My Little Pony: Twilight then, Twilight Now
Twilight Sparkle awoke as the first rays of light came through her window, the sun's beautiful morning light warming her body. Pulling herself out of bed with a yawn, she used her magic to brush her mane.
"Spike! Get up, it's morning!" But when she looked over at the baby dragon's basket, she saw he was still fast asleep.
"Poor guy, probably still tired out from Pinky Pie's party last night." Leaving the small purple dragon to snooze the morning away, Twilight Sparkle headed out of the Library and into Ponyville.
Most of the morning regulars were up and about….. Ditzy Doo delivering her mail, Mr. and Ms. Cake selling their baked goods. To her right, see could see Rarity through the Window of her dress shop, hard at work on the newest line of dresses she had promised to Hoity Toity for his Boutique in Canterlot. Off to her left, she could see the three Cutie mark crusaders running away from from an angry Daisy and Golden Harvest... no doubt having done something foolish to try to earn their Cutie marks, Twilight Sparkle thought with a smirk.
Yes… it was just another average day in Ponyville.
It was at that point that Twilight Sparkle was tackled to the ground by a rainbow-colored blur streaking out of the clouds, knocking the Unicorn Pony totally off her feet.
"Yo Twilight, what's up?" The thing that tackled her asked with a smirk.
"Hello, Rainbow dash." Twilight replied, extremely annoyed. "Where are you headed in such a hurry?"
"Awww, just gettin away from Applejack." Dash replied, picking herself up off the ground. "She wanted me to help her pick apples after she caught me sleeping in the apple trees again. Can you believe the nerve?"
"Yeah, it must be hard not having to do any work." Twilight replied sarcastically, pulling herself back up onto her hooves.
"Tell me about it!" Rainbow Dash replied, rolling her eyes. "How can I ever get time to practice for the Wonder Bolts?"
Twilight Sparkle just rolled her eyes. "Yes, I'm sure both you and Pinkie Pie would both just love live in a word where ponies don't have to work, and you can just play and run all day."
"Yeah, that'd be great, Twilight." the Blue and Rainbow Pegasus replied. "Too bad we both know it ain't ever gonna happen."
"Yep, it's definitely too bad." Twilight replied sarcastically. "Anyway, I need to be going now…. I have to go pick up some ingredients for my next potion from Zecora."
"See ya later!" Rainbow dash replied, before taking off again. Twilight just shook her head, and started on her way again. The last thing she needed was another distraction.
"Um, excuse me, Twilight?" A timid voice caught the Unicorn's attention.
"Huh? Oh, hi Fluttershy." Twilight Sparkle replied, turning to greet the yellow Pegasus. "What're you doing here?"
"I, um, well, saw you walking here, and um, was wondering if you could help me…" Fluttershy replied softly.
"Sure, but what do you need my help for?" The Unicorn pony asked, puzzled.
"Well, there was this little bird with a broken wing I was nursing back to health, that I found at the edge of the everfree forest." Fluttershy explained. "And now he really wants to get back to hiss parents, and I was wondering…. Since you were heading to the everfree forest anyway… if-"
"Say no more, Fluttershy." Twilight Sparkle said with a smile. "I would be happy to escort you and your little friend back to find his parents!"
"Oh, thank you so much, Twilight!" Fluttershy replied with a smile.
"I'd better come with ya too, sugar cube." A loud voice came from behind them.
"Aieeeee!" Both mares shrieked in unison. They spun around to see a familiar orange pony.
"Applejack! What is wrong with you?" Twilight Sparkle yelled "Why is every pony has the need to sneak up on me today?"
"Sorry Twi. Didn't mean to startle ya." She pushed her hat back with her hoof. "But ya might want at take me along if yer going back to the everfree forest. Don't want to get turned to stone again, after all"
"You just had to bring up the Cockatrice incident again, didn't you?" Twilight Sparkle replied with a groan. "Oh, all right, you can tag along, too."
The three of them immediately set off for the forest.
Morning came early to Dream valley, as sunlight flooded the windows of the castle. Twilight's eyes flickered open as the first rays of dawn struck her. With a yawn, the pink unicorn pony rose from her bed, and readied herself to greet the day. Looking in the mirror, Twilight brushed her White and purple streaked mane, then tied a ribbon into a bow on her tail. As she trotted out of her room and down the stairs, she noticed that all of the other rooms in the Castle were vacant.
"Hm, looks like the others are already awake." Twilight thought to herself. Glory must have already lowered the drawbridge and let the others out. A sight of Contentment escaped from the young mare- it was good to be back in Dream Castle. She and several others had moved back here after the grundles had moved on. Paradise Estate had gotten far too crowded, and besides, this old castle was their home.
