• Published 14th Mar 2019
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A Phoenix Beyond the Veil - The Philospher's Stone - gerandakis

Displeased with her mentor, Sunset Shimmer looks for a new option, she finds it in a Mirror Portal, deep in the vaults of Canterlot. Together with Philomena, she sets out on a journey. Two worlds of magic will be changed forever, by a small error ...

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[RVS] 1 - First Steps

Act One

A Different World

Chapter One

First Steps

Emma Granger had just left the bathroom to exchange her dressing gown for some real clothes, when she heard the flapping of large wings. That was odd to say the least, she was certain she hadn't left any windows open and no bird with wings large enough to create such a sound would mistake one of them for an aperture to a possible nesting place anyway.

Slowly blinking, she turned around, looking for the source of the sound. The perpetrator was easily identified. A large bird with a gorgeous red and golden plumage had perched itself on the sink. The window at the opposite end of the room was, indeed, closed.

She didn't have long to puzzle where the mysterious bird had come from as mere seconds later a young girl came flying out of the full body mirror stood against one wall, promptly falling to her hands and knees and, in the process, also explaining where the bird had come from.

If it wasn't for the fact that Emma was well attuned to the general weirdness that seemed to be following her daughter around, she was certain she would have fainted from her brain failing to process the situation. Even so, she found that she could do little more than stare at the fiery haired girl that had just come out of a mirror.

The girl raised one of her hands up to her face, turning it and repeatedly forming a fist. "Yup. That's just as weird as I expected it to be." She turned around, slowly looking at the room she was in, before turning to the mirror. "Well, that isn't a statue. That was what? Five seconds? And we've already gone off the rails."

The girl seemed to be about Hermione's age and had hair in streaks of golden blonde and bright red – not just bright red for hair, but actual bright red – falling in waves over her back. That it actually touched the ground only added to the surreal situation.

She was muttering to herself, saying something about an altered body type before closing with the words, "but still, definitely a bathroom."

Still on all fours, the girl pressed a hand against the mirror. "Huh, closed already. I knew we were cutting it close, but I thought we'd have a few minutes at least. Oh well, not like I had any plans of going back."

For some reason, her bathroom mirror being treated like some kind of portal, was the thing that snapped Emma out of her stunned silence. "Hello?"

The young girl's head snapped around, focusing on Emma, giving her a great view of the pair of bright teal eyes. "Oh, hello. Is this your house?"

"Yes. Might I know your name?"

"Oh, of course. Sunset Shimmer, a pleasure." She shook her head for a moment. "Sorry, this isn't exactly going to plan. The terminus was supposed to be in the base of a statue. And, for that matter, outdoors." She turned to the bird. "Guess you really did screw up the calibration. Good job, Philomena."

The bird looked down, giving a quiet, apologetic trill.

"Portal? You mean our bathroom mirror?"

"I guess that's where it leads now. Oh well, you needn't worry about that. It'll be thirty moons before it opens again."

Emma was now convinced that floating toys and numerous color changing items had not adequately prepared her for this situation. "Moons?"

"Assuming your years are about as long as the ones I'm used to, about two and a half of them."

"I see. Say, how long were you planning to crawl around on my bathroom floor?"

"Huh? Crawl?" The girl looked confused for a moment, before her face brightened up. "Oh, right, bipedal locomotion." Pushing herself up with her hands, the girl got to her feet, wobbling slightly. "Woah, that'll take some getting used to."

Feeling an oncoming headache, Emma turned to around. "Dan, could you wake Hermione? We have a guest."

"Guest? I didn't hear the door bell," her husband quietly called back.

"They used the bathroom mirror."


"Just wake Hermione. You won't believe it 'till you see anyway."

"If you say so, honey."

That matter dealt with, Emma turned back to the girl who was once more examining her hands, the bird – Philomena, was it? - now perched on her shoulder. Emma internally winced, she was fairly certain that those claws would have dug into her shoulder if it weren't for the leather jacket she was wearing. "Well, I guess we could offer you breakfast." When the girl looked up, she pointed down the hallway. "If you go that way and down the stairs, just turn right and you'll find the kitchen, you can wait there while I get some proper clothes on."

Hermione blamed her clouded mind for not noticing that something was off earlier. She had not expected to be woken up so early, and wasn't quite there yet when she entered the kitchen. Only when she had turned to the counter and gotten herself a glass of milk, did her brain catch up with what her eyes had seen.

She slowly turned around.

No, it turned out, she hadn't imagined them. Sitting on a chair, next to her mother, was a girl she had never seen before, absently stroking the bird perched on the arm of her black leather jacket. All three of them were looking at her expectantly. Even the bird.

Hermione was just coherent enough to realize that she was not yet coherent enough to form an intelligible sentence, so she just stared at the unknown girl and her equally unknown bird.

Her mother gave her a sly grin before pointing at the girl. "Hermione, this is Sunset Shimmer, she came out of the bathroom mirror."

"How?" Not a sentence, per say, but it got the message across.

The girl shared her mother's sly look. "Magic." She then pointed at the bird. "Oh and this is Philomena, my familiar."

