She was stuck in some kind of time loop. By now, the evidence was incontrovertible – despite what everything she knew about magic, even time magic, said.
Every time the loop reset, she was right back here in the Canterlot library, just before trying to warn Celestia about the return of Nightmare Moon. It had taken her three loops to determine, experimentally, that nothing from one loop was carried over into the next.
Except her memories.
"Well," she said, brightly, "If there was a better opportunity for study, I've never encountered it before. Spike! A book, please! Which doesn't matter."
Nightmare Moon spread her wings, laughing as the inhabitants of Ponyville panicked. "The night will last forever!"
After a moment, she noticed something on her left wing. A small red dot of light, that was moving towards her body proper even as she watched.
A huge blast of rainbow hit Luna's alternate form, as Rainbow Dash broke the sound barrier right before impact.
Turned out that Dash didn't actually channel harmony itself when she did that. But on seeing a thoroughly concussed Alicorn collapse to the floor, Twilight considered it at least progress.
Another loop, another Summer Sun celebration.
It was sort of cruel, beating up Luna like she was. But then, so far she'd been grateful for being freed from the darkness every time, no matter how strange the method Twilight used.
This was shaping up to be an exceptional one, though.
"Ooh! And that's definitely an uppercut she'll feel in the morning!" Pinkie shouted, from the balloon floating over what was left of Ponyville.
"But Black Sooty comes back with a bolt of pure night, and – no, it's splashed off his scales!"
AJ shook her head as she adjusted the camera. "Gotta say, Twilight, this ain't what ah was expectin' to be the reason y'all asked for extra apples."
Twilight shrugged. "Dragons like Spike undergo an exceptional growth phase when their hoard is in danger. I was able to get him into the frame of mind with the apples and a load of other stuff, then when Nightmare Moon turned up I told him Rarity would be in danger if her plan went through, and, well…"
Pinkie spread her forelegs. "Spikezilla versus Nightmare Moon! Round 1! Fight!"
Spike spat out a blast of flame that turned the arrested dawn into daylight.
"um… excuse me, miss nightmare, but, uh… do you want some tea?"
Twilight watched in disbelief as Luna's corruption flowed off of her like water and dissipated. "To think it took me this long to try Fluttershy…"
Sombra, now, was more amusing. While she came at Nightmare Moon with barely a day's prep time each new Loop, she could have as much as a year and a half when the Crystal Empire situation came up.
Her former number one method had just been getting Rainbow to hit him at half again the speed of sound after loudly praying for divine intervention. The look on Sombra's face for the split second before he bounced off the wall had been priceless.
"Thanks for your help, Gilda."
"No problem, general." The griffin saluted, then chuckled. "Wasn't sure what the hell you were thinking, but you were right. We did all want a bit of fun."
Two thousand griffins swarmed into the Crystal Empire's palace, and then out again with a dozen of the largest carrying Sombra between them.
"What do you want us to do with him, general?"
Twilight considered. "Slap two power limiters on him and leave him tied up on Rarity's doorstep with a bow. And a label saying 'new model'."
"Evil." Gilda grinned. "I approve. What next?"
The unicorn shrugged. "I've heard this place has some good wine in the cellars. Comes of centuries of isolation, or whatever happened to it. I think we could consider them… spoils of war?"
"That'll piss off your brother."
"Well, he did forget to let me know about his wedding last week." Again.
"The Winter Wrap-Up in Ponyville is traditionally done without magic, Miss Sparkle."
"Oh. How do you do the clouds?"
The Mayor blinked. "Pardon?"
"Pegasi use magic to fly and move clouds. And the reason earth ponies are so strong is because of their magic. So is it going to be groundbound pegsasi and unicorns without use of their horns doing all the work?"
"Because it might take a while."
"I'll… see if I can talk to my subordinates…"
Twilight felt like laughing beneath her pleasant expression. She hadn't caught that the first time through, but it was a good point…
What did she think this cutie mark meant anyway, shovels?
Discord's statue cracked, then shattered. Out of the stone ruins came the chaotic draconequus. "I'm back, baby! Okay, time to screw with Tia and Lulu and… whoever she's got wielding the Elements this time. This should be fun."
A dot of purple light appeared on the ground next to him. Discord materialized a microscope, turned it upside down, and examined it minutely at a distance of eight feet.
Then he threw the microscope away and looked at the dot of light. "Wonder what this is…"
The voice seemed to come from everywhere at once.
