Slipstream stared at the pages written by his own hooves. They ached and curled as if holding a pen nib, but a night’s sleep would remedy his pain. The pain surging from his horn would have only gotten worse if he used magic to record his results.
He ended the sentence with a flourish of his pen. There was just enough ink to make his signature horizontal line to mark the end of the paragraph. He hoped that the scribes would include that in their copies as he massaged his hooves.
Slipstream looked at the mice scurrying about in their glass cage. Some were colored a dark blue and possessed tufts of hair that made them appear to have a white beard. The mice were slower than the rest, as if they had aged. The Sagacity spell worked on mice, Slipstream noted.
With the physical component of the spell complete, Slipstream needed to test the accuracy of the mental component. While the Sagacity spell aged the aging process, Slipstream hoped that the spell would heighten their intelligence. In preparation, Slipstream created a maze out of glass and wood that spiraled below and above the table. There were many pathways, but only one exit. Most of the pathways looped and forced the mice to repeat the maze, but the only way out was lined with signs written in Equestrian. Slipstream hoped that the mice would be intelligent to notice the signs and follow them, rather than rely on instinct.
A shimmer of magic caused the mice to freeze and shoot their heads towards Slipstream’s horn. He gestured to the maze’s entrance. Mice flooded into the glass hole. His horn throbbed in pain. Any longer and the strength of his spells might dampen considerably.
Except one. A brown mouse skittered out of the maze and wandered about the empty cage. A specimen left unexposed to the Sagacity spell.
Slipstream massaged his head. One more spell and that’s enough for the day.
He closed his eyes. He imagined that the mouse being shot by an otherworldly light which changed its color from brown to dark blue. Slipstream also imagined that the light made the mouse form a large beard.
Pain shot from his horn. The spell flung his head back, causing the light from his horn to envelop Slipstream. He cried in agony and collapsed to the floor.
The sound of tapping paws against glass woke the unicorn. Achy, he rose to his hooves and rubbed his forehead. Was that the feeling of pain? It felt new to the unicorn.
He looked at the mice skittering through the maze. They were all covered in dark blue fur and had a beard instead of whiskers. All of them were lost, meandering haphazardly through the glass tubing.
Through the glass tubing, he caught a glimpse of his reflection: a dark blue coat and a silvery beard. Just like the mice.
His eyes strayed to the stack of papers on the desk. They were written in a confusing, but strangely familiar language. The words came slowly to the unicorn.
At first glance, most of the subjects suffer minimal to severe memory loss, depending on the exposure to the spell. However, the more memory the subject loses, the faster the subject learns new skills. The change in age and coat color appears to be independent from the amount of memory lost.
It is advised that careful planning and precise thought be taken into account before executing the spell. Any external interruption can— and will— bear a significant change in the Sagacity spell’s potency.
The unicorn flipped through the papers. Countless spells, theories, and experiments were written by the same pony. Time travel, advanced chemistry, placing runes onto scrolls and summoning storms of fire by crushing the paper. It intrigued the unicorn. But when he sifted through the papers, he found no name to connect the research to.
There was a note between the papers.
Publish. It read.
The unicorn shivered. He searched for a coat in the cramped, disorganized room, but found only a nightgown and cap. They were covered in a starry pattern that swirled about the sleeves and body.
He looked at the mirror that was covered by the clothing. The gown and cap fit perfectly. Was it his? He did not let the fitting clothes concern him; he quickly picked up the stack of papers and left the door. Perhaps publishing the papers would help him remember what happened before he woke up.
Commentary from Donny’s Boy
Unless I’m misreading this, Slipstream is the former name and identity of the pony we all know better as Star Swirl the Bearded. What a very interesting back-story for the famed wizard! Also, I liked that Slipstream reminded more than a bit of a young purple unicorn wizard who came quite a number of years later.