Castle of Friendship
The Mane 6 feasted their eyes on the sight. Mostly because a whole new species were mere feet away from them. Since Twilight had already met and acquainted with them for the past two days, she was mainly watching her friends’ reactions. From the outside, it seemed all of her friends were baffled. Even Pinkie had stopped her bouncing to make sure she wasn't imagining what she was seeing. The other reason why they watched in awe was because Gavin was dangling from a banner in fear while Michael was swinging his fists wildly at the air towards Gavin. Spike took leave as he had "more important things to do." Twilight knew it was to slack off and read comics so he didn't have to watch these humans and their antics. Irresponsible, but very understandable
“Micool, stop!!” Gavin screamed, “it was an accident! I swear!”
“C’mon down from there Gavin, I swear to god I'll only beat you half to death!” Michael’s yell echoed.
Ryan and Jack stood behind Michael at a safe distance, chuckling to themselves while looking between Gavin and Michael. Ray stood next to Michael also looking up at Gavin while holding what seemed to be Gavin’s dagger. Gavin had been flipping the large knife in his hand when it had slipped and pierced Michael's boot and penetrated his foot about half an inch in depth. Ray picked it up before Gavin could mess with it any further. And so Michael wouldn't stab him with it. Geoff was leaning on one of the thrones with his arms crossed just watching it all go down. Twilight turned away from her friends and finally saw exactly what they were seeing. She sighed with a hoof to her forehead. Then she cleared her throat, to which Geoff was the only one to respond.
“Oh shit,” Geoff swore under his breath, “Sorry Twilight.” Geoff turned to look at Michael and talked in his casual tone, “Michael, we have company. Ray, get Gavin down.”
Michael stopped his flailing to see the ponies across the room at the rather large doorway. He put his arms back to his sides walking over to them with a nervous smile, since his first impression was him trying to beat down one of his friends. In the meantime, Ray put on a devious smile.
“Got you, Geoff.” Ray reached into his gauntlets and revealed two throwing knives. Before Geoff or Gavin could comprehend Ray’s actions, Ray had already flicked the weapons in Gavin’s direction. The knives flew silently as they made two satisfying thwick sounds against the crystal wall as they sliced the frills that Gavin's hands were clutching to. Gavin flinched and realized too late that he was in freefall. He landed flat on his back with no bounce and groaned.
“Awww, Ray.” Gavin groaned out.
“Hey, Geoff said to get you down,” Ray quickly ran up the wall to retrieve his knives and returned to ground level. “he didn't say how though.” He sheathed the knives in his gauntlet. Jack turned his chuckle to a laugh as Gavin began to stand up slowly, but hardly in pain. Geoff shook his head and playfully sighed as the remaining Hunters followed him towards the awaiting ponies. Once there, Twilight introduced everyone.
“Well if you're all done playing with the banners.” Twilight said sarcastically, to which Michael rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “Girls, meet Geoff, Jack, Ray, Michael, Ryan, and Gavin. Boys, meet Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Applejack.” All six men stood with anything ranging from a slight grin to a smile, hoping that the ponies in front of them don't panic or anything.
“Uh huh..” Applejack scanned the men before her, then turned to Twilight, “nice to meet y’all then. So, ya wanna do some explainin’, Twi?” Twilight nodded and had her friends enter the room behind the lovable crew of men. The Mane 6 were in pure disbelief of the supposedly mythical creatures walking along with them. Their eyes were glued to them. Despite nearly exploding, Pinkie was asked by Twilight to contain her excitement until after their meeting. The Mane 6 took their seats in the six thrones that circled the large table in the center. The Crew had to stand around Twilight’s throne for the time being.
“Sorry, guys.” Twilight apologized to the Crew, “some of my friends are busy so we have to make this kinda quick.” The six men muttered a consensus agreement. “Well then,” Twilight turned to her waiting friends, “as you girls can see: these are real humans.”
“No foolin’, Twilight.” Rainbow said with a smirk in a sarcastic manner with a wave of her hoof.
