A/N: I am sooooo sorry that this took so long. My creative juices randomly got depleted. No idea why. I hope to go back to the 'couple of days' system. again, sorry, and please give me feedback. On with story.
Deep under ground, thousands of feet of dirt and rock above, was a lone earth Pony. A old, dusty drill, tip blunt with use and age was spinning slowly, grinding against the walls of a small passage. The pony was a stallion, with a light grey coat, the color of freshly fallen ash from a campfire. His mane was a deep, crimson red, eerily close to the color of dried blood. The stallion's eyes were a sharply contrasting forest green, the color of lush vegetation.
The pony allowed his thoughts to wander as he dug away at the dirt, carving out his tunnel through dark and dry underground air. He hated this job. It was so lonely, just you making fractions of progress every hour, only rarely bringing back anything more valuable than a pretty stone to look at. But it kept food on the table. But only just. he wished he could just leave and find another job that didn't involve breathing the same dirty air for hours on end. But his hometown of Maneison, capitol of Wisclopsin, meant too much to him.
Then suddenly and without warning, came a dull 'clank' from the tip of his drill. The stallion stopped turning the antique, moving it to the side to look at what had caused the odd noise. His breath caught in his throat when he saw a speck of shimmering gold concealed by the dirt walls. He grabbed his drill once more, and began carefully digging around the gold, as its shape slowly came to his awareness.
It was a disk, roughly a foot across and an inch thick. This was enough gold to rid him of this pathetic job. But what intrigued him more was the strange runes and patterns engraved upon it's surface in swirling, symmetric patterns. the pony wondered how such an artifact had come to be buried under layers of dirt and rock, if it was anywhere near as valuable as it seemed. He reached out a hoof to grab the disk. As his being came into contact with the disk, he immediately cringed and fell away from the gold as a sudden and burning pain enveloped him. thoughts, motives and desires that were not his flooded into his mind as the purpose and use of the disk all became clear to him. No longer the simple miner pony, a smile slowly spread across his face as he grabbed the disk, and became enveloped in a purple light before disappearing into nothingness.
"So, how exactly does one put on these runes of power?" John asked, looking at Celestia, hoping she would say something simple, like 'you paint them on' rather than some sort of complex magic voodoo crap. He really could not handle more weirdness beating him up every chance it got.
The princess brought ta hoof to her chin, deep in thought trying to recall exactly how to complete the ceremony involved with acquiring the runes. "Ah-ha! I remember! Just follow me, John, and I will explain once we reach a more private area." John was confused as to why they needed to be in a private place, but followed the princess nonetheless, leaving behind the six confused mares.
John and the Princess walked down more of the impressive, searing white halls, passing by more and more twists and curves, John second attempts at making a mental map failing miserably yet again. After many minutes, they reached a door, just a little taller than John and Celestia. The door was enveloped in a blue aura, Celestia's horn similarly glowing as the door was opened. Celestia walked into the room, John following her after a moment of hesitation.
The room was utterly lacking in furniture, other than a plush red rug that smothered the floor. The walls were a gray knock-off of the pristine whites of everything else. Celestia walked to the far side of the small room, before sitting down on the rug. John sat across from her, unsure what exactly was going to happen. Celestia gave a mischievous grin, before stating with as much menace as her cheerful voice could manage, "Lets begin, shall we?"
Twilight, Applejack, Pinkie-Pie, rarity, Fluttershy, and rainbow dash were tired of waiting. It had been roughly an hour; Twilight had checked with a spell. Rainbow Dash was trying to pass time by doing lazy loops through the large, spacious room they were in. Pinkie was playing a game of chess with Fluttershy, though no-pony knew where exactly she got the chess board from. Rarity was absently brushing her mane, looking out through one of the huge windows. Applejack was simply watching Pinkie and Fluttershy play chess.
They all looked up from what they were doing when the return of Celestia and John was announced with the now familiar sound of the massive entry doors opening. they saw Celestia enter the room, nothing different about her. Then they all let out a gasp when John walked in.
He still had his dull brown cloak on, but it was no longer over his shoulder like a shroud. It now hung behind him like a cape, revealing the cloths below. he wore gray, digital camo pants, tons of pockets in the typical military fashion. A dull green shirt, covered with dirt and grime, was covered with belts holding knives and pockets for whatever he needs to hold. The biggest change was his right arm.
Red patterns arching across his skin were tattooed to him in the form of glowing red symbols. Flowing purple lines swirled in spiraling patterns, floating half an inch above his skin. Clear purple plates of magic covered his knuckles and joints, giving the limb an armored appearance. On the back of his hand was a pattern of a closed eye, and on his palm, an open mouth filled with razor sharp teeth.
