• Published 11th Nov 2013
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Gladiator - Not_A_Hat

Human in Equestria? Check. Trying to find his way home? Check. Surrounded by clueless candy-colored equines? Check. Magically soul-bonded to Twilight Sparkle using dread necromantic magic and an evil artifact? Check.

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5 - Shattered

I woke to a crash and a spray of flying glass.

"Did my mirror just...explode?" I mumbled, sitting up in bed and trying to clear my mind. I brushed a handful of glass fragments off my bed and felt around on the floor for my sneakers. I slipped them on and padded out into the library, thinking vaguely of a broom.

Apparently I wasn't the only with reflective malfunctions, because a sleep-bleared Twilight stumbled down the stairs a minute later, shards of glass held in her telekinetic aura. She walked right past me and into the kitchen where I heard a clink-clink-clink as she threw them away.

"Twilight, did your mirror explode, too?"

The purple pony turned towards me.

"Yeah." She yawned. "Maybe my spell’s relativistic co-efficient wasn't right."

"Wait, you weren't asleep? Twilight, have you gotten any sleep, at all?" I glanced up at the clock. It was three in the morning. "You need to go to bed!"

She flinched at my raised voice.

"But, but I've had this really great idea, see...if I used a fractal matrix, maybe I could overload the thingness vectors and eliminate the spin on my numosic field, and separate-" She mumbled until I cut her off.

"No, no, no! That would never work. Numosic fields spin axially AND sidereally, and a fractal matrix can only be resolved in one dimension!"

"Oh. Oh! You're right! But that would mean...wait. How did you know that?"

My mouth snapped shut.

"...I have no idea. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not even sure what I was just saying." I tried to grab a hold of the memory, but although I could remember just how much sense the words had made when I said them, the meaning was fading, dreamlike, from my head.

She blinked foggily at me for a second.

"Whatever. It's too late for this, and I'm going to bed." She said, turning to leave.

"Good." I followed her out. "Get some rest." I walked back to my room, confused. Where had that come from? I puzzled over it as I swept the floor. It's not like knowledge could just appear in my head like that, right...?

"Is she going to become completely nocturnal?" I asked, as I shoved a bit of pancake in my mouth.

"Probably not." Spike replied, flipping another onto my plate from his pan. I smeared butter on it, and picked up the maple syrup. "She gets like this sometimes," He said. "Hopefully, she'll be back to normal in a bit."

"I'm just afraid that she's avoiding me."

"She might be. But if she is, she won't admit it. Your best bet is to give her a few days; she’ll either cool off or melt down. That's the best time to talk to her."

"Well, I"ll take your word for it, Spike. Hey, I had a question. Are there any quick ways to make a bit of money in this town? I want to be able to pay Twilight some rent."

"Wes...you know she wasn't thinking of that when she invited you here."

"Yeah. What she was thinking of was a mixture of crushing guilt and apprehension. I don't want to take advantage of her good nature; this is something I want to do."

The young dragon looked at me speculatively for a minute.

"Well, most of the well-established business don't need a part-timer. You could probably find work on one of the farms, if you wanted. But if all you want is a quick bit....are you afraid of the Everfree?"

"That's....the forest where Zecora lives, right?"

"Yeah. It can be pretty dangerous in there, what with the wild animals and weather."

"Well, I don't really have a good handle on how dangerous it is, I guess. but I felt safe at Zecoras, and I did manage to run off a manticore. Maybe if I made myself a spear..." I thought about it for a minute. "I think I'd be OK in there for a while. Why?"

"There are lots of interesting and magical things in the Everfree." He flipped the pancakes in his pan, and stepped out of the kitchen for a minute, returning with a slim volume, printed on cheap paper and bound in card-stock. He handed it to me and stepped back to the stove.

"The Wizard's Almanac?" I asked, reading the front of the book. "What?"

"Try page twenty-seven."

I flipped through the book, quickly coming to a page of small boxes, each with a name and a price.

"Alchemicals from the Everfree; going prices." I read a few, eyebrows climbing. "Wow. Some of these are...wow."

"Yeah, well...the Everfree is pretty much unique. It's also pretty dangerous. A lot of the things there are a niche market, but it's a niche market for people who have money. If you want a temporary job, you could hunt these. It's high-risk, but it's also high-reward. And Zecora could help you, I think. However." Spike bit off the last word, and turned to look me in the eyes. "If you manage to get seriously hurt, Twilight will be devastated." He poked his spatula at me, managing to look menacing in a small purple apron. "And that will make ME angry. Got it?" I nodded, soberly. I thought this was a good idea, but I'd better go about it carefully. He was right; getting hurt again wouldn't be good for my host, and the whole point of this was to pay her back a little.

"Thanks for the food." I carried my plate over to the sink and rinsed it off. "And thanks for the suggestions. I think I'm going to visit Zecora." I waved the Almanac at him. "Is it OK if I borrow this?"

"Sure, take it with you." He sat down at the table, and pulled the syrup towards his plate. "I'll write it in the checkout book."

"Oh, hello Apple Bloom." I stepped into Zecora's hut, and closed the door behind me. "Did something break?" The filly was sweeping a pile of glass shards into a dustpan, just as I arrived.

"Yeah. Zecora said that her mirror shattered in the night, and that it was some kinda warning. She took off as soon as Ah got here, telling me to stay by the hut and clean up. Said she wouldn't be gone long."

"Huh." I sat down on a clean part of the floor, and flipped open my book. "I hope she's not too long. Weirdly enough, Twilight's mirrors broke last night, too. She thought it might have been something to do with an magical experiment."

"That's odd." Apple Bloom agreed, as she trotted past me and dumped the glass shards in Zecora's garbage pit outside. Coming back in, she curled up next to me, and looked at my book. "What are you reading?"

