Rarity stared at the corpse of the Timberwolf.
It looked almost like a pile of branches and leaves except for that it was all piled in the vague shape of a wolf that had its side torn out by what had to be a set of ferocious claws. Rarity had just forced her way through a bush and there the corpse was silhouetted in the moonlight and collapsed against a leafless tree. The light from Rarity’s staff illuminated the feral features of the creature.
“Calm yourself Rarity. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, for you to worry about. Yes, the Everfree is just teeming with shadow-demons at night and not to mention monsters that would definitely love to gobble up a stunning mare like yourself but you have a Divine on your side. Granted, she is not at your side now but still nearby. You think. Nothing to keep talking to yourself about surely!”
Rarity looked closer at the Timberwolf and realized she was actually in an incredible amount of danger. What Rarity had noticed was that the Timberwolf’s corpse had a shadow. That shadow did not move at all in response to the shifting light of her staff as she had moved closer.
“Oh, Divine Ones…” Rarity had begun to back away but it had already been too late. The Shadow had begun to move toward her, stretching across the grass before it detached itself complete from the Timberwolf’s remains.
“Guardian of Magic HEAR MY PLEA!” Rarity shouted and gripped her staff in both of her hands.
“The shadow rippled like a pot of black ink when a quill was dipped into it. From the center of the creature’s mass emerged upward off the ground something that was the shape like a timberwolf but at the same time unnaturally proportioned. Its hind legs were larger than the front pair, it had no ears so its head just looked like a skull, and the jaw looked stretched out much farther than the muzzle so long and large that it was bigger than the side of Rarity’s head. It also twitched in place, making absolutely no sound as limbed moved back and forth at unnatural angles that would have snapped normal bones. Perhaps it knew how freighting its unnatural appearance was?
The only features that were consistent were its eyes. Blank, white orbs that bulged from where its eye sockets should have been. It opened its mouth, the sound that emerged was not a howl but an unearthly screech.
“I’d say you need some singing lessons.” Rarity backed up even further until she was up against a tree. She had no wat if getting away now and with no sign of the Guardian she only had one option left to her. Squaring her shoulders Rarity braced herself and brought her staff into a guard position, “I may be a lady, but I am a priestess of the gods and that means I am not defenseless. If you can understand a word I am saying, Shadow-Demon.
Rarity did not wait for the shadow-demon to move. In the many times she had faced off against other shadow-demons she had learned to never let them gain momentum in a fight. She had seen too many warriors and priests make that mistake.
“En garde!” Rarity thrusted her staff toward the thing’s face, it shied away instantly from her staff and right into Rarity where Rarity had wanted it to go. She shifted the point of her staff further down, sweeping the staff so it knocked the shadow-demon’s front legs from under it. It fell into a screeching heap, snapping at the air around it as it struggled to get back up.
“Hah! When you aren’t some wall-bound specter you have to use your legs just like the rest of us” When a shadow-demon assumed a corporeal form it acted just like a wild beast and would not retreat back to its shadow form. Unfortunately, that also meant this fight would be to the death with only one of the walking away.
“Oh horsefeathers.” Rarity cursed as she took several steps forward for the crystal tipped point of her staff she had meant to plunge into the shadow-demon’s chest instead stabbed into the ground. The shadow-demon had rolled aside from what she had hoped to have been a finishing move. Despite its lopsided proportions the shadow-demon was fast, it became a blur as it moved outside of her vision. “No!”
Rarity’s pulse beat in her ears as she realized what the beast would do next. With all of her strength she wrenched her staff out of the ground, she ignored the smell of wet dirt that assaulted her nose, the protest of the muscles in her limbs, and then spun around-staff point toward where her back had been. The shadow-demon screeched as the crystal point of her staff pierced its chest.
“Ta…ta, darling” Rarity said through her gritted teeth as the weight of the shadow-demon pushed her down to her knees, “Oh Moonborn Luna, by your night let this beast be cleansed from sight.”
She focused her magic from her horn into the tip of her staff. The energy of her spell bursting through the shadow-demon. Rapidly holed formed in the pitch black body of the shadow-demon which poured out the energy of her spell. The shadow-demon did not disappear with a bang but crumbles and faded away, its corporeal form lost cohesion and ceased to exist.
