Some of you may recall that some time ago I posted an alternate ending to the season three finale, Magical Mystery Cure. However, what you probably don't know is that the one you saw was not the original form of that fanfic. As much as I've grown accustomed to having Twilight be an alicorn, I will confess right now that, when it first happened, I felt rather bitter about it, and my original draft for the alternate ending reflected that. However, given all of the hateful anti-alicorn sentiment that was going around the site at the time, I thought about it and decided not to add fuel to the flames.
Instead, I decided to re-write the fic, resulting in the more light-hearted and friendly version you all read last time. As for the original, I kept it on file for ages, until finally I decided that, rather than let it continue to gather dust any longer, I'd post it and see how people thought of it in comparison to the version I gave them before.
So here is the original draft of my alternate ending to Magical Mystery Cure.
A bright light. That was all she saw around her. Nothing but whiteness as far as the eye could see. It had been mere moments since she had been in the company of her mentor, Princess Celestia, who had explained that she had achieved something great in completing the spell she was given. The spell of Starswirl the bearded, whose incomplete version had almost ruined the lives of her friends by swapping their cutie marks, forcing them to complete each others daily tasks.
Thanks to the bonds they'd built with each other, they'd managed to get their original marks back, and it was then that Twilight had understood how to finally complete the spell. But in doing so, she'd been sent by the elements of harmony to a strange place, where Celestia had been waiting for her. The whole meeting was strange, with the Princess declaring that Twilight had "fulfilled her destiny". But the young unicorn had no idea what that meant. All she knew was that this bright light had enveloped her, and now she didn't know what was going on.
But then, all of a sudden, she felt her hooves touch solid ground, her knees almost buckling upon reaching it. She still couldn’t see past the light, but it was fading. What she saw afterwards filled her heart with joy. She was back in Ponyville, just a short distance outside her tree-house. And ahead of her, rushing forward to greet her, were her beloved friends. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie and Spike, all charging forward, their faces filled with happiness and relief that their friend had returned to them.
"Twilight! Are you okay?!" Spike called out
She smiled as they approached, and she was ready as ever to tell them that she was fine. But as she got up off her knees, that smile faded as she saw them all stop in their tracks, their once happy faces now changed into looks of shock and surprise. Twilight tilted her head in confusion, under of why they'd look like that.
"Girls? What's wrong?"
They simply stood there, staring at her. Even Pinkie, who was usually incapable of remaining quiet for too long, stared at her as though she'd seen a ghost. Those looks were causing no end of discomfort for Twilight, even more so when they began to look at each other with nervous expressions. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of silence, it was Rainbow Dash who finally stepped forward and spoke up, though her tone of voice made it clear that she did not feel good about it.
The blue pegasus pointed at Twilight with her hoof, leading to a great deal of confusion from the latter. Something was wrong here, she could feel it. Whatever they were looking at, she doubted it would be anything good. But slowly, she turned her head around. And what she saw there made her heart skip a beat. For there, on her back, was a pair of wings. As she stared at them, she couldn't take in what she was looking at. She'd never had wings before. How did these things get here? And why? Raising a hoof, she placed it carefully on the wings nearest to it. Once it connected, she could feel the touch of her hoof on the wing. These were real, not fakes.
To say she was shocked would have been a great understatement. Her friends slowly approached her, surrounding her as they did so. As Twilight's attention was focused on her new appendages, Rarity spoke up.
"You've.......you've become and alicorn!"
And alicorn, Twilight thought. That wasn't possible. In all of Equestria, there were only three such beings. Her sister-in-law, Cadence. The princess of the moon, Luna. And, of course, Celestia herself. Thinking of her mentor snapped Twilight back to attention. It was Celestia that she had met mere moments before that strange light encircled her. Was Celestia responsible for this? Why would she do this? As if her mind had been read, the seven of them saw a bright light above them in the sky. Their heads darted in that direction, just in time to see the large form of Princess Celestia descend down to touch the ground near them.
The sun princess approached the group, a look of pride upon her face. Twilight knew that look. She'd seen it plenty of times in her childhood to know that she was about to say something important. And sure enough, she did.
"Twilight. I see you have returned safely. And I see that you've no doubt noticed your transformation."
Twilight looked back to her new wings before looking back at Celestia, her face still filled with confusion.
"But.......I don't understand."
"I'm sure. But today, you achieved a great thing. By completing Starswirl's spell, and restoring your friends to their correct roles in life, you have earned the right to ascend, and become not only an alicorn, but a princess of Equestria!"
With those words, it felt as thought Twilight had been hit with a tonne of bricks. Alicorn? Ascension? Princess? What was going on? It was clear to all around her what was going on in her mind right now, Celestia especially, so the elder alicorn stepped forward and placed a hoof on Twilight's shoulder, getting her full attention.
"I understand that this must all come as a shock to you. But believe me when I say that you have more than earned this honour."
