“I’m sorry Mr. Phantomage, but we cannot pass you with that performance.”
“What?! WHY? Phantomage demands an answer!” the student declared, utterly furious. His performance had been outstanding, and nopony else had managed to do what he had done, nopony! He stomped his hoof in sheer defiance of their reply.
“Well Mr. Phantomage, as impressive as that display was, we cannot allow it at this fine school; our decision is final. If you wish to make an appeal, you may write a letter to the princess. Now if you don’t mind, there are others waiting and we still have to restore this mess you’ve made to proper order.”
He couldn’t believe it. Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns was actually rejecting him. He, Phantomage the Unstoppable, had been denied. The very nerve of them; this would simply not do.
“Very well, Phantomage the Unstoppable shall go to Celestia, for he shall not be denied his rightful place among the elite. He shall return to put such insufferable worms as yourselves in their place. To the Princess!” Raising his hoof in resolution, the dark skinned unicorn turned and sped off toward the main castle, his black cape flapping in the wind. As he left, the sound of ripping fabric and cries of alarm in response to his glowing black horn, informed him that the professors’ ties had successfully been cut. He grinned. Nopony denied the talent of Phantomage the Unstoppable. Nopony.
He could just as easily have teleported straight to Celestia’s personal chamber, but what good would that do? No, he needed to make a statement; those blind foals needed to be shown their folly, and making an entrance as could only be done by Phantomage The Unstoppable would certainly deliver the message. Charging the enormous double doors at a breakneck pace, he lowered his horn and summoned the magic for this, the simplest of spells.
As the tip of his horn came in contact with the doors, he released the magic, firing a pulse of unrelenting force straight through them. Propelled by a wave of magic, the twin doors exploded into the room, flying from their hinges with a shattering crash, and coming to a rest near Celestia’s throne, mangled beyond non-magical repair. Taking up his rehearsed pose, Phantomage reared up onto his hind legs, and kicked his forelegs a few times before leaving them to rest there, his flowing cape undoubtedly adding to the impressive display.
“Phantomage the Unstoppable demands to be heard! He shall not be denied this request!” he declared, speaking in a well practice tone of authority. Celestia looked up from a floating piece of parchment in front of her. The guards approached on either side of him, but Celestia put out a hoof.
“That’s quite all right; I’ll deal with this one myself, guards. You may take your leave.” Celestia assured them. The guards turned and left, leaving Phantomage alone with Celestia, at last. Was there ever any doubt?
Getting up from her throne, which was really just a glorified seat cushion, Celestia strolled past the mangled twin doors, eyeing them as she did.
“Phantomage the Unstoppable, requests that you admit him into your school for gifted unicorns, as nopony can deny his unrelenting abilities.” Phantomage spoke with both respect and conviction. Surely the Princess herself could not deny his talent after such an impressive display of magic. She gave him a quizzical look, glancing between him and her fallen doors.
After a long silence, Phantomage grew impatient.
“Why do you hesitate? Grant Phantomage the Unstoppable admission to your university at once!” he demanded. Celestia smiled then, letting out a small chuckle.
“Calm down, there’s no need to get so worked up. Come, walk with me.” Turning, Celestia beckoned with her horn, and slowly cantered toward the garden just outside her chamber. Phantomage followed suit, unsure yet as to what Celestia’s true intentions were; nopony had so calmly deflected his demands before.
“Do you like bananas?” Celestia asked, summoning one from seemingly nowhere and offering it to him.
“Phantomage the Unstoppable has no taste for such fruits, and humbly denies your offer.” Celestia shrugged, and peeled it with her horn, taking a bite as they entered the garden.
“So tell me Phantomage, why is it you believe you should be admitted to my school?” Celestia asked with a gentle tone.
“Was his extraordinary entrance insufficient? Did not Phantomage clearly display his talents?” Phantomage replied, shocked by the princess’s lack of confidence.
“Now now, there’s no need to get so worked up.” Celestia rebuked him. “Your magic is certainly exceptional, but you should learn some manners if you expect anypony to grant you anything.” Phantomage trotted along in silence for a moment, pondering her words.
“Phantomage apologizes for the destruction of her majesty's doorway, but still sees no reason why he should not be immediately enrolled at PCSGU.”
A thundering boom rang out from seemingly nowhere, followed soon after by an explosion of magic from the lecture hall where the entrance exams were being held. A dragon’s head burst through the roof of the building, as glowing sparks of magic continued to radiate from the area. They both looked up in disbelief. Who dared challenge the magical prowess of Phantomage the Unstoppable?
