That night, the three Knights were meeting up at the library.
"So, how did your day go?" Twilight asked with an eager smile.
Sunet sensed mischief and Trixie also seemed to but they didn't have any reason to not answer.
"Nothing really special." Sunset said "I went to help raise the sun, did my light exercises to confirm my physical state and thought off a few ideas about new spells to research."
"Trixie's day was magnificent!" The blue unicorn said "She did her first show as a knight and it was a complete success! She's already thinking of the next cities to make shows on."
Twilight nodded with her eyes closed, in a way that had the other two already bracing themselves to what she would do.
"My day was also pretty good." She said, in an entirely too casual way "Did some organization. Opened up a few new research avenues. Got an apprentice. Ate some really good cupcakes... It was really productive."
It took a few seconds for Sunset's mind to process what she had heard, but when it happened...
"Wait, you got an apprentice?!"
"Somepony you can actually teach?" Trixie was just as surprised as Sunset.
"Yup! She's an earth pony that actually managed to develop some sort of premonition abilities even without training." Twilight had a broad smile "I can't wait to see what kinds of things I can teach, and learn from her.
"Ah, and I almost forgot. She wanted to throw a party to welcome us to the town. Could you make some time in the weekend?"
The other two thought a little and answered in the affirmative, before asking for more details about this new development.
So Twilight started talking about how they met, and about how she had already helped her create portals, and the kinds of things she was planning to teach...
And her two partners kept glancing at each other when she wasn't looking, communicating silently.
Later on, Twilight had decided to go to sleep early to prepare for the next day, but Trixie and Sunset had important things to talk about.
"We are totally getting apprentices of our own." Sunset said in a tone of voice that made discussion impossible, not that Trixie actually wanted to discuss.
"Yes. It would be a shame if Trixie's magnificent skills in illusion magic were lost to the future generations. Okay, she did record them in scrolls which are now in the secret library, but Trixie still wants to have someone to discuss the finer points of illusions with." Trixie admitted "Also, it would be cool to create an entire legacy of users of Perfect Illusion."
"I don't know about a magic legacy, but creating something like a martial arts school, only for my special combat style... That would be amazing!" Sunset shared Trixie's excitement "I just need to find the perfect student to develop my methods, someone who shares my passion about power!"
"Someone who shares Trixie's attention to detail and understanding of the ways of manipulating perception!" Trixie agreed "Then Trixie'll be able to teach them the finest points of the reality/illusion dychotomy neither of you ever managed to understand." She looked at Sunset.
"And I'll be able to teach them how best to hone their skills towards the ultimate, absolute power neither of you are interested in." sunset looked back "And then we'll see which of us is able to raise the most outstanding disciple."
"We certainly will." Trixie grinned, sure of future victory "We'll need to set up a proper Disciple Competition, with very clear rules." Trixie was already thinking about similar events in the old stories, and ways to manipulate the competition in her own favor.
The two talked for a little while longer before separating, with Trixie going back to her own house to sleep.
The next day, Trixie woke up early in order to set things up. She sat herself down in the central plaza of the town and created a very large and exageratedly colorful (even in her own opinion) sign, which contained the message she wanted to send to the nearby ponies:
(THE GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE, MASTER OF ILLUSIONS, KNIGHT OF THE REALM OF EQUESTRIA, FAMOUS SHOWMARE, APPRENTICE OF PRINCESS CELESTIA, DEFEATER OF SOMBRA, SAVIOR OF LUNA AND FUTURE LEGENDARY HEROINE [because the legends are still being written], IS LOOKING FOR AN APPRENTICE TO LEARN THE GREAT AND MYSTERIOUS ART OF ILLUSIONS. THIS IS AN UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY IN HISTORY, FOR THE SECRETS OF THE SECRETIVE ART OF ILLUSIONS ARE ENIGMATIC, AND VERY FEW MASTERS ARE WILLING TO EXPOSE THEIR OWN METHODS. COME AND SEE IF YOU'LL BE THE ONE TO ENTER INTO THIS MARVELOUS WORLD!)
Yes. The message was perfect. All she had to do was wait for the inevitable line up of potential candidates.
Well, people did in fact line up, but things didn't go exactly like she expected.
