This story is a fan-fiction of MLP:FiM. I don't own any of it. It belongs to Hasbro, etc, etc.
Don't sue. Seriously. That would be so uncouth.
A gentle nudging awoke me.
The conductor was staring me straight in the face.
“Sir, we've arrived at Ponyville.”
“Thanks” I muttered. I got up and shook my mane back and forth. It fell into my eyes as a sharp red curtain against my silvery coat. I flipped it once again to get it out of my eyes. Rudely woken twice in one day. Definitely a record.
I put my front hooves up on the seat I had recently been sleeping on to grab my suitcase. I walked down the aisle of the train car and looked at all the empty seats. In the rush on the train I didn't notice how many ponies got on, but this few put me on edge. There must've been someponies going further than this right? Maybe to Neighvada or Appleoosia, or wherever. The lack of ponies just weirded me out. I chalked it up to nerves and worries about coming to a new town, and exited the train.
The mid-afternoon sun was glaringly bright, like Celestia made it specifically so, just so she could admonish me again. I looked up at the clock on the station's tower. I was right on time, 3:00 pm; but just like on the train, there was nopony around. I brushed the creeping feeling of restlessness away, and tried to focus on more practical things. So, I started scouring my memories to remember what Shining's sister looked like. I vaguely remembered that her coat was some shade of light blue, or maybe a white? I was still pondering as she found me.
With nopony around, I should have suspected that it would be easy to spot me. I didn't see her until after she gave me a wave and then started to walk towards me. Her mane was a dark purple with pink stripes, akin to Shining's blue mane with light blue stripes. Other than her horn, the family resemblance stopped there. Where Shining had a coat of pure white, his sister had one of a light purple. What was the color....lavender. A lavender coat. A color you don't see often from the norther cities like my home town. Also where Shining had a well muscled frame from his job and duties, his sister had a much softer, yet pleasantly tone frame.
I noticed even more as she came closer to me. Her eyes were a darker shade of her coat's color, but they had a quality to them that made you become mystified. I learned back in the Battalion that a pony's eyes were windows to what they were really thinking, be it a griffon commander trying to bluff dominance, a timber wolf chieftain who is making a decision, or.....or even a changeling manipulating you, they all can have their intentions revealed by giving them a good look in the eye. It's funny, because some of the soldiers back in the battalion had gotten so good at this “look” it took on a different quality in itself, thus making the soldiers name it '“the stare. “
I was broken out of reviver when I realized the mare in front of me was talking.
“I'm sorry could you say that again?” I asked her stupidly.
The mare gave me a smile warmer than the sun on my back. “I said welcome to Ponyville. My name is Twilight Sparkle, and my brother has told me all about you. Here let me get your luggage.” she said as she lifted my suitcase above our heads with magic.
She turned around and beckoned me to follow her into town. She continued on as we walked.
“I hope you have fun while stay with us in Ponyville, and I really hope that I can help you with the disease. From what Shining said, it's truly horrible.”
She paused for a minute, then gave me a worried look.
“I promise my friends and I will do everything in our power to help you, and when you all are the bearers of the Elements of Harmony, it's quite a lot of power you have to help you.” she finished with a smile.
It was hard to resist such a hopeful smile, so I returned it.
“Thanks.” I said. “But where are we going?”
“Oh!” she said with a fright. “Shining didn't tell you? You're staying with me at the library.”
Now I understood why Celestia had been so touchy about me and his prized pupil. I admit, she had a good reason for concern. Some soldiers( no matter whether they were mare or stallion) got a little.......pent up while they we on mission. Almost all could wait until they got back, but by then one could say they were “rambunctious” if you catch my drift. Add that up to me being with this mare until Faust know when, and you can see where Celestia came from.
I thanked her again and we walked in silence for a time, until it became blatantly aware the streets of Ponyville were empty. I didn't notice at first since we were talking and I was so busy absorbing the sights. Ponyville had to be one of the most colorful towns I had ever seen. It was different from Canterlot, where the sunlight made everything shine. Here the sunlight just made everything glow. Every building of this quaint town gave off a warmth that I had only felt a special couple times before: when I returned to Stalliongrad after a long mission.
However, the gnawing anxiety constantly at the back of my mind resurfaced when I realized this fact.
I turned to Twilight and said “Where is everypony?”
She hid her face for a moment, then looked back at me. For some reason she had a line of perspiration on her brow.
“Well you came during the mid-afternoon slump when eveypony is busy dong their own thing. I'm certain I can introduce you to everypony in a little while.”
This was actually relieving. One pony at a time. One was enough for a day. I didn't want to do anything that could set off an attack.