“Well Phantomage, I’m going to allow you to attend for now, but mind you learn some manners or you won’t be permitted to stay very long.” Celestia said, turning to him.Phantomage blinked in surprise; he had not expected her to say yes so quickly. He turned to acknowledge her wise decision, but found that she had already disappeared.
“No matter, Phantomage the Unstoppable has been given what he came for. Phantomage the Unstoppable is victorious!”
“Hey Big Bro, how’d it go?” He was greeted by an adorable azure blue filly as he stepped through the entrance to their home. Upon seeing his little sister’s excitement, he launched into a perfectly dramatic recap of his latest endeavors.
“The foalish professors at the school were far too blind to recognize your brother’s genius, but Phantomage the Unstoppable, would not be denied. He ran straight to Celestia herself, who, upon seeing the amazing magical abilities he possessed, was overcome with admiration and gratefully admitted Phantomage the Unstoppable into her school forthwith. Never fear young sister, for nopony can stop the incredible abilities of Phantomage the Unstoppable”
The little filly’s face lit up with excitement.
“Yay! Big Brother got accepted! Now you can teach me all that magic stuff and you can get me in right? I wanna be just like you big brother. Then I can get my cutie mark for being the most magical unicorn ever!” she exclaimed. Phantomage chuckled, glancing to his own cutie mark, of a gray poltergeist wearing a wizard hat.
“Maybe someday sister, if you really work at it, you could be great and powerful, like me. But nopony will ever match the unstoppable magical prowess of Phantomage the Unstoppable.”
The next day, Phantomage returned to the school, ready to take up his rightful place as the most powerful unicorn to ever grace PCSGU with his presence.
“Phantomage the Unstoppable has arrived!” he proudly proclaimed as he burst through the door. The lecture hall was empty. Befuddled, Phantomage trotted toward the door at the back of the room. “Just where is everypony? How is Phantomage supposed to make his grand entrance when there’s nopony around to witness it?” As he opened the door however, he discovered that he was simply in the wrong lecture hall, and as he stepped through, he was suddenly surrounded by at least a hundred ponies.
Everypony in the room turned to notice him, including, the instructor at the front of the room, whom Phantomage recognized as the same pony who had rejected him yesterday.
“What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here.” The pony behind the podium asked, clearly shocked that Phantomage was present.
“You doubt the abilities of Phantomage the Unstoppable? Phantomage the Unstoppable cannot be held down for long; he has special permission from Princess Celestia herself to be here.”
“Yes, the Princess informed us this morning that you were to be admitted... next semester.”
“What?! Next semester? This is unacceptable!” Phantomage raised a hoof in defiance.
“Although personally I don’t think you should be allowed in at all, after that performance yesterday. The school simply would not survive for very long” The professor went on.
“Your school simply cannot handle the power of Phantomage the Unstoppable! He did nothing to deserve such foul treatment.”
“You destroyed the entire lecture hall! Why do you think everypony is in here now?”
“Phantomage the Unstoppable was harmlessly demonstrating his abilities. He will not stand for this injustice, and will be taking up the matter with Celestia. Pray for your sake she is merciful.”
Choosing this time not to repeat what was an amazing entrance, for the sake of originality, he chose to simply teleport straight to Celestia’s personal chamber.
“Phantomage the Unstoppable has returned!” He declared, as the main throne room materialized around him. Looking around, he found himself in a completely empty room, save for two guards.
“Now just where is she?” he asked aloud. “You there, Guards. Where is the Princess Celestia? Phantomage the Unstoppable demands to know.” The guards simply looked at him for a moment, and then to each other, before one of them responded.
“The princess is not here right now; she is helping her latest protégé settle in to the library. She will return here shortly.” the guard responded flatly.
“What? Protégé?! WHO? Phantomage demands to know who is so ignorant as to assume they are more worthy of Celestia’s attention.” Both guards gave him blank stares. “No matter, Phantomage the Unstoppable will handle this himself.” He knew the castle well enough, having lived in Canterlot most of his life. Twirling under his wizard cloak for effect, Phantomage released the magic and vanished into the library.
“Phantomage demands to know who this personal protégé of the princess is!” He declared upon arriving. He looked up to see Celestia herself speaking to a small lavender filly, with one pink streak through her dark mane.
“This is the unicorn who stole the spotlight from Phantomage the Unstoppable? She is merely a filly. How is such a young pony even allowed into your pathetic excuse of a school?” He inquired, bearing down on the offending filly. Celestia turned to look at him, and then looked back at the other unicorn.
