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Late Fees [Canterlot] Attn: SteelEagle & TacoBob


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SlaughterHorse Five was a classic and that she needed to press further. She enjoyed Fire Walker's presence a great deal and knowing that she was as well read as any other military mare lit Twilight up brightly. "Captain, you should join my book club! You'd enjoy it, and I think having a more militant perspective on the literature of modern Equestria would save us from having to read whatever romance novel Rarity is pressing me on. Though you'd be shocked at how insistent Applejack can be. Almost as much as I can be, so yes, join the club."
 

Princess Authority was sometimes best abused for the greater good of the written word, after all.


Her levity was broken by Blizzard. She knew what book he was wanting. That was somewhat alarming. The issue with the chapter in question was less the content in question and more the loophole it attempted to exploit. When you pulled magic from the aether in an attempt to enchant something, you normally could only transfer so much power into the device. However, a very specific way of using a spell, with a very specific build of an amulet, in the right time and place, created the perfect conditions for an aetheric glitch. The result was the ability to create artifacts of tremendous power that would otherwise not have been possible with such a simple spell. It came with a downside, however. The overwhelming magical power of such an artifact was anathema to any localized aetheric management, so it tended to leak into the users. This extra power was not absorbed or used by the user in any special or unique way- indeed, since it was generally far beyond the capacity of the individual already it did nothing positive whatsoever. The Alicorn Amulet, for example, was driving Trixie mad. Had she not been stopped, eventually her entire mind would have been lost to paranoia and delusions, followed quickly by her very physical form being rendered incapable of sustaining itself under the barrage of magic and ceasing to be.

 

"The reason," she drank slowly, "is for safety. Not for others, really. The potential output of such amulets can be tremendous, but nothing that can't really be undone. No, it is for the user. Due to defects inherent in the very philosophy of the spell, the user will invariably bring great harm to themselves. First psychologically, and in increasing wavelengths and power to boot. The physical breakdown that follows is dramatic and near immediate once that stage is reached, but by then it could be considered...a mercy, of a sorts. The first unicorn who brought it to Celestia's attention in the specific manner it could be abused did so at the cost of his own metaphysical existence. A tragedy he could not be saved before it was fully completed," she shook her head, "ever since then, every copy of it has had that chapter redacted. New printings exclude it and older copies have been spell-edited to change the content to redacted. Only one copy exists with the original text, and it no longer exists in this dimension," she said as she nodded to her Captain, who would well know where such material was stored.

 

"The closest approximation of the content that was redacted that doesn't contain the damaging elements can be found on a scroll. I do have it, though I wonder..." she said as the scroll zapped into existence, landing on the table. "What do you want with it, in particular?" She asked,

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"Is that book in its entirety even legal for an private citizen to own?", the officer asked. "I have a good friend of mine, a mare named Ilinalta who is one of enchanters for the R.E.A.", the mare could not help but shiver. "She has told me stories that would shake the hair off your tail about unicorns that got their hooves on old enchanted items or spells that weren't really made for this world anymore. Spells or magical items that use the spell-caster's very living energy for the spell and burn the poor fella out until they're an empty husk or take over a caster's body. Nasty stuff.", she added. This was something the far wiser Twilight would comment and expand upon moments later.
 
"That's why I usually stick with simple enchantments.  Mostly ones that deal with the environment. Keep the extreme temperatures away. Maybe help me see in the dark, like you said. Tried a bracelet that enhanced my strength a few years ago and I felt rather odd after that. Trainer said I needed to work on my magical endurance.", she smiled as the unicorn chuckled. "There's some truth to that as I heard they would use an spell. Can't remember the name. It's a spell that effects your sight...er..". Thankfully she was not about to take an 'defense against magic' class, or she would have failed.  "Think it begins with a 'g'. But they would use this to alter the faces of those who would be better off anonymous, like guards protecting something or somepony of great importance, or even jury members during a troublesome case. " Of course, she had only 'heard' about this. It did not make it true.
 
Oh! She always wanted to join a book club! She would get to read a book she would normally not even consider touching, and then they would talk about the book during the next meeting, along with adult beverages. Well, she would have to skip that part. Her brain quickly scanned a list of things she was told not to drink. Fruit smoothies were safe. For now. She needed to stay hydrated.
 