The purple dot was joined by a red one, and then a green one, to either side. Turning, he saw blue, pink and yellow. They thickened, becoming searchlight beams, which at least let him know where they were coming from – above.
"Firing orbital friendship cannon."
Discord slapped his forehead, producing a fish. "Oh, bodkins."
"I feel kind of bad for him…" Fluttershy muttered.
Twilight shrugged. "Now we've shown him we're not to be trifled with, we'll let him out again and see if we can make him behave. Okay, Rainbow, take the cloud down!"
"You got it, Twi! Hah, I wish I'd seen the look on his face!"
"Right, how did that spell go…"
Twilight looked at the sky. It was only a few minutes from dawn, on the summer solstice.
If everything went as it had first time, Nightmare Moon would arrive in just a few minutes to start going on about how the night would last forever. Honestly, it was getting a little boring.
Twilight sometimes considered she'd gotten a little jaded. Well, what could the universe expect if it made her keep doing the same thing over and over?
Anyway, this at least would be hilarious.
As Nightmare Moon started her evil laugh, Twilight closed her eyes and focused.
A faint touch to the Element of Magic… a spell from an ancient spellbook...
"Not today, villain!"
Nightmare Moon paused, looking around to the source of the loud voice, and saw a purple unicorn rearing back on her hind legs.
"I will defeat you myself, in the name of Princess Celestia!"
"You? You're nothing but a child. Is this all Celestia has to stop me?"
"Yep! Magic power, go!"
At that point, Twilight's spell triggered. Everything went white, and when it faded she had the Element of Magic on her forehead, and a familiar dress on her back.
More importantly, though, she was once more Princess Twilight.
"…what?" the Nightmare of the Moon managed. "But… what?"
"That's kinda cool." Spike muttered. "When'd you learn that?"
"It was in the Star Swirl wing." The newly ascended alicorn replied, before launching herself into the air and conjuring dozens of balls of lightning.
A good old fashioned punch up would be just the thing.
"Weirdest. Loop. Ever." Twilight muttered, watching the plaid sky turning amber as the moon rose in the north.
It was. For one thing, she wasn't Celestia's student this time – though that wasn't all that unusual in and of itself. For another, she was viewed a lot like Pinkie Pie had been in the original loop.
That would be because Pinkie Pie in this version of Equestria was the faithful student of King Discord, benevolent ruler of the surreal land of Equestria. And, furthermore, there was evidence that the dreaded Infernal Blaze was returning.
"It's like someone held the whole country up to a funhouse mirror…"
She shook her head. At least there were some benefits. For one thing, things made sense around her – it was like she normalized the area nearby.
"Right. I lay about even odds on either me being the Element of Laughter this loop, or the Element of Magic being one of the five necklaces…"
"Fools! I shall destroy your pitiful ruler, and then restore my rightful Empire of the Sun!"
Twilight raised a hoof. "Excuse me, miss Infernal Blaze, but… you're kind of on fire."
"Of course I'm on fire! I am the goddess of the sun! I…" Infernal Blaze broke off, sniffed, and started screaming. "Oh me I AM on fire! Help!"
"Lake's over there." Applejack volunteered.
Infernal Blaze jumped bodily into the lake, which happened to be one of chocolate sauce. There was a splutch, a hiss, and a delicious smell.
After a moment Celestia's head came out of the sauce. "Towel please."
"So, Twilight Sparkle. Your friends have abandoned you. What do you say to that?"
Twilight conjured a notebook. "Well, I am looking for a thesis subject…I think 'the long term effects of chaos magic' sounds good."
Discord blinked. "Pardon? You're… not going to stop me?"
"Eeeenope." The unicorn began writing. "So, discordification of a pony involves inverting one of their key personality traits along its own axis. Do you take a guess as to what that is, or is one of your salient divine powers the ability to analyze that sort of thing?"
"What?" Discord frowned, and turned the notebook into a bluejay. "You're far too analytical, Twilight Sparkle. This is the realm of chaos!"
Twilight glared at him, flared her horn, and a bubble of normality bloomed out from her to the size of a small room. The bluejay flew into it, turned back into a book, and fluttered over to Twilight to let her keep writing. "I know, that's why I'm writing all this down."
"You… that's a failsafe spell, isn't it? How is that working?"
