“So… Discord,” Twilight said, glaring angrily, “You just sent these four fillies off to some school in another world, for monster-hunting.”
“Well, yes, that’s exactly what I was saying… Well, almost, it’s another planet, not another world, they’re still in the same universe, same galaxy even… Don’t worry, they’ll be fine.”
Six mares simply glared at the draconequus, except for Rainbow Dash who seemed oddly proud. When he found himself summoned into the newly ascended princess’s library, he felt a weight descend upon him, though in all likelihood that was the binding spell that was keeping him bound in a physical form.
“I ain’t worried, Scoot’s a tough little filly,” Said Rainbow.
“What’s all this ‘monster-hunting’ business…” Applejack said incredulously.
“My little Sweetie is all lost in some alien world, how is any of this ok!” Yelled Rarity.
Discord rolled his eyes, “They still have their magic, that’s more than can be said for the rest of that world’s inhabitants…” Twilight raised an eyebrow at that. “Just an idiotic move by two of my idiot cousins…” Discord clarified. Floating up to Twilight and whispering into her ear, “You should have seen the looks on their non-faces when I took some of their power and gave it to a certain pair of mares, about five-thousand eight-hundred years ago now.”
“Still, you shouldn’t have done that,” Fluttershy said, a bit louder than normal, “Discord.”
“It’s not like I did it against their will, they wanted to go to school.”
“I like that Bloom’s getting herself an education, but seriously, what’s all this monster-hunting business,” Applejack continued.
“Just some semi-corporal entities, kinda like ursas, or tantibusi.”
Twilight’s eyes went wide, and Discord realized his mistake, “T-They’re not as dangerous as those examples, they were just the first examples I thought of… See for yourself!” He said, snapping his fingers. In the middle of the library appeared, in a flash of light, a very confused wolf, eyes glowing red and face adorned with a bone-like mask.
Meanwhile, on a distant planet, Professor Port stared, confused, at one of the cages. He was collecting some weaker grimm for the first-year students starting next month, when suddenly one of his Beowolves vanished. Perhaps he should just get a Boarbatusk instead.
Back in Equestria, the wolf stared at the creatures surrounding it, curling up into itself in fear of the magical power these entities radiated, particularly the purple one… And equally confused at the lack of hate in the place it found itself. Rarity fainted at the sight of the beast.
“Discord!” Fluttershy shouted, “You scared the poor thing,” Fluttershy took flight and moved to the massive wolf-creature towering twice the height of the ponies, and started petting it’s black, almost ethereal, fur. The sensation reminding the pegasus of when she had touched Luna’s mane. Twilight’s eyes somehow got wider as she inspected the creature, no doubt sensing the magical energies that comprised it.
“Discord…” Said an annoyed and exasperated Twilight, “Are you sure the foals are ok…”
“Yes, I’m keeping an eye on them, even now…”
Twilight’s horn glowed and she drew a book from a stand, “Give this to Sweetie next chance you get, it’s a list of spells, I was going to teach it to her someday… After all, we won’t be around forever to protect Equestria, and these spells are all ones that I found particularly useful during my friendship quests.” Discord snapped his fingers and the book disappeared.
Fluttershy and Applejack turned to each other, nodded, then turned to Discord, "The girls and I are going to be doing a bit of talking, alone... But later, you'll be needing a serious talking to, Discord," Applejack said.
He was about to leave when he looked out the window and froze. Outside were four ponies. He turned to Twilight, “Can you please dispell that binding spell now.”
The airship passed over the forest on approach to the city. Below, the fillies saw a massive concrete wall, dotted with towers, and occasionally illuminated with bursts of coloured light. “What’s all that?” Asked Apple Bloom.
The stallion in the trenchcoat looked confused for a second then said, “Oh, you mean the Kingdom’s wall, that’s there to keep the grimm at bay, the wall is dotted with machine-gun nests, flamethrowers, and cannon turrets, plus it’s manned by huntsmen and kingdom police at all times… No need to worry about the monsters getting inside the city.”
Apple Bloom nodded. A dozen minutes later, a massive black bird with glowing eyes could be seen approaching the city, there was a flash of light below, and a few moments later the bird exploded in a dozen places at once. Diamond and Bloom stared, shocked, while Scootaloo was clapping, and Sweetie was simply impressed. “Got’em!” The stallion said, “That was the flak-cannons at work.”
The airship started flying lower once it passed over the walls and the fillies got their first true look at the city. “Welcome to Vale,” The stallion in plate armour said. The city was made from huge brick buildings, all of them three to six storeys, like a forest, all of them taller than even the tallest building in Ponyville. The shortest of the structures was even as tall as the town hall. Between the buildings were roads made from some black stone that the fillies couldn’t identify, and ponyless carriages and chariots raced through the streets.