Twilight's mind was abuzz with thousands of different thoughts. But there was one thought among all of them that made itself known more loudly than the rest. It was a thought Twilight never once thought she'd had, but there it was. One that she kept silent as her mentor kept talking.
"Since moving to Ponyville, you have displayed many of the ideals that mark a pony as worthy of leadership. Compassion. Bravery. Dedication. These traits, and more, have marked your time, not only as my student, but as the element of magic. And for that reason, on this day, you have been chosen to be Equestria's newest princess!"
With each passing moment, Twilight found it harder and harder to breathe. Not only was this a massive responsibility that was being placed upon her, but her mind was still reeling from the revelation of her physical change into an alicorn. Questions poured into her mind. How would this affect her life? Her family? And all the while, that one lone thought from before kept growing within her mind. Looking up at Celestia, the way she beamed with pride over Twilight's transformation, almost made her feel ill. But not because of nervousness of her new role, but because of the fear she felt in having to say what she needed to say.
The words she spoke were quiet, but they were most definitely heard. Celestia's smile faded, as did that of her friends, who were now looking at each other nervously. Celestia gained a look of confusion as she looked down upon Twilight, whose eyes were filled, not with happiness as she'd suspected, but sadness.
"What.......what do you mean, Twilight?" She asked.
Twilight's breathing was still difficult, but she spoke out once more.
"I.......don't want this."
Celestia's mouth hung open upon hearing that. Twilight knew from the look on her face that she had not expected this to be her response. Perhaps she expected joy, or perhaps a "thank you". But that is not what she would get. Instead, she would get words that broke Twilight's heart to have to say.
"I know what you did was what you thought I deserved. But.....I don't want this. I NEVER wanted this. In all my life, leadership is only something I've done because I needed to, not because I sought it out."
Celestia continued to listen to her student carefully, and it was obvious from the looks on her friends' faces that they were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with what was going on. But nevertheless, Twilight continued.
"I don't want to be a princess. I can't accept your offer."
The sun princess was, for the first time in many years, struck speechless. For as long as she'd known her, Twilight had been among the most exemplary ponies she'd ever known, not to mention her greatest student. When it became clear that she was destined to become the element of magic after defeating nightmare Moon, she'd geared her lessons towards preparing her for this role. Never once had it occurred to her that it might not be something she wanted. She'd never even asked.
And it wasn't as though Twilight had never had ambitions for her future life, it's just that being a princess was never part of it. Oh sure, she had no doubt that many young fillies who idolized Celestia would probably dream that they'd be princesses one day. But Twilight was never like that. The recognition she'd earned had only been from necessity, because her friends, her family, even Equestria itself had been put at risk so many times. But the spotlight itself was never something she'd gone out of her way to have, nor fame, nor glory. She'd always hoped that, maybe, her future would take her to a more quiet place than her recent life had been. That maybe she'd end up as a teacher of magic at the royal academy, or perhaps a researcher at one of the great libraries of Canterlot. Never this. Letting out a deep sigh, Twilight spoke again.
"Princess, please understand. What I have learned today, from helping my friends, is that it's wrong for a pony to allow destiny to be imposed on them. Their fates were changed, and their lives almost ruined by it. You say I had a destiny, and this was it. But I can't accept that. I can't allow my destiny to be chosen for me by somepony else."
The thought that she would have essentially imprisoned Twilight in a life she did not want did not sit well with Celestia. But, as much as she felt bad about that, worse was to come.
"Princess....." Twilight began.
Celestia looked straight into those big purple eyes and knew immediately that a difficult question was coming.
"Please........change me back."
With everything else that had been said to her, Celestia should have known this question was coming. And she'd dreaded it. Looking to her right, at the collection of Twilight's friends nearby, it was evident that they expected her to do as Twilight had asked of her. All that did was twist the knife further.
Twilight's eyes widened with shock, soon followed by a slight wobbling of her lip as she moved towards her teacher.
"But.......your the most powerful magic-user in Equestria! You HAVE to know how!"
Celestia merely shook her head at that, her expression one of great discomfort.
"I'm sorry. But the spell to change a pony into an alicorn is greater even than I."
Looking at her young student, she knew her next words would hurt, but she could not lie now.
"Twilight. This change......is permanent."
It was as if the entire world had stopped spinning. Twilight stood there, her mind trying desperately to take in what had just been said to her. But like before, she couldn't cope with this revelation. Permanent. The word practically stuck in her throat. She shook her head, slowly at first, then faster, as she felt tears begin to develop in her eyes.
"No. I........I can't stay like this! You have to change me back! Please!"
This new knowledge made the poor girl feel sick to her stomach. This new form, these new wings, were not something she wanted. And now she was trapped with them. Trapped within her own body. Her life, and entire future, had been chosen for her without her knowledge or consent, and that, above all else, made her feel betrayed. And worse still, the betrayal had come from one she considered not only a mentor, but family. As Twilight considered how all of Celestia's lessons may well have been to prepare her for this unwanted life she'd been thrust into, it made the sense of betrayal all the worse. She'd never suspected. Whenever a lesson had been given, she'd only ever thought it was to help her become better at magic, or to be a better person, but not this.
