• 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 9: The Power to Protect

The Blue Mage
By Nebula Star

Chapter 9: The Power to Protect

***

Twilight looked around at the three crusaders and smiled. It had been nearly three weeks since the incident with the hydra, and things were finally getting back to normal. Apple Bloom was still quieter than before, but she was able to laugh and play with her friends, even if she did have some moments where she would stare of into space, clearly deep in thought.

It had surprised Twilight when Apple Bloom had shown up for the crusader’s usual Twilight Time only three days after the incident. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle had been just as surprised, but they’d done their best to make sure their friend felt at ease. It had been a rather low key Twilight Time, but all the same, Apple Bloom had seemed better for it. She’d continued to come to every Twilight Time, though she wasn’t doing anything else, then finally, last week, she’d spent some time with her friends outside of Twilight Time. Since then she’d quickly improved and Twilight was confident she would soon be back to her old self.

“I got it!” Scootaloo suddenly shouted excitedly, getting everyone’s attention. They all looked over at her were she was practicing. Determined as she was, she was still using Twilight Time to practice the magic techniques Twilight was teaching her in her private lessons.

“You used your magic?” Sweetie Belle asked excitedly, galloping over to see.

“Yeah! Check this out!” She said rearing up and spreading her wings, she gave them a strong flap toward them and a gust of wind far stronger than her wing alone could have caused swept over them all, tossing their manes about.

Twilight smiled proudly. “That’s wonderful Scootaloo, now you’re one step closer to flying.”

Scootaloo’s grin was threatening to split her face in two. “This is awesome!”

“That’s great, Scoots.” Apple Bloom said, smiling.

“Yeah! I’m so happy for you, Scoots.” Sweetie Belle said, trapping Scootaloo in a tight hug.

“Thanks, Sweetie.” Scootaloo managed to get out despite the air being driven from her lungs.

“Now in your next lesson, we can start going over how to manipulate the air around your wings properly for flight.” Twilight told the excited pegasus.

“Then I can start training with Rainbow Dash to actually fly, right!?” Scootaloo asked, finally breaking free of Sweetie Belle.

Twilight smiled. “Mmhmm.”

“YES!” Scootaloo’s shout reverberated through the library. Even Captain Feather grinned at the filly’s excitement.

“Congrats, kid.”

“This is so awesome!”

“Remember, though, it’s going to take a lot of work and practice to get used to manipulating your magic while flying, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right away.” Twilight warned.

She nodded. “I won’t!” She jumped into the air, buzzing her wings. “Oh, I can’t wait.”

“Neither can Ah Scoots!” Apple Bloom said, grinning as well. “And Ah’ll be right there with you!”

“You bet!” Scootaloo agreed.

Twilight smiled at their excitement. It was good to see them all so happy again, especially Apple Bloom. “Alright girls, well I think it’s time to call it a day, so let’s get everything cleaned up.”

They nodded and quickly went about putting their things away, mostly small props they’d used for their practice. Apple Bloom still had the most to clean up, with all her potion equipment, so Twilight went to help her.

“So how you doing, Apple Bloom?” Twilight asked softly as they worked to clean up Apple Bloom’s equipment.

“I’m doing better…” She answered just as softly. “Ah… Ah was thinking I’d go see RJ again.”

Twilight smiled. She’d kept in touch with Rekaj over the past few weeks so she knew that Apple Bloom hadn’t contacted him since the incident. “He’ll be happy to see you; he’s been worried.”

She nodded. “Ah know…”

Putting the last of Apple Blooms potions equipment in her saddlebags, Twilight pulled the filly into a tight hug. “He didn’t mean for you to experience that, Bloom.”

Apple Bloom tensed slightly, but nodded all the same, hugging Twilight back. “Ah know.”

Twilight held her for a moment more, then, finally released her. “Rekaj said you already know how to contact him.”

She nodded.

“Alright, well you do that.”

“Ah will.” She said, putting on her saddle bags and joining the other crusaders who were already ready to go. “Thanks Twilight.”

