through the security gate, and down the corridor. However, her journey to the main sitting room was halted when she saw three unicorns standing before her.
“Twilight! Princess! Luna!” The pegasus screamed. “I just saw the most amazing thing it was so awesome! I heard a weird noise, didn’t know what it was, so I followed it, and ended up in this room and these lights were spinning and this other light came out and then this ball came out of it, and it was so awesome!!!!”
“Noise?” The younger princess asked.
“Room?” The elder princess asked.
“Lights?” The youngest unicorn asked.
“Yeah! In the… room, it was a big room, it was dark, it was…”
Celestia turned her head slowly to the left. “Luna?” She asked. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
“Yeah!” Rainbow interjected in an attempt to save the princess. “I just stumbled across it today.”
“The secret passage behind the bookcase?” the elder princess asked.
“And how did you know the code?”
Rainbow’s eyes settled on the lunar regent.
Luna sighed. “I showed her the location where we store Discord.” Celestia shot her a look. “It seemed necessary.”
“And I thought we agreed we would share with each other any time we would grant access to that area.”
“It was not something I planned.”
“What possible reason could there have been?”
“She was concerned about his current status and the Elements of Harmony, I was just trying to ease her fears.”
“That does not mean you can-”
“Sister.” Luna held up a hoof and pointed it behind the solar regent.
Celestia turned her head, and saw her student with her eyes in shock.
The two rulers followed the unicorn’s gaze. Floating behind Rainbow was an object they did not recognize. It was not being supported by any means they could see, and there was not a trace of magic anywhere near it.
“What the…?” The princess said, in awe.
Rainbow turned around. “Oh! That was the thing that came out of the ring.”
Luna shook her head. “Came out of the ring?”
“Yeah, turns out I was right!” she exclaimed with pride. “Come here, I’ll show you!”
The three of them looked at each other as Rainbow Dash flew away. The orb following the Pegasus.
At the rear of Destiny’s gate room, Doctor Elliot Boone was intently working at one of the two consoles, as Doctor Nicholas Rush walked in.
“Evening Doctor Boone,” the scientist said. “What are you doing?”
As Destiny’s IT guy stood up straight, he said, “I was just looking over the data on the planet.”
“I thought you already did that.”
“Well, there’s more, I guess from the gate itself when we fell in range.”
Rush walked over to the console. “Let me see,” he said, unknowingly pushing the technician out of the way.
Boone tried to look at the screen from behind the mathematician, but there wasn’t much to see.
“Well,” the scientist said. “That’s interesting.”
Turning to look at source of the voice, Rush saw a young woman enter the room, wearing military fatigues. “Chloe,” he said, standing up straight.
“So what is it?” she asked, moving toward the two men.
“The data on the planet.”
“I thought you already went over it.”
“Well, sort of,” Boone explained.
“We got some more data from the gate once we fell in range,” Rush continued. “Apparently, there has been some tampering.”
Chloe was taken aback. “Is it safe?” she asked.
He looked at the young genius. “No, well, the gate itself appears to be fine, the Kino went through.
“Best guess, they were just trying to reverse engineer the thing,” Boone explained. “No damage or changes made. They just took it apart… put it back together… I think.”
“They’re curious, and they’re intelligent. We have plenty to learn from each other.”
“Well, let’s just hope they’re friendly,” she said.
Chloe’s attention was grabbed as two solders walked into the gate room.
A hoof impacted the edge of the ring.
“Then a white thing came out and went KAWOOSH!” Rainbow explained, holding her hooves out in front of the centre of the ring, and gesturing outward, trying to demonstrate the energy wave she witnessed earlier. “Then it went back and it was like woo!!” She said, spreading her forehooves wide, back to the others. “Into a puddle of water.”
The storage room was now brightly lit by the magically generated flames of Princess Luna. Which were held by several chandeliers which hung from the ceiling.
“Are you serious Rainbow?” Twilight asked, standing with the regents at the base of the ramp.
The pegasus turned around, and slowly landed on the ramp. “You don’t believe me,” she said, distressed.
“Well, it does seem a bit unbelievable,” Celestia responded. “This artifact has been completely dormant for the past three thousand years, Rainbow Dash. Why would it do anything now?”
“Wha… I don’t know.” She quickly pointing toward a chain that hung down from the ceiling, in front of the ring. “But, it destroyed that chandelier,” she said, shifting to the brown sphere floating above the princesses. “And that thing came out of it. Where else could it have come from?”