“Do not come back, please.” Rarity sighed, her strength drained for the moment. She made to stand when she heard a second unearthly screech. Rarity looked up to see a second shadow-demon, also in the form of a timberwolf, leap down toward Rarity from a branch of the leafless tree above the Timberwolf’s corpse.
Rarity did not want that to be her last words but between her exhaustion and the surprise the shadow-beast had waited for her to become weak it was all she could think of considering the circumstances. As the shadow-demon’s form filled her vision she thought again, where was the Guardian of Magic? Where was Twilight Sparkle?
A whip of amethyst colored magic wrapped itself around the shadow-demon while it was still in midair and immediately slammed it into the tree it had leapt from. Then the ground. Then a second tree. Then the same tree again and again before finally down onto the ground again. The single whip of magic split into several bands that latched onto each of the shadow-demon’s limbs. Once secure the beast was tossed back into the air where it was help suspended.
From behind Rarity, Twilight Sparkle emerged, the body tattoos were flared to life with divine energy.
“Excellent work” Twilight said.
“I always do my best.” Rarity replied and lifted herself back onto her hooves.
“Hmm? What?” Twilight looked away from the shadow-beast to Rarity and looked confused. It took her several seconds too late for Rarity to realize she had not been speaking to Rarity before but she tried to correct herself immediately, “Oh, yes, you were um, very good! Rarity. A plus!”
“Thank you, Divine One.” Rarity replied and bowed stiffly. Even if it made a small part of her giggled at seeing Twilight so apologetic it bordered on adorable years of training as a Priestess of the Gods snapped into place. With her eyes to the ground Rarity was unable to see the look of disappointment cloud Twilight’s face or the nervous way she fiddled her own magical staff between her fingers.
“Really, thank you Rarity. Now let’s see about our guest here.” Twilight turned toward the shadow-demon again. The shadow-beast itself was unusually still to Rarity. They always acted like enraged beasts, a blur of unnatural motion and bloodlust. This beast though now that it was entrapped refused to move at all. It was like a horrible statue. Rarity took a step toward the shadow-demon only for Twilight to hold her back with Twilight staff swung in front of her.
“I can sense something- “
The shadow-demon exploded. It did not fade out like the other shadow-demon, this one exploded with its dark mass coming apart and outward. It was only Twilight’s magical barrier that stopped them both from being covered in the inky remains of the shadow-demon. The shadow-demon’s remains coated the entire clearing for several seconds before it faded out completely. Twilight stopped her barrier and the both of them looked around at the completely empty area.
“This is great!” Twilight burst out, immediately she was writing furiously on a scroll with a quill she had magicked out of thin air. “So many questions! Was the shadow-demon communicating with something? Was that why it was still? What is the link that it shared? Is it a defense-mechanism? Or is it just unnaturally unstable when probed by Divine magic? Was that a remote self-destruct?”
The amethyst tattoos across her body glowed even brighter the more enthusiastic she became.
Rarity dropped to her haunches and laid down. Too exhausted to listen as her mind drifted back just three days ago when she had first met Twilight.
-Three Days Ago-
“Please, please let it be today.” Rarity muttered to herself and continued to pace across the mouth of the alleyway. She made sure of course to be careful about anypony watching her, she was a priestess of the Temple of the Gods for Ponyville. Even without the constant attacks by shadow-demons she told herself it would not be a good sign to the townsfolk to see one of their best and most glamorous priestesses worried or distraught in any fashion. Especially if she was wearing out the cobblestones with her hooves or that she was walking without her gem-caped, sounding staff in her hands so the chiming ringlets would not give her away or that she had disguised herself with a heavy, tacky cloak. Yes, it would be very hard to reassure anypony that noticed her.
All in all she knew it would worry anypony in Ponyville but it was because that she was worried herself about the safety of her town.
