• Published 6th Apr 2013
  • 4,732 Views, 186 Comments

The Seventh - Arvaus

An impossible creature finds herself in a world which already knows everything about her. Slowly, she learns about the true nature of her own reality, her world's place in the cosmos, and herself.

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2 - Awakening

Celestia climbed through the air away from Canterlot, heading towards the mountain peaks which sat high above the city. Glancing back over her shoulder, she saw the sun sitting high in the sky. She was running late, but matters of state had a habit of overrunning.

Soaring between the great peaks, she could see her destination ahead, a collection of wooden huts nestled in a small valley high in the mountains. She had decided that it would be prudent to perform their experiments in as isolated a location as possible, as they had no idea what the outcome would be.

She had not been leading the research herself, having other matters to attend to, but she had followed it closely from its inception. If they were successful, this day would go down in history, and their understanding of the very nature of the world they lived in would change forever.

However, there was another simple reason why this task must be performed by somepony else. A specific six ponies, in fact.

As she landed on the snow-covered heather, a young purple alicorn emerged from one of the huts and cantered over to greet her.

“You made it, Princess!” Twilight Sparkle said as she approached. “You’re right on time, I think we’re nearly ready to get going!”

Celestia smiled. “Please, Twilight. You are a princess as well now. I will not ask you again.”

“Sorry, Celestia,” Twilight said, blushing. “I’ll remember next time, I promise.”

Nodding appreciatively, Celestia continued walking towards the huts, and her student trotted along next to her. “Have you managed to narrow down the spell, yet, Twilight?” she asked.

Twilight’s demeanour shifted instantly, the joy of research overtaking her. “I think we have,” she said. “I had to spend the whole week reading over Starswirl the Bearded’s entire collection on the Elements, but I think I’ve finally found what I was missing. It was staring me in the face the whole time, I just needed to switch the—”

“May I see it?” Celestia interrupted.

“See what?”

“The spell. May I have a look.”

Twilight laughed. “Sorry, Prince... Sorry, Celestia. It’s been such a busy week, I kind of get carried away sometimes. Here,” she said, levitating a clipboard out from under her wing. She passed it to Celestia, who caught it in her own magic and read the words which had been scribbled on the parchment. It was a mess, covered in notes and corrections, but four short lines had been underlined at the bottom of the page. Celestia read them carefully.

“This does indeed look promising,” she said at last. “You have made me proud once again.”

Twilight blushed. “Thank you. But I couldn’t have done this if my friends weren’t here to help.”

Celestia chuckled, imagining how much assistance her five companions would have been able to provide in writing the spell. Twilight was the third most knowledgeable pony in all of Equestria on matters of magic, after all, and had a unique aptitude for learning new spells as well. But Twilight was right, nonetheless. By their very nature, anything concerning the Elements of Harmony required friendship and companionship. She had learned this long ago after seeing Starswirl’s repeated failed attempts to divine their nature.

“Speaking of your friends,” Celestia said, “I assume they will be joining us soon?”

“They were just finishing lunch,” Twilight answered. “They’ll be out in a few...”

Right on cue, the door to the nearest hut opened, and four ponies emerged. Two of them, an orange earth pony and a white and purple unicorn, were absorbed in an argument.

“Now ah never said ya wouldn’t be allowed to design it, but...”

“Hmph. I simply cannot understand how you could say such a hurtful thing. My skills not being required, indeed. I ask you! Who could possibly be more qualified than...”

“Consarn it, Rarity, will ya let me finish!” Applejack shouted. “Did ya design our Elements of Harmony?”

“Well, no,” Rarity conceded. “The necklaces formed by themselves.”

“Ya see? That’s my point. There mightn’t be anything to design. Ah’m sure the princess would let ya help if there is, though.”

“I should hope so, too.” Rarity adjusted her mane victoriously, while Applejack just shook her head in amusement.

“But, um, we’re not even sure if anything will happen today,” Fluttershy said quietly from behind them. Applejack was about to reply, but was interrupted by Pinkie Pie suddenly springing into the air.

“Oooh! I hope we do though! It would be so totally awesomely incredibly amazing if we did, and then we’d get to go and make another friend and then they could join our group and then I could throw a party for them and everypony would be invited and then we could Princess! You made it!”

She changed subject so fast the others nearly got whiplash, and then she bounded off to welcome the new arrival. The other three, also realising that Celestia was there, followed her over.

“Greetings, my little ponies,” Celestia said as they approached. “I trust you are all rested and ready for the task ahead?”

“As we’ll ever be, Princess,” Applejack said, lifting the rim of her hat. “We’re just waitin’ fer Rainbow Dash to get back.”

“Yes, where is Rainbow Dash?” Celestia asked, turning to Twilight.

“Oh, she was going to get the snow cleared ready for the experiment,” Twilight said. “I expected her to be done by now, though. I wonder what’s taking so—”

“Looklooklook! Here she comes!” Pinkie shouted, bouncing into the air and pointing off to the south, where a blue streak was flying through the sky towards them with impossible speed. Just as it reached the valley, there was a deafening boom and a burst of rainbow-coloured light washed over the valley, blowing all the snow clean off the ground. The six ponies braced against the wind, then looked up as Rainbow Dash arced across the valley, leaving a beautiful rainbow behind her.

A few moments later, she landed on the ground next to them and wiped the sweat off her forehead. “Hey there, Princess,” she said, nodding towards Celestia. “Princesses,” she added, snickering and bowing to Twilight.

