It is hard to say when their civilization fell into chaos. Majestic and just, the castles and lands that belonged to what are known as humans were a sight to behold. There was no hunger, thirst, or conflict. Through almost a thousand years of a world war, a warlord whose name was lost to time, crushed his enemies and sat at the throne of the world. It is not with him however that the prosperity started.
It was his son, Belthar, who was the cause of that. His father was a tyrant and a cruel master. Belthar however, was a student of chivalry and honor. His values were simple. Protect the weak and innocent, listen to his people, and learn. Only a king who acknowledged his ignorance of the world could learn and grow with his people. So when the warlord died, and Belthar became king, things were altogether different right from the start.
From what recorded history is left, it was a period of time known as the Age of Transition. Thirty years is what it took to clean up the bloody victory his father had won. Calling forth a council of old royalty from the conquered countries, Belthar redrew borders. He gave back what his father stole in exchange for the vows of the would be kings.
"Protect the weak and innocent, listen to your people, and learn. Learn so we all may grow."
The world flourished under these words. Its people wanted for nothing. Peace fell over the land like a warm blanket, comforting and protecting everything it covered. Things seemed so perfect. Too perfect. The evil in the world was unwelcome in the land of the humans. Pushed away into the very depths of existence it festered and grew. Evil could not regain its hold on the lands with force like it had before in the hearts of men.
So it chose a different route, taking a form so small it could not be seen. This new evil had a name. Plague. No one knows how or when it struck, or how long it took to bring this mighty ring of kingdoms down. But like the tide eating away at a cliff side, there was no stopping it. Cities fell and castles crumbled, and the world was once again plunged into an era of despair.
In a forest a few miles from a small fishing village was a young girl by the name of Krysta. Daughter of a net maker and his wife, she was nothing special. Though she held 14 years under her belt she was small and unfortunately thin. Partially from being malnourished and partially from her mother's genes. Though her skin didn't cling to her bones it was easy to see that she may have missed a few meals.
The frizzled and ragged golden blonde hair adorned her head brushed against her face as she worked, it being tied off in two thick braids for comfort and convenience. Brilliant, emerald green eyes were sharp with concentration as she pushed her back against a large mass of stone, her feet digging into the ground.
"Come on rock, move!" The voice of the young girl rang out through the trees, filled with the grunts and groans of hard labor. "Dumb Rock!"
The rock in question was more of a boulder, large and jagged. It rested against another of it's kind, tilted and leaving a small space between the two. A perfect place to find some mushrooms, which happened to be Krysta's task. She had tried reaching her arm into the space to see if she could find any that way but it was too large, and her arms were too short. There had to be mushrooms in there. And by golly Krysta was going to get them come hell or high water!
She gave it one more strong heave, her lips parting to release a loud and stressed grunt. With a sound of grinding between the two stones it fell, gravity pulling Krysta with it before she realized it. The thud of her landing next to the rock was drowned out by the noise from the rock itself, the sound echoing loudly in the lonely and quiet forest. Brushing herself off with shaky hands Krysta grinned, the anticipation growing with her pulse.
"Alright rock, let's see what you were hiding." Giving the boulder a small pat of praise, Krysta ran around it and gasped. "Mushrooms!" The loud exclamation echoed through the forest as she looked upon the largest group of the fungi she had ever seen!
"Mother will be so excited! I can't wait to sho---" Her self commentary was cut short by the scream of a woman, not too far from where she was. The smile of excitement from her find slowly transformed into a grim frown unbefitting a fourteen year old. Her village was under attack.
Krysta was up in a flash, running through the trees without a look back at her treasure. If the village survived this she could always go back after all, she reminded herself as her feet made swift tracks through the topsoil of the forest. The speed of her legs quickly brought her to the edge of the forest, her muscles crying out in protest. Her expression dropped completely, the only feature upon her face making any sort of movements being the reflection in her deep, emerald eyes.
The scene playing out on her eyes was like that of a horror story. Men and women running from the village only to be caught and slaughtered just beyond the gates. As the reflection continued on its screen began to change. Her eyes could almost be seen darkening with the rage that burned within her, the muscles in her hands clenching them into fists so hard it caused her knuckles to turn white.
"Help! Someone help me!" Furious green eyes turned to the direction of the sound, catching sight of a man being chased down by two others. The two men had looks of glee on their faces as they eventually ran him down.
She watched as each took turns stabbing the villager, making a competition out of how much blood they could get on their blades in one thrust. Krysta's fury doubled and took hold of her, causing her body to move without thinking. Taking hold of a stone in the death like grip her hand held, Krysta went back into the trees so she could get closer without being seen. Once more her legs protested the unwanted exercise, her footfalls making contact with the ground so hard they made noise even on the soft, thick topsoil. A split second after she closed the distance the fury of her eyes latched onto one of the men, her arm reaching back before lobbing her weapon towards his unprotected head.
Her aim proved true and with a howl of pain and a dull thud, it made contact with his temple, blood already able to be seen coming from the wound. A grin formed on her lips as she watched, waiting for him to go down. To her horror, he didn't. Instead the man touched at his head and gave a furious growl, eyes searching for the stone's origin. A grin formed on his lips when he caught sight of her running back into the forest.
"Feisty. I like that." His lips curled up into a cruel smile, dark brown eyes filled with mischief turning towards his partner. "Let's go say hi. It would be awfully rude of us not to introduce ourselves."
Both laughed heartily and waved another of their mates down who happened to be rather nearby having fun of his own. With a quick explanation and a hearty laugh between the three, each fell into line behind the other, following Krysta's footfalls with their own in chase.
Krysta's previous anger was replaced with fear as the realization set in, her face twisting into the new found emotion. These men were going to kill her! Or even worse... She had to get away! She just had to!
Ducking and diving between trees and rocks, Krysta's body was lithe and fluid as the experience of knowing the forest overtook her usually sound thoughts. Her chest rose and fell with quickened breaths as her pace exceeded her normal standards. A fact that was not lost on our would be bandit fighter. The pain in her muscles and chest worked their way into her head, each motion slowing with the ticking seconds.
Her joints were starting to stiffen so much a sound of creaky hinges could almost be heard. Emerald green eyes filled with discomfort warily looked behind her in search of the bandits. They were nowhere to be found!
With a bone grinding halt Krysta's lithe form collapsed onto the forest floor, every fiber of her being screaming for relief. She had not run so hard for so long in her entire life. Though pain was not foreign to her, the physical ache of the sprint was far too new for her, or her body's, liking.
In her small respite, green eyes stared skyward in a half lidded gaze, the threat of sleep making itself known to her senses. That could not be tolerated. With lips parted to release a pained groan from her heaving chest, Krysta sat up just in time for the sound of distant voices to shock her into a state of total awareness. She hadn't lost them at all.
Her next attempt to run failed miserably before it even began. Her arms could push herself up but her legs refused to work to their fullest. With the voices drawing nearer the adrenaline that rushed into her blood stream said otherwise. This time however, instead of running around a tree, she ran to it.
In one huge push of will power and effort Krysta launched herself skyward, one of her sore limbs using the tree trunk as a stepping pad for an extra push. Lithe fingers made their way around a low hanging branch, their strength unwavering from the run. A small praise to the gods left her lips as she began to pull herself up, the effort and concentration needed for this making it impossible for her to spot three armed figures sneaking up behind her.
The scream that left her lips as the rough hand wrapped around her ankle was cut short, the swift drop the the ground seeing to that. The hard surface of a protruding root made contact with the back of her head in an almost sickeningly loud thud as the short fall was proven to be quite dangerous, especially being pulled down with the force that she had been.
Though a fan of the night sky with it's many wonders, the stars that she was forced to look upon now only proved to terrify the poor girl to no end. With her eyesight almost totally gone for these moments, and the pain in her head and back throbbing to no end, she couldn't fully comprehend what the bandits were doing. Unfortunately, her hearing was still working perfectly.
"Mmm, almost got away from us. Can't have that now can we boys?" Chuckle filled agreements filled the air, coming from all directions. Krysta's heart beat could almost be seen against her chest as the fear settled into her in earnest.
Her vision cleared after a moment, bright green eyes filled with pain and terror taking in the three men. Each one had grin bigger than the last, amusement and evil in their expressions. Scrambling up to her hands and knees in one last ditch effort to get away she received a boot to her back before she could get her sore muscles working beyond a few short jerks. Tears of pain formed in her eyes as she was slammed into the ground for the second time, the boot pressing down on her spine enough to almost break it.
When it released it's pressure on her tender spine, two of the men grabbed her and stood her up, pushing her against the tree she tried to hide in. The man who she had hit with the rock sneered at her, wiping a hand along his bleeding wound. Dragging his coarse fingers over the blood he took the time to rub his thumb over his fingers, spreading it around a bit. In one swift motion the muscles in his arm stiffened and released in a way that brought his open palm against her cheek in an ear splitting smack of skin on skin. The pain was so sudden that Krysta couldn't react in time to scream.
"There you go. Much prettier." He jeered at her as a look of utter disgust, shock, and pain adorned her features. "Now then missy, that wasn't very nice of you. But seeing as how that root already did the job for me, I have to think of another way for you to repay me."
All three men chuckled under their breath causing Krysta to shudder. The man who she struck undid his sword belt and dropped it to the forest floor next to him, his eyes gaining a crazed look. The realization hit her brain hard but didn't quite reach her muscles. One could almost see her nervous system burn as the signals moved their way down, the sheer amount of information they were carrying shorting out her systems. As they reached their intended targets her response came out in an explosion of writhing muscles and desperate screams.
"No! No get away! Leave me alone!" Her shrill voice was filled with horror as he continued to undress. "NOO!!!" Though her legs were far from their prime, a last ditch effort of retaliation sent one towards the man's now armor less crotch. Her strike never found it's mark, and instead was caught in the calloused hand of the bandit.
As her emerald eyes moved up towards the man, the last thing she saw were his knuckles speeding toward her. The strike was never felt. Her world darkened, her last conscious thoughts filled with his words before everything went quiet.
"Now spread her legs. Then you can each take a turn."
Krysta's eyes fluttered open, a throbbing headache welcoming her back to the world of the living. For the longest moment, the small girl could do nothing but blink and breath, her brain having not caught up yet. Her thoughts were fogged over, dulling her thinking and causing her to simply stare off into the wilds for was seemed like an eternity.
Still in the forest where her memories put her, Krysta drug a hand a hand through the dirt as if to test if it was real. Though she had a headache, nothing else seemed to hurt. No scrapes from being pulled from the tree or even the back of her head that struck the root. She inspected the back of her head with shaking fingers and found no traces of a bump. Or any evidence of a fall for that matter.
A breeze rolled through the trees and caused her to shiver some, her arms crossed over her chest. Another realization caught her at that moment as goose bumps formed. Her clothes were gone! Even the bands that held her hair in her usual braids were nowhere to be found. Her heartbeat doubled in an instant, sending the fog from her brain causing her thoughts to suddenly crash into each other left and right.
In her small bout of confusion and panic she attempted to stand. Attempted being the key word here as she simply fell back without even the slightest resistance. Her entire body felt so weak, as if gravity had doubled. Her arms felt strained just from lifting one up to rub at the back of her head once more in hopes of finding a bump to explain all of this.
With another push she managed to stand, this time holding herself up with the tree. Another scan of her eyes proved that all of her belongings were gone. Did the bandits take them? Why would they take he---
The memories crashed into her so hard she fell to the ground again, tears falling from her eyes. The look of sheer panic and disbelief was so intense that she could feel the strain it placed on her facial muscles. A trembling hand made it's way down her body, unable to look at what may have happened. Each breath was harsher than the last, every pump of her heart felt through her entire body was as if she were being struck with a sledge hammer. The closer her hand came to it's intended target, the worse it got. That is until nothing met her fingers other than herself. No pain, no blood, not even a sign of what could have happened. She decided right there to inspect every part of herself.
"They...didn't touch me." Her voice whispered to itself in shock after every inch of herself was scrutinized with merciless eyes. In truth, it seemed like she was in perfect condition. Aside from the lack of food and weakness of course. No scrapes, bruises, or pain whatsoever except her headache.
The grin that fell upon her lips couldn't be torn away even by the mightiest of beasts. She was alive, everything was in order, and there were no bandits to be found. Her spirits were as high as the clouds in her, "I am alive", high. Tapping into this energy to get herself standing Krysta's voice rang into the woods in a resounding laugh. Things might just turn out ok.
With loud cracks of branches being broken behind Krysta as she ran, she turned her head to look back at the monstrosity chasing her. A winged lion with a scorpion tail! The beast had caught her wandering about the forest mere moments before, deciding she would be a rather easy meal.
"This can't be happening. Why is this happening!?" Her voice rang out over and over in a desperate plea to whatever deity might be listening. "I promise once I get home I won't sneak any more of mother's sprouts while she is cooking them! A-and I will even clean up the whole house! Even the yard! Please oh PLEASE just get me out of this!!"
Her prayers seemed to go unanswered as the beast drew ever closer, the distance between them dwindling to almost nothing by then. In desperation Krysta grabbed hold of a fallen tree limb and swung, striking it in the face. The loud howl of pain and anger caught her off guard enough for her not to notice the large clawed paw coming at her in time, striking her side and launching her against a nearby tree. The impact knocked the wind out of her, her pupils pin pricks with the pain. Clutching her already bruising sides Krysta peered up in time to see the scorpion tail come down and make contact with her shoulder. With a sound of flesh and a loud, surprised gasp, the stinger imbedded itself into her.
