• Published 27th Nov 2012
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My Little Unicorn: Magic is Believing Redo - RaisingShad0ws



Redo of Fail Mykan Fiction. Hopes to be better than original.

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Chapter 4: Episode 3 Part 1: The Dawn of the First Lesson

My Little Unicorn: Magic is Believing Redo

Rewrite By: Raising Shadows

Author's Notes:

Hey there everyone! It's just me, letting you know that I don't own the original story or the characters that are within it's confines. However I do own this version of the story, and everything that wasn't in the previous version is mine and mine alone. Now, with that out of the way, I hope that you're ready for a (Hopefully) action packed episode! I know that I sure am. Let's get on with the fic!

----

Episode 3: The Dawn of the First Lesson

“Energy readings at thirty-five percent and holding.”

“Course of the signature hasn't changed.”

Commander Star Voyager of the Unicornicopian vessel Liberator nodded. The scanners of the Heavy Cruiser had picked up an unusual energy trail that had been seen leaving the Klaatun Nebula for some time now. Even as they pursued the signature, the dark gray unicorn couldn't help but shake the feeling that something was wrong.

“Communications Officer, have you had any luck in making contact with whatever's generating that signature?” Commander Star Voyager asked.

A goblin that sat off to his left in front of him spun around and shook his head. “Not yet sir, I've bin' tryin ta make use of'n every channel that we got, but she's not responding.”

The commander nodded his head. “Tactics Officer, what's the read out on the scanners?”

“The scanners are not picking up anything Commander Voyager.” An orc that stood behind Commander Voyager's chair replied, turning from the screen in front of him. “It would seem that there is some sort of energy field that is blocking any attempts to determine what the energy signature really is. Shall I keep trying?” He asked.

“Yes, keep it up. I want to know what that thing is, and why it's out here in the Forbidden Quadrant.” Commander Voyager replied.

The bridge of the Liberator remained silent as they all continued their work. Something's not right about this... Thing that's here. And I don't like it. The Commander thought, scratching an itch with a free hand on his back underneath his black uniform.

----

The Liberator continued to pursue it's query in unending silence. The golden swan-like vessel continued to glide silently through the black void as small specks of space dust and the glow of nebulae passed on by. Nothing was halting it's advance, and nothing seemed to want to.

Calmly and silently on it went, before several more ships in a similar shape appeared around it, materializing from giant blue disks of light that were from either behind, in front of, or beside the Liberator. Almost twenty of them all had formed up around the main vessel, and began to create a tight formation around her.

----

“Commander Star Voyager, I hope that you realize that you are out of your designated patrol area right?” An orc asked, appearing on the main screen of the Liberator's bridge. Unlike the unicorn commander, he wore a suit of black leather armor that seemed to have a faint glow about it. From what the Commander could see, he was extremely furious.

“Look, Rear-Guard Captain(1) Tar-ke I know that I am breaking ranks by getting out of my patrol zone but-

No buts Commander. The Grand Ruler isn't one who likes deserters. Especially ones who have been known for doing this sort of thing.” The Orc's eyes narrowed. A bright blue unicorn was whispering something in his ear and from what Commander Star Voyager could see, it wasn't good.

“Is there something wrong Rear-Guard Captain?” Commander Star Voyager asked.

“It's nothing that you should be concerned about, but-

If it involves the energy signature that we've been tailing then yes it's something that I should be concerned about.” Commander Star Voyager said quickly, cutting the orc off. “It came from the Klatuun Nebula, and had slipped past our flagship's sensors.”

The expression on the Rear-Guard Captain's face went from bitter to grim in less than half a second. “You were assigned to the same fleet as the Excelion? And this signature got beyond even it's scanners?” Tar-ke asked. He began to sweat as the unicorn nodded grimly. After a few moments he turned his attention back to the unicorn on his right. “Send a transmission to Unicornicopia. The Grand Ruler needs to know about this, this is a Level Five Alert. All hands prepare for combat. This is not a drill.” He ordered, taking the Commander by surprise.

“What's wrong?” The unicorn asked. Just as he did so, the sound of a loud explosion broke the silence of the Liberator as everyone was violently rocked from their stations.

“Commander! We just took a hit from a torpedo, it pierced right through our shields and inflicted heavy damage to the hull just below the main cargo deck!” The Tactical Officer shouted over his shoulder.

“What hit us?” Commander Voyager asked quickly.

“Damage Control teams are reporting that it was of Gnoll make.” Another officer reported. “The heavy concentrations of Dark Magic allowed it to pierce through our shields, we can't defend against it!”

There was another loud explosion which caused everyone on the bridge to look up at the screen. Everyone on the Rear-Guard Captain's bridge that was visible was sent flying as bolts of black electrical energy streaked through their consoles. “I need eyes people, what in the void of space is hitting us out there?” Commander Voyager snapped.

“Sir... You may want to look at this...” The communications officer replied, looking up at the unicorn.

“Well?” Commander Voyager snapped. “Put it on screen!”

As the image of the bridge from the Rear-Guard Captain's ship disappeared, the sight that Commander Voyager and his crew beheld was horrifying. As far as the eye could see were ships, hundreds of them maybe even thousands of them, all colored in a sickly green and shaped like dangerous looking blade-like closed flower blossoms. They all gave off a dull, gray aura which radiated from every ship that they had seen and were as intimidating as staring at a wall of pike-men on a battle on a planetary surface.

“Gnolls...” Commander Voyager heard the Tactical Officer whisper grimly.