“It's no big deal Twilight. I'm certain I'll meet eveypony in due time.” I said nonchalantly. “Now where is your house? I'd like to drop off my suitcase.”
“I was just thinking the same thing!” She stopped and pointed to a large tree. “Here is Ponyville Library and my home!”
A tree. Shining Armor, Captain of the Solar Guard and pretty-much right hoofed stallion to both Immortal princesses, has a sister who. Lives. In. A. Tree. A tree.
It was extremely hard for me to suppress my laughter. Twilight noticed because she gave me a puzzled look.
“What's so funny?” she asked a little dejectedly.
“Nothing just remembered a joke.” I lied as I wiped tears from my eyes.
“Oh! Then you'll love my friend Pinkie Pie. She loves jokes too! And she knows so many!” she trailed on as she opened the front door to her home.
The door opened to reveal a large circular shaped room lined with shelves of books. I guess as a prized pupil and an advocate of knowledge a library was a pretty good home, no matter what it looked like on the outside. The main room led off into a kitchen in the back, another room filled with books to the left, and a room that looked brand new. There were stairs that led to a higher level. I guessed that was where Twilight's room was.
Twilight stepped over to the opening of the brand new room.
“You can use this room. It was originally supposed to be a second book repository, but the shelves aren't done yet, so we can just call it a guest bedroom.”
I walked past her into the “guest bedroom” and took a look around. It was pretty bare. There was a window facing the west and small wardrobe to the right of that, on the wall facing the doorway. Other than those spartan furnishings, there was nothing.
“Oh horseapples! I knew I forgot something!” Twilight exclaimed. Then she yelled “Spike!”
I could hear the tiny scampering of this “Spike” down the stairs and skidding to a halt next Twilight before I could see him.
Then I heard a small childish voice say “Yes Twilight? Whoa is this the guy Shining talked about in his letter?”
I looked around for a minute, then facehoofed myself when I realized he was very short. I looked towards the ground and was surprised to see a purple and green baby dragon.
“Which of the great Jewel clans do you hail from?” I asked him politely.
He looked lost for words and started to paw at the ground with his foot.
“He didn't come from a clan. I hatched him. He's like my little brother. He's been with me ever since I entered the Magical Academy” said Twilight swiftly and sharply.
“And number one assistant!” Spike said with a bounce.
From Twilight's stern glare, something Celestia must have taught her, I guess I accidentially touched a “we don't speak about this” subject. Luckily Spike saved me from any more torment under the glare.
“So what did you need me for Twilight?” he eagerly asked his mentor and “big sister”.
“Oh! I seemed to have forgotten to get a bed for Crimson here.” she said blushing. “Put that on top of my list of things to do tomorrow.”
“Got it.” said Spike when he pulled a scroll and quill out of thin air and started scribbling down what Twilight had just said verbatim.
“I'm sorry Crimson, it just slipped my mind today. I was just so busy helping with the........” she stopped put both hooves over her mouth. “I..I'm gonna make up the pull out couch for you.” she stuttered out and then dashed out of the room, leaving me there with a baby dragon.
“I'm sorry I didn't know about your upbringing. It's just Draconian courtesy to ask a dragon which clan they are from, and then let them brag about it while you compliment it. It's an old custom though.....”
“You've talked to dragons before!” Spike said, his jaw dropping to the floor.
I ran a hoof through my mane. “Well yeah. It wasn't exactly in the job description, but our missions take us all over. Not to mention that it could be any sort of mission too, like a diplomatic one.”
“I've just never truly talked to older dragons before.” he said as hes started to paw at the ground again.
“Hey, it's ok kid. If you really want, the Ambassador of the Ruby forests clan owes me a favor. I could ask him to come here to teach Twilight's number one assistant something about Draconian culture.” I said with a smile.
Spike lifted his eyes off the ground as he gave my the greatest look of admiration I've ever seen.
“You'd really do that?” he said with his hands clasped together and stars in his large eyes.
“Sure. As long as old Fiery ain't busy.” I replied.
Spike jumped into the air and yelled “WHOOOH” at the top of his lungs. The whole thing surprised me, so I faltered back a bit. I almost fell over though, when a pair of scaly green and purple arms wrapped around my legs in an embrace I wouldn't think a creature of his size could manage.
“Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!” Spike blurted out all in one stream of words. I looked down and smiled at him.
“It's no big deal kid.” I said gently. “I bet you woulda done the same for me if I was you.”
“You bet I would!” he exclaimed as he let go of my legs. “Twilight did you hear that!”
I was surprised to find her at the door frame. “Yes I did Spike. It's a very nice offer from Mr. Steelhooves.” Twilight said as she looked at Spike lovingly.
