• Published 28th Apr 2018
  • 1,189 Views, 51 Comments

Light and Magic - Allenator05

Sunset Shimmer has made mistakes in her past that she's trying to move on and learn from. What happens when she meets an iron-willed Guardian with a similar past?

  • ...

Down to Business

After the doors closed behind Sunset Shimmer, Luna turned to Hildr and said, "I understand your reasoning for wanting to wait for my sister, but I would like to hear a little about yourself."

Hildr frowned. "Why is that?" she asked and sat on the floor.

"I am merely curious about yourself," Luna replied, also sitting down. "It is not every day you meet a traveler from a different planet."

"More like timeline I think," Twilight spoke up. "Starswirl the Bearded believed that there are many planes of existence, each separated by a powerful and mysterious force that we don't quite understand. I think that this theory is why he researched and invented the Crystal Mirror in the first place."

"I too have heard this theory. Starswirl used to speak of this to me and my sister in hopes that our powerful and unique magic could help him in his research," Luna said.

At this revelation, Twilight's eyes lit up. "So did you?" she asked excitedly.

Luna's face fell. "Unfortunately for me, I was more concerned with being Nightmare Moon at the time," she said.

"Oh," Twilight said quietly and shrank back. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."

Luna smiled and replied, "Do not worry. It was a long time ago."

"If I may ask a question, how did you survive being banished to the moon?" Hildr spoke up. "And as far as being banished, were you physically on the moon, or was it more of a metaphysical thing?"

Twilight stared at Hildr in shock. "What? Why would you ask that?" she shrieked.

Hildr merely stared at the agitated alicorn. "Why not? It is a legitimate question."

Twilight quickly looked to Princess Luna. To her credit, Luna appeared more surprised at Twilight's reaction than Hildr's question. "Do you think that I am so fragile that I cannot face questions about my past?" Luna asked.

"Well…no," Twilight stuttered.

"I appreciate you concern for my feelings, but I do believe I am a big pony who can take care of herself," Luna said with a smile. Twilight visibly deflated and collapsed on the floor. "Things just aren't going my way," she sighed.

Hildr raised an eyebrow at Twilight's pouting. "Is that a common occurrence for you?" she asked.

"What do you mean?" Twilight asked, raising her head.

Hildr did something she didn't normally do, and that was think about her words before she said them. "From what I understand, you have achieved much and had great success. So let me ask you, have you ever failed at anything?"

It backfired spectacularly. Twilight frowned. "What does that have to do with anything?"

Hildr shrugged. "Nothing. I'm just curious."

"Of course I have," Twilight replied, rising to her feet. "Technically, I failed the entrance exam to get into Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns."

"Is that all?" Hildr asked.

"Of course not!" Twilight replied, growing angry. "I have failed many times. But because of my friends and my belief in myself, I have succeeded more than I have failed."

Hildr unenthusiastically clapped her hooves together. "Bravo. For all of your admitted failures, how many resulted in disastrous consequences for you, your friends, or your country?"

Twilight stopped to think. "There was that one time with Lord Tirek when I gave up all my magic so he wouldn't hurt my friends, but we obtained a new magic and defeated him."

"Then that doesn't count," Hildr said and Twilight glared at her. "What's your point with all this?" she asked.

Hildr narrowed her eyes as she looked down at Twilight. "The point I'm trying to make is you are acting like a petulant child who is not getting her way. It seems to me that everything has always gone your way and you've never had to struggle to succeed."

"WHAT?" Twilight shrieked and jumped to her hooves. "How dare you say that to me!"

"Is this how you treat ponies and people you've just met?" Hildr asked evenly. "Is this the first time anyone has ever said anything critical of you? Do ponies follow you around, singing praises about how great you are, how powerful you are, the Savior of Equestria many times over?"

Twilight growled and her horn started to flare. "I may be the Princess of Friendship, but that is no excuse for you to make fun of me!" she warned through gritted teeth.

"If you attack me, I will defend myself," HIldr warned.

"ENOUGH!" Princess Luna said in her Canterlot voice and stamped her hoof. "I have tolerated this petty bickering for long enough!" She glared at both Hildr and Twilight. "Twilight Sparkle! This behavior is most concerning and quite out of character. Explain yourself!"

Twilight was incredulous. "Why am I in trouble? Didn't you hear what she said, what I said? How can you take her side in all this?"

"I am taking no side," Luna replied. "Twilight Sparkle, you are too emotional right now, thinking with your heart and not your head. I do not fault you for wanting to defend yourself, but your actions are unbecoming of a princess."

Twilight's mouth fell open. "Why are you defending her?"

Luna narrowed her eyes. "I am not defending our guest. I am trying to figure out why you are acting the way you are."

"It's like I said. Ever since Hildr came here, she has done nothing but look down at me and all of Equestria for that matter. She thinks we are nothing but a bunch of simpletons with a backwards way of life and silly magic," Twilight said, pointing angrily at Hildr.

"I said none of those things," Hildr defended herself.

Luna looked to Hildr and raised an eyebrow. "But you do agree with Twilight's assessment?" she asked.

"Not really," HIldr replied with a shrug.

"Then what do you say?" Luna asked.

