• Published 13th Nov 2017
  • 881 Views, 22 Comments

I Can Read Names in Clouds - Yuu

In the aftermath of the confusion with replacing the newest princess, a human arrives to learn about pony society.

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Sculpture Garden

“What?” Gloaming asked, turning to Gracia.

“It is a stone copy of the original,” Gracia said. “If a living tissue becomes stone, it has a distinctive structure. I would know if it was real. ”

“Do you mean he is somewhere else around here?” Curiosity asked, as she looked at the trees surrounding us.

“That is likely,” Gracia said. “But if he hasn’t done anything bad for all this time, after replacing himself with a decoy, I don't believe we have much to fear.”

“But this is still an emergency!” Gloaming said, almost shouting. “We need to tell somepony immediately!”

“Gloaming.” I walked in front of her and looked in her eyes. “Let’s wait for a minute. He was away for a long time, so why panic right now? Let Gracia check the stone once more to be sure, then you can send a message to the queen.”

Curiosity also came and stood next to me. “It wouldn't be bad if you ran to the palace right now, but it's better to gather some more information. Gracia was correct, consider the probability of him making his move now.”

“Well.” Gloaming inhaled deeply several times. “We have prior knowledge that he behaved well for many years. That means the odds are very low. Even if he monitors his statue somehow, he seems to be absent right now. So I agree we may have some time, but we just don’t know how much.”

“Yes, he is hard to predict,” Curiosity said. “Maybe the queen can make a guess, since she knew him personally.”

Gracia continued to examine the statue. “I’m still thinking about different kinds of transformation into stone, but all of them would leave traces I’m not finding here. I believe the odds are at least fifteen-to-one that he evaded the elements and left a decoy.”

“I see. In that case let's return to the library,” Gloaming said. ”Maybe I can catch the queen in town.”

“Very well,” Gracia said, and she looked around at the rest of us. “Everyone, please touch me with your forelegs, then close your eyes.”

I did as she asked, and heard Curiosity’s voice.

“Do we need to go somewhere? We can easily stumble over each other like this.”

“No, just open eyes. We're already in the library.”

I looked around, and saw that she really transported us here from the garden. Gloaming immediately went out to look for the queen.

“What do we do now?” Curiosity asked, her voice unsteady. “If he returns, it would be a catastrophe!”

“You still have the elements, so you can prepare,” I said. “Maybe the Coalition will help you.”

“Really?” Medley asked.

“Yes,” Gracia said. ”From what I can see, cooperation between your country and the Coalition would be advantageous for both sides.”

Maybe they could even manage without any help from the Coalition. But it was unusual for me, that these mares could only produce greater magical effects when they worked together. As far as I knew, mages should get some basic understanding of magic when they find they are magical. New mages can even do some spontaneous magic, when they awaken.

“Gracia, when mages find out what they are, they can operate magic on some basic level, can't they?” I asked.

She nodded.

“So maybe our element bearers could do some magic separately?” I said. “I mean, at least something small, equivalent of a novice level.”

“Hm, I see no reason why they can't,” Gracia said after a short pause.

“Are you saying that we can use the magic of the elements without assistance from other bearers?” Curiosity asked.

“Maybe you already use it,” I said. “Do you remember doing anything related to magic, which is unusual for a pony of your race?”

The three of them looked at each other.

“I already discussed with Medley Invisible Magic, so it should be something else,” Gracia said.

“Well, I can fly really fast,” Rainbow said.

“If you don't know what aspect of magic you can use, you can just fly around and I will look for any manifestations,” Gracia said.

“I can't say for sure, because unicorns can master different magical effects,” Curiosity said. “I make clothes, but I only use a few effects most of the time. And my creative process could hardly be magic...”

“That can be magic, actually,” I said. “One of the aspects is the aspect of Mind, it includes working with thoughts and emotions.”

“That is correct,” Gracia said.

“In this case,” Curiosity said, though she paused for a moment. “I don't think I sense the thoughts or emotions of my customers. Occasionally they don't like my designs and want to change something.”

“Maybe this magic first appeared when we got our marks?” Medley asked, who had been quiet until now.

“I worked on costumes, but I was never satisfied with my work,” Curiosity said. “Then I found a druse of beautiful crystals and used them to decorate dresses.”

“That sounds like the aspect of Matter,” Gracia said. “At the novice level you can tell different substances apart and locate them around you. Good, now we only have two possibilities to check.”

Rainbow smiled. “I just had to break the sound barrier to get my mark.”

