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Twilight didn't have near as much time as she used to when it came to the sort of activities she enjoyed. And that list of activities she tended to enjoy changed over time, as well. She never would have marked herself as likely to enjoy teaching another creature as much as she had learned to love the act of education. It almost didn't matter what it was she was teaching, but watching knowledge bloom in another was the sort of reward that she couldn't put into words. Not that she could really do a lot of trying to explain it to anypony because she never had time to do it anymore!

But sometimes you had to make the time, so Twilight made the time for the filly of a close friend.


Applejack's youngest daughter, a unicorn named Ambrosia, was reaching that age when it was time for a unicorn to start learning about their magic. Every unicorn had to go through it and every last unicorn had a wholly different experience. For some, it came naturally and easy, almost as seamless as breathing.  Others had to work a lot harder at it, and truly nopony ever really finished their magical training. Even a unicorn who didn't truly consider magic part of their trade used it so readily and so often that the work never truly ended.

Now it was time for Ambrosia to train, and Applejack had called in a favor. Back when Twilight had helped her and Rainbow Dash prepare to conceive their second child, Twilight informed the pair that due to the magic involved there was a chance of a unicorn birth. A small chance, but a chance- and Applejack had laughed and said if that happened, she expected Twilight to teach her how to handle that little spear on top of her head. Twilight had laughed and agreed.

 

Twilight had to laugh even now, and agreed with the idea that she should probably not agree so readily. She was supposed to be enroute to Maretonia for a summit but had managed to eek out time in her schedule for this activity, as well as some time on her way back. Once she knew how and what was needed she could formulate a fuller education plan.

The Princess was unescorted as she flew over the orchard, landing with a trot towards the Apple family's front door. She knocked the front door with her magic. "Hello! Applejack, are you home?"

 

Indeed she was. Applejack opened the door, her mane tied back in a bun with a bandana and sweating.
"Howdy, Twi! Sorry fer not meetin' ya out there, but Ah've been doing a bit of cleanin'. Ah reckon yer here for Amby? She's been real excited,'" she asked, leaning against the door frame.
"Yes I have!" Twilight said as she approached. "Sorry that I don't have more time, Applejack. It's hard not seeing the girls outside of the council meetings. I tried to make it so we could have lunch but-" Twilight said before Applejack waved it off.
"Ah understand, Twi. Busy is as busy does. Ain't gotta explain it ta me. Ah gotta run- Amby is in the cellar, should be a safe place ta work," Applejack replied with a weary smile before bounding out. "Have fun an' don't turn mah daughter into a cactus or nothin'!"

 

Twilight giggled as she made her way to the cellar, located outside of the barn. It had once been used to keep a lot of the ciders chilled- now it was, for all intents and purposes, a play area for the kids. Or at the moment, just one.
Twilight tapped the top of it. "May I come in?"

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To say that Ambrosia Apple was excited to receive personal magic lessons from the Princess would have been an exaggeration.  From the time she'd woken up, she'd been practically vibrating with no sugar added!  So much so that Applejack had even taken her along on a few early-morning chores 'To get them jitters out of ya.'  Normally disinclined to extra physical effort, the obvious necessity of getting any potential cause for horn-misfires out of her system won uncomplaining compliance.  What if a stray spark from her horn burned a hole in Twilight's dress?  She'd get mad and never teach her again, and that would be terrible!

Yes, there were some lingering worries behind the anticipation, but some honest work, a good and thorough bath, and dressing to the nines in the comfort of her room was enough to settle her to her prettiest and most presentable self.  "Uh-huh, your ma-jest-tea."  The little filly a little more careful in her speech, as she tended to be on the (sadly few) time when the lavender unicorn paid a visit.

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The Princess opened the door with her magic after she was given the required permission to answer, having to bow her head down as she made her way into the cellar. You could still feel the residual chill of the cellar's old job title and occupation in some way, the way the chill seemed to tickle the edge of your hoof, but when Twilight reached the bottom she could tell it was no longer the cider room it once was. Various toys and arts and crafts materials were neatly stacked on the side tables and the floor was was boarded and carpeted. And of course the most important addition of all, Ambrosia Apple.

