Chapter 5: A Magic's Mystery and a Life's Knowledge
Spike slowly turned to see the origin of the voice; but upon seeing who exactly had spoken; Spike turned a pale shade of white, fear gripping his heart. The being before him was neither pony nor dragon.....nor did it have any describable form at it. Spike could best describe it as a glowing blue entity in the air.
"Wh...who, no, what are you?" Spike said shaking.
The being moved towards Spike, the dragon’s heart beat strongly. Fear drove him backwards into the wall. Every fibre of his body cried out to fight or fly. However his mind could not decide so he stood still.
"Who am I young dragon? A voice echoed through the halls voicing the unspoken question. You could say that I am the embodiment of knowledge in this existence."
"What? Knowledge?” Spike’s heart had calmed down and fear had turned into curiosity, slowly reaching out his hand to entity and tried to touch it, this resulted in this hands going through the entity, briefly leaving a mystical blue flame lingering on the tips of Spike's claws.
"As you can see, I am no longer of this world.....Although maybe I am in it. Are you of this world?"
Spike carefully, but quickly thought about what to say. Due to the calm sounding tone the being was using he eased his mind a little and said what first came to mind.
"So umm.....where am I? What is this place exactly?"
"Ahh you are of it. This is my dwelling inside Evermare. It is the physical manifestation of powerful illusion magic."
Spike looked around the room, it looked pretty nice; a fireplace, table, chairs, books; It all looked real to him. Looking around himself he saw a pile of books. Wishing to test this theory he reached over and grabbed one.
"It didn't disappear? I thought you said these were illusions?"
The entity chuckled slightly seeing Spike's surprise.
"What is reality, but another illusion? That is for any being to determine for themselves, although the magic of illusions can be used with enough time and understanding."
Spike was speechless; he was pretty impressed by the whole situation. He was no longer scared of this being before him, no, now he wanted to learn more.
"So what is your reason for coming to a baron place like this young dragon?"
Spike looked at the being and said firmly and proudly, "Well, I care for somepony more than myself. So I come far on the word of a legend so that it may become truth."
"Oh? What legend would this be?"
"Well it's about the three enlightened ones, they knew ancient magic and said to reward somepony if they found them."
"Well, what an interesting legend indeed, I wonder what other stories have accumulated overtime without my knowing?"
Spike stared at the entity, beginning to question the beings' apparent easy going nature.
"So are you one of these so called enlightened ones?"
The entity replied with a lengthy chuckle.
"Well that is up to you to decide, am I enlightened? That choice is up to you. But, I can say that I am indeed quite accustomed to magic of many kinds. To answer your question of am of these so called beings you speak of?...well yes and no."
"Huh? What do you mean yes and no?" Spike was starting to grow annoyed and a stern look was brewing on his face.
"Well, that so called legend of yours isn't necessarily wrong, I was one of these enlightened ones.....but now I guess you could call me THE enlightened one now."
Spike was interpreting that statement in a few ways and his fear of this unknown presence at hand was starting to overwhelm his senses. "Di...di...did you...kill them?"
"What if I did young dragon?" the entity replied with a deeper tone to his voice.
Spike was pressing himself against the wall as much as he could, trying to consider a way to get out of the place alive.
"I didn't mean to attack you or anything I ju-"
"Quiet young one" The entity interrupted. "I did not kill my companions, in fact now we are all one in the same."
Spike was extremely confused now by this whole ordeal, but there was no point in stopping the story now. So Spike continued to ask this mysterious being more questions; "OK, can you please explain to me what happened? I'm really confused right now."
The entity hovered over an old chair, almost like an old stallion telling a story to a filly.
"Well it started around four hundred years ago.
"I and my two companions were situated here at Evermare, at which point it had not become the tundra that it is today. We had a grand library and many rooms in which to conduct research on the magic of Equestria. This was all established by many great scholars and magicians over the years, but many ponies their left studies to live their lives other ways. Overtime it was just me and my companions left and this place was eventually forgotten over the ages it seems. Time carried on, the years continued, the seasons passed, life went on. Like every living being we all got older as we researched magic. Some may say it was boring, but it was something we all lived for."
"Sounds like somepony else I know" Spike thought to himself.
" Yes, they were peaceful days, that was until we started to grow frightened by the fact that we would die without having fully realized all the secrets and wonders of the magic we studied so much. We slowly became more paranoid the older we became, we stopped talking to each other and just emerged ourselves in our world of knowledge."
The entity then hovered silently for a few moments before letting out a large sigh.
"I was a very old pony before I finally snapped, I couldn't take it, I was scared, angry, so many different emotions circled my foolish mind. I went outside of Evermare and yelled with all my might and let of a discharge of magic into the sky, little did I know it would have permanently changed everything. The weather quickly started to change as snow began falling heavily onto the ground, my body was far too old to stand it the new intense cold that befall the land before me. Yes that probably would have been it for me.....yes it would have been if a fluke of a chance didn't appear before me."
