• Published 4th Apr 2017
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A World Divided By Magic - Ocerra



Magic is introduced into the world from Equestria, drawing the attention of those who would seek to keep it secret.

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Chapter 8, Difficult Changes

Chapter Eight
Difficult Changes

A strained silence hung over the room as Sunset paid for her wand, laying seven golden galleons out on the counter before her. She considered just walking about the shop, but instead decided to confront the situation, and turned to regard Ollivander, "Thank you so much for helping me with my wand." When she thought about it, she was dying to see what else she could do with it, it had been years since she had lost her magic. She thought it could almost be compared to losing a limb and having to live with it, maybe worse... She never knew how much she had relied on magic until she no longer had it. "And... I'm really sorry for... whatever I did."

"Think nothing of it." Ollivander replied to her resolutely, eyes twinkling with amusement, "I can say that it's a first for me, though... I've been running this shop for longer than you have been alive, and I believe this is the first time I've had a student disapparate from the shop." He chuckled to himself, before regarding her with an appraising look, "You'll make a name for yourself one day, I can see the potential in you... One day, I'm positive I will be hearing your name again."

Sunset swelled with pride, giving the man a smug grin. "Count on it." This was the kind of attention she had always sought from Celestia, but had never been given. It wasn't that she wasn't praised, she was, but it was always in a way that had strongly encouraged her to be humble. It wasn't that she was unfamiliar with humility, but she was better than everyone else. What was the point of hiding it behind false modesty. She turned around to the three behind her, finding a mix of amused looks, and even a raised eyebrow from Applejack. She shot a little glare at the latter before leaving the shop to put her wand away.

"Well..." Rarity remarked suddenly, "That was... an interesting conversation, to say the least."

"Miss high an' mighty may need some help unswellin' that head o' hers," Applejack winked at Sunset playfully.

"Hey, I can't help it if people notice how amazing I am."

"Uh-huh..." Applejack rolled her eyes exaggeratedly.

"I'm the greatest student that's ever attended that silly little school of yours, and you know it."

"Are ya even serious right now?"

"Yeah, I am. You got something to say to me?"

"Oh, Ah got a good deal o' things to say to ya."

"Well how about we hear some then?"

"How 'bout the fact that yer bein' arrogant and conceited."

"I am not conceited, and I'll prove it."

"Ah don't think provin' anythin' is the problem at this point."

"Well, I don't see a problem in the first place."

"The problem is that ya don't see it."

"And what's that supposed to mean," Sunset scowled at Applejack.

"It means yer fulla yerself!"

Rarity stepped in between the two of them, drawing both of their glares to her. She seemed unphased by the sudden intense emotions directed toward her, "Applejack, darling, would you and Dumbledore mind finding a nice place to eat? I'm getting very hungry for dinner."

Applejack stared at her, stunned, processing the large jump of subject, "Uhhh, sure Rares..." She looked over at Dumbledore, noticing he was all ready to go, and joined him. The two disappeared down the street, leaving the two in silence.

"Okay..." Sunset sighed, turning her attention to Rarity, "What was that about?" Rarity just sat on her remarkably empty flatbed cart before gesturing for Sunset to take a seat next to her. With Rarity's bag Sunset wondered why she had a cart in the first place, seeing as it was the only thing on it and never even took up a fifth of it. She sighed and took a seat.

"Sunset, dear. If you're going to get along with others and make friends, you're going to need to adopt a more humble mentality."

Sunset frowned at the direction the conversation turned, immediately reminding her of the many conversations she had had with Celestia years ago. Instead of tackling the problem the same way as she did with Celestia, she took a different approach, "Why do I need to make friends when I already have you girls?"

Rarity frowned at the deflection before pushing the problem, "The same can be said if you'd like to keep the friends you have." Rarity took a lighter tone noticing how hard that last comment had hit Sunset, "Rainbow has issues with humility too, you know. You'll have more than one chance to improve, and if you make a mistake, you'll always be forgiven if you continue to make an effort."

Sunset sighed, leaning back on her palms, she found herself staring up at the sky. "I just don't understand the point. I usually just end up concluding that I'm better off alone."

"Nobody is better off alone, Sunset." Rarity scooted toward Sunset, putting an arm around her shoulder, "The point of humility is to downplay your accomplishments and let your actions speak for themselves. Do you enjoy spending time with me?"

