A/N: I'd like to credit the comic "Carry on the Legacy" by StarlightSpark. That was a big piece of inspiration for this fic, although, this Star Swirl is quite different of course. I'd also like to thank the bronies at TVTropes for support and advice as well as the prereaders. Naturally, as I'm not an employee of Hasbro, I have no claim to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. What I'm saying is that as much as I wish otherwise (because they're cute and I need the money), these ponies aren't mine. (You're even welcome to use the OCs).

An Earth Pony's Guide to Magic

Study One: The Elements of Harmony

The blue, purple-maned earth pony adjusted her hat before sighing and rapping her hoof against the door. A gold plaque labelled "Dr. Tear Drop" was stuck just above eye-level. The door glowed with a pink aura before swinging open to reveal a grey unicorn mare with a heart wrapped in a bandage for a cutie mark. Her blue mane was in a bun and she had a pair of glasses perched on her muzzle. "Ah, you must be Star Swirl," said Dr. Drop with a warm smile as her horn and the door stopped glowing.

"Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh," said Star Swirl with a touch of bitterness as she lowered her head.

"Ah, yes," replied Dr. Drop with a nod, "Dr. Note Pad sent me his notes on your case when he moved. But I'm afraid that I've only recently received them. This morning, in fact. As such I haven't read very far."

"I suppose he wanted to keep them for our last appointment," Star Swirl sighed dejectedly.

"Probably, but hearing your story directly from the source will probably prove beneficial," Dr. Drop smiled warmly. "So let's think of this as an opportunity! Why don't you take the couch?"

"Sure," said Star Swirl. She knew what to expect from her sessions with Dr. Pad and lay on her back on the couch, the bells of her hat jingling. Dr. Drop used her telekinesis to begin making notes with her quill.

"So, I believe that you are an earth-to-unicorn transmorphist." began Dr. Drop.

"That is correct."

"And you have repetitive cutie mark failure syndrome." Dr. Drop raised her eyebrows and glanced over the top of her notes in concern.

"Again, correct."

"When was your last episode of cutie mark failure?"

"Three days ago."

"And how do you feel during your episodes?"

"Helpless." Star Swirl began as she waved a hoof. "Like everything's pointless. That I should just lock myself away and do nothing, because the outside world is irrelevant and I have nothing to learn from it. I don't want to make the effort to organise my stuff or even to read. I just lie there, dejected, not even thinking."

"I see," replied Dr. Drop before biting her lip. "The good news is that while unhealthy, at least that behaviour isn't dangerous like some forms of cutie mark failure are. But I see that you associate your frequent cutie mark failure with being an earth pony."

"Of course I do!" yelled Star Swirl as she quickly lifted her head up from the couch and scowled. "Look at this!" She pointed a hoof at her flank.

"…I see your cutie mark," said Dr. Drop with a frown.

"Yes, but what does it look like!-?" Star Swirl raised her eyes to the sky in exasperation. Dr. Drop leaned forward and squinted at the mark.

"It seems to be a star…in a swirl…ing vortex…of some kind?" She raised an eyebrow.

"Yes, but what does it mean?" Star Swirl sighed as she dropped her hooves and collapsed back onto the couch.

"I'm…not sure." Dr. Drop widened her eyes. "A cutie mark's meaning is not always obvious. Especially to outside observers."

"I have the same cutie mark as my ancestor, Star Swirl the Bearded!" Dr. Drop raised an eyebrow.

"Who?" Star Swirl proceeded to facehoof.

"Doesn't anypony know their history!-?" she cried, flinging her front legs into the air. "He was the most important conjurer of the pre-classical era! He invented over two hundred spells! He was the teacher and later father-in-law of Clover the Clever! They even named a shelf in the Canterlot Library after him! I should know! I read every book on that shelf!"

"I…see." Dr. Drop's eyes had widened once more. "Well, sometimes a pony will earn a cutie mark identical to that of another pony. You may have noticed some ponies with the same cutie mark before. That's nothing to worry about."

"That's not the point!" cried Star Swirl, flinging her front legs back into the air. "If we have the same cutie mark, we must have the same talent! Clearly, I'm supposed to carry on his legacy!"

"Well, that's an admirable goal…"

"But how am I supposed to follow in his hoofsteps when I'm an earth pony!-? I mean…it's not like I haven't tried…but it never works out!"

"What have you tried?" asked Dr. Drop, raising her eyebrows and widening her eyes.

