• Published 29th Sep 2013
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Dungeons and Ponies - pchn00



Twilight Sparkle, apprentice to the great Archmage Celestia's life is thrown into disarray when her master graduates her, gives her an apprentice of her own, and sends her off to some nowhere town all in one day.

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Prologue 1: The Magical Prodigy

Prologue 1: The Magical Prodigy

Long ago in the great Kingdom of Equestria, there lived two mighty sisters.

Celestia, The Radiant Dawn and Keeper of The Sun was the elder. She awoke each morning to raise the sun and bring light and life to our land.

Luna, Mistress of Shadows and Keeper of The Moon was the younger. ‘Twas her duty to shepherd the moon and the stars across the sky, giving the people time to rest.

The two existed for many a year in perfect balance with one another. Peace, harmony, and prosperity filled the land. Alas, this was not to last.

Over time, Luna grew jealous of Celestia’s increasing popularity. The citizens of Equestria were clamoring for her to take the throne; even The King himself offered his crown to their beloved Keeper of The Sun. Celestia, being a simple and humble mare, naturally declined the offer, her only interest bring the magic she so loved to dabble in.

Not one thought went to the Mistress of Shadows taking the throne, even though she worked just as hard as her sister, if not harder. She strove each night to craft a perfect sky for her fellow ponies, and yet only a select few seemed to care in the slightest. The growing darkness and resentment in Luna’s heart twisted her into a creature of deepest nightmares.

Nightmare Moon.

A great war was fought between the sisters. No unicorn could hope to match either’s power. Nightmare Moon’s supporters were vastly outnumbered, but she used fell magics to twist and change them into creatures of darkness like herself. The war raged for years, seemingly never to end.

When Equestria seemed doomed to destruction, a light appeared amidst the darkness. Celestia had crafted magical artifacts of incredible power. Wielding their might, she banished her evil sister to the depths of Tartarus, never to return.

The young mare tilted her head as she finished the short story. “That’s it? That’s all there is?” The sun shone brightly overhead, warming her pale lavender coat just right as she reclined near her favorite reading place in the courtyard, overshadowed by her Lady’s tower. It was the perfect sort of day to get out of her lab and do a little recreational study. The book in question she’d been reading from came from the furthest shelf possible from the library’s entrance. The only shelf she hadn’t picked clean of anything to read.

Blowing her pink and purple streaked bangs from her face, she huffed in annoyance. “That wasn’t much of a tale at all; more of a short story. Where’s the rest!?” A light orchid aura shimmered into being around the book as the unicorn snapped it shut with a gentle huff. Large violet hued eyes drifted toward the nearby tower, specifically to the highest window atop it. From her position on the ground, she could see the large form of her master moving about in excited haste. No doubt she was in the midst of crafting some great new bit of magic to reveal to the world.

Her horn sparked to life a second time as a matching aura surrounded the well-worn silvery set of robes that lifted from the grass and settled about her body. Shuffling from hoof to hoof, she fastened her saddlebags over her back. She ensured her numerous component pouches were secure about her waist, then set off for her private chambers in the academy.

Lady Celestia’s School of Magical Studies was one of the finest in the entire kingdom. Celestia herself was considered something of an… eccentric by the unicorn nobility, however. She allowed any pony to study in her academy, regardless of tribe. Many scoffed at the notion of a pegasus — or even worse, an earth pony — attempting to cast spells, but she was quite insistent that all had the magic within them. Spellcasting was more a matter of having the proper mindset.

“Twilight Sparkle?”

The mare in question, Twilight blinked up at the sound of her name. A pair of fillies, an earth pony and a unicorn perhaps a few years her junior approached. “Yes, can I help you?”

She couldn’t help but sense their nervousness. “Th— The, um… that is, Professor Morning Glory s— said you could… could maybe… if you weren’t busy… possibly help us with our light cantrips?”

