• Published 1st Mar 2019
  • 2,285 Views, 233 Comments

Magisight: Thaumaturgical Ocularity - PsychicKid

A series of strange dreams and a new, burgeoning power sends Twilight on an adventure that will change her life forever.

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Chapter 23: The Storm Calls

Twilight rested her hooves on the windowsill, awestruck at the chaos unfolding before her. A swirling blizzard had fallen upon Ponyville and the surrounding countryside, blanketing the area outside Twilight’s castle with a sheet of blinding white.

“What in Equestria…?” Twilight wondered aloud. Her head spun, and she slammed the window shut to block out the light. She staggered as vertigo pushed her sense of direction askew. Her door suddenly flung open, bringing her back to her senses.

“Twilight!” Starlight burst into the room in a panicked sweat. “What’s going on out there?”

“I… I don’t know!” Twilight stammered. “I just woke up and it was freezing inside, and when I looked there was this giant blizzard going on and I think it has to do with the clouds I saw yesterday and—” Twilight paused, panting as she caught her breath. “Starlight, I need you to stay here and watch after Spike.”

“What’s the plan?” Starlight asked, her voice laden with concern. “I can help out there. I don’t know weather dispelling magic, but I can still—”

“No, Starlight.” Twilight said firmly. “Spike has trouble with Ponyville’s regular winter, let alone something even colder like this. Keep him safe while I try to find Rainbow Dash… She can help me fix this mess.”

Starlight opened her mouth to protest, but just shook her head with frustration. “Okay,” she relented. “I’m getting a little tired of you disappearing off to Celestia-knows-where while we have to deal with all this madness.”

Twilight frowned. She knew Starlight wasn’t trying to insult her, but that didn’t mean she was wrong. “I know, and I’m sorry. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t truly believe this is far more important.”

Starlight sighed, glancing away. “Yeah…” Her ears lowered. “Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry too.” She smiled softly, looking sidelong back to Twilight.

They shared a quick hug, nodding to one another as they parted. Twilight disappeared in a brilliant flash. Starlight sighed deeply before dashing off to find Spike.

Twilight stumbled as she appeared outside on her balcony, the intense drop in temperature and poor visibility causing her to reel despite her preparation. She shook her head, squinting against the blinding light of the whiteout.

As her eyes adjusted, she suddenly realized wasn’t the bright snow giving her trouble. Fragments of broken fractals danced amongst the snowflakes, feeding into themselves, turning at oblique angles before suddenly halting with broken tips. She squinted, trying to make sense of them, but the shapes were moving too quickly to follow.

A streak of rainbow light from above broke her concentration. Twilight looked upward as it zigzagged above, shoving clouds into one another and breaking them apart. “Rainbow Dash!” she called out, her voice vanishing into the gale. For each cloud Rainbow knocked away, another one took its place; this was a battle of attrition Twilight knew her friend couldn’t win alone.

Twilight locked onto Rainbow’s aetheric signature with a strained grunt, teleporting herself some hundreds of feet in front of her. “Rainbow, wait!”

Rainbow yelped and flared her wings, coming to a screeching halt in the air. Twilight could see the magic flowing through her friend’s wings change from vibrant cyan to a dull midnight blue as she slowed. “Celestia’s flank, Twilight!” Rainbow screamed as she stopped mere inches from Twilight. “How many times have I told you not to bucking tel—”

Twilight shook her head. “I’m sorry! I had to get your attention somehow. Do you know what’s going on?” She gestured to the blizzard unfolding around them. “Was there an accident at the factory?”

“I don’t know, Twi,” Rainbow shouted, her voice cracking in agitation. “It’s been like this for an hour. I’ve got Derpy and half the team at Sweet Apple Acres trying to redirect a thunderhead and Cloudchaser and Flitter are over town hall with the heatwave, and—”

Wait, a thunderhead? And a heatwave?” Twilight stammered, taken aback. Her mouth fell agape as she looked over the rest of Ponyville. The blizzard extended only a short way into Ponyville before dispersing. Lightning flashed over Sweet Apple Acres to the west, and she could see sweltering heat waves rising from the rooftops across town. A handful of criss-crossing blurs streaked across the sky; pegasi trying desperately to control the clouds.

