Twilight Sparkle Is Vexed By Uranus

by Zef

Chapter 1: The difficulties of finding Uranus

Twilight Sparkle was severely put off by Uranus.

Astronomy had long since ceased to be her primary area of interest, but she was invited to speak at Canterlot's Royal Academy of Celestial Studies all the same and she was happy to share her research. She had prepared hundreds of star charts, planetary orbits, miles of parchment filled to the brim with equations and diagrams, and had every single cosmic object properly tagged, categorized, color-coded, and ordered alphabetically and cross-referenced across three different mythological naming conventions. Weeks of meticulous study and months of punctilious organization had gone into her presentation. She was feeling very smug about her work, and yet, on the night before the event...

Uranus had vanished.

She had looked everywhere for it, and found no signs of Uranus. She sent for the largest telescope the artisan ponies could make, and it still couldn't find Uranus. She squinted as hard as she could, and Uranus still eluded her. And while Uranus itself was gone, she could have at least still referred to her written notes during her seminar; but the most infuriating part was that even her personal writings on Uranus were missing!


She pushed away from her telescope array and puffed steam from her nostrils.

"SPIIIIIKE! I can't find Uranus!"

The cry echoed throughout the empty crystal hallways.

"Uuuugh! Spike! I said, I can't find Ur--"

"Heya, Twilight! Need help finding something?"

Twilight looked up at Rainbow Dash as her friend came flapping slowly through the observatory window, framed by the starlight of the moonless night, and she smiled. At least somepony was around to help!

"Rainbow Dash! I'm so glad you're here! I can't see Uranus!"

Rainbow froze in midair.

"You can't see what now?"

"Uranus! It was right there in the sky but then it was gone!"

The pegasus slowly floated down to lean on the windowsill, making sure to keep her rump outside the window. "That's, uh, I was trying a new loop, but you... " She eyed the enormous telescope warily. "Were you watching me with this thing?"

"Not you, silly, I was watching Uranus! I had it especially made!"

"Y-you did."


"Just for..."

"Uranus!" Twilight clapped her hooves together. "And I can't tell you how happy I'd be if you could help me find it!"

Rainbow rubbed her hoof on the back of her head and fidgeted her hind legs, feeling extremely exposed in front of her friend. "I-I don't know how to feel about this, Twi." Her eyes darted side to side. "I mean, I like being the center of attention, and you're my friend, but..."

"It'll just take a minute!" Twilight beamed. "With your speed and your tenacity, I'm sure we can find Uranus together!"

Rainbow shot into the middle of the observatory, hovering as far as possible from Twilight as the room would allow. "T-together!?" she exclaimed. "I think I can find it just fine on my own, Twilight!"

"Wonderful! Then just let me describe it..."

"Horseapples, don't tell me you know exactly what it looks like!"

"Well, of course I do!" Twilight proudly buffed a hoof on her chest. "And no offense, Rainbow, but I don't think you're quite as familiar with Uranus as I am. Just let me draw you a picture of it..." A quill and parchment levitated from the nearby desk...

"NO! I mean... NO!"

"Well, I have to! I lost every picture I had of it!"

"You had PICTURES!?"

"But not a problem! I can draw you a detailed schematic right away!"

"I don't WANT you drawing my--"

"Hi, Twilight, evenin', Rainbow Dash," came the voice of Twilight's Number One Assistant as he waddled sleepily into the room. He yawned. "What's goin' on?"

"Spike! Finally, there you are! We need your help, and I'm at the end of my rope!"

"What's up?"

"We have to find Uranus!"

"Wait, him too!?" Rainbow Dash cried, annoyed.

He fixed her with a flat stare. "That's not funny, Twilight."

"I'm serious! I don't know what to do!" Twilight sat on her rear, dejected. "I've always had Uranus right there whenever I needed it! But now it's gone!"