“And they were luring us right into a trap. One that we fell right for.” Commander Star Voyager growled. I didn't know that they were capable of cloaking technology though. Bastards... “All hands, go to Red-Alert! I repeat, go to Red-Alert! This is not a drill!” Commander Star Voyager ordered, the red alert siren beginning to blare from the speakers as the bridge began to take on a dull red color.

“Sir, we're being hailed. It looks like it's coming from the Gnoll Fleet.” The Communications Officer reported. “Should we respond?” He asked.

“Gnolls don't wish to talk.” Commander Star Voyager Growled again. “They only wish to spread dissent in the ranks of their foes, and effectively destroy them from the inside out. They're going to try and strike fear into us all, and it isn't going to work.”

“Ahh... What a touching speech Commander. It is a shame that your fellow fleet-mates don't feel the same way...” A voice, cold and harsh, whispered from behind the unicorn Commander. Commander Voyager stood, taking a few steps towards the viewing screen.

“Wondering who I am? It's no wonder that you were chosen to be a Commander in the Unicornicopian fleet. You are curious. Very curious in deed... Hehehehe. It is too bad that you will only know the name of your destroyer though. Especially when you have so much to live for.” The voice taunted, chuckling as the unicorn could feel a cold sweat beginning to form on his body.

“Who are you? And what do you want?” Commander Star Voyager asked, taking a nervous gulp. He could hear a rapid set of breathing in his ears almost as if someone or something was standing right next to him as he spoke.

“It won't matter in the end.” The voice taunted it's volume getting to the point of being barely over a whisper. “Lord Titan has promised us years of plenty for our generations to come. By feeding off of your corpses, we will never have to go hungry. Yes... Hunger is something that no race wishes to experience... But that is not what you asked me. You asked my name. Well I shall let you know, I am known as Thuroroq the leader of the Hedgeslayer Gnolls. And now it is time to die.”

The last words of the voice continued to echo in Commander Star Voyager's mind as everything seemed to slow down. Everything around him shook violently, but it was reduced so much that his mind barely had time to register hitting the floor of the bridge. A few moments later a bright ball of fire consumed the bridge of the Liberator, ending the lives of everyone on board.

----

From a different bridge across the void of space sat Thuroroq, one of the many lesser commanders of Titan's army. The gnoll was proud of his rank, and was proud of his position as all gnolls were. He was in a league all of his own as he commanded Titan's Hedgeslayer Gnolls, his group of blitzkrieg soldiers that were the first into battle and the last ones to leave. His father, Ekridias, would have been proud of his recent streak of victorious raids on the lesser moons from within the Klatuun Nebula if he hadn't been slain by a would be assassin.

“Milord Thuroroq, His Highness of the Dark Mastery Titan has unleashed a summons to all of those loyal to him to come to his side at Unicornicopia.” A gnoll replied, his hyena-like snout dribbling on the earthen floor of his master's vessel.

“Have a small scavenging party mop up what's left of that Unicornicopian Fleet. About Twenty to Thirty Ships ought to do it.” Thuroroq replied, watching from the view screen as several hundred torpedoes continued to bombard the shattered remains of the Unicornicopian ships. “Then answer Lord Titan's summons and set a course for Unicornicopia. With our skills, he will drink the blood of the innocent from the Grand Ruler's skull yet!”

“Of course milord. Setting course for the planet of Unicornicopia.” The gnoll replied before disappearing into the shadows.

“So our master has finally been freed hasn't he? I feel sorry for them already. Once Lord Titan starts something, he won't stop until his goal has been accomplished. Even if that means eliminating an entire race of beings to do so.” Thuroroq thought nastily as he waved an empty claw before grabbing a wooden chalice filled with a blood red liquid. “To Unicornicopia!” He ordered, hearing a roar of approval in response.

----

-The Rainbow Capital, A Week after Titan's initial attack on Unicornicopia-

The days that followed after Titan's release and initial attack on Unicornicopia were some of the most nerve-wracking on the population that Lightning had ever seen. Parents were escorting their children everywhere, looking over their shoulders as though Titan would jump out to attack them at any moment. There were guards and watchmen posted at ever corner and along the walls of the city everywhere, asking for anything and everything that proved one's residence even if they had lived their whole lives in the city.

The magical shield that protected the city streets below was still in need of repairs, one of the generators had been completely knocked out in the initial attack and was running on minimal power, as was most of the hospitals and main garrisons in the city.

But for the most part, Titan's craft wasn't aiming to seriously cripple the Unicornicopian Military from what Lightning was told. Or at least that was what it was to led be believed by the civilians from the upper ranks of the military. They themselves said that what transpired a week ago was nothing short of a small bandit raid that got lucky, and weren't going to let anyone tell them otherwise.

“Bandit raid my left flank...” Lightning uttered, glaring down at the morning's news reports as he read up on what happened. His mind was still thinking a mile-a-minute, as hundreds of questions continued to pour in and out of his mind but it all stopped at one question: “Why?”

“Is something wrong Lightning?”

The unicorn looked down, seeing Krysta standing on their dining room table in the house that the Grand Ruler had given him. The fairy was clutching a small piece of toast that Lightning had given her to share, and had her head tilted sideways a little bit.

“Heh, it's nothing really.” Lightning answered, setting the report down off to the side and picked up a piece of toast. “It's just that the military is trying to keep the citizenry out of a panic when they know that Titan's armies are outside of our atmosphere, waiting to strike.”

Krysta watched as the unicorn took a bite from his piece of toast. “Wait, didn't you destroy Titan with the Uniforce at the temple?” She asked.

“Unfortunately no.” Lightning replied. “What we saw at the Temple of Unity was actually a projection of Titan, meant only to transfer all of the magic he stole to whatever part escaped from the prison on his home planet.” He paused, casting a glance at the news report on the table. “We're really fortunate that he didn't get more than what he stole. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation right about now.”