"I..." Sunset blushed at the hidden implications to the question that she knew weren't intended. It didn't help that Rarity currently had her arm around her. "Uh... yeah, I do."

"I'm sure you can assume that I wouldn't be nearly as nice to spend time with if I were to act superior to you, simply because I can make my own clothes and coordinate an outfit. Everyone has qualities that set them apart from another, some more than others. The point is to celebrate our differences and not lord our achievements over others. Our relationships are more important than any satisfaction we can gain from bragging about our exploits." Rarity smiled at her comfortingly, "Trust me darling, you're amazing, and people will know that without needing a reminder. Sometimes the best course of action is to let others figure out your worth for themselves."

Sunset immediately thought of Dumbledore. She respected him so much, it was obvious he was an accomplished and incredible person, yet she had never once seen him point it out. She had never really taken the time to think about it, always having the intense desire to prove herself. I wish I had Rarity with me back when I was tutoring under Celestia, but... If I hadn't have had that falling out, I would never have met my friends now... Her eyes burned when she thought of the alternative, instead focusing on how well things had worked out for her in the end. Sometimes the way things worked out made you question whether it was meant to be this way from the beginning. "You're right..." she groaned in frustration, "I've probably been really frustrating to deal with..."

"Perhaps at times... but you've made remarkable improvement from a few days ago. I, for one, am glad you want to change for the better."

"Thanks Rarity," Sunset replied, a small smile creeping onto her face, "Me too..."

The two looked up noticing Applejack and Dumbledore approaching from the street. Noticing they had noticed her, Applejack waved at the two of them enthusiastically, clearly having calmed down since the previous conversation. "Howdy you two, we found a nice little restaurant a little down yonder."

Rarity removed her arm from Sunset and stood smoothly before replying to Applejack, "Thank you, dear, but I've decided I'm no longer hungry." Applejack's mouth hung agape incredulously.

"Rarity, you just asked me to find ya somewhere to eat."

"And I changed my mind!" Rarity responded dramatically, "Oooh! I think it would be delightful if we all had pizza together when we're all together again."

Sunset took the opportunity to interrupt the flow of the conversation, "Applejack. I just wanted to say that you were right, and that I'm really sorry for the way I was acting." Applejack looked conflicted, still wanting to continue her conversation with Rarity, but deciding that Sunset took precedence.

"Aw, Sugarcube, Ah forgive ya. Ah can tell yer tryin', an' that's all ya can do," Applejack grinned widely and gave her a friendly slug on the arm.

"Get a room!" Pinkie called out mockingly, drawing everyone's eyes to the newcomers instinctively. Pinkie led the way, skipping happily ahead of Rainbow, Fluttershy, and Arthur.

"Where is Minerva?" Dumbledore asked Arthur, speaking up for the first time in a while.

"She dropped the girls off with me after saying that she had to finish preparing for the start of the school year."

Dumbledore nodded slightly before flashing his mischievous smile. "I'm surprised she lasted throughout the entirety of the day," he commented before turning to Pinkie and Rainbow, "How has your day of shopping been?"

"Fantasteriffic!" Pinkie blurted out excitedly, "She helped me brainstorm ideas for all sorts of pranks and jokes!"

Dumbledore looked taken aback, "She did?"

"After lecturing us on what jokes were and were not acceptable," Rainbow scoffed, "That lady really needs to chillax."

"Well that certainly does sound like her," he chuckled heartily before turning to Arthur, "Thank you so much for your assistance today, I can take the rest from here."

"Please! Think nothing of it, they behaved perfectly. It was my pleasure," Arthur commented, sharing a warm smile with Fluttershy and Applejack.

"Even so," Dumbledore retorted, "Thank you for taking a break from your busy schedule to assist with the matter. Are you still able to assist them tomorrow morning?"

"Of course, of course!" Arthur turned to consult the six girls, "You all behave for Professor Dumbledore alright? I'll see you all around eight in the morning. Make sure to get a good night's rest, you'll have a large day tomorrow."

There was a scattering of goodbyes from the group as the man left the group, giving them one last hearty wave before disappearing from sight. The group turned to Dumbledore. "Well, no sense standing around here any longer. Come along, I'll show you to where you'll be staying." He set a generous pace unfitting of someone his age, the group pulling their carts along behind him as he led them along quietly. It was late enough in the day that the street traffic was almost nonexistent, making the trip both quick and easy. It wasn't even ten minutes or so before the group was led into a large hotel.