The young wizardess’ mouth set in a firm line. “You’re not going to be casting anything stuttering like that.”

The unicorn’s stammering increased while the earth filly rolled her eyes. “Y’all’ll have t’ forgive m’friend, ma’am. She’s a might skittish on account’a all th’ stories boutcha.”

Twilight’s look of vague irritation switched to outright irritation. “Of course. And what about you?”

The earth pony filly shrugged. “Dunno. Y’seem alright t’me. Sides, Lady Celestia wouldn’ta taken y’on if all the stories were true, right?”

Twilight Sparkle’s eyes narrowed just a tad as she examined the pair more closely. The earth pony had a vivid yellow coat, her bright red mane and tail contrasting sharply. Her robes were a touch on the threadbare side, not surprising given the thickly accented speech. It indicated she was from one of the rural farming villages. It likely cost her family every spare bit they had to send her here.

The unicorn at her side was significantly smaller, not too great a surprise. Her coat was a lighter hue of purple than Twilight’s, while her mane and tail were nearly as yellow as her friend’s fur. She occasionally peeked out from around her bolder friend with bright yellow eyes, though never for long.

Twilight looked again to the earth pony. “Light cantrips? Professor Morning Glory sent you to me for that?”

The filly shrugged. “Said y’all were the best at the fun-da-men-tals when y’were our age.”

Twilight almost cracked a smile at the filly’s slow pronunciation of the word. “I suppose that’s true. What exactly is the problem? Light spells are the easiest for anypony to cast.”

“Well mine’re too bright. Th’ Professor says I’ll go blind if I keep doin’ em like I am. An poor Dinky here can barely get any light at all.”

The elder unicorn looked over to the purple filly, who flinched under her gaze. “A unicorn who can’t even muster a light spell, and an earth pony who conjures too much light? That’s a bit of a switch from the norm.”

To her further surprise the earth filly snorted and stalked closer. “So are ya gonna help us out or just make fun’a us? We c’n go an find somepony else t’ask.”

Twilight actually took a step back. She’d been so used to ponies walking on eggshells around her, more scared to meet her eyes than anything, she’d almost forgotten what it was like to meet one who wasn’t afraid of her. “I… I’ll help, alright? Settle down.” She sighed softly, looking from the bold to the timid filly. “Let’s see what you can do.”

“Thank ya kindly, ma’am! Name’s Apple Bloom by the way! This here’s m’good friend Dinky Doo.”

Dinky offered a hesitant nod of greeting. Twilight’s expression went unchanged. “A pleasure. Now, the spells?”

Even knowing she was a student and not a teacher, both fillies felt precisely like they did when in a teacher’s presence under the formidable young mare’s scrutiny. Apple Bloom took the lead naturally. Closing her eyes and softly intoning the proper incantation, a painfully bright ball of light burst into being before the filly’s muzzle. She and her friend already had their eyes tightly shut in preparation, something Twilight unfortunately did not, and the elder pony found herself thoroughly blinded.

Apple Bloom nervously dispelled the light. “Uh… so th— there ya go, ma’am.”

Twilight’s eyes were watering from the painfully blinding light spell. Closing them, she took a deep breath, counting back from ten. Then counting back from twenty. The second one did the trick. “Right. How often do you cast, Apple Bloom?”

“Uh… not very. Only when one’a m’teacher’s tells me too. Granny says relyin’ on magic t’do stuff we can do with our hooves is lazy!”

Twilight’s vision slowly cleared as she cracked an eye open. “You have too much magic built up. You need to cast more frequently. Once your inner reserves normalize, you won’t have problems anymore.”

“Wow! Thanks Miss Twilight!”

Now the normally dour mare allowed a small smile to appear. “Of course. I’m surprised your teacher couldn’t tell you that. Now let’s see you, Miss Doo.”

Dinky swallowed nervously but stepped closer. Timidly, she mumbled the incantation under her breath. A flickering, faltering sphere of magical light appeared above her head, before it fell apart completely. The poor filly seemed on the verge of tears. “I’ll never do it right!”

