Chapter 5: Past – Future Friends
Twilight Sparkle was still sleeping. Though her day started early as she liked to prepare a checklist for the day’s events beforehoof and allow time to double check the list, occasionally it would take several crows of the rooster that perched atop the fountain located in the town square, set only a few houses away from Twilight’s open bedroom window to wake her.
Peacefully, she stirred in her warm bed, cushioned by the soft duvet, covered in silver moons and golden stars. On the fifth or sixth blast of the rooster’s screeching “Cock-a-doodle doo!”, Twilight groggily opened her big lavender eyes and willed herself to get out of bed. Any other pony would deem it ridiculous to rise at such an early hour, but not Twilight, she had important things to do. This is how she could find the will to get out from her toasty bed pretty much every day. And in the Winter months, she would be going to sleep and waking up in the dark. She groaned as that thought crossed her mind; ever since she was a filly, she had been wary of the dark.
The odd fact that a mare educated enough to explain how to weigh shadows was somehow scared of them went overlooked most of the time, but sometimes it caused her enough upset to instill temporary insomnia in her system. The next thing she knew, she'll be thinking 'monsters' exist...
It was Autumn time; there were only a few more weeks of waking up in the glorious daylight to enjoy before winter, once again, would be upon her. Celestia’s sun shone through the open window, carrying with it one of the last breaths of warm air from the previous Summer.
Her magic was unpredictable when she was tired or ill, so she would not use it until she had fully woken up, which didn’t take long fortunately. She threw the thick sheets from herself and slid out of her bed onto all fours. Groggily, she walked over to her mirror and squinted at the reflection, trying to bring about enough focus to raise the carefully placed bush from where it laid on the table; The monotonous task would help her to wake up. Twilight raised the brush to her head and ran it through her mane, returning it to its usual straight cut one rather than a scraggly purple mess.
When she was satisfied that her hair was no longer an animal, she set the brush down on the tabletop again, exactly where she had picked it up from; laying perpendicular to the edge of the surface. With a gentle, confident nod to the reflection in the mirror, Twilight quietly made her way down the curving stairs into the main room of the library, being careful to not wake the sleeping dragon that lay curled up and still fast asleep in the basket at her bedside. Mouth, sticky and dry from sleep, the first place Twilight went to was the kitchen to get a glass of cool water.
After loudly gulping down every drop of the refreshing liquid, not removing the glass from her lips the moment she started to the instant she finished with a loud sigh and gasp for air, Twilight refilled the glass and took a single sip before placing her drink onto the wooden work surface.
From another desk, located against one of the curved walls of her home, Twilight brought out several sheets of paper, a feather quill and a pot of ink with her magic. She placed them neatly about the desk, which until now was clear of any and all articles. Twilight took a seat before the desk and rested her forehooves on the front of the oak table for stability before going to work.
Twilight valued this part of the day. Of course, she loved spending time with her friends and socialising with others, but she still relished these occasional moments of silent solitude where she was allowed to think straight.
After the first few duties had been listed, Twilight read what she had written back to herself. “Get up. Check.” She didn’t think it unnecessary to write down something she had already done because she liked to keep a record of anything and everything she did every day, from the very first thing to the very last. “Breakfast…” Twilight frowned at the paper when her stomach growled viciously, begging for food. She sighed and stood up, swivelled and returned to the kitchen. She slipped two slices of whole-wheat bread into her glossy lilac toaster and pressed down on the plunger. For not the first time in her life, she found herself completely lost towards what to do with herself whilst her first meal was being prepared, so she just stood there, redundantly taking in all of the features of a library's kitchen she already knew like the back of her hoof.
Very soon, the toaster told Twilight that her toast was done in the form of a soft 'ding' emanating from a miniature bell within and she removed the slices of stiff bread that hadn’t changed much in colour from when they entered the machine. The purple unicorn levitated the two slices of toast onto a plate she had just removed from an overhead cupboard and began to spread a low-cholesterol butter onto each. After the butter had melted into the warm bread, Twilight carried her plate of steaming toast over to her table with magic, setting it down next to her short list that only just covered for an hour of her day.
Re-seating herself on the cushioned chair and taking a slow bite of the start of her day, Twilight enveloped the red quill with magic, dipping the tip into the black ink once more. “Breakfast… Check.”
