The Warm Diary of Twilight Sparkle

by Gweat and Powaful Twixie

Chapter 1: The Diary

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The Diary

The Diary

The two unicorns passed by shop after shop, far more engaged in each other's company than the worldly fares behind the windows. Rarity had finally convinced Twilight to cut loose and buy something frivolous and unique for herself. However, their conversation soon veered from attainable treasures to fanciful dreams.

"A-a thousand colours...?" Rarity choked out, holding her hoof to her mouth. She scoffed, gasped and generally overreacted, drawing strange looks from nearby patrons. "And you are not just romancing the idea, you truly mean a thousand colours?"

Twilight giggled at her friend as she had an existential crisis over a few stones. "Yes, Rarity, I've seen it myself. That gem looks much deeper than it appears. You can never really see the end of the gem, just more colours and not even just the colours themselves. You see the spirit and life inside each colour. It looks like royal purple from far away, but up close, you see verdant greens, oceanic blues, fiery reds and every colour you can imagine."

"Darling, I can imagine a lot of colours. It's my job..." Rarity said flatly, before resuming her dramatic façade. "But my, oh my, I didn't realize such jewels existed. I suppose the princess would have only the finest stones adorning her royal regalia."

Rarity’s eyes grew wide as she fell into a fantastic reverie. Dazzled by her own imagination, she nearly ran into an oncoming pony.

"An amethyst that glitters the full spectrum as it pours out divine light with only the slightest catalyst.” She swayed. “But to truly know its beauty, one must be dangerously close to it. Oh, the romantic possibilities of such a gem." Rarity blushed a shallow shade of pink from one cheek to another. "If what you say is true--"

"It is," Twilight interjected coolly, breaking her friend’s fall into a self-induced gem coma.

"As I was saying..." She blew off Twilight's minor rudeness. "If what you say is true, I definitely wouldn't mind having such a jewel in my collection."

Rarity scratched her chin. "Dearest Twilight, if it isn't too much trouble, do you suppose you could discover a trivial piece of information for the loving friend who takes you on such exquisite shopping trips? Perhaps to exalt the supplier of such excellence to her Majesty?" She batted her lashes.

Twilight rolled her eyes. "I'll ask, but something tells me they aren't exactly common. The only other gems like it are the ones on Luna's necklace."

"Oh, do tell!" Rarity gave her an enthusiastic nudge.

The store they were passing caught Twilight's interest. "Wait, hold on a second. I want to go in here..."

Rarity approached the store reluctantly. It was nothing like the modern and glamorous stores she wanted to shop. Now that she looked around, she realized they had drifted off the beaten path and ventured into an older, darker part of Ponyville. The area had been condemned by Madame Mayor as part of a modernization project. Some buildings were completely abandoned and were in the process of being demolished. The shops and houses were built more than seventy years ago. Rarity suspected that no pony had made any sort of effort towards its upkeep since.

The store was a simple one story, brick building. Cracks of varying sizes forked from the foundation, fracturing the masonry and crumbling the brickwork.  The single display window was opaque with dirt and sunspots. The entire store was covered in a grime that didn't come from dust, but from decades of neglect. A skinny oak door was the sturdiest part of its construction, as it still actually fulfilled its purpose admirably. For a door, that is.

The dust lingering in the air from recent demolitions cast a hazy shadow over the shop, giving it the grainy quality of an old movie. Rarity peered inside through its dirty window. The dreadful lighting made it difficult to see more than a few feet inside. From what she could see, cobwebs covered most of the merchandise. The wares varied in shape and size, none resembling anything she’d see in a regular day. The candlelight twisted the shadows into nightmarish shapes. A weathered metal sign hanging from a protruding rod read simply, “Antiques.”

Rarity was thoroughly creeped out by the entirety of the scene. After the level of dirt was exposed, she wanted nothing to do with it. "Sweetheart, you can't be serious. This place is filthy! What do you hope to find in such a dreadful establishment?" she protested.

"Something frivolous and novel!" Twilight chimed.

Rarity wanted to draw out the debate further, but Twilight had already climbed the steep steps and wiggled her flank through the skinny doorway. Rarity pouted and whined before realizing she’d rather not be left alone in this ghostly part of town for very long.

