A Foolish Friend

by The Real Darkness

First published

Shadow Aura casted a regretable spell that a long gone friend advised against. Now he struggles to remain secluded from other ponies as Equestria advances and his lifestyle is forced to change.

He told me I shouldn't, that it'd be a big mistake. I knew everything I held dear would go away eventually, but I still have my magic. He said he could do it too, but he wouldn't for those reasons. I may think differently and have a little looser morals, but this has allowed me to create spells never thought possible. The last thing he ever told was time changes everything. He was right.

It's been a while since I've made contact, but now there are ponies in my mane that won't go away. I want to live alone and continue my peaceful way of life, Equestria was fine when I decided to do it and it'll be fine without my direct interference now.

(Tags subject to change as the story progresses).

A Day to Forget

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50,000 Moons Ago

The spell I was studying up on was almost ready, thanks to Starswirl's own time travel spell, I can finally do the impossible. I can have immortality without the need to become an alicorn.

"Shadow Aura! Open up, it's time we discuss our findings for the week!" I heard Starswirl from the door at a promptly time, I knew he could sense my levitation spells being used so much. I was flying books, scrolls, journals, and so many more records of magic about my home. I had already gathered a substantial amount of them on my study desk. I unlocked the door for my dear friend.

"Come on in, don't mind the chaos!" I shouted as I scanned my eyes around my library, looking at various books to decide which would be pulled from the shelf next. I owned thousands of them and magnification spells surely did help read titles from many yards away.

I heard the clip clopping of his hooves as he trotted with excitement into my library. He stopped at the door, watching all my tomes fly across the room and back, mesmerized for a moment.

"Ooooooooh, you only get like this when you've found something splendid! We'll start with you and what you're doing right now." He moved from the door to my study desk, smiling like the excited foal he'll always have in him.

He stood, reading the various scrolls I pulled as I worked, my dark grey magic aura illuminating the room.

"With your recent discovery in time travel magic, I've taken to experiment with it and I found a spell for-" I spoke so quickly I was as happy as a colt getting his cutiemark.

"You know it's a bad idea..." Starswirl turned to me, the bells on his hat ringing. Those bells couldn't even combat the grim sound in his voice at all. I knew I was about to get lectured.

The one thing that always set me and Starswirl apart was magic, while he held to a lot of morals, I was a bit more loose with them. I wanted to better Equestria with magic, donate to it the way Starswirl has been doing, but more.

"But just imagine all the progress I could do! I can make Equestria so much better and research into magic and new spells would become so much easier since my mind and maybe yours would never have to leave unfinished work and-" He stopped me on my rambling.

"You know you'll get lonely and that won't happen once I'm gone and everypony else you know are." And here came the boring talk.

"Then at least let me work in peace, I won't even be casting it on myself, this is just more knowledge for our wonderful world." It was my worst excuse yet.

"I won't stop you, but think about what you're doing. I know your common excuses, Shadow Aura. I'll be off now, I don't wish to interrupt this." He responded, trotting his way out.

I didn't stop his depart, I was too busy finding the rest of the pieces for this spell and I had it all out in front of me in an hour. My library was in good condition, but would definitely need a sorting after this. Starswirl's Time Travel spell laid open on my large desk, besides it was a repeateron spell, a slow-mode spell, and an infiniter spell. With this combination I could do the unthinkable!

I trotted over to my large window, looking at myself in the reflection, my well kept white mane still brushed behind my ears and risen up like a cockatoo's crest. My grey fur was always clean after my morning bath and my refusal to go outside and spend a moment away from my studies and research. I contemplated my reasonings in my head for just a bit, my sharp blue pupils staring back at me.

"I can deal with whatever comes my way. I can handle anything with my magic. Starswirl needs to believe more in my decisions." My thoughts became vocal after a while. I was going to do this spell.

I continued to stare out at the plains below the cliff of the great mountain we were on. Few unicorns lived here with us, but we all kept to ourselves for the most part. I turned back and headed to my desk, reading over each spell so I knew them before I poured my magic into each. My large circular library began to light up in grey, the color of my magic aura. My silvery grey mane wisped into three sections as I filled my body with magic. My red coat shined brighter than any combination of water and light could.

"Just a little more..." I put as much magic as I had into it. My entire library began to burn with the amount of light coming from me and the spells that now floated in front of me. Soon after, a large wave hit me, the spell being complete. My glass window shattered when the force hit it. The booming sound behind it echoed off into the distance.

With it done, I surely couldn't stay here anymore, Starswirl would return or the ponies would kick me out with time when they saw what would happen. I had no clue myself if I now had the gift of immortality, but time can prove it for me. I gathered all my books and important belongings from around the house as quickly as I could, some furniture even. I levitated it up along with my large framed map of our known world, studying it. I would head west, not much is known out there after enough travel and it'd be far enough to where nopony would come looking for me. I quickly teleported all my belongings out of my home and left them levitating as I wrote a note to Starswirl with only sparse words on it.

I'm sorry, Starswirl
~Shadow Aura

I joined my items and casted an accelero spell onto my hooves and granted them a lightning speed. The sun was setting by the time I arrived at the ocean and I promptly began to set up a small shelter, gathering wood from nearby trees using more levitation magic to grasp an axe I brought along with me. I soon had a shack built. I know I would spend the next months building a great home to house me for all my research, but I first needed a good rest. I casted a shield and alarm spell over my belongings after I moved my bed into my temporary home. I laid down upon it and slept. I knew that with all this time on my hands, I could create many more spells and research magics that nopony dreamed of. I would have all the time to make progress.

I awoke to the sounds of birds and jumped up and out of my bed.

"What is with this? Why am I in a forest and under a shoddily built shack?" I caught myself in my words and remembered that I left my old home.

I trotted over to my belongings, checking the spell and seeing that nothing was disturbed in the slightest during my sleep. I moved them away and began to cut down even more trees, forming everything I wanted my home to have. It would contain a large foyer that lead off into two wings, a living wing and a study wing. My study wing would have a great windowed library just like mine did as before, except it would have more rooms connected to it. There would be a grand spiral staircase in the center of it, leading to a tall tower with a lunarium at the very peak, to study the skies. It would branch from the side to veer more towards the ocean and contain an alchemy room with another huge room that would be left empty except for torch sconces. On my living wing, I'd install a better bedroom with more room for relaxation and open space, a tea room, a large kitchen in the event I must cook a lot and a dining room to match the size for guests that I may need to cook for. My bathroom would be one to rival simple bedrooms. As I drew up plans in my head, I made them into action with levitation and other magics to move wood into place and keep it there. I was fusing the woods together when I set them just right.

I eventually walked inside of the researcher's dream house to furnish it with all wood, even metal objects being made of the oak. I already had my transfiguration spell in mind when I was fusing the wood together to make one large structure. I soon had the entire house built with the sun just above me. I would change the material of all the wood to suit what it would need to be: ceramic, metal, stone, marble, or glass. I walked outside after all the furniture had been laid out and I looked upon the front of the massive house, smiling to myself.

"This is it, where I make my home now and continue my life for whatever purpose I have." I spoke aloud to the woodland creatures and the trees that now sat organized in front of me.

My horn lit up with a bright grey before shooting a beam out at the structure as I channeled my magic. The house was slowly changing it's compositions. I looked up at it, straining myself while I held the spell, the house slowly changing from wood to a dark grey stone and in some places I turned it into glass and metal. I transfigured the wood into whatever material I wished it to be. By the time I finished, I was mentally drained and dragged myself into my new house, glancing around and seeing the luxurious chaise and throw pillows with it along with a couch and low seated chair. My foyer was an amazing first entrance with a fireplace topping off the looks. All furniture that could be used to rest on circled around the fireplace. A pedestal with a potted fern on top sat to the sides of each archway throughout the house. I trotted to the living wing and entered the long corridor that contained all the rooms I had planned, my bedroom at the extreme end of it, silver doors with black glass greeted me upon my arrival at my door. I trotted in and laid myself upon my new large bed, looking around my room and declaring it fit for a King with silver torch sconces, a wide open space in the center of the room, and it's own separate bathroom with a giant wardrobe.

I levitated my belongings inside, placing them appropriately in my new home, the library half filled of books. I then locked up the entire home, casting another ward and alarm spell to cover my home in the event of an intruder. I shut my eyes and ready to sleep. Then I had a realization. I wasn't hungry, thirsty, or actually tired. I wished to sleep for my major use of magic, but my body must have stopped aging completely. The spell was a success and I could spend all of eternity working on my magic skills, research, and other intellectual pursuits.

The sun was almost down over the horizon when I feel asleep. My mind was kept up by the success of my spell and the future ahead of me.

A Discovery

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Present Day

I awoke from my slumber and stretched, my horn tapping against the silver headboard of my bed. My eyes were shot wide open after a second. I was quick to wake fully in the mornings. I rose from my comfortable sanctuary and trotted across the corridor and through the foyer, entering my library. I smiled as I gazed upon all the books, staircases leading to more and more levels of the library. I moved to my desk, picking up from where I left off the other day with my magic recharged.

I had been reading from a book on the anatomy of earth ponies and how they seemed to make anything grow better under the same circumstances that other ponies had. A touch of their hoof seemed to release a sort of magic from within them that gave plants a boost in their growth separate from other material resources. I trotted away from the central table and into the wing of the library that contained spells I crafted myself. I organized them all by alphabetical order and I knew exactly what spell I was looking for.

I came over to the B's and found the collection of tiny books that contained the "Body Augmentation" spells. I grabbed off the pegasus wings spell and brought it back to the desk. I then traveled outside my home, stopping into my alchemy room to get an acorn. I planted the acorn a few inches below the ground and poured water over it. I levitated my wing spell outside an focused my magic on it, but having the idea of an earth pony in my mind. I shot the spell into the ground, a solid grey beam coming from my grand horn. I felt the ground pull more and more magic from me. I got the message and poured more of my magic into it, a sapling breaking the ground soon. I continued to put more into it and the stem of the small plant formed into a trunk that began to stretch to the sky, the pine tree growing impossibly tall as I continued. I was exhausting myself, but I was making progress.

I felt a strong magic presence coming towards me and I stopped, seeing a purple alicorn with a magenta streak in her mane. This was the Twilight Sparkle that I saw coronated from the distance. The unicorn that banished Tirek again, helped to save the Crystal Empire twice, was the embodiment of the Element of Harmony Magic. I knew the winds of change were finally coming for me.

"Did-did you just make that tree grow with magic?!" She let out a very excited pip.

"Yes, I crafted that spell and you won't be able to see that anywhere else." I called parchment and a quill out to me and wrote down the procedures for casting the spell that lended me the power of an earth pony. I had only taken away to natural gift that was supposed to be given to an earth pony in Equestria. That pony would still have a good life, I had done the same to a pegasus and they turned out fine.

"A-amazing!" She shouted, throwing her hooves into the air.

I turned away from her with nothing more and started into my home. The pine was easily three times the size of my house when I looked back to it and compared the two.

"My name is-" Twilight began.

"You're Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship, former student of Princess Celestia, fan of Starswirl victor over; Nightmare Moon, Discord, Tirek, Chrysalis, an ursa major, and a bug bear. You solved Starswirl's unfinished spell." I spoke, turning back around to her.

"How do you know all that about me? I knew word would travel across Equestria, but some of what you said was personal."She responded, raising her guard around me.

"I watched you since you were but just a filly. I felt your birth from here. I knew you were a special unicorn. I knew your brother was also the same. I knew you would come out here because the map would send you here alone. I want no part in whatever 'friendship problem' you think is here." I moved fully inside my home, shutting the door behind me. I went to the library and began to look around for the time travel spell of Starswirl's.

"Just hear me out." Twilight had followed me inside.

I took down Starswirl's time travel spell and looked at it for just a moment before putting it back and casting it. The light blue portal opened up in the library and my mane and tail began to go towards it along with Twilight's.

"You hear me out first." I finally responded as she attempted to hold onto my desk in the center of the library. I saw her soon lose her grip and she flung into the portal. I willing let my magic take me into it soon after.

My old home came into view around me as I landed on the tiles its library floor, Twilight in a collapsed mess. She gathered her bearings and stood.

"Hey, this looks like my old Canterlot home." She observed aloud as she trotted around.

I took her into a levitation spell and forced her to hide with me behind a bookcase as a smaller horned me came into the library.

"Your home was orginally mine. It holds a lot of history. I know you through this." I pointed at Starswirl who was entering the library.

"We need to discuss this week's findings!" Starswirl spoke and I remembered those lines as if it were yesterday. He began to give me the short lecture that i still remember.

"So, what's going on?" Twilight asked me.

"Starswirl's lecturing me on the spell that I used. I suppose you're too busy observing to ask many questions. But I lived this long by casting immortalsu, a spell only I know that nopony in Equestria should ever use. I live forever now." Starswirl soon left after my explanation and the room began to light up from my preparations of my spell.

I casted the time travel spell once more, returning us to the present through a smaller, unseen portal.

We appeared back in my library, it unchanged by anything. Twilight landed on her hooves just fine this time.

"Then why live out here?" Twilight questioned.

"It'd be suspicious if a pony lived in towns for much longer than the lifespan of a normal pony. I've also donated some spells to Equestria, particularly into your castle library. There is a spell to gain temporary wings in their now. That is a duplicate of my scroll, it has my signature on it. I live in seclusion because I choose to and I must. Now, Twilight, please see yourself out, I have a journey to make soon."

"You don't have to live in seclusion, you can find friends who can live as long as you." Twilight began to argue.

I grabbed a book of empty parchment off a separate shelf next to my desk.

"I said I have a journey to do, leave me to my research." I levitated the book into saddle pack that held my cutie mark on it. I then levitated it onto my back before floating some scrolls from my library into it.

"I have friends and I'm going to outlive them. Just because you're immortal, you don't have to give up friends." Twilight kept going, holding a firm position.

"All my 'friends' died out forty-eight thousand moons ago. Starswirl wouldn't even speak today, even if he was recently brought back nopony knows where he went to now. Now you're forcing me to evict you from my home." My horn lit up brightly with grey and I teleported both of us together into her castle, where the rest of the six were with Spike. I had casted an invisibility spell and made myself almost completely undetectable. I had also casted a spell to make myself silent save to Twilight.

"Hey, I'm not done talking to you! You can't just teleport me back here!" She yelled at me, hooves spread out in anger with her teeth showing.

"Well, I am. Now I need to go do some studying." I teleported out of the castle, seeing her friends stare upon her oddly.

I appeared in the center of the Crystal Empire, right next to the Crystal Heart. Guards stood at the doors that lead into the castle. I still kept an illusory spell active so they couldn't see my magic, I now had to let it down to free up some concentration to study this amazing artifact before me. I remained invisible and silent to all ponies around me, I made all my materials the same, only my eyes could see them.

I levitated a quill, an ink pot, and the book out of my pack and held them in front of me, my grey magic aura levitating them hard to see for the guards in the first place. I stared at the floating Crystal Heart before me. I reached a hoof out at it and poked it, feeling a magic aura emanate from it. It was indeed a strong artifact and I could feel the magic when I got close to it. I began to write down that observation as I attempted to grip the Heart with my magic and move it, finding it to refuse movement other than it's own rhythmic beating. I wrote down again.

I looked about me and saw the guards had yet to move. I trotted around the heart, thinking of what spell I'd want to cast on it first. I shot a bolt of offensive magic at it, just to see that it was absorbed and neutralized. Another observation to write down.

I had looked here from my home and saw that Flurry Heart had broken the Heart with a loud scream filled with magic, but my magic was to no avail. The Crystal Heart must had been overwhelmed by the amount of magic or specifically just Alicorn magic. I couldn't cripple any current alicorn's magic to craft a spell that can temporarily gift it to me. Equestria would have an uproar and surely notice. I moved really close to it and examined the material of the Crystal Heart myself, finding a very sharp reflection of myself in it. It was cut from the finest crystals of the Empire. I began to analyze it with my magic, trying to see how it was made or how it came to be. I definitely sensed that it was just a very fancy looking artifact made of crystal, but some powerful unicorn or alicorn had gifted it with almost unrivaled magical powers, making it almost indestructible and able to absorb magic to protect the Crystal Empire.

And then genius struck me. I could make my own. I put my book and other utensils back into my pack safely. I then teleported to the royal crystal mines, where ponies worked hard. I stopped keeping my invisibility and silence spell up and ponies soon noticed me, not caring too much that I appeared, but surely alarmed by my sudden presence. My horn soon lit up bright, a large flaring ball of grey magic at it's tip, I was only slightly straining myself. I casted the largest teleportation spell I had to date and all the workers suddenly disappeared in magic bubbles, reappearing right around the Crystal Heart in one group.

I charged up a large levitation spell and I held every pickaxe and mining tool in my magic. I smiled, giddy to get this experimentation under way. I sent every pickaxe I held to chip at the rocks, the progress being made much faster than all the workers in the mine together would have been able to do. Every drill was shattering and traveling through the hard rock and every shard of debris and rock was levitated out, I was expending a lot of magic as I worked, not once sending a tool through crystal. I was uncovering much of the precious gem.

Several minutes passed until I felt a magical presence in the mine. It radiated from one of the many giant tunnels and rooms I had dug out. I dropped all the tools and took off galloping down the specific tunnel, passing by many crystals of different colors and brilliance. It was a while until I reached the source of it.

I saw a crystal cluster the size of a wagon, the magic coming from it. I trotted up to it, observed it closely, and found it to be made of the exact same crystal as the Crystal Heart. I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought it was just the most beautiful crystals that had been enchanted, but it had actually come from this particular cluster and then improved upon. I took my book out and quickly wrote this finding in it, putting it away once more. I would create my own Crystal Heart.

A flash of light blue came from behind me, followed by magic residue in the air. I turned around and looked at the pony behind me: pink furred, large horn, pearlescent wings, a small gold crown adorned with matching shoes, a cutie mark of the Crystal Heart, and a mane and tail of pink, purple, and yellow streaks. This is Cadence, Princess of the Love and the Crystal Empire.

"I heard the miners mysteriously teleported out of the mine and to my castle. I never expected a single pony to be responsible." Cadance spoke calmly, imposing that I identify myself.

I turned around, my horn quickly catching her attention. I couldn't blame anyone for staring at it, it was larger than Celestia's.

"I only had to take things into my own hooves. I mean no harm to you or your people. I'm almost done and then I'll be out of your mane." I spoke in my normal gruff voice. I could feel some tension in the air.

"I suppose that meant you wanted to mine extremely fast. I am relieved you left the crystals alone, but who are you? I've never seen a unicorn quite like you." She inquired the one question everypony wanted to know.

"I'm Shadow Aura, but my life won't matter to you soon enough." I began to cast the massive teleportation spell yet again, a large magic ball gathering at my horn. I gritted my teeth, a lot of my magic was already expended today.

The miners soon appeared all in the room we were in, every last one appeared in a grey flash.

"Unharmed like I said. I need to go home now, I have a lot of rest to get." I began to cast a smaller teleportation spell for me and the crystal cluster, but I felt a magical interference and looked to Cadance. Her horn was glowing light blue and she was stopping my spell. I canceled my casting because of my little magic left.

"Please, just let me leave. I want to go sleep in my bed." I sighed out, my ragged mane flopping.

"Please, Shadow Aura, tell me why you came here to do this." She said calmly, a concerned look on her face.

"I'm studying the Crystal Heart and I want to try making one of my own. I'm of no threat, I've given Equestria spells in my seclusion. Let me free please." I was at the end of my rope.

"Make a Crystal Heart of your own?" She inquired, confused.

"The tests I want to run could possibly harm the Heart, so I wish to make one of my own so yours would remain untouched." I responded.

"That's understandable and I don't believe even you could succeed. Please stay here without trouble until Princess Celestia arrives. I think she would want to see you." Cadance looked to one of the bystanders and nodded. The miner took off, galloping as fast as he could.

"No! I mean no, please. I can't talk to Celestia. She mustn't know of my existence." I panicked at her words. Celestia would most certainly be able to detect my unnatural form if she hasn't been told by Twilight already. She would certainly force me to do things I didn't intend to in my life.

"What's so bad about Celestia? And what are these spells you've created?" Cadance wanted more and more answers about my personal life.

"Celestia would force me into living a different way that I do not wish to. If I show you two of my most recent spells, may I go? You will not be disappointed." I wasn't going to give her too much information and I needed to distract her questions to a different conversation line.

"What spells are they?" I had definitely gotten her interest.

"I can show you now, just bring me a seed. If I do show you...promise me to lend me some of your magic so I can travel home."

"Maybe, show me them first, Shadow Aura." She responded, very intrigued. She looked to another miner,"Please go send for a seed, it is your choice to what seed." She commanded in the nicest of voices that surely wasn't being shared with me at the time. Her actual voice was as soft as ponies I overheard said during my travels for knowledge.

"I will show you one of them. the seed is needed for the other." I looked to one of the earth pony miners and pointed my hoof at him,"I need you to stand in front of me, please. I won't harm you." He looked at Cadance for guidance and she just offered a warm smile and a nod.

He slowly trotted over, meek and afraid.

"Stand still and relax your muscles." I spoke and my horn began to light up brightly, a grey color shining over the entire room. I shot a magic beam at his side and held it for a few seconds, casting the wing spell I made. After I casted it, I lowered my head, panting. I lifted my eyes to look at him.

Wings began to poke out his sides and grow to the length of an adult pegasus.

"Another pony is capable of taking them away. You'll have them until they are taken away. Be careful using them in a magic dense area or they may shrink away." I explained, sitting down on my haunches to relax some. doing a spell like that always required a lot of my magic. I had just enough to show the other spell. the miner that was sent for a seed had returned, holding a tomato seed in his mouth gently.

"That was...very impressive. I've never seen a spell like that. Is he just like a pegasus?" Cadance began to ask as the earth pony with wings now looked at his wings, moving them.

"He can fly, but he cannot control weather. He still has that special touch when it comes to growing plants." I explained and looked over to the pony with the seed, "please place the seed next to our new half pegasus." The pony did exactly what I asked, giddy for my next spell.

"Cadance, please consider lending me magic so I can leave, this is the rest of the magic I have left." I charged my horn up to be a bright grey once more.

A sheen of grey covered the entire room and everypony in it. I was gritting my teeth as magic formed at the tip of my horn in a ball. I soon shot it at the seed.

"Aaaaaagh!" I yelled out in pain, I was forcing so much of my magic to come out and it caused pain. Nopony was ever meant to completely use up there magic. My face was twisted into an expression of pain.

The seed cracked and a stem grew from it. the stem soon grew out and split, creating the vine like structure that tomatoes would soon grow from. After the plant covered the floor and walls of the entire room, it budded and tomatoes sprouted from each, growing easily to the size of a pony's head. I stopped the spell and faltered, falling to lay on my side. The plant was not under anypony's hooves.

"Are you okay, Shadow Aura?!" Cadance worried from the spell I had cast.

"J-just...exhausted." I was panting and out of magic to use.

"I think you've earned it. You've supplied the Crystal Empire with food for its poor families. these tomatoes will last for a while. You've done things thought impossible. You've grown food without water or fertile soil and given a pony pegasus wings almost permanently." She spoke kindly of me, her voice directed in a warm tone to me. She lit her horn up and shot a large beam of magic into my horn. I could feel myself getting some magic to use.

"I thank you, Princess Cadance. If you should keep me secret, I am at your aid if you find me in my seclusion." I stood and nodded with a smile.

I was hoping I would never have to be held to my word. I charged my horn and prepared a teleportation spell. I casted it on my and the crystal cluster behind me, sending myself and it into my library. The sun still shone in the sky and my clocks told me it was the afternoon. I casted a ward and alarm spell over my house, renewing the spell I had and trotted out of the library and down the living wing to my room. I levitated my saddle bag all the way back into the library before I climbed on top of my bed and closed my eyes.

"Twilight, are you sure this is the place? This doesn't look like where a pony would be in seclusion." I heard a smooth and mother-like voice come from my foyer, "and it seems a bit rude to enter without permission."

I dragged myself out of my bed and trotted to my foyer, opening the door with my hoof and froze, mouth agape.

"Hello! I thought that since you are immortal that maybe you know Celestia-" Twilight began in a peppy voice.

"No, go away. I don't want to talk to you or her." I stepped away and laid my hoof on the door to close it.

"Shadow Aura...is that really you?" Celestia said, leaning her head closer to look at me and more specifically my cutie mark. She smiled at the black mist surrounding a grey horn.

"NO!" I shouted and turned back, letting off a teleportation spell, moving Celestia and Twilight far, far off into the Gauntlet of Fire's very center. I closed the door afterwards and trotted back to my bedroom, climbing in and closing my eyes, sleep slowly coming to me.


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I awoke in the morning, finding my ward spell to still be up and my alarm untouched. I climbed out of bed and quickly galloped into the library, I forgot all about Celestia, Cadance, and Twilight because of my new discoveries and experiment.

I used my magic to cut out a crystal from the cluster in the exact shape of the Crystal Heart and analyzed the rock further, finding it to be from when Equestria was suspected to be created as I let my magic roam free all over the rock. I had already begun to write down observations in my book and decided that I could find out more if I made it the real deal. I began to pour my magic into it to enchant the object. I would permanently give some of my magic reserves to it, but I could study it further. I enchanted the object to make it able to absorb magic that comes in contact with it, the same I observed from the real Crystal Heart. I then picked the mock Crystal Heart up in my magic and knew it would take the mysterious magic behind friendship and love to become as strong at the original Heart. I teleported away, using an invisibility spell on myself and the heart. I reappeared in the throne room of the Crystal Empire, behind the throne, my magic completely silent and unable to be viewed. I casted a silence spell and trotted out from behind the throne, finding Cadence upon it with Shining Armor. I casted a telepathy spell and sent my voice into Cadence's head even though she couldn't respond. Nopony was in her court.

"This is Shadow Aura, I need to speak to you, get to a room by yourself so we can talk."

Cadence shook her head, perturbed by what I had just done. She sat on the throne, pondering what had just happened before she stood.

"I'm going to close court early today." She announced, a lot of the guards in the room filed out, leaving two guards and shining Armor in the room.

"But why close when there's still hours left, honey?" Shining Armor looked to Cadence and questioned.

"Nopony has come yet and I want to spend time with our beautiful daughter, dearest. I need to attend to one thing first. could you go down to her nursery and wait for me, Shining?" Cadence looked to him with a warm smile that quickly spread to Shining Armor.

"Of course, how could I refuse?" He left the throne room smiling, Cadence doing the same.

I followed behind Cadence and Shining Armor until the two separated, Cadence headed off into a private bathroom and I followed her into it. I revealed and unsilenced myself.

"Shadow Aura, I don't have much trust in you after what you did, but I am willing to hear you out." She spoke and turned behind to me.

"I'm creating that test copy of the Crystal Heart, but I need to imbue it with friendship and love, so-" I was cut off during my talk, my voice was rapid and it was obvious I was enjoying what I was doing.

"And you need our help. What is it you need?" Cadance asked. Her voice wasn't soft, her face didn't have a warm smile.

"I was hoping I could keep it where the real one is so it can absorb the odd kind of magic that we call friendship and love, but if I could just house it here, it would be nice. If I can properly make a Crystal Heart, I can bring better defenses to all of Equestria and I can even do more by discovering how a Crystal Heart is made and using the properties of such to further my research and develop new spells, new items to improve lives and I would be able to go-" I was cutoff again.

"Okay, okay, Shadow Aura. I see you're excited about this and really want it to be a success. I don't think I can put the Heart where the original is, but I can put it somewhere else if you have something in mind." Cadance finally reached that one voice of hers and smiled brightly. She knew research and magic development was my passion.

"Could you keep it in Flurry Heart's crib? I can cast a spell to make it undetectable to all except you and me. It'd absorb quite a lot being there." I chose this time to reveal the heart, still holding it in my magic. It was still absorbing the magic energy from my levitation spell and that made it hard to hold up.

"I don't know, Shadow Aura." Cadance was very undecided about this affair.

"Please, please. I really would like to get this done." I slowly laid the heart upon the floor.

"Okay, we'll try it out." She agreed, sighing out.

"I know Shining Armor is down there currently, but I can still do this. It's better if he also knew as well. I don't think he'll disagree when he hears about what this could do. He should also know who I am if you have yet to tell him." I spoke, concealing the Heart as she lead the way out of the bathroom with me in tow behind her. The Heart was draining a lot of my magic from both spells.

The walk there was silent with every guard glancing my way, staring at the large catalyst perched on my head. It wasn't too far to the nursery, only down a flight of stairs and through two corridors. Upon arrival, Shining Armor looked to me, mouth agape.

"W-who is this?" He quickly questioned. There was a tone of caution in his voice.

"This is-" Cadance began.

"Sorry, I enjoy introducing myself, Cadance. I am Shadow Aura, a master wizard, a magic researcher, and an acquaintance of Cadence's. You most likely won't see me often or participate in activities with me. I'll let Cadence explain why I am here." I spoke quickly, remaining completely silent afterwards.

"Shining, he's a friend. Do you remember the new Pegasus that showed up on the mining team or the tomatoes that fed the poor?" Cadence seemed to really be putting out for me. I guess she sees some good in me.

"Yes, it's a miracle that we got some pony to replace our old worker on the team and that the crops produced good yield." He responded, intrigued and confused by her question. Cadence trotted closer and put her hoof around him, pointing at me then. I smiled when Shining casted his gaze over me.

"That's not what happened. He grew those tomatoes in the mines, right from a single seed without dirt or water. He made one of the earth ponies on the mining team sprout wings. He did this with pure magic. He's a good pony." Her voice sounded like a plea.

"Then I sincerely thank you, Shadow Aura. The Crystal Empire has benefited from your deeds." He nodded his head.

"He wants to now put a second Crystal Heart here, to make it as strong or at least somewhat powerful as the one that is already here. He needs to keep it with Flurry Heart." Cadence finished her piece and then Shining looked me dead in the eye with the most serious face a father could have. I didn't falter, I dealt with abominations of magic scarier than Ursa majors and more threatening than a group of hydras.

"And why does it have to be with my daughter?" Shining asked and Cadence was about to pip up.

"Because, there is an unknown magic in Friendship and Love that nopony truly understands. I aim to understand it and I assumed the love surrounding Flurry Heart would be of assistance. This heart, " I revealed the close mock of the artifact, gently setting it upon the floor, "is incomplete. It lacks the magic of love. Just imagine all the spells that could come from this. I could create hearts all around Equestria, to protect all of its towns and cities. I could make stronger spells to inspire love and friendship or incorporate those elements into my own magic and do even better!" Shining Armor most certainly saw the giddiness in my face and posture during my fast spoken speech.

"Your intentions seem genuine. I think we can adhere. And if Cadence trusts you, that's enough for me," Shining calmed down some at this, "but don't try anything." He tried to sting me with his words.

"I suppose this means you have free reign of the Palace now, Aura. Feel free to visit anytime. You're a friend here now." Cadence chirped.

"I must be going now. The heart has drained so much of my magic while I kept it levitated. It can absorb all kinds of magic, Shining. So already it's a shield around your daughter." I picked the heart up from the ground and laid it to the back of Flurry Hearts mobile crib, using more magic to stretch the Crystal from around the crib to wrap it in a plus cage like container, holding it. I breathed out heavily, my magic exhausted.

"When can we expect you to take it back?" Shining Armor inquired.

"It'll be gone in about a month and I'll check up on it monthly. I'll move it to Twilight's castle next, to absorb the magic of friendship." I began to charge a powerful teleportation spell to land me back at my home.

"It was interesting meeting you, Shadow Aura." Shining armor said with some amount of friendliness.

"I hope to see you soon, Aura." Cadence waved goodbye to me.

"Until next time." I teleported away with those words and landed outside my house, finding a Twilight unable to enter my home due to my ward.

"Shadow Aura, where were you?" I knew a barrage of questions were coming.

"Doing field research." Vague answers would help.

"On what?"

"None of your business."

"Could you at least please come with me and give friendship a chance? That's all I'm asking for now. "

"Twilight, I'm not a pony for friends. I'm too busy with my duties and I still need to attend to some things."

"Then just take a break for the rest of the day and come with me." I sighed at her words before an idea struck me.

"If I go with you for just today, can you promise to leave me alone?"

"I can't, but-" I cut her off.

"How about if I give you Star Swirl's time travel spell?" I smirked.

"But the Royal Canterlot Library has it." She responded like an automated contraption.

"No, they don't. It was taken during your spattle with Starlight Glimmer. I had to preserve the writing for when I had a chance to duplicate it. I may even be able to teach it to you if you show you have the magical prowess." I caught myself before I got too excited about teaching great magic to another.

She stood silent for quite a while, mulling her thoughts over and over again.

"You have a deal." She said and smiled.

"Then we shall go at once." I charged a teleportation spell once more and transported us into Twilight's castle foyer.

"I hope you at least have some interesting activities planned." I grimly said.

"Oh, I think I do." She pipped and trotted out of the castle doors, "come on!" I followed after her at a fast pace with none of the cheer she had.

"So, I had heard you contacted Cadence." She decided small talk would fill the silence as we went. She was heading to the outskirts of Ponyville.

"I have. She's told you and the other princesses about it, hasn't she?"

"Yes, she has. I had no idea your field research was involving an imitation of the Crystal Heart!" She was already getting excited at what I planned to do. From the apple trees and dirt path we now trotted upon, I now knew we were headed to Sweet Apple Acres.

"Then I suppose you now know I was serious when I said I have donated many great things to Equestria. And the goal of this research is to not make an imitation, but to make another Crystal Heart and show that it is not a one of a kind artifact. I suppose Cadence has told you that it will be moved to your castle next."

"Yes, I'm so excited to see it!" She pipped up and I sighed.

I wanted it to be moved their so the genuine friendship of Ponyville would be absorbed, not the result from forced interactions. We arrived at the farm house and barn of Sweet Apple Acres soon after I finished my thought.

"Let's get this over with." I sighed out, dreading this deal a little bit more.

"Oh, it won't be that bad." She raised her front right hoof to knock at the door.

Before she made a sound, a cream coated red maned filly bolted out from the farm house, bowled her over, and stood in front of me.

"Your horn! It's so big! Bigger than Celestia's!" She squealed in a thick country accent.

"Yes. I suppose you are the little one Applebloom."

"I'm anything but little! I got my cutie mark!" She turned to the left some to show off the pink and purple shield that held an apple.

"I see." Twilight had just dusted herself off and came over at my two words.

"Applebloom, where is your sister?" Twilight questioned.

"She's out feeding the pigs. So, what's yer name, mister?" This foal was fixated solely on my forehead catalyst.

"I'm Shadow Aura."

Twilight decided to leave me to the frivolities of thus foal. She was most likely off to retrieve Applejack.

"And why is your horn so big? Are you really good at magic?" I stood in pride at these words. Magic is my life after all.


"Can you show me?" I smiled, eager to show off my skills.

"I guess I'll show you a few tricks."