“Please Twilight, you too Spike, just call me Crimson or Crimson Moon.” I said. It felt good to speak normally for once. No Captain, no Sir, no tears or sadness. Just Crimson.
Spike turned back to me. “Thanks Crimson.” Then to both of us. “I'm gonna be down at Suguarcube Corner with Pinkie. I'll see you soon.” Spike dashed out of the room on his stubby legs and exited the front door. It slammed shut, but opened again a minute later. Spike poked his head into the doorway of my room.
“I like the uniform. It looks cool.” he said then dashed out the front door again, closing it with a resounding slam.
Twilight just shook her head and smiled.
“It's funny” I told her, “Your brother said the same thing before I got on the train.” I didn't feel like telling her about the sleeping spell, so I just didn't mention it.
“Boys.” she said with a cute smile. “All the same. Baby dragons or full grown and married stallions. They never change.”
“Hey!” I pouted. “Just because my uniform is cool and you don't want to admit it doesn't mean you're allowed to make fun of males.”
Twilight smiled and shook her head again.
“Do you want me to help you unpack?” she asked.
I didn't like the idea of her going though my things, but I said “Yes” before I could stop myself. Twilight moved the suitcase to the middle of the room with magic and opened it and the doors of the wardrobe with another little burst of magic. The few clothes I had chosen to accompany me to Ponyville were quickly put away and then all that were left were my small souvenirs of my journeys and of the Battalion. The first thing she picked up with magic was a large framed picture of the Battalion. She looked at it with awe and set it over by the wall opposite the window. I smiled and went back to putting away some of the more mundane trinkets so she could explore the more interesting ones.
I was setting the letter of Honorary Discharge on top of the wardrobe when Twilight asked “Who's this?”
I turned around to find her holding a picture of me and a leaf-green unicorn with a bark-brown mane with our arms draped over our shoulders. I was smiling and the unicorn was laughing.
I quickly dropped my gaze from the picture, away from Twilight, and closed my eyes. I could feel the tears brim behind my eyelids, but resolved not to break in front of a mare I had barely met.
I could feel a comforting hoof on my shoulder. “Do you want to talk about it?” whispered Twilight, her voice filled with concern.
“No” I said my voice on the edge of breaking. “Could we just stop? And Could you put that in the wardrobe for me? Please?”
I heard her put the picture in the wardrobe and shut the wardrobe doors. She must have done it with magic, because her gentle touch never left me. I took a deep breath, raised my head, and opened my eyes. I looked down to Twilight who looked melancholy.
“I think we should go down to Sugarcube Corner.” she said with a spark in her eyes. “You could meet Pinkie Pie and Spike should be waiting for us.”
“Well, I guess you should lead, since this is my first day in town.” I said as an answer.
For some reason Twilight seemed to brim with happiness. She left the room while talking. “Oh you're going to love Pinkie pie! And Sugarcube Corner! It has the best cupcakes! Just give me a minute while I lock up and get somethings.”
I walked out of the room, went outside and gave a long sigh out to the setting sun. I guess all the things we did since 3:00 really ate up the time. It must have been around 7:00 or even 8:00 for the sun to be that low. Time sure does fly when you're meeting new people and traveling around someplace new. I heard a door-lock click closed and turned my head to see Twilight walk out of the library, locking the door with magic.
I followed her in silence, enjoying the tranquility of the night. After a short time, I realized Twilight was staring at me from the corner of her eye.
I looked at her sidelong. “You realize that the uniform does look good?” I asked her slyly.
Twilight blushed and looked down at her hooves.
“No, I was...It.....Never mind” she mumbled.
“It's just” she struggled “that when you saw that picture, you got so sad. So why would you wear your uniform around all day?”
I looked up at the pinking sky and replied “When you're in the Battalion you learn that your uniform is more than just a piece of clothing. It's not a jumper, even though it is. Your uniform becomes your closest friend. It's the thing that's always with you. It goes through all the troubles, pains, pleasures, reliefs, and joys along with you. It literally always has your back. I guess I wore it today because it was always with me whenever I went somewhere new, so this shouldn't be any different.”
“So it's like Smarty Pants?” Twilight asked.
We walked in silence for the journey as Twilight digested my little speech. I was content to walk on in the beautiful quiet I came to love during my time with the Battalion. It stayed this way, until Twilight saw Sugarcube Corner and pointed it out to me, breaking her pondering over my words with a wave of excitement.
“There's Sugarcube Corner !” she said haphazardly as she became very excited. “Come on!” she shouted as she raced to the front door. I followed, in a slower gait, and got to the door just as she entered. However, she shut the door on me before I could go in. “That's rude” I thought as I opened the door.
