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Lesson Zero, part 7
nervous breakdown, failed her SAN roll
The sun is getting low in the sky over Ponyville. No one, not even Princess Celestia herself, is more aware of this than Twilight Sparkle.

"Clock is ticking, Twilight. ClOcK. iS. tIcKiNg."

She paces back and forth in front of the window. "Keep it together," she mutters to herself over and over and over again. She can do this. She has to do this. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

But how? Rarity doesn't need help, Apple Jack doesn't need help, none of her friends need help...


"If I can't find a friendship problem," she says to herself, "I'll mAkE a friendship problem!"

She rubs her forehooves together in glee as she opens up her old toybox. She knows just the perfect tool for this job...

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"W-why would you enchant your doll?"

"Well, I had to do something!" Twilight wails. "I had nothing to report to Princess Celestia. I thought if I couldn't find a problem, I'd make a problem. The day is almost over!"

"Not almost..." Applejack corrects her, turning to watch the sun slip fully below the horizon.


A beam of white light shines down on the six ponies from directly above. Hovering above them, gleaming bright as the noonday sun, is Princess Celestia in all her glory. She does not look happy in the slightest.

Apple Jack gulps. "Whoa nelly."

Celestia's horn gleams gold, and a ripple of light passes over the fighting citizens of Ponyville. Immediately, they stop in their tracks, blinking in bewilderment. As one, they all stare at the bedragged Smarty Pants doll... then, as one, they all turn and go their separate ways. Clearly, this is one of those things that Will Never Be Spoken Of Again.

(Well, everyone leaves except Big Macintosh, who grabs Smarty Pants in his teeth and takes off running.)

The Princess settles on the ground next to Twilight Sparkle. The unicorn pony cowers, looking even more miserable than before.

"Meet me in the library," is all Celestia says before flapping her massive wings and taking to the air once more.

Slowly, with the grim reluctance of a prisoner being led to execution, Twilight gets to her feet.

"Goodbye, girls. If you care to visit, I'll be in magic kindergarten, back in Canterlot."

And with that, she begins the long, slow trudge back to the town library.

Wait, what?

"Magic kindergarten?" asks Fluttershy.

"Canterlot?" echoes Rainbow Dash, shocked.

Nopony speaks for a moment, until Pinkie Pie wails, "We're never gonna see Twilight again!"

"What're we gonna do, y'all?" asks Applejack, gently patting Pinkie on the back.

Rarity has... well, not an answer, but something to say. "Of all the worst things that could happen, this is the worst possible thing!" On seeing everypony else's expressions, she adds, "What? I really mean it this time!"

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