Rebuild of Magic
= End Music
"From one to another, another to one. A mark of one's destiny singled out alone, fulfilled."
— Star Swirl the Bearded's "unfinished" spell.
Seven black monoliths hovered in a circular formation, emanating a soft light that held back the darkness. Each construct was adorned with the same symbol on the front; an upside-down triangle with three eyes on the left and four eyes on the right. A snake was curled around an apple in between the seven eyes, the words "SEELE" and "Überm Sternenzelt richtet Gott, wie wir gerichtet" emblazoned on the apple in blood red text. Each monolith was marked with large red numbers ranging from 00 to 07, the only aspect that made each monolith different from the other. "SOUND ONLY SELECTED" was written near the bottom of each monolith.
"The fourth Angel's attack and subsequent destruction," the monolith marked 01 stated with pride. "The acquisition of the Third Child. Eva Unit-01's successful deployment. All according to plan, it would seem."
"The astronomical cost of repair to Unit-01 was an unexpected setback," said 04.
"Compared to Unit-00's suspension, however, this is a minor concern," 05 replied.
"A minor concern? Surely this incident could have been handled a little more efficiently!" 02 spoke with irritation. "The repair bills, along with the reconstruction of the damaged sections of the city... why, it's going to cost as much as a small nation!"
"How serious was this malfunction? Will the Unit be ready when the fifth Angel appears?" 01 asked.
At the center of the monoliths' formation sat a single aged man behind a glowing desk, hands folded in front of his face as if in deep thought. His eyes were hidden behind glasses that reflected the light, concealing both them and, in a way, emotions. "You needn't be concerned. Now that Unit-01 is assigned to active duty, Unit-02 and its designated pilot are undergoing evaluation in Germany."
"See to it that Unit-04 in Nevada is completed on schedule in preparation for the Catalyst," ordered 04. "Unit-03 and the rest will be handled by us."
"We are counting on you not to disappoint us. It is your duty to insure that NERV and the Evas are utilized appropriately. Your pet projects should only come second in priority," said 03.
"Precisely. Annihilating the Angels is only one part of our covenant with Lilith. NERV and the Evas are not your only concerns," 06 entered the conversation curtly.
"The Earth's reunification with Humanity's first Eden," spoke 07.
"The Final Unraveling of the Threads of Fate," spoke 02.
"The Instrumentality Project," finished 01. "What we ultimately desire is the execution of that plan. I would advise you to remember our goal and not lose sight of it."
The man stayed silent for a moment before replying. "I understand. Rest assured, SEELE's plans will soon come to fruition." His form then disappeared into the darkness.
"Can we truly trust Gendo Ikari?" questioned 03.
"Ikari knows what is at stake and the importance of the project," answered 01. "If he becomes a liability, he will be disposed of."
"That entirely depends on who has their grip on destiny," an old voice spoke with a wise tone, one that did not belong to any of the present monoliths.
A new monolith appeared where the man named Gendo had been, although it was situated much higher than Gendo's desk. Unlike the other monoliths, which were flat slabs of crimson onyx, it was shaped in a cylinder.
On the surface of its long body was the markings of eleven circles in a sephirot formation. Five of them were a bright gold, while the other 5 were a metallic silver. In the middle of each gold circle was the silhouette of an orange apple, a pink butterfly, a teal balloon, a purple diamond, and a red lightning bolt. The silver circles however all had dull grey octagons in their centers, nothing to distinguish themselves apart. At the bottom of the pattern was a white circle with a pink star in the middle.
At the top of the new monolith was a unique image of a swirling purple star, contrasting with the mark on the bottom, a sun being eclipsed by a crescent moon. It lacked a number. "After all, you yourselves possess only the same Fruit of Knowledge as he does."
"You actually decided on coming this time," stated 02 with a small hint of annoyance. "I take it the Catalyst has been prepared?"
"She has passed most of her given evaluations and tests. She need only overcome one more obstacle before the plan can be put into motion," it responded. "There have been some difficulties, however, in relocating the fragments to Mare Crisium."
"It seems a millenia of hatred will not be so easy to acquire after all," replied 05.
"Unit-03 is still awaiting for the test's results from Unit-04's newly installed Faust Engine," spoke 04. "Additionally, Unit-01 has only fought one Angel so far and therefore has not collected the required amount of combat data. Without these two, Project Nyx would not be able to proceed even if we did possess her essence."
