• Published 27th Aug 2017
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The Blue Mage - Nebula Star



Gifted with extraordinary power, Apple Bloom must learn to control it and try not to lose herself in the process.

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Chapter 8: Life after Death

The Blue Mage
By Nebula Star

Chapter 8: Life after Death
***

Rekaj froze, eyes going wide. Twilight looked on confused at first, but soon becoming worried. They’d been having a rather pleasant conversation about the lands of his home, and she’d been enjoying the chance to learn of a whole other world, but now it seemed something had happened…

Without warning he got to his feet and started toward the entrance of the cave. “We have to find Apple Bloom, NOW!”

Twilight followed fearfully. The tone of his voice… “Why, what happened?”

“I just felt one of the protective spells I taught her activate. One I had hoped she would never need.”

“You mean she’s in trouble!?” Twilight asked galloping after the far larger dragon.

Rekaj shook his head. “Not anymore…” He said cryptically as he exited the cave, and without another word, he took wing, flying toward the edge of Ponyville and Sweet Apple Acres, Twilight following close behind.

~~~

There was a warmth all around her; and a bright light that she could see even with her eyes closed. Wind was rushing past her, the sound of wheels and a metal frame bouncing along a dirt path, along with the buzz of small but powerful wings…

“What was that?” Sweetie Belle’s voice.

Terror filled eyes, massive jaws filled with sword like teeth snapping shut around a small white filly.

Apple Bloom’s eyes snapped open, blinding light filling her world. As her eyes adjusted, she became aware of the scenery passing by at a rapid pace. She could feel Sweetie Belle hanging onto her, riding in the back of the wagon, and she could see Scootaloo in front, pulling them along on her scooter. Ahead, she could just make out the lake in the distance.

A scaly body the size of a house, four snake-like necks topped with four wedge shaped heads. That horrible roar.

“STOP!” She screamed.

Scootaloo complied more out of shock than anything else.

“Don’t… don’t go… not the lake, don’t go to the lake!” Apple Bloom stammered, her eyes wild with fear while her friends looked on in shock.

Sweetie Belle looked up at Scootaloo, unsure what to do as Apple Bloom curled up in the wagon, shivering uncontrollably and repeating the words, “don’t go to the lake,” over and over.

“What happened?” Scootaloo asked concerned as well.

“I don’t know,” Sweetie bell said, shaking her head. “Her shoulder glowed like it does when she casts a spell and then she just started to panic…” She looked down at Apple Bloom, worried. “We better get her home…”

Scootaloo watched Apple Bloom for a moment more. “Yeah, I think you’re right." She agreed finally.

Turning her scooter around, she started back toward Sweet Apple Acres at a slower than normal pace. Wanting to comfort her friend, Sweetie Belle wrapped her hooves around Apple Bloom, holding her in what she hoped was a comforting embrace as Scootaloo took them home.

~~~

Twilight glanced over at the blue pegasus stallion flying by her side. Rekaj had landed at the edge of Sweet Apple Acres and continued on in his illusionary pony form, but he hadn’t said any more about what had happened. Just that they needed to find Apple Bloom. His concern for Apple Bloom while also reassuring in a way; was really making Twilight worry about what had happened.

Unfortunately they had no way of knowing where Apple Bloom was. While Rekaj could feel her general condition, in addition to sensing whenever she used his magic; he could not sense where she was, he couldn’t even sense how far away she was. So they were starting at the first logical place. The flight down from the mountain where she’d found him had taken some time, but finally they arrived at the farm house, and Twilight was relieved to see the crusader’s wagon and Scootaloo’s scooter out front. They didn’t hesitate to knock.

A few moments later the door was opened by Applejack.

“Twi…” She said in relief, worry clear in her eyes. Then her gaze fell on Rekaj.

Rage erupted across her expression and with a shout she leaped at him, tackling the illusionary stallion to the ground. “WHAT IN TARTARUS DID YOU DO TO MY SISTER!” Applejack screamed, her hooves at his neck.

“Applejack!” Twilight exclaimed and quickly used her magic to pull the two apart.

“He did something, Twi!” Applejack shouted, struggling to get free. “His magic did something to Bloom!”

Twilight turned a glare at Rekaj as he got back to his hooves, rubbing his neck.

“My magic saved her life!” He told them fiercely.

Applejack pointed back in the house where the other two crusaders, Big Mac and Granny Smith had gathered around the door. “Bloom is in there, trembling like a little leaf, refusing to talk to anypony!”

“I know; It’s the shock of what my magic saved her from!”