"Many things! At first I tried getting into Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, but apparently, I didn't 'fit the requirements'."

"You are slightly older than the foals we usually accept at this school," began the yellow unicorn. "We do occasionally overlook that when the foal in question is clearly gifted, but we cannot overlook the fact that this is a school for gifted unicorns. Not earth ponies. As such, you don't fit the requirements."

"And that's when you started wanting to become a unicorn?" asked Dr. Drop.

"Well, it's not like I wasn't envious of the fact that they could use spells and I couldn't beforehoof, but that's when I really wanted to do something about it, yes."

"And you are aware that trying to permanently become a different pony type is against the law?" asked Dr. Drop with a raised eyebrow.

Star Swirl rolled her eyes. "'It's dangerous and a denial of the pony you truly are. A pony is born the way they were for a reason.' I know what they say, but I was hoping that pleading my case to Princess Celestia would convince her otherwise."

"You went to Princess Celestia about this!-?" Dr. Drop's eyebrows were the highest that they'd been all session.

"Yes. I did. She listened to me but refused to turn me into a unicorn."

"My little pony, I'm afraid that if I do what you ask, I'll be depriving the earth ponies of a wonderful pony. The law is there for a reason. I promise you that you are fully capable of making your ancestors proud of you as an earth pony. There's a reason that they married into the Cookie family after all."

"The Cookie family? Is that where your earth pony heritage comes from?"

"Yes. I'm also a descendant of Smart Cookie."

"Who?"

"...You know...secretary of Chancellor Pudding Head?" Star Swirl looked at the blank face of Dr. Drop. "Seriously! Why doesn't anypony care about history!-? There's a play about these ponies every Hearth's Warming Eve!" She threw a hoof into the air once again.

"Oooooooh!" said Dr. Drop with dawning comprehension. "The earth pony from the play that was smart enough to make friends with the other tribes!"

"Yes!" gasped Star Swirl, grinning at the prospect of actually getting somewhere.

"Well, haven't you accepted what Princess Celestia said?"

"Well, I still don't know how to take her advice. I actually went to see Princess Luna as well more recently. I'd heard rumours that she was good with transformation magic."

"THY PRINCESS IS GRATEFUL THAT THOU HAST COME TO HER IN THINE HOUR OF NEED, BUT WE CANNOT GRANT THY REQUEST! 'TIS AN INSULT TO THE EARTH PONIES TO BELIEVE THAT THY DESTINY CANNOT BE FULFILL'D AMONG THEM! 'TIS INDEED HONOURABLE TO CARRY ON THE LEGACY OF THINE ANCESTORS, BUT TO INSULT THEM BY BREAKING WITH THE TRADITION OF THE EARTH PONIES AND JOINING WITH THE UNICORNS IS INSTEAD DISHONOUR MOST SEVERE!"

"I didn't need my bells to hear a constant ringing in my ears that week."

"But you didn't decide to try being an earth pony after that?"

"How can I use magic as an earth pony?" asked Star Swirl with a shrug.

"Earth ponies have magic of their own."

"So I hear," replied Star Swirl as she rolled her eyes. "But my family has lived in the city since long before I was born. I never learned earth pony magic. I've never even seen it."

"Well, maybe that's the problem," said Dr. Drop as she smiled once again. "Canterlot is a unicorn city. You've been surrounded by the obvious magic of the unicorns your whole life and that has made it difficult to see how to use your own magic. Maybe you should spend some time in an earth pony settlement."

"Like Manehattan?" asked Star Swirl with a grimace. "I don't know how I'd fit in there! All the unicorns there are servants! It would seem so weird to me!"

"Yes. A smaller settlement with a more even distribution of pony types is probably in order," agreed Dr. Drop with a smile. "Preferably somewhere close so that you can still easily make your checkups. How about Ponyville?"

"Ponyville!-?" asked Star Swirl as she lifted her head and readjusted her hat. "Isn't that where the bearers of the Elements of Harmony live?"

"Who?" Star Swirl facehooved.

Only the saviours of Equestria, she thought to herself. But I really shouldn't expect anypony to know that. I've only had to explain who Star Swirl the Bearded was a few hundred times. "Never mind! I'll be happy to visit Ponyville. Maybe I'll even get to meet Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic!" She gave a wide smile and her eyes shone with excitement.

"Who?" asked Dr. Drop with a raised eyebrow. Star Swirl rolled her eyes.