Unfortunately, the store’s interior was even more decrepit than its exterior. It took a moment for their eyes to adjust to the dim light. Every item was covered with a layer of dust that not only seemed excessive, but intentional. For a prim pony, this left few options for navigating the tiny store. To make matters worse, everything below Rarity’s chest fell beyond the candles' weak light, covering the floor in a blanket of darkness. She tried to divine a clear pathway, but dusty junk cluttered the floor. Her legs brushed against one unknown object after another.

Most of the 'antiques' were stacked into haphazard piles in the corners in the right side of the store. A long glass counter stood to her left and a few display tables covered the rest of the floor space. The most obscure items were featured in elaborate displays. Were it not for the dust, Rarity would have been envious of the gilded artistry. She saw a wicked dagger whose razor edge seemed to hunger for her fleshy weakness. She gulped hard and turned to a counter that ran the length of the store.

Under the glass were several small, delicate looking pieces on two different shelves. Small candles inside the case were the only source of illumination for a prospective shopper.

An unwritten rule of magic is that the most magical and powerful objects usually fit in one's pocket. There were at least fifty different pieces, each one more curiously haunting than the last. Twilight contemplated the incredible power each one might hold.

Behind the counter were more shelves of junk stacked to the ceiling. It was clear that not a single inch of space had been wasted unless absolutely necessary.

The store itself was silent as a graveyard, as if nothing dared to move. Even the candles’ gentle flames failed to breathe life into the store. The stillness of the air betrayed them, and for a moment they considered leaving. There was no one here.

They felt alone, but soon realized they weren’t.

The owner sat at a workbench, behind the far end of the counter. His shadowy mass blended so well with the darkness that he was but a specter. Rarity's breath was taken away when she spotted him, only aware of his presence by the slight rise and fall of his from. His darkness immediately loomed over them, creating an atmosphere of doubt that could quickly turn to terror. They expected some sort of noise from the creature, but he sat in a perfect, eerie silence.

The feeling of being alone quickly transformed into a sense of being watched, setting their nerves on edge.

The only sound came from the light squeak of the wooden floors under their hooves. With every noise they made, his exasperation grew and the tension thickened. Each step, no matter how light-hoofed, was agonizing. Rarity did her best to minimize the noise, but her friend wasn’t helping.

Twilight acted like a foal in a candy shop, pressing her face against the dirty glass case, trotting from one display to another. She blatantly broke the unspoken, “Don’t make any bloody noise!” rule. She just made as much noise as her little heart desired.

Rarity admitted there was a sense of novelty to the place as she found more intricate pieces in the case. Brooches, rings and a fabulous hairpin caught her attention easily. Being a connoisseur of the small and valuable she knew the value of such trinkets. Her excitement swelled as she marveled over their wondrous pasts.

Part of her wanted to ask what they were, but remaining silent and not provoking the owner was far more appealing. Hopefully they'd get out of there before Twilight knocked anything over or talked or did something to aggravate him further.

"Ohmigosh ohmigosh! Rarity do you know what this is?!" Twilight cried out, oblivious and pointing to a small medallion in the case.

Rarity facehoofed at her hopeless friend, an eye glued to the owner. He tensed up and shifted in his seat, pressing hard into the loose floorboards. The resulting creak left Rarity silent and still. If they made it out of this alive, she was going to have a talk with Twilight about the value of silence.

He went back to his work. Tension still hung, but no trouble had stirred. There was still a chance to escape.

"Twilight, do you know how dusty it is in here? We are going to be wheezing for weeks if we stay in here too long," Rarity whispered desperately. Her voice was so quiet, she could barely hear herself. “I elect to vacate the premises as quickly as possible.”

"It's a bit from the pre-classical era. It has to be worth hundreds now..." Twilight whispered back, enthralled to the point of ignorance.

"I don't see the big deal. It looks like a rusty hunk of scrap--"`


The owner crushed one of his tools in bitter frustration.

After a few moments of agonizing silence, he let out a loud and irritated sigh. The unicorns stood there, frozen and silent. Rarity wanted to briskly and properly flee for her life, but fear stayed her.

He got up from his stool and the loose floorboards revealed his heft. His mass seemed to grow beyond the ceiling as he stood to his full posture, becoming a giant of shadow. He turned around and took heavy, powerful hoofsteps towards them.

