I think we went to sleep early in the evening, and maybe that was why I felt it was early when I woke up the next morning. One of my legs was still around his neck. I just left it there, smiling, telling myself that I didn’t want to wake him up. Then I just wanted to cry some more. I didn’t move, stared into the fire, and tried to calm down. I was hugging this stallion’s neck. I didn’t have high hopes for my hope calming down… I was pretty sure this wouldn’t end well… He seemed a considerate stallion (a rarity at that, as far as I could tell), and even if he could see now, he would wait until I was better before he left. Maybe I was just enjoying what little solace I could find in this mess. That made me want to cry too.
Staring into the fire slowly pulled my mind into neutral maybe, and I tried to relax. I started playing with one of the small embers again. A while later, I realized that there was a dried up fruit of some sort near the side of the fireplace. It had probably dropped from one of the logs, one of the branches of whatever dead tree donated this wood. That shriveled fruit was partially covered with ashes, but it wasn’t on fire, or anywhere near the fire. Well, I used the simplest levitation spell, and worked on clearing the ashes away from the fruit. I really wanted to shove ashes away from the fruit, towards the back of the fireplace. I was going to ask my amazing magic teacher about how to do that. For now, I just played around. I realized I had to intentionally pick the ashes up and move them. The spells I knew would not allow me to, well sweep the ashes away. I could pick the ashes up and move them, but it was slow, and very easy to move the fruit thing too. I picked my head up quite a bit so I could see better, better than if I was looking at the fruit by staring down the length of my nose. My head was up like it normally would be. It hurt some, but I could see what I was doing better. And I actually picked the fruit thing up, moved it aside, then picked up all the ashes where it was, and dropped them towards the back of the fireplace. Then I put the fruit back. Then I just practiced picking that shriveled fruit up, and putting it gently back down. It was harder than it sounds, but with practice, I was soon just mindlessly picking that fruit thing up, and putting it down without squishing it, casting the same two spells over and over, while controlling the rest of the fine details with my intentions. That is Unicorn magic in it’s basic form.
“Is it on fire?” The stallion was awake now, and must have felt me using my magic. He had asked about doing magic together before, and I was playing with a fiery, burning ember at the time.
“No, it is a shriveled up fruit. I am just picking it up and putting it gently down.” I said this much calmly, without much thought. Only after I was done talking did I remember how I felt at his eagerness to do this, do magic… together, the last time it came up. It was hard not to feel that same excitement.
“Well, just keep doing that” he said quickly. He sounded excited about Unicorn fun together. I took a deep breath… “I can feel you using your magic, I just need to be able to feel where you are using it, where that shriveled fruit is.”
Ok, so I just kept doing the same thing; pick the shriveled fruit up, gently put it down. I really couldn’t feel him, his magic at all, but I realized my magical ability was probably too weak for that anyway. But I did feel, he had moved his head right next to mine. He was trying to look in the same direction, trying to feel location, I thought. Well, when I noticed his head was right next to mine, I remembered that my leg was still around his neck. I wasn’t sure how calm that made me, but I kept doing what he asked, and for a while. I think I needed the distraction of this mindless task…
He didn’t say anything, and made no indication what he was doing, how he was doing sensing my magic, so I just kept doing what I was doing; pick it up, put it gently down. Cast one spell, control it… Cast the other spell, control it… Doing the same thing like that, over and over… I cast the spell to pick it up. Right before I finished casting, the fruit moved abruptly maybe two fruit heights to the left. My magic picked up thin air… I stared incredulously. That was not what that spell was supposed to do… The stallion laughed. I used my magic to grab the shriveled fruit and move it back. He used his magic to hold the fruit where it was as he laughed some more.
Just then, our Unicorn horns touched, just the tips. I felt an intense pulling, a numbing, a vibration, all at once, I don’t know. It took a while before I could even pull my horn free. It was like I had to fight my magic even to get my horn away. But during that time, I saw… One of the things I saw I quickly tried to forget. But the other… He was sitting in a corner, freezing, in a building with no door, and snow pouring partway into the room… I guessed he saw stuff too, but I had absolutely no idea what he saw. I think I was afraid to ask.
