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Balancing the Equation [Attn: Blue, Closed]


Windwright
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Windwright was uncomfortable. He had shown up to the Friendship Academy with a package secreted in his saddlebags, a gift for the Archchancellor. But since it was meant to be a surprise, Windy hadn't been willing to announce himself. And since it was meant to be a secret, he hadn't been willing to part from it. And since he didn't want to abuse their relationship, he hadn't insisted on having the Archchancellor notified that he was waiting until the other duties of the Academy were seen to.

So here he was, waiting in a spacious azure blue office in what should be a quite comfortable chair for Blueblood or Bluebelle to arrive, feeling very much like he'd rather be a she right now, especially since he also felt practically naked without any of his usual markings. But his gift had used the last of his stock of Poison Joke, and several times his usual stock of Skyleaf, so he had been able to run batches of neither his swapping potion nor the conditioner who's byproduct his dye was based on.

The office really was nice, Windwright had to admit, but he just wasn't really in the mood for it. Especially four hours after he'd arrived. He was busy picking lint and loose down out of his flight feathers when he heard the sound of hooves approaching and perked his ears. It wasn't the first time today somecreature had stopped by the office, but he had a good feeling about this one.

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The Archancellor had just come back from tea with her students, and therefore it would be Princess Bluebelle that emerged through the office doors, seeing Windwright waiting for her in the office.  "Why, this is a pleasant surprise!  It really has been too long since we've caught up."  She'd established a pretty good relationship with the alchemist during the period when she'd come to terms with her... condition, and the fact that Windwright was another pony that felt comfortable switching between mare and stallion had helped out so much more than any potion could have.

 

Not to say that his potions were in any way unwelcome.  The pony knew what they were doing, and Blue had picked up a passing interest in the craft.  "Is that package for me?  What is the occasion?"

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Windwright stood up and bowed a little gracelessly, likely from lack of practice than respect, or a side effect of having been caught grooming himself. Which was fine, it was for the benefit of people on the other side of the door anyway, and that wouldn't be open long. "Princess Bluebelle. It has indeed, and it is indeed." The alchemist intones as he stands back up and places the package on the desk, fidgeting a little. This is why he wanted to be a she right now, he was always so much more confident in social situations that way.

Windy cleared his throat and steps aside from the desk, inviting Princess Bluebelle to open it. Inside the plain brown wrapper was an unornamented wooden box the size of a thick book. This, in turn, contained a glass flask and a tube containing half a dozen tablets that resembled nothing so much as golden candies. The alchemist glanced to one side, saying "I wanted to apologize. You've been a friend to my efforts, and I've done a poor job expressing my gratitude. Do you remember that gift exchange party, a couple of years ago?"

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Bluebelle gave Windwright an indulgent smile, hoping to put him at his ease.  Sharing a house now with two pegasi, she was well aware of the need to keep well-groomed at all times, and how much it could help them relax.  Turning her gaze to the package, she used magic to undo the ties and ribbons, revealing the box, with the tube and tablets within.  It rang a bell in the Archancellor's memory, but the door remained unanswered.

"Hmm...."  She looked back up at Windwright, blinking slowly.  "I remember.... there was a party.  And an exchange.  And I had an infernal headache afterward with stains from the spiked punch on my holiday suit.  So I'm assuming something happened, that turned out crazy and rove me to drink.  Not all that unusual in this town, but I have been cutting back significantly more on the sauce lately."  She gave a slightly sheepish look over at the alchemist.  "Mind giving me a refresher?"

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Windwright stood up and paced a little, his wings fluttering nervously as he made a thoughtful humming sound.  "Honestly, if you don't remember it it isn't all that important. The salient points were that there was a mare there who upset you enough that you let something embarrassing slip, and that those are my way of apologizing for not doing more for you, both then and since. I- uh," he said, trailing off to collect his thoughts again before restarting. "Those can be dissolved in a beaker's worth of water or tea to make a solution that alters your thaumorphic resonance frequency, then burns some of your internal magic to affect a temporary shift to match your physical appearance to comply with that alteration." he explained.

Then he turned around and caught sight of Bluebelle's expression, waved a wing dismissively and restarted again "If you mix one of those into a couple of cups' worth of tea and drink it, it'll turn you into an alicorn for about five hours." He paused here, not for dramatic effect, but to let that last explanation sink in, gazing at a spot somewhere between the princess's front hooves.

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The alluded event did bring back recollections, more of emotions than events, a general impression of ponies behaving in a manner most inappropriate for the holiday season.  "Well, I don't suppose I can blame you all that much; none of us were at our best at the time.  And after, well, I'll confess to having neglected some of my friends while knitting together my marriage.  Priorities, you know- Oh Faust, don't tell me I forgot to send you an invitation!"  Bluebelle looked slightly mortified, as she genuinely could not recall if Windwright had been left on the guest list or not.

 

A disturbing thought, but the plainly stated effect of the alchemist's delivery stopped it short.  "Alicorn... transformation?"  She asked, softly, reaching out out to touch the box.  "Is that, just the horn and wings, or is it a power boost as well?"

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"I, uh...don't know." Windwright replied, looking sheepish. "For either question, actually. Those tablets are scarily intensive to make, probably my most finicky and technical formulae. The notebook I keep my recipes in has four or five pages just for all of the revisions I had to go through to get it right the first time, and I nearly poisoned myself twice attempting it.