Twilight’s eyes narrowed. “Explain! Now!”

“The spell…” He shook his head. “I told Apple Bloom it would be too hard to explain, but really I just didn’t want her to dwell on it.”

“What does it do!?” Twilight demanded, her voice icy cold.

“It’s a last resort defense. When cast, it creates a temporal anchor; then when it is activated, it resets time to that anchor, undoing anything that’s happened; but even after time is reset the caster retains their memories of that time…”

“So Apple Bloom still remembers the time that got reset, that’s what’s upsetting her?” Twilight asked skeptically and he nodded.

“Ah know my sister! Apple Bloom would not be this upset by a little bit of time shenanigans!” Applejack objected.

Rekaj just nodded. “It’s what triggered the reset that is upsetting her. The spell is a last resort defense.” He emphasized. “It’s only triggered… if the caster dies.”

They all stared at him for a moment in silence as that sunk in. Twilight put a hoof to her mouth in horror as she realized what Apple Bloom must be going through.

“Apple Bloom died!?” Scootaloo exclaimed, finally breaking the silence.

Rekaj nodded. “Sometime after she cast the spell; something happened and Apple Bloom was killed. The spell was triggered and time was reset to before it happened; but Apple Bloom remembers what happened. She remembers dying.” He sighed, looking down. “I never wanted her to experience that…”

“Well if you hadn’t gone and given her your gosh darn magic, she wouldn’t have had to!” Applejack shouted.

Anger flared in Rekaj’s eyes. “If I hadn’t given her my magic, Apple Bloom would be dead now!”

“Enough!” Twilight shouted stepping between them and pushing them both back with her wings. “Now is not the time for this! We need to worry about Apple Bloom right now!”

The anger drained from Rekaj’s expression and he nodded. “Yes… You have to let me talk to her.”

Applejack glared at him. “Bloom has to know that your magic was involved; Ah doubt she wants to talk to you right now.”

“I know,” He said sadly. “But I’m the only one who knows what it’s like to die and be brought back; I’m the only one who can understand what she’s going through right now…”

“No, you’re not.” Twilight said softly.

He looked at her surprised. “What?”

“I know what it’s like to die and be brought back to life…” Twilight told him.

“When…?” He gasped in shock.

“During the Achlys incident.” Twilight told him simply. “I know what it’s like; so I’ll talk to Apple Bloom.”

Rekaj hesitated, looking like he was going to object, but then sighed and nodded. “Okay.”

“Ah just hope she’ll talk to you…” Applejack said softly. “Come on.”

“Me too.” Twilight said softly then glanced around at the rest of those gathered. “Everypony, be civil. And Rekaj?” He looked up. “I believe that you didn’t want Apple Bloom, to go through this, but the fact remains that it is your magic that made this possible. Yes, it might have been worse without it; but I don’t think that will be much comfort to Bloom.”

Rekaj nodded understanding. Satisfied, Twilight followed Applejack into the house. Together, they made their way upstairs to Apple Bloom’s room. There Applejack quietly opened the door and let Twilight inside.

Twilight hadn’t been in Apple Bloom’s room before, but as she looked around she found it was quite fitting for the young filly. Then she saw Apple Bloom and everything else ceased to matter. The filly was curled up on her bed, her back to the door; her entire body shaking as she whimpered quietly.

Biting her lip; Twilight slowly approached the bed. “Apple Bloom?” she said softly, sitting down at the side of the bed. “Rekaj told me what must have happened…”

Apple Bloom sniffed softly but otherwise didn’t respond.

Taking a breath, Twilight reached out and gently rested a hoof on Apple Bloom’s shoulder. “I know what it’s like, Apple Bloom… to die and come back.”

Slowly, Apple Bloom raised her head, looking over her shoulder at Twilight, her eyes red and puffy from crying. There was fear there, a deep-rooted fear that Twilight knew all too well.

“It’s alright, Apple Bloom.” Twilight said softly, with a gentle smile. “You’re still you.”

Tears welled up in her eyes again, and without warning she rolled over, throwing her hooves around Twilight. She burst into sobs, clutching tightly to the princess, half hanging off the bed.

Twilight wrapped her hooves around her, holding her as she cried. Gently, she pulled the filly into her embrace, then carefully used her wings to lift them both back onto the bed. There she wrapped her wings around Apple Bloom as well, holding her in a comforting embrace as she continued to cry into Twilight’s shoulder.