They all looked up, and it was at that moment, their attention was shifted back to the ring in front of them, as it emanated a mysterious sound.
Rainbow turned to face the artifact, and slowly backed down the ramp as she saw it spin rapidly. “Stay back,” she said. The unicorns complied.
Eventually, after several turns, it stopped, and a rush of energy came from the device, exactly as Rainbow Dash described, settling into a puddle of water.
“Okay,” Celestia said, mouth agape. “I believe you now.”
“Well,” Boone explained. “This is interesting.”
“What is it?” Scott asked, as the team readied their weapons preparing to step through the gate.
“Looks like you’ve got a welcoming party.”
“Four… and… they’re quite diverse.”
“Are they dangerous?”
Boone shook his head. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Okay, let’s head out,” he said, starting toward the gate.
Colonel Young was standing next to the technition. “Good luck, Lieutenant,” he said.
Rainbow took a single step up the ramp, but was stopped as four figures stepped through the puddle, and looked down at the assembled ponies. The forms were incomprehensible to them. The first thing that popped into Twilight’s mind was a dragon. They all walked on their hind legs, and had nimble digits instead of hooves. But she could clearly see, that was not what these creatures were. Their legs were much longer, almost half the height of their entire body, and they had no tail to speak of… or at least, none that Twilight could see. They were very unusual creatures.
But that didn’t stop Rainbow Dash from quickly flying up to them screaming, “OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! HI I’M RAINBOW DASH! OH MY GOSH!”
A bright flash came from the ring as the puddle disintegrated.
As they exited the wormhole, the team spotted their welcoming party. Four aliens stood there, two of which were taller than the others, one blue, one white, and they both appeared to be wearing ornate jewellery. But what surprised Chloe the most was the fact that they both had horns on the centre of their foreheads, and one word popped into her head: unicorn. Though she was not sure it was accurate, it was the word that appeared in her mind.
One of the shorter aliens was also a unicorn, she was purple, and had a haircut that reminded her of an old acquaintance from high school. A classmate who tutored her in math. Her hair was very straight, and her bangs were cut across, just like the alien in front of her. But the other short alien who stood next to the purple one looked much different. She was a sky blue, and her hair was messy and multicoloured. It was the same creature that they saw on the Kino footage earlier that day. But it was only now that Chloe realized that this alien must go through a lot of effort for such a complex dye-job.
As the gate shut down, the multicoloured alien flew up and started yelling in a joyful tone, and an obvious smile.
Greer was taken aback by the excited alien, who was inches from his face. She held out a hoof for him to shake before quickly pulling it away, apparently lost in thought. She continually started talking in a language he did not understand. Once she stopped, she looked at him eagerly and the Sergeant responded. “Sir?” he asked. “What do I do?”
“Oh.” Rush quickly reached into a pocket and pulled out a bright red space-apple. “Here,” he said, holding it out to the multicoloured creature. She paused for a second, considering the situation, before grabbing it in one smooth motion. The doctor was surprised to see it stick to her hoof like glue, with no further assistance needed. “Fascinating,” he said.
Rainbow took a bite of the big red apple. “Mmmm!” she said, turning to the other ponies. “It’s good.”
Nopony said anything for several seconds, still trying to process the situation before them.
“Shou-should we offer something in return?” Twilight asked, trying to repress the shock she was experiencing.
“Huh?” Celestia asked, apparently dumbfounded, turning toward her protege. “Oh! Yes! Um…” Her horn began to glow brightly, as a point of light in front of her appeared.
As the glowing started to increase, Scott became concerned. “Uh… Rush?” He said, the grip on his weapon tightening.
“Relax Lieutenant,” he responded, holding out a hand. “I’m sure we’re fine.”
The glow grew brighter and brighter, and suddenly exploded in a flash of light, and suddenly levitating where the light once was, was a single slice of cake, on a plate, with a fork.
“Teleportation and telekinesis,” Rush said. “Facinating.” He started to walk down the ramp, passed the winged creature, and took the plate out of the golden aura.
He started to cut a forkful of the pastry when Scott interrupted him. “Uh, Rush, you sure that’s safe.”
“Well, It’d be rude to refuse at this point, Lieutenant.” He took a bite and simply said, “It’s delicious.”
The bearded creature took a bite of cake, and smiled broadly.
“Looks like we’re off to a fine start,” the elder princess said.
