*In the land of Equestria, far away from the city of Canterlot, past the boundaries of the Everfree Forest and over the Lipizzaner mountain range, lay the shining kingdom of Mareheim. Looming over the village, sparkling from the sun over the horizon, stood the royal castle. Numerous towers stuck out along the kingdom, decked with green tiles on the rooftops, matching the white bricks layering the castle walls. The castle itself contained numerous rooms and the Royal Flag itself planted on the tallest tower, swaying over the gentle morning breeze. Upon the flag itself, lay the symbol of Mareheim: a golden mare rearing up on it's hind hooves along a green background, four white stars standing on each corner upon the flag, all of which surrounded by a golden rectangle. Below the castle itself, lay a very large village. Matching the nation's colors, the exterior design of the buildings had painted white bricks and wood along the walls and green tile roofs. Each building varied in size, some of them tall while others smaller and each of them lining in a single row with one road along the middle*
*Among all the buildings in the village, three households stood out. For one of Mareheim's most notable is the legendary Mana Tree. Outside, it appeared to be a regular tree of sorts, though it was as tall as the tallest structure in the village. But inside the tree itself, a wide open room with a few book shelves surrounding the area. A long spiral staircase ascended to the top, leading to the tree's second floor with a series of rooms clearly made for occupants*
*While similar to most of the village, one particular household appeared more like a factory. Pipes stuck out along the walls, a wave of smoke blowing out among one of the pipes. Generators and contraptions of unrecognized proportions twirled around the building, with large gears spinning around the top*
*The third house was a structure unlike any that belonged in Mareheim. The occupants of the house clearly came from a more oriental society, it's structure bearing a resemblance to a Chinese temple. Over the large marble wall lay the temple itself, a magnificent structure with oriental lion statues, each posed with their massive jaws hanging over, revealing their fangs. Atop the temple ceilings and even along the walls, was the flag of the country's nation. These particular flags bearing the symbols of a massive scorpion*
*On a chair inside the second floor bedroom of the Mana Tree, sat it's current occupant, a teenage boy. This particular lad was garbed in a navy-blue attire with a matching dark pointed wizard's cap, and light brown and black cowhide boots. He had emerald green eyes and brown hair along his head. This was Mezmo Archimedes Mandrake, a wizard-in-training who was practicing to be the court magician for the royal family of Mareheim. Lounging on another chair was Mezmo's pet cat, Salem. A feline with fur blacker than the blackest night. Mezmo was currently reading a passage from a large book, so wide that it nearly covered his desk. From within the ancient book, with a brown cover, decorated in assorted jewelry, he carefully studied one particular spell along the sheets*
Mezmo: Alright, this one's just gotta be a good spell for me to try out. Now, let's see. *takes a closer look at the page and reads aloud* "Ventus Tibia." This particular musical spell allows its user to control the winds in order blow in a way that mimics the sound of a woodwind instrument, such as a flute, oboe, clarinet, or piccolo. In order to conduct this spell, one must hold their wand upwards, twirl it counter-clockwise and chant the incantation. *puts the book aside* Sounds simple enough. *sits up and look at Salem* Wish me luck, Salem.
*Salem did not stir as he continued his nap on the chair across from Mezmo*
Mezmo: Okay, here it goes. *points his baton towards the ceiling and twirls it counter-clockwise* Ventus Tibia!
*Upon reciting the words, a strong gust of wind from outside blew open a window and quickly began to swirl around the bedroom, filling it with the sound of woodwind instruments, the whistling of flutes and the bass tone of piccolos. A look of satisfaction formed on Mezmo's face as he himself felt moved by his own harmony. SCREECH! All at once, a shrilling high note completely threw off the rhythm. Mezmo eyes winced as small cracks began to form on the windows.