“Yes,” Rarity jumped into the conversation, “what Rainbow Dash said. But what are they doing here?”
“And how did they even get here?” Applejack said. With a concerned look, she eyed the Hunters and then returned her attention to Twilight.
“Well,” Twilight began, “to start, the other princesses and I had noticed a shift in the magical dampening runes that stand outside of Tartarus. We had used a spell to bring these humans to us... unwillingly. Although the spell seemed to be a bit more metaphorical than literal.” The Crew hadn't actually heard what exactly their mission was, so they listened carefully. All of the Crew, excluding Michael, jumped a small bit when the table materialized a map of Equestria before them.
“Now that's pretty cool.” Ryan said with an impressed raised eyebrow. The map focused to an area to the northeast sector. A tall mountain stood with a large hole on its peak. Three stones with ancient runes stood in equidistance from each other along the circumference of the hole. Twilight continued her briefing.
“Here at the Gates of Tartarus, the tomes responded to a magical flux from within. Although nothing was seen leaving Tartarus, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna had gone to investigate personally. They entered Tartarus and found that the plane that was holding King Sombra and limiting his mana network after his banishment was empty.”
“Wait,” Jack said, “who’s King Sombra? And why'd he get banished there?” The Crew looked at Twilight with the same question in their eyes as she explained who he is. She took a deep breath and elaborated.
“Sombra was once the King of the Crystal Empire, which is now ruled by Princess Cadence. Cadence and the Crystal Empire is what we discussed on the way to Ponyville, if you remember.” All but Ray and Ryan nodded. They simply shrugged as they were both preoccupied with the scenery at the time. “I'll recap that later. For now, the princesses and I strongly believe that Sombra has escaped.”
“Well, no shit.” Gavin said with a chuckle. The Mane 6, excluding Twilight, had a light gasp at Gavin’s vulgar language. “If there’s no one in the damn thing, and there’s supposed to be someone in it, then what's he gonna be doin'? Hiding under his bed?” Twilight sighed at Gavin’s sarcastic remark. Before she could retort, Applejack responded first.
“Hey, don't be disrespectin' our friend like that!” The Mane 6 had all been glaring at Gavin since he said what he said.
“Yeah!” a cracked voice Rainbow Dash said, “do it again and I'll pound you into next week, bub. Right Applejack.” Applejack gave a quick nod, still staring Gavin down. Gavin hardly felt moved by the threats as he knew he was just joking around and that the ponies looked too small to really do any hardcore damage like he could.
“Yes, please show some more restraint, Gavin, was it?” Rarity gently added with a dainty wave of her hoof, “There's also no need for such ghastly language.” She added a small, posh flick to her hair as she finished her sentence. Pinkie had stopped her excitement and was a bit defensive as well.
“There IS no need to be a meanie pants.” Pinkie said, still with a bubbly tone and a tilt in her neck despite the words used.
“Girls, girls, calm down,” Twilight said in response with a hoof up towards her friends. “This is how these humans are. Real jokers. It took a little while to get used to, but it grows quick on you. I think?” The rest of her friends seemed to calm down a little bit as they trusted their regal friend, except for a disgruntled Rainbow Dash. “But to respond to your earlier remark, Gavin, I’m entirely aware how obvious the observation seems. We had to be entirely sure that Sombra escaped and that he wasn't wandering Tartarus releasing others banished down there. As expected, he wasn't and escaped alone.”
“Alright, luv,” Gavin said, “ya made your point. Go on then.” Twilight gave a nod and continued.
“As to where he's gone or what his plans are is outside of our knowledge. Too many times in the past he has escaped the depths of Tartarus. He alone poses a serious threat to all of Equus, and the elements can only do so much to stop him.” Twilight turned to look over her shoulder. “This is where you guys come in.” The AH Crew shifted a small bit as they knew and anxiously waited for what was coming: what their purpose is in the plan. “With you six having absorbed the power of those scrolls, the scrolls’ true powers are still far from what they can truly exert.”
“You mean what these scrolls gave us,” Michael said, “isn't enough to beat Sombra?” Twilight shook her head slowly. Before the Crew and Mane 6 could feel premature defeat, Twilight added more.