“But we can’t understand a word they’re saying!” Rainbow exclaimed.
“It appears we’ll need to learn,” the younger princess explained.
Twilight paused for a second, her head buzzing. “Maybe not,” she said.
As the aliens started discussing something, Chloe started to walk down the ramp. She noticed the purple unicorn was talking the most. She walked up and as the alien turned back to look at her, she was taken aback. It was at this moment she noticed just how short these creatures were. The top of the unicorn’s head was just below Chloe’s chest.
The unicorn put a hoof to her chin, and then smiled broadly. She held out a hoof and Chloe responded by loosely grabbing it and returning the smile. She wasn’t sure if the handshake was part of the local culture as well, but it appeared to be as the alien responded with a shake. As the former-politician released her new friend’s hoof, the creature gestured downward.
Chloe got down on one knee.
The unicorn turned to look at her mentor.
“Are you sure this’ll work?”
“Of course,” Twilight explained. “I read about this spell in one of those books I’ve found, it’s sure to work.”
“But is it not over two thousand years old?” Luna asked.
“The book was perfectly legible.”
“If you are certain Twilight,” the elder princess said.
The unicorn turned back to look at Chloe. She closed her eyes and her horn started to glow. She tipped the horn forward and touched it gently against the woman’s forehead.
“What’re they doing?” Scott asked.
“I’m not sure,” said Rush, as he slowly approached the two.
The glow started to increase, more and more. Until both girls opened their eyes wide, and screamed.
Pain rushed through Chloe’s head, as if it was boiling from the inside out. She tried to move, back away, but was glued to the spot.
Scott and Greer reacted, levelling their weapons at the purple alien. But before either could make a single move, the rifles flew out of their grips, across the room, the straps breaking. They started to float in the air, in blue and gold auras, respectively. Both of them struggled within the fields, as Rush ducked for cover. Even if there was no cover to be had.
He witnessed the blue alien scream as she flew over to the duo, not daring to touch them.
Eventually, their screams ended as a bright explosion threw them apart.
The doctor rushed over to the unconscious body. “Chloe… Chloe!” he said, trying to shake her awake.
She slowly opened her eyes and blinked several times, quickly taking in her surroundings. Then, something very odd occurred.
As Rainbow flew over to help Twilight, she noticed her friend was unconscious. Rainbow wasn’t sure whether it was the spell, or the impact with the statue she landed against. But she knew she had to wake the mare. “Twilight, wake up!” she said shaking her. “Twilight!”
“Stop!” a voice came behind her. The pegasus turned around and saw the alien Twilight cast the spell on, talking. “Please let them go!” She pleaded with the princesses.
“Ugh.” Rainbow turned back to the unicorn, as she woke, rubbing her head. “What happened? Did it work?”
“I think so,” the pegasus replied.
Twilight and Rainbow watched as the Princesses lowered the two creatures to the ground, releasing their magic.
As Scott landed on the ramp, he leaned forward and took several deep breaths before recovering. “Chloe?” he said as she got to her feet.
“I’m fine,” the woman replied, breathing heavily. “I… I think I just learned their language.”
“Really?” Rush asked.
“How?” Scott continued.
“I’m not sure,” she replied.
“OH… wow,” all four visitors looked at the purple creature at the bottom of the ramp. “I didn’t know it worked both ways.”
“Twilight?” Chloe could hear the tall, white unicorn ask. “What happened? Are you alright?”
“I think I learned their language too,” the purple one replied in her native tongue.
“Chloe?” Rush asked. “What are they saying?”
“She’s just asking what’s going on. Just a minute.”
The team’s defacto translator stepped forward and cleared her throat before continuing in the local language. “Hello,” she said, bringing a hand to her chest. “My name is Chloe Armstrong.” She gestured to each of her companions in turn. “This is Doctor Nicholas Rush, Sergeant Ronald Greer, and Lieutenant Matthew Scott. We are explorers from the Destiny, a space ship several billion miles away. We came through the Stargate because we wanted to meet you, and begin peaceful trade. I’m sorry if we got off on the wrong foot.”
The tallest one was taken aback. “I understand,” she said, nodding. “I am Princess Celestia-” she was quickly interrupted by the blue unicorn’s foreleg, which was held out in front of her.
“Sister,” she said. “Perhaps we should allow Twilight to introduce us to these visitors.”
“Of course,” the elder nodded. “Twilight, would you care to do the honours?”