Mezmo: *covers his ears* AAAHHH!!! STOP, STOP, STOP!!! *points his wand down at the floor*
*Soon enough, the melody died down as the room filled with silence once more. With a heavy groan of frustration, Mezmo fell flat upon his bed and stared up at the ceiling*
Mezmo: AUGH!!! It's no use! Why can't I ever get any of my spells right?! Every time I try a new one, it always gets a sour note!
*Just then, Salem the cat had awoken from the botched spell, revealing his large yellow eyes, and bounded onto the bed. Mezmo turned toward his little companion and lightly stroked a hand along the cat's back, the creature purring in response*
Mezmo: Salem, what am I going to do? I want to be a good wizard, but I can't perform even the simplest of spells! What if I never get it right?
*At that moment, the doorbell to the front door could be heard ringing from downstairs. Mezmo, hearing this, got out of bed, descended down the stairs towards the front door and opened the door to see who it was. Standing in the door frame, was a boy close to Mezmo's age. He wore a white button shirt and red tie underneath a button blue vest and matching slacks with brown spats. But the most notable feature on the lad were the goggles around his head with green lenses over a messy pile of brown hair. This was Nikola Thomason; local inventor, so called "crackpot", and Mezmo's best friend*
Mezmo: Oh. Hey, Nikola.
Nikola: Morning, my friend. I was just passing by and thought it be nice to pay you a visit.
Mezmo: *pause* Hear anything on your way here?
Nikola: You mean that loud ear shattering shriek that was strong enough to break glass? Yeah, I heard it. Mrs. Gladstone must be teaching the Wilsons' kid to play the recorder again.
Mezmo: *sighs* Actually
that was me.
Nikola: *raises an eyebrow* Let me guess
having trouble with the spell book again?
Mezmo: Yup. Won't you come in?
Nikola: Sure. I needed to borrow a book from you, anyway.
*Nikola stepped inside the house and made his way toward the bookcase in the living room. He glanced side to side along each shelf, searching for a particular book. Then at once, Nikola seemed to find it as he pulled a large red book from off the shelf and took a look at the cover. The title read, "Thunderstorms and other Natural Phenomena"*
Nikola: Here we are. *starts thumbing through* Boy, isn't lightning a fascinating thing? Did you know that the strongest force against electrical current is in the very air we breath?
Mezmo: Really? *breaths in and out*
Nikola: Yes, it's because air practically has an ohms reading of infinity. Ohms being the unit of measurement of electrical resistance. That's part of the reason why lightning only appears in short flashes.
Mezmo: Now, if only I could master it instead of doing just this. *snaps his fingers, creating a small electrical spark* Ow! Dang it!
Nikola: In due time, my friend. Say, maybe a break from this is in order. It's new magazine day at the newsstand. Why don't we go pick up our favorite magazines and go meet up with Lian?
Mezmo: *sighs* Sounds like a plan. It's almost time for my royal duties at the castle, anyway.
Nikola: Well then, let's be off.
*Moments later, Mezmo and Nikola were walking towards the giant eastern building. While Mezmo kept his music magazine tucked away in his back pocket, Nikola was still reading his. The cover of the magazine read "Cryptic World Monthly." The front cover featured a picture of a strange winged creature and a caption that read "Mystery of the Mothman" underneath it*
Mezmo: You don't really think that thing's real, do ya?
Nikola: Dr. Shanti Arasinji has never lied to her readers before and photographs are confirmed to be the genuine article.
Mezmo: Look, I can buy the fact that Dragons, Manticores, Centaurs, and Minotaurs exist. But a Mothman? That's very hard to believe.
Nikola: That's what she does, she studies the creatures that this world doesn't believe in and knows very little about. That's what being a Crytozoologist is.
Mezmo: Whatever you say...
*The two of them finally reached the massive home. While Mezmo remembered to stop at the front gate, Nikola, too deeply engaged in his reading, walked into the surrounding walls*
Nikola: Ow! *looks up* Oh! We're here. Spelindid
Mezmo: You okay?
Nikola: Oh yes, I was just looking at some new photos of the Flankwoods Monster. Strange looking little beast to say the very least.
