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The grand rays of light that burned through where darkness once was a few hours ago flooded the valley. A sea of wild flowers basked in the warm glow, sharing with the world a grand display of various purples that ranged from deep violet to gentle lilac and a shade that was almost whiter than snow. Strong pine trees stood like sleeping sentinels between the open valley and the rest of the ageless forest. Small rodents darted around the field of grass and flowers on their endless quest for food and shelter as patient Timberwolves waited behind the trees to see if any potential prey would step into the shadows in front of them. Celestia's sun held unchallengeable dominion over the land with the vibrant intensity of life itself. Every last spot in the valley was claimed by the light, and by extension by the immortal Alicorn.
Except for the spot that was occupied by small house made of dark grey bricks and neon purple mortar. That spot was shaded by a thick pink cloud that hovered motionless over the house in the center of the valley. Natural light failed to penetrate the cloud to reach the house under it.
A window on the odd house flew open and a powerful explosion declared to the valley that something definitely happened inside and that something might be dangerous. Thick smoke poured out the window and sunk low to the ground. Frost formed on the stone where the smoke rolled down and the pounding of thunder roared from the descending mass. The small animals among the flowers fled without aim or direction in a mindless panic. Some rampaged into burrows and some went straight towards the wolves behind the trees. The hunters had already fled before the first mouse reached the trees. Frost slowly spread over the entire house as the unnatural smoke flowed around the house as if intentionally forming a barrier around it. Several flowers uprooted themselves and backed away from the structure before replanting themselves.
The last echo of the blast faded into nothing and the fog of scorched air began to fade away. The thin frost started to melt and the window slowly closed. Flowers that had relocated had no interest in moving back into their original places and the foragers that fled the valley were long gone. Animals who hid in their dens waited in silence it see if the world was going to end. The silence of the valley was the same as it was before the explosion but was now eerie instead of tranquil. The illusion of safety was gone and the sun was powerless to change that.
Screwball wiped her brow with her hoof and deeply inhaled. Chaos Magic was not meant to be controlled or manipulated. The only way to channel that was relatively safe was to start a spell and then twist and bend the energy in mid-casting until it was what you wished it to be. The problem with the method was that the more advanced the spell was, the more alterations you had to apply while the spell was taking shape. The more you tried to command chaos; the more it would fight you. Screwball sat under the closed window in silence as her hoof moved from her head. Halfway through the casting, the magic rebelled and temporarily blinded her. She reflected on her father's mastery of the contradictory art of using Chaos Magic. With a sigh, she lamented the cultural shift and changes in language. It used to be pronounced 'Magik'.
The filly continued to sit and wait for her vision to clear. The explosion occurred in the spot where the smoke touched the outside air. Plugs of cork and cotton fell out of her ears and it felt like cool air rushed in. The air smelled like scorched metal, raw mana, and for some reason it also smelled like caramel and cabbages. Her experiments were growing more and more violent and pronounced. Screwball wondered how long it would take for the rest of the world to discover her. With a snort and a hum she pondered over a bigger question: Why hasn't she been discovered yet? Granted her house would teleport around Equestria but the trail of magic was detectable by any Unicorn who had an awakened horn.
The thick veil of playfully spiteful energy lifted from her eyes and the room was revealed to her. Screwball got fed up with her constantly changing mind about where to put her furniture. Constantly rearranging tables, bookshelves, chairs, boxes and her bed was a hassle. Her solution was to enchant them so that they would aimlessly float around her home, phasing through walls and floors during their random migration. Her bed hovered in front of her and a soot coated work bench was smearing thick grime on her favorite pillow. The plush doll in the likeness of her father was squirming around trying to get out from between her quilt and the object that seemed intent of changing the color scheme of her bed. Her floor was covered in a layer of thin frost but for some reason the bright orange rug was untouched by the creeping cold. Screwball raised an eyebrow at the rug as she got to her hooves. It used to have the same pattern and colors as her mane.
