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Walking the Path (Open)


PyroBlaze
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Liviel sat on the top of a hill nearby Ponyville, meditating in preparation for the little class she would be teaching soon. She liked teaching others, actually. It was nice to pass on her knowledge and skills to help others. It made her consider settling down somewhere, to have a more consistent group of students. The diamond dog eventually got up, heading towards the field she had set up in. It was a nice day, so she was going to have this class outside, to enjoy the nature around her while she taught others about the Harmonious Path and perhaps some self-defense techniques.

 

Either way, the dog set her naginata down against a tree for now, sitting down on a blanket that had been set out as she awaited the arrival of the class for the day. In the meantime, she went back to meditating and enjoying the sounds of nature.

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Sunset Shimmer possessed a basic understanding behind the Harmonious Path’s tenets. It was a subject she learned about while studying the spiritual traditions of other creatures back at Magic School. As Celestia’s ex-apprentice had understood it back then, the Harmonious Path existed mainly to help draconic beings unlock their full range of powers, and thus she largely glossed over the more philosophical aspects of that eastern tradition.


It may have been because Sunset lately had taken a renewed interest in learning more about the world she originated from, or maybe it was due to the friendship she forged relatively recently with Empress Yuè’s personal retainer. In any case, when the Equestrian girl saw a notice advertising that a Fenghuang monk was setting up a workshop in Ponyville, her curiosity was piqued. It’d be neat to finally get to meet a real-life Anointed Follower of the Path rather than just merely reading about them!


When Sunset arrived at the time and place specified in the advertisement, she found a diamond dog meditating. The diamond dog had a peculiar appearance, being far more of a refined breed than the sort of stereotype most Equestrians were accustomed too. “Excuse me,” Miss Shimmer asked as she approached; “Are you here for Liviel’s class today?”

 

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Liviel smiled slightly as she heard someone approaching, keeping her eyes closed for now until the mare spoke up and asked her a question. The dog considered her options for a few moments, but decided not to tease the mare. Opening her eyes, the dog smiled at Sunset, nodding to her questions. "Yes, I suppose I am. My name Is Liviel Mizu, it is a pleasure to meet you. I assume you are also here for the class? If so, welcome! I am happy to see that you are willing to learn what I have to teach."

 

With that done, Liviel stood up, bowing in greeting to the unicorn mare. "Tell me, miss, what do you know of the Harmonious Paths? Knowing what you already know can help to focus on what you do not yet know." She said, looking around briefly to see if she could catch sight of anyone else approaching the area.

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“...Oh!” Sunset Shimmer had been caught off-guard by the revelation that the diamond dog was Liviel the instructor; “Umm, yes... yes I’m here for the class.” The flushed unicorn offered an apologetic smile; “My name’s Sunset Shimmer, and it’s a pleasure to meet you too!”


Not really familiar with bowing, Sunset imitated Liviel’s gesture of greeting as best she could. “Well, I learned about the Harmonious Path a little bit in my World Studies class at Celestia’s School. Basically, it’s all about the Five Aspects, channeling them through attunement, going with the flow....... you know, those sorts of things. But, I was also led to believe that only draconic creatures could enjoy the full benefits of following the Path.....”

 

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Liviel giggled slightly at the mare's reaction, smiling as she finally introduced herself as Sunset Shimmer. The dog listened as Sunset explained what she knew already, which wasn't that deep of an understanding if she was understanding it right. Still, it was a better start than from the beginning, she supposed. "While it is true that draconic creatures such as qilin enjoy more of a benefit from the teachings of the path than others, that does not preclude others from following the lifestyle if they so wish. Likewise, anyone can study the knowledge of Equestrian magic without the ability to cast magic. They simply study it for the desire of knowledge, as those without breath magic follow the path for the opportunity to better their lifestyles. Overall, it is about cultivating positive emotions and activities, helping those around you."

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“Ahhh,” Sunset Shimmer nodded in understanding; “Yeah, I’m down for that. We didn’t really get into practical down-to-earth applications of the Path during Magic School. It was mainly just going over its history and yada-yada-yada... basically dry academic stuff that can be taught in classrooms.”


With cat-like curiosity, Sunset asked the diamond dog; “So, how’d you become a monk, anyway?”

 

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“That is understandable, it is a classroom setting after all, from what I understand. The friendship school nearby is unusual in its teaching methods, from what I have heard.” Liviel nodded, falling silent again as Sunset asked her question. 
 

“I was raised in the monastery, it was the only home I’d ever known. Seeing all the other students of the paths learning around me sparked great interest in learning about them myself, and so I did. I learned what it meant to follow the paths and how to do so, as well as how to defend myself and others. Once my training was complete, once I had reached the point that any further revelations would come from within, I set out to share what I knew with those that needed or wanted to hear it. Hence this class.” She chuckled a bit at the last part, trying to determine where to actually start in those lessons. What path to start with, she wondered. 

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‘Yeah,” Sunset explained about the school; “But then again, you can’t really use normal teaching methods to explain Friendship, can you?”


