• Published 7th Apr 2012
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Scion of Chaos - SilentBelle

Sweetie Belle plans on learning the basics of magic, but what she discovers is so much more.

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Chapter 1 - The Unknown Voice

Scion of Chaos - Chapter 1: The Unknown Voice
By: SilentBelle

Why did everything she attempt have to end up wrong? Whether it was preparing breakfast, making sets and props, or trying to help her sister with any household chore, she, more often than not, found herself either surrounded by debris or choking in smoke, and always about to face the wrath of her sister. On this fine summer day, the results were very much the same.

Sweetie Belle sat there, on the floor of her sister's workroom, feeling an overwhelming sense of déjà vu settling in. She had done it again: The dress-foals were toppled, utensils had been strewn about, making their way to every corner of the room, and Rarity's dresses littered the floor. Opalescence hissed her indignation from beneath the material chaos that the room had become as she struggled to find a route out of the mess. All of this was merely a momentary prelude to the inevitable outburst which Rarity was sure to unleash.

The small filly braced herself while staying prone, preparing for the storm. She couldn't meet her sister's eyes, so she waited there, focusing on a length of purple fabric tangled around her hoof. However, the explosion never came. Instead, a feeling of queasy unease settled upon her, like dust in the wake of a stampede. Eventually, Sweetie Belle found the nerve to meet her sister's gaze. She flinched, immediately regretting doing so.

Sweetie had seen her sister's anger, and over the course of her childhood had managed to summon it all too often. But ever since the Sisterhooves Social, it seemed Rarity had tried harder than ever to reign her temper in. This was evident in the dark calm that had overtaken her sister's features. Not a single emotion ruffled that regal exterior, save for those icy blue eyes; the glare that the elder unicorn was unleashing terrified Sweetie Belle in a way that made the previous rages pale in comparison.

“Sweetie, dear,” Rarity began, her voice showing obvious signs of strain, “I thought I asked you not to enter my work room when I am not inside of it.”

The older sister began using her magic to efficiently rectify the disaster. In a matter of minutes all the debris was swiftly returned to its proper place. All the while, Sweetie Belle seemed to find her hooves exceedingly important.

Once Rarity had finished with the cleanup, she looked down to her sister and let out a sigh. “Look Sweetie, I'm not angry,” she began tenderly, drawing her sister's eyes to hers, “but would you at least tell me what you were trying to do?”

“I'm sorry Sis,” the young unicorn apologized. “I just wanted to fix up my Crusader's cape. It's gotten frayed and torn over the last few months.” Now it was Sweetie Belle's turn to sigh. “But I'm no good at it. I just ruined it worse than it was before.” She lifted up the mess of red fabric with one of her hooves. “I just can't seem to get a grip on the needle to run the thread through, and the sewing machine won't do the job for the patchwork; the frays are too small. If only I could use magic like you, then I could actually hold the needle.”

“Hmm,” Rarity hummed to herself, her face turning pensive as she examined her sister's displayed cape. The article truly was in bad shape. The golden lining had long since lost its shimmer and was now an unbecoming shade of worn yellow. The outside red was even worse for wear, cuts and nicks from the Crusaders' misadventures were nearly countless, and their club's symbol had tears all across it. Sweetie Belle noticed her sister's eyes bulge at the sight, but she regained her composure quickly. “I'll tell you what, my dear. I will fix your cape for you, so why don't you go and hang out with your friends for the afternoon? It's a beautiful day out, such a shame for a young filly to be spending all her time indoors.”

At this suggestion Sweetie turned her eyes back to the ground. “I appreciate you fixing the cape, I really do, but I don't know what to do. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom are both busy. Scootaloo is learning how to fly from Rainbow Dash, and Apple Bloom is helping her family on the farm. I figured I could fix up my cape today and then help you out with your designing, but I'm just not good enough. I can't even use magic to lift a needle, and I always make a mess of things. If I hung out with my friends, I'd just cause them both trouble. I don't want to distract Scootaloo from learning how to fly, and I'll just make a mess of things on the farm if I go and help out Apple Bloom.” Tears started forming in her eyes as she continued spouting, “Sometimes I think I'm the only one who isn't special. Everything I've tried, all the crusades we've been on, and I messed up on every one of them. Maybe I'll just end up with a disaster cutie mark.”

“Oh Sweetie, don't say that,” Rarity said softly as she pulled he sister into a tight hug. “There are plenty of things you can do.” The mare paused a bit to design a plan before continuing. “I'll tell you what, I'll bring you over to the library and ask Twilight to see if she can teach you the basics of magic.”

