• Published 19th Apr 2017
  • 1,659 Views, 60 Comments

Equestrian Conjurer - Lunafan1k

An archmage from another world is brought to Equestria to learn a new school of magic, the Magic of Friendship. While here she teaches conjuration to a select few citizens in response.

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Chapter 4

Phie opened her eyes to find herself floating in a void of various shades of blue. She blinked a few times and looked around, noting the different swirls of blue fog. She concentrated on the energies around her, quickly identifying the strange realm as a dream induced by magic.

"Interesting." She commented, conjuring a book from her memory. As she began reading, however, the pages were missing some information that she was unable to recall. "Ah, a shame, I enjoyed this one." She banished the book with a thought.

"I see you have already accustomed yourself to the dream realm." Phie twirled around to see Princess Luna standing with her in the plane.

"So this is your doing. Yes, this realm is rather interesting and responds in a way that a dream normally would." Phie replied as she attempted to float over to Luna. “... With some exceptions.”

"This realm has a floor to allow for walking if that is easier." Luna informed her as Phie slowly wiggled closer.

Phie's eyes went wide for a moment, "I knew that... I choose to float freely, like a bubble." She wiggled in defiance to little effect.

Luna giggled, "Try as you might, this is my realm and your surface thoughts are as clear as crystal to me."

Phie ceased her wiggles and let the dream's gravity take control, standing quite easily on a floor that couldn't be seen. "So, you can read my mind?" she asked, thinking really hard about a troublesome ice mage.

"No, not really. It's just surface thoughts or projections. Like the one of the strange elf gorging herself on ice cream." Luna commented, nodding to the projection behind Phie.

She turned to watch the memory of the young female shoveling ice cream down her throat with an impressive resistance to brain freeze, "This is one of the younger students in the newest coven I founded, with my old student, Konnor, as the archmage in charge. Her name is Astrid, and she is human. Well, her outward appearance is, I have my suspicions of what she truly is but either she herself doesn't know or it's her and her sister’s most closely guarded secret.

"What they truly are doesn't matter in my eyes, they needed a home and a teacher to show them how to control their magic. This was after I first found them, wandering the city, covered in filth. Her one, and only demand, repeated daily and with increasing determination, was to eat ice cream. Besides a specialty for ice magic, she also focuses on thinking up ice puns and using them at every opportunity. I hope to see her become an archmage in her own right someday. Hopefully after she learns how to handle responsibility."

"Do you do that often? Take in random street children?" Luna asked as she moved to stand beside Phie. They watched as the memory faded before flickering through a large number of images, each containing a young human or humanoid creature.

"As often as I can. It's in my power to save them, I will not let them succumb to the horrors of man." The images rested on a young human male, with brown hair, brown eyes, and tan skin. He was wearing what could be classified as rags and several belts holding everything in place. He had a goofy grin, revealing a chipped tooth.

"His father was the blacksmith, back then the blacksmith was the most valued member of any village, and usually one of the most wealthy, as everyone would require their skills with the forge." Phie explained, the memory flickering to a giant of a man slamming a hammer onto heated metal, the sparks bouncing off his mighty form. "However, his wife passed while giving birth to his son, Felix. He had wanted to teach him the craft as his father taught him and his father before him. Felix though, was weak. His body was small and frail and he was often sick, and was unable to endure the rigorous blacksmith training.

"His father became a mess, started drowning himself in alcohol and work. He took out his aggression and disappointment on Felix, treating him as a slave, beating him, scolding him that he was nothing and he had ruined his life and his entire family." The image changed to Felix curled into a ball under a tree in the rain, illuminated by a lantern held in Phie's hand. "I found him like this one night. We never really saw or spoke before this moment, but I stayed with him until my adopted father found us the next morning.

"After that he would come see me as often as he could. At first I humored him out of pity, but after some time we became close friends. He would sleep on my floor if things at his own home were too rough for him, and I would do my best to treat his wounds." The image shifted to view the boy's back, criss crossed in old scars and fresh, bleeding lashes. "Yet through it all, he would insist he was fine. His father called him weak, but I saw his strength."

The image changed to a moment frozen in time, they were surrounded by knights in armor, and he was locking eyes with Phie. His whisper of 'Run!' echoed hauntingly through the dreamspace. "In this moment, he shone brighter than the brightest star. I will always remember him." Phie wiped her eyes, even in the dream her emotions leaked through.

Luna watched as the image faded, "You still love him." She stated.