As he walked into the light, they both took a nervous step back. He was dark brown, with two jet black horns growing from the side of his head and a bronze ring in his nose. They immediately recognized him as a minotaur. He wore an undersized monocle that suited his old, wrinkly face. Despite the years behind his eyes, he was a rippling mass of muscles who stood a few feet taller than the girls. With the added height of the counter, he barely fit in his own shop. His gravelly voice spoke clearer than either of them expected.

"Can I help you?" he growled.

"Heh... heh… we're just browsing," Twilight squeaked.

"Harrumph..." His glare froze them solid and drained their courage. "Ponies do not come to my shop to browse. They come to my shop because they seek something I have." They stood like deer in headlights as he angrily snorted a huff of dusty air into their faces. "What do I have that you seek?"

"Books...?" Twilight smiled timidly in a completely misguided attempt to lease the tension.

“I have many books. Is there one you seek in particular?” His glare pushed her lower into darkness.

“Heh… not… exactly…?” she said with the same smile.

Reluctantly, he motioned to a bookshelf in the corner almost sarcastically slow. It held all of his dusty old books.  He turned to Rarity next.

"Gems...?" she piped, following Twilight's lead.

He narrowed his eyes and figured this unicorn knew even less than the first. He motioned to the farther side of the display case which housed old and cloudy gems.

Less interested in the rocks and more interested in putting some distance between her and the owner, she went to check them out.

The collection broke Twilight's heart. Each book on it looked like it hadn't been moved, let alone read, in years. She hated seeing books go to waste like this, especially books so old. Books needed proper care and love and it was clear that this monster was giving them no such attention. She made a little vow to come back and read all these books someday.

Yet, she was afraid to actually move one. Saying the owner was intimidating was an understatement. Twilight didn't intend to do anything to disturb his display or damage anything she wasn’t going to buy. Every book must have been at least a hundred years old.  Such books should only be handled when absolutely necessary. They were expertly shelved and moving one would displace others, potentially damaging them

She spotted a loose book in the corner of the shelf. It was thinner and she managed to pull it out without disturbing its neighbours. It was an old diary with a faint blue cover and faded gold accents on the corners. She futilely blew the dust off and opened it to the first crusty page. Twilight read the date of the first entry before shoving her hoof in her mouth to quell her natural outburst.

It was dated from over seven hundred years ago.

Her mind raced with the sort of historical insight a diary could provide about this time period. This was a snapshot into the life of pony during a time that was considered lost to documented history. It could overturn dozens of the leading theories about this particular age in an instant.

Even if it didn't, it would still be incredibly interesting to look into one pony's life and learn his or her story. Plus, acquiring at least one ancient book in one's library was considered a rite of passage for aspiring librarians.

Rarity had also found something that piqued her interest.

"Excuse me gentlefellow, can you tell me the relevance of this piece?" She pointed to a small, deep looking gem in the case.

He heaved a short annoyed huff and leaned on the counter, belittling the only white thing that dared to defy the dirt in his shop. To him, she was an insect.

"This...? Why this is a just a useless old rock," he snarled mockingly. All Rarity could do was giggle nervously. He gave her the most hateful stare before continuing reluctantly. "It's a depleted soul gem. Once it held the soul of an unnamed pony, but the soul escaped and the stone lost its luminosity."

Twilight's ear perked at the mention of a soul gem, but remained silent. It was relatively harmless as long as it was depleted.

More nervous laughter followed. He talked about it like he wanted to suck Rarity's soul out and stuff it in the rock himself.

"Heh... you don't say... How much?"

He chuckled and then fell into a sarcastic, rollicking laughter. In his fit, he slapped the counter with his meaty palm, shaking the entire display. Sickening cracks of splintering wood and glass sounded with each hit, and she swore she saw him break the hairpin she was going to ask him about next. She could only tremble as she watched the monster laugh maniacally.

"One does not simply buy a soul gem." He glared maliciously at her ignorant stupidity.

Rarity’s eyes grew wide and innocent. This monster was mad. He may have just broken a hundred bits worth of product and didn’t seem to care.

He growled again, evoking a trembling whimper from the pony. These ponies were treating treasures they barely understood as novelties, charms that could ruin someone’s life in an instant as toys. And he hated it. "I’m guessing that you want to trade me some arbitrary amount of bits for it?"

She nodded her head, almost crying in fear, barely daring to choke out a few more whimpers.

A disconcerting smile cracked over his face when he saw a few sparkling drops fall from the terrified pony's eyes.

