55w, 1dHuman in Equestria
By the time we reached Ponyville, the small, peaceful agricultural village had become everything but what it was.
With mixed negative emotions, we returned to Ponyville, leaving Cloudsdale to its unforeseen fate. We didn't expect to return without a light-hearted feeling from the abruptly interrupted event. Now, with the entire clouded metropolis no more than a mass of drifting vapours, we came home with anything but joy.
The village was packed to the very limit. From where we were descending, tiny blobs of winged creatures speckled the town. Pegasi, hurt emotionally and physically, had retreated to the nearest safe haven they could. But by now, what was determined as 'safe' was unclear. Even now, pegasi continued to enter the small town, albeit to seek refuge, or to just make a passing. Either way, they were clearly there by the thousands.
"This isn't looking good, guys..." I said with concern. "An entire city was destroyed, thousands of pegasi are now homeless, and now look at Ponyville!"
We hovered a hundred meters above the crowds, avoiding the humungous mash of ponies. From where we flew, we could see the residents of Ponyville, bewildered by the sudden increase in their town's population. Some were already beginning to help them, but were soon overwhelmed by the number of them.
"There's no way we can accommodate those many pegasi." Fluttershy gaped in astonishment.
"Alright! Who did this?!" Rainbow Dash flew circles around me and Fluttershy, "Dragons? Diamond dogs? Trolls? I don't give a flying feather! No monster is getting away with this! When I find out who did this, I'm sending my hoof right up their-!"
"Dash!" I curled up my thumb and middle finger and flicked her ear, stopping her mid-circle.
I pulled her head in close. "Calm down, will you?! Okay, you're right, an offence like this never goes unpunished, and we'll find out who did this soon enough. You saw those guards fly off in the direction of the fire. But right now, with a ton of pegasi injured and homeless, I think we have bigger problems than that!"
For a moment, the flare in her eyes seemed to grow stronger, but her anger died down soon after. I let go of my grip on her head. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have raised my voice at you..."
"No, you're right." Rainbow Dash sighed. "I'm always getting ahead of myself."
"It's fine, Rainbow." Fluttershy said from under me. "You're definitely not the only one that's upset with what's happened. Let's see what we can do to help?"
"Flutters is right." I added. "Right now, we're more privileged and fortunate than the others. Maybe there is something we can do that'll be significant."
We connected with the ground in the next few seconds, and the view from the ground was a lot different from above. Here, we were part of all the post-chaos; ponies helped pegasi with wounds and injuries, Unicorns levitated pegasi after pegasi to the town's now overflowing hospital, food and comfort was offered to traumatized foals, but to no avail. Still-abled pegasi directed flight in the sky. Even roofs were covered with ponies. Landing in Town Square was a bad decision, and you could barely move without bumping or tripping over another pony.
"Oh my goodness, there are so many of them..." Fluttershy's voice drew softer as she began to quiver slightly.
"Hey, don't be daunted by the numbers." I hopped off her back and scanned the town square. "We can get through this... somehow..."
"Guys, I think we should find the others first." Rainbow Dash advised.
"It's not gonna be easy. There's too much colour everywhere." Even being a head taller than most ponies gave no advantages. There were just too many of them. How in Equestria were we supposed to find the Mane Six?
Above the cries for assistance and of desperation, I heard my name echo above them. The three of us turned to find a white unicorn with a messy, light and dark blue mane galloping up to us through the crowds, barely taking any care to notice whoever she bumped into.
"Howzit, my man!" Her casual manner of talking overshadowed the situation. She even managed to flash a small smile for a second. "It looks like things aren't too good, huh?"
"'Aren't too good?!" Rainbow Dash spat, "Thats's the understatement of the year!"
"Chill, Dash! I get it. We're in a lot of trouble, especially you pegasi."
"Did you hear about the attack?" I asked.
"Who hasn't? I'm pretty sure the whole town's heard it by now. Spooked a few of us, but not me!" She replied brashly.
"Well, they've got a right to be spooked." I pondered aloud, "the creatures that lay siege, whatever they were, used land weapons to attack an air domain. That means Ponyville may not be safe either..."
"Keep your voice down!" Rainbow Dash put a hoof over my mouth. "The pegasi are enough distress!"
