• Published 9th Jul 2019
  • 484 Views, 39 Comments

Sunset in Azeroth - RIPoste

Sunset Shimmer finds herself in Azeroth and picked up by the Kirin Tor.

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3. The Offer

Sunset wiggled her digits, fingers, she recalled them being called by her old mentor from way back when she was in magic kindergarten, whilst doing a project on minotaurs. They were attached to what was called a hand and while less useful than a claw in ripping and tearing, they were quite efficient in picking things up, though she still had yet to master how to write or handle utensils with them without dropping them every five seconds. Jaina had been most thorough in teaching her how to use a quill with them when she found Sunset, who without the use of her magic was resorting to using her mouth to hold the quill when cataloging what had happened on to some parchment that Jaina had left by her bed.

It would have been easier if I had my diary. Sunset frowned. She had inquired about it as soon as she was able to speak, but Jaina had answered in the negative when questioned as to its whereabouts, citing that she had seen nothing of the sort when she did a final check around the house. Perhaps it was for the best, the book was a reminder of Celestia, and given how they had parted, those lingering feelings she had for her former mentor may interfere with whatever she was about to do here.

Are you sure? A small voice within her asked, but Sunset silenced it. There would be no room for doubts here! Celestia may have been like a mother figure to her, but it was all a sham. She had apparently been grooming Sunset to be an equal. But not just any equal, an equal that would offer her no opposition, much like that Pegasus-Alicorn Cadenza. She sneered at the memory of that pink princess, always so subservient, so dependent. Small wonder that Celestia chose her over Sunset, despite Sunset’s prowess.

Just as well that Sunset was a free spirit, unwilling to dance to any one tune for any longer than was necessary. That way, she had been able to see Celestia for what she truly was. A lonely mare in search for an equal, but only one in her own image.

Sunset looked down at her hoof, no, hand. There was no way that she would become an Alicorn princess, an equal, under Celestia’s rule, how she had been so easily cast aside was already that obvious. The only way she would be able to get to stand side by side, no, on the same level with the princess was somewhere else rich with magical knowledge and energy.

And this realm? Plane? World? Dimension? Sunset shoved her internal linguistic self aside in favour for continuing the flow of thought. This place, Dalaran, might be able to provide that.

Sitting up, Sunset begin to formulate a plan. And it was a relatively simple one at that. She would learn as much about this realm’s magic, bolstering her knowledge and supplementing the current library in her head, all while finding her way home. At the same time, she would raise her reputation among the different social circles here, hopefully in a benign way. Those would be her three goals here. Once they were accomplished, she would return home to face Celestia and have her acknowledge her former student as an equal, by force if necessary, though hopefully the princess would have enough sense that it would not come to that.

It was a relatively simple plan, and despite being the best student of Princess Celestia, Sunset liked simple and pragmatic over elaborate and delicate. Alright, that may have been a bit of a lie, but simple plans tend to survive first contact and that’s what she’s going with!

Now that the plan has been established, she would have to make the first steps to begin it. She turned to the table, on which rested stacks of parchment and an ink bottle and quill, and where a crutch leaned upon.

It had been a week and a half since she woke, and she had not spent the time idling away. As soon as she recovered enough to make conversation, she had asked Jaina if she could have some books to read, only to find that she could not understand a single word written in those tomes. While fumbling for an excuse as to why she had asked for books despite being illiterate, Jaina had helpfully offered to tutor her in Common, the language of this world, during her free time. That was how she found out about her… lack of skill with her fingers.

At least her knack for learning had not regressed when she passed through the portal. Two days was all she needed to learn the alphabet. And with another two more, she was already reading straight from books, albeit with a bit of difficulty. Jaina had called her a prodigy, but Sunset was determined to show her what a prodigy was truly capable of.

As soon as she can write properly with these accursed hands. Sunset had tried using telekinesis to move the quill but her magic had been stalled by what seemed to be a magical equivalent of a brick wall. Comparing Equestrian magic to that of this world would be likening a flowing stream to an immovable stone.

Hopefully this would not impede her progress here.

Unfortunately, her difficulty in writing was not to be the greatest obstacle yet. Sunset glared at the crutch leaning against the table, remembering the all too familiar embarrassment when she had begun moving around. Jaina had caught her crawling about on all fours and had hugged-carry her back to bed. She had then procured a crutch for Sunset to teach her how to walk as a bipedal, or human, as Jaina referred to as their species, would.