"Thirty bits... take it and never bring it back here," he commanded.

Twilight knew that there was never a better deal in Equestria.

Rarity obediently levitated the money on the table without even moving. In her fear she accidentally misjudged the height of the counter and bumped the sack against the glass three times. Each failed attempt reminded her of just how panicked she was. He smiled at her.

He was starting to like this pony.

She finally rolled the sack of coins onto the table. She watched, still as a statue, as he recovered the piece from the case, reached over the counter and placed it in her saddlebag himself. He fondly patted her on head, eliciting more whimpers and a case of fearful shaking. Somehow, more colour had drained from her white complexion.

Twilight closed up the diary and got in line. The alabaster customer in front of her quickly removed herself and trotted gingerly out the door without a peep. He just smiled as he watched her leave.

"How much for this one?" she asked, setting the book on the table with giddy excitement, still oblivious to his intensity.

He narrowed his eyes at Twilight, scorning her cheerful disposition. He preferred ponies who feared him.

"How much of it have you read?"

Twilight bit her lip. "I only read one line," she admitted.

He broke her gaze and turned back around slowly, nodding and mumbling a few things to himself. He quietly went back to work in the exact same position as when they entered.

A full minute of restless silence passed. Twilight shifted awkwardly. It was clear he was ignoring her. Normally she would have backed off, but she really wanted that book.

Against her better judgment, she forced herself to say something, "Uhmm..."

"Fifty bits." He cut her off.

Fifty bits was nothing to laugh at, but she considered it an investment of prestige. If this minotaur’s old books proved to be historically relevant, she could request additional funding from Canterlot to buy more and start some in-depth research. The idea of having her own royal research project tickled her fancy.

And honestly, the book could be worth hundreds based on its age alone. This minotaur obviously didn't know any better.

Twilight quickly threw the money on the counter and happily bagged her new treasure.

After the young customers left him in the silence of his old store, he just shook his head and gathered his bits.


"Hey Rarity, guess what I got? A 700 year-old diary! Can you believe it?!"

Rarity was still shaking and whimpering. She struggled for words with the pony who was still somehow unaffected by their brush with terror.

"T-twi... Twilight... J-just stop talking." She was searching for a way to forgive her clueless friend. "Give me a moment, please...?!" Rarity took in a huge, dramatic breath and held it.

Moments later she exhaled, holding her hoof up to Twilight’s mouth while bowing her head.

Twilight started to say something, but Rarity just shook her hoof at her, shushing her. Twilight held off until Rarity looked up with her usual spirit.

"I apologize for being terse with you, but I needed to compose myself." She trotted forcefully back to their original path, chin held up high.

She was not going any farther into the old town.

"You know darling. There is an extremely valuable lesson about the appropriate use of voice inflections, volume and silence for various scenarios that I simply must share with you one day," she scolded.

Twilight blushed in confusion as she followed her friend. Next, they were off to the cafe for lunch.

"So, you bought an old diary...?”  


Rarity did not understand.

"But what exactly does it do…?" Rarity continued, a bit agitated. The tiny gem rolled from hoof to hoof as she talked.

Twilight had been too distracted to pay much mind to the rock. As much as she loved spending time with her good friend, the possibilities of the diary took a reasonable precedent in her thoughts. She did her best to push them out to answer her friend's question.

"A soul gem is not actually a gem," Twilight explained, missing the question for the second time. "It's made of a magical substance called aether. Somepony took the raw magical energy that powers all magic and transformed it into crystalline form. The only way to do that is to use somepony's soul as a binding agent. It's funny that they say the gem traps the soul, when the soul actually binds the gem."

Understanding did not present itself on the perplexed unicorn's face. She forced the question one more time.

"So what does it do exactly?" She repeated again. She had done her best to polish the stone, but nothing could clear the inner haze clouding its sparkle.

"I'm not entirely sure to tell you the truth. Soul gems are considered taboo magic by most, so information about them is rare." Twilight thought she already answered this question.

"Yes... Thank you..." She held the rock up to her eye to examine the misty interior, "Pray tell, how does one's soul become trapped inside this?"

Twilight shifted anxiously. "I'd rather not share. The less anypony knows about it, the better." In reality, Twilight didn't feel Rarity was qualified to own, let alone touch, a soul gem.

