• Published 1st Mar 2019
  • 2,290 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 9: For Mind's Actualization

Twilight was neither here nor there. Her entire existence felt like it was caught up in an aimless, yet gentle, blanket of aether. She slowly opened her eyes as she drifted through the bright abyss of whites and purples.

“Where…” she tried to mutter, but even speech was gripped by the suffocating fog that permeated the strange space. She attempted to move with great difficulty, barely managing the tiniest of fidgets. Indiscernible shapes winked in and out of existence all around her as far as she could see, not unlike soap bubbles drifting about a particularly eventful bath.

These feelings were far more intense than that of the crystals of Amethyst Hollow. It felt like the warm embrace of using unicorn magic but magnified several times over, nearly overwhelming her. She couldn’t be sure how much time had passed, but it felt like eons as her mind struggled to adjust to the kaleidoscope of colors unfurling all around her.

With a strained kick of her legs, she was able to propel herself slowly forward. Or was it up? She shook her head as all sense of direction was stripped away, as if the physics of this world were designed by a mad scientist.

“Just... Where in Equestria am I?” she said, somewhat dazed. “I was in Amethyst Hollow, and I completed the spell and—” she gasped and looked around frantically. “Sunburst? Sunburst? Where are you? Are you okay?”

She spun weightlessly in the air, freed from the fetters of gravity, her head twisting this way and that searching for any sign of her friend. She sighed with concern. Sunburst was nowhere to be seen. I’m sure he’s fine. If nothing happened to the cave, he’ll be okay on his own for a little while.

Fed up with the slow drifting and useless leg twitching, she flapped her wings slowly. They moved with less resistance than her legs, but her motions were still sluggish.

“Why won’t—What’s going on here?” she cried, struggling to flap faster. But try she as she might, the only movement she could produce was the useless flailing of her body and legs. Twilight spun aimlessly in space, her breath catching suddenly as she spotted something out of the corner of her eye. She squinted, getting a closer look at the form: a jagged, sphere-shaped outline drifting lazily through the air toward her.

“Is that—?” Twilight reached out and tapped it. A strange crackling filled the air as the spell flickered and shone, forcing Twilight to cover her eyes. When she peeked out from behind her foreleg, the spell had vanished. Her mouth hung open as the pieces slowly started fitting together in her head.

“Aha!” she shouted, a beaming smile spreading over her face. Her eyes closed as her breathing deepened in preparation to cast another spell. Her horn flared to life, and the very instant the spell took shape within her, the sea of magic surrounding her started to invade her subconscious. It seized her grip on the spell with power a thousand times stronger than the crystals in the cave.

Twilight relinquished her spell, and the attack instantly ceased. She retched, panting as sweat started to trickle down her face. As her heaving subsided, her lips quirked into a weak smirk. “I knew it. I’m inside the crystals of Amethyst Hollow! It’s an entire arcane aetherstream of unicorn magic.”

Twilight quietly observed the space around her for a few minutes, taking in the sights. Random, incomplete spells flickered and meandered about, many of them familiar to her. Others, however, were oddly foreign.

“Oh wow,” Twilight said, reaching over at a phantom spell that shifted and warped, shining with different colors. She recognized it as an illusionary spell, but this one… She paused, her eyes focused on the iridescence in the center. This one felt different.

Turning her head, she saw a glittering sheet of gems arranged in a grid, crackling softly as lights flashed between them. A spell related to gem work! Twilight leaned in closer. To her surprise, all of the intersections and base arcane framework for it to be gem magic were present, but it felt like something was missing.

“How curious,” Twilight said, voice trailing as she rubbed her chin. “It’s definitely a gem spell, but something about the broken framework seems to make it oddly unique…”

Unique… The word swirled in her head. Unique… unique… Twilight gasped as the light bulb suddenly lit inside her head.