 

"Hello there, Ambrosia. I hope you've been doing your chores?" Twilight asked gently as her horn lit up. Behind her was a small gift basket that found its way onto the table. Twilight was always a little concerned that Ambrosia would find in Applejack a poor parent when it came to certain aspects of her education. Not on account of any lack of effort or love, but Applejack knew nothing of magic and had spent much of her life proudly avoiding the subject herself. Being thrust into a situation where she had to not only learn and understand but also help teach it on a daily level? Applejack was an amazing mare, but nopony was perfect. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I bet you have too, right?"

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It was the nature, and perhaps duty, of Princesses to ask their subjects if they'd been good little colts or fillies.  That was important, you had to know that as a Princess!  That was why Ambrosia asked it of all her stuffies and dolls when she held a tea party with them.  And given that she had done her chores today, she could give a bright-eyed nod with bouncing ringlets that would melt just about any heart that beheld it.  "Uh-huh, I helped momma out!"

 

It was only on that account, with excess energy burning off, that she wasn't physically bouncing with excitement.  "Yeah, I wanna learn magic, and spend time with a Princess!"  It was every little unicorn's dream come true!

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Twilight was thinking what to start with, or really what it was that would help Ambrosia. She didn;'t think that magical education in Ponyville was as catastrophic as it used to be but she was also sure that it hadn't started it. Applejack and Rainbow would do what they could but in the end she knew she had to start her off right. The filly was a good one- spoiled, based on how Applejack spoke about her but why shouldn't she be spoiled? That nature hadn't shown off in any poor manner however and Twulight was pleased to help her out in the magical journey that would be truly never-ending.

 

"I can see that. Can't blame you-" she leaned down,  "-when I was your age I wanted to learn magic and hang out with a Princess too!" She said with a wink before sitting down. She patted the ground next to her, "let's begin," she said and waited for the filly to take her position. "Now, do as I say. Close your eyes and try to illuminate your horn. As you do so, we'll talk. And who knows, maybe even get you something. Tell me, when you try to use your magic do you feel a tingle in your horn?"

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Was there any greater source of affirmation than a Princess telling you that she was just like you as a filly?  Well, besides getting daily lovings-on from Applejack.

 

Ambrosia practically skipped with glee to sit by Twilight's side, awe and excitement welling in her eyes.  "O-kay!"  Trying to hold herself very still, she closed her eyes, attempting to illuminate her horn.  This she actually knew how to do, first since it came instinctively to unicorns, second because mama had been so excited and happy to see Ambrosia do it the first time, she kept practicing it to get more praise!  "Hehe, yeah, my forehead feels funny!"  It was halfway between a tingle and a tickle, some power welling up with no real use for it, as yet.

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The tingle a unicorn felt was the loci- more commonly just called magical nerve endings- in their horn trying to transmit a spell and reflecting the world's response back, but doing so in a haphazard manner. The flow of magic was interrupted as the majority of loci not having been activated yet, which caused the magic to filter around trying to find a working one. As a unicorn trained, her horn's loci would start to activate in greater amounts while those that were active would start to strengthen their connections. As an adult it became as easy as trotting from place to place, but just as learning to walk could take some time, learning to use your horn could be equally frustrating.

"That tingle is your very own, very unique magic. You may cast the same spells as others and your aura may be colored the same sometimes, but your magic is as unique to you as your laugh or your smile. It is special, just like you," Twilight said gently as she studied Ambrosia. It was easy work but she was taking to it well. "Now, continue to illuminate your horn, even if it starts to become straining," Twilight continued as she levitated a small box in front of the filly. She would then gently open it. "Now open your eyes, but continue to focus on illuminating your horn. Do you know what this is, Ambrosia?" Twilight asked as she revealed the first gift- a ring made just for Ambrosia's horn, forged from brilliant material and with the cutie marks of her family woven throughout.