Krysta shivered, the recent memories of Lightning standing watch over her as she woke up threatened to torment her. When she had came to, the battle was already over and Lightning looked like he was about to lose everything. Ever since she had gotten out of the Unicornicopian Hospital, Lightning had kept an even closer eye on her. So much to the point that it made her a little nervous.

“Well, at least everyone's safe.” Lightning finally said, finishing his toast before getting up and heading to the kitchen. “And that's what matters.”

Krysta hovered off of the table, her wings fluttering gently as she flew over to where Lightning stood. “Are you okay?” She asked, watching Lightning gaze out into the blue sky from the window in his kitchen.

“Yeah. I'm just glad that you're okay.” Lightning replied, turning to Krysta and smiling. The fairy's restoration of her own personal magic was remarkably fast, it took her a day after the initial battle with Titan to recharge her magic reserves where it would have taken a normal unicorn at least a week, and was taken out of magic intensive care the next day so she could rest. According to the doctors at the hospital, who were still baffled about how her recovery was progressing, she was ready to leave after the third day but was preventing from over-exerting herself. “Now Krysta, you remember what the doctor said right? No over-exertion?”

Krysta nodded as Lightning extended a hand for her to land on. “I know, but I can't just stay down forever. I mean, you've got your lessons with The Grand Ruler and everyone else and well... I just don't want-

“You're not going to be a burden Krysta.” Lightning said with a reassuring voice. “You saved my life against Titan, and I did the same for you. Had our roles have been switched, nothing would have really changed.”

Lightning's word's brought a smile to Krysta's face. “Yeah... Yeah you're right. I guess I did save your flank back there huh?” She said.

“Yep, and I'm glad that you did. But now's not the time to think about that.” Lightning said, watching Krysta's face brighten. “We need to finish getting ready so neither of us are late for the Grand Ruler's lesson.”

----

After a quick shower and change of cleaner clothes, Lightning and Krysta had set off for the main square in the Middle District. It wasn't too far of a walk from where he lived, at least fifteen minutes from his home, and when he arrived he could see the Grand Ruler from the northern side of the square.

The main square had suffered minimal damage from Titan's attack, as there were no military units garrisoned in the immediate area, but Lightning could still see the impact from the attack. The mood of the shopkeepers and citizens that were in the general area had been testy at best, and horrified at the worst, as the attempts to play off the arrival of the most dangerous being in the universe had failed in Lightning's eyes.

Several heavily armored soldiers were standing close by at the cafe that the Grand Ruler was at, when Lightning approached. It was a real modest place, the marble of the building being outclassed by the wooden accents of the structure that made them look brighter than what was intended. Several tables and chairs were sitting out in the front of the cafe with several other customers silently trying to enjoy their morning coffee, acting as though their lives might end at any second.

“Hold it right there buddy.” One of the guards, an orc, snapped at Lightning before lowering his spear at him. Lightning was still some distance away from the table where the Grand Ruler sat, close to the outer most point in front of the cafe so as to not detract from their business, but he couldn't exactly avoid a full spearman's charge. Especially from an orc wielding said spear. “You just turn right on around and go back to wherever it is you came from. Go on now, shoo.” The orc commanded, glaring at Lightning.

“Don't let the soldiers bother you Lightning.” The Grand Ruler said, picking up what appeared to be a very well decorated cup of really black coffee from the table and take a sip. “They're just doing their jobs.” He said, setting the cup back down.

Lightning blinked nervously before taking a step forward, watching as the orc dropped his guard, and returned to standing still like a statue. He found an empty seat close to the Grand Ruler and pulled it out, sitting down before casting a nervous glance at several of the soldiers around him.

“Something bothering you Lightning?” The Grand Ruler asked.

“Well... Yeah.” Lightning answered. “I'm sorry your highness, but how did you know that it was really me?” He asked.

The Grand Ruler chuckled a little. “My boy, you have so much to learn about your gifts.” He said taking another sip from his coffee cup. “You see... Those with a connection to the Uniforce are able to read each others thoughts. Had you been an imposter, I would have known because I wouldn't have been able to know that you happen to be really excited about today's lesson.” He said, taking another sip from his coffee. “That and Krysta's with you too, so that is also a dead giveaway that you aren't an imposter.” He said, smiling as the fairy climbed out from Lightning's mother's cloak.

“He's good...” Krysta said quietly, watching Lightning nod.

“Yeah, real good...” Lightning replied, watching the Grand Ruler chuckle.

“Oh, well I'm glad that you feel that way Lightning.” The Grand Ruler replied. “Now, before we get started, I am going to give you fair warning.” The Grand Ruler's mood instantly changed. He wasn't smiling, but he wasn't frowning at him either. His face became unreadable, almost like a perfect mix of gentleness and seriousness all wrapped into a single glare. “I am training you because I have faith that you will be responsible in your use and connection with the Uniforce. I am placing my trust in you that you will not use these abilities in a selfish manner, that you will not use these powers for anything but the defense of your fellow being be they Unicornicopian or not, and above all you will not give in to anything that would follow the path to your ultimate destruction. These powers are not a toy, when used properly they can do amazing and wonderful things, but be warned,” The Grand Ruler's face turned grim, “When used in the wrong ways, the worst of things will happen. I am putting my trust in you that you will make the right decision in using these powers the right way. Break that trust, and I will break you. You will have become my enemy, and that will be something that I cannot forgive. Is that clear?” He asked, watching Lightning nod.

“Of course your highness. You can count on me.” He said, with a little bit of nervousness in his voice.

