Chapter 8: Powerful beyond measure.
AN: Sorry for being so taaaardyyyyy, but with holidays and everything I have been procrastinating A LOT. Here goes the chapter, I hope you like it as much as I do writing it (when I’m inspired, sometimes I take a writer’s block to the brain and it’s just frustrating)
Despite Twilight’s worries, both Robert and her arrived to the room in which they were meant to have lunch before Celestia herself. The other five ponies and Spike were there, though, so Robert took that chance to tell them that what happened in Ponyville was water under the bridge.
The Princess of the sun arrived a few minutes later, surrounded by levitating parchments in which she wrote with quills. It was quite a sight for Robert, the godly pony writing on five parchments at the same time with her magic. One by one the parchments disappeared in trails of smoke as she finished writing. Only then she took a seat and, as soon as she did, lunch magically appeared on the table.
“Sorry for being late,” she apologized, “but those documents were just too important. Now, bon apetit!” she said with a wink and a smile.
The lack of meat in the menu was soon forgotten by Robert when he noticed, as his pony friends did the day before, the HUGE amount of food that Celestia was ingesting. After he finished his own meal he just stared, mouth agape, at Celestia. If she noticed it, she didn’t show it. Twilight did, however, so she began talking to Robert to include him in the conversation she was having with Pinkie Pie about adding hot sauces to pastries. Thanks to the pink pony randomness he found himself talking about Japanese etiquette, which had been somehow inherited by the oriental dragons, which apparently resembled the typical Chinese dragon. Then he heard Celestia’s voice inside of her mind.
‘Robert, while I can’t allow you to spread the truth about Equestria’s origins, you certainly can tell these ponies everything if you feel like it. It is up to you.’
‘Wait, if she can do that... Can she read my thoughts too?’
‘Before you ask: I can speak to you but I can’t read your mind unless you can perform the spell I am using.’
Robert nodded and resumed his conversation, as he didn’t know if he wanted to tell them or not.
Twilight told him that she was going to give her friends a guided visit around the castle, and invited him to join them. He refused the offer and decided to spend the rest of the day in his room, learning about Equestria and waiting for the sunset so he could meet whoever was talking with him with dreams.
He left the room when the sun began to set and told the guards that he wanted to do some exercise to release the energy excess, so he would be running in the gardens until it was too dark to see. They didn’t make any objection, but they forbade him to leave the castle in order to avoid unnecesary risks.
He got lost twice before he managed to find the gardens, but as soon as he did he felt a strong intuition leading him. This strange feeling led him to a labirynth, and told him when to turn in every junction. After thirty minutes he found a strange statue. The statue decipted a weird creature, which looked like a combination of many animals. It had a slender body, a bat wing and a feathered wing, a lion paw, an eagle claw, a leg with a hoof and another leg with reptilian claws. It had a long, horse-like neck which led to a face which showed horror.
The voice spoke to him while he was focusing on the mismatched eyes of the creature.
‘You are finally here’
“Where are you?”
‘No need to speak aloud, just think about it and I will listen’
‘Celestia said that was impossible’.
‘Maybe it is for her, or maybe she lied. She has lied a lot recently, especially to you’, the voice said darkly.
‘Who are you and how do you know about me?’
‘I am Discord, the protector of humankind. I have been turned into stone, but I still can feel the presence of humans in a limited area, that is why I have been trying to contact with you since you appeared in Ponyville. Robert, you are the only hope of mankind.’
‘You are speaking nonsense!’
‘I hear that a lot. I think a history lesson will make you understand. Celestia told you an interesting mix of true facts and lies. Humanity didn’t disappear because of wars and radiation, the extinction was caused by magic, which rendered all the humans in the world sterile. Soon we were too few and too old, the entire system collapsed. Many nuclear weapons and power plants were left unattended, and a few of them exploded, while others released radiation to the atmosphere. We focused all of our efforts to find a solution, but our experiments with magics released horrors far worse than radiation.’