I charged my horn up and shot a stream of magic at her house, the front of it slowly changing to be a younger wood, a vibrant brown with a hint of a polish, the cracked boards fused back together. The change slowly went over her house and seemed as if I was making time itself reverse.

"Wow! That's amazing!" She squealed with delight.

"I always enjoy using my magic like this." I smiled, watching Twilight return with Applejack in tow.

"What in tarnation did you do to my family's house?!" Applejack sounded a bit ticked during her gallop to the front of it.

"Shadow Aura, this is…is impressive." Twilight trotted to my side, speaking quietly as she was still coming to terms with the new Apple family house. I held my head high at her praise.

"Applejack, I simply turned back time on the house, returning it to it's former state when it was just finished being built. Magic should be used to improve the lives of others."

I knew Applejack was still shaky on the grounds of magic, given it did cause them many issues.

"Still! Don't just go using it on others property!" Applejack steamed into my face.

"I always envisioned this. Please, Applejack. Let's start off on the right hoof."

"You are Twilight's newest friend and the cutie map is the reason why you stand here today, but I'm still gonna need time to warm up to ya," She calmed down some, stepping back away from me, " I'm sorry that I sorta got on yer case too quick."

"Don't fret about it. I hope Twilight filled in details."

"She covered all this magic stuff you can do," she leaned in close to my ear so Applebloom wouldn't overhear, "and yer immortal."

"Yes, but while I'm most likely the best at magic alive today, I spent my times watching the events of Equestria unfold around you and your friends. I know much about you, your travels, your adventures, your happy times, and your sad times."

"That's uhhh…a bit weird." Applejack seemed unnerved.

"Hopefully you two will get along well. We're off to Fluttershy's now." Twilight began to trot off with me soon in tow.

"Take care you two!" Applejack waved at us.

"Come by and show me more of yer magic sometime!" Applebloom yelled after us.

"See, now having friends isn't so bad." Twilight began talk once we were much farther down the path.

"It's enjoyable, but not a second passed that I remembered, I'll outlive them all." I quickly deadened the mood she had.

"Well, I'll take you to someone who does have someone immortal as a friend." She smirked.

"So now we go to see Fluttershy. Hopefully I'll meet Discord as well."

"So now someone interests you?" Twilight looked to me. We were now walking the streets of Ponyville again.

I levitated a rock in front of us as we walked, putting the smoothest side to our faces. I took a metal chisel and hammer from a hardware store as we went.

"What are you doing?" Twilight asked.

I responded with silence and began to chisel a symbol that showed off flawless curves on the outside that knotted around and through each other in sharp straight lines in the center. It resembled of Discord's face, but only for those with a trained eye and superior knowledge of runes.

"Oh! A rune! That was one of the first things I read about. I heard they were expensive to buy, but they could give a pony without a horn the ability to use a certain spell with limited uses. Buuut, I haven't seen that symbol." Twilight went on a tangent that left me with a smile.

"It makes me happy to know that ponies haven't forgotten the ancient unicorn runes that were made to trade between races just before they all got hostile to each other. I know of three rune shops left in Equestria. One sells in Canterlot, a shop in Manehattan sells fake ones as souvenirs, but they could become real runes quickly. And then there used to be a great rune shop that ran out of the Crystal Empire's royal library, but nobody there contains the proper knowledge."

"I have to go to the shop in Canterlot sometime then!" Twilight perked again.

"But this rune is special. There are the basic runes that were imbued with magic to give access to certain spells. Then there were advanced runes to give access to fields of magic while the amount of magic in the rune lasted, the fields being defensive, offensive, or utility spells. Then there were the ultimate runes. Starswirl and I had made two of them, we named these types of runes ourselves."

"I've never heard of ultimate runes. They do sound really powerful." We were now on another long dirt path, this one was out to Fluttershy's cottage.

"Starswirl had made one that allowed access to all pony magic, which could be used to cast any kind of pony made spell, be it alicorn or unicorn as long as it held enough magic. I could recreate that rune."

"Wow." Twilight was taken back from this new teaching.

"I was able take the magic of Chrysalis with my wits and imbue it into a rune. I could encapsulate ponies in cocoons or I could change into a changeling or any other pony. I could wither away the land rapidly or create the same material found at the changeling's hive. It was an ultimate rune."

"Do you still have it?!"

"I know where it lies. Locked. With many warning signs. With many defenses. With many traps. With no ponies near it. I want it to stay that way."

"But what about that rune?" Twilight asked.

"This is the ancient unicorn sign for Chaos. I hope that Discord will be able to imbue it for me. I want to research his magic as well. And Sombra's, if he still lives."

"You have to let me see it after you finish with it! And I think Sombra is...dead."

"Earn my trust first, then we will talk about it. I have felt some kind of dark magic around me as I've researched the Frozen North's weather patterns, he may yet be alive." I silenced myself as we arrived at Fluttershy's door. I placed the dead rune inside my saddlebag.

Twilight knocked on the door and an eep of surprise followed.

"Twilight? What brings you and…" Fluttershy's eyes were immediately drawn to my horn when she saw it. I was getting quite used to this reaction.

"Shadow Aura, nice to meet you." I responded, giving a half-hearted smile.

"He's my newest friend, he doesn't have-." Twilight was cut short.

I felt magic behind me.

"Wait! Shadow Aura?!" A deep and sand paper like voice spoke behind me. I soon felt an arm over my shoulder.

"Oh my, Shadow Aura! Celestia talked about you a lot back in the day! I kbow we're going to be the best of friends already." Discord had that tone laced with snake fangs as I had heard he did. I teleported inside the cottage.

"Discord…I've actually wanted to see you with my own eyes. You are definitely an interesting creature.

"I'm flattered. Twilight you really do know how to pick your friends!" He elbowed her shoulder, "So, what is this immortal business I heard about."

"Fine then, we'll get this out of the way," I sighed out and turned toward Fluttershy, "Fluttershy, Discord and Twilight already know this, but I come from a distant place, from far back in time. I no longer count my birthdays as important, but I am around 50,000 moons old. I have greater magic than anypony in Equestria, excluding Discord. I think we are on equal ground. I had casted a spell when I was much younger and I gave myself the gift of immortality, this spell is not written down anywhere as it is forbidden and will stay my secret."

"Um…that's quite…a story." Fluttershy pipped out.

"And you, I swear if you ever go to Celestia, I'll enchant her royal adornments to be anti-Discord." I glared at the draconequis.

"She's no fun anyways. But since I've finally met you and you seem fun already," Discord quickly cheered the mood up and teleported inside, hugging me, "we'll be best immortal buddies!" I teleported outside of his arms.

"So, Twilight, would you like to come in and have some tea with us?" Fluttershy asked.

"I suppose I could stay a while." She trotted on in.

After some more brewing, we were all sitting down about the living room, scattered and comfortable. Discord laidback in a recliner he summoned with the logo 'Eaz-E-Nap' on the side, Twilight and Fluttershy sat on the couch while I took a beanbag chair. I sipped at my tea every now and then, an activity that I hadn't participated in many years.

"Wait, he's making another Crystal Heart?!" Fluttershy beamed and smiled to me.

"Yep, I found the original crystal hunk it was chiseled from. I guess while I zoned into my tea, Twilight was explaining my research."

"Shadow Aura…I guess you really must be just as if not more knowledgeable in magic. Why do you even do all this?" Discord chimed in. This seemed like an odd behavior for him.

"It's my passion, why I still live today, and my part to help Equestria."

"Then why do you live in seclusion?" Fluttershy asked a third question in the series.

"So that other ponies don't interrupt my research and I enjoy the quiet open area to conduct experiments and to test new spells."

"Then how are you helping Equestria?" A fifth.

"The research I do and the spells I create get snuck into books and scrolls in the Canterlot Royal Library, the Crystal Empire's legendary library, and Twilight's library inside the castle. They end up there only if I deem them safe for ponies to know." I smiled and sipped at my tea.

"It's true. There have been a few times where I find a book or spell that wasn't in the archive. It contains his name and cutie mark stamped upon it." Twilight began to get giddy.

I soon zoned back out of the convo and into my tea, my thoughts elsewhere.

"Ah, well Fluttershy, I do believe I must be going now." Discord stretched and snapped his fingers, his tea cup disappeared along with his recliner and he was left sitting on nothing.

"Same time next week?" Fluttershy asked.

"Of course! Toodles!"

"Wait! Discord, I have a favor to ask." I stopped his fingers where they were.

"Annnnd?" He smiled to me a bit mischievously.

"I was hoping I could get you to put some of your magic into this. I want to research it's nature." I brought the rune out of my saddlebag that laid on the floor next to me.

"Oh, it has been a while since I've seen this symbol! You weren't lying when you said you were immortal, only Starswirl or Celestia could remember what this is!" He chipped and I winced.

"So, how about it?" I asked again.

"Mmmm, under one condition. If you make a book on it and decide to put it out into Equestria, I get to name it." He smiled.

The room went silent for a couple moments with all eyes on me.

"In the name of research and knowledge, yes." Discord then grabbed the rune from my levitation and pressed his finger to it.

The entire room lit up yellow as the rune and Discord's finger radiated light. I could feel the raw magic being poured into the rune and soon Discord breathed out, panting.

"Thank you, Discord." I nodded to him and put the filled rune into my saddlebag.

"You…you enchant well, even for your background." Discord was quite visibly tired.

"Thank you. I can't wait to work on this, send Twilight a letter to send to me so I can get tips on how to use your magic, basics and advanced." I was smiling, giddy.

"You'll get it sometime after…a long nap." Discord snapped his fingers, disappearing in a tuft of clouds.

"That was eventful…" Fluttershy commented.

"I agree. So Shadow, why haven't you talked much besides just then? You seem bothered." Twilight looked to me.

"No hiding from you, huh?" I laughed a little.

"Twilight's gotten a sense for this kind of stuff." Fluttershy added.

"Well," I sighed, "I used to drink tea while I discussed notes, magic, research, and life with some fellow scholars. This reminded me of them." I had a face void of emotion.

"Oh, I'm sorry that I…um…-" Fluttershy couldn't find words.

"It's fine, Fluttershy. I haven't had tea in a millenia and you brew it quite well." I smiled.

"Do you mean Starswirl and Dingy Coat?" Twilight asked.

"As a fellow scholar, yes. I suppose Celestia told you that." I sighed, I really wanted Celestia to stop speaking about me. I kept Dingy Coat out of my stories so my life would more private and I would be found as disinteresting.

"She did and-" I quickly interrupted.

"Do not read anymore of her letters about me once you find out it is about me. I will share my life with you as I wish to. Some things are better left to be told straight from me. Also, tell her that I will address her on my own time." I spoke quickly and in a very firm tone as I stood.

"O…kay…" Twilight was frightened by my sudden change in tone.

I slowly trotted out of the cottage, levitating my saddlebag on and washing ny teacup on the way out, Twilight in hoof behind me.

"Where to next?" I asked, calm once more.

"Rarity's. She might help you get that mane in check." Twilight laughed half-heartedly.

"I personally prefer my rugged but kempt style. Buuut a new lab coat would be nice for when I work with reagents again." I smiled to her as we reentered Ponyville.

"You should mention the Crystal Heart yourself to her."

"Perhaps." We arrived shortly after I finished our conversation. I knew Rarity's home wasn't too far from Fluttershy's, but I didn't think it would take such a short time.

Twilight knocked on the door and it opened promptly.

"Oh hello, Twilight. Who is this? A new friend?" She had a trademark cheeriness just as I had thought she did.

"Shadow?" Twilight posed an inquisitive tone and looked to me.

"Hello, Rarity. I am Shadow Aura. I've heard you are quite the designer when it comes to clothes." I decided I'd go straight to a topic she likes.

"Well, you heard right!" Rarity pipped, "and do come in!" Twilight entered, focusing on Rarity while I entered with a head turning about the room.

It was decorated nicely in a kind of odd Victorian fashion, a design I didn't enjoy myself, yet I knew that it definitely was well done. The ceiling was high up and the molding to the walls looked like an outcropping of perfectly clean white painted wood, a single curve accentuating it. The ceiling held nothing special, a simple white canvas. The walls were painted a rich shade of purple, one that I remember all the mages who flaunted their status used before I casted that spell.

Mannequins dotted the room, some blank, other had simple outfits on them that looked like a bit more high class than a casual wear, but not something you'd wear to a dance. Rarity, of course, kept the best things on small pods of made of the white wood that ran along the bottom of the floor and a hardwood floor of a light shade, I didn't study much carpentry so I didn't know what wood it was or how to even tell it apart from other woods.

"A lab coat, please." I stated. I was still trying to take in the atmosphere of the boutique.

"Shadow Aura, a lab coat, hmm? Definitely not the most simple thing somepony asked me to make for them, but I'll make is the most smashing lab coat you'll ever own!" Rarity definitely knew how to stay chipper.

I trotted over slowly and stood near her as she levitated a tap measure over to me. Twilight waved and went to the door.

"You're leaving me here? That's odd of you." Twilight didn't seem to be one to trust me so well, but her departure seemed like she had something up her sleeve.

"You have a promise to uphold, so I can count on that. And, Rarity won't let you leave until she sees that the lab coat suits you and your wants perfectly! If anyone can be more stubborn than me, it's her when it comes to making an outfit for somepony." She continued on her way out in silence. Rarity remained very absorbed, measuring the lengths of my legs, hooves, and neck.

"So, how would you like this coat done?" She asked in a very opposite tone of what I had heard upon my arrival. She really did take this as serious as I had watched.

"It may look odd, but I'd like it to cover my entire back as well as my front. Lab coats are meant for protection and I still don't know what the future holds for my research."

"Research? I was thinking doctor or something medical, but that sounds exciting. What do you do then?" Rarity had moved to my back upon hearing my request, measuring the curve of my neck, my sides, and my back.

"Mostly magic and spell crafting, but every now and then, it makes me go into alchemy to research properties of new items I have come across. I've done a lot." She knew my number, and she would keep calling it since she knew I would answer every time.

"And what have you done?" She began to measure around my tail and my haunches.

"I mostly make spells that will benefit Equestria and discretely put them in great troves of libraries and spell storages. It's how Celestia seems to find new spells for Twilight to try or the mysterious tomes you've heard about. And I'm working on field research right now, that's how you're getting to talk to me now actually." I decided maybe I would be open and try to make friends.

"And what is that research?" She finished, trotting into her work room. I decided to follow in tow. She began to really put her magic to work and levitate a white fabric out and off a roll, cutting into it and beginning to start many machines as well, stitching together the fabric to start with what seemed to be the sleeves of the coat.

"Well, I came a cross a particular gem in the crystal mines when I had commandeered it for a bit, and it seems to be the gem that the Crystal Heart was originally cut from. With that in mind, I'm currently working to make Equestria an even safe place."

"You simply must let me see that gem!" Rarity beamed, happy, but serious.

"I was actually thinking on it since it is your cutie mark talent. You'd probably be able to tell me a lot by just looking at it without me having to run any tests." I smiled. Twilight may be right about needing to make friends and saying that it wouldn't be a bad thing.

"She's told us all about the...bad blood between you and Celestia. And I'd love to see the gem!" She started her sentence with a sad tone and then chirped up.

I sighed.

"I'll definitely bring some of it by then," her words did strike something, "I suppose I shall see her then."

I quickly teleported away and reformed in front of Canterlot's Castle main doors. The guards immediately pointed their spears at me.

"State your name." One of them spoke, dressed in the normal gold guard armor with a grey coat. They both were stuck staring at my large horn.

"Shadow Aura, I'd like to see Celestia." I stated with an uninterested voice. I hated how these guards were so formal with everything and not more relaxed.

They rose their spears back up and one entered into the castle. He shortly returned.

"Her Highness will see you now." He spoke and opened the large double doors, guiding me into the foyer before opening the doors to the throne room.

"This was an unexpected visit, Aura. Please, come with me." Celestia said and trotted off from her platform and through a door in the throne room that lead to an immediate portal. I followed her through the portal and found myself in her own room, she already took a seat in one of her chairs. I took the one across from her, a table in between us.

"Would you like some tea, Aura?" She was rather calm, even when I made it quite clear that I was nervous about meeting her on my own accord. I always felt like she was a true pretentious being.

"Yes. Are we alone?"

"Indeed we are." Celestia lit up her horn and shortly after, a pony came in, carrying a platter of three teapots, two steaming and the other not. A small bowl of sugar was also present with some spoons and empty cups. Teabags were close to one of the teapots. She quickly set the platter down on the table and left after bowing and sneaking a glance at my horn.

"Anyway, I came to explain myself of course. And be...friendly. It's something Twilight's doing." I spoke, staring at the tea as I opened a teabag packet and laid it in an empty cup. She had an assortment of different teas and me being me, I grabbed a chamomile bag. I poured in hot water from the third teapot and looked up to Celestia.

"I already know from where, or more rather, when you came. But I don't know the details," she smiled warmly at me. I still didn't trust this princess as much as I trust Cadence or would trust Luna. I doubt Luna even knows of me.

"Does Luna know who I am?" I inquired my own thought.

"She does not. I thought you wouldn't come here if you spent so many moons alone. Your visit does make me happy."

"I thought it would. Send for Luna, I wish to explain myself to her as well," at the end of my sentence, Celestia's horn let off a golden aura and Luna soon appeared from a blast of deep blue magic. She stood at the door.

"I came as quickly as I could, sister. What seems to be the emergency of which you spoke?" She trotted over, I could feel her eyes on my large horn, my body and head concealed by the back of the loveseat.

"We have a guest, a very important one."

"I wouldn't say I'm that-," I was quickly hushed when Luna tightly hugged me.

"I'm sorry I couldn't help you more. You're Shadow Aura, aren't you?" I sat silent, patting her back with my hoof.

"Yes, how do you know me?"

"I've been to your dreams many times." She squeezed me tight again before letting me go and sitting next to her sister.

"That makes sense, I just haven't met you outside of my dreams. But when this is all over, can I ask that you come with me back to my home? I wish to study your dream magic."

"I shall accompany you there then."

I picked up my tea and removed the bag, my drink now steeped well. I took a sip from it and memories of Starswirl and Dingy Coat came flooding back.

"Many, many moons ago, before you two were monarchs, maybe even before the knowledge of Discord. I was friends with two scholar unicorns, before the pony races came to hate each other. They were Dingy Coat and Starwirl. Yes, that Starswirl. I think Dingy Coat died and I have no clue what happened to Starswirl, I think he may no longer be living as well."

"I've seen you three in your dreams." Luna commented.

"Continuing, there came a day in which Starswirl recommended I not cast a spell that I had created and I hid away all the notes I had for that spell. The spell made me immortal," I released my sacred info to even them.

"I thought you had just used Starswirl's time travel spell to come here. I had no idea you casted such a powerful spell." Celestia commented.

"Well, now you do know. I spend my days researching and watching history from afar. I've donated many spells to Equestria and volumes of rare knowledge, it's how all the strange new tomes appear in your library."

"Shadow Aura, is it? I must compliment you on your outstanding magical prowess. It must succeed even us and maybe even rival Flurry Heart." Luna smiled.

I sipped from my tea once more.

"My current research required the help of Cadence. I assure you, Equestria will become a more safe land for every town."

"Shadow...in your dreams, you must know that you constantly berate yourself because casting that spell made you lose your greatest friend." Luna stopped my small talk of my research quite quickly.

I sat silent for quite a while before I worked a small nerve up.


"Aura, you must know, that casting a spell like that didn't make you lose your friend, your actions afterwards did. He would have stayed by your side even if he thought of it as a mistake." Celestia was piecing everything together.

"Then why was he so fervent on making sure I didn't cast it?"

"So you wouldn't live life in seclusion and you can still live happily with friends."

I stood, finishing my tea in a gulp. I trotted to the open center of the room.

"I don't know what to think anymore. But I'll try to visit, maybe. Luna, if you would stand next to me," Lna quietly trotted next to me, "until later, Celestia." She waved me goodbye as I casted a teleportation spell over Luna and I, making us appear in my large library where I also conducted magical experiments.

I trotted to the large section that housed all my runes and picked up and empty stone one, chiseling the symbol for dream into it, which often looked like craters of the moon.

"Please, pour your magic into this, Luna. It shall not harm you, but will leave you rather tired." I handed her the rune and she looked up at me before down at it.

Her horn lit up and strands of magic connected from it to the rune. They moved quickly, but gently. Luna soon stopped and handed the rune back to me, swaying slightly.

"I wasn't expecting it to leave me...this exhausted," she commented. I trotted back to my collection and laid the rune next to Discord's.

"I'll take you back to Canterlot and to your bedroom so you can rest. It left Discord just the same. Enchanting is a skill I've become very good at." I moved back to her and laid my frame against her's so she could steady.

"That's a talent that nopony these days seem to have. Well done, Aura. I'd love to talk old magics with you sometime,"

Oh, how I would love to as well.

I casted the teleportation spell over us again, reappearing on her bed, standing atop it.

"Just lay down." Luna was already in the process of doing so before I finished speaking.

"I hope you future brings you more peace, Shadow." Luna said before weakly waving me off.

I waved back and teleported home. I was done for the day.

And I had many things to think about.

Shades of Trees

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The month was passing quickly, all my visits to the Crystal Empire to check up on my project must have made it feel like it was passing so quickly it was already the day I sent for my crystal heart to make the journey to my home, physically. By this time, it would have absorbed too much magic to be able to carry it by magic, and it had to be hidden with only one carrier pony in an anti-magic chamber so no suspicion would be aroused. Of course, it was disguised as a normal suitcase, just a heavy one.

During the month, I hadn't seen any of Twilight's friends. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash didn't really suit me to start with, they were too rowdy almost all the time. And Celestia was still awkward to hang out with and ever since I explained myself, she seemed to be sad around me, her smile not so perfect. I didn't really need friends anyway, just ponies that understood my research required short interactions at times. But, when I did meet the other two of Twilight's friends after she forced me to, they turned out to be exactly what I was thinking. Pinkie was the puff ball that made me try the sweets that I would have regretfully chosen to live forever without trying and she wouldn't stop talking so quickly or enthusiastically. Rainbow was definitely the proud pony I saw, but she seemed to be humbled by my horn. I first found it baffling to have magic stronger than an alicorn of this time, or any pony, even if my horn was insanely not proportional to my head and shined from my perfected magic. That was a thing, many years, as they call it, of doing nothing but practicing magic had polished my horn to a nice shine that it kept on its own. I had actually stopped into Ponyville to test out exactly how strong it was and to see Discord.

"Fluttershy?" I said in a questioning tone, knocking on her door with my right hoof.

"Oh, Shadow Aura! Nice to see you again." She welcomed me inside and I trotted in, standing in the doorway as she closed it.

"Likewise. Where's Discord?" I wanted to go straight to business this time.

"He's running a bit late, I'm sure he can't be much longer. Come, relax." She beckoned me to take a seat in her animal heaven of a living room. I sat in the loveseat that Discord usually occupied all to himself.

"Sounds like him. I must say, these past few weeks have been pleasant, you've been a good friend, so has Rarity." I smiled warmly to her, my voice still rough, but in an odd cheery tone.

The moons had definitely made my voice deeper and gruff and many ponies found it weird that I could still sound happy when my normal tone makes me sound like my own sister had died. Even though I found friends in Fluttershy, Rarity, and Twilight; I still liked my silence and my seclusion, it was my own paradise. I'm sure some of them would maybe want to see how I live and do things, except Twilight, she's already been out to my home.

"Well, I'm glad we could be your friends. Um, if you don't mind me asking, how are you comfortable with everypony staring at you?" She must have wanted advice on how to deal with that kind of attention. She did become more outgoing, but usually pressured events brought that out, things she couldn't run away from.

"I've always been used to the whole horn thing. You have to get accustomed to it or you just don't get anything done. It's a kind of fear you get over."

"Aura, I meant your mane. It's waving." Fluttershy pointed her hoof to me and I got up and trotted over to a window to view my dim reflection in it.

My mane was flowing like she had said, including my tail, which kept my lab coat from covering my flanks. I decided to wear the coat whenever I made a trip somewhere, it started to just feel right to wear at all times. But my tail flowed into two separate wisps, my mane flowing into three separate wisps, but my new waving mane didn't curl at the end like the princesses' did, they simply flapped up and down like a flag would, rippling slowly.

I lit my horn up for a moment, sending a mind message to Twilight. This was a very advanced spell that only Celestia and Luna truly knew how to use, Celestia rarely used it to guide Twilight in the times that she needed to. I only used it when I needed someone urgently or to send information to a colleague, back when I had them.

A flash of purple light soon appeared in the middle of Fluttershy's living room, Twilight standing in the open floor.

"I came as quickly as I could. What's the..." Twilight stopped mid-sentence as she stared at my mane in silence.

"I find it preposterous, considering I barely even understand friendship in Equestria, so I couldn't be turning into an alicorn. I can't run any tests my self, but could you?" I trotted over to twilight in a slow motion, standing right in front of her.

"Shadow Aura...I don't need to. I can feel the magic energy you're putting off and it's intense. It's all kinds of them, too: chaos, changeling, unicorn, alicorn, even windigo. I had no idea you knew how to use windigo magic!"

"Hardly, I could only freeze water with it, not even the vapor in the air or freeze things to the extent that happened in our Hearth'swarming legend." I looked up to my mane. I could barely see it ripple since it flowed behind me instead of having a tuft in front.

"You have to be brimming with magic. I suppose it's because of how well you've mastered so many different magics and studied them." Twilight was the most excited filly in all of Equestria with her wide smile and high pitched voice, "we should tell the princess!"

"I'll do that myself, perhaps after this."

The door to Fluttershy's cottage slung open and slammed against the wall.

"Shadow Aura!" A very angry Celestia stood at the door.

"I have done you ponies no wrong. Why do you use such a tone at me?" I trotted to her with a slight scowl. I didn't enjoy the emotion called anger, but I hated it whenever someone got like this to me.

"Because your research project fell into the wrong hands and now my ponies are stranded in the Frozen North with a broken, flaming, and shredded train with them!"

I dropped my scowl, before getting an actual anger," who. Interrupted. My. Research. Project." I bared my teeth and stared Celestia right in the eyes.

She recoiled back, calming down upon seeing my reaction, maybe even with a hint of fear.

"The ponies reported a black shade attacking the train before crystals tore it apart. It left with your crystal heart, some ponies believed THE Crystal Heart was stolen."

"Sombra! That pile of pony shit is still alive and dares to do that!" I definitely wasn't clam now. I jeopardized Equestria on accident.

My horn lit brightly with a grey glow before I teleported myself to the Crystal Empire, and more precisely, to the throne room. Ponies were arguing and yelling at Cadance and Shining Armor about the Crystal Heart missing. I was not in the mood for their feeble complaints.

"Silence! Shut your stupid foal mouths!" I shrieked and stamped my hooves on the floor while I approached Cadance, walking to face her.

"I thought the Crystal Heart here was protected, how could you let him get it?!"

"Shadow Aura, you must calm down, anger won't solve this." I regretfully allowed her to finish her sentence.

"There is no calming down! Sombra wields immense power with two crystal hearts!"

The ponies uproared again at my words.

"SILENCE!" I yelled again, casting a spell to prevent their mouths from moving from their current positions.

"Why...did you let him do that, you imbeciles!" Cadance recoiled back into her throne chair. I now noticed her horn was glowing a bright pink, keeping a shield up around the Crystal Empire to keep the Frozen North at bay.

"Don't yell at my wife like that." Shining Armor got into my face.

"Don't get up here unless you know your magic can outdo mine, soldier foal."

"What if I think it can?!" Shining still stood up to me.

"I'll do to you what I'm about to do with Sombra."

We both head butted each other.

"Shadow Aura! My, my, I thought I wouldn't see the coolest head in Equestria so hot, but you've got bigger problems, spicy." I heard Discord's voice behind me. I acknowledged him, but did not falter from my piercing gaze into Shining's eyes.

"Discord. What is it you want?"

"There's a new festival in Ponyville to celebrate the renovations to the town, the black crystal spires, the looming shade, the eternal snow. Oh! It's great! I just thought you'd like to come."

"Shining, you're not my problem right now."

I casted a teleportation spell again and removed the paralyzation one on the ponies.

I reappeared in Ponyville's town square and there were black crystals everywhere, heavy snowfall, and a looming black show as Discord said. Twilight gathered the unicorns up and had them blast magic bolts at it, which seemed to not affect the shade at all, even with Luna and Celestia chipping in. Discord appeared and did the same, only hitting the clouds in the distance with his magic, turning them into chocolate milk-raining, cotton candy menaces.

"We need help! And you're the most magic adept in Equestria!" Twilight shouted at me.

I calmed my anger down after a moment, gaining my composure. I would definitely have to apologize to Shing and Cadance after this, if we even survived.

"Everypony, stop shooting your magic at it. It's using a very advanced shield you can't see. The two Crystal Hearts it has is absorbing all the magic you throw at it and making him stronger." They ceased, a voice laughed through the atmosphere.

"Shadow Aura, what is it?" Twilight galloped to me.

"That, that is Sombra reborn after years of hibernation."

"But I thought we destroyed him."

"I saw your victory, his horn survived and he was reborn from it, slowly, but here he is."

"Shadow Aura. Do you have a plan to rid of us this foul evil?" Luna came to me with the rest of Twilight's friends, Celestia, and Discord.

"I do, but it's a long shot."

After I finished my words, a laugh echoed out again in a deep gruff voice, similar to mine except it sounded haunting and not wise at all.

The skeletons of ponies began to come around Ponyville, enclosing the town. Raising the dead is an ancient, forbidden magic that only I and unicorns from my time know of, let alone how to do.

A guard from the Crystal Empire appeared from a flash of pink light.

"Princess Twilight! Princess Luna! Princess Celestia! Princess Cadance has an emergency, the Crystal Empire is being assaulted by the undead. She says they rose from the snow in the Frozen North." He bowed at the end of his report.

"Sombra, he truly he a wicked soul." I commented.

"Tell Cadence that we have the same problem here." Celestia erected a yellow shield from her magic around Ponyville that was quickly shot down by the shade in the sky with a black and purple magic bolt. Celestia quickly teleported the guard back to the Crystal Empire.

"Everypony, comply with me, no matter what."

"Sombra! Come down here and face me. I have a deal for you." Another laugh echoed through the air before the shade rapidly moved to the snowy ground in front of me, forming into the shape of a twisted unicorn, red fur coat, iron armor and crown, red spiked horn, this was the King Sombra and attached to both his sides were the Crystal Hearts.

"A deal? This should be interesting to hear. You ponies were quick to give up. Am I really that unconquerable now to you?" He laughed, his chuckle echoing out.

"Sombra. This is a deal you can't possibly resist."

"All of Equestria for free seems like a good option, all thanks to you." His words stung deep.

"As we both know, you can't take magic from ponies with knowledge of an ancient forbidden magic that I didn't get the chance to study. I'm offering you, all the ponies magic here and princesses in a rune, for you to absorb."

"Ooooo, that does sound tempting, what's the rest of it?" He grinned wickedly.

"A showdown with you, I'll let you absorb both of those hearts. A showdown until one of us is utterly destroyed. Your undead slaves of the past won't interfere, no ponies here will. Just you and me. Magic blasting everywhere. The ultimate magic duel."

He laughed loudly, throwing his head to the sky for a good minute or two. His undead backed off.

"I like you. You have stones, Shadow Aura. Maybe when I defeat you, I'll make you my second in command. But first, have the ponies dump their magic into this rune, I promise no trickery. You have my word as a future tyrant." He grinned with his jagged teeth.

"Shadow Aura, you can't be serious!" Twilight shouted at me.

I teleported one of my empty, uncarved rune stone to me, the biggest I had. I began to carve in a swirl with a cross in it and lightly chiseled in a flower that centered the cross. This was the ancient unicorn symbol for 'gift.'

"I am. Now do it, all ponies here, even you Discord." I floated it to the ground.

There was a minute of silence, a painful long minute of silence, no moving to be done. I could hear the snow falling onto the already thick ice layer under my hooves.

"I trust you Shadow Aura. Equestria is in your hooves." Celestia spoke and poured out all her magic power for a second time.

Unicorns and alicorns could give magic energy or their magic ability. If one were to give away their magic ability, it leaves them crippled and needing assistance permanently, while giving magic energy just left them exhausted until they rested and recovered it naturally.

Celestia fell over onto her side. Luna followed suit with Twilight and Rarity after her. All unicorns did the same and the pegasi and earth ponies came to the aid of their friends, helping them stand and stay warm in the frigid cold. I guess that's friendship. After a few moments, all unicorns were devoid of magic and the rune floated. I teleported it to my home, which Sombra had no idea where it existed.

"Fluttershy, if I lose this duel," I spread my hooves and casted my wing spell, granting myself temporary wings for the battle, "tell him where my home is, he will find the rune there, next to the crystal that created the crystal hearts."


"No arguments." I took the air and Sombra absorbed the crystal hearts into his body, corrupting them with his dark magic before rising up on a tall pillar of pitch black crystal, blacker than what he normally uses.

"Shadow Aura, how brave and honorable of you. I'll make sure you get wrote down in history as my greatest triumph, right next to the dragons." He loved to taunt, though what I saw through my visions said he didn't like to talk much.

"Sombra, way up here, they can't hear us. If I lose this, at least go easy on those who foiled your plans the first time."

"I'll try." He grinned and scoffed.

I breathed out, my horn glowing with a bright grey, my body following suit.

"I am curious, Shadow Aura. Who are you?"

"A legend, more immortal than you, an ancient unicorn who existed before you. I am also the unicorn that's going to tear you limb by limb and make your horn into my trophy."

"Interesting and impressive, but foolish." Sombra lit his horn with the green lightning of his dark magic.

I looked down below, watching all the ponies staring up at us. I guess this proves fate is real and nobody can avoid being a part of history. Also, fate has a really messed up way of making you face your things and giving you your moment in the spotlight. They all counted on my below, and that was a lot of pressure, even for me.

"Buck...you..." I charged my horn quickly, releasing one of my stronger blasts of offense magic. He jumped and glided with black flames burning below his hooves. The black pillar below him was blasted to bits and crystal went flying in the distance.

I flew after him, blasting more and more shots of raw destructive magic at him before realizing this wasn't going to get me anywhere. He casually zipped out of the way. Sombra turned back and fired a large spear like crystal out of his horn and towards me. I blasted it apart with my own magic. I would have to throw new things to him if I wanted to really win this.

My horn lit up a bright green, and evil kind, and I shot a beam down to the ponies, encasing them in the changelings cocoons back when they were all nasty little bugs. Their bodies all quickly went dormant.

"Oh, I'll enjoy destroying you more now. This is Chrysalis' magic, is it not?" I chased after him, shooting more bolts to keep him running.

During the chase, I shot a green beam at the town square, creating changeling eggs and forcing them to hatch as quickly as I could with my magic. The changelings did have a hive mind, and I could feel their thoughts and influence what they were doing. When the bugs crawled out fully grown from a time spell, I sent them to chase down Sombra, flying and trying to assault him with their hooves and magic.