“CARAVAN!” the shout came from on top of the stockades and immediately Rarity was anxious but relieved. On one hoof it drew the attention of everypony else in the town square away from the direction she was skulking in (she hated that word. Skulk sounded so uncouth and roguish.) On the other hoof it meant that maybe today would be the day. No more waiting or watching the gate for the trade caravan or no more waiting to watch for the trade caravan. She could finally-
“R-rarity?” a soft voice squeaked behind her but it was more than enough to make Rarity jump and almost shout out. It took all of her willpower not to but when she turned to face Fluttershy her friend and fellow priestess could see Rarity’s cheeks were puffed out from holding in her breath.
“Fluttershy! Darling, what-what are you doing here in the alleyway? Shouldn’t you be back at the Temple of the Gods?”
“Um…well…I was going to ask you…the same thing.” Fluttershy looked away guiltily and pulled the cowl of her robes tightly over her features, “…sorry.”
Oh, Fluttershy…I’m sorry my dear, it is quite all right, You shouldn’t be ashamed of anything.” Rarity had moved across the alley and pulled her friend into a comforting hug in moments.
“It’s just…I’ve noticed you always get anxious around this time of the day and seem to disappear. I notice your p-p-pulse always quickens so loudly…” Fluttershy seemed to shrink inside of her robes with each word she had spoken. Even her long pink mane had retreated into the folds.
Oh, drat. If anypony saw us now it would most definitely draw everypony’s concern. To see one mysterious cloaked figure grappling with the empty looking robes of a priestess of the Temple of the Gods! Pitchforks and torches are not what this town needs right now, especially Fluttershy.
“Fluttershy, please don’t you worry.” Rarity pushed her thoughts aside and focused on reassuring her friend, “As I said I should be the only one here apologizing, darling. I took such precautions, perhaps unnecessarily theatrical precautions, to make sure I wouldn’t worry anypony but I still managed to make my best friend worry.”
“It’s just so hard not to worry about you though.” Fluttershy said and peaked her head back out of her robes as she continued and looked on the verge of tears. “All of these shadow-demon attacks, everypony’s scared or have lost loved ones or are scared they will lose their loved ones. First Priestess Cheerilee and the other priestesses try to be strong. You though put on a calm, confident face for everypony to look up to so-so they will keep going and trust the Divines but I know every time we hear of an attack or tend to a wounded or d-dead pony…”
“Calm Fluttershy. Calm brings forth serenity and harmony. Through this pain within and without can be healed. There is no good action without good thought.” Rarity recited the scripture of Celestia as written by Joyheart the Divine Touched over two hundred years ago. Rarity knew that the scriptures written by Joyheart were some of Fluttershy’s favorite and she knew them by heart. It also always calmed her down when her panic attacks set it.
“Calm brings forth serenity and harmony.” Fluttershy recited and took in a deeeeeep, slow breath then exhaled. She wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled at Rarity.
“Fluttershy. Thank you for worrying about me. I don’t have many ponies who do.” Rarity returned the smile and grasped Fluttershy’s hands in her own, “Please go back to the Temple. I will be back shortly. Why I am here I have faith in the Sisters will see Ponyville through. Worry for me, but darling please believe, have your own confidence in me that I know things will get better again.”
“Okay, Rarity.” Fluttershy nodded and gently hugged Rarity, “Just be back before the dark. I’m making soup for the Temple tonight.”
Rarity sighed with too much relief once Fluttershy had left and she was once again alone in the alley. Deep down inside of her it hurt that she had done anything to harm Fluttershy. She looked back toward the gate and saw that they had swung open to admit a small caravan of wagons. One of the caravans had on the side emblazoned to be noticed as much as possible the symbol of a moon and glowing wand. Rarity pushed down the concern for her friend and tugged her cloak tighter around her before she stepped out of the alleyway to follow the wagon she had spied.
Unfortunately for Rarity to follow the wagon she needed to pass a part of the town square she had taken to avoiding as much as possible in the last few months. It was the shrine to Sombra, God of War. To Rarity’s more exquisite and dazzling tastes the shrine to Sombra was the total opposite, it was a monument of black iron, dark crystal, and sharp ends. A statue of Sombra stood at the center of the shrine, the God of War with sword held high as if he was about to bring it down on in an unstoppable blow that would only have one result: death. Normally it was kept in the back of the Temple of the Gods in Ponyville, usually under lock and key, with Sombra’s usual supplicants only being the old war horses.
