Pamphile: Alicorn of Harmony
Disclaimer: I don't own MLP
Summary:In most timelines, Twilight would have failed if she went to face Nightmare Moon alone. However, in this one, she succeeded all on her own, coming to a revelation that, with the Elements of Harmony, brings her to the Ranks of Alicorn much earlier than ever expected. Now Twilight will make her way through the world as the Alicorn of Harmony, The Friend to All, The Pamphile Princess.
Thoughts and Flashbacks
Demonic or Animalistic Speak
Demonic or Animalistic Thoughts
AN This first chapter is not mine. I'm posting it with the permisison and the encouragement of the original author, Crescent Pulsar of Fimfiction, for the convience of the expansion I'm making on his oneshot. My only edit to it is removing some no-unneeded exposition near the end.
Twilight Sparkle stood outside of the Everfree Forest, upon a dirt pathway that led into it. While she didn't like the idea of exploring a strange forest all by herself, especially during the dark of night, she had decided that it would be necessary. It wasn't just because a certain group of ponies were too unknown to her to be reliable, aside from the smidgen of experience that she could ascertain a certain degree of unreliability, but due to the nature of her endeavor. So, to avoid being joined or followed, she had read The Elements of Harmony: A Reference Guide to herself before teleporting away from the library with the aforementioned book still in her possession.
Secure in the knowledge that she had found a good — and safe — place to hide the book, and that no one would see where she was going, she steeled herself and began to walk into the forest. As she left the relative safety of Ponyville behind, she recalled the reasons for why she had decided to make this a solitary undertaking, instead of enlisting — or accepting — aid.
To begin with, her mentor, Princess Celestia, had given her a certain book to study just before the time that Nightmare Moon would be released from her imprisonment on the moon. It had been a book that had not only contained highly implicit knowledge regarding Princess Celestia having a younger sister, since her mentor had been responsible for the raising and lowering of the sun and moon for the duration of Nightmare Moon's banishment, but that said younger sister was none other than Nightmare Moon. It was very peculiar that such a connection wasn't common knowledge, especially since she was very knowledgeable about the pre-classical era, mostly due to having a strong interest in both her mentor and Star Swirl the Bearded. That she had never encountered anything about her mentor's younger sister, especially now that she knew that she would have been relevant prior to Nightmare Moon's banishment nearly a thousand years ago, to the day, suggested that it wasn't something meant to be common knowledge. Thus, even if it would have been more convenient, she was averse to the idea of getting more ponies involved, since they could learn the secret that way.
She came upon a cliff and looked into the distance, where she could see the ruins of the "royal pony sisters'" castle. Happy that she had a good idea of where to go, she looked for a way to proceed from her current location. However, before she could find one, the ground beneath her hooves suddenly gave way, and she found herself sliding down a steep slope, toward the mouth of a chasm.
It wasn't until she stopped herself from falling over the edge of the chasm, with the lower half of her body hanging over it, that she recovered enough from her initial scare. Once she was able to think rationally about her predicament, she was able to come up with a solution before she could lose her grip and fall. Thus, after focusing her magic for a second, she disappeared in a flash of light and safely reappeared on the grassy floor of the chasm.
With a determined frown on her face, and the chasm giving her two paths to choose from, she picked the direction that she felt would bring her closer to her destination. As she followed her chosen route, she remembered the other reason for why she had opted to do this alone: she believed that Princess Celestia was testing her. After all, not only did it only require one pony to use the Elements of Harmony, as demonstrated by Nightmare Moon's banishment, which her mentor certainly could have done once more, but — as much as it saddened her to think about it — she knew that she wouldn't be her student forever, that her graduation could have come at any time in the near future. It was a little hard to swallow, with the stakes set so high, but what other reason could there be for her mentor to surreptitiously inform her of the situation, rather than handling Nightmare Moon herself, and/or preparing others for what she had known was coming?
