"Aur?" I heard Shim's soft voice and I stirred, stretching in awkward poses before I stood.
"Yea? Are we there?" I asked.
"Mhm," she pointed to the window.
"Alright! So, let's see how good you are at magic!" I teleported us off the train and onto the rocks that led into the endless dunes of the badlands. The train took off immediately.
I was wide awake and excited now.
"Sunset, what is the one thing that is not in a desert?" I asked, tapping my hoof and looking around the air, feelings its dryness with my muzzle.
"Um, water?" She asked, unsure at my actions that suggested a trick question was asked.
"Correct, get me water now. Without lifting your hoof from the ground," I smirked at her and trotted around her.
"Wait, what? You're insane, nopony can do that!" She argued.
"Well, I guess you'd never make it through this journey then. Time to take you home!" I announced.
"No, wait! I can do this, just let me think of something," Sunset began.
"Thinking takes too long in an almost endless desert. Twilight barely made it through here from what she told me. And they started out pretty wet and hydrated," I commented, "every second could be used to be traveling. Every second your scent wafts to the horrors of this place," I sung.
"Oh, shut up. Like you would dare let anything harm me."
"Hahaha, I take my role as teacher very seriously. Magic is my life, Shim," I stopped going around her and stood in front of her, "have you thought of something?" Sunset's horn lit up a bright sky blue. Her face was scrunched in effort, maybe a little pain. It looked like she was struggling to move something too heavy.
I felt water at my hooves and looked down to see my hooves in a puddle, the stone sunken in a bit.
"Well done! That mean you can definitely make food for the trip! Transmutation of a completely different matter to another is very hard to accomplish, let alone control. It's easier when you work with similar materials and rearrange their composition with your magic to make a different compound, but you knew that didn't you?" I asked, leaning my head in close to look at her eyes. She hung head while she heaved in and out breaths.
"I...did," she managed out.
"If you can cast spells you've never done with pure magic, you'll graduate super fast once your magic energy pool grows larger," I lifted her head back up with my own and she smiled, "time to go!" I flapped my large wings and took into the air.
"But-but-," I cut Sunset off.
"Surely you read the wing incantation I've written. Cast it," I smirked, knowing her too well.
"I...fine," she sighed and charged her horn. Sparks flew everywhere from it and the stone around her began to light up in the blue her coat was being tinted.
Two blue lights sprung from her back and grew out while orange wings formed, real wings. Her face was scrunched hard while she continued the spell. She stopped casting and her horn was a bright sheen once both of the wings were fully formed.
"Shim, your horn is beautiful," I landed in front of her and peered closer at it, able to see myself stretch awkwardly in a reflection of me on her magic conductor.
"What do you mean?" She asked with a red tint.
"Your magic use is starting to polish it to that of a great mage's already. Starlight might be jealous," I chuckled and nuzzled her cheek with mine before I turned back and took to the air.
"Are you gonna make me fly, too? I'm already a little tired."
"Fly. Time to learn," I smiled and glided about the air.
She flapped her wings and clumsily lift herself off the ground. She flailed her hooves the moment she left the ground and fell back to the stone again.
"You'll figure it out eventually. Eventually," I laughed, doing a loop in the air and circling around her.
Sunset struggled for the next several minutes with hovering and then moving. She slowly made progress as she kept attempting. Eventually she was able to stay in flight. I began to move at a slow pace, leading the way south towards Klugetown.
"See, not that hard, is it?" I asked, looking back with a smirk.
"Whatever, Aura. It's harder than you think," she frowned at me.
"You get the hang of it after years of flying with them, just don't get used to them. You always want to get rid of them whenever you enter an area with high magic or you don't need them. Having magic interference remove them for you is very painful," I faced forward and increased my speed to that of the normal weather ponies. Sunset struggled to reach my speed, but she eventually did.
"Could we take a break?" Sunset asked after a while of silent.
"Wings hurt?" I chuckled.
"I've never flown long before," Sunset whined a bit in her tone.
"Well, we're gonna keep flying until I can see Klugetown so don't give up now."