"Of course. You wouldn't know her either."

"Well, I'm at least glad that you're excited," said Dr. Drop with a smile.

"Of course! I'll leave tomorrow!" squealed Star Swirl as she flung a hoof into the air before slowly lowering it and furrowing her eyebrows. "No, wait! I have to prepare, don't I? I'll need to check to see what I can find out about Ponyville! And find a place to stay! And pack! I'll need a magnifying glass, a telescope...unless I can borrow one, books, ink, parchment, quills...this is a trip for education purposes, so I'll need extra parchment...Does travel for education count as business or pleasure?" She tapped her chin.

(/)

Star Swirl maintained an awkward smile through the train trip as the other passengers stared at her hat. Some ponies could be so stuffy about fashion! But she wasn't parting with it! When the train stopped in Ponyville Station, she got off carrying her overloaded saddlebags. As she walked through the station, she opened one and began to rummage through it. It wasn't hard to book a place to stay with the new buildings being put up. She just needed to find her way. She pulled out a map by her teeth and tried to look at it as she walked out the station. "Shtoopid lack orf telekineeshish!" she groaned to herself.

"Hi, pony who is looking at the map and can't see where she's going!" came a bright, cheery voice from right in front of her. "Where are you going!-? Is it on the map!-? Can I look at the map too!-? Can I come with you!-?" Star Swirl dropped the map and her eyes popped as she stepped back from the bouncing, pink earth pony.

"Y-you're Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter!" she gasped pointing at the pony. She had previously only seen her from a distance at the celebration of the defeat of Discord. She was so bouncy and cheerful. How could a bearer of harmony be so care-free? Her experiences fighting Nightmare Moon and Discord must have been horrifying, yet there was no sign of weariness or concern about what her responsibilities might lead her to do in the future. At the same time, there was no smug sense of superiority so common among the Canterlot elite and which she was far more entitled to.

"Just call me Pinkie Pie," she said pointing her hoof at herself. "Only my parents call me Pinkamena. Or even just Pinkie! My friends call me Pinkie! You want me to be your friend, right? Do you? Huh? Huh?" With each word, her head inched closer.

"Y-you w-want to be friends with me!-?" asked Star Swirl with a raised eyebrow as she pointed to herself.

"Of course I do, Silly!" chirped Pinkie Pie as she wrapped a front leg over Star Swirl and pulled her in for a hug.

It was disconcerting to see a national hero acting so foallike. She knew that the bearers of the Elements of Harmony were younger than she was, but the difference was small and she was sure that she hadn't been so different at Pinkie's age. In fact, she doubted that she had been as cheerful as Pinkie since she was a filly!

"B-but why would you want to be friends with me!-?" asked Star Swirl, raising an eyebrow. This was a bearer of an Element of Harmony! She was almost as important as one of the princesses! Their social standings were nowhere near each other! The only other pony who had approached this level of friendliness to her back in Canterlot was Fancy Pants! And he had at least maintained...decorum. She was completely unsure of what to make of this. Was this how earth ponies were supposed to act? Is that why Chancellor Pudding Head had been elected? Because she was so...like this? Or was it a Ponyvillian thing?

"Because I've never seen you before and if I've never seen you before, then you must be new and if you're new then you must not know anypony and your saddlebags are full so you must be staying for a while, maybe even moving here! But if you're staying here and you don't know anypony, then you'll be all alone, because you're not travelling with anypony, so you'll be lonely! And if you're lonely then that'll be so sad! So you should make lots of friends and because I'm friends with everypony in Ponyville then it makes sense to start with me, duh!" said Pinkie at rapid speed. Star Swirl's eyes widened in astonishment, but Pinkie Pie hadn't finished. "But we can't stop with me, so we'll have to show you to everypony and the best way to do that is a welcome to...What's your name?"

"Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh," replied Star Swirl.

"A welcome to Star Swirl party!" cried Pinkie flinging her front hooves into the air.

"Um...The 'Hundred and Forty Seventh' part is kind of important," said Star Swirl as she tentatively raised a hoof. "Otherwise somepony might confuse me with my father...or my grandfather, or my great grandfather, or..."

"Ooh! Ooh! We should have your party at Sugar Cube Corner, Star!" Pinkie Pie interrupted, pointing towards a building in the distance. "Sugar Cube Corner is the best place to have parties! I'll come and fetch you when I'm ready!"