Sweetie was confused at the magical energies she sensed… Back in Equestria, there was so much background magic that everypony was just a blur in the general glow… Only ponies like the Princesses or Twilight really distinguished themselves against the general background. Here, there was very little background magic, and she could make out individual points of magic more clearly. The carriages ran on magic, and there was plenty of magical energy throughout the city, but it was all very dim and felt rather one-dimensional as if the magic being used was only capable of a single basic purpose… She felt some magic from the creatures, the two stallions had very weak fields around their bodies, but she didn’t sense any internal power, they probably couldn’t even use telekinesis.
The airship came to hover over a marked landing pad and set down, the ramp extended and the fillies marched out. “I thank you for coming to the aid of myself and my…” Diamond paused, allowing just a hint of disdain in her voice, “Companions.”
“We’re huntsmen, it’s our job to help people, even if you are faunus.” The trenchcoat-wearing stallion said, “The name’s Night Lark,” He extended his foreleg. Diamond didn’t understand the gesture but knew that it was a symbol of greeting or gratitude, and so extended her foreleg in turn, at which point the stallion grabbed it in his claw and started shaking. An odd feeling Diamond had to admit.
“And you?” She asked, extending her foreleg at the one in plate-armour.
“Aquilla Winchester,” He said, but didn't shake her claw in return... Diamond felt that this was somehow rude, but couldn't really understand why she felt that way.
The other fillies were enraptured by the city, staring and waving their arms through the streetlamps and street-signs that seemed made from light. And staring up in awe of the large buildings, while being somewhat terrified of the carriages that drove by. Diamond went to round up the others before they got into trouble or broke some law that they had no knowledge of.
Back on the ship, Aquilla said, “For faunus, those girls aren’t half bad. Certainly weren’t White-Fang”
Night agreed before continuing, “They were some of the nicest I’ve met… I wonder what village they came from.”
“It doesn’t matter now I suppose,”
The other nodded before the door closed and the ship took off again back to patrolling the borders of the kingdom.
In the void between existence, Discord roamed, in this place his body seemed to glow with a field of rainbow energy, to the point where one would be unable to make out his physical features and would simply see a dragonesque rainbow-coloured snake. He carried the book that Twilight had given him, and with a simple application of his power, he duplicated it, and returned to the physical universe with his two tomes in claw and paw.
Before he gave them to his two favourite unicorns, Discord had tea with Fluttershy scheduled, and he certainly could wait in giving the fillies their gifts… It was, after all, night on Remnant, and they could sleep while Discord relaxed.
When he reappeared, discord was surprised by several things, the least of which being the two other mares present in the cottage. No, the most surprising by far was the beowolf sitting in the corner. “Lusus has been a bit agitated since you brought him here, so I’ll be taking care of him for the time being… It’s a bit strange that he doesn’t seem interested in any of the food I’ve been giving him, but nothing else seems wrong... Although he did seem interested in Angel for some reason,” Fluttershy said.
“You should have seen it when they first met, Lusus kept following Angel around, I was a little worried about him trying to eat the bunny, but he just kept stalking him,” Rainbow cut in.
“I don’t like that beast, it just doesn’t feel right, being around it,” Applejack said.
“Lusus?” Discord asked.
“That’s what Angel called him,” Fluttershy returned, then suddenly looked sad, “I have no idea how to talk to him, normally wolves and dogs are easy to understand, but his speech makes no sense, so I couldn’t ask him his name like I normally do… But I’ll get it in time.”
Applejack and Fluttershy then both rounded on Discord, "So, let's talk about fillies and why it's a bad idea to screw with them... Particularly ours," Said Applejack, stomping a hoof down in emphasis.
“Listen,” Diamond Tiara spoke up once she had gathered the fillies, “We need to find a hotel or inn.”
“Why, I can just sleep right here if I wanted,” Scootaloo offered, sliding on a bench on the side of the road.
“Seriously Scoots,” Apple Bloom replied, “You want to sleep on some street-side bench.”
“Well, it’s not like we have any money,” Sweetie Belle replied.
"And it's not like I haven't done it before," Scootaloo returned.
“I will not spend a single night on some filthy bench!” Diamond shouted, “Blank flanks,” she muttered.
The fillies rolled their eyes as they piled on to the bench, Diamond scoffed, crossed her forelegs, and sat on the concrete ground. They spent a few minutes there, Scootaloo already having fallen asleep, when someone approached. A large stallion, no ears or tail or wings to the fillies surprise, wearing a simple shirt and pants. “What’s a bunch of faunus girls doing out here in the cold?” He asked.
“We don’t exactly have a home or money…” Sweetie answered.
“I see…” He nodded, then pulled something from a pocket on his pants, drawing a few smooth and solid cards painted with different colours, patterns, and numbers, “This should be enough for a day or two.”
Diamond was sceptical, “You have no reason to help us? Why?”
