|Not Rainbow Dash|
What's that over by the wall of coolers prominently displaying a large selection of bottled sodas? Someone with rainbow colored hair? It's Rayne, looking over the boggling array of drinks, pondering just what half of them are. "Man. It has been ages since I've been in one of these stores."
Twilight Sparkle looks through the vast selection, though some of the labels have the lavender-furred princess raising an eyebrow. "What is with the name choices of some of this stuff...? It doesn't exactly sound appealing..." Of course, as she makes her way around the shop, a brief glimpse of that rainbow-hued hair has the pegacorn mare pausing. "Is that...? Rainbow Dash, is that you...?"
Rayne at first doesn't respond, humming an unidentifiable tune before she notices a... winged unicorn pony looking at her. If she hadn't already met Serenity, this probably would freak her out a little. "Huh? What? Were you talking to me?" There doesn't seem to be any recognition of Twilight Sparkle in her expression.
Twilight Sparkle bows apologetically once the source of that hair she glimpsed steps into view, offering a sheepish smile. "Oh, I'm sorry... Your hair just reminded me of one of my best friends from back home, and I thought..."
Rayne says, "Oh, uh, sorry, no, I don't think I've met any... pegasususes? ...back where I'm from, so yeah, a bit unlikely. Sorry to bring a false hope. My name's Rayne Hurris." She extends a hand in habit before realizing the one she's talking to doesn't quite have one of those."
"Pegasi, you mean. In any case... It's a pleasure to meet you, Rayne." Despite lacking hands or fingers, Twilight's making do by lifting one of her forelegs to return the handshake. "I'm Princess Twilight Sparkle, of Equestria."
Rayne's right eye twitches slightly. "Princess? Um, I'm terribly sorry, I should've realized from the crown, your majesty." She looks almost annoyed at this revelation.
Twilight Sparkle shakes her head, smiling in reassurance. "Here, I'm just a regular citizen. But even if we were in Equestria, I'd feel bad about having others bow to me simply because of my title. So, please, don't think you need to be so formal around me."
Rayne breathes out a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank goodness. I've met some nobility that is a bit less... congenial in the past. And they weren't even in line for any real power." She laughs and shakes her head. "I guess you're kinda like a god I also met, then. I'm really glad everyone around here just acts as normal around this place, rather than expecting instant respect. It's a pleasure to meet you in that case, Twilight.
Twilight says, "Likewise. And it's funny, to know that I was just a unicorn about a year ago, before my true destiny revealed itself and led to be becoming genuine royalty. If anything... I kind of miss the life I had as just plain old Twilight Sparkle."
Rayne says, "Yeah, I can get that. Well, not the unicorn thing, but the missing normal life thing. I don't think I could stand the royal life myself, either. Though I have to ask... If you don't want, well, my response, why do you tell everyone you're a princess? Why not just leave the crown at home and be just Twilight Sparkle again?"
Twilight glances back at the wings extending from her back. "While you do have a point... These wings I've got still kind of indicate I'm royalty, as only four ponies in all of Equestria have both wings and a horn. So even without the crown and fancy regalia... Unless I can either come up with a spell to make them invisible, or physically rip the wings from my body without dying, I'm effectively stuck."
Rayne says, "But we're not in Equestria anymore. The wings aren't a tell to anyone but people from Equestria, I'm assuming. Just like my family name meant nothing to you, but if you were from my world, you'd probably ask if I was related to House Hurris." Then she frowns. "Or are there people from your world here? Sorry, I've not even been here for a whole week yet."
Twilight says, "To my knowledge, nopony else from Equestria is here. So maybe you're right. I really must be overanalyzing things too much, again... I don't need to go through a repeat of the Want It, Need It spell again."
Rayne scratches at her cheek slightly. "That sounds like a... very complicated spell.
Twilight Sparkle shakes her head, expression turning annoyed and embarrassed. "It's more of a shameful experience, that I don't want to go through a second time... Basically, back before I became a Princess, I enchanted this old doll of mine with a Want It Need It spell, and promptly drove all of Ponyville mad over it. Princess Celestia wasn't happy, at first."
Rayne says, "'At first'? She changed her mind? Oh, the spell affected her as well? At that point I'd probably destroy the thing if it was causing that much trouble." She smirks as she goes through a quick motion with her hands, producing a small flame in the palm of her hand. She then frowns at it, apparently not happy with the matchstick sized flame she just made."