"Um...'Star' is actually worse as it's a fairly...common..." Star Swirl slowly turned around from looking at the building towards where Pinkie had been a second ago. "...name. Where did she get to!-? And how is she supposed to fetch me if she doesn't even know where I live!-?"

"I'll find out!" said Pinkie with a dismissive wave of her hoof as her head popped out of a wagon filled with carrots before re-submerging.

Star Swirl's eyes widened to the point that they threatened to pop out of their sockets. "I...What!-?...How!-? ...How did she...!-?" began Star Swirl before sticking a hoof inside the cart among the carrots and starting to rummage. "Are you in here?"

"You won't find her, so please don't stallionhoofle the merchandise," came a voice from the front of the cart. Star Swirl turned to look at the orange earth pony pulling the cart. "Many others have tried before you and I have to get these on the next train to Canterlot. I've still got some time, but I don't feel like repacking them after you've emptied the entire cart."

"She...does stuff like that all the time?" asked Star Swirl with furrowed eyebrows.

"Yes," sighed the orange pony. "That's what she's like."

"But that's not normal for earth ponies?" The pony raised an eyebrow.

"No."

"Fascinating," said Star Swirl. She took a closer look at the pony, noticing that she seemed familiar. "...Are you related to Golden Harvest the Fourth?" The pony winced at the name.

"You know my mother?"

"Not well, but I'm one of her customers. I'm Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh."

"Nice to meet you. I'm Carrot Top."

"...You're married?" asked Star Swirl with a raised eyebrow.

"...No."

"You were given your father's surname?"

"No."

"...But then...?"

"Look, it's not what's on my birth certificate, but it's still what I'd like to be called, okay?" asked Carrot Top.

"...Um...Okay..." said Star Swirl as she gave an awkward smile. "So...Has Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter always been like this?"

"As long as I've known her," replied Carrot Top as she rolled her eyes.

"Fascinating. I have to investigate!" cried Star Swirl, raising a hoof. "But I suppose that I'd better find my apartment and settle in first."

(/)

Taking the advice of Dr. Pad, Star Swirl had started to keep a diary, though she had quickly expanded its use to a notebook of all her daily observations that interested her. She would use it to remind herself of that which she wished to study further and what she had discovered so far, even if the latter was later copied and organised into notes separated by subject of study. After packing, she began to write in that diary, knowing that she had encountered something important.

Meeting Pinkamena Diane Pie, Bearer of the Element of Laughter was an experience both enlightening and yielding of a larger number of questions than I anticipated. She was certainly very different from what I expected a bearer of harmony to be like. Almost as if the responsibility doesn't concern her at all. She offered me her friendship, which, apart from the usual benefits of companionship may allow me the opportunity to study the Elements themselves. Such an honour cannot be overestimated. In addition, she exhibited some form of spacial anomaly which is apparently typical of her, but not other earth ponies. Teleportation is considered a reasonably advanced spell and as a spell, only usable by unicorns. Is this a similar effect? Is this a case of advanced earth pony magic? Hopefully I'll be able to investigate how this phenomenon works and maybe even learn to use it myself.

A knock on the door caused Star Swirl to drop her quill from her mouth. She grabbed the door knob and pulled, coming face to face with Pinkie once more. "You'd better be ready, 'cause the party is and it's all for you!"

"Ah, thank you," said Star Swirl as she blinked at the sudden intrusion of exuberance into her new home and study. She supposed that she may as well follow and enjoy herself. Besides, she may even meet more of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony at this party. Maybe even Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic herself! Her head nodded as she tried to keep her eyes on the bouncing pony in front of her. "Is it really safe to bounce like that on the stairs?" she asked.

"Of course, Silly!" replied Pinkie with a giggle as they continued their descent towards the exit. "I do this all the time! It just comes naturally!"

"By the way, how did you find out where I was staying?"

"That was easy peasy! I know all the ponies in Ponyville and I know where they live, so I know all the places that don't have ponies living there yet! So, I asked everypony who lived near those places if they'd seen a pony that looked like you move in and all the owners of those places if they'd sold them yet!"

"I see." Star Swirl raised an eyebrow. She had to commend the enthusiasm even if it was rather disconcerting.