Rarity acknowledged that Sombra was part of the Divine Council and kept the harmony of the Mortal Realm and Divine Realm. As priestess she tended to the shrine as part of her duties and sang praise to Sombra. However, to see Sombra’s shrine moved out in the open of Ponyville, to have to see his triumphant sneer, and to see so many desperate Ponies turning to him for protection just rubbed Rarity the wrong way. It was as if the God of War had been unleashed into not just Ponyville’s square but the minds and hearts of the Ponies. The peaceful town that Ponyville had once been seemed to slip away with ever day the shadow-demons attacked more and more.
“Not if I have anything to say about it, and I certainly have quite a bit to get off of my mind…” Rarity whispered to herself as she approached the wagon of her destination. Without knocking on the door Rarity slipped through and into the wagon to come face-to-face with Trixie the Great and Powerful…of antiquities.
“What? How dare you barge into Trixie’s-“ Trixie had spun around from a small crate to confront the suddent intruder into her shop and home but stopped as Rarity moved her cowl down to reveal her identity. Trixie did not miss a beat as she continued, “…shop of wonders oh, Trixie’s fine and valued customer.”
“Please, Trixie do be a dear and skip the showmareship. Do you have my package?”
“Far be it of me to lie to such a radiant priestess of the Gods” Trixie smiled and fluttered her eye lashes at Rarity which Rarity ignored, “I do have the item that you asked for. Trixie had to brave the darkest shadows of sea lashed Baltimare to get it but Trixie did fine it for you.”
Trixie’s horn flared as her magic wrapped itself around a medium sized square object wrapped in a dirty cloth and floated it in front of herself. Trixie paused to wipe off some of the dirt from the cloth but to Rarity that seemed to have only made the cloth dirtier.
“Now about Trixie’s payment…” Trixie had begun to say, but paused as Rarity reached forward and grabbed the clothed object, her heart pounded in her chest as she unwrapped the cloth and saw what was underneath. Sweet relief flooded her and Rarity had almost wanted to squeal in joy, but then Trixie finished her sentence, “…Trixie was thinking of something different. Perhaps let Trixie take the Wondrous and Exquisite Rarity for a fine dinn-“
“AHaahaah, no, Trixie. As…lovelly as that sounds I simply must pay you in your bits. It was what WE AGREED upon, remember? No changing the deal now you…you minx.” Rarity had nearly lost her composure but like an dancer twirling a silk ribbon she twisted and turned her words and composure. And Trixie enraptured as she was followed Rarity’s suggestion.
“Ah, but of course. The Great and Powerful Trixie is of course always true to Trixie’s word. After all that is Trixie’s best quality, Great and Powerful dependability.” Trixie flushed and fanned herself, “Then perhaps Trixie may still offer and talk more ‘business’ with-“
“Oh, well that does sound fascinating Trixie. You really must tell me more about this “business” but unfortunately, I simply cannot tonight-“
“Temple duties. I am reciting the one thousand and one praises of the Sisters.”
“The day aft-“
“Temple duties. It is my turn to cook for our temple and there is just this lovely hayseed recipe I saw that I have been absolutely dying to make. I know it will be magnifique!”
“Let me get back to you Trixie. Oh, to have the freedom of a far-traveled and adventurous merchant as yourself! You must tell me all about it sometime.” Rarity smiled at Trixie and was pleased that it seemed to have the desired effect as Trixie figuratively melted into an open chair.
“I-I mean, Trixie would not disappoint! Please feel free to stop by anytime.” Trixie smiled dazed even as Rarity retreated outside of her wagon.
“Too close, Rarity. Much too close.” Rarity muttered to herself as she slipped through the crowds back toward the Temple of the Gods. For over a month Rarity had written to Trixie the traveling merchant hoping to get her to come to Ponyville to find Rarity’s item and for over a month Trixie had sent extremely curt and dismissive replies that she was uninterested in traveling to an “out of the way little homestead”. Finally, Rarity had managed to arrange for her own passage to Canterlot to confront Trixie about finding her item and Trixie had been star struck by her. Rarity did not think Trixie had even remembered Rarity had written to her but then she was all too happy to follow on Rarity’s request and she had actually delivered. If what Rarity had planned worked out, then Rarity may just stomach through a date with Trixie to show her gratitude.