Her thoughts were interrupted when a manticore suddenly landed some distance in front of her, who reared up on its hind legs and roared while its gaze was undeniably focused upon her. Having just reminded herself of how important her mission was, of how much was at stake, she narrowed her eyes and tensed her body, preparing herself for the inevitable confrontation. At the same time, her mind raced to figure out a solution, since she didn't want to be harried by the creature while she sought to stop a much more dire situation, should she circumvent it and run away. Unfortunately, she knew enough about manticores to know that she wouldn't be able to overcome it in a test of physical prowess, and there wasn't anything useful — like reeds — that she could use with her magic to put it to sleep.
The manticore didn't give her enough time to think of a good way of dealing with it, because it wasn't long before it descended upon her with a swipe of its paw. After ducking underneath the initial attack, then hopping away from the chomping maw that followed, she briefly considered using her telekinesis to put some distance between them, so she might have a chance of finding a place to hide before the beast could catch up to her. That seemed unlikely to work, however, considering its ability to fly and the length and narrowness of the chasm that she would need to cross in order to find an acceptable hiding place.
However, when the manticore tried to land a downward stroke with its left paw, she noticed the large thorn embedded in it before she dodged out of the way. The idea that it gave her seemed silly, and would have made more sense had she been having an altercation with a fellow pony, but she figured that it couldn't hurt to try it. If it didn't work, she would already be holding the manticore at bay, so she could safely decide on how to proceed from there.
When the manticore tried to claw her yet again, this time with its right paw, she caught it with her telekinesis and shouted, "Wait!" Remarkably, it did pause, although it may have had more to do with her magic, since it was staring at its arrested paw, so she pointed at its other paw and requested, "Can you show me the underside of your paw?"
After the manticore glanced between her hoof and its paw, as if trying to comprehend what it was seeing, it slowly turned its paw over, which revealed the thorn.
She grasped the thorn with her telekinesis and said, "Sorry, but this might hurt a bit," before yanking it out without warning, since she had once read that it could be helpful if the pain came as a surprise, rather than committing the act when it was being anticipated.
The manticore howled in agony, which was loud and forceful enough for her to lose her hold on its paw. Fortunately, instead of taking advantage of her distraction, the manticore sat on its haunches after its outburst and inspected its now-thornless paw thoughtfully. Then, much to her surprise, it leaned forward and gave the side of her face a nice, long lick, before spreading its wings and taking flight.
She sat there for a time, in a disbelieving stupor, oblivious to the drool-matted fur on one side of her face. Not only had she not expected the manticore to respond reasonably to her act of kindness, but she realized that no book had ever mentioned that such a thing was possible when it came to manticores. She began to seriously consider if Princess Celestia might actually be right about there being more to life than studying, as much as she didn't want to admit the possibility.
Once she shook herself out of her stupor, and began to move forward once more, she began to consider what Princess Celestia had suggested to her, in lieu of studying and aside from supervising the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration: making friends. It had confused her at first, since it didn't seem to have anything to do with her test, until it had occurred to her that what she needed to do, in order to protect the world from Nightmare Moon and her never-ending night, would make her a friend — an ally — to all of the inhabitants of the world.
While it had occurred to her — after arriving at her conclusion — that five of the known Elements of Harmony embodied traits that one might desire in a friend, she had dismissed the possibility that Princess Celestia had meant for her to gather up friends that represented those traits. Aside from the fact that the Elements of Harmony had once been used by a single pony, which meant that a group of ponies wouldn't be required, it was unrealistic to think that someone could make the required amount of friends within a day; at least, she certainly couldn't see herself accomplishing such a feat. Not only was there that, but also the issue of finding and making the kind of friends that would be compatible with the Elements of Harmony.
