A Twist of Fate
AN: Here we go again! Bet you weren't expecting another post so soon, huh? Neither was I!
Without further ado, enjoy!
Chapter 1: The Accident
Soaring through the sky with her new wings, her crown resting lightly on her head, she looked down upon the lands below filled with light and hope. Smiling to herself, she made a confident declaration.
"Everything is going to be just fine!"
Twilight Sparkle awoke with a yawn in the dull gray early morning light. Desperately she tried to grasp her most recent dream with only partial success. "What a strange dream," she muttered to herself, Stretching and shaking the sleep out of her head. "Who's ever heard of a flying unicorn?"
Hurrying to the dining hall of the building her family lived in, Twilight got in line for her morning meal. It was simple hay and water, same as every day, but Twilight knew she had no right to complain. Many of the ponies around her would be off to the crystal mines below the city or, like her mother, had already left before dawn to clean at the castle or the manor of some noble. She knew she was beyond lucky that her father had gotten her a position with him shelving and retrieving books at the Canterlot Library.
Quickly finishing her meal, Twilight hurried out of the building and into the city. As she trotted towards the library, a coach passed her, pulled along by a pair of Earth Pony stallions, matching onyx collars around their necks. Twilight briefly wished that she could ride to work instead of walking but the cold weight of the obsidian ring on her horn reminded her of her place.
Like every other pony in the Crystal Empire, Twilight Sparkle was a slave to their Umbrum rulers. It was only by their mercy that she was alive and she knew it. Fortunately, her family had always been skilled and kept their heads down, so she was better off than most and she knew that, too.
As the senior slave at the library, Twilight's father, Night Light, was always there early to direct those newer than him. When he saw his daughter approach, he said, "Best hurry, Twily. The Governor is coming by for an inspection later today and you know what will happen if she's displeased with the Librarian."
Twilight swallowed nervously. The Librarian was the Umbrum in charge of the library slaves. If the ruler of Canterlot was unhappy with him, the slaves were the ones who would pay for it. "Understood, father. Where do you want me to start?"
"There's a cart of books for the history section that needs to be shelved," he replied. "Why don't you begin there?"
"Got it!" She said as she hurried in.
Entering the library, Twilight could not keep a smile from spreading across her face. She may have been born into slavery but she knew she was blessed to get to come to such a wondrous place every day. Each book was like a window into another world, each scroll a means of traveling through time. Sometimes, when things were slow and even the cleaning was done, her father would cover for her so she could sneak off to some hidden corner and read.
Today, though, she knew she needed to focus. This would be the first inspection since she had started working here and she knew the best way she could repay her father would be to make sure it went flawlessly. Finding the cart her father had mentioned, she began to wheel it over to the history section. Although the slave ring on her horn limitted Twilight's magic, it still left her with enough to perform basic tasks, This made unicorns like her perfect for tasks that required a delicate touch, like shelving scrolls and books decades, or even centuries, old.
As she worked, however, the title of one treatise caught her eye. "'A King and Two Sisters: The Fall of Equestria and the Rise of the Crystal Empire'. I've never seen this one before," Twilight muttered. Shaking her head, she tried to forget about it and focus on her task.
Despite her intentions, her eyes kept being drawn to it as she wondered, 'Who were the "two sisters"?' Halfway through shelving the books on the cart, Twilight could contain her curiosity no longer. Glancing around to make sure there was no one else in the vicinity, Twilight set the book on the part of the cart she had cleared, and opened it up to the introduction. She had learned to divide her attention well over the years, and continued to work as she read.
How is it that the powerful and nigh-immortal Umbrum have only ruled these land for a millennium? It is a history of trickery, imprisonment, and finally redemption. When our race was young, we roamed the lands unchallenged. Blinded by their pride, the oldest of us fell into a trap laid by an upstart race of equines. Lured in by a cowardly plot, using magic specifically designed to contain us, we languished in our prison for eons. Until finally, our Queen found a loophole in the magic sealing us away and came up with a plan to exploit it.
