Green for the link, black/grey to stop.
Written by HB_DS2013
John flinched as the barking intensified and found himself pushed down onto the ground by a pinto dog.
Dogs.... of all, why did it have to be dogs!? If he had a voice, he would gulp and whimper with his now-figurative tails between his legs.
"Winona, heel!" An older, western-sounding voice commanded. Winona glared at John once more before returning to an orange pony with a blonde mane and some sort of hat.
A harness connected her back to a large bushel of the red fruit, now called apples. "I've seen better thieves than you." The mare commented as she pulled the boy up. He gave a questioning look that devolved into confusion, then watched as she leered and growled once more before sitting down on her hindpaws and licked her nose, paying no mind to the orange pony's introduction.
"Are you and Apple Bloom sisters or something?" John crossed his arms as if in deep thought and frowned.
"Yeah." Applejack replied in a pleasant tone, "But... if I catch you stealin' again or even tryin' tah pick apples without mah permission, yer gonna regret it." She leaned closer and glared as her voice lowered, unfazing the former demon as he maintained a flat expresson. She tipped her hat, asking suspisciously, "You're not a changeling... are you?"
'No.' John shook his head, then turned towards Apple Bloom and frowned at Winona, who sat down and glared back.
"Oh yeah... isn't Big Mac's turn opening up shop today?" Apple Bloom asked.
"Nope. It's mah turn to sell our wares." Winona gave a warning bark and growled once more, leaving after Applejack."Well, go on ahead. I'm going over to finish up the last of today's harvest, okay?" She turned to John and warned, "I'm keepin' my eye on you! Got that?"
John nodded slowly in an affirming manner, with two fingers crossed behind his back.
"I owe Lyra five bits, don't I?" A cyan pegasus grumbled.
"Rainbow, I owe her five bits as well." A lilac earth pony frowned.
"Muuuufffiiiinsss~" Another pony sang.
"Whoa, check that babe out~" An alabaster mare with a neon blue mane clicked, earning a groan and facehoof from her marefriend. John stuck out his tongue in distaste, quickly turning to the lemon tour guide. So far, he learned that Ponyville is an earth pony town founded by one Granny Smith and another pony and their main exports are apples and chaos. Why chaos was counted as an export was a fact that the former demon did not want to know.
"Apple Bloom?" She lifted her head towards her bipedal companion with a confused expression. 'What do you know about the pony races?' A furrowed brow and a frown escaped John's lips after he tilted his head.
"Pegasi control the weather, then Earth ponies like me an' mah sis take care of the plants an' animals. Unicorns used tah raise th' sun an' moon in the past, but all they do now is use magic."
What about your rulers? John inquired. "Princesses. Equestria's a thousand year old diarchy." He frowned, crossing his arms with a furrowed brow. "What's wrong?"
Okay, who's the ruler?
"Princesses Celestia an' Luna." Apple Bloom quickly replied.
Alright, have you heard of Lord Tirek? Apple Bloom frowned.
The Frozen North? Apple Bloom shook her head.
Do the sun and moon move on their own?
"Ah don't think so?"
Lies... His voice lowered to a demonic tone as his eyes shrank. John drew back as his head shook faster, his surroundings began to blur as voices echoed and colors faded. Time slapped him on the face as his legs started to falter and darkness caressed his form in its cold embrace.
''Where am I? Am I dead yet?' His vision slowly cleared as two equine masses towered over his bipedal body. My head hurts. John shot up and flinched.
"No, this is a library." A new voice broke the silence, coming from a purple unicorn with a dark blue mane and tail with purple and pink highlights, introducing herself as Twilight Sparkle. "How are your alchemy lessons?"
"I'm going along nicely, Twilight." Apple Bloom piped up. "But since we're here, ah was actually hoping to find out who or what John is."
"Is that his name?" Twilight inquired, briefly glancing towards the boy, whose stomach growled in response. "Wait here. I will be right back."
Moments later, Twilight returned with a daisy sandwich and a cup of tea, along with a faded green book. On the front, it bore the name Ancient Equestrian Myths and Legends, but to him looked like strange letters.
Following the two ponies downstairs, he watched as the purple pony set down the tea and an unfamiliar dish on a small plate, both of which are on a table. The interior of this residence is akin to Zecora's, but with different wood and having several shelves and various pieces of furniture installed, including a small basket next to the bed. Closing his eyes and taking a tentative bite, the stringy texture of the daisy petals blended with the soft texture of the bread as John winced at the dry taste. Next, he took the cup with both hands and sniffed the aromatic scent of the herbs in the tea. Taking a sip, he flinched as the hot tea flowed down his throat, but relaxed at the mild, sweet taste.
At least his appetite was satiated temporarily. John inhaled the air around him and covered his nose. The entirety of the library, as the two ponies called it, stunk of the musky scent of ink! 'Whoever was able to withstand the scent of ink must be an intellectual,' he thought. Ignoring the ponies' conversation, he walked towards one of the shelves and noticed a faded blue book, its title in an unfamiliar language.
Pulling the book out of the shelf, he sat down and turned the page. He stared blankly at the horse-head shaped runes for five minutes, trying to make sense of it all. Slowly closing the blue book and opening another one, this time a deep red color. John shook his head in frustration when the contents of the book turned out to be fancy scratches. The cover of the second book had a picture of two ponies and holding a stylized heart.
"Here it is!" Twilight announced.
"The Precursors?" Apple Bloom tilted her head in confusion. "What are they?"
"The Precursors are a race known for their ingenuity. " Twilight began, "So far, the only hint of their physical appearance is their bipedal stance, which is a favorite template for any shapeshifter to use save for changelings due to its universal compatibility, who favor quadrupeds." She continued, "For all their ingenuity, the Precursors also have a love for war, eventually consuming themselves with their warlust when disease could not. They also managed to enslave other races for scientific purposes, including a race of shapeshifting foxes."
"That's all there is? I was hoping for more about John's species..." Apple Bloom's ears drooped as she took a quick glance towards her friend, who had a third book on his hands. "What's wrong?" She asked her friend.
"The horse-headed runes and scratches make no sense to me." John shook his head. "What are they?"
"Those runes and scratches?" Twilight pointed to the runes and explained, "The pony-headed runes are all that's left of the Old Unicorn language and the rest is comprised of Equish, the major language of Equestria."
"Alright." John thought with a questioning tone. "Who is this Princess Celestia that Apple Bloom keeps mentioning?"
"Princess Celestia is my mentor, an alicorn. I have been her faithful student as much as I can remember."
"Did you say alicorn?"
"Of course." Twilight nodded and continued, " Alicorns have all the abilities of earth ponies, unicorns and pegasi. They have been blessed with many things, but immortal is not one of them."
'Just like my kind, then.' John thought and gave an inaudible sigh. 'I was around when news came of Discord's first defeat.
"Do you know anything about it?" The filly inquired.
"Not really..." He frowned and shook his head, facing Twilight. "Is there anything else you want to ask me?"
"How old are you?" Twilight asked.
"Two hundred." John shrugged and crossed his arms.
"How does that work?" Apple Bloom frowned as if confused, then tilted her head. "You don't even look two hundred."
'I am old enough to be your grandfather two times over. John tapped his chin while giving the two ponies a small grin.
"You might as well be Spike's age if you were a pony." Apple Bloom commented.
While this beautiful exchange of information between the two minors progressed, Twilight opened the door, only for a pink blur to zoom past her spinning body and keeled over, disoriented. John felt himself being pushed forward, his back meeting the wooden floor as his eyes met a pair of blue in two shades of pink.