Not to mention her horrified reaction when Sunset had asked Jaina if clothes were a necessary. Jaina had hugged her again and told her very firmly that Sunset would not walk around naked ever again. Any sense of dignity that Sunset had at the time went rolling down the drain faster than a Pegasus would do a Sonic Rainboom.

She had much to learn. Sunset reached out and grabbed the crutch as she muttered to herself.

“One round around the room, let’s go.”

Perhaps she might manage more than twelve steps this time.

Being called to see the Six was among the most common dream of many a young magus in Dalaran. For it meant that you out of all of your peers, had been noticed by the ruling party in Dalaran. If called for the right reasons (normally those that does not involves one's own expulsion or imprisonment), it would not be wrong to assume a swift rise up the ranks or the delegation of an important role within the Kirin Tor.

The fact that Jaina had been called not once, but at least five times in the four years she had been in the Violet Citadel either means that she was destined for greatness, or that she was a really problematic student that kept getting herself wrapped up in matters that were way out of her depth. Jaina did not say her thoughts out loud, or allow them to linger in her mind. It was disrespectful, and Jaina have a healthy dose of respect for The Six.

The Council of Six sat before her around the table, each dressed in violet robes and all save Antonidas were shrouded in a dark shadow that hid all traces of who they might be. The identities of The Six was a closely guarded secret, with the exception of the leader of the Kirin Tor, and with good reason. It was a way to not only protect the ruling magi of Dalaran, but also allow the mages themselves to be free of bribery, blackmail and the other pressures that comes with being a ruler. Not to mention that it was whispered that most of the members delighted in the confusion, letting it add to the mystery that surrounds the ruling party of the Kirin Tor, bolstering their reputation by having every person who met with them leave each meeting in awe.

Of course, having met them so ‘frequently’, Jaina was already quite used to the shadow-play. The awe she had felt when she first met them was still there, though.

“Come, Jaina.” Antonidas gestured. A warm smile upon his features as he beckoned Jaina forth. In truth, the two were not truly Master and Apprentice. It came as a surprise to Jaina, when the leader of the Kirin Tor began taking a personal hand in teaching the princess of Kul Tiras. At first, Jaina had assumed that it was favouritism at work and she was right, just not in the way she expected. Antonidas had not only sped up her studies, but also pushed her harder than any of the other apprentices in the Violet Citadel. As she continually completed the tasks he set for her, Jaina soon found herself not as his apprentice, but his assistant.

Unfortunately, she was his apprentice in all but name, and when she had asked about it discreetly, Antonidas had an answer ready. Duties as the leader of Dalaran would interfere with their training, Antonidas had explained, and other magi were loathed to share apprentices for fear of revealing secrets to their rivals. By ensuring that she have no masters, it would be easier for another to take over her training when Antonidas had to attend to his other matters.

Her time to become his apprentice formally would come, and all the prestige and clearances that come with it, Antonidas had assured her, but not until she had proven herself to be a worthy enough mage to silence those who would protest such a decision. And independent enough to not set fire to tomes when left alone. The Archmage has added jokingly.

It was just one time but apparently it would not be the last time she will hear of that incident.

Jaina stepped forward and stood at the edge of the table, where the six could see her and vice versa, well, as well as one could see five shadowy figures anyway. The Six did not offer her a seat, and Jaina understood that she was not yet qualified enough to be granted such a privilege.

“Jaina Proudmoore,” one of the figures spoke in a monotonous genderless voice, “it is a pleasure to see you again.”

“The pleasure is mine, Archmage.” Jaina bowed briefly before straightening up again.

“You have been tasked with taking care of the girl, Sunset Shimmer, for the past week. I trust that it had not interfered with your studies?”

“No, Archmage. I am still keeping up with my studies.”

Only barely, truth be told. Jaina thought. Though it was only because her recent thoughts had been preoccupied with the young girl, Sunset Shimmer. Being probably only a year or two older than the girl, Jaina felt fiercely protective of her, especially considering her tragic circumstances. In fact, Jaina had never expected to happen on a case where a wizard kept a personal plaything hidden from public knowledge. Such cases were rare, but not unheard of, and Jaina’s heart burned with anger at how terribly Sunset Shimmer must have been treated at the hands of that vagrant.