Spike was on the edge of his seat, hearing the story was getting exciting Spike wanted him to speak up quickly, "SO! SO! What happened next?"
"Well it was almost a twist of fate, a younger stallion had also got caught up in my sudden snow storm. He saw that I was in danger and struggling with the sudden change in cold, he rushed up to lend me aid and luckily for me was also skilled in magic he seemed. He quickly made a small barrier around us to shield us from the cold of the snow and the changing conditions."
The younger colt carried the old stallion to a small cave in the base of the mountain and lit up a fire to keep them both warm.
"Are you OK sir?"
"Where did you come from *cough* young one."
"Oh I'm just a traveller, learning magic from place to place; I want to be a great wizard one day. I was just exploring Evermare when all of a sudden this snowstorm hit."
The traveller then casted a spell to materialize some cloth to cover the old stallion.
"*Cough* *cough* I see potential in you *cough* how would you like to learn magic once thought forgotten?"
"Really, that would be amazing!"
"Yes although it could take a few life times to learn it all *cough* *wheeze*"
"Oh well, that's a little disappointing."
"But maybe you don't have to"
"What do you mean?"
"*cough* I am old, I don't think I have long left in this world, and I bought this upon myself. I am the one who starting this mess of a blizzard outside."
"Hey hold on, you are going to be alright, you just need to warm up a little."
"You have a good heart, promise me that you will not turn into a foolish old colt like me."
"Hey stop talking down about yourself, I sure you accomplished many things in our life."
"Well you could say that, young one, bring your horn over to mine."
"Umm OK, why?"
"I have accomplished years upon years of research, but my foolish mind at this age was about to let it all go to waste. But I think you may have been a blessing, yes a beacon to light and hope that helped me from that blizzard. You will live on with that knowledge. What is your name?"
"Star Swirl sir."
"Hmmmm a fine name...Star Swirl, you will live on with my knowledge, practice and use magic to its potential and don't wind up an old fool. I ENTRUST IT ALL TO YOU!"
A few sparks started coming out of tips of the old stallion's horn as a beam connected the two by the horn, in a matter of seconds, information was flicking past Star Swirl's eyes and being stored in the recesses of his mind, a life time of knowledge gained in a few seconds. Star Swirl began panting and felt instantly exhausted, it was all too much to take in all at once. But before he had time to realize what happened, the old stallion he was gone, not a trace left at all.
Star swirl put his hoof on his head, a large migraine was surging through his head, he was seeing the stallion's memories, a lifetime's worth of memories, Evermare, books, this companions, everything.
He slowly made his way inside of Evermare and began to look for the old stallion's companions to tell them of the events that had occurred.
Both of them were utter wrecks at this point, paranoid and hard to communicate with. But Star Swirl had all the knowledge and memories of the fallen stallion and was able to convince them through memories that they all knew and only they would know. It took some time for those two to calm down and process exactly what had happened, but they both agreed for the sake of continuing knowledge and legacy they also gave their wisdom to me as well. Three lifetime's worth of knowledge in one young body, something most scholars could only dream of was a reality for Star Swirl.
"And so the three companions lived on inside me, I am Star Swirl, but I am also those three, four minds in one body."
Spike sat with his jaw open and eyes open wide.
"Wow, so you have over four hundred years of magic knowledge, you must know absolutely everything."
"Well, I probably know more than any being should and because of it my state is a false sense of immortality; I can exist as a physical illusion, but my real body is long gone. But the will for knowledge and the power that comes with it, bounds me to this world for whatever reason now it seems."
Spike looked empathetically towards Star Swirl, "Is being Immortal really worth this solitude?"
"Hmmm, what was that? A dragon questioning life and immortality?
"Yes, it seems extremely lonely here."
"Why are you here? What is it that you are after exactly? "
"You want to know why I'm here. That's simple; I'm here to change the future!"
"The future you say, so what dragon, you want all of the world's treasures? you want to grow larger than all other dragons?"
"No I don't care about either of those things."
"A dragon that does not care for treasures? Well consider me intrigued. Why come to Evermare then? What is it you hope to accomplish here with magic?"
"I want to be together with the pony I love, I want us together always, no matter what!"
Star Swirl became quiet once he heard this; never had he even imagined such a thing to happen in Equestria.
"I must say, the world has really changed over the last few hundred years, never could I have imagined that now there could be a dragon and a pony together. This is now common amongst creatures of this land?"
"Well....not exactly, maybe other species and creatures have, but I cannot say. In my case, we are the only dragon and pony to fall in love."
"And everyone is accepting of this?"
"All of our immediate friends, family and our town seem to be accepting, but I'm sure that there are people who would disagree, but it doesn't matter because we love each other."
"Tell me of this girl, why her? Why this much effort?"