“I think I have an idea!” Twilight’s horn ignited. She felt magic flowing through her body, composing a spell that evolved to shift and realign itself to compliment the magic flitting in and out of existence throughout the snowfall. “Back up, Rainbow!” She took aim and released the magic, shooting a beam of swirling light into the clouds. Her spell made contact with a spell strand, coalescing into a bolt of electricity that arced through the storm like lightning. The snowfall slowed and the cloud started to break up slightly, but with a crack of magical feedback the broken puffs grew into new, stronger clouds. The spell crackled and dissipated, overwhelmed by the weather.

“That’s just making it worse!” Rainbow yelled. “Why isn’t this working? Don’t you use magic to change the seasons in Canterlot?”

Twilight shook her head. “It’s not the same. Changing the seasons without the help of pegasi or earth ponies involves crafting a long-term holding spell that takes dozens of specially-trained unicorns to cast. It’s still technically spring, so the only spells I know won’t work. Besides, Canterlot’s weather comes from Cloudsdale!”

Rainbow groaned in frustration, smacking her forehead with a hoof. Twilight furrowed her brow as she concentrated, her eyes darting between the snowstorm, the thunderstorm, and the heatwave. “I can probably brute-force the snowstorm—but it might just reform on its own if it’s not properly handled. Sweet Apple Acres is flooding, and—the heatwave is the least dangerous for now, as long as we get everyone to cover, but that’ll take time to fix and it and it will only get worse the longer we wait… Okay, I think I should have… Let’s just—”

“Twilight!” Rainbow shouted, kicking an errant stormcloud away. “Don’t go all egghead on me now! This isn’t helping!” Rainbow grunted and looked across to the thunderstorm. Twilight followed her gaze. “I’ve got an idea. Go to Derpy’s team at the farm,” Rainbow barked. “Help her break off half of that thunderhead and bring it into town.”

“Of course!” Twilight said. “The rain will help cool the houses!”

“I’ll do the same with this mess,” Rainbow said, her wings fluttering with anticipation. “We can bust up the stragglers after making sure everypony’s safe from the heatwave!”

Twilight nodded and took off toward Sweet Apple Acres. The sight below was utter chaos. Ponies were fleeing to find any kind of cover, while others were trying desperately to keep gardens safe with hastily-thrown tarps. As she soared through the air, she felt the temperature rising rapidly. Falling snow gave way to a torrential downpour as lightning lit up the sky ahead. Twilight saw a small team of weather ponies frantically flailing against the storm clouds above, making negligible headway. She spotted Applejack below, herding her livestock toward the barn, and swooped down toward her.

“Applejack!” Twilight yelled through the rain. A crack of thunder rumbled overhead and Applejack seemed not to hear. She flew closer, hovering just above the ground. “Applejack, are you okay?”

Applejack grunted over the squealing of the pigs, trudging through the thick, wet mud. “Twi? Is that you?” She raised her hat and squinted. “Twi! What in the hay is goin’ on? We ain’t supposed to get rain like this fer months. This ain’t Discord, is it?”

“I don’t think so, the rain’s not made of chocolate, so he probably…” Twilight groaned, pushing aside her bangs to clear her eyes. “There’s no time to explain! Where’s your family?” She said frantically, her wet mane clinging to her back as she looked around.

“They’re okay, I’ve got ‘em holed up in the house. Safest place with the risin’ water. I got all the livestock up in the barn—‘cept the pigs—an’ the east orchard is pretty much entirely underwater. I’m just hopin’ it won’t spread much further.” Applejack brandished a rope, lassoing a panicked pig that darted off. “Winona!” A yip replied to the muffled call, the dog running after the pig and chasing it to Applejack.

“I’ll teleport you to safety. Rainbow Dash is taking care of a blizzard near my castle, and I need to help the team here!” Twilight said.