The white alicorn had discovered cantering by the time he made it to the outskirts of what he assumed to be Ponyville. Breathing heavily, he leaned up against the back of one of the beautiful thatched houses that populated the small town. It was still very early, however nopony would be up, or at least not about. He hoped. Wait, why? He just looked like a normal unicorn, granted, an uncomfortable one carrying two massive bags of something at his sides. If anypony saw him, they would simply just wave and carry on their morning. This comforted him until the thought of running into a certain pink female crossed his mind.
The white stallion shuddered and quickly surveyed the area to ensure there was nopony about. Even though they would think nothing of it, it was better to be safe than sorry. Happy that he was alone, he darted from the rear of the residence and into a alleyway between another two. When he emerged, he was faced with a clearing, nothing there except a pathway surrounding a large fountain. As he crossed the centre of town, a thought dwelled on him: ”Are all the fan fictions true as well? Were most ponies female, or is that just some fantasy of the community or at best a fabrication of the truth? And did whatever happen in the horror fics really happen? Were there once humans in Equestria that kidnapped ponies and forced them to become like they were, and destroy the ones who refused? What monsters we once were,” the disguised unicorn stopped in the middle of the street and delved deeper into thought, “What monsters we still are…”
He was taken back by how much he remembered being human. Here he was, stood in the middle of an animated town, in a different universe, walking on all fours, with a horn and two enormous wings that he was barely able to shuffle under his tight vest… and he still felt… human. He shook the feelings from his head. It wasn’t as if he didn’t enjoy being a pony, if anything, it was far the opposite! But what he was… a human mind in a pony’s body, he had inside knowledge of these pony’s lives and he was going to have to keep hush about who he really was.
Starting to walk on again, the stallion looked to his left to see what he recognised as Sugarcube Corner, home to the ecstatic pink mare. He smiled genuinely at the thought of befriending Pinkie, and indeed all of the others. Maybe… hopefully he could take off this charade and show them his true form. Then he could soar in the sky with Rainbow Dash, that is, of course, if he could keep up! All the future plans for him and his ‘friends’ flooded his mind and made him overjoyed with excitement and happiness. He felt as if he were flying already!
He knew he really should keep his mind clear, and his excitement to a minimum, but being who he was, to do such a thing would be... difficult.
Beaming towards the future, regardless of how 'fairytale' this all seemed, he continued his search for the ‘tree-house’. How hard could it be? An enormous hollowed-out tree, fitted with a cacophony of balconies and windows. He recognised the town hall located just at the edge of the clearing, a large circular hall where formal gatherings were held. Staring and analysing every possible path between houses that could lead to Twilight’s home. His gaze fell upon a tall wooden sign, overcrowded with wooden arrows jutting out in all directions from a thick central beam. “Thank God.” He muttered in relief.
Actually, he was going to have to get used to referring to the big guy upstairs as ‘Celestia’. “Thank… Celestia.” He corrected himself as he made his anticipated way towards the sign.
“Uhhhhh…” he droned as his eyes drifted down the directions and then back up again to the top. Not really paying any attention the first time, he repeated his search. After a second, more intense search of the crude wooden arrows the alicorn was becoming impatient at still not finding the sign marked ‘library’ maybe it didn’t have one. “One more check, just to be sure.” He sighed. He drew his eyes to the top for the last time and began reading aloud…
Quite humorously, perched at the top of the signpost pointing upwards and at a slight angle, there was a sign that read “Cloudsdale.”
The first sign that pointed to the left and slightly behind displayed: “Town hall.” The white pony looked over his shoulder in the direction the sign gestured at the obvious building sat completely in the open. “Really?” He muttered under his breath.
“Sugarcube corner bakery.” The impatient stallion continued.
A black sign under the previous one pointed feebly to the right with the words “Everfree forest.” Shakily etched into the wood and painted white.
“To Canterlot.” Another, more well-maintained looking sign pointed towards the mountains, the letters spelled out in thin bent gold. It was obvious a lot of time and care was invested into glamorising the upper class city through the use of a simple sign.
An arrow that proudly looked directly behind him in the direction he came from read “Sweet Apple Acres.”