If Princess Celestia had really intended for her to confront Nightmare Moon with friends, she reasoned that she would have coaxed her to make friends a lot sooner than she had. So, like everything else about her test, it had been a hint of what she had to do, not a direct or literal instruction. Not that the hints had been all that challenging: that reference guide for the Elements of Harmony, in particular, which had been about a subject that she had only caught one mention of in all of her years of study prior, had been incredibly blatant, especially since it just happened to be in the library where she would stay during the Summer Sun Celebration, in the town closest to where the Elements of Harmony resided. Of course, she could understand the sacrifice of subtlety when the fate of the world hung in the balance, in addition to whatever graduation awaited her upon passing her test. A harder puzzle probably would have been overkill, anyway, considering how she already had to overcome the likes of Nightmare Moon.
Shortly after leaving the confines of the chasm, she began to enter a denser part of the forest, and before long she could barely see anything within a few feet of herself. Just as she was about to light up her horn, so she could see where she was going, the trees around her were lit up in an unnatural, ominous light, which revealed horrifically twisted visages with gaping orifices that were filled with jagged, misaligned teeth.
Initially frozen by fear, she gathered her courage and waited for the abominations to make their move: not only because she didn't want to let the world down, but Princess Celestia as well — especially Princess Celestia. However, it eventually occurred to her that her attackers weren't, well, attacking. When she realized that the trees had simply been given a visual makeover, after taking a closer look and prodding one with a hoof, she breathed a sigh of relief and quickly vacated the area, glad that her attempt to do so hadn't been impeded in some way.
As she drew closer to her goal, she began to think about one of the only concerns that remained about her situation: actually being able to wield the Elements of Harmony. While she was confident that she had the right idea about what she had to do, she couldn't stomp out the irrational thought that Princess Celestia might have chosen her to take care of Nightmare Moon because she could no longer meet the requirements that the Elements of Harmony demanded of its user. It was a scary thought, because she held her mentor in such high regard and couldn't even begin to imagine herself coming close to that level of excellence. However, Princess Celestia wouldn't have given her such an important responsibility unless she had been confident enough in her student, right?
Fortunately, she was distracted by such thoughts when she heard someone crying somewhere ahead of her. Since it was more or less coming from the direction that she was heading toward anyway, she decided to investigate. What she found, by the time she was standing upon the bank of a river, were the waters of said river being churned up by a sea serpent's writhing body, who appeared to be rather upset about something.
She considered teleporting to the other side of the river, to avoid the situation entirely, but her recent thoughts made her think better of it. After all, whether or not Princess Celestia could wield the Elements of Harmony, she certainly wouldn't have ignored someone in distress, even if they weren't a pony — she was sure of it. Basically, if she ever hoped to stand upon the same stage as her mentor, she couldn't choose who to be a friend to, or when, as a matter of convenience. If she was going to be there for everyone, even though almost every single "one" in "everyone" was a stranger, she shouldn't be making any exceptions on a whim.
So, even though she felt that time was of the essence, she called out, "Excuse me, sir." When she had the sea serpent's attention, she queried, "Why are you crying?"
"Well, I don't know," the sea serpent replied, with a manner of speech and gesticulation that she recognized from some of the upper-class ponies. "I was just sitting here, minding my own business, when this tacky, little cloud of smoke just," he made a sweeping gesture with his hand, "whisked past me and tore half of my beloved mustache clean off. And now," he went on, as his behavior progressed into histrionics, "I look simply horrid!"
With that final declaration, he wailed dramatically and collapsed into the water, which resulted in a splash that was large enough to completely drench her. With an irritated sigh, she shook her soaked hair out of her eyes and tried to be encouraging. "Well, it'll grow back, right?"
The sea serpent morosely settled his head upon the bank of the river, with his arms crossed beneath it. "Oh, sure, but that will take ages. Until then, I'll have no choice but to go into seclusion and hide my face from the public eye."