 

A unicorn horn ring was one of the most important tools of an early unicorn's magical training. It worked by doing two important tasks. The first was by magically working on the loci nearest to currently active loci, helping magical energy flow. This would improve a unicorn's basic ability to use their magic but most importantly would help them work on strengthening the loci. The second was by capping the total magical flow available in the horn. That would prevent a unicorn from having a magical outburst as was common for foals and young ponies who were learning how to use their magic.

 

Importantly, Twilight gave it but did not put it on Ambrosia's horn herself. It was an important tool but one that a pony needed to want to use. Because of how personal a unicorn's magical flow was it was considered impolite to force it, doubly so when it wasn't even your own family!

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Wide-eyed with a new student's awe and excitement as soon as Twilight said she could open her eyes, Ambrosia was doing her very best to follow the Princess' words.  It didn't take much to stick, of course; she'd known all her life she was a special little filly, because mama told her so.  And now her magic was just one more reason why, right beside her overall cuteness and sweet personality!  

Upon seeing the box, she gasped.  Was it a jewelry box?  It was!  There was a ring inside!  "Wow, it's a ring!"  She'd seen them worn sometimes by older fillies and colts, and always thought they looked so pretty.  This one, for instance, was so intricate and beautiful that her horn sparked at the sight of it.  Almost reverentally, she took it in her little hooves, trying with still lightly-coordinated movements to put it on.  It took a while, but she did!  "Yeah!  How do I look?"  She didn't know what this had to do with magic yet, but it was pretty jewelry, and that was what mattered!

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"It looks very nice on you, Ambrosia. Though I don't know if its more because of the ring or just how cute you are," Twilight said with a wide smile. A unicorn's ring was a very special part of her young life and Twilight was happy that Ambrosia was pleased. "Tell me, what sort of magic do you find most interesting?" Twilight asked, interested in seeing what direction Ambrosia saw her magic going. A filly's first dreams were often times not where they would go, but helped inform a lot of what she should try.


As Twilight spoke with Ambrosia she brought out three stone balls, dropping them gently on the ground though they still made a thud when she did so. "These are training stones. Heavy and dense, something we commonly used in the School of Magic. When you are ready, try to pick one up," Twilight said, keeping her expectations small. After all, the stones were coated in a magically inert material. A unicorn would have difficulty getting a firm magical grip on it, and then the weight of it would take some time to calibrate. It was an important step in the process. Magical strengthening was a necessary first step, followed by trying out some skills. Spells! Oh, the beauty and fun of a pony's first real spell craft.

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Ambrosia gave an adorable closed-eye smile in reaction to being called 'cute'.  It was a compliment which she heard often and never tired of, just as the little filly never got tired of the grass being green, the sky being blue, or apples being red.  Existence as her was a happy cycle of days, with only vague notions of the future.  What magic did she desire?  It was hard to tell, as she didn't live with unicorns, and honestly had few opportunities to see their magic.  "Ummm... magic that makes things pretty!  Like Auntie Rarity's or Trixie's!"  Small as she was, the distinction between those mare's magical talents, and their respective abilities in design and showmareship was a blur in her mind.  Like a stage show, it was all 'magic' and amazement to the little one.

 

She may have found some inspiration in the fact that, like Rarity, her magic was leading her to a rock.  A Heavy rock.  Amby looked down at it, then up at Twilight, as if questioning whether a little filly like her was meant to do heavy lifting.  But, she didn't want to disappoint a Princess, so she lit up her horn and tried to... what?  She had little if any practice in lifting anything, it was hard enough to focus her magic on the rock!  However... maybe it was the ring, but it seemed to come a little easier with the ring on.  At least, she could "feel" the rock with her magic, but she could barely keep a grip on it.  "Mmm, Princess Twilight, I can't!"  She said, clearly upset, after a solid two minutes of barely budging it.