Twilight says, "It didn't. She had been in Canterlot, up until a letter told her of what I had done. She flew down, and completely wiped the spell from the entire town, while admonishing me for using that kind of spell."
Rayne is now clearly confused. "Wait, so then what did make her happy about it?" She lets the small flame disappear from her hand in the meantime.
Twilight says, "Well, it ended up being that she was only happy once my friends and I agreed to share the responsibility of sending friendship reports to her from that point onward."
Twilight says, "Before, I understood it as my responsibility alone to send her reports on what I learned once a week. And that day... I had nothing to report, so I went and created a problem in the hopes I'd make that deadline. But... Well, it quickly got out of my control, and prompted her to step in, then change her instructions to me."
Rayne says, "Oh... wait, you WANTED it to go wrong? Yeesh. Though... Yeah, I can't say I wouldn't have done something similar in my younger days."
Twilight says, "I did, in a way, so that I could have a problem to solve and report on. I'll never live what I said that day down... 'If I can't find a friendship problem, I'll MAKE a friendship problem!'"
Rayne sighs. "...Anything to make a report easier... Yeah. Totally me in my teens. Though I've never done anything that extreme, just some minor family embarrassment once.
Twilight says, "Of course, it kind of came full-circle, during my brother's wedding to my sister-in-law, Princess Cadance. Then, I suspected that something was off about her and tried to point it out, though nothing I said held up until I found the real Cadance under Canterlot. Princess Celestia's words to me stung a lot... 'You have a lot to think about.'"
Rayne whistles. "Sounds like you've had an exciting life. I take it things got cleared up in the end on that, considering you called Cadance your sister-in-law?
Twilight Sparkle nods. "Eventually, the fake Cadance - later revealed to be Queen Chrysalis - was forcibly driven out by the two of them, and the wedding was restarted successfully."
Rayne looks a bit confused. "So.... the Queen tried to get married to your brother by imitating one of her daughters? Oh. Another realm's queen, duh. I could understand their desire to run her off. Sounds like an international incident of monstrous proportions. Was that the end of it? Or did things escalate from there?"
Twilight says, "That was the end of it. Cadance, after I discovered her in the Canterlot caverns, returned with me to the wedding ceremony, and exposed Chrysalis at that point. And, even though she beat Celestia, both my brother and Cadance overpowered her and drove the entire invasion out of Canterlot. And at that point, we all reconciled."
Rayne's eyes widen. "It was a pretense for an invasion? Yeesh. I'm surprised they didn't stage a counter-invasion after that."
Twilight nods slowly. "After that, nothing seemed quite as bad, until the day Tirek got loose and started draining every ounce of magic from all of Equestria."
Rayne says, "From your tales... I'm guessing that was quite a lot of magic, indeed. I'm beginning to think magic was a central thing to your kingdom?"
Twilight says, "It is. Earth ponies, like my friends Applejack and Pinkie Pie, use it to work the land or for physical labor. Pegasi like Fluttershy or Rainbow Dash use it for working with weather or moving the clouds. And unicorns like Rarity use it for all manner of things."
Twilight says, "And even the Princesses, myself included, make use of it for movement of celestial bodies, general magic, or emotional healing."
Rayne says, "Yeah, that's a lot more prevalent... So if there was no magic... Even the planets would stop moving in your universe? Wouldn't that cause them to fall into the sun, or would it stop even that somehow?"
Twilight says, "That's where it gets kind of odd, because even while Tirek was absorbing all the ambient magic from each race, I was with Celestia, Luna, and Cadance, who transferred every bit of magic they had into me with the hope that he wouldn't find out I existed as the fourth Princess. Love, power over the Sun, Moon, stars, and the realm of dreams... For a while, I had all of it in me. But, for the sake of releasing my friends and Discord, I gave all that power to him, and then the six of us beat him with power he hadn't absorbed."
Rayne says, "wow.... So what do you do now that you're here on Twisted?"
Twilight says, "Well, I'm involved with two separate organizations, and hoping that I can run my own library here."
Rayne says, "I take it you're the kind that likes to be kept busy, then. You're going to absolutely burn out one of these days..."
Twilight says, "Guilty as charged. Before Tirek destroyed my library and home in Ponyville, I served as the librarian, even after I became one of the Princesses."
Rayne says, "Yeah, but weren't you fourth in line? Wait, no, I'm beginning to think we might have different ideas of what a princess is." She frowns slightly.