07 spoke up. "The Armaros is only a back-up plan however, and we should not devote all of our time and resources to only possibilities. The construction of the Mark.06 is already luckily ahead of schedule. Our focus now should be on the Third Child and the Catalyst."
"The Third Child. Our Trigger to the Final Destiny and the Unraveling of the Threads of Fate," 01 spoke.
"And with the Catalyst, the Eradication of the Original Sin," the swirling star-marked monolith finished.
Loud bangs surrounded the cylindrical chamber, the surrounding walls flashing a brilliant light with each burst of sound. An odd looking chair sat suspended in the middle of the chamber, handles at the end of the armrests with gloved hands held them lazily. A timer at the top right of the room continuously counted down, its current digits being 3:16.
"Center in on the target and then pull the trigger."
In between flashes, the surrounding walls gave way to a city, albeit about eighty meters above the ground. The city buildings were all nearly identical to the other, all plain white and translucent with only a height difference to distinguish one from the next. The wall's most interesting feature was the bony, humanoid creature, a little higher than the surrounding buildings with a clear purple texture instead of the buildings' white. At its chest was a blood red sphere.
"Center in on the target and then pull the trigger."
The light flashed again, sending six balls of fury into the chest of the thing, tossing it back before it exploded into a sphere of cubic particles. Another being exactly identical to it took its place and rose from the ground like a translucent ghost until it solidified and stood on the same spot where its comrade had fallen.
The lone occupant within the room was a thin young man of Asian descent, his face young and smooth with a narrow chin. He was garbed in a white skin-tight suit with odd hair-clips, as well as additional metal objects adorned all over his body. He wore a blank but tired expression upon his face. Like a broken record, he chanted a particular phrase with absolutely no emotion.
"Center in on the target and then pull the trigger."
The boy's name was Shinji Ikari.
The numbers hit zero. Everything returned to darkness.
"Simulation case nine-hundred and thirteen complete. Induction mode ended," a girl's voice echoed throughout the cylindrical room, its point of origin coming from all sides. The surrounding walls faded, no longer revealing the holographic city but an immensely large white room. At the left side of Shinji's field of vision was an observation room embedded flush against the wall. Inside was a blonde bespectacled woman that wrote on a clipboard while another younger woman spoke into a mic. "Releasing entry plug from simulation body. LCL De-ionization in progress."
The room immediately turned a murky, blood-red color, the "air" losing its typical traits as a gas and becoming liquid. Shinji let go of the handles and let his back rest against the seat, his eyes boring into the familiar ceiling as bubbles began entering through the entry plug.
"Why did I come back?" he asked himself.
Shinji felt his body lurch forwards as the room began moving backwards, a tinge of anger and sadness expressing itself on his face.
"What reason do I even have for coming back here? Nothing good happens when I do."
That train of thought came from his unfortunate stroke of luck a few hours ago after school. Shinji thought back to the event. What had he done wrong?
A few hours ago~
In the alley of a school between two buildings, Shinji and two other boys stood facing each other. One building stood at about five stories tall while the other was only four stories. The taller one possessed a steel net that surrounded the top of the roof. The shorter one, however, only had a steel rail. There was also a bike rack with a wooden top to prevent them from getting wet from the rain. A gate to the outside streets stood behind the three boys.
One boy was tall and stout. He wore a black jacket with a purple lining being flayed outward at the neck, the sleeves pulled back to free his arms. His eyes and hair were light brown and black, respectively, unlike Shinji's pale blue eyes and brown hair. Shinji knew him as Toji Suzuhara, Class 2-A's resident jock.
The other boy was closer to Shinji's height. He wore rather large glasses and the same white school clothing that Shinji was currently wearing. His hair was brown and his eyes a turquoise blue, freckles adorning his cheeks. Everyone knew him as Kensuke Aida, Class 2-A's resident geek.
"Okay, new kid, listen up!" said the jock. "My younger sister was hurt, bad. She's still in da hospital! My dad and gramps work in your lab, and I'm the only one who can stay with her!"
He put his hands in his coat pocket and began circling Shinji. "It ain't da goin' dere I mind, but supposin' she ends up with some scar? She'll never be a babe!"
He stopped in front of Shinji and turned towards him, glaring into his eyes with a smug frown. "And whose fault d'ya think it was?"
Shinji blinked twice, not quite making the connection.
The jock, noticing Shinji's confusion, growled in frustration and pointed his finger at his face. "It's your fault! She was pinned under rubble because you had to go crashin' around!"
