Hey guys! This will be my new project now that Xanterlot University is nearly completed.

As per usual, I will respond to all of your comments, concerns, questions, or otherwise. This fic will be a tad dark, and will contain references to drugs, alcohol, sex/ adultery, and pregnancy. And maybe other stuff, I'll probably have to update this. If any of that bothers you, I wouldn't read on.

I do not own MLP!

Twilight stared into the eyes of her mentor, her mind struggling to comprehend what she'd just been told. "I… I don't understand… how…?" Her voice echoed around the otherwise empty royal chamber, where the stained glass images that painted Equestria's history adorned the walls.

Princess Celestia simply smiled. "You've learned many things, met many ponies, and over the years you've grown into a capable and intelligent mare." Twilight watched the princess speak with her own mouth slightly agape. "It's time for you to fulfill your destiny, my faithful student. I want you to ascend the throne and stand beside me."

"A princess…" Twilight hadn't considered applying the word to herself since she was an imaginative, naïve little filly. "I… this is such a big responsibility…" She stared at the ground, unable to think of anything else to say.

Princess Celestia lowered herself to Twilight's level and gently lifted her chin up with a hoof. "Twilight, I can think of nopony more deserving of this title than you. You've certainly earned it."

"I… I guess so, but…" Twilight looked anxiously at Princess Celestia. "What about my friends?"

"They'll be present for the ceremony. I'm sure they'll be happy to stand right beside you." Princess Celestia smiled. "You can teleport back to Ponyville and inform them beforehand. I know your magic is fully capable of such a task."

Teleporting all the way to Ponyville from Canterlot might be a bit of a stretch, but it was true that Twilight's magic had improved miles since she'd first moved to that tiny town. The magic of friendship had accelerated her powers far beyond that of any normal unicorn. She would never want to draw attention from it, but she could admit to herself that she was almost equal to an alicorn, only without the…

"You'll be gaining your wings at the ceremony," Princess Celestia informed her. Being her personal student since she was a foal had made Twilight easy for the princess of the sun to read.

Twilight gave a small nod, feeling very overwhelmed. "I-I understand…"

"Don't worry, Twilight," Princess Celestia reassured, placing a hoof on her student's shoulder. "I'll give you a few days to let your head settle before anything drastic happens."

A few days was absolutely nothing in the life of an immortal alicorn…

"Like I said, Twilight," Princess Celestia spoke gently, "I would like you to teleport to Ponyville and speak with your friends. They are the reason you've grown so much, and they deserve to know of your fate before the rest of Equestria does."

"I will. Thank you, princess. This is truly an honour," Twilight said before turning to leave.

"Goodnight, my faithful student."

Twilight walked out of the royal chamber and into the castle halls. The sound of her hooves hitting the marble floor echoed through the tall structure. Twilight opened the door to go outside, the fresh night air tugging at her mane and the distant stars giving her something to stare at while her mind wandered elsewhere.

"An alicorn… a princess…" Twilight murmured to herself. Of all ponies, Twilight was the one Celestia had chosen to befit with the biggest responsibility imaginable. She shifted her gaze away from the stars, and back at the similarly-shaped marks embedded into her flank.

Was this really her destiny?

How could it be? She was a simple librarian. Talented at magic, sure, but that didn't translate into being a good leader. If it was her destiny, surely she should feel confident, or at least excited.

Instead, she was practically shaking with anxiety. This would be a huge change. She would have to move to Canterlot. She wouldn't be able to see her friends as often.

Her friends…

What would they think of all of this? Pinkie would probably be the easiest. She seemed to go along with just about anything. Then again, moving away to where Pinkie couldn't invite her to parties and hang out with every day would be a major downer to the pink pony.

Rainbow would probably make fun of her amateur flying skills. Twilight hoped that being an alicorn didn't put her above the natural flying abilities of a pegasus, because she much preferred being made fun of to being envied.

Rarity would be jealous. It was the fashionista's dream to move to Canterlot, and becoming royalty was a fantasy to her. Twilight hadn't asked for this; this wasn't what she wanted out of life. It almost seemed a waste when compared to Rarity's desires.