“Library!?” The stallion exclaimed and took a step towards the sign. Upon further examination, the arrow indeed, proclaimed the library was located ahead and slightly to the right of where he stood now.
The white pony assumed that he was simply slow and declared that the “Third time’s a charm.” He then made off in the direction the convolute sign had pointed him in at a quickened pace. Surely enough, the large tree house came into view just several doors away. How he missed it, he didn’t know. Approaching the tree, he tried to see any signs of life, but through the bits of windows all he could find were books and blank parts of wall.
Before he knew it, he had reached the small wooden door, harbouring a candle carved into the upper section of it. Before knocking, he slowly rolled around the window frame, increasing his vision into the room inch by inch to see if anypony was awake. He immediately jerked his head back well out of sight when he saw a purple unicorn sat on a small chair staring intently at something on the table in front if her. Only a glimpse was needed to recognise this pony as Twilight Sparkle and the white alicorn outside felt relieved to see another pony. And privileged that the first he saw in this world was Twilight.
He slowly and anxiously made his way back to the red door of the tree. Swallowing nervously, he raised his hoof so the base of it was facing him and with a confidence-building snort that spoke “No turning back”, he rasped four times in quick succession upon the wood and eagerly waited the reply.
Then, after a second or two, he heard a ‘chink’ of porcelain and the unmistakeable sound of metal chair legs scraping across wooden floor and a slow clopping sound that grew increasingly louder as the purple mare made her way to the thick piece of tree separating them.
Twilight sipped at her morning tea that she had brewed herself shortly after finishing her toast. She sighed quick, and contently as she finished planning the first half of her day. Another twenty or so minutes and she would be done. She began reading back through her list from the very top once again. “Get up, check… Breakfast, check… Morning tea?...” She said as she raised the teacup to her pursed lips again. Another sip. Perfect; very hot, but not so much so that it burnt her mouth. “Definitely check.” She said, scribbling at the check box with the quill, a content smile on her face.
She read the next five or so duties and was just about to take another sip when a quick tapping was heard from behind her. Startled out of co-ordination for only a second or two at the unexpected sound, Twilight soon collected her thoughts and set the teacup down on the saucer that rested on the left hoof corner of the table. And slid the chair out from under her, starting to walk slowly towards the door as she grew ever so slightly worried as to who would be so early to visit the library and disrupt her always uneventful morning.
She unlocked the library door by magically turning the key positioned at the left of the larger door, which sat atop two smaller doors below. The key always hung from the keyhole unless Twilight was going out for an extended amount of time. She stood to the side of the door and opened it a crack, not yet releasing the sliding chain to keep the door open only enough to be able to see who was waiting outside for her, without jeopardising her safety.
She peeked through the opening and gazed up at a pair of kind, yet un-nerving orange eyes.
“Y-yes?” Twilight said, forcing a very convincing false smile.
“Are you… Twilight Sparkle?” Asked the stallion, as if he needed to.
“Yes…” Replied the purple unicorn, becoming quite a bit more edgy.
“Um, I was told you could perhaps help me.” Asked the larger white pony that stood in the cold of morning outside Twilight’s warm home.
Re-installed with affirmation in this mysterious visitor’s voice that he meant no harm, Twilight relaxed a little, speaking: “Hold on one second.” before shutting the door.
The next sound heard was of metal sliding on metal, followed by a rattling of a chain and then the door opened again, not much further than it had done before and Twilight looked into the other ‘unicorn’s’ fiery eyes through the small gap. Any fears about the newcomer she once had were gone; even though this stallion’s eyes were hot and harsh, there was something about the kind way he looked at her that made her feel not only at ease, but also safe.
The door slowly opened fully to reveal an inviting looking home, the floor was one massive circular piece of wood and nearly all of the walls were lined from top to bottom with colourful – looking books, a short wooden ladder was propped carefully against the bookshelf to the far right. To the rear of the room, there rose a case of squared-off stairs leading up to what seemed to be a bed. The staircase continued higher into the tree, where at the mid-point of the room, it gave way to a platform that circulated the entire trunk, granting access to the upper balconies of the tree.
The stallion stood there, waiting for the smaller unicorn to invite him in. This reassured Twilight even more so; if he were here for violence, he would have jumped at the chance to barge in. Instead, he waited patiently to be let in.