"I cast the spell backwards." She noted that down along with everything else. "Wild magic traits in area under influence… do not… always scramble a pre-scrambled spell. Thanks for the info!"
She looked up at him. "If you're not going to let me interview you, then don't let me keep you. I'm sure you have lots of plans for redecorating."
Discord looked at her, then off into the middle distance at nothing, shrugged, and shot off towards Manehattan.
"Right, that's got rid of him. Now, where did the Crusaders go…"
"Day eighteen… or thirty-seven, depending on if you trust the sunrises. Discord has apparently spent three entire days converting every single cloud in the country into an elaborate topiary sculpture. On a related note, it now rains nectar." Twilight hummed, watching a parasprite playing tennis with Angel Bunny. "That one almost makes sense, really. Plants and nectar."
"I'm hurt." Discord slid out of the pages of her book. "I'd hate to become too predictable."
"You kind of are, actually. I mean, there'd be no point turning the roads from flagstones into granite, it wouldn't be funny."
"Really?" He snapped his claws, and an explosion of heat washed over them.
Twilight held up another notebook. It was turned to a page with the words 'and then Discord turns it into high temperature, nearly molten granite'. "See what I mean?"
"Give me that!" He snatched the whole set out of her magical grip. "This is eight hundred predictions for how I'll react to certain straight lines!"
"Exactly. And I've been ticking off the ones you've done." This time, Twilight held up a bingo sheet. "If you do two more, I get a full house."
Discord ground his teeth into flour, then blew flame on the flour to make some bread, pulled it into a baguette and ate it. "That is very annoying."
"Yep. Oh, and that's another one off the list…" Twilight said, calmly. "I expected more from you."
"I can be unpredictable if I feel like it!" Discord said. "Go on, test me."
With a flash of purple, Twilight vanished. She came back two seconds later with some Poison Joke in a careful telekinetic grip. "Is this one of yours, by the way?"
"Yes, last time I was out. Same with timber wolves and zap apples, I was quite the gardener…" The draconequus summoned a hoe with a flash of light and prodded the ground, which collapsed away under him. "Hm. That isn't encouraging."
"Nice to see you're keeping up old habits." The blue plant was crushed by telekinetic force into a dense mass. Twilight next brought out a painting from a famous surrealist. "This is not a pipe."
"Yes it is." Discord plucked it out of the picture, leaving behind a traffic cone. "I do like that pony's art, though."
"Right. Anyway, want to try smoking the Poison Joke? That should do with your nasty case of predictability." Twilight showed the bingo card again. She'd crossed off the last square when Discord pulled the pipe out of the painting.
"Oh, go on then." Discord rammed it into the pipe, set it on fire, and took a deep pull. From the wrong end, of course.
Twilight held up her notebook one more time at the last page, with a triumphant grin. 'Discord gets stoned'.
"Oh, you crafty little…" Before he'd quite finished the sentence, Discord was a statue again.
"Right." Twilight frowned suddenly. "Now, where did the others go? I'm going to need them to help operate the Elements…"
Trixie laughed as she cast two powerful age-altering spells on Snips and Snails, luxuriating in the power the Alicorn Amulet gave her. "See, Twilight Sparkle? Now Trixie is the greater unicorn!"
"Maybe, yeah." Twilight said, nodding. "Oh, is that an Alicorn Amulet? I read about those, they give you a huge power boost. Are we allowed those?"
"Silence! Of course Trixie is allowed the Amulet, it took her many months of effort to obtain!"
"Okay." Twilight's horn flickered slightly, and the Element of Magic appeared on her brow. "Hey, watch this!"
There was a brilliant wash of purplish light.
When it faded, Twilight checked her new wings over. "Hmmm, bit larger than last time. Maybe I'm getting better at doing this alone."
Trixie gibbered. "But… but… how? What?"
"Well, I am the bearer of the Element of Magic." Twilight shrugged her wings. "Turns out it comes with benefits."
"That is completely unfair on Trixie!"
"Oh, hush. You're the one who brought a magical superweapon to this duel first, don't complain now it's not the one sided battle you hoped it was." Twilight conjured a spell circle fifty feet across, which shunted the two male unicorns away and sealed the two mares in a shimmering opalescent dome. "Now, I'd actually quite enjoy a duel for once. Are you going to chicken out, or give me a good workout?"
Trixie replied with a fireball the size of a house. Twilight grinned, and started with four Marelin's Magical Missiles and a Cone of Lightning.
