• Published 5th Oct 2019
  • 3,030 Views, 395 Comments

A Phoenix Beyond the Veil - Amalgam - gerandakis

As the magic of two universes continues to interweave, Sunset Shimmer and her friends begin their second year at Hogwarts.

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1 - In the Woods

Chapter One

In the Woods

“Are you two reading again?” Ron’s voice interrupted the peace within the upper floor of the tent where Hermione and Sunset had been relaxing, going through the memory of pages they had scanned earlier.

After the two of them had been reading for nearly a week and a half with nary an interruption save to eat, sleep and take care of other basic human needs, except when they were doing something with their friends, Emma and Dan had put their feet down and told them that the books wouldn’t be coming along on their trip to Equestria. Not that it actually changed anything.

After barely seeing the sisters for most of the year, they could perhaps be forgiven for forgetting the pesky little matter of the photographic memory the both of them shared.

Of course their sudden burst of reading wasn’t without a greater purpose. As soon as they had come home from Hogwarts, Sunset and Hermione had made good on their intention to start learning about more complicated muggle technology. Namely, computers.

Given the sheer scope of the subject, they had chosen to split the work between the two of them. Anything related to hardware and its integration with the magic of both worlds fell to Sunset, while Hermione studied up on anything related to software.

Since the plan was to adopt the idea of computers, not their exact function, it was likely that she would be forced to come up with at least one entirely new programing language, probably more. A monumental task to be sure, especially for children their age, but one Hermione was happy to throw herself into.

While she planned that, Sunset had experimented with the first prototypes of enchanted crystals that mimicked the function of a binary processing chip. Its power was minimal and it didn’t actually do much, but it was a start. Still, she felt like she was missing something.

“And? Is reading a bad thing?” Sunset inquired innocently enough as Hermione continued her own work.

“Not really, but there is such a thing as too much reading,” Ron replied, just as Ginny was coming up to join them. “Sides, you said we’d play some more chess today. I need to get you back for that last match.”

“What are you two working on anyways?” Ginny asked as she moved to lay down beside them. “I know you said you’d share it with us if you made any progress, but you do know that just makes the rest of us even more curious.”

Hermione seemed to come back to reality herself at that point. “Remember that project Sunset was working on, adapting the ideas of muggle technology but for magic?” At Ron and Ginny’s nod, she continued.

“Well, we’re trying to see if we can do the same for computers. But, well, they’re a bit more complex than what what was effectively a magical Bunsen burner.”

Sunset rolled her eyes at that. “Bit of an understatement there Sis. I don’t think even most muggles our age would be attempting stuff like this unless they were already interested in computers, or were savants.”

Ron and Ginny both had expressions that made it clear the two might as well have been talking another language. Hermione and Sunset both looked at each other, then facehoofed.

“Right… we really need to show you and the others some of the things muggles have made and come up with. Basically, a computer processes a lot of information to do all kinds of things by doing a lot of math really fast. Muggle computers are based on electronics, but I think I have a better option for a magical version.”

Ginny’s eyes lit up. “Oh, you mean like that ecletricity thing Dad keeps going on about?”

Hermione giggled. “It’s electricity, and yes. That’s what muggle computers are based on. What were you thinking of replacing it with, sis?”

“Well, the electricity itself with magic, obviously. But I was more thinking about the chips.”


“Not that kind of chips, Ron. Computer chips. Basically boards with a lot of tiny switches on them. I was considering using crystal for that, but we need precision, not power, so I’m thinking glass could probably be modified to work as the base for the chips.”

Hermione rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “Normally it’d be too brittle, but there is magic to counteract that. Not to mention dotted silicon isn’t exactly sturdy either. And by putting cooling charms on them you can stop the thing from heating up so much you’d need a dedicated cooler.”

“Basically, yeah. I’ll need to work on some prototypes.”

Ron rolled his eyes. “You can do that some time else. We’re on vacation.”