Through the combined power of the greatest Umbrum alive, Queen Rabia's own son was shaped into the form of the very beings who trapped us so long before. As the spell did not effect their kind, the young prince was able to escape. However, the spell could only be worked on a newborn, so we had to continue to wait.
But we had already sufferred for millennia, what was a couple decades more to secure our freedom?
Finally the day arrived when our Prince's power matured and he set us free. Only then did we learn of the suffering he had to endure for all our sakes. The lies, the betrayals, and the foes who stood against him. It was on that day, in recognition of his sacrife and triumph, that our Queen stepped down and handed the throne to her son. This is his story, the tale of King Sombra's rise to power, and of the foolish pony sisters who thought themselves his equa-
Slowly, as she read, Twilight's focus became more and more centered on the historical tale, until she was suddenly jerked back to the present by the sound of the cart she was pushing impacting something solid. Looking up win surprise, Twilight sighed in relief when she realized that she had just hit one of the bookshelves and not another pony or, worse, one of the Umbrum. However, her relief was short-lived, as their was a crunch of old wood giving away and the entire shelf began to tip over.
Acting quickly, Twilight reached out with her magic to grab the shelf and arrest its descent. To her mild surprised, she was able to call upon enough magic to succeed. However, despite stopping the bookcase, its contents continued to move, falling to the floor in a thunderous heap and kicking up a cloud of dust all around the young mare.
"No... nonononono!" Twilight began to panic. Glancing at the bookshelf, she saw that the damage was relatively minor, only one of the corners on the bottom having given way. Thinking fast, Twilight sprang into action. The older shelves like this one were fairly basic, so, straining her magic to the point that the slave ring felt like it was about to burn her horn, Twilight lifted the entire shelf and flipped it over. That left it sitting sturdily on the floor with only a slight bit of damage to an upper corner.
Spinning to the books and scrolls on the ground, her eyes and magic went into a flurry of motion, scanning the books to determine their proper location and tucking them neatly back on the shelves, one after another. As the last scroll slid into place, Twilight turned to the splintered wood of the damaged corner and applied pressure with her magic to straighten it out as best she could.
As she finished, Twilight thought to herself, 'That was too close. Now, if I can just finish shelving those history books before-'
"What in the name of Tartarus is going on here?"
Twilight instinctively flinched from the bighting tone of the female voice that rang out. Quickly turning around, any hope she had of salvaging the situation vanished at the sight of her father, the Librarian, Govenor Ira, and an armored stallion that the young mare suspected was the Governor's personal guard.
The Umbrum mare that ruled the city took a step forward and said, "I asked you a question, slave."
Flinching again, Twilight stammered out, "Th-the shelf collapsed, y-your grace. I-I was merely doing my b-best to restore it before its contents could be damaged further!"
The Umbrum's eyes flared with Dark Magic as she said, "Irrelevant. Are you aware or the penalty for failing to report a defective slave ring?"
Twilight's eyes widened in horror. The punishment for such a crime was no less than that for open rebellion: immediate imprisonment or Crystallization, leading to a public execution. "B-but, I-"
Suddenly, Twilight's father stepped between them, a cold sweat on his brow even as he met the Govenor's surprised gaze. "With all due respect, your grace, I am Twilight's father and senior here at the library. I should have been the first to notice and report any malfunction, so any punishment should be mine."
"But it's working just fine!" Twilight protested, wanting desperately to protecther father in turn.
Brushing past Night Light, the Govenor sneered at the young unicorn. "You expect me to believe a mere pony coud accomplish what you just did while their magic was restricted?"
Before Twilight could think of anything else to say, another voice spoke up. "Hold for a moment, Ira."
Twilight blink in surprise as the stallion she thought was a guard stepped forward. Now that her focus was on him rather than the irate Govenor, she noticed that, in addition to the armor, he wore a crown similar to that of the Umbrum mare as well as a red cape with a white border. Stepping up to her, the stallion asked, "Are you aware that the punishment for a slave caught deliberately deceiving a member of the nobility is the removal of their tongue?"