Shinji blinked again, letting out a soft 'oh' before simply saying, "Sorry".
The jock stood dumbfounded by the simple reply, his finger still pointing at Shinji's face. "Sorry? Is dat it?"
A vein in his forehead popped out as he tried to make a lunge for Shinji. The geek grabbed his right arm before he could touch Shinji. "You tryin' ta make fun of me?! 'Sorry' just don't cut it!" Toji yelled, struggling against the geek as he tried to belt Shinji.
The geek kept trying to pull him back. "H-hey, Toji! Enough already. Stop before you do something stupid again."
Shinji, unafraid of Toji's anger, simply asked, "What do you want me to do? Kneel down and beg for forgiveness?"
Well, that did it. Toji simply lost it and tore his right arm from the geek and into Shinji's left cheek, sending him flying several feet onto his back.
The geek panicked, freaking out at Toji's recklessness. "Hey! You can't go around decking important pilots!"
Shinji wiped the blood from his face, gritting his teeth. "What did I do? It's not like I wanted to be the pilot," he muttered as he picked himself off the ground.
"You want a piece of me? Come get some!" said Toji, expecting retaliation from the frail boy.
The geek however was afraid of just that, saying, "H-hey, Toji, knock if off!"
What they got in response was not what they were expecting.
"Can I ask you something?" asked Shinji, looking straight into Toji's eyes. "Don't you get worn out from being angry all the time?"
Toji sputtered, not expecting words for a comeback.
"Y-YOU BASTARD! I'm drawin' da line right here!" Toji said as the geek arm-locked him by the shoulder blades to prevent him from hitting Shinji a second time.
"HEY! WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING?!" a girl shouted from behind the two. She had brown hair arranged in two ponytails and wore the typical school uniform in a white, blue, and red color scheme. She had her hands on her hips as she waited for a response.
"I-it's the class rep!" the geek gasped nervously as he glanced back towards her.
Toji clenched his fists, his body shaking in anger at having his little 'meeting' interrupted. "Damnit, she just hadda butt in!"
Toji pulled away from the geek again while he was distracted by the class rep and grabbed Shinji by the shirt. "Listen up, putz! A little advice!"
He pulled Shinji up to his face before snarling, "Next time yer inna fight, watch where ya put yer friggin' feet! GOT DAT?"
Shinji simply stared into Toji's eyes, not an ounce of fear in him.
Toji growled and pushed him away before walking off towards their class representative. The geek put his hand on Toji's shoulder in an attempt to calm him down, but he pushed him away too, although gentler than what he did to Shinji. "Kensuke, geddoffa me."
Shinji watched as the two walked towards the upset girl, feeling nothing but a small ounce of sadness that he quickly shut away. After all, he was used to this kind of pain.
"An admirable thing. Admirable to whom?," Shinji asked himself. "Why do I have to get hurt for piloting the Eva?"
The lurching feeling stopped at around the same time the entry plug was free of the orange-red fluid.
"LCL drainage complete, opening exit hatches," the same female voice from before stated as light poured onto the left side of his face.
As he stepped out of the entry plug and lowered himself onto a hard metal scaffolding, he couldn't help but try and spit out the iron taste that lingered in his mouth. "It tastes like blood."
A clear blue sky sat atop a red murky ocean.
A Renault Alpine A310 drove quickly at 100 km/h on a mountainside freeway. It was an ocean shade of blue and had a 1970s retro look. Multiple dents covered the metal exterior, as well as some spiderweb patterns that littered the glass headlights. The trunk and windows were held in place by a few brown pieces of duct tape, though surprisingly the windows featured no form of damage to them.
The driver was a young asian woman in her late 20s, her figure something most women could only dream of possessing. Her hair was dyed a dark purple and combed at the front, while at the back it flowed smoothly past her shoulders. She wore a striped T-shirt with a white vest along with torn blue jeans that revealed her thighs.
According to her work ID, which rested in the middle of the car, her name was Misato Katsuragi. Her rank of lieutenant colonel, height of 5'4", and AO blood type were also displayed, although the sections of the card listing her age as well as other body measurements had been scribbled out.
On her left, Shinji sat staring out the window, completely ignoring, or possibly not even caring for Misato's rather revealing choice of clothing.
If someone didn't know any better, they might have guessed it was because he was used to it.
"Hey, roomie. How goes it, hmm?" Misato asked in her cheery, high toned voice.
Shinji said without turning, "Today's training was okay, I guess."
