Twilight groaned as she woke up. Her body felt like she had just gone fifteen rounds in an all-out magical battle with Sunset, without use of her chaotic magic. She was afraid of going inside her own mindscape because she knew it would be a mess after going no restraints for so long that she had to be stopped by her final counter-measure, the Shred of Self. Still, the unicorn wanted to know how things had gone, so she forced herself to open her eyes and focus.
Her apprentice, Fluttershy, was there.
Feeling better after seeing that things seemed to be fine, Twilight asked "How long was I out?"
The pegasus hesitated for a bit before looking at the unicorn and answering "Three days." Fluttershy waited a moment for Twilight to process that before continuing "Sunset awoke yesterday. Trixie awoke earlier today. She was blind, but Princess Celestia said it was temporary. Something about straining her mind too much?" Fluttershy said the last bit in an unsure tone.
Twilight looked around the room and noticed that it was one of the guest rooms of the castle. It had a nice bed, a big drawer, an elegant table, innofensive decor and big windows with pretty curtains. It was nice, but pretty impersonal. Then Fluttershy spoke again.
"When you're feeling good enough to walk, go to the meeting room green leaf." Fluttershy seemed to be determined "There's something we have to talk about with you three."
Having said that, she left the room, and Twilight could only think about what would be the reason for this "talk".
Still, the Knight was in a great physical condition due to her training, so it didn't take long before she was walking. And then she got to the meeting room. Twilight found that both Sunset and Trixie (the latter with eyes closed and a magic-binding ring on her horn) were in the room, sitting at a table.
Twilight walked over and sat with them before speaking:
"How's your condition?" she asked casually.
"It's as you can see." Trixie answered "I should recover my sight in two or three days, but any use of magic could aggravate my condition, so I have to use this thing." She sounded somewhat annoyed, but only that.
"I already had a good day of recovery since waking up, but I'm not up for anything more than small spells at the moment." Sunset reported "Can't complain when I look at you two, though."
The purple unicorn gave her partner an acid look, before speaking "Even using basic telekinesis is difficult at the moment, but there's nothing specially wrong."
The three fell into silence while they contemplated what had happened. This had been a much more dangerous and difficult mission than their first one, and it really highlighted the fact that as strong, versatile and well-prepared as they were, the three Knights were far from being perfect. There was a lot of luck involved in their recent victory.
"Any idea what was up with that Sonic Rainboom?" Twilight asked Sunset "I didn't know they could release harmonic light."
"Usually they can't." Sunset said in her own variation of the "teaching" tone "They reflect the magical signature of the pegasus, and you know how rare it is to have harmonic magic." There were very few of those even in Celestia's long memory.
"And Rainbow Dash doesn't have it." Twilight finished the thought "Which makes that magic even stranger."
"I ran a few tests. Dash can now do the sonic rainboom more or less at will." Sunset took a deep breath, struggling with the concept she was about to explain, even now "It was a magical shift. Rainbow Dash somehow instinctively created a pattern shifter in her magic that made the sonic rainboom come out in the form of harmony magic." She finished it all in a single breath, like ripping off a bandaid.
Trixie wished she could see Twilight's reaction to that, since her own had been an amazing jaw drop, and she knew the chaotic unicorn was even more interested in this kind of esoteric magic theory. At least her voice (sounding really offended) was still funny.
"That's absolutely ridiculous." Twilight looked like she thought someone was playing a prank on her.
"I know. She can do it whenever by remembering the sensation, but the mechanics are so complex I don't think she will be able to shift her magic into anything else useful." Sunset finalized her report, hoping that Twilight would regain calm soon.
"Of course they're complex!" The purple unicorn looked about ready to go on a rant "Shifting magical patterns is something that defines fringe magical theory. It's not the sort of thing you should be able to do instinctively!" Twilight stopped and took a few deep breathes, trying to calm herself down.
Thankfully, her attention was taken by the doors opening, and the five apprentices entering the room. The three unicorn Knights waited until they were seated and Rarity started to speak.
"I know you're curious about why we called you here, so I'm going to get right to the point." She looked at the other apprentices and they all nodded, Rarity nodding in response "We talked with each other and with the Princesses, and we thought about things a lot... And we came to a decision, we want to become Knights."
The Knights were completely speechless, and Rarity kept on speaking "We thought about how we were able to help but not enough, how you three forced yourselves beyond your limits to protect everypony... There were a lot of reasons, but the point is that we decided to take on the responsiility of Knights. We even thought of ways we can become strong enough to be able to help." Rarity looked up "I heard from Princess Celestia about the artificers, those who create powerful magical instruments, both to help other heroes and to strenghten themselves, and the idea of creating things appeals to me. I would like to follow that path." She bowed slightly. Fluttershy was the next to talk:
"I thought a lot about what empathy means, and about how my magic works, and I think I should be able to do wonderful things if I follow the path of empathy." Fluttershy smiled slightly with her eyes closed. Then Pinkie Pie spoke:
"You said simply learning a little of emotion magic would be enough for most purposes, but becoming a master of it." Pinkie was uncharacteristically serious "You said it was dangerous, but I feel like this is the path I want to tread." She finished while looking at Twilight, and smiled. Applejack was next:
"Ah read a lot of the stories about other ponies who had the Eyes of Truth." She said, not forgetting to put in the proper emphasis "If Ah ken learn how to do a least a few of those things, it should be enough for mah magic to be useful. Following the path of mah antecessors is something that feels right." Applejack looked directly at her teacher. Rainbow Dash took her turn:
"I don't know about all those complex things." She said simply "But I know I can get stronger and more able to deal with the kinds of threats a Knight faces. I'm nowhere near my limit yet. That's the path of Rainbow Dash!" She opened her wings and threw her front hooves to the air. Then Rarity took back the conversation.
"As you can see. And Princess Celestia said we should ask this to you personally, so here we are. Will you accept us not just as apprentices, but as Knight apprentices?" Rarity looked at her teacher expectantly, which was mirrored by the other apprentices.
The three unicorn Knights looked at each other in a slight panic (except Trixie, who merely tried to convey panic in the direction she knew they were in), but quickly got themselves under control, and Sunset decided to speak for them.
"You seem very sure, so I'm only going to ask this once." She said seriously "You'll have to train harder them you ever imagined, you'll take on a huge and weighty responsibility, and you'll face untold dangers, all for the sake of Equestria and those who live in it. Knowing all of that, are you willing to become Knights?" She finished.
"Yes." The five ponies answered without hesitation.
Their teachers looked at each other (again, Trixie was an exception, this time tapping her hoof on the ground to indicate excitement) for a few moments and grinned, then Sunset made it official:
"Then, we accept you five as Knight Apprentices." She spoke in a happy tone.
That was a historical day for the land of Equestria.
Apprentices/Discord Arc End
Next: Squires Arc