“But why don't you teach me, Sis?” Sweetie Belle asked as she blinked the tears out of her eyes.

“Because, my dear, I am going to fix up your cape, and Twilight's special talent is magic. She is far more adequately prepared to deal with its teachings. Besides, once she teaches you the basics, then I will teach you the finesse of my craft,” Rarity promised as a soft smile alighted upon her lips, “and who knows, you might just get your cutie mark in the process.”

“Well, I guess it can't hurt to try,” Sweetie Belle said shakily, her nervousness quite evident. Thoughts of messing up spell-casting began to flow through the filly's mind, she shuddered as she considered what could happen. But maybe there was just a slim chance that under the tutelage of the most prestigious magician in Equestria, she might not mess up.

The two sisters made their way out of the boutique. Rarity strode confidently, purpose and poise in her every move; Sweetie Belle followed, her nervous energy spurring her forward.

The pair passed through the bustling town as ponies made their way to and fro, performing their daily shopping excursions. As busy and colourful as the crowd was, Sweetie Belle couldn't find a way to keep her mind distracted. Her thoughts were caught in a rut as she looked back on every task that she had messed up in the past year. And with every passing moment, she drew closer to the conclusion that she was fated to end up with a 'failure' cutie mark.

With her mind occupied by her own miserable thoughts, she hadn't realized that they had already made their way to the library. Sweetie Belle's attention was quickly grabbed by the sound of Rarity modestly knocking at the front door.

“Oh, Twilight dear, are you in? I have something I wish to ask you,” Rarity's voice called through the heavy front door, carrying a musical quality with it.

The sisters heard a quick response from the other side of the door that sounded eerily similar to a pile of books being knocked over, followed by a flurry of footfalls finding their way to the entrance. With an audible keening the door opened from inside, revealing a petite purple dragon who performed a sweeping bow once the door was fully opened.

“Oh, my Lady Rarity,” Spike began, “that you would grace me with your presence this day. To what do I owe this most wonderful of gifts?”

“Do stop with flattery Spike, although I do appreciate it,” Rarity replied while a small smile played upon her lips. “Is Twilight in? I have a request to make of her.”

“Nah, she's not here today,” Spike responded offhandedly, in sharp contrast to his earlier tones of praise. “She's taking a day away from Ponyville to study some records in the Canterlot archives. It's just the next project she's working on, but she couldn't find any information in here. And of course, she left the library in a mess and asked me to clean it up before dashing off,” the dragon concluded tersely, pointing behind himself.

Sweetie Belle peeked out from behind Rarity to get a look at what Spike was referring to. She was a little shocked to say the least. Books were strewn about the room with no perceivable pattern. In fact, the whole mess of the library was even worse than when the Cutie Mark Crusaders had decided that they should try to get their librarian cutie marks. To think that Twilight, the most organized pony in Ponyville, could leave the library in such a sorry state, it was almost unfathomable. It also gave Sweetie Belle a little more confidence. Maybe I'm not the only pony who makes a big mess of things.

“Well, that is most unfortunate,” Rarity began, “and I do hate to be interrupting you when you have such a large task ahead of you. But perhaps I could ask for your help instead, unless you are too busy of course, in which case, I do entirely understand.”

“For you, Rarity, if it is within my power, I'll do anything,” Spike replied readily. “Besides, the library ends up like this at least once a month, so I'm used to it.”

“Why, thank you Spike, that is most courteous of you,” Rarity said, smiling sincerely at the now-blushing dragon before her. “Now, I was wondering if you could find a book that gives instructions for unicorns on how to start using magic. You see, my darling sister here wants to learn the basics. We think that she might discover what her true talent is once she starts to use her magic. I was going to ask Twilight herself to instruct my dear sister of course, but I do suppose a book will have to do for now.”

“Right," Spike nodded at the explanation. "How about Flawless Magic Fundamentals for Foals? Twilight always told me that it was one of the first books she read on magic theory, and it's how she learned to use her first bit of magic to turn the page of a book. I think I saw it a few minutes ago, I'll go get it.”

Spike proceeded to dive into the cumulus of books and start throwing them every which way. Sweetie Belle was quite certain that he didn't have any method to his searching, but to her surprise, within a minute Spike waddled out of the sea of books, clasping an indigo tome firmly in his claws.