Twilight narrowed her eyes, incanting a spell of her own. Both fillies watched warily as a glow suffused her eyes. “Do it again please, Dinky.”

Eyeing the older mare suspiciously, Dinky nonetheless complied. Sweat beading upon her brow, she chanted the short incantation as her horn began to glow, again a ball of faltering light formed over her head for a few seconds before fizzling away. The little filly slumped to the ground, breathing heavily.

Twilight frowned gently. “It’s as I suspected. I’m sorry, Dinky Doo, but your magic isn’t strong enough to cast proper arcane spells.”

Dinky blinked in surprise, while Apple Bloom huffed. “Whaddya mean she can’t cast spells!? She’s a unicorn!”

With surprising patience, Twilight nodded slowly. “Yes, she is. But not all unicorns have the ability to become mages, Apple Bloom. Every unicorn can levitate and learn some small bits of magic that have to do with their cutie marks, but not all of them have the raw power necessary to cast proper spells.”

Apple Bloom and Dinky Doo both recognized the ‘I’m a teacher, listen to me’ tone in Twilight’s voice. “It’s similar to how some pegasus ponies can fly faster than others. The swiftest pegasi have the most magic stored in their bodies. So somepony like Captain Spitfire of the Wonderbolts can fly much faster than, say, the average weather pony. You see?”

The pair nodded gradually. Apple Bloom tilted her head. “So is that why m’big brother an’ sister’re so much stronger’n me?”

Twilight smiled proudly. “It is! Earth ponies’ physical strength and durability is tied to their own magic reserves. There are several types of magic. Arcane magic, like what we use to cast a spell. Then there’s divine, or faith based magic that the disciples use for their spells. Finally, there’s the magic each pony has inside themselves that’s unique to their tribe. So while you might be stronger than a pegasus or unicorn filly, Apple Bloom, your real strength lies in your arcane magic.”

Dinky’s eyes lit up with excitement suddenly. “Does this mean I don’t have to stay!?”

Now it was Twilight’s turn to look surprised. “Well you don’t have to leave. Nopony’s going to force you, but there’d be little reason to stay. What makes you think you have to stay anyhow?”

Dinky Doo was practically nose to nose with Twilight Sparkle, her fear forgotten in her excitement. “The teachers said since my mama’s spending so many bits to send me here, I just gotta work harder! But if you say I can’t become a mage no matter how hard I try, then I can go back home! I get to be with mama again, and she doesn’t have to keep paying for this expensive school!”

Now Twilight wore a distinctly unpleasant look on her face. It was common practice for the faculty to string young potential mages along in order to keep collecting their tuition. “I’m afraid no matter how hard you try, Dinky, becoming a mage isn’t for you. I’m sure you’ll do wonderful in anything else you choose.”

The older unicorn went rigid as the filly threw her forelegs around her in a tight embrace. “Thank you, Miss Twilight! I’m gonna go pack right now!”

With incredibly awkwardness, Twilight Sparkle patted the filly gently on her back. “N— No problem… good luck to you in the future.”

“Thanks! I’ll see ya later, Apple Bloom, I gotta go pack!” Both ponies watched the elated filly dash off toward the dormitories.

The earth pony filly heaved a sigh. “There goes my only friend in this place.” Glancing at Twilight from the corner of her eye, she heaved a second, louder sigh.

If she was expecting words of comfort from Twilight Sparkle, she was greatly disappointed as the young mare turned and made her way along the path toward the private dormitories. The minor dilemma with the fillies solved, Twilight’s mind was already twisting back around to the fable she’d read earlier, and her desire to learn more.