Hildr gave an exasperated sigh and turned to Twilight. "I don't know how many times you need to be told, but I am not a pony. I am not like you. I don't think like you. I don't act like you. My life experiences are vastly different than yours." Hildr raised her hoof and gestured to the castle. "When I look around and see what you have here, how tranquil it is, all I can think is, 'How long until it all falls apart?' Where I come from, we don't have this. Our very existence hangs on a rapidly fraying thread. Often, the first think I think when I wake up is, 'Will this be the day it all ends?'" Hildr huffed and shook her head. "Seeing people go about their daily lives, blissfully ignorant of the world around them really grates on me for some reason. This is likely due to my own perception of the world."

Twilight's temper cooled some, but she was still angry. "That doesn't give you the right to criticize others or their way of life," she said.

Hildr simply stared at Twilight. "When have I ever done that? Point it out and tell me exactly what I said that upset you so much and I'll apologize."

Luna looked to Twilight. "You think Hildr is judging you unfairly?" she asked and Twilgiht nodded. "Have you done anything to warrant such an action?" Luna asked.

"Not that I know of," Twilight admitted. "But I can't help but get mad when others criticize our way of life. I admit it's not perfect because nothing ever is, but we're doing the best we can with what we have."

Hildr growled and felt like bashing her head against the wall until her brain turned to jelly. How had the conversation devolved into this? And to think it had started with a question about Princess Luna's past. Finally she'd had enough. "You know what? Forget it. I didn't want to know about Princess Luna anyway. If this is going to be the reaction every time I ask a question, I just won't ask anymore."

Twilight and Luna both turned to stare at Hildr. "What are you talking about?" Twilight asked. Hildr didn't reply, only shook her head.

Luna sighed and rolled her neck. She wasn't satisfied with Twilight's answers to her questions and suspected something else was bothering the young alicorn. She didn't fault Twilight for trying to protect her, but Luna couldn't spend her time running from difficult questions. In fact, she found the question rather honest. Hildr wasn't trying to be mean, she simply wanted to know. "It seems we have gotten off track. Since you are no longer asking questions, I will simply answer the one you already posed."

Luna turned to Hildr and cleared her throat. "You asked how I survived my banishment to the moon?" Hildr nodded. Luna gave a sad smile and said, "It is due to my magic. You see, when I embraced the Nightmare Moon identity, my power and magic was greatly increased because I no longer had any reason to limit myself and utilized the fullest extent of my power. And I was not actually on the Moon. I suppose the best way to put it would be that I was kept in a pocket world inside the Moon. Through my prison, I could see the world as It hung there in space, tantalizingly out of reach, like the gods were taunting me. Because of this, I started to despise not just my sister, but everything. There in the dark, my madness grew and fed upon my hatred and jealousy. I plotted my escape and revenge, and when the time was right, I broke free."

Hildr nodded along with Luna's tale, still saying nothing. "I imagine this is the part where you ask how I became Nightmare Moon?" Luna asked and HIldr shrugged in reply. "You are quite the stubborn fool," Luna said.

"I've been called worse," Hildr said.

Luna snorted and continued her story. "My sister will have you believe that I became Nightmare Moon out of jealousy and spite. This is only partly true."

Twilight's eyes went wide. "What? How can that be? Are you saying Celestia has been lying this whole time?" she asked.

Luna shook her head. "My sister did not lie, but has not told the complete truth. To be honest, I do not think even she knows the full story." She sighed and looked to the floor. "You see, my sister has dominion over the Sun and the day, whereas I hold sway over the Moon and the night. And what comes with the night?"

"Darkness?" Twilight offered. A second later, her eyes lit up with realization and she stared at Luna with a horrified expression on her face. "Princess Luna, does that mean…"

Luna nodded sadly. "Yes Twilight Sparkle. As you suggest, I have a vast knowledge of darkness and Dark Magic. You could go so far as to say Darkness itself is my talent, and control of the Moon and dreamwalking is a byproduct of that."

Twilight was at a loss for words, while Hildr continued to listen with interest as Luna continued. "You see, Dark Magic is unpredictable, manipulative, and corruptive. It requires a strong will to harness properly." Luna hung her head in shame. "There is no excuse for what I did. Dark Magic feeds on negative emotions and amplifies their effect. Some will argue that I wasn't in control of my actions or I was simply corrupted by the Nightmare Force." At this Luna scoffed. "Nightmare Force? What a ridiculous notion! I assure you there is no such thing as the Nightmare Force! That is simply an excuse others use to explain my behavior and the occasional resurgence of Dark Magic. In any case, I fought my sister over control of Equestria and she was forced to use the Elements of Harmony."

"Wait. I've seen this," Twilight said. "Celestia seemed rather reluctant to use the Elements. Why was that?"

Luna shrugged. "That is for my sister to answer. I suspect she thought she could use the Elements to purify me of Nightmare Moon, or at least contain me somehow, like Discord. Or perhaps she truly did not know what would happen."

Twilight thought for a moment. "Then why were my friends and I able to purify you and not Celestia?"

Luna gazed into the distance. "I believe it is because my sister was not able to wield the Elements properly. When we defeated Discord, we were of one mind and goal, essentially in harmony with each other. However, my sister could not find that harmony by herself. Her heart was also clouded with fear, anger, and regret. I believe the Elements did the next best thing, which was to hold me until a way could be found to remove the influence of Nightmare Moon."

