• Published 29th Dec 2013
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Unicorn x Unicorn - Typewrittensoul



An alternate Equestria that must be saved by three unlikely heroines.

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Prologue part 2

Sunset Shimmer nickered, feeling completely irritated. And bored. On the surface, she looked much more calm and serene than the young fillies on either side of her. Twilight Sparkle and the blue one were more or less entirely focused on the task ahead of them, giving looks of pure and semi-concentration, respectively. But she wanted no less than to stop doing these pointless drills and move on to some real magic casting. Like teleportation, weather control, or even counter-spells. She knew for a fact that the forbidden magics were entirely out of the question.

That didn’t matter anyways, since the princess insisted that they review basic things like casting a fireball. The exact sort of thing that unicorns were doing in regular magic class! Nonetheless, Sunset relented, hoping-more-than-thinking that it would lead to them learning an advanced fire spell. It was with great reluctance that, for the past three days, she proceeded to continue the most elementary sort of magic after using telekinesis. In her opinion, at least.

Sunset recalled her previous lessons and proceeded with each step just as she was taught: she began by imagining a lick of flame at the very tip of her horn, as though it was a candle. Imagined its heat and light. Then heard the crackling of the small ember growing larger. Consuming not just the air around it, but the stream of mana she was sending to it. Letting it feed off of the carefully made balance between the inner and outer forces. And then as though sneezing, Sunset tensed her mind and fed that fire a concentrated ball of her energy, sparking and igniting a burst of flame twice her size to roar into the target before her.

The scarecrow placed a few dozen hoofsteps away was subsumed in brilliant fire before magically extinguishing itself. The dimwitted look on its face never changed as the reactive spell it was imbued with took effect by immediately countering the magic it had been attacked with. The filly afforded herself to grin at the amount of time it took the scarecrow to be finished with its self repair. Sunset glanced at her left and right, watching as Twilight Sparkle and Trixie Lulamoon could only singe their targets. Whenever they managed to hit them at all, that is.

"Again," Celestia commanded, striding back and forth behind the three fillies as Twilight and Trixie gathered their thoughts into manifesting a flame once more.

Sunset huffed but followed through the steps yet again, setting her target dummy aflame at least twice before either Trixie or Twilight let out another shot. Once their marginally smaller attacks flew across the floor and missed their respective dummies, the princess declared, “That will be all for today, girls.” Sunset along with her classmates turned their attentions to their teacher. She watched with quiet displeasure how the other two had actually managed to break a sweat from such a simple exercise, but her thoughts were interrupted as Celestia continued. “Now rest up because tomorrow will start with more review, then some classwork. Be sure to understand the fundamentals of elemental spell casting in case of a quiz.”

“Yes, Princess,” the girls replied, with varying levels of enthusiasm.

Without further ado, the alicorn turned to leave the room, leaving the girls to wonder how to proceed.

“Do you girls want to keep practicing?” Twilight asked earnestly, excited for the promise of their first quiz.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this sore…” Trixie muttered, tentatively checking her horn. “I think I got a sprain,” she whined out. “Can you even sprain your horn?”

“No...I think? I don’t remember reading about anything like that, though,” Twilight said, thinking aloud. “Maybe you’re just not used to casting so much magic?”

Trixie quickly rebuffed that suggestion. “I cast plenty of magic, thank you very much! Spells, however, are a different story.”

Twilight balked at that seemingly contradictory statement, her curiosity driving her to figure out what the other filly meant.

Trixie sighed as though the very thought of having to explain was itself a chore. Despite the appearance of finding it bothersome, however, she puffed her chest out in pride and proclaimed, “I am an illusionist, you simple pony! I perform feats of amazing skill without needing to do all of that boring studying.”

“Studying isn’t boring,” Twilight stated as fact and sounded even a little bit offended. Just then, her eyes lit up as she shouted in excitement, “We could do a group study!” The filly hopped about with her usual grand smile, making Trixie regret even replying to her in the first place. “We can make flashcards and come up with mnemonics and play memorization games!”

“Didn’t I already mention that my head is hurting, Sparkle?” Trixie interjected in annoyance. “So in all honesty, I’d rather-”

Completely caught up with her idea, Twilight was oblivious to Trixie’s complaints and approached the third filly. “What about you, Sunset? Do you want to study with us?”