Rarity took a chunk of polish off and wiped it down again to no avail. Despite having little sparkle, she adored the power it held.

"Oh Twilight, you do trust me, don't you?" She gave her a begging, hurt look. "I promise I won't do anything too drastic. I just would like to know how to get its sparkle back." She pawed at the air.

"Rarity, no. We are not going to use it for that. It's far too dangerous. If you are truly interested in capturing a soul in it, then I'll have to ask the princess. It's just not something I feel comfortable doing without close supervision and consultation,” Twilight explained.

Rarity pouted.

"Ok, I'll ask her, but please, don't do anything to it. Magically speaking..."

Rarity’s expression brightened a bit.

Twilight finished up her hay shake and stood up. "Well, thank you for inviting me on this lovely shopping trip. We need to do it again real soon."

"Oh, of course! It was a pleasure!”


The sun was getting low in the sky when Twilight got home. She had planned on running a few magical experiments after finishing with Rarity, but she hadn't anticipated finding a 700 year-old diary that could revolutionize history. The experiments would have to wait.

"Spike, you wouldn’t believe what I bought!" she called out through her miniature library. She let loose a bemused giggle as the future of her library filled her imagination. The princess would probably allow her royal requisitions after she sent her a full report. Maybe her tiny library would grow into the University of Ponyville and she’d become the youngest dean in Equestria. At the very least, she could start that history club she’d always dreamed of.

“Spike? You home?”


She found the dragon peacefully dozing off in his tiny bed next to hers. She decided it was probably best to leave him be. She didn't want to be interrupted in her newest venture. More importantly, she didn't want any passing dragon sneezes to turn her into a murderer.

Twilight gently placed her saddlebag on her bed, using excessive caution to avoid upsetting its precious contents. She lit her horn for light and opened the bag, meticulously peeling it away from the relic. She neatly folded the bag and flew it off to its resting place by the door. Her eyes gleamed.

Even in the face of care and caution, she failed to suppress an asinine giggle, hugging the book and rolling around on her bed for a bit longer than necessary. Nothing made her happier than old books.

Finally, she rallied herself and resolved to begin the journey into the past. With the utmost care she opened the book to its first page.


April 18, 331 CE

Dear Diary,

Forgive me. You were probably expecting the heart and soul of some young filly in the throes of love and not the rambling of an old mare such as myself. I'm no lovestruck writer of hearts, but I'll do my best to keep you entertained.

I'm not sure where exactly to begin or why exactly to begin. Rosetta was surprised when I asked for a diary of all things. She called it childish and unbecoming, but what does she know? Nothing says a pony can't have a diary if she wants one. It will make me feel better and that's all I want.

Now that I have you, I'm starting to wonder why I asked for you in the first place. I had so many ideas that I couldn't explain, that came and went in a flash. I thought if I could write them down, then I'd finally get this pressure off my chest, but now I draw blanks. The pressure is still building, always building, but the inspiration is gone. Oh well, it’ll come back like it always does. I hope you don't mind me writing whenever it comes to me. It might be every few hours or not for a fortnight before I return to these pages. I hope this helps.



Twilight pondered the names and implications of the text. The name Rosetta stuck out to her for some reason, like she had already learned of her. It wasn't coming to her, though. Well, it didn’t matter, because she’d soon find out.  Sleep wouldn’t be on the schedule if it so required. She’d have to completely rewrite all her schedules now. This was too important.

Twilight excitedly turned the page, but the diary rudely interrupted her with a complete lack of words or anything else for that matter. It was blank. Not a single line of text rested on the page. She flipped through the entire book and found the same truth for every page. It was filled with blankness, glorious blankness.

A few moments passed as she lay there, dumbfounded. There was only one entry. Who'd preserve a journal with only one entry? No, this must be a mistake.

Unless it was a scam. The minotaur could have magically aged a book, written a single journal entry and waited for the one gullible pony who never read anything but the first page before  buying it. That explained why he asked her how much she read. On the contrary it could have been real, but the lack of information in it made it just as worthless.

Either way, she had paid fifty bits for what was essentially a really old notebook.

Such dishonesty sparked an angry glow from her horn. It was completely wrong and infuriating and Twilight was just too trusting a pony to ever consider such underhoofedness. She wanted to  obliterate the book and then do the same to him.