‘And how do you fit in all of this? Twilight told me about you, she said you are the spirit of chaos and disharmony, not some kind of benevolent guardian’
‘I was a human once, just like you, but one of the experiments we performed changed me into this. I tried to use my powers to save humankind, but Celestia and Luna turned me into stone before I could find a solution. However, your presence here changes everything.’
‘How? How can I save humanity by myself?’ asked Robert, confused.
‘It is really simple. I know many things, including the details of your mission. All the humans who weren’t on Earth when magic appeared are still fertiles, that includes you and the embryos that wait in the Icarus. I want those embryos to be the first generation of a new humanity.’
‘That’s impossible, there is not a single woman left who can host them.’
Robert heard a dark laugh that made his entire body shake.
‘That, my dear Robert, is where the irony is. The same magic that caused our disappearance will make us return! In this state I am almost powerless, but I have focused enough energy to give you a gift. It’s dangerous to go alone, take this.’
The snaggletooth of Discord’s mismatched figure fell to the ground and Robert took it with care.
‘That fang is enchanted. It will suck the chaotic energy of the Everfree forest while you travel to the Icarus and, when it reaches full power, if you and a willing female of any species hold it at the same time you will swap species. Then she will be able to give birth to humans.’
‘Why don’t you just make a “change species” spell? This seems unnecessarily complicated to me.’
‘Because that’s not how magic works. Changing a creature’s species out of thin air requires a huge amount of power, while swapping is almost cost-free. It’s magic, you wouldn’t understand.’
‘So... Let me get this straight. You want me, a single man, to somehow find a female that is willing to become a human and rent her womb to give birth to as many embryos as she can, until humanity becomes a viable species again?’
‘That is right.’
‘You are MAD! I can’t do all of that! I lack the medical knowledge and the resources needed, and I can assure you that those two pony gods won’t just watch while I bring humanity back to Equestria. I will just accept their offer and live peacefully the rest of my life.’
Robert felt as if Discord’s mental presence was a needle in his brain when he talked again, his voice full of fury.
‘Your playing small does not serve the world! There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. You cower before them, stop that! You will do what you must and you will succeed, and when humanity is back they will all know HOW GREAT WE ARE!’
His voice stopped for a few seconds and returned, calm and slow.
‘Nobody and nopony will be able to stop you, because they need you. When magic appeared, it created a balance between order and chaos. Ponies represent order, and with their supremacy Equestria hasn’t evolved in the last three thousand years, they need our chaos to reach equilibrium but they don’t know it yet. The magic itself is creating chaos right now to compensate, that’s why in the last three years Equestria has faced more turmoils than in the last century, and it will be worse as time passes. This is your destiny, and the powers of fate will lead you. You have no right to right to say no, you have no right to end humanity, and probably ponykind with your passiveness created by fear, insecurities and conformity. You will bring humans back, because it is your duty, because it is the right thing to do, and because you won’t ever forgive yourself if you don’t.’
‘I... I need some time to think about all of this.’
‘If you are too craven to do what you have to do, at least bring my tooth back to me and try to ensure that the Icarus is safe, magic might as well give humanity another chance a few centuries later.’
‘You mean to tell me that the same magic that ponies use is some kind of sentient being that will act if we don’t?’
‘Magic is as sentient as water currents, what happens is that if you build a dam in the course of the river and you don’t let water pass it will break the dam, overflow it or find a way around. When humanity disappeared I became the spirit of chaos, and it is both my “duty” and my biggest pleasure to cause as much chaos as our whole species would. However, I was too good at what I did and there was too much chaos on Earth, so suddenly the Elements of Harmony appeared and they stopped me. Now that there is so much order, these ponies have control over weather itself!, you have come back to Earth, I find it hard to believe that you arrived at the right place in the right time just because of your ship malfunctioning.’
‘All this talking about magic is giving me a headache, I’m going back to my room. If I don’t come back it means that I have decided to play savior of mankind.’
‘Oh, one more thing before you leave,’ said Discord with a hint of mischief in his voice.
‘Is it true that the ANSA was sued by many copyright associations because they considered that carrying songs, films, books and all of that in the ship to be freely used by all the settlers was piracy?’