"It cannot be helped, and it is true. It took me years to come to that realization." She looked to Luna, "An elf, as a species, bonds for life. Once they form a bond, they cannot form another without fighting instinct every step of the way. Personally, though I will always miss him, I can take comfort in knowing I will not be easily wooed by another. I can keep my love to him alone, where not even the changeling queen can reach, as I have discovered."

Phie turned to face Luna, "Apologies, I did not intend to go that far into my past. Speaking of it with Chrysalis recently and seeing their faces again, it brought it all out, as they say."

"No need to apologize, it was rather enlightening." Luna told her as she took a few deep breaths, "That was the purpose of this meeting, was it not? Although I cannot help but compare my experience to yours, I feel that you have gone through much more than I and I have no right to feel as I do knowing that you-"

Phie interrupted her with a hug, "Stop that. What you experienced affected you deeply, and saying that others have it worse is counterproductive and illogical." She pulled away, "If I said that you should feel terrible because others have it better than you, would that make sense?"

Luna cracked a small smile, "No, I suppose not. But where should I start? I've never..." she trailed off, waving a hoof around as she gestured vaguely around them, "...done this before. Well, in this fashion."

"I would recommend starting at the beginning." Phie replied as she thought an old rocking chair into the realm beside her. She took a seat and rocked a few times as she waited patiently for Luna to speak.

Luna thought quietly to herself for some time, both to remember the start of her descent into madness and to calm her nerves. "Well, I suppose it started when we were foals. My sister, being older than me, was obviously ahead of me in development. Whenever she did anything new or figured something out or mastered a new spell or anything really, she would receive all the praise. I would work my hardest to catch up to her, but each time I did I would realize that she had moved on to something else.

"I chased after her like that for years, always just a few steps behind. All I saw was her outshining me and earning the praise and adoration from everyone. I felt alone, outcast, forgotten..." She trailed off, her mind going back to revisit the events that began to play behind her in the dreamscape, "I suppose I was jealous, incredibly so. I began hearing a voice in the back of my mind, giving me little hints, some bits of wisdom when I needed them."

Phie stopped rocking, "You started hearing a single voice?" Luna nodded, "I see... Please, continue." Phie remained still studying Luna as she told her tale.

Luna didn't seem to notice, continuing on with her train of thought as the events played out behind her, "I grew dependant on the voice's wisdom, pushing away others. 'How could they understand me more than this voice that's always been supporting me?' I remember thinking to myself... I know now I was being slowly manipulated into trusting the voice above all others, but at the time it was what I considered my only friend.

"After several years and the defeat of several villains, the likes of Discord and Sombra, my sister was showered in praise while I was shoved off to the wayside, forgotten and ignored. I was furious, for without me they wouldn't even have their precious princess!" Luna began yelling, her form slowly changing, her mane growing darker as she ranted. The scenes behind her changed to those of war and battle, Luna tackling her sister aside as blasts of magic barely missed them.

"I was the one who saved her from harm! Again and again and again! With nary a thank you or apology for not seeing the obvious! I loved my sister more than they ever could and they think they can replace me!? Those ponies just wanted her favor, not her love! And my sister was too stupid to realize this!"

The dream realm started to quiver as Luna panted heavily, "I had to do something, I had to make her see what these ponies were doing to her, so I asked the voice..." Luna took a deep breath and noticeably calmed down, returning to her normal form and stabilizing the dream as well. The image behind her changed to show a darker mare whispering softly into her ears. "The voice asked if I trusted its judgment, to which I responded that I trusted it with my entire being. It offered to help directly, and all I had to do was just step aside. I was confused but I agreed.

"I felt a sudden presence in my mind, but the voice was there to guide me. I followed along and felt myself retreating back into my mind as the presence took over. But before I knew what was happening, my consciousness was locked away, trapped, where I could only watch as the Nightmare took control. It used my power to make itself even stronger, soon launching an attack on the city and trying to kill my sister.

"Celestia was forced to use the Elements on us, she had hoped it would cleanse me of the evil I had become. However, instead of being cleansed, we were banished... Sealed in the moon to gaze out on Equis night after night as the Nightmare screamed in rage for a thousand years.

"Eventually the seal weakened and the nightmare was able to escape. It zeroed in on my sister, intent of having its revenge, which led us to arrive in Ponyville. We, it, couldn't find Celestia. She had hidden herself somewhere, so it went after the ponies instead. I'm pretty sure the Nightmare was completely mad at this point, because it wasn't acting like it did previously, instead it was trying to play poorly thought out mind games with Twilight and her friends.