Twilight nodded to herself. "I suppose that makes sense, but if there is no difference between you as Princess Luna and you as Nightmare Moon, what happened to Nightmare Moon?"

"If I may, I have a theory," Hildr spoke up, startling Twilight and Luna. They both turned to look at her. "From what you've said, I believe these are symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia."

Twilight quickly turned on Hildr. "Are you saying Princess Luna is mentally disabled? How dare you!"

Hildr stared down at Twilight. "For once, in your life, let me finish talking before jumping to wild conclusions." Chastised, Twilight stepped back and continued to sulk. "First of all, Dissociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia are mental disorders, not mental disabilities. There is a difference. And second, I said she showed symptoms. I am not the right kind of doctor to make a proper diagnosis." Hildr then turned to face Princess Luna. "Please forgive me Princess. It is not my intent to offend or hurt you, but give my opinion."

"Do not worry. Twilight Sparkle will be offended for me," Luna said with a smile.

"Hey! That's not fair," Twilight pouted.

"As I was saying," Hildr continued, "Dissociative Identity Disorder tends to manifest as the result of some kind of trauma, physical, psychological, or emotional. It is a kind of coping mechanism, a way for the mind to rationalize or comprehend the trauma. Schizophrenia is often related to Dissociative Identity Disorder and characterized by hallucinations, delusions, or distortions of self-experience. I am not saying these things are true, but this is my best guess."

"So you think that something terrible happened to Princess Luna, and the onset of Nightmare Moon was a result of her trying to cope?" Twilgiht asked. She shook her head. "I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing that."

"Perhaps, but that is the best way I can explain the existence of Nightmare Moon," Hildr said. "You said yourself that Dark Magic has a corrupting influence. That, coupled with your feelings of resentment and jealousy, started to twist your thoughts and made you see the world differently. As a result, the Nightmare Moon personality manifested and took control. That would also explain why you have trouble remembering certain events."

Luna considered Hildr's words. "A most interesting proposition. I have not thought of it that way. Perhaps there is a bit of truth in your words."

"Well I don't buy it one bit," Twilight scoffed. "And your theory doesn't explain how the Elements of Harmony restored Princess Luna."

Hildr shrugged and replied, "Magic."

"What? How does that even make sense?" Twilight asked incredulously.

"You're the magic user, you tell me," Hildr shot back.

"You're only saying that because you have no answer," Twilight said.

"Magic is a thing that exists in this world right? So why not?" Hildr insisted.

"You are using Magic as an excuse to explain something you don't understand," Twilight replied.

"Yes! Exactly! You get it now!" Hildr said. "You all just claim 'Oh it's Magic' and deus ex machina your way out of everything. Anything that doesn't make sense in this world is just 'Magic' and has no rhyme or reason to it."

"So that's what your problem is? You don't understand Magic or how it works, so you just dismiss it with a wave of the hoof?" Twilight asked.

Hildr sighed. "I'm afraid that if I ask 'Do YOU understand Magic?' we'll be here all night."

"That is true," Luna spoke up, to the annoyance of Twilight. "While such a discussion is bound to be lively, that is not the reason you are here, is it?" Twilight and Hildr both shook their heads. Luna turned toward the throne room doors. "It seems that my sister and Sunset Shimmer are done speaking. Come, let us join them and get to the root of your problem."

"The Vex," Hildr snarled. Luna nodded and pushed open the doors, leading them inside.

Sunset Shimmer and Princess Celestia returned to the throne room just as the others were entering. As they drew closer, Sunset could see that Twilight was upset, Princess Luna appeared contemplative, and Hildr was, well, Hildr. She took her place between Hildr and Twilight as Luna sat on her throne next to Celestia. "Did something happen?" Sunset whispered to Twilight.

"I don't want to talk about it," Twilight muttered. That was a clue that somepony, probably Hildr, had upset Twilight in some way. Sunset groaned inwardly and turned her attention back to Celestia.

"First, let me welcome you to Equestria," the sun princess said.

"Thank you Your Highness," Hildr replied with a short bow.

"I trust your experience has been satisfactory so far?" Celestia asked.

Hildr shrugged and said simply, "I've had worse." Celestia's eyes flared and Luna merely watched with interest.

Hildr stepped forward and said, "Look Your Highness. I'm all for formalities and protocol, but can we just skip all that and get to the point? I don't have a lot of time and would rather not waste it on niceties."

At this, Twilight did her best Rarity impression and fainted on the ground. Sunset's eyes went wide and she stepped away on instinct. Unamused by the theatrics, Hildr looked down at the comatose alicorn and snorted, "She'll be fine."

"I see," Celestia replied uncertainly. "I do believe this is the first time I have seen Twilight Sparkle so downhearted. If I may ask, did something happen?"

"We had an argument and I challenged her world view," Hidlr said simply. "She didn't take it very well."

"I see," Celestia replied. She cleared her throat and resumed her dignified manner. "Well since we are getting to the point, I would like to start by hearing about your journey so far."

HIldr and Sunset shared a look. "Okay then," Hildr said and then recounted everything that had happened since she ended up on the Human Equestria. Sunset was grateful to Hildr for not mentioning the part where she was 'questioned' by the government agents. "And then we came here and here we are," Hildr finished.

Celestia leaned back on her throne. "I must say, that is quite the tale."