The Daughter of Chaos trotted across the frozen floor until her hooves touched down on the pleasantly warm wool threads of her new rug. The state of her house didn't matter to her at the moment. There was a lot of work that had to be done and the only way she was going to get through it was if she simply kept on doing it. The lack of having a capable teacher to guide her studies had proven to be a very powerful obstacle in her but she refused to be deterred. One way or another, she was going to get her father back.
Screwball stretched her limbs and looked up at an impressive looking ball of electric blue fire. The product of her experiment hovered in place and almost blended in with the rest of the room. Her power sparked and flexed as she gripped the ball with her mind. With slow and careful weaving of magic, she moved the flame across the room and held it over a cauldron full of molten copper. Screwball took a deep breath and opened the window before forcefully slamming the fire into the cauldron like a fruit bat on a perfect peach.
Out of a small hole a field mouse poked his nose out and sniffed the air frantically. The commotion from earlier was very unpleasant. The rest of his head crept out and his body followed. The scary noise did not prelude the end of the world. Perhaps it was safe to come out and forage. He took his chances and slowly wandered from the safety of his nest. Lightly stepping further and further into the grass field yielded no signs of danger. Whatever made the noise must have left.
The orb of heat and magic sunk into the melted copper. Screwball braced herself for another explosion as her earplugs went snugly back into place. The Draconequus doll hid under her pillow and covered his ears. The filly watched the cauldron and waited for results. The soft bubbling of the metal slowly began to resemble the pounding of iron hammers as anticipation turned to anxiety. A soft pop came out and the scent of blueberry brownies flooded the room. Screwball sat in a daze as she stared at the pot. There was no explosion. There was no arc flash. There was no tear in the fabric of reality. She didn't accidently create a small lake that cloned ponies who went for a dip. She didn't create a giant worm that produced a chemical substance that allowed one to bend space and know the future. There were no accidents or mistakes. There was only the future.
Screwball slowly closed the window and approached the cauldron. The bubbling had stopped and no heat was radiating from the contents. She reached with her power and turned it onto its side and a small object tumbled out. It was glowing hot and brought a wide grin to Screwball's face. The object was a simple cap that was built specifically for her head. The overheated hat had a small propeller on top of it. Screwball watched as the beanie started to burn a hole in her rug. The smell of smoking wool filled the room and a grin grew a little mischievous. Her power slowly massaged the surface of her creation and dispersed the heat through the room. The frost covered floor was quickly robbed of the frozen water and the windows became fogged over. The glowing subsided and she placed it on her head. The chaotic device rested snugly over her mane and a strong field of energy on the inside rim locked it to her aura. With a determined poke, she spun the propeller. The blades twirled until the force of her hoof had run its course and the device stopped. With a satisfied nod she made her way to the door.
Screwball's hooves landed on cold grass as she stepped outside. She saw that all of the flowers were for some reason farther away from her house than she remembered. The silence of the valley hang as obstructing as the cloud that blocked the sun. With a grin she waved her hoof casually and gave her beanie propeller a twirl. The cloud drifted off while stretching and fading into nothing. The sun lit up her stone sanctuary and the cold earth beneath her hooves. If she didn't have Celestia's attention before; she would definitely have it by the end of the day.
The propeller kept twirling and Screwball nodded to herself. Her magic pulsed and pushed the blades into a more fevered pace. With a soft breath she sent her power through her body, softening her bones and limbs. As her body weight reduced, she began to feel her new headgear pull her head upwards. As her body's resistance reduced, she felt the mild discomfort in her neck fade away. Her hooves left the ground as her limp form was pulled off the ground by a hat that snugly gripped her head. Her legs hung and swayed like branches in the wind as she gained more height. Â Her focus pushed her body gently into her normal standing pose instead of looking like a puppet that might walk on her hind legs alone. As her eyes became level with distant trees a smile came across her face. Even if the device suddenly failed and dropped her; she would forever remember the fact that even if just for a little while she had achieved lift. Her power slowed the blades and her steady ascension turned into slowly descending. A small increase in force turned her downward drift into a hover.