While she couldn't really relate to his plight, she could tell that he was deeply affected by the loss of his mustache. So, after some self-deliberation, and convincing herself that her solution would be worth it, she used her magic to "detach" most of the hair on her tail, which evoked a gasp of shock from the sea serpent, who abruptly rose into the air to express his reaction in the visual spectrum as well. Before he could say or do anything about her actions either way, she attached her hair to the ruined portion of his mustache and — for good measure — cast a spell that changed it to the same color as the other half of it.
Once his mustache had been restored, the sea serpent laughed in delight and happily exclaimed, "My mustache! How wonderful!"
Pleased with her success, she noticed that the river was now safe to cross, so she opted to do it the old-fashioned way instead of expending more of her magic via teleportation. However, before she had made much progress, the sea serpent managed to slip underneath her and raised her out of the water, saying, "Allow me," before making a bridge out of its body for her.
She obliged him and finally made it to the other side of the river, finding the loss of so much weight on her tail strange when the usual bouncing and pulling sensations failed to happen. Then, she proceeded with cautious haste, because the sea serpent's words had confirmed her suspicion of Nightmare Moon's presence, since she had doubted that what had happened to the trees had been natural, and the crumbling cliff — in retrospect — had been rather suspect as well. She wasn't sure if the manticore had been nothing more than a coincidence, but she wasn't going to rule it out as another one of Nightmare Moon's schemes.
Eventually, she passed through another stretch of the forest before she came to a clearing that allowed her a good view of the castle ruins, mostly due to the fact that she was close enough to be on the path that led to its entrance. She surveyed her surroundings as she moved forward, because she didn't want to be surprised by Nightmare Moon when she was so close to her goal. With her attention so divided, she almost missed the fact that there was a chasm ahead of her, and that the bridge that one would use to cross it was no longer attached on the other side.
Even with the mist within the chasm concealing most of the bridge's length, it was a simple matter to raise the bridge and tie it to the stone pillars on the other side with her telekinesis. However, before she could cross it, she saw the nebulous form of Nightmare Moon's hair appear on the other side of the bridge, which swiftly manifested itself into the entire form of the pony in question.
Nightmare Moon chuckled with amusement at the glare of defiance that she was receiving. "I'm impressed that you've resisted me thus far, little pony. What is your name?"
"Twilight Sparkle," said pony tersely replied.
"Twilight Sparkle," Nightmare Moon repeated, in a way that expressed the name's palatableness to her own ears. "I'll give you a choice: submit to me, and I'll allow you to serve me at my side. If you do not..."
The threat that had been left hanging in the air did nothing to affect Twilight Sparkle's resolve. "I'll serve you..." Nightmare Moon's look of satisfaction was struck down when she added, "That is, once you've been returned to normal and reunited with your sister."
Nightmare Moon narrowed her eyes. "I see. Well, if you think—" She stopped when Twilight Sparkle angled the front of her body closer to the ground and began to paw at it with one of her forehooves, so it was with a mix of boredom and annoyance that she responded to it with, "You're kidding. You're kidding, right?"
Twilight Sparkle charged across the bridge, and readied a teleportation spell as she did so. Nightmare Moon decided to humor her and raced to meet her charge with one of her own. Before they could collide, Twilight Sparkle teleported out of the way, and reappeared a few, short steps from the main entrance of the castle. She spared a quick look over her shoulder, and met Nightmare Moon's furious gaze when she performed the same action, before she opened the doors and hurried inside.
Well, she was still outside, technically, since there was no roof in what remained of the main hall, in addition to the fact that the walls had several holes in them, but she didn't pay such details any mind as her gaze fell upon the unique pedestal that was in the middle of the room, which held the Elements of Harmony. As quickly as she could, she used her telekinesis to bring them together on the floor before her, then tried to use her magic to create the spark that the reference book had only made mention of, rather than explained.
Right at the moment when Nightmare Moon materialized in front of her, she managed to create a spark, one which jolted her with enough force to knock her upon her back, well away from the Elements of Harmony. She raised herself onto her forehooves from a supine position and watched as several sparks jumped from one Element of Harmony to the next, while Nightmare Moon voiced her denial that such a thing was happening, and felt certain of her success. That is, until the light show ceased, and the Elements of Harmony returned to being inert once more.