Time stood still as Krysta's eyes grew wide, a warm liquid invading her blood stream. "P... poison" Her tiniest of whispers were only heard by her and the manticore, the latter of which almost looked like it was smirking. With a wet sound of flesh the singer withdrew, leaving a bleeding wound. It took all of four seconds for Krysta to collapse on her side, her vision growing blurry and her mind numbing.
From the corner a black and white blur could be seen, speaking in a quick voice that she couldn't understand. With a flash of powder and magic the manticore fled from it's attacker, leaving it and Krysta. With great effort she tilted her head up, narrowing her eyes in hopes to see who it was that had frightened the beast off. It slowly approached her, allowing Krysta a small glimpse with the closed distance.
"Black and white...stripes?" Unable to process what was happening with the poison running through her veins, Krysta allowed herself to fall into the blackness once again. Everything seemed to be happening so fast that her body was shutting down, her brain fighting with her emotions on how to comprehend it all.
The black and white striped being in question, named Zecora, watched the strange creature with curiosity and worry. With one glance to the wound the manticore had inflicted she gathered Krysta up and slung the girl onto her back with little to no effort.
"The wound and poison have run so deep. We must get you to my home, or you shall forever sleep." Her signature rhyming voice was filled with worry as she carried this poor creature towards her hut, thoughts on the jar of manticore anti-venom in her cupboard.
A certain butter yellow pegasus with bright pink hair was quite surprised that Zecora decided to give her a personal visit. Most of the time it was one of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, an adorable though mostly aggravating trio of fillies attempting to get their cutie marks, or Twilight. The lavender unicorn was always curious about Zecora's form of magic, after all. The two in question were currently walking side by side down a now-well-traveled path, trees surrounding them.
"Zecora, I don't understand. What kind of animal is it? If I knew I would be a much better help to the poor thing." Her timid voice was barely audible as they walked, the forest having that effect on her every time she crossed its borders.
Zecora perked an ear in Fluttershy's direction but said nothing. She simply turned to the pegasus and shook her head with a grim frown. The sign that simply says, I don't know. Zecora could not even begin to fake knowledge about the strange creature she found in the forest, bleeding and poisoned.
"Fluttershy, it's origin is a mystery. Even to one knowledgeable, such as me." Zecora's voice matched her grim frown, the situation obviously not much better.
Fluttershy nodded in understanding, the tone not lost on her. When the hut came into view, time having passed enough for her thoughts to wander, Fluttershy immediately froze. "Wait, so you think it might be...dangerous? You did find it in the Everfree Forest after all..." The timid pony shrank into herself, half of her face concealed by pink locks. Zecora shook her head once more, answering in her usual style of rhyming.
"Dear Fluttershy, for sure I cannot say. But if it is I have brews to keep it, at bay." The zebra offered Fluttershy a comforting smile which she accepted immediately. Zecora has proven herself a true friend and gave the mare no cause to distrust her word.
With the creak of Zecora's door they entered the hut, eyes immediately falling onto the mysterious creature. Krysta's small frame could hardly be seen among the cloth that made up her bed's covers. This of course was due to her size and state of health.
"I have done all I can, but without you, I have no plan." Zecora whispered to a very curious Fluttershy as she approached the unconscious Krysta. In an act of shocking bravery Fluttershy made it to the side of the bed and looked down upon the poor creature, the sight of the bloody bandages upon it's shoulder causing her eyes to well up.
"You poor thing. I know Zecora said you were attacked by a manticore but I didn't think it was this bad." She affectionately nuzzled her nose against one of Krysta's cheeks, the creatures facial features no different from any others. Two eyes, two cheeks, a nose, a mouth, and two ears.
"It is so tiny." Lifting up the covers a bit Fluttershy inspected the sleep Krysta and nodded. "I am very certain it is a she. She is so strange looking though. Her teats are up on her chest and her limbs are..." Fluttershy looked at Krysta's hands with wonderment in her eyes. "She has claws but they are so soft. They are squishy even! She has no fur, wait...She has fur but it is so thin. The poor thing must be freezing. I wonder why her coat hasn't come in yet with winter on its way. At least her mane is nice and thick. That will help out some."
Zecora watched in amazement as timid little Fluttershy lit up like a Hearth's Warming Eve tree as she learned about this new animal. Each new observation was another centimeter added to her growing smile. The pony's excitement was so great in fact that she momentarily forgot what she was here for, as well as her own rule about being quiet among sleeping animals. Zecora could only spectate as Krysta stirred, woken from Fluttershy's bout of enthusiastic learning.
By pure reaction, Fluttershy's words stopped so quickly one might think a pony simply stopped time by the clop of one's hooves. Her eyes widened as she watched Krysta stir, the girl's eyes eventually opening. Fluttershy openly gasped as she took in those emerald green eyes. The color was natural, the size wasn't a real factor as all animal eye sizes vary, but the depth took her off guard. There was something about the eyes of Krysta that unsettled her.
Said eyes sluggishly moved towards Fluttershy, sending signals to Krysta's brain that it was simply unable to compute right that moment. Eons passed by as the human girl stared at the unmoving pegasis, a pegasis who remained still as possible in hopes of keeping Krysta calm.
After about a solid minute of Krysta blinking at the mare, three things happened at once. A scream, a thud, and a string of curses Fluttershy and Zecora could not understand. Krysta had in fact done all three in the way of, screaming in shock at the sight of Fluttershy, falling to the floor between the bed and the wall in an attempt to back away from the brightly colored pony, and cursing to the gods themselves when she felt the pain in her shoulder.
Fluttershy and Zecora stared on with wide eyes, the entire thing happening in mere moments. If it wasn't for the fact that Krysta was wounded as she was, the other two in the room might have had to stifle giggles. Being that she was still hurt however gave both of them cause to check the condition of their fallen patient.
Pulling the bed away from the wall to make it easier to get at the human they were met with a very angry Krysta, wielding one of the long necked bottles that Zecora had about her home. It was in fact the bottle of Manticore anti-venom that Zecora had placed on the floor next to the bed after using it on the the wounded Krysta.
Both Fluttershy and Zecora wore unsure smiles as they looked upon a seemingly furious Krysta, taking tiny steps towards her. Krysta wasn't having any of it and sluggishly swung the bottle in their direction, wincing heavily at the pain in her other arm which was laying against her side.
"Now now, calm down sweetie. We are not going to hurt you." Fluttershy's calm and kind voice rose up to meet the human's ears like a melody. Krysta was visibly unnerved by it, though neither Fluttershy nor Zecora could tell why.
Okay, so they can talk. I have no idea what they are saying but that is obviously not random animal noises. Are they intelligent? But how!? They're just animals! Krysta thought to herself as she held the bottle out, attempting to register everything that was happening in speeds she wasn't used to. Using the wall as support, Krysta attempted to stand only to have her injured limb fail her, causing her to slide back down the wall with a pained cry.
A streak of black and white shot for the girl the moment she slipped, the ever aware Zecora taking advantage of the situation to gently pin Krysta against the wall. She would not have a stubborn patient that only made it worse for themselves by not cooperating.
Krysta audibly gasped as she was out maneuvered so easily, not surprising to most given the circumstances. As she was held firmly against the wall thanks to Zecora's natural strength the girl could not help but at least try and struggle. Grunts of pain from her wound and effort from her pushing left Krysta's lips, her eyes closed in concentration.
Said concentration was instantly broken as Fluttershy once again nuzzled her cheek with her nose. Krysta's eyes snapped open and her struggles ceased, the gentleness of the touch catching her off guard. So gentle was it that had Krysta not been extra sensitive due to her nerves practically on fire from everything she would have missed it.
Kind, gentle eyes peered into those deep green expanses, the barrier of language unable to stop the Element of Kindness' message. Krysta tsked loudly and looked away, going limp in hopes Zecora would figure it out and release her.
Zecora in fact did realize what was happening and removed herself from the wall and Krysta, pointing a strong hoof at the bed. Though the language barrier would make it impossible for proper communication, both parties knew of each others' intelligence. With this knowledge behind the ever lasting language of the body, an arguably universal language in its own right, Krysta obeyed.
Not, however, before the human girl spoke to herself in a small bout of disbelief. "Ok, Krysta. You have no idea where you are, what happened to your clothes, or how you made it into the house of a black and white striped...thing. They can talk but you have no idea what they might be saying and now one of them is scolding you like mum used to when you got out of bed while you were sick. Sound about right?" Her words were spoken very quickly to herself, spoken out while she worked her way back to sitting on the bed.
Zecora didn't think that was good enough and simply pushed Krysta with a hoof, the still weakened human falling back with little effort. A sound of distinct displeasure came from Krysta as she fell, a glare reaching her eyes.
"Don't push your luck too much, whatever you are. As soon as I am better I am out of here." Krysta practically growled at the Zebra, the tone not lost on it's recipient. Zecora raised an eyebrow at Krysta's responses, turning to Fluttershy.
"This creature has an angry heart, it must be cooled before trust can start." Zecora fully faced Fluttershy as she continued. "Though animals are your talent, this is true. We cannot treat her is if she was from a zoo. I thought this much, when I saw her in the forest's core. Crying as she fought off a mighty Manticore."
Fluttershy instantly knew what she was getting at, nodding in understanding. "That is why you saved her in the first place." Zecora nodded quickly at that, motioning to the bottle of anti-venom.
"Though I started watching from afar, I had to step in when her shoulder was left ajar. A common animal she was not. A fact that was proven when she was caught. The expression she wore, caused my heart to stir. Hardly a simple animal, would you concur?"
Fluttershy nodded with a small, sad sigh. She could only imagine the fear that was coursing through Krysta at the time of the attack. Looking to the girl they had been talking about all this time she was met with those cold, distrusting eyes. Though Fluttershy could never truly understand, in Krysta's world you NEVER received a kindness unless something was expected of you. It was unheard of.
"Whatever it is you want, you won't get it. I promise you that." Her whispered words were laced with venom, causing Fluttershy to shrink back with the tone. You didn't need to know what someone was saying when they used a tone like that. Who could blame her? She watched her village burn, was almost taken by bandits, and was attacked by some horrifying creature after losing everything she owned. It wasn't exactly a good day so far. On that line of thought, Krysta's wary eyes traveled to the closest window in hopes of estimating a time of day. Surprise took over where distrust once dwelled.
It's dark outside? How long was I asleep? What about my village!? Surprise slowly began to melt into fear and sorrow. Each and every new fact another tear into her heart. She was alone except for these two things in the room, her village was most likely gone, and she had no idea where she was or how she was going to get back safely. Nor did she know if it was even wise for her to go back, seeing as how the bandits probably took over the buildings that were left standing to make camp for the night.
Laying back onto the bed Krysta covered her face with her hands, her thoughts dwelling on darker things. After all, life as she knew it had ended. She could not afford to think positively. That sort of thinking only got you killed. Though she never truly prescribed to that sort of thinking before, as life in the village wasn't all bad, her current situation demanded it of her. There was nothing left, period. Now was the time to think of a way to start over. She couldn't afford to let the loss hit her and blur her thoughts.
Yet, she could not stop the tears from slowly rolling down her cheeks. Though her hands covered her face, they could not hide the tears from Fluttershy and Zecora. Both frowned to each other and left the room, confident that the girl would stay put for now. She was far too weak to just get up and go at the moment.
"Poor dear. Her shoulder isn't the only thing that is hurting. I wonder what is wrong?" Fluttershy whispered to Zecora, forgetting that Krysta could not understand her to begin with.
"I know not, dear Fluttershy. The who, what, how, or why. Tell your friends, of this poor thing's plight. We must be careful, lest she fight." Fluttershy nodded sagely and let herself out, only once looking back at the small creature whose face remained hidden by slim fingers.
Zecora watched her go for a moment, turning back only when Fluttershy was out of sight. Turning to her charge she found the wounded girl had cried herself to sleep during the few minutes they hadn't been watching her. A small smile crept upon Zecora's lips as she shut the door and went deeper into the hut to fix something to eat for the both of them. The herbalist hoped this unique creature ate vegetables.
"Woah Fluttershy, take it easy. What is going on?" A confused Twilight motioned for Fluttershy to sit and take a breath. The butter yellow mare had shown up and just started ranting and yelling. Well, in Fluttershy's case, speaking in a voice that was actually audible from beginning to end.
The pegasus in question indeed sat and took a breath. Whatever it was she was either very excited about it or it was something rather serious. It was hard to tell what a justifiable reason for the pegasus to raise her voice was. When she had relaxed some Fluttershy began again, speaking slower than before but with the same volume.
"You have to come quickly! Zecora found this strange animal in the forest! The poor thing is hurt. She is intelligent as far as we can tell but we can't understand each other. Zecora nor I have ever seen anything like her. We thought maybe you might have read something in one of your books. What I do know is she is very unhappy. The poor thing must be so scared."
The prospect of seeing a new animal that even Fluttershy didn't know about was good enough to convince Twilight, much less the knowledge that the possibly intelligent creature was in a bind so to speak.