I loved her, but seeing her grow as my student is more important than being merciful, spoiling her, and treating her like my princess. Though, that will definitely come later. I needed to see her get stronger. Equestria knows what will await us in our future.
"Shadow Aura, come on now," she whined again.
"Shim, we need to keep going. I don't want this trip to last more than a day or two. Twilight went there and arrived by nightfall, we can do better than that!" I noted, "I might be a bit obsessed with out doing that alicorn," I chuckled.
"My wings are killing me," Sunset once again complained.
"Let them," I remained firm.
She said nothing after, staying silent as she flew behind me for quite a while. I lost track of time in my head from our discussion, but it couldn't have been any longer than forty-five minutes. I eventually did see Klugetown in the distance and landed on the stone path to our right, Sunset followed.
I turned back and saw that she lit her horn up and her wings disappeared from her back in a soft blue light. She dispelled them rather quickly and easily.
"Relieved?" I asked with a smile.
"Feels so much better!" She wiggled her torso.
"You know you could have stopped to dispel and recast them, you wouldn't have any pain," I chuckled and began a fast canter down the stone path to the town.
"Why didn't you tell me?!" Sunset was a bit peeved at me.
"I wanted to see if you could figure out yourself," I chuckled while she caught up to my side.
"I didn't know if you'd let me!"
"I think I implied that all magic but long distance teleportation was allowed, right?" I smirked.
Klugetown was getting closer, I heard Twilight had a friend here. Chester, I think that's what his name was. Perhaps he would see us and introduce himself.
"Mean," Sunset muttered.
"Hmmm...Princess Sunset Shimmer, sounds a little long. What do you think?" I decided to play a little game.
Silent. That's what she was. I peeked over and she had one of the goofiest smiles and biggest blushes over her face. I suppressed my laughter, but I felt my lips curl into a smile. I nudged her with my torso.
"Didn't mean to make you quieter than Spike being teased by Rarity," I chuckled, "just ten or so more minutes and we'll be close enough to smell the supposed stench of this place. I have some good plans for it," I started to think on ways to improve the city.
Turn back time on some materials, levitate trash out into the desert, transmute better streets, maybe do some food multiplication. I would most certainly focus on fixing things that look like they are on their last limb of life.
"Like?" Shim asked.
"You'll see. Magic is a wonderful tool, is it not?" I laughed, watching the city approach closer to our eyes.
That's how the desert is, you get so used to traveling for so long, it's like things approach you and you don't approach them. You forget your hooves are moving and feel like you're floating through the water ridden place. Though we flew most of the way, it was the same principle.
"Could we stop for a moment?" Sunset asked.
"Of course, it'd be a good time to rehydrate before we enter," Sunset began to cast a transmutation spell at my words and turned some of the stones to water, drinking it right off the warm sand before it could seep into it. She strained herself again.
I shot a beam into the sands next to the path and formed a large metal cup before transmuting the sand in it to water. I levitated it to my lips and drank greedily. I was very thirsty after we spent our time flying fast over the desert. I scooped more sand into it and transmuted again, Sunset stared.
"What?" I asked with a smirk.
"You're too good at magic," she gave me quite a look.
"Hahaha, my title demands I am. Don't worry, you'll get really good," I said and drank again before I set the cup down onto the stones gently.
Sunset used it to do what I did, drinking two glasses from it before she started trotting again. I quickly hurried to remain next to her, she was trotting off center from her large use of magic. She bumped into me multiple times.
"Sorry, I guess I kinda stressed myself far with the transmutation spells," she apologized.
"It's fine, Shim," I laughed, "you and those other six taught me what it's like to have friends, be a friend. I may still be learning how to be a good coltfriend, but the least I can do is offer you to lean against me."
"Thanks, Aur. You're great," she spoke softly and leaned against me while she trotted. I had part of her weight pressing on my left side so I had to press back to keep her up.
We kept silent for quite a ways until Klugetown really overlooked us. It was a town made of cracked, old wood that looked to be rotting and decaying in some areas. It definitely boasted height and awnings of ripped cloth. Some of the structuring even looked like it used to have grandeur in it.
"Why do you think I was made into an alicorn?" I asked with no words leading into the conversation.