“See? It doesn't take long to find the books when you've memorized the titles and their colours,” Spike claimed as he waddled toward the two unicorns near the entrance. “It was definitely the worst when we first moved here and we had to sort it for the first time. Twilight came up with ten different lists of sorting methods, she spent two whole days with no sleep trying to figure out which was the best way to organize them. She even made another list to sort out which of the lists was best. It wasn't the best two days of my life, I can tell you that, what with her pacing back and forth as she changed her mind over and over,” he finished up while handing the book over to Rarity with a flourish. “Well, here you are, my lady.”

Rarity promptly accepted the book with telekinetic finesse. Sweetie Belle watched as a blue aura sprung to life around the book, and she couldn't help but feel a little envy at her sister's easy display of magic.

“Thank you my dear Spikey-Wikey, you are such a darling,” Rarity said, giving him a soft pat on the head, before turning to leave with her sister. “I'll come back to visit again soon. Best of luck with the books.”

Spike watched Rarity slip out of sight from the open library door. “Goodbye, my sweet.” He closed the door with a sigh. Turning around, he let out a veritable groan and got back to his arduous task.

* * *

Ten minutes later, Sweetie Belle found herself alone at the clubhouse, her only companion was the borrowed book from the library.

Rarity had made her way back to the boutique in order to fulfill her earlier promise and had suggested that her sister read up on how to use her magic. She claimed that if Sweetie Belle did so, she could prepare some questions to ask Twilight when the older unicorn returned.

With that in mind, the young filly placed the well-worn indigo tome upon the lone desk before her. The smell of old parchment filled her nostrils as she turned to the first page. She was a little daunted to see the page filled entirely with text, but not enough to outweigh her enthusiasm. She dug into the first wall of words with her mind ready to learn, for if she could glean some understanding from these pages, then she would be one step closer to working alongside her sister. And then she would earn her cutie mark. Thus, by Celestia, she would read and understand the whole tome before the afternoon was over.

With an even inhalation of breath, Sweetie Belle began reading the book out loud, to herself. This was an exercise that had always helped her remember and understand any other books she ever came across, and this one would be no exception.

“It is of utmost importance, when first learning to use magic, that the unicorn in question has a firm understanding on the laws of Magic Flow, and Magic Permeation. For these two principles are the fundamentals on which all unicorn magic is based.

"The Law of Magic Flow is: Magic moves throughout space as a fundamental base for all things. It is a mass-less and formless matter that carries Potential Energy within it. It travels at the speed of its medium, and it cannot exist outside of a medium, but it can and will flow from one medium to another when placed under enough magical force.

"The Law of Magic Permeation is that all magic will naturally flow from one medium of high magic density to a medium of low magic density."

Why couldn't they have pictures too? This would be a lot easier to understand if the author had included pictures! And what's with all these 'Flow' and 'Permeation' explanation things? What is this, a dictionary? And what does it mean by medium? This doesn't make any sense!

Sweetie Belle was scowling at the thick book as her third attempt at making sense of the first page failed. “Dumb book,” she muttered under her breath as she began leafing through the pages looking for the 'Basic Spells' heading. “I should just do it like the Cutie Mark Crusaders always do: hooves-on. Rarity always tells me that the best way to learn is to try and not be afraid to make mistakes.”

Soon she found the page she was looking for. Beneath the heading, the first line was labeled 'Levitation Spell – (Basic)'. “Aha! This must be the spell that Twilight said was her first spell,” the filly muttered to herself. “Let's see: 'Focus your mind inward and find your inner magic. Then slowly turn that focus outward through your horn and imagine a soft breeze passing over the pages of the book.' Well that doesn't sound too hard.”

With a confident smile, Sweetie Belle closed her eyes and began to focus. After half a minute, her smile suddenly flattened at her realization. “Wait a second... how the hay am I supposed to 'find my inner magic'?” She opened her eyes and began leafing back through the book one page at a time, hoping to find an answer. And after ten more minutes, she ended up back at the first page.

The young unicorn groaned as she planted her face into the frustrating pages. “Flawless Magic Fundamentals For Foals, my hoof! No foal could understand this!” she shouted to nopony in particular.

“Oh, now where's the fun in understanding a book?” a voice replied quietly.

Sweetie Belle yelped in surprise and fell backward in her chair, crashing unceremoniously to the wooden floor. “Who are you?!” she shouted, looking around the empty clubhouse. “Where are you?”

“Ohoho,” the voice laughed harshly, the sound echoing from every direction. “How wonderful, she can actually hear me. Now then, the 'who's and 'where's aren't important, my dear. It is the 'what' that you should be focused on. And what you need to do is cast a spell, correct?”