Shocked, she gasped and said, "But... Where's the sixth element?"
Nightmare Moon proceeded to laugh with both relief and triumph, and Twilight Sparkle could only watch in stupefied dismay as she happily seized the opportunity to rear up and stomp her forehooves amid the Elements of Harmony, which shattered them all into pieces.
"You little foal!" Nightmare Moon unconcernedly declared, now that the one known potential threat to her reign had been dealt with. "Thinking you could defeat me? Now you will never see your princess, or your sun." With a self-satisfied smile, and her tail and mane billowing upward, she proclaimed, "The night... will last... forever!"
While Nightmare Moon laughed maniacally, with her mane and tail forming a funnel-like cloud in the air above her, Twilight Sparkle tried to figure out what had been done wrong, hardly believing that all of her reasoning, which had made so much sense, had amounted to nothing. Had the solution been something as simple as needing to pursue an answer for what the spark was supposed to be before taking action, or had she failed to figure out some other part of the situation? What if she had assumed so much that there had never truly been a test in the first place?
She shook her head, set her jaw, and gathered her resolve as she glared at Nightmare Moon. There were more important things to think about than herself, or what she should have done differently. Even if overcoming Nightmare Moon was an impossibility, she couldn't accept whatever fate Nightmare Moon had in store for Princess Celestia, or that her younger sister couldn't be restored. Neither would she want Spike, her family, or her former foalsitter, Cadance, to live in a world of never-ending night, one that was ruled by the likes of Nightmare Moon. Not even that group of overly-friendly ponies from Ponyville deserved such a future, who had only — for the most part — rubbed her the wrong way because of the circumstances. Ultimately, though, no one should have to endure what Nightmare Moon had planned for them.
Suddenly, while she was bolstering herself for what lie ahead of her with the feelings of love and compassion that she felt for others, because she highly doubted that resisting Nightmare Moon would do her any favors, she had an epiphany. Her eyes widened with shock upon the realization that she had gone about things in the wrong way: while friendship could certainly be identified and measured intellectually, the condition and experience of friendship itself was rooted in emotion. She had failed to initiate a spark because she had been distant on an emotional level, rather than feeling her special bonds with others and wishing to preserve the ones that could be made within everyone.
While Nightmare Moon had noticed her change in demeanor, now that she had regained her confidence, she spoke before her adversary could comment on it, saying, "You think you can destroy the Elements of Harmony, just like that? Well, you're wrong: because the spirits of the Elements of Harmony are right here!"
The remnants of the Elements of Harmony began to shift and glow before rising into the air, which Nightmare Moon observed with worry and confusion, which she voiced. "What?"
"Honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, loyalty," Twilight Sparkle calmly began, with a group of what remained of the Elements of Harmony being drawn to her at every mention, which swirled about her upon their arrival. "These Elements bring us together, and enrich our lives. When I realized their value, and felt what they meant to me, I knew that I had to protect them and the bonds that they've helped to create, for everyone's sake." She stared determinedly into Nightmare Moon's eyes and added, "I also knew that I couldn't allow your bitterness and resentment to blind you to them."
"You still don't have the sixth element!" Nightmare Moon argued, who had to fight to keep her concern over these turn of events from getting the better of her, despite her lack of self-assurance making a negative impact on her confidence. "The spark didn't work!"
"But it did!" Twilight Sparkle confidently countered, before her expression softened. "A different kind of spark. I felt it ignite within me the very moment that I realized how much I care about the special bonds that you threaten, how it would feel for others if I were in their hooves, and that they had to be protected."
