• Published 10th Jun 2020
  • 766 Views, 31 Comments

Splintershard - TheMajorTechie



Once upon a time, Equestria flourished. That time is now long-gone.

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3|1 ◈ This Spell

The scroll was old--ancient, really.

But the mare paid no mind and continued her work.

Treacherous and equally terrifying as it was,

The worst was still yet to come.


"Huh. Who knew portals could be so useful?"

Starlight groaned.

"Starlight," Flurry Heart dropped down in front of them. "Where have you been? The new scroll arrived this morning. Come, you must hurry. Our ongoing analysis has revealed that there is indeed an embedded tracker of some kind." She shot cursory glare at Lisa before turning around. "I am confident that by the end of today, we may be able to put together a crude tracker of our own."

"She's here to help, by the way. She's a friend. From my world. She's pretty technical, so she should be able to figure out some stuff, I think."

Another glance. Lisa smiled and waved.

"I will accept it, if only for the sake of our mutual trust."

Well, that was easier than expected.

"So anyway--" Emily walked ahead of the alicorn. "--Because of how we traveled back here, I think Starlight's going to be out for the count for a little while. You'll have to... uh, deal with Emily for a bit while Star recovers. Sorry in advance."

"Apology accepted."


"Still think this is a simulation, Lizzy?" Emily smirked as they neared the airlock. "I've never seen you tinkering with anything this detailed before, and that's even counting the ones you've developed yourself!"

Flurry Heart raised the airlock hatch. Just as before, a steady stream of mist hissed out from between the tiles on the ceiling and the floor. The hatch in front of them lowered.

Emily looked to her friend. "Lisa?"

"Y-yeah," Lisa blurted with a nod. "Kinda. I... wow-- I've only ever read about stuff like this." She stepped closer to the lab. "I've never seen anything like this. All this high-fantasy stuff, I mean."

"Yup, I figured you hadn't. And yeah, this is a magic laboratory, so things might be a little different. Anyway, don't forget that I'm on a quest. It'd be neat if you could chip in a bit with making a tracker for a scroll while we're here. You think you can do that?"

"Maybe--"

"Not quite yet." Flurry Heart cut in. "Before I left, we had only gone as far as to confirm the existence of such a tracking spell. I do not believe we have progressed far enough yet to understand even the basic workings of the spell."

Lisa scratched her head. "O...kay, then. Well, is there anything I can do in the meantime? Like Emily... Starlight--whatever you know her as--said, I'm here to help." She paused for a moment before gasping. "Oh, do you think there's any way I can cast magi--"

"Mmmnope!" Emily interrupted. "Sorry, but the only way I know of at the moment to let you do that is also the same thing that turned me into..." she gestured wildly at herself. "...this. I used a piece of some magical tree as a wand, and the moment I actually legitimately used it for anything, boom, I'm a horse."

"Oh."

Flurry Heart cleared her throat. "I do believe we were in the middle of something, were we not?"

"Y-yeah, sorry, sorry..." Lisa turned her attention to the Princess. "So, about that tracking spell. Would it make sense to try and... well, package it somehow? I know that magic is magic and all, but if it's possible to, like, make something that uses the spell on its own, as a sort of self-contained device, wouldn't be better to go ahead with that instead of making a singular catch-all spell?"

Flurry Heart raised a brow.

"Just asking."

"No, no, continue. Your idea intrigues me. Are you suggesting we apply the spell as an enchantment?"

Lisa shrugged. "I guess? Not exactly all too familiar with spells or magic or anything, but--"

"We can try it."

Well, that was quick. Letting Lisa tag along really was a good idea!

"Yeah."

Oh, hey, Star's awake.

"Remind me never to open two portals in quick succession without assistance again."

Noted. Emily glanced back at her friend. Lisa had since walked away, continuing to talk to Flurry Heart about her idea.

"--and if we can streamline the production of these devices, we could deploy them en-masse to an entire team of scroll-finders. With numbers on our side, it'd take far less time to eradicate these scrolls than a singular group! Depending on whether or not you're willing to take volunteers--"

Starlight snorted. "...How long has she been talking now?"

Only a couple of minutes, really. Though, Lisa seemed right at home geeking out over the idea of making a tracking spell. It'd only be a matter of time now before--

"Princess! We have constructed a crude replica of the embedded tracking spell placed on the scroll!"

