Twilight's Star by AlicornPriest
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When I was a filly, I hated magic. Hated it with every fiber of my being. I hated that my father was the Grand Magus of the Canterlot courts. I hated that my mother was one of the greatest thaumotologists in Equestria, hard at work discovering new spells and the inner mechanisms of magic. I hated that my brother, the Captain of the Royal Guard, had received such a swift promotion in part because he was a master of shield magic. But most of all, I hated that I was such a failure in comparison. My magic was nothing short of pitiful; where most of my classmates had started learning telekinesis and prestidigitation, I still struggled to so much as recognize that I had magic at all. It was pathetic. I was a unicorn of the line of Vespers, the most powerful magic users of all, and I was a disgrace. My parents said nothing to me, but I knew as a certainty that they were disappointed in me.

On one quiet summer evening, I finally decided it was hopeless. Whatever power connected ponies to magic, it had seen fit to pass over me. I would never be able to do magic. As I walked home, head as low as my spirits, I caught a glimpse of a strange pony among the crowd. She was tall and radiant, to the point where I wondered how the other ponies had overlooked her and not bowed down before her. But strangest of all, save for the fact that she was an alicorn princess, she looked just like me!

I had to know who she was. I tugged at the edge of her dress and asked, "Hello! I didn't know there was a princess that looked like me."

She gave me a smile that looked somewhat sad. "Hello, Twilight Sparkle. My name is Vespers. I'm your ancient ancestor."

"You are?!" I had heard so many stories about her, but I didn't know she was a princess. "But what are you doing here?" I asked.

She replied, "I'm here to help you, Twilight. I've heard you've been having trouble with your magic."

"I wish you didn't know that," I told her. "I know you must think I'm a failure, to carry your bloodline and not be able to perform great works of magic like you could."

"I don't think that at all!" Vespers replied. "You are a wonderful little mare, Twilight, and you can be whatever you want to be."

I shook my head. "Not if I never get my magic. There's no way I can, not after so long without any progress."

"Twilight, these things take time," she told me. "You'll get your magic when it's the proper moment."

"How can that be?!" I said. "I can't even use my magic; watch!" I squinted and squeezed and waved my hooves, but nothing happened.

"Maybe your magic is coming at its own speed. Have you been reading your books, doing your meditations?"

"Of course I have! But none of it works. I'll never get my magic, not in a million years!"

"Sounds like your problem isn't the magic, then, is it." She shook her head, then touched my forehead with her hoof. "Your problem's up here."

"What do you mean?" I asked her.

She said, "You've been doing everything you're expected to; all well and good. But you've given up hope. Maybe that's what's keeping your magic from manifesting like it's supposed to."

I was confused. "So what am I supposed to do, then? How can I get hope back? If I believe my magic isn't coming, what can change my mind?"

Vespers paused for a moment. Not as if she were unsure, but as if she were waiting for the precise second to respond. "Follow me," she said, finally.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"Somewhere special," she replied. She lifted up her left hoof, then tapped it against the ground. She did this again with her right hoof, then she clapped her hooves together and said, "Open sesame!"

A little black door appeared in front of her. I marveled at what she'd created. "How did you do that?" I asked. "You didn't cast a spell."

"It's... special magic," Vespers replied. "Maybe you'll learn it when you're older." She opened the door, then gestured for me to go through it.

Behind the door was a vast room filled with what looked like a model of the solar system. There were hundreds of thousands of grooves in the floor beneath us, and small white spheres on metal poles traced their way along their own path. It reminded me of the little figures that trotted around the big clock in the center of Canterlot, each with their own little part to play. Vespers guided me to the center of the arrangement, where a single figure stood. He was an earth pony stallion, tall and white, with a formal-looking half-smile upon his face. Vespers greeted him warmly, saying, "Good evening, Regulus."

"Good evening," he said. "You'd like access to her Orbit, I suppose?"

"Indeed," Vespers replied.

"My orbit?" I asked.

"Ah, yes, I'd forgotten. Twilight, this is Lux Stella, the Regent Governor of the Sidereal Orbits. Everybody calls him Regulus, though. He's in charge of the movement of all of the stars in the night sky."

"We watch over them and keep them in their proper paths," Regulus said. "Each and every pony's destiny is tied to one of these stars up here, so they must be perfectly organized."

"My destiny?! Does that mean I have a star up here?"

"That's right!" said Vespers, beaming. "We're going to go see it right now. Regulus?"