This would be fun.
Applejack was a very confused pony. She'd gone to bed that night with everything normal, and the next morning… well, apart from anything else Big Mac asked her if everything was ready for the family reunion.
She hadn't known one was going on at all.
To make things worse, there was no sign at all of her friends. More to the point, it was a completely different season than when she went to bed, and topping everything off was that Applebloom was quite visibly bored.
She'd asked where her friends Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo were, and 'bloom had looked at her like she'd gone funny in the head.
In fact, it was all so confusing she wondered if she'd tried bucking all the trees in the orchard again.
And then the whole Apple family had shown up, and she'd spent the morning scrambling to keep up with details she didn't know. Something somepony had said suggested this was years in the past, which couldn't be right… but which made sense, from what 'bloom was acting like.
Then there was a loud bang, and a cloud of smoke.
"Watch in awe!" a voice shouted from inside the smoke.
"Ah, ponyfeathers. What all is Trixie doing here?" Applejack muttered.
Then the cloud cleared, to reveal…
The farm pony's jaw dropped. "What th' hay? Twilight?"
"Indeed! It is I, the Great and Infinitely Knowledgeable Twilight!"
The baby dragon next to her – Spike, clearly, Applejack realized – sighed and shook his head. "She's been like this all morning. I have no clue why."
"So, Twi. Spill. What in Tartarus is goin' on?"
Twilight shrugged. "I have no idea. For some reason, I – and now you, apparently – keep going back to the dawn of the day we first met. I've been doing this for a hundred and thirty five loops, so I get kind of… stir crazy." Behind them, Spike tried to eat too many apples at once, incidentally doing a nice job of keeping the rest of the Apple clan distracted from why Applejack was talking so familiarly with the strange unicorn.
"So, what now? And ah could swear you were a Princess last time we met…"
"Sometimes." Twilight shook her head. "About fifteen loops ago, I went full alicorn right in front of Nightmare Moon tomorrow. It confused her so much, it was hilarious. Anyway, I think we should, well… learn what we can, keep ponies safe, try to work out why these loops are happening, and have fun. By the way, don't be surprised if things are… different."
"Different how?" Applejack looked sceptical.
"Well, I once started a loop to discover that I was actually the student of Queen Nightmare Moon. Just… take a moment to check your memory each time, okay?"
The orange mare nodded. "Got it. Now, what do we do about Nightmare Moon?"
Twilight grinned evilly. "I spent two loops learning everything Trixie had to teach me. She actually knows quite a lot about illusions. Now…"
"Ah can see why you said you were bored, Twi." Applejack muttered. "Does she say that every time?"
"Every time." Twilight confirmed, and lit her horn for a moment. "It's done. Go."
She raised her hoof. "Excuse me!"
"What?" Nightmare Moon said, turning her gaze onto Twilight. "Do you have a question for your new empress?"
"Yes, actually. It's just… how, exactly, will we grow crops?"
"…pardon? You interrupt me with farming?" The dark goddess' eyes blazed.
"Well, mortals – like us – kind of need food to survive. I'm sure you lost track of that a bit on the moon, but plants need the sun to supply them with energy – which they convert out of sunlight via chlorophyll and a source of water, as well as carbon dioxide in the air. That becomes glucose which is then converted into other sugars, like fructose, or just left as it is, and so that energy is stored in a form ponies can eat – so, without the sun, no food."
Even Nightmare Moon's eyes had glazed over during that explanation. After a moment, she shook her head to clear it and pointed her horn directly at Twilight. "Such concerns are nothing to me! I will not be denied my rightful overlordship by such ridiculous problems as plants!"
At that point, an invisible Applejack bucked her in the chin so hard she went flying backwards through the rear wall.
"Buck that." the farmpony said, then turned to Twilight. "That work?"
"Nicely, thanks AJ." Twilight replied. "I'll just go get the Elements of Harmony. Be back in a tick!"
She vanished in a flash of purple.
Outside, Nightmare Moon picked herself up from the wreckage of one whole side of the building. "What impertinent insect has the temerity to-"
She paused. She could hear a voice talking.
"Right, when my one starts to glow, just think about what I told you all to."
It was that annoying unicorn who'd been arguing with her. What was she talking about now?
"So, mine's Loyalty, right? Awesome!"
"I think Laughter is perfect for me!"