“I’m sorry Twilight, would you excuse me for a moment?” she said to the filly.
Her smile was uncanny, creepy even, as she slowly turned and walked toward him.
“Do you like bananas?” Celestia asked when she was mere inches from his face. That smile was just sickening.
“Why- What an odd request. No, Phantomage said this yesterday; he has no taste for bananas. Why have you allowed an injustice such as this to occur?” He said angrily, indicating the small filly behind her. Celestia’s smile grew, if possible, even wider.
“I’m sorry, Phantomage, but that matter doesn’t concern you. Kindly leave before I am forced to expel you from the school before your term even begins.”
Her utter and complete denial of his request infuriated Phantomage. Nopony denied the talent of Phantomage the Unstoppable. Nopony
“Phantomage the Unstoppable will not be denied. He demands that you teach him instead of this miserable foal here.”
Celestia’s eyes narrowed. Her horn glowed, and Phantomage felt himself becoming intangible. Suddenly he was moving backward at an incredible rate; before he could blink the outer wall of the castle passed through him, leaving him out on the street. Dusting himself off, he got up and trotted home. “Celestia will rue the day she turned down Phantomage the unstoppable.”
As he walked through the door he was greeted once again by his little sister.
“Hi there Big Bro, you’re back so soon. Did something happen at the school?” she asked.
“Yes, Trixie, something did in fact happen at the school. Princess Celestia had the nerve to expel Phantomage the Unstoppable!”
Her lower lip curled, and she looked up at him with now watery eyes.
“You can go back though can’t you? You’re the unstoppable, Big Brother, you can’t be held down.” Her childish pleas were too much; Phantomage now had an idea.
“Of course sister, I will go back, but I have been banned from the school. If I am to return, I must have a disguise.”
He proceeded to summon as much magic as he could. Having never performed this particular spell before, he was not sure how much magic would be required. He stared at his little sister’s glistening purple eyes as he concentrated on the spell. Closing his eyes as he released the magic, he allowed it to surround and transform his body. As the surge of energy began to die down, he opened his eyes and stared into the two violet orbs in front of him.
“You look funny, Big Brother.”
Trixie giggled as she stared at him. Phantomage felt funny; something was... off, about the way the spell had turned out. His eyes widened as he immediately realized he might have made a mistake, he just hoped he wasn’t right for once.
“Mirror! Your brother needs a mirror, Trixie!” He exclaimed, gasping as his voice came out differently than he had expected. His voice was supposed to change, that was part of the spell, but not like this. Trixie brought him a mirror and, holding it up with his magic, he stared in horror at the reflection.
“NO! I knew it; I knew that spell was too difficult for me to try without further practice.” He cried. He tried to cast the spell again, but to no avail, it had been permanently locked somehow.
“Big Brother, what happened to your nose? It’s all tiny now, and why is your voice so squeaky?” Phantomage’s sister asked. Sighing Phantomage answered her.
“Trixie, your big brother has made a critical error; he was focusing too hard on you when he cast the spell, and was affected accordingly. Phantomage the Unstoppable, must now spend his days as a mare, until such a time as he can find a way to reverse this spell. Your brother is sorry Trixie, but he must now leave, as he had intended to anyway. Take care young sister; I know you will be the most talented unicorn in Equestria someday, just like me”
It had been nearly a year since her banishment, but Pariah had finally mastered the body morphing spell, cut all ties to Phantomage the Unstoppable - ridiculous name - and returned as a completely new mare. She had even grown accustomed to her smaller, more slender frame, as there were only minute differences other than her size. She was now ready for her revenge. Nopony would ever recognize her now, it was perfect. She had even grown to like her new azure coat, although her cutie mark had not changed at all. She hadn’t found a way to fix that yet, but maybe cutie marks were just beyond magical tampering.
Trotting up to the castle, she wasted no time in locating the same professor who had so unjustly kicked her out so long ago.
“Hello there miss, may I help you?” The professor asked, as he finished wiping off his chalkboard using his magic. There was the sound of ripping fabric as his tie, aided by a black aura, tore itself in two, from top to bottom.
“Why yes indeed there is, you can take off that ridiculous tie. What in Equestria made you think that was a wise fashion choice? Ugh! So ugly.” She said, before cantering across the room, an evil grin spread across her smug features.
“Why you little- Be gone you-” But Pariah was already summoning the magic. By the time the professor’s horn had begun to glow, she was already vanishing into the next room.