Her ear flicked gently toward the small temple built into the academy. The Disciples of the Sun venerated Lady Celestia as a Goddess, so naturally they wanted a temple inside their chosen deity’s very own academy. Celestia had agreed, with great reluctance Twilight knew. Her master at times couldn’t stand the adoration heaped upon her by the ponies who didn’t know her better. Anypony who got to spend any length of time in the presence of the Lady Archmage knew she was anything but divine. Goofy was more the word Twilight would use to describe her.

The sound of the morning bells tolling from the temple was wildly off kilter. Normally one serene ‘dong’ of the great bell would toll out for each hour, making it easy for anypony in the academy to track the time. Today it was ringing wildly in an unholy cacophony of sound. The young mage grimaced as she shot a glare toward the temple.

Another sound came to hear ears, tiny hooves clopping along the path behind her. Without turning to look, she glanced out of the corner of her eye, seeing the filly Apple Bloom following her with a curious look on her face. Twilight did what she always did when a curious pony had taken an interest in her, and ignored her. They always gave up after she failed to sprout demonic horns or huge bat-like wings as expected.

Putting the filly from her thoughts, she magically opened the doors to the elder students’ dorms. As she entered, all conversations fell silent, and the ponies within shot her nervous glances as she strolled casually through the open common areas. Ascending the numerous flights of stairs, she came to the highest floor. Her floor. With barely a thought, she dispelled the powerful arcane lock she used to seal her chambers shut. Nopony was brave enough to snoop around her quarters of course, but she magically sealed the doors each time more for practice than anything else.

She paused within to admire the perfect order of her own private space. One wall dominated by her work benches, which contained dozens of half finished enchanted items and objects. Wands, horseshoes, cloaks, there was even a bow she’d been asked to enchant by her master herself. Her writing desk had numerous notebooks closed and aligned in perfect proper order, the quills resting in their holders, ready to transfer Twilight’s thoughts from her mind to the blank pages.

Tall racks filled with numerous spell components, herbs, and powdered gemstone stood next to her alchemical apparatus, always on hoof at a moment’s notice for anything she may need for a potion she may be in the process of brewing. Her bed sat beneath a large window overlooking the courtyard, facing the western horizon. Twilight Sparkle was not an early riser, and didn’t care for the sun shining on her face first thing in the morning.

Next to the bed was her nightstand, upon which sat her most prized position; a gift from Lady Celestia herself. The Ever Spellbook would never fill. If she needed more blank pages, she simply opened the book and they were there. If she wanted to memorize even the most obscure of spells for the day, she merely had to speak aloud the name and the book would open to it. Rumor was that it was crafted by Starswirl the Bearded himself, Twilight Sparkle’s greatest hero.

Her quiet appreciation was interrupted as something small slammed into her from behind, buckling her hindlegs and sending her rump toppling square atop whatever rammed into her. Muffled yelps and squirming came from beneath the mage as she hurriedly lurched forward, freeing the trapped offender. Whipping around, her eyes widened. “Apple Bloom!? What are you doing here? Why did you follow me? This is my room! My private space!”

The filly shrank back from the venom in the older pony’s voice. “I… I was just curious is all! We hear all sortsa’ rumors aboutcha, but after meetin’ ya, I just couldn’t rightly see how anypony can say such mean things!”

Twilight’s ears folded back at the obvious fear in the filly’s voice. With a sigh, she forced herself to calm down. “It’s… alright. I’m just not used to anypony seeing my room.”

Apple Bloom peeked an eye open. “Ya ain’t mad?”

Closing her own eyes, Twilight took another deep breath. “No. I’m not mad. Ain’t is not a word, Apple Bloom. Neither is ‘ya’, for that matter.”

Now it was Apple Bloom’s turn to look upset. “Are y’all makin’ funna th’ way I talk!? Cause I get enough’a that from the other students!”

Turning away from the filly, Twilight levitated her robes onto the hook by the door, gently resting her staff beside them. “No, I’m not making fun of you. I’m trying to educate you. I’m sure that wherever you’re from, everypony talks that way, but you’re studying to be a magus now. We have to carry ourselves a certain way if we want to find proper employment, you know?”