“Huh? No. I don’t need it. I’ll see you around,” Sunset replied while hastily leaving the room. She left the other two without saying anything further, using a touch of magic to push open the large oak doors of the training room. Closing the doors behind her, the filly caught sight of the princess’ tail just as she turned the corner. Sunset followed her down the hallway, turning around each corner until they both were in Celestia’s private quarters. Sunset made especially sure to close the door behind her before entering.

The single high-ceilinged room of the princess’ quarters was adorned with simple yet elegantly designed furnishings, as well as a fireplace that for the moment remained unlit. Nearby the large bed in the middle of the room was a cradle where a recently hatched dragon lied, curled up and sleeping soundly.

Sunset carefully approached the mare so as to not wake up the hatchling. “P-princess…”

The older pony tut-tutted, moving closer to brush back a loose strand of Sunset’s mane. “You don’t have to be so formal all the time, Sunset,” Celestia said in a light manner.

She could only blink at that. The filly contemplated the request for a moment, but ultimately chose against it. Albeit hesitantly so. “Ever since you publicly made me your student, I feel it’s doubly important to be,” Sunset admitted, averting her eyes from meeting the princess’.

“I personally wished you wouldn’t,” Celestia said, managing to hold back most of her sigh. “But I’ll respect what you’re comfortable with, Sunset.”

“Thanks,” Sunset said in turn with a ghost of a smile appearing on her face. She owed so much to the regal, beautiful mare before her. The filly was beyond words that Celestia would still be gracious enough to afford her a little bit of selfishness, even if it led to some distance between the two of them. But in her mind it wouldn’t do to even think that she could be as close to the sun as she wished without possibly being burned by the expectations.

Before she could continue onto what she wanted to say, however, Celestia asked, “Are Twilight and Trixie still in the practice room?”

“I guess,” Sunset said and shrugged.

With a nod and smile, Celestia suggested, “Since it’s been a while, maybe we should have supper together. The four of us, actually. What do you say? I think it’s important to have you get to know your classmates a bit better. Don’t you?”

Sunset’s eyes lit up at the idea of having dinner with the princess after so long, but had to contemplate the rest of her suggestion. “O-of course. That’s sounds good.” She figured that some time to cool off would serve her better, so she could formulate exactly what she wanted to say to the princess, rather than mess up if she pushed it right this moment. It wouldn’t do to let her nerves get in the way, after all.

---

Dinner had been served early, for the sake of Princess Celestia to spend some time with her students before she went to bring in the night.

It felt a bit more informal than their teaching sessions, but Sunset still felt restrained nonetheless. Too preoccupied by her thoughts and mental scripting of what she wanted to talk to Celestia about after the dinner to fully participate in the conversation going on during it. As she lied on her bed, her curtains drawn but the sun’s light peeking through the heavy material, Sunset couldn’t even recall what it was she ate while the other fillies enjoyed themselves chatting and giggling with the princess. In addition, Celestia had to excuse herself in order to set the sun and raise the moon.

She nickered at the half-formed memory and sat up from her bed, feeling too restless to go to sleep this early. Sunset had chosen not to wait and simply returned to her room. But even with the stars taking the place in the sky and the sun’s light waning from behind the curtains, the filly meandered to deal with her boredom by taking a glance at her textbook. It was a large tome that was about the size of her head, and would be too heavy to carry herself without using magic. Hopping onto her chair, Sunset opened to a random page—just so happening to land on Elemental magic.

In a quick movement, Celestia peered into the room and smiled to find Sunset studying at her desk. “This is a surprise,” she said. The mare walked over to the desk and a surprised-looking Sunset Shimmer. “I can’t recall ever seeing you in front of a book, before.”

“I thought...it would be worth giving the whole studying thing a try,” Sunset said tepidly, as though trying to continue the conversation for the sake of it.

“Ah. I see,” Celestia replied simply. As quiet settled between them, her teacher proved once more to the filly that she could easily read her emotions. “Sunset? Is there anything in particular on your mind?”

She sat with back straight and head raised. “Yes. In fact, there something I want to talk to you about.” Sunset knew she had no better time than this. Taking a deep preparatory breath in and a steadying exhale out, she said without further preamble, “I think you should teach me more advanced magic, princess.”

Celestia’s response came swiftly and without hesitation. “No, Sunset. You’ll learn alongside Twilight and Trixie.”