“Diamond!” Sweetie shouted, “Don’t be rude to him.”
The stallion simply sighed, “Faunus have it bad enough, I’m not going to let some girls sleep out here if I can help it.”
Diamond felt the sincerity in the stallion’s voice and accepted the gift. She assumed it was some kind of currency… But cards? Who in the world uses cards for money? “Thank you very much, sir… Umm,”
“Tukson,” He said, “Tukson Gray.”
“Thank you very much Tukson,” She said, shaking the stallion’s claws in what she hoped was a gesture of gratitude… It seemed to have the intended effect as the stallion walked off.
Apple Bloom hopped to her hooves and pulled Scoots with her, “Come on, let’s go find somewhere to sleep, and eat.” The others nodded and began to walk down the sidewalk, looking for a place to stay for the night. They passed numerous unmarked buildings and found the occasional faunus walking down the streets, but the night’s darkness made them seem like shadows against the walls despite the brilliant moonlight.
Soon they saw a sign above the door to a five-storey building, proclaiming “Ember Inn” It was across the street from some building called "From Dust to Dawn", that Sweetie could see was absolutely filled with strange one-dimensional magic she had felt around the city. They steered their way toward the building, and passed through the door, not noticing the “No Faunus” sign on the window.
The innkeeper, an older red-haired mare in a form-fitting red dress, just stared at the girls as they trotted in, sighing before shouting, “No Faunus! Get out!” Each of the girls just stared stunned.
“But you’re-” Sweetie Started
“Get out! I won’t be having White Fang or any of their sympathizers in my town!”
The girls looked at each other, confused. “I don’t really understand, we simply need a place to stay the night,” Diamond began.
“I’m not letting any animals into my inn! For the last time, go!”
“Animals!” Diamond shouted back, marching forward a few steps, “I- Aagh!” Apple Bloom grabbed Diamond by the foreleg and mane and began to pull her back.
“Diamond, we don’t want to get into trouble here, you said that yourself,” Bloom said, as she started to pull diamond away. Scootaloo, who had looked ready to start beating the pulp out of the innkeeper, found herself being dragged away too, Sweetie Belle’s firm grip on her arm not wavering in the least as Scoots lashed out with her wings.
“Let go of me you dirty blank-flanks!”
“Keep those ‘friends’ of yours on a short leash,” The innkeeper said bitterly as the fillies pulled themselves out of the building.
Once they had gotten Diamond and Scootaloo cooled down, a difficult feat for an adult, let alone two fillies, they marched down the street, more than a little angry. “I don’t get it,” Said Apple Bloom, “Wasn’t that mare a faunus too? I mean, she looked just like us… Well, not just like us, but about the same.”
Scootaloo and Sweetie shrugged as they marched on in search of another hotel. Diamond replied, “I couldn’t give a flying feather about that, she called me an animal! Me!”
“Woah, Diamond, language,” Apple Bloom muttered, half-heartedly, as she certainly shared the sentiment. Diamond just growled in response. Somehow, Bloom had ended up being the one to carry all the boxes, and while she could do it with ease, she couldn’t help feeling a bit miffed with the other ponies.
A dozen or so minutes later they saw another place, “The Nightwatch Hotel” it advertised, and the fillies hesitated as they looked for any signs that might deter faunus, but found nothing, and so they stepped inside and found no one at the desk.
“Uhh, hello?” Scootaloo asked to the empty room. It was a pleasant room, it reminded them of the time they spent in a hotel in Canterlot, with the tile floor and stone columns holding up a wooden-reinforced stone ceiling, not quite as polished or resplendent than a Canterlot building, but the carpet was nice.
“Be right there in a moment,” Came a stallion’s voice from a room behind the counter. Soon, the door opened and out stepped someone in a heavy coat over a sweater and jeans. “It’s a bit late for four girls to be wandering the streets… I was about to close up for the night… Can I help you?” He asked.
“Yes,” Said Diamond, burying her anger at the previous innkeeper under a layer of professionalism. “My companions and I need a room for the night. How much will that cost us?”
The stallion nodded and pawed at the scruffy hair around his mouth and chin, “I assume you’ll all be sharing a room?” He asked. The fillies nodded, “Ok,” He continued, “A room costs ten, we also charge extra for each person, another ten per faunus, five per human… So that’ll be about fifty lien for you.”
“What’s with the extra cost for faunus?” Asked Scootaloo.
The stallion shrugged, “I’m not the one who makes the rules, I’m just the cashier and here to take notes on the customers... Just be thankful you aren’t in Atlas.” Diamond nodded, counting the numbers listed on the cards as she pulled them from her pocket, soon she had given over half the stack to the stallion. “Ok, room eighteen is yours for tonight and tomorrow,” He had finished. And with that, the ponies made their way up the stairs and into their room.