The Spawn of Discord laughed softly as she tilted her head and turned around to look over the rest of the valley. She was above her house and it almost looked like the flowers had tilted upwards to look at her. The old saying about the sky being the limit now had a very different subtext. She ascended further until her body was above the more distant trees. The flowers looked like small dots of color on a green field. The filly was filled with an overwhelming sensation of what could only be described as winning. An Earth Pony child was now in a domain that only Pegasi reached for. Screwball spun in place and watched the twirling landscape. It was as if she was watching the planet turn. Granted if that world had actually achieved the speed that she perceived, it would be grounds for a great deal of concern for a lot of reasons; but the innocent illusion encouraged a giggle. The absurdity of the giant spherical collection of solids, liquids, and gases suddenly accelerating to a speed that could be clearly observed was several flavors of ridiculous.
One might call it against all logic. One might call it chaos. Screwball called it fun.
The filly rose higher into the sky and looked at distant mountains. She resumed hovering and leaned forward. Slowly her body began drifting forward. Screwball wondered if what she was feeling was what Pegasus children felt on the first day where going up didn't immediately lead into coming back down. The concept of moving forward while one's legs remained still was indescribable. Her hooved playfully kicked at nothing as she slowly flew over trees. She didn't know where she was going and she didn't care. Screwball was off the ground. She felt true freedom. Gravity was a force to be mocked and ignored. A sturdy pair of wings would exhaust themselves. A horn could run out of mana. Her machine was not hindered by mortal inconveniences. It might one day break down or need repair but the unspoken natural law that kept her grounded was shattered. The amount of power she needed to start the blades was insignificant and keeping them turning was the beanie working without her help or command. Perpetual lift was solidly achieved and it had been accomplished with only a few disappointments. Her previous attempts got her off the ground for only a short time and she only ever got high enough to observe spider webs above her windows. Flying over the forest was an entirely different level.
Screwball stopped and changed course. Gaining altitude and moving forward were very possible but now she wanted to see how high and how fast she could go.
Screwball's front hooves gripped the sides of her beanie as her hind legs and tail tucked against her chest. Her frame tilted upright as she approached the clouds. One large gathering of suspended water and ice gradually became closer and with a tense sort of anticipation. Screwball knew that there would be nothing waiting in the cloud but there was that distinctive 'what if' that pulled her closer. She had never been inside a cloud before. She had never been this high up before. The day was just packed with new possibilities and experiences and she wanted to touch and taste them all at least twice.
Propeller blades neatly chopped away at the hovering collection of the things that clouds were made of. The filly wearing the hat lifted through the cloud and soaked up the sensation of being inside a cloud. She felt tiny shards of ice gently brush aside as she ascended. It was almost like being outside under very fine hail. The sudden rush of cold sensations penetrating her coat and mane felt like victory. Screwball's head poked out from above the cloud and she looked to the horizon. A domain only seen by Pegasus ponies had been claimed by an earthbound misfit. With a deep breath of thin air she gave the sun a defiant look. The burning rays did nothing.
Screwball rose above the cloud and took a moment to realize how high off the ground she was. The world looked different than it did before. A giggle turned into a jubilant laugh as she twirled in the air. Caution was thrown to the wind and she screeched across the sky at break neck speed. Her entire morning had been in violation of the laws of logic and gravity. She basked in the fruits of her labor. The world had stopped being a lonely void and turned into a boundless toy. Flight had been achieved; what else could she do? What other limitations could be shattered? What limits had she yet to even meet?
Screwball stopped abruptly as her ears perked up at a distinct sound. She waited and heard it again. Stones were cracking. A smile that could only be called sinister stretched over her face as the echoes continued to whisper through her head. Chaos had staked a claim over the land; and the old master has stirred in his sleep.
A familiar laughter swept through the clouds as they turned dark. She could have sworn that they now had the scent of chocolate.