Twilight held her, gently rocking back and forth, knowing that she needed to let it out. At first she just murmured soft reassurances to her, but after a few minutes she began to hum softly. It was an old tune; a comforting lullaby that she remembered being sung to her when she was a filly herself. She couldn’t remember the words; she wasn’t even sure if there were any, but the melody was all there and so she continued to softly hum the comforting song as she held the crying filly gently in her hooves and wrapped in her wings. And Apple Bloom clung to her as if she’d never let go.

~~~

Applejack paced back and forth in her family’s living room, unable to relax. Granny Smith, Big Macintosh, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo were still all there; even Rekaj, in his pony illusion form was still waiting, sitting silently in the corner of the room. It had been more than an hour since Twilight had gone it to talk to Apple Bloom.

She’d heard her sister’s cries early on, and it had been torturous to stay out. She wanted nothing more than to comfort her little sister. But she’d tried herself before Twilight had arrived; Apple Bloom wouldn’t even speak to her. She knew she had to trust in Twilight to do what she could not for Apple Bloom. Clearly she had been successful.

After a time, the cries had been replaced by a soft tune, hummed by Twilight. It was gentle and comforting, and unlike any lullaby she’d ever heard. That had gone on for some time, and Applejack had even found herself feeling reassured by the gentle melody. Finally, the room had grown quiet save for a few soft murmurs of them talking softly; then even that had eventually gone silent. Applejack was about to go check on them when there was a knock on the front door.

With a sigh, she went to answer, and was surprised to find one of the pegasi of Twilight’s royal guard standing there.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, miss Applejack, but have you heard from Princess Twilight at all today?” He asked, looking worried.

Applejack blinked. “Uh, yeah, she’s here now actually…”

Relief washed over him. “She is?”

Applejack just nodded.

“Oh good.” He said and pulled a small disc out of a pouch on one of the straps holding his armor. He then set in on the ground out away from the house and gave it two quick taps with one hoof. A second later a blue ball of light shot up from the disk, high into the air and burst into a bright continuous light that hung in the air and didn’t seem likely to come down anytime soon.

“What’s that all about?” Applejack asked, looking up at the light.

“That’s just to signal the others that the princess is found.” He told her. “We’ve been searching most the morning since we discovered she was missing.”

Applejack blinked in surprise. Missing?

Before she could ask about it, though, there was a blur, accompanied by a blast of wind as a second pegasus landed; Captain Feather.

“You found her, sergeant?”

“Twilight’s inside.” Applejack told her. “She’s been here for over an hour…”

Feather growled under her breath. “Dammit, of course she has…” She grumbled and started to head inside.

“Now hold on a second!” Applejack said stepping in front of the guard captain. “Apple Bloom went through a terrible ordeal this morning and Twi is helping her through it; they can’t be disturbed right now!”

Feather growled again in frustration, but relented. “Fine, Sergeant, when the rest of the guard arrives, inform them of the situation and have them take up posts around the farm house.”

He gave a quick salute and Feather turned back to Applejack. “How much longer do your think she’ll be?”

“Ah don’t know…” Applejack said sadly. “It’s been quiet the last little bit; Ah think Bloom might have fallen asleep.”

“I’ll wait for the princess then.”

“Alright, come on in, Feather.”

It was some time later that Twilight finally emerged from Apple Bloom’s bedroom. She looked tired, but gave a sad smile when Applejack jumped to her hooves. “Bloom is sleeping now… but I think she’s doing better.”

Applejack let out a relieved sigh. “Thanks Twilight.”

“I think she’ll be alright when she wakes, but I’ll send you an amp so you can contact me if she needs to talk some more. Or she can come up to the castle if she wants.” Twilight told her.

“Princess. We need to talk.” Feather spoke up suddenly.

Twilight looked over at her, surprised. “Uh… In a minute, Feather.”

“Princess…” Feather started to object.

“Later, Feather.” Twilight told her firmly. “We’ve got a problem to deal with. There’s apparently a hydra somewhere around the southern end of Saddle Lake. We need to drive it away before somepony gets hurt… somepony else…”

Feather glared at her for a moment, but nodded. “I’ll send a squad to take care of it.”

“Thank you, Feather.” Twilight said as her captain went outside where the rest of her royal guard had gathered.

“There’s a Hydra at saddle lake!?” Sweetie Belle squeaked, both her and Scootaloo were looking up at Twilight with wide eyes.

Twilight sighed and nodded.

“Is that how Bloom…” Applejack swallowed. “died?”

“Yes. And not just her.” Twilight looked down at the other crusaders. “She watched that monster kill both of you as well, before it ate her.”