“You… can come in.” Twilight beckoned with an amused smile. The white ‘unicorn’ returned a grin of his own before carefully stepping over the smaller doors and ducking to avoid striking his horn on the top of the doorframe. Once he was inside, he turned and pushed the door closed again with his right hoof. As it gently made contact with the frame, a quiet ‘click’ was heard form the catch.
The white pony turned to look at his host, only to be taken back by the look of mild alarm plastered onto the purple one’s face. “What’s wrong?” He asked.
“Are… you okay?” replied a concerned Twilight.
“Uhhhhh… I think so…” He replied, giving his figure a once-over. “Why do you ask?”
“It’s just… Never mind.”
“No, go on… If something’s bothering you, I'm happy to help.” Replied the stallion, pleased with himself at how kind and polite he came across simply by instinct.
“I’m sorry, but… What are those lumps on your back?” Twilight inquired. It was not out of her nature to ask a general question, but she couldn't help but feel a little imposing to ask in the first place.
“Oh, these?” He asked, desperately trying to come up with a cover story. “They’re… scar – type things... from an accident.”
“Accident?” Twilight replied.
“Yes, when I was young, a stagecoach ran me over…” Twilight met this story with a startled gasp. “These lumps on my back formed a week or so afterwards, and they’ve grown with me. I’m quite self-conscious about them, so that’s why I wear this vest…” His lame idea of a cover-up seemed to work, however, the alicorn in disguise failed to convince himself with the ridiculous story.
Twilight looked down. “I’m sorry.” She mumbled.
“Don’t worry about it, I’m fine.” He replied, shooting Twilight a reassuring smile, which, once again, restored Twilight’s confidence.
“I didn’t catch your name.” Twilight spoke, easily firing up another conversation.
“Oh, yeah. Sorry, I’m-“ He stopped. His mind had hit a brick wall. He was human. He knew that. He knew what he liked and didn’t like. He remembered being a brony. He even remembered what he had for breakfast the morning Celestia arrived. He remembered everything. Everything, except his name. “I – I don’t know…” He replied solemnly. He didn’t mean to say it it with such a macabre tone, but he was so bewildered, he just didn't notice.
Twilight laughed before noticing that he was not as amused as she was. “You’re serious?” She asked.
“Yeah…” The white unicorn replied, scared towards how this conversation would play out.
“Wh-what?” Twilight asked humorously.
“I… don’t have a name.” He paraphrased.
“How can you not have a name?” Twilight questioned with disbelief, still finding the topic laughable.
“I – I don’t remember.”
“Well, where do you live.”
“I don’t know…” The alicorn knew this conversation would create trouble in the very near future.
“Where do your parent’s live?” Twilight interrogated.
The white pony shook his head. “Both dead. As all of my family.” He replied harshly. To an extent, this was true. He had no family in this universe, and maybe this bombshell would shut off Twilight's constant flow of jeopardising questions... All too well.
“I’m- I’m so sorry.” Twilight gasped, feeling awful for being so insensitive.
The nameless stallion saw that what he had said had struck her hard. “No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been so blunt.” Both found massive interest in the floor as they waited for one of them to break the silence. However, a loud snore from a certain baby dragon upstairs seemed to do the job just fine. The two ponies quietly laughed at the innocent sound. And they both felt something. A ‘spark’ in both of their hearts that told them they were going to be the best of friends. Strange, how something so sad and tragic could bring the best out of somepony. And what better gift than friendship?
“This is a library.” The stallion commented.
“Uh… yeah…” Twilight Sparkle responded, looking around at the multitude of books lining nearly every wall from top to bottom.
“Do you have a... ‘name’ book?”
“’Name’ book?” The female unicorn asked in slight confusion, cocking her head slightly.
“Yeah, you know like popular babies’ names.”
“Foals.” He corrected himself.
“Oh yeah, right over here! Sp-“ Twilight started to call the name of her assistant, but cut herself off when she remembered he usually rose an hour later from now.
“Heh, heh…” Twilight awkwardly giggled, making her way to the “Expecting parents” section of the library. Withdrawing a white covered book titled simply “Popular foals’ names, 3487.” She read the title as she levitated the book towards her new friend, who focused on the thick book as it floated in front of him. He reached out to take it and when Twilight’s magic was released, the book suddenly became repulsive towards his clumsy hooves. Juggling a book with no fingers was one of the hardest things he ever had to do. He threw the book in the air multiple times before clamping it between his hooves, ensuring it never escaped.