Applejack stumbled, nearly losing her balance in the mud. “Blizzard? What in the—”

“Hold on!” Twilight focused her magic, a map of Sweet Apple Acres painting itself in her mind’s eye. The barn lit up,full of faint magical signatures, while three strong signatures illuminated the second floor of the Apple farmhouse. Applejack braced herself against the errant pig as Twilight’s magic engulfed the group. With a flash, Applejack, Winona, and the pig vanished—the former appearing in her home, and the latter two appearing in the barn with the other livestock.

Twilight turned her focus skyward and leapt straight up toward the struggling Derpy.

“Twilight!” Derpy whined, tears streaming down her face. “Help me! I-I can’t fix it. It’s too big and mean!”

“Derpy, it’s okay, I’m here now,” Twilight said, giving her a quick, reassuring hug. “You’ve been very brave today, but together we can take it.” She looked up at the swirling mass of blackened grey above and gulped. “I hope.”

“I don’t want anypony to get hurt. This storm is really, really big, and Rainbow Dash was yelling at everypony to hurry, s-so I—” Derpy stammered, her sentence trailing off.

Twilight placed a hoof under Derpy’s chin, meeting her wayward eyes as well as she could. “We’ve got a plan. Rainbow Dash wants us to break this storm cloud in half and bring it to town hall, but we’ll need everypony working together.” She looked around to the other pegasi around, each barely maintaining altitude in their exhaustion.

Derpy nodded and smiled widely. “I can help! We can help!”

Twilight patted her shoulder. “Everypony, follow me!” She turned into the cloud again, rain pouring down her mane. Lightning streaked through the air, striking a nearby tree and shattered it into thousands of splinters. Derpy cried out in fear as Twilight quickly threw up a shield. The wooden shards bounced harmlessly off the shield’s surface, making it ripple like water.

“Derpy! Are you okay?” Twilight said, turning to face her.

Derpy was shivering, but she gulped hard and took on a determined pose. “I-I’m okay!” she stammered. “Really! Let’s go!”

Twilight nodded. “Sunshine, Open Skies, with me! We’ll take the right side of the storm cloud, and everypony else take the left. If we circle back around and meet in the middle, we can slice off the half facing Ponyville. There’s no time to lose!”

Derpy gave a sloppy salute. “Go left, meet in the middle. You got it boss-lady-ma’am!” Her voice wavered as the other two weather control ponies moved to flank off her wings.

The six ponies flew toward the thunderhead, Derpy’s group veering left, Twilight heading to the right with her companions. As Twilight approached the cloud, she slowly dipped her hooves into its outermost layer. Water vapor clung to her as electricity sparked out from the cloud, but she held fast as she carved a path along its surface. Wisps of purple energy peeled from the cloud, circling around her hooves. The jagged edges of the cloud’s composition smoothed out as they reacted to the magic, and once the two made a connection, the cloud matter suddenly poofed into harmless, ordinary moisture.

“Okay, this is it,” Twilight muttered to herself. She licked her lips, flaring her wings as magic streamed from her flight feathers. She banked hard and away from the cloud, looping back around in formation. Her wings stuck straight out as she dove hooves-first into the grey cloud. Lightning flashed all around her, her hooves continuing to drill down deeper toward the storm’s center as she focused her newfound pegasus magic. Her wings sliced through the cloud, cleanly parting it. Not only was she physically pushing portions of the cloud apart, but she could see her own magic severing the aether keeping the cloud together.

Eventually, she spotted a shape speeding toward her through the mist. “Derpy! Are you okay?” Twilight called out. She came to a stop, wings keeping her aloft—touching down on a piece of the storm cloud would be too dangerous.

“I’m okay,” Derpy said, her lips quivering. The rain and lightning subsided once the two met in the middle. Twilight looked over Derpy’s shoulder and could see the path she cut through from the outside. Sparks of lightning arced in the gaps, threatening to pull the cloud back together.

“Great work. On three, we buck the clouds apart,” Twilight directed. Derpy nodded, taking position next to her, their backsides facing the cloud as they reared back. The other weather ponies moved into position along the newly-created eye of the storm.

“One,” Twilight said, swallowing hard.

“Two,” she continued, thunder rumbling from deep within the cloud as if in response.