“Yeah, thanks Twilight! We’ll see you later!” Sweetie Belle called out, giving Twilight a wave.

“You’re welcome girls, and Scootaloo, remember we have your lesson later tonight.”

“I’ll be there!” Scootaloo called back giving a wave as well.

“See you then.” Twilight said smiling, then closed the door behind them.

~~~

“RJ?” Apple Bloom called standing out on the hill where she’d often met Rekaj. It didn’t take long before there was a rush of wind and the heavy beat of wings and the blue dragon appeared, landing on the hill with her.

“Apple Bloom… it’s good to see you.”

“Hi, RJ.” Apple Bloom said without much enthusiasm.

Rekaj smiled sadly. “How are you doing Apple Bloom?”

“Ah’m better.” She said softly. “Ah still have nightmares about it… but princess Luna’s been helping me with those.”

Rekaj laid down and lowered his head down to her level. “I never wanted you to experience that. I taught you that spell hoping you’d never need it. I’m sorry I didn’t warn you about what it did.”

“That’s okay, RJ…” She said, though the shudder in her voice showed that it really wasn’t. “Ah know it save my life… me and the other crusaders.”

He reached out a foreclaw and gently placed in on her shoulder. “Even so; I know how hard it is…”

Apple Bloom just nodded. “RJ… Ah want to learn more about time magic. Ah want to learn more protective spells… spells Ah can use to protect my friends.” She sniffed and looked up at Rekaj determinedly. “And Ah want to learn to fight, to do something and not just stand there and watch! So that even if Ah die again; Ah won’t have to watch my friends die too!”

Rekaj nodded understandingly. “Alright, I’ll teach you what I can. But Bloom; you should know, that the reset spell is still active; it doesn’t matter that it was activated, if you were to die again, it would reset you back to when you cast it again. So it would be for the best for you to keep casting it ever so often like I told you.”

She nodded. “Okay…” Closing her eyes, she cast the spell once more.

Rekaj smiled. “Now, where would you like to start?

“Time magic… If Ah learned time magic, Ah could turn back time without having to die again, right…”

He nodded. “Yes you could.”

Apple Bloom smiled weakly. “Then let’s start with that.”

“Very well.”

~~~

“Hey, Twi!”

Twilight smiled at the sound of Rainbow’s voice, and looked up in time to see her marefriend flying into the library. “Hi, Dashie.”

She landed and gave Twilight a quick kiss. “So I saw they’re already getting started on your new place out there.”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Yeah, Celestia wants me to have my full guard as soon as possible.”

Rainbow gave her a smirk. “Well I can’t object to my mare being well protected.”

“I hardly need protecting.” Twilight said softly and stole another kiss.

“So, what you working on.” She asked, looking at the table where several hoof bracelets were laid out. They were simple but elegant, each with a single small gem of varying colors.

“Well, after I made that bracelet a while back that was just the communication enchantment from the amps, I realized that those would be pretty useful. So I’ve made a few modifications and made one for you, me, and all the rest of the girls.” Twilight told her, grinning.

“Sweet, how do they work!?”

“Mostly the same, but instead of broadcasting to everypony at once, these you can say who you want to talk to, they’re color coded to the elements;” she said picking up the one bearing a red gem. “So this one is yours.”

Rainbow took it and put it on, fitting it tightly around her left forehoof. “Not bad… but I don’t think I’d wear it when I’m doing stunts.”

Twilight smiled, putting the bracelet with the magenta gem on herself. “Now you just tap the gem twice and say who you want to talk to.”

“Like this?” She tapped the gem twice. “Twilight.”

Twilight’s bracelet let out a ping and started blinking. “That means someone is trying to contact you; to accept, just tap the gem once.” She did so and Rainbow’s bracelet let out a soft ping and the gem started glowing. “Then you’re connected.” Twilight said and her voice was echoed by Rainbow’s bracelet. “Then to disconnect, just double tap the gem again.” She demonstrated and both bracelets let out two pings descending in pitch, and stopped glowing.

“Nice.”

Twilight smiled. “So any reason you stopped by?”

