Nothing is true...
(contrast picture of grey)
(dust particles in the air)
(smell of burnt ash)
Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria...
WARNING!!! CONTAINMENT BREACH DETECTED IN SECTOR 4 DISTRICT B24D7! INITIATING CONTAINMENT PROTOCOLS.........WARNING!!! CONTAINMENT UNSUCCESSFUL! REROUTING POWER TO *ZZZZBBZZZZTTTT* FATAL ERROR 161 *ZZZZBBTTT* CONTAI9457586JJ3HNNGKWA///RNI995H%^&@GKKDKF;JGDKLF
Twilight Sparkle brushed through her books inside the library of her newly established Crystal Castle. She would just ponder over her seemingly endless piles of research-worthy reading material just to feel sane. Her friends, on the other hoof, sat idly by in the dining room, minding their own business while being seated at their respective chairs marked with their own cutie mark. For Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash, they only care to see that their friend is alive, healthy and not less...different. Sometimes they would ponder at good times like how they first met and their spontaneous victories against dastardly foes like Tirek and Discord. Trials such alike would only strengthen their bond and even sharpen their skills as a team when desperate times emerge.
Spike emerged with a fresh plate hay fries and set it on the table in front of him. "Bout time! I'm starving!" Exclaimed Applejack as her hunger pang got a hold of her. "Well, you're in for a treat, cause I added my little extra spice that I picked from Zecora's!"
"YUMMY!" Pinkie Pie placed a heap of hay fries on her plate. Knowing her, she'd probably drench it with whipped cream or sprinkle it heavily with chocolate chips. Either way it didn't stop Rarity from cringing a little bit. "Seriously Pinkie, sometimes you need to lay off with the sugar content of your...diet." she commented with hidden disgust. "WHAAAT?! I'm hungry!" Pinkie gobbled down a huge bite in her mouth after she said that. "Say, has anypony seen Twilight? She hasn't been here since this morning." Fluttershy said concerned where their friend is late this hour.
"Probably still stuck and lost in the vast, imaginary world of dictionaries"!
"Rainbow Dash, darling! Please give Twilight a break." Rarity replied
"Just sayin'. Besides, she's really missin' a lot with these hay fries".
"Yep. She really does". Spike said with a worried tone in his voice. He then decided to bring up Twilight's share to the library.
Face-on-book and drool-sleepy, Twilight just finished volumes VI to VII of Equestrian History: Revised edition after reading The Pony in the High Castle. Knowledge has always been her pursuit in life, like the many advisers of Princess Celestia especially the great and wise Star Swirl the Bearded. She doesn't seem to care much about self-control when it comes to grabbing a good book or something that is read-worthy and start relishing on the world of literature. The Cutie Mark Crusaders definitely would consider another "Twilight Time" (if that ever happens again, well lets just say that Twilight has already a lesson plan waiting for them) and learn more about their special talents if Twilight herself would allow it. Still, having to absorb THAT much historical references while interpreting the different ideologies of a fictional brave new world can really take a toll to this egg-head. *KNOCK* *KNOCK* "Twilight? You here?" Spike emerged, holding a plate of hay fries for twilight. "HUH?! In the 12th century, The Siege of Mas-hay-yaf began when the noble Templar Knights fought valiantly-" Twilight gasped with the sudden spark of her newly obtained knowledge from her history book. "-against the...*Yawn* invading...forces of...Damarescus...and..." Twilight quickly went back to her face-on-book sleeping position, snoring loudly. Sigh sometimes I worry about her Spike lay down her plate next to her and shook her shoulder hard enough to wake her up. "Twilight! You've been stuck with those dusty old books all day! Can you at least get a breather?" Spike already feeling concern though he knew Twilight would never bore herself from books. "Oh, sorry Spike. I guess I may have read a liiiitle too much...hehe" Twilight then began to recall her previous reading sessions, in which case the plethora of books stacked up next to her plate of hay fries. "OMIGOSH! I read all this?!" Twilight rubbed her eyes "What time is it?"