Those were new – and annoying – voices. Wait… she could swear that those words were… ominous.
"Kindness, kindness… oh, I hope I get this right. Sorry, miss Nightmare Moon, ma'am, but it is for your own good…"
"This is marvellous! It matches my cutie mark perfectly!"
Oh. That's right. Horsefeathers.
Six colours of harmony hit her almost as hard as the earth pony had.
Twilight grinned at the three other Loopers. "Right, you three, you'll like this."
"What are you planning this time?" Dash asked. "Bet it'll be fun!"
"Yeah. Oh, actually…" she conjured four pairs of mirrored sunglasses, and slipped them over their faces. "We'll need these."
Nightmare Moon finished her speech.
Twilight promptly hit her with a Want-It-Need-It spell.
"And that is what we call poetic justice." The purple unicorn lectured, as several hundred ponies swarmed the stage to hug the startled Nightmare Moon.
Pinkie giggled. "That is funny! Better than when you showed us Spikezilla!"
"We love you!" somepony shouted, and then there was a crash as Big Mac managed to tackle Luna's corrupted self.
"Well, now ah wonder if he's just easy to affect with spells like that…" Applejack said, frowning at her brother. "Or if he just has a crush on her like ah heard."
"I dunno." Twilight shrugged. "Hey, want to try to work out what else the Elements can do? I bet you could tell if somepony's telling the truth or not if you get a strong enough connection with the Element of Honesty."
Dash looked up, grinning. "What would Loyalty let me do?"
"I don't know. This calls for science!"
14 (HTTYD crossover 1)
"You are kidding."
The small black Toothless looked over at his (unusually, four-legged) companion through time and space. "Afraid not. This place is mainly populated by ponies."
As Hiccup – well, his memories said he was called Hocus Hiccup, which was even worse than normal – contemplated this, a cyan… pegasus?... came through the door.
"Hey, Twi, what's the plan for – you're not Twilight. Where is she?"
Hiccup rolled his eyes. "Never seen her before. Is she the local Loop anchor? I think I've replaced her."
"Don't know what 'anchor' you're talking about, don't care. Where is she, buster?"
Hiccup and Toothless exchanged glances. "Welcome to your first fused loop, then. Sorry, you're not getting your friend – Twilight, right? – this loop. I'm taking her place for all intents and purposes."
The cyan pegasus looked suspicious for another second, then closed her eyes and concentrated. Hiccup felt some strange, deep magic pulse for a moment.
"Okay, yeah, she's not anywhere I can feel for some reason. I'll believe you… for now. Until AJ can give you a look over, anyway."
"Another looper? Sorry, another time looping person?"
"Yeah, she is. Oh, I'm Rainbow Dash – but you can call me awesome."
"Suddenly I'm reminded of Astrid." Hiccup muttered to Toothless, who nodded in return.
As Nightmare Moon proclaimed her eternal reign, Hiccup looked to the five native Loopers. "This happen every time?"
"Like clockwork." The orange pony – AJ – said wearily. "Last few times, Twi had us blast her with the elements mid-speech for the hell of it."
"Does it have to be that? Or can she be defeated another way?"
"She can!" The pink pony said. "We usually use Spikezilla every twenty or so loops!"
"Right. Toothless, you're on."
The little dragon nodded, and ran forward. As the girls gasped, he swelled and shifted form into the twenty foot lithe predator from Berk, then took wing.
"Fun fact." Hiccup said, brightly. "Toothless' breed of dragon is called the Night Fury. They're nearly invisible in the dark, and they've evolved as ambush predators against other flying entities at night."
Blue flame shot through the air and erupted on something overhead. Wing! Two points!
The next shot was green. Oh, cool. The postal magic can mix in with my fire… hey, Hiccup?
I just found out how to teleport other objects at range.
Hiccup winced in sympathy for any enemy they would fight in the future. Ever. Except possibly Aizen, who frankly deserved it.
A green fire burned overhead for a moment, and a startled looking Princess Luna slammed into the ground horn first.
Toothless alighted next to her, looking incredibly smug, and shifted back to his loop-native form. "I just teleported her armour right off her. Who's awesome?"
Pinkie raised a hoof. "Ooh, I know this one! It's Dash!"
"You know it!"
Toothless looked slightly deflated. "Whatever. Regardless, Rider, that power is a keeper."
Fluttershy eeped. "Um… did you say, rider? As in, dragon rider?"