Sunset looked around the lobby curiously as Dumbledore approached the clerk and struck up a conversation. The lobby was spacious with a floor of marble. A fountain lay in the center of the grand room, various flora scattering the room at even intervals. She found her mouth wanting to hang open at the luxury of the place presented to her, it seemed way more than was necessary for their group. It reminded her of the time she had lived in a castle in Equestria. When she had been invited to be Princess Celestia's private student, she had been given her own quarters in the castle, along with a level of luxury she had never forgotten. Moving from being an orphan to living in luxury in the royal castle of Canterlot was a jarring experience. When she had been dismissed as Celestia's protege, she was too scared to go back to living in the orphanage. In her last act of defiance, she had escaped into this world, hoping it couldn't have been worse than the alternative. It was... until now.

She sighed uncomfortably at the place as Dumbledore made his way back to the group and led them toward the elevators in the back. Sunset having had limited experiences in this world, had never actually been in an elevator before, but had heard mention of them a few times. The group had to take multiple elevators because of the size of their carts being told to regroup at floor six. The first group to go up was Dumbledore, Pinkie, Rainbow, and Fluttershy; leaving Sunset to wait for a second elevator with Applejack and Rarity. She drew a long shaky breath as the numbers of the elevator count down toward the lobby.

"Are you doin' okay?" Applejack asked her concernedly.

"I've... never been in an elevator..."

"Aw, well don'tcha worry 'bout it one bit. It ain't nearly so bad as ya think it'll be," Applejack winked at her in an attempt to lighten her mood. It did seem to help a little bit, finding it a little easier to breathe now. "Rares and Ah will be right there with ya too."

"Thanks..." she replied, her breath catching as the elevator door opened before her. Applejack pulled her cart into the large elevator first, and motioned for Sunset to follow after her, which she did after taking a moment to gather her courage.

"Hold on just a minute, dears," Rarity toned, pulling her cart out of the sight of the open door of the elevator. She appeared again moments later, entering the elevator holding her bag. She pressed the button with a "6" labeled on it before setting her bag on Applejack's cart.

"Did'ja just ditch yer cart here?" Applejack appeared scandalized.

"Oh, don't worry about it so much, there was a cluster of identical carts just a little down the hall a short distance."

"Ah... guess..." Applejack conceded as the door of the elevator closed. Noticing Sunset's white knuckled grip on the elevator railing, she took a few steps and put an arm around Sunset comfortingly, "Don'tcha worry, it's gonna be okay..."

Sunset was about to reply when the elevator kicked into motion. She sunk further into Applejack's embrace instinctively, nervous about the awkward new sensation. After a few moments, she separated from Applejack, giving her a thankful smile. It wasn't nearly as bad as the anticipation. The rest of the elevator ride was shared in silence, only lasting a few moments longer before a sharp noise announced their arrival and the door opened for them. The three stepped out into the small lobby, joining the rest of the group.

"Did you book us for a private suite?" Rarity asked wondrously, noticing there only being two large rooms on the floor.

"With such a large group, I thought it appropriate," he responded dismissively, leading the group over to the room on the left, opening it up and allowing the group to funnel in. It was a massive room sporting three massive beds, a small lounge area, a moderately sized kitchen, and some beautiful tapestries and plants scattering the room. It was definitely not the kind of space one could expect from a normal hotel room. The group scattered into the room, wasting no time making themselves comfortable, leaving Sunset at the door with Dumbledore. He turned his attention to Sunset, "Pizza has been ordered and paid for already, the clerk will bring it up when it gets here." He handed Sunset the key to the room before asking, "Is there anything else you need before I take my leave?"

"I, uh... what kinds of pizza were ordered," she asked awkwardly.

"We ordered four pizzas, two of which contain no meat, don't worry..." He smiled at her comfortingly.

"Thank you," she replied sheepishly. After spending a lifetime as a unicorn, she found the thought of eating meat unsettling.

"Arthur will be here for you all in the morning, make sure to get some rest before then," he gave her a small smile before shutting the door, leaving Sunset staring at the door in silence.