I mentally listed the aspects of magic.

“Not many aspects can help you fly that much faster, on the novice level of expertise,” I said.

“Yes, you can feel the air around you with the aspect of Force, which is basically a perception of energy in different forms, or it could be the aspect of Matter,” Gracia said. “That can also be possible with the aspect of Spirit, but I believe Snowy Clothes would have noticed that.”

“So we have two or three possibilities for you so far,” I said, “and regarding Medley....”

The entrance door suddenly opened and Gloaming entered.

“I'm home,” she announced. “And I found the queen and told her about the statue. She will investigate any unusual phenomena in other countries, which may help locate Disaccord. So what are you girls doing, anything interesting?”

“We have a theory that each element bearer can do some magic via genius, at the novice level of mastery,” I said. “So we are looking for possible aspects that each of you can use.”

“Yes, it may have manifested when you got your mark,” Medley said, “and it should be something that a common pony of your race can hardly do.”

“Well, I got my mark when I had great outburst of magic,” Gloaming said. “I suddenly created a number of cellular automata, which evolved around me, and I saw them in better detail than illustrations in a book. Or, at least I remember seeing all of that in my mind.”

“That could be Mind magic, which can help you better control your own mind and improve cognitive processes,” Gracia said. “Or the Prime aspect, which is actually a kind of magic which manipulates magic.”

“What about me?” Medley asked. “I made a really fun party, when I got my mark, even though it was small.”

“It’s hard to say which kind of magic can help entertain ponies.” All I knew about entertainment was that it clearly didn’t involve magic, only a lot of hard work. “Gracia, can we make some practical tests?”

“Sure, I actually just thought something,” Gracia said. “I have studied magic for a while, and I can make some effects in every aspect. If you have a matching aspect, you should feel something.”

“Great, let's do that.” Gloaming went to the nearest table. “I only need to take my journal.”

“Everyone, please sit and make yourselves comfortable,” Gracia said. “Then close your eyes and cover your ears. When you feel something unusual, please let me know.”

The ponies settled down on the pillows and did as Gracia instructed, though Gloaming was reluctant to leave her journal for a while. After a minute Medley suddenly spoke.

“I can feel somepony staring at my flank!”

“That would be me,” I said, giggling. “You were not moving so I decided to study your flank-marks a bit. Sorry if I made you uncomfortable.”

“That could be considered rude at a formal event,” Curiosity said, “but we aren't at one, so I don't mind.”

“I'm beginning now,” Gracia said.

I looked at the ponies. For a minute or so they sat quietly, almost unmoving. Gloaming moved her eyeballs under her eyelids, maybe she was thinking about something. Medley slightly wagged her head.

“I feel something else,” Medley said, “like something is changing around us. Like, right in the air.”

“Thank you Medley,” Gracia said. “I will tell you the results when I finish going through all the aspects.”

I looked at Gracia, who nodded. We both continued to watch them.

“Hey, could somepony close the door?” Rainbow asked after another minute. “I feel a draft here.”

I went to a closed door to another room, opened it a bit and closed again. Before Rainbow could say anything else Curiosity interjected.

“I hear some strange sound,” she said and twisted her ears several times. “I haven’t heard anything like this before.”

“Do you hear anything right now, except for my voice?” Gracia asked.

“No, it is quiet now,” Curiosity said.

“Good, I’ve tested all the aspects,” Gracia said.

“But what about me?” Gloaming asked, opening her eyes. “I haven’t felt anything unusual.”

“Well,” I said, “could you please describe what did you feel? Even if it was something usual.”

“When I closed my eyes and folded my ears, I heard my heartbeat,” she said. “I haven’t felt anything like the draft Rainbow told us about. I did see some colours with my eyes closed, but I have read in a book that this is a common occurrence due to lack of light.”

“Some colours, you say?” Gracia looked at Gloaming. “Please close your eyes once more, but don't fold your ears. Do you see any colours?”

“Yes, I see emerald now.”

“I see,” Gracia waited about ten seconds. “Do you see any colours now?”

Gloaming turned her head around, as if looking for something. “Everything is grey, it is very hard to distinguish any hue now.”

“Very well. You should see emerald now, then some other colour.”

Gloaming turned her ears, then her head, to Gracia.

“Yes!” she cried after several seconds. “It was emerald, then orchid. Can I open my eyes now?”

“Please do so,” Gracia said.

While Gloaming blinked several times and focused on Gracia, I recollected the aspects of magic, looking for clues which of the aspects these ponies could have.

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