"It's half past 5." Spike said bluntly do you even remember what you read?
"Oh no...Are they still downstairs?"
"Yeah, waiting for you"
"Sigh. I guess I got carried away. It’s just so fascinating that's all".
"I'm sure you've heard of the term 'History repeats itself', how one's actions can actually affect the entire system even if he or she does not see it. Well, that's just it! I've been reading this one here." Twilight flipped open the exact page number where she left and planted it on Spike's face.
"The Secret Crusade?" Spike blurted.
"Yes! And it also says here the Knights Templar even have tie-ins with the knight's oath as the royal guards in Canterlot! To think that my brother can be a part of these valiant soldiers!" There were times when even Twilight would feel herself lucky with what she already has. The countless blessings and now responsibilities she has as a protege for Princess Celestia and as a princess can be quite overwhelming for a young alicorn.
Spike mostly speed-read the section where Twilight stopped. "'But the Secret Crusade became the stuff of controversy when the people of Mas-hay-yaf started revolting against the kingdom as different religions began to clash, so ending it with a great upheaval.' I don't know Twilight, maybe this whole history thing you're reading can be a bunch of hoo-ee. They sound like they're sending a wrong message."
"Well at least it's something to read about right?" Twilight said
"Yeah sure. Anyway, you REALLY need to take a break. I left you some hay fries..."
"No Spike. I'd better go down to my friends... sigh yeah, I really need to stop reading once in a while." Twilight rubbed her forehead, feeling a spike. She HAS been reading a lot and it HAS been a long afternoon. With every book she finishes, a series of flashes would usually blind her vision for a while, like staring at a blinking strobe light. I guess that happens when am egghead has a keen eye for words so deep that even a dictionary can have a headache explaining it.
"Blah blah blah". That was all Twilight could hear before she opened the dining hall doors.
"Well, look who decided to show up" Applejack teased. "Ehehe...sorry I took so long. Been uuh...a bit busy" Twilight said.
"Ah'm just kiddin' Twi! We were just talkin' about you!"
"Like why hasn't Twilight taken a bath yet?" Rainbow Dash joked, muffling her laughter at the sight of a frazzled Twilight.
"Well, Princess Celestia never runs out of books to giveaway" Twilight retorted.
"What do you mean?" asked Fluttershy.
"The Canterlot library is being renovated. While the workers were demolishing some of the old book shelves, they found an old stock of book copies that were apparently ordered by several customers" Twilight started explaining. "They didn't know what to do with them, so Celestia decided to ship them to me".
"Exactly how many books are you receiving?" Rarity asked.
"Depends. Sometimes one, other times a box or two."
"I just hope you get to find time to spend with us darling." Rarity said, a little worried that Twilight might go book-crazy with all the new books she's receiving.
"YEAH! What if like, there's a party and we're all there and you're not! You'll miss out all the fun!"
"Don't worry Pinkie! I promise I won't spend too much time with those books-"
"Oh a letter. 'Dear Twilight,'" Spike read. "'I have already sent to you another package of books for you to-'"
"OOOH!" Twilight snatched the letter with her glowing horn.
You see what I have to deal with, Spike whispered to the mane 5.
Twilight began mumbling as she read the letter. At the corner of her eye, she noticed surprised and worried looks all mashed up, followed by awkward silence. Twilight chuckled nervously.
"Umm Twilight," Fluttershy slowly took the letter from her, and gently pushed her going to the table.
"Ehehe...sorry" Twilight knew for a fact that too much reading can lead to less time with friends. But the very essence of a new book can be irresistible to her. She is not particularly proud of this since it reminds her of her past self when she was very skeptical about the magic of friendship. Well, at least she had ponies she cared about and they cared for her, which is more than enough for her to say the least.
A few hours have past...
"Oh dear! It's getting late. I'd better go home and check on Angel." Fluttershy said.