“But those scrolls were not meant to be used alone.” The Crew and Mane 6 lit up a small bit at this information. “The scrolls were created far before even Starswirl’s time, maybe around the time the Elements themselves were created by Celestia knows who. Think that a unicorn mage’s base power and magic is the Elements and each scroll is a staff.”
“So,” Ryan joined, “the scrolls and our weapons are just amplifiers?”
“Indeed,” Twilight responded. “According to Celestia and Luna, the more the users are connected to the corresponding elements, the more power the weapons you hold can output.” The Crew took a moment to glance at the weapons that hung from their person. “Thus, leading me to the solution to this endeavour. These amplifiers do more than incapacitate the affected,” she had a small gulp, “they completely and permanently disassemble the target on a magical level, leaving only small remnants of mana. These remnants get dispersed in the sky as our stars, which remains as a hardly known fact to the rest of Equestria. The old controller of the stars, brother of Celestia and Luna, and the first to attempt eternal night, Prince Étoiles, is among most of the stars in our skies. Although, the stories only speak of the Elements. We don't want criminals trying to steal the scrolls, so we omitted their existence.”
Michael had a small chuckle to himself. Prince Étoiles? I guess they had a brother in this universe. “The Stars will aid in her escape.” Well now that makes more sense.
The room got eerily quiet. To the Crew, they were unsurprised about the possibility of having to kill the enemy. Death by combat was real enough to where they all had prepared mentally prior to the meeting. As for the Mane 6, the gravity of the possible outcome hit them. And it hit them hard.
“S-So, we have to-” was all Fluttershy could muster before Geoff interrupted her.
“You ponies don't have to really do anything, as far as I can gather.” He stepped up to the table and looked over the map, which had then zoomed out to view all of Equestria. “As long as we're here, it's mainly up to us to keep this Sombra guy from pulling any fast shit in the future. For now though,” Geoff turned to Twilight. When he turned, she felt a pulse resonate from his claymore that felt as if it warmed her heart. “What's the plan?”
Twilight was slightly confused as the warmth spread to her whole body for a split second. She couldn't place her hoof on it and decided to analyze this phenomenon further later.
“Well,” she exited her trance, “first we'll get you six better acquainted with my friends here. Then we’re going to have to wait on the town announcement as I'm going to have to plan how to approach the mayor with this information.” She put a hoof to her chin as she plotted. She then noticed the time was earlier than she expected. “It seems that we finished fairly early. Now then. Girls?”
The Mane 6 rose from their thrones and formally greeted the Crew. Pinkie was finally able to let all of her pent up excitement burst at the seams. She zoomed between each Hunter with bombardments of questions mixed with gasps and answers to her own questions. The rest of the Mane 6 simply shook hooves/hands with the humans before them. Jack and Ryan took interest in Fluttershy’s constant retreat and wanted to talk to her the most. So they did. At least they tried. Fluttershy seemed like the pony that will take a little while to warm up to, so they let her be for the time being.
Rainbow Dash was still a bit distant with Gavin at the beginning, but soon began talking and even shared some laughs. This guy’s laugh, Rainbow thought, is pretty contagious. She continued her lively conversation with Gavin as chatter filled the room. It wasn't long until Michael broke away from his conversation with Ray, Ryan, Applejack, and Rarity and strolled behind an unsuspecting Gavin. He balled his fist, then landed a powerful blow in between Gavin’s shoulder blades which made him make a drawn out grunt.
“Wot was that for?” Gavin said, trying to rub his back. Rainbow covered her mouth with a hoof, stifling some giggles.
“For dropping your stupid butter knife on my foot.” Michael said in an aggressive tone but remained grinning, already forgiving Gavin for his mistake. “By the way, Ray still has it, moron.” Gavin came rolling over like a small hyperactive child to Ray’s side. Ray looked at him with a confused expression.
“Hey Ray, Micool said you've got my knife?” Ray shook his head as he pulled it from his belt.