"Why do you think I became an alicorn? I don't understand friendship as much as Twilight, I'm not a natural leader, and my name doesn't even associate with a cosmic event!" I bellowed deeply, exercising many tones to exaggerate my point.
"I don't know. Maybe it was fated to be?" Sunset prompted and stood onto her hooves properly
"Of course it was, but why? What event caused me to become an alicorn?" I asked openly.
"Do you think the world or Evermore knew your body couldn't handle the magic you were getting with its current form?" Sunset started the possible explanation I had already done.
"I also said that, but that didn't make much sense unless I was bound for more insane adventures. I hope I'm not," I said aloud, approaching the entrance to Klugetown.
"I do too, it'd be nice to live a quiet life now," Sunset said and nuzzled her head into my neck and I returned the gesture.
"Well, my magic CAN be noisy," I chuckled while we entered the dimmer sand paths. I found the streets completely empty, "I'm going to get started now!"
I charged magic into my horn and shot out multiple rays of magic, shifting time backwards on some things while I transmuted others to different materials. I only transmuted rust to metal or water-damaged wood back to normal wood. I went down the street, continuing to release and stop the beams of time and transmutation magic as I began to improve the town aesthetically and practically. Many of the items around also looked like they were at the end of their lifetime and I repaired them too.
"Shadow Aura, how do you have that much magic?!" Sunset stared at me with wide eyes.
"Years and years of mastery, fine-tuning, and using i have grown my pools to be large, I suppose. Alicornhood might also have something to do with it."
"Hey! Ponies!" I heard an enchanting voice ahead and saw some kind of bipedal feline creature dash out of and alley and strut towards us, he wore a red coat with a large collar and gold studs to button it with. I stopped my spell and quickly put up a shield around Sunset and I.
"There's no need to be so harmful with your actions. I have no intent to hurt either of you," he, it was definitely male, spoke with a slow and refined tone that could easily lure ponies into him thinking they are safe.
"Who are you?" I asked and kept the shield up. Sunset was quiet during our exchange.
"Why I'm Capper. Capper the Cat at your service," he bowed.
"Do you know Rarity?" I questioned next.
"Miss Rarity? Are you a friend of hers?" He pipped up with bright green eyes.
I took down my shield and knew this is who I was looking for.
"We are, both of us. We're just traveling through."
"Traveling through?" He laughed a little, "with the work you've done, you deserve a break. This town always did look drab, but not part of it at least looks lively, fresh, and before the Storm King came around!" He clapped his hands together, "I don't believe I got your names."
"I'm Sunset Shimmer," Shim finally spoke up.
"And I'm Shadow Aura," I announced.
"Come on, follow me," he beckoned and turned around, walking. I followed after, "so are you THE Shadow Aura? The one who ultimately defeated the Storm King? The Prince of Magic we've been hearing about?"
"News travels fast," Sunset whispered.
"I wish it didn't," I whispered back.
"Yes, I am."
"I apologize for my lack of etiquette," he bowed while walking backwards, still leading us on, "be careful, prince. These streets can be dangerous."
"Do not worry for us, we are both powerful mages," I answered.
"Very well," he sounded disheartened at his downplay of his charm, "I'll show you two back to my home."
"Unfortunately, we must be going. We have a long journey ahead of us," I informed and began to blast my time and transmutation spells all around again, sprucing the town up.
I saw a broken windmill, barely turning in the distance and I targeted it with one focused spell, shooting a large bolt at it. The entire area began to get young again, the wood looking freshly built and the sent of wood filled my nostrils while the blade reformed and the structure itself was repaired. I peeked at Capper, his mouth open while my magic spread over the town from the windmill in the center, changing back time and damage.
"Don't be so awestruck, he's done more than that," Sunset nudged my side and giggled.
"I can do so much more than just THAT!" I said and shot multiple balls of magic into the sky that floated up.
I kept my horn lit and had my magic in the air gather clouds from all over together, creating an area of high pressure in them. Rain soon began to fall from the clouds into the heat scorched town. The citizens of the town began to come out, smiling wide despite their ugly and horrendous appearances. Somepony could easily mistake them as a kind of monster if they weren't so civil acting. They all walked around in the rain, playing, enjoying it.