There was a flash of light from above, and the sixth element continued to shine brightly as it descended, until it hovered above her head. Seeing that Nightmare Moon couldn't handle its luminosity, and was being distracted as she tried to keep the light out of her eyes, she continued from where she had left off, saying, "You see, Nightmare Moon, when those Elements are ignited by the... the spark that resides in the heart of us all, it creates the sixth element: the element of..." She paused, as she prepared to heed the Elements of Harmony's call, before she closed her eyes and said, "Magic!"
With her eyes closed, she failed to see the first five Elements of Harmony transforming into a necklace with five star-shaped jewels embedded in it, while the sixth took the form of a crown which displayed a star-shaped jewel that was larger than the other five, although she could feel their weight even as she began to feel weightless. She also failed to see the rainbow that had manifested as the attack of the Elements of Harmony, but she could certainly hear Nightmare Moon's panicked cries of refusal as she was overwhelmed by it.
Details got fuzzy from that point onward, for an indeterminate amount of time, until she found herself lying on her belly, feeling drained and disoriented. Fortunately, it wasn't long before she had recovered enough to stand up, although something felt... off about her body, in some way that she couldn't readily define. When she went to check and see that everything was in order, after giving her new accessories a quick look, she received not just one surprise, but two: a pair of wings, and hair that flowed much like Princess Celestia's did.
Her hair color was more or less the same, except her pink and purple stripes were at the bottom, with the purple stripe separating the pink from the midnight blue that still made up most of her hair. However, the pink and purple appeared to be luminous, while the midnight blue literally looked like the night sky, because of the twinkling pinpoints of light that gave the impression of stars, which appeared intermittently within her purple and pink stripes. It reminded her of the sky at dawn or dusk, while the sun was hiding just underneath the horizon.
While she tried to flex her wings, and watched them move with a mixture of awe and disbelief, she absently said, "Why do I look like the princess?"
"That's because you are a princess," a familiar voice answered her, even as sunlight began to grace the land once more.
She saw a brilliant orb of light separate itself from the rising sun and descend into the room, where it resolved itself into a familiar and welcome form upon alighting on the ground. With a gasp of delight, she happily said, "Princess Celestia," before trotting up to the aforementioned pony for a hug.
"Twilight Sparkle, my faithful student," Celestia replied as she lowered her head to give said student a hug, before rising and proudly adding, "I knew you could do it, yet even I hadn't anticipated how well."
Twilight Sparkle took a step back so she could gaze up at her mentor, feeling overwhelmed by the situation, especially once the words that Princess Celestia had spoken prior to her arrival had finally caught up to her. "But... Wait... Me, a princess?"
Princess Celestia chuckled softly at her reaction and said, "Indeed. Although you have yet to display the qualities of a true princess, that doesn't mean that they don't already exist within you," she gently placed a forehoof over Twilight Sparkle's heart, "here. The Elements of Harmony must have seen that, your capacity for friendship, and — I imagine — your willingness to take up the same burden as I have to promote and maintain harmony."
Twilight Sparkle blushed at both the contact and words, and began to fidget self-consciously. Before she could formulate a response, both she and Princess Celestia heard a groan, which inspired them to turn their attention to its source, close to where Nightmare Moon had once stood. In her place, lying prone on the ground, was a smaller alicorn with a muted purple coat and periwinkle-colored hair.
"Princess Luna," Princess Celestia addressed her sister evenly, as she made her approach, causing her sister to gasp and open her eyes, within which could be seen a great tumult of emotions when they found her own. "It has been a thousand years since I have seen you like this." She lowered herself before her sister, who clenched her eyes shut and shied away, until she was certain that she only intended to speak to her. "It's time to put our differences behind us. We were meant to rule together, little sister." She stood back up and entreated, "Will you accept my friendship?"
After some hesitation, Princess Luna rushed over to Celestia for a hug and tearfully declared, "I'm so sorry! I missed you so much, big sister!"
Princess Celestia returned the hug and shed a few tears of her own as she said, "I've missed you, too."