Twilight says, "Well, back in Equestria, there are three Princesses already. Celestia, who controls the sun. Luna, who has power over the moon, stars, and the realm of dreams. Cadance, who holds dominion over love and positive emotions. And me, who has power over magic in general and friendship."
Twilight says, "As the fourth. It isn't a matter of succession. All four of us rule at the same time."
Rayne blinks. "You rule as princesses? There's no King or Queen? Or Emperor or Empress?
Twilight says, "There is the potential for both Celestia and Luna to rule as Queens, but they, I think, feel that would give them too much control over Equestria as a whole."
Twilight says, "And it also helps, in that regard, to keep the four of us, as equals, by showing that not one of us is of more importance than the others."
Rayne says, "Ohhhh, I see. Noone is called Queen because there are four equals. Now it's making sense. Though I think most other realms would call you Duchesses or Baronesses Chairwomen or something." She pauses a moment. "Do you have chairs?"
Twilight says, "We do. For Celestia and Luna, their seat of power is in Canterlot. For Cadance and my brother, Shining Armor, the Crystal Empire is theirs. And mine is in the Rainbow Power Castle in Ponyville. But with me, there are about seven seats, six of which are meant for my friends."
Rayne says, "wow... so... chairs are a symbol of authority? I just use them to sit down while eating dinner. Since I'm... Bipedal."
Twilight Sparkle nods, horn lighting up as a shroud about her specific Element of Harmony falls away to reveal a ornate tiara with a six-pointed amethyst star. "Most governments have seats for ruling, as I've seen, including our oligarchy."
Rayne says, "I'm finding it interesting that I've run into now two people of non-humanoid species since I've been here... I can only think of two non-humanoid races from my own home universe, and one I could never talk to in person. This Twisted place is really fascinating."
Twilight says, "Equestria is about the same, because even among ponykind, there's no limit to the diversity of talents or fur colors. And we're also neighbors, so to speak, with many different species."
Twilight says, "As for humans... I've had experience with them, in a mirror world of Equestria, where I looked much the same as you are right now."
Rayne says, "There's no limit to diversity in talents anywhere, if you ask me... though hair color among most species I've run into is usually pretty limited outside of artificial coloring... Uh, my hair color is really, really unusual, for the record. Wait, you've been human? I bet that felt weird at first. If I were turned into a, er, pony, I think I'd probably freak out for a solid hour."
Twilight Sparkle nods, somewhat amused. "It took some time to get used to, because my instincts as a pony were still pretty strong, to the point I was walking and eating like one. But I adapted, and can walk as either a mare or a human girl now relatively easily."
Rayne says, "Are you able to transform yourself? Or is it just something about that specific world that does it to you?"
Twilight says, "It's only when I pass through that mirror in the Crystal Empire that my body changes forms."
Rayne says, "Well, that's a bummer. I bet that would be more convenient here, if you were in that form. I mean, I'd feel like I'd not be able to find a place if I got stuck as the only human in a world full of ponies."
Twilight Sparkle glances off to one side. "Well... Yes and no. In one aspect, it'd make things somewhat easier, as I'd be able to grab things. But at the same time, it'd mean I'd lose access to my magic and ability to fly under my own power, potentially making those same things harder."
Rayne says, "Being human makes you lose your magic? that's... harsh. I mean, yeah, I'm not very good at it, but for someone like you, I'd bet that's like loosing a limb. Uh, another limb. As you said, because you.... wings, yeah."
Twilight says, "I've learned to adapt, though, with not having wings or my horn while I'm in that world, at Canterlot High."
Rayne says, "High school? Huh. I pegged you as being a little older than that. You poor thing."
Twilight Sparkle shrugs with her wings. "In Equestria, and here, apparently, I'm about 24. There, I guess my age gets set back to about 18 or so."
Twilight says, "As I understand it, time flows differently across dimensions, with the rate of aging adjusted accordingly."
Rayne says, "That's... a strange mirror you have, though. I'd not think you'd have an... alternate body, like that. I don't think this body is any different from... my home body? I don't think so, at least..." She now looks over herself. "Damnit, now I feel like I have to test some things, and this isn't the place to do it..."
Twilight Sparkle extends her wings, turning to fly back to her apartment. "Though I originally came to buy food here, I suppose it can wait for a bit, and hopefully some of the stuff in my apartment can help - it's not even a fourth of what I have to my name in Equestria, but it should suffice."
