Hero Souls: Awakening

by SvenFoxx

30. He Said, She Said, I Said, They Said

The following two weeks were relatively calm for the six friends and one dragon. There were three incidents of note, but nothing world shattering.

The first incident happened a few days after Twilight returned home from reporting to Celestia. Spike had approached her regarding the fact that he was the only Dragon he knew of in both Canterlot and Ponyville. This latest crisis had driven home in his mind that he was essentially alone in this world, and found himself yearning to learn about his heritage.

Understanding the feeling due to her own memories as the last Kryptonian in the Universe, Twilight promised to look into any information or possible Dragon locations she could. After an exchange of letters between them, Twilight managed to convince Celestia to send her copies of any books regarding Dragons in the Royal Archives. She was in the process of studying them now and compiling a lesson plan to teach Spike as much as she could.

The next incident happened during a rather severe storm one week later. Applejack and Rarity had been caught as it started and, not wanting to trek home in a raging downpour, had shacked up with Twilight for the night. This eventually evolved into Twilight’s first ever slumber party, which her two friends hesitantly agreed to.

Unfortunately, due to the vast differences between Rarity and Applejack in both life-choices and personalities, it very nearly turned into a disaster and a loss of friendship. But when Twilight’s home was threatened by the raging storm outside due to their bickering, they pushed those differences aside to help the Mare of Steel fix the problem.

Afterwards, they realized that they had actually gotten along during said crisis, and came to the conclusion that you didn’t need to be the same as your friend in order to be friends. You just had to accept that they were different, and respect their choices. And if those choices resulted in a clash of opinions, try and bring in someone to mediate between you.

Twilight of course was hesitant to try for another slumber party anytime soon, but thanked her friends for indulging in her desires nonetheless.

The final incident of note was the string of robberies going around Ponyville. Nothing truly valuable was stolen, but Twilight and, surprisingly, Rarity had begun investigating to determine the culprit. So far leads were few and far in between, though Rarity had realized that everything that was stolen was taken from high end security systems.

It was after those two weeks that something more interesting happened that made Twilight excited over both something new to study… and in the end knowledge of a good ally in the forest.

Of course, it very nearly didn’t turn out that way


“Okay, this is creepy,” Spike said.

Twilight found herself in silent agreement as she looked around the empty streets of Ponyville. It was around noon now, and usually the streets were full of ponies out and about, either on a lunch break, enjoying the day, or shopping. But now…

Well, the town was almost barren. It looked like a ghost town, but not rundown.

Her eyes caught movement. Looking over, she found a pony wearing a brown cloak in the Town Square. Judging by the black stripes on their legs that she could see, it was likely a Zebra. A quick use of X-Ray Vision confirmed her suspicion. Cautiously, Twilight approached. “Hey, do you kn-grk!”

A lasso of magic had snared Twilight and yanked her into one of the nearby houses. Spike yelped at the sudden abduction of his guardian, but before he could do anything else he was grabbed by a lasso of rope and pulled into the same building.

The two hit the floor in darkness. The magical rope around twilight dissipated while someone Spike couldn’t see undid the normal rope around him.

Twilight got up and lit her horn, creating light to see by, and glared at Applejack and Rarity. “Ignoring the moral quagmire of kidnapping… What the buck was that for?” she growled.

“Sorry Twi, but we weren’t sure whether or not she could hurt ya,” Applejack apologized as Rarity carefully peeked through the blinds over a nearby window.

It was at this point that Twilight realized all of her friends were in this building, and they all looked scared and/or nervous. “Hurt me?” she asked Applejack after a moment. “Who? The Zebra?”

“Zebra? What’s a Zebra?” Rainbow Dash asked from a cloud near the ceiling.

Twilight projected an illusion of the Zebra in the Town Square, minus the cloak. “She’s a Zebra. They’re a subspecies of Ponies closely related to Earth Ponies. Their culture revolves around ritualistic magic and souls.”