He looked up from the book to Twilight, an expression of accomplishment worn on his face. Twilight shook her head in amusement and smiled. Though the whole incident was entertaining, she found it strange that a unicorn didn’t choose to carry things with magic. Rotating on the backs of her hooves, leaving her friend to fondle the pages of the book around, she headed back over to work on her list. “Who do you think I look like?” The stallion asked.
“Who do you… look like?” She echoed, with confusion.
“Yeah,” Replied the other ‘unicorn’, looking up from the book to meet Twilight’s gaze. “As in, if you saw me, and didn’t know me, what would you think my name was, purely on looks?”
Twilight cocked her head and furrowed her brow in analytical thought.
“Craig.” She finally said.
“...Yeah, I’m gonna pick a name out of this book…” Remarked ‘Craig’ with a dole tone.
Twilight chuckled and returned to her list and the library fell silent again. The only sounds were of the scratching of a quill on paper and the occasional turn of a page. The white stallion flicked through each page, finding nothing particularly interesting, though there were many names that sounded familiar to him. Names like ‘Andrew’ and ‘Billy’. He found it ironic that a suggested name in the ‘A-section’ was ‘Angus’ as in the type of cow. Whether or not ponies did in fact, eat meat, the idea of one being named after a cow bread for meat was amusing.
After about five minutes of scrolling through names, the stallion had reached the ‘C-section’. The book was set out like a dictionary, going in exact alphabetical order. Progress was slow, and he had dropped the book several times now, even though he was parked on a sofa at the edge of the room, the book laying next to him.
His eyes drifted down the columns…
His eyes automatically fell from the top of each page to the bottom and then returned to the top. A couple of pages and dropping the book for the eighth time later, the stallion’s hot eyes rested upon one name that stood out from the rest. He didn’t know why; this name wasn’t special, but something about it just seemed… right…
“Twilight?” he called across the room.
“Yes?” Came a distracted reply from the mare.
“How do you say this name?”
“What?” Twilight asked, turning around in her chair, resting her left foreleg on the back of it.
“Is it ‘Can – tor’ or ‘Canter’?”
“Let me see it.” Twilight said, beckoning him over to her with her right hoof.
The stallion looked around for something he knew he wasn’t going to find before gingerly picking the book of names up in his mouth. It felt really weird to carry something like this, but, that was how everypony else did it, and so would he.
“Why don’t you do things with magic?” Twilight enquired when the white ‘unicorn’ reached her side.
“I’m uh, not that confident with magic…” He said with forced humour, barely able to speak fluently around the wedge of a book he held loosely between his teeth.
“Oh, well uh… okay then...” Twilight took the book from the stallion’s mouth and asked him to point out the word.
“Yes, that’s Cantor, pronounced as if you were saying ‘canter’. Why, do you like it?” Twilight asked.
“Yeah, I kind of do.” He smiled, “Actually, I was hoping it would be spoken like that; Can – tor sounds kinda weird.”
Twilight gave a cute little chuckle and asked: “So… Do I call you Cantor from now on?”
“Yeah!” Replied the recently identified newcomer. “My name's Cantor!” He declared, quietly, but with an air of pride.
Cantor watched as Twilight finished her schedule, for some reason, finding great interest in the act. Once she had written in the last entry: “Sleep”, she re-filled her cup of tea. She offered Cantor a cup, and he politely declined. Mainly because of the drama he'd had with the book, that now rested back in it’s place among it’s rarely-used friends; he didn’t want to be responsible for something more fragile.
“So why are you here?” Twilight called from the kitchen.
Cantor listened to the sound of a metal spoon stirring the tea before replying. “I need to see the princess.” The sound of stirring stopped and Twilight poked her head out from the doorway to the kitchen.
“What?” She asked, marginally concerned.
“Well, there’s something important we need to talk about, but I can’t tell you what it is.”
“Why not?” Twilight asked accusingly, becoming protective over her teacher.