The Grand Ruler smiled, downing the remaining coffee in his cup before placing several gold pieces on the table, and rose from the table. “Okay now, if you would kindly follow me Lightning, we can finally get to your first lesson.” He said before turning to the soldiers surrounding them. “You men can take your leave, I'm sure that there's something better for you all to be doing than watching us practice magic.” He said, watching the awkward glances that were exchanged in between them. The soldiers then bowed slightly to the Grand Ruler before leaving, which left Lightning and Krysta the only other ones remaining there. “Now... Let's be off, shall we?” He asked, watching Krysta climb back into Lightning's mother's cloak before disappearing under it. And with that, both the Alicorn and the Unicorn set off.

A number of emotions tumbled and swirled about in Lightning's mind as he walked alongside the Grand Ruler. He could see all the looks that he was getting as they meandered through the crowds, some jealous looks others full of respect, and was conscious of the ones that stared behind him. The Grand Ruler told him not to pay them any mind, but it was getting hard to do so even as the crowds dwindled down the further they got from the main square.

As the walk continued, Lightning noticed that where they were heading was one of the smaller parks on the right hand side of the city. It looked like a relatively clean place the paths were kept neat and clean with only a few leaves covering the stone paths, several overhanging trees tinted the sunlight green as it shone through their branches in some areas, and flowers of every color of the rainbow were blooming from bushes all over the place. Lightning followed the Grand Ruler as he headed over to a blocked off section of the park, one close to a modestly sized lake, before stopping.

“Ah, now here we are.” The Grand Ruler said, looking around. “Lightning, I'd like to welcome you to Sunlit Springs Park, where our first lesson will begin.”

Lightning smiled before taking off the cloak he wore. He set it down on a small stone nearby, watching Krysta climb out of it, before giving the Grand Ruler his undivided attention. “I'm ready when you are your highness.” Lightning said.

“That your highness stuff won't be necessary Lightning.” The Grand Ruler replied. “I have millions of peoples, from hundreds of planets in the known galaxy call me that but I would prefer to be on at least a first name, title and name basis. It will make this hopefully a little bit more comfortable.” He said, watching Lightning nod.

“Okay you- I mean Grand Ruler Celesto.” Lightning replied.

“That sounds a lot better.” Grand Ruler Celesto replied, taking a deep breath. “Now, I must ask you Lightning before we do anything, what do you know about magic in our world?”

“Well... I know that magic is what gives a Unicorn their abilities...” Lightning's voice trailed off. “I'm sorry Grand Ruler Celesto, I didn't get to really learn much in the school that I went to when I was young.”

Grand Ruler Celesto nodded. “I see... Well then I guess it's time to give you, as they say, a crash course in magic.” He said, watching Lightning take a seat on the grass. “All right now, there are three things that you need to know about magic in general. One it draw's its power from Mana, the primal energies of this world in an extremely raw form. Mana is a source of creation and destruction, powering magics that would cause change to the environment also known as spells. Anything can be influenced by Mana, either through the energy itself directly or through the spell that it's powering. Mana cannot be directly controlled without dire consequences if not done properly, as it is like I said the pure unrefined energy of the world. One wrong mistake in it's control and you could wind up like a smoldering crater or far worse.” Grand Ruler Celesto watched as Lightning appeared to drink in all of the information like one would if they were without water for a couple of days. After a few moments, he cleared his throat and continued, “Now, there are other things and factors that we can use to relate to the study of Mana but right at the moment I'm just giving you a crash course on it. Are there any questions so far?” He asked, watching Lightning shake his head. “Okay, now the next thing that you need to know about magic is that there are two different types of magic. These are known as, “Sources,” and these are what we can use to draw Mana from. These, “Sources,” are opposite of each other but need each other to survive. Do you know why?”

Lightning stopped for a moment before he shook his head. “No, I'm not exactly sure.” He replied.

Grand Ruler Celesto nodded before continuing. “They need each other to survive so as to control Mana. Let's look at it this way, if you were out on a trip somewhere but you had no other means of travel other than your own two hooves and could only carry a weeks worth of two provisions, what would you bring?”

Lightning remained silent for a moment before realizing that it was an actual question. “Oh, well I would bring food and water.”

“But you could just as well bring other things though. Things that you didn't need to survive.” Grand Ruler Celesto countered. “But, you would bring those to counter your hunger and thirst right?” He asked, watching Lightning nod. “Now, let's say that you didn't need to be hungry or thirsty. But you brought those supplies with you anyways? What happens?”

“The supplies would possibly spoil... I think?” Lightning replied.

“It would get stagnant at the very least wouldn't it?” Grand Ruler Celesto replied, watching Lightning nod. “Now, while you wouldn't mind your supplies getting stagnant, that's something that cannot be allowed to happen to Mana. Mana is always changing, always doing, always reacting to something. If the Mana gets stagnant from overuse of one Source of Magic, then it is the job of the other Source to eliminate that stagnation. Otherwise, destruction will follow. It's a system of how the universe balances itself.”

A small breeze blew through where they were as Lightning seemed to grasp what Grand Ruler Celesto was saying. He looked up, processing the information in his mind before nodding slightly. “I think I get it...” Lightning replied.

“We'll go over this more into detail later.” Grand Ruler Celesto replied, watching Lightning nod before continuing. “Now, this is the confusing part so bear with me. These Sources are divided into three separate aspects each, general states of Mana that has been refined for us to use. From the two Sources, which we are going to call Light and Dark for now, we are given the forms of Life, Death, Belief, Doubt, Harmony, and Chaos. These are the six aspects of magic, and it is from these six that spells come from. Each of these aspects are the ways that we manipulate Mana, from growing the smallest seed into a mighty forest to tossing a ball of flame at an adversary. However, and this is important, the differences between these magical aspects will determine whether you are manipulating Light or Dark Magic.” He stopped, watching the information go right over Lightning's head for a few moments before smirking a little. “I see that you need a demonstration.” Grand Ruler Celesto said, watching Lightning nod.