“OH! Yes princess!” she exclaimed, quickly reverting to English. “Good Evening, my name is Twilight Sparkle.” Scott cocked an eyebrow, and quickly shared a look with Greer. “This is my best friend, Rainbow Dash, and it is my honour to introduce you to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, the rulers of Equestria.”
“Equestria?” Rush asked. “That is the name of this planet?”
“I… well… it’s the name of this country,” Twilight replied sheepishly.
Scott stepped down the ramp. “Wait, how did you teach Chloe your entire language so quickly?” he asked.
“Oh, it was a simple language spell I learned just a few days ago, it was in this really old book,” the alien explained with a mile-wide smile. “I sorta got lucky. Never thought I’d actually use it.”
“Yes, it was a simple magic spell. Though I think it went wrong, it wasn’t supposed to hurt like that. I’m really sorry.”
Everyone’s eyes went wide. “Are you serious?” Greer asked.
“Of course, it wouldn’t be a very good spell if it caused that level of pain.”
“No, no, no,” Rush explained. “Are you serious when you say it was ‘magic’?”
Twilight stood there, wide eyed. “Um… yes?”
Suddenly, the young unicorn felt a hoof tap her on the shoulder.
“Uh, Twilight?” came the voice of Rainbow Dash. “Could you use that spell on me? It’s a bit boring not understanding a word you’re saying.”
“Ahhh-I wouldn’t risk it,” she said, shaking her head. “It was pretty painful. I think I need to look it over again. Just hold on a second.” She turned to the humans. “Don’t tell me you’ve never seen magic before.”
“Well,” Rush replied. “We haven’t.”
Twilight was taken aback. “I didn’t think that was possible,” she said.
“Well, we didn’t think magic was possible,” Scott said.
“It’s not,” Rush explained. “It’s probably not what we think it is, something we’ll have to figure out during our time here.”
“Well, how long were you planning on staying?” Twilight said?
“As long as we can,” the lieutenant explained. “We were hoping we could stay for a while, visit your cities, explore the sights.”
“Among other things,” Rush said.
“Well, then I guess it is my duty to welcome you to the great land of Equestria!” She turned to the princesses and started explaining the situation. “Your magesties, our visitors have asked if they could stay and visit our towns, explore the sights.”
“That sounds-” Luna began.
“No!” Celestia interjected. “We allow these creatures to wander the cities it could cause a panic. I’m sorry, but I don’t think we could allow that.”
Luna stood dumbfounded for a second, before responding. “I am afraid you are right sister. It would cause too many problems.”
“Oh,” Twilight replied, comprehending the situation. She turned her head to the visitors and before she could say a word…
“It’s alright,” Chloe explained. “We understand. We do the same thing back home. Try to keep the Stargate a secret to avoid a panic.”
“Wait! I have an idea!” Twilight exclaimed. “The transformation spell! If we can turn them into ponies it wouldn’t attract any attention at all!”
“You have a transformation spell?” the visitor asked. “What else can you do?”
“Um… a lot.”
“Would it hurt?”
“No, of course not!”
“Didn’t you say the same thing about the language spell?” Rainbow asked.
“What transformation spell?” asked Celestia.
“Oh… um… I learned it about an hour ago. Moonlight designed it… it was… um… for one of his films.” She smiled sheepishly.
“Well,” Luna said. “If you can get that spell to work properly, I see no reason to restrict their access to our land.”
“I agree,” her sister responded hesitantly. “Twilight?”
Twilight nodded and turned to her newest friends. “Okay,” she said in English. “The princesses have agreed to allow you to spend as much time in Equestria as you want, but you can’t attract too much attention. So, we’ll use a transformation spell to help you blend in!”
“A transformation spell?” Rush asked.
“Uh… I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Scott explained. “Especially after-”
“I’ll go!” Greer said, interrupting the officer.
“Wait, I’m not so sure about this.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” Twilight explained. “It’s perfectly safe, and you can even turn it off yourself, no worries.” She smiled wide.
“Okay, are you sure about this Greer?”
He walked up to the mare. “Yes, sir.”
“Alright,” Twilight said. “Just… stay still.”
Twilight’s horn glowed brightly as a bright white glow encompassed the dark-skinned soldier. Twilight’s face contorted as she put more and more energy into the spell. Eventually, the Sergeant started to levitate, and everyone was forced to avert their eyes.