"You're telling me," HIldr huffed. "So this brings me to my question. Have you or any other pony with powerful magic visited the human world at any time in the past?"

Celestia was taken aback. "What?" she managed to ask.

"And if that were true, did you or the other pony cast a powerful magic spell that wiped out all of the Vex technology?" Hildr continued. Celestia could only sputter in response.

"So if you DID disable the Vex technology with magic, I would like for you to undo the spell so I can continue with my mission," Hildr said simply.

"And just how did you arrive at this conclusion?" Celestia finally managed to find her voice. Hildr rolled her neck and groaned. "And this is why I don't like repeating myself over and over," she said.

Celestia glared down at Hildr and even Luna looked like she was beginning to lose patience. Sunset grimaced and looked up at Hildr. The mood was quickly turning sour. Thoughts of what Celestia might do if Hildr pushed her too far raced through Sunset's mind. She stepped forward and spoke up. "We think that sometime in the past, the human world had Magic."

"And how did you reach this conclusion?" Luna asked. Celestia quickly turned to face her sister and frowned.

"Because I've been fighting the Vex for a very long time and nothing I've seen has worked to this effect," Hildr said. "Ever since the Vex arrived and started terraforming our planets, we've tried everything we could to defeat them. Guardians are capable of incredible and amazing things, and even then we've only scratched the surface of understanding and ultimately defeating the Vex."

"Based on everything Hildr saw and has told me, the most logical conclusion is that a powerful spell wiped them out," Sunset said.

"You've seen these Vex?" Luna asked and Susnet nodded. "I fought them and even with my magic, Hildr still had to save me." Sunset looked to Hildr, who snorted and rolled her eyes.

"I do have one question," Luna said. "If the Vex technology is indeed dead or inoperative, how did you manage to come through the portal in the first place?"

"At that time, I was already in the Vex network," Hildr said. "Naturally, the Vex weren't too thrilled and came after me. I found the nearest portal and jumped out. For whatever reason, that particular portal had enough residual energy to let me out before dying."

Luna frowned, as if she was still unconvinced. "Very well. I will accept your explanation for now."

"From what it sounds like to me, your arrival on the human world was a mistake," Celestia said. "Your current circumstance is indeed unfortunate, but if the Vex are as dangerous as you say then we can't take the risk that more will appear."

Hildr frowned. "So you're telling me I'm stuck here?" After a moment of hesitation, Celestia nodded.

A flame started to burn in Hildr's chest and she growled in frustration. "So that's it then? You won't even try?"

"We cannot accept the risk," Celestia said.

"Really? I refuse to believe that," Hildr spat. "If you won't help me, I'll just figure it out on my own."

"And how will you do that?" Luna asked.

Hildr sighed. "Look. From where I'm standing, this doesn't seem that hard. Undo the spell, let me activate a portal and go through, then you turn everything off again."

Luna looked to her sister. "Does such a spell even exist?" she asked. Celestia frowned, looking none too happy. Her horn flared and a small opening appeared in the floor. A pedestal appeared with a large leather bound book sitting on top. A purple blur shot between Hildr and Sunset and skidded to a stop before the book. "What is this?" Twilight asked, eyes wide with amazement.

"As you have guessed, I have traveled to different worlds in the past," Celestia said. "This journal contains detailed notes of every place Starswirl and I have visited."

"WHAT?" Twilight shrieked. She began to hyperventilate out of excitement.

Hildr rolled her eyes and walked up to Twilight. She reached into her robes, pulled out a small bag and emptied the contents on the floor. "Here. Breathe," she said and shoved the bag at Twilight. Twilgiht grabbed the bag and took several deep breaths. When she had calmed down, she handed the bag back to Hildr. "Ahem. Thank you," Twilight replied evenly. She tuned back to Celestia, her eyes twinkling in excitement.

Celestia took a moment to compose herself. "As I was saying, this journal contains detailed notes on the worlds Starswirl and I have visited."

Twilight frowned. "But why keep this secret until now?" she asked.

Celestia sighed. "Most of the worlds we visited were vastly different and we learned many interesting things. However, a few worlds were very dangerous."

"So is that the reason? Some places were too dangerous for ponies?" Twilight asked.

At this, Celestia hesitated. "There were…other circumstances that led to Starswirl abandoning his project and putting the mirror away." Luna noticed her sister was looking guilty about something. She frowned and made a note to ask her about it later.

"Can we look at the journal?" Twilight asked excitedly. After a moment of hesitation, Celestia nodded her consent. Squealing with delight, Twilight carefully picked the book up and lowered it to the floor. She opened it up and carefully examined the pages. Her own curiosity piqued, Sunset hovered over Twilight's shoulder and helped her read.

While this was happening, HIldr began to pace back and forth. Her intense aura permeated the room and put everyone on edge. Celestia found her own annoyance slowly creeping up and she said, rather shortly, "Hildr, please stop pacing." Hildr glared at the princess and ignored her.

Luna watched with interest. It had been a long time since she had seen her sister put on edge like this. With everything that had happened since her return from the moon, Celestia had handled every major problem in a mostly dignified manner. Well, that one time with Queen Chrysalis was pretty embarrassing, but that is neither here nor there. The fact remained that Hildr was the only pony Luna had ever seen that could cause even Princess Celestia to lose her cool.

"Look at this! A world of dinosaurs with cutie marks?" Twilight remarked.

