On their way out, the four girls encountered Jackie who was following along the path of glowing moss Apple Bloom had left. He glanced around at the five of them, then sighed ruefully. "I want to be angry with you four for going too far from the camp and stumbling into yet another adventure without proper adult supervision. That sort of thing is just too dangerous, and I worry about you all." His eyes then moved to Xu Lin. "However, in this case I don't think I can blame you all." He knelt before Xu Lin. "Temple Guardian?"
"Yes sir," Xu Lin offered nervously.
"Trapped here against your will?"
"Girls figured out the loophole about intruders and came to help?"
"Have a way out?"
"Yes sir!" she offered more enthusiastically.
He nodded. "Then I can't hold this against the girls." Turning, he indicated the box on Apple Bloom's back. "And this?"
"Box of holding," Sweetie explained. "Has a magically crafted copy of every scroll and book in the library. Would have looked for artifacts, too...but the librarian didn't approve."
Jackie blinked in surprise. "There's a librarian?"
"She was nice, if a little weird," Scootaloo observed.
"And you had the spells for copies and fast packing prepared already?" Jackie inquired of Sweetie Belle.
"We were out here looking for a magical library," Apple Bloom pointed out logically. "Kinda figured we'd be pressed fer time one way or anot'er."
He sighed ruefully. "Then I can't really complain. It's hardly your fault you girls are drawn to magic." Bending over, he hefted up the box. "Let's go."
Getting Xu Lin out of the Temple proved easy enough, and Sweetie Belle conscientiously levitated the armor back into the Temple once they were done, right where they'd picked it up from. As interesting as it would have been to study armor connected to such magic, they decided it was better to not actually take anything out of the Temple save knowledge. As they left the area immediately surrounding the Temple, Apple Bloom felt guidance from the bamboo, allowing them to walk straight to Xu Lin's village, reuniting her with her parents.
The monk, meanwhile, noticed the group leaving the Temple one person strong. Realizing there was no longer a Temple Guardian, he moved freely to enter the Temple, making his way unerringly to the Library in search of the Scroll of Hung Chao, which contained secrets of ancient power.
Unknown to him, Luna had removed any scrolls with actual magic power imbued or recorded in them into her personal study after the girls had left. Since the Temple was receiving visitors and no longer had a Guardian, she felt it better to keep track of anything that was actually dangerous. This meant the monk's search was fruitless...and continued well past dawn, as the library had no windows to protect the parchment from changing light conditions. Luna felt the new Guardian would work out splendidly. Driven by greed, he would never ask anyone to assist him as he would fear having the power he sought stolen from him...and he'd never seek to leave until he found that which he sought. And one without innate Moon magic could not touch the scrolls save while the Temple was within the real world under full moon light.
The Temple would be secure for quite some time to become...and it troubled her mind not at all that an old man who sought to use magic for personal gain be trapped for an unknown length of time by his own greed.
While Jackie and the others were investigating the Lotus Temple, Captain Black had his own research to contend with. He'd finally received his information packet regarding the Veil and everything involved with it. Thankfully, the initial packet was the same for everyone, giving him the 'For Dummies' lowdown on the new world he found himself in. This would help him to adjust to the world as it was, and figure out exactly what the laws were and weren't now so he could act against Valmont more efficiently. At the moment, he'd reached the segment covering the 'Class' levels of various living beings. He decided to read through it aloud, just to make sure he was understanding it.
"All things are rated by the magical Class system, ranked from 10 to zero. Identifying the proper Class of what you're dealing with is fundamental to dealing with it properly, as misClassifying a being can cause any number of problems. However, with rare exception, it's relatively easy to determine what Class of being you're dealing with.
"The lowest is Class 10, the fully Mundane..." Captain Black paused as he read that. After all, Mr. Long had referred to him as 'fully Mundane'. This was important to read. "These are beings - humans mostly, but also domestic and wild animals - that have no inherent magical ability or talent. From the perspective of Magical Law Enforcement (MLE), these are civilians, the ones meant to be protected. Mundane means and only the smallest of magics should be necessary for dealing with these." He sat back to stare at the ceiling briefly. "Yeah...that was my world not too long ago..."
After a time, he turned back to the document. "Class 9 have latent magic, but can only use it to maintain the overall balance and functionality of the world. These include the Minish - also called Wee Folk or Borrowers, amongst other names - and Nature Sprites. These can be more or less ignored, as they do their jobs and take care of themselves.
"Class 8 are inherently magical, but have no means of expressing that magic. Examples are difficult to give, as this most commonly manifests randomly amongst Class 10. More often than not, Class 8 tends to be the subject of illegal trafficking, and otherwise will not become an issue.