Twilight Sparkle wiped at her moist eyes as she watched the touching reunion, and stayed quiet so she didn't interrupt it, even though there were several questions that she was burning to ask. Of course, high on her list of questions were ones that involved her new body, being a princess, and her status as Princess Celestia's student. However, she also couldn't help wondering about some of the details surrounding the two sisters, concerning their history and the plan that had managed to restore Princess Luna to her proper body and identity.
Fortunately, she would get her answers from Princess Celestia soon enough, but for now, fate and luck had other plans.
Despite Twilight Sparkle's own attempt to allow Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to have their moment, it seemed destined to be interrupted, because a familiar group of ponies raced through the front door — with the exception of a certain rainbow-haired pegasus, who had chosen to fly over the wall. In a manner that she couldn't help seeing as comical, their eyes went wide as they skid to an abrupt halt, when they noticed the most recognizable and prestigious figure within view.
Almost as one, they all bowed respectfully, and it was with a mixture of joy and relief that they exclaimed, "Princess Celestia!"
Princess Celestia did not seem to mind the interruption, who turned to face them and calmly said, "Be at ease, my little ponies. Might I ask what has brought all of you out here?"
Rarity stepped forward and said, "Well, we came out here because—"
"Found ya!" Pinkie Pie gleefully declared, at about the same time as some of the others noticed Twilight Sparkle's presence, and proceeded to knock her to the floor with the force of her aerial hug, which also managed to dislodge the crown from the top of her head. "Now you're it!"
A little put off by Pinkie Pie's interruption, Rarity awkwardly gestured toward Twilight Sparkle to indicate to Princess Celestia what the subject of her response would have been.
Once Twilight Sparkle was on her hooves again, with Pinkie Pie happily bouncing up and down at her accomplishment beside her, whatever anyone would have said or done next was derailed by a collective gasp, when the new arrivals finally noticed the state of her hair, and the wings that hadn't been present back in Ponyville. They were amazed further when Princess Celestia returned the crown to her head, which — along with the necklace — completed her image as a princess. Of course, with all of that attention, and the nature of said attention, she began to feel rather self-conscious.
Rainbow Dash, who had been planning to give Twilight Sparkle a tongue-lashing for ditching her and the others like she had, allowed her confusion to do the talking instead. "Since when did you have wings?"
"Yeah," Applejack agreed, as she began to scrutinize the entire package. "I'm pretty sure that ya weren't like that before."
"Oh, well, you see..." Twilight Sparkle temporized, as she tried to think of how to explain what had happened to her.
Either because Fluttershy was understanding of her situation, or was aloof enough from the group to divert her attention elsewhere, she was both relieved and thankful when she noticed the other alicorn in the room and quietly said, "Um... Who's that standing next to Princess Celestia?"
When the group's attention fully shifted to Princess Luna, she shied away, not liking it any more than Twilight Sparkle had at that precise moment. Princess Celestia stepped closer to her, in a way that could have been interpreted as being protective, and fondly stated, "This is my younger sister: Princess Luna."
That seemed to surprise them a lot more than Twilight Sparkle's appearance, to the point of being speechless after their initial reactions to the news, so Princess Celestia chuckled with mirth and said, "I can see that some explanations are in order. Why don't we head back to Ponyville, and talk along the way?"
Everyone was willing to agree to her suggestion, so they started to file out of the ruins. While Princess Celestia began to enlighten the others, Twilight Sparkle hung back a bit, so she could see all five of the ponies that had cared about her so much that they had managed to discover where she had gone and followed her there. It was a strange notion to consider, especially since she had been a stranger to them prior to meeting them only hours ago, but she felt touched by their actions nonetheless.
"Maybe," she thought, with a slight smile forming on her lips, "taking a break from studying, and making some friends, isn't such a bad idea."
End of Chapter
There we go. Again, not my chapter, but I like it enough to make a whole fic out of this concept. Next one is all me, and what I see as the starting ramifications of Twilight's one-mare exploits.