When Pinkie stopped, she waved a hoof in front of the building. "And here's Sugar Cube Corner, where you'll be having your party, but you should come here even when there isn't a party even though I have lots of parties here because it's a terrific place to have parties and I love parties because Sugar Cube Corner is amazing even without parties with all the sugary treats that Mr. and Mrs. Cake sell!" Pinkie paused to open the door to a room full of ponies, balloons, streamers, confectionery and other party paraphernalia. Star Swirl, however, set her eyes on only one individual and charged towards her before dropping to her knees.

"Oh, Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic, I know that I am unworthy to kiss the dirt upon which you walk, but if in your generosity, you were to grant me your autograph, I would be eternally grateful!"

"...Hello," said Twilight with a nervous smile. "You really don't have to do any grovelling. I'm just another pony. Why are you bowing and scraping in front of me? This is supposed to be your party."

"But you're Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic! The most powerful and elusive of the Elements of Harmony! You led your team in the defeat of Nightmare Moon and Discord! You stopped the rampage of an Ursa Minor singlehoofedly! Not to mention being Princess Celestia's protégé!"

Twilight raised her eyebrows and dropped her jaw. "Oh! Well...thank you, but it's really nothing to brag about."

"So humble!" Star Swirl's eyes sparkled to compliment her massive grin.

"...But if you really want an autograph, I'll give you one."

"Thank you so much!" cried Star Swirl as she rose from the ground.

"By the way, I like your Star Swirl the Bearded hat." said Twilight as she pointed at it. "You even got the bells right! I know because I have one too and Princess Luna confirmed its accuracy for me."

"...This is an exact duplicate," said Star Swirl as her eyes stretched open in wonder. "Are you saying that you have one just like it?"

"Yes. I dressed up as Star Swirl the Bearded for Nightmare Night. Unfortunately Princess Luna was the only pony who recognised the costume."

"Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic knows Star Swirl the Bearded! This is the best! Day! Ever!" cried Star Swirl.

"I take it that you're also a fan." Twilight smiled.

"Of course! I'm his descendant! Of course, he lived long enough ago that a lot of ponies are his descendant, but I'm still part of the Swirl line and was named after him, just as many of my ancestors were before me. I'm Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh. It's such an honour to meet you! Is it true that your cutie mark represents 'magic' itself and that your special talent allows you to copy or learn any spell?"

"Well, I'm happy to meet you as well," said Twilight. "And yes, it's true."

"Wow! That's amazing! I'm so envious! Star Swirl the Bearded's cutie mark is believed to have a similar meaning, though obviously not an identical meaning as it looked different to yours and I have the same one, but I can't use spells at all because I'm not a unicorn." Her face fell at the last words.

"You're not a unicorn?" asked Twilight with a frown. "...But you're a descendant of a powerful unicorn and have the same cutie mark! How did that happen?-!"

"I ask myself the same thing all the time," Star Swirl sighed. "Apparently taking after his grandfather meant that Star Swirl the Fourth was the most powerful unicorn of his generation. As such, he was unimpressed by the unicorn fillies. He went to his wise and brilliant mother, Clover the Clever and asked her for advice and she introduced him to the daughter of her friend, Smart Cookie, who had much in common with her when it came to brains. They fell in love and got married and as a result, some of Star Swirl the Bearded's descendants are earth ponies."

"The fourth?" asked Spike as he snapped round suddenly. As Twilight's number one assistant, he would obviously notice an apparent mathematical error. "If he was named after Star Swirl the Bearded who was his grandfather, wouldn't he be the third at most?"

"No, because before he was known as Star Swirl the Bearded, his grandfather was known as Star Swirl the Second. His brilliance resulted in him being given a title to use instead of the Second, in his case based on his most famous physical feature. I hope that one day something similar will happen to me," explained Star Swirl. She raised a hoof into the air. "They'll call me Star Swirl the...!" She slowly lowered the hoof. "...something. I don't know what yet. For now I have to make do with 'the Hundred and Forty Seventh'."

"Well, I hope that you are successful. You said that Star Swirl the Bearded's cutie mark is believed to have had a similar meaning to mine? I had read that the meaning of his cutie mark had been lost to time," said Twilight with a frown, "but if you have the same cutie mark, then he must have had the same talent that you have!" Star Swirl lowered her head and dropped her smile.

"The problem is that I had always assumed that his talent had to do with using magic, which obviously is a problem for me. I came to Ponyville to learn more about the kind of magic that I could do." She then brightened again. "Hey, the Elements of Harmony are the most powerful magic known to ponydom! And they can clearly be used by earth ponies! May I look at them?"