"Class 7 are beings with inherent magical power that they are able to use by their own will. This is the level most 'magical creatures' will be classified in, such as griffons, manticores, salamanders, and pixies. Specific countermeasures for those magic should be utilized, but otherwise can be handled like normal wild animals, or be reasoned with.
"Class 6 includes any inherently magical being with the capacity to either project its magic as a projectile or spread its magic to other beings. This includes the weaker Fae, vampires, were-creatures, and other similar entities. These must be treated very carefully. Special notation re: The Big Man." Captain Black frowned at that part, but made a note to look at that if he saw it mentioned again.
"Class 5 are those with some ability to command the magical fields naturally," Captain Black continued, pausing here. After all, this was the rank that was apparently important. "This includes magical creatures that work spells, wizards, witches, warlocks, sorcerers...you get the idea." He frowned at the fact 'you get the idea' was written into actual official documentation. However, he quickly discarded his upset and continued reading. "However, one can only be Class 5 if they are above a certain level of capacity to influence the magical fields, the exact judgement of which varies from region to region.
"Class 4 can be divided into two primary categories. The first are magical hybrids who - due to their magical heritage - have a capacity to influence both events and the magical fields above and beyond most normal beings. The second category are magi who have enough power and skill to meet Class 3 entities on an even footing." Captain Black set the papers down for a time. "Uncle...can meet demons on an even footing? ...wow..."
Picking the papers back up, he continued to read. "Class 3 are immortals. This specifically refers to creatures that will not die natural deaths. This can be achieved via various forms of Apotheosis, or impressing the beings of The Jade Council to a degree that it is awarded. However, none have been granted this award since the Eight Immortals that sealed the Demon Brotherhood. Demon Sorcerers, Archangels, Arch Fiends, and other such beings are in this Class.
"Class 2 is demi-gods. There are three types of entities classified as such. The first and smallest group are those whose power is so great that they rival the divine. The second are those who have some degree of divine power, generally through heritage. It is important to note that in this case there is no correlation between 'divine' and 'holy', as it refers to a specific type of magical energy that is not bound by normal magical laws. After all, there are Demon Gods, just as there are Sacred Ones." Captain Black blinked in surprise. "Demon gods? That's...concerning..." He quickly read on. "The third group are those Gods who - for whatever reason - have been removed from The Jade Council. While retaining the full strength of their divine power, they have sacrificed much of their rights as far as its exercise in this regard, and are governed by The Jade Council as all are.
"Class 1, as can thus be deduced, are the Gods. All Gods - whatever their alignment - are members of The Jade Council ever since The Unification which led to The Balance, which allows civilization to continue to grow. The Council is divided into three factions. The Jade Emperor nominally leads The Good faction out of seniority. Oberon, ruler of the Fae, leads The Wild faction. Lucifer Morningstar nominally leads The Dark faction. These three factions debate the laws of Divine which manage magic within the world, and maintain the Veil. So long as they do not break the Laws of the Council, they are allowed free reign within the regions of their power base. The only exception is for Santa Claus, Re: The Big Man."
Seeing this mentioned again, Captain Black flipped ahead to the segment in question. "Santa Claus is classified generally as a Class 6, as 364 days out of the year he is only a focal point of Good Magic. However, in the 24 hours starting on Christmas Eve he is a Class 1 Heirarch, as during that time he can use his magic anywhere in the world to do anything within his dominion, the granting of Christmas wishes. The only thing he is incapable of doing during this time is anything requiring the exercise of magic outside that period of time, and he is not bound by the Laws of the Council in that time."
Captain Black slumped back in his chair as he thought about that. Learning Santa Claus was real was hard enough. Learning that he outranked the Gods on Christmas...he banished the thoughts and turned back to the segment on Class Zero. However, the first thing he noticed was a notification not to read the segment aloud. Curious, he continued.
Class Zero entities are those capable of altering the very fabric of reality with a thought. There are only two Class Zero entities in existence. One is The Creator, the one who with thoughts brings existence into existence. The other is Beast Ragnarok, who with thoughts can erase things from existence. They are equal and opposite, balancing each other. It is one of the duties of The Jade Council to ensure no other beings of Class Zero ever arise, for fear that the possibility of alliance undo that balance and cast all of existence into eternal chaos.
It is for this reason Australia is No Man's Land for magic, and violation of this edict save on direct orders from The Jade Council is punishable by immediate execution and destruction of the Soul.
Surprised, Captain Black quickly flipped through the packet for the segment on Australia...only to find it completely blacked out. Plainly, his security clearance wasn't quite that high...