Realising how this must sound, Cantor turned on the defensive. “Oh, it’s nothing bad…” Yeah, right. The end of the universe wasn’t an issue. “I just need a few questions answered.” “Shit.” He though as he realised how that must sound: a large, powerful – looking unicorn turning up seemingly out of nowhere, with no name and no recollection of where he came from, wanting to see the princess to have ‘his questions answered’. He was digging a hole, and if he wasn’t careful about what he said, he may not be able to get out and his adventure would be over before it even started.
“I was hoping you could show me the way…” Good. That would show ignorance, and throw off some of Twilight’s mental accusations. “If you’re not too busy, that is.”
Twilight locked him in a glare, reading his thoughts with a complicated spell that she discovered when trying to learn about hypnotism. There was definitely something strange about this other pony. He had no intentions of harming anypony, to her relief. But she couldn’t seem to crack into his memories, fantasies and dreams. She found that only very powerful ponies were able to resist that spell, like the princesses and the less than satisfactory prince Blueblood she had tried to read to understand why he was such a jerk to her other unicornian friend many nights ago.
“You’re not from around here... Are you?” She asked.
“You could say that.” Cantor replied cockily.
“Where are you from?”
“I’ve already said, I don’t remember.” He became confident in how he spoke. He felt Twilight inside his mind just then, and he knew that whatever she was looking for, she couldn’t find.
“I have some spare time around lunch.” She smiled. “I could come with you to Canterlot then!” she finished speaking and beamed. Falsely.
Cantor saw this easily. Whatever she was feeling now, there was also unmistakeable fear in her eyes and the way she spoke. Was he the reason for that? Of course. There were no reasons other than that.
“Are you sure? I wouldn’t want to mess up your plan.” He said and nodded towards the desk which now held only the day’s plan, the ink quietly drying into the paper.
“Yeah. I’d be happy to help.” Twilight answered, returning to the kitchen to finish making her tea. “Are you sure you don’t want one?” she called out.
“Really, I’m fine, but thank you.” Cantor replied.
After a minute, Twilight joined Cantor on the soft, furry cream sofa carrying the cup with her magic. The stallion watched the beverage longingly as it was set down on the coffee table in front of them both. Twilight caught her friend’s gaze and asked once again: “You did want one, didn’t’ you?” with a trace of shame in her voice.
“No, no. It’s just…” Cantor sighed, “how do you do that?”
Once again Twilight laughed. “You really are unconfident with magic, aren’t you?” Cantor stayed with his expression. The purple mare cleared her throat and looked around for something sturdy to practice with. She levitated a wooden doorstop into the centre of the room and set it neatly on the floor. “Levitation is easy!" SHe scoffed, amused by her own relaxed voice. "All you have to do, is trace a circle with your mind's eye and focus on the object you want to move. Simple!" She clasped her hooves together happily.
“That’s it?” Asked Cantor.
“That’s it.” Twilight echoed.
“Right…” The male pony said, rising from his seat and making his way over to the small doorstop.
He focused on the wedge of wood, traced a broad, clear, fabricated circle around it and imagined it lifting into the air. His horn lit up and a silver aura surrounded the doorstop. Watching in amazement as it drifted higher from the floor and sustained a height at his eye level, all he could do was awe at what he was doing, and at how easy it was.
“See? Not that hard is it?” Twilight chirped in.
“This is amazing!” Cantor replied, becoming more excited at this mind-boggling defial of nature… a little... too excited.
Just then, the doorstop burst into flames and the magical grasp was released. The piece of wood began to fall, but Cantor caught it in his hooves and smothered the flames, falling onto the floor in the process. Thank Go- Celestia it didn’t set the house on fire!
Cantor sighed in relief and looked at the singed doorstop he held in his hooves. “I’m so sorry, Twilight.” He said turning to see his friend who’s property he had just incinerated. But the look he received from her scared him far more than any expression of anger possibly could. On her face, Twilight bore a look of pure horror.
“I’m really sorry, Twilight.” He said again, getting up and clutching the charred shape close against his chest to disguise the damage. Twilight remained speechless.
Silently, a small purple dragon appeared at the top of the stairs panting. “What’s all that noise!?” He called. Only saying this as an introduction, the baby dragon did his best to analyse the scene below him. The first thing his eyes fell upon was his guardian’s horrified expression. And then he saw who she was staring at. A white unicorn stallion holding something black and glaring at Twilight. “Who are you!?” He shouted angrily. The question wasn’t necessary for his reaction; whoever this newcomer was, he was scaring his family and nopony hurt’s Spike’s friends.