"Ahh, that feels so good after the desert," Sunset looked up at the rain before losing her eyes.
"B-b-but...I've never seen anything like it!" Capper threw his arms into the air, rejoicing in the water, "thank you so much, Prince Shadow Aura! You MUST let me treat you to something!" He leaned right up into my face.
"No need to, but if you know of a way to get to Hippogriffia without flying the entire distance, that would be of some help," I noted.
"Oh, I know some guys who would love to give you a lift over there in their airship," he pointed to the windmill at an airship that was hanging high above it.
"How did I not notice that?" I asked aloud.
Sunset giggled at me.
"Let us go there then," Capper danced around and strutted forward. We followed him in silence.
We were getting a lot of stares from the people, some of them hurried along, scared. I knew Twilight came here, but I didn't know what she did. Some of them smiled at us, waving.
"What in Tartarus happened here?" Sunset whispered.
"I'm not quite sure if they know I brought the rain or if this was Twilight's doing," I whispered back.
"Twilight? I remember her and her friends. They're wonderful ponies, some of the people here are just scared a little by magic since Tempest marched through recently. Me and my friends have tried to get some to come around," Capper said.
"A noble goal, Capper. I don't delve into that, I only handle my knowings of magic, but I know that can be quite a job," I smiled at him.
"I hope you don't judge this town too harsh. It used to be a lot worse than this," he opened the doors to the windmill and led us in.
"You have my word," I said and followed him in, heading up staircases along the walls before Capper got to a ladder. I awkwardly climbed it behind him, Sunset behind me.
"This is my home, it's not much, but it's a place to live," Capper said.
"Ah, it's not bad. I'm not big on comforts and pampering like the renown Prince Blueblood," I vomited out his name and earned a laugh from Shim.
I looked around, the room was in better condition than some of the town was before I sprinkled it with magic. It was super simple, some decorations of travels around the room, a map of the city against the wall. The bed looked too firm to be comfortable with its blue blanket.
"Well, you two said you were in a hurry to Hippogriffia," Capper sighed out and reached out his window, clambering up a rope ladder.
"Sunset, now would be a time to give those wings another flap," I chuckled and remembered the pain she handled in the desert.
I trotted to the window and jumped out, gliding down. I flapped my wings hard and lifted myself back up, landing on the deck of the airship. It was just a large blimp with a ship as the hull, hanging from ropes. Crates filled the top deck, so did sabers, spears, and other weapons in open barrels. Cannons were next to the holes made for them.
"Who are you?" A bipedal bird with a green bandanna wrapped over her head towered over me. She looked exactly like a pirate would.
"Prince Shadow Aura. I was told you might have a way to get to Hippogriffia," I stated my intentions.
"Sorry, sorry. It looks like he got up here before I did," Capper jogged up from the staircase in the center of the deck, closing the trapdoor there.
"Do you know him?" She asked.
Sunset landed next to me, breathing a little harder.
"We need to really get you to fly more," I whispered with a chuckle.
"Oh, shut up," she defended terribly.
"He's Prince Shadow Aura. He's the one who took out the Storm King in that huge blast of magic. He actually jsut fixed up the entire town if not almost all of it!" Capper threw his arms into the air.
"Oh, so you're the one who was blasting his magic everywhere? Impressive, little pony," she ruffled my mane.
"Little? I'll show you little," I grumbled with my pride hurt.
Sunset chuckled at me.
"Well, I guess we could give you a lift, are you wanting to go now or som-," she started.
"Now, I'm on a very time-critical schedule," I half-lied.
"Well, Capper. Untie the ladder and we'll get them both there really quickly," she announced. and walked to the other side of the ship.
"Will do!" He exclaimed and went back the way he came.
"Stations! Set course for Hippogriffia!" The bird pirate yelled while ringing the bell.
Noises of all kinds of movement came from all over the shipa nd we soon heard a loud rumble and smoke came out from the back of the ship.
"You're all good!" Capper shouted from his room, we couldn't see him at all.
The ship lurched forward slowly, but quickly picked up speed, heading to the very far off spec that was Hippogriffia across the town and large ocean.