"Hey, are you going to do another show?"
"Not soon, and the next will probably in another town. Was that the only reason you entered the line?"
"Could you do a magic trick?"
"Sure! Here it is:" Trixie made the stallion's horn disappear for a moment "So, are you interested in performing magic tricks?"
"Not really, but thank you."
"Do ya think Ah could get a cutie mark in illusions?"
"You never know, try the trick written here and we'll see."
"Bummer. No cutie mark."
"How did you set the coin on fire?"
"Here, miss Trixie, a package from Manehattan."
"You didn't have to enter the line to bring me a package."
"Can you teach me how to read minds?"
"Ah. Not interested, then."
"Could you make me beautiful for my date tonight?"
"Trixie thinks you should go to the spa instead."
And it just went on and on.
Trixie was getting tired.
Twilight and Pinkie Pie were in the library for the first lesson of the latter's apprenticeship.
"Right." Twiight started after the two of them had gotten confortable in their chairs "The very first thing to think about when you have an affinity for chaos is just how much control you can afford to lose."
"Lose... Control?" Pinkie seemed curious and... somewhat scared. Twilight was already predicting her answer.
"Chaos magic is naurally wild and can be used more easily when the user doesn't have complete control of their own actions. Letting your restraints slip and your hidden side come to the surface gives you a boost." Them Twilight looked at Pinkie with what she imagined was the same kind eyes Celestia had when she explained it to her "So, you need to understand what you would do without control, and if you should use it or not, and when."
Pinkie was silent and hesitated for several seconds, but Twilight simply waited until she was ready.
"I just... I just can't." The pink mare said, looking down "I can't lose control at all."
"Then it's decided." Twilight answered simply, causing Pinkie to look at her in wonder "This is something only ourselves can decide. Chaos is a dangerous form of magic that needs to be used responsibly. If you don't think you should release the restraints, then no one else can force you to. That just means you have one less potential source of power."
"Ahhh... That's good then." Pinkie's mood had already recovered "What other sources of power are there?"
"Many, many others. So many I can't really explain them because it would take too long and ruin the schedule I prepared for this class." Twilight showed a piece of paper held in her telekinesis "But absorbing energy from the envinronment is a common one, and you can also try to use more of the energy of your soul via special methods. Of course, each method is very personal and I would only be able to guide you towards them, not actually teach you how to do stuff."
"Is power really important?" Pinkie asked.
Twilight giggled "Don't let Sunset hear you asking that. But you've actually hit the nail right in the head. While you need power to do anything, there are many ways to do great things by using less power. Chaos magic is full of workarounds." Twilight lectured.
"That makes sense, I've done things like that."
"I'm sure you have. Chaos magic is pretty instinctive. But let's go to the next topic of discussion: Desires, hopes and dreams." Twilight smiled slightly.
"I love talking about this!" Pinkie jumped in place, staying frozen in the air for a bit and smiling at Twilight.
"Right." Twilight cleared her throat "The main thing to understand is that every magic, not only chaos magic, depends on what kind of pony you are, what is important to you. It's only that Chaos magic is affected by this most directly. In my case, I love learning, I wish to be a Knight that protects Equestria and I value my friends the most. Those are the things I would consider the most central to myself."
"For me..." Pinkie thought for a bit "I love my family and I love making other ponies happy. My wish is that every pony, minotaur, yak, donkey and all others in the world be able to smile." She said, looking into the distance in thought.
"Understanding yourself is the first step, and it will help in making your magic manifest more easily." Twilight then brought out a small book titled Basic Calculus "And the last thing we will need to focus on is Math."
Pinkie froze in place, as she had been in the middle of a movement, this left her in a very awkward position. Twilight simply waited for the earth pony to recover.
Pinkie, with the rest of her body still frozen, moved her head in a particularly jerky manner, like she was a robot whose joints needed to be oiled. She then opened her mind and spoke with a hoarse voice "What? Why?"
Twilight explained patiently "One of the most important aspects to chaos magic is a sense of timing. Even while just relaxing, I'm still aware of time to the tenths of a second, and while doing difficult spells, I start counting time in terms of hundreths of a second, or even faster. This kind of sense of time is ncessary to be able to use chaos magic perfectly. That is the first reason. The second reason is that understanding numbers, it becomes easier to understand underlying reality, so that you can understand all kinds of knacks to warp it. You don't need to in order to use chaos magic, but it simply makes things a lot easier and more convenient. So, I'm going to have to ask that you study this book in between classes."