He sprinted down the stairs, charging full-pelt at the larger, stronger pony who threatened his home. However, all his momentum crashed when the stallion turned and looked at him with those fiery, deep amber eyes.
“I take it you’re Spike?” The stallion asked in a friendly tone.
“Um, yeah… wh-who are you?” The dragon replied nervously.
Hearing her assistant’s voice, Twilight broke free of her trance. “Spike!” She screamed. “Get away from him!” She proceeded to teleport herself to spike’s side and touched her head onto his and teleported both of them up to her bedroom’s opening.
“Twilight?” Was all Cantor could say to the outburst.
“Stay away from us!” Screamed Twilight from her inner balcony.
“What’s wrong?” Cantor asked, taking a step closer. Twilight shot some sort of offensive spell from her horn that charred the ground where he stood. He moved his front hoof away just in time. “What the hell was that!?” He cried angrily.
“I should have known you were trouble! Get out! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!” She screamed at the top of her lungs before scribbling a note down on some parchment. “Spike!” she yelled. “Send this!”
Instantly, Cantor made the assumption that all magic was based on imagination and fabrication. He pictured himself by Twilight’s side, closed his eyes and focused intently.
For an amount of time so short, it was immeasurable, Cantor felt total weightlessness before appearing by the side of the shaking purple unicorn with a crackle of sparks. All of his confusion and upset had turned into frustration and anger. He made peircing eye contact with the mare not for the first time today and saw she had nothing in her soul except fear and panic. Uncaringly, he snatched the scroll from the dragon’s grasp with magic and leapt from the top of the stairs and landed in the middle of the circular room.
“NO!” Twilight gasped as she jumped in his hoofsteps. Her soul intention was to collide with that monster in her living room. But then he outstretched his hoof and pointed directly at Twilight, not taking his eyes off of the scroll hovering in front of him.
The white stallion gave a single word order: “Stop.” And Twilight felt her body slow down to a halt in mid-air. She continued to stay there, motionless halfway through her jump as Cantor unrolled the scroll and read it’s contents aloud to the room:
Elemental in library.
Cantor finished reading the short letter and turned his attention back to Twilight, speaking dryly before he looked at her face. “You have some explaining to do.”
He was still fuming from before, but all those negative feelings left him as instantly as they had arrived when he saw the young purple unicorn sobbing quietly, tears streaming down her reddened face and making dark patches on the floor. Her whole body shook uncontrollably from fear under his white glow. His emotions were so mixed up, he didn’t even notice Spike gnawing on his back leg viciously enough to draw blood.
His teeth returned to normal after sharpening a barely noticeable amount during the struggle.
“Twilight.” Said Cantor sorrowfully as he set her down as gently as ponily possible. Though when she landed, she collapsed into a heap on the floor.
Perfect. His first day, no, his first hour in Equestria and he had already hurt somepony. “May as well jump into that hole and cover yourself up with dirt.” He thought, furious with himself.
He went to take a step, but a sharp pain rocketed through his left back leg. Silently gasping in pain, he looked down to see the bottom half of his leg drenched in blood. His own blood. There was a small pool of it forming at the base of the leg and a purple dragon still violently tearing at it with his teeth and claws.
“Spike.” He said firmly. When the little dragon didn’t react instantly however, Cantor picked him up with magic and raised him eye-level. He burned his eyes into the baby dragon’s green lizard ones and spoke. "I'm not here to hurt anyone." Was all he said.
Spike fell silent in understanding. Even though this pony’s eyes were sharp and glowed like fire, he somehow found no hatred in them. None whatsoever, and they told him everything he needed to know to become lifted of his rage. With a nod of understanding from Spike, he was soon set down soundly onto the floor. He felt a trickle of liquid on his scaly chin and wiped it with the back of his hand. When he examined his arm, all he saw was blood. His entire hands were caked in it up to his elbows and they shook at the sight. He suddenly felt his stomach churn and ran to the safety of the bathroom, leaving a trail of bloody dragon footprints in his wake.