She stared down the diary, fury charging her spell as it strained to be unleashed. Soon there would nothing but a smoldering pile of ash left. She huffed angrily before her big ‘book-biased’ heart got the best of her. She couldn't destroy a helpless book. It wasn't its fault. it was just in the wrong situation at the wrong time.

Also, disintegrating minotaurs probably wasn’t legal. She’d just have to get her money back.

She gave the diary a loving, apologetic hug, which seemed to hug her back. That minotaur had artificially aged it, stealing its young life away and then placed it on a dusty old shelf for who knows how long? It had been wrongfully neglected. Twilight actually felt more sympathy for this single book than for the snakes whose homes had been flooded during the last Winter Wrap-Up.

“Poor defenseless book... Momma will write in you and make sure you’re loved, ok?” she cooed quite crazily while stroking the book.

As she hugged it, she noticed a strange detail. A detail that hadn’t been there when she had hugged it earlier.

The diary was warm.

Twilight could feel an undeniable heat emanating from it that wasn’t there moments before.

"This book isn't enchanted... is it?" she wondered.

In her eagerness to read it, Twilight had foolishly forgotten to cast a preliminary magic detection spell. A book so old couldn't have survived the centuries without some sort of enchantment. Now, it seemed so obvious.

She scooted back and cast a spell on the notebook. Her spell's magic was stolen from her horn, and swirled in a shimmering, ivory ball over it. The magic slowly dripped from the ball like water, falling to the empty pages. Each drop turned to smoke and evaporated as it touched the book. It was all very showy and stylistic, far too showy and stylistic for basic magic. Twilight watched with skeptical terror.

"Oh my goodness... You're a very special book, aren't you?" her voice quivered.

Never before had she experienced such a strong reaction to a simple, unobtrusive spell. This book wasn't just seven hundred years-old, it was also heavily enchanted by what would have to be a master unicorn. She knew the kind of magic it took to produce such an effect and her mind spun as it tried to comprehend.

Weaving together an enchantment that automatically absorbs the aggressor's magic to create an effect is almost impossible. To also make that same effect artistic was something she’d be surprised if Celestia could accomplish without diligent practice. Such an enchantment would have to be repeated for each spell in existence, with some sort of living magic embedded in it so it could to adapt to future magics.

In other words, it was completely excessive and Twilight could imagine few ponies could be so vain as to desire such stylish security. An enchantment of this magnitude would take years to complete.

What laid before her was not just a diary. Nor was it just a diary lightly enchanted to avert the casual reader's curious eyes. It wasn't even the diary of a powerful pony who had secrets that were well worth keeping. The magic was far too complex to be practical protection. This was the diary of a legendary enchanter, most likely a princess. This particular princess expected it to be stolen and wanted to send a message to the thief.

A message like 'Go ahead and try to read it.'

But who could realistically steal the diary of a princess? Another princess?

Even if it was a princess trying to steal another princess's diary, it was still too much. Such a conflict would have to be heated and aggressive, enduring for years, and this diary would have been the center of it all. To put so much time into just the enchantment, the owner would have to know they couldn’t keep it safe.

Twilight froze as a fleeting thought seeded in her mind.

"Were wars fought over you...?" she whispered darkly.

Twilight tried to push the idea out. It was preposterous, a war over a book. Yet, the more she thought about it, the more sense it made. As it lay helpless in front of her, the old diary had eerily turned from a dusty old book to a dangerous relic. She didn't even she want to touch it anymore. She became light-headed as her head filled with questions. Did somepony really fight over it and if so, who? How did it fall into that minotaur's hands? Who's Stella? Who's Rosetta? How old is it really?

What was written in it?

She expected no less than the complete list of all the most powerful magics, sacred artifacts, titanic legends and terrible secrets. The sorts of things that could redefine history and send Equestria rocketing into the future.

And she got it for fifty bits.

Maybe she should just send it to the princess. She barely understood the magic at work. Celestia, however, could uncover its secrets without a hitch and extract the information all the same. Twilight would never forgive herself if she wound up destroying or damaging the book by accident.

But on the other hoof…

This could be the sort of challenge she’d been looking for. Magic has evolved a lot since the book was allegedly written. Perhaps it wasn't as powerful as she thought. She rushed to a lot of conclusions based on one spell alone. If it was as truly protected as she thought, then there was no way she could do any real damage to it. If it wasn't, then she didn't need to bother the Princess with it. She'd just crack it herself.