“Well, that would help things.” Lightning replied, sharing a glance with Krysta.

The Grand Ruler smiled, before closing his eyes and beginning to concentrate. His horn flared up with silvery magic as six spheres of light appeared in front of them, each with a different color ranging from a bright yellow to a deep black. “Okay, now let's say for a moment that these are the aspects of magic. Each one has a specific purpose, and as such they all have different rules about them. Life is the most powerful aspect in the Light magic category,” He began, pointing at the bright yellow sphere to Lightning's left. “It's opposite is Death,” he motioned to the ball of black energy on his right, “And as you can obviously figure out they govern the way that Mana affects Life and Death. These two are always in balance with one another, if there is a place with no Death, then Life itself cannot truly exist. Sure there are higher planes which are exceptions to this rule, but for our argument's sake without one the other cannot exist. Life and Death are also the foundations for basic magic, whether they be for healing or attacking you are either bringing the spell to life or killing it with your magic whenever you cast a spell. Almost all of healing magic forms a base in this aspect of magic, as it is calling on your powers to reverse the effects of death upon something.” The Grand Ruler explained, looking down at a fallen tree branch before levitating it back to one of the trees above him and reattaching it with the sphere of energy.

“Excuse me... Grand Ruler Celesto?” Lightning began.

“Yes Lightning? What is it?” The Grand Ruler asked.

“Well... If the aspect of Life is used to reverse the effects of Death, than can we bring back the dead with it?” Lightning asked, watching the Grand Ruler shake his head.

“Unfortunately we cannot.” He answered somberly, casting his gaze at the sphere of black energy. “You see, even though Life can reverse the effects of Death, it only works in small quantities. A small cut, for example, is easy for the magics of Life. But as the injuries get more and more severe, so to does the amount of energy required to reverse that effect. To reverse the Death of something or someone is to go against the laws of nature itself. Not to mention that there's no guarantee that it will work.”

“But why though?” Lightning asked. “Why can't we bring back the dead?"

The Grand Ruler shook his head somberly. “It's just one of those things that only the universe has control of. Trust me Lightning, if there were any way to bring those that we loved back from the dead, then it would have been found already.” He stopped, watching Lightning's face fall for a moment before returning to normal. “Death magics are used to form spells that are solely used to harm or kill a magician's opposition, or destroy their targets. Sorcerers that use this magic let its power corrupt and twist their minds, and no matter their reasons, they use it for evil purposes.” The Grand Ruler said, levitating the ball of black energy towards several fallen leaves as they withered down into dust before the ball itself disappeared.

“Like Titan huh?” Krysta asked.

The Grand Ruler looked up. “Yes Krysta, like Titan. Though he believes that he has thorough control of Death magic, Titan is no more a puppet of Death as I am. We are all it's servants, just as we are all servants of Life magic. It all depends on which sides that we take.” The Grand Ruler calmed himself down before bringing the next brightest yellow orb, and the next darkest black orb and floated them together. “These are Belief and Doubt. These are very fickle parts of magic as where Life and Death govern when magic activates or not, Belief and Doubt govern how much power is put into a spell when it's cast.”

“Ooh, I know!” Krysta said excitedly. “This is where the Uniforce comes from?” She asked.

The Grand Ruler smiled, nodding in her direction. “Yes, this is where the Uniforce draws it's power. Simply put, the more belief that you put into your magic the stronger the spell becomes. However the reverse is true with doubt. The more that you place doubt in the spell that you're trying to cast or receive, the less effective it will be.” He said, concentrating as his horn flared up a second time before the yellow orb began to grow bigger. After a few moments, he concentrated again and caused the first orb to shrink and the second orb to get bigger. After a few more moments, he waved his hands and caused them both to disappear. “These don't have as much a visible impact as the aspects of Life and death, but they have great effects nonetheless. Don't push them aside so easily.”

“And the last two?” Lightning asked, watching the Grand Ruler smile.

“Ah, now these last two aspects here are some of the most interesting that magic has to offer. These aspects, known as Harmony and Chaos, draw mana and their powers from how well the source or sorcerer is in tune with his or her surrounding environment. Chaos magic is wild, untameable in most cases, and is strictly avoided because one will never know what would happen. But, just as Chaos is uncontrollable Harmony will do anything to maintain a proper order of an area.”

“So is having only Harmony a good thing?” Lightning asked, watching the Grand Ruler shake his head.

“Not Necessarily.” He replied. “Think of all of the things that wouldn't exist without Chaos. Laughter, Surprises, Humor, even things like Romance wouldn't exist in someways because having Harmony would only make things perfect all of the time. But just like needing Chaos, we need Harmony to counterbalance that fact. If there was no Harmony, then the universe itself would go back to the days when Discord ruled...” He paused, his face going very dark very fast.

“Is there... Something wrong?” Lightning asked.

“It's nothing. Just remember that we need as much Harmony and Chaos as we do for the other aspects.” The Grand Ruler replied, waving his hands as the two energy orbs disappeared. “Now that all of that's been covered, we're going to see if we can put some of that into practical use.”

Lightning's face immediately lit up, his mood visibly improving. The Grand Ruler smiled, before turning to the small pond that was nearby. With a smile he picked up a relatively smooth stone, barely small enough to fit in his palm, and turned back to Lightning. “Now, for our first live practice portion of this lesson, we're going to start on the basics: Telekinesis.” He said, watching Lightning nod even though it was a little half-hearted. “What's the matter Lightning?” The Grand Ruler asked.