“It's a dagger,” Ray handed it to Gavin, “and stop fucking with it. Jesus man.”
“Thanks Ray!” Gavin slid the dagger back into it's sheath as he made his way back to a now laughing Rainbow Dash.
“What a moron.” Ray said, as he turned back to Rarity and Applejack now snickering themselves.
“Ah never thought ya’ll humans would have this much sense a' humor.” Applejack said, stifling the last of her snickers. “Ah also didn't think ya’ll’d be as civilized as a Ponyville citizen.”
“Do tell, Applejack,” Rarity joined in as she asked Ray her question, “but do you have any sort of occupation back where you're from? Any sort of annual income?” Ray shrugged with emphasis.
“We play videogames for a living.” Ray said casually. Applejack and Rarity were a bit confused.
“Video… games?” Applejack asked with genuine curiosity.
“Yeah,” Ray responded, “don't you guys have them here?” The two mares shook their heads slowly.
“It's like…” Ray thought of how he could explain it. “Imagine a play, that you interact with. So you actually control one of the characters. But it's on a TV.” Applejack picked her head up as if to begin a confused nod, but then spoke.
“Uh huuhh… and what's a TV?” Ray facepalmed and went into greater detail about electronics and their reach in the modern world.
Once the room had eased into groups of conversation, Geoff took it upon himself to speak with a note-taking Twilight. She seemed to be planning how to approach the mayor and then the town with a once-mythological species.
“Hey, Twilight?” Geoff said, as she continued writing but raised her ear to show that she was listening. “For how long do we have to hide from the peop- I mean, ponies in this town?” Twilight, sighed as she placed the quill and parchment down on the table. She stood up from the throne then shot him a reassuring smile.
“Within the week, everything should be ready. The sooner we introduce you six, the quicker we can get you all settled into Ponyville.” She glanced over at a zooming Pinkie and chuckled. “And so Pinkie can throw a ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ party for you guys.” Geoff smiled and relaxed at the sight of his best friends getting along with the Elements’ incarnations. He began walking over to the conversing groups. He patted the back of Twilight’s neck, to which she reacted with a confused look. Not necessarily at him patting her neck, but at his relaxed demeanor.
“Well?” He said looking over his shoulder with a small grin, “You're not gonna just sit there and think about stuff, are you?” She slightly gaped her mouth which quickly turned to a smile and trotted along after Geoff.
The talking lasted a while, about an hour, before each pony had to return to their duties that needed tending to. They left content with their meeting of the humans, not sensing a hint of evil or barbarism. Once gone, Twilight had to draw up schedules and plans with Spike to approach the mayor with this groundbreaking information. She excused herself for the rest of the evening and apologized to the Crew that they had to remain in the castle until she was ready to introduce the men to the small town.
Each member of AH took it upon themselves to explore the fairly expansive castle. Despite its outer size, the castle seemed larger from within, giving them much ground to explore and learn their surroundings. They traveled in pairs: Nice Dynamite, R&R, and OG. They explored the many hallways, stairs, and rooms. Everyone seemed to make themselves at home, considering this may just be their home for the coming months, or even years.
Castle of Friendship
Two days later; 10 pm
Since the Crew had explored every room, walked every hallway, and saw every sight, the worst has come. Their worst fear while spending their time here had come true and was now ravaging their minds to cinder: absolute boredom. The day came to its end as five of the six Hunters sat around in the common room where they had spent their first morning in. Sitting or standing, they were fidgeting with their weapons, their armor, the grandfather clock. Anything to rid them of their boredom. Gavin decided then to break the silence.
“So where’s Geoff gone now?” He was balancing his dagger by the point on his finger. Ryan was tracing the designs on one of his axes with his finger when he answered Gavin.
“I think he's talking with Twilight about the whole ‘meet the town’ thing again.” Ryan puts air quotes when he talks about meeting the ponies of Ponyville. This was because the Crew actually felt nervous that the town may not accept them, or worse: run them out of town. Sure they had special scrolls that made them ultimate warriors within this universe, but the scrolls didn't take away their morals. They couldn't bring themselves to just kill innocents. Then how different would they be from Sombra. But they were ready to still fight against Sombra to protect those here, and those back home on Earth.