"Ahhhh, now this is a duel." Sombra began to rise crystal spikes from the ground below in an attempt to impale me. I had trained in flying with temporary wings on many occasions and dodging these were easy feats I could pull off. Sombra still kept avoiding the changelings and their magic, regardless of how many bolts they fired. Sombra zipped around me and began to throw bolts of black magic at me along with his spikes, still avoiding my many changelings. I focused on dodging just a little more before I made a wall of destructive magic energy below me, blowing the spikes that came at me apart. I turned about and fired a laser at Sombra, making my grey beam chase him as he flew about. I still wasn't having luck.

Sombra shot his bolts at my changelings, throwing up a black shield in the direction I was facing, taking out my changelings one by one. I threw a large and powerful beam of magic at the shield and it unfortunately held, the corrupted crystal hearts absorbing my magic. Sombra breathed out once before turning to me, he had to have been getting tired, I was.

"This is the most entertainment I've had in years, but I play to win."

Sombra shot a giant beam of black magic at me, too large to escape from. I attempted to teleport, but he had casted a spell to prevent teleportation from happening. I stared at the beam before me, a dim light casted over me.

"I said...Buck. You!" I breathed in a large huff of air before blasting a beam to equal it's size, halting it in its track. I kept pouring more and more energy into the beam, my eyes scanning about me and looking below.

The ponies stared with their mouths agape in the cocoons, in awe of the battle above they were witnessing. This had to be magic unlike of whatever they had experienced let alone saw from Twilight. The only reason why I sealed them inside the fake changeling cocoons is so that the changelings would focus solely on Sombra and not them, believing they were trapped.

I stared back at the beam and began thinking. What if I couldn't win this? What if we ended in a draw? Equestria rests in my hooves as Celestia said. I've seen it rest in the hooves of others countless times, but now it was in mine and it's a feeling nopony could get used to. All the friendship lessons finally made sense, why they were recorded and spread. Even the greatest ponies needed a reminder that anything is possible, nothing is a lost cause, and to keep trying. It sounded stupid and cheesy in my head, but it made perfect sense.

I focused on the duel again and noticed the black beam was almost upon me and that my own magic was shriveling. That's when I felt a kind of power inside me, it was an odd magic, one I never felt before. I put this magic into the beam I was firing and it flew all the way back to Sombra, almost crushing upon him. I summoned up balls of magic energy in the air all over the place and put the same energy into them, shooting them all at him. He brought up his corrupted crystal heart shield, but with each hit from the grey magic bolts, it cracked further and further.

I put one more push into my large beam and a resounding boom cracked over the atmosphere and I stopped sending my beam out, seeing Sombra fall fast to the ground, his weakened body thudding against it. I quickly flew down to him and landed above his head, his wicked gaze shifting to me.

"Impressive. Changeling magic...a unicorn," he scoffed and Equestria began to dim, the sun was partly blotted out from the black shade of Sombra casting over. He lifted himself up, "I'm not losing here." He shot back up into the sky, black crystals forming out of his body in odd protruding spikes. This was his evil magic at its peak.

"How much longer with you keep this charade going?" I blasted changeling magic once more and hatched another brood of the evil bugs to aid me. My creations charged him quickly, pestering him. I flew back up after him, firing beams once more.

This battle must have looked similar to the fight between Twilight and Tirek.

While my beams were constantly shooting out at Sombra, I focused on drawing up magic I haven't used much. I specifically drew upon Discord's presence. I shot a beam of orange from my horn into the ground and large water droplets began to rise up, becoming the opposite of rain.

"Hah! Water? Distractions don't work, foal." Sombra, again, taunted. For a tyrant, he acted like a cliche.

I previously thought my windigo magic wouldn't harm him whatsoever, given he brought the ice and snow from the Frozen North here, he was the curse of it after all; but now I had an idea. I began to freeze the large raindrops that entered the clouds above into ice, making them into spikes. My changelings were able to plan their attacks and avoid the ice as it flew up. I still kept my beams up and I began to pour my magic energy into pockets in the air, sending beams out of them at Sombra. The wicked unicorn stopped again and erected a shield once more. I flew right to him and saw his teeth grinding and gritting against each other. He was pushing himself and he was on his last limb. I shot a normal magic bolt into the ground below and a large structure of wood came up, wrapping around his shield and leaving spaces to view and attack at him. With my changelings and continuous ice spikes wearing down his shield, cracks once again formed. I realized what the loud boom was earlier with the sight of a black crystal heart embedded in the shield. I had destroyed a crystal heart with my own magic and this friendship magic that Twilight talked about. I was about to destroy his second source of power, which was most likely the original crystal heart. I charged my magic into the tip of my giant horn, which was growing out longer and thicker without any pain. A blinding grey light was coming from my horn and a loud boom resounded a few moments that felt like an eon.

"Sombra, you're finished." I spoke just loud enough for him to hear. I sent out a larger beam than before, utterly destroying the wood structure I made that held him in place. My magic disintegrated the land as it traveled, the mountains in the distance losing chunks of land. I knew I had power, but not this much, I had released all the destructive forms of magic I knew into this one feat.

I stopped my beam after a while and found the sun casting light onto the land normally again. On the stump of my leafless tree was Sombra's evil horn, smoking. I flew to it and touched my horn to it, absorbing the dark magic that could rebirth him. I wouldn't let him live again and I knew if I took his spirit in, he couldn't overpower me and my will, I was sure of that. His horn lost it's orange shade and turned to black, shriveling up to a normal unicorn horn with cracks in it.

I stopped my ice spikes from flying, sending a bolt of chaos magic into the ground along with my normal magic, retracting my tree into the ground again. The snow and ice around us was melting quickly. I flew back down and casted Starswirl's time spell, but in an aging form, on my changelings and aged them away to dust in the wind; Equestria had no need for more changelings and they were created with raw magic, no sense of pony of sentient creature in them anyway. I shot changeling magic at the cocoons and had them open up, letting the ponies inside out.

"Everypony, help the unicorns, the princesses, and Discord get their magic back." I banished my wings after saying this. I somehow wasn't tired from what had to be my most extensive use of magic to date.

I stood in silence, the ponies gathering around me as the unicorns reclaimed their magic abilities one at a time, Discord being last.

"Shadow Aura, backwards rain?! I'm impressed! I never thought of something so...chaotic!" Discord cheered.

"And the windigo magic to freeze them into ice spikes, genius!" Twilight commented.

"Whoa, what happened here?" Twilight's new student Starlight Glimmer appeared from a flash of cyan light, along with spike.

"We go to visit the dragons for one moment and suddenly Equestria is in danger and skeletons of ponies circle a frozen Ponyville!" Spike took a deep breath before continuing his half-monologue, "what in Celestia happened here?!"

"Spike, young dragon. Shadow Aura defeated a great foe and took it upon himself to ensure he never harms Equestria again." Celestia turned to him and spoke in a calm voice. That was an impressive feat about her; she stayed calm after every major event.

"Who?" Starlight asked and looked to me, in awe at my still new flowing mane.

"Sombra. It looked like he took in his magic and spirit," Twilight answered and turned to me with her eyes growing a bit bigger, "Shadow Aura, are you feeling okay?"

"Well, I feel the dark magic in me, but I'll get used to that. As for Sombra's spirit, I crushed it with my own will on the way down here, I can't feel him in my mind." I replied and trotted over. And I lied, I could definitely feel Sombra fighting me.

"Oh man! You two should have seen it! It. Was. Awesome!" Rainbow Dash flipped in the air, screaming on the way to us. The rest of Twilight's friends joined us.

"Darling, you were a star up there. I don't think a pony exists that is more adept at magic than you are." Rarity commented and nudged against my side.

"I did feel this magic of friendship you ponies talked about during the fight, I can really believe in it now, but I still don't understand it." I commented.

"We told ya." Applejack chimed in with a knowing smile.

"But I have tragic news. The crystal hearts are destroyed." I spoke in a quieter manner.

Like clockwork, Cadance and Shining Armor appeared from a flash of pink light.

"The snow and ice of the Frozen North is melting at a fast rate and the undead aren't moving anymore. What happened?" She commented, turning her gaze to each of us until it rested on me.

"Shadow Aura, what did you do?" Shining asked.

"I defeated your greatest rival, Cadance, Shining. Sombra is forever dead, destroyed, gone." I looked to both of them and their muzzles stretched to try and support their wide smiles. I lied again. He probably would never affect Equestria again, if I kept him captive.

"That's...great...news." Cadance began to get teary eyed.

"Aura, we're cool now, you're definitely one of us." Shining trotted to me and punched my chest with his hoof.

"But the crystal hearts are destroyed." I whispered in a hushed voice.

"What?!" Shining uproared.

"It was the only way I could dispatch of Sombra safely and protect all of Equestria at the same time. There was much on the line."

"Shining, dear, they're only artifacts, precious, but we don't necessarily need them now. The Crystal Empire is now safe from the curse of the Frozen North and trees and shrubs and plants are returning, don't forget that. Also, Aura can always make a new ones thanks to his research." The dead grass below our hooves was soon visible from all the snow melting. Cadance was still smiling from the earlier good news.

"We still have a lot of work to repair the damage and properly bury the desiccated ponies and return them to their rest." Luna commented.

"I'll leave that to you ponies," I stated, "and I believe I now have the ability to use the magic Sombra could, respectively. Cadance, fear not about the open changeling cocoons, that was my magic to protect the ponies here from the changelings I hatched to attack Sombra."

"Wow. Twilight he outdoes you and I put together." Starlight looked to a scowling Twilight.

"Whatever." She rolled her eyes.

"I am headed to my home now. If any of you would like to visit, you can in small numbers," with my last words of our conservation, I teleported away and into my library of my large home.

I brought a quill and many pieces of parchment to me and began to record the great events of today as a historian would and also from the perspective of a researcher or an observer. I did both, describing chronologically and switching between both of them. I set them down my writing utensils when I felt a magical presence near me. Twilight appeared from a flash of purple light.

"Shadow Aura? Are you-"

"I am here. I was recording today's events as I have for many many many moons."

"Are you sure you're okay? Taking in Sombra seems very risky." She looked to me with big pupils.

"I'm fine, Twilight. I lied back there to make sure nopony would think that Sombra is still alive, but he is in me and I can feel him clawing in my head." I commented, picking my quill and writing back up and resuming my work.

"Aura, you should talk to the princesses or Zecora or someone who is experienced with those things." Twilight voiced more of her concern.

"Twilight, do you know where you went when you were becoming an alicorn?" I asked. I was already working out ways to get rid of Sombra and doom him.

"No, but nopony else was there."

"Wherever you went, I couldn't follow with my spirit spell. Your soul or spirit or whatever you wish to call it must have left Equestria and gone somewhere else." I finished describing all of that which had gone down and set my quill and filled parchment down.

I trotted over to the giant hunk of crystal that could birth crystal hearts freely and charged my horn. I shot a contained beam and began to carve out shapes of more hearts, leaving dozens over the floor with a lot of the crystal still intact.

"That's...interesting. And why make more crystal hearts?" She inquired.

"Better safe than sorry, and these artifacts must be revered by normal pony folk. I must now see Celestia," I charged my horn for a teleportation spell back into Ponyville, "and Twilight."

"Yes, Aura?" She looked up to me just like a foal would when they were on the brink of tears. I guess I did gain a really good friend.

"Tell no one what I told you and you can come use my library and equipment anytime, just notify me of what reagents you use."

"Really?!" She beamed, prancing her hooves up and down.

"Really." I smiled before releasing my spell and appearing in the now wet and melted Ponyville, the Princesses giving a speech.

"And so Equestr-" Celestia stopped speaking when I appeared in front of her in grey light. The ponies suddenly began to cheer loudly.

I gazed over the crowd, seeing all their smiles and hearing all their gratitude and applauds before they started to chant my name.

"Celestia," I turned around to her, "we have something urgent to discuss." I charged another teleportation spell, landing her and me in her throne room. The guards jumped at our sight.

"I'll never get used to that." I heard one of them whisper to the other before I teleported all of them outside the throne room and sealed all the doors shut.

"Shadow Aura, why so sudden?" Celestia asked, worried.

"Firstly, stop giving speeches until you've fully cleaned up a mess. Secondly, I need to ask you something that you might know. Where did you go off to when Twilight was becoming an alicorn? Where you showed her memories?"

Celestia chuckled lightly before smiling, "Shadow Aura," she paused, "that's a place I don't even know the name of and I've never been. But I would suppose it drew me with Twilight because it knew we had a connection and knew that I guided her. Why do you ask?"

"I have a new problem. Sombra is alive, inside me, and I can feel him wanting out. Wherever you went, I couldn't follow with my spirit projection spell. Which means your souls or spirits left Equestria, so I might be able to get Sombra out and destroy him there."

"That is a grave problem. I would suppose the only way to get there would for you to become an alicorn which would probably take a long while to accomplish and even then, you might not become one. The Elements of Harmony took Twilight and I there, go see them and study them, they might have answers." Celestia smirked slightly, but in a knowing way.

"You're up to something, Celestia. We both know you are." I charged a teleportation spell.

"Am I?" She chuckled lightly.

I flashed away and appeared in the gorge outside the cave that lead to the Tree of Harmony I could feel the intense magic coming from the cave. I trotted in and looked heavily out the Elements before I felt a strong magic presence behind me. I couldn't turn my head to face it.

"Hardly like the shade we sat under to take breaks away from libraries, research, experiments, and magic; but it'll do, don't you think?" A familiar, young stallion's voice rang from behind me.

I stood, whatever grip on my head left, but I still couldn't turn around. I was gripped by my emotions now.

A Short Visit

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"Well, say something you old dust pile!" I heard him laugh.

I composed myself and turned around, seeing a blue coated stallion standing with a hat that held bells around its rim and pointed up before flopping back down. He also wore a simple blue cloak that was covered sparsely in stars, as well as his hat. The bells made no ringing as he trotted in.

"Forget my name already? It's only been a few dozen hundred moons. That's rude of you." He smiled at me before sitting down under the tree.

"Starswirl?" I whispered, my mouth agape.

"That's me," he patted the ground next to him, "come take a seat, Shadow Aura. We need to have a chat." I trotted over and sat my rump down against the tree, peering at him with my eyes and not my head, "I know you're wondering. We can just say a white birdy told me."

"Oh, I missed this. If only Dingy Coat were still alive and with us," he continued.

"Perhaps that's the smartest decision." I added.

"Perhaps. He was always intelligent, but magic fled his horn," Starswirl chuckled, "so, friend, what spells have you made?"

He was treating this just like our old days, when we all hung around each other and researched together. I felt tears come to my eyes.

"Oh, you'll have to see this stuff." I shot a green bolt of magic on the floor of the cavern before firing a grey beam at it and forcing a changeling to hatch, grow old, and fade to dust.

"Oh ho! Now that's a magic trick!" Starswirl clomped his hooves together, "you've mastered changeling magic and time magic, wonderful!"

"What have you been up to old friend?" We were both smiling wide.

"I've been living the life; growing old, getting younger, visiting the past and watching things. I used to look in the future. I recently heard you were searching for something I may know about." He chuckled.

"Probably, that place where Twilight went and became an alicorn."

"That's called the Evermore. That's my home. I don't really visit Equestria except to check in with Celestia. Show me more of what you've learned."

I shot a bolt of yellow magic at the empty cocoon and it transformed into a large stem that bloomed and released a small dragon that had a turtle head and no teeth. It continuously snapped its jaw at the air as it flew away.

"Haha! SNAP-dragon! Well done, Aura. Discord's chaos magic I presume?" He was very entertained by the magic I used.

"You are correct." My eyes remained watery.

"I can get you to Evermore, but you have to do me a favor first."

"And what is that?" I smirked, laughing. Starswirl always had these "but only" conditions to anything he said.

"You must learn and harness the magic in the Elements of Harmony. I'll check with Celestia biweekly to check your progress."

"Fair enough. Are you leaving?" I asked, my smile gone.

"I should take my leave, but I want to sit here under this tree with you a little longer. You know this tree is special, right?" He lowered his head.

"Of course, it holds the Everfree back and sprouted a crystal castle-like tree."

"This was the original tree we sat under. Our testing grounds were under the castle of the twin sisters. We did enjoy living far apart so we could all study the land around us from time to time and have different observations." He smirked.

"You really have been watching the past. Why become immortal like me? You called me foolish." Starswirl immediately laughed at my words.

"Maybe we're both idiots!" he guffawed again, "I was harsh when I said those words, I didn't mean them, I was young and not experienced in immortality so I feared it. I am living my immortality as you once did, but ponies could still interact with you and I suppose that's how you began to influence Equestria and be under its public eye." Starswirl went silent at the end of his speech.

We sat in silence, the cave was very dry and so was the air, just like the summer days we spent gathered around and talking or just sitting quietly, sometimes napping. Dingy was always the one napping. I missed this. And I began to quietly let my tears go down my face.

"Maybe we're both just blathering old idiots who should have fallen down a long time ago," he laughed again, "Aura, always be you. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see where you take Equestria next." His horn lit up a deep blue and he stood, looking to me with wet spots in his fur under his eyes. The spots trailed down to his jaw where they ended.

He was leaving and there was a chance I might not see him again or for a long time. I began to feel sad, a deep sorrow I hadn't felt in a very long time. I hung my head

"Oi! Shadow Aura!" I heard Starswirl's voice again and it snapped me from my depressed state, "'twas nice seeing you again."

I smiled again. It's nice to know he no longer resents my decision and that he shares the same solemnity I had for a long time.

"Likewise, Starswirl." I held my hoof out to him.

He took and and shook it slowly but firmly.

"Good luck." He spoke his last words as he teleported away, most likely to Evermore.

"Good bye."

I decided I would take one more detour from my new task and check on Celestia. I quickly teleported into the throne room, where she resided, new outlets gathered in the throne room as she was giving some words to calm ponies of the freezing weather that spread across Equestria and the undead that came to attack. It seemed her duties were never done. I stood on the red carpet gilded with gold, news broadcasters on either side of me in a heart beat as well as citizens that gathered.

"Shadow Aura, Sir, what happened in Ponyville?" A cream colored stallion that bravely bore a bright blue pompadour quickly got into my face.

"Shadow Aura, who taught you all the magic you know?" A young brown maned grey mare shoved a mic close to my mouth.

"What is this ancient evil that you defeated?"

Their questions began to mingle together. News ponies were always annoying. I casted a shield spell that gently pushed them away. I stood on the inside of the shield as I levitated it to be next to Celestia, my mane still flowing in wisps of powerful magic.

"Shadow Aura, it's nice to see you so soon." She smiled and winked at me. Of course, she was the white birdy. I dropped my shield.

"Celestia, you're something. I appreciate you sending him this way, but I think he might have just sent me down a path I don't want." I spoke back to her, the crowd roaring over us and our soft voices going unheard.

"And what is that?" She questioned and I casted a spell to block our voices from being heard by the crowd, a simple whisper spell. Whisper spells are usually advanced.

"I think...he's sending me down the path to alicornhood." I whispered.

"That's wonderful, Shadow Aura! Why would you not like that?"

"I don't want to be known as a prince, what would I be prince of? Equestria doesn't need another leader."

"I see that now, yes. How do you know you will reach that?"

"He wants me to research and understand the magic of friendship, that's how Twilight became an alicorn."

"That does seem logical, Aura. But do not fear that path, Equestria has an odd way of sorting ponies into their destiny. Go for it, Aura."

"I suppose I'll begrudgingly do it." I muttered under my breath.

"It won't be that bad." At the end of her words I stopped my whisper spell and paid more attention to what the crowd of ponies were saying. They were chanting my name loudly.

"Why are they chanting for me?" I inquired. Social situations aren't common experiences for any mage in Equestria.

"I think they want you to speak some words."

"Tell them I did what any brave pony would do. I rose to the task and did what was necessary. And mention my crystal heart discovery."

"Are you su-," I teleported away before Celestia could continue talking.

I reappeared inside of Twilight's castle, in the Cutie Map room.

"Ahhh!" I heard a young boy voice scream behind me and I turned around to greet the young dragon.

"Hello, Spike. I did not mean to spook you, I only mean to call upon Twilight and her friends. It's time they revisited the past."

"What do you-," Spike screeched as I shot a large beam of my magic into the cutie map,"Shadow Aura! Are you crazy?!" He calmed down somewhat when he saw that six cutiemarks were circling in the Everfree Forest.

"I am only calling them. You know, Starswirl is still alive, right?" I turned my attention back to the map.

"Shadow Aura? What are you doing here?" Applejack boldly asked.

"I called you all here, now that you arrived, I can discuss what we, what you six, need to do."

"But the Cutie Map called us, silly!" Pinkie Pie began bouncing around.

"I used my magic to have it call you six here. We're going to a special spot in the Everfree Forest." I ended my sentence with another teleportation spell, landing us in the cave of the tree.

"Shadow Aura, you can't just use the map like that! It's dangerous!" Twilight tried to scold me.

"Twilight, it worked out fine. Now I need you six to find your elements, I need to take some notes," I cut some bark off one of the many roots that seeped into the old cavern and transmuted it into parchment with a quill and ink. I titled the parchment appropriately and looked to them, "well?"

"Hold up now. And whhhhy are we doing this?" Rainbow flew to me, looking at my in curiosity.

"For research purposes." That was a half truth.

"I think there's more to that, Aura. Did he put you up to this?" Twilight asked.

"Yes." I sighed out.

"Who does he mean? Is Discord trying to turn evil again?" Fluttershy panicked at the thought of losing her friend again, "Shadow Aura, who is 'he'?"

"Darling, you're being mysterious and that only piques our curiosity more," Rarity cut in, "so do t-."


Applejack began to laugh loudly, "now I know that's a lie! Starswirl has been gone for ages even if you claimed to know him."

I teleported them all to the Tree of Harmony

"He and I sat under this tree, the very tree we took our breaks under and talked and discussed. I should tell you all the full story I suppose," I quickly continued, knowing one of them would speak up if I didn't, "I told Celestia that Sombra wasn't defeated but inside me and I am containing him, but I'd rather not do so forever. I told her my plan to go to Evermore, where Twilight became and alicorn. She sent the pony that knew more about it than her. Starswirl lives there and he's viewing history pieces in the past." I breathed in deeply after my monologue.

"Wow! That's like sooooooo cool!" Pinkie bounced around again.

"So would you six please find your elements and stand near them? Think of them, but do not touch them." The six found their elements respectively. Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity were on the ground while Twilight, Rainbow, and Fluttershy flew up to reach theirs. I trotted slowly over to them.

I began to record what I felt around them and hat I felt when I stood between them and their elements, it was an odd force. I knew the force was magic, I could feel it, but I didn't know anything about it. It was the same sensation in my body when I fired my particularly large beam at Sombra during our duel. I could feel more specifics based on who I was near of cutting their line of contact with. Twilight's felt like pure magic and comfort, Applejack's was a sense of trustworthiness and felt like the promise a princess would keep and the relief that came with it, Pinkie Pie's felt exciting and made me feel invigorating, Fluttershy's was a very calming one and felt like I was being hugged by my own mother, Rainbow Dash's gave me a sense of brotherhood or sisterhood and pride in a team, Rarity's gave me the emotion you would get when you help another pony in need. All of them felt like they should be once I realized that with Twilight's it was a link of who they are and what their element stood for. It was very odd having emotions and sensations to be evoked out of me without having to do anything.

I began to draw connections that this magic of friendship was divisible to their six core elements of a friendship, which were also the core elements of harmony as these ponies believed. I suppose I was already well on my way to understanding the friendship that Twilight wanted me to find out about secretly and completing this odd research challenge set by Starswirl. Even if Starswirl was never my teacher, he did often challenge me to research or try finding out a spell or a way to use my magic in a different way. We made a game out of it just like the same way we challenged Dingy Coat to make new concoctions to cause different things to happen in ponies or the world around us.

"Very peculiar. I assume you all feel the specific emotions as I did when I approached you?" I questioned and got a chorus of silent nodding, "good, good. I now want you all to call out to your elements like you would if you were using them."

They began to touch and their hooves and horns respectively to them and I felt a sense of magic in the air, it was once again the same magic I felt inside me, but in a much stronger sense. I quickly began documenting it and the longer they kept their concentration, the more magic formed around them until the air began sparking.

"Girls, well done. This magic can definitely rival even mine. I've never been up close to the elements so this is a very odd feeling for me. Try to focus that magic on this shield I'll create." I formed a large and thick grey magic barrier that sealed the cave's entrance.

I saw the elements glow brightly soon after my words and radiate their shapes. It appeared to be the same effect I saw from watching them use the elements on Nightmare Moon and Discord. A large rainbow like beam shot out from each of the elements toward a center that was headed by Twilight. When they made contact, a concentrated ball formed for a moment before it shot forth at my shield as an even larger beam. As it hit, it made no visible breach or damage in the shield during the few moments it made contact. I took more notes and drew the conclusion that the magic must have an evil target in order to affect it. Light faded from the cave as the sun began to go down.

"Thank you all for doing this, I will call upon you if I need your help with this again. This won't take long to figure out hopefully," they all sighed out at my words before Twilight teleported them all back to Ponyville. I returned to my home myself. I had begun to realize that I had used a lot more magic than what I am comfortable with using, yet I didn't exhaust.

I reevaluated my own appearance while I stood in front of my giant library window that overlooked Luna bay from the far side. I saw that my horn was a little larger than before, sprouting from a large base at my skull. I was mastering magic completely, in all forms it came in. My mane still flowed in three different wisps. I found myself staring at myself in the mirror, my horn matched the size of a dragon's now, it looked wrong on my pony frame, even if my legs were a little longer than most. I was still smaller than Celestia, but my horn would have looked more at home on her.

"Feeling out of place, Aura?" I heard a dark toned voice echo throughout my library. I gazed my eyes around, finding nopony near me.

"Show yourself, intruder." I spoke aloud.

"How about you feel me?" Its reply shook me to my core and I felt a little pain as a bolt of black escaped my horn and landed on the floor, sprouting a small black crystal.

"Sombra, you shouldn't get comfortable." I gritted my teeth, trying to force him back in.

"But I will, your position now is suiting. Your body will make a fine vessel for me to use. Perhaps you shouldn't go through with what everyone else tells you. You'll only end up with something you don't want." He taunted.

"I'll unlock this magic and you'll eat your words."

"You aren't a master mage, foal, but it'd be interesting to see you try to stop me." He ended his talking with a deep chuckle.

"Watch me..."

I resigned to leave my home and I began to travel from my woods to the Smokey Mountains, the night overhead already. I had ideas for finding out more about the elements and it started with retrieving a rune. The creatures of the forest were silent, asleep, or spent their time hiding from me as I traveled. It was a small, but odd observation to make, considering they aren't that skittish around me. I took a few hours of the night to reach my destination, the moon raised high when I touched the foothill of the west mountain.

I casted a light spell from my horn, walking about the base of the mountain for a while and watching the face of the rocks. It wasn't long before one of the larger rocks disappeared from my magic presence, revealing a cave tunnel that already held one sign of my that warned of changelings. I ignored my own heed and continued on with the rock reforming behind me. I was reminded by my eyes about the tripwires and rock pressure plates I engineered to set off magic alarms I could respond to or to halt the progress of a pony. All of them were to only prevent a pony from reaching my treasure, never to harm them. I eventually reached the end of the winding tunnel that lead upwards into the center of the mountain. I trotted to the end and pushed on a rune in the wall, being hit with a teleportation spell from it.

I reappeared in another cave, this one a circular room like an unopened sinkhole would be. A single green light lit the cavern and it originated from the rune I left on the floor of the cavern. I picked it up and levitated it in my magic before pressing another rune in the cave and appearing back in my library. I could never teleport into the caves since I casted a spell over it to prevent exactly that. I teleported once more back into the cave that held the Tree of Harmony and I looked at the elements, staring at them before I levitated my evil artifact up to the element of magic and touched it to the magical gem.

I saw green and purple magic spark between them like they were having their own battle before the rune seemed to become inert. I brought it back and tried to expel changeling magic from it with no response. I tossed the rune aside in the cave before I fired a bolt of dark magic at the element myself, watching it disappear before it even got close to the tree.

"Ah, using my magic freely now?" I heard Sombra speak out.

"Silence. You shall not interrupt my studies." I pushed him back with my own will before I began to evaluate what I was doing again.

I sported wings on myself with a spell again before I flew up to the elements.

"Reveal your secrets to me. You banished so many evil things but purified others. What makes you decide?" I stared deep into Applejack's element, searching for something and anything in its reflective surface while I rambled.

I blasted my own magic at it, looking for anything to happen and it appeared to just absorb my magic. I resorted touching my horn with it and something in my clicked and caused a large amount of pain. I recoiled and fell to the ground.

"Hahaha! You can't even touch the Elements without being harmed all because of me! I'm here to stay, Shadow Aura." I heard Sombra speak again.

I ignored his stinging words and flew back up to the elements and I observed Fluttershy's a lot more closely, again, searching for anything in it to give me a clue. I resorted to blasting magic at it again and touching it with my hoof. It absorbed my bolt and shocked me slightly from my touch. I flew out of the cavern and bolted right to Twilight's castle, entering on my own accord and heading straight to her library.

I flew to the center of her room and levitated her book that contained friendship lessons off the shelf, the restored version. I began to read it all the way from the foreword to the end, skimming through it quickly before I reread it in much more detail. Many hours passed as I spent a while in the library, reading it slowly. I began to levitate books off her shelves based on magics that could correspond to friendship or link to things mentioned in the book. As I read, I began to realize I should be checking if Twilight has any journal to go through.

"Shadow Aura? What are you doing here? And why so early?" I heard Spike's voice from below me and I didn't remove my muzzle from the books.

"Spike, what wonderful timing. I'm sure you heard of that task Starswirl challenged me to. I know you think him to be a very serious, but he's really just a big softie. If you could fetch Twilight's book that she uses to message to Sunset Shimmer, that'd be wonderful. I must write my own message in it." I kept going through them and transmuted some crystal in the library in parchment and a quill with some ink. I wrote down the name and author of the books I was selecting before placing them back one by one.

"Aura, you're crazy if you'd think I'd do that." I looked down at spike to see him wearing an unamused facial expression and holding a small blanket.

I put the friendship lesson book down shortly after, finishing my deep examination of it and holding a sizable list of books in my levitation. I slowly flapped down to where he was and removed my wings.

"Young dragon, why are you up so late? You usually sleep so much." I approached him and bent my head down to his level.

"I got thirsty and hungry...I'm going for cookies and milk. What would you write in that book anyways?" Spike asked while he rubbed one of his eyes.

"Well, I've been curious about that world beyond this magic portal and from what Twilight spoke of, there is no such thing as magic there, except for this magic of friendship. So I figured if I wanted to be able to capture some or research it, I should start where it's the only kind of magic available, that way I can contain it in its purest form. It all makes so much sense, young Spike." I rambled, smiling as I went. I loved to research, especially when I've been issued a challenge.

"I still won't give it to you even if that does seem like some sound logic, I can't just give away one of Twilight's most beloved possessions." Spike grew a serious expression across his face.

"I'll give you a rune that'll let you use unicorn magic. I'll let it be good for up to a moon." I smiled down at him.

"When will I get this rune?" Spike asked, a smile on his own face now. I definitely got him right where I wanted him. He wasn't a hard dragon to figure out.

"Well, after I finish my research, you'll have it then."

"Deal." Spike laughed and ran off, returning a few minutes afterwards with Twilight's magical tome.

"Thank you, friend." I immediately opened it and began to write.

Dear Sunset Shimmer,

I am not your usual writer. I hail from a far corner of Equestria and I was most likely born far before you were. I lived with Starswirl the Bearded and I've heard tales of your world. I'm writing to you so you can meet me to do some magic research with me. I've heard that the only magic in your world is friendship, which corresponds to my current challenge and I'd like to see it and study it first hand. You will be able to talk to Princess Twilight after I get a reply and valid information. I'll be entering as soon as you give the okay through this book. I'd like to keep the entrances in here very small as to not take up too much of this precious space meant for communication and staying in touch with your dear friend.

Shadow Aura

I finished writing and closed the book before I teleported out of Twilight's castle and into my own abode, laying the book down on my own nightstand before I took off to my library and began searching for the books on the list I wrote down. I began to pull each, one by one until I had a sizable stack of around thirty books describing different kinds of magic and specific fields of spells.

I opened the first book and began to skim over it before tossing it aside, doing the same with many of the tomes. I had selected five books out of the large stack. I replaced the books I had tossed aside in their proper places before I began to read these books in detail, one was about how to approach animals and it mainly spoke about trotting up to them slowly, calmly, and with peaceful intentions, the second talked about how being honest in business spread your name slower, but gave you a firm place to hold your financial hooves and to draw your line of what you could and couldn't help ponies with in a small section of it. I read through the third book and found it to be about how you should stick by the small ponies and your friends that supported you on your rise to the top of your career or whatever you endeavored in. The fourth book over-viewed how important it was to give what you had to the ponies who didn't have much and that seeing them smile was its own reward. The last book was a lot on how to cook pastries, but also covered on the topic of making jokes, good things to do to make ponies laugh and turn their day around. All their words sounded very familiar. Only now did I pay attention to their names. They were dubbed The Magic of Kindness/Honesty/Loyalty/Generosity/Laughter, respectively.
The works all lacked author names, but I already knew them. They were the six elements themselves. I suppose this is there main concepts of friendship that they embody.

I began to mentally dissect them before I saw that they were talking about how to make friends and keep them. I was slowly understanding friendship more and more, not the magic of it, but the raw idea of it.

I noticed that I had been studying until the sun came up and light from other than my natural reflex to use my horn light spell poured in through my window, lighting my library up. I saw a pink magic flash come from my hall and I assumed it was the response from Sunset Shimmer. She must have been an early riser.

My assumptions were correct, as when I entered I was met with a brief message.

Dear Shadow Aura,

I am waiting on the other side of the portal.

Sunset Shimmer

She really was a down to business individual. I quickly fetched one of my pre-carved unicorn magic runes and poured almost all of my magic ability left into it which left i glowing a bright grey and floating in my hoof. I grabbed another rune and carved the symbol for gift into it. I use my remaining energy to teleport to the room where Twilight kept the mirror. I had the two most important items in my possession. I began to feel exhausted from losing almost all of the magic energy left in me. I flipped the lever to turn on the portal and cantered my way in, seeing a large building in front of me with who is probably the Sunset Shimmer of this world. I sat down, or so I thought and closed my eyes for just a moment before I quickly fell asleep with the runes tight in my hands.

Repetition Expecting Different Results

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I awoke, scrambling about slightly to find that I was in a small room with instruments laying about, instruments used to play the more recent kind of music called rock. I sat up, quickly noticing that my hooves were gone. I breathed in deeply before exhaling. I read about this world when I snooped through Twilight's own notes on it, so I wasn't that surprised, but I did find the human body shocking. I swung my new legs over the side of the bed and attempted to stand on them, finding that my center of gravity had changed drastically.