Neither Applejack nor Fluttershy dealt with change very well. Twilight could see Fluttershy putting on a brave face and pretending to be happy for her, but Applejack would just tell her how she felt outright.

And Spike… her number one assistant. Twilight's heart ached the most thinking about him. She remembered how the tears streamed down his face, how he cried out in terror for her not to leave him when King Sombra had trapped him in his worst nightmare: not being needed. Would that nightmare become a reality? What would she need Spike for when she no longer had books to stack, no longer had letters to send?

Twilight started walking. She knew that she should follow Princess Celestia's directions and teleport back to Ponyville, but she was afraid. Afraid of what her friends would think. Afraid that they might confirm her own thoughts: she wasn't ready.

Twilight headed slowly through the statue garden, her eyes looking around but her mind not paying attention. Procrastination was not a habit Twilight practiced frequently, and it was only serving to unsettle her further.

"Hey, Twilight!"

"Ah!" Twilight jumped and whipped her head toward a smiling unicorn stallion adorned with the golden-plated armour of the royal guard, including a long metal spear. "O-oh, hello Javelin Tosser… Sorry, I was just, uh…"

The dark grey unicorn waved her off. "Don't worry, Twilight, you're welcome to wander the grounds. It's been a while since I've seen you in Canterlot, is all."

Twilight nodded, her right ear twitching as it always did when she was nervous. "Uhh, yes! Yes, of course… lovely day, er, night for a walk!" She forced a laugh. "Do many ponies come up here at night?"

Javelin Tosser shook his head. "Nah, the Canterlot Archives are usually pretty desolate. You were always the only one in here when you were younger, remember?"

"O-of course, ha, how could I forget?" Twilight stared up at the huge building. The last time she had been in the Archives was when she had tried to sneak into the Starswirl the Bearded wing with Pinkie Pie to find the time spells.

"Did you want me to let you inside, Twilight?" Javelin Tosser offered. "It's not trouble."

Twilight shook her head no. She had no reason to go into the archives now; what use would a time spell be in helping her realize her true destiny?

Twilight hesitated, her right ear still twitching as her mind went into overdrive. What if there was some way she could see the future? What better way to reassure her friends that everything would be alright, or explain to the princess that she wasn't cut out for the job, then to tell them that she already knew for a fact what would happen? The future was a changeable time period, obviously, but if Twilight could just see what would happen if she became a princess… just make sure everything would be okay…

"A-actually, Javelin, do you think you could unlock the Starswirl the Bearded Wing for me?"

Javelin smiled. "Sure, no problem! Hold on a sec."

Twilight watched as he fiddled with his keys. This was insane. Time spells were exceptionally dangerous, illegal but to the most powerful unicorns. One tiny change in the past could affect the entire future. She hadn't been aware when she'd first travelled backward in time, but she could be getting herself in serious trouble by repeating the offense.

Of course, this was the future, not the past. And she'd only be looking, not actually travelling. Twilight repeated these words over and over in her head, willing them to calm her and allow her to do what needed to be done.

She was pretty much an alicorn anyway, right?

Javelin Tosser unlocked the heavily chained doors to the Starswirl the Bearded Wing and stepped aside. "I'll just be outside if you need anything else, Twilight!"

"Thanks Javelin! Have a good night!" Twilight's heart was beating furiously now, just like it always did before a test, whether that be a written test or a physical challenge befitted only for the Elements of Harmony themselves.

Element of Magic. She could do this. She could do this easily… she hoped.

The towering bookshelves made her feel exceptionally tiny. She trotted among the rows of books and scrolls, looking frantically around for one scroll to give her what she needed. She knew that if she had the power to send herself backward in time, then she should be able to simply glimpse the future with relative ease.

Twilight magically took down several scrolls from the last shelf and decided whether they were worthless based on the first line. 'A document of forbidden torture spells', 'Incurable magical ailments', 'Alicorn power and its historical abuse'. Twilight made a mental note to read that last one later.

