84w, 4dAussie Bronies
I was a league out from Ponyville travelling along a dusty path on the edge of the Everfree Forest when I first met her. I was in the traces of the caravan at the time, not a dignified look and I was sweating like a mule under the late afternoon sun. I was wearing my rather ostentatious wizards hat to keep the sun out of my eyes and as a kind of badge of office. It pays to let everypony know that you are a wizard. I keep mine on at all times in public.
She was trotting out of the deeper forest wearing some saddlebags stuffed with leafy plants and glass bottles filled with various liquids of dubious colouration. She was a pleasant lilac with a streaked deep blue mane. Her cutie mark was covered by her panniers so I could not be sure of her occupation, but the contents of her bags seemed to suggest that she was a magician herbalist, probably a healer. I had never travelled to this town before and herbalists were always useful ponies to know, so I gave her a friendly wave.
She just trotted right up to me and started talking... on the verge of the Everfree. A filly like her should be more wary of wanderers, though I suppose a pony is the least threatening kind of soul you could come across on the edge of the wilderness. We were both heading in the same direction, towards the township. Perhaps she felt safer with some company?
I didn’t have a chance to find out. As soon as she saw my hat and guessed my trade she simply didn’t stop talking. Not even to introduce herself.
I guess ponies around these parts don’t see a lot of travelling magicians. I had grown a little weary of plying the highway towns linking Canterlot to Hoofington and Fillydelphia and had struck out for less travelled routes to the West where the pay was low but there was no real competition.
She was eager to talk shop and I realised very quickly that I was out of my depth.
“The grand unified theory of Magic? Yeah I’ve heard of it. The professors mentioned that a few times in magic school.” I responded without interest. I was not really eager to be on this subject.
She bounced, and I mean really bounced, from enthusiasm and whipped a sheaf of notes from one of her saddlebags, levitating it in front of my face.
“I’ve been working on a paper to show the fundamental interconnectedness of all pony magics! To show how earth pony, pegasus and unicorn magic are just different facets of the one underlying force!”
“Uh-huh?”, I offered. Way out of my depth. My knowledge of magic was mostly practical. Being on the road putting on shows almost every night left little time for theoretical study and my limited time at the Academy had been largely spent avoiding such esoteric nonsense.
I threw her a cautious look. Her eyes were wide with some kind of crazy enthusiasm, though they made a pretty match for the pink and purple highlights in her hair. I decided that I could endure a technical discussion, trekking between towns can be lonely work and sometimes it's just nice to have someone to walk with.
Even if you can't understand a word that they are saying.
“The basic equations are complete and consistent - but I have to account for zebra and alicorn magic as well and although she has been supporting my research, I just can’t schedule any time with Princess Celestia to experiment.” she pouted.
Well, my brain caught up to the conversation rapidly at that point. I stopped to look her in the eye. This filly was writing a dissertation with the support of the Princess? Crackpots who claim to have solved one of the oldest conumdrums of systematised magic are not rare, but young organised ones who claim to have access to Equestria’s monarch most certainly are.
The filly meanwhile had not noticed that I had stopped. She blithely trotted on ahead of me, holding a learned discourse with the air beside her. I certainly didn’t mind the view, but decided I should catch her up and keep the conversation going. A travelling magician is always on the lookout for a new angle or a new type of trick. A magical prodigy could be just what I was looking for.