John looked at all of the mares in front of him, each of them gaping like they had forgotten that Christmas was tomorrow. He smiled, soaking in the attention like a dry old rag. Going for a cliche, he flexed his arm, giving a grunt as he did. This caused everypony present to burst into a bout of uncontrollable giggles. His smile grew larger at the sight, and he felt strangly... like a part of everything. Like he belonged here. It was incredibly surreal.
Celestia allowed them a little bit of laughter, before moving on to business. "I hate to interrupt your play, but we have more pressing matters, wouldn't you agree?" Everypony gained an ashamed look, glancing at the floor. "I will have some guards bring what you will need for this journey." Celestia walked out of the hall, not even bothering to close the massive door.
Everyone just stood there, now unsure of what to do. they now had a sense of urgency and importance shoved onto their shoulders, making it feel like they were undermining the issue if they simply went back to silly shenanigans. So they simply stood there, each and every one of them trying to think of something to break the ice.
Their struggles were relived, much to their inner thanks, when princess Celestia arrived again, this time with seven guards in tow, each wearing large and durable looking packs, presumably filled with survival equipment and food and water and such. A guard walked up to one pony/person each, and slipped the packs off of their backs onto the ground, accompanied by the sound of rustling and tinkling sounds from within the bags.
the packs were picked up and placed upon our hero's backs, John somehow fitting despite its equine design. Celestia nodded, satisfied that they were ready for the journey ahead of them, before barking out in a very official sounding voice, "My most faithful student and friends, plus one human, are you ready to depart on your journey?" they all nodded, while steeling themselves for whatever lay ahead. "then go to the exit of the main castle; Twilight will know the way. Take my chariot to Ponyville, and start your search from there. Good luck, everypony!"
Twilight led the way through the many maze-like halls of Canterlot castle. No one spoke up, just wordlessly following Twilight wherever she may lead. John thought about what he was leaping into, with hardly any idea what this world was like. For all he knew, there were Manticore's everywhere, and fighting them was a common occurrence. Of course, unknown to his pony companions, the magic in his arms did more than locate and seal the dimensional rifts. The princess had made sure he and her student would be safe.
Eventually, after what seemed like an un-countable amount of time, they arrived at the exit to the castle. It was perhaps more grand than the throne room. Expertly trimmed hedges lined the door frame, tiles of a rich crimson flowing out of the entryway like a river. Fresh air was blowing across John's body, and felt simply blissful. However, when they all walked towards a golden chariot, which was strung to two more guards, John got a massive case of vertigo when he realized there was an edge, and that the edge looked over a land that was hard to make out, due to clouds obscuring the view.
John stumbeled away from the edge. They were above the clouds. The clouds. He had always had a fear of heights, and the fact that they were on some sort floating castle or something scared him, to say the least. Everypony else just looked at him like his reaction was weird.
Understanding slowly dawned on Twilight, and she trotted over to John to help him up. "Come on, your not going to fall." she slowly eased him to his feet, walking him to the chariot, before, hopping on herself. After a second of hesitation, John followed. He could hear barley contained giggling behind him, but decided that it wasn't worth the effort to silence it.
The guards attached to the chariot spread their wings, before leaping off of the castle and into the vast expanse of land below. For a few seconds, the ropes didn't pull on the chariot, but then they suddenly snapped taut before dragging John and the ponies along with the chariot. It flew through the air at an unnaturally smooth way. there was no rocking or anything.
As soon as he wasn't plummeting, John sighed in relief, glad that the horrible falling feeling was over. He once again heard the giggleing, and he turned around, ready to face the culprit. rainbow Dash was trying her best not to fall off the chariot, she was laughing so hard. She could almost feel the daggers being stared into her head when she looked up to see John staring at her with an intense amount of rage. it frightened Rainbow Dash in a way see didn't know how to describe. Like you should watch your back at every living moment.
the chariot slowly began a downward decent. Pinkie Pie peered over the edge, and gave her signature gasp of surprise. "Hay! were almost there! Now I can finally turn my sink off! Hooray!" Indeed, they were close, closer than Pinkie made it sound. In only a few moments, they felt the jostling of touching down on the ground.
They all hopped out, ready to find their first dimensional tear. This raised the question of how does on find a dimensional rift? Everypony looked to John, deciding that he was the most likely to know. "Alright, lets hurray up and find a portal thing." he said, only hints of excitement in his voice.
He raised his right hand into the air. He gave a grunt, everypony gasping when they saw the mouth on the palm of his hand begin to move, knashing its teeth over and over. John placed the hand over his right eye, and a distinct crunch could be heard, almost sickening in nature. yet another round of gasps was given when the eye on the back of the hand opened, revealing the blood-shot iris and pupil inside. the eye began frantically looking around, before focusing an one spot in a direction Twilight and her friends recognized all too well.
It was looking at the Everfree forest.