"Celaeno, what's your name?" She looked to Sunset.
"Sunset Shimmer, I'm Shadow Aura's student," she smiled.
"Wow, I heard he had just recently become an alicorn and he's taken on a student?" She questioned.
"Yes, I have. I may be a new alicorn, but I am the most experienced mage in Equestria," I scoffed. They talked like I wasn't here.
"We didn't forget about you," Sunset nudged my side. She must have been figuring me out now, or figuring out ponies again.
"Can you back up that boast?" Celaeno eyed me.
"Hahaha! Can I?!" I lit my horn up and the airship began to move much faster. I casted a speed spell on the engines and I had also started to levitate it and move it faster myself. I casted a spell to glue my hooves to the wood while Sunset and Celaeno grabbed crates to hold onto.
"Aur, there's no need for this!" Shim yelled out.
I dispelled my magic and the ship returned to its normal speed. We were flying over the ocean now.
"Shadow Aura, right? That's quite impressive. I suppose you really must have beaten Tempest and the Storm King, but how did you handle their anti-magic shields?" She asked next.
A pirate digs for information. A scholar shares information. I knew they couldn't use what I was about to tell them.
"Their shields only deflected pony magic. They couldn't handle the magic of friendship that was pumping out of my horn, Discord's chaos magics, dark magic, windigo magic, and probably not Chrysalis' magic. I believe I could have broke some of them with just a sheer amount of unicorn or alicorn magic that I could hit them with," I boasted again, basking in my pride.
"Ah, that would explain the reports of flying weapons," she chuckled some, "I gotta go make sure everything's good wtih the crew. So, you two can chill up here."
Celaeno headed below deck and I trotted to the front of the flying aircraft, looking at the large mountain that peeked up out of the ocean.
"Aur, where do you think the Equestrian Mist is on Hippogriffia?" Sunset asked and approached on my left.
"After I read and went through the past and saw the events here, I believe I know exactly where it went. I did that while you were sleeping soundly," I chuckled a bit with a smile, "you look cute when you're sleeping."
I looked to my left and saw Shim blushing and looking to the ground.
"Ah, you'll get used to the teasing, hopefully."
I laughed aloud while I contemplated on that pearl.
"Maybe you'll stop showing off your magic," Sunset teased back, leaning onto my side. I laid my head atop hers to return her endearing gesture.
"Sooooo, when could we visit my world? I meant he human world," Sunset corrected herself.
"Why do you ask?" I smirked, I was going to toy with her just a bit. I think I pegged the reason why already.
"I want to see our friends?" She said, confused at my words.
"Nope, that's not it!" I teased and earned a scowl from Sunset.
"I don't wanna miss the fencing club practice," I had no idea she knew how to fence.
"Wait, you know how to duel then?" I questioned, lifting my head and looking at her.
"I guess so," she smiled sheepishly to me.
"In my time, unicorns often dueled to show their dexterity and finesse. Most of us used rapiers, not the lighter stuff find in fencing clubs now, and there certainly isn't a strip. I wasn't the best, but I definitely was annoying to duel! Maybe I could duel you when we get there," I suggested.
"To the human world?" I had quickly confused Sunset.
"Of course, I thought you wanted to go dancing with your friends and me again," I hinted.
Sunset went very silent.
"I can understand why, it'd be a pain to learn how to dance here with the style I showed you. Also, those six are wonderful. Shame that Spike couldn't join us for a lot of it," I mentioned.
"It was still a perfect night," Sunset sighed out and leaned against me again. I pecked the top of her head with my lips and laid my head down again.
"That it was," I agreed and we went silent while the airship sped off more towards the island. Wind filled both our manes and mine moved a lot more wildly from its constant unkempt state.
"So, do you think we'll do any real field research?" Sunset asked.
"Oh, so you dare want to go out to dangerous places in Equestria and test magic?" I added a narration tone to my voice.
"Of course, field research is my specialty!" Sunset sounded enthused already, bobbing her head up to make mine move.