The row Twilight picked contained controversial and illegal documents. She knew she really shouldn't be searching through them, but time spells fell under both of those categories. The potential to change events after they'd happened was too powerful for most ponies, anyways. Even she had only managed a minute or so the first time, but that was all she needed right now.

Besides, glimpsing the future was different from changing it.

'Time travel – seeing the future'. Twilight's heart leapt in excitement and she quickly read on. 'If what one seeks is a clearer view, speak these words aloud to see a future without you.' Perfect. It was exactly what she was looking for. Twilight scanned over the rest of the scroll several times, then read it out loud. "Past to present, and onward from there, seek what is sought; be not unaware.' Twilight squinted to continue reading as her horn started to glow brightly. "Concentrate now on a place and a time, and you shall then go there with the help of this rhyme. Leave your worries and abandon your caution, as you are now in a world where you have long been forgotten."

Twilight concentrated hard on Ponyville, ten years into the future: long enough for her to see the full effects of her crowning on her friends. There was a blinding flash of white light, and Twilight felt an intense pressure on her body.

Suddenly, she was sprawled on the ground. Twilight groaned and realized that she was now outside, although she wasn't sure exactly where she was. Fearing that she had somehow failed the spell and accidentally teleported, she picked herself up and looked around.

Wherever she was, it wasn't Canterlot, and it certainly wasn't Ponyville. There were several very worn down buildings, and nopony else in sight. "Hello?" Twilight called. She didn't receive an answer, so she took a few cautious steps forward.

As she took in more and more of the ghost town, she slowly started to recognize it. She could see the Carousel Boutique, though there were several wooden boards hammered over its entrance. There was an empty space where Sugarcube Corner used to be, and her own library tree was leafless and dead.

She hadn't failed the spell; this was Ponyville a decade later. Twilight stared at it, her mouth slightly agape. She hadn't expected the spell to physically bring her to the future; she didn't think she was powerful enough for such magic. Then again, she was close to becoming an alicorn; maybe her magic was appropriately increased.

Regardless, if this worked like the spell to travel back in time, then she probably didn't have more than a few minutes. She needed to figure out whether Ponyville was in shambles because she had become a princess, or because there had been a nuclear war in recent years. The second option seemed far more likely, though not much more comforting.

Twilight knew there probably wasn't much point, but she knocked on Rarity's door to be sure. The boutique seemed to have been long ago abandoned.

She went to the library tree next, and knocked there as well, though felt a bit silly doing so at her own house. The door creaked loudly as she opened it, and Twilight was at least pleased to see that the books were all neatly intact – just as she'd left them before going to Canterlot. "Spike?" she called, though it was mostly just wishful thinking. Her home clearly hadn't been occupied in many years.

There was only one thing off about the room, and Twilight being Twilight noticed it immediately. There was a crumpled piece of parchment lying at the foot of one of the bookshelves. Twilight magically picked it up and unfolded it:

'Spike: I'm going to Canterlot for a few days. The princess said she had some important things to discuss with me. While I'm away, make sure to look after Owlowiscious, keep the books sorted, and do not eat too much junk food. I'm serious Spike, you remember what happened last time, don't you? Anyways, I'm sure you'll do fine on your own for a little bit. Don't destroy the library while I'm gone! (I'm just kidding, Spike. You'll do great!) Love, Twilight' There were tear stains splattered at the end of the letter. A cold chill ran through Twilight's body. This was the note she had written just a few days ago. Why was it still here? Twilight exited the tree and galloped out of town. Even if most of Ponyville was gone, she knew there were still two of her friends who wouldn't be able to leave. Applejack – whose farm was permanently planted just outside of the town, and Fluttershy – who was in charge of Ponyville's animals, and therefore could not leave… or so she prayed, because she desperately needed some answers. What do you think? Any good? Leave me a review and tell me. :3 Also I've decided to change that little break thingy specifically for the author's notes. The ones that separate scenes won't have the bolded underlines, but you'll understand once you see them.