Sunset frowned, then realized what she was doing and quickly corrected herself. “Then what was the point of taking everything you’ve taught me to heart? The magic you’ve showed me? The history you’ve taught me?” As she continued to speak, Sunset felt her irritation bubble up to the surface once again and she said in a louder voice, “I...I thought you said you respected me as your student!” Her eyes lit up in surprise and she immediately stared down at the floor, embarrassed that she let her emotions carry her like that yet again.

“I expected my student to respect her teacher’s decision,” Celestia returned in a tense manner.

“I...I’m s-” she began to say with great remorse before she felt a hoof touch gently against her chin to tilt her face upward.

“No need to apologize.” Celestia offered a tempered smile. “You know you mean the world to me, Sunset. You’re all that I have left. You’re talented and have enormous potential. I’ve told you that often. But what you need to do is master what you already know, not seek more spells for the sake of it.”

Despite knowing the princess’ comforting intent, she couldn’t help but hear those words as anything but patronizing. “But I’m ready.” Sunset pleaded for the princess to see that. “I know that I’ll be able to handle more advanced magic!”

“I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re capable,” Celestia then stated, her expression now relaxed. “We live in peaceful times and for that I’m thankful. Which is why I’d rather you focus your efforts on ways to improve the lives of your fellow ponies and retain that peace. Trust me when I say that you’ll be more than enough of a match to anypony foolish enough to attack you if you master what I’ve already taught you.”

“But what if it isn’t enough? What if something bad happens?”

With quick wit Celestia interjected, “But what if you just trusted yourself just as I trust you? Hmmm?

“You don’t seem to trust me enough to teach me more advanced magic…” she grumbled out curtly.

Without hiding the fact that she heard that, Celestia sighed and frowned. “And it’s things like that that makes me worry about your intentions, young lady.”

“...I just want to impress you...make you proud…”

“Sunset, you don’t need to make me proud. I’m plenty proud of you, already. As for impressing me, well. Actually heeding my advice about the current issue would certainly impress me. As would cooperating a bit more with your fellow classmates, I suppose.”

“I get it,” Sunset huffed out, rolling her eyes to the princess’ teasing. “I’m not perfect.”

“And I’ll never ask you to be, Sunset.” Celestia brushed back the filly’s mane with a tender touch of her hoof, rather than use her magic. The simple act managed to pull out a smile from an otherwise frowning pony. After a soft sigh, she said, “It’s about time I go to sleep before the sunrise. And speaking of which, you go rest up as well, Sunset. It wouldn’t do to have you sleepy tomorrow.” Sunset nodded without a word to the princess ending the conversation like that. Without warning however, Celestia poked her hoof against the filly’s withers, causing her to spasm and flail in gleeful surprise.

“S-stop it!” Sunset giggled out, barely trying to escape Celestia’s assault. She tried her best not to fall off of her chair. “I hate,” she shrieked from a particular powerful urge to laugh occurred. “I hate getting tickled!”

“Do you, now?” The mare laughed mischievously and continued her assault. Sunset dodged her hooves, then galloped the short distance over to her bed where she suddenly found herself wrapped in her blanket, which had come to life under Celestia’s magic. She screamed out in surprise and tried her best to struggle and fight with her own aura against the princess’ but to no avail. She was finally set down when her vain attempts to fight back weakened and laid her head onto her pillow.

“I...I could’ve gotten out of that,” she said in exhaustion, punctuating her statement with panting.

Celestia chuckled at the thought and continued flatly laying out the blanket over Sunset and tucked her in using her magic. Caught under the same glow, the lamp at the desk opened to let out the fireflies and the book was closed. The two of them remained quiet, Sunset glancing up at the ceiling with Celestia seated on the floor next to the bed.

Then, Celestia broke the silence, speaking softly. “I’m...only trying to do what I think is best for you. And I wish I could explain and say more than ‘it’s complicated,’ but...”

“No, it’s alright,” Sunset said. “I understand what you’re trying to do. You didn’t have to take me in like you did. But I’m really happy that you did.”

Celestia looked away from a moment, hiding as best she could the blush that appeared on her face from behind her bangs. “I love you, my little Sunset.” She leaned in and lightly kissed her forehead, and tenderly brushed back the filly’s orange and red fiery-striped mane a second time upon sitting straight up.

Sunset blushed at the unwarranted affection, feeling compelled to respond in kind. “...love you too, mom.”

Author's Note:

Prologue 2/3 before the story actually begins!