“That’s it! The missing magic is related to a unicorn’s special talent! Oh my gosh, this adds a whole new level to… to everything!” Twilight beamed ecstatically, watching the spell drift past into a cloud of formless magic. Twilight couldn’t help but giggle; this place was a veritable treasure trove for her research! And she wanted to learn more still. “If I use the same principles as the spell I used to transport myself here, and combine it with my own special talent in magic, maybe I can tap into these spell structures to learn even more about them!” Twilight said into the aether, watching a daisy chain of different spells twirl around her.

She closed her eyes again, letting her body go limp. Carefully, she felt out the energy that surrounded her. On the surface it seemed more chaotic than anything she had felt before. She could feel the constant change of its unbound nature, but as Twilight gently caressed the magic she found a hidden order to it all: A pattern could be found tucked away deep within the quiet, invisible chaos.

A spell was born inside her mind. One of primal instinct, the most basic of magics: the magic of thought. She felt the aether creep in, attempting to sweep the fledgling spell away into the esoteric void again, but this time she was ready. The spell danced and ebbed; growing, shrinking, changing, and shifting along with the melody of unicorn magic that flooded into her.

Her thoughts were focused only on that which surrounded and permeated her physical form, her horn glowing brighter as the spell coalesced into the river of magic she swam in. It finally snapped into place.

She opened her eyes, her horn surging with energy as she moved in step with the energy around her. All that remained was one final push, and the spell would be complete. Words arose unbidden and escaped her lips.

“Hear my hallowed favors now,
To my will you shall bow.
Magic within, magic without,
Of perfect clarity, I have no doubt.
The secrets of Amethyst Hollow,
To lead those who’ve yet follow.
I see it now, chains cast aside,
The powers of the unicorn mind!”

A whine hissed out from nowhere in particular and the magic surrounding her horn expanded, enveloping her in a deep indigo light. The magic weaved its way into the space around her, creating a perfect, symbiotic link of harmony. The bond generated a brilliant flash of magic, which oddly did not hurt her eyes. It felt natural, almost pure. As quickly as the light appeared, it vanished, as did the glow of her horn. The spell was complete.

She opened her eyes slowly. “It worked! I… I think?” She said, patting herself down, relieved that she was still in one piece. She looked around again, and noticed that the spell-shapes had stopped moving entirely.

“I wonder…” Twilight muttered to herself. She focused in on a translucent grid of several crosshatch patterns overlayed among one another, each fragile line barely large enough to see. She reached out to it with her mind, her magic now effortlessly flowing from her subconscious into the energy around her. As it met with the spell, a swirling cocoon of layered magic began to encapsulate Twilight. Her eyes widened as she realized what type of spell she had found.

Inch by inch, the magic formed around her body, completely covering her. Her giggles echoed from inside the glowing shell. Bands of magic began to break through as it burst apart, revealing quite an unusual sight: A pair of gossamer-thin, translucent, and rainbow-stained butterfly wings spread from her body, just above her pegasus wings. She gave the wings a gentle flutter, propelling her forward easily.

Twilight sighed with relief. She had never been able to cast that spell so quickly and with so little effort before! She felt as if the spell components had just… come to her. Not only that, but she had finally realized the secret to moving around in this mysterious space. With childlike glee, she propelled herself forward with her new wings. Of course her pegasus wings wouldn’t have worked in here! In this world of hyper-condensed unicorn magic, she could feel that the magical frequencies pegasi used to fly were completely negated.

She danced weightlessly through the magic clouds and shapes, reaching out and touching some of the spells. Levitation, offensive magic, mending spells, scrying, transmutation, walking on water: all of these and more peppered the space around her. Hundreds of spells revealed themselves to her—potentially thousands of them! With a flash of her horn, Twilight took hold of the spell-shapes.

“Now,” she said to the forms with a cocky grin, “we line you up in order, easiest to most complex…” The magic spells were reordered according to Twilight’s will like a textbook glossary. She fluttered about the air without worry; with no sun in this aetherial space, she need not fear burning them away.

“Perfect! All in order! Now for some more tests!” She couldn’t help herself, giddy at the thought of magic in its purest form being right in front of her to manipulate. She seized a levitation spell, and used that to grasp a transmutation spell. She snapped the levitation spell’s structure in half, which caused the transmutation spell to suddenly rocket off in a random direction, flinging itself into the distance until it vanished as a speck.

