Luna's New Magic

by Bronyxy

1 Potions

A third knock at the door finally broke Luna’s concentration as she looked up from the book propped up in front of her, and saw the majestic pure white form of her sister enter the room wearing a concerned look on her face.
“Luna” she asked, “Are you alright?”
“Yes, Sister” replied the midnight blue Princess, ”Would you care to join me?”
“Not at this precise moment, no. You are aware that the moon should have set half an hour ago … ?”
“Oh ... !” she stood up quickly, looking disorientated, “Oh … we must attend our duties immediately! Thou shouldst have alerted me sooner …”

Celestia smiled. Her sister had been accepted and reintegrated into Equestrian society years ago now, but in times of stress, she still reverted to the olde Canterlot tongue.
Luna fairly sprinted out of the private study room where she had been working for the last few hours, totally oblivious to the passage of time. Celestia fell in behind her as they worked their way along unfamiliar corridors within the Castle of Friendship to find the nearest balcony from where they could usher in the new day.

“So, Luna” enquired Celestia, “It is most unlike you to miss moonset. What has got you so distracted?”
Luna turned to face her sister as the sun began to turn the sky a dusky shade of orange, half an hour late.
“I …” she searched for the words. Then they all flooded out, whether Celestia was ready or not.
“When Sunset Shimmer went back last night …”
“Yes …?”
“I cast an invisibility spell and followed her!”
“Luna!” gasped her sister, “You didn’t? Especially after what you said about upsetting the balance of their world!”

“Yes, but I stayed invisible, so no harm done. Besides I did not venture close to their Royal castle, so there was no chance I would meet my other self. Instead I followed Sunset Shimmer into a magic emporium that trades under the name of All Nite Liquor Store …”
“Luna … no!”
“As I watched, she approached the wizard behind the altar and gave him an offering of bits and in return received a mystical packet that had Potato Chips written on it, and a metal can she identified as soda.”
“What made you think this was a magic emporium?”

“Well, I was so excited with what I had seen in this world, that I looked around at what other wonders this emporium held and ventured into a section identified as over 21 only” she bubbled enthusiastically, “This had been clearly set aside for the more qualified patrons, and must therefore, I reasoned, contain more advanced magic. In there were shelves lined with countless bottles of potions, many bearing names which must belong to the wizards who brewed them, names such as Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam …”
“Luna, you really should be careful with potions you do not understand …”

“You are right, Sister. Fortunately there was a user guide to these potions on the altar, entitled Drinking Games. It is a text I have borrowed and have been studying with great interest. It appears that the magic within these potions is at its most powerful when taken in company rather than alone, and as such akin to Princess Twilight’s Friendship Magic. Thus Sister, I was hoping we could experiment in line with the directions in the text?"

“Luna – how much did you bring back?”
“About a dozen bottles and the text” she replied matter-of-factly.
“Luna – that is theft!
“No Sister, I made sure to leave something of equivalent value, so there is no harm done.”
Celestia relaxed visibly.
“So Sister, shall I summon the other Princesses so we may all experience the magic of the human world’s potions?”
“Yes, why not ask if they are free and would care to join us?”
Luna trotted off happily while Celestia took the opportunity to preview the enigmatically titled handbook.

A short while later, Celestia heard her sister bubbling with excitement from the other end of the passageway as she escorted the lilac and pink sisters-in-law to their impromptu potion sampling session. The echoing hoofsteps stopped outside the door that waited temptingly ajar and Luna was first through, Celestia peering up at her sagely from over the pages of the book.
“I’m glad you could all make the time to join in and evaluate the magic potions from the human world” she announced as they all filed in, Twilight shutting the door behind them, “I confess I was unaware that they even had magic, but Luna has excelled herself by bringing back some distillations from their most renowned luminaries.”

Cadence and Twilight gasped at the revelation and took in the sight of the coloured bottles surrounded by an array of shot glasses, in the midst of which burned a candle as an offering to the spirits.

“As with magic in our own world, it appears that the magic is rendered more powerful by the accompaniment of certain incantations” concluded Luna, “Would you not agree, Sister?”
“Yes, I have been studying the prescribed text in your absence and have established a somewhat random sequence of words to unlock the magic within the potions. Perhaps it is the thoughts conjured by the words rather than any specific qualities contained within the actual words themselves?”
“My conclusions mirror your own, Sister. However, I propose we follow the instructions to the letter lest we deliver some unexpected consequence.”
“And I’ll write everything down” gushed Twilight, conjuring up a scroll and quill pen.
“Very well” said Celestia, “Which to try first?”

Cadence and Twilight watched expectantly as Luna pondered over her decision, floating a forehoof above each to enhance her ability to receive any magical residue that may be attached to it. Her face a picture of the deepest concentration as she moved her attention from one to the next, her focus finally falling on a bottle containing a rich amber coloured liquid.
“This one, I think” she deliberated cautiously, “Yes, we shall try this one first.”