With a horrible squelching sound, John tore his hand from his face, giving a sharp intake of breath as it left his face with a sizzling pop. He fell to the ground, shivering all over. Everypony rushed to his side, all of them worried for his safety. He was breathing in quick, pained breaths, his body shuddering every time he did so. Slowly, slowly the shivering and shuddering stopped, and his breathing returned to normal.
He stared at his right hand, now worried that it might try to eat his face. The entire process hadn't acually hurt, but it had left this empty chill in his body. He wanted to do that as little as possible. He glanced up, past the ponies surrounding him, and towards the direction the eye had pointed him. He could still see the red aura in the distance, a strange outline of the forest roof that did not belong there.
John shakily got to his feet, the shivers leaving his spine. he took a deep breath in, before calmly looking into each of the ponies eyes. "Well, lets hurry up and go!" he began walking toward the red aura, not even checking to see if they were following or not.
"Hold on, sugarcube! Were ah' comin'!" They all gave a quick dash to catch up with the slowly retreating form of John. When they caught up, he didn't speak to them, simply acknowledging that they were there. Everyone just walked in silence, this time guided by John rather than Twilight.
They reached the edge of the Everfree forest in only a brief few moments, pausing when they came upon its edge. Everyone but John was quaking in their hooves. They had all had many frighting experiences and troubles brought by this forest. But john only had one such experience, not a lifetime of fear.
He walked forward, confident in his ability to handle whatever this forest threw at him. He could take it. He had taken so much on before, this was not a new experience. He could hear the other following behind him, entirely reliant on his ability to lead them through. He would not let them down, he couldn't. That wasn't how he worked.
An endless sea of green passed them as they continued to march through the thick undergrowth of the Everfree Forest. Chirping of birds and buzzing of insects could be heard from all sides, deafening compared to the silence that prevailed their group. Shadows dappled the ground, shifting as one with the canopy of lush leaves.
They were close. John could feel it, a numbing vibration of his muscles. Adrenalin began pumping through his body as it prepared itself for whatever lay ahead, all of John's body's own accord. He began stepping lighter, leaving all but a whisper of sound where he stepped. He could see a clearing ahead, right where the portal was, a dazzling array of light pouring through the gap in the thick roof of leaves and branches.
He almost stepped into the clearing, before he saw something that did not belong with the picture. Something that should not be there, something he hadn't thought of, or even occurred to anypony, Princess Celestia included. There, standing in front of the brilliant display of purple mist and light, an unnatural vortex of color, was a pony chanting in a deep, rhythmically voice, speaking words and syllables that John could not decipher or understand. Floating next to the ash-gray pony was a disk of gold, an almost liquid purple dripping off of its surface, light bending and fracturing as a purple mist floated away from it and into the portal.
It took a moment for this to sink into John and company's minds. There, standing in plain view, was a pony in the process of assisting or creating a portal, tearing a rift through dimensions as if it were as tough as butter. They stood dumbfounded, not believing that this wasn't simply a natural occurrence, but the efforts of a pony with motives and reasons unknown to them.
They had to act, had to prevent the completion of this tear through time and space. Almost as one, they leaped out of the undergrowth and bushes, and into the clearing. John did not wait for the pony in front of him to notice his presence, he announced it himself, in a loud and angry voice. "STOP! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR DOING?!" the ashen pony startled, before turning around to face the intruder upon his plans.
He did a double take when he did not see another pony, but instead a strange creature that stood six feet tall, and wore a large brown cloak. The creatures face was flush with aggression. The stallion didn't know what this creature was, but it had spoken and could go off at any second, by the looks of things. Only then did he notice the six mares standing behind the thing, all of them bearing equally enraged expressions.
It was then that the stallion also became angry, angry that these ponies and things were trying to stop him, dared to go against his goals. He could not tolerate a disturbance, and the situation must be dealt with immediately. He went into a charging stance, brushing his hoof against the ground, preparing to dash strait at them. The mares did likewise, but the strange creature did no such thing. Instead, it slowly, with an almost practiced precision, pulled back the right side of it's cloak, revealing the mass of red tattoos and lines that covered its arm.
The stallion took this as the signal to strike. He began barreling towards the group, forming a cone of magic that he should not have into a spear of deadly magic. The mares began to charge, put the strange creatures held his hand out to its side, gesturing for them to stop. The stallion continued his charge, noticing the confused looks the mares were giving the creature. He smiled. His spear of magic versus some strange tattooed animal would end badly for the latter, he was sure of it.
John allowed a smile onto his lips as the stallion in front of him charged, some sort of magical spear floating in front of it. John signaled his nerves to unleash the restraints set upon his arm, and the tattoos spread across his whole body, unnatural strength and energy coursing through his body, filling his whole being with a sense of power and superiority. He could feel magic surroundig him, giving him an elated high of satisfaction at how simply good it felt.
"Come and get some."
A/N: by the way, I got a proof reader, so the quality should improve a lot. Other than that, no new news. Other than that episode three was amazing, of course.