"Yeah, I'm normally bipedal. Human, actually, if that means anything to… you?"
All of them were staring at him.
Rarity spoke first. "You mean Lyra was actually right?"
With a sigh, Toothless reached into Hiccup's mane, connected to his subspace pocket and pulled out some projection equipment. "We're going to have to give them the 'welcome to the multiverse' talk. Why is it always us?"
"Ranma's having a year off?" Hiccup suggested, then sniggered at the thought of how he'd take this universe. Wild horse indeed… especially since the gender ratio seemed about five to one in favour of female, here.
Meanwhile, in an entirely different universe, Harry Potter watched with interest as Quirrelmort was used as a ping-pong ball by the unicorn he'd tried to kill.
"And this is for basing your strategy on inadequate research!"
Note to self, make sure this unicorn never meets Hermionie.
A phoenix flamed in for a moment, then vanished towards Hagrid's hut and the young dragon within.
Huh. I thought he didn't feel like Fawkes. And Norbert wasn't female… wonder if that's linked somehow.
"So, how do we beat Discord this time?" Dash asked. "New guy, you got any ideas?"
Hiccup mulled over everything he'd been told about the chaos entity. "Okay, I know. I'll Befriend him."
"We tried that. Pinkie's the only one who can do it reliably. Fluttershy sometimes works too."
"You're not familiar with Nanoha's world. The word has a different meaning there. Toothless?"
The rest of them looked over to the black dragon – and didn't find him. Instead there was a small black octahedron.
Stand by. Ready.
Hiccup picked Toothless' Device form up in a hoof. "Right, let's go."
"Ah, hello." Discord said, emerging from the stained glass window.
Hiccup tilted his head, examining the magic. "Okay, this'll work." With a thought, he transferred Raising Dragon to his back, where it transformed into a kind of harness with a pair of gigantic cannons.
Set up. Blaster-three.
With a grin, Hiccup planted his hoof. The floor cracked, and strings music came from nowhere. "I always wanted to do this."
Firing Lock is cancelled.
"Oh, I saw this…" Discord said, sounding nervous. "Can't remember how it ended, though."
Cartridge load. Divine Buster.
"Right, right, that was it." The draconequus fled the palace through the window.
Pinkie grinned. "I remember this video too!" Her voice changed slightly. "He's going to blast right through the walls? Oh dear sweet mother of Celestia!"
Said deity's eyes widened, just before the gigantic eruption of magic demolished one of the load-bearing walls of her palace.
"Owie." Discord said, coughing out smoke.
There didn't seem to be much else to say.
15 (HTTYD crossover 2)
"…what the hay?" Twilight muttered, falling forwards onto her stomach. "Oof!"
"What is it?" A voice that was at once familiar and not familiar asked. "Oh, huh. New looper this time."
"Looper?" she asked, trying to push herself back up again. It hurt. For one thing, she didn't seem to have hooves any more. "Do you mean time loops?"
"Yeah. You don't look used to human body shape, hold on." The owner of the voice grabbed her arm and pulled her up.
She turned, barely giving her own new body a glance, and saw that the speaker was a green-eyed human. He reminded her (very slightly) of the human boy she'd seen last time, which had been only a few months long before something blew the castle up.
"There you go. Strange. According to this loop's memories, you're my twin sister. Well, welcome to Berk."
"Loop memories?" After a moment, Twilight realized what he meant by the term. This version of her – Twit? Seriously? Worst name ever – had her own complete set of memories from birth. She remembered growing up on an island full of Vikings, being mocked along with her brother – Hiccup – for not being Viking enough, and their village being constantly attacked by dragons.
"Wow, that's unusual…" she muttered. "I feel like I know you now."
"Yeah, that's how it works. I take it you're relatively new to the Loops?"
"I've done several hundred!"
Hiccup shrugged. "I'm at over ten thousand, and some of the first generation Loopers have done several million. What's your original name?" Seeing her surprise, he shrugged. "Berk is the only place that could possibly come up with a name as silly as Twit. I don't doubt you'd rather use your real one."
"Twilight." She answered, after a moment. "Twilight Sparkle."
"Oh, neat. I took your place last Loop. The others are fine, by the way."
"You did? Huh." Twilight frowned. "So, I'm not used to other loops… what happens here?"
"Dragon riding, basically." Hiccup reached into his leather jerkin and pulled out… projection equipment?
