• Published 16th Dec 2020
  • 387 Views, 14 Comments

24k Lush - The Red Parade

Sweetie Belle believes in magic. She hopes that'll be enough.

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I’ve heard it said that magic is like a river. It runs deep below our skin and coats, and drives through our hearts and souls. It exists in every breath we draw and in every word we speak. It resonates whenever our hooves touch the ground, or whenever the wind graces our wings, and of course whenever our horns take on that faint flicker of light.

Throughout my journeys I have found that the very idea of magic is almost universal. The buffalo believe in spirits that guide the weather and grant them blessings. The hippogriffs believe that deep within the ocean it is magic that moves the waves above them. Even the griffons have faith in the concept, as records from ancient scholars show.

So yes. I do believe in magic, strange as it may sound. But I believe in something deeper as well.

“But I believe in something deeper as well.” Sweetie Belle raised an eyebrow as she read the passage aloud. “Huh. That’s kind of deep, Twilight.”

Twilight chuckled, flipping a page in her own book. “It is! A. K. Yearling’s writing never ceases to amaze me, no matter what she writes about. Even her academic papers’ references pages are amazing!”

Sweetie rolled her eyes, letting out a giggle. “Of course, Twilight.” She set the book down on the table, swapping it for her coffee mug in her magic.

“But anyways, I think that’s enough to get you started,” Twilight continued. “So, how’s your casting practice going?”

“Great!” Sweetie squeezed her eyes shut, focusing her energy as a soft glow began to emit from her horn. “I’m able to get a pretty nice beam going if I focus really hard.” She put a little more strength into her spell, and the beam began to waver across the room, almost dancing across the ceiling before it faded away. “But I haven‘t been able to practice much. I’ve been so busy planning for the Friendship Festival. Thanks again for leaving me in charge of it, by the way. It’s a huge honor!”

Twilight chuckled. “Well, it’s the least I could do to repay you for all the help you’ve been giving me with the School. These books should give you enough to work with.”

“Yeah! I’ve got a bunch of ideas already,” Sweetie continued. She opened Yearling’s book again, flipping through the pages. “The Friendship Festival is super important after all. I mean, just look at how much it meant to you guys.”

“Right. Hopefully, it will inspire dozens of ponies, just as friendship inspired me all those years ago,” Twilight continued. “Just think of all the friendships that could be made!” She sighed, staring out of the palace window and into Ponyville itself. “And yeah, the girls and I sure had our moments.”

Sweetie glanced up from her book as stray beams of sunlight fell across Twilight’s face. The beams highlighted stray particles of dust floating through the air like artificial snow flakes, melting away as they passed.

“How is Rarity, by the way?” Twilight asked, her voice reminding Sweetie of an early winter morning. “We haven’t spoken in awhile. She’s just been so busy with her stores and everything else, sometimes I’m not even sure what city she’s in.”

“She’s fine,” Sweetie replied. “Super busy and all, but she's actually visiting Ponyville soon.”

“Busy. Aren’t we all,” Twilight remarked, running her hoof against the windowsill. “Wish I had time to have tea with her, but I’m booked for the rest of the month. Year, really. And I’m sure she’s busy as well…”

Sweetie slid out of her seat, trotting next to the Princess. “Twilight? What’s wrong?”

“Hm? Oh, nothing,” Twilight said, straightening herself out. “Just nostalgic, I guess.” When Sweetie raised her eyebrow, Twilight chuckled and shook her head. “It’s nothing you need to worry about, Sweetie. What was that plan you were eager to show me?”

“Well… if you’re sure it’s nothing.” Sweetie seized her sketchbook in her magic, levitating it over to Twilight. “So, I was just thinking about how the Sonic Rainboom was a crucial part in you meeting your friends. I was thinking that the Friendship Festival should have something similar.”

Twilight rubbed her chin, flipping through the pages. “Well, I think that’s a fantastic idea! Rainbow might be a bit busy with her Wonderbolt duties, but I’m sure she’d be glad to help out.”

“There’s just one thing,” Sweetie said, scuffing her hoof against the carpet. “I kind of want it… to not be the Rainboom.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “What? What do you mean?”

“Well, I wanted to try and do my own thing. Send a signal of my own, I guess. I just want it to be original,” Sweetie explained, rubbing the back of her mane. “I’m just… not sure how to do that.”

“Hmm.” Twilight set Sweetie’s sketchbook back on the table, her eyes scanning over the shelves in her study. “Well, I guess I could you could cast a flare spell, but what you sketched in here seems to be on a much bigger scale. I’m… not certain if I know of a spell one unicorn could cast alone.”

Sweetie’s ears drooped and her smile slipped away. “Oh. Well… I guess we can ask Rainbow then.” With a sigh she turned away, taking a few slow steps back towards the table. “Thanks anyways, Princess Twilight.”

“Sweetie Belle, wait.” Twilight’s voice made her pause, and Sweetie glanced behind her. “There… there might be something.” Twilight trotted over to Sweetie, clearing her throat. “A long time ago, back when I was still in Celestia’s school, I read of an old unicorn legend. The legend goes that somehow, a group of unicorns were able to cast a beam of light so bright that it almost turned the night into day.”

“Really? Wow!” Sweetie perked up again at the news. “That sounds like exactly what I’m looking for.”

Twilight held her hoof up warily. “There’s one problem. The spell only appeared as a footnote in a larger text. I looked before in the past, but there really isn’t much information about it today. All I’ve been able to piece together is the number twenty four thousand, but I don’t have a clue what it means.”

Sweetie blinked in confusion. “So… you don’t know how to cast it?”

Twilight shook her head. “All we know is that the spell seemed to have originated from a group of magicians calling themselves the Magician’s Guild.” A small smile crept onto her muzzle as she continued. “But, luckily for us, I think there’s one great and powerful pony in Ponyville that might know more.”

“Of course.” Sweetie seized her sketchbook again, scribbling some notes furiously. “Thanks, Twilight!”

Twilight nodded in reply. “I’ll keep looking in the archives myself to see if I can find anything else,” she said as she trotted over to her writing desk. “But in the meantime, I think you should definitely talk to Trixie. She might know something we don’t.”

Sweetie shoved her book into her saddlebag and headed for the door. As she seized the knob in her magic, she hesitated and looked back at Twilight. “Uh… Twilight?”

The Princess looked up from her writing, and it was then Sweetie noticed the bags that had embedded themselves underneath her eyes.

“Do you… do you miss your friends?”

Twilight was quiet for a minute. Her eyes slid over to the right of her desk, where they lingered on a set of dusty, framed photos. “Of course, Sweetie. As much as you miss yours,” she finally said. “But I can’t really blame them, can I? Applejack’s family needs her, Rainbow’s Wonderbolt duties have her flying around Equestria, Rarity has her store and Pinkie has her dessert chain project… even Fluttershy is tied up with her position as Royal Wildlife Advisor. That’s just the way life is sometimes,” Twilight finished. “Thanks for asking, but I’m fine. Really. You better get going now.”

Sweetie mustered up a smile and waved. Twilight waved back mechanically, and Sweetie gently shut the door behind her.