Rainbow backed out the window, waving her forelegs in warding gestures. "Okay, okay, whoa. That's it. I do NOT want any part of... whatever you two have going on. I. Am. Outta here."

"Rainbow, wait! Rain-- Uuuugh!" Twilight slapped her forehead with a hoof at the rapidly retreating figure in the sky. "See? Even Rainbow Dash is upset! And I'm mad! I'm really mad at Uranus!"

"Don't look at me!" Spike put his hands on his hips. "You're the one who wanted to cook this week! I can't help it if my tummy can't process it!"

"What the hay does that have to do with Uranus!?"

"Everything, since you decided to add peppers to the pantry!"

Twilight narrowed her eyes at him. "I don't know what you're getting at, but something smells fishy around here."

"Like I just said--"

"I'm going to get to the bottom of this. Somepony else in town must know about Uranus."

"Th-they would?" Spike took a step back, clutching his tail tightly against his chest.

"It's not like Uranus is a tiny little thing, Spike. It's huge and VERY visible. If there's at least one other pony with one of these..." She patted her telescope with a hoof. "...they'll have noticed Uranus."

Spike was on the verge of tears. "...I wanna go back to Canterlot now."

"That'll be our last resort. I'll go into town and check what everypony knows about Uranus. In the meantime, see if you can find my notes on it somewhere in the castle."

Spike dropped his jaw and his tail. "...'notes'? You keep notes on my..."

"I'm counting on you!" Twilight said as she teleported in a bright magical bubble.

The magic deposited her outside Sweet Apple Acres. She didn't know if the Apples were stargazing aficionados, but if she was going to sweep the town looking for somepony who was, she might as well start there.

She found Applejack next to the house, vigorously pumping water into a bucket. "Good evening, Applejack!"

"Howdy, Twilight!" came the cheery reply. "What brings you to this here homestead this late?"

"I came looking for Uranus."

Applejack froze mid-pump. "Say whut."

"Actually, I'm looking for somepony who knows something about Uranus."

"Well, Ah... Ah reckon Ah know a thing or two about it."

"Great! Then maybe we can both look into it!"

The metal arm of the pump dropped loose from Applejack's hooves. "You... want to look into..."


Very slowly, and very deliberately, Applejack brought her front hooves down from the pump and onto the ground one at a time. She looked to one side, then the other, then sidled up to Twilight and spoke, "Listen here, Twilight. You're mah dear friend an' all, and Ah ain't gonna judge, but Ah don't think Ah'm the pony you want for this sort a' thing."

"But you said you knew about Uranus!"

"Yeh Ah do, but a proper pony ain't sharin' her business when it ain't anypony's business! And that darn well is very much mah business!"

"Well, Uranus is my business!" Twilight snorted. "I'm supposed to give a big lecture about it tomorrow!"

Applejack blanched. "You wouldn't!"

"I would! I must! And I want to! But I can't, because I haven't seen Uranus since this morning!"

Applejack quickly ran a mental checklist of her morning chores and wondered if Twilight had been present for any of them. She drew a blank. "So so so you can't give your big talk about it if y'all can't see it no more?"

"Yes! That's right! Now help me look!"

Applejack quickly shuffled away from her, making sure to aim her rump away from Twilight. "Sorry sugar, no can do. A pony's entitled to 'er privacy. Now, ah, if y'all excuse me, Ah gotta go milk th' chickens and shear th' cows. G'nite!"

Twilight was about to protest, but Applejack had already slammed the door to the house so hard it had tipped over the bucket of water, splashing all over her hooves. She groaned angrily and trotted away, tracking mud as she fumed.

"What's gotten into everypony tonight?" she demanded. "It's just a planet! It shouldn't be so hard to find somepony to help me find it!"

She arrived quickly at Carousel Boutique. And the lights were still on! Maybe Rarity could help.

She was about to knock on the door when she noticed her muddy hooves. She couldn't sully the boutique's nice, clean door with them! Grimacing, she decided against it and called out, "Rarity! It's me, Twilight!"