"Whoa, easy there." I heard a deep feminine voice speak and I looked to my right to see who had to undoubtedly be Sunset Shimmer. She stood and grasped my right arm to help me. She definitely looked like she dressed in this music's rock style too. Sunset dressed in what seemed to be a black leather jacket and a pink skirt with high orange and lilac boots.

"I'm fine. Where are my runes?" I quickly inquired, scanning about.

"I suppose you mean these. I hope I can trust you with them," she pulled out my two runes from a pocket on her chest and handed them to me while releasing her grip on my arm once I steadied myself, "so where is Twilight? I was looking forward to seeing her again."

"She doesn't know that I am here, neither does she know about how I bribed spike." I put the runes into the front pocket of the long odd lab coat I was wearing.

It seemed that this world often gave whatever pony clothes to match their style and personality in human form. It had given me a lab coat over some kind of brown garment on my legs and a sleek white shirt that was accompanied by a tie.

"Maybe I shouldn't trust you, but you said you came to learn about the magic of friendship. And all your knowledge and assumptions seem soundly based, but we do have some magic here that we have been using lately," she showed an ornate necklace on her neck with the cutiemark that I had sketched in my records of important ponies.

"I've always wanted to meet you, of course, my duties serving Equestria quietly kept me busy and so did my research and spell crafting. I wondered how a pony with great magic potential felt when they hadn't reached their pinnacle yet. Your magical energy feels powerful, but contained very well. You are correct in there is other magic than the magic of friendship here. I came to study and research, so let's get to it, shall we?" I walked to the door before I felt Sunset's hand on my shoulder.

"Shadow Aura, I'm going to be with you all day, I explained to Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna about where you are from and why you are here, but the other students don't know. Keep this on the low, I think they'll think you're just a visiting scientist or something." She breathed out after her explanation.

"Thank you for your warning, but I shall be fine." I continued walking and opened the door after struggling for a moment to maintain control with my fingers. I turned the knob and pulled it open, seeing students who somewhat resembled ponies I've seen in Equestria.

"Whoa." I uttered in awe before I stepped out and walked down the halls, not knowing where I was headed.

"Where do you want to go?" Sunset walked beside me.

"I need to see the girls here. Twilight and them." I glanced about the halls, catching eye contact with many of the people who wandered.

"Well, that's uncanny. You woke up when they were headed to lunch. This way." Sunset waved for me to follow her down a branching hall and I did.

I would have a lot of studying to do; about this world, the humans in it, and the cultural differences. But that was also a secondary importance. I made acute observations of the very mundane coloring of everything in the halls as we walked that were filled with green tall containers that were attached to the side of the walls. Sunset leading me down another hallway before she stopped before two larger doors and opened one. I followed behind her entrance and she was quickly waved down by those six. I took a quick glance around the room and noticed four main pillars to support the structure above, most of the room was filled with tables in turn filled with students that chatted and ate. Students here appeared to all have very colorful hair and clothing choices that were quite the opposite of their environment. I walked over to Twilighta nd ehr friends.

"Sunset, nice to finally see you join us." Rainbow Dash teased her.

It was obvious to see their counterparts. Their hair was very similar to their mane styles in Equestria and so were their clothing choices. I had studied the note of this world that Twilight took and she noted that attire was often related to someone's background and their activities along with their personality. Applejack worn blue jeans, a thick threaded orange and yellow plaid shirt, and of course her hat. Rainbow Dash looked like she was in some sport outfit with a tight-fitting, white t-shirt; I wasn't able to see what was on her legs because of the table, she sat on the opposite side of Applejack. Next to her, Fluttershy sat wearing a simple yellow cream dress with a butterfly clip, she shied away from my observing eyes when I looked at her.

"Sunset, who is this? Is this the researcher we've heard of that was visiting our science department?" Twilight questioned. She worn a plain, somewhat baggy purple t-shirt and a purple tight skirt. Pinkie Pie was next to her and wore a low cut shirt with a frilly pink skirt, she lit up with a huge smile when she caught my eyes looking at her, I caught her sickness and smiled too.

"Hey," Sunset hit my arm with her elbow, "it's rude to stare. At least introduce yourself." She smiled teasingly at me.

I turned back to them and decided to take the seat next to Pinkie Pie. I noticed Rarity across from her who was wearing some kind of puffy light blue shirt, her hair in a perfect style without a single strand out of place. I couldn't see what else she was wearing below because of the table.

"Hello, you six, I am Shadow Aura. I come from Equestria. I am here to do research on the magic of friendship. I am a powerful wizard in Equestria, supposedly the best according to the ponies." I smiled a little, glancing over at all their faces.

"Boy, Rainbow Dash. I think I just found your match, he brags just like you." Applejack laughed after seeing Rainbow huff.

"Well, it's nice to meet you, Shadow Aura. I'm-." Twilight began.

"I know all your names, you have good counterparts in Equestria after all. I glanced about the room, catching the eye of some of the students here that were staring at me.

"Don't let them bother you. the students here just might be a little jumpy from all the weird stuff happening because of ponies from Equestria." Sunset sat down across from me and next to Rarity.

"I'm used to getting stared at back home. It's one of the bad perks of being so magically adept. I will let you six know now," I turned to face the group again, "I did bring some major Equestrian magic here with me in the form of a rune. And-" I was cut off from a loud stomach rumble originating from me.

"Well, silly, it seems you need food first!" Pinkie laughed, followed by everyone else.

"I suppose so. I haven't ate in almost three days. This challenge is keeping me very busy."

"I'll go get you something. I suppose you still have Equestrian tastes." Sunset stood and walked to the cafeteria line.

"Thank you, Sunset Shimmer." I nodded to her and she waved lazily with one hand.

"What day is it here?" I asked flat out.

"It's Thursday, Darling." Rarity answered. It would be like her to remain punctual.]

Sunset returned with a plate full of fruit, mainly bananas and apples.

"I'll contact you all once your school day ends, I'll meet you at the entrance to the high school once all the other students have left. What time would that be?" I looked to Sunset.

"About 3:30pm. That would be best." She replied.

"Noted." I immediately dug in, eating cleanly, but very quickly. The others chatted normally, sensing that I didn't want to be bothered. I paid no heed to their conversation.

They don't have the elements of harmony here, so that complicates things further. I hope they have some form or a way to bring out that magic in them. Twilight did say something about them 'ponying up' which is definitely something to ask about. I finished eating soon after my thoughts completed.

"Shadow Aura, you wouldn't happen to have news from Equestria, would you?" Applejack looked to me.

"I think we'd all like to know how Twilight is doing." Fluttershy added.

"Well, I don't really dabble in the affairs of Equestria much. Well, I used to be like that. She was preparing for a Friendship Festival last I heard. Everypony was making it out to be some huge event. She was so worried about it, but that pony can do almost anything." I stood after my words.

"Is she doing okay?" Rarity asked.

"Yes, but my sudden appearance from my normal seclusion definitely hasn't helped."

"I heard that, Aura. I like this world, it could use some of my touches as well. Thanks for bringing me here." I heard Sombra in my head once more. He reminds me that he is there every time I begin to forget.

"Like I said, don't make yourself comfortable you pile of griffin shit." I whispered to myself.

"What did you say, Shadow Aura?" Sunset looked at me with a scowl.

"What did you say? Haha." Sombra taunted again.

"I'll explain that later. It wasn't directed to any of you. Twilight has been doing just fine, she got to meet Starswirl in person and the rest of the Pillars. Equestria is a weird place now." I smiled, remembering my own personal visit with him.

"That's so good to hear!" Pinkie jumped up out of her seat.

"I'm glad to relay the news. Perhaps you can see her soon again." I began to walk to the door, waving at them.

"Where are you going?" Sunset asked, trailing behind me.

"To adventure on my own. I know how to stay out of trouble and my rune can protect me." I continued to the door, leaving Sunset behind.

Before I laid my hand on the green door, it opened and there were two taller figures; one looked exactly like Celestia and wore a white dress shirt and beige pants, the other looked identical to Luna and wore a blue blouse and a long blue skirt.

"Are you this researcher we've heard about?" Celestia asked, looking annoyed as she stared down at me.

"Yes, I am." I answered.

"Come with us, we need to speak to you." Luna continued and both of them filed out of the room, waiting for me. I was stunned for a moment.

"Principal Celestia, I can explain why he's here." Sunset's voice woke me back up from my zoning out. I began to walk out after them.

"We'd like to speak with him ourselves, Sunset. Thank you for your input." Luna starkly said.

I followed them down the halls in silence, entering the office of Celestia after going down the corridors I took to get to the Cafeteria and passing through the large, open circular foyer and entering into her office.

Celestia's office was lit up from her large window, covered by a thin white curtain. Her desk was made of polished dark oak and filing cabinets lined most of the walls. A picture of her, Luna, and Cadance rested on her desk next to next piles of documents. Celestia and Luna both took seats behind the desk and invited me with an open palm. I took a seat in the cushioned red chair.

I heard the bell for class change ring outside of the office.

"So, what is your name, sir?" Celestia asked first.

"I'm just gonna go ahead and get this over quickly. I am Shadow Aura, I come from Equestria. I am here to do research on the magic here and you have my word that I won't cause trouble," I spoke.

They stayed silent for many moments, taking in and processing what I had just said. I heard the bell for class change ring outside of the office.

"Shadow Aura, I don't know what kind of authority you hold in Equestria, but remember you are just a normal person here," Luna stated.

"You have my word I won't cause trouble. You can trust the most magic adept pony of Equestria," I smiled back at them before walking out of Celestia's office, being met right with Sunset Shimmer in my face. Students were just arriving at the large circular room to chat and get to their next class.

"Sunset, have you been listening?" Celestia questioned.

"Yes," Sunset Shimmer hid her hands behind her back and stepped backwards away before taking down one of the halls.

"Regardless of what she heard, Shadow Aura, you will obey our rules here," Luna sternly said.

"You won't have any problem from me."

"Or will they?" I heard Sombra's haunting laughter again.

I growled deep in my throat out of annoyance.

"Then I trust your world, Equestria has never sent anybody bad," Celestia smiled.

"Well, almost," Luna added. I heard the class bell chime again.

"I will see you two around," I nodded to each of them before I walked out of the school.

I trekked about the outside of the campus until I found what I was searching for, the soccer field. It was just as empty as I had hoped, not even a Rainbow Dash was here practicing. The only interruption to the peace was the occasional metallic machine passing by. I stood in the very center of the very green playing field and pulled out the rune I poured my magic in.

"I guess it's time to test you."

I held the glowing rune up and began to go through the steps of casting a simple defensive shield. I spoke to the rune itself, telling it what I wanted it to do. A second later, a large gray shield enveloped the enter field, swirling with darker shades in it. I might have made the rune a bit too powerful. I told the rune to stop casting and the shield faded away. I then had the rune cast a simple offensive bolt of magic aimed at the side of the school. A small ball of gray shot out at a fast speed and hit the bricks, pushing some in just a little bit.

"Whoa! Shadow Aura, you never said you could do that!" Rainbow ran out of the side door and immediately ran up to me.

"Shouldn't you be in class?" I questioned.

"I told them I'd check it out. You just hit my classroom with that magic bolt. That's so coooool!" She threw her arms up.

"I was only seeing if my magic was still valid and it seems like it is," I commented.

"You have to show all the rest of us some time!" She smiled.

"Go back to class, Rainbow Dash," I pocketed the rune and reentered the school through the side door that Rainbow Dash used. She followed me in and entered her classroom again while I walked down the empty halls, creating a mental map of the high school.

I wandered the halls for what seemed like hours until I saw all that there was to see in the school, except the classrooms, I would never interrupt academia. The bell rang and the halls were quickly filled with cheering students fleeing the building in joy, there were some slow ones that chatted with friends, had extracurricular activities, or enjoyed learning and talked with the teachers. I began a slow walk to the front of the school, arriving after a few minutes from the count in my head. It wasn't long until those seven showed up, they came through the front doors of the school.

"Hey, Shadow Aura!" Sunset waved, other students looking at me. They probably did think it was weird for a researcher to be visiting their school.

I waved back, walking to meet them halfway. I turned to Applejack.

"You have a farm here, do you not?" I asked. I wanted to hurry this along so I could return to Equestria as quick as I could.

"H-how did you know?" She blinked in shock.

"The resemblance of this world and Equestria is uncanny. I only guessed that you did from that observation," I stated, fiddling with the empty rune in my pocket.

"Why are you asking about the farm in the first place?" Rainbow asked out of curiosity. Rainbow Dash may not have been an intelligence driven pony, but there were some things that still did get her attention.

"Because it is secluded, it'll offer us the perfect space for this what I need to do. I hope all of you have your geodes and while we are here, get your instruments. Applejack," I approached her once I finished my instructions, the other staring at us.

"Yea?" She asked, leaning away from me.

"Just remain calm, nothing bad is going to happen," I pulled the magic filled rune out of my pocket and pressed her hand to it while I still held it.

"What are you-," I cut Applejack short as her eyes and mine lit up to a bright white.

I casted a memory spell, watching the events of her life yesterday, particularly viewing how she got home and the way to her farm. I watched one more time just to make sure I could find it. I let go of her hand and stuffed the rune back into my pocket. Applejack grabbed her head.

"What happened?" She inquired.

"I only used a memory spell to see the way to your farm. Your head will just feel a little light for a while. I will meet all of you there," I turned around and grabbed the rune out of my pocket again.

"Wait!" Twilight shouted after me.

"I'll see you there, I need to survey the farm for the best spot," with that I casted an advanced speed spell and took off at the a speed Rainbow Dash could achieve.

I flew down the main road, heading into more rural areas,abundant with tress and other flora, where the pavement looked old and weathered; in some spots it was chipping away into holes and a smaller road. I eventually reached a dirt road and kept my run down it until I ran through Applejack's family orchards. I stopped in front of their house, pocketing the rune once again.

It took them about thirty minutes before they drove down the road in one of the mechanical machines, this one having some kind of cargo area in the back that Rainbow, Pinkie, Twilight, Sunset, and Spike sat in. Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rarity were all in the front of it. Their instruments sat in the back of it with them.

Applejack stopped the truck in front of her farmhouse.

"Set up your instruments quickly. And after today, I'll be shadowing each and every one of you so I can see this 'ponying up' thing Twilight wrote about," I walked off into the orchard in a random direction.

"I sure hope he isn't always this bossy," Sunset commented.

I heard the sound of their chatter as they took the instruments out of the machine. I looked back and saw them setting them up in the shed. I knew it would take a bit for them to become ready. I transmuted some apples from the orchard trees into sheets of parchment with my rune, forming an ink pot and quill along with it. I levitated them before me and began to scribble down the events that were taking place and future hopes. I planned to be out of here by Saturday and back in Equestria. I know Twilight would definitely miss my presence. Last I heard before I began this intensive research is that she was going to be hosting some sort of friendship festival. Twilight always fretted about everything and had made many of her checklists in preparation for the celebration.

"Shadow Aura! We're ready!" I heard Applejack yell out into the air. I began my walk back since she interrupted my thoughts.

It wasn't long until I reached them again from my fast walk and I took out the empty rune in preparation.

"So are you ready to be blown away or what?!" Rainbow Dash yelled in my face while her guitar hung form her neck.

"I'm not one for music, I like simple sounds of nature more. The rain falling on my roof. The birds chirping outside," I answered her rather typical question, "but I am ready to see this thing that you seven do."

I wanted to get this done quickly and get back to Equestria before anypony ever noticed my disappearance.

I saw Sunset smirk and whisper to the other seven of them, glancing back at me with her eyes. I raised one of my eyebrows in curiosity and looked back down at the rune in my hand. Whatever they were planning, it is probably directed to me and it would be very good for the rune. I smiled back to Sunset when she stared with a determined expression smothering all of other hints of different emotions in her face.

"You have my rapt attention now," I kept my smile and glanced at my rune.

Sunset put her microphone close to her mouth and pointed at me.

"You're never gonna bring me down," the first lyric of the song caught me off guard and I quickly began to feel a magic coming from them.

I touched the rune that contained my own magic and I transmuted some of the leaves of the trees around me into paper, ink, and a quill. I frantically titled and began my notes.

"You're never gonna break this part of me!" Sunset smirked at me again.

Stubborn, but in a rather good way. I suppose she intended to prove to me that music is a much better thing than what I thought it to be, admirable of her.

"My friends are here to bring me round'!" She took hold of Twilight's hand. Pinkie Pie began to give a beat with her drums now, smiling very eagerly, more so than she usually does for herself.

The feeling of magic was growing and I laid the rune out in front of them, walking closer only to walk back and record the happenings of their song.

"Not singing for popularity. We're here to let you know," Twilight joined in, singing along with Sunset while Rainbow began to play her guitar.

I began to feel a surge of magic enter me, the same one that I felt when I fought Sombra and the other moments with my friends back in Equestria.

As the song went on, I recorded their every lyric and felt more and more magic enter my body, to the point I began to feel sore all over and experienced a slight headache. Each one of them did what I assumed was this 'ponying-up' and pony ears grew from their heads. Based on who they were and their counterparts in Equestria, they also received wings and all of their hair styles grew out longer as if to be tails of my race.

As the song came to a close, I continued to write my notes. I was in more pain from my growing headache and soreness.

"Still think music isn't all that great?" Sunset walked up to me and smirked.

"That piece was particularly golden, enjoyable. There was something intoxicating about it and it made it very hard to focus on writing my notes.

"Glad we proved you wrong!" Rainbow pumped her fists in the air.

"I thank you all for-," my words were interrupted as I fell to my knees, and began grunting in agony.

"Shadow Aura, what's the matter?" Twilight knelt next to me.

"I have...no idea. But I don't advise standing near me," I mustered out and felt the magic inside of me begging to be released from my body from somewhere.

Whenever a unicorn was holding more magic energy than they were capable of, it usually burst out of their horn a bit violently. This was different, given I didn't have any kind of catalyst to send my magic out of.

"That's crazy, you're in pain. Let us help you," Sunset hauled me to my feet and I opened my eyes. The moment I opened them I saw a look of fear and concern in her face.

"Buuuuuuuck!" I yelled out and felt the magic explode out of me from everywhere in a much more violent way than was normal for unicorns or normal magic. This was the kind of magic I sourced from to defeat Sombra.

Sunset and Twilight were sent into the air and onto their backs. I collapsed to my knees again, breathing heavily.

"Holy moley!" Pinkie commented, "that's one of the weirdest things I've ever seen."

"Shadow Aura, ya alright?" Applejack jogged over and helped me up with Rarity and Rainbow helped Sunset and Twilight back to their feet.

"Other than being in a lot of pain with a headache birthed from Tartarus' womb, I'll be fine. I have a lot to work over, so consider this an early break," I stumbled over to the rune I laid down and clutched my head.

I picked it up and found there was not any magic in it at all, nothing I could feel at all, "ponyfeathers," I cursed under my breath and started to walk away.

"Shadow Aura, what's wrong?" Sunset stopped me.

"Nothing," I continued my walk away.

"Your face tells the truth for me," I stopped in my tracks, the other six staring at me along with Spike.

I turned around and huffed a breathe in, "these aren't the results I was hoping to get from this. My rune lays without magic and I just hurt two of you. I have little idea of what's going on right now. And I'm not in control of my magic," I said in a very strained tone as I grit my teeth and continued to walk away through the orchard. They let me leave and walk away, I suppose they sensed I didn't want to be reconciled.

After I walked away a good distance, I sat down and leaned my back against one of the many trees, "Oh Equestria, what did I do to bring upon the entire world's ire?" I sighed out and stared at the empty rune in my hand.

It still had a magic absorbing spell on it, so it could be enchanted. But why had it not absorbed their magic, and when it came out in such a huge volume? I looked over my notes, reading them a second time, a third, a fourth. I wasn't seeing anything else in them, nothing to point out an important observation. I began to tap my fingers along the roots of the tree, annoyed.

I did feel a surge of power while they were playing and it caused that out burst earlier, but I still had little idea.

"What in the hay would Starswirl do?" I asked myself.

"He wouldn't give up and he surely wouldn't be this mad over what he observed," I heard from my right and saw Sunset there.

"What do you want?" I asked, standing up.

"I wanted to check on you. You seemed super frustrated with how things went," she said and walked closer to me.

"I don't expect you to know as much about magic as me, but what happened there was very contradictory to what should have happened. My rune didn't absorb your magic, instead it caused me to react negatively," I sighed out, "it gets me no where!" I shouted to the skies in anger.

"We could try again," Sunset commented.

"I suppose that would be best. Any research experiment needs consistency in its trials," I said and walked back with her.

"That's the spirit!" She playfully punched me in the arm. I decided not to comment on her statement.

We reached back to the shed where the other six were and an idea hit me. I pulled my empty rune out of my pocket and smiled at it.

"Whenever you seven are ready, I think I know what Starswirl meant by his exact words now," it was a blessing that he always encrypted something into his words, whether anypony knew it or not. Harness the power of friendship he said, here we go now.

"We've got the day to get ready," Twilight started them off this time.

I quickly felt the magic coming off them as their instruments came to life, it began to come into me and I felt more soreness and the ehadache from earlier returning. My talent, my very talent was active even here and to the magic of friendship.

I pointed the rune up into the air and intended to use it as a catalyst. I continued to feel more magic enter me and the pain growing more.

"Shake your tail 'cause we're here to have a party tonight!" The seven of them shouted and continued their song.

I felt a large increase as they hit the lyric, they began to harmonize and interact friendly with each other, smiling and expressing their friendship visibly.

A large rainbow colored beam came out of the run and blasted skyward, the entire color spectra was mixed around randomly as it went.

They immediately slowly stopped playing, Pinkie being the last to catch on.

"Shadow Aura, what was that?" Sunset questioned and six of them hurried to me while Pinkie remained bummed at the drums.

"I think I know," I stared at the rune in front of me. I knew that magic came from me and not it, so it was very astonishing to me. I've seen the Elements of Harmony used to manifest the magic of friendship into a physical form that could then be used to battle evil. I must have done something similar.

"Come on, darling. You have us all at the edge of our seats!" Rarity pipped.

I looked up and I saw each of their large smiles and eager faces, Pinkie had joined them at some point.

"Do you remember how you united and hit Sunset with a rainbow like beam to turn her back to normal?" I asked and Sunset hung her head when she remembered the event.

"Of course, who could forget something as awesome as that?!" Rainbow yelled, "sorry, Sunset," she patted Sunset's back and scratched behind her own head a bit embarrassed to have said something like that without taking the feelings of her friends into consideration.

"Your beam was rainbow colored. That was the magic of friendship manifested into a physical form. I believe I just did the same thing."

"Wait, I'm lost now. Is the me or the other Twilight with you guys that he's talking about?" Twilight asked, staring blankly at me.

"The other one. We'll fill you in later," Applejack commented.

"So what does this mean for you?" Sunset spoke up now.

"I think when I get back to Equestria, I'll be an alicorn," I sighed out. I didn't want to have to deal with ponies more than what I already do, or ahve responsibilities. Tartarus, what would I be the prince of? And if I was a prince in Equestria, a real one unlike Blueblood, what did that mean to Equestria?

"That's great!" Sunset chirped.

"I don't want to though, but I may as well return now and face the music as they say," I turned around and touched my filled rune.

"Wait, you owe us," Sunset stopped me and I turned around.

"For having you help me with my research? I suppose I do, what would you like? I can arrange for Twilight to make a visit here again," I suggested with a smile. I wanted them to choose something that wouldn't require much from me.

"That sounds-!" Pinkie began but was silenced by Applejack.

"Uuh, give us just a moment," Applejack said and gathered the girls around them with Spike. They began to whisper.

I decided to leave their decision as a surprise and not cast a spell so I would be able to hear them. That wouldn't seem right to do morally anyway. After a minute or two they all turned around and Twilight and Sunset approached me.

"We want you to stay here until the sun goes down on Saturday," they both said and smiled.



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"I'm sorry, did you say you wanted me to stay here?" I asked.

"Yes, we did," Sunset grinned a bit mischievously now.

"You are lucky I have honor in me. I will stay, but the moment the Sun begins to go down, I am disappearing," I informed them.

"We'll make the best of your time, don't worry," Twilight smiled.

"That means, we'll be getting you to go with the Winter dance tomorrow with us since school's now out for winter break!" Rarity chipped.

Shadow Aura, what have you gotten yourself into. I sighed out and pinched my nose, letting my head down before throwing it back up and exhaling a large breath.

"Okay, I can do that," I said.

"Good! Because you're getting fitted for a suit now!" Sunset grabbed me by my wrist and pulled me back to the Truck, putting my into it. My notes had flown into the air before and I used my rune's magic to gather them all up and bring them over to me.

"By Tartarus, what the buck have I done?" I spoke aloud and groaned at my stubbornness to always be a noble pony. The seven around me laughed including Spike.

They all piled into the truck, Rarity climbed in the front along with Applejack and I. Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Sunset, and Spike all got into the back of it. Applejack started up the truck and drove in a circle, heading back down the road and leaving their instruments in the shed.

I began to think while those in the back talked and Applejack focused on the road. If I were to become an alicorn, I would have many responsibilities. Ponies would look up to my for guidance and to stand tall in the face of certain doom. I could do the second one easily, but I don't think ponies would take kindly to my blunt words. I would have to participate in politics, some ponies would be trying to win my favor and some mares would attempt to court me. I would teleport them all away and pray they didn't find my home. Public appearances would be the end of me.

"Sooooo, Shadow Aura. Are you excited to become a prince?" Rarity asked and looked at me with a huge smile. Maybe she could read minds.

"No, not at all," I answered and went back to staring at the road.

"And why's that, dearie?" I don't think she knew she was pushing my buttons.

"The popularity, the attention, the politics. I don't want ponies coming to me seeking help unless they wanted training in magic. I don't want to make public appearances or give speeches. I don't want to participate in politics. I don't want all the attention from mares. I know how long it took for letters of affection to stop going to Celestia and Luna. Poor Twilight is still receiving them," I said flatly. I had started to become upset now.

My life was changing into a life I didn't want and there wasn't hope for escape this time. I don't have anywhere to run and live my life the way I wanted. I could try to live in some other nation than Equestria, but I could be found, somepony could interrupt my way of living, and my research sometimes required me to interact with ponies. That's how I got into this whole damn mess. I should have never messed with the lives of the Princesses as much as I did, now I was going to join them.

"I'm with Shadow Aura, I'd hate my life to go from relaxing to stressful like that," Applejack invoiced. I sighed out.

"Finally, somepony who gets it!" I shouted and the five friends in the back of the truck glanced up to the front.

"Maybe it won't be as bad as you think," Rarity commented, a bit offended from Applejack's input.

"No, it will be exactly as bad as I expect. I've seen enough royalties rising to know that," I ended the conversation and the short time to arrive at wherever we were going was in silence except for those in the back. Applejack parked in a road up to a house and everypony got out of the truck, letting her lock it up.

"Where are we?" I stared up at a white painted home that looked a little fancier than the ones around it. Purple shingles laid on the roof perfectly, the occasional plant hanging from an ornate hook at the front of it. A large black mechanical machine was further on in the driveway, an SUV was the name of it.

"My home, of course! Like I'd let someone else tailor a suit for you?! That's crazy," Rarity walked up to the front and unlocked her door, letting us all in before she grabbed me and took me upstairs, "you guys just make yourselves at home, but not too much, Pinkie!" She shouted down the staircase as I kept up with her, stumbling a bit.

"Awwwww, I was already blowing up balloons," Pinkie dismayed.

Rarity pulled me into what looked to be her bedroom and work room, "Shadow Aura, just remove your lab coat and we can get started."

I sighed and took off my coat, setting it on the coat hook she had on the back of her door. Rarity grabbed a notebook and her measuring tape. She began measuring the insides of my legs and the outside of my legs, recording lengths as she went. She then measured my waist, chest and arms, finishing at my neck. She then began to draw plans for my suit.

"You know we could just rent one," I spoke up.

"Nonsense! This is a very important suit!" Rarity chirped and soon finished her designs rather quickly, moving onto cutting the fabric.

"Why did you guys decide to keep me here to repay my debt?" I asked and began walking around the room, observing all her tools.

"Well, did she tell you yet?" Rarity asked.


"Suuuunset," she sang, smiling a little.

"Tell me what?" I questioned.

"Nevermiiiind," Rarity sang again.

"I'll be downstairs," I dismissed her weird behavior.

"Alright, darling. I'll call for you when we're ready to make final adjustments."

"Understood," I walked out and down the stairs, entering the living room. I didn't leave without grabbing my lab coat and putting it back on again.

"Shadow Aura! Show us some magic!" Pinkie was right in my face with a huge smile. I gently pushed her away.

"Is it just you who wants to see it? That's not enough to show it," I smirked. I loved showing off, but I did sometimes enjoy teasing ponies when it came to showing off my magic.

"I'd like to see it, maybe I could learn some things," Twilight inputted.

That brought my mind back to being an alicorn. There is one aspect of being an alicorn I would like. Every alicorn seems to take on some student to teach them their ways, and I would love to have a private student to pass all my knowledge and advance their magic ability to levels that other unicorns couldn't fathom but would try to dream of anyway.

"I wanna see you do some pretty cool stuff," Rainbow Dash said, "but it's whatever."

"I think it'd be nice," Fluttershy whispered.

"You bragged about how good you are at magic, how about you prove?" Sunset smirked with a little red on her face while she walked over and pointed her finger to my nose.

"Is that right?" I said and grabbed my rune. All of them nodded, "prepare for a show, everypony."

I picked Sunset up with a very advanced levitation spell and threw her onto the couch softly. I focused more and lifted every object in the living room up, moving them around slowly before putting them back into their original positions.

"That was pretty rad," Rainbow commented. I looked at Sunset and she sat with big eyes and her jaw slightly agape.

"Speechless, Sunset Shimmer?" I asked with a smile on my face.

"H-how were you able to cast such an advanced spell?" Sunset asked with a red tinge on her face.

"You call that advanced? Teleporting the entire city of Canterlot away and then back in its perfect spot is advanced," I laughed. I tested my knowledge of teleportation magic one day by doing it at night when everypony there was asleep. All of them thought Luna was insane and it was just an earth tremor.

"W-w-what?!" Sunset stammered.

"Maybe I'll show you how to do it some time," I focused my magic again and turned on the sink in the kitchen after projecting my vision to it.

I began to lift the water that came out of it into a stream, sending it in circles around all of them before I had it land in a pot that held a small flower on the coffee table. I then began to grow the plant rapidly, letting the flower sprout many flowers instead of just one, letting it overtake the walls. I finished and turned the sink off.

"Shadow Aura! This is beautiful!" Fluttershy said aloud, "how did you do it?"

"I'll send you the notes when I get back to Equestria," I kept my smile on and used my magic to transmute the extra stems into vases and pots with soil and water. I forced the plants to grow roots and sit in their new containers. I set them all on the table and levitated all the extra plant material and dirt out and into the trashcan in the corner of the room.

"If you can do all this here, what can you do back in Equestria?" Twilight asked.

"So much more. I went head to head against Sombra with nothing but my magic and won. I could have taken down Tirek when he was about to conquer Equestria. I suppose Equestria is officially getting its last line of defense when I ascend," I smirked. I took great pride in my magic, anypony who was from my time took great pride in their expertise. I walked over and sat back on the couch next to Sunset, relaxing into it.

"You have to be boasting as big as Rainbow Dash does," Applejack said with a flat face.

"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?!" Rainbow was quickly offended.

"I'm simply stating facts, Applejack, nothing more," I kept my knowing smirk on.

"Whatever you say," she rolled her eyes at me.

I laid my head back and closed my eyes, still feeling a little sore from the magic eruption earlier. My headache was gone, but my body was still in pain. A human wasn't as suitable as vessel for magic as a pony body is, but they could still contain some magical energy in them. I spaced out and projected my vision outwards, exploring the area around me, more rather the city. I started to try and make a mental map of landmarks in the town in case I was left alone or needed a place to teleport. That reminded me, I would need to teleport across Equestria soon again so I can remain ready for long distance teleporting.

I stopped after a while, bored. The girls began to do their own things from what I saw. Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy were playing a board game while Pinkie was taking pictures of herself in odd poses on her phone. I looked to my right and caught Sunset's eyes. I stared at the rings of light blue for a little until she looked away, a blush on her face. She caught one more glance before turning her head completely. I shrugged, these girls were weird anyway.

I stood and walked outside of Rarity's home, I stood on the porch and pulled my rune out from my lab coat. I stared at the glowing object and began to recall that day I changed everything. When I disregarded Starswirl's words and casted the spell, I never knew what I was doing.

"I'm still so foolish to have done that. It's a crime, an ultimate sin against nature. No pony should ever be immortal. I'm just a friend that didn't listen to the one pony he should have," I sighed out and walked down Rarity's steps, standing in her large front lawn.

I held the rune to the sky and focused hard on it. I wondered if I could still cast the one spell that still never should have been casted. I looked around to find a target and selected it easily. Rarity had a small oak sapling growing in her front lawn. I began to concentrate the magic further in the rune, focusing on the small tree and going through the same mind process I did that one day. I released the magic and I felt the power in the rune leave by large quantities. The magic shot out at the tree, not harming it, but entering it forcefully. A great grey glow was placed over the house and the road. as well as the trees around it. I heard the door open, but I didn't look.

I breathed out heavily and slumped to my left knee. I held my rune up still and began to cast Starswirl's time spell, aging the area around the tree quickly. The grass grew high before dying and falling apart just to slowly grow back again. This cycle repeated many times at the oak grew higher and higher, far higher than any oak should and began to grow buttress roots. The oak's leaves eventually gave an entire canopy to Rarity's front yard.

"Hah, I can still cast that damned spell," I laughed a little before I stood, the rune now at a third of its power.

"Shadow Aura, that was...what did...how did...that's amazing," Sunset slowly approached me.

"So it was you who saw that. I casted my immortality spell just to see if I could still do it. I guess it wasn't a one hit wonder. That tree will never die of old age, but continue to grow and grow," I sighed, "it's impressive, yes, but nopony should ever have it casted on himself or herself."

"How old is that tree now?" Sunset asked.

"I used a modified version of Starswirl's time travel spell to age things very quickly. It's a spell I refuse to use it in combat out of honor if you wondered. That tree is forty millenia old now," I walked past her and began to head inside before her arm caught me. I looked at the house and saw all six of her friends and Spike in the window, staring intently. I turned around to her.

"Shadow Aura, I have something to ask you," she whispered out, suddenly losing her voice.


"I, you, ummm...nevermind," her eyes glanced at the window, "I'll ask later," she headed inside with me in tow. I shrugged and dismissed the matter.

"Your suit is ready, follow me, Shadow Aura," Rarity said with a smirk, giggling. I followed her upstairs and back into the room where she handed me the complete piece and pointed my to a divider. I got the message clearly.