"Right. Magic." Getting there.

The girl simply turned to the small candle placed in the teapot warmer. Her eyes narrowed as she stared at it. She snapped her fingers ...

... and nothing happened.

"One moment, I'm used to having better physical focus than this."

Once more she stared at the candle for a few seconds, then she closed her eyes. Her expression completely calmed and she brought her fingers together again.

This time, when she snapped them, a small teal flame appeared atop the wick, quickly growing and changing to a more normal yellow-orange color.

"Like I said. Magic." The girl smiled again. "More advanced magic than lighting a candle, of course. But the same basic thing."

"Can you teach me?" There we go. A coherent sentence.

"If you have magic, sure."

"Do I have magic?"

The girl got up. Watching as the bird perched itself on Sunset's shoulder, Hermione managed to see her mother rolling her eyes from the corner of her eye. The faint teal glow from Sunset's hand quickly refocused her attention. It was flickering wildly, sparks of light jumping off it on occasion.

"We'll know in a moment." She took Hermione's hand. "Can you feel that?"

She could. It was a faint, tingly sensation, not unlike the feeling of the little hairs on one's arm standing up in proximity of a static charge. The tingle ran up her arm until it ended up somewhere deep within her chest. She nodded.

"Good. Then yes, I can teach you. If you'll teach me what I need to know about this world. I'm kinda new here."

Now it should be said that Hermione wasn't exactly a very social person. She preferred learning over making friends, but if there was an opportunity to do both at the same time, she'd take it. Getting to teach as well was just a bonus. "Okay."

It was then her turn to smirk and suppress a giggle as her father entered the kitchen, having offered to let her take the bathroom first. She had to agree with the others, his expression was priceless.

With the basic idea of what they would do set up, Sunset managed to enjoy breakfast. Fortunately the book that had informed her of the mirror had also mentioned that humans were omnivores, so eating meat came as no surprise. It was still odd and she only managed not to throw up by keeping her mind occupied with other matters, but she couldn't deny that it was tasty. The food did seem to have a notable lack of sugar, however. The pony diet Sunset was used to, was about one third sugar.

While they ate, she used the opportunity to iron out the arrangement with the Grangers. In exchange for some help around the house, an easy feat for a skilled mage such as herself once she got used to not having a horn, and teaching their daughter magic, the Grangers would let her stay at their house. They happened to have a spare bedroom.

Over breakfast she also learned that her arrival had coincided fairly well with the start of the 'spring break', apparently a short holiday from school. A fortunate side effect of that was that she'd have two weeks to learn how to blend in with human society. The first issue was soon identified. Pens, it seemed, didn't usually move on their own. While she fully intended to keep using her kinesis to write while in the house, Sunset agreed with Hermione that she would have to learn how to write using her hands by the time school started back up.

Once they knew that she would simply need practice, Sunset decided to give Hermione her first lesson in controlling her magic, as that was another matter that would need practice. That way they could practice together and correct one another.

From the discussion over breakfast, Sunset knew not only that Hermione had used magic before, but also that she was completely unaware of that fact. That first part would definitely make her job easier. The second would almost certainly have the opposite effect.

The first lesson, thus, had to be getting her to use magic on command, more specifically helping her find her magic reservoirs. The basic exercise was simple. Sunset, having practiced controlling her magic the entire morning, conjured a simple orb of teal light and handed it off to Hermione, watching in interest as it changed to a pale green and giving her the task of sustaining it. She had made sure that it had a sufficient internal reservoir to compensate for short hiccups in her output, something she would gradually remove later.

Over the next two hours, they practiced. Sunset was far from confident in her writing, and fully intended to practice it further, but Hermione had confirmed that it was, if not pretty, so at least legible.

Hermione herself had, in the mean time, grown more and more frustrated, seeing how she had failed to keep the orb of light stable for any longer than she had on her first try. She only calmed down when Sunset explained to her that she had been surreptitiously increasing the difficulty of the exercise every time she conjured the orb. To be perfectly honest, she was impressed with Hermione's progress. The girl had talent.

Now that she could access her magic, it was time to teach Hermione a way to put it to use. In other words, to teach her her first spell. The understandable excitement at this development took several minutes to quell. Once she had sufficiently calmed Hermione down, Sunset started instructing her on the spell. A basic light spell, it was little more that the simplest possible version of the conjured light from before, but as a starting point, it would do.

Of course Hermione first needed a basic introduction to spell forms, more or less the first lesson one would be taught on arcane theory. Once more, the girl proved herself to be a fast learner, taking to the concepts like a fish to water. After a few minutes, Sunset started making a game out of simply hinting at the concepts and letting Hermione figure the rest out for herself, which she did with impressive accuracy and, it seemed, great joy.

Half an hour later, Sunset watched with mild amusement as Hermione stared at the mildly flickering bead of pale green light on her index finger. Holding up her hand, a far more constant bead of teal light sitting atop her own index finger. Sunset smirked at her new pupil and held up her hand. It only took a few seconds for Hermione to recognize the gesture and return the high five.