"Spike! Stay and watch the Library for a little bit. Fluttershy and I are going out to the forest," she called out into the library, poking her head in through the door. Her purple and green dragon assistant Spike answered immediately.
"Sure thing Twilight! I will keep her nice and safe for ya." Spike grinned and gave her a thumbs up, causing Twilight to get slightly suspicious.
"No eating a tub of ice cream while we are gone," she warned with narrowed eyes, onto his tricks.
"Ah nuts..." He answered and shrugged. "Can't blame me for trying."
Walking back through the doorway, Twilight nodded and exited the library, closing the door with her magic. "Alright Fluttershy, let us go get Applejack and we can go." Twilight said in a confident tone before she started to trot towards Sweet Apple Acres. Fluttershy blinked a few times at the lavender unicorn before she tilted her head in confusion.
"Wait, why do we need Applejack?" Fluttershy knew Twilight was a natural leader and could think on her hooves, but that just didn't seem to make sense to her. Twilight began to explain, an air of brilliance around her.
"Well, you say she is intelligent but also don't know what she is. She obviously can't stay with Zecora in the Everfree Forest so we have to coax her out. Applejack's herding skills might come in handy here. And who knows, she might have an idea of what 'she' is. She does know quite a bit about animals after all."
The logic was sound and Fluttershy nodded, agreeing with the idea. Catching up to Twilight as she continued her way towards the home of their friend, Fluttershy could only hope that Applejack's roping skills weren't needed.
"Twilight... get mah rope," Applejack deadpanned as she witnessed the mayhem going on inside of the hut.
Krysta and Zecora were currently flinging things across the room to each other, the food Zecora made up for them being a part of it. At first it was rather comical but after Applejack was beaned in the head with, well, beans, the novelty had worn off. Fluttershy stared on, her jaw almost to the floor.
"Don't try to trick me! I know that it is poisoned! No one just gives their food away! You can't fool me!" Krysta yelled at the Zebra, not caring that she couldn't be understood. Another handful of food was thrown, her aim proven true as Zecora was pelted with peas, zonked with zucchini, and plastered with potatoes.
Twilight fished through Applejack's saddlebags to get the desired object, holding it out for Applejack in her magic. It took less then a moment for Applejack to accept the rope, get it moving through the air, and capture one of Krysta's hands in it. The girl's vivid green eyes snapped to the offender, distrust and anger coursing through them at an alarming volume.
As Krysta made a motion to grab hold of the rope to break it's grip on her wrist Applejack took advantage. Many misunderstood curses later both of Krysta's wrists were tied up in a solid knot and she was sitting on the ground, angry tears in her eyes. Applejack gave her a warning glare from where she was, her hoof planted on the rope to stop the small female from trying anything funny.
"Will somepony please explain what in the hay is going on!?" Applejack suddenly exclaimed, eying Zecora as if questioning why she had to tie this creature up. The weary zebra sat up and took a breath, explaining the situation as thoroughly as possible. Applejack listened to the whole thing before once again taking on a deadpan expression.
"Will somepony please talk normal?" she asked the other two present, never having truly understood Zecora's odd way of speaking. Twilight stepped up and looked down upon the human, eyes scanning every inch of her. What a curious little thing she was!
"Apparently Zecora tried to give her something to eat. She is malnourished by the looks of it, and she has a wound. But she just threw it in Zecora's face. Literally." Looking about the hut she saw food and broken bottles everywhere. Not unlike what it looked like after the Poison Joke incident. "Things just escalated from there."
Applejack looked down at the captive girl, thoughts instantly switching over to big sister mode. "Won't eat huh? Well ah know how t'fix that. But ah think we should get'er away from here before she breaks somethin' else." The cowpony looked about the disheveled hut, pitying Zecore for the day of cleaning ahead of her.
"Beware little ponies, her wrath is unending. Perhaps something must be broken, before there is hope of bending." Now that, Applejack did understand. It was common that sometimes animals need to be broken in before they behaved. It was not unlike dealing with a child in a way. The parent, or perhaps older sibling, needed to prove they were in charge without a shadow of a doubt before they could teach the child anything. Otherwise they couldn't be taken seriously.
Twilight sighed at the prospect of such a thing but knew the method was sound. Just look at Fluttershy's stare. They needed to show this girl that they were in charge before they could start to help her, end of discussion.
Meanwhile, Krysta had stared intently at the floor, cursing under her breath and twisting her wrists every so often. She couldn't hope to untie herself. It boggled her mind that this bright orange animal was able to perform such a feat with only it's mouth! In any case, her mind was mostly on how to get away. Unfortunately, things seemed rather grim for her.
The three elements all looked at each other, waiting for anything else to be added. When nothing was they all nodded and faced Krysta, each with a different expression. Fluttershy looked ready to cry, Twilight seemed intrigued, and Applejack was entirely determined. This particular combination didn't sit well with Krysta, but there wasn't much she could do about it.
Taking the rope back into her mouth Applejack took her hoof off of it to allow Krysta to stand. She did so, albeit shakily. This didn't go unnoticed by the trio. Handing off the end of the rope to Twilight's magic Applejack made her way behind Krysta. The human girl was only about a head taller than the ponies themselves but was that was the only thing she had over them. Height wasn't everything after all.
Krysta watched the exchange with distrusting eyes, her face screwed into an expression of discomfort and annoyance. What were they planning? Where were they taking her? How is that orange one so darn fast!? Applejack had gotten behind her and suddenly swooped under her between her legs, causing her to straddle the mare's back like Spike rides on Twilight. In the brief moment of shock Krysta didn't notice the rope growing taught and her arms being repositioned slight around Applejack's neck.
The rope was held in Applejack's mouth once more, close enough to the knot that Krysta would not be able to choke her should she try. Applejack hardly thought she had the strength to but better safe than sorry. When everything settled into place Krysta's surprise wore off and she began to fight it.
Applejack sent a look to Twilight, the lavender mare understanding immediately. A magical aura formed around the small girl, stopping any movement she attempted. A groan of frustration left Krysta's lips as she tried to break free, eyes wide in fear.
What was this strange thing around her? How could she not move? That purple one...it's horn is glowing! It must be it's fault! But how could it do something like this? Frustration turned into desperation soon after as she found no budge. Moisture formed in her eyes as the pain and the feeling of being so powerless sank into her. As the seconds wore on desperation devolved once again into sheer panic, tears flowing freely from terrified green eyes.
Twilight almost stopped what she was doing but continued as Applejack gave her a swift shake of her head. "I hope you know what you are doing Applejack..." Twilight's saddened voice came laced with regret. She took absolutely no pleasure in this. In fact, she hated it. She was reducing this poor thing to tears and giving her reason to fear them. This is not what she wanted.
For a few minutes more Krysta fought and fought, the weariness showing after a time. Soon her struggles desisted entirely, leaving her panting and sobbing against the back of Applejack's head. Handing off her hat to Fluttershy so Krysta wouldn't knock it off on their way back she motioned for Twilight to stop the magic, releasing Krysta from it's hold.
Applejack too, released the rope from her grip and turned her head back to the crying girl that rested on her back. As if rehearsed, Twilight and Fluttershy stood next to the two of them on each side, each tenderly nuzzling Krysta's neck and sides, frowning all the while.
She was not a mindless animal and could not simply "be broken". Though it was a step, there also needed to be affection and comfort. It was the balance that showed a colt or filly that, though sometimes they get punished, it is never out of hatred or spite. It showed that they care and did what they did for their own good. This is what they needed to show Krysta as well.
Looking to each pony in turn through tear fogged eyes she buried her face into Applejack's mane, struggling no more. She even held onto Applejack's neck so she wouldn't fall off without the need of the rope. They didn't remove it just yet, but it was a start.
Nodding to the other two Applejack started the trek towards Ponyville, taking slow and even steps as to not disturb her passenger. Waving to Zecora, Twilight and Fluttershy followed along, never straying too far from the crying female, just in case she needed another reminder that tough love is still love.
Due to the slow pace at which the ponies walked they didn't make it out of the forest until Celestia had already started to raise the sun. It had been rather late when the three had made it back to Zecora's in the first place, only to add on the slow and careful trek through the forest. It wasn't the best of times even with the well traveled path they had taken.
Krysta had eventually fallen asleep against the warm Applejack, her tears having stopped about half way through the journey making it a much more comfortable situation. Twilight and Fluttershy looked rather tired by now, each giving Applejack a look of wonderment as she didn't look the least bit tired. And that was even with carrying the human around. Growing up on an orchard has it's pluses after all they guessed.
“What now Twilight? Where do you think we should take her?” Fluttershy piped up with a slow, tired voice. Though she would have loved to go to bed she would not rest until Krysta was taken care of. Applejack and Twilight seemed to have the same thought as they stopped, taking a bit of time to figure out a plan now that they were out of the forest.
“Well, we can't take her into Ponyville. I don't think that would be the best idea. What about your house Fluttershy? It is close by and a ways from Ponyville.” Twilight offered her idea with a motioning hoof towards the cottage that was a mere few minutes trot away. Fluttershy looked on before slowly shaking her head.
“I don't think that would be a good idea either. I have all the animals I need to take care of. If she doesn't like animals or acts like she did at Zecora's, the animals, or even her, could get hurt. It wouldn't be any better than Ponyville....at least that is what I think...” She whispered on at the end as if she didn't believe her input had value.
Fluttershy and Twilight both sighed before they looked over at Applejack. The orange earth pony blinked at them before their looks caused something to click in her head. Her head moved between Krysta and her friends in disbelief, wondering if they were serious. A raised eyebrow from Twilight and a small meep from Fluttershy due to Applejack's stare caused the cowpony to groan.
“Alright. Ah'll take her to the farm. We have a room open anyways. But ah won't be baby sittin'! Me and Big Macintosh still have a lot a work to do. If she stays with me y'all are gonna have to come and work with her proper until we can figure out somethin' else.” Before Applejack could even finish her stipulations Twilight and Fluttershy smiled and gave Applejack half hugs as to not wake the sleeping human. Applejack smiled and hugged back before continuing.
“Ah mean it though! Y'all will have ta keep an eye on her while she's there. I won't have her disturbing mah family's work or peace. Not that I won't help sometimes. This poor thing'll need everypony she can. We just gotta be careful is all.” Both mares nodded in total agreement. Krysta had already proven herself a hoof-ful.
“Fluttershy, go ahead and go get the others. Applejack and I will take her to Sweet Apple Acres. Meet us there. Oh, and also...” Twilight looked at Krysta for a moment, watching goosebumps rise on her skin as a cool morning breeze passed over it. “Have Rarity bring some sewing stuff. I think that getting this poor thing something to wear would be nice. She doesn't have the luxury of fur.”
Fluttershy nodded and took flight, albeit only a few feet from the ground. Applejack and Twilight didn't wait to watch her go, moving on towards a dirt path that led to the orchard. Both remained relatively silent, the only action outside of walking being Twilight using her magic to steady the sleeping human on Applejack's back.
“She sure is a heavy sleeper.” Applejack commented, surprised Krysta could stay asleep this whole time. Twilight just smiled at that, giving AJ a gentle poke to her ribs.
“I know somepony else who was a heavy sleeper too. So much so that she fell asleep upside down attached to an apple cart.” Twilight snickered as Applejack winced, red tinting her cheeks.
“Ah don't know what your talkin' bout.” Applejack simply stated, eyes looking to the side in embarassment. Twilight just giggled, always finding it entertaining when Applejack tried to fib, even in jest. She guessed the Element of Honesty would have trouble with that after all.
Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie had very different reactions to Fluttershy's early morning call. But after about 45 minutes of being lectured on the importance of beauty sleep, complained at about it being a certain pony's day off, and Pinkie Pie, the four friends made their way to Sweet Apple Acres. Well, four friends and a large covered cart that was being hauled by Rarity.
"What do you need all that for?" Rainbow Dash finally asked, unable to stop her curiosity. Rarity gave Rainbow Dash a sly smile before motioning a hoof to the cart.
"Behold! Fabulous clothing gone mobile! After our visit to Appleoosa I realized that some of the smaller towns might not have a proper clothing boutique! Which of course is simply dreadful! Since then I have been working on this! It has everything I need to make beautiful dresses on the go. Twilight even helped me with it, enchanting it so it doesn't make a lady work too hard in pulling it." Rarity struck a pose in her jewel encrusted harness, further inspection of the cart showing it to be, as Rarity would say, "in" this season.
The three ponies who were present could not deny that it was somewhat impressive. Even Rainbow Dash, who didn't care for dresses all that much, nodded her head in approval. It was one thing to be good at something and a whole other thing to be good at something and mobile enough that there is nowhere in Equestria you couldn't work. Rainbow Dash was one of the few who knew of this freedom, being a performance flier and all.
The farm came into view within a few minutes, the four ponies bantering back and forth as they walked. Coming to a stop in front of the house Fluttershy helped Rarity out of her harness while Pinkie Pie and rainbow dash zoomed inside, eager to meet this new "friend" of Fluttershy's. They were met with a very peculiar sight once they got inside.