“Well... You see...” Lightning began, his voice dropping off. “I was hoping we'd start off with something more than just basic Telekinesis. Something a little more exciting, you know... Like how I can actually use the Uniforce or something.”

The Grand Ruler's smile never faded as his horn flared up. “Hmm... Well when you put it that way, basic Telekinesis is beneath this kind of class...” He paused, looking around before getting a devious smirk. Suddenly at least a hundred stones erupted from the pond, all circling and orbiting the Grand Ruler like he was a small sun. “Here's the thing, without the basics you won't know how to do any of the advanced material. And I don't want you to go into battle ill-equipped to defend yourself.” He said gently, watching Lightning back up slowly. “Could you break through this line, without getting hit by a stone without your telekinesis?” He asked, watching as Lightning appeared to weigh his options before shaking his head.

“I don't think that I could.” Lightning replied.

“Then we need to get your foundation built up better.” The Grand Ruler replied, levitating a stone from the ones orbiting him to Lightning before letting it drop in his hands. The Unicorn looked up, which caused the alicorn to smile encouragingly. “This is the first thing that I want you to do: For at least an hour each day, you are to keep that stone that you are holding in an orbit around you. This is what helped me build up my magical strength when I was younger, and it will help you build it up too.” He said, watching Lightning blink.

“But Grand Ruler Celesto... I haven't held anything with my magic for more than a half a second before needing to drop it. How am I supposed to hold it for an hour?” Lightning asked, watching the Grand Ruler smile.

“Remember what I said about Doubt and Belief?” He asked, watching Lightning nod. “Well then, you must believe that you can. Concentrate, and let your connection to the Mana help you move that rock and keep it moving.” He said.

Lightning nodded, keeping what the Grand Ruler said in his head as he began to concentrate. His horn began to radiate with a bright golden energy and after a few moments, the stone began to radiate with the same energy. The stone then floated off of his hands and hung in mid-air for a few moments before dropping to the ground. The yellow unicorn glared at the stone for a second, before picking it up and trying again.

----

-Almost an Hour and a Half later-

Lightning was collapsed on the clearing, his mind and body worn out. He had tried at least fifty-and-a-half dozen times by his count and could still only maintain the levitation for a couple of minutes. His breathing was hard and labored, and he could feel sweat running down all over his body. The Grand Ruler sat close by in a chair that he had conjured up with his horn, and watched as the unicorn grabbed the stone from the ground at his side before staggering to his hooves to try again.

“Okay now Lightning, I think that you've had enough.” The Grand Ruler said, watching Lightning continue to stand uneasily on his hooves. He got up from his chair, it disappearing in a flash of light and a puff of smoke, as he calmly walked over to Lightning.

“One-huff-more-huff-time.” Lightning replied, using the branch of the tree that Krysta was sitting under as a support.

“Lightning, your magic is exhausted.” The Grand Ruler said calmly, watching the unicorn slip but catch himself before leaning on the tree again. “There is always later on in the day for you to practice, and the next day to be practicing as well. You still have a ways yet, but you did well for your first day.” He said, watching Lightning smile before exhaling deeply.

“Thank you your highness.” Lightning said, listening to the Grand Ruler chuckle a little.

“Now, our next lesson will begin as soon as you are able to keep that levitation up for at least an hour. Until then, I would suggest that you return back to your home and get cleaned up as your fellow squad mates and friends are there for your other lesson today.” He said, watching Lightning nod.

“Okay, I'll do just that.” Lightning said, calming down as his breathing got more and more under his control. “I'll see you when I have it done right.” He said watching the Grand Ruler nod before picking up his mother's cloak, helping Krysta into it as he did so, before leaving the park and heading home.

“He has more untapped magical stamina than what I first realized.” The Grand Ruler thought, watching Lightning disappear from sight. “He'll probably have it done before the week's out. That is if his friends don't wear him out first.” He said mentally, walking out of the clearing before heading back towards the Temporal Palace.

----

Lightning and Krysta arrived back to their home a few minutes later, though it was still an agonizing few minutes as he was still recovering from his lesson with Grand Ruler Celesto. His friends were already waiting outside when he walked up to the house, waiting for him to show up. Ottavo was the first to reach him as Lightning approached.

“By the Grand Ruler, Lightning you look like hell!” Ottavo exclaimed, getting whacked in the head by Moonbeam. “Hey! What was that for?” He snapped.

“Cursing.” Moonbeam answered, glaring at the pink unicorn.

“But-I- never mind.” Ottavo said before turning back to Lightning. “What happened?” He asked.

“I had my first lesson with the Grand Ruler today. And we practiced telekinesis of all things.” Lightning answered, wiping some sweat off of his brow before walking past the others. “He wants me to practice it for a while. At least until I can orbit this rock-” He held up the smooth stone that he practiced with in the park earlier, “Around my body for an hour.”

“Wow, so he's reteaching you the basics. The Grand Ruler must be really thorough in his studies then.” Buddy commented as Lightning opened the front door to his and Krysta's home.

“No that's not it.” Lightning answered, walking inside with his friends following close behind before sitting down on the living room floor(He had no furniture yet besides his own bed, and wouldn't get any until he had a job of his own to pay for it.) as he disappeared in the back. When Lightning came back out, Krysta was perched on his shoulder with her legs crossed over one another as Lightning sat down beside them all.

“It's not?” Drawn Out asked, watching Lightning shake his head.

“No, It's just that... I'm not formally educated on magic. And I was only barely able to keep a magical hold on somethings, though I would get in some minor practice every now and then.” He explained, hearing audible gasps before looking down at the floor.

