Several weeks passed since the party at Sugarcube Corner. Pinkie and Shadow were happy together as a couple and the ponies that knew about it didn't mind at all. It was spread about as a rumor, but most of them brushed it off as what it was supposedly set out to be, a rumor. Charcoal and Applejack spent more time together and got a bit closer. Buckin' apples, spending time with Applebloom and Big Mac, sharing some past experiences. But as time passed, Applejack started to notice something about Charcoal. She trots up to him one morning as they were bucking apples.
"Hey Charky?" she looks at him a bit curiously
"What is it Applejay?" he turns, moving the woven basket filled with freshly bucked apples away from the tree.
"Now ah noticed that you are a unicorn an' all, but ah never saw you use your magic"
Charcoal's face started to turn sour. "I'm fine bucking the apples without it."
"Well ah figured you'd use yer magic. It'd make things a lot easier for yo--"
"I said I'm fine without my magic." He said with a stern tone, turning and moving ahead to take care of the next tree.
Applejack was a bit shocked to see his expression do a complete U-turn. This was a side of him she'd never seen, and knowing Applejack, she wanted to press a bit further.
"Now Charky, why won't you use your magic? It's pretty simple to use ah figured." she gave him a sincere smile. Charcoal didn't even look in her direction.
"I detest using magic. I'm not going to use it, even if you tell me to."
"I'm just wonderin' is all. Ya don't have to get moody with me."
"And you don't have to get into my personal business!" he snapped
"I'm your marefriend darn it! I care about you and you know ah want to make the both of us happy!"
"Well I can't make anyone happy if my magic hurt somepony before!" Charcoal kicks the tree with all his might, cracking the bark and having all the apples fall into the empty basket at once. Applejack lowered her head as he trots off back to her house. She didn't know that he had hurt somepony before. In fact, he didn't say much about his past that didn't involve Celestia in any way. However, hiding from who he really is isn't good for him, and she thinks having him use his magic would help.
Later that evening, Applejack confronts him on the porch of her house and sees him irritated from the argument earlier in the day. She sits next to him and leans on his shoulder gently.
"Ah know you never told me about yer past, and I know it's somethin' you don't want to talk about. But what happened between you and some other pony back then doesn't have to stop you from bein' who ya really are Charky." Applejack says in a gentle tone.
"I made a promise. I don't want to use my magic again. I don't want to hurt anypony...”
"And ya won't. You don't think yer doin' this alone are ya?" She leans closer to him "Ya got friends here who are sure as apples ready to help yew. And you got me too." Charcoal gives a weak smile. He was nervous about learning magic all over again, but he knew he could trust Applejack. After all, she is the element of honesty.
"Ok, I'll start using my magic again." he finally caved in "But who's gonna help me?"
"Ah already got ya covered sugarcube." she smiles "Ah already talked to Twilight about it before hand, and she said she'd be glad to help you!"
Charcoal gave her a weird look. She had planned this long before she had the conversation with him, that sneaky mare.
The following morning, Charcoal had called off work for the day to see Twilight at her library. Shielding himself from using magic, he had no idea what to bring, or how things would take place. He ponders about this for a few minutes as he trots to Twilight's home, and happens to stumble upon Rarity, who was shopping for groceries.
"Well hello there darling." Rarity speaks casually, Charcoal still giving her that distant response after the whole pestering she gave him about Canterlot the other day at the Boutique. Her smile slowly goes away and she nods.
"I'm sorry about the other day. It just quite curious to find a pony with such distaste for such a high class community." she gently whips her hair back into place, letting her curls bounce a bit.
"It's not as high class as you think. But that's just me."
"I understand darling, no need to tell me anymore. So where are you headed to?"
"Twilight's place. I need to brush up on my magic. Got a little too rusty for my own good."
"But magic is second nature to a Unicorn! How could you--" Charcoal shot a glare at her. Rarity covers her mouth and quiets down.
"Is there anything I really need to use magic? Like books? Items? Potions?" he asks
"In terms of books, I'm sure Twilight would help you. You don't really need anything else." she scratches her chin. The dark unicorn nods as he trots on ahead to Twilight's. The white mare waving goodbye as he trots further away. Charcoal finally arrives, staring down the giant tree that is surprisingly used as a home. He knocks on the door and waits, hearing some shuffling noises and muffled voices on the other end. It opens, Spike greeting him and letting him inside.
"Hey Charcoal, it's great to see you." said the childish dragon
"Hey Spike. Is uh, Twilight here?"
"Up here! I'm just grabbing some books that we're gonna use!" Twilight is on top of a ladder, with a book in between her teeth and few others levitating around her glowing horn. She hops down and trots towards him with enthusiasm.
"This is going to be so exciting! I finally get to mentor somepony, just like Princess Celestia mentored me when I was a young filly! Well, she's still teaching me a lot of things, but this is so--"
"Twilight!" he shouted "Off topic here."
She gave a bashful smile "Oops, sorry!" Twilight sets the books down and sits in front of him.
"I need to ask you a few questions before we get started so I know what we're dealing with here." her face began to turn serious
"How long ago have you stopped using your magic?"
"Uhm... five years? Six? Hard to say, but I know it was longer than four."
"Hm... do you remember the basics of using magic?"
"No. Completely skipped that course since I couldn't use magic well from the get go." Twilight's face started to become disheartened.
"Have you ever tried to... force... your magic when you realized that you couldn't control it?"
"Once, but you clearly know what happened when I explained it to you on the train...”
She closed her eyes and scratched her head. This was tougher than she thought. She opened her eyes again and grabbed a book that lay next to her. It was titled "Unicorn Biology 101". She skimmed through some of the pages and stopped towards the middle of the book. Her expression then changed from concerned, to anxious.
"So you never used your magic since then...?" she muttered.
"No, I haven't."
"This is bad." She skimmed through the book, but at a slow enough pace that she could glance at the words.
Upon closing the book she had explained to me that Unicorns are basically Earth Ponies that have the ability to absorb average amounts of magic around them the moment they start to develop in the womb. When the brain is fully developed, it unconsciously focuses most of the magic into a single point on the forehead, so it won't deteriorate the cells that are forming the body as it grows, hence the horns that they have when they are born. Unicorns have a natural instinct to use their magic as a foal to disperse the magic that is constantly being put into the body, whether it be to levitate random things, or letting it out in one quick burst. It is when they are taught how to use it in school that they can use it for more convenient things, and their magic becomes more of a helpful ability than a burden. Bringing back the topic of magic build up, Twilight looks at Charcoal and takes a step closer.
"I need to see how much magic has built up in your body." she places her horn against his and begins to focus some magic at the tip. Her horn glowed purple, shifting along to his which began to glow a faint green. He looks up and suddenly winces, as his horn emits static, sending a burst of magic into Twilight's horn. It made a loud pop and she flies across the room, landing on top of some books that lie scattered about. Spike ran into the room, wondering what all the commotion was about.
"Sweet Celestia!" she cried out "How are you still alive?!"
"What?.." Charcoal was a bit nervous at how she responded.
"Charcoal, there is so much magic in your system, that letting it out in one burst would crater half of Ponyville!"
"And that's a big deal...?" Charcoal trailed off, ignorant about the situation at hand.
Twilight facehoofs "Charcoal... With that much magic in your system, you wouldn't be able to stand. In fact, all that pent up magic would leave you comatose at the hospital right now!"
"How can we fix this?"
"Well obviously you're going to have to use your magic, but it has to be in small, controllable bursts. You're gonna have to stay here until you get that under control, otherwise who knows what might happen?" she said looking at the spaced out stallion. She made it clear. Until he can control his magic, he was not allowed to leave at all.