Krysta had awoken by then and was sitting at the Apple Family's dining table, a slice of apple pie in front of her. Twilight and Applejack sat across from her, amused smiles on their faces and pieces of pies of their own, partially eaten. Krysta was fidgeting uncomfortably, staring down at the piece of pie with a mixed expression.
She didn't dare eat it. It was obviously poisoned, as it had just been given to her without a demand of payment. But then again, the ponies had taken slices from the same pie and ate them without any ill effect. And it smelled simply divine. It was Krysta's uncertainty that gave them such amusement, especially since the small girl was actually salivating at the sight and smell of it. The growls of the girl's stomach didn't help much with this either.
"Okay, so..." Rainbow Dash spoke up, walking over to the table next to Applejack, giving Krysta a momentary distraction. And she thought the other ponies were colorful! Applejack noticed the change in attention and loudly cleared her throat, tapping on the table with a hoof. Rainbow Dash watched this with her own amused grin. "What are you two doing? What is that? Kinda funny lookin isn't she."
The cyan colored mare began to walk around the table giving everyone present a minor panic attack. Krysta for the reason of the multi colored pony with wings getting suddenly closer and the other two because of Krysta's probable reaction. Applejack grabbed hold of Dash's tail and yanked her back.
"Hold up there Dash. This one's trouble. She aint eatin' so me and Twi here have been making her sit here. And she will stay here till she eats. Don't go rilin' her up. She aint used to us yet. Can't give her any surpri- hold the wagon where's Pinkie Pie!?" Applejack asked, looking around to see Pinkie Pie was nowhere to be found. She thought the place was a little too quiet while occupied with the constantly excited pony. "Oh pony feathers..."
The pink pony in question walked out from a hallway just then, raising an eyebrow at the cowpony. "Whats up AJ?" There was a party blower in her hoof. At the same time Twilight, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash cried out in one loud, desperate voice.
"NO SURPRISE PARTY!"
Pinkie Pie's grin lessened some at that. "Awwww, why not? I am sure she would love it!" The earth pony hopped towards the group, Krysta watching this all and wondering if she shouldn't be trying to leave while they are all, well, doing whatever they are doing. Deciding that that was indeed her plan Krysta made a move to leave the chair only for a swell of purple magic to push her back.
With a groan and a whimper Krysta sat back in the chair, looking upon twilight with a distasteful expression at being caught. The unicorn in question sighed and gave her own groan, this one being frustration.
"Why won't she just eat!? We aren't getting anywhere at this rate!" Leaning back in her own chair Twilight looked at a very amused Rainbow Dash. "And what is so funny? You get her to eat then!" The unicorn snapped at Rainbow Dash, only causing the cyan mare to laugh all the harder. It was at that moment Pinkie Pie spoke up.
"Why don't you try taking it away from her?" With her signature grin the pink earth pony said it simple as can be as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Twilight rolled her eyes at that. "Pinkie Pie, she is malnourished and wounded. We WANT her to eat. What good would it do to take it away?" Next to Twilight Applejack face hoofed hard enough to actually make an audible thud.
"Of course! When ah was a filly, ma an' pa always used to take mah food when I didn't like what was for supper. They always said, fine! Then yah don't get to eat tonight! Y'all can bet your buttons ah ate up like it was my last meal whenever they did that." The four present looked at each other in turn, throwing it around in their heads.
"Well, I guess it is worth a try. Rainbow, will you try to take her plate from her?" Twilight looked towards the fast flier, Applejack nodding in agreement at her choice.
"Yeah! Well be rootin' for ya!" Both Twilight and Applejack gave large, nervous grins. They didn't want to be 10 miles near the title of food thief to Krysta. Look what trouble she caused WITHOUT a genuinely good reason to? And taking someone's food isn't just a good reason, it is a time honored declaration of war!
It was Rainbow's turn to roll her eyes, eventually turning towards the human. Krysta had gone back to ignoring the ponies and staring at the by far cold piece of pie, her inner debate still going strong. It made all ponies present a little sad. What kind of life must she have led if there is THAT much distrust?
Sighing, Rainbow dash used a wing to quickly scoop the plate up, sliding it out of arm's reach of Krysta in the blink of an eye. Krysta's reaction was, surprisingly, exactly what they had hoped for. She reached for the plate in a desperate grab, held back by Twilight's magic. With the plate just out of reach the small girl grew beyond frustrated in only a few moments, especially since she could only really stretch out one arm at the moment. Had her shoulder not been hurt she might have been able to reach it.
To add a little more incentive Rainbow Dash took a bite of the pie, making it seem like she was going to eat it right in front of her. The poor girl began to loudly whine, turning to Twilight with tear filled, pleading eyes.
"Ok ok! I will eat it! Please give it back! I said I will eat it!" She continued to move her gaze from Twilight to Rainbow, cursing the gods themselves for the fact that they could not understand her. A particularly loud growl of her stomach made her flinch and only served to further her want for the now taken food. Her mother had always told her that, "You don't miss it until it's gone." Why did that have to come true now?
Rainbow Dash grinned at Twilight's nod, gingerly nosing it into rand of Krysta's frantic hands. As soon as she had a grip on it she held it close to her, sniffling some. Such cruel creatures these were! Looking to the ponies around the table she was met with expectant expressions. Wiping at her nose with her forearm Krysta looked down at the plate and the piece of pie, cringing some.
With a shaky hand Krysta took hold of it and raised it to her mouth, taking the tiniest of bites out of it. As soon as the taste hit her a small bite turned into a larger one. Then two bites, then five. All four looked on in disbelief as this tiny thing scarfed the piece down in what translated to a mere few seconds. Pushing a glass of water towards her Applejack practically grinned ear to ear.
"Thats it. Nothin's gonna hurt ya here sugarcube. Eat up." Slicing the rest of the pieces of the pie she just set the whole thing down in front of Krysta, resisting an urge to laugh. She had downed the glass of water almost instantly and was attacking another piece of pie. It was at that moment that Fluttershy and Rarity finally decided to show themselves.
Turning to them Twilight smiled. "Hello girls! What took you so long? Didn't you arrive with Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash?" Nodding, Rarity pointed a hoof outside, the cart having transformed into a violet tent trimmed with gold thread.
"Sorry girls. I had some trouble getting set up. But I think you will find it worth the effort. So, where is our patient?" Rarity looked about for this supposed mare with no clothes. Though clothes weren't really needed the idea that a pony could live without even one single outfit was pure hell for the fashionista.
Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie all scooted either to the left or right, making an opening where Krysta could be seen from where Rarity was standing. To say the unicorn was surprised would be putting it lightly. Not only had she never seen any creature like this before, it's hoofs(?) and face were positively covered in apple pie filling, the bandages around it's shoulder were dirty and loose, and it's entire body from head to toe had some form of filth on it.
"Applejack, please be a dear and go run a bath please." Rarity's voice was slightly strained as she looked upon Krysta, a nervous smile plastering her face. "I think a bath would be prudent before I even think about making a dress for this obviously tortured dear." Applejack began to argue about being too sensitive to a little dirt while Twilight started on about the bandages and how careful they should be about the human's shoulder. It turned into an all out argument by the time Rainbow Dash came in bragging about how easy it would be just to take her outside and let her do all the work.
Krysta, at least right now, looked anything but tortured. She had finished off the pie and another glass of water and was looking like she had died and gone to heaven. The girl could hardly remember when she was THIS full on such delicious food! Not paying the ponies any attention at that moment Krysta thought of the food from her world. The scarcity and quality. How her family would have loved this delicious food...
A soft sniffling arose from the argument, causing the participators to cease the debate and look towards it's origin. Krysta was looking at the empty pie plate, tears falling from her nose onto it's surface. For the first time since she arrived everything began to hit her. She was far, far away from a home that was probably burning. Sure some of the villagers probably fought back, but there were so many of those horrible men.
Even if they did survive the attack, so much was probably lost. Their meager food supply would have been the first thing to either be taken or destroyed, and here she was, gorging herself on a delicious meal without thinking of them even once while doing so. Though it wasn't a particularly uncommon thing to do it still hurt her inside. She had always tried to at least keep her family close to her. But it was only after she was fat and happy that she bothered to give them a thought.
Guilt and loss began to eat at her, sounds of grief escaping her shaking chest. What was she going to do? How could she live with herself knowing that everything she knew was either gone or suffering still in that wasteland that used to be her home? Could she get back? How far away was it? Surely nowhere near here. The green grass alone proved that. Green was not a color one saw often in the land of humans these days.
The ponies all shuffled a little uncomfortably, unsure of what to do in this case. They couldn't just sit down and comfort her like they do each other, especially if they didn't know what was wrong. It was Pinkie Pie who made the first and only move towards the human, producing a sack of flour from nowhere. Tapping Krysta on the shoulder she waited for the crying girl to turn to her before offered a large smile.
In one motion Pinkie brought the bag above her head and undid it's seal, a wall of flour cascading down and covering the earth pony head to hoof. Striking a pose Pinkie grinned down at Krysta, waiting for her reaction. Krysta was utterly bewildered at Pinkie's antics, unable to fully process it. Turning to look at the other ponies around her they all simultaneously shook their heads and shrugged, admitting even they didn't know what went through Pinkie's head.
The combined effect of the flour itself and the reaction from everyone in the room did it's job, causing Krysta to crack a smile. A small smile, but a smile none the less. Applejack excused herself to go draw the bathwater while Fluttershy went to get some new bandages, leaving the rest alone in the room with the petite human. Twilight, being inquisitive as she was, decided it was about time they started chipping away at this huge wall between their communication.
Trotting over next to her Twilight smiled and pointed a hoof at herself. "Twilight." She drew it out a bit so Krysta could hear how it was pronounced, repeating it once more before moving onto her friends. "Rainbow Dash. Rarity. Pinkie Pie." Twilight then pointed her hoof at Krysta, a hopeful smile upon her face.
Krysta watched the unicorn with unsure eyes, looking to wherever the hoof pointed to. It took another pass for Krysta to understand, her eyes lighting up somewhat from their previous dull, sad state. That last thing one could say about Krysta was that she was unintelligent and uninquisitive. When the hoof came back to her she held a hand against her chest and began to speak.
"Krysta." The human then pointed a finger at Twilight and the rest of the ponies in turn. "Twi-light. Rainbow Dash. Rarity. Pinkie Pie." Her slightly strange accent, strange to the ponies and their language anyways, caused some difficulty in pronouncing them at first. Parroting Twilight back and forth however made the process easier as the lavender unicorn ran her through each syllable. Soon she was able to fully pronounce them, getting smiles across the board.
"It is very nice to meet you Krysta."
"Yeah, nice to meet you!"
"Charmed darling. You have a lovely name Krysta."
"This is so exciting! We are talking! Well we aren't really talking but we can call each other over now! I am so happy I could just scream! Or jump! Or spin around! ORRR I could spin around while jumping and screaming!!"
Once more Krysta turned to look at the others, receiving the same shrug as before. She couldn't help but giggle some at that, the pink pony somehow exuding an aura that encouraged laughter. It was near that time that Applejack and Fluttershy arrived. With a somewhat proud voice Twilight spoke up, ecstatic that she was able to bring about some form of communication, even if it was just names.
"Applejack, Fluttershy, meet Krysta!" The human looked to the two of them, watching carefully to who Twilight spoke to. Without the need of the parroting act Krysta pointed to each of them.
"Applejack. Fluttershy." A sudden bout of laughter came from this, causing her to become slightly confused. The two mares in question suddenly switched places, both quietly laughing a bit themselves. Realizing her mistake she pointed to Applejack first. "Applejack?" The earth pony nodded and tipped her hat. "Fluttershy." The pegasus mare beamed at Krysta, happy to finally see something positive out of all of this.
With another exchange of small, only slightly unsure, smiles between the ponies and the human Rarity finally stepped up and nodded towards the hallway that lead to the waiting bathtub.
"Come on now Krysta dear. Let's get you into a bath."
For some reason, Krysta had a sudden feeling of dread at that sentence. It was probably nothing. After all, she couldn't know for sure what the white unicorn had said. Right?
"Rarity... You are evil." Krysta's voice was low and laced with frustration, her tones flowing over the surface of the bubble bath towards their intended target. The evil in question was currently sending brushes, scrubbers, wash rags, and water containers flying about the room. Each implement took it's turn on Krysta, the poor human suddenly wishing that she was back out in the forest with the monster. At least it was planning on making her death quick.
Though Rarity could not understand her the unicorn mare understood the meaning of Krysta's tones, facial expression, and the emphasis used on her name as it came from Krysta's lips. Her lips turned up into a soft smile, a light chuckle chiming from it. "Oh don't you worry about a thing darling. When we get your outfit made up and have you moving about I will take you to a REAL bath."
An indignant snort was heard behind her, Applejack obviously not caring for her comment. The frost white unicorn offered a guilty smile, a bashful pink hazing her pale cheeks. "Not to say this isn't a proper bath and all. It is quite... quaint." The cowpony snorted again before storming out of the room after she dropped off the towels she had gone to fetch in the first place.
Krysta's eyes lit up with curiosity as she watched the exchange, the annoying bath forgotten for a moment. That is until her vision was obscured in a cascade of water and soap. Horrid, evil, detestable soap. If Krysta ever met the, well, pony who invented it she would personally shove some in their eyes.