The sisters shared a glance. “He’s got a point,” Hermione finally admitted. “And Mum’s been getting on our case about it anyway.”

Sunset sighed and relented. “You’re not wrong on that… Mhh fine, some relaxation wouldn’t hurt anyways. Might even help give us some ideas for later.”

As Hermione stood up and stretched, very much resembling a cat as she did so, she smirked a bit as she added, “we may have to talk to your parents about taking everyone on a sort of tour of all things muggle when we get home. There is way too much you don’t know.”

Ron and Ginny shared a look at that, suddenly not sure if they should feel excited at the prospect… or if they should be worried about how much trouble their dad might be able to get into on such a trip.

A few moments later, the four of them made their way out onto the small clearing around a pond in the Whitetail Woods where they had set up their tents. Neville and Seamus were waiting for them outside. Harry and Lavender, from what it seemed, were out on flying lessons.

Seamus shot Ron and Ginny a smirk. “Finally managed to pry them away from their reading, did you?”

The two of them nodded while Sunset simply rolled her eyes. “Harry and Lavender still flying?”

“Yeah,” Neville confirmed. “She’s getting better from what I could see.”

Seamus grinned evilly, the expression quite effectively amplified by his new dark green manestyle hanging down beside his horn and over one of his eyes. “Can’t wait ‘til she tries landing though.”

Harry took that moment to glide into view over the treetops at the edge of the clearing, Lavender right behind him, though slightly lower. She just barely managed to avoid clipping her larger wings on the trees.

Harry flared and landed in the middle of the clearing beside the group, wincing as he watched Lavender flare too late, prompting her to hit the ground too fast, roll over and land on her back. Before she could hit her head on a tree at the edge of the clearing, Sunset, Hermione, and Seamus lit their horns, arresting her momentum and lifting her back to her paws and claws in a tri-colored magical aura.

Lavender rolled her eyes upon seeing the others’ amused expressions, but couldn’t keep a smirk from claiming her beak. “Yeah, yeah, laugh it up. Landing is hard. Much harder than with a broom.”

“Well it would be,” Hermione agreed. “The spells on a broom give free control to move in any direction as necessary, flying with wings is far more complicated.”

“No kidding.” Ron sheepishly scratched the back of his neck with a hoof. “I still remember the trouble I had the first few times. Don’t worry Lavender, it gets easier with practice.”

“I sure hope so. This was my third crash. It took the first two for Harry to actually tell me that I need to flare before landing.”

Harry groaned. “I told you I was sorry. I forgot. I do it automatically.”

As the others chuckled, Lavender looked around. “Say, where’re the Twins?”

Sunset smirked. “What? Did you actually expect them to watch us like they were told to? They took off an hour ago. No clue where they went though.”

“So business as usual then?” Harry asked with a smirk.

Hermione nodded. “Pretty much par for the course, yeah. Ah well, not like we can’t take care of ourselves.”

Sunset nodded. “Not to mention there is literally nothing even remotely threatening in Whitetail Woods. The largest predator you’ll find around here is a fox, and even those are pretty docile.”

“Yeah,” Neville agreed, “we saw one of those earlier.”

“Still,” Hermione spoke up, thoughtfully, “they’re gonna be in trouble if they’re not here by the time Mum, Dad and Mister Black come back.”

“Who’s going to be-”

“-in trouble?”

The group looked over to see Fred and George land beside them, matching grins on their faces. Ginny just sighed. “So, what were you two up to this time?”

“Nothing bad, don’t worry.”

“But where would be the fun in telling you?”

Everyone shared a look, far from reassured. Still, it wasn’t like there was much the twins could get up to here that’d really get them into trouble.

“Well fine, don’t share. We’re busy anyways. Come on Sunset, I’ve got the board and the pieces over here waiting for you!” Ron declared as he made for a large stump nearby. Sunset could easily see that Ron had, in fact, set the game up already.