Celestia’s sun had just about dipped behind the mountains by the time Rarity arrived back at the Temple of the Gods. She stopped to admire the marble temple with its statues and frescos that showed what it was said to be like in the Divine Realm. The twilight between day and night seemed to make it all the more stunning to Rarity, the last rays of sunlight and the lengthening shadows seemed to make the faces of the Ponies, Gods, Divines, and Demigods seem so alive. The steeple bell rang in the highest alcove of the Temple of the Gods, that would be Cheerilee saying goodbye to Celestia’s day and welcoming Luna’s night into Ponyville and the surrounding homesteads.
“Good, just in time. No pony-else will be in the sanctuaries.” Rarity had made sure to volunteer to tend to the sanctuaries, underground rooms within the Temple of the Gods where one could summon a Divine being to hear their prayers and make offerings. “If all goes well Ponyville will be saved. If all doesn’t go well…Ponyville will be saved but I am prepared to pay the cost.”
Rarity hurried into the Temple of the Gods, stowing her cloak and retrieving her sounding staff from where she had stored it in a storage room. She then hurried to her living quarters within the Temple of the Gods. It was a modest space, the same shared by the other priestesses of the temples. Most of the room was dominated by the carefully arranged piles of cloth and thread. Her work as a seamstress made her extra money on the side and had earned her the praise of every notable in town for her design work.
“Perhaps in another life I would be living in Canterlot and making dresses and be married to a prince.” Rarity had often joked, but truthfully she knew she could not leave Ponyville.
She had only returned to her room to gather the rest of the supplies she needed for what she planned for tonight. With everypony busy at their work she easily slipped down into the sanctuaries beneath the main floor of the temple. The outer chamber of the sanctuaries was a large oval shaped room with dozens of different doors that lead to various rooms and hallways that stretched below the Temple of the Gods. Each door was marked with the symbol of the God or Divine the sanctuary room was dedicated to. The sanctuaries were meant as sacred spaces where one could be cut off from everything else in the Mortal Realm to connect to the Divine Realm.
Celestia and Luna’s rooms were easy to spot out, one had the symbol of the sun and the other the moon carved into the wood of their doors. Sombra’s was a sword and shield. Discord, the God of Chaos, had a random mess of squiggles messily cut into his door. Chrysalis, the Goddess of Love, was a heart. The Divine Hierarchy sometimes shifted though so if a God died or was replaced the room would be re-dedicated and re-sanctified. The one she wanted had been sanctified decades ago and from what she had researched had never been entered by anypony from Ponyville.
“Magic” Rarity whispered to herself as she stepped toward the purple colored door with the symbol of a large six pointed star surrounded by several smaller stars, “Here we go Rarity. No turning back now.”
Rarity pushed open the doorway and revealed a completely empty room. This had always puzzled Rarity as she knew very well the other rooms had statues and frescos dedicated to the gods showing off their wondrous achievements or legendary feats. They would also be stacked with the offerings made by the faithful ponies be it fresh fruit or reams of poetry or whatever offering the particular deity fancied. In Celestia’s room it never grew dark, her statue radiated a light just as bright as the sun. In Luna’s during the summer she could hear the faint sound of crickets that were not there as if she was outside taking a stroll through the forest at night. In the God of the Wind’s every so often a random draft would sweep the room scattering the offerings despite there being no air ducts at all. The God of Terra’s room was covered in a carpet of fresh grass and had small trees growing within which were healthy despite the lack of sunlight and water.
“Why then would your room be empty?” Rarity asked. Magic wasn’t something that was worshipped widely in Equestria or any of the other lands to her knowledge. Or maybe it was because magic was subtle and quiet? “At least I will not have to deal with any dreadful clutter.”