"No, not that. Your new school. You make any new friends?" Misato chided.
All she got in response was an uncomfortable silence.
"Well, Ritsuko told me that your accuracy has improved over 10% from your last test," said Misato as she attempted to cheer up the sullen-looking boy.
"That's good, I guess," Shinji replied emotionlessly.
"Hmph, you sure are being depressing today," Misato said with a pout. "10% is a lot, you know. It's not easy aiming and focusing with a real gun. You should feel more proud of yourself!"
Silence was her only reply.
Trying to keep a smile on her face, she tried to appeal to Shinji one last time. "Weeell, I think this calls for a celebration." She giggled. "What to do, what to do," she thought out loud, holding up her chin with her left hand. She then gasped. "Oh, I know! How about I actually cook for us today!"
"Isn't that just instant food and leftovers?" Shinji asked her skeptically, turning towards her for the first time since she had begun driving.
"Hey! Instant food and leftovers are perfectly okay to eat!" Misato snapped defensively. "And for your previous question, no. Today I plan on making my own steak specialty. Hehe, I bet you'll love it!"
Shinji turned back to stare out the car's window.
Misato smile dropped and she sighed. "Why are you so depressed? You're not the one with 33 loan repayments. And I still gotta get this car fixed." She pointed toward the car's dented roof. "Paying for these things are expensive, you know? I only get so much cash for being a government official."
Shinji mentally scoffed.
"Maybe if you weren't such a reckless driver, you wouldn't have to."
"Hey, don't get so snotty. You know, you're not as cute as I thought you were."
Misato heard Shinji grumble a bit.
"What's got you in such a bad mood today anyway?" she asked. She ruffled her hair as she said, "I know you don't like to talk much but geez, even you were more talkative the first time I met you. Did you get in a fight with a friend or something?"
"I don't have any friends," Shinji replied with a hint of anger. Misato might have been imagining it, but she could have sworn she heard a hint of loneliness in there too.
"Pfft, stop being so dramatic. Everyone has at least a friend or two by your age. So tell me, what happened today at school? " Of course Misato knew what happened at school, but she wouldn't tell him that. It would be pretty unnerving for him to find out that his every action was being monitored by men in black.
He stayed quiet for a moment before asking, "Misato, why should I pilot the Eva?"
Surprised, Misato asked, "Hey, what kind of thinking is that?"
He didn't respond.
"You pilot to protect the lives of all mankind. Every single person's life rides on your shoulders."
Shinji didn't seem impressed.
Misato sighed. "If you keep piloting the Eva like you don't care, you'll be dead before you know it."
"That's okay. I don't care."
Misato turned her head towards Shinji quickly, her eyes wide.
"It really doesn't matter if I die..."
"Hey, don't say things like that!" Misato said loudly. "Kids shouldn't be thinking about stuff like that. Besides, you're an important pilot to us. Who'll defend this city if you're not around?"
"I get it, alright? All I need to do is beat the bad guys," Shinji turned his head toward Misato as he said this before looking out at the dead sea again. "You made your point."
Misato opened her mouth to speak, but found that she could not. After all, how could she reply to that without making him feel worse? I'm a terrible guardian.
Not a word passed between the two for the rest of the trip back to the apartment.
"You know, this steak is gonna take me a while to finish cooking; why don't you go take a bath?" Shinji heard Misato call from the kitchen. "You're still reeking of LCL by the way, it was hard driving back here with that stench of yours. Don't want you spoiling the food just 'cause you weren't aware of your own hygiene."
Shinji sighed to himself as he stopped his music player, an S-DAT developed by Sony, before getting off his thin futon mattress and heading toward the bathroom. The digital audio tape was left on track three, 3:13 adorning the front screen.
"Oh, I thought I should let you know Pen-Pen is in the shower right now, don't want you freaking out like last time!" he heard Misato yell out to him again as he slid the washroom curtain open.
About five minutes later, Shinji stepped into the filled bathtub carefully before fully submerging himself. He stared into the light at the top of the ceiling, unmoving. A penguin waddled out of the shower and exited into the kitchen.
I wonder when it all started... the drifting... It's like my mind and body have come apart, little by little...
Shinji raised his left hand and stared at it. He clenched and unclenched it repeatedly, remembering the pain he had endured to protect what Misato had said he should protect.
Whenever something sad... or painful... happens... it's like there's another me who watches it... like it's happening to someone else, thinking... "that's not me, why should I care?"