Swallowing nervously, Twilight said, "Y-yes, sir."
"And yet, you still assert that your magic-inhibiting ring is functioning properly; that is to say, limiting your magical output to a quarter of what you would be capable of, otherwise?" The stallion went on.
Twilight hesitated for a moment, before thinking, 'In for a crystal, in for a crown. Besides, if I'm wrong, I'm dead, anyway.' Steeling herself, she said aloud, "Yes, sir. I do assert as much."
The stallion gave a fanged grin as he said, "Well, there is only one way to be sure."
Twilight was confused for a moment, before she felt the obsidian ring that had been on her horn since she was a filly shift, before being lifted away completely. She barely had time to gasp before raw magic seemed to explode from within her, her vision going white...
When Twilight came to her senses again, she was sprawled on the floor, the ring once more in place on her horn. Glancing around in confusion, she saw the nearby bookshelves pushed away or fallen over, the one she had fixed seemingly blasted in the opposite direction than it had fallen before. Those nearby were looking at her with expressions showing varying levels of shock, only the armored stallion differing, looking upon her with something more akin to interest instead.
Turning to the Govenor, the stallion said, "It seems that she was telling the truth, Ira. If anything, I do believe that ring has been restrictig her magic a bit more than intended."
"I-indeed, brother," the Umbrum mare confirmed. "I seem to have misjudged the situation."
"No matter, you know my policy on such matters," he replied. Turning back to Twilight, he asked, "What is your name?"
"Twilight Sparkle, sir," Twilight replied as she got back to her hooves. 'Did the Govenor just call him "brother"?' Twilight thought as she stood. 'But I had heard that she got her position because she was the former Queen's daughter. Combined with what I just read, that would mean...' She stammered out, "You... You're King Sombra, aren't you?"
"In the flesh," Sombra replied, giving a bow that seemed polite enough but that surely must have been mocking to one of Twilight's position.
Realizing that 'sir' was hardly the proper form of address for the ruler of an empire, especially from a mere slave, Twilight fell to her knees. "Your highness, please forgive me! I had no idea that-" She stiffened abruptly as shefelt her body gripped by if magic.
Fortunately, the king seemed more amused than offended as he gently lifted her upright once more. "I hardly have the patience for such formalities in court, let alone in less formal situations," he said. "Now, go pack any belongings you canot do without. I expect you at the train station at dawn." Turning abruptly, he headed towards the exit, the Govenor falling in beside him and the Librarian trailing a respectful distance behind.
Turning to her father, Twilight asked, "The station? Do you have any idea where he's sending me?"
"I've heard that some particularly talented ponies are sent to the capital to serve the royal court directly," Night Light replied with a somewhat forced smile. "It looks like today has gone from disaster to a blessing."
Glancing at the knocked over and askew shelves around her, Twilight blushed and mumbled, "Sorry about that, dad." Suddenly, a thought occured to her. "Wait, what about you and mom? Does this mean I won't get to see you anymore?"
"You're not expected to leave until tomorrow. Your mother and I will talk to you tonight," Twilight's father said. "Now, you better head home and get ready. Your mother and I will be fine."
Nodding and hurrying off, Twilight missed her father whisper one last sentence.
"After all, it's not the first time the Umbrum have taken a child from us..."
AN: And there we go! Anyway, this is an idea for an AU I've been considering for a while. Simply put; what if Sombra had won 1,000 years ago? How would that affect the life of Twilight Sparkle? How would it affect the other ponies of Equestria? How would it affect the entire bucking series?
And as for Twilight's magical-release-moment, imagine if the Rainboom-awakening-moment had 10-15 more years to build up magic...
What will happen to Twilight now? What became of Shining Armor? Find out in future chapters of 'A Twist of Fate'!