Celestia, meanwhile, felt her heart wrench at seeing Twilight like this. She wanted to say something, anything, to try and make her beloved pupil feel better about all this. But she knew she couldn't. There were no words that could help Twilight now. What had been done to her had been done out of the best of intentions. And now, it was all to clear to those who had witnessed it that, to Twilight, it was nothing but a curse. Celestia stepped forward, ready to embrace her distressed student.
But the young mare moved away from her, the first time she'd ever done so in all the years she'd known Celestia.
"No! I'm..........I'm a unicorn!"
With Twilight looking straight up at Celestia, the sun princess got a full view of her face, tears now streaming down it.
"I'M A UNICORN!!!"
Without giving Celestia or anypony else a chance to say anything, Twilight charged away from them, heading straight for her tree-house. The others looked on in dismay as Twilight opened her door, rushed through it, then slammed it hard behind her. Celestia had never once suspected that this was how things would turn out. All she knew was that her beloved student was hurting, and she was the cause. She began to move towards Twilight's home, ready to try and apologise to her. But before she got too far, the other ponies, plus Spike, stood in front of her and barred her path. Celestia was shocked to see subjects of her try and stop her from doing anything, but more so from what Applejack said when she stepped forward.
"Princess, with all due respect. I think it's best if you leave, at least for now."
The voice had no harshness to it, so there was clearly no anger from them towards Celestia over this. The princess opened her mouth to speak to the ponies, but this time it was Rarity who stepped forward, raising a hoof stopping her.
"She needs time." The white unicorn said softly.
Celestia said nothing, but instead simply closed her mouth and nodded at the assembled group. They knew Twilight well, and from her own experience she too knew that what the young mare needed was time to adjust to this massive change that had happened to her. Celestia spoke truly when she said that Twilight's change was permanent, so there was little she could do to fix this situation. Instead, she nodded at Twilight friends and turned around. She stopped for a brief moment and looked back at the tree-house, feeling nothing but lamentation what she had done here today. Her final words, spoken in a hushed voice, reflected this.
"What have I done?"
She turned away once more, spread out her wings and launched herself into the sky. The other mares and Spike kept their eyes on Celestia for as long as they could, until finally she was out of sight. They then knew they'd have to do something for Twilight, but knew that confronting her over what just happened would be the worst possible thing right now. They gave each other looks, each hoping the other would have the answer they'd need. But, to all of their surprise, it was Spike who spoke up.
"I'll go to her."
They all looked at him with surprised look on their faces.
"You sure sugarcube?" Applejack asked.
“Yeah. I live here anyway. I'll do what I can. The rest of you should get some sleep. It’s pretty late."
They couldn't argue with that. It had been a long and difficult day for all of them. So, having waved each other goodbye, they all parted ways, heading to their various homes, but all of them glancing over their shoulders at the tree-house, worried about their friend as they walked. Spike waited until they were all gone before turning his attention back to the tree-house. He took a deep breath before walking up to the front door and opening it. Upon entering the house, he looked across the room and saw something he'd never have thought he'd see in his entire life.
Twilight was sitting on the other side of the room, her horn glowing and levitating a book in front of her. But the book was wrecked. It's leather cover scratched badly and several pages ripped out. But upon moving closer, Spike recognised the book as that of Starswirl the bearded. The same book Celestia had sent Twilight a few days ago. The book that had caused the switched cutie marks and even Twilight's transformation. As Spike approached, he saw Twilight use her magic to violently rip out several pages at a time. So much so that there were many shreds of torn pages strew all around her. Spike didn't like this. Twilight had nothing but the greatest respect and love for books. For her to treat one like this was unthinkable. But then again, given what that book had done to her and her friends, he could understand why she'd do this.
Slowly, he walked up beside her as she kept on destroying the book, and sat down. He hated seeing her this way, and wanted to comfort her. But all he could think of doing was lifting one hand and placing it on her side gently. Upon feeling the hand of her friend, the young unicorn finally dropped the now-ruined book, it's impact with the floor making a loud thudding sound. Twilight turned her head to face him, and Spike saw that her eyes were almost red from all the crying she had done, tears still staining her cheeks.
"Twilight? Are you okay?"
Twilight's lip was still wobbling, and she opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. Instead, she shut her eyes tight and began to sob. She moved forwards and embraced Spike in a hug. All the young dragon could hear was the sound of her sobs. Tears began to grow in his own eyes and he hugged her back in return. Twilight had been changed forever, against her will. She'd never wanted it. Never asked for it. But it had been done to her all the same. And even though she may one day recover from the shock and sadness she felt from all of this, right now, this pain was great.
And all she could do was let it out in the safe company of her oldest and most trusted friend.
"I.......I never wanted this".