"I would be honored to join, and if you do the club the old fashioned way, you'll have to tell me what book you're all on, so I can catch up.", she could read something a bit more substantive while waiting at the obstetrician's office besides two year old copies of tabloids. She kept quiet as the purple Alicorn got into more about the dangers of powerful enchantments. And while they could control what the books in their reach could do, there was always a chance of somepony finding an dusty old tome filled with dark or overpowering magics. Thankfully, nothing like that would happen in Ponyville.
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Well, there it was. Blizzard had played his card and the reaction went just about as well as expected. He kind of figured that the spell was redacted from history for the safety of Equestria, but it turns out it was for the spell caster. His face would show his disappointment with that discovery. "I see..." he trailed off, looking at the other options in front of him. His posture slouched as he made one more cup of tea.

 

Blizzard turned his gaze to the red mare and nod. "I believe there is also a catalog of those 'discovered' ancient artifacts as well. To be honest, it's where I developed a love of going to estate sales as a foal with my mother." His frown slowly grew back into a more friendly expression. "Mom has a particular taste in design...or at least used to. I'm sure that if ether of you have set hoof into any professor's office or living space know what I'm referring to. You'd be surprised what the young generation of nobles is willing to get rid of. Mom and I once found a fire amulet form pre-NMM in a box of jewelry for only 10 bits. I guess you can add antiquing to my hobbies," he'd laugh

 

As Fire answered his question about Celestia's guards, he'd nod. "That makes sense," he'd say before asking a more awkward question. "So, dose that also affect how the others saw gender as well? I'd imagine it would lead to some interesting confrontations."

 

The unicorn still was avoiding answering Twilight's final question, more so with the scroll on the table in front of him. "Sign me up as well I guess. Perhaps we can meet at midnight? That would make it somewhat unique...to an extent... though if it where up to me, they would all be Daring Do and On Her Majesty's Secrete Missions, 770." He'd chuckle.

 

He kept gazing to the scroll every few seconds. It felt like it was burning a hole in his very sole. "Protection," he'd blurt out of nowhere. "I'm planning on making an amulet for protection. Every so often I like to poke the Wendigos of the frozen north. There is also one other purpose, though I'm afraid you both may see me different. I intend to use it as a counter. One to a particular set of orbs...or spheres...just in case a certain somepony deems me a threat to be eliminated...," as he looked Twilight in the eye. "I'm sure you remember that first conversation we had, and her thoughts about umbra magic?"

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"The book without the redacted passages is legal to own. It has only a niche audience: Only the highest level magical talents can utilize what is inside correctly. It can lead to a great many wonderful creations but they are all prone to failure with even the slightest mistake," she said as teh subject of artifacts came up. "It is a whole league of complexity above whet you can find laying around in somepony's garage or as commercial or government enchantment. Not necessarily stronger in many cases, but certainly more complex. The cost of using older material is often efficiency. It is mostly used as a litmus test," She smiled as another of her favorite subjects came up. "Oooh, antiquing. I love it! I used to find the time to do it myself. Now, of course, when I do antiquing it has a different connotation. Anything particularly fun stand out?"

 

Two more for the book club. Score! "Excellent. I'll inform Rarity and Applejack. Though Blizzard, you'll have to make time in your schedule for a more early riser sort of deal. I don't think Applejack would stay up to midnight for anything save her wife, and even then Rainbow doesn't like much aside from her Daring Do novels. feel free to suggest new reading material, you two. I'm dying over there. Dying a lot," she said with a giggle as she drank her tea, thinking on what to say to Blizzard's reason for being here.

 

Inside her own head, she sighed the sigh of the desperate.

 

Umbra magic. Dark magic. Spheres. Orbs. Every day that passed, Twilight cursed herself a little more. She was a lightning rod for the special and the gifted but she could scarcely remember the last truly gifted spellcrafter who didn't come to her with the baggage of paranoia or ambition weighing them down. Invariably the light of friendship would break through all such barriers, but it was a problem. More so when such talented individuals decided that they needed to be on a collision course with one another for reasons that did hold much weight. Then again, maybe not so much.