Apple Bloom huffed. “That’s what m’Granny said b’fore she made me come out here.”

“Made you?” Twilight closed her door with her magic, causing the filly to start in surprise at the sudden sound.

“Uh huh. She was a big fancy mage when she was younger, an said that since I got… um… the art, she calls it… I had a responsibility ta Equestria ta learn how ta use it.”

To learn how to use it.”

Apple Bloom was about to say something more when she caught the look Twilight had focused on her. Swallowing, she sighed. “To learn how to use it.”

Smiling slightly, the mare nodded, going back to the work table before her. “I see. Do you not enjoy your studies?”

“No, ma’am! I mean, when I first started, I hated it! Everypony was pretty mean ta—” She swallowed when Twilight shot her a sharp look. “...to me. But the more I learned, the more fun it got. That feelin’ when yer magic’s comin’ up from inside an ya let it out in a spell! Whoo-ee! Ain’t nothin’ like it!”

Twilight winced every time Apple Bloom butchered a word. Terrible grasp of language notwithstanding, she felt a sort of kinship with the filly. “I felt the same way when I first started. I didn’t like it here either, but you learn to ignore the mean ponies and focus on what’s important.” She paused as she levitated a slim mahogany wand toward a trio of beautiful topazes. When the gems met the wood, there was a flash, revealing the new wand now crackling with magical electricity. “The magic.”

Eyes wide, Apple Bloom approached with a wondering look in her eye. Casting a questioning glance at her elder, and receiving an approving nod, she reached out to take the new wand. “Wow. I never saw anypony make a magic item b’fore.”

“Before.”

“Before.” Delicately, she turned it in her hooves, examining the perfect craftsmanship.

“So what do you plan to focus on, Apple Bloom?”

The filly gently placed the wand up on the table. “That’s easy! I’m gonna be a battle mage! An become a travellin’ sellsword like m’big sister!”

“Hm. I never much cared for combat magics.”

Apple Bloom tilted her head. “How come?”

“What sort of spells do combat mages specialize in?”

Now the filly sat up proudly, knowing the answer. “Attack spells, of course! Magic missiles, fireballs! Lightning Bolts! I saw Professor Fire Flash cast a chain lightning spell once!”

“Mmhm. And what do those spells do?”

Apple Bloom looked confused suddenly. “Well… they, y’know… make things explode!”

“True. And what ‘things’ do you think you’d be casting them at?”

“Uh…” The filly frowned suddenly. “...huh.”

“Mmhm. Sometimes spells like those are necessary to protect something important. There are monsters everywhere, and sometimes violence is the only way to deter them. On the other hoof, sometimes ponies would be your target. The Queen is always fighting the rebels, and we’re servants of the Queen at the end of the day. Would you think a fireball is cool when it’s being used against other ponies?”

Eyes wide, Apple Bloom shook her head. “No, ma’am.”

“I don’t think those kind of spells are very cool either. Ultimately, nearly every mage specializes in one of the seven schools of magic. Have you studied them yet?”

“Uh huh! I know all seven by heart! Abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, necromancy, and transmutation!”

“Very good.” Twilight carefully set the finished wand in a large holder with nearly a dozen others. “Do you know what they each specialize in?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And which do you think sounds the most interesting?”

Her questions were causing Apple Bloom to think a good deal more than those of her actual teachers. “Well I don’t suppose I gave it much thought b’fore…. Before, ma’am.”

Twilight nodded slowly, as if expecting that answer. “Well I suggest you spend some time studying up on them. Research what sort of spells are available in each school. See which ones really speak to you. That’s the best way to find out what you’ll be best at.”

The filly sat quietly for a time, watching the mare work. “What d’you specialize in?”

“All of them.”

Apple Bloom tilted her head. “Oh! Y’mean y’don’t specialize in any? Y’do a little bit of all of ‘em?”