“Three!” Twilight and the pegasi bucked as hard as they could. Flashes of purple and dull blue rippled over the surface of the cloud, propagating into synchronized waves as they traveled along the stormfront. A slight smile tinted her face as she noticed wisps of tan magic dancing among her kick, a small seed of earth pony magic aiding in the push.

“Is it working?” Derpy asked. The cloud rumbled, but otherwise remained stationary. The lightning arcs stopped, leaving the air with an eerie silence, but resumed mere moments later.

“Again!” Twilight yelled. The pegasi kicked the cloud once more. Another wave coursed outward, stripping away more of the cloud.

“Again!” Another swift, powerful kick. The magic flashed brighter and spread faster across the cloud.

“Again!” With one last, mighty kick, the cloud shuddered and started to drift away from the two ponies as Twilight’s buck shimmered, nearly its entire area reverberating with a mix of pegasus and earth pony magic.

“Did we do it?” Derpy panted, her mane and tail standing on end from static electricity.

“We’re not done yet,” Twilight strained between heavy breaths. “Let’s get this half to Ponyville. By dividing the cloud, we should have reduced its precipitative output by at least seventy-five percent… The farm should be safe for now.”

“R-Right!” Derpy nodded. Twilight led the team through one of the carved-out passageways and exited the cloud, brilliant sunshine bathing them in its warmth. Twilight noticed the rainfall had slowed significantly, and the formerly gale-force winds had calmed. Besides a few quiet rumbles, the thunder had also ceased. She shook her head sadly as the increased visibility revealed some of the extent of the damage to Sweet Apple Acres. Trees were blown over, their roots clawing upward into the air, and smaller structures like chicken coops and sheds had been completely demolished. Despite the rain, the barn and house seemed to be mostly intact at first glance.

Twilight grimaced at the damage, but she knew the heat in Ponyville demanded her immediate attention. The Apples are a strong family. They’ll be all right. “Okay, team, let’s cool down Ponyville!” They each pressed against the cloud, a gentle stream of magic emanating from their hooves. Twilight watched as the energy coalesced, forming a semitranslucent wall in front of them. As they pushed, the cloud slowly complied with their efforts.

Below, the rain had slowed to a drizzle. They pushed the thunderhead into position over town, alongside a second stormcloud already overhead. Flecks of sleet streamed down from the combined cloud’s underside. Even from this height, Twilight could see ponies peek from their windows. As the temperature down below plummeted from too hot to comfortably cool, a few even took a few tentative steps outside. Rainbow Dash rocketed around the cloudhead toward Twilight.

“Hey!” Rainbow yelled, waving her down. “You brought the rain cloud! How’s AJ? What happened?”

Twilight grunted as she broke off a large chunk of the cloud. Rainbow helped her position it directly over town square, filling a small gap in the rain. “She’s safe,” Twilight panted, her movements shaky. “There’s some damage, but nopony got hurt.”

Rainbow breathed a sigh of relief. “You got here just in time, too. Any longer and we’d be seeing some ponies with heat stroke out here!”

“What about the blizzard by the castle?” Twilight asked.

“I got this half of it taken care of, but I just sent some weather ponies up that way to finish the rest. Derpy!” Rainbow said firmly, bringing the pegasus to attention. “Bring your team and go help Flitter and Cloudchaser. Me and Twilight’ll wrap up here.” She flashed a smile. “You did a good job out there today.”

“You got it lady-boss-ma’am! Thank you!” Derpy said cheerfully, giving a salute with her wing before flying off to join the other pegasi.

Twilight hovered in place, slowly turning as she looked across Ponyville. She caught sight of Derpy and her small team crisscrossing through the clouds above her castle, breaking them apart. In the distance, the silhouette of Canterlot peeked its way through soot-black clouds. Flashes of lightning illuminated it, casting ominous shadows against the towers.

“Oh no,” Twilight groaned, fatigue beginning to set in. “It’s in Canterlot too? What else could go wrong?”

“Twilight!” A panicked voice cried out from the ground. Twilight and Rainbow Dash looked down to see Starlight and Spike running through town square toward them.

“Spike, Starlight!” Twilight twisted into a dive landed next to her friends. “What’s going on?”