Rarity quickly unpacked her supplies and went to work on her important task. Using one book she had borrowed from Canterlot as a guide she carefully drew on the floor of the sanctuary room an arcane symbol within a summoning circle. It was the symbol of magic orbited by several complex and confusing geometric symbols that even hurt Rarity’s eyes. Fortunately, Rarity had always had an eye for detail and was satisfied that she had drawn them all correctly by the time her chalk stick had been worn down to a small nub.
“Now, the offerings.” Rarity slipped out the item Trixie had delivered to her and tossed aside the cloth that protected it. “The Queen and the Bodyguard by Monochromatic.”
It was a book. A first edition book that had been printed forty years ago.
“A novel with romance, mystery, and action. At least the God of Magic has good tastes.”
From all Rarity had known and researched the God of Magic did not have a name or a dedicated set of followers. This was extremely unusual in the Divine Hierarchy as all the other branches of Divinity were known. Rarity though had never been taught the name of the God of Magic and neither had Cheerilee the chief priestess and neither had any reference from the last century or the century before or the century before and so forth that she had looked into. A God’s duty was to direct the very force of nature they represented, even Discord the God of Chaos influenced his domain. She supposed more than once in the last few months that the God of Magic was maybe a shut-in (if a Divine being who controlled the fabric of space and time could be a shut-it) or maybe, just maybe, there was no God of Magic (which everything Rarity had been taught told her was impossible).
“Everything. Absolutely everything I was able to get my hands on has only ever referred the God of Magic as “the God of Magic”. Scholars, wizards, and prelates have never left a name of any kind. Oh, yes plenty on how to summon the God of Magic. A book on a theoretical study of astro-something or other. A new book printed within the last year. Two books arguing different sides of a single argument. A novel, novel. A book by Monochromatic.”
Rarity placed each of the books she had brought into the summoning circle, careful to lay them down gently enough that they did not smudge the chalk underneath. From her bag, she levitated out an unused inkpot, a fresh parchment, and a quill pen. “Very well then. Let us begin, shall we?”
“I beseech the Divine. Let my prayer reach across the aether and void to be heard now.” Rarity intoned, using her magic to dip the quill into the inkpot then write her own words onto the parchment, “I call upon the unseen that connects the Mortal and Divine. That which makes the impossible the possible. I call upon the God of Magic to grace me with their presence so that this humble supplicant’s hopes can be made real. By the rule of the Sisters, Celestia and Luna who rule upon their thrones in the Divine Realm. Grace her with your presence and let magic be made real.”
No sooner had she finished writing the last words the entire parchment, ink and all, lit up with a violet light that was soon joined by a sapphire blue and rose pink light. Rarity’s magic around the parchment seemed to blend and become one with the new and sudden burst of Divine magic that surrounded the parchment. Cautiously, Rarity floated the parchment down into the center of the summoning circle and no sooner had she done so the entire circle burst into magical flames. Rarity gasped as a wall of magical flame rushed to engulf her and burn her to ashes-only for it to pass over her harmlessly.
She gaped as the magical energy seemed to twist and bend itself into new shapes throughout the room. The magic touched the walls and immediately the flame formed ethereal bookshelves lining the room completely-even the doorway- except for one space that formed into a fireplace, the small candles Rarity had lit to light the room twirled end over end into the fireplace to burst into a roaring fire. In front of her a large desk coalesced into being quickly followed by two sets of chairs. The books she had placed in the summoning circle rocketed off the floor trailing tails of light that made Rarity think of comets before they settled themselves neatly onto the table-except for the “The Queen and the Bodyguard” it hovered in the air on the other side of the table. Rarity was tempted to reach out and grab it but before she could move she realized somepony else already had.
Two sets of violet hands formed, holding the book they hovered in the air by themselves for only a moment before that same magical energy burst and like wildfire spread out forming two sets of arms that connected to a body. A body cloaked in robes but also in fine golden necklaces and arm bracers studded into amethyst jewels. Even before the head had formed Rarity had quickly realized two things: 1. The being in front of her would be about a head taller than herself and 2. The God of Magic was in fact the GODDESS of Magic.