Rayne says, "No no! don't mind me, get your food, it's a convenience store, I'm fine. I only need to reconfirm I'm still what I was in my home world before, uh, an appointment with someone else from my world." Her left hand unconsciously taps the sword on her left hip. "It'd be a fast thing, I'd just, um, if I did it right now, I'd probably destroy my clothing. Or get stuck in them. I've never tested wearing clothing before, it just seems a recipe for disaster... long story, I suppose."
Twilight Sparkle nods in understanding, folding her wings closed as she returns to picking up restocked supplies with her magenta aura kicking in again. "That makes sense."
Rayne says, "Woah! I guess you don't need hands. I admit I'd not mind seeing your apartment. I imagine it'd be more recognizable to me then Serenity's was, but I'd still be interested in see how it's different from what I'd see as a typical one. Uh, if I'm not intruding, that is."
Twilight says, "Oh, you're more than welcome to visit me at my apartment, or enter if you ever have trouble. I'll be sure to leave a note on the door, though, if I'm out doing DMC duties."
Rayne blinks. "You work there, too? man, it seems everyone I know works there... I was thinking of trying to get hired on myself."
Twilight Sparkle laughs softly, paying for her load of groceries while skillfully balancing it all in midair with her magic. "Goes to show it's a small world we live in, doesn't it?"
Rayne says, "Well, it isn't that big of a city." she frowns. "I'm not willing to test going out in that.... storm."
Twilight Sparkle closes her eyes in concentration, moving closer to Rayne as the glow around her horn and groceries grows more intense in hue. "Well, there's something else my magic's proved useful for in the past. And that's teleportation - I can have both of us back at the complex without ever getting wet."
Rayne goes back to the sodas to grab one at random. "Getting wet?" She looks out the window. "Did it start raining while I was in there? OH! No, I meant that mess out in, what's it called, the wastelands?" She heads up to the register to pay for her measly drink.
Twilight Sparkle keeps her eyes closed, maintaining the teleportation spell steadily as she waits. "Oh. I thought you meant the weather here. But my point still stands, in that I can have both of us back at the apartment complex in only a few seconds via teleportation."
Rayne says, "That would be nice, thank you!" She rushes to get into close proximity to Twilight.
Twilight Sparkle materializes, groceries and all, in the semi-cluttered living room of her apartment, shaking the soot from her body as she sets the food and drinks down on the kitchenette counter. "Well, residue notwithstanding, we're here - my home away from home."
Rayne coughs a bit while getting the residue off herself. "Okay, a warning might have been good... Oh, wow, that's a lot of purple.
Twilight Sparkle nods slowly, holding in a sigh. "Spike, my draconic assistant, once told me the same thing about being teleported... Sorry about that. And it's kind of predictable, I've got to admit, owing to the color of my fur..."
Rayne says, "Still... you have to admit it's a LOT of purple. My apartment is downright drab." She walks over to the stained glass window to get a better look at it. "Did you add a smell? I wasn't quite brave enough to alter the... how was it described... 'chemical composition' of the air."
Twilight says, "Just lavender, both through candles and a couple of flowers."
Rayne says, "Oh! you did it more naturally. Okay, that's a lot less frightening." She then blinks, recalling something. "Wait, did you say your assistant was a dragon?"
Twilight says, "A baby dragon, but yes. Truthfully, I had hatched him as part of an entrance exam, so he's more like a son than an assistant."
Rayne says, "uhhh... Okay, I guess that's a bit different from in my world, I suppose." She opens the drink she grabbed at random and takes a sip. Then proceeds to make a rather odd face.
Twilight Sparkle notices this, raising an eyebrow. "Unorthodox taste, I'm guessing?"
Rayne says, "Note to self: Do not try to drink Moxy again. This is like... pure bitterness."
Twilight Sparkle nods, using her magic to unpack her groceries and put them away. "No wonder a lot of those drink names made me think there was something weird about them..."
Rayne says, "Apparently there really is a lot of weird in there. Well, thank you for bringing me back here and showing me your apartment... But I think I should get back to my own and... make sure I'm still me, so to speak." She smiles weakly at the way she puts it.
Twilight Sparkle nods, opening the door and waving amiably. "You're welcome any time. And have a good night, Rayne."
Rayne says, "You too, Twilight. It was nice meeting you." She takes her horrible (to her at least) tasting drink and exits the apartment.