“My my, this is just too easy.” she chuckled to herself. As she walked over to the door beside her and opened it, she discovered a dragon egg just inside, sitting on a shelf. Grinning wildly, she gathered up the egg with her magic, and performed the same spell she had used to dazzle the examiners exactly a year previous.
In the aftermath of the second annual incident, everypony was running around frantically trying to clean up what was said to be the worst magical accident in Canterlot’s history. Pariah was able to listen in on what the story was as she aided in the cleanup effort, posed as another student.
“Where did it come from?”
“I don’t know, there was nothing about it coming from outside the castle, it must have come from inside.”
“But how did it get in?”
“Don’t ask me; it’s not my job to monitor the castle for disasters like this”
“It must have been from the exam closet.”
“You think so?”
“It’s the only logical explanation.”
Celestia herself had had to handle the biggest problem, and Pariah was laughing her little flank off on the inside as she cantered around, pretending to help, but secretly misplacing several boxes of quills, spilling bottles of ink, knocking over charred piles of books.
“Hey! What are you doing?” she turned to see one of the royal palace guards rushing toward her.
“Drat!” She had strayed too close to their watchful eyes, and been caught scattering some parchment. Just as the guard was bearing down upon her, Pariah quickly summoned the magic with her horn, and teleported to somewhere, anywhere else.
That somewhere else just so happened to be Celestia’s personal chamber.
“Excellent.” Nopony was around, not even the guards. They were all off trying to clean up the mess she’d made. “This is just perfect” she said, grinning. Cantering happily over to Celestia’s throne, Pariah made herself comfortable on the cushion that lay there.
Or... at least she tried to; the thing was hard as a rock. There wasn’t actually a cushion there; it was just thin fabric over a raised section of the stone. Sitting on the crude seat quickly made her flank sore, but she would not succumb to its distaste for her. This was Celestia’s throne only and she would savor the spite of it, no matter how painful.
“How does she sit on this thing all day?” Pariah wondered. Glancing around, she noticed a brown bag just behind the backing for the makeshift throne. Floating it over to her with magic, she peeked inside: It was filled with ripe yellow bananas. “My goodness Celestia certainly does love bananas.” Pariah said, chuckling at the irony of the situation. She picked up a banana with her magic, peeled it and took a bite. It was delicious! “Mmmm, no wonder she loves them so much, this is wonderful.”
Just then, a guard happened to walk past the open doorway and noticed her.
“Hey! You’re not allowed to be here, this is Princess Celestia’s personal chamber!” He began to charge her, but she was ready this time. Picking up the bag of bananas with her magic, Pariah ran straight at the guard, horn glowing brightly. His face grew worried, as though he were afraid he might smash into her, but she teleported just beyond him at the last second, seeming almost to pass right through him.
“Sorry, but these are my bananas now sucker!” Pariah called back as she ran through the open doorway, leaving the now disoriented guard behind.
“Guards, everypony, sound the alarm! Somepony has stolen the royal bananas from Celestia’s personal chamber!” called the guard from behind her. Almost immediately, guards appeared from behind every doorway, and a siren began blaring from every corner of the castle. Narrowing her eyes with anticipation, Pariah charged headlong into the fray, smiling as she managed to just avoid every single guard who dove at her.
“Nope. Uh-uh, sorry, missed me, nope, gonna have to do better than that, not even close.” Poofing left and right as she barreled through the army of soldiers, Pariah made a game of calling out to each guard as she dodged their feeble attempts to capture her. Galloping down the now open corridor before her, she called back over her shoulder. “Haha, losers. Can’t catch me! Hehehehe.”
She then had an even more fun idea. Turning to her left, she charged out toward the garden where the great hedge maze was located. Glancing over her shoulder, Pariah was pleased to see a horde of enraged castle guards speeding after her at a breakneck pace. She charged into the maze and took an immediate left turn, then a right, and two more lefts, following the path before her. Deciding she had run far enough, she turned and waited to see how long it would take them to find her.
“There she is!” called a voice from above her. Obviously not very long. Pariah looked up to see a pegasus diving at her from the sky, followed closely by two others. No doubt he was the one who had spotted her. Grinning wide, she stared him down, eyes narrowed, and simply waited. She waited until the last possible second, before teleporting a mere six feet to her right, on the other side of the hedge. It wasn’t long before a unicorn rounded the next corner, and the next round began. Once again she stared him down as he came, this time leaving a parting word as she left.
“Sorry, too slow.”