 

Ice Storm. Twilight trusted her. Not necessarily trusting that Ice Storm would always make the right decision, but that when it was all laid out in the end her actions would be ones Twilight would be proud to defend. She was an excellent mare. However, she was a mare of obsessions over matters of the past. Obsessions over failures, failures she only half understood the full context of. Life, given to fears. Power, centered on possibilities. Possibilities, breeding fears. Ice Storm's greatest flaw was hidden inside her most powerful tool: Vigilance, expertly hiding the vestiges of aggressive paranoia. Not an overwhelming one that threatened to derail her, but a focused one. She saw threats and would seek to destroy them before they harmed Equestria. And, in most cases, she would have the power to do it. There were few things she was incapable of- fewer things still she would not do to preserve her version of peace.

 

Considering his own threat assessment then, it made sense that Blizzard would know that he himself could possibly be on that list of targets. He would have to be a fool not to realize it, just as he had to know that Twilight understood him to be a potential threat as well. How sad it must be to feel as if the world that surrounded you was filled with spears and swords, a dervish of a wind summoned to cut you up a possibility at any moment. It made sense then that he would want protection. Protection from Ice Storm. Protection from danger. Could she give him that protection? Perhaps not in the way he was seeking.

 

Doubly so because whether it was protection or countering, the spell would undo him. She sometimes fretted that it seemed like every powerful unicorn believed that the dangers of spellcasting failed to apply to them, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The brashness of power was a true and terrible thing. If she gave him the book, he could perhaps devise a counter to Ice Storm. But it would hurt him far more. Plus, knowing both of them involved, it would lead only to a more explosive problem later. She saw no need to proceed in such a manner and after her mind was made up she endeavored to explain it as clear as she could to him.

 

"No."
The scroll vanished. Twilight sighed.
"I understand your concerns with Ice Storm. She can be brash and aggressive, but I assure you: If you do not threaten Equestria, she will not prove a problem for you. And if she does, tell me. I can reign her in," She nodded emphatically. She trusted Ice Storm. And she trusted herself to reign Ice Storm in if she needed it. Twilight's face grew stern.
"But this is foolhardy. The spell, even if it worked, would doom you like it has doomed all others," she said as her face grew concerned, softer. "Why would you seek to destroy yourself just to defeat a pony who you should have no cause to fight? Ice Storm is powerful but she would make a much better ally than foe, do you not agree?" She asked hopefully before the subject of dark magic came up.
"I remember our conversation regarding the Umbrum Aetheric. I also remember you admitting to using it yourself. You already conduct such dangerous experimentation, Blizzard. Why condemn yourself?"

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“Rainbow Dash..”, the officer muttered to herself. “We could take something she enjoys, young adult adventure..”, she paused to ponder something, “And give it a slight push, and please, be careful with your eyes, as I would probably roll mine up so high if these books were suggested to me, maybe so much so that I would probably be able  to see my brain...But maybe.”, she added with a wink. We could gently nudge her from young adult to adult adult with maybe some of Mister Prancy’s books. It’s mostly spy fiction and military fiction. And yes, the sell his books at train and air-ship gift shops, and while he's been dead for over a decade, they still put out books under his name, and also my parents would both disown me if they saw me with those books, and my dad loves garbage. But it would still be a good move towards some actual good books....", she smiled back at the princess of friendship. "I have read a few of them as they tend to have piles of his books at my obstetrician's office..So I would know she would like the dumb action and such. Even if they would rot her brain."
 
She pictured herself being permanently banned from the book club. And maybe even society itself. Off to Monster Island! This only caused her to chuckle. And then something caused her to stop.
 
"Wait a second.", she was pretty sure he had said.."You still have....Er...We still have Wendigos?", she gasped as she turned her attention back to Twilight. "I thought they were all gone? Like we have a holiday and all that celebrate them being stopped, and while they did come back, only for you and the old heroes to banish them again..But just to even imagine they're out there in the North, waiting for stuff to go all....As my sister-in-law from Trottingham would say barmy....And they would appear again...", she shuddered. She had heard the original Wendigos were ponies that had gone mad from an extreme amount of suffering...hunger....fear....sadness...When they died, they turned into the great spirits that feed off of the fighting and hatred between others.. At least that was what she read. It might not be true. But those giant spirits were terrifying. She remembered watching the great terrors from a good distance. So beautiful, but also utterly horrifying at the same time. She would hope the old pony tribes would not ever break up again...
 
