• 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]2 - Society

Chapter Two

Society


Sunset leaned back on the couch, watching Hermione practice a cleaning charm, one of the set of utility spells she was teaching her. She was certain the Grangers wouldn't mind that their living room would be a lot cleaner as a side effect.

It had been a week and two days since she had arrived in this new world. It was Monday afternoon, Dan and Emma were at work, likely playing catch up on cases that had gathered up over the course of Sunday. Going over her notes on Earth's culture in general and British culture specifically, Sunset was quite happy with what she had accomplished in just nine days.

All windows of the house now had a simple perception filter on them that made sure anyone who might observe magic being used from the outside would be unable to register that fact. The relatively simplistic charm was the best she could manage without a better physical focus. Making the enchantments powerful enough to ensure that they would still work regardless had taken a lot out of her and she had had to take a good two hours to recover her reserves after each of the windows. Four for the big windows in the living room.

Well aware of the disruptive influence magic could have on sensitive electronics, Sunset had enchanted one of her smaller gems to create a localized magical field around the house to keep Hermione and herself from accidentally frying various devices around the house. That one she had finished earlier today, since then she'd been relatively idle to allow her magic time to recover.

She had made it a priority to read through the book on using magic in low ambient fields. She wouldn't necessarily describe the ambient field in this world as weak, but she was certainly used to a much stronger one. It didn't do much against the fact that, without a horn, her spells were highly inefficient, but at least hastening her attunement to the local ambient field helped her magic recover faster.

She had used some spare wood Dan had had lying around in the tool shed to make a perch for Philomena. Generous application of fireproofing charms kept it safe. It was true, of course, that the fire of a phoenix only burned the things the phoenix wanted to burn, but that control was subconscious and the subconscious was known to do funny things in dreams. It was now placed in the guest room the Grangers had generously offered her. Given the time, she assumed Philomena was napping there right now, she had taken to taking naps in the early afternoon.

Looking up from her reading, Sunset was impressed to see the living room practically sparkling. Faintly she could feel Hermione's magic from the adjacent kitchen.


"Yeah, we can no longer ignore this."

Orabella Nuttley nodded quietly. She had hoped it was nothing at first. Two spikes of magic from a muggle neighborhood wouldn't normally be cause for concern, accidental magic by a muggleborn too young for Hogwarts was something they observed on a daily basis. A quick check with the records department had confirmed that a young witch by the name of Hermione Granger was, in fact, living in the house in question.

But it hadn't stopped there, there had been more magical emissions that day. The trend continued on the day after. Just this morning, the house had started emitting a permanent, low level magical field. And now there were small surges of magic coming from it at least twice a minute.

Leaning back from observing the magical monitor that recorded the observations made with the Trace, Mafalda Hopfkirk looked at her. "Grab Brewer and go check that out. Make sure you two are dressed appropriately."

Orabella nodded. "I know, I know, muggle area." With a sigh, she got up and went to fetch her coworker.


Ten minutes later two quiet popping sounds could be heard from an empty alleyway in a suburb of Birmingham. A witch and wizard left the alley moments later. For a casual observer, there was no way of recognizing them as such. Much though the Pureblood Faction was loathe to admit it, there were situations when having a muggleborn at hand was a distinct advantage.

In a department whose primary responsibility was to hide the wizarding community from muggles, a man like Gabriel Brewer had far to go. A few minutes' brisk walk brought them to their destination. Gabriel made sure no one was observing them while Orabella pulled out her wand and scanned the building.

"Well, there is certainly magic here, but that's about all I can say with certainty. I've never seen any of those spells before."

"Sure it's not accidental magic?"

"Have you ever heard of accidental magic creating stable enchantments?"

"No."

"In that case, yes, pretty sure."

"Well, shall we take a closer look?"

Crossing the street from where they had been watching the house, they came closer. Orabella turned to look into the window. "Strange, there's a girl in there. My wand tells me she's casting magic, my eyes tell me she isn't."

Gabriel looked at her with a slight smirk. "Was one of those enchantments possibly on the windows?"

Orabella repeated her scan. "Yup. Most of them actually. Looks like each window is enchanted individually. Guess it's some variation of a notice-me-not."