Sweetie Belle continued to glance around the room warily, trying to pinpoint the source of the voice. She was reluctant to answer the unknown pony, but she needed to find the location this mysterious colt, or whatever he was. “Um, yeah, I suppose. Say are you some kind of... um, ventriloquist?”

Another laugh erupted in response, once again the sound seemed to be coming from all directions and no directions at once. “Oh, how astute you are, Sweetie Belle. A good guess, but sadly incorrect. I am a puppeteer by trade, though I haven't had to perform to make ends meet for longer than I can remember. Really, it's fallen to the wayside now, it's much more of a hobby. My other hobby is magic.”

“Wait, how do you know my name?” the filly responded nervously.

That echoing laugh filled her ears once again. “Oh, you are just too much fun. How about this answer? Magic.” Sweetie Belle could just imagine the smug grin that the voice's owner must have been wearing when he said that. It was a face that deserved a solid bucking.

With an annoyed frown, Sweetie Belle gave up her search for the voice's location and lifted her chair back in its place. She figured that the owner of the voice would only be seen when he wanted to be seen, and not a moment sooner. So, she once again took her place on the chair and started up a new line of conversation.

“So, what do you want from me?” she asked the open air of the clubhouse. “You have better things to do than bugging me all day. Right?”

“Well, would it come as a surprise to you if I told you that I do not?” the voice questioned mockingly. “Here's the spiel: I've been really bored for the last little while, so I figured I would go out of my way and spice up a certain little filly's life with some amusing dialogue and anecdotes.”

“So, you're not going to leave then?” she concluded, sounding quite disappointed.

“Oh, it appears we have a winner. For your astute observation, girl, I'll help you with your magic lesson.”

Sweetie Belle rolled her eyes and groaned. “Fine, just don't interrupt me while I'm reading, it's hard enough to read this dumb book. I won't be able to concentrate with you talking at the same time.”

“Bah! Who needs to read the books about magic when using magic will teach you quickest?” the suave voice replied, clearly reiterating the unicorn's earlier thoughts.

“I know, and I want to, but I don't know where to start. Not to mention there are these laws of magic that it talks about, but I don't understand them,” Sweetie Belle replied with a pout.

“Well, if that's your only problem, then I suppose I can help in that regard. After all, magic is a hobby of mine.”

“Yeah, but listening to the voice of some nopony is not a hobby of mine,” the unicorn retorted acidly.

Raucous laughter filled the club house yet another time. “I haven't had this much fun since the last time I went traveling. Who would have thought that such a small pony could bite so deep? You can call me 'Scoddri', your new magic instructor. Yes, 'Scoddri', that's a fun name.”

“I've never heard of anypony named 'Scoddri' before, it sounds weird. Say what sort of cutie mark do you have? I haven't got mine yet, maybe you can tell me how you got yours.”

“Perhaps I shall grace you with that story when you see what my cutie mark is, but for now, I have some instructing to do. Let's get to it my little pony. First we need you to find the magic inside of you.”

“I know, that's what the book said, but it also said I need to know the first two laws of magic, or something.”

“Oh, Sweetie Belle,” Scoddri said with a laugh, “all laws are changed or are broken over time. When I first used magic, there were no such rules in place. Magic was a wild thing that ponies learned to control by instinct, and nothing more.”

“Oh,” Sweetie Belle said, pausing for a bit, “then what should I do exactly?”

“First close your eyes,” Scoddri instructed. With a shrug Sweetie Belle complied. “Now, focus on yourself. Listen for your heartbeat. Feel the blood within you, running through your body, trace its path from your heart to the base of your horn. Then retrace that path with your mind, and will the magic from your heart to your horn.”

Sweetie Belle focused on herself through closed eyes. She could feel her heart palpitating, even hear it once the voice of Scoddri had stopped talking. To her surprise, she could actually feel the course of her blood as it ran through her body. It lead all the way to the base of her horn and back. “So, now I just have to will the magic from my heart to my horn?” she voiced her thoughts aloud.

“That is indeed correct, my dear.”

With her eyes still shut tight, she turned her focus directly to her heart and felt it. There was something there; it was the energy that drove the whole system. It must be magic that keeps the heart pumping, she concluded.

With a sharp intake of breath, she retraced the path in her mind and imagined the magic slowly flowing up her arteries. Suddenly, she began to feel it, the sensation sent shivers down her spine, as some of her magic began to move from the heart. Over the course of a minute, the magic crept its way up her neck and to the very top of her forehead. Eventually, it reached its apex, and then, with a jolt, the magic jumped all the way back from her horn to her heart, its circuit now complete. With every beat of her heart, she noticed that magic accompanied the blood up to the horn and back.