Mezmo: *shakes his head* Oy
Nikola: Well, that was about as much fun as my last filling. So, do you think she's home?
*Suddenly, a giant stone lion statue came flying over the wall and landed behind the two boys with a loud BOOM!*
Nikola: That would be my answer.
Mezmo: Oh boy, she must be having a fight with her dad again
*The gates swung open and a young girl, obviously of eastern decent, walked out to greet the two boys. She was about the same age as Mezmo and Nikola, wore her hair up in two tight little buns with some bangs hanging in front of her face, and was dressed in a bright red dress with golden trim, along with silky white tights and jet black Chinese style flats. This was Lian Hu, the strangely strong young woman from the Ibex Empire. The reason for her family's move to Mareheim still remains a mystery*
Mezmo: Mornin', Lian.
Lian: *sighs* Good morning, friends. I hope this day is being kind to you.
Mezmo: I'm guessing we came at a bad time, huh?
Lian: Just another argument with my father about those arranged marriages.
Mezmo: Thought so.
Nikola: Maybe some time away from your home will do you some good.
Lian: You might be right, Nikola.
Mezmo: Here, let me put that statue back on your property. *points his baton at the stone lion statue* Wingardium Leviosa!
*The statue began to shake as it lifted into the air. Mezmo was able get it over the wall before his focus faltered and the statue fell to the ground*
Mezmo: *eyes widen* Uh oh!
Lian: It's alright, the thing belonged to my father. He'll just scold some undeserving soul and buy a new one.
Mezmo: So I don't have to worry about him turning me into a pretzel?
Lian: I didn't say that much. You best be on your guard.
Mezmo: *worryingly* Uh, I think we should be getting to the castle now
before Lian's dad shows up!
Nikola: Among the best ideas I've heard today.
*Mezmo and his friends soon reached the gates to the castle and approached the two guards standing by, carrying long spears. They were dressed in military fashion: a grey cap with a red brush on top, a green coat with a red ribbon buttoned on front, along with two brown belts, one with a gold buckle and the other silver, white leater gloves, long slacks with a darker shade of green and gold lines along the sides, and black-polished shoes*
Mezmo: Mezmo A. Mandrake, wizard-in-training to see the king and queen. I've brought my friends along, too.
Royal Guard 1: Ah yes, your friends. I trust we'll have no problems with you two?
Lian: Oh no, sir.
Nikola: Certainly not
This time, at least.
Royal Guard 1: Very well, you may enter.
Royal Guard 2: But be on your best behavior.
Mezmo: Well, come on, guys.
*The gates opened, allowing Mezmo, Nikola and Lian to enter the castle. As they walked inside, they were taken aback of how majestic the castle looked as it appeared outside. It was very wide inside the castle, their footsteps along the marble floor filled the room with echoes. Sunlight shined along the glass chandelier hanging over the throne room as the trio approached the royal figures sitting atop their thrones, the royal banner hanging behind them on the wall*
*One figure wore a green and gold crown atop his long brown hair, with a matching goatee. He wore white garbs with green sleeves, a black belt with a gold buckle and matching strap, a long green cape hung over his shoulders, and grey slacks with yellow lines along with black polished shoes. This was King Nathaniel*
*Sitting next to the king was an even regal-looking queen. She wore a silver tiara with three green gems over her short brown hair, a white gown with long white gloves and golden sash, and matching glass slippers. This was Nathaniel's wife, Queen Marilyn*
Mezmo: *steps forward and kneels before his monarchs* Your majesties
King Nathaniel: Good morning Mezmo, how go your lessons?
Mezmo: Oh fine, fine, sire. Um
How are you?
Queen Marilyn: Lovely as usual
Are you sure everything's "just" fine?
Mezmo: *nods* Of course, your highness. Why do you ask?
King Nathaniel: Well, young wizard, we had hoped you had been able to handle the basic spells. We are aware you've been struggling for quite some time.
Mezmo: Oh! Well, I tried a more complicated spell this morning.