Seconds later, a window on the second floor opened and Rarity's head peered out. "Oh, goodness, Twilight! I'll be down in an instant!"

"Oh, thank you, Rarity!" Twilight replied as her friend disappeared back into the building. "I really need to see Uranus!"

Rarity popped back out the window. "Would... you mind repeating that, darling?"

"It's Uranus! I need your help with it!"

Rarity bit her lip and looked around apprehensively. "Y-you shouldn't be yelling about that sort of thing, darling!" She hissed, "You should be more discreet!"

"Well, it's sort of an emergency!" Twilight yelled back. "I need Uranus so I can finish my work on it!"

Rarity pressed her hoof against her chest, appalled. "I beg your pardon!"

"You have a talent for finding gems, maybe we can use it to look up Uranus!"

Rarity stared evenly at her.

"Darling, I am not that limber," she finally said. She blew out the side of her mouth at a stray lock of mane. "And, I assure you, there are no gems there for me, or any pony to find."

Twilight looked pensive. "I suppose you're right. It's mostly gas. Any solids in Uranus would gravitate inwards to the core."

Rarity raised herself straight up on the windowsill, her mouth gaping soundlessly as no scream of indignation could possibly match what she felt. "It is NOT filled with gas!" she cried. "It, it, it is dainty and groomed and--" Her eyes turned to pinpricks as she saw many, many lights turning on in houses nearby. She let out a soft whimper and shrank into herself. "Perhaps... this is something we should discuss in the morning? In a quiet alley, out of the way? Several towns over? I do believe I have a hat and a trench coat for just such... delicate chats."

"I can't wait till morning! I need Uranus and I need it now!"

"Gyaaah!" Rarity reared up in shock and kicked at the air with her forelegs. "DARLING! Please! Allow a lady her... her... dignity! Think... think of the neighbors!"

Twilight looked around, dubious. She didn't see any telescopes in any of the nearby houses. "Do you think your neighbors will know more about Uranus than we do?"

"I should certainly hope not!"

"What does THAT mean?"

"It means," Rarity said, regaining her composure as she pulled herself back into the room. "It means we have discussed your... indiscretions far enough this evening. Have a pleasant night, darling."

And she shut the window. Twilight was left there on the street, staring up and blinking.

"'Indiscretions'? Did... did Rarity just blame me for losing Uranus?" She started pacing in circles outside the boutique. "May... maybe I should have paid closer attention, I should have been there at the moment when it disappeared, but, but..." She stopped, and growled. "It's a planet! They don't just up and disappear! You can usually count on them being there next morning! Just like I can usually count on my friends not being crazy!"

Wait, it couldn't be all of them, right? Surely Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy would be more inclined to help!

Another flash, and she was suddenly in the bakery, standing behind a pink pony that was happily squeezing frosting out of a piping bag onto a batch of cupcakes.

"Pinkie Pie!"

"Yipe!" Pinkie shot straight up into the ceiling, spraying frosting everywhere. "Oh, hi, Twilight!" she said, hanging from the rafters and giggling. "Did you want a midnight snack too?"

"No, thank you, I'm here about Uranus."

Pinkie blinked, then looked back at her tail, and then back to Twilight. "What about it?" she chirped, dropping to the floor.

"It's gone missing!"

Pinkie giggled. "I'm pretty sure it's still there, silly. I'd know!"

"No, it's true! I've been studying it all month, and then tonight, it was gone!"

Pinkie stared widely at her, mouth agape. "Wooow. All month?"

"Yes! With a specially-made telescope and everything!"

"You didn't have to do that, Twilight!" Pinkie put a hoof around Twilight's shoulders. "You could've just asked! That's what friends are for!" She rubbed her chin with her other hoof." ...wait, well, maybe that's not quiiiiiite what friends are for, but..." She rubbed the other side of her chin with another hoof. "But friends are supposed to be there for everything, even their friend's crazy invasive peeping..." She gasped, covering her mouth with her other hooves. "Or maybe that's what friends are supposed to keep friends from doing!" With no more hooves to spare, she fell on her rear with a thump.