“But magical education has become mandated by the Grand Ruler and his governing council! There's no way you couldn't learn anything about magic, especially if-

What if my home planet was blown up, and the way that the unicorns learned magic from said home planet was totally different than Unicornicopian standards?” Lightning snapped, cutting Drawn Out off. The yellow unicorn shut his mouth for a second before calming back down. “I'm sorry you guys, it's just that I wasn't able to understand Unicornicopian concepts of magic like you guys were. After the first few weeks I was removed from the system as the orphanage I was at saw that I was having a hard time with my magical education. I did go to non-magical school though and did all right there, but...”

“It's all right Lightning.” Buddy Rose said, placing a hand on Lightning's shoulder. “You don't have to feel bad about not being able to do magic well. Heck, We all learn magic at different paces. Yours is just coming out later than ours.” He said reassuringly. “I wasn't the best in my magical class either, but it was because the teachers I had went over my head when they taught us.”

Moonbeam seemed to smile for a moment before she spoke. “The elvish instructors who taught me were more of a theory-than-practice group. They preferred to talk about the magic that they used, and kept the demonstration to a minimum. I had to figure everything out on my own half of the time.”

“Magic was always something that I had fun trying to learn.” Drawn Out said quietly. “One of my instructors said that I was, “Too creative in the way that I acted with mana,” that was before I got an A for producing a water fountain in front of the school I went to when my magic went out of control. I still think that he's a little afraid of me from it.”

Everyone remained silent, looking back at Ottavo who glanced around. “What? Did I have problems in school? No, not really. I was too busy, “burning it down,” to really get into it. The teachers didn't mind after the first attempt, though I think it was because they were bought off to keep quiet, but after the fiftieth I think that they kept me away from the magical experimentation labs.”

“What were you doing in the labs?” Buddy Rose asked, watching as everyone gave Ottavo a curious glance.

“What does every foal or filly at that age when they're the last one in their class who doesn't have a Cutie Mark?” Ottavo asked, getting incredulous stares from everyone in the room.

“You blew up your school's magical experimentation lab?” Buddy repeated.

“Yeah, but after the fact I wanted to say that I was really sorry. So I wrote an apology poem, and this,” Ottavo lowered the pants he was wearing to flash a Cutie Mark that depicted an ink pen with an unfinished poem on the surface of the paper that was behind it, “Was a result of it. I loved the poem so much that I wanted to write more and more until I handed in almost a book's worth of poetry to the Principle's office. I think they still have it even though it's not very good at all.”

They all shared a laugh before getting quiet again. The day was still far from over, and they knew that the training that they had planned for Lightning to get him up to speed with Unicornicopian Military Tactics was still looming in front of them. Lightning was the first to speak as he cleared his throat. “So... What's the plan?” Lightning asked.

“You mean how to train you right?” Moonbeam asked, watching Lightning nod.

“Yeah. How're you going to do it?” The yellow unicorn asked.

“Oh, well we've all decided to judge that based on how well you do in The Pit.” Ottavo replied, causing them all to shudder except Lightning and Krysta.

“What's The Pit?” Krysta asked, getting a smirk from Ottavo.

“Well, it's something that me and my Military School buddies came up with. You're gonna love it so come on!” He said excitedly, leaping to his hooves before lifting Lightning up and walking him out the door. The remaining unicorns shared a nervous glance before giving a nod and following Ottavo and Lightning out the door, locking it afterwards.

----

“This... Is The Pit?” Lightning asked, looking down at the scene from the hill that he and his friends stood on. He expected a crude ring made from bloody piles of twisted scrap metal and burning piles of rubber. What he got instead was a sort of magically altered obstacle course, complete with a maze-like section of ruined houses and a wall with a rope for him to climb with. There also was a set of handlebars dangling across a deep looking hole before the house maze, and at the end sat a red buzzer on a pedestal high on top of a metallic mountain.

“Yo' Ottavo, we got The Pit all nice and ready for the rookie. Is he here?” A burly looking orc in an all black junior Star Officer's uniform said, walking forward with several unicorns and a few goblins.

“Yeah he's here Cleaver.” Ottavo replied, spitting into his hand and shaking it with the orc. “This is Lightning Dawn, you know the guy I told you about? The one who chased off Titan?”

Cleaver nodded, casting a glare at the wingless unicorn. “Hmm... He seems like he's been workin' out all ready. You think he's gonna make it through The Pit?” He asked, watching Ottavo nod.

“He'll get as far as I think he will that's for sure.” The unicorn replied before turning to Lightning. “Lightning, this is the constructor of The Pit and one of my Military School buddies, Augustus Cleaver, First Lieutenant of the Junior Star Officer's division in the Grand Ruler's Interstellar Navy.” The orc gave Lightning curt nod before extending him a clean hand.

“It's a pleasure to meet freshies. Especially ones who already have a reputation like yours Lightning.” Augustus Cleaver said, releasing Lightning's hand.

“Same here, but what's a freshie?” Lightning asked.

“Someone who's in the Unicornicopian Military, but who's had no formal training.” Moonbeam answered, watching Lightning nod.

“Well now, ain't she smarter than a bookworm after its eaten a dictionary? Ottavo you done got yourself a good bunch of squad mates.” Augustus said.

“Yeah, we kinda are.” Drawn out said, watching as the orc nodded.

“Well, the course is set up for you all. Hopefully you can get the dynamic for your squad down before the fightin' starts.”
He said somberly. “Because you'll need it. Lock'er up after yer' done and clean up as soon as yer' finished, we don't want her to look like last time now do you?” The orc asked, watching Ottavo shake his head.