"So we're not getting anything else from standing out here?"

"Not really."

"Than shall we knock before someone walks by and asks why were peeking through windows?"

"Probably a good idea."


Sunset was startled from her relaxation by a knock on the door. She was mildly confused that the visitor wasn't using the door bell, but didn't get far in that train of thought before Hermione called, "I got it."

Deciding to go with 'better safe than sorry', Sunset got up and waited around the corner from the hallway, hidden from sight by the door frame. With a moment's concentration, she readied her magic.

"Hello?" she heard Hermione say.

"Good afternoon young lady, you wouldn't happen to be Hermione Granger, would you?" It was a woman that spoke.

"Yes, that's me."

"Good, we've come by to check in on something. We've picked up on some ... unusual readings. Might we come in?"

"I guess."

Sunset quietly rolled her eyes at Hermione's naivety, but decided to play along, she went back to the couch, sitting back down.


Orabella was glad that the girl was willing to let them in. They followed her into the living room only to see another girl her age sitting on the couch. For a moment they worried about a possible breach, then they noticed the faint glow around her hand.

For a short moment Orabella was willing to write the girl's outrageous hair color off as a dye job, then she noticed the girl's bright teal eyes, matching the glow around her hand.

"Good afternoon young miss." Orabella decided to break the uncomfortable silence. "I believe we haven't introduced us yet. My name is Orabella Nuttley, this is my colleague Gabriel Brewer, we're here for the-"

"Magic, yes," the unknown girl interrupted. "We gathered."

"Yes. Were from the Ministry of Magic, Improper use of Magic Office. We're here to investigate a potential breach of the Statute of Secrecy."

"I see." The girl was acting very cautiously. It was painfully obvious that she didn't trust them. As if the fact that she kept her magic ready hadn't been a dead giveaway already. "And exactly what does that Statute state?"

Gabriel was all too happy to supply. "It states that magic is to be kept a secret from muggles." At the raised eyebrows he received he quickly amended, "the non-magical population, that is." Orabella rolled her eyes. Of course he would say it as if he were quoting from a book. Ravenclaws.

"Given it's a law, and a rather general one at that, I take it there are exceptions?"

"Well, of course. The most obvious one is that non-magical family members of witches or wizards may be informed of the existence of magic."

"Then there is no breach."

"Huh?"

At Gabriel's rather less eloquent response, the girl elaborated, "Hermione is a, I believe you called it a witch?" Receiving a pair of nods, she continued. "The only ones who know about our magic are her parents. Seeing how the general population clearly neither have magic, nor believe in it, we made sure to keep it secret. Every window in this house has a perception filter on it. Looking in, no one will be able to tell something is off, even if we're using magic directly on the other side."

"So that's what that is." The girl nodded. "You seem well versed in matters of magic." Another nod. "Might we know your name?"

"Sunset Shimmer."

"How old are you?"

"Eleven. I studied magic since I was four."

"I see." Orabella didn't see. This situation was plainly a headache waiting to happen. However, fortunately, as long as there was no breach and no misuse of magic, it wasn't her responsibility to figure it out. "We'll take our leave then. Do make sure no muggles see you using magic."

"We were planning on that anyway."

"Very well, come Gabriel." For a moment it looked like Brewer would refuse, looking to learn more, but he ultimately obeyed his superior and followed her out the door.


The moment the door fell closed, Sunset got up from the couch and closed her eyes. A moment later, she faded out of existence, reappearing behind a decorative tree in the garden. Moments later she vanished again, this time not into a teleport, but under the cover of an invisibility spell.

Using a quick spell to prevent noise from her footfalls, she moved to tail their visitors. They hadn't gotten far and while it seemed they hadn't spoken yet, it was painfully obvious that the man introduced as Gabriel Brewer wanted to say something.

Ultimately, however, it was the woman who spoke up first, apparently she had noticed as well. "Come on. Say it."

"What?"

"You know exactly what. Go ahead."

"Fine. Are you sure we shouldn't do something more? I mean, sure it's not our Department, but shouldn't we at least make sure matters are in order?"

"If you want to check in with the Records Department, be my guest. Heck, check in at Hogwarts if you want. I hear you're on good terms with McGonnagall, I'm sure she could check up on this."