Slamming the door behind him, he leapt and heaved into the toilet. Not having eaten anything today, all he unloaded into the basin was pure dragon acid that burned his insides and began to melt through the porcelain. Dowsing it with water quickly, spike wiped the burning solution from his lips before examining himself in the thin full-length mirror leaned against the wall. He had never seen such a horrendous sight: his mouth, cheeks and chin were covered with the blood of a pony and it had started to run onto his chest. His arms were completely saturated with red up to his elbows, and beads of the fluid formed on the tips of his razor sharp claws. His moth fell agape, revealing dagger-like teeth, again, drenched with blood. Pieces of flesh also hung from his young canines. He could feel the fire creeping up inside him and he barely made it to the toilet when he started heaving again. Flushing a second time, the baby dragon leapt into the bath and blasted out the first tap he reached and began to scrub at his arms and face with scolding water that he couldn’t feel. All the time weeping in fear and post – anger regret.
Cantor limped over to Twilight and gingerly laid himself down beside her. He could hear her sobbing quietly into her soaked forearm that covered her eyes.
He was at the brink of tears himself when a quiet sniffle from the amethyst pony pushed him over the edge. As the tear ran down his snout and perched on his lips, he turned his head to the sky and took a long inhale. To take his mind off of the sorrow, he turned to his lacerated leg, which to his surprise was sealing itself shut remarkably quickly for a wound that size. A hefty scab had already formed and was beginning to crack. Cantor exhaled quickly through his nose before resting a comforting hoof on Twilight’s still back.
“Twilight?” He began. “Twilight, look at me.” As he said this he gently rubbed her back, causing her to sway a little. The mare complied, raising her head to meet his deep eyes. The whites around her lavender discs were bloodshot and glistening. Another tear ran down Cantor’s face at the sight. Twilight blinked, sending another two drops of sadness down each fair cheek and onto the floor.
“Whatever you think I am. Whoever you think I am: I’m not. I would never even imagine dreaming about causing the slightest bit of harm to you or your friends. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; I’m here to help.” Twilight stared blankly, absorbing every ounce of truth that flowed from the stallion’s mouth and eyes. “If you need further convincing, take a look.” He raised himself from Twilight’s side, stepped in front of her and stood side on. Twilight released a shaky breath and calmed down a little. Cantor then slid his right hoof under the back of the vest and pulled it forwards, enough to reveal the tips of his cramped wings.
Twilight gasped and Cantor quickly covered it up. “You’re… You’re a-“
“I know.” Replied Cantor. That word needn't be spoken. “I don’t know why you reacted like that, but I’m sure you have a good reason for doing so.”
Twilight sighed and looked down. Calming herself with breathing exercises, she looked back up to see the stallion standing closer than he had been before. She hadn’t heard him approach, but now he stood broadly above her, reaching out with a hoof towards the little mare. She hesitantly took it and pulled herself up. The stallion and the mare’s hooves dropped to the floor at the same time and Twilight clocked the horrendous state his leg was in. And then she noticed the floor.
“What happened?” She asked feebly, afraid of the response.
“That was Spike.”
As he said this, Twilight’s eyes grew wide with fear. “Where is Spike?” She queried.
“He’s in there,” Cantor said, gesturing at the trail of dragonprints leading under a door to the right. “He did this.” Cantor wavered over the wound on the back of his leg.
Twilight gasped and raised her hoof to her mouth in shock. “Are you okay?”
Overjoyed and relieved that Twilight felt not only comfortable around him again, but also concerned about his well being, Cantor shook away the question. “Don’t worry about me. I’m just sorry about bleeding all over your floor!” He finished with a smile, in which Twilight returned. “I’m also sorry if I hurt you in any way. Let me help you clean up this mess and then I’ll be off. I’m sure I’ve ruined too much of your morning already.” He dropped his eyes to the floor.
“Of course not…” Twilight spoke up. “Far from it. This has been one of the best mornings of my life. Because… because I met you…” She blushed and turned away.
Dethatched from his mind by very strong feelings of relief, affection and surprise at how quickly these ponies made social connections, and at this degree, all Cantor could think to say was “So, does that mean we’re still friends?” He wore a docile smile on his face.
“Of course it does.” Twilight replied. “How could we not be?”