"Oh, Spike gave me this." I waved the book. "It's an almanac for wizards. Lots of odd things in here. But I'm looking at this." I showed her the pages on alchemical ingredients. "Spike suggested that I might be able to find some of these plants in the Everfree, and sell them for a bit of money."

"Mandrake? Flameweed? Wesley, some of these things are really dangerous!"

"Well, that's why I was going to ask Zecora. I thought maybe she would be willing to take me along with her. I could watch her back. These are plants she uses, right?"

"Yeah, most of them. Woah, sparkle salts sell for ten bits an ounce? But that does make some sense, Ah guess..." She trotted over to peer at the shelves, checking on various different ingredients. It seemed she was favoring her left foreleg over her right.

"Hey Apple Bloom, are you limping?"

"Huh?" She looked back over her withers at me. "Oh, yeah. A little, Ah guess. I was helping to buck apples the other day, and Ah might have overextended myself a bit."

"Do you want me to rub it for you?"

"Well, Ah wouldn't say no." She came back over, and lay down with her back towards me. I carefully reached for her near shoulder, and buried my fingers in her tan fur.

"Ooooo...." She sighed as I started to rub. "Wes, that feels just peachy."

"Good." I said. She closed her eyes, and lay her head on the floor. I concentrated on working her muscles gently.

"If you don't become an herb gatherer, Ah bet you could make money as a masseuse." She mumbled. I grinned.

A few minutes later, I heard hoof steps approaching.

"Hey, I bet that's Zecora." I said, standing up. Apple Bloom reluctantly got to her hooves as well. "Feel better?" I asked.

"Much." She replied. We both stepped outside.

It wasn't Zecora, however. Instead, it was a slender yellow pegasus with a strawberry pink mane.

"Howdy, Miss Fluttershy!" Apple Bloom exclaimed. "Fancy seeing you here! What's up?"

"He-hello." The pegasus responded timidly. "Um, I was wondering if I could borrow Zecora's mirror. If that isn't too much trouble. I didn't mean to bother you."

"Did your mirror break, too?" I asked, curious.

"Yes. Last night, I heard the most frightful noise, and when I woke up, there was glass all over the bathroom! My Angel Bunny was very bothered by it, so I thought maybe I could borrow Zecoras, since I was coming this way on my visit to Mr. and Mrs. Bear anyways."

"Well, we'd love to help you, Fluttershy, but Ah'm afraid that Zecora's broke, as well."

"I'm beginning to think this isn't a coincidence." I said. "I wonder how many other people have broken mirrors this morning?"

"Oh!" Apple Bloom exclaimed. "You two haven't been introduced yet, right? Fluttershy, this is Wes. He's my friend, and he's thinking of gathering things in the Everfree with Zecora! Wes, this is Fluttershy. She's the town veterinarian, and takes care of all sorts of animals at her house."

"Nice to meet you." I said, extending my fist. She responded by bumping it with her hoof, the pony version of shaking hands.

"N-nice to meet you." She replied in a tiny voice. "U-um, what sort of creature are you, if you don't mind me asking?"

"I'm a human."


We all stood there awkwardly for a second, until Zecora stepped out of the forest, right next to Fluttershy. There was an 'Eeeep!', and the yellow pegasus was gone. Zecora sighed, shaking her head.

"Wes, it's good to see you." She said, obviously distracted. Apple Bloom and I followed her into her hut, where we found Fluttershy from under the bed. "I apologize for scaring you, but I need you to listen well; this may be serious trouble. I ventured into the Everfree this morning, after I discovered that my mirror was broken. Do you know what a broken mirror signifies?"

"Um..." Apple Bloom answered hesitantly. "Seven years bad luck...?"

"Right. But do any of you know where that old tale came from?"

All three of us shook our heads.

"Well, it has to do with mirror magic."

"Mirror magic?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Right. Mirrors can be used for magic. Spying is the easiest, or sometimes magic that uses mirrors as doors. The superstition comes from the story that if you break a mirror a mirror mage is using, he will curse you. Probably impossible, since how can he curse you if his mirror is gone? There are records, though, of powerful mirror spells that broke mirrors."

"Twilight thought that one of her experiments had broken the mirrors in the library," I volunteered.

"I suppose it's possible." Zecora mused for a second. She shook her head. "No, that isn’t likely. The amount of power required to break mirrors all over town isn't too much, but she wouldn't have done it by accident. However, I think I might be able to shed some light on this." The zebra reached back into her saddlebags, and extracted a vial of water. She swirled it and held it in the sunlight, where it cast rippling shadows around the room. She took a white bowl off the shelf, and poured the water into it. She added a few drops of something inky, turning the water dead black.

"This is water from the Mirror Pool, deep in the Everfree. With this, we may be able to scry some of the resonances of any mirror magic that was used last night. It might not show us much, but we can at least guess if it was magic or not." She waved a hoof over the water, and mumbled for a second in what I assumed was Zebrican. As the ripples died down, the reflections on the surface re-arranged themselves, forming rapidly shifting shapes. For a second, it resolved into a glowing green eye. It blinked once and then was gone as the surface of the water was broken by a flurry of bubbles.

"Is it...boiling?" I asked, holding my hand over the water to feel the heat.

"Yes." Zecora said, her voice flat. She shuddered. "What power! A spell that leaves that much residue behind...we need to discover what it did as soon as possible!" All three of us nodded.

"You should go ask Twilight." Fluttershy said quietly. I looked over at the yellow pegasus, and nodded.

"She might have some idea what sort of magic could do this." I said.

"Very well." Zecora said, carefully pouring the water out the door into the dirt. "Let's go."

"I hope she's awake." I said, and we set off down the path, parting with Fluttershy at the door.

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