• 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 2 - Missing Pieces

Scion of Chaos – Chapter 2: Missing Pieces
By: SilentBelle

Sweetie Belle opened her eyes blearily, blinking a few times to free the fuzziness from her vision. The wooden ceiling slowly came into focus as her mind began to swing into motion. “Where -?” she started asking, but was cut short after just the first word by a fit of coughing. Her throat hurt, and her eyes were now watering. Where am I? she continued her thought as she turned her head from side to side.

She had been laid down on her back and neatly bundled within a swath of bedding. The stylish blankets caught a crosshatching of angled sunlight, which accented its floral design. Sweetie Belle instantly recognized the blankets as her sister's hoof-work. She came to that conclusion, not only due to the aesthetic, but also because of the comforting embrace that the fabric held her in. It was a feeling that she would always associate with her sister. The feeling of home.

The rest of the room, however, was not home. It took the young unicorn a few moments to figure out where she was. She managed to hoist herself into a sitting position, an action that was far more taxing than she had anticipated, and scoped out her surroundings. Her eyes darted from one set of fixtures to the next as she tried to make heads or tails of this strange room. There was a wooden circular ceiling held up firmly by the curved wooden walls, a glass and pitcher of water stood guard on a nearby, ornate oaken end-table. With a glance to her side, she noticed the rooftops of other houses peeking up just past the window sill. All of it was bathed in the copper light of the setting sun. I'm in... the library? Why am I here? Wait... what happened?

Over the next few moments, the filly began to recall fragments of the past afternoon she had spent in the clubhouse. Slowly, she began piecing the memories together in her mind. I remember learning how to see magic from that voice. It was Scoddri, right? Sweetie Belle blinked in an attempt to clear her thoughts. That's when she realized what she wasn't seeing.

I can't see the magic anymore, she noted to herself with a feeling of pathos. Even though she had known the sensation for only a short moment, the white unicorn already missed it.

Then a plan quickly began to formulate in the young unicorn's mind. Maybe I just need to connect my magic to my horn again. Sweetie Belle turned her focus inward to her heart and searched for that feeling that she had found in the clubhouse.

It was harder to find this time. The energy driving her beating heart was so faint; when she finally rediscovered it, she had to do a double-take. Why is it so... small compared to last time? This didn't stop the inquisitive filly though, she was determined to see magic once again. So Sweetie Belle ran through the same process to move her magic out of her heart and toward her horn.

To her surprise, the movement of the magic was a lot easier this time. There were no shivers traveling down her spine, and with the merest of willful nudges, the magic soared up to her horn instantly. It flowed along its predetermined path as rainwater flows into a river. It felt natural.

The filly opened her eyes wide in awe as she caught, in the rim of her periphery, the faintest sheen of emerald light shedding from her horn.

Her amazement lasted for only the briefest of moments, when a sudden seizure of pain ripped at her heart. Sweetie Belle let out a gasp, her concentration disintegrating as she doubled over in agony. The pain quickly subsided as she felt her magic return to her heart, leaving her to deal with another fit of coughing.

Eventually, she settled down enough to start recalling the rest of the afternoon she had spent at the clubhouse. So I learned how to see magic, then I tried to turn the book's page and-. Sudden horror tightened her sore throat as she drew to her conclusion. I burned down the clubhouse! The guilt she felt for causing such a calamity was crushing to the young filly. Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, I'm so sorry.

Tears flowed freely from the filly's stinging eyes as she was quickly overcome by an outbreak of sobbing coughs. It only relented for a few moments when her burning lungs ran out of air.

In one such break she heard a muffled chorus of approaching hoof-steps making their way up the library's staircase. If Sweetie Belle wasn't mistaken, it sounded like two sets of hooves. The filly forced herself to take in a breath, in an attempt to compose herself, but it only served to drown her in another billowing wave of coughs.

At the sound of Sweetie Belle's sporadic coughing, one of the approaching ponies broke into a canter and crashed through the door.

“Oh Sweetie, you're awake!” Rarity shouted and rushed over to her sister's side, tears apparent in her eyes. Immediately, the elder proceeded to gently rub her sister's back in an attempt to assuage the filly's coughs. She did this while using her magic to pour a glass of water from the nearby pitcher. She topped the beverage off with a fashionably patterned straw. “Here, Sweetie, drink some water, it will help.” Rarity offered the glass to her sister, now holding it between her two fore-hooves, for her sister's convenience.