I walked behind it and disrobed, putting my clothes over the divider. I redressed in the suit, first placing on the pants and then the dress shirt. I finally put the tie on and used my rune to tie it. I put the jacket on and buttoned it, finding that it fit to my form very well. I raised my eyebrows in surprise at Rarity's skill. I walked out from behind the divider and Rarity smiled big.

"I swear you are just as good as the Rarity in our world," I complimented her and disappeared behind the divider.

"Thank you, dearie. I take it everything fits well?" She asked. I was already disrobing and putting on my normal clothes.

"Indeed. The thought just occurred to me, where is your sister?" I asked.

"Oh she's out with her friends doing heaven knows what. I just hope she doesn't cause trouble that I'll have to help her out of. Tomorrow night is a big night for a lot of us, especially Sunset," it seemed she was really stressing something about her.

"Why for Sunset?"

"Oh nothing," I came out from the divider in my normal attire that I was given by this world. Rarity was smirking.

"I swear to Equestria," I headed out of the room and back down stairs to the living room, Rarity behind me.

"I do like how many plants you made, but did they all have to be the same species?" Rarity complained at my magic.

"You could always sell them. I am headed outside again," I announced and none of them turned to look except Sunset and Rarity.

I walked outside while they were still doing the activities they were earlier. I pulled my rune from my pocket and teleported up into the tree, standing on one of the branches that was practically a platform. I transmuted some of the leaves and began to document all the events that had just happened. I soon had it all caught up with the rest of the history I was recording before I realized I was missing out on Equestria's history. Twilight had planned for her festival to be in two days, which meant it started Saturday. It's not like I would have missed much except for observing.

"Shadow Aura!" I heard Sunset Shimmer call from below and I peeked down to look at her. I shot a small bolt of magic down to get her to look up and see me. Her eyebrows lifted in confusion.

"Nothing against any of you, but I'd like to be alone now!" I shouted down to her and she headed back inside without another word according to my ears. I had looked away once I saw her go under the porch overhang.

I sat and laid against the tree, I saw the sky was filled with grey clouds foretelling rain in the future.

"This is my life now," I sighed.

I was still astonished at how in just a few months I had gone from seclusion to partaking in the major events of Equestria. I was amazed that Starswirl came back just to send his regards and show me a truer path, reconcile with me. I was flabbergasted that I am in the human world now with magic. And now I am struck that I now know I can command the raw magic of friendship.

I sat in the tree and continued to reflect on my life. All my accomplishments; my spells, my mastery of magic, my magic acquirements, defeating Sombra for good, making a crystal heart, and more, especially more to come. I stood and walked out to the end of the branch, looking up at my creation.

"And somehow, I'm still here making my way through life. Haha," I laughed lightly to myself before I broke out into hysterics.

"I shouldn't be alive, I'll run out of things to gift to Equestria and then I'll just watch the world fade out or continue on endlessly. Hahaha," I calmed my laughter, "it's damn sad."

"I should have never muddled with friends, they won't leave me, but I'll leave them. They'll die and I'll live, except Discord. Discord wouldn't be good company for eternity," I sighed out, still speaking aloud to myself.

"Celestia will live a long time, but she and her sister are still mortal, so Twilight will follow it all the same. And while thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of moons is a very long time...it's nothing in the span of eternity," I sat down at the end of the branch and laid back, looking up.

"Maybe I have truly bucked up. Nopony can keep me company forever. All my friends will die. I swear, as I get older I just get sadder," I laughed a little to myself.

"I'm keeping myself company, terribly, but I am. What's that saying? One is the loneliest number of all," that got me thinking.

"I still have never been interested or had a special somepony. Perhaps I stay too busy or I'm just not interested in that stuff. I must sound so stupid right now," I laughed at myself now.

"Maybe I'll go back to seclusion and live alone forever," I started to feel sad again, "I'll miss all my friends, that's guaranteed, even these seven here," I sighed out and laid in silence longer.

"Buck my life, Starswirl was right to begin with, maybe I really did screw up," I cursed myself, "we really are just two blathering idiots that should be dust by now," I sat up and stood.

"I might as well see what they've been up to. The sun is setting now," I said to myself, "Shadow Aura, shut up and stop talking to yourself," I finished my private conversation and teleported back down to the grass.

Sunset Shimmer stood in front of me with tears welling up in her eyes.

"What's wrong with you? Did something happen inside?" I questioned, a little oblivious.

She hugged me tight and squeezed, she had yet to start crying.

"Sunset, what got into you?"

"Shadow Aura, you never have to give up on friends. It may hurt to see them go, but you'll always be friends, even when they part. I'll always be your friend, even if you outlast me," Sunset said.

"You heard all that?" I questioned, feeling tears well up in my own eyes.

"I never thought you cared to have friends, you never showed it. But now I know, and I'm here for you, it's what friends do," I chuckled a moment at her words before I returned her hug and let the tears silently roll down my cheeks.

"And Shadow Aura, you're a someone that needs friends, you just aren't happy alone, neither are you yourself. I think I can see that you weren't always such an introverted person," she continued and I squeezed her.

"There was a time when I was cheery and that was a very very long time ago," I answered.

"Well, let that time be now. Have friends even if you're going to live past all of them, it'll be memories you can cherish," I had never heard something so...wise in such a long time.

It slowly began to rain as we stayed outside.

"Thank you, Sunset. I'll be sure to visit you every now and then after I leave," I squeezed her, hugging a little longer before we both pulled away.

I felt better, happier, and more like myself. Myself. It clicked, the last time I was myself was when I still hung around Starswirl. Now I'm back and I'm not going back to whoever I was. I smiled a genuine smile and walked back inside, wiping my eyes and Sunset's eyes on my labcoat before we went inside.

"Everypony, why are we here and not seizing the day? We could be doing things tonight!" I shouted and all of them looked at me awkwardly.

"Sunset, hon, what did you do to him?" Applejack questioned.

"You remember how she said she didn't know there was another way on the day you bested her?" I was still smiling and they all nodded, "she reminded me of that personally. So why are we sitting inside and not doing something?" I asked again.

"I'm not quite sure what happened, but I'm with him!" Pinkie bounced and hugged me tight, "I like this Shadow Aura a lot more!" Pinkie Pie bounced outside.

"We'll take my car, it's raining outside so grab umbrellas on your way out," Rarity passed by Sunset and me, winking at us as she put up an umbrella on her way outside.

"I'm so confused," Twilight said and headed after Rarity with her umbrella.

"You're not the only one," Applejack commented and got an umbrella, sharing it with Fluttershy.

I hugged Sunset again, "really, you have my thanks. I owe you a ton," I walked out with her in tow and we all piled into Rarity's SUV. She started it up and waited for us all to get settled in. Twilight sat in the front with her. Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash sat in the middle. Pinkie Pie joined Sunset and I in the back. Sunset leaned on me oddly, yet it didn't bother me, I welcomed it, but I wouldn't admit that aloud.

"Wait, Shadow Aura, where are we going?" Rarity asked as she began to head out of the pathway for her mode of transportation.

"That is up to you all, did we leave Spike inside?" I asked.

"He's asleep, he'll be fine if we leave for a while," Twilight assured all of us, "how about bowling?"

A chorus of agreements followed her suggestions and Rarity took off down the roads. I couldn't see where she was going from the back of the car, I kept my vision inside of the moving machine and looked at Sunset, who caught my eye and looked away the moment she realized I was looking at her, she tensed. I patted her leg and she relaxed again, leaning against me once more.

I closed my eyes and relaxed back while Rarity guided us to wherever we went. The group was silent, most likely trying to figure out what Sunset did or said to me that brought the old Shadow Aura out.

Equestria, I owed her so much. Maybe I'll repay her back in Equestria, I think she'd enjoy learning all my tricks. It's a bit foreboding if you're the only pony to know them anyway.

I cleared my head and kept my mind free of thought until we came to stop and everypony got out, putting up umbrellas. I walked out in the rain again with Sunset. The rain never bothered me, it was nice to have it patter on my shoulders, reminds me of the days we'd still meet and huddle closer under the tree to discuss. Dingy, Starswirl, and me of course.

We entered and I saw there were quite many more alleys than compared to Equestria, humans must have enjoyed it more. Some alleys were taken, but many were free. The students of Canterlot High must be elsewhere. I did see someone Twilight described that looked familiar, Flash Sentry I think his name was.

I quickly walked up to him while my friends headed to the front desk to get an alley began speaking with the employee there.

"Flash," I said and approached. He turned around after setting his bowling ball back down on the return rack.

"Yes? Are you that researcher?" He questioned.

"Haha, it's safe to tell you. I know Twilight, your Twilight. The one from Equestria. I guess you could call me a friend of hers," I smiled at him.

"No way! How's she been?" He asked and stuck out his hand. I took it and shook it.

"She's been great, but stretched thin. Being her seems stressful. A princess' duties do not look fun. She was planning a friendship festival last I heard and we got done dealing with my royal buck up a few days ago. We almost lost Equestria to an old tyrant," I explained and laughed a little.

"That sounds...horrifying, but cool to see. Do you think I could ever visit Equestria?" He asked as the seven were walking over and waved to him, he waved back.

"No, but you can hope, right?" He sighed, "I know you wanna see Twilight, but I could convince her to visit at some point perhaps. When she's not busy."

"You mean it, man?" He chirped up.

"I do. I'm stuck here until Saturday night. Don't make a deal with them," I whispered and pointed to my new friends.

"I feel ya there," he laughed and continued to bowl.

"Shadow Aura, we got the lane next to Flash. We're also making you go first," Twilight smiled while the rest of them grinned with malice. Flash got back to bowling, taking on a serious composure.

"Buck, can I use my magic?" I asked.

"Nope! You gotta use your hands," Applejack said.

"But we had magic blockers at the alleys in Equestria, it would short out our magic once the ball went past the throwing area!" I complained.

"Darling, that's really too bad," Rarity smirked.

"I didn't agree with it, but they did a majority vote...sorry," Fluttershy meekly commented, at least she had my back.

"Fine!" I snapped back at them all and chose a thirteen yellow pound ball, feeling it in my hand before I began to wonder how it was sent down.

"First, put on the proper shoes!" Rainbow Dash handed me a pair and I quickly unlaced my current ones and laced the new ones on my feet with my magic. I still didn't have the hang of these stupid fingers yet. They felt a little loose, but they probably eyeballed my shoe size.

I held the ball in my right hand, all my fingers flat against it. I began a small startup and swung my arm before I swung it forward and let my ball roll down like it was a large skeeball. I watched on, eager to know how many pins I got. the ball slowly went to the left and I hit three down.

"Not bad for an Equestrian," Sunset commented.

"You get better eventually, Shadow Aura," Flash said as his score on his monitor showed he made mostly eight or nine pins on his squares, sometime a strike or spare.

"You bowl weird," Rainbow observed.

"Hush," I picked my ball back up from the return rack and sent it down the alley, knocking four on the right down, "decently done, Shadow Aura," I said to myself and sat down.

"Not bad, darling," Rarity commented.

I took my seat next to Sunset and she scooted a bit closer to me. Normally, I didn't like anypony this close to me, but she was a presence I did welcome. She leaned against me eventually and smiled.

"I'll get a strike right here for the rest of the game, just you guys watch!" Rainbow Dash said and picked up a blue bowling ball from her feet. She quickly got into position and stepped forward, throwing her right leg out to the left behind her as she released the ball.

Her ball went down the lane fast, but slowly curved to hit a single pin on the left. We all exploded in laughter.

"Some skill, Rainbow!" Applejack jeered at her.

"Shut up!" She flushed and picked her ball back up before quickly taking a shot again, knocking all the other pins down, "see, spare!" She bragged.

"Whatever," Applejack stood and took her same ball, waiting for the pins to reset before taking her first shot and knocking down five. Everypony was quiet until she knocked down four more.

"Well done, AJ," Twilight said and took her turn with a seven pound ball, the lightest kept here. She predictably made a gutter ball on her first try.

"Have you ever bowled before, Twilight?" Pinkie asked.

"No, I haven't," she answered.

"Just try your best, don't worry about impressing us then!" She chirped and Twilight made her second shot and knocked down four pins.

"Whoopee!" Pinkie jumped up and head to the lane. She grabbed a pink fifteen pound ball from her seat and carelessly sent it down the lane, bouncing away after she saw she got a strike, "hehehe!" She giggled.

"Damn, how do you bowl like that Pinkie?" I asked.

"I just do it, nothing to it!" She answered.

Sunset stood up quietly and grabbed the yellow thirteen ball I used. I watched her form and noticed she placed her fingers into the holes of the ball before she took a shot. She ended her first square with a seven.

"Darlings, let me show you how it's done!" Rarity took her turn with a look of determination, hitting down eight pins on her first throw while her fingers slipped on the second, "oh darn!"

"Rarity, where did you learn to get so good?" Fluttershy asked and stayed in her seat while Sunset bowled. I noticed she wasn't on the board since she didn't like bowling that much.

"I used to be on the bowling team, I wasn't the best, but I was good enough that they kept me," she smiled.

Sunset breathed in and then breathed out. She took many moments to concentrate, she took this more seriously than Rainbow Dash did; it was like this determined some major aspect in her life. She stepped and took her shot, getting a strike. She threw her hands up in the air and walked back, sitting down next to me.

"I suppose it's my turn now. Can't you guys let me us my magic just this one square?" I pleaded.

"I think we'll still kick his butt if we let him use it just this once," Sunset said with a smirk.

"Yea, go on Shadow Aura!" Applejack said.

I heard Flash Sentry stop bowling for a moment and noticed he only had one shot in his very last square left.

"Why is everypony looking at me?" I asked and grabbed the rune out of my pocket, holding it gently.

"I wanna see magic," Flash said and scratched behind his head, "Twilight said it wasn't all bad or super dramatic."

"We're all eager to see you do it, I guess. But don't guide the ball once it passes the foul line, we'll disqualify you for it," Rainbow said as-matter-of-factly to me.

"I won't, but Flash. Magic is a tool and it all depends on how you use it and how well you can control it," I said and shot a beam out of the rune at a glass of some dark colored beverage on the table at his lane, duplicating it into three glasses, "I can do that, a very advanced spell, or I can bowl with a simple levitation spell," I said and picked my ball up with my magic, moving it to hang in the air where I would normally stand.

"That's...that's pretty amazing. What else can you do?" he asked.

"Sorry, but this isn't Equestria so my magic in my rune is limited," I walked over to the side of our lane, staring at my ball. I behind to make it spin rather fast before I sent it through a loop to gain momentum and let it slide down the lane on the far right.

"Well, that's a waste!" Rainbow said at first.

"Check again!" I said as my ball curved more near the end and sidewiped the first pin while knocking the others down to give me a strike, "works everytime. Curving a ball helps keep speed up so your pins move around more and knock other ones down," I took my seat and slid the run back into the pocket of my coat.

"Impressive, Shadow Aura," Sunset said and leaned on me.

Flash finished his game and gathered his things while he downed the drinks I duplicated for him.

"Hey, Shadow Aura. Hit me up sometimes when I'm at school, I'd like to hang more," he said with a smile while he walked out of the alley.

The rest of the game went predictably. We had some laughs at mistakes I made and cheered for each other whenever we did well. Pinkie scored highest followed by Rarity, Sunset, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, me and then Twilight. We left abruptly after eating some pizza. The sun had set and the moon was high now. A beautiful night.

"You know, it's nights like these that remind me of the time I spent in my youth," I said.

"I can't believe Pinkie got a perfect score!" Rainbow Dash shouted in front of us while we walked towards Rarity's vehicle. She was chatting with Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity. Twilight was on my left while Sunset stood on my right.

"What do you mean?" Twilight asked.

"Well, when I was in my twenties and thirties I spent my time awake this late reading through every manual of spellcraft or mastering magic book I could. Sometimes I would debate with Starswirl or learn some things with Dingy Coat. I spent my time broadening my horizons first before I filled them and to think they aren't empty but I have no idea of knowing how full they are really gives you a perspective on how much knowledge there is to gain," I said.

"Beautifully said, Shadow Aura," Twilight commented.

"Is that really what Immortality is like? It sounds great. Maybe I'll join you in it," Sunset smiled and jabbed me in the side with her elbow.

"Hahaha! Good one! I doubt you'd reach my level of magic as fast as I did when I was that young or even eb able to figure out the spell," I laughed and Sunset kept her smile.

"You never know. Maybe she'll sneak into Equestria and take it from you!" Twilight punched me in my arm now.

"She's welcome to try!"

Rarity unlocked her car and we all piled into the seating arrangements we had earlier. The ride was silent while Rarity dropped Pinkie Pie off at her home first and then Rainbow Dash. She drove back to her house and around Applejack's truck, parking.

"Come On, Fluttershy. You know the drill and I gotta tend to the farm come early morning. Was nice hanging out, girls," Applejack said while she got in her truck.

We all waved them off while Fluttershy joined Applejack and left left Rarity's driveway.

"Well, Shadow Aura. It's horrible of me, but I don't really have room to accommodate all of you and I can't drive Twilight all the way out to her home and back," Rarity said while she walked in her house and waited for us to come in after, closing the door once we did.

"That is fine, I can sleep on the couch," I answered and moved to the living room, feeling a wave of exhaustion.

"That leaves Sunset the guest room and Twilight, you can join me in my bed, it's big enough for us both," Rarity said and winked to Sunset before she headed upstairs with Twilight in a light giggle. Sunset headed the opposite way and around the stairs while I entered the living room. I already saw a blanket folded there. Spike was still asleep in Rarity's recliner.

"Poor little dr-dog. Cursed to sleep eternally," I chuckled softly before I stepped past the living room and into the kitchen, feeling tired but not enough to warrant sleep.

This was a life I could live happily, unfortunately, I'd have to return to Equestria at some point. I would definitely visit though, these seven I enjoyed.

I opened the fridge and took out a water bottle, sipping at it slowly while I stood in the kitchen with my thoughts.

All of them were nice, especially Sunset, I'd repay her somehow, I owe her a lot for helping me think differently than the two thousand year old secluded sack of crap did. She metaphorically slapped me quite well. I would definitely need to begin some research when I get back to Equestria I'd have my hooves full trying to understand how I harnessed the magic of friendship. I might decide to do research on the mirror I used to arrive here as well.

I finished my water and disposed of it in the recycling bin Rarity had. I walked back into the living room and took off my labcoat, draping it over the couch. I laid down on it and used the cushions as pillows. I kicked my shoes off before I pulled the blanket over me. I closed my eyes and felt two wooden planks in the couch in my back and my legs. They dug in painfully.

"Shadow Aura, would you like to share my bed?" I heard Sunset's voice and I snapped my eyes back open. She wasn't in her jacket or orange shirt, she was in some kind of white undershirt and white pajama pants. I flushed a little when I found myself staring.

"I'm sorry, what?" I asked. I sat up, raising an eyebrow in intrigue and confusion.

"Would you like to share my bed?" She asked again with a red tinge.

I began to think for a short and quick moment. Sunset had to have an alternate motive than just being nice and with all the cues I've gotten and the feelings that I've found in me...

"I would, it'd be much more comfortable than this couch," I feigned innocence still and followed her as she went around the house and entered the guest bedroom after passing through a small, but high class dining room.

The room was simple, white walls with dark oaken furnishings. It was the same theme of Rarity's entire house. The closet was shut with white shutter-like doors. two nightstands next to the white quilted bed that had a tall headboard. The quilt was already pulled back. I laid down on the bed, putting my feet under the covers, waiting on Sunset to do the same before I pulled the quilt over us.

Sunset quickly cuddled up to me and laid a hand on my chest while her head seeked out the comfort of the crook in my shoulder. She wrapped a leg around one of my own and I flushed again, my face must have been on fire by now. I understand her motives clearly now.



"D-do you like me?" I asked the question that was burgeoning my head the most. I still knew the answer.


She stayed quiet for a little while before she giggled and looked up to me with her sparkling cyan eyes.

"What do you think, idiot?" She smiled.

Idiot. Usually I would strike down anypony who dared call me such a word, send them across Equestria and to the canyon in Griffonstone. This was different, she meant it in a different way. It was endearing. I tried to analyze my feelings more, but I had no clue where to begin.

"Damn, how does Cadence do this stuff?" I asked aloud, smirking down to her.

"So, what do you think the answer is?" Sunset restated her question after a little laugh.

"Yes," I said with conviction.

"You're correct!" She giggled and nuzzled her nose into my chest.

Well, I will definitely be having a conversation with Cadence at some point.

I'll have to leave this world soon, but Sunset should already know that, right? I'll have to visit for her then. She's important now, right? That's how special someponies work.

"Does this mean you're my special somepony?" I asked aloud.

"Am I?"

"Sunset," I said and kept silence for a while before wrapping my arms around her, "yes. Yes you are."

And with that she snuggled in further, I could see the smile stretch across her face even if it was buried in my shirt. Her grin only left gradually when she fell asleep, which I joined shortly after. My life had been now only flip upside down, but I was stuck in an axillary roll while in a barrel roll. that was to say, I didn't know which way was up.

A Dance in Winter

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I woke up to the sound of the door creaking open and my eyes snapped open. At home, I was always on watch for any kind of intruder so that I may find them, erase what they saw of my home and teleport them away. It was just normal for me to be this alert, but I quickly calmed myself when I felt something warm and soft. I looked down and saw my hair in Sunset's head.

I smiled a genuine smile once more. I grinned this expression truer than any other one before it. I looked back up to the door and saw a pair of blue eyes and a pair of light purple ones. I already knew who they belonged to. I reached for my lab coat pocket to grab my rune and I realized it wasn't there. And I realized how attached to my magic I was. I wouldn't be 'caught with my scrolls open' again as we said back then.

"Rarity, Twilight, there is no need to stand giggling at the door," I said and waved them in with my right hand.

"Sooooo, how was your night?" Rarity asked and Twilight giggled.

"Enjoy them while you can, unicorn. I'll make my return and enslave this world too," I heard Sombra's spirit scratch at my head.

I shook away his haunting laughter, focusing again.

"Wonderful, if you must know. Please try not to be so loud, she's still asleep," I spoke softly and let my hand roam through her hair gently.

"Sorry for intruding, it was Rarity's idea. You two look cute together though," Twilight commented and smiled warmly.

"Hush," I whispered harshly and both of them giggled, "do one of you mind fetching me my rune?" I asked and Twilight nodded. She left the room quietly.

"So, did all of my hints finally make sense?" Rarity asked with a huge smile.

"Yea, I was quite stupid to not get them. Perhaps inexperienced," I answered, "I'll make it a point to go to Cadence."

"She's one of the princesses, right?"

"Princess of Love, Ruler of the Crystal Empire. I have no doubt in my mind she can help me understand love."

Twilight walked back in and handed me the rune.

"Shouldn't you still be in bed getting your 'beauty sleep?'" I inquired to Rarity and coaxed magic out of my rune, levitating objects in the room off the ground and above the bed, sending them in slow circles.

"And miss seeing you two in bed?" Rarity started, "I would never."

I slowly put the items back down after warming my magic use up. I levitated Sunset Shimmer so she would stay in her exact position while I moved out from under her and off the bed. I slowly let her down.

"Let's let her sleep," I spoke softly and exited the room with them. I quietly shut the door without the creaking that Twilight and Rarity had caused.

"I don't think you'd have to see the Princess of Love, Shadow Aura. You seem to be doing fine all on your own," Rarity invoiced.

"I'd still like to have her advice on all that love entails. Preparation is the most important part of any endeavor," I answered. Even though emotions are very different from magical pursuits, preparation wouldn't hurt.

"You're such a calculated person, Aura," Twilight spoke up now.

"I enjoy being me, being anyone else would be madness for me."

We walked into the living room and then the kitchen, where there were already eggs, potatoes, and some fruit in a bowl on the center of the table. It seemed they had already made breakfast.

"Well, eat up, darlings!" Rarity said and we all took a seat at the table.

Twilight and Rarity sat across from me at the rectangular table with six seats. I sat on the other side, leaving a seat open for when Sunset wakes up to join us. I looked down at my plate, eyeing the food with lust. I levitated an orange from the fruit bowl in the center of the table and peeled it perfectly with my magic. I sunk my teeth into it while I got odd looks from both of the people across the table.

"That's...that's remarkably efficient," Twilight spoke her mind before she began to dig into the eggs in front of her.

Rarity already began eating slowly and quite elegantly while I dug into the food before me. I always woke up starving and excited to start the day with my projects. I may not have had anything to look forward to today, but I would still eat in my normal habits. I had quickly finished the meal before before the two in front of me had.

"Rarity, does your family own this land?" I questioned, fiddling with the rune in my hand.

"Yes, why do you ask, dearie?" I had gotten the attention of Twilight as well.

"Because I may want a home here," I began.

"I've noticed you have a lot of forest around your world and I don't think it'd be bad if a small manor were to magically form in it somewhere, would it? You already have the one tree that everyone else is envious of in your front yard. And it magically appeared in one day," I smirked. She didn't complain about the large tree I grew in front of their lawn so I assumed they liked it.

"I think you can do that as long as my nobody does find out. Even if they do, people probably won't believe them," Rarity smiled. She indeed had caught on.

"Though, I'm thinking of bringing Sunset back to Equestria with me, it's where she came from. I'd make sure we'd visit often, or at least she would. It'd still be nice to have a home here I could call my own," I stood, looking out of Rarity's kitchen window and into the woods of her back yard.

"Mmmmm, she might like that," Rarity said behind me, "but she does have a home here you could stay at," I smiled at the thought.

"Whatever she wants to do, we'll support her!" Twilight chirped.

This Twilight wasn't as outgoing friendship wise, but she did know some about friendship, like a past version of Equestria Twilight.

"The dance of yours is today, correct?" I asked and I was met with a quiet answer.

I felt arms wrap around my body and link in front of me. That's why they were quiet.

"Good morning, Sunset. Rarity made a wonderful breakfast," I took her hands with mine and moved them off.

I turned around and hugged her tight, laying the side of my head to hers while I guided her to the table. I sat her down before I took the seat next to her. I teased my fingers over her arms before I took her left hand so she could eat with her right.

"You two are still such a cute couple!" Rarity squeed and clapped her hands together. Twilight sat with a huge smile.

Sunset took a banana from the fruit bowl and I levitated it out of her hand, peeling it for her before giving it back.

"Thanks, Aura," Sunset smiled at me while she ate her food.

"Shadow Aura, to answer your earlier question; the dance is today," Twilight interjected our small moment.

"I'll see about making it a real Winter Dance. Everyone at your school does know about magic, perhaps I could let Celestia and Luna let me make the dance special with some flair to it," I smirked.

"What did you have in mind?" Rarity smiled big.

"You'd find out," I answered.

"So, what's on the agenda today?" Sunset spoke up, almost done eating.

"I plan to help make sure the dance is decorated properly today," Rarity said and looked at the time on her microwave, "it seems I need to go now then," she stood up and headed our of the kitchen.

"Hold on, Rarity," I stood up quickly and lightly laid my hand on her shoulder then turned around to face Sunset and Twilight.

"So, I know Twilight is interested in magic, but Sunset," I began.

"Yes?" She smiled wide up at me, her pupils growing.

"Do you want to use magic again while I explain it to Twilight?" She perked up at my words and bounced from her seat, hugging me tight.

"I would love to! I still kinda miss having my horn," she said while her face was left buried into my shoulder.

Twilight was smiling big and held her hand over her face, stifling a giggle, "I'd like to hear as much about magic as you have time for," she answered quietly.

I was going to be teased quite a lot by these six. Tartarus, Spike hasn't even been told yet.

"Rarity, could you drive us down to Applejack's farm before you help with the decorating?" I turned back to Rarity once Sunset finally let go of me.

"Of course, darling, let's go now," Rarity said.

"Rarity, I can see you are dressed well for the day, but you may want to wait for these two to be dressed," I said and fiddled with the rune in my pocket, casting a small time spell on my clothes and reverting them to a cleaner state. It had about half the magic I put into it when I came here.

"I was just about to suggest that. We'll be waiting in the car, girls," Rarity finished and we all walked out of her kitchen.

Rarity and I strolled outside and to her vehicle while Sunset headed to the guest room and Twilight to Rarity's bedroom. I sat behind Rarity in her SUV when we arrived, she took the driver's seat, of course.

"So, Shadow Aura?" She began.

"Yes, Rarity?"

"You're going to treat our Sunset well, right?" She looked at me through the mirror that was above the front window, eyeing me with pupils that stared solidly at mine. I could hear the concern in her voice.

"I swear on my horn that I will do no harm to her," I answered.

"But will you when I control you?" Sombra spoke in my head again.

"So, you love her right?"

"I've never loved anyone, let alone a pony. But she is a pony from Equestria, just like me so I guess she's the first after fifty thousand moons. I don't know much about love, but I know I love her," I answered.

"That's the answer I was looking for. I wanted to know if it was genuine or if you were just going with it out of inexperience. A lot of people do that with their first, depressing to think about," Rarity lifted her voice before she dropped it low.

"I never make a decision unless I am certain of something. And I'm certain of Sunset Shimmer," I smiled and looked at the front door, waiting to see them come out.

"Awwww, Romantic. Maybe you should consider slowing down on magic and picking up a pen name," Rarity giggled at her joke.

"I could probably be Equestria's best historian, but who would listen to a pony who claimed they were two thousand years old? They'd laugh at me."

"Darling, we do. And we don't laugh at you," Rarity answered.

"You girls have sense in your head, others would call you insane cultists for believing the things I said without proving it," I laughed, losing my serious tone as I saw Sunset and Twilight walk out of the front of her home.

"Now that you mention it, if someone heard us talk about making time go faster quite literally, we'd probably be placed in an asylum," Rarity laughed with me.

"We're ready to go!" Twilight chirped and sat in the front of the SUV with Rarity.

Sunset sat in the back and I quickly took her hand once she clicked her seatbelt in. I squeezed it tight and ran my thumb up and down the back of her hand. She looked to me with a smile and a red tint to her cheeks.

Rarity started the SUV without anymore words and took off out of her driveway and down the road. Her vehicle was a lot more silent compared to other ones, it barely made an audible hum. I noticed how smoothly it traveled over the road compared to Applejack's truck, I felt bumps only enough to acknowledge them while I would easily bounce in Applejack's truck. Our ride to the farm was quiet, save for Twilight and Rarity discussing the decorations for the dance, I wasn't paying attention much and only caught that a lot of winter-like decorations would be around and that Pinkie Pie had helped with it, but in the color scheme of the dance.

The dance, I would have to learn how to carry myself on the ball floor again. I had only gone to the dances that King Bullion or Princess Platinum invited Starswirl, Dingy Coat, and I to. Starswirl and I were constantly dancing with mares while we sent messages to Dingy coat through telepathy by our magic. Poor Dingy Coat rarely got to dance with any mares on his own, we got a few to dance with him after we bragged of his intelligence in alchemy and his milestones. His S.S. got him a few dates even. The royalty at that time mostly invited us because they knew Starswirl and I were the strongest unicorns, but we would never attend without Dingy Coat. They called us the adept three since we all excelled far better than the other unicorns. Starswirl could make and master spells very quickly, Dingy had his alchemy talent, and I was adept at endurance casting and the advanced spells.

"Hahahaha, oh dances. I remember the old shenanigans we would do at them," I interjected their conversation.

Normally Princess Platinum would have been very upset at all of our pranks and jokes at the ball, but after a while she came around to our humor and snickered whenever she heard a unicorn scream, faint, or start a dramatic monologue.

"Shenanigans? I hope you won't pull any at this dance," Rarity answered.

"I won't, it wouldn't be right if I didn't have Starswirl and Dingy Coat with me. I still remember when we transmuted the ribbons in a noble's hair into butter. The sound of him and the look of horror was priceless! Even King Bullion laughed at that one," I chuckled and Sunset laughed with me.

"That does sound quite funny to see," Sunset added.

"Oh, I might revisit that time in history to watch it all again. I remember the time we teleported pies onto the ball floor at random times, that was even better. Princess Platinum sure did scowl at me, but we worked with Dingy so the pies wouldn't stain anything. Harmless," I smiled wide, "oh my youth was such an enjoyable time."

"I really hope he isn't going to do any of that at the dance. You aren't, are you?" Rarity peeked back at me when she stopped her vehicle at Applejack's farm.

"You have my word," I opened the door of the SUV and stepped out. Twilight and Sunset did the same. I walked over to meet them at the path.

"Good. Now try not to destroy too many trees here!" Rarity waved and we all waved back before she sped off to the school.

"Sunset," I pulled the rune out of my pocket, "go nuts," I lifted her hand and placed it into it.

She smiled big and grabbed my hand, leading me through the farm while Twilight was in tow.

"So, how does magic energy work?" Twilight started her onslaught of questions.

"Well..." I knew this would take the remainder of the time before the dance.

Hours passed while I explained the ins and outs of magic to Twilight. I started from what magic is to casting and manipulating magic.

"...and that's how you would bend magic to take offensive, utility, or defensive uses," I finished my lecture and watched as Sunset had started to make an apple tree on the edge of the clearing grow taller and wider. More apples started to appear on it and grow as well.

"Sunset!" I stood up from the ground and ran over, "that's impressive, even if you were using my rune! To be able to bend magic to your will that well, that's not an easily accomplished feat, especially here."

"Thanks, but while you two were discussing magic, I kept track of the time and we have an hour and a half until the dance. Rarity should be back soon and we'll begin getting ready then," Sunset said with an evil smirk, "that means no boys allowed," she poked me in my chest.

"Then I'll get my suit now then," I smiled and poked her back, taking my rune.

I quickly teleported back into Rarity's empty room and stripped it off the human version of a ponequinne, careful not to hurt it at all. I then began to teleport my clothing off and the suit back on, including the dress shoes. I tied the tie using magic to ensure it was perfect. I then put on the suit jacket and teleported back to the farm where I saw a scowl from Sunset.

"What? Don't I at least look good?" I smirked, "It still feels like I should be planning some kind of funny transmutation. I know! I'll dye all the food brown!" I chuckled at my own proposal.

"You do look good, but-."

"Are you kidding? He looks fantastic!" Twilight interrupted and smirked a bit, "I might be a little jealous, Sunset."

"Twiiiiiliiiiiight," Sunset scowled at her and took my hand tightly, "he's mine."

"I was only teasing," Twilight giggled.

I hugged Sunset tightly, "Twilight can make jokes too, Sunset. I'll see you at the dance," I ruffled her hair playfully before I moved away and tickled the rune in my pocket.

I teleported right to the front of the school and saw only one car there, Flash's. It was clearly his from his pony counterpart's cutiemark on the front of the car. He quickly hopped out of his car in his normal suit that didn't look nearly as tailored as mine. I saw the rose in his tux and realized I should have such an adornment too, I always did at the balls of my time. I tickled my rune and transmuted a rock in the front lawn of the school into metal before I moved it into the shape of my cutiemark and colored it the same, adding a pin to the back and levitating it to my hand. I quickly pinned it on the right side of my chest and smiled at the Flash Sentry that was now in front of me.

"Shadow Aura, what's up, dude?!" He said and punched me softly in the chest.