This game continued for the next hour: The guards would discover her, they would charge, and she would teleport to another location before they could capture her. She was growing bored; if they couldn’t defeat a simple teleportation spell, they were not worth her time. Focusing on the palace, Pariah summoned up some magic one more time, as two guards dove at her from either side, likely crashing into each other as she disappeared.
Blinking in the newly dim light, in contrast to outside, Pariah looked around at her surroundings. She was in the library again. Glancing around, she noticed a lavender unicorn filly to her left, absorbed in some books. The filly looked up at her upon hearing the flash of magic.
“Oh, hi. Where did you come from? Sorry I don’t usually get visitors” the little filly said.
“Pariah Dark, graces you with her presence, and what about you young filly, have you a name?” Pariah asked, gesturing with her hoof.
“Oh, my name’s Twilight Sparkle, I’m Celestia’s personal student here at the castle. I just love it; I’ve got all these books to read. It’s so fun.” Twilight smiled brightly as she recounted her excitement at living in a library.
“You... you’re Celestia’s personal... protégé?” Pariah asked.
“Yup, that’s me.” Twilight replied. Pariah was suddenly filled with vengeful jealousy, and summoned up the magic to torment this little filly, who had stolen her dream. And then suddenly she stopped. Pariah couldn’t figure it out, but for some unexplained reason she no longer wanted to hurt this little filly. The entire past year, her hate and thirst for spiteful vengeance were directed at Celestia and her school. But the filly before her was completely innocent, and had in fact, nearly mimicked her own entrance exam.
Redirecting her scorn, Pariah released the magic, took a kinder approach, and changed tactics.
“Well it’s nice to meet you Twilight, Pariah must say, she is very jealous of your... relationship with the princess. You must know so much about magic.” Twilight’s eyes lit up at this.
“Oh yes, yes I do, it’s so fun learning from Princess Celestia, but there’s so much more to learn too.” she replied.
“Well, you don’t suppose you could... *gulp* help Pariah with a certain predicament she is in?”
“Why do you talk in third person like that?” Twilight asked.
“Never mind Pariah’s speaking mannerisms, just answer her question please.” Pariah responded flatly.
“Um, okay. I’d be happy to help. What’s your predicament?”
Pariah could not believe she was asking a mere filly for help, but at this point she needed any help she might be able to find, and she also needed to avoid Celestia for now, so this would have to do.
“Well, um.” She gulped; this was harder to admit than she had thought. “Pariah attempted a difficult spell a long time ago, and now she is stuck in this form.”
“Huh?” Twilight asked, scrunching her face. “What do you mean, stuck in that form?” she asked.
“Oh, this is ridiculous! Pariah attempted to perform a body morphing spell, and screwed it up! Suffice to say she was not always a mare!” Throwing up her hooves in exasperation, Pariah fell backward onto the floor behind her, covering her face and rubbing her eyelids.
“Oh, the body morphing spell, I remember that!” Pariah’s eyes snapped open. In a flash she had her hooves around Twilight’s face.
“You know how to do the body morphing spell?!” she exclaimed.
“Well, yeah. I mean, I can’t quite do it myself yet, but Celestia showed it to me a few weeks ago. There’s a book over here with the counter spell.” Twilight turned and trotted over to the pile of books she’d been perusing earlier. “Ah, here it is.” Twilight held the book out toward Pariah, who could now see that it was a very simple counterspell.
“Okay, here goes nothing,” she said. Concentrating on the spell written in the book, she tried to channel her magic properly, but once again it simply fizzled out. “What! What’s going on?”
Twilight immediately collapsed on the floor, giggling.
“What is so funny? Pariah Dark demands to know!”
“Oh nothing, it’s just that—HEE HEE HEE HA—I recognize that fizzle.—HEE HEE—that’s Celestia’s troll spell—HA HA HA—it’s a joke she came up with: Anypony with that spell on them, is doomed to fail at the very next thing they attempt, and until it’s lifted, they will be unable to correct any mistakes they made. - HA HA HA HA - she must have put the spell on you when you met with her.”
Pariah eyes narrowed. Oh that Celestia, she would pay for this.
“Oh and one more thing.” Twilight went on, attempting to stifle her giggles.
“Yes? Pariah is listening.”
“Did she offer you a banana when she met with you?” Pariah’s mouth gaped, this could not be possible.
“Why... yes, she did in fact.” she replied, eyeing the brown bag of bananas that now sat behind her. This of course only caused Twilight to burst into another fit of laughter.
“Yeah—HA HA HA HA—I knew it, she loves to do that.” Twilight laughed.