Gavin groaned loudly. “I'm sick of waitin’ around, guys.” Ray was looking through the small, hidden compartments of his armor when he spoke.
“And I'm not?”
“Did I ask though, Ray?”
“Did you need to?”
“WHO NEEDS THIS MANY FUCKING POCKETS?!” Ray yelled, interrupting Gavin. Michael started his trademark giggle-to-laugh as he looked up from one of his swords to Ray who was now standing and aggressively analyzing his armor. “I know I'm supposed to have like throwing knives and shit, but look at this!” He showed a small pocket where something the size of a pencil would fit. “What is that?!”
“Hey,” Ryan said, “you can put pixie sticks in there for a mid-battle snack.”
“Okay, calm down. I'm not Jack” Ray countered.
“Oh c'mon.” Jack said, annoyed, knowing what was to come. Michael decided now is perfect to perform his Jack impression.
“Hey, man, don't stab me there, alright? I've got a pre-battle, post-introduction cheeseburger in there. Then I gotta save what's left for the post-victory meal.” Everyone, including Jack, began laughing with only one “fuck you” to respond to Michael’s impression. They laughed for a solid thirty seconds before Gavin made an almost instant halt to his laughter. He instead began to listen for the same disturbance he heard. Again he heard it.
He jumped off of the couch towards the one window in the common room that overlooked a decent section of Ponyville. From it, he used the power in his eyes to see what was happening outside. One by one, the Hunters stopped laughing and directed attention to Gavin. Michael got up from his spot on the floor to check on Gavin. Gavin was leaning out of the window to get a better view of the scene. He could see ponies in sleepwear and looked as if they were woken up. They were running out of the town towards Twilight’s castle.
“What's wrong, Gavin?” Michael asked, concerned about his best friend. Gavin turned to Michael and was pointing wildly out the window. The rest of the Hunters took in the sight, even if it lasted a second or two before reverting back to normal: Gavin’s eyes had been an amethyst purple; a side effect of when Gavin used his incredible sight. “Dude, your eyes were like-”
“Micool, those ponies are runnin’ from something!” Michael looked out the window but didn't see anything. He did feel rumbling. It felt like…
“Those are foot stomps. A lot of them.” Michael said, now leaning out the window himself. He noticed the crowd of ponies moving together towards the castle and felt that whatever it is could be able to do some massive damage to the town. The footsteps they heard were not from the stampede of ponies, but something within Ponyville. He stepped up onto the windowsill.
“Hey,” Ryan said with his arms exteded out his sides, eyebrows raised, “where are you going?”
“Well,” Michael said, “whatever they're running from, I'm sure it'll do more bad the longer we wait.” Halfway through his sentence, Ryan joined him on the windowsill. “That was fast.”
“Nah,” Ryan said, unhooking the axes from his back, “I just wanted to know why you were gonna go. I'm going cause I'm bored as fuck. And to help the ponies, but mostly cause I'm bored.”
Ryan looked back at his friends to see them enthusiastic to leave the castle for once. And hopefully to help. He knew it was unwise to leave the castle and expose themselves to the public. Although if they were to expose themselves, they might as well do it on a good deed to break the ice rather than “Hey, look, we're whole new species you all feared in fairy tales.” First impressions are crucial. The five of them knew they had no room for error. If one pony was injured by their hands, they would never be accepted in Ponyville and all of Equestria in turn.
5 min later
After receiving a few stares of awe and terror, the five Hunters pushed past ponies towards Ponyville. They moved together and with haste to eliminate the threat immediately. Those left behind from the mob that ran towards the castle were now moving as quickly as they could with the injuries they now attained. The Hunters leapt from the ground to the rooftops in one effortless jump and ran quickly on the slanted shingles of the many shops and homes of Ponyville residents. Some ponies remained in their homes hoping the threat would retreat to its home. The Hunters scanned street after street and hadn't seen anything. They finally stopped on a roof above the main market place and looked around.