Not that life in her world was pure filth. Soap simply didn't exist. When one washed they used water, water, and more water. Though, that water was usually cold from the river. Krysta did have to admit that this, "bath", felt quite a bit better when temperatures were compared. That was about as far as the human could go however, as another scrubber hastily worked at her back while it's counterpart scrubbed her legs.
Though grunts, whimpers, and growls of discomfort all met Rarity's ears she didn't make a show of noticing them. Her small smile was still well in place as her crystal clear blue eyes concentrated on what she was doing. Every stroke of every tool she wielded was precise and well practiced. This was especially why she had volunteered for this, as any other might make contact with the wound Krysta sported on her slim shoulder.
That particular area would be cleaned in due time, Rarity had decided, probably utilizing Fluttershy for that. Rarity's blue eyes began to stare at the partially bandaged area, a waterproof bandage having been placed over it just for the bath. It was because of it she had to control everything herself. Including the water for rinsing the poor girls' hair.
"Oh, yes. I suppose you would want to finish up. Just a moment dear." Her voice wavered ever so slightly as she was caught staring, the discomfort of the moment seeping into her from her charge. Her smile remained true however as she flourished the utensils for one final scrub down. All of which was rewarded with a loud squeak coming from somewhere inside the mess of bubbles.
Her white horn surged with light as her magic flowed to it's point, the energy required for this next portion a wee bit more than she was used to. The object of which she was focused on being a large bucket filled to the brim with nice hot water, scented with perfumes. It would probably ruin the bandage but she was due to get out anyway after the deed was done.
As the bath implements dropped one by one and the water level in the bath shrunk quickly, Krysta felt a small glimmer of hope shine in her heart. It was over! No more of this horrible bath! She survived! The glimmer turned into a full on flame of relief and triumph, a grin spreading on her lips.
As she sent signals from her brain towards her arms to help herself out of the bath time seemed to freeze for her. For her eyes locked onto the unicorn next to her, the extra bright glow of Rarity's horn sending some of her happy thoughts straight to tartarus. The next thing Krysta noticed was the shadow of the bucket coming up behind her, moments too late. As soon as she changed the signals to her arms from lifting her body to covering her head the scented water was making it's way over the lip of it's container.
Silence prevailed over the bathroom for several moments before time returned to it's normal pace, a thoroughly rinsed and perfumed Krysta falling back into the tub in a limp wreck, her soaked hair covering her face. The soft thud of the bucket on the bathroom floor was the first real sound that was made after the splash, breaking the silence that held the bathroom in it's grip for several seconds.
"See? That wasn't so bad was it?" Rarity's voice practically chirped down to the human, azure eyes twinkling at her charge with amusement as well as contentment. Before she could move on to the towels a certain pink earth pony practically exploded from a corner of the bathroom, holding a strange object in her hoof.
"Rarity! You should have seen it! That was so amazing! I bought this thing forever ago to record parties, you know, so I could watch them over again so I could make them EVEN BETTER? Well, I have never used it so I decided to use it on Krysta here! Well, not use it ON her but use it AROUND her so I could get our first moments together! Something about plot devices. I dunno! But you should have seen the look on her face! It was priceless!"
Krysta, who had been sitting in the tub silent as a mouse, jerked up, startled by Pinkie's loud entrance. Alarm filled her eyes as she drug her fingers through her hair to pull it to the sides, allowing her to see what in the hay was happening. What she saw made her want to hide behind her hair again.
Pinkie was currently messing with a small control pad on the device, rewinding the video to just before the waterfall. "Watch watch! Look at her face!" Tapping a slow play button the video began to run at half the speed, Krysta's expression turning from relief to terror as the monster above her spat it's "venom" upon her entire body. As it concluded Pinkie had to throw a hoof around Rarity's neck to support herself in her laughter.
Rarity herself had difficulty suppressing a chuckle at Krysta's expense, the sheer panic that was carved in Krysta's features in such a split second being quite the hilarious spectacle. Krysta, who had been hiding behind her hair at that moment, grumbled loudly and fumbled at the edge of the tub to free herself from it's evil clutches.
Her injured arm stung as she made it work a bit but she was able to get over the edge without too much of an issue. It was the other side that was the problem now. As soon as her wet feet made contact with the tiled floor of the bathroom they skid across it's surface as if they repelled each other, the sudden loss of support sending the rest of her down to it's cold hard surface.
The cry and continued whimpers that came from her making contact with the floor made it impossible for Pinkie and Rarity to enjoy a laugh at this particular stunt. They weren't mean after all and knew when to call it quits. Laughter was supposed to be something wonderful to share with others. Not something to use against others. Both ponies lent a hoof to the fallen human, allowing themselves to be used as handle bars for her ascent.
This time Rarity came prepared and offered an overturned bucket for a seat, which Krysta eagerly took. "I still think you are the devil..." Krysta muttered under her breath as she relaxed finally, the bath now over and done with, herself being out of the tub. Her relief was unfortunately short lived as the towels Applejack had dropped off suddenly came to life under Rarity's magic.
Luckily, Krysta knew this particular part of washing. Drying off. With a furrow in her brow and a slight strain in her breath she lifted both arms and held them out to her sides, giving the towels room to work. Why Rarity didn't just give her to towels to dry off herself was a mystery to the human but she decided to let it be. Not that she could ask anyway.
The pale unicorn took advantage of the lifted arms immediately, running the soft cotton of the towels over and around Krysta's soft skin. Luckily, due to her lack of a thicker coat, she dried quickly enough for the process to be relatively short. That was until Rarity got hold of her long, wet hair.
Tugging, pulling, brushing, rubbing, and swirling filled her senses before suddenly it was over in a flash and there stood a towel wrapped about her head, her wet hair imbedded inside. "You know... I wish you could understand me just so I could tell you how much I hate you and your "tub". Then I would push you into a river and laugh and laugh." Krysta's tone sounded happy and even a bit jovial as she spoke to Rarity, knowing the unicorn couldn't understand her.
Rarity could not stop the smile that came to her lips as she heard Krysta go on a bit in a much lighter tone. "See? I told you that you would love it!" If only Rarity knew. Taking this moment to straighten the mess of the ordeal up around her Rarity cast a sideways glance to where Pinkie Pie had been standing moments before. She was of course, gone just like that.
"I wonder how she does that." Was all Rarity could say before shrugging and moving on with her tidying up ritual. Her human charge decided to simply watch her as she worked, knowing that the white unicorn was hardly done with her. Her thoughts found themselves jumbled slightly by the sound of Applejack's voice calling from down the hallway.
"If'n y'all are done in there come on out! Some ponies can only hold it fer so long!" Rarity felt heat rise in her cheeks as she realized how much time she must have taken in the Apple family's only bathroom. With one last motion of sorting everything to it's intended living space inside her instant bath bag Rarity ushered Krysta out, the latter wishing her legs would stop feeling so weak so she could properly stomp out. Who did these ponies think they were? Bossing her around and making her do things she would have never ev--- mmmm pie.
The smell of the baked goods was the first thing to greet them at the end of the hallway, a small assortment of food set along the Apple family's table. Rarity helped her over to one of the seats, seeing as how there was no wall to support herself on from the hall way to the table that sat in the middle of the room. Krysta eyes the table warily as she was offered a seat, the spread making her mouth water and her mind reel. Not only have these ponies cared for her wound and made sure she had gotten cleaned up, they were feeding her twice now. Her deeply seeded feeling of dread threatened to overtake her once more as others began to fill the seats around her.
"Once her hair is dry I can start an ensemble for her. Until then, let us have a bite shall we? I am feeling quite hungry myself." Almost every pony agreed at that, except for a missing Twilight. Rarity assumed that it was her who had been waiting for the use of the facilities. Pinkie Pie was currently showing Rainbow Dash the slow motion replay of the bucket, the cyan mare snorting with laughter under a hoof.
Applejack was busy helping Granny Smith into a chair, Fluttershy was quietly sipping on a glass as she waited for everyone to be seated, Apple Bloom was grinning at Krysta, and Krysta was staring at something through the screen door. The white unicorn leaned over a bit to see if she could spot Krysta's attention grabber, blinking as Big Macintosh lumbered his way through the portal with heavy, yet controlled steps.
Rarity posed a smile as she turned to Krysta, wanting to introduce them. What she saw gave her pause in not only her speech, but her breathing. Krysta was trembling. Her whole body was shaking profusely at the sight of the huge work horse. The girl's mouth hung open in awe as she watched him sit at the table without so much as a blink from the others.
Big Macintosh noticed this from the human and sighed a bit. It wouldn't be the first time someone out there was afraid of him simply because of his size. Though this girl wasn't a pony, it wasn't hard to figure it out. Especially for Big Macintosh. He may be quiet, but volume did not translate to intelligence. Taking a massive hoof he pushed the bowl of mashed potatoes over to her, a calm smile on his lips as he did so.
The other ponies watched curiously as the silent exchange occurred, all wondering what Krysta's reaction would be. Even Twilight, who didn't come back until just then, watched closely in both curiosity and worry. She couldn't know what would happen should Krysta suddenly lash out in fear of Big Macintosh. She already proved she could be a hoof full, but with Granny Smith and Applebloom there they might have to do more than just grab some rope and hold on. Hurting her was the absolute last thing any of them wanted to do. But all of them, with the exception of Fluttershy probably, were prepared to should she pose a danger to others.
All fears halted as Krysta reached with her good hand and took the bowl, dragging it towards her with a small submissive nod. Big Macintosh nodded back, happy that she was at least not acting foalishly. Though he wasn't to keen on the idea that it was through fear of his reaction that kept her in check, he knew it was a start. Maybe some day she would be able to look up to him and offer him a smile because she was genuinely happy to see him. A stallion could dream right?
With the silent exchange done and over with the table burst into talk as plates, bowls, and utensils began to float about thanks to the two unicorns at the table. Though Krysta spooned her own mashed potatoes, as she didn't want to upset the giant red stallion sitting across from her, she simply leaned back as other foods filled her plate. She swore she didn't even know what eighty percent of it was even called! Much less tasted it. The thought of refusing the plate flickered in her mind before she remembered who was one swift hoof swing away. This was going to be an interesting lunch.
Lunch? Krysta suddenly realized, her eyes looking out the window to the bright day outside. That is right. They didn't end up coming back till early morning. It felt closer to midnight.
Her lips parted in a tired sigh, the small human placing the back of her hand against her eyes to shade them from the world as she relaxed in her seat. In the moment of taking in the feel of her body she realized a few things at once. She felt, well, clean. Cleaner than she ever had before it seemed. Her muscles were relaxed and soothed from the hot bath while the usual grime that came with a normal day in her world remained absent. It was a new, but not unwelcome feeling.
The second thing she noticed was her shoulder. It felt very stiff as well as a tad wet. rarity had been quite thorough in her drying, so why did she feel like the unicorn had missed a spot? The uncovering of her eyes answered this question quite thoroughly as said orbs took in the sight of her peeling bandage. It was soaked with pink as the water and blood had mixed, the feeling of it against her shoulder making her shiver some. With the excitement of everything straight out of the tub they all seemed to have forgotten it. Even the one who had the wound in the first place.
With a sigh Krysta stretched out her hand towards Rarity, tugging ever so slightly on the pony's mane. She didn't exactly know where else to pull to be honest. And though she didn't like the idea of being fawned over again by the colorful bunch she knew that prolonging it would just make it worse. Especially from Fluttershy.
"Rarity." Krysta mumbled out as she tugged, a forlorn frown adorning her thin lips. Hoping that her reaction wouldn't be too outrageous as everything seemed to be here Krysta raised her injured arm up to point at the bandage while her other kept it's hold on the purple locks.
"Yes dear?" Rarity answered without thinking, either forgetting or nor caring that their little guest couldn't understand their responses. It took the elegant unicorn a few seconds of looking back and forth between the bandage and Krysta's frown to remember what was to be done right after the bath. Technically it wasn't terribly late, it being only about ten minutes or so after they vacated the bath to their sitting down, but it still hung over her head almost visually.
"Oh dear. My deepest apologies Krysta. I completely forgot. Fluttershy, we need to change Krysta's bandages. Please give us a hoof?" Her voice was filled with regret and laced with shame as she asked. She was supposed to be the element of generosity. This was hardly generous of her. Fluttershy caught onto her tone, her time among the pony "elite" as a model having educated her rather well in their mannerisms.
"Of course Rarity. I would love to help." Fluttershy's reply was level headed and low toned to try and stray from a scene. No one needed that right now after all. Luckily the other ponies at the table either understood or were too busy eating. It would probably be a safe bet which ponies were which.
With a creak of wooden chairs upon wooden floors Fluttershy and Rarity excused themselves, pulling Krysta along with them. As was hoped the other ponies stayed in their seats, each in turn giving a nod or smile. Krysta didn't need all of them wandering about just for a simple bandage changing.
With the blessings of the dining room the three exited and found a spot in the den, each pony on either side of the human to help her move about with as much ease as ponily possible. Fluttershy broke off as they made it to the couch, trotting out to grab her medicine bag that had been left outside with Rarity's cart. While she did that Rarity ushered the human to sit, eyes scrutinizing the bandage.