"I think I will."

"As long as you're on your post when something important happens, that's your decision."

As the two fell into silence, and Sunset continued to follow them, she considered what she had learned so far.

There was a hidden community of magic users in this world. Not only that, but they apparently either had their own government or were regulated by a secret branch of the regular government, she couldn't tell which at this point. Not really all that surprising. Either way, this 'Ministry of Magic' was clearly subdivided to deal with all manner of things. She guessed their visitors were low ranking officials. She didn't think it likely that they would send anything more for the initial investigation of some unusual readings.

She had been trained in politics by Princess Celestia. As such the fact that the woman had referred to their place of work as an Office, but also mentioned a Department didn't escape her notice. Something to consider later, perhaps.

It was clear that, out of the two visitors, the woman outranked the man, she was also clearly older, so that was quite possibly the only reason.

Furthermore, she had mentioned someplace named 'Hogwarts' and someone named 'McGonnagall'. Sunset didn't know the relevance of these names, but the two magicians clearly seemed to think that they would be able to help somehow.

She was startled from her thoughts when she saw the two turn to enter an alley flanked by tall wooden fences, reaching an area where none of the windows overlooking the road could be seen. When they didn't move for a few moments, Sunset cast a simple spell on her eyes that would visualize arcane patterns.

She was rewarded moments later when there were two quiet popping sounds and the pair disappeared. Thanks to her spell, she was able to see the arcane patterns of the teleport, immediately frowning as she saw how unstable and inefficient it was. Still she was able to trace the energy pattern of the older woman's teleportation and with a moment's thought decided to follow her.

Once more she skillfully hid her signature, making it practically impossible to trace her magic as well as hiding the typical flash of light and crack of displaced air that would accompany a teleportation. Moments later, the alley was empty once more.


Sunset was glad that resting to recover her reserves so often over the last several days had given her plenty of time to think. Time she used to find a workaround for the interference between her teleport and her invisibility. That it took more focus to accomplish was as much a given as it was inconvenient. Still, her teleport went unnoticed and she quickly left the tiled area of the floor where her aura sight charm showed her a gap in the wards. She internally winced, seeing how the teleport, on top of her other charms had depleted her primary reservoir and taken a sizable chunk out of her secondary one. And with the drain of keeping up the other three spells, it was barely recharging.

This was clearly an area for people to teleport in and out and simplistic though the wards were, if that was the only kind of teleport they had to stop, they were probably enough. Once she was out of the way, she took a moment to look around.

She was at the end of a wood paneled corridor, two rows of fireplaces were set into the walls on either side. They would occasionally flare up with green fire and disgorge someone who would then walk off down the corridor, occasionally pulling out an ornately carved stick and absently using a small cleaning charm to remove soot from their clothing. Interestingly that only seemed to happen in the fireplaces to the right. Those on the left were burning with regular, yellow-orange fire, she was confused what those were for until a lone man walked up to one, reached into a small bowl, threw something into the flames which turned green, said 'Diagon Alley' and stepped into the sudden flare of green fire.

So those are exits. A fire based form of travel, huh? Can't really fault them. It's more stable than their regular teleportation.

Making her way down the corridor, careful to make sure that no one would walk into her, Sunset marveled at the clothing the people were wearing. From what Hermione had told her, she knew that this wasn't even close to normal clothing. Most of them were dressed in long robes, some of them with pointy hats as well, occasionally there would be one with a more normal suit or dress, but even those came in outrageous colors and patterns.

Following the people walking deeper into the building, she saw a large round hall with a fountain in its center. Five gold statues stood in the basin depicting two humans, one male one female, wielding the same ornate sticks she had seen the new arrivals use to remove the soot from their clothing, a centaur wielding a bow and arrow and two smaller creatures with big ears. She didn't recognize the last two, but she was reasonably sure that they were different species.

The glimmering of gold, silver and copper reflected onto the ceiling let her deduce that coins filled the bottom of the basin. Dismissing her earlier spell and replacing it with another that enabled her to see much clearer at a distance, she looked at a brass placard on the rim of the basin.