"I'm more interested in this one inhabited by board game pieces," Sunset said. "Hey Twilight, just what does 'Monopoly' mean anyway?"

They kept looking though the journal and just when Hildr was about to explode, Sunset exclaimed, "Ah ha!"

"What is it? What did you find?" Twilight asked. Sunset pointed and started reading. "Today is the first time we have used the mirror since Starswirl made improvements. He seems to think that a change of location will take my mind off recent events. While I am thankful for his council and friendship, I fear that nothing will lift this pain in my heart." The two ponies quickly glanced at each other, then looked up to Princess Celestia. The normally proud and stoic princess seemed to shrink down on herself and looked sadly at the floor. Hesitantly, Sunset kept reading. "The deed is done and now I will carry this burden for the rest of my life. Luna, my dear sister. How did it end up this way? If I had been more attentive, perhaps I would have seen the signs of your displeasure sooner. Could this have been prevented? It does not matter now, and we will never know. But know this, I vow that one day, I will release you from your prison and make things right again."

Celestia's wings drooped in sorrow. Seeing her in such a state filled Luna with compassion and she moved to comfort her sister. Sunset took a moment to compose herself and skimmed ahead. "Against my better judgement, I accompanied Starswirl on his latest journey. The world we found was vastly different than any we had visited before. We encountered a highly advanced species that called itself 'humans,' and while the world had Magic similar to Equestira, the humans either did not know, or could not, utilize it. Instead, they relied on 'technology.' With this technology at their disposal, the humans had built a society that far surpassed anything we have in Equestria. Imagine our surprise when we found out these humans had traveled to this planet across space. If I had not seen it for myself, I would have not believed it."

"Well that partially confirms my theory then," Hildr spoke up.

"What do you mean?" Celestia asked.

HIldr stopped pacing and faced Celestia. "On my world before everything fell apart, we were a highly advanced civilization. As such, we sent ships on expeditions to the stars, to expand our knowledge and possibly colonize new worlds outside our Solar System. When the Collapse happened, the remaining colony ships were launched in attempt to save as many people as possible. Not all of them made it."

"I see," Celestia said. "And you believe that the humans mentioned in the journal are from one of your colony ships?" Hildr nodded. "It makes sense to me. The journal has only mentioned meeting humans the one time, they had advanced technology, and came from the stars."

"It certainly is a compelling argument," Sunset spoke up. She quickly read through a few more pages.

"Oh! I think I found it!" Twilight spoke up. "While the humans appeared to be friendly, they were in fact quite violent with weapons of a type I have never seen before or since. At first I was shocked and appalled that a species could be so advanced and so violent at the same time. I am reminded of a spell that could possibly convert other species into ponies. Perhaps this is worth looking into?" Twilight and Sunset both looked up at Celestia, a mixture of fear and revulsion on their faces. "Is…is that true?" Twilight asked.

"I had considered it, but decided against it," Celestia said. "At the time, the process was incomplete and often had…less than desirable effects."

Sunset's eyes narrowed. "But you are saying experiments were conducted?" she asked with an edge to her voice.

Celestia looked down at the two ponies. "As ruler, I have to consider what is best for all of Equestria. If that means forcing a possible enemy to become my subject, then so be it."

Twilgiht stepped forward to challenge Celestia. "And how many have been converted into ponies?" Celestia hung her head and didn't answer. Twilight continued to glare at Celestia and Sunset placed a hoof on her shoulder. "Not now Twilight," she said and looked back to the journal and continued reading. "Fortunately, the humans were not fighting each other, but a common enemy. I have seen the enemy with my own eyes and I do not understand how such a thing can exist. The enemy is a race of mechanical beings with weapons that surpass even the humans. I have observed this enemy at length and I believe that they operate under a singular overseer in a hive mind mentality. Starswirl says this is called collective consciousness, but I have no knowledge of such a term. We ponies do not have a word for this type of enemy, but the humans call them Vex."

"I knew it," Hildr muttered.

Twilight turned to Hildr. "I'm sorry I didn't believe you. It's just that your theory was so unbelievable, I had a hard time wrapping my head around it."

Hildr shrugged. "It doesn't matter at this point. Our knowledge of the world is often based on experience, and if you have no experience with something, it is difficult to grasp the concept behind it."

Twilight nodded. "I guess that makes sense."

Sunset read through the rest of the journal entry. "According to this, Starswirl wanted to leave the human world and seal it off, never to visit again. He felt that humans were too primitive and too violent to offer anything useful to ponies. Celestia argued that anypony would become violent if faced with certain death. She also felt that humans had a unique perspective and could share their technology. Ultimately, Starswirl consented and they developed a spell to help the humans defeat the Vex."

"Does it say what it was?" Hildr asked.

Twilight looked and shook her head. "All it says is they approached the human leaders and offered their help. It took some convincing, but the humans agreed. Starswirl and Celestia prepared the spell and, and when it was complete, cast it. The spell did stop the Vex, but had the side effect of nullifying most of the human's technology. Needless to say, the humans weren't happy and the two ponies departed on less than amicable terms."

Sunset looked up to Celestia and asked, "At what point did you realize the human world no longer had Magic?"

Celesia sighed. "After the Sirens were defeated, Starswirl needed a place to banish them to. It was then we remembered the human world. After a quick investigation, we were surprised to find that world no longer had magic. This being the case, Starswirl decided to banish the Sirens to this world where they couldn't use magic to regain their strength."