Rainbow gave her a smirk and threw a wing around her. “You mean besides to see you?”

Twilight blushed slightly. “Um, I guess that was kind of a silly question, huh…”

Rainbow gave her a squeeze. “I just thought I’d stop by and see if you wanted to go for an evening flight.”

“That sounds great, but how about we take these around to all our friends first.” Twilight suggested.

“Sure. Want me to carry a couple so you don’t have to bring your saddlebags?”

Twilight gave her a smirk as her horn lit up, levitating all the bracelets at once. “I think I’ve got it,” she said and gave Rainbow a quick kiss on the cheek. “But thanks for offering.” Looking toward her guard Captain, she saw Feather raise a brow expectantly.

“How good of fliers are the pegasi in the guard?” She asked.

“Among some of the best; though the armor does slow us down a bit.” Feather told her, stretching her own wings.

“Then we won’t expect you to try and match our moves.” Twilight said with a wink. With that, she took off, flying out the door. Laughing, Rainbow chased after her, followed closely by Captain Feather; a purple aura closing the door behind them.

Spike just let out an amused snort from where he was laying, reading a comic, well aware that they had completely forgotten he was there.

~~~

“Wow… that’s still freaky watching everything going backwards and not being able to control myself.” Apple Bloom said stumbling slightly in the shade of the orchard.

“I’m just glad you managed to include me this time.” Rekaj said. It had been a few days since Apple Bloom had asked to learn more about Time spells, and she’d worked diligently to learn the first and simplest time-flow spell he had. “It was getting old trying to go on with the lesson only to have you tell me we already finished…” he groused.

Apple Bloom blushed. The first few times she’d cast the reverse time-flow spell, she’d failed to include Rekaj in the spell and as a result he was not aware what had happened other than she’d cast a spell. When included in the spell, however, he retained his memories of the time she had reversed.

“I’d say you’ve got the hang of the basic time flow spell.” Rekaj told her smiling proudly. “You’re ready to move on to time-fields.”

“Okay. What’s a time-field?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Quite simply it’s a time flow spell that only affects a specific area. However, they have a few restrictions and dangers that normal time flow spells don’t have.” Rekaj explained. “For instance, it is extraordinarily dangerous to make a time field reverse the flow of time; in fact, any extreme differences in the flow of time can be dangerous even if you don’t reverse time.”

Apple Bloom swallowed feeling a little nervous.

Rekaj just smiled reassuringly and raised a foreclaw casting his magic. “So… this is a time field.” He told her, indicating the slightly blue volume that appeared in the air forming a cube, three feet across. “Do not touch… this is a rather dangerous time field, the time inside is moving at a thousandth of normal speed. Watch.” Picking up a fallen apple he tossed it at the cube. It flew through the air and bounced off the cube as if it were solid.

Apple Bloom blinked. “Why’d it do that?”

“The time inside the cube is so much slower, that the air itself doesn’t have time to move around the apple so it might as well be solid.” Rekaj explained. “Now watch what happens if the apple is inside to start…” He dismissed the time-field and instead created a sheet of blue light that he set the apple on. Then the time-field reappeared around the apple and the sheet of light faded.

At first nothing seemed to happen, then the apple began to fall in slow motion, gradually picking up speed as it approached the bottom of the cube. The apple reached the bottom; and a spray of fine particles sprayed down, covering the ground under the cube with the finest ground applesauce Apple Bloom had ever seen while the apple itself very slowly disappeared through the bottom of the cube.

Apple Bloom stared wide eyed at the mess that had been a piece of fruit only moments before.

“As the apple left the time-field, the particles outside were suddenly moving much faster than those still inside the time-field. As a result, the apple literally tore itself apart,” he told her and let the time-field fade away.

She swallowed nervously. Did she really want to learn this kind of magic?

“So, those are some of the dangers. Now to avoid such dangers there’s a few things you can do. First of all, you can simply make the difference in time flow less extreme. For instance, if I just slow time in half…” Another cube appeared and Rekaj took another fallen apple and tossed it at the cube; this time, when it reached the cube, instead of bouncing off, it simply slowed down, passing through the cube, and then instantly sped up again when it left the other side. “Or even safer, you can do what I call softening the time-field.” The cube changed and instead of sharp edges, it seemed to blur and fade away at the edges.

Again Rekaj tossed the apple through and this time when it reached the cube it didn’t instantly slow down, instead it was as if in had entered a thick pudding, slowing down more and more as it got further in until it was barely moving. It floated through the center of the field then began picking up speed as it reached the other side, moving full speed again by the time it left the field.

“Wow… that’s pretty cool!”

Rekaj smiled. “As long as you’re careful of the dangers; time-fields can be quite useful. For instance, you can put a soft field around yourself to speed up time, making everything outside to seem to be moving in slow motion. At the same time, to everyone else, you will appear to be moving at impossible speeds.”

Apple Bloom grinned. “Like a super hero!”

“Yes.” He agreed, glad to see Apple Bloom was getting back to her old self. “Of course, anything that gets close enough to you will speed up as it enters the field, so as usual it’s best not to make the difference in time flow too great or you might underestimate the speed of something coming your way.” He smiled ruefully. “And getting hit in the face by something moving at high speeds hurts no matter how slow it seemed to be moving just moments before…”

She snickered a little bit at the thought.

“So let’s start with the basic time field, once you have that down, we’ll move on to softened fields.”