Thankfully Blizzard Blitz had a question that did not involve the giant undead. "There's a fun little theme park in the west called 'Whinny World'. It's has rollercoasters, dark rides and all kinds of fun places. All heavily themed. Even the bathrooms have epic stories behind them. Sometimes they have areas that are meant to blend into the background. Entrances to employee areas....Garbage cans....fences...They paint this special green color that is so forgettable that it makes the painted item hide in plain sight. It's probably magic*....An typical guard's armor works the same way. You may know they're there..But they just blend into the background..As guards have been in the background since day one, they just exist without being seen...", she added, "I however am an officer and an Twilight Guard Officer. I wear purple armor and do not cover my face or hair, so I tend to stick out.".
 
The very wise for her age Twilight Sparkle spoke even wiser words. "Yeah, she's not worth it.", the Pegasus mare added, "Not her personally, but what would happen if you attacked her..There would be arresting's and lawsuits and possibly a scary father. Not worth the pain. You just need to move on with life. And possibly avoid large weddings.". Both she and Discord were tied for how many weddings Fire had attended lately. Was she there to steal her current colt-friend? Would she rush off with Swift Squall? Maybe.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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As Fire asked, he slowly nodded. "Wendigos are still present in the Frozen North," Blizzard would say bluntly. "The key word in your statement is banish. They still exist. It seems whenever they are defeated, they go back to where they have the strongest ties." The icy unicorn would take a deep breath and even deeper exhale. "I believe that there is an area of the Frozen North where...the original...," he'd have to think how to best say what he was about to say. "There earthly bodies are." He had said it. "It's just a theory though. Perhaps the original settlement are buried under a few dozen feet of snow, never to be seen again."

 

As the scroll vanished, Blizzard's eyes would narrow as he stared where it had previously been sitting. His gaze would shift to the purple princess as his winter gray eyes glared for a few moments before he rolled them. "I see..." his tone had changed to one of annoyance. "Well, I'd rather not end up dead anytime soon from a magical error so I appreciate your concern." He'd levitate a few of the newer spell books that where on the table into his saddle bags. "Looks like the newer, safer way it is then..."

 

Blizzard would scoff as Twilight brought up just the mere idea of being allies with Ice Storm. "For somepony as wise as you, I don't think there would be enough room for her ego and my pride to coincide. It takes every bit of my being just to be civil around her. I have a nagging that she is coming for me. Maybe not now or in the near future, but it is coming." Quickly he'd make another cup of tea before leaning back into his char. "I have tried to think of ways to postpone this conflict. One is quite simple, a land grant of just a few acres in the Frozen North so she can't come after me for taxes or something along that line," as he looked to Fire Walker. "I'm sure you most of all know what I'm referring to. The other..." as he noticeably cringed at just the thought, "Would be to integrate slowly back into society, though it would have to be fitting of my unique talents. I'd rather live under a frozen rock then do menial tasks that where offered as my career choices long ago," he said with a tad bit of venom in his voice.

 

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The Trot Prancy novels! yes, Rainbow Dash would certainly enjoy them. She had a good nose for trash- outside of Daring Do- and Mister Prancy was the right type of bad to fit in. His earlier works were quite good and some of his even less well received books had some quality content, but his characters left a ton to be desired. Yet they were just awesome enough for Rainbow Dash, and maybe she'd even ask a few questions. Maybe not the right ones, but asking them would be enough. "Yes! Perfect idea. Then all I need to do is force her into the book club. Foalproof plan!" She said excitedly, clapping her hooves together deviously. She would join the club someday, her other plans be damned.

 

Speaking of the damned: Windigos. "They most certainly still exist. Technically, they can never truly die. They are magical manifestations of disharmony that then further the spread of it. As long as there is enough disharmony among any magical creature, they will have the potential of returning. One of the Essential Valves, they say," though she did rub her head. "Ugggh, that damned theory. As for where they are from- they likely have no true home. Their first appearance in the records is from the time of the Maretonian Collapse, when they drove the three tribes away from Maretonia- southwest of Equestria. But no doubt they existed before that, and will continue to exist forever."