Twilight flinched and lowered her ears. “Whoops,” she muttered with a blush. Her horn glowed, and she recreated the structure needed for a transmutation spell. She gently moved it back into place, replacing the entry she had sent careening off into the void.

Twilight beamed excitedly, flipping in a giddied loop through the air. “There’s so much I could learn and experiment with in here! I could write a book—no, two books—no a dozen books on it!” She continued to flutter along her catalogue, the structures growing more complicated as she went. The further she flew, the more specialized each spell became. She noted that each spell-shape had the same type of missing pieces, a pattern that repeated as she looked over spell after spell with increasing acuity.

Feeling momentarily content with her hoofs-on research, Twilight spread her gossamer wings and laid on her back, floating along the magical currents. She drifted idly as she relaxed among the magic, soaking in the latent energy and feeling energized with knowledge. Her body was worn out from all of her flying and dancing about, but her mind was calm, peaceful, serene; not unlike a quiet night of study by candlelight. Answers slowly began to drift into her mind as she meditated among them.

“Natural magic of the land, of Equestria…” she muttered to herself. “This is pure, natural, Equestrian unicorn magic, and Amethyst Hollow is where it’s concentrated strongest…” Her mind turned toward the cave itself, of the crystal protrusions found all around.

“The extreme buildup of natural unicorn magic in this subspace must have ruptured into our world, which manifests as those crystals. That’s what drew the ancient unicorns to this spot!” Her eyes lit up as everything finally began to fall into place. She exhaled deeply, trying hard to relax. Without a quill and ink, she wanted to be sure to remember everything. This new knowledge would be instrumental for her research, she realized. She gently rolled over to float on her stomach—assuming the arbitrary “down” she had chosen was accurate. A sigh escaped her, tinged with frustration.

“Three words… Three words…” She muttered as blurry, hazy visions of a dream nearly-forgotten began to appear in her mind’s eye. Twilight’s research had advanced significantly, but she had also hoped to learn more about her dreams. As she pondered, three muddled, illegible words from the past started to take shape—but strangely, they were not her own. As she reached out with her mind, she felt the presence of another consciousness; at least, the shadow of one.

“So, somepony else had a dream just like me… Long ago. So I’m not alone.” Her anxiety eased slightly as she carefully opened herself to this presence, the words slowly clarifying themselves.

When… all… three…

“When all… three…” she muttered. The words resonated cleanly as she spoke, pushing aside some of the spell-shapes floating about. She turned with a gentle flutter to read these new forms manifesting before her. Somehow, they looked familiar, almost like she were remembering something from a—

Star Glider! “Of course!” she said, her eyes widening as the final piece completed the puzzle. “These are the same words Star Glider heard! The words on the last page… it all makes sense now!” Twilight gasped as she felt the past-mind grow stronger. The outline of a yellow mare with a flowing green mane began to take shape in front of her. Or was it behind? It didn’t matter. The pony turned and waved, smiling as Twilight’s mind suddenly filled with new ideas. Her wavering image solidified and she gingerly stepped down onto an invisible floor. Star Glider—somehow Twilight just knew this was she—stood before her, a gentle smile causing the corners of her eyes to wrinkle along well-worn laugh lines. Twilight felt a little uneasy, however—something about Star Glider seemed different than what she had been expecting. Something seemed… off.

As she opened her mouth to speak, Star Glider’s form began to break away, falling apart piece by piece like broken glass. Before Twilight’s eyes, the form coalesced into a whirlwind of brilliant scarlet and white magic—through which Twilight swore she could see the shape of another pony, but it vanished into the aether before it became clear.

As the image faded, Twilight’s mind slowly drifted back toward the present. The gift of knowledge from Star Glider continued to roll around inside her, confusing the path, but a sparkle of orange and red suddenly caught her eye and snapped her focus back. “Sunburst!” She yelped, jerking upright. “Ohhh, I got so wrapped up in this magic excitement that I almost forgot about him!”