She smirked. “Want to get back for what happened this morning?”

Ron groaned as he watched her conjure her own pieces, but a quick glance revealed that there was no real ill will. “Mostly I just want some training.”

Sunset’s smirk quickly matured into a full grin. “Ahh, I see how it is … but I wouldn’t get my hopes up, she’s had a thousand years to practice.”

Ron smiled ruefully. “I know, she stomped me somethin’ good. Ah well, I had fun, at least.”

Sunset smiled as they got to playing, making full use of the fact that wizarding chess pieces were simply told where to move. She should probably introduce that idea to Equestria at some point. It might make the game, played as it was mostly by unicorns, more accessible to the other tribes. Though cutting down on the simulated violence the pieces engaged in might be wise.

She thought back on the day of their arrival. Once again, they had stayed in the Royal Palace of Canterlot for their first night in Equestria. From their correspondence, Princess Celestia had known that Ron was an avid chess player and offered him a match that evening.

Observing the match, Sunset had noticed that Ron had several times moved his pieces in ways that expected strategies she commonly used. That, needless to say, hadn’t gotten him far when matched against Celestia. But it had gotten her thinking.

Her and Ron had been matching repeatedly for a year now, mostly because the respective other was the only one who could offer them an actual challenge. During that time, both of them had gotten better at the game. But, after watching Ron and Celestia, Sunset noticed that they had also grown accustomed to playing each other. They were both familiar with the strategies and tactics the other commonly used and thought ahead to counter them.

Which was something she had used this morning to lure Ron into a trap. It had been fun, but she suspected that it would get boring quickly, so she’d probably tell Ron as soon as he thought to ask. Until then, she’d happily watch him struggle.

Poking her head out of the water, she watched the ponies carefully. The yellow one and the grey one were sitting at the tree stump again, like they had this morning. She didn’t understand what they were doing, but she didn’t really care either.

The two purple ones that looked the same were heading off somewhere again, like earlier. They were odd. The oldest ones of the current group, but often acting the most childish out of all of them. Pranksters certainly. Not what she was looking for.

The quiet rumbling of her stomach unnecessarily reminded her of what she needed. There were a few water weeds she could eat in the pond, but it wasn’t a large body of water and they were far and few in between those she wouldn’t be able to digest.

She didn’t have much experience, only hatched a week or so ago. She didn’t know any others like her, there were neither adults, nor other eggs or hatchlings, so there wasn’t really an example to learn from either, but her instincts had guided her well enough so far.

She knew that the list of things she could eat on her own was short. She was also aware that the number of things on that list found in her pond was quickly dwindling. Fortunately, the solution to that problem was the very thing her instincts had been telling her to do since the day she hatched.

Find a host.

Normally she would have simply found one of the larger creatures roaming the woods to host her, but fortune was favoring her.

Ponies. A whole group of them. They had simply appeared out of thin air earlier this morning. She had no idea why her instincts told her they would make better hosts than wildlife, but they did.

Sensing a shadow passing over her, she quickly retreated her head beneath the water.

False alarm, it was just the pegasus and the griffin flying off again. The pony she wasn’t scared of, another potential host. The griffin her instincts didn’t tell her anything about. Better to be careful.

But what she truly feared was the bird that was with the group. She didn’t recognize the brilliant red creature, but her instincts were well capable of recognizing a bird of prey and tell her to stay as far away from them as possible.

Carefully poking her head out of the water again, she spotted the creature. It was sitting on the head of the yellow pony. The pony’s mane almost perfectly matched the bird’s plumage with its colors. Did they belong together?

It didn’t matter. If she was to find a host, she would need them to be asleep. That wouldn’t happen until nightfall.

Until then, she would wait and keep watch.

Ron and Sunset quickly finished a game. And another one. And a third one. By the time Sunset had beaten him the fourth time in a row, Ron was growing annoyed. Finally, he asked the question Sunset had been waiting for. Between chuckles she explained to Ron what she had noticed in his game with Celestia.