He closed his eyes as brief images of his past echoed from the light. A boy crying for his father to come back, to hold him and comfort him like Mother used to. A boy watching as kids played and had fun with each other, blissfully unaware and uncaring of the suffering others endured. A boy apologizing to two adults, apologizing for being different and not letting go of the pain like they had oh so quickly.
It's okay. I can live like that.
An image of a bigger boy punching another. The bigger boy didn't care about the smaller one, what he was going through, or how his actions would affect him. All he cared about was himself.
I'll lock my heart away deeper... if I do that... I won't have to feel pain inside or outside...
An image of a monster holding a boy by the head. The monster didn't care about the boy's past, present, or future, his life's experiences, journeys, nor epiphanies. All it cared about was itself.
...or the fear...
An image of nothing but him and a field of white. A place where freedom and happiness reign together side by side. A paradise where he himself wouldn't be hurt by others in any way, shape, or form. A true Eden that he can experience alone for all eternity.
I won't have to feel anything at all.
An image of a boy holding a violet flower to a blurred image. Smiles were on both their faces.
But... is this truly what I want?
He opened his eyes to the dim light bulb, before noticing a small purple dot in the middle of his vision.
Confused, he squinted to try and get a better look to see if he wasn't seeing things. He was forced to close his eyes a second later as the dot became a very bright purple sphere that hovered above his chest.
Not a second later, there was a large splash that emptied the tub of most of its hot water, and there was a light clang to the left of him, as if something metal but light had fallen to the ground. There was also the unmistakable sensation of someone on top of his waist. Or at least, something.
Shinji opened his eyes slowly, before staring at one of the strangest things he had ever seen.
It was quadrupedal creature, with appendages ending in short stumps and a body type the closest he could relate to was a dog. It's fur was a light purple, and it had dark blue hair with a pink and purple streak down the middle on its scalp and tail, a style a human who dyed their hair might have. On its rump was a tattoo, a pink star surrounded by five other ones. Its most striking feature, however, was its face. Its eyes were huge, encompassing most of its face. There was also a purple grooved horn that sat on top of its forehead.
Its face was contorted in agony, much like a normal human expression.
In a dialect that he wasn't familiar with and much to his horror, it spoke.
Just a minute ago, Twilight had restored the memories and identities of each of her friends, returning the most important ponies to her to their true selves.
Not only that, she had figured out a way to fix Starswirl's spell! Through the power of friendship, she created a brand new form of magic, something not even he could do.
She was still unsure of what the spell was actually supposed to do, but it didn't really matter. She had her friends back, and that was all that mattered.
Well, she had. All she had right now was a splitting headache.
"Oww... my... head. I don't think that was supposed to happen." Twilight Sparkle clutched her forehead with her right hoof. She could feel her coat drenched in a warm liquid, though where the liquid came from was beyond her. Her landing was oddly soft as well, and she moved her left hoof onto the fleshy skin she was sitting on to try and balance herself.
She raised her head and opened her violet eyes as pale blue eyes stared back at her.
Silence filled the room.
Looking back at her was an animal the likes of which she had never seen. The closest she could come up with in describing its appearance was a frail hairless monkey. Its shoulders weren't very broad, and it didn't have much muscle. Its hairless body was also tawny, while its mane was brown.
It also had a horrified expression on its face, which was not a good thing as she had learned from experience. Not good at all.
Twilight didn't know what had happened, nor what was happening at the moment, but she knew with certainty that having a new species being scared of her was a very, very bad situation to be in.
If it panicked, it could start calling its friends, and then she would be in deep trouble.
Putting the best speaking voice she could, she nervously said, "U-um, hi there! I come in peace from the land of Equestria."
Cliché and corny, but looking good so far.
"My name is Twilight Sparkle, personal student of Princess Celestia," she said a little bit more confidently, pointing her hoof towards herself. "And I would like to offer peace between our two species."
She paused to let the words sink in.
"So I ask of you, will you accept my friendship?" she said, extending her hoof for a hoof shake while putting on an awkward smile.
Well, that was easy. First contact with a new species wasn't so hard after all! She even got her mentor's tone right!
Thank goodness Princess Celestia had assigned her to read First Contact 101 last weekend during that timberwolf incident. With her offer of friendship, there was no way it would start scre-
Twilight's ears flopped down.
Next Time: "Hedgehog's Dilemma"
"Fly Me To The Moon"
Authors Note: I recommend reading this story up on spacebattles .net or fimfiction .net.