Rarity’s thoughts were validated in moments as a very mare shaped head appeared on the shoulders of the figure before her. Glowing swirls of a darker purple marked out her features which proved her status as one of the Divine beings. Her hair was cut rather short in the front but Rarity could see a longer ponytail draped behind the figure. She had a unicorn-like horn except where Rarity’s as a mortal was short and straight the figure’s curved upward and radiated an magical aura. The Goddess of Magic stared intensely at the book she held in her hands, her violet eyes analyzing what she held.
Rarity, staring into the goddess’ face couldn’t help but feel something deep, deep inside her spark. For a moment, a part of her wondered if that was the magic in the room or perhaps something else. The thought was lost as the Goddess of Magic spoke.
“The first book in the series!” the Goddess of Magic practically squealed, her face lighting up with a joy that Rarity was powerless to resist. Rarity smiled as the Goddess of Magic continued, and flipped open the book already starting to read it, “I’ve only been able to find the sequels. How in the wide, wide Mortal Realm did you find this?”
“Well, the notes about the past offerings to you mentioned the other titles in the series. None of them however mentioned the first book however so I took a risk. The series has been out of print for nearly two decades so it was quite the affair to find a surviving copy, oh Goddess of Magic” Rarity bowed in part for respect and also Twilight could not see the sudden smile that had sprang up on Rarity’s lips. It just seemed too adorable how Twilight had reacted to the book.
“Oh, I’m actually not the Goddess of Magic” the celestial being replied, eyes still glued to the pages.
“…come again, darling?” Rarity looked up, still bowed over. She knew she should not have been so informal, especially since this was the first time she had summoned the Divine being, but she just could not believe the words.
“I’m not the Goddess of Magic. It is a little complicated-oh so it does look like their relationship developed quite a bit over the series…” the Not-Goddess-of-Magic said and continued to flip pages for several seconds before she continued, “you see technically Celestia and Luna are in charge of magic and can influence it but they do not have control over it. It is not a part of them, it is created from harmony in the realms. Though, that is something of a secret. I will have to swear you to secrecy and just do like Bright Idea or Swirling Star and just refer to me as the ‘God of Magic’ in your future references.”
“But…then…” Rarity felt her head start to spin, she had begun to wish the room had a couch she could lay down on, “who are you then?”
“I am the Guardian of Magic. Twilight Sparkle.” Twilight Sparkle said as she snapped the book shut and looked at Rarity, “I was trained by Celestia and Luna so if you do not think I can handle your request…”
Twilight snapped her fingers and in a burst of light a couch formed beneath Rarity forcing her to sit down on it.
“M-my apologies oh, divine one, I meant no disrespect,” Rarity jumped back to her feet and bowed to Twilight, “It is just we are desperate here in Ponyville. I called upon you because I believe magic is what we need to prevent anymore Ponies from dying here in Ponyville.”
“Please do not worry, miss…?”
“Rarity. Just, Rarity. I am a priestess of the Temple of the Gods in Ponyville.”
“Rarity. I have been looking into the…phenomenon of these shadow beasts before. I am the best divine you could call upon.” Twilight smiled, it was a small and sheepish but Rarity felt not comfort per say but that Twilight really was sincere which surprised Rarity.
“Now, as you know I am fairly sure there are rules, an exchange must be made in order for me to work here on the Mortal Realm and help you.” Twilight turned toward one of the celestial book shelves and perused through them as she looked for something. A chill climbed down Rarity’s spine as she knew what was to come next. She had prepared herself mentally for the price she would have to pay. As well as physically as she had a poni-pedicure earlier in the day. She knew it was for the good of Ponyville.
Rarity slowly undid the top clasp of her robes.
“Here it is!” Twilight said triumphantly as she pulled a scroll from the bookshelf and began to turn around, “The standard contract has a limit of a month but I was thinking given the nature of our investigation and I will need your help as my aide something…more…long term…”
Twilight stared and dropped the scrolls.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Twilight blushed and gawked. Perhaps for several seconds longer too long before the clockwork in her brain started to move again. In one swift motion she rushed over and picked up Rarity’s robe and thrust it back on her. Twilight realized just how close she had gotten to Rarity when her fingers brushed up against Rarity’s shoulder but in moment she had hopped back to the other side of the table. Only then did she cover her eyes and turn away for good measure, repeating the words, “Sorry! Sorry! I should have used magic! Sorry!”