‘Yes! They sued the ANSA, the government, the astronauts, including me, and they even wanted to sue the embryos just in case!’
He left laughing, and hearing Discord’s laughter resonating in his mind. When the laughter stopped Robert began thinking about how doomed he was and how he should proceed.
When he arrived at his room he already had a very basic plan in his mind.
He was woken a few minutes after the sunrise by the same servant that he had already met twice.
“Sir Robert, Princess Celestia wants to meet you.”
“Uh? You again... Linen Cloth?” he asked, groggily.
“Silken Cloth,” she corrected him, “I will be waiting outside to guide you when you are ready.”
“Alright, give me a couple of minutes, one does not simply walk naked and with morning breath to a meeting with the god empress of ponykind. Also, stop calling me sir, it reminds me of a song of ice and fire.”
“Okay, mister Robert.”
“Drop the mister, too.”
He opened his eyes and saw Silken Cloth grinning. Her smile was contagious and he found himself smiling too.
“You know, I have always thought that Lord Robert sounds rather cool.”
“Well, you don’t have a lordship so I can’t call you that,” she replied as she left him alone.
This time he was led to another room, smaller and without lunar motives. There was only one small table with four chairs, one of them occupied by Celestia. She asked him to take a seat when Silken Cloth left them.
“Good morning, Robert.”
“Good morning, Princess Celestia.”
“I’m sorry for waking you up so early, but I have a very busy day and I can only spare a few minutes to deal with your situation so let’s get down to business. What have you chosen?”
“I want to be an Equestrian, but I don’t want to settle down in a place yet. I want to travel for a time before that.”
“I think that is a good idea, but I suggest you not to leave Equestria, and by Equestria I mean the nation instead of the world. Above all, avoid the Badlands, they are a nuclear wasteland and you will die for sure if you go there.”
“Alright, is there anything else I should know?”
“You should be safe amongst ponies, but my little subjects are prone to xenophobia so you will need this,” she materialized a necklace with a sun made of steel, “it has my magic sign, which means that you are under my protection. Nopony will dare to harm you as long as you have it, unless you break the law. When traveling to another place, the rule of hoof is: if the locals say that a place is dangerous, it probably IS dangerous. Apart from that, I don’t want you to jumpstart Equestria to the industrial age, my little ponies are taking their first steps in that field with ingenuity and magic and I fear that your influence could be prejudicial. Finally, there is a place in Canterlot for you as an ambassador of the Moon people should you ever need it.”
“That is very generous of you, Princess. Sadly, I can’t think of a way for a single man such as me to reciprocate such gratitude.”
“Live happily and don’t draw too much attention to yourself, that is all I ask.” she said with her trademark smile.
“Alright. So, when and how do I leave?”
“My faithful student and her friends will leave soon in their balloon. I suggest you to go with them. When you decide to leave Ponyville make sure that all your belongings that you won’t need, especially the weapons, are sent to me. We can’t have ponies using reverse engineering on your firearms, right?”
“You are free to go now, Robert Eisenfaust. Have a nice journey.”
“Thanks you, Princess Celestia. Say goodbye to Princess Luna for me.”
They both smiled at each other until Robert left the room, then they both frowned.
“Luna,” whispered Celestia, and the dark alicorn appeared in front of her, “I want some of your night guards to follow him. I have given him an enchanted necklace that will let them know where he is as long as he wears it. I fear that he’s planning something.”
“He is just a man, what could he do?”
“I don’t know, and that is why I am worried.”
“And then I told him: Oatmeal? Are you crazy?!” finished Pinkie, causing all the ponies, including the guards that were leading them, to laugh like maniacs.
Robert didn’t laugh at all, and when the ponies recovered their senses he said: “I don’t get it”, causing more laughter.
“Here we are, ladies, dragon and human,” said the guard when they reached the balloon, “Our pegasi team will lead you out of Canterlot, and then you are on your own."
“Thanks, Red Anvil,” said Twilight.
“It’s been a pleasure, miss Sparkle” he replied as he and his stallions left.
“Do you know all the guards here?” Robert asked.