She turned toward the still-organized row of magic and slowly scanned up and down the spells. “I’ll need a more advanced teleportation spell to make it out of here. The spells here are incomplete, but since they originate from the latent magic of this place, I might be able to use these principles to my advantage.”

Twilight focused on the magic that surrounded her, allowing the natural flow to guide the formation of a brand-new type of teleportation spell. Instead of using a map of her surroundings, the spell itself carved out a path to her destination. Her horn shone brightly as her incorporeal form faded away, melding with the aetherstream around her.

Sunburst paced back and forth, running everything over in his mind. Despite all of his research, he couldn't figure out where his friend had gone. Perhaps a teleportation spell? No, that couldn't have been it. Even though he didn't have the aptitude for it, he knew what a teleportation spell looked like. Or did he? Sunburst paused to stare blankly at the stage, his thoughts a jumbled mess. Everything about this place set him on edge. The magic interference, the cold, the smoke...

Sunburst sniffed the air. "Smoke? There wasn't smoke in here before..." He reflexively tried to illuminate his horn, but only a few weak sparks sputtered out. Right. Nervously, he started sniffing his way around the platform. No, he decided. Not smoke. Mist.

Sunburst peeked his head over the edge of the platform, staring closely at the cracks above which Twilight had disappeared. An indigo vapor was wafting its way out of the seemingly solid crystal surface. Without warning, the mist suddenly flashed brightly and took shape into a physical form. And there she stood: Twilight Sparkle. Seemingly unharmed, but with a disheveled mane.

Twilight? Oh sweet Celestia, Twilight! You’re back!” Sunburst yelled, scampering up the side of the stage. “I’m so glad you’re okay! You suddenly vanished, a-and I had no idea what had happened, And I was starting to panic a-and…” he found himself stumbling on his words as he tripped into a relieved embrace.

“I’m fine, Sunburst. Really! Oh, I wish you could have seen this. It was absolutely amazing! I was inside… inside Amethyst Hollow!” Twilight said into his cloak.

“What do you mean? Like another chamber that’s even deeper than this one?” he said, releasing Twilight and looking about at the crystal walls around them. He hesitated for a moment as an implausible thought struck him. “Or are you talking about the crystals?”

“Sort of, but also kind-of-not-really? It’s hard to put into words. It was like a stream of magic that runs all throughout this cave complex. Since being there, and meeting someone”—Sunburst shot her a questioning look—”I think I have a better understanding of how this place works,” Twilight said as the two of them walked toward the edge of the stage before hopping down to the ground.

“All these crystals,” Twilight said, motioning with a hoof, “and all these strange disturbances are in fact unicorn magic. The platform is basically a giant cork where the magic leaks out.”

“Leaking… Just out of the ground?” Sunburst asked, checking the bottom of his hoof with a grimace.

“Sort of. It exists on a trans-spatial plane that uses magic the same way we use physics. It’s there, but not exactly tangible. That’s why when it leaks out into our world, it manifests as these crystals. Without the structure of a controlled spell, they fracture and crystallize in this world. That’s also why random spell patterns occasionally leak out,” Twilight said.

“And you were inside all of this somehow? As in, not inside a crystal physically, but instead inside some kind of quasi-pocket of magic existing between the physical and the magical? That’s amazing! That’s incredible! That’s book-worthy… no, two books-worthy!” Sunburst declared with a beaming smile.

Twilight noticed the natural light of the crystals slowly beginning to illuminate the space once more. The thick presence of unicorn magic still weighed on Sunburst, she knew but the level of intensity in this cave was far weaker than the aetherstream.

“So, you mentioned that… you met someone in there,” Sunburst prompted.

“Well, I’m not sure that met is the right way to put it. More like… saw in passing. But… Sunburst, it was Star Glider. She was there, in the aetherstream. And she showed me things that I… It’s hard to explain,” Twilight said, tapping her chin. “Let me show you this, first,” Twilight said, her horn glowing as she naturally and effortlessly bent the magical atmosphere of Amethyst Hollow to her will. A spell shot forth, sending a cascading light up into a large crystal that hung overhead.