"Yeah...*YAWN* I'm gonna hit the hay myself." Rainbow dash said as well."
"Aww come on. This next bit I've read talks about how a secret society has expanded its order throughout Equestria over the past 100 years! They say they're considered "ghosts", others believe that they can be right under our noses"! Twilight, still blabbering and intrigued about her readings. started losing confidence (no one was listening or too tired to listen).
"No offense Twilight, but even I think the topic's getting a little old", Pinkie said.
"Don't worry sugarcube, we'll be back tomorrow. Just try not to do some late night reading."
"...Okay." Twilight said; she's already getting tired herself.
"I'm sure she'll be fine dear." Rarity said between her and Applejack. "She just wanted to uhh...share her thoughts to us that's all".
"To be honest, I think this whole historical references thing can be a lil' exaggerated." Unknown to Applejack, Twilight overheard what she said.
Sigh. Maybe Spike is right, history can sometimes send a message. I guess I really am reading too much.
Twilight went up to her room. Spike already sleeping soundly while Owlowlicious still gazing out the window into the midnight sky. "Hey Owlowlicious. Sorry but I'm too tired now". Looking at her newly-arrived package of books. "Get some rest". "Who" The young owl hooted back.
Twilight washed her face, went to bed, and covered herself with blankets. It didn't take long for her to doze to sleep.
"TWILIGHT! Breakfast is ready"! Spike bellowed, anxious that their food will get cold.
Twilight felt like a rock in a hard place. It felt very stiff for her. A sleeping dragon is what it like, snoring loudly and coughing out black smoke (in which case morning breathe). With one last snort, the dragon stretched, rolled over, and..."WAAAAH!"
"OWW!" Twilight landed head first. Rubbing her head in frustration, she drowsily walked to the bathroom to freshen up.
"MMM! These are good Spike"! Twilight munched on her dandelion sandwich. "Thanks Twi! Dandelions are blossoming at this time, so they're in season right now. Which reminds me, we're all out of oats", Spike mentioned.
"Oh. Already? Well I guess we really need to restock the pantry after Pinkie used up all the flour for pancakes". Twilight took out her bit purse from her room and placed it in a small pouch.
"Thanks Twilight. I'll be back soon"! Spike took the pouch and left the castle on his way to the ponyville market.
Sigh finally. Some peace and quiet. Twilight relieved though very eager to read the latest Equestrian History: Revised edition volume VIII from her new pile of books.
"The Age of Enlightenment became the pinnacle time for science, arts, culture, and technology. Ponies during this time began to think and re-think different ideas and concepts which blossomed to new perspectives about how this world works". Twilight, sounding like she's speed-reading the whole book, actually took down mind notes about every detail. "Wow! If I were alive during that time, I would spend a life time doing research." Twilight began picturing it on her mind while she read the book.
"Huh? That's weird. Page 203 now page 303?" Twilight began inspecting the book, quickly and then thoroughly. Book spine had no dents. Pages showed no tears and folds. Book is well-bounded and neat. The book, even though old stock, appears to be untouched. "This must be a defect, most likely a printing problem in the process-"
*KNOCK* *KNOCK* *KNOCK*
The sound echoed throughout the long, empty hallways of the castle. "Oh! Who could that be? Probably Spike".
Twilight trotted her way to the door and opened it, but no groceries nor a baby dragon in sight. "Umm...Can I help you"?
A pegasus pony stood before her. He had an azure coat with a bark-brown mane and tail that looked neatly combed. Black glasses wore in his face, most likely for reading, and has a cutiemark of a microchip on top of a silver wrench.
"Princess Twilight Sparkle" the blue pegasus greeted in a well-formed accent. He bowed while clutching a several brown envelopes.
"Oh please. Twilight will do". Twilight slightly blushed. She may have to get used to all the formal greetings.
The pegasus pony cleared his throat. "Very well then. Miss Twilight, my name is Nimbus. And I am here as a representative for Alicorn enterprises".
End of Chapter 1