• Published 1st Apr 2016
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Group Precipitation - FanOfMostEverything

Stories set in the Oversaturated World, some silly, some less so.

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Strange Interlude, by KingMoriarty

The Ancient One raised a hand, letting her sleeve fall all the way down to her elbow for dramatic effect. She smiled, and lowered her hand until her outstretched fingers were framing her head-gem. "You will observe," she explained, "not a glimmer."

She lowered her hand, and held it outstretched over the cell phone that sat on the table. Once she was confident that her guest was watching closely, the Ancient One curled one finger in, then flicked it out to its full length. Two inches beneath her palm, the phone began to slowly spin. There was no aura, no sparkle in her gem, and yet it turned.

"After twenty years of training, ten for the talented ones, this was all my students could hope to accomplish." The phone stopped spinning, and the Ancient One got up from her seat. She walked over to the corner of the room, and gestured towards a boulder that was roughly the size of a transport truck. She extended her hand again, this time in a clawed gesture, and raised both arm and boulder without the slightest spark. "And after living here for half of my life, and training every day, this was the extent of my powers." She set the stone down with hardly a sound, and turned back towards her guest.

"But then, the world changed." The blood-red stone on her forehead flared with a pulse of magic, and Sunset Shimmer's stomach tried to lurch as reality fell away around them. The ceiling above them folded open like a blossoming flower, and the sky that they were sent rocketing into didn't so much blur into nothing as it did bleed. In the space of a second, it was over, and the two of them stood outside of their universe. The Ancient One did a good job of hiding the soul-crushing instinctive terror racing through her mind, while Sunset watched the twirling spheres of far-off realities with a vague stare of acknowledgement.

After an awkward moment while the Ancient One got her bearings, she continued. "Suddenly, everything was different. The fruits of a lifetime of mystical training were transformed into the status quo for a third of the world population. My monastery went from the one true sanctum of magic to just being the first aspect-exclusive club."

"It's kind of remarkable," Sunset cut in. "I actually did a check on everyone who's ever come to you. All the students who left or didn't have the aptitude have become earth-aspect, pegasus-aspect or any other besides unicorn."

The Ancient One smiled, a smile that reminded Sunset of Celestia when she hadn't had her coffee. "Would it be too bold of me to postulate that our aspects have always been with us, and that the transformation did not so much introduce these powers as it did allow us to realize them?"

"Possibly," Sunset admitted. "We still know so little about magic in this universe, of all aspects. We actually know more about the magic systems of that world over there," she pointed at an indistinct sphere on the edge of the multiversal 'horizon', "than we do about the world you live in now. For now, all I can say is that this is one of those coincidences that makes people rattle off quotes about how coincidence is a fiction."

"Magic was a fiction, once. Perhaps the transformation has made coincidence a reality as well."

Sunset smiled wryly at the bald woman, and ripped them back into the monastery. "What is it about magic teachers and having to make every sentence sound like a riddle?" The Ancient One smiled, and floated over two full cups of tea.

"It helps reassure us that, even when the student surpasses the teacher, there will still be something they won't know." She took a sip of her tea, and Sunset followed suit. When that was done, she put the cup down and smiled at the supposed Master of the Mountain.

"So, what happens now?"

"Now? Now, Sunset Shimmer is going to tell me what she's doing here."

"In a word?" Sunset opened her palm, conjuring a hologram of the planet, criss-crossed with holy symbols and company logos. "Outreach. Part of not letting yourself think you're a god is relying on other people, and part of relying on other people is convincing yourself that they fill a role you can't."

"Then, what role may I fill in service of you?"

"Honestly?" Sunset sighed, knowing full well she was about to sound like a lunatic. "There's a team of superheroes that needs supervising, and you're the only person who's both sane enough and powerful enough to keep them in check."

The Ancient One chuckled. "Yes, I've heard of them. One of my students has been talking about trying to restrain them."

"He sounds smart. Maybe he should join them instead, inject some sanity into the venture."

"No, that would never work."

Author's Note:

I appreciate the wisdom of bald Tilda Swinton as much as the next guy, but this... probably didn't happen. The bit about aspects existing before, though? Spot on.

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