It never hurt to do a little preliminary work anyways.


In the depths of the night, Twilight was on the verge of making her first breakthrough. Long hours of dead ends and useless experimentation were about to pay off. Experimentation defined by casting every non-destructive spell she knew on it in alphabetical order.

The first thing she needed to know was if the thing was completely magic proof. If one spell made it through, she might be able to manipulate it to remove the enchantments from the inside out.

"Instantaneous recovery. Check. Next is invisibility." Twilight charged her horn for what felt like the hundredth time this night (she knew it was actually attempt number 83).

The familiar magical aura around her horn, followed by the dispersion of light, set the spell in motion. Every other spell she used had just invoked that artsy visual effect and then fizzled, but she had high hopes for invisibility.

The book was shrouded in secrecy and security. Invisibility only made sense for something that wanted to remain hidden.

Unfortunately, it failed. That ball of magic draining into the book had become her hated sign of failure. Twilight groaned.

"Invisibility. Check. Next is invisibility with a state-based trigger." Twilight said quietly to herself. She'd used the book in its open position as the trigger. Whenever it opened, it would go invisible and whenever it closed, it would reappear.

A flash of light and glowing horn later, Twilight found herself staring at the empty space where the book sat. The spell had succeeded. Her grin grew wider and wider. That was it. State-based invisibility was the first step in the puzzle. Now all she had to do was undo her spell and start backdooring the rest of the enchantments on it.

Her attempt at removing her own spell just resulted in that ball of magic pouring liquid. She tried two more times, ignoring each failed attempt. She watched the magic evaporate off the invisible surface for the third time before the reality of her spell set in. She felt around for the invisible book and closed it, causing it to appear in her hooves. Upon opening it, it became invisible again.

She stared at it stupidly, frustrated tears beginning to well up in her eyes as she realized her idiotic mistake. She made the book completely unreadable and she couldn't remove her spell because of its enchantments.

She frantically open and closed it over and over again, hoping that she was just imagining it or that the spell would wear off. After it was clear that she'd have no such luck, she sat on her rump, feeling like the dumbest unicorn in Equestria.

Now the diary was either closed or invisible. It was almost comical how simplistic her mistake was.

As fast as it came into her life, it seemed to rush back out. She had so many hopes for the diary. She imagined learning the untold stories of the past, but all she learned was her own stupidity. To think, a lowly student deciphering so complex a challenge. It wasn't even an easy mistake to #make. She could have done that same spell a thousand different ways, but she chose the one way that made it unreadable.

She'd have to send it to the princess and tell her how she messed up. Twilight cringed as she imagined the disappointed look on her mentor's face. She'd probably let her down easy, laughing, saying 'Oh, it's no big deal. It's almost sort of funny, isn't it?' But Twilight knew what that meant. Magic kindergarten.

That was what hurt the most.

Not a sound escaped her as she came to her realization, only a solemn silence followed by a few silent tears. She hugged the book and cried quietly on her bed. The diary wasn’t warm enough to make her feel any better.


Twilight woke up in a room both familiar and unfamiliar. It was her library, but the wood of her tree home had been replaced with polished, white marble. The books on her shelf looked brand new, as if they have just been printed that day. Her candles were replaced by some contraption, emitting light by an unknown mechanism. As she looked out her window, she saw nothing but blue sky. No ground, no trees, no ponies walking by. Just endless blue sky.

Normally she would have freaked out for various reasons, but something about the atmosphere told her she was in a lucid dream. The imagery had a surreal, idealistic haze about it and she was certain that she could will whatever fantasy she wanted into her dream’s reality.

It was an extremely vivid and imaginative dream, but a dream nonetheless. That odd sense of complete control pushed her to explore it fearlessly before fate decided to end it.

She got out of bed and walked towards her front door. Curious as to how much control she actually had in the dream, she willed herself to hear her favourite song. After a moment of imagining, she heard the familiar tune, but not in perfect rhythm. Each of her clops against the marble played a different note that all harmoniously blended into the impromptu serenade. A great smile came over her face as she tried her best to replicate the rhythm with each step.

She danced merrily until she got the rhythm just right.

Her success brought her a blissful satisfaction. The dream reflected the happiness she could only know from reliving foalhood memories, as sunlight filled her usually dull library with a matching warmth and comfort.