Suddenly, out of the crowd, a grey Earth pony ran up to Vinyl's side. It was Octavia, and she was looking less neat than usual.
"We're all set, Vinyl... Oh! Hello again, Mister Conway." She clearly displayed forced composure. Even her bow tie was disheveled, like her mane.
"All set?" I questioned.
"Yeeaah... about that..." Vinyl removed her stylish purple glasses momentarily, revealing her magenta eyes momentarily as she cleaned them. "Octy, here was one of those that got spooked the most."
"Spooked? How do you feel with the neigbouring city in ruins? And for all we know, Ponyville could be next!" Her tone raised with every word.
"Chillax, babe!" Vinyl threw an arm over her marefriend. "So anyway, Octy thinks that it's best we go back to her place in Canterlot for the time being... you know... at least until things cool down."
"Woah, wait... you guys are running?" Rainbow Dash became more agitated by the minute. "You're fleeing in times like this?!"
"That's their choice, Dash! For Celestia's sake, get a grip!" I had to raise my voice. Not because I was getting annoyed, but because I was getting even more worried. Rainbow Dash was always bound to do something audacious if left unchecked. Fluttershy proceeded to turn Rainbow Dash away from the situation to calm her down.
"And actually, that's smart." I commented, "Canterlot would be the safest place right now. But I won't be surprised if some pegasi have headed there as well, not to mention anypony else that may have heard of the attack."
"Well, we can't afford to be held up any longer." Octavia bowed her head in salutation. "We're sorry we can't be of more help. Goodbye, and best of luck." She turned and trotted back of into the crowd. Vinyl Scratch followed, but stopped for a moment, turning back to grin at me.
"So what's your angle, human?" She cooly inquired, "You going to get to the bottom of this? Head off on another kickass adventure like the badass you are?"
"Hah, real funny! Seeya!" I waved my hand once, and Vinyl did the same before heading in the direction of her marefriend. But even after she left, the questioned lingered in my mind, along with the gnawing fear of the unknown.
What if she's right?
I returned to my friends' sides. Out of the frantic clutter and confusion, they still stood out to me the most.
"Girls, maybe we should make our way to the Library? Twilight will most likely gather us there."
"Let's fly." Rainbow Dash spoke glumly of the action, "No point of making trouble for everypony by walking..."
The short distance covered in flight showed us more than we needed. Passing by the village hospital, we could see the overworked doctors and nurses, attempting to calmly move patients along. I shuddered at the sight of a pegasi that had crushed both of his front legs. Tears were clearly streaming down his face, but from pain or shock, we couldn't tell. It also seemed that the flow of incoming pegasi had stopped. In fact, some where flying off again, in the direction I knew was Canterlot. Guards, sporting the symbol of Cloudsdale had appeared to put some order in the mess, instructing the others.
We glided to a stop at the red door of the gigantic Oak tree of a library. There appeared to be no commotion from the inside, from what we could tell. Just as soon as we landed, the red door swung open, revealing the frazzled purple face of the library's keeper. Twilight nervously darted her eyes around us, as if to check if somebody was watching.
"Good, you're here. Come on in, we've got work to discuss." She spoke seriously. We briskly entered the old tree. She pointed a hoof up the stairs. Ignoring the mess of books and scrolls, we made our way up the stairs to Twilight's private quarters. The sound of Twilight carefully shutting the door behind us echoed through the stairwell. "Not everyone is here yet. Applejack had to take care of some business on the farm. See you upstairs."
At the top of the stairs, waiting impatiently, were Rarity and Pinkie Pie. Rarity face was worn with worry, even as the events were no more than a couple of hours ago. She sighed into the hoof that she rested on. Pinkie Pie on the other hand, was more fidgety, but she wasn't bouncing. She was pacing the room quickly, though.
"Oh thank goodness!" Rarity exclaimed as she rush up to us, wrapping her front legs around the three of us. "Oh, you have no idea how worried I was! I thought something had happened to all of you at the Young Flyer's Competition."
"Yay! Group hug!" Pinkie Pie cheered as she charged into the embrace. As inappropriate the situation was, it always made me feel better.
"Yeah, well the competition got cancelled. Maybe you've heard." Rainbow Dash broke the hug in a huff.
"Gee, she's really torn up about it huh?" Pinkie whispered to me as Fluttershy and Rarity attempted to comfort Rainbow Dash. I merely nodded.