 

It was a nice thought to have, something light as she cut through Blizzard's response. It wasn't as exciting as she had feared but was anything but pleasant. His small glare had not gone unnoticed before a shift happened. No, he was certainly not suited for that spell. Everything about him screamed that certain level of power and arrogance that was the very trap that the spell was designed to trigger. It was hard not to have that arrogance when you were as strong and unique as he- certainly no fault there, considering he had been alone for so long. His inability to see a peaceful, friendly end to this concern of his with Ice Storm was another matter. Conflict had a way of becoming real the more you imagined it as enivitable. When you narrowed the path towards the one clear resolution until there was naught but battle, then you were guaranteed so. They were not there yet but the end could be seen from where they sat and it was an ugly one to be sure.

 

"I'm sorry if that is not the answer you wanted, but you can still do great things with the advanced literature on the subject that is available. There is a common misconception that power is obtained through rarity. That is not the case, as you well know: The real ingredient is studious attention to detail and practice. You have both in spades and will easily be able to solve your problems without risking yourself for no real reason," she said before she gave a hopeful smile. "And you would certainly be welcomed back. That would also be the only real legal option: I have no legal right to give land in a territory that I do not control. No one controls the Frozen North, the Badlands, technically speaking. Integration would be the better path in any case. What role in Equestria do you think you want?" She asked with baited breath.

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Fire Walker grinned as it appeared she had helped the purple princess improve an old friend’s reading aspirations. Once those novels got boring, and it would happen fast, maybe she would upgrade her books even further? Maybe a copy of ‘Eating The Leaves Of Grass”, “The Canterpony Tales?”, or even “The Handmare’s Tale?” As a member of the Wonderbolts and technically the R.E.A., she also had access to one one of the best military libraries in all of Equestria, if not the world?
 
“Oh.”, the officer gasped. “That is rather disturbing, but it makes sense. But  I was always confused on how many ponies it too to summon one of those ghastly things. Ten? Twenty? I believe the stories had that there was a general feeling of distrust against the three tribes. It can’t be a population thing, but maybe if there’s a general concentration of distrust in one area?”
 
The mare listened to the stallion’s worries that a certain Dunder-stealing unicorn had her sights on the cold-casting stallion. “If she attacked you without any real provocation, then you would have the right to defend yourself and or get legal help as restraining orders can be helpful.” The office was pretty sure this would never happen. “Also, I’m confused. You live up in the north and doesn’t she own a little ice cream parlor in Canterlot? I haven’t spoken to her in ages, so I might not be currently updated to her status..”. the red mare was probably best not to continue anymore in this. She did not truly know what was going on with Blizzard Blitz and the mare.
 
Still, the question intrigued her. What could the frosty stallion do? He could teach Cryomancy! What would be more popular during the hotter summer weather? A pony who could summon snowflakes! Unlimited Ice Cream? Well, at least he could summon ice for those horrible flavored ice treats? The liquid flavor would always settle in one spot, and you'd be eating mostly ice flakes. Yuck. Maybe ice sculptures? He could always set up temporary locations for pop-up ice skating rings?
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Blizzard gave a half hearted chuckle at Twilight’s response. “Well then, looks like I have a challenge ahead of me. I should be able to figure something out with time….and patience. Living where I do, I should have nothing but time,” he said with a nervous chuckle. “I still have one last task though. To source the gem…and commission a smith to physically forge the amulet. By then, I should have read these books cover to cover twice,” as he tapped a hoof to his bag.

 

”As for her…” he shuttered, “I’ve tried to avoid her as much as possible. I’ve know of ponies such as her…the your ether with me or against me…or at least that’s the vibe that I have gotten during our first few run ins.” He’d look to both of them to see if their faces shared that same sentiment. 
 

As Twilight asked about what he saw his role in Equestria as, he tapped his chin. “To be honest, I haven’t truly though about it in detail. As you know, my talent of Ice and Snow makes it a bit difficult. I would say something weather related, but Cloudsdale would throw a fit at even the thought.” He’d sigh. “What where you thinking....Your Highness...?”

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