"Her name is Rarity and she is a true gem above all else, the most beautiful unicorn in all of Equestria and extremely talented. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be with her. You questioned that I didn't want any treasure even though I'm a dragon, well that would be because she is my one and only treasure. I have to protect her no matter what and I want to be with her until the end of time. That is why, she is the most important part of my life and I am to her."
"And to think I knew of a poor donkey who was chased out of a town, simply because he was in love with young mare once upon a time. I am happy to see that ponies and other creatures have evolved and become so accepting over time."
The Star Swirl entity began to change shape, slowly getting bigger to roughly form as shape of a pony albeit with a slight haze at points of the body. Star Swirl roughly regained his original pony form as a form of spiritual energy, upon doing so with the happiness of Spike's story he smiled at him. "I am impressed that you would defy nature for the sake of love, true love it seems."
"Thanks Star Swirl sir."
"However, as great as stories may be, I think it is about time we get down to business. What is your true reason for seeking magic here at Evermare, what did you hope to receive from the enlightened ones?"
Spike sighed, worried that he would be told to leave, but he stood tall and told him, "I want to share my life span with Rarity and my friends sir!"
Star Swirl starred at Spike, surprised was probably the best way to describe Star Swirl's reaction. "A dragon wanting to give something away, well that is simply unheard of. Normally dragons are creatures that are the embodiment of greed wanting to be generous? Well, well, well, what an interesting being you are...."
"Spike, my name is Spike."
"Spike, Okay, let me tell you, that such a magic does indeed exist within my power."
"Really? YES! So coming here was worth it!"
"IT IS within my power, but there are a few things you must understand first Spike!"
Spike grew nervous, starting to wonder if there was a heavy price to pay.
"Magic that involves the life force of living beings can cause alterations not intended originally by nature, these alterations can go as so far to ruin lives instead. Magic is a power that has existed in Equestria since it was created; some creatures like unicorns can channel the magic, that magic which exists within their body and bring it out in the forms of spells. But magic can also come in another form, which is very powerful and rivalled by no other. The power that it is capable of can in fact do such feats as create a near immortal existence, this is how my current form exists today."
"There is more than one type of magic in this world?"
"Yes, this magic is used by transforming that which every living being has their essence that is their life energy. By fully understanding all that is one's self and what it means to be alive, can one use the power of their own life as another form of energy and magic? I used my life within my body to bring my mind to a higher form of existence, from what I know now, I seem to be immortal or at the very least. As such I am able to live far longer as a being of knowledge and magic. So by using certain amounts of one's life energy as a sacrificial form of magic, it is possible to accomplish many feats which may be once thought impossible."
"So I could use my actual life as magic, and then I could transfer that energy itself to another pony?"
"Yes that is possible in that situation. But Spike, do you understand exactly what it is that you need to use? What you have to sacrifice in order to do this? You did just learn of this information, do you possess the will, understanding and means to even comprehend the concept that is your own life or anypony else's?"
Spike didn't know how to answer him, he had been dead set on this goal for the last eleven months, but now he was beginning to question himself. "Do I understand, I want to be with Rarity forever, we defied nature once, but this.....this seems like it could kill me or her or the other mares if I'm not careful. No Spike, you came this far and your goal is right in front of you, you can do this!"
"I can't say I fully understand it all completely, but no matter what, no matter the risk, I WILL DO THIS! I will be with Rarity no matter what!"
"FINE DRAGON, HAVE IT YOUR WAY!"
At that moment the room that Spike and Star Swirl were in suddenly began to crack and start disappearing, Spike looked around at the decaying room and saw nothing but darkness outside the room.
"Star Swirl, what is happening?"
"You think magic or knowledge like this comes free, you have another thing coming Spike."
The last of the room shattered beneath Spike's feet, he was floating in total endless darkness.
Star Swirl hovered over to Spike and put his hoof over Spike's face.
"What are you doing now?"
"You will be put through my trial, every being with a mind that isn't just fuelled by instinctual feelings and urges, has the power to feel regret and consider different outcomes for their actions."
Suddenly, all of Spike's fears, regrets and hardships were flicking through his eyes.
"You will need to understand everything that is life, the positive and the negative, all good times and bad; you will need to understand what your life is and what it will be giving up, and what it will gain if anything."
Spike started to groan as these images were running through his head.
As Spike's mind felt like it was about to snap, all of the images flashing in his eyes were suddenly pouring out of his eyes like tears; glowing white droplets. They began to circle Spike and speed up, before he knew it, he was seeing a blinding light and in a brief moment....
An expanding light began to fill the darkness Spike was situated in. But what was this light for, was it going to illuminate the future or blind him into only seeing the past.
Spike's eyes slowly began to open; he was laying face first in...dirt?
Spike cupped his hand and grabbed a handful of dirt as he slowly began to rise.
As he stood atop two feet he couldn't believe his eyes or what he was seeing.
"What! No way! Why am I back at Ponyville?"