“The letter ‘Y’ is not a substitute for the word ‘you’, Apple Bloom. And no, I mean I specialize in all of them. I am equally as proficient in every school of magic as any of the specialists in the academy.” Swishing her tail to her right side, she gave the filly a clear view of her left flank. “That’s what my cutie mark is, it’s a mark in magic itself. Not just any one aspect of it.”

“Wow… y’all must be as strong as Lady Celestia!”

Twilight coughed softly and shook her head. “No, of course not. But I am very powerful for a mare my age.” Finishing another wand, she finally turned to give the filly her full attention. “Don’t you have studies of your own to be doing?”

Apple Bloom shook her head. “No, ma’am! I finished every assignment m’tea— my teachers gave me for over the weekend already!”

“Hm. Well if you think that’s enough.”

The filly’s eyes narrowed just a bit. “What’s that s’posed t’mean?”

Gently levitating a kettle from her small kitchenette to the sink and filling it, then moving it to her stove, Twilight shrugged. “Well, is your interest in magic only as deep as what the Professors tell you to do?”

Yet another big question the filly wasn’t prepared for. “I… Well…”

“You’ve already told me you enjoyed the feeling of casting a spell, which is good. But if you want to be a great wizardess, Apple Bloom, you have to love magic for the sake of magic. No matter what anypony tells you, no matter what reasons they have for being here, if they don’t love magic just for itself… they’ll never be half as good as somepony who does. All the magical power in the world can’t equal a true zest for knowledge.”

Apple Bloom settled on the floor, forelegs crossed as she contemplated Twilight’s words. She was quiet for quite some time, not moving as the tea kettle began to whistle and Twilight poured two cups. Finally, she looked up as a cup was settled before her hooves. “Know what, Miss Twilight? I think you’re pretty nice.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow, sipping from her cup. “Do you?”

“Uh huh. Maybe a little weird, but that’s okay. Granny says weird ponies make the best friends cause they always have somethin’ interestin’ t’say or do.”

Feeling another smile come upon her, Twilight and Apple Bloom both leapt to their hooves as something heavily impacted the window. With a disgusted groan, the elder pony rolled her eyes, magically opening it. “Honestly, Spike! Every day with this!”

A tiny reptile poked his head in the window, shaking it dazedly. Apple Bloom’s eyes widened with wonder as she small creature fully revealed himself. No larger than a house cat, his lizard-like body sported a large pair of wings. His slender tail was tipped in a wickedly sharp barb. His scales were a vivid purple color over most of his body, with the larger ones along his belly being a deep green. “Is that a pseudo dragon!?”

In response to the filly’s excitement, the small dragon puffed his chest, cooing softly in pleasure. “ ... Yes. This is Spike, my familiar.”

Spike waited patiently as the filly approached, looking over him with adoration clear in her eyes. He was clearly basking in the attention. That is until his master firmly cleared her throat, pointedly eyeing the scroll coiled tightly in his tail. “Is that for me, perhaps?”

Blinking his little green eyes, he glanced back at the scroll and offered a sheepish shrug, flicking his tail out and flinging it toward the mare. Twilight absently levitated him a small bit of salted meat from a jar on her desk as she unrolled the scroll.

Apple Bloom was tentatively stroking the little reptile’s chin when a sudden groan from Twilight drew her attention. “Bad news?”

With an exaggerated eye roll she floated the scroll over to the filly, who read it aloud curiously. “My dearest student, I would very much appreciate your presence in my tower immediately. There is a problem of the greatest urgency, which I require you to handle post haste.” A little further along the bottom, Apple Bloom blinked in surprise. “And bring Apple Bloom with you? How th’ heck did she know I was here!?”

Twilight Sparkle tugged her robes back on with an annoyed grunt. “She knows everything.”