--Oh. That was certainly a lot quicker than she'd expected.

"Flurry Heart's team likely includes some of the best minds in all of Equestria. Given how the current task is to find a way to accurately track the location of the scroll, it makes sense that it took so little time."

Flurry Heart paused for a moment, signaling for Lisa to stop as well. "Excellent work. Might I request for this spell to be applied as an enchantment to an amulet? It may also be helpful to modify the spell to provide visual feedback if it does not already."

"Yes, your highness. We'll be right on it!"


"So, you're saying that this amulet has been enchanted with the tracking spell, am I correct?"

The mare nodded. "Indeed. As you requested, the spell also provides visuals. Observe--" she tapped the center crystal on the amulet. Almost immediately, the crystal seemingly burst to life, pulsing with stored mana for a couple of seconds before settling again. The edge closest to the scroll continued to pulse, however. "--so long as their magical signatures remain unchanged, this amulet should be able to locate any nearby copies of the scroll with an accuracy of approximately a city block."

"Excellent work," Flurry Heart smiled. "I take that this prototype is safe enough for early deployment? It is of utmost urgency that we halt the distribution of these scrolls."

"I... believe so. The enchantment itself is relatively simple, so the most dangerous component as of now is the embedded crystal that stores mana for use during the duration of the tracking session. You can keep this prototype if you must. We will continue to iterate on its design in the meantime for heightened accuracy."

Again, that was fast. In the corner of her eye, Emily could see Lisa standing beside a stallion, watching... whatever it was that he was doing at the moment. So much for that "I'm coming only to keep an eye on you" mentality.

Flurry Heart floated the amulet in front of Emily. "Because you are the one urging the destruction of these scrolls, I believe you should be the one wielding this."

"Oh, uh... thanks?" Emily took the amulet into her own magic. Now, actually using it?

"You saw that mare use it not too long ago, Emi. I believe you tap the crystal to activate it."

Emily nodded. She tapped a hoof against the still-hovering amulet. Nothing happened.

"Unfortunately--" the mare added, "--the amount of mana stored within the crystal is only enough for one to two uses of the tracking spell, depending on how large the area being searched is. You'll have to constantly recharge it with your own for continuous usage."

Oh. Well, that was another benefit of being turned into a unicorn.

"Treat the amulet like your old wand, then. Be careful how much mana you put into it, though," Starlight instructed. "Wands only direct your magic. Amulets like this store it like a battery. Overcharging can lead to an explosion, or at the very least cause the amulet to break."

Okay then. Emily placed her hoof on the amulet again, this time also lighting her horn. She could feel a slight tingle as her mana seeped into the amulet. Too little would probably do nothing, but too much... yeah, fat chance she was going to cause another explosion. She cut the flow, taking her hoof off the center crystal. Sure enough, one side of the crystal gently pulsed in the direction of the scroll in the center of the room. Turning resulted in the pulse's shift to a different side.

"Huh. It's sorta like a compass."

"That's 'cause it pretty much is one!" Lisa shouted from one of the counters. "Also my idea! We were originally going to make it work like a Geiger counter!"

"Again, excellent work all around." Flurry Heart clapped her hooves together. "Now then. Emily?"

"Yeah?"

"I wish you luck on your quest. I will not destroy our current copy of the scroll as of yet for the sake of further improving the spell. If you wish to wear the amulet..." Flurry Heart opened a nearby drawer and pulled out a length of string. She tossed it at Emily, who promptly failed to catch it. "String. There should be a loop at the top of the amulet that you may use."

Emily grinned. "Great, thanks! So... uh, Lizzy, you coming with us nor not?"

"I'll stay a bit longer to help out. Promise me you won't do anything stupid, 'kay? I know I can't do much myself as far as this 'magic' stuff goes, but as someone who's coming from a distinctly non-magical perspective, I think it helps to have more unique approaches to things. You seem to be taking care of yourself pretty well anyway, aside from the whole transformation part. Just... please don't screw up again."

"I won't."


"Hey Aero!" Emily kicked open the door. "Let's head back to Canterlot!"

"Huh." The stallion looked up from the photo prints he'd laid out on his bed. "Took you long enough. Say, real quick, whaddya think of these photos I took while sightseeing these past couple days?"