Hildr blew out a frustrated breath. "This is all well and good, but I still need to undo the spell."

Twilight turned the page, but it was blank. In fact, the rest of the journal hadn't been written in. "I'm sorry Hildr, but that seems to be the last entry," she said.

Celestia spoke up, saying, "Not long after this, Starswirl and the other Pillars of Old Equestria were sealed away with the Pony of Shadows. With Starswirl gone, I had no further reason to use the mirror or continue his research and hid the mirror away."

Sunset frowned. "Then why did you show it to me?" she asked.

"In addition to traveling to other worlds, the mirror can also show one's potential future," Celestia said. "I showed it to you in hopes that you would see that your pride and hubris would potentially lead you down a dark path."

Sunset hung her head in shame. "Yeah. About that," she muttered.

"This is all well and good, but the problem remains on what to do about the spell," Hildr spoke up.

"Even if I gave you the spell, there is little chance you could re-create it," Celestia said.

"And why is that?" Hildr growled.

Celestia narrowed her eyes and looked down at Hildr. "For one, you are not a normal pony with Magic. And second, the spell used up all the natural Magic of that world. How could you re-create a spell of that magnitude without the requisite level of Magic?"

Susnet thought for a moment and spoke up. "What about the Elements of Harmony? Wouldn't that provide enough Magic?"

Celestia shook her head. "Although that is an excellent idea, it would not work. The Elements are indeed powerful, but even they wouldn't be enough."

"And I don't suppose you would be willing to lend your vast and powerful Magic to the cause?" Hildr asked angrily.

"Such a thing would be possible, but would leave myself and Luna completely drained of Magic," Celestia replied testily. "If that were the case, there would be no one to raise and lower the sun and moon, and would leave Equestria in a perilous state."

"So you're telling me that the Rulers of Equestria, possessors of the most awesome and powerful magic ever, can't be bothered because 'Who will raise the sun and moon?' Is that it?" HIldr asked, raising her voice. "Seems like a convenient excuse if you ask me." Hildr angrily stomped the ground and shook her head. "If you won't help, why am I wasting my time here?"

"And now who is acting like a petulant child?" Luna asked, earning a death glare from Hildr.

Twilight's mind started to race. The meeting was quickly falling apart and certain ponies seemed on the edge of lashing out and doing something foolish. "Princess Celestia, what about before you were Princess of the Sun? Weren't the sun and moon raised and lowered by the unicorns?" she asked.

Celestia nodded. "That is true, but the strain of doing so drained all the unicorns of their magic," she said.

"So why not do that then?" Hildr asked. "It would only be for a day or two at the most. And just how many unicorns are in Equestria anyway? Wouldn't their collective magic be enough?"

Celestia shook her head. "Even then it wouldn't be enough."

Hildr's temper was starting to get the best of her and her body started to tremble. Inwardly, her Light flared up, causing her eyes to glow. She gritted her teeth and asked, "I need to step out for a moment. Is there someplace I can go to let off some steam? I really don't feel like breaking your nice throne room."

"Are you threatening me?" Celestia asked dangerously.

"Not yet," Hildr replied. "I'm trying to be polite by not breaking your stuff."

Celestia snorted. "One of the guard ponies will show you to the training room." She rang a small bell and a white stallion waring golden armor appeared. He approached Hildr, and with one last glare at Celestia, Hildr followed him out. The other ponies watched her leave and when the doors shut, Sunset and Twilight let out the breaths they had unconsciously been holding. The oppressive atmosphere also lifted.

"Well. That was rather interesting," Luna remarked.

"Indeed," Celestia replied. She took a few moments to center her bearing and looked down at Sunset and Twilight. "I am sorry, but it appears that Hildr is stuck in the human world."

"Are you sure Princess?" Sunset asked and approached the stairs. "Is there really nothing that can be done?"

Celestia shook her head. "As it stands, no. With no natural Magic in the human world, the spell would not be powerful enough."

Twilight began to pace back and forth as she thought. "Since there is no Magic there, why not bring it back? Is such a thing even possible?" She then began to mumble to herself.

Sunset watched and sighed. Her ears and mane drooped in a display of her current mood. She felt badly for Hildr and her situation. It seemed that if there was a god or some sort of higher power, they took it upon themselves to make Hildr suffer as much as possible. At some point one had to wonder if that was the case.

Sunset then thought of her relationship with Hildr. Sure they hadn't started off well, but what would you call it now? Were they friends? Acquaintances? Comrades? They certainly weren't enemies. Sunset couldn't think of a word that best fit their current dynamic. Had her own opinions of the Warlock changed? Perhaps, just a little. Maybe she had just become accustomed to how Hildr acted. She could be direct and overbearing, but she wasn't a bad person.

Maybe she was looking at this all wrong, Sunset thought. Maybe she was looking too deep into things. Perhaps the only reason Hildr tolerated her was because she got swept up into Hildr's business and Hildr only looked after her out of obligation. This made Sunset feel even worse.

"What's wrong?" Celestia asked. Susnet looked up at the princess sadly. "I'm sorry things have ended up this way," she said. "I know you wanted to meet Hildr, but I should have warned you about her first.