"I know what could help!" Pinkie Pie perked up. "There are soooo many pegasi here now! We can throw, one humungousaurus PAR-!" I clasped my hand around her head and mouth before she could say the word. It was a good thing Rainbow Dash wasn't listening.
"Pinkie! Now is really not the time!" I harshly whispered back. "As much as everypony needs the support, that may not be the best way to do it." Her eyes drooped, and I could hear the muffled 'aww' behind my closed hand.
"Howdy, y'all. Sorry Ah'm late." From behind us, Applejack panted. Beads of sweat ran down her face. "I had to distribute whatever spare food we could to the hungry folk."
She looked up at Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy first, and lightened her expression a little. "Well thank Celestia y'all got back safely."
"Yeah," Rainbow Dash said bluntly, "but at what cost?"
Applejack knew it was best to not bring it up too much. She turned her attention to me. "Must've been harder for ya, cowboy. Ya can't fly."
"Mhmm... can I ask you something, AJ?" I leaned in close to her. Her ear pricked up to listen. "I know Cloudsdale just got... you know... but why is Rainbow Dash extra touchy about it?"
"She prides herself in being the fastest flyer in Equestria, but she's also the fast flyer ever produced by Cloudsdale, an' she's might proud of that. Think of it as patriotism."
"Alright girls!... and human..." Twilight gathered eveyerone in her disquieted state. "We've got a big problem on our hands, as you can already see." Everypony and I gathered around the wooden circular table at the center of the room. The light from the windows were always blocked by one pegasi or another, darkening the inside quite a bit.
"Twilight, any news?" Rainbow Dash grimaced with anxiety. "Do we know who attacked Cloudsdale yet?"
"That's just it." She groaned into her hooves. "From what I've gathered, the siege was carefully planned. They used the right weapon to be able to attack at a distance that wouldn't get them detected, but effective enough to decimate the town within an hour." She briskly trotted from row after row of shelved books, forking them out one by one and flipping through them hastily. "I've read of these ballistic weapons before somewhere. Why can't I find it?!"
"Nopony has pulled somethin' of that kind of destruction in hundreds of years." Applejack thought aloud. "So why now?"
"And why Cloudsdale?" added Fluttershy.
"These are all questions that we don't have answers to... at least not yet..." She paced the room. "Right now, Equestria is at peace with the neighbouring nations. No creature has a legitimate reason to attack, from what I know." She plopped her head onto the table, heaving a great sigh. "And if Equestria doesn't act fast, well..." Everypony at the table looked gloomy, delving on the thought of the dark future ahead.
I stood at the side, in deep thought on the same subject. What could have changed so recently to cause this attack?
And then it hit me. A possibility that seemed to make the most sense so far.
"What if..." I hesitated, unsure of everypony's response, "What if it's me?"
A silence followed. I could see in each and everypony's face that they actually thought it could be true. Outside, a random muffled scream was heard, almost adding a dramatic effect.
"Think about it." I continued. "What significant thing could have changed recently that would have provoked or induced a threat? And can we only see it as a coincidence that I was at Cloudsdale when the attack occured? What if it's not a coincidence?"
"Keith, darling, you may be reading too far between the lines, my dear." Rarity consoled. "Not many know of your existence in Equestria to begin with. No rivaling nations have such knowledge of your... er... capabilities yet."
"But suppose they do?" At this point, anything was possible. "If it really is true, then all this is my fault... again..." I flopped onto a pillow by Fluttershy's side.
"Twilight!" From downstairs, a young male voice cried out. And up the stairs scurried a small purple dragon with green spikes.
"Spike? What is it?"
Spike rested at the top of the staircase, catching his breath. "The princess... just sent... this letter!" In his palm was a scrunched up scroll. It looked new, and I could already make out the royal symbol embossed on the front.
With a tinge of magenta, the letter floated was magically removed from the dragon's grasp, and levitated across the room to Twilight. The letter was open within two seconds, and eyes of Celestia's faithful student needed no more than to skim over the letter before she produced a surprised gasp. And it wasn't the pleasant type of surprise.
"What's it say Twilight?" Pinkie Pie bounced over to read the letter.
"Looks like we'll be getting our answer soon, Keith. Everypony, we're going back to Canterlot!"