"I thought I'd arrive early and check out the dance decorations," I smirked before a thought ran through my head. I couldn't dance here, I barely sprinted fast. I would trip all over the dance floor.

"Well, you're looking pretty sharp. Usually I'm the only one who rocks a suit at dances, but you might have beaten me in the dressed up category," Flash noted and began to walk towards the door, I followed behind him.

"Hey, Flash. Could I ask a favor?"

"Yea, whatcha need?" he opened the door and we both entered the lit up rotunda of the school.

"Just touch this, I'm gonna learn dancing through you," I pulled my rune out and held it out to him.

"This isn't gonna turn me into some magic-crazed monster, right?" He asked with concern.

"Not at all," I said and he placed his hand on it.

"Alright then, learn dancing!" I started the spell at his words and went digging through his head.

I found spots where I could see his feet moving and know his thoughts that drove his feet to move and after I got the generalization and a few move such as dipping down, I stopped the spell and pocketed my rune again. My rune had to be at a third of what it was now.

"Whoa, my head feels a little light," Flash commented, waving from side to side a little bit.

"That'll go away in a few minutes. Lead the way to the gym!" I exclaimed with pep.

Flash went forward slowly, heading down a hall. I stayed close to him in case he fell from his temporary dizziness.

"So, are you accompanying anyone?" I asked out of curiosity.

"Nope, I haven't asked anyone to the dance, nor has anyone asked me. I guess after expressing interest in YOUR Twilight, everyone's left me to my own self. They think I can't get over her, but I will!" Flash clenched his fist with determination.

"Hahaha, you hold on to that hope. Maybe you can at least dance with someone there. At my own balls that I attended, I hated dancing, but many mares wanted to dance with me and wouldn't go away until I did," I continued the conversation.

"Then you were quite the woman's man?" Flash chuckled when we arrived at the gym doors.

"Kinda, I never bedded or swooned with any of them. They wanted me for my magical prowess and horn size. That was and still kinda is a huge part of unicorn culture. The more magic adept one is, the more attractive they are. It was a pain for us magic researchers," I chuckled with him and opened the doors.

"Well, hopefully you find someone here to dance with, too."

"Actually, Flash...whoa," I said audibly as I looked around the room, the metal rafters were lined with a coat of blue and slivers of white tape and tissue paper lined the walls like icicles, wadded up and spiked. Blue and white balloons hung from the snowy themed food and drinks. The tablecloths sparkled with strips of shiny paper to further the winter theme. The floor was covered in some kind of light blue paint. They went all out for this dance.

"It never fails to impress me how well they can set up the decorations for the dance," Flash said and we walked in, letting the doors close behind us.

"It is amazing, but I'll be adding touches myself," I said.

"And what touches would those be, Shadow Aura?" I heard Luna's voice ask from somewhere. I saw her and Celestia walk out from the curtains of the stage that were blue, matching the room's decor.

"Nothing harmful. I use my magic to serve ponies and people. Twilight might be able to give you a full essay with how much I've told her," I walked to the stage and both of them walked to meet me halfway. Flash followed.

"That's what we like to hear, but could you give us a taste of what you have planned?" Celestia smiled.

"Oooooooh, I like to show off!" I touched the rune in my pocket and called some windigo magic forward.

I began to drop intricate snowflakes from the ceiling and a mist enveloped the rune. The icicles of tissue paper on the wall quickly began real and a sheet of ice enveloped the walls and ceiling, covering all of it except the door, floor, and food tables.

"How's it not cold in here?" Flash asked.

"Easy, I'm controlling who it freezes."

"Impressive, and beautiful. We'll allow it," Luna said, "though you aren't supposed to be allowed to attend the dance. We can mark you down as the special effects worker we brought in."

"You have my thanks, Luna, Celestia."

"Shadow Aura, are you saving a dance for anyone?" Celestia asked with a knowing smile.

"Weeeell, I actually-,"

"Oh my god, this looks amazing! Better than any other dance we have had!" I heard some students exclaim as they began to enter.

"Sister, I think we better get dressed into our dresses as well," Celestia spoke up with a laugh.

"I believe you are right. Until next time, Shadow Aura. Flash Sentry," she nodded to both of us and took her leave with Celestia.

"Well, off I go!" Flash said and approached the earliest dancers that were entering. Music soon started playing, starting out slow before getting upbeat and lights came shining down from the ceiling to land on the floor, moving at a good pace, but not too fast.

"The dance begins," I whispered to myself and smiled.

Males and females were already dispersing throughout the room, into groups or dancing in the general center of the gym. I took to walk towards the food tables and found one with some fruit on it, next to what appeared to be cupcakes with icicles in them or snowmen on top. I took up one and ate it quietly, throwing away the wrapper before I went to a table holding the drinks. It was a mixture of soda, water, and juices, all with tons of ice in them. They were definitely keen on their theme.

I saw I was catching the eye of many of them that stared at me, wondering why I was here most likely, or admiring the work Rarity did for me. I looked around and saw Flash Sentry mingling with his friends. I also saw the counterpart of Trixie trying to exaggerate a story of her magic tricks most likely. I decided on my actions and walked right over to them. The gym wasn't crowded, so it was a straight walk. There were only about four people dancing in a group and five small groups dispersed about.

"...and that's when I floated the bear up and back into the woods!" Trixie threw her hands up.

Two girls were in front of her and both looked unamused. One was dressed in a light blue dress that frilled out some and had orange hair with a carrot hair clip. The other had light blue and white hair, wearing a mint green dress that fit tight to her form.

"Ladies, do you want to see real magic?" They both looked to me with interest.

"Oh please, like you could one up me!" Trixie showed her natural demeanor.

"Observe," I touched the rune in my pocket and pointed with my other hand at the floor in the center of all of us.

I began to call on windigo magic and caused a large block of ice to come up and form between us all.

"Whoa!" One of them shouted in a little deeper than normal feminine voice, touching the ice, "it's not even cold to touch," the orange haired one spoke again.

"But wait!" I held up my hand and pressed it to the ice. I rapidly melted it into a bust of Trixie, her tongue stuck out and eyes shut tight.

"Well...I...uggggggh!" Trixie stampeded off and I engaged in laughter with the other two. I melted the block away and quickly vaporized the water using more advanced spells.

"What's your name? I've never seen you around school," the mint green wearer asked.

"Shadow Aura, a pleasure to meet you," I bowed a little, "I don't attend your school. I'm from where Twilight is, an Equestrian."

"Lyra, and this is Carrot Top. Well, I hope you can stay a while, you're already super interesting," she introduced her friend who waved and smiled bright at me.

"Shadow Aura!" I heard Sunset call my name from the gym doors.

"I believe I must go, my friends have arrived. I look forward to seeing you on another visit. I depart tomorrow morning," I walked away.

"Lyra, you're drooling," I heard from behind me. Even the females of this world seem to go a bit nuts, maybe its how I carry myself.

"What would this Sunset Shimmer think of this?" Sombra spoke up again.

"Shut up and go buck yourself," I muttered under my breath.

"A nerve? I'll make note of it," he laughed.

I disregarded him and focused on getting to my friends.

I walked over to the doors and saw none of the seven I expected to be there, I looked around before I was hugged tightly from behind.

"Guess who," I heard Sunset slightly sing.

"The girl I was hoping would show up soon?" I asked with a smile.

"Yep!" She spun me around and hugged me tight, I hugged her back. I noticed I was receiving many looks and stares. I must have caught some of their ire as well as their interest.

Sunset released me and backed away a little, taking my hands. I froze, staring at her.

"What's wrong? Do I look too good?" Sunset asked and blew in my face gently to wake me up.

"I-I'm sorry. I kinda lost my words when I got a good look at you," I said, snapping myself back to my conscious.

Sunset was in a dress that stopped just below her knees. The dress was made of many slivers of orange and red to match her hair and it fit her body tightly. It had no straps over her shoulders. A gold bangle was on each of her wrists, loose, but silent. I looked at her heels; orange, tall, elegant with what looked to be an orange citrine in the toes of them. I looked back up and saw not a single hint of makeup, still stunning Sunset Shimmer and her hair seemed to be up in a tight braid at the back of her head, one that had to be intricate.

"And now you take a good look at me? Rarity was right!" She giggled.

"I've already received a compliment about this suit from Flash and I've caught words going around about it," I chuckled and pulled her close, hugging her.

"So, is this it? Just hugs?" Sunset prodded at me.

"A kiss to satisfy? I plan to save that for a particular part tonight," I smirked and pecked her cheek, "that should suffice for now."

I released her and saw a blush over her cheeks.

"Shadow Aura, I see you found a date tonight. I'm still having no luck," I heard Flash Sentry from behind me as he walked up.

"Date? This is my marefriend, Flash," I said and took one of her hands, drawing her close to my side while I flipped around to see Flash.

"Sunset Shimmer? Whaaaaaaat?" Flash grasped his head, "I would have never guessed, you seem like such a chill guy who doesn't live for exciting adventures!" He laughed in disbelief.

"Well, there's that time I did away with Sombra for good. I also went on my quest to create another Crystal Heart. Went up against Chrysalis," I laughed nervously, "but you don't know any of those guys," I felt Sunset nudge me.

"They gotta be serious stuff with those names. Nice to see you again, Sunset. I do wish you guys luck, even if he has to go back to Equestria," Flash inputted.

"Believe me, if I were to go against them in Equestria, I would be annihilated," Sunset said to further back my claims.

"Now I believe," Flash chuckled, "so when do you leave and not come back for weeks?"

"Ah, but unlike Twilight. I can come and go as I please. Time is but a grain of sand in the span of eternity, Sentry," I punched his arm lightly and he looked at me confused.

"Whatever, I'm off to at least dance with someone. That's something I can keep trying at," he said and walked off.

"That was odd?" Sunset questioned.

"He's an alright guy. A weird one, reminds me of Dingy Coat. Always trying too hard to be cool and never realizing he always was," I said aloud, staring at his back while he walked off.

"You know he's my ex, right?" Sunset commented.

I swooped in to her hug her tight. I dug my face into her neck and just caught how good her scent was. It wasn't a perfume, it was her own scent. Sunset had to have relationship experience. I bent her over slightly.

"Well, you're mine now and I'm not letting go," I chuckled and raised her back to her feet.

"Do you want to see the girls?" Sunset asked.

"The question is, does Rarity want to hear about her hard work on this suit," I laughed heartily with Sunset joining while she lead me out of the growing crowd and to a corner of the gym. I saw Rarity and Fluttershy both there.

"The man of the night is here!" Rarity said, throwing her arms into the air. Fluttershy just smiled at our presence.

"I've heard many good things about this suit, Rarity."

"I knew you would, I put all the love and passion into it to make this night a good one," she answered with a bigger smile.

"Enjoying yourself, Fluttershy?" Sunset asked.

"Oh, um, yes. I'm just not much for dances," she replied.

"Just try to go out and dance at some time tonight, you'll enjoy, darling. I promise," Rarity encouraged her.

"Oh, I don't know."

"She's right. When I went to my first ball, I was a grump through the night until I hit the dance floor. I felt free and alive. Given that dancing was a majestic one, I think you'll still get the same effect if you go out there," I patted her smiled her way.

"Ah, Shadow Aura. I'm glad I found you," I heard Celestia's voice behind me right when Fluttershy opened her mouth.

"Celestia, you look good tonight," I complimented and nodded my head to her when I turned around with Sunset, taking her other hand.

"She'll look good in chains," Sombra wanted to ruin this night for me quite badly.

Celestia dress in a simple pink dress that flared out at the bottom, cutting off mid-thigh. Her hair was the ever normal and she wore some kind of pink pair of shoes.

"It's simple and Luna discouraged it, but I wanted to blend in a little and not stand out. I still love this ice and mist you've put everywhere. Oh, and the snowflakes are wonderful," she thanked me.

"Thank you, I've been trying to master Windigo magic and I think I've finally gotten it," I answered.

"THAT'S why it looks even better than when I helped Pinkie decorate it!" Rarity exclaimed, "Well done, darling, well done."

"I see you've found something in Sunset," Celestia giggled to herself.


"Don't explain yourself, you need not to. You two look cute together anyway," she followed up, "Luna and I have decided to call you to the stage soon to say just a few words, so be prepared for that," Celestia said and quickly walked away through the now large crowd of students.

"I swear, they don't change with their mysterious ways between worlds," I shook my head.

"What do you mean?" Fluttershy asked.

"Well, our Celestia, Princess Celestia, really enjoys talking through cryptic verses, adding hidden meanings, leaving stuff out, or just being mysterious. It seems your Celestia is too," I chuckled, "perhaps I'll try it some day."

"You better not with me," Sunset nudged me.

"I'll make sure to then!" I smirked devilishly, "oooooh, should I do a small little prank?" I turned to Rarity and Fluttershy. Rarity's face immediately lit up red in anger.

"Prank? Heck yea! Do it, Shadow Aura!" Rainbow approached us and clenched her fists, eager to see what I could do. I noticed Rainbow hadn't changed much, she only put on a simple cyan dress and red boots that contrasted thoroughly. An odd style, but she did the color clash well. It might have been to drive Rarity crazy on purpose.

"Which one of these students do you think would take it well?" I asked Rainbow Dash.

"Hey! I thought you agree-," Rarity began, steaming.

"I never remember agreeing to anything, Rarity," her face lit up more before she breathed in deeply and let out her breath.

"Pranks? Now don't be too mean, Aura," Applejack came to us as well. Applejack was wearing a denim skirt and orange plaid shirt, the sleeves rolled up to her upper arms. She still wore her traditional hat and what would be her cutiemark is sown into her skirt.

"I got the perfect target...Applebloom," I elbowed Applejack and pointed at the small girl dressed in a cream colored dress with a red hemming at the bottom of it. There were thick straps the went over her shoulders. Her attire matched the farm girl that she was.

"Auraaaaa, that's my sister you're talking about," Applejack stared at me.

"Now your sister doesn't mind getting dirty at all, and she's with her friends. They'll help her out," I touched the rune in my pocket and I began to focus on the inside fabric of her shoes, preparing to transmute them.

"Students of Canterlot High!" I heard Celestia call from the stage using a microphone and I stopped casting my spell. The party music stopped.

"Ponyfeathers, I was just about to do it," I cursed under my breath and I heard Sunset giggle while Applejack sighed out.

"I've heard many times that this dance looks better than any of the other ones we've had hear at CHS," Celestia continued and Luna walked up behind her, wearing an entire blue dress that stopped at her knees and some of her arms, revealing her shoulders. From the way it sparkled, it was a sequin dress.

"So, we'd like to call the man, or pony, responsible to the stage," Luna finished and whispers went about the room.

"Well done," I whispered under my breath and I quickly navigated through the crowd to the side of the stage, climbing the stairs up.

I heard clapping from the back of the room, it was those seven. The clapping soon spread over the room when Flash Sentry started to applaud in the front. Luna handed me the microphone and I took it, clearing my throat before holding it up to my mouth.

"Hello, Canterlot High School. It's true, your whispers are correct. I come from Equestria, the place where the first Twilight you met is from. She's doing well, everybody. She's fitting her new position as princess quite well," I walked to the other side of the stage. I decided to treat this short speech like I would a presentation on magic, "I know most, if not all of you are on shaky grounds with magic. This dance, looking better than any before is because of me. The floor you stand upon is ice, I have carefully latticed it to create grip, and it will not melt nor chill the room. The mist was also a touch of me, so are the icicles coming off the walls and the thick layer of ice over almost everything," I took a break, waiting for the applauding to end.

It seems I may have changed their minds about magic, they had only seen the destructive kind of magic from what I read about.

"Now, I've been using windigo magic, a more dangerous kind, but I have pacified it to make these aesthetics. Magic should serve us as a tool, that's why I dedicate my life to researching and mastering it," I took the rune out of my pocket, "this holds my magic, the magic I've been using to do all these things. And I'll give you all one more trick," I said with a big smile. From what I read in Twilight's recordings, the statue of a horse was blown apart during something called the Friendship Games. A horse is what their mascot is, a Wondercolt.

The rune started to glow as I began to cast my spell, "Everyone, clear the center of the room," I spoke into the microphone and they moved out of the way.

A small cyan laser shot out of the rune and hit the icy floor. I began to crystallize the water vapors in the air, forming them into a depiction of a general alicorn, man flowing with magic, wings spread, and a tall horn. The statue was massive and in the form of a rearing alicorn, front hooves high in the air. I then let my own grey magic hit the statue and separate it from the floor by its hooves. I slowly transmuted it into stone and when I finished, I lifted it off the floor, pointing it back down to the students at the floor who began to whistle and applaud.

"Here is your new statue for your school! Consider this Equestria's first gift and hello to Canterlot High!" I shouted with a huge smile. It's kind of nice to have everyone hanging at your words. I sent the statue slowly around the room for everyone to see it before I teleported it and landed it atop the portal at the front of the school, fusing the hooves with the portal base. I handed the microphone back to Celestia while I began to walk off with clapping and cheering still following me.

"Thank you, Shadow Aura. I'm sure you'll say hello to Equestria for us, too," Celestia began and I made my way back to Sunset, "students, remember that the dance ends at midnight, in two hours. And thanks for coming out!" Celestia finished and headed off stage.

I reached Sunset and saw a chorus of smiles from all of my friends here.

"Well said, Shadow Aura. A bit too informative, but maybe you'd do well as an alicorn unlike what you thought," Sunset began and wrapped her arms around my neck. I returned the gesture and laid my hands on her lower back. She stared up at me, her pupils wide.

"You really think so?" I rested my cheek against hers, closing my eyes. I felt the smile crawl more over my face.

"I do."

"It was one heck of a speech," I heard Applejack say.

I heard the music come back as a slow song and my head was struck with an idea.

"Does anyone play violin and cello at this school?" I asked.

"I think Lyra plays violin and Octavia plays cello. Why do you ask, dear?" Rarity answered.

I slipped out of Sunset's grip, "I'd like to dance to my music, the music I heard at balls."

"Oh! You mean classical dance music! You don't plan to do what I think you are, are you?" Rarity leaned close, giddy at what I suggested.

"Oh, I do!" I slipped through the crowds, receiving waves and smiles from many of the students there as I went. I found Lyra in her mint green dress soon enough, talking to Carrot Top with a third member in their party.

"Lyra! I'd like to ask a favor of you," I started, interrupting their conversation. All three of them looked to me with warm smiles of welcome.

"Name it and I'll try my best."

"Thanks, could you get Octavia and grab your violin and cello? I'd like to have some older music to dance to, for just one song. It's been a while since I've danced," I asked.

"Oooo, I'd love to and I'm sure Octavia would too. We'll be ready in a jif!" I caught her arm before she went to leave.

"Try to play something that sounds fluid, but upbeat. Something I can move like water in a calm stream around the dance floor with. Think of all those rhythms you've studied about in the classical era," I smiled as I gave my information.

"You got it!" She continued on her way.

"So, who would be your partner? I heard those dance can't be danced alone," Carrot Top questioned.

"I didn't know anyone still cared about those old dances outside classical instrument players. I'm be teaching Sunset how to dance, well more like leading her. I think she'll do well even if it is a complex dance," I commented.

"Well, you do know what she did, right?" Carrot Top whispered.

"I know all about that. Did you know I almost handed Equestria to an ancient tyrant on a platter? Did you know I made and casted a spell that made me immortal? Everyone can make mistakes, but mistakes don't define us. It's the learning from them that tells of how we live and carry ourselves," I ended our conversation and walked away, headed to the corner where the music host was handling things.

She pulled one headphone off her ear at the sight of me and stared blankly with her purple-tinted glasses.

"So, I'll be having two people play a song to dance to and I'm wondering if you have any microphones we could put near the instruments so the sounds could come off louder and mask our speaking during the dance," I requested.

She handed me two wireless microphones that had a switch at the bottom for turning it on. She also handed me a stand for them. I touched the rune in my pocket and teleported the items to the stage along with two chairs that I saw behind the curtains earlier. The person behind the sound system had her jaw open at my act.

"Thanks, they should be here soon," I resorted to waiting on Lyra and this Octavia to arrive.

And true to their word, they arrived only a few minutes later, with two cases, one huge and one small.

"Hey, Shadow Aura. I'm glad to hear you like our kind of music," someone with a long black hair and grey lines in it spoke up, bangs covering her forehead while she wore some kind of brown dress-like garment.

"You must be Octavia. I have things set up on stage for you both to play. Unfortunately, there isn't an orchestra. I'm sure you two will still play perfectly," I complimented and smiled.

"Thanks!" Both of them answered.

"Just take the stage and finish the setup when you are ready," I informed and they immediately did.

Lyra stayed standing and moved the microphone stand up to be level with her violin while Octavia kept hers low and sat down. They both opened their cases and revealed the shining polished wood of their instruments. Lyra quickly put the violin in its proper position, bending her arms and taking her bow out, setting it gently to the strings. Octavia followed suit and set hers to the larger strings of the cello. The DJ as they called it slowly silenced her music.

It was only a few moments before Sunset made her way over to me.

"Rarity said I should be here now, what are we dancing to?" She asked with worry in her eyes.

"Sunset, just follow my lead. In Equestria, we danced on our hind hooves for this, so it's not much different for me. I know you'll do just great," I smiled and took her hand, leading her to the cleared out dance floor. I assumed everyone left because of the music stopping and the two on the stage.

I lifted my arms up and Sunset followed suit, slightly bending my knees. I looked with my eyes to the stage and saw Lyra and Octavia whispering to each other before they turned on the mics and a buzzing was heard throughout the room, fading away to relative silence again. Octavia began with a deep , repetitive note that stopped before beginning again. She was definitely waiting for me to perform the move to get to the dance floor.

"Ready?" I whispered to Sunset.

"As I'll ever be," she smiled.

"Head straight, let us walk," I said and leaded out far with my right leg, letting it out far.

I brought myself down and back up to it, Sunset mimicking my motion with incredible reaction time. I repeated it a few more times and stopped when Octavia and Lyra both began playing, picking up and starting to play constant, slow, long notes. I let go of Sunset and turned to face her, seeing her do the same. We both kept our arms out at our sides.

"Sunset, this would be the moment," I whispered with a huge grin.

I reached out with my right hand, popping it right between our faces. She touched it with her own right and I retracted the moment I felt hers touch, moving my hips with my hands and seeing her quickly pick up the dance I was dancing. Our knees popped inward to face each other slowly. I reached out with my left hand and did the same motion with it, doing it once more with my right hand.

"Huh? What moment?" Sunset whispered back clueless.

I stepped inwards with my right and Sunset did too, "you'll see, Shim," I whispered and stepped back. We switched hands.

I stepped inwards with my left, seeing Sunset do the same, "Shim? So now we're getting nicknames?" She asked rhetorically and stepped back with me. I gripped Sunset's left hand with my right hand and her right with my left.

The duet on the stage picked up and their notes went at a bit faster pace, but one that signified the second and last part of the dance. The fun part for me. I stepped close to my special someone and began to spin, rotating and revolving around an invisible object in the center of the dance floor. It was here that I could definitely see we had the attention of everyone at the dance. We moved our hips side to side, raising the left and then the right into the air slightly as we went.

"Yea, is that a problem?" I whispered.

"No, not at all, Aur," she chuckled to herself.

"I hope you're enjoying the dance, it's what I often danced back in my youth," I continued our conversation, sinking my hands down and letting it rest at her hip, she did the same to my hip.

I continued to spin, widening our circle.

"I've never seen quiet a dance," I heard one of the female students whisper as we whirled by them.

"It's beautiful," I heard another.

"Forget the dance, look at the two dancing," a third, a male.

"It's definitely something new, but I love it. It's so uplifting and you actually get to move," she whispered her answer back.

"Oh, but it's unfortunately or fortunately coming to a close," I spoke in mystery as I shrunk the circle of our revolutions.

"I thought I told you not to speak in riddles," Sunset flatted.

"I couldn't resist," I gradually brought us to a stop at the center as the music slowly began to end, the sound dimming.

I hung Sunset out, feeling her hand roam to my lower back while I held her with her hand and the broader part of her back. I had successfully dipped her down, letting her back arch. She stared right up at my eyes.

"Just wait for Hearts and Hooves Day," I whispered and leaned down.

I planted my lips to hers gently, lingering with my eyes closed. I didn't continue it further into one filled of obvious passion or lust, just one of simple love. Love displayed in a way anyone could understand, though it remains a complex idea. Her lips were soft and they sent me burning with life in my cheeks and heart when I touched them. It? This was a kiss and a real kiss. Now I saw why some ponies loved to kiss their special someponies, it sets you aflame, flying in the air. I ended our meeting and retracted my face from hers. I opened my eyes and saw a huge smile on Sunset's face, her cheeks tinted a little red. I lifted her back up and we both put our arms out straight, leaving the dance floor the exact same way we arrived. We left a little faster, a bump in our step.

"So graceful, but-," I forced Sombra's voice down and into silence with my own will. I was starting to control him better.

The students began clapping once we made our way off the dance floor and a normal slow song began to play for the students, the dance floor slowly being filled again. I let my arms drop and touched the rune in my right pocket, teleporting the chairs and microphones on the stage back to their respectable places. I hugged Sunset before we began to make our way to our friends who stood close by, just outside the dance floor.

"Shadow Aura! You must teach me that dance!" Rarity said, "it was beautiful! Majestic! Amazing!"

"It really was something else," Fluttershy commented.

"Thanks, Fluttershy," I nodded to the shy girl and turned to Rarity, "I only owed one dance tonight and those dances take a good bit out of you, so I'd like to relax for the rest of the night. And I don't think I'd have a different partner, it wouldn't be feel right. And I don't want a raging ball of orange chasing you down," I nudged Sunset and laughed aloud.

"Haha, very funny," she punched me lightly in my arm.

"Has anyone seen Pinkie Pie or Twilight?" Applejack asked and walked into the conversation.

"I haven't, not even when I was spinning about and caught the faces of almost every student here," Sunset answered.

"Um, I saw Twilight talking with Flash. I don't know about Pinkie," Fluttershy sunk away.

"Oh boy," Applejack shook her head.

"Ehhhh, let's not bother him," I laughed.

Pinkie Pie bounded over here, knocking into my back and causing me to collapse onto my front, dragging Sunset partly with me before my fingers lost their grip.

"Of course, why wouldn't I fall after the dance instead of during it?" I complained aloud, "Pinkie, would you mind getting up?" I asked.

Pinkie Pie abruptly got up and giggled, helping me up by quickly yanking me by my shoulders. I felt very dizzy from the motion and I could hear laughter all around me. The world look like it was spinning a bit around me.

"Sorry, about that, Aura. I'm just really excited that Maud is back from college and she was able to come to the dance!" Pinkie exclaimed throwing her hands in the air. I felt hands on my shoulders that helped to steady me, I looked at the hands alone and knew it was Shim.

"Thanks," I addressed Sunset, "Pinkie, that's wonderful, but try not to crash into me too much. I want this suit ready for use if I come back here during a formal event."

"I'll try to make sure I don't do that as often then, have any of you ever seen Maud dance?" Pinkie asked, looking around.

"I don't think any of us have," Applejack answered.

"After this song, Vinyl is gonna play an upbeat one. Maud is the best dancer I've ever seen! She doesn't even break a sweat!" Pinkie boasted of her sister.

I had never met Maud nor watched much of Maud when I watched those six ponies live and flourish through their adventures. I only knew she was Goddess of Rocks. I was broken out of my thoughts when I felt Sunset's hands wrap around my stomach and her form against me.

"OooooOOOooo, you guys are really getting touchy!" Pinkie noted aloud and I smirked with a slight heat in my cheeks.

"Speaking of that; Shadow Aura, what was that on the dance floor earlier, hmm?" Rarity walked around us, leaning in close with a huge smirk. I felt my cheeks flush.

"I-it was exactly what you saw," I managed to speak out in a relative normal tone.

"Come on, Rarity. Don't be that mean," Sunset spoke up.

"After what he was thinking about doing to poor little Applebloom? I think not!" I was at the mercy of her words now, "so, was that your first with her or your first ever?" Rarity continued and I heard stifled giggles from the others.

"Buck...it was my first ever," I began to slowly slip backwards and away.

"What's next then? Teasing? Sex?" Rarity went right to the deep end.

"R-Rarity, c-come on now," I began.

Sunset wedged herself between us, hugging my tight for the millionth time tonight. Rarity laughed herself, "I was only playing, darling. You should have seen the look on your face when I said sex. I never knew someone's cheeks could be so red!"

"Not. Cool," I answered.

"Shadow Aura!" I heard Lyra's voice from my right and Sunset let go of me, keeping my hand. I turned to see her and Octavia approaching.

"That dance was wonderful, definitely something from a grand ball of sorts," Octavia commented.

"Well, I had a great partner as well," I smiled at Sunset receiving a grin back.

"Your music was wonderful to be on such short notice," Shim complimented.

"Thanks, Sunset. Honestly, I think we're both surprised to see you found someone you like in an Equestrian," Lyra said.

"Well, common ground is where friendships and relationships bloom. And our pasts are both really similar," I said, peeking at Sunset with an eye.

"So you did something bad with magic, too?" Lyra asked and I could feel the air tense up around me as Shim clenched my hand.

"Yes, I made and casted a magic spell that let me actually be alive today. But I eventually came to accept my mistake as a part of me and who I am today. I spent my life running from that mistake and now that I've faced it, I'm more me than I've ever been," I petted Sunset's hand with my thumb and she seemed to calm down.

"What spell was it?" Octavia asked with curiosity.

"I used an immortality spell," I slipped away, turning around and pulling Shim with me. I reentered our group of friends and I heard Lyra and Octavia take their leave.

"I didn't think you would handle that so smoothly," Sunset whispered.

"I've had experience handling tougher conversations. King Bullion once tried to get Starswirl and me involved in politics. That went terribly," I chuckled.

"With a mess like you, I wouldn't doubt it," she joked.

"Whatever," I brushed off the friendly insult.

"So, what are you gonna do when you get back to Equestria, Shadow Aura?" Fluttershy asked, I already knew what these five wanted to talk about. Rainbow Dash had just shown up coming from Equestria knows where.

"I'm gonna face facts and prepare for alicornhood the best I can. And don't worry, I don't think I could find replacements for you guys," I smiled and turned to Sunset, squeezing her hand, "especially this one."

"Awwwwww," I heard a chorus from them, Rainbow's voice missing.

"What are the plans for tomorrow? We gotta do something!" Rainbow Dash spoke up.

"I know what I'm doing, you girls are free to do whatever you wish," I led on to wait for a question.

"OooooOOOoo, he's being mysterious," Pinkie announced.

"What are you doing?" Rainbow asked.

"That's a mystery," I smirked.

"You're not an alicorn yet, you can't be so ancient with your words!" Sunset bumped me.

"Too late, I already decided on it," I answered and looked up at the clock that still ticked from behind the ice layer of the wall. It was thirty minutes until the dance would end, until midnight.

"The dance is almost over," Rarity said with remorse, "and we still haven't seen Twilight."

I fiddled with my rune in my pocket and projected my vision over the gym turned ballroom. I quickly found Twilight in a long purple dress with a magenta line running down the center, shifted to the right a bit. Her hair was up in her normal complex braid that I didn't know the name for. I barely knew anything about fashion. I picked her out on the dance floor, slow dancing with Flash. He was in for it. I stopped the spell and opened my eyes.

"So, she's having one of your lame slow dances with Flash Sentry," I shook my head, "he's toast, isn't he?"

"You bet he is!" Applejack spoke up and marched over to the dance floor, the others following her.

I grabbed Sunset's arm and pulled her back to me, taking both of her hands, "Shim, I know of two of your adventures here by reading what Twilight has recorded, but I felt magic coming from the woods here, I wanna go there with you tomorrow, as soon as we wake up."

"Wait, what? Camp Everfree you mean?" She asked, her eyebrows raised.

"If that's the place, then yes. A campsite would be wonderful to spend my last day here with you, wouldn't you think?" I smirked. I was fitting into this romance thing quite well already.

"Yea, that sounds perfect," she answered and seemed to forget about Flash.

Though her height was the same as me, she leaned forward and laid her head on my chest. I wrapped both of my arms around her and rested my hands to her hips, using their way of romantic 'dancing' to make our way to the dancing floor, heading through crowds. I felt her arms wrap around my neck after a while. We reached the floor and began to sway back and forth, slowly going in a circle like the simplest of waltzes. I looked around and saw Twilight, Flash, and our other friends completely gone from the dance floor.

"Maybe this is perfect," Sunset whispered softly. I gently put my head down, smelling her hair as I breathed.

"This dance would be wonderful after such an exercise as my own dances," I whispered back.

"Shut up and enjoy it, Aur," I saw her smirk and felt her squeeze me. I ran my right hand up and down her back, rubbing softly.

I stayed silent while we danced, enjoying these last moments of the dance. I was sure Sunset could feel my heart beating slower than it usually would, she had to be enjoying the soft sound of it as well. The music slowly fell silent.

"Students of Canterlot High!" I heard Celestia at the stage and both of us lifted our head, looking.

I moved close to Sunset's side, wrapping an arm around her waist, she laid her hand on my shoulder in return.

"That song concludes our Winter Dance. We wish you all a great and safe break. Have fun in the snow!" Celestia announced and went off stage. Students began to file out of the gym.

"I wouldn't trade this for any magic knowledge," I said aloud with a smile.

"Any?" I heard Sunset while we began our walk out of the school through the gym doors.


We exited quietly, students waving to me as we went and thanking me for all the decorations I helped with. I was touching the rune in my right pocket, making the ice melt with it and turn to steam to be carried out through the ventilation system, working it as fast as I could. I projected my vision into the gym while we walked as well to monitor the progress. I stopped when it was complete and saw the front doors of the school. As we walked out, I pulled Sunset aside and away from the main flow of students.

"Best night ever?"

"Best night ever," she agreed with a huge smile.

I casted a teleportation spell and appeared in the guest room of Rarity's house. I slipped away from Shim and headed upstairs, claiming my clothes from Rarity's room and teleporting them onto me while I made my way back downstairs, holding the perfected suit in my arms. I laid them down on the dresser of the room and looked around, trying to find Sunset.

"Shadow Aura, I'm changing in the closet!" I heard her call.

"Very well, I haven't really eaten much at the dance, so I'll be in Rarity's kitchen," I left my labcoat off and set it next to my suit. I walked out of the room and into the kitchen, passing by my duplicated plants again. I immediately opened the fridge and took out an orange, apple, and banana from the fruit bowl that was moved into it. I immediately peeled the orange and banana using my rune and began to dine on the orange. Once I had finished it, I moved to the trashcan and disposed of the orange peel and started on the banana. I held it in my right hand, peeling as I bit more and more into it.

"Always the fruit, huh?" I heard Shim enter the kitchen.

"It's good and sweet. Some vegetables are okay, but fruit is amazing," I finished the banana and took a chunk out of the apple. I turned around and saw her in her pajamas and undershirt again.

"You should have had some food at the dance," Sunset noted.