“It’s terrible, Twilight!” Spike said, gasping for breath and holding a scroll aloft. “I just got a letter from Princess Celestia!” Twilight’s ears folded back as her heart sank.

“There’s tornadic winds in Chicoltgo!” Starlight cut in, a look of panic crossing her face. “The Appleoosan Basin is also flooding!”

“And there’s a huge thunderstorm in Canterlot! The Princesses are fighting it off now!” Spike said, pointing off in the distance. Everypony looked toward Canterlot, the storm enveloping the tallest tower. The brilliant flashes of lightning were dazzling—almost hypnotic—as distant booms rocked across the landscape. Twilight could see faint beams of magic being shot throughout the cloud. It was too far away to discern any detail, but from the colors and sheer power they could only be from Celestia and Luna.

“We have to help them!” Twilight gritted her teeth and lowered into a take-off stance, ready to launch herself toward Canterlot.

“Twilight, wait!” Spike cried. “The Princesses say they’ve got Canterlot under control, but it’ll take time to stop. I think you’ve got bigger problems to deal with right now.”

Twilight collapsed onto her haunches. “I can’t just sit here and do nothing, Spike!” Twilight said, feeling panic rise within her. “Ponies could get hurt, or worse!”

“Well,” Rainbow Dash interjected, struggling to find words, “what about Cloudsdale? Maybe something’s wrong at the weather factory.”

Twilight bit her lip and rolled the idea over. She shook her head, frowning. “No, it can’t be Cloudsdale. That doesn’t explain the weather in Chicoltgo or Appleoosa. How many other locations are having weather problems?” Twilight asked.

“Well…” Starlight bit her lip. She floated another parchment to Twilight, unrolling it for her. Twilight gasped. It was a map of Equestria, with a series of red crosses over nearly every major settlement. Ponyville, Canterlot, Manehatten, Las Pegasus… the list went on.

“All of these…” Twilight squeaked, her voice lowering to a whisper. She looked over the map with fervor, jumping from location to location. Chicoltgo, Whinnyappolis, San Neighigo, the Crystal Empire, Seaward Shoals, all had markings over them.

Wait,” Twilight said sharply, focusing intently on the southwestern corner of the map. There it was, staring her in the face: Seaward Shoals and its strange weather factory lingering at the far corner of Equestria, out over the South Luna Sea. Twilight glanced at the map’s legend. “This map is brand new. It was published just this month!”

“What does that have to do with anything?” Starlight asked with a nervous shrug.

“To the library, now.” Twilight commanded with a stomp. Before anyone could react, Twilight’s magic enveloped the group and transported them to the castle.

As the group reappeared, Rainbow Dash fell to the ground with a tumble, caught off guard by the teleportation. “Freaking horsefeathers, Twi, could you not?” She grumbled as she stood. “Why are we even here, anyway?”

“I discovered something last night while doing a little light reading” Twilight explained, flying from shelf to shelf frantically and plucking books down with her magic.

Starlight sighed with exasperation and rolled her eyes. “I’ll yell at you later for breaking your promise,” she said as she watched Twilight dart around the room. “So tell us why we’re here.”

“I’m really, really, sorry, Starlight… I’ll make it up to you somehow, I promise,” Twilight murmured. Starlight merely shook her head. Twilight landed with a thump and laid out a stack of books on a nearby table. “I need every book we have on weather or the weather factories, specifically anything related to the South Luna Sea.”

“Why there?” Spike asked as he scampered onto the book-filled table. “I’m not even sure where that is!”

“It’s a long shot, but last night I found an abandoned weather factory in that region. If a factory is left unattended, the lack of maintenance could cause the weather to go out of control.” Twilight said, floating another row of books before her. She began to scan through them, sorting them into piles based on usefulness.

“Yeah, but all over Equestria?” Rainbow Dash said as she looked over some of the titles. “Cloudsdale’s big, but mistakes there only affect Ponyville and Canterlot.”

“That’s…” Starlight interjected, peeking up from her book, “actually not true.” Twilight leaned in to listen with earnest. Starlight raised the book so she could see, showing off the title: The History of Cloudsdale. “It says here that 200 years ago, an explosion in one of the snow machines generated enough pressure to force snowfall over half of Equestria for the entire winter.”