The crystal glowed, shining with a brilliant lavender as the light refracted through it. The light reflected and bounced inside the crystal, filling it up. Once full, each surface shimmered and beamed the spell across to other crystals, which in turn filled and projected outward in a fractal pattern throughout the cave.

The lavender color of the magic shifted in hue slightly toward that of Twilight’s own magic aura. Her magic wove in perfect harmony with that of Amethyst Hollow.

“And that’s not all I learned!” Twilight exclaimed happily. “While I was drifting—did I mention there was no gravity?—I didn’t quite hear it, but I felt a whisper of three words! Somepony else long ago had a dream similar to mine!”

Sunburst’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “That’s great! So our hypothesis about the book was correct. If Star Glider did indeed write the final page, then maybe that actually was her,” he said.

“That seems to be the case, but the words were different than mine,” Twilight said with a pause, her excitement fading into a small frown. “Not only were they different, they didn’t even make sense.”

“Well, what were they?” Sunburst asked.

“‘When all three,’” Twilight said, her frown deepening.

“When all three… what?”

“That’s it. I’m absolutely sure that’s what she said, but there’s nothing that I saw to really indicate three of anything. In fact, the only thing I can think—” She gasped as her eyes lit up. “Wait!”

She murmured to herself, pacing hectically, recalling her notes in the context of her strange vision. She gazed past Sunburst at nothing in particular, and casually tapped the air in front of her, picturing her mental notes.

“With harmonic balance, the… and you can carry the four…” she muttered—as far as Sunburst could make out—as he nervously looked on.

“Unicorns, unicorns, unicorns!” She exclaimed. “There’s not been a single thing here about earth ponies or pegasi! Even my wings didn’t work inside the aetherstream!” She muttered.

“Well… Yeah. I mean, we kind of already knew that,” Sunburst said flatly.

“No, that’s just it! Think about it, there have to be other places! I’m an alicorn, Sunburst. I possess traits of all three pony tribes, but I was born a unicorn. It makes sense that my new ability would manifest first in unicorn magic!” Twilight said frantically as the stream of thought spilled forth. “If my dreams really are related to my research, then there’s a strong possibility that—” Twilight gasped as a second realization dawned on her.

“When I saw Star Glider, I thought something about her seemed unusual. I couldn’t place my hoof on it then, but I’ve finally figured it out. Star Glider wasn’t a unicorn! She was an earth pony!” Twilight said, dancing excitedly in place.

“An earth pony? But, why would an earth pony do research for something so heavily steeped in magic? Most unicorns wouldn’t even have the aptitude for it,” Sunburst asked.

“Well, I’m not sure to be honest. But Emerald Dew, the other author, was a unicorn. My understanding is that they were friends, so maybe she was a research assistant? In any case, the fact that an earth pony was having these dreams is a breakthrough!” Twilight said.

Twilight paced back and forth again, considering the possibilities as her thoughts turned inward. “I’m a unicorn-turned-alicorn, Star Glider was an earth pony, and my dreams are related to my magic study and my ability to see magic came right after. There’s no doubt about it: This is all connected!”

“If you’re right—not that you aren’t! I’m just thinking about all possible explanations—maybe with enough time you’ll be able to see pegasus and earth pony magic too!” Sunburst realized, eyes glittering with excitement. “There must be other places out there in Equestria just like Amethyst Hollow! We just have to—”

Sunburst was interrupted by a loud shimmering sound. Twilight suddenly twitched and blinked, freezing in place.

“Twilight? What’s wrong?” Sunburst asked, leaning closer. With a start, he pointed at her flank. “Hey, your cutie mark! It’s glowing!”

“Oh my gosh!” Twilight exclaimed. “The friendship map!”

Author's Note:

"Hear my hallowed favors now, To my will you shall bow" lyrics used with permission from PrinceWhateverer's Frailty. Thank you!