~~~

Captain Feather and two other pegasi of Twilight’s guard stood watching their charge while trying to catch their breath. Twilight and Rainbow were staying in the same general area now; fortunately, the princess had noticed how exhausted her guards were getting and agreed to stay within sight while they rested. Only one of their number was still trying to keep up with the two; trying and failing. That Rainbow Dash could outfly them, especially with them in armor, was no surprise. She was well known to be the best flier in Equestria. No pony could match her… what was surprising was that their princess was getting pretty damn close.

“That’s insane…” her pegasus lieutenant breathed, watching. “When did Princess Twilight learn to fly like that!? She’s only had her wings less than a year, right?”

Feather nodded as the last of the guard finally pulled off and landed on a nearby cloud to rest. Twilight and Rainbow had gone flying a few times since the guard was assigned to her, but this was the first time they were really pushing their limits. “It’s almost all her magic. She gained a great deal of knowledge on pegasus magic from the Achlys incident.”

“But… enough to fly like that!?” He asked watching as Rainbow led Twilight through a maneuver that most wonderbolts would struggle with. The princess pulled it off with barely a wobble.

“The scary part is that she told me that she doesn’t have the physical strength built up to put her knowledge to full use; if she did, she probably be able to even outfly Rainbow Dash… But if she and Rainbow keep flying like this…”

“It won’t be long until she does build up the strength…” He finished, sounding a little faint. “We can’t even keep up with her now; what will we do then?”

“Trust the princess not to leave us behind…” Feather said with a sigh. “It’s all we can do.”

“Right…” He watched a few moments more in silence. “You know, I never really considered that it might be possible for a pegasus to wield their magic consciously.” He snorted. “Now Princess Twilight is teaching a little filly to do it.” He glanced over at her. “You’re there for their lessons. You pick up any of it?”

Feather shook her head. “I haven’t really tried.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m always on duty; I can’t afford to be distracted.”

He frowned. “I don’t know… it seems like it would be a pretty valuable skill for members of the guard to learn.”

“Perhaps…” Feather agreed reluctantly. “But not while we’re on duty; and I don’t have the free time it would take to learn. Not to mention I wouldn’t want to intrude on the princess’s time, and she’s the only one who can teach it.”

“I guess that’s true.” He sighed looking back up at the princess and her marefriend. “I still think it would be a valuable skill to learn.”

Author's Note:

So, sorry for the wait. If you haven't seen my blog post, the reason for the long delay was that I was in a head on collision and have been in the hospital for weeks. I'm recovering now, but one of my injuries is radial nerve palsy, which makes it really difficult to type. This chapter was already almost done when I was in the accident.

Anyway, I'm home now and will be getting back to writing, as slow as it is. I have to do one finger with the left hand...

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