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Twilight smiled, allowing her warmth to set the filly at ease. "You're doing very well, Ambrosia. Don't ever give up. Every magical journey is unique and none of them are easy. And these stones are part of it," she said as she gave the filly a gentle hug with her wing. "I'm sure you have seen your mothers training and working out, right? They do that to build their muscles and body. You are doing the same, but with your magic," she said positively before leaning in to get face level with Ambrosia while staring at the stones.  
"Try to imagine the feel of a heavy stone in your hoof. Now imagine how it feels to raise it up, and holding it above your head. That is what you're doing with the training stones, really. No different, except when you're holding it aloft you're using your horn instead of your hoof. You'll build up to it!" She ended upbeat, giving the filly her space. "It may take you a while but you'll find that once you can start to do it, you'll make great progress. Anywho, that is the more...physically taxing part of the training. You don't have to do it the whole time."

While Ambrosia did that, Twilight brought out some books. Books!
"What we can start to do when you want to give it a try is casting a focused spell. Has anypony told you the difference between a focused cast and a light cast, or perhaps you know it as a cantrip?" Twilight asked. She wouldn't launch into a lecture about them just yet. A light cast or cantrip was a magical ability that was second nature and didn't call upon a lot of a pony's magic except in rare, extreme circumstances. Basic unicorn levitation, a pegasi's most basic weather control abilities- native magic that became second nature. A focused spell was a variable expression of a pony's magic- or, as it was commonly known, a spell. "The focused cast I will teach you is one of the more fun ones. How would you like to learn how to use a beam? Some ponies think of beams as dangerous, but it covers a lot of ground- including art and other pretty things!"

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Ambrosia's face involuntarily scrunched when she heard Twilight compare magic practice to working out.  She really didn't like the implication that this would turn from a reflection of her inherent cuteness and elegance into the sort of thing that made you all sweaty and stinky!  That was way, way too much like... *shudder* chores...

 

Still, she had the social sense to not be a pouty little pooper in front of a Princess, and so beamed right back up when Twilight offered to practice something else.  "Can't... trip?  Is that like dancing?"  Unicorn she may be, but she'd inherited her mother's unfamiliarity with fancy-talk.  Her enthusiasm only went so far to remediate her lack of luxurious lexicography.  "Ooh, art?  I'd like to try!"  She was excited, but would have been for anything that wasn't lifting those darned rocks!

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Twilight could never resist a temporary knowledge drip, as unwanted as it was. "A cantrip in modern parlance is a spell that is second nature and requires nothing more than your desire, once mastered. Like levitation," she said happily before realizing that Ambrosia probably was too young to understand parlance, among other things. It made her laugh, "don't worry about it. You're doing great," she said as she cast a protection spell over the area sneakily, the thinnest coat of purple over her surroundings that melted  like a light breeze.

 

"Here, let me show you a beam," Twilight said as her horn lit up and she sought a two-toned purple beam into the opposite wall. She kept the beam up as she spoke.
"It has many uses. What it is, however, is a concentrated magical manifestation of your will. When your beam makes contact with the point you have chosen, your magic then surrounds and penetrates the area with auric energy. Your magic can then do a wide variety of things depending on what spells you want to cast," she said as she stopped the beam. Where it had landed she had created an animated picture of Zap Apple and Ambrosia playing with a ball in a field. After about twenty seconds it would start to fade. While Ambrosia watched it, or hopefully was, Twilight magically inspected Ambrosia's ring to ensure it was working well for the next part.

 

She then pointed at another point on the wall.
 "See where I am pointing. Imagine writing your name on that wall. What it looks like, the strokes as you're writing it, the flow. Now activate your horn and imagine you are making it happen, and then try to project that magic- like you're throwing it with your mind. And make it pretty," she said, hoping it would work easily enough. As she activated her magic the ring would help gently guide her subconsciously in the creation of a beam. Otherwise, she'd have to read about it like Twilight had and talk about something Ambrosia wouldn't want to do!

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About the only thing Ambrosia could relate "parlance" to was the big book of sports that Mama had read to her once.  Not really her primary interest, but it was one of mommas, and Zapp's.  It had included both jousting and golf, so the image that came to mind was of a pony charging at a ball to hit it with a lance towards some sort of hole.  Maybe Zapp would play that sort of game?  Sounded tiring to her, but Princesses didn't have to play sports, they just had to sit on the sidelines and wave their pretty handkerchiefs to the brave knights on the field!