“As I told you, I have lived here almost my whole life, that’s why I know most of them.”
“Hm... Are you sure we will fit in there? It seems too small.”
“Don'tcha worry, partner,” said Applejack, “Ah’m sure there’s room for all of us.”
Applejack was right and they all arrived at Ponyville, even if Robert almost fell off when a sudden gust of wind made him lose his balance. He decided to tell them about Equestria being Earth all along and how he was the last human, as well as the story of him being from the moon so they all could tell everypony else the same thing. They didn’t talk at all after that, since Robert’s revelations were quite a lot to take in for the ponies.
As soon as they landed they all went to their homes, tired and eager to check if everything was right. A crowd gathered around Twilight, Robert and Spike, asking about everything.
“Listen to me, everypony!” shouted Twilight, “we have had a long travel and we are tired. I’ll ask the Mayor to gather the town so all your questions can be answered.”
“Until then,” continued Robert, “know that my name is Robert Eisenfaust, I am a human from the moon and I won’t cause any trouble.”
Ponyville’s Mayor managed to move through the crowd and focus their attention on herself.
“You’ve heard him, there is nothing to see! Carry on, carry on!” she said, effectively dispersing the crowd. Soon the only ones left were Twilight, Spike, Robert and the Mayor, who turned around and looked at them, very annoyed.
“Twilight, dear, could you please someday turn your disasters attractor off? Since you moved here we have suffered more weird happening than since the town’s founding,” her eye twitched a few times, “we all have waited enough, knowing that you were hosting this being in the library, now I want a full explanation so I can speak to the ponies tomorrow.”
Robert answered before Twilight could.
“Ah, yes, we are terribly sorry for that, but you see, I was badly hurt back then and I couldn’t talk so we decided that, until I could speak again, I should stay in the library and learn a bit more about Equestria. I suppose there won’t be any problem if I explain everything to you while Twilight goes back to the library?”
The Mayor was a bit taken aback by the talking bipedal creature, but she quickly overcame her emotions.
“Excellent, come with me to the town hall so we can speak privately.”
“See you, Twilight,” Robert said as they left.
He soon discovered that the Mayor was a nice pony, but the stress of her job could make her a real bitch sometimes. He told her all the lies he was supposed to tell, trying to be vague about the moon. ‘The simpler the story, the easier not to make mistakes’, he thought. A servant brought them lunch, which luckily didn’t contain vegetables that Robert couldn’t eat, while he talked about how he ended up half dead in Ponyville.
Finally, he left the Town Hall, his throat sore after talking so much. The sun was already setting and he had decided to go to the library and ask Twilight to give him back his things. The ponies looked at him with frowns, but at least they didn’t run away at the sight of him. He was reaching the library when he was rammed by something big and mint colored that almost made him fall to the ground.
“Robert! You are safe!” Lyra said as she hugged him.
“Oof! Hey, I promised you I would come back,” he replied as he returned the embrace.
“I was so worried!”
“It’s alright, I’m here and I’m fine” he reassured her.
“Heh, I have yet to get over you talking. I already miss seeing you scribble with your awful spelling.”
“Then I won’t sing near you, or you may do something drastic so I don’t speak ever again” he replied laughing.
She dropped to her four legs and asked him to tell her everything. He looked around, making sure that nopony was listening to them and he told her the truth instead of the fake story. She didn’t interrupt his story at all, listening with attention.
“I knew it” she said when he finished.
“I knew that humans lived in Equestria, the hints are everywhere. Just for example: we have a decimal system, which is illogical as nopony has ten limbs to count, we have doorknobs that only unicorns can handle. Even words! Why would we use the word handle, when we don’t even have hands? When you said that you were from another world I thought that maybe some humans came here before you, but it didn’t make sense as you said that you were the first human to travel to another world. It all makes sense now!”
“Yes, it explains many things, especially why we speak the same language and how Pinkie Pie was able to read what I wrote. She said that their family are amish, so they must have passed on our alphabet even after Celestia made sure that nopony would learn about it... But that is not important right now, there is something else I must tell you, Lyra. There may be a way for humans to perpetuate, but it’s risky and I can’t do it alone. I don’t want to pressure you, but you are the only one in which I can trust the future of humankind.”