Celestia considered this. "Perhaps, but we are past that now. What is your opinion on all this?"

Sunset shrugged. "I don't really know. I still don't fully understand everything Hildr is trying to do. She's not a bad person, but she has little patience for wasting time. Unfortunately, that's all she thinks this was."

"Indeed. After dealing with nobles and other ponies of higher status, it was nice to hear one speak their mind so plainly. Although, she could have been a bit more tactful in her approach," Celestia said.

"I know what you mean," Sunset agreed.

"I've got it!" Twilight shouted excitedly, startling everypony in the room. "So the human world doesn't have Magic, and you two don't want to use up all of your magic right?" she said. Celestia and Luna shared a look and nodded. "So that means we simply have to take Equestrian Magic to the human world!" Twilight exclaimed.

"How would you even do that?" Sunset asked. "I mean, I could steal ALL the Elements this time, but I don't think that would be a good idea."

Twilight glared at Sunset. "No. It wouldn't. Besides, you and your friends have your own Elements right?"

"Yes," Sunset agreed, "but only because I took your Element of Magic and it unlocked the potential in my friends. Equestrian Magic also seeped through the portal and condensed into crystals." Twilight grinned widely as the wheels in Sunset's mind started to grind together. Finally the answer clicked into place and Sunset's face lit up. "Of course! Why didn't I think of that before?" She ran up to Twilight and shook the lavender alicorn excitedly. "Twilight you're a genius!"

"Oh, stop," Twilight gushed.

Luna cleared her throat. "I would appreciate if you shared this grand revelation," she said.

"Oh! Sorry," Twilight replied sheepishly. Her horn flared to life and a large chalkboard appeared. Twilight picked up a piece of chalk and began drawing. "Like Sunset said, Equestrian Magic seeped through the portal and condensed into crystal. Once they were found by Sunset and her friends, the crystals help to enhance the Magic of Friendship they all share. If we find a crystal big enough, it might make up for the human world's lack of magic."

"But such a crystal would be of enormous proportions," Luna said.

"Normally you would be correct," Twilight said, "But we aren't looking for just any old crystal. We need one that is packed with Equestrian Magic."

"And where do you suggest we find such a crystal," Celestia asked.

"I'm glad you asked," Twilight said and made more notes on the chalkboard. "We would need to go to a place with the highest concentration of Equestrian Magic. Now I don't exactly know where that might be, but with a bit of research, I believe we could find it. Then all we would need to do is go there, obtain a sizeable piece and bring it back!" Twilight stepped away from the chalkboard, showing off her calculations and notes.

Sunset looked closely at the board. "Hmm. I think this could work. We found the crystals in a cave in Everfree Forest. That might be a good place to start."

"Maybe, but I want to look through the library and see if any large deposit of crystalized Magic has ever been found," Twilight said. Sunset nodded. "Okay. I think we have a pretty good plan for now."

Twilight looked out the window. "It's still pretty early in the day, so we have plenty of time."

Sunset smiled, then frowned. "I guess someone has to go and tell Hildr what we found out," she said. At the mention of Hildr's name, the air suddenly became chilly and oppressive. "I'll go," Sunset volunteered.

"I would like to accompany you," Luna spoke up and stepped down from her throne.

"I guess I'll head to the library," Twilight said. With everypony decided, they split up. As they walked through the castle, Sunset said to Luna, "So princess, what do you think of HIldr?"

"I find her very fascinating," Luna said. "Intentional or not, she has a way of pressing people's buttons."

"No kidding," Sunset agreed. "For a little while, I thought Princess Celestia was going to completely lose it."

"It has been a very long time since I have seen my sister so upset," Luna replied with a chuckle. "But those were different times then and we were much younger."

After they had walked a little farther, Sunset asked, "When you all came into the throne room, why was Twilight so mopey?"

Luna sighed. "It is as Hildr said. They had a disagreement where Twilight felt Hildr was disrespecting me and all of Equestria. Hildr insisted that this was not the case."

"Hmm. I see," Sunset replied. "Let me guess, Hildr asked about Nightmare Moon and Twilight didn't like it?"

"That is correct," Luna confirmed. "I must say that once I told Hildr, she made an interesting point that I had not thought of before."

"Well what was it?" Sunset asked.

Luna gave Sunset a sly look. "I do believe that is called Doctor-Patient Confidentiality," she said.

"Aw man," Sunset groaned. "HIldr took you on as a patient too?"

"Not exactly," Luna said. "I believe she said she wasn't the correct kind of doctor for that kind of diagnosis." She turned to Sunset and asked, "Is she really a doctor?"

Sunset nodded. "As near as I can figure. She patched me up pretty good when I got hurt. You can ask her yourself when we find her."

Luna merely nodded in agreement. Sunset followed the moon princess through the castle until they came to a heavy wooden door. With a bit of effort, Luna pushed the door open and Sunset gasped. Inside was a total disaster. The once pristine white walls were covered with scorch marks and soot. What used to be training dummies were now bits of ash and charcoal on the ground. Several sets of armor were nothing more than rapidly cooling piles of slag. Hildr stood in the center of the room, panting heavily and sweating from exertion. Flames surrounded her body like a protective shield and her sword hung in the air, also on fire. Hildr finally calmed down and when she noticed her audience, she frowned and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"We, uh, came looking for you?" Sunset stammered.