Queen Marylyn: And
Mezmo: I may have
broken a few windows
King Nathaniel: We know. *motions towards one of the stained glass windows with a light but noticeable crack*
Mezmo: Uh oh
Nikola: Whoa! Looks like it was more powerful than I thought
King Nathaniel: Mezmo, we understand that you're still a beginner. But even now, our greatest wizards and spellcasters have all graduated from the Mana Tree and have since spread out all over. But we feel as though you have yet to master the basic steps before you can tackle the advanced techniques.
*Just then, another figure entered the throne room, carrying a rolled-up scroll in one hand. The man was slightly overweight, complete with a round race with a small black mustache and beard, along with a powdered white wig. His attire was clearly derived from the 18th century: A short waistcoat, a full-dress shirt with ruffles of fine lace gathered at the waist, knee-length breeches with fall-front opening, low-heeled shoes fastened with buckles covering silk stockings. This was Chancellor Balthus, the king and queen's royal advisor*
Chancellor Balthus: Good morning, your majesties, I'm here with the list of royal duties for-- *sees Mezmo and quickly frowns* Oh
Mezmo: Indeed it is. Glad of you to notice, Chancellor.
King Nathaniel: Ah! Chancellor Balthus. We were just discussing some important matters regarding Mezmo.
Chancellor Balthus: Hmm, yes, the little trouble maker and his so called "magic tricks". Is today the day you finally exile him from the kingdom, sire? *chuckles* A little joke.
Nikola: Some joke
Lian: *whispers to Nikola* I really don't like that man; there's something not right with him.
Queen Marilyn: Chancellor! We don't feel that whatever Mezmo may have done is anything worth exile.
Chancellor Balthus: Like turning my hair into grass?
King Nathaniel: *quietly chuckles*
Queen Marilyn: *slightly nudges Nathaniel's shoulder* Darling!
Chancellor Balthus: It wasn't funny! Thanks to him, I was forced to shave my head bald!!
Nikola: *whispers to Lian* He must've needed some really big hedge-trimmers.
Chancellor Balthus: I heard that!
King Nathaniel: Settle down, everyone! Yes, there is an issue revolving around Mezmo. But luckily, we have prepared a solution that should settle all our problems.
Chancellor Balthus: *raises an eyebrow* Oh?
Queen Marilyn: Indeed we do. Mezmo, have you heard of Princess Celestia?
Mezmo: The winged unicorn who rules over all Equestria and raises the sun each day? Yeah, who hasn't?
Queen Marilyn: Well, it just so happens that we have arranged a suitable mentor to assist you with your magic. As a matter of fact, one of her best students is highly skilled in the field of magic.
Mezmo: A student of Celestia's to teach me? But Celestia only teaches-- *eyes widen* Wait! You want me to take lessons from a pony?!
King Nathaniel: Say what you will, Mezmo, but we see strong potential from this pony with magical skills far beyond any we have seen in Equestria.
Mezmo: Have you actually met this pony?
King Nathaniel: Well
Not personally. But from what Princess Celestia has informed us, she may very well be the one who may find the solution to your magic issues.
Mezmo: *sighs* Oh well, beggars can't be choosers, I guess. So when's she coming to Mareheim?
Queen Marylyn: Well, actually
She won't be coming here.
King Nathaniel: So instead
You'll be staying with her
Mezmo: *eyes widen* What?! I have to leave?!
Lian: But you said Mezmo wouldn't have to be exiled!
King Nathaniel: It's not exile, this is only temporary. Mezmo will be gone for a while in order to fully control his magic.
Chancellor Balthus: *to himself* Drat!
how long will I be gone?
Queen Marilyn: Well, that all depends on how fast a learner you are.
Nikola: *raises an eyebrow* In other words, you don't know.
*The King and Queen shook their heads simultaneously*
Mezmo: *lowers his head, sadly* Then I'm never coming back
Chancellor Balthus: *to himself* Yes!