“H-how could I help you with something like that?”
“I want you to know the full truth before making your decision, so here it goes: we would have to swap species, so you could become a fertile human. Then you could give birth to the human embryos that are safe in the Icarus, my spaceship. The princesses will try to stop us if they learn about this, so we would hide in the Everfree until we could prosper and grow without me manually implanting embryos. Then we could just go out and become a part of Equestria, because the princesses aren’t the kind of rulers to destroy an entire race because it suits them.”
None of them spoke for ten seconds, until Lyra came up with a rational answer.
“Robert, that is the craziest, stupidest, grossest plan I have ever heard. Count me in.”
“I don’t want to sound like an excited filly talking about Justin Beaver, but I have spent years trying to know more about humans. Since I found you in the Everfree, I have dreamed about how great it would be if there were more humans in Equestria. Being the key part of your plan to bring humans back to Equestria is, like, the best thing I can devote my life to. Apart from that, you are a friend in need, and friends help each other in these cases.”
“You don’t need to devote your life to this, if you give birth to just one female it will be enough.”
“And having you dealing with babies for the next Celestia knows how many years, apart from forcing my surrogate daughter... Heh, that sounds weird... to carry the burden of giving birth to more humans as fast and as soon as possible? I can’t do that, Robert.”
“Lyra Heartstrings, I feel like kissing you right here, right now. Have I ever told you that you are the best person, pony or not, that I have ever met?” he said as he knelt to hug her.
“You humans better build me a nice statue after this,” she said jokingly as she broke the hug, “by the way, I don’t how to perform a swap spell.”
“That won’t be a problem. I met a spirit in Canterlot that gave me the means to do that spell, and some hints. I want to leave Ponyville tonight, is that fine with you?”
“It is a bit rushed, but it’s fine. What do I tell everypony?”
“Tell them that you are coming with me, because I want to travel around Equestria and you want to accompany me.”
“Fine, meet me at midnight in the park.”
“Lyra, I don’t want to talk against my own plan, but... Have you really considered all the implications of following me? It’s going to be dangerous and long, as in until we grow old. I want you to promise me that, if you ever stop wanting to do this, you will tell me and we will forget about it”
“It is fine, Robert, really. I appreciate your concern, but now that I know that your species need me to survive I would never forgive myself if I didn’t help at all. Anyways, what is the worst that could happen? The princesses might prefer you humans gone, but even if they catch us they will see that we only did what we think is best and they won’t be harsh on us. Furthermore, I have always wanted to know how it feels to have hands,” she added with a dreamily tone, “being the savior of humanity is a small price to pay for being a human!”
“... You are agreeing to this just to have hands?”
“What? No! I have already explained why I want to help you, being a human for a while must be incredible, but I would never agree to all of this just for that. I know you need me and I want to help, that is all. Now I must prepare myself for this crazy adventure.”
“Me too, I will bring all the survival equipment, so don’t worry about that,” he said, already turning to the library.
“Robert, one more thing,” she said, stopping him, “do you know who is this spirit that is helping you?”
“No, I don’t,” he lied, “it talked to me in my sleep last night, but it never gave away his name or identity. Why do you ask?”
“It’s just that not all the spirits in Equestria are good-doers, some spirits just want to watch the world burn. I am pretty excited about this, but if we find that we are being manipulated by an evil being we must stop.”
“I know nothing about magic, but if this spirit is evil it must have placed some kind of curse in the magical artifact it gave me. Can you unicorns detect those things?”
“We can, but I don’t know how because it’s not what I always do. You will have to bring a spellbook from the library.”
“Good, good. I will meet you in the park, then. Goodbye.”
They went separate ways, the unicorn excited and the human worried.
AN: Yo Robert and Discord, why don’t you just give up and let me finish this story? It’s getting weirder as time passes. Also, if any of you readers find some error, be it grammatical or about the plot, point it out so I can fix it or something.