"I'll give you the 'welcome to the multiverse' talk, if you haven't had it already."
The purplish dragon gave a rumbling growl. It sounded peeved.
"Yeah, they can't speak." Hiccup explained for her. "Toothless is telepathic now, but that's the result of a Pern Loop. Fun place, if you ever end up there."
He frowned. "Actually, if it's Spike there too, I wonder how the Loop would resolve that. Dragons and riders on Pern tend to be same-gender. Anyway, I've got a couple of harness designs that might work for him…"
Twilight blinked awake, and did the near-instinctive check all Anchors and Loopers learned to do.
Memory… normal time line. Nothing too unusual.
Next, she felt the local magic to see if anyone else was Awake this Loop. None of the other Elements were active, meaning that Rarity and the rest were all their Prime Loop selves, and there was no sign of outside Loopers either.
"Huh. Looks like I'm alone for once." Twilight frowned. "What should I do…"
"I won't tolerate this anymore!"
Celestia looked up from where Mrs. Cake had just overfilled her teacup. "What is it, my faithful student?"
"You mock your subjects like that, tricking them into embarrassing themselves. It's a terrible abuse of power!" Horn flaring, Twilight teleported away.
"Oh, dear. I'm sorry, Mrs. Cake, it seems my student is a little… off, today." Celestia apologized.
"That's quite alright, your majesty." Both Cakes chorused. Mr. Cake continued, "We're quite familiar with Pinkie, and it seems as though Twilight is just as highly strung sometimes."
Three hours later, Celestia was trying to work out what on Equestria had happened.
There were thousands of ponies of all three breeds marching on Canterlot, with red flags waving, singing a rather grim song about how the flags were red because they were dyed with… blood, of all things.
And her student was apparently behind all this, giving speeches about "the proletariat" and "the bourgeoisie" and so on.
It seemed as though Twilight had invented what she was calling 'communism'.
"Right." Twilight said as she trotted across the moon, reading by the light reflected off the planet below. "That's communism ticked off the list. One more revolution and I'll be able to write the best researched politics essay in history!"
"That's why you did all this?" Luna asked, sitting next to her. "I thought you were serious! It's why I joined in!"
"I was, sort of. It's just, well, I'm actually in a time loop. I've already tried out at least fascism, anarchism – that one was fun, I basically gave Pinkie a megaphone and waited – a democracy, a direct democracy, rule by the short and mercantile republicanism. Communism seemed like a good idea."
"Yeah, brilliant idea." Luna said, stamping on the moon's surface. "If I hadn't fired off that lunar survival spell, you would have exploded."
"Oh, shutup. I didn't know that Celestia would get desperate enough to shove MY Element of Magic onto Trixie's forehead and hope for the best." Twilight stretched. "And you're taking the idea of a time loop very calmly."
"Twilight Sparkle, I happen to think you've snapped. I'm just humouring you." Luna answered glibly.
Twilight turned. "You seem awfully sassy for once."
"We're in private. It's allowed."
This has been simmering for a while.
So, here's the full guide to the loops:
Nobody knows exactly how the Loops happen, at first.
They tend to involve a complete reset to the start of the "series" in question. Only Loopers keep their memories.
One Looper (in this case Twilight) is the "Anchor", which means the first one to loop. Others will eventually start to join her, and retain their memories as well.
The reset is not always perfect. Sometimes a loop's history will be different to the "prime" loop, or canonical plot. An example of this would be the twilight in "King Discord"'s Equestria.
"Crossover" or "Fusion" loops also occur, randomly. These can involve the home loopers having a guest, or the anchor for one universe spending time in another, or replacements (say, Spyro the Dragon replaces Spike?) or similar.
Vacation Loops are where the Anchor (or others) decide/s "buck it" and lets off steam by doing whatever comes to mind. There's little or no attempt to maintain the original timeline.
Loop duration is variable, and associated with the series in question. For a Harry Potter Loop, it'll reset around a month after the end of Seventh Year unless something else ends it. For a Naruto loop, it tends to be "until death".
Ranma Saotome, Lina Inverse, Shinji Ikari, Harry Potter and Naruto Uzumaki are the original five Loopers.
All Loopers are mind-bogglingly stir crazy.
That first How To Train Your Dragon crossover loop is actually from the other set of Loops I've done, which focus on Hiccup and Toothless.