Gently, she uncorked the bottle and levitated it, decanting the potion into four shot glasses. Twilight read the inscription and marvelled at what Wild Turkey Rare Breed could mean, her mind racing as she read a smaller label stating 116.8 proof. This number seemed odd to her and she quickly dismissed it as being a measure of temperature, but instead more likely a percentage. As she was used to Equestrian mathematics where 100% could not be exceeded, she concluded that this must be a measure of the potion’s magical content above any maximum known to ponykind. She gasped inwardly as her mind wrestled with the mathematical incongruity of the concept and the awesome power that had to be contained within the bottle.

“I think perhaps we will require more than just four for the spell to work” interjected Celestia, “The text implies that multiple doses will be required for each spell caster.”
“Very well, Sister” replied Luna sagely, “I bow to the research you have done.”
With that she decanted half the bottle into waiting glasses as Celestia directed the Princesses into a circle.
“That should get us started” she commented, propping the book open at the appropriate page.

“As you have been studying the text, would you care to lead, Sister?”
“Thank you, Luna” she replied, “As we are dealing with unknown magic, we should start by meditating and treat all their incantations with the deepest sincerity, even if they do not make immediate sense to us. We will be following what is stated in the text, so therefore it must represent the pinnacle of their understanding, and as such we shall treat it with the deference it is due."
There were solemn nods of agreement all round.

She levitated the cork and held it close to the candle’s flame until there was a whiff of singed wood and placed it down reverently, Twilight looking on mystified. Once all Princesses were sufficiently relaxed and ready to focus, Celestia allocated each a number, starting with herself as ‘1’ and proceeding clockwise to her sister, her niece and finally her protégée number ‘4’.

“This spell is entitled Ibble Dibble” she stated, looking down respectfully at the text and proceeded to read the rules out loud. Once she had finished and confirmed that everypony had understood, she commenced the 'spell'; “I am the spotted cow with no spots number 1, and I call the cow with no spots number 2."

“I am the spotted cow with no spots number 2” said Luna, looking deeply into Cadence’s eyes, “And I call the cow with no spots number 4."
“I am the spotted cow …” began Cadence.
“Hey, I’m number 4!” interjected Twilight.
“Quite so” agreed Luna, sagely, “Drink the potion.”

The others all watched expectantly as Cadence tentatively sipped the liquid. Her tongue and her mouth felt like they had been set on fire and she coughed, gasping for air and waving a forehoof in front of her.
“Are you OK, Cadence?” asked Twilight, concerned.
Tears ran down Cadence’s muzzle as she nodded her head.

“I believe it has to be downed in one” observed Celestia.
“Ooooh, quick!” urged Twilight, “Or the magic might not work!”
Cadence fumbled for the glass and downed the contents quickly, a feeling like molten lava burning down her throat. She banged her forehooves on the ground in front of her as the burning sensation faded and then felt a pleasant warmth spread over her.

“Cadence” directed Celestia, “The cork.”
“What do I do with it?” she asked huskily in a voice that took everypony present by surprise. It was the kind if voice that Celestia imagined she would usually have saved for quiet moments with Shining Armor, and one which Twilight neither recognised nor fully understood.
“You rub the blackened end onto your muzzle and make a spot” instructed Celestia, “Apparently.”
Luna nodded her agreement.
“But, my fur ...” she protested weakly, ”My beautiful fur …”
Celestia just stared at her niece and watched her resolve crumble as she reluctantly picked up the cork and made a rich black circle on her muzzle. Twilight looked at her aghast, while Luna suppressed a giggle. In response, Cadence shot her a deadly look as if to say, “I’ll get you for that!”

Cadence gave a little shudder as the pleasant warm feeling spread around her body and then resumed play. She stared mesmerisingly into Luna’s eyes and recited, "I am the spotted cow with one spot number 3, and I call the cow with no spots number 4.”
To her utter disappointment, Luna stayed silent as Twilight gave the appropriate response. Her disappointment was palpable, and Luna couldn’t help a smug grin form on her muzzle.

"I am the spotted cow with no spots number 4, and I call the cow with one spot number 3” replied Twilight.
Cadence stuck her tongue out at Luna for the trick she had just played, but was interrupted by Celestia.
“Um, Cadence …” she said, “You missed your cue. You have to take another shot.”
“Oh, what? Now just wait a minute …!” she protested, but all eyes were on her. Again.
“Oh, very well” she conceded huffily and took another drink, downing it in one and feeling a renewed jolt of warmth running through her.
“The cork …” prompted Luna as Cadence coughed and waved her forehooves about like a broken windmill.
“Yes, yes, yes …” she chided, picking it up and giving her muzzle another black spot.

"I am the spotted cow with one spot number 3, and I call the cow with no spots number 1.”
“Um, Cadence” came Celestia’s voice again, “You have two spots now, not one.”
All the others concurred.
“Oh”, she said resignedly, “I see. It’s me again, isn’t it?”
The others all nodded in unison.

This time she barely flinched as she threw the amber potion straight down her throat and daubed herself with another cork mark.
“Right” she said, suppressing the desire to giggle, “Right. I am the shpotted cow with three shpots number 3, and I call the cow with no shpots number 1.”
Luna and Twilight stared askance at Cadence, whose voice had become not just husky but also unexpectedly slurred.