Pinkie looked at her in absolute horror.
From all the legends she had read, Sunset was sure of one thing above anything else. The fact that there were heroes all around the land, hiding within the populace, just waiting for the chance to prove themselves and burst into history.
In that case, all that she had to do was give them a chance to prove themselves, a chance to show what they were made off, and what better than a challenge to do that?
AS such, Sunset spent the day walking around Ponyville, holding a sign that said:
(DO YOU WANT TO PROVE YOUR STRENGTH? DO YOU WANT TO PROVE YOU WILL AND CAPACITY TO BE A HERO? KNIGHT OF THE REALM SUNSET SHIMMER CHALLENGES EVERYPONY TO TRY AND RESIST ONE OF HER SPELLS WITHOUT MOVING. WHO WILL TAKE THE CHALLENGE?)
It didn't take long for a pony to take the challenge, a green earth pony stallion with a red mane. But the result...
"Force Push!" Sunset shouted, creating a wave of force that threw the poor pony twenty meters away.
"Ah... It seems like I may have overdone it slightly." Sunset said embarassed, and galloped after the stallion to see if he needed help, while the ponies around looked at her in utter horror.
After that, ponies were very reluctant to try their luck against the Knight. She was still sure she would find somepony who would be able to surpass the challenge, but that certainty...
"Argh!" A muscular pegasus screamed as a gravity spell brought him crashing into the ground.
"No no no! I give!" A lilac unicorn mare surrendered easily after beginning to get overwhelmed in the magical hoof wrestling match.
Slowly started to slip away...
Sunset didn't really expect anypony to be able to resist the force of her spells. She was the strongest unicorn in Equestria, and a specialist in pure power. But what she really wanted was for one of the challengers to actually come back and face her again despite being outmatched.
At least this much will was necessary to become her apprentice. The same kind of will that creates heroes.
It was then that Sunset realized what she was doing wrong. Heroes appear when necessary, when the situation forces normal ponies into going above and beyond what could be expected of them. Her challenge wasn't important enough for that, since it was just a way to demonstrate strength.
The unicorn Knight burned her sign with a fireball spell and started to trot back home, in a bad mood.
It seemed like she would need to think more about that.
That night, the three Knights met back up on the library again, and Twilight listened closely as Trixie and Sunset explained they had tried to find apprentices of their own and failed.
"And I understood that it's hard to find hero-level ponies without having the benefit of a dangerouus situation where their qualities can shine through." Sunset finished her story with that.
"In Trixie's case, it's just that she didn't realize how hard it is to find ponies with the right specialty in such a small place. It was practically a miracle that you managed it." Trixie said.
The two of them were in a bad mood, so Twilight decided the best thing to do would be to make them think about something else.
"Okay. You two didn't manage to do what you wanted today, and will need to rethink your approaches... But brooding about it won't solve anything." Twilight waited a bit, as the two slowly considered her words "And by the way, we should be completely recovered in two or three days. So it would be best for us to start planning our new team training sessions, and thinking about spell research again." Twilight nodded, and the other two became more interested "After all, what have we learned from our first mission that can makes us better Knights?"
That did it. Both Sunset and Trixie had thought about those things for the last days, and really wanted to talk about them.
"Our power still isn't enough. It's good enough for most opponents, but this time our biggest advantage was being able to use Overdrive to charge spells very fast. And this is not the kind of thing we can repeat too often."
"Trixie agrees, but we also need better ways of tracking magic flow and formations so we aren't caught in that kind of trap again. Also, our combination magic was good, so we should try and develop more of it."
"My spells didn't have that much of a direct effect, so I think I should try and develop better offensive spells." Twilight offered "I think perhaps invoking the state of destruction of an object..."
Soon, the three were discussing animatedly all their new ideas and developments, as well as making up new cool arias and chants to use, as well as outlining possible new team attacks.
Twilight smiled upon seeing that the other two had completely forgotten about their earlier bad moods.