She watched Applejack shiver at the sight of the illusion. “Yeah, that’s her. That’s Zecora. Everyone in town is terrified of her.” Suddenly, Applejack’s eyes narrowed in anger. “And fer good reason! She lives in the Everfree Forest and can control the creatures there. She…” Applejack trailed off here, and Twilight frowned.

“She what?” she asked, curious about someone that could apparently control the wild creatures of the Everfree.

Her answer came not from Applejack, but from a sad Pinkie Pie. “Applejack’s mother and father died in a Timberwolf attack,” she said quietly. “Zecora was there, speaking to the Timberwolves.”

Twilight had gasped at the revelation, and then she frowned. “I’m sorry, but…” she shook her head. “I don’t see how that’s possible.”

“Are you callin’ me a liar?!” Applejack roared in understandable outrage.

Twilight winced at her blunder. “No!” she said, waving her hooves. “No… I mean, I don’t see how Zecora could control the Timberwolves. Zebra magic is fairly potent, tapping into the Veil to power spells, but it’s a magic that hinges on a delicate balance.” She paused in thought. “... Though, since Timberwolves are technically Wood Golems, I suppose you could use Zebrican Golemancy to control them.”

“Golemancy?” Rarity asked, frowning. “Isn’t that forbidden magic?”

Twilight waved a hoof. “Not really, no. It’s frowned on, but only because it has the potential to lead to a Flux buildup.”

Rarity and, surprising both Unicorns, Fluttershy nodded in understanding.

“... What?” Applejack and Pinkie both asked in confusion. Rainbow also looked confused. “What’s Flux?” Pinkie continued.

Rarity and Twilight exchanged a glance. “Without going into a long discussion on the nature of magic and how it interacts with the world,” Twilight began slowly. “Flux is the result of an imbalance in localized magical fields. It causes Taint to spread. And Taint is the warping and twisting of the land. Just a heads up, if you ever find yourself in a perpetually dark environment and under constant assault from monsters, get out of there as fast as possible and inform the Mages Guild in Canterlot as soon as you can.”

“And this ties into Zecora… how?” Rainbow asked. “I got as far as Golem… something-or-other, and you lost me.” She frowned, a thought coming to her. “Is she spreading this Taint thing around? Is that how she controls those monsters?”

Twilight shook her head. “No, we would most certainly know if there was Taint nearby. Any Unicorn, and magic user really, can sense Flux. That’s why I hesitate to agree that Zecora is controlling the Timberwolves. To get the kind of control she’d need for coordinated attacks, she would have to dabble in the forbidden aspects of Golemancy, and that produces Flux.”

“How long does Flux stick around?” Applejack asked thoughtfully after a moment. “The attack happened ten years ago.”

Twilight nodded slowly, seeing what she meant. “The surrounding magic fields will work to fix the imbalance that caused the Flux in the first place, so I guess it’s possible that It has faded by now.

“However, all of this is irrelevant, because I refuse to condemn someone based on what they may be responsible for. You say she was talking to the Timberwolves? What did she say?”

Applejack shrugged. “I don’t know. It was a language I don’t know. Always figured it was some kind of mystical hoo-doo words or somethin’,” she said.

“How did she say it?”


“Was she calm, commanding, scared, or angry?” Twilight explained.

Applejack frowned in thought, digging through her memory. “I think… actually, now that I think about it, she was angry, almost shouting in rage. She was waving around a stick with some kind of metal cap on it.”

“Was she yelling at the Timberwolves?”

Applejack nodded. “That I remember. She seemed angry at them.”

Twilight stared at Applejack. After a full minute, Applejack was starting to get uncomfortable. “What?” she asked.

“It never occurred to you that she may have been, oh… I don’t know… trying to stop them?!”

Applejack jumped at the sudden shout. Twilight didn’t give her a chance to respond and instead grabbed Spike and made her way out of the building.

“Twi? Twi, wait! Where are ya going?” Applejack called after her.

“To get some answers!” Twilight called back.