Hldr snorted. "Why would you need to look for me? You knew where I was," she replied. The aura of flames surrounding her body disappeared and her flaming sword extinguished. Hildr blew out a breath and sheathed her sword over her back.

Luna narrowed her eyes. "Is it customary where you come from to ruin part of your host's home when you visit?" she asked.

Hildr looked around and took note of the damage. "Sorry," she replied, rather unapologetically. "I didn't mean to ruin your practice hall." Hildr blew several annoying strands of hair out of her face. "I just wanted to work off some excess energy."

"By trying to burn down the castle?" Sunset asked. "This is new, even for you."

Hildr turned and glared at Sunset. "What do you know? We've known eachother for three days, if that."

Sunset breathed deeply and slowly counted to ten. Don't get mad, don't get mad, don't get mad. "Twilight and I have a solution that might help with your problem," she said finally.

"Oh. And what is it exactly?" Hildr asked. Sunset then told Hildr about the plan Twilight came up with. "She's searching the library right now for any record of condensed deposits of Magic."

Hildr narrowed her eyes. "That sounds like a waste of time," she said frankly.

"Oh? And just what do you suggest?" Luna asked.

Hildr held up her hoof. "Raven? A moment if you please," she said and her Ghost materialized. Luna's eyes went wide and she stepped back. "What Magic is this?" she exclaimed.

Sunset facehoofed. "Right. You've never met Raven," she said.

Raven floated about and took scans of his current surroundings. "I say, you've done quite a number on this place," he remarked.

"Can it," Hildr replied curtly. "I want to know if you can track concentrations of Magical energy."

Raven bobbed up and down. "Sure. After we got lost in the Everfree Forest, I configured my sensors to trace Magic signatures."

Hildr turned back to Luna and Sunset. "There you go. We'll use my ship to fly around and map Magic energy signatures. That should lead us to what you want."

Still recovering from her surprise, Luna looked down to Sunset who rolled her eyes and shrugged. "But will we even fit in your ship now? We aren't exactly humans right now," Sunset said.

Hildr frowned. "I think I have another ship that will suit us better. It's bigger than the one you saw, but it will require slight modifications."

Sunset gave Hildr a sly look. "So does that mean I can come with you?"

Hildr rolled her eyes and shrugged. "Why not?"

After a second of hesitation, Sunset decided to press her luck. "What about Twilight? Can she come too?"

"Fine!" Hildr growled. "But you need to keep her in check. Based on historical data, she is likely to have a mental breakdown."

"Cross my heart and hope to cry, stick a cupcake in my eye," Susnet promised and drew an X over her heart.

Luna looked around the destroyed training hall. "And what do you recommend we do about this?" she asked.

"Can I just pay you for the damages?" Hildr offered. Again, Luna was taken aback. "I suppose that would suffice. What do you suggest as a method of payment?"

"How about gold?" Hildr suggested. Curious, Luna nodded her agreement. Sunset was also intrigued and watched carefully. Raven scanned a small section of the floor and small pile of translucent glowing cubes appeared. "What's this?" Sunset asked.

"Glimmer," Hildr replied. Raven scanned the pile of glimmer and shot a beam of energy from his eye. There was a flash of light and the pile of glimmer cubes turned into a neat stack of gold bars.

"Whoa. How did you do that?" Susnet asked in amazement.

"Glimmer is a programmable material mostly found on Earth," Raven explained. "Due to its versatile nature, it can be used as a power source or traded as currency. All I did was modify it on a molecular level and change it into gold."

"I have never seen or heard of a magic quite like this," Luna said. "Your world is indeed fascinating."

"You wouldn't think that if you saw it," Hildr replied darkly. "Will this be enough to cover the damages?"

"Oh yes, that is more than plenty," Luna said. "However, there remains the issue of this room." Luna closed her eyes, spread her wings and her horn lit up. There was a flash of light and the room was reverted to its previous state, clean and pristine.

Hildr looked around rather impressed. "Magic?" she asked.

"Magic," Luna nodded with a smile.

Hildr rolled her eyes. "Why not?" she huffed. Susnet couldn't help but giggle.

Hey Twilight,

So. The meeting with Celestia probably could have gone better. I feel like I should have warned Princess Celestia about Hildr and at the same time, told Hildr to play nice. Honestly, I don't think it would have mattered very much.

I'm sorry that you and Hildr can't seem to get along. She doesn't mean anything by it, that's just how she is. I'm not making excuses for her behavior, but you need to understand where she's coming from. To her, this whole thing has been one disaster after another. She's a bit like you in that regard. She had a plan, the plan is falling apart and she's trying everything in her power to make it work.

It's a good thing she left the throne room when she did. When we found her in the training room, she pretty much burned it to the ground. That reminds me of something else. We might not realize it, but where Hildr comes from, she is a very powerful Magic user and has defeated foes that make Discord and Tirek look tame in comparison. I mean, I've seen her in action and I believe that is only a small fraction of her true capabilities. A small part of me wants to see when she goes all out, but the rational side of me says that would be a terrible idea. I really don't want to know if anything here in Equestria could or would push Hildr that far.

Oh, another thing. I told Hildr about your plan to find crystalized Magic deposits and she said she might have a better way of searching than just looking though old books. I don't want to spoil it for you, but I think you will be surprised.

Until then,

Sunset Shimmer