A Teacher and Student
Twilight Sparkle extinguished the magic that held the quill up. She was done writing for now. She had to adjust her glasses to see the clock; her eyesight had gotten deplorable over the years. She sighed as she realized that it was already into the quiet hours of the morning. She had to attend a meeting with the Princesses Celestia and Luna later in the day. A knock sounded at the door.
“Ms. Sparkle?” Twilight sighed, trying to ignore the young stallion. She looked through a crack in the door. His light orange coat and yellow mane were frazzled. For an apprentice, he was awfully overprotective. ~I mean, I know I’m getting older, but I’m not about to tip the bucket.~
“Ms. Sparkle, I know that you are still awake. I heard you sigh. Please, you must get your rest.” The door flung open, and Twilight found her apprentice looking up at her. He looked slightly annoyed, but Twilight didn’t care too much. Thunder Reign was like that most of the time with her.
“Reigny, go get some sleep. I’ll be fine. I’ve already told you, twice now, that I am perfectly prepared for today’s audience.”
“PLEASE don’t call me that. You promised that you’d take care of yourself. Please, teacher.” Thunder turned and walked away. Twilight stared at his cutie mark, a lightning bolt crossed with a staff and wondered, not for the first time, how Thunder had survived, and what she would have done if he hadn’t.
Twilight was sitting next to Thunder, waiting for the meeting to begin. Her hind leg was hurting again, and she was reminded of just how old she was getting. Thunder seemed anxious, and Twilight knew why. She remembered the day she’d been tested for ‘royal mage’ status. Twilight had passed effortlessly, being the bearer of the Element of Magic, but Thunder had no such crutch. He’d worked hard, sure, but only being able to use electricity-based spells would seriously hurt his chances.
“Reigny, you’ll be fine. I wouldn’t have recommended you if I didn’t think you were ready.” Twilight gently nudged him. Thunder looked at her, but quickly turned away.
“I know, teacher. I was ready for this months ago.”
“Then why are you so nervous? After you pass, you can choose what field you’ll study next, and where you could go! You’ll be free to go anywhere!” Thunder just looked down at his hooves. A small spark flared and died.
The Princesses Celestia and Luna walked in with a few other unicorns from Canterlot’s Royal Magic Academy. Thunder immediately stood up and bowed. Twilight simply bowed her head. Everypony knew she was Celestia’s favorite, and Twilight loved to show her closeness with the ruler. The unicorns and two alicorns sat across from Twilight and Thunder. Luna stepped forward.
“We are here today to test one unicorn Thunder Reign, mentee of Twilight Sparkle, and candidate for royal mage. Step forward, ye who would challenge your gods.” Twilight smiled. The ceremony was still being practiced, but this time by Luna. She’d taken over more responsibility over the past few years. Thunder stepped forward. He was trembling slightly.
“I do so challenge ye! I am ready!” Luna smiled and motioned towards Thunder.
“Magus Spellfire. Approach.” An old mage-pony stepped forward. His coat was a graying shade of red, and he had a small limp, but his magic prowess was undeniable.
“Well, young Thunder, I think that I will task you with this: Conjure up a ball of magical energy three times your height.” Thunder smirked. This was going to be easy.
Thunder was cleaning out his room at the Ponyville library, his royal mage’s cape tied around his neck. Everything was packed, and all he had to do was pick where to go to continue his studies. He’d chosen Flight Magic as his course of study, inspired by his friend Ditzy Hooves. Naturally, the best place for him to go would be Cloudsdale, with all of the Pegasus ponies. But Thunder had grown attached to Ponyville, had practically grown up there. As he finished packing up, a paper flew out from under his mattress. He reached to grab it, but it floated away. Twilight stood in the doorway.
“Hello, Thunder. Have you decided where you want to go?” She held out the paper. Thunder tried to snatch it away, but Twilight pulled it closer to her eyes.
“Wait a minute. What’s this?” Twilight concentrated a little and recognized the picture and those in it.
“Thunder… Are these…?”
“My parents, yes.” Thunder used his magic to shock Twilight’s hoof.
“Ow, Thunder! What’s wrong with you?!” Thunder snatched the photo and quickly stuffed it in his bag.
“Nothing. I’m fine. Just stressed over what location to move to.” , Thunder lied.
“Thunder. I’m not a young filly, to be fooled by those juvenile excuses. Tell me what’s wrong. Please, I just want to help...” Twilight stared hard at her pupil.
“Ms. Sparkle, I thank you for teaching me all this time, but I’m afraid our relationship is at an end. Goodbye.” Thunder turned away, but Twilight saw the tears in his eyes and the hurt in his voice.
“Thunder Reign, you will stop there! I may not be your teacher anymore, but I will NOT let us depart on such horrid terms. Tell me what’s wrong!” Thunder turned back, looking sad and defeated. He closed his eyes as he started to cry. His horn flared with magic, and Twilight could hear him, through clenched teeth.