She wasn’t sure if she was dreaming, and part of her hoped she wasn't. Being able to imagine anything she wanted into existence was a lovely ability to have. Unfortunately, stepping outside confirmed her suspicion and conjecture.

She was definitely not awake.

Wonder forced her hooves forward. Far off into the distance above her, she saw an enormous floating castle the size of the mountain from which Canterlot itself grew. It was made entirely of the same white marble of her house and radiated in the sunlight. It had a perfectly round base and around its outer edge sat a small defensive wall. Sprouting up from its thick core was a forest of spires and towers that dwarfed the wall to obscurity. The thing was at least six times taller that it was wide. The towers were so numerous and densely packed together that Twilight couldn't see though the titanic structure. From her vantage point, she could barely see the entire thing in one monoramic view. It hung effortlessly in the air at a skewed angle that defied gravity.

It rested on a perfect half sphere of pure marble and held just the slightest spin. As it turned, each tower momentarily reflected the shining sun and reflections upon reflections brought the spire city rollicking to life.

It was like somepony took the blazing white comet that would end the world and suspended it in time.

Spinning around various levels of the keep were floating rings that each held a bustling city. They were all the same marble, but their varied shapes added an appropriate accent to the grandeur of the spectacle. Their individual city skylines gave each ring a peculiar depth that elongated them, much like the towers of the main keeps. That, in turn, gave the comet a sonic appearance. The cities were mere ripples as the comet broke sonic speed. Given their relative size, each one of those rings could have held all of Manehattan.

Even more spectacular were the six massive rings surrounding the central castle, each one on a different, random axis. These rings matched and surpassed the entire metropolis in size. They didn’t have the same complete whiteness as the keep or its inner rings, instead holding a speckled granite complexion of grey and white. They were wider and held cities in their inner area as they slowly turned like thin wheels.

The monstrous city rings caged and contained the white fireball, leaving no patch of sky too open.

Twilight's house sat on just one of the outer rings, and now that she thought about it, she was the one who was upside down, staring down on the keep from an ever changing angle.

Twilight almost fainted as her mind instinctively tried to compute all the magic at work. The sheer scale of the object was enough to send her into a month's worth of calculations, to find the theoretical expenditure of magic on the levitation alone.  

She so was caught up in the majesty that she almost didn’t notice the pony gracefully sitting at the edge of the balcony. Her upper body and flowing mane eclipsed the lower half of the distant keep.

Her coat was a flawless, pristine white, but unlike the city, it held the visage of the moon's silver rather than the sun's gleam. She looked out of place, a sore spot to the sunny city as she sat there stoically watching the rings turn.

Her mane was a long sparkling auburn, trimmed and kept, with flat bangs that rested just above her eyes. Her tail shared the same hue, but was longer and reminded Twilight of her mentor's. Both blew in an unseen wind, gently rippling. Twilight could feel the wind as she approached the pony. More peculiar was that her dream sense told her the wind carried the emotion that stirred within the pony.

Sadness. With every breath Twilight took she could feel a dull, but growing sadness in her heart.

Twilight recognized the signs of royalty about her. She held the gifts of both a pegasus and a unicorn. The neck pieces and hoof ornaments she wore were of expert craftsmanship, perfectly sculpted to the pony and forged of the highest quality materials. Although Twilight couldn’t see the front of her golden crown, she was sure it held a gem of infinite depth.

At  loss for a better plan, she approached the pony.

"Princess Celestia...?"

"Who?" rang out a voice that, in itself, condemned the unwitting accusation. Instead of the motherly and warm voice of her mentor, her ears endured a harsher, sadder sound.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were my mentor, Princess Celestia…" Twilight shied away.

"Ah yes, Celestia..." She reminisced. "No, my dear."

The pony turned around and as she did, she transformed.  The solemn silver left her, restoring her to a more fitting butterscotch tint. Her voice was warm and inviting now. Her soft, emerald eyes sparkled with a mother’s longing. They beckoned and urged Twilight closer. Twilight felt the emotional wind flowing through her change from sadness to adventure and wonder.

The majesty of the distant castle, set ablaze by the sun, provided a glorious backdrop, shadowing her face lightly.

With a warm smile, she corrected the unicorn.

"I am Princess Rosetta. Tell me, are you hungry?"

Next Chapter: The Princess Estimated time remaining: 2 Hours, 31 Minutes

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