"What?" Twilight shook her head clear of the confusion. "No, Pinkie, I really need your help! I have to give a very important talk tomorrow, and it'll be ruined if Uranus isn't in it!"

Pinkie sat on her tail, stroking the end of it with her forehooves and looking down at herself. "It sounds really really really important to you..."

"It is!"

Pinkie shot straight onto her hooves. "Okay-dokie! Consider it done! Anything to help my dear friend!"

Twilight almost broke into tears. "You'll help me? You really will?"

"Uh-huh! Just give me 'til morning and your presentation will be saved!"

"What, morning? But..."

"Yup, morning!" Pinkie said with a grin, gently but firmly pushing Twilight towards the door. "It'd be embarrassing if you stuck around!"

"Embarrassing? But I'm the one doing the research on Uranus!" Twilight said over her shoulder.

"And we'll juuuust keep that between you and me!" Pinkie nodded happily, albeit with a slightly manic grin. "See you later, Twilight!"

"G-good night, Pinkie P--" But she didn't get to finish, as the door slammed as soon as she was outside. "What... what can Pinkie Pie possibly do to help?" she wondered aloud. "I've never seen her show any interest in astronomy, and she didn't even borrow a telescope or a book about planets!" She sighed. "There's no way I can get this done now...!" Feeling a headache coming on, she pressed her hoof on her forehead. It felt wet.

"Oh no! I forgot!" She winced, feeling the thick gobs of mud ooze down her face and snout. She shook her head, but it didn't help much. Growing increasingly frustrated with the way her evening had gone, she huffed and teleported to Fluttershy's cottage.

She knocked on the door. She'd offer to wipe Fluttershy's door clean later.

"Fluttershy, are you up? It's me, Twilight!"

She waited a minute, then called again. She hated doing it; Fluttershy was an early-to-bed type and was probably fast asleep by now.

Another minute. "Fluttershy, please! I've been to everypony else and you're the only one left!"

A light turned on in the floor above. Then another, and another, all followed by chirping and soft, unintelligible cooing. Cocking an ear to the door, Twilight followed the sounds as they came closer and closer...

The top half of the door swung open, revealing the pink-maned pegasus within.

"Good evening, Twilight," Fluttershy said placidly. "I'm so sorry I took so long to come down..."

Twilight stared at her intensely through her mud-caked face. "Fluttershy. I need Uranus. Now!"

Fluttershy's eyes shrunk into pinpricks.


The door slammed with force and Twilight heard Fluttershy race upstairs, lights blowing out all the way to the bedroom. And although Twilight kept calling for several more minutes, no lights came back on again.

For the third time in one night, Twilight slapped her hoof on her forehead. Blinking at it, she growled and rubbed off the drying mud until just a few flecks were left, and they fell off soon after.

"Why won't ANYpony help me find a freaking planet!" she screamed, and blasted herself back into the castle.

"Spike! We're going to Canterlot," she said to the air. "I KNOW Moondancer will care about Uranus as much as I do!"

"D-do we need to get her involved in this?" Spike said, appearing from around a corner. "Shouldn't we keep this between as few ponies as possible?"

"It's not something we can keep to ourselves, Spike!" Twilight exclaimed. "Never mind my talk, the fate of Equestria depends on us fixing Uranus!"

"Can't I just go back to eating gems? I promise, it won't irritate you anymore!"

"Uranus isn't just irritating, it can turn dangerous if we don't do something about it!"

Spike shuddered. "Sweet Celestia! Is it really THAT important?!"

"Of course it is! Now go get everything ready!"

"Y-yes, right away!" Spike said, dashing back to his room. His room? Shouldn't he head to the study to gather all the papers?