“Bit excessive, don’t ya think, R.D.?” Applejack said, kicking Rainbow Dash in the side.

“Hey, it got the snow cleared, didn’t it,” she retorted. “And in under ten seconds, too! I can’t help being that awesome, A.J.”

“Well, now we’re all gathered,” Rarity said as she fixed her mane, “shall we get started?”

“Yes, let’s,” Twilight said, looking excited again. “We’re as ready as we’re going to get, and I really want to see what this spell does.”

She led the other five over to a circular area, about sixty feet across, which had been cordoned off in the middle of the camp. Next to the railings, there was a small table with a purple chest lying on it. Twilight lifted its lid as she approached, and levitated five necklaces out, passing each to its bearer. They fastened the Elements around their necks and stepped into the enclosure, spacing themselves evenly around the perimeter.

Twilight then lifted her crown out of the chest and placed it on her head. Holding her clipboard in front of her, going over the spell one last time, she entered the circle and walked to her position in the centre.

Celestia kept her distance, watching them from the edge of the camp. The magic of the Elements of Harmony was far beyond hers, and she would not be able to contribute anything to the experiment. This was something that only those six ponies had the ability to do, and she was eager to see the outcome.

“Alright, one final check,” Twilight said, flipping the page on her clipboard. “All Elements of Harmony present and accounted for, spell written, checked, double checked, triple—”

“Can we get going already?” Rainbow Dash called impatiently from the circle’s edge.

“We need to follow proper procedure, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight responded. “Everything needs to be properly documented so that—”

“Yeah yeah, egghead stuff, I get it. Just hurry up, okay?”

Twilight rolled her eyes, and went back to her checklist. When she was confident that everything had been checked the requisite number of times, she levitated the clipboard back to the desk.

“We’re ready now,” she called to the assembled ponies. “Everypony hold your positions, no matter what happens. Just let the spell work.”

Her friends nodded, and Twilight closed her eyes. Lighting her horn, she recited the spell which she had now committed to memory.

United together as part of this world,

Our intentions combined, our purpose the same,

Gath’ring the six, we seek out another,

Part of the essence from whence we all came.

Twilight’s horn pulsed for a moment, then faded again. She ran over the spell again in her head, trying to think if she had said anything wrong. Each word had been chosen carefully, the spell a result of a year of research and careful study. She was certain it was correct.

Opening her eyes cautiously, she glanced around the circle, seeing the uncertain glances of her friends. Just as she opened her mouth to speak again, however, the Elements on her friends’ necks began to glow.

The six of them rose into the air, each surrounded by an aura the colour of their Element. They let it happen, familiar by now with the experience of wielding the Elements. Beams of multicoloured magic flowed round the circle, binding the five together in a ring around Twilight. Then, at once, beams of pure white magic burst from their necklaces, converging at the tip of Twilight’s crown. Merging together in a single great column, they shot upwards into the air, forming and pouring into an enormous vortex high above the valley.

The vortex’s power seemed to drown the rest of the world out, everything beyond the valley falling dark and silent. It roared chaotically above them, bands of light in all colours of the rainbow twisting within it.

The vortex pulsed, a burst of energy washing over the valley. The elements released their bearers, and the five friends fell back to the ground, dazed and confused. Picking themselves up again, they looked to the centre of the circle, where they expected to see Twilight, but they realised that she was still hanging in the air, slowly being drawn upwards towards the vortex.

“Help me!” she called. “This isn’t supposed to be happening! Something’s got me!”

“What’s happ’nin’, Twi?” Applejack called, straining to be heard over the roar of the vortex. “Are ya sure this ain’t what the spell’s s’possed to do?”

“No, this isn’t right!” Twilight called back. “This isn’t the Elements’ magic! It feels wrong!” She twisted and turned in the air, flapping her wings hopelessly, but the unknown force continued to draw her up away from the ground. “Get me down!”

Rainbow Dash leapt into the air and flew up to Twilight. Pushing and pulling with all her strength, she tried to force her friend down to the ground again, but the magic pulling her up refused to let go.

“She won’t budge!” Rainbow Dash shouted. “Fluttershy! Get up here and help!”

Fluttershy squeaked nervously, but lifted off into the air. Together, the two pegasi tried to force Twilight down, but to no avail. She continued to rise inexorably towards the churning vortex above.

“It’s... too... strong!” Rarity grunted as she tried to pull Twilight down with her own magic. “What do we do?”

Twilight twisted round in the air and found herself looking up at the vortex, which was drawing painfully close. She could feel the tidal forces from its magic washing over her.

Then suddenly, Celestia was above her, floating between her and the vortex, her wings spread wide. Her horn glowed with magic, and she shouted down to the ponies below.

“Everypony stand back!”

The other five darted out of the enclosue, those on the ground vaulting the fence at the edge. Celestia focussed her magic, and formed a great translucent shield between her and Twilight. With all her strength, she pushed the shield down, fighting against the strange magic. But the magic pulling Twilight up remained unperturbed, and the force of the spell rebounded at Celestia, throwing her upwards. She span uncontrollably through the air. As she flapped her wings, trying to regain control in the woefully confined space, one of her wingtips brushed the edge of the vortex.

There was a deafening crash, and in an instant the vortex, and the princess, was gone. The world flooded back into the valley. Twilight, now free of the spell that had been holding her, flew back down to the ground and stared in disbelief at the empty sky.