While Liviel was busy describing life story, Sunset noticed that a few other ponies had arrived. None of them were ponies she knew; all of them seemed like the sort of folks you’d find lurking in the background, not saying much. At least the diamond dog monk would have an attentive — if quiet — audience.


Once Liviel finished, Sunset nodded with a knowing “Ahh.” The unicorn was ready for whatever the monk had in store this afternoon!

 

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The unicorn knew that she will be eating well this afternoon.

 

After all, not everyday you ran into such fiery soul. Sunset Shimmer - the other Celestia's student. And Hou knew that she chosen this - back then - filly for a reason. Sun alicorn wasn't unerring of course, but she had eye for quality. When it came to spotting extraordinary ponies, Celestia was very reliable.

 

Even Hou had to agree, that the filly Pincess picked up to be her pupil was very special, as she watched her from afar. Great power, keen mind, burning temper....

Shuren was so impressed that she was ready to offer Shimmer to be her student after falling out with her solar mentor. Alas, the events moved too quickly before invitation could be made, and it took sorceress years to figure out where Sunset disappeared into. By the time of her return, she was already molded, changed mare.

 

But as do Equestrian's say 'Waste not, want not.' While it was to late too make her apprentice, Hou had other - more straightforward - uses for this very special soul.

And this extraordinary mare in possession of it, chose unusual activity for herself today. Unusual, but familiar. Nostalgic actually....

 

"Fenghuang Monk here. How...quaint...." Shuren mused to herself, before burning the flyer she was reading moment prior to ashes.

Hou tapped her hoof as she pondered. How long was it was since the last time? Three hundred years? Long Guo monks and their practices were like a weeds. Let them out of sight for a moment, and they spread like influenza. Heh, she still remembered that event. She reaped many souls during those years. Did they believed her dead? That would be absurd, they should know better. True, her interests were directed more to the west and south for a while - but that doesn't meant that she was ignoring her homeland completely. Still, perhaps it was her fault after all? Maybe she was way to elusivey for her own good? True it benefited her in the long run, but how much more she could gain if she hid her true intentions under layers and layers of smokescreen? Throw an atrocity or two to make deception seemed plausible....

 

Hou waved her hoof, as if to dismiss unnecessary thoughts. Straightforward plans are often overlooked by those who spin their webs of intrigue for way too long. Complexity addiction can often be as dangerous to one's health as is dismissal of details. Flexibility, was the word to live by.

White unicorn smiled under her hood as she readjusted her cloak. Not only she will be eating well today - she had an opportunity to put back fear of the dark into followers of Harmonious Path. An opportunity she was more the ready to exploit. With those thoughts, Hou left Ponyville plaza and directed her steps towards the distinctive hill....

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  • 2 months later...

Liviel smiled at the gathering of ponies that had formed during her conversation with Sunset. Giving the unicorn a bow, she turned towards the rest of the group to start her lessons. Perhaps she should start at the beginning, at least give the rest of the ponies here an idea of what she was teaching them. After that, perhaps a more focused look at water or fire. Or some combat practice, she would have to see where the lesson took them. With that though, the diamond dog bowed to the crowd, introducing herself and beginning the lesson. 

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  • 1 month later...

Finding the place whee the lessons supposed to occur wasn't hard at all. It was on a hill....it ALWAYS was on a hill. Hou stopped asking herself long ago, from where this tendency came from. A symbol of getting 'closer' to Longri-La? Compensation for something? Well it didn't mattered. She will walk over it - and the monk that chose it as his/her classroom - all the same.

 

However all her sarcasm and bluster couldn't prepare Shuren for who - or rather WHAT - the monk in question was.

 

"A diamond dog? Really?" she thought to herself as she mingled with a crowd, while at the same time reducing her dark presence - it would be shame to reveal herself before witnessing how much the Order 'devloved' over past few centuries.

 

Sorceress studied the monk first. Half millennium ago the Fenghuang Monastery wouldn't even consider one of her kind to be allowed to 'Walk the Path' and yet here she is - off the leash, spreading their foolish idea and fleas alike. In short, a waste of time....

Or maybe not? Perhaps she saw this from the wrong angle? Hou assumed that Monastery entry standards lowered....but could it be that it was other way around? Could it be, that this dog was was so exceptional that she got accepted despite being what she was? Whatever the case, Shuren was bout to know in an hour at maximum. It was a while since she had to squash a biped.

 

With those thoughts, her sight shifted to the pony. Sunset Shimmer seemed like a very different mare from the ever-angry student of Sun Princess she used to be. Was the the defeat at the hooves of Twilight Sparkle a reason for such change? For all her power Hou only manged to get a mere glimpses into that houman world...until recently.

Shimmer seemed more reserved, more controlled....but where have been gone all that splendid ambition? Were was this fiery passion? Wasn't she aiming to be Alicorn? Did the unicorn mare had hit a 'wall' in her growth? It would be a shame if that was the case, she preferred her nourishment to be well done. But once again, sorceress judged that is better to wait with verdict until...she could 'stress test' the mere in question.

 

For now, Hou gracefully returned the monks bow, along with rest of the 'class'. It was a while since she gone over the basics....

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