And so the learning continued, Hermione kept on giving Sunset the basics of what she needed to know to blend in, or as much as a girl with bright red and blonde hair could blend in, and Sunset continued monitoring her progress while making notes, practicing her writing at the same time.

Dan and Emma Granger were on their way home from work. They didn't always go to work on Saturdays, both of them going to work on a Saturday was even rarer, yet the sheer number of appointments the pair of dentists had gotten for that day had made it necessary. While such a thing was unusual, it wasn't unprecedented. Normally they would be talking about that on their way home. Today however, a less mundane matter took priority.

"Think they're getting along?"

Emma turned to her husband. "I sure hope so. Hermione could use some social contact with children her age."

"And it only took one from another dimension to make it work." They both shared a laugh, Dan never taking his eyes off the road.

"Seeing how she behaved when she first arrived, I'm not entirely sure Sunset was even originally human."

"I can believe that. From how she kept staring at her hands at breakfast you'd think she'd never had them before." Dan smiled for a moment. "Still, I can't get over the fact that she's at our house right now, teaching Hermione magic."

"We always knew Hermione was special."

"No kidding, the floating books weren't exactly subtle."

"Still, we should probably make sure the two keep that quiet. What are the chances of Hermione being the only human able to use magic?"


"And seeing how we've never heard anything credible about magicians on earth, they're probably hiding."

"Yeah, probably best to make sure no one else knows about it." The two stayed silent for a while until Dan brought the car into the driveway and they got out.

As he was about to open the door, Emma spoke up once again. "Just so were on the same page, we both know that the only reason they get along so well is that Sunset is just as smart as Hermione and not intimidated by her intellect, right?"

"Of course."

As they entered, they found the house as they knew it. The only change came in the form of muffled conversation in the living room. When the door fell closed behind them, the conversation fell silent, replaced quickly by footsteps.

"Mom! Dad! You're home."

Dan watched as his daughter hugged his wife, before turning to the end of the corridor where Sunset Shimmer was leaning against the door frame, an amused smile on her lips. She lifted her hand, a point of light at the tip of the index finger, and pointed at the light switch for the hallway lights. The switch was engulfed in a soft teal glow for a moment before flicking into the on position, bathing the hallway in soft yellow light. Extinguishing the light on her finger tip, she let her hand fall back to her side, seemingly content to watch.

He was still recovering from witnessing such a casual display of magic, when his daughter came over to hug him in turn. "Dad! I can do magic! Sunset taught me!"

"Oh?" Emma was enjoying seeing her daughter so happy. "Show me."

"Okay." Focusing for a moment, Hermione first stretched her hand out toward the light switch, flicking it back off, then lit the hallway with a flickering point of light on her own index finger.

Dan and Emma shared a glance before congratulating their daughter on her success. Somehow they couldn't shake the feeling that their lives had just gotten a lot more exciting.

Author's Note:

Before that comes up, I guess I should explain something. I have read the entirety of 'Magic School Days' and I actually help edit 'If Wishes were Ponies', as such some elements from these stories have found their way into my personal head-canon. In places where they don't contradict the official Harry Potter canon, these elements will find their way into this story.

The first names of Hermione's parents are one such element.

That aside, I've decided to provide a bit of bonus material. Certain things that are not required to know in order to understand the story, but provide background knowledge for those who want it.

As such, it is time for the first ever episode of:

Lore of the Veil

Wands, Horns and other Implements - The Meaning of Focus

Magic, in its natural form, flows freely, in any direction. It is, however, also very dispersed and rarely comes in sufficient concentrations to have more than a negligible effect. As such, magic in it's natural form is of very limited use to spell casters. It needs to be directed and concetrated or, as magicians call it, focused.

Focus, at it's most basic, comes in two varieties: Physical Focus and Mental Focus. Physical focus is immutable and unchanging as it is based on some form of physical object. Be it a wand, a horn or even just the nerves and bones in the caster's hand and arm. Mental Focus, on the other hand, is entirely dependant on the caster's will and concentration. As it is entirely intertwined with the will that causes magic to work in the first place, magic cannot be used without it, whereas Physical focus is, technically, optional. Any lack of Physical Focus can be compensated for in Mental Focus, at the cost of making the magic more draining to cast, both in terms of energy expended and in terms of the mental effort necessary as only Physical Focus, not Mental Focus, can serve to make spells more efficient.

Focus is a gradient commonly represented in a percentile scale. 0% refers to a complete absence of focus, only truly present in the ambient field or in incorporeal beings. 100% is a purely theoretical state in which all magic channeled is concentrated into an infinitely small angle forward from the caster.

As it stands, the Physical Focus provided by the horn of a unicorn roughly ranges between 40% and 60%, with values of less then 50% rarely found in adult unicorns. Sunset may be young, but she is a talented caster, as such, her horn, at this point, provides a focal value of 45%.

The wands used by wizards on earth are much stronger foci, ranging between 85% and 95%.

A caster not using either, could only make use of their own nerves and bones which rarely serve to provide more than 5%.

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