When he understood, he smirked. “Oh so that’s how you were getting me. Oh it’s on. Now I know what you’re up to.”

She nodded, smirking just as much. “I know. Good thing too, I was getting a bit bored here. Can’t wait to see you change things up a little.”

By the time they finished their next game, this one going to Ron, the adults had returned. Sirius had taken the adult Grangers to introduce them to the Apples, seeing how they weren’t too far from Ponyville. Judging by their expressions, the three had enjoyed their hike. The lunch they were bound to get from their hosts probably didn’t hurt either.

Along with the adults, evening had arrived. The day length in Equestria didn’t vary with the seasons nearly as much as it did back on Earth, and it showed. The group was hardly tired at all when the Sun sank behind the trees. They had a late dinner and only thought about going to sleep hours after night had fallen.

It was then that Seamus thought of something.

“Say, why are we sleeping in the tents anyway?” He pressed his hoof on the ground beneath him. “This moss is plenty soft and it’s warm enough too.” He looked up at the cloudless sky above. “It isn’t going to rain either, is it?”

Sunset shook her head. “No. Not tonight. There’s an overnight shower scheduled for this area two days from now, but tonight should be warm and dry. Why? You planning to sleep outside?”

“Well, why not?” He looked up at the sky. “Not like we’re gonna get much chances to sleep under this kind of sky back home. The stars are amazing here.”

Sirius nodded. “Can’t argue with him there. Boy’s got a point.”

It wasn’t long before all of them decided to simply sleep outside. Some of them were hesitant about sleeping on the ground without a mattress or cover, but Sunset and Sirius, the two of them with the most experience being a pony convinced them that their coat and the soft moss were perfectly adequate to fill both functions.

A bit of magic from Sunset doused their campfire for the night and the space between it and the tents was soon filled with the curled up forms of sleeping ponies.

Half an hour after soft snoring had started ringing across the clearing, she finally dared pull herself fully out of the water. She didn’t pay any attention to the faint shimmer running along her long tail, dissolving the mud that had been clinging onto it. As far as she was concerned, that was normal.

She kept shooting wary glances at the bird that had arrived with the group, but it was perched on a branch at the edge of the clearing, just as sound asleep as the ponies. So she carefully approached closer. Taking a closer look at the group.

The large ones were intimidating, so, quite young herself, she quickly turned towards the smaller ones. An earth pony, two pegasi, and three unicorns. The griffin was sleeping with the group as well, but once more her instincts didn’t tell her anything about it like they did for the ponies.

The earth pony seemed interesting, but she wanted to see her options first. She quickly moved on from the pegasi. Neither of them could match the earth pony. The first of the unicorns couldn’t either, but the remaining two were another story.

Two fillies, one yellow the other a gentle sea green. Both looked comfortable.

Another glance confirmed that the bird was still asleep, so she took time to consider.

Perhaps it was bias, she had hatched in a pond in the middle of a forest and lived there since. She had seen green all her life. It may have only been a week, but she still wanted something different.

Her decision made, she approached the yellow filly.

The filly was sleeping soundly. Seeing that, a smile curled her tiny muzzle. It probably wouldn’t last much longer, but it was nice to see regardless. She could feel the filly’s breath on her quickly drying skin. The young pony’s mouth was open, allowing soft snores to escape.

Taking a final look around, she made her move.

Author's Note:

Well, this 'week' ended up taking a while longer, didn't it? But we're back and the story continues.

As you can probably tell, we're getting into some of the more hidden magical creatures of Equestria with this one. In fact, though it hasn't been named yet, this brings the number of stories on this particular site that feature it to a grand total of five.

It's also the first to feature this as anything but the primary driving force of the plot.

I won't reveal any more just yet, but the next chapter should make things clearer.

Unfortunately, I don't think daily updates are feasible this time around. I'll try for twice a week for now. We'll see if it works out.

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