"Well, it is a good thing you pointed this out to us. If we had left it like this for too long there might have been chance of infection. The bandage is almost coming... off?" As if the bandage had heard her it fell off on queue, revealing the wound that marred Krysta's skin. Rarity could not stop the sigh of pity that left her quivering lips. "You poor dear..."
Yellowing bruises surrounded the punctured area, steadily growing darker the close they got. The wound itself was a tad gruesome when compared to most things ponies had to deal with in Ponyville. The poison of the manticore stained the skin some, a sickly pale green lining the edges. It was scabbed over in only a few places, the moving of her arm causing what had scabbed over to break off and try to begin anew. The muscle that was below the scabs that could be seen were obviously separated on some points and only connected by fibers in other. Not enough to make her arm useless, but probably enough to make fine motor control scarce at best for a while.
Krysta watched Rarity look over the wound and felt anger rise up in her chest. She didn't want her pity or her baths. Sure it felt kind of nice but she didn't ask for any of it. What was there to accomplish by helping her like they were? They wouldn't get anything out of it as Krysta had nothing of value except for her life. If they wanted that they would have taken it already. None of it made sense to her, so she treated it as she usually treats things that are alien to her. She distances herself from it as her only defense mechanism. It as been all she has ever known to do.
Making her intentions known with body language Krysta scooted down the couch, her eyes sending daggers at the unicorn. Rarity only had time to blink before Fluttershy had come back into the room. The universe made sure to make her timing positively perfect as was usual. Par for the course would have been an understatement.
As soon as the butter yellow pegasus opened her bag and reached into it Krysta reacted, taking advantage of her flat hoofedness. If only she wasn't in a weakened state, maybe her kick would have done more than surprise the poor pegasus. Unfortunately the cry of shock from both Rarity and Fluttershy were all that came of the poorly made decision. In a mere two seconds the room filled with their friends.
"She just kicked Fluttershy!" Rarity's exclamation caused all eyes to move from the yellow pegasus who was currently curled up and shaking behind an arm chair to the human who had gotten up and was currently pressed into the corner of the room. Both doors required her to take a route directly passed ponies of course, making her only other option a corner.
"SHE WHAT!?" The chorus of voices rang out in fury as they took in the scene once more. The first to react was of course Rainbow Dash, the multicolored pegasus hurrying over to Fluttershy to check on her. Krysta felt herself flinch as she dashed across the room, eyes darting to and fro for her potential attacker. A warmth around her wrists and ankles caused her to falter however, her green eyes growing wide as she peered down at her limbs.
Four identical rings of purple magic had formed on her extremities, the warmth growing exponentially. Knowing this particular color's source Krysta readied a glare for the lavender unicorn, turning her head upwards to send it on it's way. Her expression never made it all the way before it cracked and crumbled.
Before her stood every pony except for Fluttershy and Rarity with snarls upon their faces. Rainbow Dash and Applejack looked particularly pissed as they bore down on the young girl. Out of reflex, Krysta threw a wild fist in Applejack's direction. Unfortunately for her it met with nothing but air as Applejack managed to jump backwards in time to avoid it. Not that it would have been harmful really with her subdued strength as it is, not to mention the fact that Applejack has taken much, MUCH worse punishment than that in the past.
Twilight decided that it was however too risky and send a command through her horn and to her magic. Unfortunately her anger translated through as well, making it a little more forceful than it probably should have been. For at that moment Krysta's wrists and ankles slammed together with their counterparts before being forced back against the wall and floor respectively.
What happened to be the real problem however was the heat from the magic. It had intensified with her anger and was causing her genuine pain. Enough pain that Krysta began to cry out in shrill sounds. However, it didn't stop the unicorn in the least. Twilight looked down upon her with a cold stare as she held her with the heated magic, never breaking contact with her as she spoke.
"What should we do? If she really did attack Fluttershy then what can we do? Even Gilda never laid a claw on her." Twilight's voice was strained, as if she was speaking of putting down a dog that had bitten some pony. Such a danger had to be taken care of right? Yet this girl was intelligent. There had to be a law or rule somewhere that accounted for this. There was the Equestrian law that listed off a few species such as griffins, dragons, zebra, donkey, and other non pony beings that states they should be sent off to their prospective nations if they were not citizens of Equestria, but they had no idea what Krysta was!
Rainbow Dash snorted and began to stalk up to the restrained human, fury in her magenta eyes. "No one hurts one of my friends. Especially Fluttershy. I know exactly what we do. We teach her a lesson and then dump her off back in the forest. Let the manticore finish her off." The sheer amount of anger and venom that dripped off her words sent Krysta into a small bout of shakes.
This isn't like what happened in the forest. They really wanted to hurt her. This was going to be it. She was done for and there was nothing she could do to stop it. With each step Rainbow Dash took her cries grew in volume and intensity until finally the pain from her shoulder, the heat from the magic, and the terror that was creeping into every nerve she had broke her dam in the form of a defiant attitude and face. She began to truly cry.
Not a fearful, short lived cry that was easily whisked away by sleep like what happened when she was in the forest. No, this was pure, regret filled wailing and sobbing. Regret for attacking that bandit. Regret for fighting Zecora and resisting Twilight, Applejack, and Fluttershy. Fluttershy... Regret for lashing out at the gentle pegasus when she knew the goal of it all was to help her. Everything that had happened till now only gave her regrets. Regrets that seemed to be coming far too late. Now it was over, and she was going to pay for all of it.
Not wishing to see their anger Krysta wrenched her eyes shut as she choked on her sobs, her small frame jumping with the harsh movements of the sounds. Rainbow Dash, and in truth most every pony in the room, was stunned with the sudden sobs that filled their ears. Angered looks started to fade bit by bit, each pony looking to one another as if they suddenly questioned what they were doing.
Though they were indeed protecting their friend, an onlooker would only see a group of magically armed unicorns, strong hardy earth ponies, and one extremely pissed pegasus staring down a sobbing, restrained, and wounded girl. It was not exactly the best picture one could imagine for elements of harmony. The only pony who tried to deny this was Rainbow Dash, her loyalty to Fluttershy outweighing her clear thinking of ethics or her image in that instant.
Stomping forward to release the hell she wanted to give the human a yellow blur shot before her, almost causing her to spin on the spot. "Nooo! Please don't hurt her! She was just scared! I am fine! Really! Oh please Twilight, Rainbow Dash. Let her go. I am begging you." Fluttershy's usually timid demeanor was replaced with a look of possibly mother intent, her own features expressing a fear for the small human. Twilight did as was asked almost before Fluttershy finished talking, the words ringing through her ears as she realized what it was she was actually doing.
"By Celestia..." She whispered to herself, the angry red marks on each of Krysta's joints making her shudder. She hadn't realized how furious she was. She liked to think of herself as emotionally stable and able to think in stressful situations, but this, along with some other rather terrible days in her past, wanted to prove her wrong.
Krysta could only gasp as she was released, falling to her side and bringing her wrists against her chest. It felt like blisters would form any second. There she lay curled on on the floor, her wails still prominent. Her being released could only mean the end was near. Rainbow Dash seemed to think so too as she attempted to move towards the fallen human.
In an uncharacteristic show of speed Fluttershy blocked her path, planting her hooves firmly on the wooden floor while she looked up to dash with her pleading eyes. Rainbow Dash tried once more, the same thing repeating. Every pony else watched on with sad and regretful faces, each silently hoping Dash would stand down and not make a mistake she would come to regret later on.
She seemed to take a hint as she looked at the others for support, finding none. "Fine! Keep that crazy thing around! See if I care!" Her sandy voice was filled with frustration, hurt that her friends didn't side with her. Within the blink of an eye she flew from her spot, exiting through an open window leaving rainbow contrails in her wake.
With the threat of an actual retaliation gone for now Fluttershy slowly turned around and faced the still sobbing and curled up Krysta. Her wound had been opened anew from the sudden jerking of her arm by Twilight and was trickling red down her newly cleaned skin. The towel that had been wrapped around her head had become dislodged somewhat, some golden locks of her hair strewn about her face. It was a very pitiful sight to be sure, and pulled at each pony that was present. A monster or crook would not be able to fake what they were seeing before them, and it ate at them at what they had almost considered doing, regardless if they had actually done it. Even ponies weren't perfect.
Without a sound Fluttershy knelt next to her, her long pink tresses tickling at the humans shaking hands. Though this caused Krysta to flinch, she couldn't stop herself from opening her eyes and looking up. What she saw only caused her tears to intensify. Fluttershy was looking down upon her with a small, gentle smile. Not a hint of malice or fear lay anywhere within her expression. It made the regretful feelings in her chest deepen and weigh all the heavier on her heart. Her reactions were so conditioned by her world that it was only after the potential threat of the ponies' wrath was she jarred loose from them enough to realize her folly. And what a folly it was.
Fluttershy bore witness to all of this running through the girl's mind and only smiled all the more. Maybe now, they could truly get through to her. Maybe, just maybe, they had cracked her shell enough that they would be able to peek inside. And perhaps sometime in the future, they could break it entirely and show her the outside world and the magic of friendship. Until then, she would just have to suffice with this.
The gently pegasus slowly lowered her head so she rested her neck over Krysta's, expecting the arms that immediately wrapped themselves around it. She felt the tears against her neck as Krysta buried her face into her soft fur, her bawling not having stopped in the least. Still so full of regret and sadness as they were, Fluttershy felt the hope that came with them. It was a cleansing that Krysta needed in order to be here with them. Not only to properly coexist, but to also begin the process of change that she obviously so dearly needed.
As the others watched on with their own regrets in their minds, they began to leave one by one. That is until Fluttershy's voice sounded out above the muffled sobs in the form of a song. The lullaby she so fondly loved to sing, one which Applebloom was familiar with. As it started in an attempt to sooth the aching girl, her friends filed in next to her and sat down, all eyes welling up with their own tears. They didn't fall like Krysta's however, as Fluttershy's gaze to all of them began to brighten their hearts.
"Thank you for coming to my rescue." The yellow pegasus whispered to them as she stopped her song, offering an affectionate nuzzled to each in turn. "I wish Rainbow Dash were here." All nodded and each let out a comparable sigh as they thought of their hot-headed friend. They would just have to hope that she would either come around on her own or that they would be able to find her and get through to her that everything was OK.
The group of friends all gave small smiles to one another before they each cast a look down to Krysta. Everything seemed peaceful other than Twilight. The unicorn was currently looking at her handiwork upon Krysta's wrists and ankles, another frown working it's way onto her lips. Fluttershy noticed this and stretched out a wing to touch at Twilight's side.
"It is ok Twilight. Krysta." Fluttershy murmured to the human below, coaxing her out of her neck for a moment. Her bawling had subsided a little bit but her tears flowed freely and she hiccuped with sobs ever so often. Twilight looked into her red, puffed up eyes before she tenderly touched at her wrists with her nose. A few rebellious tears rolled down the unicorn's cheeks as she did this, her gaze unable to fully meet Krysta's.
The human girl saw the pain that Twilight carried from it and understood. If there was ever a creation of the gods that was most important, surely the universal language of the heart was a contender for that title. Reaching over with the hand closest to Twilight she gave her neck a tug, urging her forward until Twilight was leaning down close. With the slightest change of posture she wrapped her arms around either pony, whimpering into their necks.
The lavender unicorn managed a small smile at this, allowing herself to fall into a position that was most comfortable for Krysta. There they stayed for some time before Fluttershy nudged both Twilight and Krysta to release the embrace. The wound on Krysta's shoulder hadn't been treated yet and desperately needed it, especially due to Twilight's magic. That, and her wrists and ankles both needed some attention now as well.
"Twilight, do you have a spell to put her to sleep? It would be so much easier to work on her if she was." Her request was put forward in a small voice, as if she feared a harsh rebuttal from the unicorn.
Twilight of course nodded and stood. "Yes. That is a good idea. Keep her focused on you. The calmer she is, the easier it will work and the longer it will last." Fluttershy understood and nuzzled deeper into the almost silent Krysta, trying to give her as much comfort and affection as she could.
Krysta watched as they spoke, a measure of panic entering her heart as she witnessed Twilight's horn light up. It was immediately pushed away however as Fluttershy nuzzled into her, giving her every reason in the world as to why she would be safe and that there was nothing to fear from Twilight. Even then, she couldn't help but at least close her eyes and wait for what was to come.
A slow, almost throbbing, ball of magic left Twilight's horn and touched at Krysta's forehead before vanishing through her skin, the effect almost immediate. In moments the human went limp and fell asleep, her burdened breathing leveling out into a manageable level. As Fluttershy stood so Krysta could be moved she gave the human a small kiss to her forehead. "Don't you worry Krysta. Fluttershy's got you. Everything will be fine."
In a glow of pale blue magic Krysta was lifted onto the couch by Rarity, positioned so Fluttershy could do her work on the girl's pains. Before Fluttershy could reach back into her bag however she was practically dragged into a large group hug by Big Macintosh who looked to be on the verge of sobbing himself right then and there.
"You are s... such a wonderful pony Fluttershy." His booming voice betrayed his screwed expression that was trying to hold it all back. The four friends that were present all nodded and said similar things, giving cause for Fluttershy's cheeks to grow hot.