"I am the spotted cow with no spots number 1, and I call the cow with no spots number 2” responded Celestia.
"I am the spotted cow with no spots number 2” said Luna staring right back at her sister, “and I call the cow with three spots number 3.”
“Ha!” exclaimed Cadence, getting wise to Luna’s tricks, “I am the shpotted cow with three shpots number 3 and I call the cow with no shpots number 2.”
Luna raised an eyebrow and mischievously looked the Princess of Love in the eyes once more, “I am the spotted cow with no spots number 2 and I call the cow with no spots number 4.”

“Twilight …” hissed Celestia.
“One moment please, Princess” she replied, finishing jotting down some notes, “How can I help?”
“Twilight, Luna nominated you” advised Celestia, staring across at her sister like a bucket full of retribution would be making its way over to her very shortly.
“Oh, OK” agreed Twilight cheerfully, picking up a shot glass.
“Twilight, I shuggesht you knock it back quickly” slurred Cadence.
Twilight did as she was bidden and made a “yek!” sound, sticking her tongue out as she tried to rub the taste off with her forehooves. Once the unfamiliar taste subsided, then she too felt shivers run down her as an unexpected warmth flowed through her body and smiled at Cadence who smiled back in a slightly disengaged way.

There was a brief flurry with her quill, then Twilight took the cork, held it by the candle flame and rubbed a sooty circle onto her muzzle.
Celestia looked at her imploringly and everypony could see this could only mean she was out for revenge on her sister, who, in fairness, looked more than equal to the task.
"OK, I am the spotted cow with one spot number 4, and I call the cow with no spots number 1.”
A victorious leer tugged at the corner of Celestia’s mouth as she waded in to do battle with her sister …

Some time later, and by now onto their third bottle, a very sooty faced white alicorn watched as Luna downed yet another shot and applied the tenth sooty spot to her muzzle, declaring herself to be the winner and the spell successfully cast. She and Luna had been shown to have by far the stronger constitutions, as Ibble Dibble had degenerated into a two horse race between the two sisters.

“Very well Luna” she said, noticing that when she turned her head, it took a second or two before the scenery caught up, “I believe we can progress on to another spell now.”
“Oh goody …!” shouted Twilight with an enthusiasm that was disturbing, followed by clapping her forehooves together rather too loudly. Cadence stared wide-eyed at the ridiculous spectacle and rolled onto her back snorting between fits of laughter.

Twilight drew a quick sketch on her parchment and levitated it in front of her sister-in-law. When Cadence turned her head, wide eyed to look, she saw a giant smiley face looking back at her. She shrieked, then put her forehooves her mouth, and somewhere under the soot on her face, blushed fiercely before breaking down into another fit of uncontrollable giggles.

Luna looked at Cadence then at Celestia and raised an eyebrow with a look that seemed to question whether another spell using the magic human potions was a wise idea.
“To make things a little simpler, for those of us having problems concentrating” began Celestia, “I have chosen a two pony spell based on a checkers board. Luna and I will play, then one of you will challenge the winner.”

Some nods and other less recognisable head movements followed her announcement as a checkers board levitated itself from a cupboard and landed between them, expanding in size just enough to accommodate the improvised playing pieces. Luna began half-filling each shot glass, and as the bottle ran out, she chose another from the dwindling stock before her. She reached over and picked up a bottle of Glenmorangie, completing her task of half filling all 24 playing pieces. Celestia ran briefly over the rules, but nopony seemed really to be listening. She sighed; this would be carnage.

Cadence looked up briefly and tilted her head onto one side, trying to focus enough to pronounce the name on the bottle, “Glen orange … morrridge … Marjorie …”
Twilight tried to suppress a giggle but failed, and let rip another raucous laugh that sounded like it had been borrowed from a stallion twice her size; somepony like Bulk Biceps.

“Very well” sighed Celestia, “Shall we proceed?”
Luna snorted competitively in response, and gave an assertive nod.

The two sisters meditated in preparation for the next spellcasting while the other two, Celestia appreciated, probably didn’t need to do too much to empty their minds right now.

The game started and Luna quickly took one of her sister’s pieces, forcing her to take the shot. Next, she lost one of hers, and so their fortunes ebbed and flowed until Luna managed to get one of her pieces to the king line and snorted in triumph. She filled the victorious shot glass to the top and the game continued until Celestia was beaten.

“Your forfeit, Sister” Luna noted, her voice dispassionate, but an unmistakable glint of victory in her eyes.
“Very well” replied her sister, who then picked up each piece remaining on the board, and knocked them back, one after the other. After she had got past six, she slowed and began playing for time, breathing more heavily as the effects of too much, too quickly, started to make her feel decidedly uncomfortable. She continued, but much more slowly, pacing herself more carefully until only two more double shots remained, Luna watching her like a hawk.

She needed more time, but knew she didn’t have it. The room was starting to spin, and her tummy was beginning to protest too. Quickly she downed both remaining shots, tendered her apologies and went to lay down.

“Next?” offered Luna.
“Can we play as a team?” ventured Cadence while Twilight nodded vigorously in agreement.
“Bring it on” thought Luna, setting up the board again.