“You mean we….” Scootaloo gulped.

Twilight nodded.

“But her spell turned back time to before it happened, so only she remembers.” Rekaj said softly. “Try not to think about it, children… You’re safe and sound, that’s what matters.”

“Yes.” Twilight agreed. “But Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, promise me you won’t bring this up with Apple Bloom, don’t go asking her about it. If she wants to talk to you about it, she will.”

Both crusaders nodded. “We promise!”

Twilight smiled. “Good, now Bloom is going to need some time; but I’m counting on you to be there for her when she needs you.”

“Of course!” Sweetie Belle squeaked.

“Alright, well for now, you should probably head home.” Twilight told them.

They glanced at each other, then reluctantly nodded. “Okay.”

Twilight watched them go, then turned to Rekaj. “Bloom knows that your spell saved her life; but she’s going to need some time before she’s ready to see you again.

He nodded. “Of course, I will take my leave for now. Should you wish to contact me; just go to the hill where we first met and call my name. I will answer.”

“Alright. I’ll let you know when Apple Bloom is doing better.”

“Thank you. Farewell for now,” he said then his pony form faded away.

“You think Bloom will be alright now?” Applejack asked worriedly once he was gone.

“I think so.” Twilight told her honestly. “But it will take a while before she’s back to her old self… and even then… Applejack, what she went through, that kind of experience can change a pony.”

“Ah know…”

“Just go easy with her. If she wants to talk; listen, but don’t pressure her.”

“Ah won’t, Twi.” Applejack said and gave a sad smile. “Thanks again.”

Twilight smiled back. “Of course.”

“Princess.”

Twilight looked toward the door where Captain Feather stood, having carried out her orders.

“What is it, Feather?”

“We need to talk, now.” She said sounding angry.

Twilight glanced at Applejack wondering if she knew why Feather was upset, but she just shrugged.

“Feather, can it wait?”

“No.” She said simply.

Twilight sighed. “Alright. I’ll see you later Applejack.” She said and followed her captain out of the house.

“Later, Twi.” Applejack called after her.

Feather led Twilight out of the house, and with a quick gesture, ordered the other guards to stay behind, then continued on. Twilight followed her as she led the way out into the orchards. She didn’t stop until the farm house was out of sight. Finally, she turned back toward Twilight.

“Feather, what is this about?” Twilight asked, feeling a little annoyed now.

Feather just glared back at her for a few moments more. “Who am I, princess?”

“Feather…”

“Answer the question!”

Twilight gave an annoyed sigh. “You’re Captain Feather, leader of my royal guard.”

“That’s right.” She said firmly. “I am the leader of your Royal Guard. Which means that I, along with all those under me, have dedicated our lives to protecting you. But we can’t do that when you disappear and don’t take us with you, or even tell us where you are going!”

“Feather, I can take care of myself.” Twilight objected.

“I know that! That’s beside the point!” Feather almost shouted. “When you leave us behind; when you don’t let us do our jobs. You might as well be saying that you don’t even care; that our lives are worthless to you!”

Twilight looked at her aghast. “Feather, I didn’t mean… I would never think that!”

“I know that, Princess! And the rest of the guard knows it as well. But that’s how it feels.”

Twilight lowered her eyes, realizing just what Feather meant. “I… I’m sorry.”

Feather’s expression softened a little. “I know you’re not used to having a royal guard; that it’s going to take some time to adjust. And I know that there may be times that we won’t be able to help you, when we’ll have to step aside and let you handle things. But just remember; we’ve dedicated our lives to protecting you; so please, let us.”

Twilight’s shoulders sagged, her wings hanging down slightly. “Feather, I didn’t know… I’m sorry; I’ll try to do better.”

Finally, Feather smiled. “Thank you, princess. That’s all I can ask.”

“I guess I should apologize to the rest of the guard as well.”

“I’m sure they’d appreciate it.”

Twilight sighed and nodded. “Alright; let’s gather the rest of the guard and head on back.”

“As you command, princess.” Feather said, giving her a quick salute.

It would still take some getting used to. But Twilight knew she’d do her best not to make her guard feel useless again.

Author's Note:

So this reset spell is what makes Rekaj one of the two greatest powers in his world. He essentially can't be killed; and now, neither can Apple Bloom. The downside of course, is that they still have to experience dying.

As a side, though all Blue dragons have the same type of magic, only Rekaj as the aspect of his flight, has enough power to cast the reset spell. Other than Rekaj there's only the five Copper aspects that could possibly learn the spell; but due to how their magic works, learning it would be a hundred times more difficult and Rekaj couldn't teach them anyway.

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