Sparks Catch

by Tale Swapper

Epilogue: Hotspots

Adagio stared at her sister. Sonata glanced at Adagio, then carefully posed herself in the same position beside her, before opening her mouth the to mirror the girl beside her.

As one, the two girls said "Huh?"

Aria turned her hand over, inspecting he gauntlet she'd formed over her fist. "Yeah, I know. I'm just as surprised as you guys, but at least I've got some magic back." Looking up, she grinned at her sisters. "And, since you had headaches too, I'm guessing you have your own powers waiting to come out."

Adagio glanced at the fading gauntlet. "But it's not our siren powers back. Or at least, you didn't get them back."

"Nope." She shrugged. "Sunset said we'll likely get powers which match what we want to do- so for all I know, you might get something like your siren powers. But, I kind of doubt it."

Adagio sighed and rubbed her head. "I suppose, then" she slowly said "that your plans to work with the Rainbooms haven't changed."

Sonata stared at Aria, and before she could respond, cut her off. "You spent the night with them, twice, right?" As Aria hesitantly nodded, the blue girl continued. "So... Rainbow or Applejack?"

As Adagio blinked, Aria's eyes widened. "What are you talking about-"

Sonata grinned. "You mentioned helping someone with fighting, but your posture shifted, and you actually had to bite back a grin. You found a new sparring partner, right? And that means someone athletic, so-"

"Applejack." Aria said, looking spooked. "Nata, the way you read people's body language..."

"Yeah, it's saved out butts a bunch of times." Sonata grinned. "So- is she just a sparring partner, or is she a sparring-"

Aria's eyes bulged. "NATA!"

As Sonata started cackling and Aria started yelling, Adagio looked down at her hands. Aria was always standing up to adversity; for herself or for us. Getting a suit of armor, especially one which gets stronger the more people's anger focuses on her, matches her really well. Sonata and I, though what will our magic do for us?

Adagio let a small frown form on her face. And how will I use it?

Celestia Everfree, principal of Canterlot High School, looked up from the paperwork on her desk. While she'd expected quite a few heated letters between herself and parents over the new forces bubbling up in her school, she had not expected the transfer request sitting on her desk. She'd originally thought it a joke, but a call to the Velvet-Light residence had confirmed the request.

Twilight Sparkle transferring to this school could be a blessing in disguise- or a curse of the worst sort. If she can help Sunset without disrupting too much, she may help our resident expert get a grip on magic faster. Considering her disruption last Friday, however, she may do more damage before the situation stabilizes.

Celestia sighed. She had no intention to turn the girl away; despite the pointed email Cinch sent. Cinch didn't make any pointed threats, or even veiled accusations. Her hands are tied- and I suspect Cadence had a hand in that. Twilight Velvet had made it abundantly clear that her daughter's story was both believed and detested, and that the news of both intellectual equals and friendships at CHS had been more than enough to sway the woman's mind.

Still, that paperwork would have to be set aside for now. Looking up, Celestia walked to the door and looked out at the four figures waiting in her lobby. As she opened the door, she beckoned in Sunset Shimmer, who immediately removed a notebook at clipboard from her pack. "Sunset, thank you for coming. If you'll go ahead and set up in my office, we can get started." Turning back to the remaining figures, she cleared her throat. "Ms. Lulamoon, come in."

As Trixie entered, she crossed her arms with a humph. "Trixie does not know why she is here- what occurred was a complete accident!" Trixie turned to the other figure. "And Trixie also does not know why the- why Shimmer is here."

Celestia nodded as she sat down. "I believe you are correct. However, we still need to discuss what happened." Nodding to Sunset, she continued. "Sunset also has the greatest knowledge concerning magic of any here at CHS. She may be able to help you stabilize yours."

Trixie's scowl deepened. "Trixie has control over herself in every way! She does not need the help of a-"

Sunset cut her off. "So you meant your new homemade smoke bomb to cover the entire cafeteria in smoke? You meant your new sparklers to blind three students?" Sunset shook her head. "You haven't hurt anyone yet, but those sort of unrestrained alchemical reactions are a sign of excess mana infusion."

Trixie's scowl held for a moment, then faded. "All I wanted to do was to Create wonder, not overwhelm the audience." She frowned. "And from what Pinkie Pie said of the other Trixie, should I not have illusion magic?"

Sunset opened her mouth, then closed it. "I'll have to ask Pinkie how she knows that, but I suspect I won't like the answer. However, we've already seen some deviations from what magics a person and their counterpart gain. The other Trixie wants to pretend to be the greatest mage who ever lived- you just want to have the greatest show ever. Different goals, different methods, different magics."

As Celestia listened to the banter back and forth, her phone buzzed in her pocket. Looking down at the message, she smiled. Standing, she spoke. "Sunset, I need to greet a visitor outside. Can you handle the three new mages while I'm away?"

Sunset blinked. "I think so. I mean, I can;t hand out punishments, but I can record what they're capable of-"

"None of these three need to be punished." Celestia grinned. "All of them simply suffered accidents."

Sunset nodded. "Thank you for trusting me, ma'am." Then a look of realization crossed over her face. 'Wait, is it-"

"Luna informed me that our new tutor is arriving from the other side." Celestia nodded, ignoring Trixie's puzzled expression. "I'm going to go meet him now."