“I don't see shit, guys.” Ryan said worriedly, thinking their advance may have been in vain and the threat had already retreated. “Maybe we should go ba-” as he turned, one of the many threats had already tackled him off of the roof and fell three stories towards the ground. “OH SHIIT!!” Ryan yelled. There were two loud thuds as he made contact with his back to the floor. The first was Ryan hitting the unforgiving cobblestone floor, and the second being the timberwolf that, upon impact, fell apart into separate body sections.
“Ryan!” Gavin yelled as he slid to the edge of the roof and peered over the edge. The other men joined Gavin in checking if Ryan was okay.
“Are you okay?” Jack yelled to him next.
Ryan groaned as he rolled to his side and attempted to stand up. “I'm.. fine?” He hardly felt the impact really. It's as if his pain tolerance had increased substantially as well as other things. He assumed the other guys had the same ability. As he stood, he could hear chattering and sighs from his friends that he was able to stand okay. He looked down at the large, wolf-looking creature that had fallen apart on impact. When he sensed it, he had turned towards the street with his axes quickly drawn as a set of teeth latched onto the pole between grip and blade of his axe.
The Hunters on the roof were surprised to see another of those wolves and jumped down to Ryan's aid. Michael was the last to jump, and when he did, he saw the first wolf beginning to reassemble itself. He drew a sword in mid air and drove the blade through the wolf's back as he landed. The wolf collapsed again with a ghostly howl.
Ryan had pushed the wolf off of his axe and swung it once towards its face. The gnarly axe made perfect contact and the wolf flew across the street with the glow in its eyes fading to black. More timberwolves emerged from around street corners and dark spots in the marketplace at the sound of their dying brethren. All of the Hunters present drew their weapons and readied for a fight. “Michael?” Ryan called, unhooking his other axe and keeping his eyes on the many timberwolves closing in.
“Yeah?” Michael said as he drew his second sword, occupied with the other timberwolves approaching. Gavin leapt on the awning above them and readied his bow, his eyes taking that same shade of purple from earlier.
“What are these things?” Ryan asked.
“They're timberwolves.” Michael responded, “nothing special, I guess. Just like wolves from earth, just these are made of wood.” The timberwolves began to encircle them, waiting for a moment to strike.
“Are there any weaknesses?” Jack asked next.
“Hit them?” Michael said, remembering how impact hadn't killed the first timberwolf. Only the piercing of his sword or Ryan's axe had killed them. “For you Jack, I guess hit them hard? Since you don't have a sharp weapon, I assume you have to smash them to pieces.” Jack gave a nod and an excited grin.
The Hunters had felt it but didn't see it directly: eyes were on them. Not just timberwolf eyes, but pony eyes from their homes. They were all watching in terror of the sight of two types of monsters, one being mythical and one very much real, about to do battle in their marketplace. The Hunters liked it. They liked having all of the eyes on them, and they wanted to show these ponies that the human race is not what they think it is. They decided to give them quite the show, and capitalize on gauging their powers at the same time. It was unexpected, but the humans made the first move.
Gavin let go of the bowstring. The arrow he launched burst into a set of high speed magical shrapnel, landing hits across a large portion of the timberwolves now preoccupied with the burning pieces within their wooden frames. He leapt from the awning with his dagger drawn. With quickness and accuracy, he slashed at the thin necks of the wolves, severing the heads from the bodies permanently.
Ryan advanced quickly. In a flurry of slashes and shoulder checks, around fifteen timberwolves were thrown into walls and the floor. Many more tried to attempt a synchronized attack, but Ryan was quicker in smashing through their puny attacks.
Ray had three timberwolves bearing their teeth towards him as he stood in an elegant stance. Although Ray was not exactly the type to go up against anything more than one other enemy, he was curious on his actual ability. He decided to learn from the timberwolves attacks. It was then he found their main strategy: isolate and corner. He noticed this earlier when they revealed themselves to the Hunters as a whole. The wolves spread evenly around him, and then attacked. Instead of a fight, he stepped quickly out of danger as all three collided with one another. With one graceful jump, he fell straight down over the pile of the three wolves and gave six quick thrusts. Each wolf received two thrusts, ending their fight. Ray landed on his feet with a spin, and with a flourish of his estoc. It would be cringy for him to say "olay," so he refrained from doing it.