Rarity was confused as much as Twilight was.
“I don’t understand. Don’t you want to stop the shadow-demons?”
“YES! I DO but what in the wide-wide Realms have to do with you being…” Twilight did not finish her words and tried to look away even harder than she had before.
“That’s what the price is for your favor…is it not?”
“No! Why, no, how could you think that?”
“Its what Star Gazer and the others wrote, ‘I gave up my body until the Divine’s satisfaction was complete.’”
“’-and oh the entire time was the purest of joy and experience! I was in awe, neigh, bliss to experience this intimacy with the Divine…’”
Twilight finally turned and stared at Rarity.
“Come again? That-that did not, well I mean we did BUT we did not do THAT! As payment he helped me research the relationship with magic and nature in the Diamond Hills. For just three weeks. All he did was bring me books and copy sections. It was the same with Pageturner she accompanied me on an expedition to the ruins of Unicornia. Nothing like…like…”
Twilight stopped speaking as Rarity’s giggles echoed in the room and drowned out Twilight’s words.
“Oh, hehe, I see now darling…”
“See what?” Twilight was still perplexed. What was she missing?
“They had a crush on you! ALL of them! Buwahaha!”
“A crush?” Twilight paled, “No, that is not possible. I mean all of petitioners have been very nice and very accommodating. Sure, Star Gazer always stared at me the whole time since he was so eager to listen to my theories. Pageturner wrote that, uh, lovely ‘poem’. Skyfall she put all of those flowers in my bed…” Twilight wrenched her mouth shut and with a wave of her staff she conjured out of the thin air a chair for herself which she dropped into. She covered her face with her hands and to Rarity looked remarkably, utterly lost. “They did have a crush on me.”
“How could I miss the signs? I spent decades reading and studying Divine-Mortal behavior. I even interviewed Chrysalis, ugh.”
Rarity while amused did not like that she had a semi-depressed Divine in front of her. Especially one that was supposed to help her save Ponyville. She had to get Twilight moving past this funk immediately. Rarity had to appeal to her…reasoning nature.
“Well. Have you ever had a crush on anypony?” Rarity asked.
“Me? No. Never, when would I have ever had the time for that? I’m not like Chrysalis. Hmph, going after my brother like she is…”
“Aha! So if you have never had a crush, well trust me when after you have had one it is not hard to spot.”
“That does sound reasonable. I haven’t had first hand knowledge myself. Hmm. I will have to explore that later.” Twilight looked up to Twilight and for the briefest of moments Rarity thought she saw Twilight’s blush return, “As I was saying before…”
Twilight moved out of her chair and picked up the scroll she had dropped. She floated it over to Rarity.
“The standard contract is a defined period, typically a month but this may take longer. So Rarity-“, Rarity was sure she caught Twilight’s blush this time, “How would you feel about a long term contract?”
“Well, let me take a look. It is not the first time I have been asked to mediate on divine contracts for other mortal petitioners.” Rarity opened the scroll and looked over the contents. As she read her eyebrows furrowed more and more in what was unmistakably displeasure.
“This contract is, well for a lack of better term, incredibly one sided.”
“Oh, well I suppose I could re-write it more in your favor” Twilight looked shocked.
“No, darling what I mean is this is incredibly one sided for you! You are really only asking for a once a week devotional ritual? Most Divine ask for a minimum twice a day! Also, the platitudes are remarkably bare. No accommodations for you at all. Certainly, no Inaction Clause if I as your petitioner cannot pay back your favor. I can’t sign this it is just too unfair to you.”
“My other petitioners never complained though…”
“Hmph, and I wonder why? Did they ever read your contract? No, I will not sign this unless you let me re-write it.” Rarity had already floated a pen over to herself and was making edits to the contract scroll before Twilight could answer. Twilight floated behind Rarity as she went to work re-writing the contract.
“This is very generous of you, Rarity.”
“Think nothing of it, darling. Just help me save Ponyville…”
“I’ll do everything in my power for you.” Twilight said.
Rarity kept her uncertainty to herself and continued with her editing.