Alarm flashed across Twilight's eyes and she gave a grimace. "I'm afraid that the Elements of Harmony are kept locked up by Princess Celesta where we can't get them," replied Twilight. "For good reason too! It probably wouldn't be a good thing if somepony else got their hooves on them."

"It's a pity, but I understand," Star Swirl said with a sigh as she lowered her head once more. "Still, I'd love to hear more about them."

"I'd be happy to teach you some time. Though, surely you'd want to start with the more basic aspects of earth pony magic anyway?" asked Twilight with a raised eyebrow.

"That is good advice." Star Swirl brightened.

"I'm sure that Applejack would be willing to show you how to grow plants as well as any other earth pony." Twilight nodded sagely.

Star Swirl's eyes widened and she began to grin once more. "Really!-? Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honesty would help me?-!"

"I don't see why not." Twilight shrugged.

"Hey! If you eggheads are done talking egghead stuff, this is supposed to be a party!" complained Rainbow Dash as she flew over.

"Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty!" cried Star Swirl. "Is it true that your middle name is 'Danger"? I was unable to verify that before I arrived."

"Oh!" cried Rainbow Dash as she straightened at the mention of a less than perfect part of her record. "You...uh, heard about that?" She grinned sheepishly as she placed a hoof behind her head.

"Yes," said Star Swirl nodding in excitement. "The article quoted you saying, 'Danger's my middle name! Rainbow Danger Dash!'"

"There are better places to learn about me than the articles that came out around that time." said Rainbow Dash with an awkward grin as she stared at Twilight in apparent concern.

"So, you didn't rescue all those ponies?" asked Star Swirl as her face fell.

"Sure she did!" said Twilight with a smile. "And now that she doesn't use her catchphrase, she's even faster."

"Wow!" cried Star Swirl as she started to smile again. "I'd love to find out more about the other hero that showed up in Ponyville around that time though. Mare Do Well the Mysterious! Personally, I don't get the whole, concealing your identity thing. I prefer to keep things out in the open, but as long as she's helping ponies, that's fine with me." She gave a shrug.

"Um, Mare Do Well doesn't do a lot of work these days!" said Rainbow Dash. "Didn't you say something about needing help from Applejack? I'll introduce you!"

"Thank you, Rainbow Dash, Bearer of the Element of Loyalty!" said Star Swirl as she allowed herself to be led to another part of the room.

"What's with you calling everypony such long names?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Why wouldn't I?" replied Star Swirl. "It's only proper and avoids confusion!"

"Weird," said Rainbow Dash. "Hey, Applejack!" she called out. "The new filly we're having the party for wants to ask you something!" An orange mare with a blonde mane turned around.

"Applejack Apple, Bearer of the Element of Honestly! I'm so honoured to meet you!" said Star Swirl. "I'm Star Swirl the Hundred and Forty Seventh!"

"Well, howdee do, Miss Swirl?" asked Applejack with a smile as she grabbed a hoof and started shaking. "Pleasure making yer acquaintance. But yah can jus' call me Applejack. Everypony already knows that Ah'm part of the Apple family. No need tah be so formal on mah account! So, what can I do yah for?"

"Oh, uh?" began Star Swirl. Formalities were something that she was used to! Using full names and titles was just less confusing! Or was this just another difference between a large city like Canterlot and a small town like Ponyville? "I-I'd like to ask for a favour. I came to Ponyville to learn more about magic. Especially earth pony magic. Twilight Sparkle, Bearer of the Element of Magic suggested that I ask you to teach me about growing plants. Is-is that all right?" She grit her teeth and winced. Applejack's eyes widened.

"Yah wanna learn tah grow plants?" asked Applejack with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes!" said Star Swirl. "I'm an earth pony so I should be able to, but I never learned! But I'm sure that I could if I worked hard and learned from somepony like you!"

"Well, Ah never turn down a hard worker," began Applejack. "Ah suppose that Ah could show yah how it's done. If yah come to Sweet Apple Acres tomorrow then Ah could show yah what Ah do roun' there an' yah can learn from me."

Star Swirl began to smile once again and grabbed one of Applejack's hooves before hugging tightly. "Thank you so much! I'll be there!"

A/N: I got that bit about Carrot Top's mother from the Tumbler blog "Carrot Top's Garden" (Check it out), but not everything about that blog is canon to this fanfic as will probably become apparent in chapter 6.