"Only because I have such wonderful friends." Her reply was filled with such truth that Big Macintosh lost it right then and there, the large stallion running out of the room mumbling something about a doll in a deep sobbing voice. They all laughed once more before they allowed Fluttershy to get to work, the pegasus returning to her bag a third time this afternoon.
Holding up a piece of gauze in her mouth she blinked as her eyes were met with the sight of Twilight making a move to leave. "Twilight? Where are you going?" Her voice had some concern in it, not wanting Twilight to think badly of herself.
The purple unicorn turned to smile at her, pushing the door open with a hoof. "I have a letter to write to the Princess." All ponies present nodded as the scholar left the house and trekked down the path towards Ponyville and the library, the words already forming in her mind. So much so that she couldn't help but start dictating to herself as she trotted along.
"Dear Princess Celestia..."
Each and every pony present, Macintosh included, looked on in awe of their newly clothed Krysta. Rarity had started off on a rant at first, talking about all sorts of grand designs and styles. Luckily, Applejack and Twilight both stepped in and reminded her of what was to come first and foremost. A simple set of clothing that Krysta could wear for the time being.
That didn't stop Rarity from adding some flair of course. Though the language barrier persisted, Krysta and Rarity were both able to work together through the medium of drawing. Krysta would give a very basic idea of what a dress on a human should look like, and Rarity took it from there. The unicorn was surprised at how similar the articles of clothing were to a pony’s. The major changes were simply the angle of the shoulder stitching (for comfort) and torso shape (for obvious reasons).
Krysta looked at herself in the mirror and was rather shocked at what she saw. For the first time that she could ever remember she was 100% clean, her hair was brushed -- and simply styled in two thick braids that framed her face-- and she was wearing a new dress made of some of the finest materials she had ever felt. The dress itself was an emerald green to match her eyes, with gentle white lace stitched along the hems and seams. The shoulders were poofed ever so slightly and her collar, which sported two light green gems, looked perfect against her pale neck.
The ponies cheered for her when she revealed herself, painting her cheeks with a dash of pink. Though such was rare beyond belief for her, she could certainly get used to it. Stepping down from the impromptu platform Rarity's wagon had magically sprung, all involved exchanged smiles and re-entered the house where Pinkie Pie was waiting with a forbidden surprise party...
Elsewhere in the kingdom, Princess Celestia was reading the most recent letter from her most faithful student while sipping tea. As her eyes darted over the text they widened in surprise.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Me friends and I made a new friend today who taught us all a good lesson in forgiveness. She also taught us that circumstances change things, and we should never take anything for granted at first glance. Sometimes we need to look deeper to truly find what we need to see in somepony.
Her name is Krysta, and she is very interesting. She isn't a pony, in fact, none of us are quite sure what she is. Zecora found her in the Everfree, attacked by a manticore.|Guess she should count herself lucky that’s all it was. She can't speak Equestrian, but we have been able to communicate somewhat so far. Perhaps you could let us know what she is? I have included a small sketch of her. Sorry if it isn't very good, I didn't have a lot of time to study her anatomy and had to work from memory.
Celestia's eyes moved from the letter to the piece of paper behind it, the large orbs growing even wider. "From memory. Twilight? You forget how good your memory is." She spoke to herself as she looked up and down the very well drawn picture a few more times, eyes narrowing in concentration as if she was trying to find some secret message in what she saw. After a few moments the princess took a breath and moved her eyes back to the letter.
I am worried for her Princess. She is so full of hurt. I wonder if she didn't spend time in Tartarus before the Everfree. She was very distrusting of us at first, as if she was afraid we had poisoned her food and wanted to eat her or something! She has warmed up to us some but I still can't shake this feeling that she needs more than just what we can give her. Any advice you have would be wonderful.
Your Faithful Student,
"Hmm, I wonder if that is true. Does this Krysta need more than the elements of friendship themselves? Sometimes Twilight, you really do underestimate yourself." The mentor within her poked its head out as she read, another deep breath sounding before her eyes looked back upon the picture. Her features showed nothing but the calm face of the benevolent ruler of Equestria, yet there was something there that could be seen. Something that looked very much like worry.
In one swift motion the princess stood from her tea table, picture and letter in tow in a golden glow of magic. Her chamber doors opened with the same color of magic, the princess wasting no time in exiting down the hallway and paid no heed to her surprised honor guards. Her mind was so intent on her destination she didn't notice her seneschal trotting up next to her until he spoke.
"Your Highness, Day court will be starting soon. " The seneschal was an older gentlecolt, his graying blue mane cut short and proper. His deep orange coat was finely brushed but still seemed to look disheveled due to the way it grew. A deep purple armlet emblazoned with a golden sun adorned his upper foreleg, signifying his position.
"Cancel court today Sir Level. Something important has come up. Tell them tha--- No, In fact, come with me. I could use your perspective in this matter." The princess’ hoof beats gradually slowed until her regalia covered hooves made no perceivable noise. She then walked on with a much slower pace, eyes moving from door to door with purpose. When one finally opened as she expected the princess halted and waited for the pony behind it to make themselves known. In this case, a maid finishing up her cleaning of a guest chamber.
"My little pony, could you do something for me?" Celestia had to almost physically stop herself from chuckling at the three step reaction. Process, realize, freak out. The freak out portion is dependent on the pony. In this case a large grin and the continuous nodding of her head. So much so in fact it looked simply painful.
"Please let the nobles know that Day Court today will be canceled and that I apologize for the inconvenience." The princess could not hold back the chuckle this time as the maid zipped off so quickly Rainbow Dash would have been impressed.
"She ran the wrong way..." Level, who had been in quiet shock the whole time from the pony's reaction, stated deadpan. Another regal chuckle left the Princess' lips. "She will figure it out I am sure." With that taken care of she led on, her amused expression slowly leaving her face.
"Sir Level, have you ever heard of something called a human?" She turned her eyes to him as they spoke, the deep orbs taking in his careful process of thinking and choosing an answer. It was this talent in fact that caused her to choose him for this particular occupation. He was, pardon the pun, on the level. Always taking everything into consideration. It was in fact quite irritating sometimes as a pony just couldn't simply ask him how his day was without waiting for him to recall any event that would have changed it from good to bad or back again.
"Human. Yes, I have seen some documentation concerning the term human. They are an extinct civilization, before Equestria was ever a country. Before the three tribes in fact. There is not very much information on them however, at least not much that I have available to me." Celestia nodded to everything he said, turning the corner towards Luna's chambers.
"Sir Level, what I am about to show you must never be repeated. Not yet." Without the need for any explanation he agreed and followed her to Luna's door. Raising her hoof Celestia knocked with purpose, the need to rouse her sister more important than ever. The rustling and under-breathed cursing that followed was a sure sign that the Princess of the Night had awoken, and to Celestia's mire, woken in a mood. The door shot open revealing the tired princess, irritation plain on her face.
"Dear sister, what art thou thinking waking us up at this hour? Thou knoweth our duties are more than difficult as it is after a thousand years." Her voice was low but full of distaste of being awoken by the only being who she couldn't punish for it.
"Luna, Twilight Sparkle has found a human." Both her seneschal and sister froze up at that, though both for different reasons. "I shall be ready momentarily." Her voice lost it's irritation and old manner of speaking, replaced with well practiced speech patterns and a solid tone. The door shut quickly, leaving Celestia and Level outside waiting.
"A human your majesty? A live human?" The single nod from his ruler made him shudder in awe. "What news this is! It shall surely be something to celebrate."
"I hope so Sir Level. I surely hope so."
Miles and miles away, Krysta was staring into AppleJack's face, her eyes narrowed. AppleJack was giving a similar look, sweat coming off of both their brows. Everypony except Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash looked on nervously, worried whispers floating through their miniature crowd. Pinkie and Dash looked anything but nervous. In fact, it almost looked like they were excited.
"I can't watch!" Fluttershy suddenly said, covering her eyes with her hooves, peeking between them every so often.
"Must you two do this? It is so barbaric! Don't you dare ruin that dress!" Rarity exclaimed, readying her lounge chair in case she needed to faint.
"How did this even start? We can’t even communicate and yet things like this still manage to happen!" Twilight stated with a sigh, watching on with worry at the two of them.
"Well, if you two are going to do this, I guess I will call it." Rainbow Dash lifted a hoof between the two of them, a smile on her face. Pinkie Pie watched on with the largest grin yet, a large tub of popcorn in her lap.
The tension in the room was palpable, the collective sweat coming from the six of them plus Krysta, Big Macintosh, and Granny Smith almost enough to make a good sized cloud with. Krysta and Applejack never broke eye contact, their expressions just growing more and more fierce by the second. Even rainbow Dash was slightly tense with the friction between the two.
"Ready...GO!" Rainbow dash raised her hoof as she said it, Krysta and AppleJack lunging at the same exact time without missing a beat.
There was a split second of silence before the other ponies present let loose a mountain of cheers or bereavements. That was when the crumbs started to fly as each attacked the apple pies in front of them, each trying finish before the other.
The competition was fierce, both hanging neck in neck with each other while the others tried to decide who was going to win. Eventually they all chose a side of the table. Rarity, Fluttershy, and Twilight with Krysta while Pinkie Pie, Rainbow dash, and the Apple Clan with AppleJack.
"Such athleticism! Look at them go!" Rainbow's voice could be heard over the general cheers, her excitement shared with the others by this point. With the initial tension broken, it was hard not to get into the mood. Especially when each and every bite made the competition that much more intense. Neither competitor spared a moment to peek at the other in favor of keeping their pace, each hoping to pull ahead if even by the tiniest bit.
Krysta was so focused and so intent on finishing first she didn't hear the eruption of cheers just seconds before she finished her last bite. With a final swallow the now less than entirely petite human, as she just ate an entire pie in the matter of a few minutes, was awarded with the sight of AppleJack handing her a napkin, a large grin on her crumb and filling covered face.
Accepting her defeat graciously Krysta accepted the offered cloth, wiping her face while cheerfully laughing. The others joined in, enjoying a friendly challenge with a hopeful new addition to their list of friends. It was all so surreal for the girl, the idea of such fun never having seemed possible to her. In fact, as she thought about it more and more, she wondered if being stuck here wasn't in fact a blessing in disguise.
Any further thoughts on the matter were interrupted as Spike came through the door, a scroll wrapped in his claws. "Twilight! You got a reply from the Princess!" The small dragon scampered towards the group only to stop as he and Krysta made eye contact, both rather shocked at the other's appearance.
"Huh. You were right Twilight. She is kinda strange looking." He doubled back slightly as Twilight gave him a look. "What? You said it." The unicorn rolled her eyes and took the letter up in her magic as Spike walked towards the human.
They studied each other for a while, both curious beyond belief. This was the first creature either had met that actually walked on their hind legs and used their "hands" for everything. Or at least, that is what Krysta could make out thus far from what she had seen. Yet, despite their similarities they were so different. It was a very curious affair.
All watched them warily for a long moment before they decided that it was probably safe to move onto the letter. Rarity found herself a spot next to Twilight, always the most eager of her friends to know what the princess of their country was saying. As they gathered about Twilight cleared her throat and began to read aloud, making sure Spike could still hear her.
My most faithful student,
I have been speaking with Luna and we have decided that we would like you, and your friends, to bring Krysta here to Canterlot. Though it is nothing to worry about, there are some things we need to discuss with you all. It would be better if it was sooner rather than later, so please let us know what the earliest time you can be picked up. We will be sending a carriage rather than having you take Krysta aboard a train.
P.S. When you do come you will be staying for a few days, so be sure to pack some essentials.
All present were a tad bit surprised at the sudden summons. One could almost hear the the group’s eyes all swiveling towards Twilight at the same moment. The lavender unicorn rolled the letter back up and frowned. "That is strange. I wonder what could be so important." The others could not help but nod in agreement. "Well, I have nothing planned really for the rest of the week. In fact, anything I had planned I had canceled due to Krysta. So I guess I am ok with leaving this evening. It is only mid afternoon after all. What about the rest of you?"
"Well dear, the boutique can wait for a few days. A request from the princess' is not something we can ignore." Rarity spoke first, the fashionista unable to keep the excitement from her voice. Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie were both completely open and agreed immediately.
"If I can get Bon-Bon to watch my little ones I can leave tonight as well." Fluttershy squeaked out uncertainly, always afraid to leave her animal friends regardless of who was giving the request. Applejack sighed and looked on towards Big Macintosh and Granny Smith who both nodded with confident smiled. "I guess ahm good to go too. Thanks Big Macintosh. I sure do owe you." The large workhorse gave her a sly smile.
"I'll add it to my, "Days AppleJack will do my work for me list". Ahm planning a nice long vacation." Everypony except for AppleJack laughed. With everything settled Twilight wrote up the letter giving Princess Celestia the time they would be ready, making sure to add that it could be either tonight or tomorrow depending upon Fluttershy and Bon-Bon. Without needing to give instruction Spike took the letter in his claws and sent it along with a puff of green fire.
A loud sound of shock caused the ponies to remember their guest as Krysta watched the green fire fly out the window.
~So he IS a dragon! I thought he looked familiar! I cannot believe you have dragons here too! All of ours left our lands hundred of years ago!~ Krysta said with awe, heedless that there was no one that could understand her. It was obvious however that there was no danger of Krysta flying off the handle if her body language was anything to go by. Twilight giggled at her apparent enthusiasm before dragging a shrugging Spike away with her.