On the main floor of the Canterlot Royal Library, in the high-security restricted section. One of the many bookshelves began to move, sliding straight up into the ceiling. One by one, eight ponies walked through the passage. The royal princesses took the lead, followed by Twilight Sparkle, and Rainbow Dash. Right behind them followed four new ponies: a purple unicorn with long brown hair, and three blueberries on her flank; a blue pegasus with short brown hair, and a silver star cutie mark; a dark orange earth pony with short black hair, and a cutie mark of two crossed silver swords; and finally, taking up the rear, was a beige earth pony with light brown hair, and on his flank was a mathematical formula, X squared over Y.
“So, where did you say you were from?” Rainbow asked the unicorn.
“The Destiny,” she explained. “We’ve been living there for the past few years, our actual home is much further away.”
“How much further?” Twilight asked.
“Another galaxy, billions of light years from here.”
Rainbow interjected, “Yeah, but did I hear you say something about it being a space ship?”
Rainbow squealed. “That is so cool!!!” she said. “A ship that flies through space. I never thought I’d get to see anything like that! Can we go there!?”
Celestia responded, “Let’s take this one step at a time Rainbow Dash.”
They crossed the final security gate, and entered the main sitting room. Quickly, the dark orange stallion spotted a window, and trotted straight toward it. “Sir,” he said, catching the blue pegasus’ attention.
Scott trotted over. Through the window they could see a sprawling statue garden, and a starry night sky. “It’s nighttime,” he said. “That’ll take some getting used to.”
Twilight trotted straight toward a pile of books that stood in a corner. “I probably just missed something in the language spell,” she said, levitating several books away. “If I find that book, I can cast it safely on everypony.”
“Did you just say ‘everypony‘?” Chloe asked, incredulously.
“Miss Chloe,” the younger princess interjected. “While Twilight is conducting her research, I would like offer you and your friends a personal tour of the royal palace. During that time, we can discuss our future relations.”
“Oh, right.” She turned to her teammates. “The princess wants to show us around,” she said.
“Well, no point in wastin’ time,” Greer responded. “Lead the way.”
She turned to the princess and smiled, “we would be honoured Your Majesty.”
“Please, I ask that you call me Luna.”
“OOO!” the pegasus mare exclaimed, flying towards the group. “Can I come?”
“Of course, Rainbow Dash,” the princess replied.
“I shall remain here sister,” Celestia explained. “I can assist Twilight in finding the language spell.”
“Of course.” She proceeded out the door, Rainbow and three of the former humans following close behind.
Taking up the rear, Scott noticed a missing member of their party. He turned around. “Rush?” he asked the scientist who was staring at one of the many bookshelves. “You coming?”
“No, no, go ahead, I’ll be fine,” he said, distracted, waving the pegasus away.
“Okay,” he said, before trotting away.
The five ponies trotted through the halls of Canterlot Castle. They had already crossed many rooms and many floors; visiting rooms filled with artifacts, rooms filled with desks, and rooms filled with medieval weapons, to name a few.
Most of them assumed the palace would be vacant late at night, but that did not appear to be the case. Chloe noticed several unicorns passing them, each of which set their eyes lingering on the group just a bit longer than was necessary.
“Why are they staring at us?” the unicorn whispered to the multicoloured pegasus.
“Probably because they don’t recognize you,” she whispered back.
“Don’t tell me they’re easily suspicious of strangers here?”
“Well, not really, but it does tend to attract attention.” Her eyes went wide. “Uh oh.”
“I thought attracting attention was the one thing we didn’t want to do.”
“Yeah, we’ll… we’ll have to deal with that.”
At the back of the procession, a different discussion was going in a different direction.
“It’s a bit strange, walking on four legs,” Scott said to the earth pony next to him.
“I don’t know, I’m gettin’ used to it,” Greer replied, raising his legs just a bit higher, demonstrating the skills he had developed.
Scott spread his wings wide then quickly folded them again. “You think these things actually work?”
Suddenly, walking next to him, the rainbow-haired alien started talking.
Chloe turned her head and said, “She’s offering to give you flying lessons.”
“Uh, yeah sure!”
The unicorn was about to relay the message when Princess Luna, who was leading the procession, suddenly burst through a pair of large double doors.
“Welcome to the Royal Dining Room!” she declared.
It was incredibly large. A single table, ten or twenty feet long, sat in the centre of the room.
“The view is particularly spectacular here,” the princess continued, trotting across the room to a large bay window that dominated the rear.