The coughing fit abated once Sweetie Belle drained the blissful offering of water. Finally, she noticed the other pony in the room. It was none other than Twilight Sparkle, who remained standing by the door. The lavender unicorn's look of concern had softened and was replaced by a light smile as she observed the tender scene unfolding before her.

Sweetie Belle soon found a soft smile had made its way to her lips as well, as she returned her focus to Rarity. Her sister's mane was a mess, her teary eyes showed obvious signs of weariness, but the smile she held was genuine and true.

“Thanks Sis,” Sweetie said in her raspy voice as she reached out to give her sister a hug. “I'm sorry.”

Rarity reciprocated the motion and embraced her sister gingerly. “There is nothing to be sorry about Sweetie, you've been through a lot, just get some rest now.” With great care the elder unicorn rested her sister back into the canopy of covers upon the bed. And with a loving kiss to Sweetie Belle's cheek, she turned to leave her sister to recuperate.

As if summoned by her sister's words, Sweetie Belle suddenly noticed just how tired she was. But before she would submit to the compulsions of fatigue there was one question that needed an answer.

“Rarity?” the filly called after her sister gently. “What happened-” she swallowed her nervousness, “at the clubhouse?”

A look of concern coloured Rarity's features as she shot a glance at Twilight. “Sweetie,” she began nervously, “we don't know exactly what happened. Applejack said she found you unconscious in the building just as it was burning and falling apart around you. We don't know what started the fire, but that's not important. You are safe darling, that's all that truly matters.”

“Though it is kind of miraculous that she managed to make it through the whole ordeal with only minor smoke inhalation and a few bruises,” Twilight added, from the doorway.

“Now, Twilight,” Rarity said sternly, “we both agreed that Sweetie should get some more rest before we delve further into what happened. She's still recovering from yesterday, we shall figure out the cause in due time. For now we can rest easy with the knowledge that nopony was hurt. And if I may say so, darling, you do need some rest. Why, look at your mane, you haven't had an ounce of sleep since you got back from Canterlot.”

Twilight shook her head softly in disappointed surrender. “Yeah, I know, I Pinkie Promised remember?” she said, as a tired smile traced her lips. “And as much as I want to figure out exactly what is happening, I don't think it would be a good idea to try and solve this problem without proper preparation and a clear mind. I think we all need some sleep, and Rarity if you think my mane is more out of shape than yours, then find a mirror. You've been up even longer than I have.”

“Well, when you put it that way,” the Rarity began, “I believe I am far past overdue for some rest and a shower. Thank you ever so much, Twilight, for offering to take care of my sister.”

“Oh, think nothing of it Rarity, we had to do something. This was really the best option.”

Rarity turned back to look at her little sister. Sweetie Belle's brilliant green eyes were mere slits as she waged a losing war with her fatigue. “Goodnight Sweetie,” the elder mare whispered, placing a light kiss upon her sister's cheek, “may you have sweet dreams.”

At that moment the filly had lost the battle and was overcome by her weariness. Her eyelids gently slid closed in defeat.

* * *

The skyline of Ponyville faded into sight
As Sweetie Belle squinted through the faint light.
Something ahead drew her attention,
She heard her name, just the slightest mention.
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo,
Her friends slipped into view.
And between the young pair
Was an elegant, older mare.
Her sister held a regal pose
Long enough for Sweetie's eyes to close

And then they were gone. Where did they go? Sweetie Belle searched frantically around a vacant Ponyville. She ran to the boutique calling her sister's name as she opened the door, but nopony was inside. The dresses on display were familiar, but the distressed filly couldn't make out the details, though that wasn't important to her. She had to find them. The filly forged ahead and searched the rest of her sister's home.

The last room in the building stood before her. Sweetie Belle hesitantly opened the door to her her sister's workroom. She peeked inside, quietly calling out Rarity's name. To the filly's surprise, there was nothing inside the chamber except for a vacant desk and chair.

She entered the room and examined the scene before her. The desk and chair were placed facing a wall at the far end of the room. A room comprised entirely of wood, the only other fixtures were the windows on the other three walls.

This couldn't be her sister's room; no, she recognized where she was. This was the clubhouse. How did I get here?

Her focus was pulled to the desk. Upon its surface a single piece of parchment was placed, it grew bigger as the filly was drawn over to the curious paper, in a moment she could make out the writing.

She read it aloud, but heard not her own voice.