“Twilight… I know you remember the day that you found me. You were the one that defeated the Ursa Major, if I recall correctly. You saw what it had done to my home. Nopony survived. Nopony but me. I spent ten cycles moving between families. I never knew my true parents. And then I found you. Literally ran into you while reading, it all started there. The correspondence, the theories, the spells. Can you imagine my joy when you agreed to foster me? It seems so long ago, and yet I can recall it clearly. I remember the first day I stayed over. I remember all of the friends I made at school. The friends I still have. You gave all of that to me. You were there when I was rejected by Scootaloo, when I accidentally broke my leg helping Applebloom pick apples, you were there when I almost killed myself with that ‘out-of-body’ spell. Twilight, you were the first person in my life to ever really care about me. I don’t want to leave you.” Thunder still wouldn’t look at Twilight.
“Oh, Thunder. I never knew. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You didn’t even care! You were excited to ship me off. You still are. I can’t believe this. You’re the closest thing I’ve ever had to a mother, and now I have to leave you!” Twilight wrapped her hooves around Thunder’s neck.
“Thunder… Do you remember Spike?” Thunder turned, cheeks wet, eyes red.
“Yes, I remember the last time he came to visit. Why?”
“Spike was my assistant when I was a young mare. Here five years before I took you in. He was a wonderful assistant, but his time came when he had to go and see the world. Your time has come. You cannot stay here any longer. I understand that you love Ponyville, but you need to see what else the world has to offer. When I was your age, Princess Celestia sent me away from Canterlot to come to this back hole village to learn about making friends. I thought that she was so mean for making me leave my home, for making me leave her. But after a time, I understood why I had to do it. Thunder, Everypony needs friends. Everypony needs to find their calling in life. And once you find it, I promise that you’ll always have a home here.”
“I love you, Twil-… mom.” Tears were running down both of them, and Thunder was shaking.
“I love you too, Thunder. Make me the proudest parent ever.”
Dear Twilight, I’ve settled in Cloudsdale. You should see the place I bought! A real fixer-upper. Oh, and I’ve decided to open up a weather station. With the localized weather machine I’ve invented, pegasi will have a much easier time controlling the weather. Let me know how the prototype I sent you worked!
Love, Thunder Reign’
Dear Twilight, Thank you for your last letter. That spell worked wonderfully. My commissions are mulitplying too fast for me to keep up with! The final test machine will launch today. If this one works, my device will change Equestria! I hope you can keep a secret, (please), but I’ve decided that if this works, I’m going to ask Ditzy Hooves to marry me. She’s started helping out at the lab, and I’ve really grown to like her. I hope you’re doing well!
Love, Thunder Reign’
Dear Twilight, How’s the weather over there? Haha, get it? Well, it looks like I’ve at least got your sense of humor, right? Anyway, I just wanted to ask how you’ve been. You didn’t seem to be doing so well from your last letter. Oh, and Ditzy and I are doing fine. Little Doo is so energetic, and she just loves visiting her grandma. I can’t wait to come see you. I promise that I’ll make time soon. I’m on the verge of a breakthrough with my storage device!
Love, Thunder Reign’
Dear Twilight, I haven’t received a letter from you in quite a while. I do hope you’re doing alright. Guess what? Doo is going in for her royal mage test! Oh, I’m so excited for her! I really want you to come. Please send me a letter soon. There’s so much we have to catch up on!
Love your son, Thunder Reign’
Thunder pushed open the door to the library. It creaked open, revealing the aged home he had once belonged to. He passed the rows of books, almost untouched by time. He peeked into his former room, noting that it had been turned into a cozy study that could double as a guest room. He passed the book of spells that he and Twilight had worked on together. Twilight. Thunder was almost too scared to look in her room. The door was closed, but not locked. Twilight never had locked any doors. His horn glowed, and he gently pushed the door open. Twilight had helped him tame his great power. Helped him harness that singular element. He had taken that, all that she had taught him, and changed the world with it. Her room was… neat. After so long, Thunder didn’t know what to expect, but the sight of this room so organized was unnerving.
“I thought I had more time.” Thunder walked over to her bookshelf. Full of spell books, personal notes, and correspondences.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me? I could have helped… My magic was wasted, wasn’t it?”
Thunder turned to her writing desk, immaculate, save for a single scroll. It was marked, ‘Reigny’ Thunder picked it up and read:
‘Dear Thunder, I fear that I am close to death. All of my friends are worried, but I am not. Celestia said that this is just a normal part of life, and I agree. I am glad for you, son. You set out to be useful, wanted, and loved. Though you didn’t know it at the time, you already were those things. Oh, how I wish I could have had more time with you. Doo visited the other day. She’s beautiful. She has your gift for magic, but Ditzy’s disposition. Darling is as gentle as a breeze. I know you wanted to learn about your real parents, deep down. I’ve left all that I could find about them in the second part of this letter. I always knew you would go far. But no matter where your heart takes you, I just want to let you know that you will always have one with me. I love you, Thunder.’
Tears in his eyes, Thunder unrolled the second part of the letter. It was the part about his real parents. Pain unlike anything he’d ever felt rippled through him. He sparked his magic, setting the second scroll of fire. After it was naught but ashes, he turned to the picture of Twilight and himself on her shelf, taken all those years ago.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve already found my true parent. I will miss you, Ms. Sparkle. I love you, mom.”