“Okay, yeah, maybe that’s true,” Rainbow said, her voice dripping with sarcasm, “But so what? It’s not like these kinds of accidents happen every day.” Starlight rolled her eyes.

A sudden worry overcame Twilight as the pit in her stomach grew, making her chest ache with stress. “Oh no…”

“What is it, Twilight?” Spike asked, setting a small stack of books down.

“What if the factory we’re dealing with is…” Twilight gulped. “Bigger than Cloudsdale?” A chilling silence came over the room. Spike nervously scratched a scale, the scraping sound echoing against the vaulted ceiling.

“We need to learn more about this factory.” Twilight finally broke the silence, flipping open another book a random. “I’m not going in without a plan.”

“And what are you planning to do when you get there?” Rainbow Dash asked, stretching a sore wing. “I know you’re smart, and it’s not like I don’t trust you or anything, but this whole thing just sounds kind of fishy to me. Like, really? A weather factory bigger than the one in Cloudsdale? Everypony knows Cloudsdale has the biggest factory in Equestria.” She scoffed and rolled her eyes.

“It’s just a hunch, and I could be wrong… but we are dealing with something that’s over a thousand years old. If what Starlight found is true about Cloudsdale, then it stands to reason an accident at a larger factory would cause more widespread damage.” Twilight said, flinging a hoofful of books away, opening another three to scan their contents.

“You said it was abandoned, right?” Spike piped up. “What could have possibly happened?”

Twilight sighed and shook her head. “That’s what I don’t know. It could have been residual magic, it could be sabotage, it could be anything. But what I don’t understand is why it’s stationary. Every weather factory drifts to ensure they keep wild weather under control… Every weather factory except this one. A deep, heavy sigh escaped her lips, and she buried her head in her hooves. “But that’s why we need to find out as much as possible!”

“You’ve got it, Twi!” Spike hopped to the floor, scampering to the shelves to fetch more research material. The group continued to pore through books and parchment as they were brought to the table. A growing pile of books without useful information formed along one wall. Desperation slowly settled over the room as directly relevant material was exhausted and tangentially-related works were all that remained.

As musty tomes of general magic theory and local political history came across the table, Twilight found herself scrambling through books faster than ever. She finally broke the tense silence with a loud “Aha!” The sound of books clattering to the floor filled the room as a startled Spike tripped and spilled his payload.

“Did you find something?” Rainbow asked. She and the others crowded around over Twilight.

“I did,” Twilight said, her voice wrought with concern, “And it’s not good. According to this, the South Luna Sea weather factory was a primary front generator for most of Equestria over a thousand years ago. The magic in the South Luna Sea caused the waters to unnaturally heat up, generating more energy for the local area. Because of this, the factory never moved, and it funneled the excess energy to help other factories with their own weather.

“But,” Twilight continued, “As pegasus magic and technology improved, this extra energy became redundant and it was deemed too risky to keep funneling it from so far away. They built a magic structure they call ‘the sarcophagus’ around the weather pocket powering the factory and abandoned it nearly three centuries ago.”

“They didn’t just shut it down? Great, now we have to deal with the fallout!” Starlight said, her words punctuated by a twinge of frustration.

“Hey,” Rainbow snapped, “weather factories aren’t something you can just stop. I don’t know how it all works exactly, but I’ve been a weather pony long enough to know it’s complicated!”

“I don’t fully understand how it all fits together, either.” Twilight said, closing the book with a loud snap. “But we don’t have much of a choice. This is the only lead we have.” Twilight steeled herself, a familiar sense of determination growing within as she looked toward Rainbow Dash. “I can’t do this alone. I’ll need your help.”

Rainbow scoffed playfully and grinned. “Please, this’ll be a breeze! You know I can’t just let Ponyville get pushed around by a bunch of crazy weather!”

Twilight nodded firmly, but the serious glint in her eyes didn’t waver. “We need to go now. It’s not just Ponyville that’s in danger. If we don’t do something, all of Equestria could be doomed!”