Jack had a simple time blocking the incoming wolves. Brushing some of their attacks off effortlessly with his shield, then delivering a finishing blow with his mace. Each time he dealt these devastating attacks, the timberwolves’ frames would shatter into hundreds of splinters. At one point, several attempted a synchronized attack, which Jack responded by activating the forcefield that now protruded from his shield and stopped the wolves as if they hit a brick wall. Jack then one by one obliterated each wolf with his mace.
Next to Ryan, Michael seemed to have the most fun destroying the timberwolf threat. His swords cut through the logs of the wolves like hot knives through butter. He had shaken off a few timberwolves that had latched onto his swords due to his flimsy defending. From the outside observer, Michael seemed to be the most confident in combat, not worrying too much about letting a few attacks through here and there. It was challenging but he got the job done.
After about five minutes of fighting, the Crew had successfully eliminated the entire timberwolf threat. Pieces of wood ranging from sticks to small logs lay scattered across the empty and quiet street. The timberwolf stragglers retreated into the Everfree Forest as the Hunters admired their work. After assuming the threat was completely gone, they sheathed their weapons and regrouped in the street.
“That was…” Michael said, approaching the group, “...fucking AWESOME! You see when I kicked that one wolf into the other?” He flailed his arms at the end for emphasis.
“And did you see when I charged like five of them into a wall all at once?!” Ryan said out loud next.
“I stopped like ten of them from hitting Gavin with my shield, too!” Jack said patting Gavin’s shoulder.
“Thanks for that, Jack!” Gavin said, highfiving Jack.
“Yeah it was all pretty cool, but,” Ray said, not paying attention to the group, “what about them?” Ray pointed at the ponies now exiting their homes, cautiously. Whether they were cautious of the humans or of the timberwolves, the Crew was uncertain. The ponies slowly gathered and approached the humans before them, some with confused expressions. They stopped a few feet from the group of men and said nothing for a few seconds. One little colt pushed his way to the front and looked in awe at the no-longer-mythical creatures. The little colt ended up being Pipsqueak. He stood, shifting his eyes between the Hunters as the Hunters looked back down to him. Pipsqueak’s smile grew immensely until he hopped around.
“That was bang on, that was!” Pipsqueak said loudly in his English accent. Gavin looked at Michael with his mouth shaping an “o” and wide eyes. Gavin began talking nonsense about how adorable Pipsqueak was with his “lit’le accent” like Gavin’s. Gavin picked up Pipsqueak and they shared a hug. Pipsqueak felt happy that he wasn't the only one that talked differently from everyone else.
The rest of the ponies audibly felt more comfortable around the humans as they closed the space between the two groups. Again, first impressions do count. Ryan was the first to speak to the ponies of Ponyville. As a new hero, along with his best friends, in words of infinite wisdom that could be the most professional the Achievement Hunters could ever possibly make from one species to another, he spoke.
“Uh.. hey everyone.”
Castle of Friendship
It took Twilight several minutes to calm the crowd outside of her castle. They had been yelling about timberwolves. This, and one other thing, was all Twilight could understand. Geoff presented himself to the crowd after the crowd made it unanimously known that they knew humans existed. But then that fact hit Twilight a bit late as she asked the crowd as a whole.
“Please, everyone remain calm. We will have this situation under control and...wait, how did any of you know humans exist?” Before anyone could answer comprehensively, a pegasus floated downward next to Twilight and bowed. Twilight saw the pegasus in her peripheral vision and turned to face the vanilla colored pegasus. The pegasus rose and spoke.
“Princess Twilight! You will not believe this!” She glanced at Geoff, “Okay, so maybe you will believe it. But a few humans saved the town from a timberwolf attack! They sent me here to inform you.” Geoff, with a frustrated groan, rubbed his eyes at the bridge of his nose. Twilight heard this and asked why he groaned.
