Tartarus Forged

by SvenFoxx

19. Save the Savior

Pinkie Pie had passed out after Twilight awoke.

Alarmed, Twilight and Rarity had both begun running magical scans. It did not take long to determine the problem.

“Her body is dangerously low on magic. She’s running on fumes, really,” Twilight said.

Everyone blinked. “Er… how would one run on gas, Twilight?” Rarity asked, her concentration dropping momentarily in light of the confusing statement.

Twilight frowned. “I’ll explain later,” she said. “I’m more interested in why her magic’s not recharging.”

Rarity frowned, seeing that Pinkie’s magic was, in fact, not restoring itself. “How peculiar…” she mused. She examined Pinkie with her eye, hoping it would give her a clue.

Then she noticed it. “Correct me if I’m wrong… but does Pinkie seem smaller to you?” she asked.

Twilight blinked. “Smaller? How so?”

Rarity pointed a hoof. “Look, you can see her ribs. And her legs are almost rail-thin!” She seemed to shiver. “Why, she’d look ridiculous in any kind of dress! It would look like the dress was supported by four twigs!”

Twilight ignored Rarity’s lapse in priorities and focused her magic on something other than Pinkie’s magical reserves. She started to examine the mare’s various systems. Specifically, the metabolic system. She had a hunch, and what she found confirmed it.

She leaned back with a sigh. “Pinkie Pie, you complete and utter fool!” she growled after a moment.

Everyone looked at her in confusion, and she noticed. “Pinkie Pie used up all of her magic long before she got to me. I’m not sure when exactly, but I know she had run out at least once before she saved me.” she explained.

Rarity, being educated in the particulars of Unicorn physiology, even if not to a masters level, instantly connected the dots. “Oh my!” she gasped, her hooved flying to her mouth in shock. “She didn’t… did she?”

“What? What happened?” Applejack and Rainbow Dash asked in unison.

“This is a problem that normally only crops up in Unicorns," Twilight explained. "It's because they have a better ability to consciously control their magic… well, for the most part,” she added on, remembering her own unique circumstances way back when. “Though I have heard of cases where it cropped up in Pegasi who push themselves too hard fighting weather..." She shook her head to refocus. "Anyways! Sometimes a unicorn will expend all of their magic, but be desperate to accomplish something, so they’ll keep trying. Their body will subconsciously trigger a metabolic process that greatly speeds up its ability to metabolize nutrients, turning them into more magical energy. Afterwards, the user is obviously very hungry, almost starving.”

“But conscious,” Applejack noticed the discrepancy.

Twilight nodded. “Yes. That’s because the body will automatically stop this process when it runs out of safely usable nutrients to metabolize. However, this can be overridden if the Unicorn in question is both desperate enough and doesn’t care about how it will affect their health. That means the body will start cannibalizing itself, turning whatever material it can into magic, starting with the least necessary things for survival, such as fats, and working its way up.

“If this process is kept going long enough, the body will eventually have nothing left to give, and usually it will enter a coma to try and preserve itself. The problem is that by this point the user has no magic left, and no nutrients to make magic with. The body is constantly trying to produce magic through normal means so it can begin to heal, but can’t produce any.”

She looked at Applejack and Rainbow Dash. “The body needs magic to heal, but there’s no magic to be had. Until this gets resolved, the Unicorn remains comatose. This is called Metabolic-Thaumaturgic Lock.” She looked at Pinkie Pie. “Pinkie Pie sacrificed a great deal of her own body mass to power whatever magic she used to save us, and now she’s stuck in a coma until she gets some magic running through her again. Once she’s awake, she’ll need to eat immediately to begin the recovery cycle.”

Everyone was quiet for a moment.

“Is… is there anything we can do for her?” Rainbow Dash asked.

Twilight sighed. “What Pinkie needs is a magic transfusion… but not only do none of us have a magical signature similar to hers, we don’t have the necessary equipment to do it.”

Everyone drooped, feeling hopelessness settle in. Twilight gave a derisive chuckle. “Heh, magical signatures. You know, all of this,” she motioned to her body. “Happened because of an experiment I was doing… on… signature corruption.” Her eye widened as, slowly, and idea formed in her mind. She spun to Rainbow Dash. “Rainbow!” she barked, startling the Pegasus into attention. “Go find me a stone, something relatively flat and smooth. It needs to be about a foot and a half in diameter.” Rainbow Dash hesitated. “Go!

The polychromatic mare scrambled off, and Twilight turned on Rarity. “Can you etch runes?” she asked pointedly.

Rarity blinked. “Well… a little, yes.”

“Do you have an etching quill on you?”

Rarity frowned. “I… Yes, I believe so.” She pulled off her saddlebags, rummaging through them.

“What can ah do?” Applejack asked, assuming Twilight had thought of an idea to save Pinkie.

Twilight looked at the flora around them. “How good are you at foraging?”

Applejack raised an eyebrow. “Ah’m a farmer, Twi. An apple farmer, granted, but one of the first things we learn is how to survive wild for those poor seasons.”

Twilight nodded. “Go dig up some food for Pinkie. If this works, she’s going to wake up voraciously hungry, and we need to feed her a lot to kick-start her magic.”

“Found it!” Rarity crowed, pulling a blue colored quill from her saddlebag as Applejack wandered off. “Will this do, darling?” she asked, presenting it to Twilight.

Twilight took the quill and inspected it carefully. It was fairly old, but well-kept at the same time. Twilight wondered if it had any sentimental value to Rarity. The important thing, however, was that it would work. “This’ll work,” she nodded at Rarity, smiling in thanks.

After a moment of waiting, Rainbow returned with a disc-like stone. “This good, Twi?” she asked.

Twilight grabbed it. “Perfect.” She looked at Rarity. “Can you give me some light while I work? I need to focus on this, and can’t spare any concentration on an illumination spell,” she requested.

Rarity nodded, and touched her horn to a loose nearby rock, and then making it float over Twilight’s head, glowing with a good amount of white light.

Twilight put quill to stone, took a deep breath, and let it out. “Here we go,” she breathed. Then she started etching the one rune formula she would never be able to forget in her life.

The magic-neutralizing formula that, when overloaded by her Surge, had sent her to Tartarus.