And I had to reach far back for this… When I was very young, I was standing next to my mom, who was talking with some Unicorn mare friends. I guess one of the friends had heard about this, and another friend described everything I had just felt, then gave it a name, hornfire. She explained it was very rare, between just Unicorns of course, and usually occured during courting, but disappeared after marriage. Then she said again that it was very rare. I guess I had never forgotten, just that short portion of that single day, so long ago. But right then I dredged that memory up, and realized what it was I had just felt… Hornfire… Again, I decided against saying anything specific about it. Besides, I didn’t think this stallion and I would ever be courting. I…
“Did you feel that?” I asked, just a little concerned.
“Yes… Can I cry some more?” he replied slowly.
I squeezed my leg around his neck, and he cried a little while. I cried with him, but probably for vastly different reasons.
After we calmed back down, the stallion asked for some more magic fun, he called it. It turned into a game, and we both laughed a lot. I would pick the fruit up at random times, then put it down. He had to try to move the fruit sideways so my magic picked up nothing. Well, he had to be able to sense my magic in order to do that, and he was quickly very good at that. We played that game together, both laughing, for over an hour. It made my head hurt, but this was the most fun for me since… But, by then, he could always move the fruit in time.
He wanted us to try something bigger. And as he asked about this, I had to realize that he had probably not used his magic very much at all, since he lost his sight. He probably needed this magical exercise, I called it. Of course, I was still on his back. I was pretty sure me moving at all would hurt a lot. I had him carefully get up, turn towards the far wall long enough for me to pick up a small log with my magic. I had him lay down right where he was. The fire was off to his left, but we still had light, I still had light.
First, we did the same game with the larger object, the small log. It was about as long as my front leg. I would pick it up then put it back down. He could still sense my magic enough to usually beat me at this. He suggested another change. I would turn the log in a circle, rotate it a certain amount. He had to try to turn the log backwards, the exact same amount, so it was rotated back where it was before I turned it. This game was very quiet. The stallion had to concentrate a lot on sensing my magic in order to return the small log back to where it was before I started. But he had to sense where I left it too. Watching him try to do this was utterly painful to me at first; I really felt bad for him. I told him we could stop if he wanted, but he really wanted to keep going, to learn this new magical ability. Over two hours later, which meant a lot of failures, he was good enough at sensing my magic that he could easily put the log back. And we agreed; I started moving the log first to some different random orientation, so that he was not always moving the log back to the same place. It took him another hour or so to master that, but he learned fast and was soon very good. I asked about moving the log further away. He thought a minute, then asked that we try it. I moved the log to the doorway into my room, straight ahead from us, but a good distance away. An hour later, he had that down too.
He said we were done, and I moved that small log onto the fire to warm the house up some. He got slowly up, and I directed him over to the bucket so he could get a drink. I got a small one too. Then we were back in front of the fire. He thanked me right away, which made me want to cry… I was overjoyed to be able to do magic together… Wow… Then he mused that his ability to sense my magic, well, it would not work with other Unicorns. He felt he would have to go through the same process again to adjust to a different Unicorn. I did cry.
Once I calmed down, he asked about some food. We split an oat pie. We both agreed again that they were delicious.
It was late in the afternoon. We had spent all day doing Unicorn stuff together, and he asked about a quick walk so he could… Well, I wasn’t about to move. My head was starting to hurt constantly now, so I realized I needed to take it easy. A walk sounded nice. We went outside, he did what he needed to do, and then we walked slowly down the path to the pond, and slowly back. I had him walk really slow; I… we were in no hurry. And being outside did help my head some. The sun was out, but would set soon. Large clouds kept obscuring it, then it would jump back out. Well, it was cold outside because it was winter. We were keeping each other warm, so that wasn’t a problem. It wasn’t too much of a problem. But as we neared the house, I mentioned quietly that I probably should sleep soon. “Magic use tires you a lot like physical labor” he said quietly. “I am not surprised. But I can take care of that.” Well, I could tell he smiled when he said that last… That made me want to cry, but I was working on calming down.
We were soon inside, with another log on the fire. Nestled there on his back, I think we both fell quickly asleep.
1. The Background Music for this entire story is entitled “The Divine” from the “Forever Today” add-on for the original soundtrack for the “Seekers of Adoulin” expansion for Final Fantasy XI, and is copywritten by Square Enix. Players of FFXI will recognize this tune immediately, and this tune is fitting since a lot of this story takes place in the dead of winter. Please purchase this tune, and play it softly in the background while you read each chapter.
2. This story, “CSR Princess” is vol. 14 of the Chronicles of Summer Rain, and is copyright 2017 by Shysage