"Eventually the girls made their way to our old castle in the Everfree Forest, as it's known now. The castle was in ruins, and still is despite attempts to restore it. There they located the Elements of Harmony, the ones we've used to defeat our greatest foes and the ones responsible for our banishment. For some reason, Celestia had placed them on a large podium in the middle of the Great Hall where they would be easily spotted.

"The Nightmare stole them, probably the most sensible thing it's ever done that night, and tried to destroy them. That obviously failed, anyone who knows anything about magical items knows you can't just simply break them." Phie nodded, "Regardless, Twilight figured out how to access and unlock their full power, and finally the Nightmare was defeated, my nightmare was over.

"I owe everything to those ponies, they freed me from my mistake when my own sister could not. But even still... You are right. I could not simply forgive myself. I forced myself to relive those moments in my dreams, the moment I lost myself to the Nightmare's hold as I could not forgive myself. That also went horribly wrong." The area behind Luna depicted scenes of chaos as she tried to regain control of a shadow of herself.

"They helped me once again in my time of need. While their support has helped greatly, I still cannot help but dwell on the past. I feel that a part of me is still jealous of my sister, while another is convinced that despite her words and kindness, she has not yet forgiven me."

Phie stood and pulled her into a hug. "Pat pat." She pulled back and met her eyes, "Perhaps you don't trust her words of sincerity because they have been spurned or twisted in the past, creating a psychological filter in your mind that her words are not to be trusted."

Luna frowned, "If that's true, what can be done about it?"

Phie gave her a boop, "I can think of three things. First, I can have a private chat with her much like this and I can tell you in my own words if she forgives you or still has doubts. Second, actual therapy from a trained professional. While I have experience helping others I'm still a conjurer, not a therapist. I would recommend one on one for a while before having joint sessions with your sister. And third, you may have a curse of some sort affecting you to twist the words of your sister. However, you would need to see someone who specializes in curses to look you over. With luck this is all psychological and can be worked through in time."

Luna thought on her words for a moment, "But what if it's the Nightmare? What if it's still there?"

Phie shrugged, "If it is and it's trying its old ways, blast it with these elements you mentioned. If not, go to therapy. Besides, I'm sure when you get checked for curses they will be able to detect the evil entity. Either way, nothing to do about it at the moment so no point getting worked up."

"I see..." Luna pondered for a moment, "Archmage, you have given us much to think about for the next few days. I can talk to my sister and see if she can secure some time to speak with you privately, probably during our upcoming visit to Ponyville for the ceremony, if that is alright?"

Phie nodded, "My time is open to anyone who needs it."

Luna nodded and gave her a nuzzle, "I was nice to speak with thee, Sister needs to finally visit with someone as wise as she, perhaps more."

Phie bowed slightly, "While wise, I doubt I can rule for a thousand years. Matching wits, however, is another story."

"And we have seen your effect on her already, I look forward to seeing her uneasy in your presence again as I eat her cake." Luna chuckled.

"Now that would be evil." Phie smiled.

Luna grinned back, "Perhaps, but the dawn approaches, you have a busy day planned from what I hear."

"Every day is a busy day." Phie gave a mock salute before vanishing from the dream realm.

Luna stared at where she was a moment ago, "How did she suddenly wake herself up like that?"

Phie's eyes sprung open as she stared into the darkness. The darkness opened its eyes right next to hers and blinked sleepily. "Sorry, I did not mean to wake you, but the floor is cold and that princess didn't have our room ready yet."

Phie blinked at Chrysalis and turned to see that she and the other few remaining changelings had joined her on the bed. "This wasn't part of the agreement."

"The agreement was that you would keep us safe, and at the moment you are keeping us safe from the cold." Chrysalis replied, cuddling deeper into the covers.

"Fine, just for tonight." Phie responded before returning to sleep.

Chrysalis waited until she was sure she was truly asleep and tasted some of her emotions, "Hm, bland, tasteless, but still has despair. She's a strong willed one... Perhaps she holds the key..." She mumbled as she drifted off as well, the sun still several hours from dawn.

Author's Note:

I am deeply sorry for the delay, I've been struggling with issues with my cat for the last two weeks. He's finally home now, but if anyone can spare anything to help me out please feel free to donate. Expect to return to weekly updates again after this, I am about a quarter though chapter 5 at the moment.