All donations from the Fountain of Magical Brethren go to the St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

Looking around the large area, Sunset saw a kiosk set in the wall beneath a large sign 'Security'. Beyond, several brass grates occasionally opened to admit the numerous people into smaller cabins she recognized as elevators, which rattled noisily back down once the doors had closed. She debated for a moment if she should take her chance with one of them, but ultimately decided that the risk wasn't worth it. She might be invisible, but she was still tangible. It wouldn't do to be discovered when someone ran into her.

Stepping into a corner beside the security kiosk, she canceled all her spells save her invisibility. That one alone significantly cut down on how fast her reservoir was recharging, she didn't need other spells impairing it further.

Suppressing a sigh, she resigned herself to standing in a corner for a few minutes, waiting for her magic to recharge. Still, in the nearly half an hour she stood there she saw a few more interesting things. Every so often, a visitor would come by and approach the security desk. They would then take out a carved stick like the ones they used to clear away the soot from their fire teleport and hand it to the wizard behind the counter, who would place it on a small device.

A moment later the device would spit out a thin strip of paper which the security wizard, whom several of the visitors addressed as Eric, would rip off and study for a moment, then store on a long brass thorn, likely to be filed later. Finally he would hand the wand back to the visitor who would then hurry off, usually to one of the lifts.

After observing another such exchange, Sunset checked on her reserves again. She was happy to see that, if not completely, her reservoirs had recovered enough that she could teleport back to the Grangers' home without fear of crippling her magic for days. She closed her eyes to focus, glad that while she waited, her mind had recovered from the previous strain.

Seconds later she was gone, leaving the wizards and witches of the Ministry for Magic none the wiser.


Not having bothered with her workaround, Sunset felt her invisibility spell collapse the moment she arrived.

"Sunset! Where were you?"

"I trailed our surprise guests. Found out where that Ministry of Magic is."

"What? How?"

"I used an invisibility spell and teleported into the garden, followed them from there and when they teleported away themselves I traced them and teleported after them."

"Where did they go?"

Sunset stood up, closing her eyes for a few seconds before pointing in a direction. "More or less a hundred and sixty of your kilometers that way."

"That's" Hermione furrowed her brow, "Hold on." She ran out of the room and came back a moment later with a map she spread on the table. "Which direction."

Sunset pointed the direction out once more and Hermione started making measurements on the map. After a few moments she looked up and stared at Sunset, completely stunned. "That would mean the Ministry of Magic is somewhere in central London."

"Hmm, makes sense that it would be in the capital city."

"Sure, but what gets me is that you went to London and back that quickly. It's been barely half an hour."

"What can I say? Teleportation is pretty useful. Especially if you use a proper spell rather than the mess they used. I would have been back sooner with a proper focus, but like this, I had to wait for my magic to recharge before coming back, which, surprise surprise, doesn't happen too fast when you're also keeping up an invisibility spell."

Author's Note:

And once more a topic deserves further explanation. Time for the second part of:
Lore of the Veil:

The Source of Their Power - Reservoirs

In their natrual state, every magician has two reservoirs. The Primary or Shallow Reservoir, colloquially called 'The Pond' and the Secondary or Deep Reservoir, known as 'The Well'.

While some types of magic, be they light, dark, harmonic or chaotic, draw their power from other sources, most 'neutral' or grey magic draws from those reservoirs. Specifically such magic draws from the Shallow Reservoir first and only taps the Deep Reservoir if the Shallow Reservoir has run dry.

While there is some variance, a caster's Deep Reservoir will generally have between twice and thrice the capacity of their Shallow Reservoir.

The most significant difference between them, other than their capacity, is the rate at which they refill when depleted. If a caster's Deep Reservoir is depleted, it can take days to fully recover.

The rate at which the Shallow Reservoir recovers is directly tied to the current fill state of the Deep Reservoir. If the latter is filled completely, the Shallow Reservoir, even if completely drained, will fully recover in minutes or even seconds. If the Deep Reservoir is depleted as well, the Shallow Reservoir will not refill at all until the Deep Reservoir is at least partially recovered.

Casters aware of this, will oftentimes avoid drawing from their Deep Reservoir altogether if they can avoid it, as even a small drain from there has a significant impact on the time it takes to fully recover their Shallow Reservoir.

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