“Ah'm sorry Sweetie Belle, but Ah gotta help out at the farm fer the summer. Mah sister and mah brother said it's 'bout time that ah learn the family ways. Ah'll see ya when Ah can but Ah'll be kept mighty busy. Sorry,” Apple Bloom's voice emitted from Sweetie's own mouth. But despite the strange circumstances, she felt compelled to read on.

“Hey Sweetie, you'll never believe what happened. Just the other day Rainbow Dash said she'd help me learn how to fly. Can you believe that? Rainbow Dash, the Rainbow Dash, she said she would train me! Sorry Sweetie but I'm gonna be busy this summer. But we can still hang out after I practice, if I'm not too worn out, that is.” This time it was Scootaloo's voice that issued forth as Sweetie Belle read the parchment. As if possessed, she read the final portion of the paper.

“Now, listen here, Sweetie. I will head back to the boutique and fix up your cape for you. So why don't you go on and get a head start on this book? Then once Twilight gets back, I'll take you to her myself. I promise that once Twilight has taught you the basics of magic and you can levitate a needle, I will teach you the fine art of dressmaking. See you in a few hours Sweetie, with a refashioned and exquisite cape.” She finished reading and the last echoes of Rarity's voice faded.

The emotions and conflicted feelings she'd been bottling up since the summer had started now rose to the surface of her thoughts. I just wanted to spend time with you two, like we always have, but you left me alone. I watched as you began moving on. And I was happy for both of you. I truly was, but I also saw that glimmer of light in your eyes as you told me the news. The light of a new dream being realized. So then, what about me? What could I do? How could I keep up with you two? I just didn't want to be left behind.

That's when Rarity gave me the idea. I could learn magic and keep up with you two. I could be equal to you. I could stay as your friends even if we couldn't see each other. And I did it, just yesterday I learned how to see magic. So I decided right then, that this would be my new dream.

Suddenly, a familiar voice rang through the bare room of the clubhouse. “All dreams remain dreams until we move toward them. Can you make this dream real?” In an onslaught of echoing laughter, the clubhouse began to fragment around her as lines of fire erupted from the cracks.

The sweet little filly saw fire and darkness all around
And she fell with a jolt, expecting to hit the ground.
But was instead roused with a touch, ever so soft,
From the silvery light of the moon, held aloft.

* * *

The moon performed its nocturnal dance. It had shone its way across the wooden floor of the library's bedroom, and had managed to climb the fabric of the bed, to rest innocently upon the young filly's pure white coat. With a quiet groan, Sweetie Belle awoke to the soft shades of the night.

The sheen of moonlight was not the only cause for rousing the troubled sleeper. The small unicorn opened her eyes wide in sudden lucidity. I've got to use the washroom!

In a frantic leap from the bed and a flurry of asynchronous hoof-steps, she managed to deposit all of the bedding upon the floor and knock over the table that stood by the door, all in her mad scramble to reach to lavatory.

To her relief, she managed to avoid any further accidents. After a couple of minutes had passed, she sighed contently as she made her way back to the bedroom.

Sweetie Belle paused in the doorway of the room. The bed loomed before her, highlighted by a strip of moonlight, and she considered the fixture for a moment. I really don't feel like sleeping anymore. Although it does feel like I've been outside running around the whole day. But why am I so tired? Was it that dream I had? I just need to figure out what happened.

The white unicorn righted the fallen table and took a seat upon its accompanying chair. A few moments passed in sullen silence, but she couldn't find any answers in her memories, all she found were more questions. Why couldn't she see magic anymore? Why was she at Twilight's library instead of at the hospital or Rarity's boutique? Something was off about this whole situation and the filly couldn't quite place her hoof on it.

The unanswered questions were quickly pulled back into the recesses of the filly's mind as she heard approaching hoof-steps making their way up the stairs. Sweetie Belle turned to face the door, waiting for it to open. With a soft shimmer of magenta magic, barely visible in the darkness, the door gently swung on its hinges, revealing a lavender unicorn centered in the door frame.

Twilight floated a lantern, filled with fireflies, alongside her as she squinted into the room before her. She was also carrying a tray with her. It took her only a moment to notice Sweetie Belle.

“Oh, good morning, Sweetie Belle. I thought I heard you get up so I went ahead and brought you some sandwiches. Are you hungry?” the mare asked pleasantly, as she floated the lantern and platter of food gently upon the table, before making her way into the room.