"I didn't see you eat either!" I quickly pointed out and took another bite out of the apple.

"We all ate before we came," she smiled, "at least I did. I'm sure the others are starving right now," she chuckled. I swallowed the mashed apple.

"Well, I'm tired from tonight so I'll be headed to bed right after I finish this apple," I ripped another bite out, chewing on it.

"I'll be waiting on you then," she winked and left the kitchen, headed to the guest room no doubt.

I quickly took smaller bites of the apple until I finished it and threw the core into the trash. I wiped my mouth of all the fruit juices onto some paper towels I ripped from a hanging roll. I tossed the used towel into the trash as well and walked through the living room, around the stairs, and into the guest bedroom. Sunset was already laying underneath the quilt, she looked over. I shut the door behind me.

I'm not quite sure how I ever got here, but I did and I suppose that's what matters. I have a lot of recording to do when I return to Equestria.

I walked over in the silence and sat on the bed, flipping my legs under the quilt and laying down. Sunset's arms quickly wrapped around my front and gently pushed me back down against the stack of pillows. She laid her head on my chest again.

"Sunset, though I have to return to Equestria," I began.

"Don't remind me," she squeezed.

"I'll visit here and you can definitely visit me anytime. Just ask Twilight to take you to my home," I finished and I was squeezed again.

"Are you sure that's okay? I don't know how the princesses would react to that," Shim began to worry.

"You'll be under decree of a Prince, I doubt there would be little they could do, especially when it is my land," I chuckled, "though I do live a bit in the middle of nowhere."

"Weeeeell, I guess it'd be okay then. Just let all of them know what's going on," she snuggled into me more, "now be quiet."

I took that as an order to go to sleep and I closed my eyes, wrapping my arms around Sunset's back, letting myself drift to sleep.

When I woke before the sun was even up, I found Sunset out of bed and no longer on me. I was beyond tired and looked at the clock at the nightstand, 2AM. I sat up and swung my legs over the bed, seeing her in front of me, writing frantically in the book that she uses to communicate to Twilight.

"Sunset, is something the matter?" I asked.

"They want you back in Equestria now, something about wanting help for the Friendship Festival," she whispered out.

"May I see that entry?" I requested and Sunset flipped a page back, handing me the book.

Dear Sunset Shimmer,

I had no idea Shadow Aura had gotten my copy of our book and written in it, nor did I have a clue he went to your world.
I had just out from Spike who had sworn some sort of oath of secrecy with him. I need him back in Equestria soon, not only did he do this without asking me, but I wanted him here for the Friendship Festival so it could help with his research challenge given by Starswirl. Please send him home as soon as you can, I'll have somepony waiting for him.

Your friend,
Twilight Sparkle

I checked the date it appeared, a day and a half ago.

I mulled over her words in my head, she was definitely angry with me and she had reason to be. I suspected this might happen.

"I'll go back now. I'll stay for the Friendship Festival and a few more days to see if my suspicions of alicornhood are true, but if I don't change then. I promise I'll be back," I informed and grabbed my labcoat, throwing it over my shoulders and sending my arms through the sleeves.

"But...but," Sunset began and she jumped up, hugging me tightly. I began to hear her sobbing.

"You have my word I'll be back, that's a promise I won't break," I ruffled her hair gently, "I'll go tell the others."

I led Sunset back into the bed and sat her down on it, kissing her forehead as she let go. I saw her freely crying and that image kinda broke my heart. I walked out of the room and to Rarity's room. I gave the door four solid knocks and it soon opened to a groggy eyed Twilight.

"This better be good, Shadow Aura," she rubbed her eyes.

"It is. I need you and Rarity to wake up and call the girls to the portal now," I stated.

"Why's that?" She asked with a sudden loss of exhaustion.

"Equestrian Twilight wants me back and I better head back. Sunset's not taking the news easily and I hate to leave too, but I must."

"Whaaaaaaaat?!" I heard Rarity screech from in the room.

"We'll do that immediately then," Twilight closed the door and I headed back downstairs and into the guest bedroom.

Sunset hadn't shifted from her position and she stared blankly at the floor. I walked over and heaved her to her feet before I enveloped her with my arms. She weakly gripped me back.

"Shim, don't forget that you're the one I still call my special somepony," I ran my hand through her hair, trying to soothe her.

"But I'll be back. Who knows? I might be back tomorrow!" I tried to lift her spirits.

"How? What could warrant that?" Her voice was quiet.

"I could be back in ten minutes. No creature can say for sure what will happen in Equestria, right?" I swayed back and forth to try and further my efforts.

"That's impossible."

"No, me being worthy of alicornhood is impossible," I kissed the top of her head, "where's the strong Sunset Shimmer I read about? The blunt girl who doesn't take anything from anyone. The girl who stood with her friends when they needed it? I'll be back and I know it hurts for me to go, it's not easy for me either, but I've always done what I must."

"I just need a few moments, Aur," she looked up to me with glassy eyes. There was a wet spot on my shirt from her tears.

"And I always keep my promises by the way," I stated and I saw her smile. She stood more on her own and squeezed me.

"Shadow Aura! The girls are at the portal!" I heard Rarity shout and I wiped away Sunset's tears with my labcoat, pulling her into the living room where Rarity was waiting.

"Sunset, are you okay?" Twilight jumped up.

"I'll be okay, it's just hard to get through," she said with a little bit of a smile on her face.

"Join hands, everyone," I said and put my hand into my pocket to touch my rune.

I waited until Twilight and Rarity linked with Sunset before I began casting. I teleported us right in front of the portal and they all let go each other soon after, joining Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack. Sunset stayed at my side, gripping my hand tight.

"So, there' no easy way to say this," I started.

"There's never an easy way to say goodbye, sugarcube," Applejack continued.

"That's very true, Applejack, but like I promised Shim, I promise you all the same. After and if I become an alicorn, I'll be back as soon as I have a chance. If I don't become an alicorn, I will return the moment the festival is over. Rarity, I'll pop up at your front door via teleportation," I finished and turned my head, looking at the portal.

"Hahaha, sill funny how fate has destined me to have friends, don't you think?" I laughed to myself.

"Darling, fate has a weird way of making sure some things absolutely happen," Rarity said.

"Just like how we seven were fated to come together," Rainbow said, "listen to me, I sound like Celestia!" She chuckled.

"Shadow Aura, it's sad to see you go so soon, I didn't have a chance to plan a goodbye party for you," Pinkie sighed out, "but I can plan a welcome back party!" That was Pinkie's most admirable trait.

"Shadow Aura, I hope you come back and teach me more about magic, you already said there were many more advanced things you'd cover later," Twilight mentioned.

"I'll try my best to get you everything I know, within reason," I smiled.

"You'll be back, right?" Sunset walked in front of me, taking my other hand.

"You already have my word, and how could I ever stay away?" I teased.

"Shut up, idiot," she smirked and pecked my lips, pressing hard with her own.

I felt my eyes widen before I relaxed at her sudden gesture. I gave myself into the kiss and hugged Sunset tightly. We broke away after a moment, but I kept Sunset close for just a little longer.

"I know less about love than Twilight does, but I know enough to say I love you, Sunset Shimmer," I smiled at her and I got one back.

"I love you too," she let out softly and squeezed me.

I felt Sombra coming up, but I was able to force him down completely this time.

"Now go on before I start crying again," she said and let go of me.

"I bid you seven farewell," I bowed and turned around and walked to the mirror portal.

"See ya!"

"Come back soon!"

"Bring cupcakes from Equestria! No, candy! No, cupcakes!"

"Take care of yerself, Shadow Aura!"

"Be safe, darling!"

"We'll take care of Sunset for you!" I heard Twilight last when I stepped my right foot through the portal and saw my hoof.

That was slightly comforting. Equestria, home, where I can be a pony again. I continued going through and saw my clothes disappear and my saddlebag form on my now pony back. I began to fly down the rainbow channel.

An Odd Enragement

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I appeared back in Equestria. I walked through the portal with little grace on my hind hooves. I found myself in Twilight's castle and saw huge black and silver furred creatures rummaging through the books in her storage. They all quickly looked to me, brandishing black bidents and spears. They looked to be about Discord's size. Blues eyes gazed down at me with a stern look. I let down onto all fours and took a more battle ready pose.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you. I'm not the unicorn you want to mess with," I took an offensive stance and casted my temporary wings spell.

They began to enclose on me.

"I warned you."

I flew up and began to rain down powerful magic bolts that were reflected off of them by their shields. I continued this for a little longer until I saw the futility in trying this method. Their shields could reflect my magic, this is when I began to plot a devious idea.

I shot and orange beam of magic out of my horn, hovering in the center of the room. I hit the books on the shelves and the storage containers as I moved the beam. Vicious teeth and gangly arms and legs formed out of the furniture, standing tall and attacking the odd creatures. the books began to fly using their covers, sharp teeth all around their edges and pages. The furred beings became occupied trying to deal with the chaos around them they lost focus on me. I commanded my monsters to encircle them and my odd foes left a spot in the center for me to land.

I land and smiled, I was really good at outwitting my opponents and these creatures made it really easy. All of their backs faced me now. I drew upon my magic and shot a large powerful beam out. I spun it around, hitting all of Twilight's other intruders quickly, they fell over, their torsos missing and their skin seared shut from my powerful blast. I sent an orange shield up and back down to return all of my reader nightmares back to their normal forms.

I quickly crossed back through the mirror and saw my seven new friends walking away. I was still on all fours before I slowly stood up and remembered that I was human again.

"Wait! Come back here!" I called out to them and they all came running after a second of confusion.

"Did you really mean ten minutes?" Sunset smiled wide.

"I love you and a good joke, but something has gone terribly bad in Equestria and given you seven are here and can be trusted with the mirror, I need you all to temporarily go and fight off anything that tries to cross into the portal that isn't a pony," I breathed out.

"But would that upset the balance?" Applejack asked.

"As long as you don't stay long or encounter too many of your pony counterparts. I'm sure it won't take Twilight long to fix whatever mess is there if I am helping. I'll make sure of it," Sunset Shimmer was already by my side, fiddling with my fingers.

"I don't know, it seems kinda risky," Fluttershy said, hiding behind her hair.

"Fluttershy is right. we don't know what could happen if we all crossed over," Sunset added.

"Come on, you guys. This is the chance of a lifetime!" Rainbow Dash pumped her hands up in the air.

"Rainbow, while I'd like to see what's on the other side just as much as you, we need to be careful," Twilight added.

"Girls, Shadow Aura, our friend is asking us for help. He needs us and as friends we should be standing with him!" Rarity stated and moved to my right side, crossing her arms.

"You have a point, but we still can't ignore the dangers!" Applejack remained firm.

"Wheeee!" Pinkie bounced over, staring at the mirror. Rainbow Dash walked over too.

"Well, I guess we might as well now," Applejack gave up and came over along with Twilight and Fluttershy.

I entered the portal, pulling Sunset along with me. I heard the others enter with me, yelling except for Pinkie Pie. The pink puffball laughed while she transformed into a pony.

We all came crashing out at the other end. I stood on my four hooves and recasted my wing spell before I galloped to the door.

"You guys just hold down this room. I'll be back to tell you when the coast is clear," I started to charge a teleportation spell and casted my wing spell.

"Can we explore?" Rainbow quickly asked.

"A few at a time would be good so you can clear the castle of any of these weird creature I fought in here. Sunset, guide them," I instructed and she walked to me, pressing her cheek to mine and nuzzling.

"You're a very handsome stallion," I blushed at her words and I could hear the others snickering.

"Is it the horn?" I sighed out.

"Yes, but it's also the mane. And you," she pecked my cheek.

"I'll try to return as fast as I can," I teleported out of my embarassment and to the front of Twilight's castle.

The whole town was overrun by these bipedal creatures as they went about and trashed homes, searching for something. They all turned their attention to me with deep groans. Benches were dropped, spears were grabbed, and shields were raised. They thought they could best me. I stretched my wings.

"I don't have time for you all," I took off flying into the sky and looking down at them before I looked around.

Some kind of brown dust cloud was lingering near Canterlot and it made a low rumbling sound, like the cars from the other world. I began a fast flight there, staring at Canterlot and observing it for any more odd observations. I arrived after what seemed like an eternity of worrying.

It kept going in my mind that my magic could have been abused again.

A large net flew to the right of me when I neared Canterlot. I peered down and saw more of those creatures, and a small one of them that had a visible face and a white chunk of fluff on his head. Around him and in the streets of Canterlot, ponies were held in cages, trapped. Unicorns had a device on their horns that looked rather uncomfortable. I continued my flight, dodging the nets at they came until I noticed a familiar sight.

I saw Twilight in some sort of cage with a magic neutralizer on her horn. This was already bad, but now much worse. It looked like she was being wheeled to the castle. I felt an anger in me.

That is my friend down there they had captured and I couldn't stand for it. They noticed me flying and a red pony amidst all the furry ape creatures stared up at me in amazement, she wasn't caged. I flew down and hovered just above them. I was out of range of the nets they were using as they began to come up short from my distance away.

"A fifth?! I wasn't told about a fifth alicorn, neither was I told he was a stallion," the unicorn spoke in a soft voice, but her face showed the awe she held at the sight of me, my wings, and my horn.

I noticed closer that her horn was missing, it was just a cracked and broken stump that sizzled with some sort of unfocused magic.

"That's no alicorn! That's the strongest unicorn in Equestria! Stronger magic than any Princess!" Twilight shouted at the unicorn.

"Then he'll make a great prize for the Storm King," she smiled wickedly before she took out a black bubble that had some kind of stone and green mist mixing about inside of it.

"Shadow Aura, run!" Twilight called to me. I stared at her for just a moment and in that moment I saw desperation and firmness in her words. She wanted to me be safe, but her eyes called for help.

The unicorn hit the sphere at me with her back hoof and time seemed to slow. I quickly began to charge my horn and all the ape creatures around me held their spears and shields up.

"Nobody hurts my friends and gets away with it..."

I let out a huge blast of my magic in the form of a laser and utterly annihilated the sphere, canceling whatever it was supposed to do. My magic beam then connected with the unicorn and I saw a split moment of shock in her face before she was blasted against Twilight's cage and a small crater was left in the ground.

"Impossible, no such unicorn could have such powerful magic," my mortal enemy slowly rose to her hooves before she shrugged off the hit, "well? What are you all waiting for? Get him!" She barked orders and stuck out her neck while she screamed which made her mohawk of a mane flop a little.

"I advise all of you to stay back unless you want to be hit by that," I could feel their eyes upon me while they closed in, "your choice."

I fired a giant light blue beam of magic into the sky, I rarely used windigo magic because it could leave lingering effects sometimes, but this situation called for it because of their shields. Clouds quickly filled the skies and swirled around. The silhouettes of windigos began to form and come down, leading a fast and heavy snowfall. I shot another large beam and made the environment significantly colder. The snowflakes began to change to ice spikes that came down in progressively larger sizes until they matched the size of a hoof. The ape like creatures were pelted with them and they began to stick into their bodies, some blood coming out until they held up their shields to block the spikes from hitting most of their bodies.

"Impressive, unicorn. I don't know who you are or where you came from, but I will take you down and deliver you to him," she stared up before she shot out a bolt of lightning from her horn to me.

I felt a surge well up inside me, the same kind when I was fighting Sombra. It was the magic of friendship and I was harnessing it again.

I switched to using that magic energy to cast my spells. I charged a quick teleportation spell and appeared behind this unicorn leader without having to focus it long at all. I blasted her in the back with an even larger beam, this one was compromised of a mixture of the entire color spectra. I made a hole in the house of a Canterlot home in the process and the unicorn went flying and hit the wall above the hole quite hard.

"How are you so powerful?" she fell and rose shakily to her hooves.

"Shadow Aura! Help me!" Twilight called out at her cage was being wheeled at a fast pace and she was bumped around in it.

The unicorn shook herself off again, scratches, bruises, and some signs of internal bleeding covered her body. She ran off and began to help take Twilight to the castle. I commanded the windigos to fight their forces and that they did, they came down and flew through and about them, leaving ice chunks on their bodies and freezing them to the bone. They could do little to move or fight them since nopony can physically hit a windigo. The ponies were shivering, but left unharmed and untouched in their cages, mostly because ponies rarely harbored hate in their hearts. The icy wasteland in the plaza was gaining many feet of snow. I blasted out and flew after the cage, keeping my horn charged.

But it was too late.

They moved Twilight into the castle and slammed the doors shut. Many of the creatures stopped me there. I charged my horn and hit their spears and shields with separate bolts of orange colored chaos magic. Their weapons and protection grew wings and flew away and out of their hands, cawing like birds without mouths. I charged again, using this friendship magic to power my spell and I shot a rainbow colored beam that I swayed horizontally, the creatures flew into the gap left in the wall from the beam and slumped against the walls and floors, knocked unconscious. I galloped in and began to follow the sounds of the wagon being carted quickly through the castle. I went up many stairs since I heard the bumping of the wooden wheels.

"Twilight!" I called out.

"Aura! help me!" I heard her call from a corridor on my left and I followed her cry quickly, "heeeeeeelp!" I heard her again and dashed to the right. I heard the doors slam at the end of the hallway and I galloped down them.

"Ahhhhhhh!" I heard Twilight screech in pain while I was halfway to the door. I burst it open and saw another ape like creature, a tall one that was skinny and his face was visible. He had hooves in place of the large feet many of them had. He clutched a staff.

"Tempest! You didn't tell me there was a fifth alicorn," he looked angrily at the red unicorn.

"He's not an alicorn, Twilight verified that," she stated.

"Well, he gets in the way of me testing my new staff," he scowled.

"Master, restore my horn and I promise you I will annihilate him," Tempest smirked at me.


"My horn? You promised," Tempest reminded in a kinder voice.

The creature laughed, "I can't do that and I won't!"

The unicorn had a broken and lost look on her face, many moments passing by in silence.

"What? You haven't figured it out yet?" He walked away to the upper area of the throne room.

"Figured what out?" I decided to see this through until it was all done before I struck.

"I used you! I was never gonna fix your horn, it was all about me!" He laughed and opened the doors to the balcony up.

I galloped over to Twilight and lowered my head to look at her.

"Twilight, are you okay?" she raised up her head with a disheveled mane and tears in her eyes. They threatened to spill over and that would have done my rage in.

"It's over. Equestria is doomed," she was just about to sob. Her lips went bent down and showed her teeth in a wide frown. I had seen Twilight like this through the visions I did, but it was different being so close. She looked broken.

I was silent, we both were for a moment. I stared to chuckle, and the laugh heartily

"I think you taught me something, Twilight, something you forgot," I charged my horn and moved the iron bars apart with my magic, "friends will always be there for you," I stuck out my hoof, "and that's why I'm here now."

She looked up to me before slowly smiling and taking my hoof while she trotted out of the cage.

"But more importantly, you taught me that nothing is over if you still breathe. I watched all your adventures and struggles. I saw every time you were about to give up, but then find another way and win the day. I'm taking that lesson to heart," I smiled wide.

Twilight hugged me tight, crying only a little now. I felt her tears wet my fur.

"I got this one," I bumped her chest lightly when we parted from the hug and I stared at the balcony.

"Or do-," I silenced Sombra once more.

"Also, don't dare go back to your castle until I give the all clear. I have some uh, guests there.," I chuckled again.

"Shadow Aura, what did you-," Twilight began.

"Twilight!" I heard Spike call from the entrance.

The dragon and the other five elements raced over to greet Twilight.

"I got this, you six have saved Equestria enough. I think you all deserve to relax during a crisis," I felt a surge again as the seven were reunited and gave hugs. Twilight had nodded at my words and smiled.

There was that other magic, I think it was beginning to become clear to me. I think I know what the magic of friendship is.

I stood prouder on my hooves and looked at the balcony, seeing Tempest trot out to the balcony. I galloped after her and began charging my horn full of magic.

"But....but," Tempest begged again.

"But nothing! I'm done with you," he shouted before pointing the staff at her and firing a bolt of lightning.

I quickly shot my magic to the floor in front of Tempest and a shield sprouted up, deflecting the bolt.

"Why are you interfering? She's your enemy, isn't she?" He looked at me before laughing, "oh! You ponies are all still friends? How...cute!" He finished and raised the staff to the sky and a very violent tornado began to form.

I heard the haunting howls of my windigos being blown away. I galloped to the edge of the balcony and shot out an icy blue magic beam from my horn in their general area, ceasing them from their temporary existence. I couldn't let them wreak havoc on Equestria's climate elsewhere. I turned back and faced the Storm King.

"Just go away forever!" He yelled at me before he pointed the staff at me. The crystal sparked and crackled loudly.

"No!" Tempest shouted and bit him in his side.

"Ow! When will you learn, you pest?!" He yelled and swung her around before hitting her hard with the staff and sending her over the balcony.

I quickly caught her in a levitation spell and began to pull her back over and out of the harsh wind's grasp. Only a sea of dust was around us as well as pieces of Canterlot and its once glamorous castle.

The storm King pointed the staff at me again and fired a beam of blue lightning.

"I think I realized what Starswirl meant," I said and kept my grip on Tempest while I fired my own beam. I only kept his attack at bay for now.

"He wanted me to find out about the power of friends for myself instead of watching others. He wanted me to LEARN not WATCH," I began to put more of the more powerful magic into my attack and slowly pushed the beam back towards the Storm King who now snarled at my words and power. He shoved the staff forward more in an attempt to blast more of its magic at me, it bore no results, "and he wanted to show me I was meant to harness this magic, not just study it."

"And it is the strongest magic of all just like those six have always said."

I blasted my magic full force at him and the staff withstood it as he and the wall of the castle instantly disintegrated to dust, a loud crack sounding out. My magic beam was composed of a rainbow of colors and cracked the very sound barrier that Rainbow did with her Sonic Rainboom. I slowly let off the beam and brought Tempest fully back to the balcony, setting her down gently. The immense tornado and thunderstorm he had called slowly went away and returned to the normal blue skies.

"What? Why save me?" she asked.

"Because you showed me you are a pony worth saving when you did what you did. We've all made bad decisions, some graver than others," I gave her a reassuring smile and received one in return, "but you chose to do good even if it meant your final moments. Anypony who acts so selflessly deserves to be saved."

A bright white flash came to our left as Starswirl appeared.

"Shadow Aura, that is by far one of the most powerful magic attacks I have ever seen. Bravo!" He stomped his hooves lightly.

"Starswirl!" Twilight's jaw dropped.

"I came because something inside me told me to. It told me to find you, Shadow Aura," he looked to me with a small smile and nodded at my wings, "Twilight Sparkle, bugs can get in your mouth if you leave it open," he chuckled.

I casted my spell and they disappeared, my horn kept a sizzling of magic at its tip after the beam came out and I just now noticed and felt it.

"I still dread this," I sighed out.

"Oooooh, what's happening with Shadow Auraaaaa?" Pinkie bounced around.

"You'll all find out soon, but for now, start to clean up this mess the Storm King made," he cantered over to me slowly.

"No matter what you do, I will still be a part of you!" Sombra spoke up again, this time his voice was real and it rung out.

"Was that...Sombra?" Rarity asked with a fearful expression. Fluttershy was hiding behind her.

"I'll explain later," I looked to the sky," as for you. You'll have yours soon, foal!" I moved closer to Starswirl and we were both enveloped in a white light.

I was floating, but still standing on some kind of invisible ground with Starswirl to my left. I saw visions of my life pass me by, countless scenes of loneliness. My countless research projects, the making of a crystal heart, the wing spell, the day I casted my immortality spell, the moment I crossed over through the mirror, the dance with Sunset, leaving the human world, sitting under the tree with Starswirl, having tea with Dingy Coat and Starswirl.

"My, my, you sure have learned a lot and come quite a ways," Starswirl commented as he walked through these visions that moved slowly around us.

A lot of them highlighted my achievements and my contacts with different races for my research, albeit the communication was short and always severed quickly. Starswirl stopped at the memory that displayed me casting the immortality spell.

"That's my favorite day, you know," Starswirl smiled at me.

"Why? I made such a mistake on that day," I questioned, looking down to the void below.

"I said I forgave you, but I should have said that. You made no mistake," he bumped my chest with his hoof.

"Why do you say that?" I looked back up at him and the memory.

"Because that day defined you. That day was your day of destiny and I am jealous. I have done my part, but your part, your part is forever now. You were meant to be here, nopony escapes fate, not me, not you, not Celestia, not even Discord."

Our tender moment was interrupted by a terrifying screech and a yell of pain that must have been Sombra's, a black mist flooding out of my body and quickly consumed by light. We stood in silence afterwards for a while until we were sure he was gone. We did not see anything visibly of him, but I knew that he was purged from me and his spirit was gone.

"Anyway, check your back, friend." I looked behind me and there were indeed large wings on my back.

I didn't want to be an alicorn. I knew I wasn't ready. I had just begun to learn about harmony and make my return to society official. I sighed.

"Don't be so glum. You have a lot to look forward to now," He hugged me tight with his hooves.

"What now? Are you leaving? Did you bring me here on purpose? Did you purposely make me an alicorn?" I had many questions.

"No, I did not. I just have a bond to Evermore since I live in it. It reached out to you and me, I thought to prepare you a little, and maybe try out a dramatic entrance," he answered, clinging tight to me while he chuckled a little at his poor attempt to lighten the mood he already created.

"What about my other questions?" I asked.

"My job here is done. I most likely will never be back in Equestria physically," I felt something wet on my neck.

I hugged him tight and shared his tears, but I understood why. Equestria didn't need him and his time was long overdue, he knew his destiny was fulfilled and he prepared the world for the future by edging me to cast that spell more in a cruel turn of fate and giving Equestria the elements of Harmony. Starswirl is right, nopony escapes fate. He was always a weird pony, he often faded out when he wasn't needed for something of dire importance, but there would always be a chance I would see him. I know he would be watching, but wouldn't be here anymore.

"Farewell, old friend," I spoke before releasing him.

"Take care, Prince of Magic. And tell Twilight she's no longer the alicorn best at magic," he chuckled again while his eyes showed remorse, "don't worry, Shadow Aura. You've always risen to the position you needed to fill," his tone changed to his serious voice all of a sudden before going back to sadness, "goodbye, friend. The memories are a wonderful parting gift," I saw more tears drop from his cheeks.

With another bright flash I was gone and appeared back in a charred and smoking spot on the ground that marked my initial disappearance. Tears were still falling from my cheeks and I rested onto my stomach, shedding my tears alone. I eventually stood after a few moments, wiping the tears out of my eyes and picking myself up.

"Starswirl...you old foal," I whispered and chuckled. I looked up and out at the clear sky.

"Twilight?" I asked, seeing nopony around but Tempest, who was in awe at my new wings probably and the rise of a new alicorn.

I looked around and saw Canterlot had somehow been repaired, the roof of the throne room was back and the balcony rails were sturdy again. I trotted inside the throne room again and saw all the princesses there along with those seven. They immediately peered at me and I stretched my large wings with a sigh as I slowly made my way down to them. They all had their jaws open.

"It's weird...let alone I'm a stallion," I laughed a little at my own Starswirl humor. He was very good at joking at the wrong or most awkward moments. I soon lost my smile and hung my head a little.

"Shadow Aura, look happier. You're still a fledgling alicorn and you have much to learn. I'm still shocked you were able to become one just after you understood friendship and the importance of harmony," Celestia commented and moved up to me slowly. Luna, Cadence, and Twilight followed after her and stopped at each others' sides.

"Perhaps it is because this place Starswirl told us about knew his body couldn't handle anymore magic in the form it was," Luna voiced and smiled, "you're a truly remarkable uni-alicorn, Shadow Aura," she caught herself.

"Don't worry, ruling takes a while to come up, I doubt you'd be leading anypony in the next ten years," Cadence joined in with her own smile.

"It's not that scary, I can help," Twilight meekly added.

"Hail Prince Shadow Aura," Celestia softly said and the four of them bowed their heads at me. I looked over them and saw the five of Twilight's friends and Spike do the same to me.

"There's no need for that, now if you'll excuse me, I need to go check on the situation I left in Ponyville. The Storm King's forces began to ransack it, so it'll need some cleanup. More importantly, Twilight," I looked to her with a stern gaze.

"Your other friends are here and I think they'd like to see you. That's why I said you couldn't go back there until I said you could," I lightly lit up my horn and casted a teleportation spell with ease.

We reappeared in the magic mirror room and more unconscious ape-like creatures were lying around.

"TWILIGHT!" All six of her other world friends galloped to her and hugged her tight. The other Twilight jsut sat there as a very confused unicorn.

"No, Shadow Aura, you didn't..." Twilight breathed out.

"I know having them all here could upset the balance, that's why they need to go back as quick as they can. They were all very brave and stayed here as I asked them to prevent the Storm King's forces from entering their world," I trotted to Sunset Shimmer and she looked to me and retracted away from Twilight. The others released her and began to share details of what I did over there.

I nudged Sunset Shimmer and pulled her away from the group.

"What is it, Aur?" She quickly questioned.

"Firstly, I apologize for dragging you seven into Equestria's problems. Secondly, I have an offer for you, one I hope you'll accept," I smirked. I was curious about how magic worked in her world and if someone could ever cross the boundaries with true magical ability. I was also hopeful I could have my marefriend here with me. Sunset who had traveled across the worlds would be a good candidate for a student anyway, she could probably find a way to retain it if she tried or had some sort of instrument.

"It's fine, I'm glad to help. What about this offer? You have me very interested," Sunset smiled back, her eyes having a kind of interest and curiosity that only one with a love for knowledge could have, or a love for me.

"You come back and stay here with me. I'm going to follow in the footsteps of the alicorns before me," I decided to be a little cryptic instead of my usual straight-forwardness.

"Wait, what. Are you saying," she caught herself. She had actually thought I flirted for a moment, I never found interest in a pony in that way, "no way. That means I'd be your student and you're a-a alicorn?! And I wouldn't have to say goodbye again!" Sunset stood with her mouth a little ajar.

"Shhhh, that I am and I'm trying to fit into the part. I'm the Prince of Magic now," the other ponies in the room looked over and began to trot over, "you'd be able to visit your friends in the other world periodically and you could learn so much under me," I tried to entice her further. They were getting close, smiles on all their faces.

"Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Always yes. I could never say no to that," Sunset's voice grew in volume and her muzzle sported a huge smile. It seemed being welcomed back in Equestria would be something she desired, or to live with me.

"We heard that~," Rarity sang.

"Congratulations, Shadow Aura. I'm very surprised that you became an alicorn, even if you are terrible at friendship," Applejack chuckled.

"I'm not that bad!" I defended.

"I get to plan a 'congratulations-on-becoming-an-alicorn-and-hiding-it-from-everyone' party now!" Pinkie bounced around the room squeeing in excitement.

"That won't be possible. You guys need to return to your world so balances are interrupted and I'll already be having a coronation and that'll be a nightmare," I sighed out, "but when I visit you can have that party!"

"I don't know what it means to be an alicorn here, but I guess that's cool?" Rainbow cued in.

"You all should get going, like Shadow Aura said. I hate to see you only for a moment and then leave like this, but you must go," Twilight commented, "I'm surprised our worlds are holding up as is right now."

The six made their way to the mirror and began to say their goodbyes, I turned to Sunset Shimmer who was still here and stood at my side.

"Our first duty will be cleaning up Equestria. Then we'll start by advancing your spellcraft," I spoke to her.

"Sunset, you need to leave too, you know that right?" Twilight spoke up.

"Actually, she's staying and now she's my student. She actually stabilizes the balance more given there is a version of her over there that hasn't been found yet," I looked at the six who stared at Sunset with a sad face, "you can say your goodbyes," I turned to Twilight, "please teleport her into my home so she can explore it and make it her home as well when she's done. I need to take care of some things," I quickly teleported back into the throne room of the Canterlot Castle.

I saw Tempest being looked down upon by the three princesses there whose gaze soon shifted to me, Tempest still looking at the marble floor. I already knew she was being judged.

"If I'm a Prince now, that means I have more influence, correct?" I asked as I walked up to them, their eyes all on me now. Tempest seemed to brighten up at my appearance.

"Yes, what is it Shadow Aura? We were deciding on what to do with her and we're deciding on exile and arrest on sight if she's found in Equestria again," Celestia spoke.

"Now, I know anypony can make a mistake and a mistake is still a mistake no matter on what scale. I couldn't imagine being stuck in stone like you were, but I do know she has a good heart," I trotted up to her and nuzzled her neck with my muzzle before I stared back at my now three equals with a firm look.

"He does have a point, but should we really be so lenient?" Cadance asked.

"Tempest has definitely learned from her mistake, I saw it in her eyes when I first shielded her from the Storm King. She apologized with that look," I grinned at Tempest, "she's not the heartless pony she lead everypony on to believe."

"Very well, Shadow Aura, we will acknowledge this. What would you have us do with her then?" Luna asked and the other princesses looked a bit shocked before agreeing.

"Give her a home in Ponyville and let her make a good life for herself. Twilight and her friends can check up on her, I now have some business of my own to attend to. And make my coronation in five days," I wanted to see if I could really stress it so less ponies will show up to the ceremony. The princesses had their mouths open.

I trotted out to the balcony and took flight.

"But that's too soon!" I heard Cadance shout from the balcony.

"Nothing's impossible for you ponies, right?" I chuckled and continued on my way.

I zoned in to the large plaza and feeling a little colder when I landed. My windigo magic has lingered and made it colder than it normally would have been. The ponies were just getting out of their cages and removing them from Canterlot, but all eyes soon fell upon me and heads began to bow.

Of the races, a pegasus's wings can be large, but never came as large as an alicorn's. An alicorn's wings were very soft and smooth regardless of how many flights they've been in and they came with a slight sheen that gave them a lustrous aspect. I knew the ponies found out that I was a true alicorn from the size and shine of my wings, I had researched alicorn anatomy quite thoroughly, form a distance of course.

"I see my windigos have left this place a little colder than usual. It will pass over the coming days," I stated, "and stop bowing to me, you'll have plenty of time at the coronation," I charged my horn for the fraction of a second and I appeared in my library.

"Ahhh!" Sunset Shimmer shrieked and dropped a short stack of books from jumping at my sudden appearance in front of her.

"The library here has every known book in Equestria," I looked to the giant magic crystal chunk in the room, "and that is the crystal hunk that the original Crystal Heart came from. The Crystal Hearts are now broken, but I plan to remake them," I nuzzled my muzzle against Sunset's cheek and received the same in return

I picked up a stack of the unfinished crystal hearts with my magic and went back to my room, setting them into my bag, "I'll be back!" I teleported to the Crystal Empire and set them down on the empty throne room, the guards staring at me in awe.

"There's no need to stare or bow, you can do that in five days," I teleported back out as soon as one of the two guards opened their mouths.

I reappeared in my home and trotted around my library, reflecting on the day a bit before calling parchment, a quill, and an ink pot over. I began to record the events of the day and wrote them as quick as I could while I went about the library and searched for my tome on ancient stones. under the ancient items section of my library. I scanned across the titles before I pulled the book down with my levitation and began to skim through it after I finished recording history. I sent the parchment to its completed pile to be filed away.