Suddenly, she could hear sounds that she hadn't heard before, and a faint light permeated her closed lids. It was as if the entire clubhouse had started breathing very quietly, and that sound made ripples across her vision. She could now hear that the world around her was alive. Sweetie Belle let out a breath of exhilaration and opened her eyes.

She immediately gasped. Everything around her was shedding off a very faint light, it wasn't just a sound. It was as if the saturation of the whole room had increased, but not to the point where anything became unclear. In fact, she could see everything in the room more clearly than ever. She leaped from her seat in excitement and bounded around the clubhouse looking at each individual object that littered the room. Two helmets, the map of Ponyville and various other goods that the Crusaders had collected; they all seemed to shine with a soft and gentle glow.

“Oh yes, how wonderful! I wasn't certain you would be able to do it. You do have talent my dear, and what a spectacular talent it is!” the voice, Scoddri, praised the young unicorn sincerely, sounding, for once, genuinely surprised and excited.

“Really?” Sweetie Belle asked beaming in delight as she turned her head to look at her flank. But still there was no cutie mark. “So, what is this then? This sound, it's like everything is humming quietly, and this sight, everything is glowing slightly. But it's not my special talent?”

“Oh, Sweetie Belle, don't sound so dejected,” Scoddri's voice chided, not unkindly. “Don't worry about your cutie mark, you will find it in due time. Right now you have a whole new avenue to explore.”

“Alright,” Sweetie Belle conceded. “So what is this exactly?” she asked again, hoping she would understand the answer.

Though instead of giving her a simple answer, Scoddri gave a hearty laugh before saying, “Hooves-on experience is the quickest way to find out; it's also the most fun. So go up to that book you were trying to read and I'll tell you how to flip the pages.”

Sweetie Belle, once again, sat down at that desk and faced the opened book before her. It was her nemesis. Turning its pages with magic was the only obstacle preventing her from helping her sister make some dresses. And by Celestia, she was determined to turn that page if it killed her. “Okay Scoddri, what do I need to do?”

“Oho, is that confidence I hear? How wonderful,” Scoddri responded with a good-humoured chuckle. “Look at the pages before you. Now tell me, what do you see?”

Sweetie Belle squinted at the book. “You mean the glowing and the humming I mentioned before?”

“Yes, quite correct. What you are seeing, hearing and feeling, that is the magic of the book before you. It's something that even most unicorns are unable to detect without first linking themselves to the object, and even then, it's usually only one sense that is ever affected. But you, my dear, are able to detect the magic through all your senses. And it only follows that you can control the magic as if you were already linked to the object.”

“What really?” the unicorn stuttered, quite amazed by the sudden revelation. “You mean I'll be able to use magic that even Twilight can't? I mean her cutie mark represents magic. That must mean that my talent will be magic too.”

“Ah yes, you will be able to do things that other unicorns could only dream of. But remember, all dreams remain dreams until we move towards them. So move the pages of the book Sweetie Belle. Focus on the magic of the page before you. See its glowing radiance, smell it's latent potential, and hear its hidden song. Then will the magic to move how you want it to. Tell it to 'turn over'.”

Sweetie Belle made an audible gulp as she looked at the daunting book. She could feel the page's glowing magic upon her as if she were drawing near an open flame. She leaned forward in her chair, frowning, as she focused solely upon that first glowing page, willing it to move. Please move, she begged it internally, you have to, please!

But nothing happened. It stood still, as it always had. Its confusing text reminding her of her inability to decipher its meaning. It taunted her; telling her that she was a failure who couldn't even learn the basics of magic: She would be a blank-flank forever.

Sweetie Belle's frown shifted to an all-out scowl as she stared venom at the book. That one page, it was making her a failure, and all she had to do was move it. “I'm not a failure!” she shouted at the book in anger. She hated it; more than she hated the bullies at school, and more than she hated herself for failing so many times. She wanted nothing more than to see the book burn, for all it represented.

Then she felt it, a change in the light from the book before her. It happened suddenly: The page's aura completely vanished, as the whole book, Sweetie Belle and the desk she was sitting in, shot across the room in different directions. The book hit the closest wall with a loud thud and burst into flames, while the desk opted to vault through the clubhouse window. Both the objects were promptly echoed by Sweetie Belle, who met her destination upon the furthest wall. And she met it hard.

Her vision began to fade as she crumpled to the floor. The last sight she saw was the soft glow of flame from the opposing wall. She descended into darkness, with only the sound of the disembodied voice's amused chuckles to guide her to the realm of unconsciousness.

End of Chapter 1