"Right away, miss," he replied. He performed the same little ritual Vespers had done to make the door, and the section of floor the three of us were standing on began to rocket away. I clung to Vespers' hoof, and she stood tall despite how fast we were going. Thankfully, it soon stopped, and she and I stepped off, leaving Regulus by himself. He waved goodbye to both of us, and the panel wooshed off once more, leaving us alone among a ring of stars.

"Please, feel free to explore," said Vespers. "You'll know your star when you see it."

So I did. I wandered about, looking at each star in turn. They were so small and simple. I tried to look at each one and divine whose it must be, but nothing seemed to stick. I imagined that this one was Shining Armor's, and this one was Dad's...

As soon as I saw it, I knew it was mine. It looked exactly like all of the other ones, but it resonated deep inside me, down to my core. It was my magic I was feeling, the magic I had sworn I didn't have, pointing me towards my star, my destiny. I knelt down and read the inscription out loud. "HD 120084."

"That's the one." Like a ghost, Vespers had snuck up behind me while I was looking at it. "It's around Ursa Minor, just barely bright enough to see with the naked eye."

"And it's all mine?" I asked.

"Mm-hmm. I want you to touch it, feel it for yourself." I remembered Regulus' warning, so I hesitated. "Don't worry," she said, apparently noticing my fear, "it won't break or anything like that."

When I placed my hoof on the little white sphere on top, it pulsed with a faint purple glow. Shocked, I stumbled back. Vespers laughed. "It's supposed to do that."

"So... what now?" I asked. It was incredible to see my star, no doubt, but I had no idea why Vespers had brought me here just for that.

She knelt down next to me and gestured out along the line my star followed. "I want you to look out and follow this path to the end."

I looked as far as I could, but the line just seemed to continue out past the horizon. "I can't see it," I told her.

"So you don't know where it's going?" she asked.

"No, I don't."

"I'll tell you." She leaned in close, then whispered into my ear, "Anywhere you want it to."

"What?" I asked her.

"Anywhere you want. If you want to be a great magician" -- she took a few steps on the line, then walked to the left a bit -- "it'll go this way. If you want to be an artist" -- she walked the line again, then turned to the right -- "it'll go that way instead. No matter what you want to do, you can do it. And if you have a really big dream, as big as this entire room..." She smiled and extended her wings. "Why, maybe you'll be a princess like me someday."

I could feel tears coming to my eyes. "Thank you, Vespers. I was so afraid..."

"I know, Twilight." She reached a wing around me and held me close. "But you don't have to be afraid of the future. This star... this star can mean something great for you. But to do so, you have to stand up against all of the odds. And if you do, this star will show for you. So whenever you look up at the night sky and you see your star, you'll know that there are wonderful things in store for you."

***

"And that's what happened," Twilight said. "Vespers took me back home, and I spent the night with my family telling them all about what had happened. Do you know when that night was?"

"No, tell me," Rarity replied.

"It was the night of the Summer Sun Celebration. You know, the one where I saw Princess Celestia raise the sun for the first time? And as I was watching her do that, I thought to myself, 'I want to be a great mage like Princess Celestia.' And because I recalled what Vespers had told me, I knew I could do it."

"You know, dear," Rarity said, "I don't think that alicorn you met in Canterlot that evening was your ancestor, Vespers. I think it was you. Or... will be you."

Twilight stopped in her tracks. "You know, that sounds so obvious now that you mention it, but I hadn't put two and two together yet."

Rarity laughed. "I bet you had never thought you'd become a princess before."

"No, I really hadn't," Twilight said. "I thought being Princess Celestia's student would be the height of my career. I never imagined I would get to meet you all and learn just how magical friendship could be."

"Well then, I for my part am glad we could be here for you. Now you just have to figure out when and how you're going to go back and do all of that."

"I'm not worried," Twilight replied. "Starswirl's Causality Exception says that all time travel causes itself. It's a fundamental force of the universe. I will go back sooner or later, and it'll all play out just like I remember it. And it'll happen when I least expect it."

"Which, I imagine, will help keep you from flubbing your lines."

"Right, exactly."

"Twilight! Come quick! It's going to start soon!" called Spike from the second floor.

"Sounds like the main event," said Rarity.

"Mm-hmm. It's the Ursids. Princess Luna's running a meteor shower right by my star. It'll be so cool! Come on, I've got a spot for you right next to mine."

Rarity smiled and followed along. That girl and her stars; she could never get enough of them. She followed Twilight up to the balcony, unaware of how everything was about to vanish in an instant.


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