“Because,” Geoff said, “they got bored and probably were just curious, of course throwing themselves into danger. I'd expect that of all of them, except maybe Jack. I need to go check on them. Hey, pegasus,” the pegasus turned her head to Geoff, “can you show me where the other humans are?” The pegasus nodded as she flapped her wings and hovered, waiting for Geoff. Twilight gave a quick nod to Geoff as he began a sprint towards Ponyville, following the pegasus. He moved with incredible speed despite the weight he carried. Even he was surprised he could move that fast, mainly because of his age.
Geoff arrived with the pegasus to the scene. He saw that all of the ponies had become thoroughly comfortable with his friends. They were all chattering about the attack and how cool it looked. They already called them “heroes” as each began to build their little fanbase. Ponies took individual liking to each Hunter and asked them many questions. Were they afraid? Did any of them get hurt? How many humans are there? He saw the remnants of the now-slain timberwolves strewn about the marketplace. That's when Geoff made his entrance by stepping off of the roof he stood on. When he landed, the attention of the crowd slowly directed towards Geoff. He walked towards his friends. The crowd made way for Geoff until the rest of the Crew noticed him. Gavin had a smiling Pipsqueak on his shoulders and Michael finished shaking the townspeople’s hooves to talk to Geoff. Geoff looked around at the smiling faces and sighed.
“You all know how dumb and reckless this was, right guys?” The Crew’s smiles faded, as did the crowd. "Showing yourselves to these ponies? Fighting an unknown force?" Just before the crowd could hate Geoff for being a buzzkill, Geoff spoke again after a sigh, “Since I wouldn't have let you all go help, I'm glad I wasn't there to stop you from being reckless. Good work, guys.” Geoff smiled and gathered his friends for a meaningful group hug. The crowd made a uniform “aww” until Ray broke away from the group first.
“We know you love us, Geoff, but I don't swing like you guys.” The group all broke the hug as well, muttering jokes along the same lines. The crowd slowly returned to asking questions and getting to know their new heroes. Geoff stood outside the crowd, watching his friends bask in their fame. They were famous back on their world, minor celebrities really. But they were never truly thanked for saving lives. Geoff didn't really care about the spotlight. Time in the military teaches you that. He just wanted the deeds done from the heart. He knew that despite their boredom, the Crew had done this good deed for the sake of the ponies. Geoff was awoken from his train of thought when Twilight spoke next him.
“So I guess all of that work on introducing them to the town went to waste?” She smiled. She was glad that her expectations of Ponyville were not only met, but exceeded.
“I guess so.” Geoff said, “but we should have it be a formal thing, don't you think?” Twilight immediately responded.
“Oh of course! I'll have to talk with the mayor again about the change of plans.” Twilight grimaced, “Oh, I hope she won't be annoyed by the sudden change.” Geoff smiled and rolled his eyes at Twilight’s personality of being a stickler about schedules and promises. After tonight, the Crew would be widely accepted in Ponyville. Not having such a welcome for their potential saviors would be rude at best. This was considering the Crew actually behaved themselves, which they did and some. At the remembrance of the time, Twilight yawned. “Well, I'm going back to the castle to sleep. I suggest you and your friends sleep as well. You have to see the town in a normal setting starting tomorrow.” Twilight trotted her way to the castle, too sleepy to fly.
Geoff pushed through the crowd of ponies to his friends and called for them to return to the castle, letting them know that they'll have the next few days to socialize with the citizens. With a few disappointed “aww”s from the ponies, they bid the humans goodnight. The walk back to the castle was in relative silence, since ponies were returning to their homes still saying their goodnights. Geoff broke the sleep-deprived silence with one comment that lead to chuckles and retelling of their stories of their first battle with timberwolves not thirty minutes ago.
“Why didn't you guys save any wolves for me?” Geoff asked.
“Because we knew you wouldn't save any for us if you were there.” Gavin said, throwing his arm around Geoff’s shoulder.