Her shock had multiplied tenfold when she found out that crawling around naked was the norm for the young girl. It was only thanks to her self control that she did not to seek out the nearest tome of Necromancy to raise the dead wizard only so she could kill him aga-

“Good. Very good. So, how fares the young girl?” The figure’s next question woke Jaina from her reverie.

“She is fine.” I hope. “She is coping… well.”

“I see.”

“Were there any... Complications?” Another asked, their voice just as unidentifiable as the first.

You mean if she had any trauma that would interfere should she join the Kirin Tor. Jaina was not stupid. It would be a strange day when a girl who had just been rescued was brought straight to Dalaran and cared for without any ulterior motive. More so if the leader of the Kirin Tor had a personal hand in the line of events that had occurred.

No, they would normally hand those girls straight over to the church whose priests were trained to heal the mind and soul.

Putting such thoughts aside, Jaina replied, “Archmage, I see no such complications, apart from the fact that she could barely read or walk. She’s learning, however, and fast.”

“And what are your thoughts of her, Jaina?” Antonidas asked.

“Master Antonidas, Sunset Shimmer is smart and I have seen no signs of her…” Jaina paused, searching her mind for an appropriate word, “affected by her past, save for the occasional bout of anger and frustration. While she couldn’t read nor walk when she first woke, now, she reads fluently and is recovering the use of her legs with each passing day.”

“Very well, then I have a decision to make.” Antonidas stood up and looked at his fellow councilmembers. If any hidden messages were exchanged to him, the leader of Kirin Tor showed no indication to Jaina.

“Hear me,” Antonidas claimed, “the girl, Sunset Shimmer, will be offered the chance to join our esteemed order, the Kirin Tor.” He looked around at his fellow council members, though Jaina could not tell what it was he’s looking for beneath those shadows that still masked them. “Should she accept our offer, the Archmage Modera has agreed to handle her basic training. Once he has deemed that Sunset Shimmer is proficient enough to be a mage, she will begin her apprenticeship under Kel’Thuzad. Will there be any objections?”

As the other members echoed their assent, Jaina’s mind was awhirl with thoughts. There was definitely something going on here. While she had sensed that Sunset was no ordinary girl, she did not expect her master Antonidas to take it much more seriously than she had. To be trained by not one, but two Archmages of the Kirin Tor was a privilege that few could dream of, especially considering the chances of two Archmages agreeing to share an apprentice, even in stages, was exceedingly low.

Sunset Shimmer, Jaina thought, what are you?

There were those who had called Sunset Shimmer overly ambitious. There were others who said that she was a needless risk-taker. Sunset had spat at them in the face and had constantly been trying to prove them wrong. Of course, that meant constantly pushing herself past her limits and out of her comfort zone while sustaining more than a few injuries.

It would also provide a suitable explanation for why she was now stumbling around the room with about a dozen bruises, but hey, no pain, no gain. And at least she could manage to walk around bipedal… tripedal if you count the crutch. It’s not much, but at the very least it was a vast improvement compared to the previous day.

Thank Celestia that she was still a fast learner. She would have hated it if inter-dimensional had interfered with her brains somehow.

Sunset turned and half hopped, half stumbled back towards her bed. She had been practicing for the past few hours, or at least she thinks it were hours, and her legs were sore and tired. She would need some rest before she could continue her ‘training’.

Unfortunately, before she could reach the bed, the infirmary door flew wide open. Startled, Sunset, who was still unfamiliar with the use of her hands, lost her grip on the crutch and found herself falling forward. Closing her eyes as she saw the ground rapidly approaching her face, Sunset awaited another bout of familiar pain.

Only for it to never arrive.

Opening her eyes a bit to peek, they flew open when she noticed that she was hovering mere inches from the hard surface that she was all too familiar with for the past few days. Some invisible force was holding her up, sparing her the pain that comes with smashing into the ground.

There was only one explanation: magic.

Before Sunset had a chance to dwell any further on that train of thought, a pair of firm hands grabbed ahold of her and helped her upright.

“Sunset,” Jaina said as she carried her over to the bed, “what did I say about getting out of bed when I’m not around?”

“Heh, I’m sorry?” Sunset replied somewhat sheepishly to Jaina’s disapprovement. While she would normally not tolerate people treating her like a child, Sunset could not find herself disliking Jaina. The mage had been nothing but accommodating and helpful to her ever since Sunset had woken up, and Sunset was grateful for it. At least, grateful enough that she would add Jaina to the ‘People I would try not to set on fire’ list.