“Twilight,” Sweetie Belle interjected, a look of worry evident upon her face, “why am I here and not with sis, or at the hospital? What's going on? What happened to me?”

“So, the questions are keeping you awake, huh?” the mare reasoned. “I know that feeling all too well, and to tell you the truth, I am just as curious as you are. So I'll tell you what I know, and you can tell me what you know, and we'll figure this out together. Okay?”

The worried filly nodded in agreement as Twilight began to pace the room. “Alright, so here's what happened. Applejack pulled you out of the clubhouse as it burned down around you. Miraculously, you made it out with little more than a few bruises and some smoke inhalation. Of course AJ brought you straight to the Ponyville hospital and proceeded to let Rarity know immediately afterward. Then the nursing staff at the hospital used a diagnostic spell, which let's them scan their patients for hidden injuries, in order to see if you had any internal damages.

“Now here's where the complication comes in,” Twilight foreshadowed, while Sweetie Belle listened nervously. “As soon as the doctor cast the spell, it was extinguished. He tried multiple times, and every time, the spell dissipated. So just to make sure, he tried the spell out on a different pony, and it worked just fine.”

“Oh, so that's why Rarity wouldn't use her magic to give me water or tuck me into bed like she normally does,” Sweetie Belle figured out loud.

“Yes,” Twilight affirmed, stopping her pacing momentarily, “that's a very astute observation, Sweetie Belle, and that derives exactly from the observations that the medical staff made. They said that no magic seemed to work when it came into contact with you. So, with just this strange condition, and some minor smoke inhalation, the medical staff couldn't find any injuries that would require you to be confined to a hospital. Hence, Rarity decided that it would be best to bring you over to my home so I could try and solve this conundrum.”

“Oh, Rarity brought me here? Well, if she thinks that you can help, then I'm sure you can,” Sweetie Belle concluded. “So did you find out anything since I got here, like why spells won't work?” the anxious filly asked, afraid that she might never be able to use magic again.

The elder unicorn turned and faced the filly. A tired, but comforting, smile formed on her lips. “The last time I tried a diagnostic spell, it dispersed, just as it had at the hospital. Although, there is a chance that the spell could work now that you're awake. Here, let me try this.” Twilight concentrated for a couple seconds and her horn glowed a with a magenta aura. In the next moment, Sweetie Belle felt a shiver run through her body, and for just a second she thought the fireflies' light seemed a bit brighter, though it could just as easily have been a trick of light.

“As I thought,” Twilight concluded, “the magic still dissipates. Now, I do have a few theories on the cause, but I need to know what you did that day at the clubhouse Sweetie. Will you please tell me?”

It was now Sweetie Belle's turn tell her tale. “I didn't do that much, really. I just read some of that book Spike lent me,” she began earnestly. I'm not going to say anything about Scoddri though, I don't even know if he was real or just in my mind. I don't want Twilight to think I'm crazy. “Then I got upset when I didn't understand it, so I tried to flip the pages of the book anyway. The book shot across the room and burst into flames. The next thing I remember is waking up here yesterday. I think that means I burned down the clubhouse.” Scootaloo and Apple Bloom are going to be so mad at me.

“Hmm,” Twilight hummed to herself in contemplation, once again beginning to pace in circles. “I don't think we can draw any conclusions from just that. We need more empirical evidence, and for that I need to run some tests.”

“Tests?” the filly inquired, trying to push the thoughts of guilt from her mind. She would face her friends later, there was no need to worry about that now.

“Yes, in order to get to the bottom of this situation, some testing will be necessary. But first, Sweetie, you should eat something, it has been quite a while since your last meal,” Twilight announced, only to have her own stomach make a growl of protestation.

Sweetie Belle giggled as the lavender unicorn blushed before clarifying her plan of action. “Let's both have some sandwiches.”

The pair ate as efficiently and manner-less as hungry ponies are wont to do. During their meal, the moon had slipped past the western horizon and the glories of a cloudless summer morning quickly brightened up the bedroom. By the time the two finished devouring the sandwiches, the room had no more need for extra illumination.

Twilight levitated the lantern of fireflies, opened the window, and released the imprisoned insects. “Sweetie, let's go down to the basement, we can conduct the tests down there.”

Sweetie Belle felt a familiar sense of nervousness settle itself upon her, like a well-worn cloak. Nonetheless, she donned it, and followed the older unicorn out of the room with grim determination. She would find out what had happened to her. She had to.

End of Chapter 2