Wait, what were they talking about again?  Oh, how great she was doing, yay!  She beamed, as Twilight did yet another thing that could be covered by that word.  Her eyes grew wise as the Princess projected upon the wall.  *This* was the kind of magic she wanted to do!  "OK!"  She said excitedly, practically vibrating as she squinted at the wall in concentration, her desires and passions now working with her magic rather than merely sitting at the sidelines.  That, along with the ring, enabled her to cast a weak beam of peach colored light, that laboriously traced a sparkly-pink "A" on the wall.  She even gave it a fancy flourish, with much better penponyship than she would have managed with an actual gel pen.  She even managed "mbro" in the same style, though the "s" sort of trailed off into a little squiggle-spiral with a dot on top for the unreadable "i".

Still, pretty good for a first effort, and she looked upon her work with amazement.  "I did that?  I did that!"  She was a little sad to see her first work of magic immediately begin to fade, but that was probably for the best; mama didn't like it when you drew on the walls.

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"You did do that, and it will be the first of many. For now, try to use that spell a few more times, see if you can feel the way your horn is directing the magic within you," Twilight replied as she looked at the fading letters. Indeed, they would fade fast at first. The beam a little filly could send off was in no way capable of leaving a lasting aetheric impact unless it decided to convert the matter at destination, but that would be another type of beam entirely. You normally didn't see that outside of foals who were having magical tantrums...coming in the form of semi-violent explosions! While Ambrosia did her best to work on her magical letters, Twilight studied her aetheric flow. Like most fillies it would no doubt be only barely functioning. As she used her magic more and in more directed ways that would change, especially with her ring. Magic would become easier to cast and infinitely easier to manipulate.

 

Twilight settles herself in, looking at the magic around her with an even, pleased smile. "Have you been working alongside Applejack more often lately, Ambrosia? When you do help her out, do you ever feel a tingle in your tail or your hooves? One that doesn't seem natural?" She asked as she opened a book and set herself up comfortably next to the filly. It would take time to fully understand all the ways in which a unicorn born to parents of the two different species would interact in the magical fields. A unicorn born magically to parents of the same gender and different species was not entirely unheard of, mind you, but each creature was unique in their own way and the rarity of the conditions intrigued Twilight to no end. 

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Eagerly acting on the royal encouragement received, Ambrosia did try it again, producing a somewhat more legible version of her name each time.  It was like... in her mind, she was holding a paintbrush, and each time the brush became a little lighter and more nimble.  Not any easier after the third time, though, but she clearly had a grasp on it, as her expression shifted from amazed to confident.

Twilight's next question broke her focus, sending her letters scattering in glittering shower of sparkles as she sat back down to think.  "Um... like, I thought I felt something in my hooves once, but it was just ants, icky!"  She shook her hooves in a phantom memory.  "My shoulders did tingle, though.  No bugs there."  She reached back to tap the spot on her shoulders where her wings would have grown if she were a pegasus.

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Twilight wrote down what Ambrosia said, though she wasn't sure there was much to really take from it just yet. The fact that there was a tingle from the point of her skeletal structure that a wing would have been linked to was interesting. Not wholly unusual; unicorn children to at least one pegasi parent could experience such tingles early in life. A pony's body was thrumming with magic and seeking means of expression, the magic would take some time to learn that the structure that it was adapted from was no longer valid. Those tingles would go away in time. Twilight wrote it down anyway and also watched Ambrosia as she fine-tuned her writing. Once you got the beam write and learned the basics of manipulating it, a unicorn would find  that writing using her magic would be much easier than doing it by hoof. It was something she found impressive about earth ponies and pegasi alike; something that was so incredibly easy over time for a unicorn had to worked at by others diligently. Perseverance was a treasure all on its own.

 

Twilight waited a few more seconds as she allowed Ambrosia to work on her spell a little bit more while Twilight finished scribbling something in her notebook before putting it away. She then folded her front hooves under her and levitated over the gift basket, placing it in between them. "Are you hungry at all, Ambrosia?" Twilight said as she opened up the basket some, allowing an apple to to be levitated up and in between them. "I know I am. Being a Princess is hard work and you've been a good filly all day, first with your mom and now here. Do you want to have a little picnic, just the two of us?" She asked as she brought out some plates and tea cups, silverware and some books.