One by one the occupants left to deal with packing and such, Krysta curiously watching all of them go while looking bewildered. All except Pinkie Pie.
"What is wrong Pinkie Pie?" AppleJack asked the pink pony curiously as she made no move to leave.
"Oh nothing. It's just we didn't really get to finish the party. Since I don't have to prepare to leave, I figured I might as well enjoy all these things while they are set up! Besides, Krysta doesn't have any idea what is going on so I might as well entertain her until it is time to go!" She motioned to the balloon covered room, confetti covering the floor while a half empty table of sweets stood off in a corner.
AppleJack winced at that. "Huh. We did kinda forget didn’t we? Thanks Pinkie Pie. It wouldn't be right to have her feel all abandoned would it?" The party pony gave her signature grin before practically dragging Krysta over to the games, taking her attention from the missing ponies.
"Well, can't say she aint an intelligent one that Pinkie Pie." AppleJack mused to herself as she went upstairs to get a pair of suitcases for herself and Krysta. As she did AppleJack couldn't help but think out loud to herself.
"Ah wonder what both princess need with Krysta...”
~If you all drop me I swear I will come back and haunt you like a displeased ancestor!~ Krysta's panicked voice could barely be heard in the sound of takeoff. The chariot had come as planned, Fluttershy able to work things out proper for her animals in time. Unfortunately, working things out between Krysta and the flying chariot was quite a bit harder.
After three downright refusals of the worst kind from the slim human Twilight had to resort to a surprise teleport and takeoff maneuver. It worked, but was she sure paying for it. Krysta spent almost solid hour holding onto to Twilight so hard the poor pony thought some part of her would turn black and fall off due to oxygen loss. That wasn't the worst part by far however. Krysta also saw fit to yell. A lot. And loudly. Sure, Twilight couldn't understand a single word except when her name came up. But anyone knows the sound of an irate passenger when they hear it.
It took Twilight dragging Krysta halfway onto the side of the chariot to calm her down. For when Krysta finally saw the things she was so frightened of the girl almost wanted to laugh. They weren't very high from the ground, nor were they traveling very fast. In fact, it felt as if they were at a brisk walking pace if anything. Being jerked out of her yelling spree also managed to bring her attention to the other occupants of the chariot.
In a frightening situation it is always helpful to have someone who is calm and reassuring. Krysta had five some ones that were just that. Rainbow Dash, of course, was not among them, for she always prefers to fly on her own. The others however were very much willing to help the poor girl adjust properly to her first time flying. Through an amount of encouraging sounds, comforting touches, and smiles all around they managed to get Krysta from around Twilight's neck. And more! For once she decided she was safe the inquisitive human just couldn't help but look over every edge and side, her curiosity demanding to be fulfilled all things flight.
While Krysta entertained herself the ponies did the same via conversation. “I do hope that it won't all be business. It has been far too long since I have had a good long shopping spree in Canterlot. I have missed everything!” Rarity lamented in a slightly morose way. The others just rolled their eyes while Applejack called her out on it.
“Rarity, weren't you in Canterlot not two weeks ago?” The cowpony offered a knowing smirk while Pinkie and Twilight stifled giggles.
“My dear Applejack, so much can happen in two weeks! Juicy gossip, new lines of fashion, even new products for a beauty conscious mare such as myself! One can never be too diligent about these sorts of things.” It was at that point that Pinkie and Twilight couldn't hold their laughter in, though it was not belittling of course. Not that Rarity would ever take such things personally. After all, Applejack had taught her long ago that sometimes she can be very silly.
Fluttershy was preoccupied watching Krysta move about, a small hint of worry showing itself among her features. Every so often she would bite her lip or open her mouth to speak before abruptly closing it again when Krysta proved her words were unneeded. Twilight, being ever perceptive, noticed Fluttershy's behavior and decided it was her turn for some comfort.
“Don't worry Fluttershy. With all of us here she will be fine. In fact, this could possibly be the safest place in Equestria for her except perhaps maybe the princess'.” A smile played across her lips as she spoke, hoping it would be contagious and get the pegasus smiling as well. She succeeded of course, if only for a little while. The studious unicorn had her own worries however. “I wonder what Princess Celestia and Princess Luna could want with Krysta?”
Applejack's ears swiveled towards Twilight's comment, causing her to nod in agreement when she heard it. “Ah asked the same thing a few hours ago while ah packed. Sure is strange coming outta the blue like that.” This particular line of conversation caused all present to grow silent in contemplation. Applejack was first to speak, a confident smile framed solidly on her lips.
“Now we don't need to fret though. Our Princess' are the best ponies in the world. Nothing bad could ever happen with them around!” All except Krysta nodded enthusiastically. The girl watched on blankly.
~I wonder where we are going.~
Celestia and Luna looked across their small table to one another, each deeply in thought of what was to come. “Sister, I have not seen you this worried since before my fall. Are you so certain that something bad will occur?” Luna's voice was cool and focused, every syllable punctuated with the utmost precision.
“What makes you say that little sister?” The moon princess smiled a knowing smile, her eyes locking onto the golden regalia Celestia always wore.
“Your armor dear sister. You have not worn it for a thousand years.” Any pony listening in would not know what on Equestria she was talking about. To any other eye it seemed as if Celestia was wearing exactly what she wore any other day. However, this particular set of regalia was far from simply that. It held charms and wards of all sorts. Powerful artifacts of protection.
“Perceptive as always Luna. Yes, I do have some misgivings about this. A live human being, walking among us. It will either become a great celebration, or a bloody engagement. You were with me so long ago. You witnessed what I witnessed.” Celestia's usually calm smile was nowhere to be found. In its place was a grim frown with solemn eyes to match.
“If you suspect it could be as such, why did you not simply fly to Ponyville with our best soldiers? Why allow your student, her friends, and the human come here via chariot? It gives the human a wonderful opportunity to cause harm should she be so inclined.” The night princess could not help but ever so slightly tilt her head as she spoke. Spoken language was easy to control. Body language was not, and it easily betrayed her genuine feelings of confusion.
“Because dear sister, should this Krysta turn out to be harmless, I would much rather do things the easy and safe way. If Twilight was accurate, and you know she was, this human could be unstable and have done something drastic if we landed in force searching for her.” Luna nodded as her sister spoke, every word filled with wisdom.
“You are right big sister. It could have been a disaster. However, so could have this plan of yours.” Luna offered another knowing smile. Celestia returned it. “Yes, it could have.”
“Your majesties! The chariot approaches!” The loud call of the herald sounded through the halls, amplified by magic suited to his job. Both members of royalty stood at once and proceeded towards the grounds where it was to land. “Well, as they say these days. Here goes nothing!”
Rainbow Dash had already landed when the chariot had come in for its descent. She watched on a bright grin on her face. “What a flight! I haven't gone that long in a while! Speed is important, but sometimes an endurance run is just the thing an athlete needs!” The energetic pegasus exclaimed loudly as Krysta and her friends exited the chariot once it had safely landed.
Rarity and Applejack rolled their eyes, though for different reasons. Fluttershy busied herself with fussing over Krysta, checking over everything she could to ensure she had come over alright. Everyone rolled their eyes at this. “Fluttershy, you were watching her the whole time. You saw everything! What could have possibly happened that is making you so worried?”
Fluttershy felt the pink stain her cheeks as she immediately stopped her search. “Um, well, you never know I guess. It was obviously her first flight. I know how I was during mine.” Rainbow Dash laughed loudly at that, nudging the yellow pegasus with a hoof. “Fluttershy, I love you and everything, but Krysta is a bit tougher than you are.”
Laughter echoed throughout the grounds as the party enjoyed a moment of playfulness. “Presenting their royal highnesses Princes Celestia and Princess Luna!” The same herald shouted from a nearby doorway, having been so silent up until that point that none noticed his presence. It took the six of them only moments to line up and offer polite bows to their rulers. Krysta remained standing behind them, looking over them at the doorway to see if she couldn't spot what they were all bowing too.
The shadow of the doorway broke away as a dark and light hoof respectively stepped outward. What came afterwards caused Krysta's knees to buckle. Two large, beautiful, magnificent, and terrifying figures loomed over all of them before she knew what was happening. One of light and the other of darkness. Krysta's eyes opened wide, either from her terror or her want to see more one couldn't be sure. Trembles ran over her skin causing the hair on her body to stand almost on end. Goose bumps followed presently and only furthered the depth of Krysta's dual emotional states.
Both Celestia and Luna had seen such behavior before from many kinds of creatures and were quite used to it. They took it with the grace and elegance of royalty, as they should. “Rise my little ponies. And introduce us to your guest. We are quite curious bout her.” Celestia's voice was smooth as newly woven silk, its every pitch urging everything within earshot to listen.
“Krysta, this is Princess Celestia, and Princess Luna.” Twilight walked back to the poor awe struck human. The sound of Celestia's voice had taken the shivers from her, but it hardly removed all the shock. How could it, even coming from the princess of the sun? As she spoke she made sure to do so slowly and emphasize the names matched with pointing her hoof.
“Celestia... Luna?” Krysta's shaky voice parroted the studious unicorn while also pointing at the proper targets. When Twilight smiled and nodded with approval she allowed Krysta some space and stepped back so the girl could stand. She eventually did, though with some difficulty. Both princesses however never stopped smiling and allowed Krysta her time to not only stand but also adjust. “Krysta.” She said simply enough, pointing her herself as if they wouldn't understand otherwise.
“Luna, you are the better spoken of the two of us. I am sure you could find her language with better ease than I.” The sun princess smiled to her sister, knowing that Luna would not decline. She was not even slightly disappointed as her sister stepped forward, knelt down to seem less imposing on the poor girl, and began speaking.
“Parlez-vous fracais?” Krysta gave her a strange look, as did most others present. “No? Shame I do so love that language. Let us see.”
“Sprechen Sie Deutsch? No? Kya apa hindi bolate haim? Not that either. Hmm.”
“Hable usted espanol?”
“Anata wa nihongo o hanasemasu ka?”
~Do you speak English?~ That got the reaction she was searching for. As Krysta heard her native language come from Luna she gasped loudly, causing the princess to smile as she continued.
~So you speak English. A fine language. The people who spoke it were a strong, valiant race.~ Celestia listened on with her calm smile, eyes looking over the six ponies who had been patiently quiet.
~You speak my language. How? Oh I have so many questions! Like, where am I? Who are you and who are these other six? Are you all some sort of animal? I have never seen anything like you. How did we fly here? How does Twilight do those amazing things I have seen? I have heard that magic may exist somewhere but could it possibly be true? I have seen so much it is all so hard to take in!~
Luna smiled at the suddenly chatty human, giving her a moment to vent before raising a hoof to quiet her. ~Little Krysta, you will know all very soon. But now that you have a way to communicate with us, perhaps a moment of rest and conversation are in order? Over something to eat and drink perhaps?~
The moon princess looked to her sister for her thoughts on it. Celestia nodded in agreement and turned to the others. “Come my subjects. We have found your friend's language. There is much we must reveal to you but first, Luna and I feel like perhaps it is time for some communication to happen. Hmm?” They agreed immediately, each carrying a smile. Krysta seemed to be in agreement as well if Luna's smile was anything to go on. They all stood, left their luggage for the tenders, and followed each princess into the same hallway they appeared from. Krysta made sure she was almost right behind the moon princess, her want and need for someone to speak to almost overwriting the offer made by the princess of the night.
The eager human girl was able to hold herself together though, staying quiet as they walked. Her entire body screamed with excitement. Finally, she would have answers! She would be able to talk to someone and have everything be understood! Finally, she could tell Fluttershy how sorry she was. Or how grateful she was to Rarity, Twilight, and Applejack. New clothes, a place to stay, dressing her wound, and even bathing her. Though she wasn't particular fond of the last "favor" she understood its need.
The six ponies shared her excitement to a point of excess. They too however kept themselves in check. One does not simply run about in excitement in the royal palace no matter how hard Pinkie Pie disagrees with the rule. Light conversation between the six did of course happen as total silence was probably unneeded. It did make the actual traveling time seem instantaneous on the plus side. For hardly did they start talking when they arrived at a suitably sized table.
It was an oval shape, rather thin in the middle with just enough room for the princesses to sit across from each other and have just a bit of space to spare. Luna had Krysta sit next to her so they could more easily speak to the table while the others filed in. The only two who seemed to care were Twilight, who sat next to Celestia of course, and Fluttershy who took Krysta's other side. When all present seated themselves Celestia's horn glowed with her usual golden energy. It took mere moments for a server to arrive.
It took mere moments longer for orders to be taken and delivered to cooks in the royal kitchen. Though not quite as quickly as they had hoped as Krysta had some difficulty figuring out Apple Pie's name. With some mimery and translation from Luna Krysta got the answer from Applejack. Luna took the liberty of ordering her a salad as well, knowing that only Pinkie Pie could dare eat nothing but desserts and live a healthy life.
"Come now little sister, I believe we can get on with it." Celestia noted with an amused smile as she watched Luna purposely avoid getting to what everyone in the room wanted so she could add suspense and tension. The lunar princesses' lips formed a guilty grin before she spoke.
"You are right sister. Now then, what shall we talk about first?"