Archmage Celestia’s ivory tower was visible from miles away. Everypony approaching the academy could see it like a bright shining beacon leading them to safety. The pristine white color contributed to its great visibility. So too did its ridiculous height.

Naturally, Lady Celestia made her private quarters at the highest point in the tower. A very simple flight or teleportation for her; a grueling climb for anypony else. Twilight’s coat was slick with sweat as she trudged up the stairs, now and again shooting the filly calmly trotting at her side dirty looks. Even an earth pony with little of their tribe’s own magic still had quite a good deal more stamina than a unicorn.

Finally they’d reached the top of the tower. The door to Celestia’s private study stood open. Twilight suppressed a shudder as she did every time she entered her master’s study. Hundreds of books, many likely older than herself were strewn haphazardly over the floor, desk, and even bed. She was fairly certain she noticed a small family of myconid making their home beneath the archmage’s bed. No doubt the fungus-based lifeforms had plenty to live off of beneath there.

The Archmage herself was huddled over, of all things, a rock. Glaring at it in the harshest of focus. Apple Bloom, not knowing any better, was stricken silent at the sight of the mare who raised the sun each morning, and the moon each evening. She certainly cut an impressive figure, what with her gargantuan body, and obnoxiously flowing mane and tail. Twilight was ninety percent sure the Archmage actually enchanted her mane and tail every morning to do that, but she’d yet to unravel the mystery with any certainty. Less than delicately, Twilight Sparkle cleared her throat.

Celestia’s ears swiveled toward the sound and she swung around, beaming ear to ear. “Twilight! You’re just in time! I have recently completed work on the greatest spell of all time!”

Apple Bloom’s eyes — if possible — widened further. Twilight looked unimpressed. “Again?”

Her smile never faltering, Celestia nodded. “Oh yes! Come close; it’s safe, I promise!” Deciding to humor her mentor, Twilight owed her that much at the very least, she approached. The filly at her side did so with considerably more reverence. “Shh, shh… watch close now. I’m about to cast it.”

Twilight sat calmly on the floor, while Apple Bloom leaned in with excitement. The room was bathed in the golden glow of the Archmage’s own powerful magical aura as bands of magic wrapped around the stone, whirling faster and faster and obscuring it from view. The ponies looked away as the light became too much to bear. When it cleared, sitting in the rock’s place was… the most perfect, rich, chocolatey looking… piece of cake.

Celestia’s smile grew, if at all possible, wider than before. Twilights look of exasperation most certainly grew sterner. Apple Bloom blinked and sat back on her haunches, looking to Twilight for some sort of explanation. The mare just shook her head slowly. “Well!? Is it not the greatest of all magics you’ve ever laid eyes on!?”

Plastering an insipid smile on her own face, Twilight nodded. “Oh absolutely, Master. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a more impressive spell in all my studies. This was certainly worth dragging myself and this filly up thirty flights of stairs to witness.”

If Celestia caught Twilight’s sarcasm, she didn’t let on. “I know! It will revolutionize meal times! Imagine when the cook tries to force me into eating celery, the second he looks away Pow! Cake.”

Now she had Apple Bloom’s attention. “Don’t s’pose y’all could write that one down for me t’study, couldja ma’am?”

Twilight let out a strangled sort of squeak at Apple Bloom’s latest butchering of the Equestrian language. “Well! I could. I don’t think your master would appreciate it, however. She’s a bit stern.”

Apple Bloom wrinkled her nose. “I’m not apprenticed t’anyone yet, ma’am.”

“Well of course you are. Oh! Silly me. In all the excitement I forgot. Twilight, I’m assigning Apple Bloom to you as your first apprentice.”

Twilight’s mouth fell open. “ ... Ahhhhh... What? What!? Apprentice!? Me!? Noooo no. No, no, no. Master, I have studies of my own! Not to mention you constantly dumping your real work on me while you cook up more of your idiotic cake spells!”