As Celestia left her office, she passed Flash Sentry and Sweetie Belle, each slouched in separate chairs. Sweetie's idle humming and Flash's darting eyes stilled as Celestia passed, but she paid them no mind.. Moving out into the hallway, she quickly made her way to the front of the building.

Luna stood next to the statue (thankfully restored to its old position- although the horse was now sticking out its tongue) beside a stocky man in a long-sleeved, buttoned shirt and cargo pants. As Celestia approached, he hesitantly centered himself on his feet, then pulled himself into a rough salute. As Celestia came up next to him, he allowed himself to relax, allowing Celestia to get a better look at him. Blue-gray hair with a dull gray streak framed a dark-skinned face, and his schooled expression and natural parade rest stance showed his bearing.

Celestia extended a hand. "Hello there, Mr.-"

For a moment, the man examined Celestia's extended hand, then hesitantly brought up his own to match her shake. "Apologies, ma'am. You remind me much of Princess Celestia." He nodded. "Lieutenant Idol Hooves, Canterlot Royal Guard, at your service."

Celestia nodded. "Thank you. I assume you'll be our tutor with the new magic?" As Idol nodded, Celestia continued "If you don't mind me asking, why were you assigned to this task? I assumed we'd be getting a tutor or theorist to assist us."

Idol nodded. "The princess believed I would make a good instructor due to my passing familiarity to multiple types of magic, nonstandard magical applications skills, and high adaptability as is common to my race." He then frowned slightly. "The princess was planning on coming here to explain this in person, but upon our arrival in Ponyville, she was forced to attend to an urgent matter of emerging royalty. She left me to introduce myself alone, as she was uncertain when she might be available again."

Luna blinked. "Emerging royalty" is a strange euphemism for a birth, Mr. Hooves."

Idol blinked. "I am not speaking about live birth, ma'am. Apparently, Twilight Sparkle shared some information with her friends, which led to an unexpected ascension."


Celestia Solaris, princess of Equestria, had possibly the best understanding of the normal pony psyche of any in Equestria. Those few who could possibly match her understanding (whose numbers included professional psychologists, a few lawyers, and Pinkie Pie) usually recognized her supremacy regardless, as her ability to plan events well in advance was legendary among scholars and feared by the nobility. More than one noble house had fallen in their dreams of conquest or carefully planned coups when they discovered that the solar diarch had planned circles around them.

Still, even Celestia could be surprised on occasion. For all her contingency planning, there were still random elements to the world, and Celestia had long learned that sometime,s you had to scrap your plans and start over. When the cosmic twang she'd heard twice before had echoed through her head, she'd been absolutely flabbergasted.

Somepony managed to ascend. But- As Celestia rose into the air, she frowned. It's too close to me for it to be Shining Armor, so it must be a Ponyville native. I suppose Rarity could have recalled Inspiration Manifestation and managed to control the power, or Rainbow Dash shatter the laws of physics. Or PInkie, for that matter. Shifting her perceptions, she pulled herself into the ethereal plane. Whichever of them it is, I'd best tamp down their enthusiasm- after all, being a princess is-

She blinked as she saw the huddled yellow-and-pink form sitting in the center of the endless white plain. Or, it could be Fluttershy.

As Celestia approached, Fluttershy raised her head. "Princess? Is that you? Where am I?"

Celestia knelt down next to Fluttershy. "We are on the ethereal plane, where all that is and could be may form." Tilting her head, she frowned. "I did not expect to find you here, Fluttershy. If you don't mind me asking, what were you doing before you arrived here?"

Fluttershy looked down at her hooves. "It was Rainbow Dash. She was trying out a new trick, trying out something Twilight mentioned, trying to accelerate to a running leap from a standing start. But she missed an opening in the trees and crashed right into a branch, at her fastest speed." She shuddered. "Dash's wing was broken, and I- I went to her, and-"

"She healed Dash." Twilight approached, her own wings fanned behind her. "I'd told her about her counterpart, and she- she channeled her Pegasus magic to heal Rainbow Dash. It nearly killed her- but then she vanished." Twilight glanced up. "Celestia- does this mean-"

Fluttershy squeaked. 'Wait- no, no no!" As the two alicorns watched ,Fluttershy was pulled into he air, squeaking softly before vanishing in a pink blaze.

As the princesses watched, Celestia sighed. "This may be a joyous day, but I fear for the headache this will cause."

Twilight's face twisted into a massive smile. "Yeah, but my friends can handle it." She shook her head. "When I told her about what her counterpart was capable of, I didn't expect her to replicate it! If Fluttershy can ascend- why not Pinkie? Or Applejack? Could all of us-"

"You might all ascend some day, I suppose." Celestia murmured. "But, I was not talking about her headache- Twilight- I was talking about mine. The nobles are going to throw a fit- again."

Without another word, Celestia fell back into normal space, shaking her head. All my plans, and I never accounted for something like this.

Still, she thought as she winged towards the Everfree forest, and the heartbeat of the newest Equestrian Alicorn, It seems to me that the changes which come will make the world far brighter than it was.

I may not know what comes next- but I think I'm looking forward to it regardless.