She was about to follow him when she heard a voice behind her. "Hey, Twiley!"

"Shining Armor?" She looked back, then beamed. "Shining Armor! I'm so glad you're here!" She trotted over to her brother and hugged him happily.

"Spike sent us a letter. I came as soon as I could," Shining Armor said. "He said there was something wrong, but he was very vague about it."

Twilight's gaze turned deathly serious. "There is. There's a problem. A BIG problem. And it's all about Uranus."

Shining Armor reeled. "Wait, you mean--"

"That's right." Twilight nodded. "I've been keeping tabs on it for over a month." Her brother flinched. "Then, last night, something happened."

"W-what happened?"

"I don't know, but there's a problem with Uranus, and we have to fix it."

Shining Armor stamped his hindlegs in discomfort. "We... we ARE talking about the same... thing, right?"

Twilight blinked. "Of course. Uranus. Big, green, gassy, with a ring around it?"

"Gah! Seriously!?" Shining Armor spun in place, desperately trying to look at his own rear. "How can you tell it has a ring!?" he asked, facing Twilight head-on.

Twilight rolled her eyes at him. "Please. I can't see Uranus right now, but I know it like the back of my hoof. And whatever happened to it, it can spell disaster if we don't put it back the way it was."

Shining Armor groaned, sagging his head. "I KNEW it. I knew it! This is exactly why I never wanted to ask Cadie to do that stuff, because I knew she'd ask to do it the other way around, and I knew I'd regret it, and here we are."


"N-nevermind. We need... uh, we need to find a doctor."

"Exactly, there should be plenty of PhDs in Canterlot who can help!"

"P-plenty? Shouldn't we be discreet about this?"

Twilight groaned in frustraton. "Why does everypony want to keep this 'discreet'? We can't be discreet! Everypony needs to know about Uranus!"


"We should probably bring it up to Celestia directly!"


"Lead the way, BBBFF! I'll be behind you every step of the way!"

"...actually, would you lead the way, Twiley? I'm feeling a bit... self-conscious right now."

Twilight stared at him oddly. "Uh, all right. I suppose I know more about Uranus than you do."

"And please stop saying that."

Feh. Twilight rolled her eyes. Even her brother wasn't immune to macho pride. Whatever.

Yet another flash of magic and several minutes later, Twilight found herself racing towards Celestia's throne room. For some unfathomable reason, Shining Armor had ditched her as soon as they ran past a medical clinic --maybe he had sprained something on the way over? He was certainly acting awkward around her. And in her rush, she had forgotten to wait for Spike to bring her notes. Oh, well, time was at a premium and she couldn't afford to waste another second, not when the absence of Uranus and its gravitational effects could toss the entire night sky into disarray.

"Celestia!" she cried, bursting through the doors of the throne room. "I need to speak with you, it's an emergency!"

"Twilight Sparkle! Is everything all right?" the great alicorn stared back with alarm. "You look... intense."

"It is very late at night, Twilight Sparkle," Luna said calmly, striding out from beside her sister. "Are you all right?"

"I'm sorry for coming so late, but something terrible has happened!" Twilight gasped out, trying to catch her breath. "Uranus... it's gone!"

Celestia craned her neck to look at her own posterior.

"Nnnnnnnno, it is still there, I assure you."

Luna rolled her eyes. "I believe she means the planet, Sister?"

"Oh. Oh! Yes, of course, I knew that. Of course I did."

"What else would I mean?" Twilight said, exasperated. "Like I was saying..."

"If I may interrupt," Celestia said, then spread one wing. A green, gassy globe with a ring around it floated out from her plumage. "I have Uranus right here."

Twilight stared.

"I've been keeping it warm."


"I also borrowed your notes about it. They were very useful! Well done!"


Luna nodded gravely. "My sister's reading lamp reached the end of its lifetime. She couldn't wait to finish her book, and..."

"You... shrank..." Twilight croaked. "You wanted a..."