“Don't remind me.” He said, catching the keys from the orc in mid toss before he and his group walked past. “She'll be in better shape than when you let us use her.” Ottavo finished, watching Augustus nod.

“Good, because if she ain't yer head's gonna be seein stars.” Augustus finally said before he and the other soldiers disappeared around the main building's corner.

Ottavo chuckled a little before leading everyone inside, guiding them to a small control box near the start of the course. As everyone got comfortable he smiled. “Now, let's see what we've got shall we?” He asked, watching everyone exchange nervous glances.

----

According to Ottavo, The Pit's layout was simple: get to the buzzer at the top of the tower before your physical strength ran out. Doing it was the hard part according to him. Only one unicornicopian in the history of the military managed to complete the course, and it was the one who made it: The current Master Guardian of The Interstellar World. Not even the Grand Ruler was able to finish as his own haste and over-correctiveness managed to force his own physical strength to wear out by the time he got to the half-way point on the tower. That and he didn't want to cheat and use his powers on something that a good friend of his challenged him to overcome without his powers. They had a playful bet to see if he would finally ever reach the top, but it still went unsettled to this very day.

Ottavo explained that he had only gotten to the houses before he ran out of time when he first ran the course, but he always kept at it. The layout of the course itself, seven sections in all, was designed to teach a soldier or hopeful where their weaknesses were and how they could use their teammates to help them overcome those said weaknesses. It was one of the reasons why the Master Guardian built the course in the first place.

“Well then you could say that the Master Guardian is absolutely perfect on the battlefield?” Lightning asked as Ottavo readied himself for the course.

“Nah, the Master Commander may be good but he can't exactly be the best on the battlefield. Not even the Grand Ruler can do everything on the field of battle all at once.” Ottavo replied. “I heard that the Master Commander just got lucky.” He said, watching the others stare at him in disbelief.

“Then how is Lightning supposed to complete the course?” Krysta asked.

“Apparently he isn't.” Drawn Out replied, watching the fairy cast Lightning a nervous glance as he appeared to prepare for the course.

A buzzer blared as Ottavo took off, nearly leaping through the Pit as if he were making it look easy. He stopped on an inverted climb halfway through the course, waiting to gather up enough momentum before grabbing the top on the second try, and made it to the house maze. He exited and started the ascent up to the mountain tower of pipes just as the timer rang out, sending the pink unicorn crashing into the water below. A few moments later, a very drenched Ottavo Rima stepped into the console room and was steaming. “Who's up next?” He asked, picking up a towel.

Buddy Rose was next and he did well on everything except the, “Warped Wall,” as it was called, he ran out of time before he could get up on to the ledge in time. Moonbeam made it to the first wall and climbed it quickly, but nearly broke her neck by slipping and falling into the water below. After being helped out and checked on, she returned to the console room with nothing hurt except her pride. Drawn Out never got to the first wall as he tripped over his own hooves on the trampoline jump before the wall and landed with a hefty belly flop into the pool of water below.

Then it was Lightning's turn.

The yellow unicorn seemed to have a combination of excitement and nervousness flow through his body as he stepped out onto the initial start platform. His first obstacle, a set of five slanted ramps that made a path across the first pool of water. That was followed by several hurdles made from the same heavy oak that the first wall was made from, then the trampoline. “I can do this... I think.” Lightning thought nervously before hearing the start siren blare. “Let's go.”

The first gap was easy enough, Lightning had seen the others clear it and mimicked where they landed in their runs. Even the wall hurdles were no trouble, Lightning blazed through them faster than he thought was possible. Then Lightning got to the trampoline jump that ended Drawn Out's run and leapt onto it, making it across the gap and grabbing the climbing wall's rope. He struggled with that section, his hooves made it nearly impossible for him to find any traction on the wall's surface as he climbed up it, and it was just as unforgiving on the way down which ate away at his time. Lightning was now at the same obstacle that ended Buddy's run, the Warped Wall, and ran at it at a full charge. However, as he made his way up the wall he heard the loud finish siren and stopped in mid grab, sliding down the surface of the wall.

“Not bad Lightning.” Ottavo commented as Lightning entered the console room. “I think we've got something to work with, and that's saying something coming from me. I didn't have much to work with from the first time I ran the course.”

“What do you mean?” Moonbeam asked, tossing Lightning a towel.

“I fell on the first obstacle every time.” Ottavo replied. “Now that the preliminary exam that I gave has been done, let's get everyone else's taken care of.” He said, receiving nods from everyone else.

----

By the time Lightning was done, he had taken and most certainly failed, four fully standardized military exams. But he knew that he had truly tried his best on them. As soon as the last one was finished, they all tried The Pit once again but made no progress than what they made earlier before, before cleaning it up and heading back to Lightning's home. Ottavo had given Lightning a book on basic military tactics for him to read as they all hung out for a while longer, while Drawn Out and Buddy Rose were giving him tips for the course in the future. Krysta and Moonbeam were busy chatting about something, and before long the group left leaving Lightning and Krysta alone.

“I just hope nothing too terribly dangerous happens.” Krysta said, looking into the starless sky from their bedroom window.

Lightning snorted, looking out of the same window from his bed. “Well if it does happen then we need to be ready. Who knows when Titan will strike, and how he'll do it?”

“You can't expect to be literally ready for anything can you?” Krysta asked.

Lightning shook hid head. “No, but I can try.” He replied before closing his eyes and going to sleep.

(Continued in the Next Chapter)

Author's Note:

1: The position Rear Guard Captain is just like a captain's position in the U.S. Navy, only those with that position are responsible for more ships and men.

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