As the entire procession looked out the giant bay window, they could see, not just the entire city below, but a large portion of the land of Equestria stretched out before them.
“Wow,” Scott said. “We must be pretty high up.”
Chloe and Rainbow Dash started talking, before the unicorn responded. “Canterlot is built into the side of a mountain. It’s their capital city.”
He simply turned and stared down into the valley below. There were villages, rivers, mountains, and lakes; all very familiar landmarks. The land of Equestria almost reminded him of home. The tiny villas making him think of his hometown of Strasburg. A small and beautiful city.
Scott swung his head to the left. “Sergeant?” he asked.
Greer remained silent, his gaze steadied forward, into the sky.
As the Lieutenant followed his eyeline, he could see what Greer was looking at. It was a simple cloud, far off in the distance. Normally, it wouldn’t have grabbed his attention, however he could clearly see hundreds of points of light within. Not the brief flashes that would be reminiscent of lightning strikes, but the consistent glow of city lights.
Chloe was also staring at the mysterious cloud, as she said, “Luna, what is that?” Pointing toward the object.
“Oh, that is the city of Cloudsdale,” the Princess explained. “I didn’t know it would be this close at this time.”
“Chloe?” the Lieutenant asked.
“She said it’s a city.”
“A city of clouds,” Greer said. “They’ve managed to dominate the kingdom of god.”
“We’re going to learn a lot from them.”
As the others left, Rush was nearly alone, the perfect time for him to get to work. He reached a hoof up, and tried to grab one of the books, even though he had no idea what that book might contain. His hoof slipped off the title. Reaching the top of the spine, he tried to pull it out again. The book fell straight out, and onto the ground. He tried to pick it up off the ground, but couldn’t get his hoof to get a grip. There was something he was missing. Suddenly, the book was encased in a red glow, and it levitated. He followed the book to the table where Twilight sat, as she smiled sweetly at him.
“Thank you,” he said, sitting across from her.
“You’re not used to it yet?” she asked.
“I guess not.”
She sighed deeply. “I thought the spell would also teach you how to use the new form, but I guess it doesn’t work that well.”
“Perhaps,” he said, flipping through the book.
He couldn’t understand the work within, but he tried to use this time to practice flipping pages. A task that was not easy.
“AH HA!” the unicorn screamed. Grabbing the earth pony’s attention. “I think I found out what I did wrong.”
“What?” he asked, genuinely curious.
“It was so simple!” she exclaimed, turning her own book to face the stallion. “I just missed a crucial stabilization component right here.” She pointed to one particular symbol. “Such a rookie mistake, I can’t believe I forgot that.”
“So you can actually do it right this time?”
“Yep!” she said with a giant smile. “I guess I have to apologize to Chloe.”
“Forget that now,” he said, standing up. “Let’s do it!”
“No point in wasting time Miss Sparkle.” He leaned over the table.
“Okay,” she placed her horn against the scientist’s head, and it started glowing, as both closed their eyes.
This time, as the glowing grew brighter and brighter, neither felt any pain or discomfort. After several seconds, the glowing subsided, and both opened their eyes.
Rush didn’t hesitate, and started reading the book before him. “Paper Mache’s national health care system was a great boon to Equestria’s society, and economy. At the time it was met with much opposition, but many current economists credit this system with the industrial boom that quickly followed.”
Twilight rapidly clapped her hooves. “YAY!” she screamed. “I can’t wait to show the princess!”
“Yeah, fascinating,” he said, too absorbed to bother looking up.
In the high security section of the Royal Library, a single golden-cased hoof was pressed against the simple white panel on one of the gates. As it glowed, and quickly subsided, the lock clicked open, and Celestia trotted through.
She didn’t hesitate to approach one of the shelves within. Unlike most of the library, which held properly bound books, this shelf held a series of scrolls. As she shuffled through them, the princess eventually pulled out a single small tightly-rolled scroll, held closed with a single piece of twine.
Celestia slid the string off, and unrolled the scroll, quickly reading the very first line, “Through a passage of water; A ship will appear.”
A small smile appeared on her face. As she finished unrolling it, her eyes landed on the very bottom. She stared at the final line for several seconds, before closing her eyes tightly, and rolling it back up. The Princess quietly hid the scroll in her torc, hanging from her neck. She quickly trotted out, through the gate, closing it behind her, to meet up with her faithful student once again.