"You shrank Uranus for a night light?!"

Celestia smiled beatifically. "I'm flattered, Twilight, but you shouldn't sound so impressed. I do move the Sun itself every day."

Luna nudged her in the ribs. "Sister," she stage-whispered. "I don't think 'impressed' describes Twilight Sparkle right now."

"Oh. Oh dear. That IS quite an enormous raging aura of magical fury, isn't it?"

"Quite enormous."

"Luna, did Twilight's mane suddenly become... spikier?"

"I believe it is time to put Uranus back where it belongs, Sister..."

"Yes, immediately." There was a pause. "What is that ghastly grinding sound?"

"That is Twilight Sparkle's teeth, Sister."


"Give Uranus to Twilight, Sister."

"But you said to put it--"

"Give it to Twilight, give it to Twilight!"

"I'm giving it, I'm giving it!"

The next morning...

"Goooooood morning, everypony!" Pinkie Pie greeted the four of her friends that had gathered outside Sugarcube Corner. Rarity was fully concealed beneath a hat as large as herself, sunglasses, and a massive trench coat, while the three others kept tossing furtive glances here and there while keeping their tails as down as they could possibly go. Pinkie looked around. "Hey, has anypony seen Twilight?"

Four ponies blushed crimson and stared uneasily at each other. "Y-yes, we... have," Rarity said.

"She showed up this mornin' smilin' harder'n a bull in a barn full of heifers," Applejack added. "Finally, ah, solved th' little problem she was havin' last night."

"Stupid friggin' buckin' raggin'..." Rainbow Dash muttered.

"You okay, sugarcube?"

"How was I supposed to know what she meant! She should have explained better!" Rainbow yelled.

"I, um, I feel really sorry for misunderstanding her last night..." Fluttershy shrank into herself.

"Perhaps we do bear some of the blame," Rarity said. "But! All is well that ends well, and we should never speak of it again." She looked around apprehensively. "If you ladies will excuse me, I still have some nasty, nasty rumors to quash."

As Rarity left, Pinkie looked from one friend to the other, befuddled. "Uh, I just wanted to find Twilight! There's something very important I just have to give her."

"If it ain't 'bout stars and planets, I doubt she'll hear ya," Applejack said.

"Planets?" Pinkie asked.

"All that running around for one stupid planet with a stupid name!" Rainbow fumed.

"You mean..." Pinkie swallowed heavily.

"There was a problem with..." Fluttershy whispered, "Uranus."


"Aaanyway, I'm gonna go and photocopy my butt to send to Twilight." Rainbow grinned, smoothing out her tail. "Serves her right for screaming about how much she wants it!"

"Rainbow Dash, you wouldn't!" Fluttershy chided her.

"Just kidding." Rainbow stuck out her tongue. "What kind of crazy pony would photocopy her butt, right?"

Pinkie giggled nervously, "Uh, y-yeah, uh, hehehe, what kind of... pony, hahaha."

"What's that you got there, Pinkie Pie?" Applejack looked around Pinkie towards the sheaf of papers grasped in the pink pony's tail.

"Muffins!" Pinkie yelled a little too loud, shoving the papers into her mouth and munching on them. "Muffins so good even the recipe is yummy! Mmmm, good!"

"Will anypony else want to attend Twilight's lecture?" Fluttershy asked.

"Sure thing!" Applejack smiled.

"Of course! I could use the nap!" Rainbow added.

"Wmfn't mmhs it," Pinkie replied around a mouthful of paper.

"All right everypony, let's meet at the train station in ten minutes!" Fluttershy called.

Meanwhile, in a lecture room somewhere in Canterlot, an extremely pleased purple alicorn straightened her cue cards on the podium. She stole a glance to her side, and her eyes followed the green, gassy globe with a ring around it that orbited her lazily in a circle. She giggled at it.

And she blew a raspberry at it.

Author's Notes:

I blame this.

And so should you.

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