"Dragon's Ire, Celestia's Boon, Sombra's Horn, Windigo's Ice, Griffon's Grip..." I spoke aloud to myself.

"What are you doing, Aura?" Sunset came trotting in.

"For my coronation, they'll crown me and if I'm getting a crown I will make it myself. I want something fitting, something that can hold immense amounts of magic for when my own fails me," I looked back to the book, "Equestrian Mist, yes, this will do, last seen with the Hippogriffs," I smirked, I did know exactly where they are and how to reach them thanks to my visions.

"Equestrian Mist? What's so special about the stone? And why are you so eager to go on more journeys?" Sunset asked.

"Before the age of Celestia and Luna, before their teacher's time, before mine, even before Discord's or Sombra's; the Equestrian Mist existed and guided ponies and creatures fated for greatness. It protected them before they could protect themselves and there are records it has magic in it. As for its name, anyone who holds it close to their heart feels an eerie presence like somepony is watching them just like as if something were hiding in a dreary thick fog. I know you've barely had anytime to settle in, but how about you come with me to Hippogriffia? We'll be traveling on hoof so you'll definitely have a chance to try out the spells you found in my tomes here. As for more journeys? A researcher's job is never done," I smiled and nudged her side with mine.

These ponies sure have changed me to be more open and nice instead of firm and reclusive.

"And see the Hippogriffs? Of course! Let me pack!" Sunset was about to run out.

"Sunset, wait!" I stopped her at the archway of the library.

"Wha-oh, right. My stuff is in the other world," she flushed and looked at the ground.

"It doesn't matter, we're going to see how well you can survive off the spells you know. I could teleport us there, but that's no fun," I trotted out of my home without even a map, Sunset behind me.

"Shouldn't we at least take something to prevent us from getting lost?" She asked.

"Nonsense, I know the map of Equestria and other lands like the back of my hoof," I looked back to her with a grin and we were soon on our way.

I began to head to Ponyville first, we would follow the railroad tracks south to where the badlands began an continue making our way through it.


"Yea, Shadow Aura?"

"Thanks for deciding to stay, you're one of my better friends and I'm going to love this challenge I have presented myself with, all thanks to you," I smiled to her.

"No probs, Aur. What challenge are you talking about?"

"Making you one of the most magic adept unicorns in Equestria," I turned my head back around after I saw her smile, "we have a long road to fix up the mess named Sunset Shimmer," I felt her roughly bump into me and I laughed aloud.

"I'll out do you one day, just watch me," she answered.

"Haha!" I stopped in my tracks and turned around to her with my horn charging up, "put up a defensive shield or hit me something of your own."

I released a good sized beam of destructive magic energy at her. She chose to unleash her own light blue beam at me. Her magic was slowly overcoming mine until I pushed harder without using all my effort. Her magic attack was slowly being consumed by mine until she put her heart into her spell and began to beat my magic back again. I wasn't using the magic I was when I had hit Tempest all over the plaza in Canterlot, this was about half of that. I casted a teleportation spell and moved both of us outside the beam. the sudden movement caused Sunset to stop casting with me, the magic neutralizing each other right next to us.

"You have potential and what you just did there, you put some determination behind your spell and some of your belief. Trust in your magic and put all your passion into it an no foe can outdo you," I smirked and began walking again.

"I see...please don't do something that sudden again, that teleportation made me a bit queasy," she stated in a low voice.

Perhaps being an alicorn won't be so bad, except for all the attention. I don't know how I'll handle this newfound power for harnessing the magic of friendship directly from the ponies around me or my magic power in general, that could bring trouble to my home as well. Sunset Shimmer does go well with my straightforward attitude, but I'm not sure if she would agree with my only here for business, but I did want to take on a student just to see where it might lead me and them, it seems it's a running theme with alicorns.

"Sunset, I know I may have given you an upset stomach, but do you know what a speed spell is? You can use any spell for this journey except long distance teleportation. We're currently leaving the supposed 'undiscovered west' and entering Whitetail Woods," I informed as we came to a clearing with a railroad running to our left and right. We stopped for just a moment before continuing and Sunset began to trot with me on my left.

"I don't know if I could cast one, it's been a while and advanced spells are a bit hard," she commented and lit up her horn, likely charging one up. Her eyes were closed shut for a few moments before she opened them again with her horn still lit.

"I suppose I should as well then," I commented and casted my own, taking a lot less time than Sunset had. I looked up at my own large horn that shimmered with my grey aura.

"Take a few steps, Shim."

She trotted forward and her body moved at a much faster pace than her normal speed would be. She was already across the train tracks in four steps.

"Whoa, I guess I never lost any magic ability," she commented while she observed her glowing hooves. She soon began prancing in position, "I never knew how much I missed my horn!"

"I would go nuts without my magic. Come on, now. We still have a long way ahead of us," I took off from my own speed spell.

I could no longer hear the sounds of birds or other life in the woods, only our rapid hooves and the wind flying past my ears. It was only about a minute until we reached Ponyville, where I stopped my speed spell and Sunset did the same after she flew a bit in front of me.

"We still have a journey to make, afterwards you can visit Twilight here as much as you want. We need to make our way to the train station," I commented, "I still need to get a hold of Moonsilver and that requires going to the moon..."

"Moonsilver? What's that?" Sunset questioned.

"Back in my day, there was an occurrence of a pony going to the moon by teleportation. When she returned she talked about veins of metal that looked like silver all over the surface. She soon disappeared from the world as we knew it around the time Luna got banished."

"So, we're going to the moon?! You're crazy!" Sunset commented.

"You won't be, but I am."

Sunset shook her head at me an we continued to the station in silence, ponies gasping and bowing to me, some looking at Sunset with a little distaste.

"Shim, do not worry about the grimacing they give you. They hold no control over you, over any of us," I looked back at her with my classic blank expression.

"It's harder than you think. You've only had ponies admire you," Sunset commented.

"That's not true, I've had countless ponies compare me to my old two friends and I've had the scorn of myself for many millenia," I stopped once I saw the train station in the distance and turned to face her.

I stared at her blankly and she stared back.

My classic blank face wasn't really so classic, I found myself smiling more and more each day.

"What are you doing?"

"Admiring a pony brave enough to come back, leave her closest friends and give Equestria another try under somepony with less experience in friendship than her," I slowly smirked when I saw her smile big and then blush, turning her muzzle away to the ground. I laughed with my mouth closed in three deep tones. I continued my trot, "also because you're such a beautiful mare."

"Sh-shut up!" Shim was clearly embarassed now.

We came up to the train station and I walked to the booth.

"Two tickets to the badlands station, please," I kept my talk to business only.

"That'll be-," a purple coated and red puffy maned pony began to speak but dropped her jaw when she saw me and bowed awkwardly from behind the booth, "I'm sorry, I didn't-."

"At ease, you didn't offend. This whole alicorn thing is annoying. How much did you say?" I questioned.

"Alicorns ride free, including their guests," she answered, smiling big.

"I insist on paying."

"And I insist on no charge, it's by our rulebook. I could get fired," she persuaded.

"Fine," I sighed. I wasn't going to risk somepony's job over what would be about twenty bits. I trotted onto the nearest open train with Sunset following behind me.

I took a seat in the back, only one other pony on board as a passenger. Sunset laid on the one across from me.

"Horsefeathers," I whispered under my breath.

"It can't be that bad. I get the whole bowing thing can be overbearing but a free train ride is a free train ride," Sunset stared at me. I turned my head to face her as the train soon started to leave, heading South to the Badlands.

"Sunset, I am a proud mage! I carry myself in the magic I use to better lives and just because that lead me to a long path of alicornhood I don't deserve any pampering. I don't need these perks of being a Prince," I stamped my hoof on the seat cushion. Air sifted out from the cotton below my hoof, making an odd pwoosh sound.

"Maybe ponies will see that in time," she offered endearing words.

"Now you're making jokes," I took a small silence before speaking up again, "Sunset, you wanna learn some new spells?" I asked with a grin.

"What? On the train? Isn't that dangerous?" She asked and I levitated a potted flower from a corner of the cabin to sit between us.

"Not at all. I'll teach you a spell nopony else knows, but first we need some precursors," I focused my magic and put pressure into a pocket of air to the right of the plant and water began to fall and drip to the floor slowly.

I nodded to Sunset to try.

"Wait, what did you just do? Unicorns can't control the weather!" Sunset got very excited at seeing the supposedly the impossible.

"I didn't. I just exerted my magic in a way that caused higher pressure there so the water vapor in the air could condense. Simple to think of, but hard in practice. It's a combination of levitation and destructive magic, but not too much of the second."

I nodded again and Sunset's horn lit up blue, her tongue stuck out in concentration and a few moments later, two water drops fell from the air.

"Good! Good! That one can be a bit difficult the first time, but it's quick to master," I smiled and Sunset smiled back, "two more spells we need to cover before we can grow a plant."

"Please tell me!" Sunset wiggled in her seat and I laughed audibly.

"Alright, alright, settle down, little filly. You need to be able to levitate the water and force the plant to accept it by forcing osmosis, it requires a very gentle, but firm touch. Next, you need to cast a projection of yourself. I've mastered that spell, but it's really advanced. Starswirl, I, and probably Discord could accomplish it so I won't blame you if it really strains you. Go on, try it," I smiled.

"How do I start?" She asked and lit her horn up, focusing magic.

"When I made my own first attempts, I closed my eyes and then imagined the view I had before I closed my eyes. Got that picture?"

"Yes, I do." Sunset kept her eyes shut lightly.

"Next, I imagined moving my eyes, but only changing what my mental image would show," I stopped to her heard 'mhmm' of affirmation, "then I put my magic into it to see what the real image looked like and moved about Equestria. You will have to use a lot to do this."

"I think, I think I got it!" I heard her become excited a few moments later, her horn shining very bright, blue sparks jumping off it.

"To tie it all together, you need to move inside the plant to view it's processes while making that pressure and levitation spell going to force the plant to intake water also to move nutrients into it faster. The hardest part is taking control of all the cell processes to induce rapid cell building wherever you want it. Try now," I smiled wider, eager to see her work.

One minute...

Two minutes...

Four minutes...

After seven minutes, I saw the plant begin to grow vertically and grow more leaves.

"Sunset, stop," I commanded lightly when I saw adequate change that was completed.

Sunset opened her eyes and crouched down low to the plant, her horn no longer shining, she was prancing her hooves on the floor, a cacophony of clopping hit the floor of the train.

"Are you not tired?"

"My magic? Yes, I am tired there, but this is sooooo coooooool!" She squealed.

"I suppose we both have time for a nap until we reach the Badlands," I laid my head down on the cushion and stretched out. I closed my eyes.

"How can you sleep at a time like this?" Shimmer was still in awe.

"Just like I am now. Don't stay too excited you'll want your magic energy and I surely won't be sparing any."

"I'll be fiiiiine, you worry too much," Sunset joked.

"Me? Worry? Never. I go to sleep now, I advise you do the same," I reaffirmed.

"Alright, enjoy your boring nap," Sunset replied.

A few moments later and I was peacefully asleep to the light swaying of the train.

To the South!

View Online

"Aur?" I heard Shim's soft voice and I stirred, stretching in awkward poses before I stood.

"Yea? Are we there?" I asked.

"Mhm," she pointed to the window.

"Alright! So, let's see how good you are at magic!" I teleported us off the train and onto the rocks that led into the endless dunes of the badlands. The train took off immediately.

I was wide awake and excited now.

"Sunset, what is the one thing that is not in a desert?" I asked, tapping my hoof and looking around the air, feelings its dryness with my muzzle.

"Um, water?" She asked, unsure at my actions that suggested a trick question was asked.

"Correct, get me water now. Without lifting your hoof from the ground," I smirked at her and trotted around her.

"Wait, what? You're insane, nopony can do that!" She argued.

"Well, I guess you'd never make it through this journey then. Time to take you home!" I announced.

"No, wait! I can do this, just let me think of something," Sunset began.

"Thinking takes too long in an almost endless desert. Twilight barely made it through here from what she told me. And they started out pretty wet and hydrated," I commented, "every second could be used to be traveling. Every second your scent wafts to the horrors of this place," I sung.

"Oh, shut up. Like you would dare let anything harm me."

"Hahaha, I take my role as teacher very seriously. Magic is my life, Shim," I stopped going around her and stood in front of her, "have you thought of something?" Sunset's horn lit up a bright sky blue. Her face was scrunched in effort, maybe a little pain. It looked like she was struggling to move something too heavy.

I felt water at my hooves and looked down to see my hooves in a puddle, the stone sunken in a bit.

"Well done! That mean you can definitely make food for the trip! Transmutation of a completely different matter to another is very hard to accomplish, let alone control. It's easier when you work with similar materials and rearrange their composition with your magic to make a different compound, but you knew that didn't you?" I asked, leaning my head in close to look at her eyes. She hung head while she heaved in and out breaths.

"I...did," she managed out.

"If you can cast spells you've never done with pure magic, you'll graduate super fast once your magic energy pool grows larger," I lifted her head back up with my own and she smiled, "time to go!" I flapped my large wings and took into the air.

"But-but-," I cut Sunset off.

"Surely you read the wing incantation I've written. Cast it," I smirked, knowing her too well.

"I...fine," she sighed and charged her horn. Sparks flew everywhere from it and the stone around her began to light up in the blue her coat was being tinted.

Two blue lights sprung from her back and grew out while orange wings formed, real wings. Her face was scrunched hard while she continued the spell. She stopped casting and her horn was a bright sheen once both of the wings were fully formed.

"Shim, your horn is beautiful," I landed in front of her and peered closer at it, able to see myself stretch awkwardly in a reflection of me on her magic conductor.

"What do you mean?" She asked with a red tint.

"Your magic use is starting to polish it to that of a great mage's already. Starlight might be jealous," I chuckled and nuzzled her cheek with mine before I turned back and took to the air.

"Are you gonna make me fly, too? I'm already a little tired."

"Fly. Time to learn," I smiled and glided about the air.

She flapped her wings and clumsily lift herself off the ground. She flailed her hooves the moment she left the ground and fell back to the stone again.

"You'll figure it out eventually. Eventually," I laughed, doing a loop in the air and circling around her.

Sunset struggled for the next several minutes with hovering and then moving. She slowly made progress as she kept attempting. Eventually she was able to stay in flight. I began to move at a slow pace, leading the way south towards Klugetown.

"See, not that hard, is it?" I asked, looking back with a smirk.

"Whatever, Aura. It's harder than you think," she frowned at me.

"You get the hang of it after years of flying with them, just don't get used to them. You always want to get rid of them whenever you enter an area with high magic or you don't need them. Having magic interference remove them for you is very painful," I faced forward and increased my speed to that of the normal weather ponies. Sunset struggled to reach my speed, but she eventually did.

"Could we take a break?" Sunset asked after a while of silent.

"Wings hurt?" I chuckled.

"I've never flown long before," Sunset whined a bit in her tone.

"Well, we're gonna keep flying until I can see Klugetown so don't give up now."

I loved her, but seeing her grow as my student is more important than being merciful, spoiling her, and treating her like my princess. Though, that will definitely come later. I needed to see her get stronger. Equestria knows what will await us in our future.

"Shadow Aura, come on now," she whined again.

"Shim, we need to keep going. I don't want this trip to last more than a day or two. Twilight went there and arrived by nightfall, we can do better than that!" I noted, "I might be a bit obsessed with out doing that alicorn," I chuckled.

"My wings are killing me," Sunset once again complained.

"Let them," I remained firm.

She said nothing after, staying silent as she flew behind me for quite a while. I lost track of time in my head from our discussion, but it couldn't have been any longer than forty-five minutes. I eventually did see Klugetown in the distance and landed on the stone path to our right, Sunset followed.

I turned back and saw that she lit her horn up and her wings disappeared from her back in a soft blue light. She dispelled them rather quickly and easily.

"Relieved?" I asked with a smile.

"Feels so much better!" She wiggled her torso.

"You know you could have stopped to dispel and recast them, you wouldn't have any pain," I chuckled and began a fast canter down the stone path to the town.

"Why didn't you tell me?!" Sunset was a bit peeved at me.

"I wanted to see if you could figure out yourself," I chuckled while she caught up to my side.

"I didn't know if you'd let me!"

"I think I implied that all magic but long distance teleportation was allowed, right?" I smirked.

Klugetown was getting closer, I heard Twilight had a friend here. Chester, I think that's what his name was. Perhaps he would see us and introduce himself.

"Mean," Sunset muttered.

"Hmmm...Princess Sunset Shimmer, sounds a little long. What do you think?" I decided to play a little game.

Silent. That's what she was. I peeked over and she had one of the goofiest smiles and biggest blushes over her face. I suppressed my laughter, but I felt my lips curl into a smile. I nudged her with my torso.

"Didn't mean to make you quieter than Spike being teased by Rarity," I chuckled, "just ten or so more minutes and we'll be close enough to smell the supposed stench of this place. I have some good plans for it," I started to think on ways to improve the city.

Turn back time on some materials, levitate trash out into the desert, transmute better streets, maybe do some food multiplication. I would most certainly focus on fixing things that look like they are on their last limb of life.

"Like?" Shim asked.

"You'll see. Magic is a wonderful tool, is it not?" I laughed, watching the city approach closer to our eyes.

That's how the desert is, you get so used to traveling for so long, it's like things approach you and you don't approach them. You forget your hooves are moving and feel like you're floating through the water ridden place. Though we flew most of the way, it was the same principle.

"Could we stop for a moment?" Sunset asked.

"Of course, it'd be a good time to rehydrate before we enter," Sunset began to cast a transmutation spell at my words and turned some of the stones to water, drinking it right off the warm sand before it could seep into it. She strained herself again.

I shot a beam into the sands next to the path and formed a large metal cup before transmuting the sand in it to water. I levitated it to my lips and drank greedily. I was very thirsty after we spent our time flying fast over the desert. I scooped more sand into it and transmuted again, Sunset stared.

"What?" I asked with a smirk.

"You're too good at magic," she gave me quite a look.

"Hahaha, my title demands I am. Don't worry, you'll get really good," I said and drank again before I set the cup down onto the stones gently.

Sunset used it to do what I did, drinking two glasses from it before she started trotting again. I quickly hurried to remain next to her, she was trotting off center from her large use of magic. She bumped into me multiple times.

"Sorry, I guess I kinda stressed myself far with the transmutation spells," she apologized.

"It's fine, Shim," I laughed, "you and those other six taught me what it's like to have friends, be a friend. I may still be learning how to be a good coltfriend, but the least I can do is offer you to lean against me."

"Thanks, Aur. You're great," she spoke softly and leaned against me while she trotted. I had part of her weight pressing on my left side so I had to press back to keep her up.

We kept silent for quite a ways until Klugetown really overlooked us. It was a town made of cracked, old wood that looked to be rotting and decaying in some areas. It definitely boasted height and awnings of ripped cloth. Some of the structuring even looked like it used to have grandeur in it.

"Why do you think I was made into an alicorn?" I asked with no words leading into the conversation.


"Why do you think I became an alicorn? I don't understand friendship as much as Twilight, I'm not a natural leader, and my name doesn't even associate with a cosmic event!" I bellowed deeply, exercising many tones to exaggerate my point.

"I don't know. Maybe it was fated to be?" Sunset prompted and stood onto her hooves properly

"Of course it was, but why? What event caused me to become an alicorn?" I asked openly.

"Do you think the world or Evermore knew your body couldn't handle the magic you were getting with its current form?" Sunset started the possible explanation I had already done.

"I also said that, but that didn't make much sense unless I was bound for more insane adventures. I hope I'm not," I said aloud, approaching the entrance to Klugetown.

"I do too, it'd be nice to live a quiet life now," Sunset said and nuzzled her head into my neck and I returned the gesture.

"Well, my magic CAN be noisy," I chuckled while we entered the dimmer sand paths. I found the streets completely empty, "I'm going to get started now!"

I charged magic into my horn and shot out multiple rays of magic, shifting time backwards on some things while I transmuted others to different materials. I only transmuted rust to metal or water-damaged wood back to normal wood. I went down the street, continuing to release and stop the beams of time and transmutation magic as I began to improve the town aesthetically and practically. Many of the items around also looked like they were at the end of their lifetime and I repaired them too.

"Shadow Aura, how do you have that much magic?!" Sunset stared at me with wide eyes.

"Years and years of mastery, fine-tuning, and using i have grown my pools to be large, I suppose. Alicornhood might also have something to do with it."

"Hey! Ponies!" I heard an enchanting voice ahead and saw some kind of bipedal feline creature dash out of and alley and strut towards us, he wore a red coat with a large collar and gold studs to button it with. I stopped my spell and quickly put up a shield around Sunset and I.

"There's no need to be so harmful with your actions. I have no intent to hurt either of you," he, it was definitely male, spoke with a slow and refined tone that could easily lure ponies into him thinking they are safe.

"Who are you?" I asked and kept the shield up. Sunset was quiet during our exchange.

"Why I'm Capper. Capper the Cat at your service," he bowed.

"Do you know Rarity?" I questioned next.

"Miss Rarity? Are you a friend of hers?" He pipped up with bright green eyes.

I took down my shield and knew this is who I was looking for.

"We are, both of us. We're just traveling through."

"Traveling through?" He laughed a little, "with the work you've done, you deserve a break. This town always did look drab, but not part of it at least looks lively, fresh, and before the Storm King came around!" He clapped his hands together, "I don't believe I got your names."

"I'm Sunset Shimmer," Shim finally spoke up.

"And I'm Shadow Aura," I announced.

"Come on, follow me," he beckoned and turned around, walking. I followed after, "so are you THE Shadow Aura? The one who ultimately defeated the Storm King? The Prince of Magic we've been hearing about?"

"News travels fast," Sunset whispered.

"I wish it didn't," I whispered back.

"Yes, I am."

"I apologize for my lack of etiquette," he bowed while walking backwards, still leading us on, "be careful, prince. These streets can be dangerous."

"Do not worry for us, we are both powerful mages," I answered.

"Very well," he sounded disheartened at his downplay of his charm, "I'll show you two back to my home."

"Unfortunately, we must be going. We have a long journey ahead of us," I informed and began to blast my time and transmutation spells all around again, sprucing the town up.

I saw a broken windmill, barely turning in the distance and I targeted it with one focused spell, shooting a large bolt at it. The entire area began to get young again, the wood looking freshly built and the sent of wood filled my nostrils while the blade reformed and the structure itself was repaired. I peeked at Capper, his mouth open while my magic spread over the town from the windmill in the center, changing back time and damage.

"Don't be so awestruck, he's done more than that," Sunset nudged my side and giggled.

"I can do so much more than just THAT!" I said and shot multiple balls of magic into the sky that floated up.

I kept my horn lit and had my magic in the air gather clouds from all over together, creating an area of high pressure in them. Rain soon began to fall from the clouds into the heat scorched town. The citizens of the town began to come out, smiling wide despite their ugly and horrendous appearances. Somepony could easily mistake them as a kind of monster if they weren't so civil acting. They all walked around in the rain, playing, enjoying it.

"Ahh, that feels so good after the desert," Sunset looked up at the rain before losing her eyes.

"B-b-but...I've never seen anything like it!" Capper threw his arms into the air, rejoicing in the water, "thank you so much, Prince Shadow Aura! You MUST let me treat you to something!" He leaned right up into my face.

"No need to, but if you know of a way to get to Hippogriffia without flying the entire distance, that would be of some help," I noted.

"Oh, I know some guys who would love to give you a lift over there in their airship," he pointed to the windmill at an airship that was hanging high above it.

"How did I not notice that?" I asked aloud.

Sunset giggled at me.

"Let us go there then," Capper danced around and strutted forward. We followed him in silence.

We were getting a lot of stares from the people, some of them hurried along, scared. I knew Twilight came here, but I didn't know what she did. Some of them smiled at us, waving.

"What in Tartarus happened here?" Sunset whispered.

"I'm not quite sure if they know I brought the rain or if this was Twilight's doing," I whispered back.

"Twilight? I remember her and her friends. They're wonderful ponies, some of the people here are just scared a little by magic since Tempest marched through recently. Me and my friends have tried to get some to come around," Capper said.

"A noble goal, Capper. I don't delve into that, I only handle my knowings of magic, but I know that can be quite a job," I smiled at him.

"I hope you don't judge this town too harsh. It used to be a lot worse than this," he opened the doors to the windmill and led us in.

"You have my word," I said and followed him in, heading up staircases along the walls before Capper got to a ladder. I awkwardly climbed it behind him, Sunset behind me.

"This is my home, it's not much, but it's a place to live," Capper said.

"Ah, it's not bad. I'm not big on comforts and pampering like the renown Prince Blueblood," I vomited out his name and earned a laugh from Shim.

I looked around, the room was in better condition than some of the town was before I sprinkled it with magic. It was super simple, some decorations of travels around the room, a map of the city against the wall. The bed looked too firm to be comfortable with its blue blanket.

"Well, you two said you were in a hurry to Hippogriffia," Capper sighed out and reached out his window, clambering up a rope ladder.

"Sunset, now would be a time to give those wings another flap," I chuckled and remembered the pain she handled in the desert.

I trotted to the window and jumped out, gliding down. I flapped my wings hard and lifted myself back up, landing on the deck of the airship. It was just a large blimp with a ship as the hull, hanging from ropes. Crates filled the top deck, so did sabers, spears, and other weapons in open barrels. Cannons were next to the holes made for them.

"Who are you?" A bipedal bird with a green bandanna wrapped over her head towered over me. She looked exactly like a pirate would.

"Prince Shadow Aura. I was told you might have a way to get to Hippogriffia," I stated my intentions.

"Sorry, sorry. It looks like he got up here before I did," Capper jogged up from the staircase in the center of the deck, closing the trapdoor there.

"Do you know him?" She asked.

Sunset landed next to me, breathing a little harder.

"We need to really get you to fly more," I whispered with a chuckle.

"Oh, shut up," she defended terribly.

"He's Prince Shadow Aura. He's the one who took out the Storm King in that huge blast of magic. He actually jsut fixed up the entire town if not almost all of it!" Capper threw his arms into the air.

"Oh, so you're the one who was blasting his magic everywhere? Impressive, little pony," she ruffled my mane.

"Little? I'll show you little," I grumbled with my pride hurt.

Sunset chuckled at me.

"Well, I guess we could give you a lift, are you wanting to go now or som-," she started.

"Now, I'm on a very time-critical schedule," I half-lied.

"Well, Capper. Untie the ladder and we'll get them both there really quickly," she announced. and walked to the other side of the ship.

"Will do!" He exclaimed and went back the way he came.

"Stations! Set course for Hippogriffia!" The bird pirate yelled while ringing the bell.

Noises of all kinds of movement came from all over the shipa nd we soon heard a loud rumble and smoke came out from the back of the ship.

"You're all good!" Capper shouted from his room, we couldn't see him at all.

The ship lurched forward slowly, but quickly picked up speed, heading to the very far off spec that was Hippogriffia across the town and large ocean.

"Celaeno, what's your name?" She looked to Sunset.

"Sunset Shimmer, I'm Shadow Aura's student," she smiled.

"Wow, I heard he had just recently become an alicorn and he's taken on a student?" She questioned.

"Yes, I have. I may be a new alicorn, but I am the most experienced mage in Equestria," I scoffed. They talked like I wasn't here.

"We didn't forget about you," Sunset nudged my side. She must have been figuring me out now, or figuring out ponies again.

"Can you back up that boast?" Celaeno eyed me.

"Hahaha! Can I?!" I lit my horn up and the airship began to move much faster. I casted a speed spell on the engines and I had also started to levitate it and move it faster myself. I casted a spell to glue my hooves to the wood while Sunset and Celaeno grabbed crates to hold onto.

"Aur, there's no need for this!" Shim yelled out.

I dispelled my magic and the ship returned to its normal speed. We were flying over the ocean now.

"Shadow Aura, right? That's quite impressive. I suppose you really must have beaten Tempest and the Storm King, but how did you handle their anti-magic shields?" She asked next.

A pirate digs for information. A scholar shares information. I knew they couldn't use what I was about to tell them.

"Their shields only deflected pony magic. They couldn't handle the magic of friendship that was pumping out of my horn, Discord's chaos magics, dark magic, windigo magic, and probably not Chrysalis' magic. I believe I could have broke some of them with just a sheer amount of unicorn or alicorn magic that I could hit them with," I boasted again, basking in my pride.

"Ah, that would explain the reports of flying weapons," she chuckled some, "I gotta go make sure everything's good wtih the crew. So, you two can chill up here."

Celaeno headed below deck and I trotted to the front of the flying aircraft, looking at the large mountain that peeked up out of the ocean.

"Aur, where do you think the Equestrian Mist is on Hippogriffia?" Sunset asked and approached on my left.

"After I read and went through the past and saw the events here, I believe I know exactly where it went. I did that while you were sleeping soundly," I chuckled a bit with a smile, "you look cute when you're sleeping."

I looked to my left and saw Shim blushing and looking to the ground.

"Ah, you'll get used to the teasing, hopefully."

I laughed aloud while I contemplated on that pearl.

"Maybe you'll stop showing off your magic," Sunset teased back, leaning onto my side. I laid my head atop hers to return her endearing gesture.

"Sooooo, when could we visit my world? I meant he human world," Sunset corrected herself.

"Why do you ask?" I smirked, I was going to toy with her just a bit. I think I pegged the reason why already.

"I want to see our friends?" She said, confused at my words.

"Nope, that's not it!" I teased and earned a scowl from Sunset.

"I don't wanna miss the fencing club practice," I had no idea she knew how to fence.

"Wait, you know how to duel then?" I questioned, lifting my head and looking at her.

"I guess so," she smiled sheepishly to me.

"In my time, unicorns often dueled to show their dexterity and finesse. Most of us used rapiers, not the lighter stuff find in fencing clubs now, and there certainly isn't a strip. I wasn't the best, but I definitely was annoying to duel! Maybe I could duel you when we get there," I suggested.

"To the human world?" I had quickly confused Sunset.

"Of course, I thought you wanted to go dancing with your friends and me again," I hinted.

Sunset went very silent.

"I can understand why, it'd be a pain to learn how to dance here with the style I showed you. Also, those six are wonderful. Shame that Spike couldn't join us for a lot of it," I mentioned.

"It was still a perfect night," Sunset sighed out and leaned against me again. I pecked the top of her head with my lips and laid my head down again.

"That it was," I agreed and we went silent while the airship sped off more towards the island. Wind filled both our manes and mine moved a lot more wildly from its constant unkempt state.

"So, do you think we'll do any real field research?" Sunset asked.

"Oh, so you dare want to go out to dangerous places in Equestria and test magic?" I added a narration tone to my voice.

"Of course, field research is my specialty!" Sunset sounded enthused already, bobbing her head up to make mine move.

"Well, I still need to do some research on Flurry Heart, but that'll be when she grows up, so that's years off. I need to head to Discord's dimension and do some general magic testing in it, see how things react to normal pony magic. I have to go have a talk with Tirek. I also need to find more dark magic in the world. I definitely need to check into how Luna and Celestia raise and lower the celestial bodies! That's gonna be a doozy if I try to recreate it without using a big levitation spell."

"Whoa, calm down there," Sunset noted my giddiness, "I don't know how you plan to recreate Celestia's and Luna's magic, but I'm sure you'll try. I'd love to join you on all of those," Sunset sighed out.

"The only one that's really risky is Tirek and the dark magic search. Discord's dimension will just mess with us the entire time," I grumbled.

It was only funny when it didn't happen to you. That's how all of Discord's jokes are.

I kept looking at the slowly growing dot that was Hippogriffia in the distance.

"So, where do you think Equestrian Mist is?" Sunset asked to continue our conversation.

"I went back in time and viewed what Twilight had done in Hippogriffia. If the Hippogriffs survived the Storm King by escaping somewhere he couldn't, I had a feeling that fate had aligned everything to be perfect from that. Equestrian Mist often hides itself so nopony can identify it as the lustrous grey transparent stone with white clouds in it," I started, smirking. I wanted this gem badly, not only for its powers, but that it often goes to undiscovered or remote places where magic is all over. It could lead me to more studies.

"But you said you knew exactly where," Shim pointed out and stopped laying against me when I raised my head back up.

"Well, I saw that those six mares here had found the Hippogriffs in an underwater paradise. Queen Novo had used a pearl of some sort to transform them all into some kind of water creature. I'm after that pearl because that is magic unlike any other. Based on the tomes and books I have read, Equestrian Mist often uses magic that hasn't been seen or spells that appear impossible. That's why I believe it is right there," I finished my short lecture.

"Wow, you really do your research," Shim noted.

"Would you expect any less?" I chuckled.

I turned around when I heard stepping behind us, I saw Celaeno standing there with a smile.

"So, how's Rainbow Dash and the others?" She asked.

I did remember seeing how Rainbow Dash inspired them to be who they were again.

"Hahaha, I don't really hang around the rowdy ones, but I'm sure she's doing fine as are the others. I think everypony's too busy wondering about me to remember the whole Friendship Festival incident, a relief to Twilight," I smiled.

"I don't think you're too much of the talk in Equestria," Sunset nudged me.

"He might be right, people here talk about how he saved Tempest and the magic that was visible all the way from Klugetown," Celaeno shot down Sunset's nice notion.

"All the way..." Shim let out in a whisper.

I was in awe at my own magic now. If my blast of magic could have been viewed all the way from Klugetown, then what else could I do?

"Perhaps it is good I haven't stayed in towns long," I noted.

"I'm sure you must get a lot of attention," Celaeno began again.

"I live far from anypony. I like it out there," I informed.

"Well, I just came to check up on you two, we'll be at Hippogriffia in half an hour to an hour. Depends on the storm clouds moving in on port," I looked to the right side of the ship and saw the grey stormy clouds moving in.

"It's fast enough for me, I'll be above deck here then."

"Don't worry about us, we'll leave you two alone unless we need something," Celaeno turned around and started to walk away.

"She's nice, isn't she?" Sunset observed.

"For a pirate, yea. But I think she knew just who we are together," I trotted back to the front of the ship and laid on my side, relaxing in the sunlight.

Sunset followed and laid down partially on me, wiggling her way into my hooves and my chest.

"Am I really this comfortable?" I smiled.

"Yes, Aur," her voice was soft and low.

I began to let my mind wander to her training.

After the coronation, I had some ideas playing around for what I would do to Equestria as my own part to play, but I hadn't thought about Sunset as a student. I would definitely take her on some field research, but I wanted to get her to become a proper mage. She was already at the level of magic that other known mages were at this time, but I remember that I progressed myself in other forms of magic once I mastered pony magic. Her own journey to learn about these dangers in other magics, but all the reward in studying them.

I felt Sunset's breathing slow a little, she had gone to sleep on me. I looked up at the clear sky, my eyes wandering jsut as my mind did, trying to put together the rest of Sunset's challenges.