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Giving one last flourish to the final 'a' of her latest masterpiece, Ambrosia was giggling with delight and clopping her hooves together.  Magic sure was fun when you could actually do stuff!  Oh, wait, was Twilight saying something?  Picnic?

At the very mention of the word, the little filly's stomach gave a growl.  She'd used more magic in the past hour than she had in the past year, which burned quite a bit more energy than she had anticipated.  And that apply looked yummy.  But then again, most apples grown here were, in fact, yummy, so that was normal.  What wasn't normal was a picnic with a Princess!  "Yes!"  She gasped out, excited at all the grown-up looking cutlery.  The books... were less exciting, but for an occasion like this, Amby would forgive most anything.

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Twilight hadn't expected anything short of the enthusiastic response she had been given and worked to set everything up. She enjoyed taking personal time with all of the ponies of this great land and she would not be lying if she said that went double for those that were close to her. And that would track with Ambrosia, one of the most special little fillies born to special parents, and somepony who Twilight would be happy to see grow and mature over the years. But for now, in this moment, apples and picnic food.

 

Gooey butter cake, vegetarian muffulettas, pasta salad with spring vegetables, grapes, apples, and Prench onion flatbread made for a nice spread along with the odds and ends. Several small plates were scattered around the two as Twilight considered just how much she should feed the little filly. Magical usage could take a great deal out of a developing filly but there was a real danger in trying to eat too much too quickly afterwards. The physical hunger pains a unicorn felt were often considered 'false readings' sent by an untrained unicorn's mind as it tried to understand the energy depletion it felt. It was hard to satisfy the conditions it set forth, which meant many young unicorns spent their post-training periods rolling around with stomach aches as their body tried to digest far too much food too quickly. She'd have to monitor, but mostly she'd have to eat!

 

As Twilight started taking the cake apart, setting up the muffulettas on plates, and dolling out some pasta salad, she levitated an apple and a magical, shimmering dinner knife to the filly. "Here, Ambrosia. Take the knife and try to cut the Apple into nice slices. Hold both in your magic and give it a go, okay?" Twilight asked as she monitored with a smile.

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If Twilight remembered anything from her very first day in Ponyville, it was that the Apple family could put away a meal twice the size of the average pony.  'Brunch' for them would be, at least in quantitative terms, a rare feast to a Canterlotian.  And for all that Ambrosia was a unicorn, putting on unicorn airs... she was an Apple at heart.  She'd take measured, elegant bites for sure... but there would be no leftovers.

 

"Uhh... mama says I'm not old enough to use knives."  The filly was giving the blade a leery eye.  Like most parents, Applejack had put a little bit of steel in her filly's sense of morals by telling them tales of what could possibly result from improper and underaged handling of blades.  Not that AJ had ever actually said that a knife could lash out independently like a snake and mark a guilty little filly with a scar to mark their disobedience... but it was altogether safer to act as if they did, right?

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Twilight nodded. No doubt Applejack had put a premium on the safety of her child, and doubly so when it came to knives. You had to be careful. That and scissors.
"And she would be right. Most knives are very dangerous, especially when you are just learning how to use them. But this knife is different," she said as she brought it up in her magic and started showing all angles of it. As she did, it seemed to shimmer and dim and glow as her magic moved over it, looking increasingly ethereal.


"It is called a Shades Knife, named for Hollow Shades, where it was made. In other places it is simply called a training knife. The key is that it can't hurt you or I. It is enchanted- if it gets to close to a living creature, it starts to liquify. See?" She said as she started to move it closer to one of her outstretched hooves. She then pushed it towards the hoof and as the blade made contact it started to liquify. She continued the motion going through the hoof and the blade moved along in rivulets like rainwater along her, trailing the hilt until it reached the end. Then it came back together and after a short, tiny bright shimmer it solidified again.

