Twilight Levels Up

by Asphodel Frost

Chapter 1: Chapter the first, and the last

Twilight ruffled her wings in slight frustration before continuing. “Alright Rarity, I need you to focus, you aren’t making this any easier on yourself”

Rarity, who was in the middle of pretending to admire a particularly shiny stone on the ground, jumped slightly at this, quickly looking back to the larger stone on the table, still exactly where it had been for the last few minutes.
“Sorry darling, I must have been distracted by something, yes, that’s it, not that this is boring or anything!”

“Alright, I understand this isn’t the most useful spell for you, but you never know when you might need it.” She turned to the table again. “Here, let me demonstrate, first I picture the object, then I imagine it being where I want it. A small burst of magic and…”
The stone vanished in a flash of lavender magic, appearing on another table a few meters to the right at the same time.
“See! That wasn’t so hard was-”
And then all hell broke loose. A few sparks shot from the tip of the alicorn’s horn, followed by larger sparks that exploded in mid-air, and finally, with a sound like Pinkie’s party cannon, a shower of confetti and streamers shot out seemingly from thin air, coating a very startled Twilight Sparkle in a rainbow of assorted paper.

“Really Twilight? I don’t believe the lightshow was necessary…”

“I didn’t do that! I was ju-”

“CONGRATULATIONS” Said an overly enthusiastic voice, seemingly coming from all directions at once. Twilight jumped back at this, interestingly, Rarity didn’t seem to notice the voice.
At the same moment, words started forming in Twilight’s vision, huge block letters spelling out the words “LEVEL UP” and “2” faded into existence, disappearing just as quickly as they had come into being.

“Darling are you alright?” Rarity rushed forwards in concern for the now largely confused princess, who had now fallen to her haunches.

“I… what?” She sputtered, “Level up?” Before she could regain her bearings however, another set of words appeared before her.
“Skill tree? What on earth is a-” And with that, she vanished into thin air.

Blue. Sapphire, cerulean, navy, cobalt and indigo. These were the first words that went through Twilight’s head as she opened her eyes. For a brief moment she considered the effects of being around Rarity on the size of her colour vocabulary, before returning to the situation at hoof. She was floating in a sea of swirling shapes (all various shades of blue of course), with constellations and individual stars drifting past occasionally. If she had been slightly less gobsmacked at the time, she might have noticed that this was the same place she went during her ascension.

Since she was still quite confused however, she didn’t notice this. What she did notice though, was the enormous crystalline tree in front of her, each of its hundreds of branches containing different symbols, all arranged near others of similar colour or design. In the very centre of the tree were two much larger symbols, and just below them were another two slightly smaller ones. These symbols were a sun, a moon, a crystal heart and finally a pink starburst with five smaller stars surrounding it.

As she looked closer, she noticed that all of the symbols but the ones directly connected to hers had a small padlock wrapped around them. The remaining seven were glowing slightly, each one similar in some way to her cutie mark, with different colours or different numbers of points or stars. Below the tree, more writing appeared; “Points: 1”

As she leaned in for a closer look, she heard the distinct sound of a teleport behind her, followed by a familiar voice. She turned around, to see another tree had appeared, this one with only a few symbols still locked, and standing below it was a rather disgruntled princess Celestia, muttering under her breath about something.
“...discord...took…hundred years...few...to…”

Twilight let out a small noise of surprise, which Celestia seemed to hear, as she stopped her mumbling and slowly turned around. For a good few seconds she simply stood there, her bottom jaw hanging well below where it should have been, before she finally broke her own silence.

“What the shit,” she phrased, as delicately and eloquently as only an alicorn princess of Equestria could.

This seemed to snap Twilight out of her stupor, as she immediately broke into rapid fire questions. “What is this place? Why are we here? Are we dead? Is this real? Am I dreaming? Am I real? Are you rea-” she was cut short by a gold clad hoof over her withers.

“You see, Twilight, I really didn't expect you to be here so soon, nopony actually managed to get to level two since Starswirl, not including myself and Luna of course”

“What do you mean by level two?” By then, Twilight had mostly calmed down, though she was still just as confused.

“Back in the times well before Discord, ponies were given a skill after completing a number of different tasks, usually this skill was based on the last thing that pony did before earning that skill. Of course, this most likely sounds familiar to you doesn't it Twilight.”

“You mean this all has to do with our cutie marks?”

“In a way, yes. Most ponies nowadays have already achieved this, though you are the first in a long time to get any further. Ponies used to be able to do what you did today, known as ‘levelling up’ as many as twice a year by working hard on their special skill after gaining level one, or as we call it now, earning their cutie marks. Each time this happened, they were sent here and given one point to spend on the skill tree.” She gestured in the direction of her own tree for emphasis.

“So, when you ‘level up’ you can buy new skills with these points?”

“In a way. You see the seven symbols around your cutie mark that are glowing? Those represent abilities you gained with your first level, as you can see, they are all based around magic, which is what gives you your unique and powerful skill for it. Each of the locked symbols can be purchased for one point, as long as that skill has a direct line to one of your existing ones.” She ruffled her wings for a moment before continuing. “All of this used to be completely achievable, one pony could relatively easily unlock all the skills in their area in a lifetime, and I managed to get most of mine done before Discord ruined it for everyone, myself included.”

“So, what did he do?” Twilight asked, intrigued by the story.

“He somehow changed the requirements to reach each level to be just out of reach of the average pony, and as for me, he made it unbelievably difficult to complete my tree!”

Looking at the far-left side of Celestia’s tree, Twilight noticed about six symbols still locked up, they seemed to all be related to playing marbles.

“For the past millennium, I have been trying my hardest to get all the skills unlocked! Even though there are only a few left, it's going to take me centuries to get them all…” She looked at the ground solemnly for a moment before looking back to Twilight, who was now staring at her own tree.

“Princess?” Twilight began.

“Yes Twilight?”

“What do you think I should spend my first point on?”

“Aim to the left, you would be surprised how effective marbles are for palace defence.”

Author's Notes:

Thanks to Violet Rose in The Rain for the marbles suggestion: https://www.fimfiction.net/user/230726/Violet+Rose+in+The+Rain
And thanks to Blue Paladin for assisting with Celestia's more precise line of dialogue:

Return to Story Description


Login with