“Oh! Yes. I forgot. As of now, you’re officially a graduate of my academy. My apprentice no longer, you’re not a full fledged Wizardess, capable of acting of her own accord in whatever way you deem appropriate. But you’re still taking Apple Bloom on as your apprentice, I won’t take no for an answer.”

Twilight Sparkle’s eyes were wide with panic as they darted from the confused filly at her side, back to the — in her opinion — very smugly smiling Archmage. The newly graduated mage’s heart sank a little more as the playful spark fanned to a roaring blaze in her suddenly former master’s eye. “That’s not all!”

“Of course it’s not.”

“You’ll be happy to know, that I, as your concerned former master and still very good friend have already found you employment.”

Twilight’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “ ... Oh have you?”

“I have! It would seem that the lovely town of Ponyville has been without it’s own mage for some time now. Ordinarily, this isn’t too great a concern, but Ponyville borders the Everfree forest, and of late has had numerous monster attacks. Having somepony on hoof to lend them some aid will be much appreciated, I believe. In addition…”

“Of course.”

Ignoring Twilight, Celestia continued on. “In addition, you’ll be serving as the librarian for the town as well. They’re not about to pay you to sit around and glare at the forest all day, after all. I thought it might be a position you’d enjoy.”

Twilight closed her eyes. She took a deep breath. Then another. Then a third. She licked her lips… and took another deep breath. “So… to summarize. You’re ending my apprenticeship, assigning me an apprentice, sending me off to some podunk town bordering the Everfree, and forcing me to be the librarian of the town.”

“Yes.”

“Master… I hate you.”

Apple Bloom followed her new master tentatively. “Um… ma’am?”

“Yes?”

“Should… should I go pack m’things, or...?”

Twilight rolled her neck, eliciting a few sharp pops from the stiff joints. Taking a moment to collect herself, she turned to face the filly… her apprentice. “Yes. It would seem that the glorious Archmage has assigned you to me, and me to Ponyville. So we’re going to Ponyville. I’m sorry for all this. I know you can’t be happy about this nonsense either.”

To her surprise, the filly shook her head. “No, ma’am! I wasn’t kiddin’ when I said I liked ya! And we’re goin’ t’Ponyville! That’s m’home town!”

Twilight’s faced twisted unnaturally at Apple Bloom’s speech. “Okay! Okay… if we’re doing this, the first thing is the way you talk. I don’t want to seem insensitive, but… every time you say a sentence, you make me want to deafen myself with a thunderclap spell.”

Apple Bloom’s ears immediately wilted. “I’m sorry, ma’am…”

“It’s fine… it’s fine. I’m just… not used to dealing with other ponies. Except my master of course, who can be a little…”

“Silly?”

“Yes. Exactly. I’ll do my best to be a good teacher, but I have to ask you to be patient with me. Can you do that?”

“I think so, ma’am. I can try m’... my best.”

“In return, I can promise you to give you the best magical education I can. How does that sound?”

Apple Bloom spit on her hoof and held it out, smiling. “Sounds like a good deal t’... to me!”

Twilight stared at the offered hoof for a long moment before she spit in her own and clopped it to the filly’s. “Then let’s get packed.”

Twilight Sparkle
Wizard: 6 Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Strength: 8
Dexterity: 10
Constitution: 8
Intelligence: 20
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 9

Special Abilities
Twilight Sparkle prepares spells as an ordinary wizard of her level, however once these spells are expended, she may continue to cast. Each level of spell cast after her prepared spells for the day have been used deals her subdual damage equal to twice the spell’s level. She can render herself unconscious casting in this way.

Favored Spells
Mage Armor, Cat’s Grace, Sleep, Bull’s Strength, Hold Person, Fly, Haste

Special Equipment
Ever Spellbook: Unlike a normal spellbook, there is no limit to the amount of spells it can contain.

Author's Note:

Gonna have six prologues, one for each of the girls of course. And the little character sheets at the bottom I thought would be cute.