Yes, she had a list for that, and now counting Jaina, there was a grand total of four names on it.

“Don’t be too tough on her, Jaina. At least she shows willingness to work hard to achieve her goals.” Said an older, but definitely masculine voice.

Sunset looked up to see an older stallion approached. No, older man, she corrected herself. The man was garbed in similar violet robes to Jaina, but had a dark blue mantle draped over his shoulders and was carrying a white staff with a yellow gem set at the top of it. His features were firm compared to Jaina, his eyes shine with the light of experience and wisdom and the bountiful brown but graying beard suggests rather advanced age.

This was no mere fledgling apprentice like Jaina, Sunset understood immediately, this was a fully trained mage, one whose skills are not to be trifled with.

The mage, in turn, looked at Sunset, and Sunset could swear she saw the stoic expression on her softened somewhat. “Hello dear.” The elder man smiled, or at least that’s what she thinks he did behind all those facial hair. “I am Archmage Anotonidas, leader of the Kirin Tor and you must be Sunset Shimmer.”

“Yes, that would be me.” Sunset kept her expression as neutral as possible. Inwardly however, she was just slightly nervous. What with all the hints dropped by Jaina the past few days, Sunset had an inkling that she would soon be extended an offer to join the Kirin Tor. What Jaina had not prepared her for was that her interviewer would be an Archmage. While the fact that she had caught the attention of one of the most powerful beings in Azeroth soothed her ego, her more cautious side had expected her to be interviewed by someone in the middle of the hierarchy.

Do they know that I’m not from this world? The thought was immediately set aside. No, apparently from what Jaina has said, magi tend to have a more direct approach in researching the unknown, typically with dissection and magic spells. The fact that neither had happened to her, according to her knowledge, would mean that they probably do not. Still, it would be wise to be careful.

Antonidas, for his part, had conjured up a chair to sit in. The Archmage have not said anything since his introductions, apparently content to silently watch Jaina fuss over the Sunset’s newly acquired bruises. Sunset, for her part, found this to be extremely unnerving, but distracted herself by studying the older man as discreetly as she could. All ponies were sensitive to magic, unicorns especially so. It was one reason why nopony challenged Celestia over control of the Sun and Moon without being extremely irrational or insane. Which says a lot about the Nobles of Equestria.

Her observations of Archmage Antonidas told her a lot. In fact, he was similar in many ways to Celestia, except without the warmth the princess exudes. Instead, he radiates pure power and authority, not in the overwhelming sense, but just enough to warn Sunset that he was not one to be trifled with.

Hopefully, they would never have to stand on opposing sides.

They sat in awkward silence, or at least Sunset did so until Jaina had expressed her confidence that the injuries would not have any lasting consequences. Only then did Antonidas cleared his throat and addressed the former unicorn.

“Sunset, may I call you that?” Antonidas asked. At Sunset’s nod, he continued, “I understand that the past few days must have been nothing but trying for you. But first, I would like you to understand that your case would be extremely out of the ordinary. Normally, children we rescued would be returned to their families or handed over to the church. As such, I would like you to understand that the only reason that we would take charge of you was because of your potential.”

Wow, he really doesn’t mince words.

“I would like for you to know that, after some deliberation, the Kirin Tor would want to offer you the chance to join us. We will offer you training and education, in exchange, you will be beholden to our rules and our laws. So long as these conditions are met, we will do all we can to make you an upstanding mage in our order.”

In short, join us, follow our rules, and we will make you powerful.

“I understand that this is a tough decision to make, but we also could not afford to wait too long.” Antonidas stood up and Sunset shrunk back instinctively, probably because he was similar to Celestia in some aspect, not that Sunset was afraid of him. Mostly.

“You have until the end of the day to make your decision.” Antonidas informed her before he stepped out of the room, cape billowing in an invisible wind as the door closed behind him.

It would be the longest hours of Sunset’s life that followed, as she awaited Antonidas return in the company of Jaina. The relief when she gave her answer to the leader of the Kirin Tor was almost equivalent to her joy that for once in a long, long time, things were finally going her way.

Author's Note:

Truth be told, this chapter is tougher than most. Though that might be due to the fact that I'm still not very good at writing yet. So, if anyone has any comments, please do post them.

And if you liked the story, please leave a like!

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