As she trotted outside, she heard the sound of roller skates coming up behind her. "Look out, Twilight! Here I come!" Glory zoomed quickly past , as Twilight stumbled to get out of her way. The white unicorn with the Purple mane was racing around the meadow on her two sets of roller skates again, ready to crash into anypony that happened to be in the way. Twilight really wished her over-energetic friend would slow down and think sometimes, instead of just dashing about.
Farther down the hill, Bow Tie, a blue earth pony with a pink mane full of ribbons (though all of the mares in this day and age wore at least one ribbon), played ball with the little filly, Ember.
"I got the ball, Bow Tie!" Ember giggled, sending the ball flying. "You're as slow as a sea pony on land!"
"We see about that, little one!" Bow Tie shot back, leaping high into the air, and sending the ball sailing back.
Although she was the girliest of the ponies present, Bow Tie was also the best runner and jumper out of all of them. They were so wrapped up in their game, that the pink unicorn simply trotted past without being noticed. It was then Twilight heard two voices yelling overhead.
"Hey, watch this Medley! I'm gonna do a Sonic Rainboom!" A Pink Pegasus yelled out defiantly.
"No, don't Firefly! It's too dangerous to try a stunt like that!" A nervous, stuttering green winged pony replied.
Twilight looked up to see the brave and overconfident Firefly soaring downward, trying to perform an ancient maneuver perfected by the Pegasus of ages past. And as usual, the timid and ever worrying Medley was trying to talk her out of it. As usual, the attempt ended with the foolhardy Pegasus crashing into the water, giggling as two of the other ponies pulled her out.
Watching them, Twilight just sighed. Running and playing, flying around and having fun….. Outside of taking care of their homes and families, that's all most ponies ever did in this day and age. Things like jobs, currency, and money belonged to a distant, near forgotten past in Ponyland's history. Sitting down on a hill over looking the castle, twilight opened her favorite book, and once again began to read about those long forgotten days.
The age of Equestria…. A long-lost, magical time…. when the Pegasus controlled the weather, and moved the clouds to create storms and make rainbows. When ponies cared for the animals, guiding the birds home for spring, and waking bears up from hibernation. And where the changing of the seasons was the Pony's responsibility. Then Ponies had a reason to be active in the world…. They had purpose! But now, the weather and the seasons operated on their own, and the animals take care of themselves. The ponies have been left to their own devices, and it seemed the glory days of Ponyland were long behind it
"Whatcha doin, Twilight?" A voice called out breaking her concentration. "Reading one of your dusty old books again?"
Startled by the voice from behind her, Twilight let out a squeak as she spun around.
"Oh! Hi, Applejack." The Pink Unicorn replied, regaining her composure. "Yes, I was just reading another book about the age of Equestria."
Applejack just shook her head "Twi, when are you going to get your head out of the clouds, and start living in the present?"
One of Twilight's oldest friends, The orange earth pony with the golden mane was the most down to earth and practical mare in all of Dream valley. As her apple cutie mark showed, she had a talent for caring for the Apple trees that surrounded Dream Castle. Unfortunately, along with that work ethic, Applejack was also one of the clumsiest ponies in the valley... Always stumbling over fences and gates, and falling on her face.
"I'm sorry, Applejack." Twilight replied. "It's just…. Don't you wonder about a time when ponies actually lived in towns like humans, and Princess Celestia raised the sun every day?"
"That time's long gone, Twi." Applejack replied sadly. "And Ponyland has become a much more dangerous place since then."
Twilight frowned, realizing her friend was right. The age of Equestria had ended with the death of Princess Celestia . In the ages since, many new races and creatures had entered and settled in Ponyland… and not all of them friendly. With dangerous enemies such the dark lord Tirek and Katrina around, Pony society had turned somewhat feudal.
Now, the ponies no longer dwelled in cities (with the sole exception of the well-fortified earth Pony town, Bright Valley.) but for their own protection lived communally on large manorial holdings, like Dream Castle and Paradise estate. And while all of Ponyland had once been united as the kingdom of Equestria, it was now divided up among local rulers, such as Queen Rosedust of the flutter ponies, and Queen Majesty, ruler of Dream Valley.
"But…. What caused things to end up like this? Why do we live in such dangerous times?" Twilight closed her book, and stood up. "I want to know, AJ, and I'm going to find out!"
As she ran back to the castle, a worried look spread across Applejack's face. "What're you planning to do?"
Twilight spun around and replied. "North Star told me she found the ruins of a Equestrian town called Ponyville near here, during her last expedition. Get the girls together, AJ…. And Send Firefly over the rainbow to fetch Megan. I want to go check it out!"
"Wait a minute now!" Applejack replied, Startled. "Are you sure we should go and do something impulsive like this? Maybe we should go back into the castle, and ask Queen Majesty for permission first."
"Oh, you're such a silly pony, Applejack!" Twilight laughed. "That's just what I was about to do! I'm sure Majesty will grant us the royal permission!"
"I hope you know what your doing, Twi." The orange earth pony muttered softly, as Twilight ran inside. "Because you may not like what you find…."