Lian: Don't feel sad, Mezmo, I know you can do it.
Nikola: Just remember, no matter how long it takes, we'll always be rooting for you. *pats Mezmo's back* You'll see, you'll be back in your tree house in no time.
Mezmo: *looks at Nikola and smiles* Thanks, guys. *looks at the king and queen* So, when do I leave?
King Nathaniel: This afternoon. Don't worry Mezmo, everything will be fine.
Mezmo: *sighs* Well, if there's nothing more you need of me today
I now take my leave. *bows* Good day, your majesties. *walks out of the throne room*
Lian: Poor Mezmo, I wish there was something we can do.
Chancellor Balthus: Well, the only thing you two will have to do is return to your homes and go about your ways.
Queen Marilyn: Actually, Nikola, Lian, we do have a special task that you can do for us.
Chancellor Balthus: *raises an eyebrow* Huh?
Nikola: Really, your majesties?
Lian: What kind of task?
*Back at the Mana tree, Mezmo sat depressingly in his favorite red chair in the living room, stroking Salem, who lay in his lap*
leave Mareheim? I could never do such a thing? However, if I do leave, I may have a better chance at learning to be a better wizard
*sighs* But that also means I have to leave behind the two best friends a guy could ask for. Oh, what a rut I'm in...
*Just then, there was a knock at Mezmo's front door. The young wizard-in-training got up from his chair, walk up to the door and open it, revealing Nikola and Lian standing outside with smiles on their faces*
Nikola: Greetings, Mezmo.
Lian: How are you feeling?
Mezmo: Miserable. In case you didn't hear, I have to leave Mareheim this afternoon and probably never come back.
Nikola: Well we do have some news for you.
Mezmo: Oh yeah, what?
Lian: We'll be helping you with the move and traveling with you to this Ponyville.
Mezmo: *raises an eyebrow* R-R-Really?
Nikola: Of course. The queen herself asked of us to help you in anyway possible. But we would've done it even without her telling us to.
Lian: That's right, because that is what friends do, they help each other through the hard times anyway they can.
Mezmo: *smiles* Thanks, guys. *hugs Nikola and Lian*
*Lian and Nikola happily returned the hug*
*Later that afternoon, Mezmo and Nikola watched as Lian moved the last of Mezmo's heavy furniture onto a strange cart*
Mezmo: Tell me again about your cart, Nikola.
Nikola: Well the cart uses a special gyroscopic stabilizer that uses gravity to keep itself perfectly level and is guaranteed to keep everything perfectly balanced all the way to Ponyville.
Mezmo: Wow, those are some pretty big words you just used.
Nikola: Big words are just smaller words pressed together.
Mezmo: Not exactly...
*Just then, Salem came running out the front door and jumped into the wagon full of Mezmo's furniture, letting out a small meow and he lay in one of the chairs*
Mezmo: NOW that's the last of it.
Nikola: Well, should we get going while there is still daylight to burn?
Mezmo: Sure, if one of you has a map in hand.
Lian: Already ahead of you on that. *reaches into her sleeve and pulls out a rolled up piece of paper*
Mezmo: Great! Let's have a look.
Lian: *unrolls the map* Let me see
It says here that the best path we can take to Ponyville will take us through
The Everfree Forest.
Mezmo: I've heard of that place.
Mezmo: Yeah, my uncle told me about it. An evil witch is supposed to live there or something.
Nikola: *starting to look nervous* Isn't there any other path?
Lian: The only other path would take twice as long and we're already going to be traveling for three days.
Mezmo: *sighs* Well, better to get there sooner than later, I guess.
Nikola: Then I suppose we should stay alert and not invoke any evil hexes.
Mezmo: *nods* Agreed.
Lian: Alright. *picks up the cart handle* Let's get going.
Mezmo: Ponyville, here we come!
*With that, the three friends the Mana Tree and made their way towards the Mareheim city limits and beyond to Ponyville*
TO BE CONTINUED...