Inside it was pitch-black. Asides from my internal alarms going like crazy, I think I would have liked it better there than out here in the sunlight, even if it was quickly disappearing. I took a low crouch and entered the store. After I entered, the door slammed shut behind me. I got ready to use Colt Maga on any attackers, when all the lights flared on inside of the place and I was deafened by a loud “SURPRISE!!!!!” I quickly looked around. At the ceiling and a “Welcome to Ponyville” banner was put up while it looked like all the ponies in Ponyville were laying in wait to surprise me. After the initial suprise, the ponies seemed to go back to their conversations and stopped paying attention to me.
The party did not mix well with the disease. I started to feel the flash of searing heat come from the base of my neck. I started to panic, and I whipped my head around to find Twilight. I saw her standing over by the punch bowl conversing with another pony. I started to walk over to her but was assualted by an erratic blob of vibrating pink that kept blowing a party horn in my face and was throwing confetti everywhere.
“Hi! I'm Pinkie Pie! Welcome to Ponyville! What's your name? Oooo, nice outfit! I wish I had a cool outfit! But mine would be pink, not grey! And there's be candy on it! I love candy! How about you?.....”
The pink mess was definitely not helping. I tried to keep calm and carry on to Twilight, but the pink thing was getting in my way.
Finally, I just said “I'm Crimson Moon” and ducked out of the way before the pink thing could barrage me any more.
“Twilight!” I said when I reached her.
She was smirking having a good time. “I see you met Pinkie pie.” Then she looked at my face. “What's wrong?” she asked seeing the pained expression.
“I feel an attack coming on.” The feeling was getting worse. I was now sweating from the heat. I realized I had only minutes to go and find a safe, calm place before something bad would happen.
Twilight was shocked. “Ok. What do we do?”
“Leave.” I said panicky.
“Ok. Let's go.”
We were halfway to the door when Pinkie Pie returned. She didn't block my path again. This time we heard her behind us. We both turned around just in time to see her bring my downfall.
“Hey everypony! I love making new ponies feel welcome and making them smile! And what makes them smile more than my super delux mega party cannon?” she said while she was straddled atop what looked like a small magical artillery emplacement She held the string and many ponies were cheering.
“Twilight, put a force field around me.”
“NOW!!!” I yelled.
Twilight stood back and put a large pink semi-circle around me.
Then Pinkie Pie decided it was time. “WOOOHOOOO!” she yelled as she pulled the string.
Each blast was muffled by the field, but each sound of it which dug into my skull, each tremendous reverberation which shook my bones, each blast of party confetti and ribbons, which looked sinisterly like weapons, set the heat overboard.
It made me collapse. It consumed my mind. It controlled my body. It ate my soul.
The weirdest and probably worst part of the attacks are that I get glimpses of memories meshed with what is going on around me currently, but I can't control what I do. Even weirder is that I'm out of body the whole time, like a causal observer watching a rampaging monster.. During this attack, I could feel myself rise and throw my body against the barrier. The barrier broke, since Twilight was scared and didn't expect me to be this enraged.
Ponies started screaming when found out what was going on.
Just like that day back in the clearing. They kept screaming. The grass around us was on fire.
The ponies at the party ran out of Sugarcube Corner. I heard a pony barking commands.
I was back on the field. The captain of Phobos unit screaming at me to move to find cover.
Now I was at Sugarcube Corner. My body had found the punchbowl table. The punchbowl shattered as the table was flipped. A chair splintered under my rage.
“Get 'im Big Mac! I need to hog tie 'im!”
I could feel the strong muscles try to restrain me. I flipped him off of me and almost broke his leg, but some thing pulled me away from him.
The grass around me was as red as my mane. But then I looked down. My coat was wet and splotchy with patches red and dark, making my silvery coat tarnished.
My legs were tied, forcing me onto my back, my hooves all pointing to the ceiling. I still struggled for my life.
“Keep holdin' 'im down while Twi' gets the sleep spell ready!
“Eeyep; what does it look like I'm tryin' to do AJ!?”
I was so focused on the patches in my coat that I didn't see where they had come from. I looked beyond my hooves to the body in the grass....
I am upside down and being held down, feeling my world and sanity slip away. Then I get hit with a purple blast.
The grass's color was nothing compared to her coat. It was always like a leaf in the summer sun. But now, her dark brown mane laid against the newly darkened fauna and my bloodied coat.
“OAKLEAF!!!!!!!!” I scream out in my memory and in the real world before I fell into a pit of darkness where my troubled soul could find absolution and relief.