"So far, only three ponies have ever tested its effects: Myself, which-
" he extended a wing out and wiggled it by way of demonstration, "-yeah; My husband Stormwatcher, who was more excited about having wings than testing his magic; and the pegasus who came three years ago to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that I was never to share or publish the formula for this after she verified that it worked the way I said it did. Stormy's been handling the mail for me while I've been working, so it's been a couple of months since I read so much as a postcard or a newspaper, but congratulations on the engagement."

The alchemist started rubbing one of his hindhooves with its mate and fidgeting with his saddlebag again, clearly nervous about what he was going to say next. "According to what I've been able to learn, it should give you a boost, but- Well...From what Stormy said it's less like you'll feel like you can do things you couldn't before, magically speaking, but that the things you could do before are easier to do. The problem is that it looks like the power still comes from you. When I talked him into using his telekinesis, he was able to move our dining room furniture around like they were made out of tissue paper, but after the potion wore off...

"When I tested it myself, I couldn't cloudwalk for a day or so after each dose, and felt like I had a cold for almost a week. But I never got the hang of using active magic. Couldn't get the practice to figure out how it works. When Stormy tried it, he couldn't get out of bed the next day, and still couldn't use magic the day after. I think that the more magic you use, the longer it takes to recover. And since it's so short-lived I wouldn't recommend trying to fly. And for Sisters' sake, don't take more than one dose. I don't know what would happen but  I doubt it'd be good. But even without all of the literal forces of creation at your hooves..."

Finally, Windwright looked up and met Bluebelle's eyes. "Even if you don't use the power boost, it's something I think you'll enjoy experiencing. And even when we were feeling sick and recovering from the trials Stormy and I did. It was worth it, just for the experience. Just to get a peek at what it's like. And you've done so much, for me personally, and for Equestria at large that...I just thought you deserved to know. Those six doses will be the most intense thirty combined hours of life this side of a wedding, foals, or very illegal drugs."

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Bluebelle supposed it rather made sense that such a transformation wouldn't be extensively tested, and Windwright could get a little buried in his work.  Particularly if his work brought out such results.  "That is very impressive, though I'm not sure I could keep myself from giving my new wings a spin, even given all the consequences.  Just... maybe not very high up."  She let herself imagine being airborne, soaring in the sky along with her wives.  Her imagination, however, was a fickle thing, and soon drifted to other uses.  Making an impressive entrance at a key diplomatic gathering, for example.  Let anyone dare call her a "fake princess" then!

She blinked, finding the pegasus' eyes on her own.  "Ah, sorry, drifted for a minute there.  I must say, thank you very much for this, I know how much work this represents, and how much of a gift it is.  Speaking of transformations, however..."  She stowed away the box on her person for later, best wait until she got home to use these.  "I wanted to ask you about how much could potentially be done in that field.  In a less...temporary matter.  To explain, on an expedition to Saddle Arabia, I found what may well be the last living sphinx in the world.  He's a handsome and magnificent creature, and I would hate to see his kind go the way of the dinosaur.  But without any females... well.  Not much we can do.  Niilaavin only survived because he was magically sealed in stone for millennia.  We've found no others, which leaves us looking for magical solutions."

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Windwright pushed back his mane and let out a long breath, looking out the window to his right as he thought that over. "I'm...not sure. That potion is the most dramatic transformation formula I know of, and given what I was told when I finally got it right, I wouldn't be able to ask another alchemist for help. But there's another problem too." he said after a moment. "I've been working on trying to make the one potion I'm good at permanent for the last three years, and so far the best I've managed is about eight months. I'm pretty sure I can fiddle with dosages and concentrations to stretch that to a year at best. And that's a potion I'm very good at making and intimately familiar with the formula for. Good news is, that would theoretically be enough time to...uh...improve the sphinx population, but you'd need to start with at least two, and they'd need to get along. Bad news is, that's only if the timeframe to body mass ratios work the same way for sphinxes as for ponies, if the potion even works on sphinxes, which I can't promise. Alchemy just isn't good at permanence, unfortunately. Alchemical changes tend to persist only as long as the formula stays in the blood, and they don't always translate from species to species."

The alchemist flapped his wings a couple of times in a nervous gesture while he thought it over. "I'd love to meet him though. Nobody's seen a sphynx in...a very long time. Mage Meadowbrook might have some more insight, she more or less founded modern alchemy, or Princess Twilight's zebra friend, Zecora..."

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Listening to Windwright's explanation of what he considered possible, Bluebelle couldn't keep herself from sighing.  "No reflection on your skill or character," She assured her friend, feeling her expression might be perceived as disparaging, "I just would be lying if I said I expected anything more promising.  Zecora told me pretty much the same thing as you did, only with more rhymes and less confidence.  Despite the perception we might have of her as exotic, she's a rather straightforward practitioner, judged among zebras."  She considered the possibility of roping in Meadowbrook, reflecting that getting an Old Master to work on the problem wouldn't be a bad idea.  "Well, I'm certainly open to ideas from far afield in time or space.  Fortunately, we do have a willing candidate that actually gets on very well with Niilaavin.  Safe to say she may well be his favorite pony, which is what we ought to hope for, in such a case.  Oh!  And of course I'd be happy to introduce you, though I believe he's out paying a visit to Mayor Rich this morning.  They apparently met at my wedding, and got on quite well."

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