"Well, I still need to do some research on Flurry Heart, but that'll be when she grows up, so that's years off. I need to head to Discord's dimension and do some general magic testing in it, see how things react to normal pony magic. I have to go have a talk with Tirek. I also need to find more dark magic in the world. I definitely need to check into how Luna and Celestia raise and lower the celestial bodies! That's gonna be a doozy if I try to recreate it without using a big levitation spell."
"Whoa, calm down there," Sunset noted my giddiness, "I don't know how you plan to recreate Celestia's and Luna's magic, but I'm sure you'll try. I'd love to join you on all of those," Sunset sighed out.
"The only one that's really risky is Tirek and the dark magic search. Discord's dimension will just mess with us the entire time," I grumbled.
It was only funny when it didn't happen to you. That's how all of Discord's jokes are.
I kept looking at the slowly growing dot that was Hippogriffia in the distance.
"So, where do you think Equestrian Mist is?" Sunset asked to continue our conversation.
"I went back in time and viewed what Twilight had done in Hippogriffia. If the Hippogriffs survived the Storm King by escaping somewhere he couldn't, I had a feeling that fate had aligned everything to be perfect from that. Equestrian Mist often hides itself so nopony can identify it as the lustrous grey transparent stone with white clouds in it," I started, smirking. I wanted this gem badly, not only for its powers, but that it often goes to undiscovered or remote places where magic is all over. It could lead me to more studies.
"But you said you knew exactly where," Shim pointed out and stopped laying against me when I raised my head back up.
"Well, I saw that those six mares here had found the Hippogriffs in an underwater paradise. Queen Novo had used a pearl of some sort to transform them all into some kind of water creature. I'm after that pearl because that is magic unlike any other. Based on the tomes and books I have read, Equestrian Mist often uses magic that hasn't been seen or spells that appear impossible. That's why I believe it is right there," I finished my short lecture.
"Wow, you really do your research," Shim noted.
"Would you expect any less?" I chuckled.
I turned around when I heard stepping behind us, I saw Celaeno standing there with a smile.
"So, how's Rainbow Dash and the others?" She asked.
I did remember seeing how Rainbow Dash inspired them to be who they were again.
"Hahaha, I don't really hang around the rowdy ones, but I'm sure she's doing fine as are the others. I think everypony's too busy wondering about me to remember the whole Friendship Festival incident, a relief to Twilight," I smiled.
"I don't think you're too much of the talk in Equestria," Sunset nudged me.
"He might be right, people here talk about how he saved Tempest and the magic that was visible all the way from Klugetown," Celaeno shot down Sunset's nice notion.
"All the way..." Shim let out in a whisper.
I was in awe at my own magic now. If my blast of magic could have been viewed all the way from Klugetown, then what else could I do?
"Perhaps it is good I haven't stayed in towns long," I noted.
"I'm sure you must get a lot of attention," Celaeno began again.
"I live far from anypony. I like it out there," I informed.
"Well, I just came to check up on you two, we'll be at Hippogriffia in half an hour to an hour. Depends on the storm clouds moving in on port," I looked to the right side of the ship and saw the grey stormy clouds moving in.
"It's fast enough for me, I'll be above deck here then."
"Don't worry about us, we'll leave you two alone unless we need something," Celaeno turned around and started to walk away.
"She's nice, isn't she?" Sunset observed.
"For a pirate, yea. But I think she knew just who we are together," I trotted back to the front of the ship and laid on my side, relaxing in the sunlight.
Sunset followed and laid down partially on me, wiggling her way into my hooves and my chest.
"Am I really this comfortable?" I smiled.
"Yes, Aur," her voice was soft and low.
I began to let my mind wander to her training.
After the coronation, I had some ideas playing around for what I would do to Equestria as my own part to play, but I hadn't thought about Sunset as a student. I would definitely take her on some field research, but I wanted to get her to become a proper mage. She was already at the level of magic that other known mages were at this time, but I remember that I progressed myself in other forms of magic once I mastered pony magic. Her own journey to learn about these dangers in other magics, but all the reward in studying them.
I felt Sunset's breathing slow a little, she had gone to sleep on me. I looked up at the clear sky, my eyes wandering jsut as my mind did, trying to put together the rest of Sunset's challenges.