 

"Still, I wouldn't want you to use it unless someone is there to monitor it. Luckily, I'm here to monitor it," she said with a smile before placing the apple and the knife next to the filly. It was an important activity. The small manipulations involved of slicing and carving an apple helped a unicorn learn how to be mindful and accurate with object manipulation. Easy enough to get something done, but something she could always work to improve on. "I'm sure your mom will be okay. If you want to, anyway."

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At first, Ambrosia squinted at the knife, not sure why Twilight thought it was so different from other knives.  Then, of course, Auntie Twily showed exactly why it was so different from other knives, and her eyes grew as big as the saucers before her.  "Wow..."  The little filly felt a shudder go through her hooves as she watched the blade flow over the alicorn's.  It was a little much for her to take in, but it was certainly a memorable reminder of just how big a possibility space magic opened.  Not that she would have phrased it that way, but she certainly felt it!

 

She still wasn't certain, but if a Princess said it was ok, then surely it had to be, right?  Mama would understand, surely... "Okay..."  Amby said, still a little nervous as her horn lit up, giving the knife a trembling grasp as she brought it over to the apple.  The cuts were... not perfect, and quite a few juicy slashes were cut into the skin before a slice was extracted.  She didn't like the fact it looked so bad... but she did it, right?  "There!"  She hurriedly put the knife down after that, the nerves of doing something that mama had warned so strongly about getting to her.

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Twilight took the knife once it was placed down and started her own cuts through the fruits, helping craft a nice display for the pair. Apple slices and other nicely cute fruit soon found their way on their plates, and in a few more minutes the whole affair would find itself well and truly prepared. She did understand the filly's hesitancy, of course, and was rather happy to see the nervousness. It meant she was taking the lessons on safety her mother was teaching her to heart. Thoughts of safety training and other simple matters could rest for now, because Twilight's mind was on food. And as an alicorn, she needed lot of it. Too much. But for now, the ever present hunger pains would be laid low by this meal- most importantly because she got to share it with somepony, and that seemed to set her at ease in any circumstance.

 

"Feel free to take as much as you want, Ambrosia. Oh, do you have a nickname? What do you prefer?" Twilight asked as she took a few apple slices for herself. As she allowed herself to enjoy the picnic, however, she was mindful of what was to come next. It was a matter of what she was expecting from today so quickly after the first meeting, the first session, between student and teacher. Some students wanted to continue diving through while others wanted to take their time nibbling at the surface elements, allowing the feeling of success to embolden them before throwing themselves at the higher level of tasks set before them. These approaches were valid in their own way. It would be up to Ambrosia to choose her path.

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Grateful have the dangerous thing mama warned her about out of her grasp, Ambrosia found herself paying more attention than usual to Twilight's own dexterous manipulation of a blade.  She would be able to do the same, when she grew up; that was the first time the filly had been able to see the beginning and end of a journey of magical learning at once, and it was affecting her in ways she couldn't articulate fully yet... as much from hunger as an untrained vocabulary!

"Mmm, that looks yummy, Princess!"  Not yet confident enough in her magic to eat with it, she took a slice of fruit in her little hooves to much on, making a heart-melting picture of cuteness!  "Momma calls me Amby, sometimes.  You can too!"

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"Amby is a pretty nickname," Twilight said with as much flowery warmth as was possible. It was easy when you were around somepony so cute to be so easily pleasant that she found herself having to remind herself that she was, indeed, the immortal monarch of the land. And it was a good thing she could still feel as breezy with a filly like Ambrosia, wasn't it? She had always worried that as she grew into her role there would be a detachment from the small things, but it appeared that for now one very small thing was keeping her well and truly tethered to the natural warmth of Equestrian ponyfolk. "My brother used to call me Twiley. Still does, that dork. Is Zap Apple a dork?" she said with an easy laugh as she started bringing out some books. Some were for her. Easy picnic reading, the history of failed linguistics translations and their effect on ancient pony international relations. 
She believed that wouldn't fit Ambrosia's tastes as easily, however, and had brought other material. A few educational books were slowly piled next to her. "Amby, do you like to read? What sort of stories do you like to read? Stories about Princesses, perhaps?"

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