Twilight Capella Sparkle,
Everfree Forest, Appleloosan Route,
A Day and Sixteen Hours into Eternal Night,
"Soooo...." Lilly broke the awkward silence the two of them had been walking in for a couple of hours. "Why are we heading to Appleloosa again? We are almost there."
Twilight, having her precious thinking silence broken, pushed away some branches with her telekinetic grip. She looked back at Lilly with a warm smile, well...as warm of a smile someone could muster while walking in the most dangerous forest while the world’s fate rested upon their shoulders.
"As thou wilt, hopefully, shortly see, we art going to reunite with the Beast Hunter Orion our right hoof stallion and-"
Twilight was interrupted by Lilly who eagerly shouted her response, causing Twilight to flinch and assume a defensive stance with her sword.
"ORION?! Like THE ACTUAL Orion?! The one from the legend of the council?!"
Twilight after realizing it was Lilly and that no one had heard her screams chuckled a bit and shook her head at her own silliness. "Indeed! We hast found a letter 'detailing' his whereabouts, he is housed in Appleloosa."
"A-And IM going to meet him?!" Lilly’s wings fluttered in anticipation, the leather creating a small wind current near their hooves.
Twilight pushed away another branch. The moonlight coming through the tree tops was now too dim. In response, she casted a light spell, lighting their path with a soft lavender hue.
Twilight hummed cheerily in response, she had to admit that she was excited to see him again in...well for her it felt like a month but for him, a month, a thousand years, a day and sixteen hours.
Twilight stumbled on her hooves but straightened herself before Lilly could notice. 'he left for that mission a month before our...untimely departure, plus a thousand years of ‘banishment' plus the day and roughly half that hast already past by...
The world around her blurted away, Lilly’s exiting re-calling of Orion’s exploits were involuntarily blocked out and her actions became secondary as she paid them no mind. Her previous smile turned into a sad frown as thoughts started pouring in.
‘A lot of time hast past...Will he even remember us?’ Twilight shook her head. ‘No that is extremely unlikely, he wouldn’t forget who he pledged allegiance to, especially to a friend. That being said...Would he be mad at us? A lot of time hast passed and maybe he assumed we left them alone...
Twilight didn’t notice the woods had begun clearing out, allowing the moonlight to illuminate the path so she kept her spell up. Her gaze was fixed unto her hooves and she subconsciously walked through the path that now led down a small cliff.
If she weren’t thinking about every single way their reunion could go wrong, Twilight would’ve recognized the cliff as the 'Everfree Breaker' The cliff that separated the lush green grass of the Everfree and the hot Appleloosan desert sand dunes.
Twilight and Lilly kept walking through a narrow path that led down the cliff. It was a dirt path, with only a few big stones being the only clue that it was once a proud stone path. The vegetation around them became rarer and rarer as they descended to the desert.
Cold sand began showing itself around halfway down the path, sending chills up both mare’s backs. Some small rocks also made it awkward to walk as one of them would often trip and stumble on one of them.
When they were nearing the bottom, Lilly spoke up, snapping Twilight out of her thoughts.
"Excuse me, Princess Twilight?"
“W-What?! Oh yes! What is it that’s troubling you Lilly? And again, call us Twilight."
"Ah yes of course Twilight! Anyways, I was wondering if when we got to Appleloosa, you might let me do the talking."
"Hmm...Is there something amiss about how we speak? Is my dialect no longer the standard for royalty?" Twilight raised an eyebrow, already expecting the response but aside from that, she just kept walking.
"Yes-N-No! I mean...Umm no offense Pri-...Twilight, but your dialect is no longer used not even by royalty, or at least not that I’ve read of. I just thought that maybe ponies might be confused or...might not understand it fully. I’m also aware with more common phrases!"
Twilight chuckled a bit. "Yes, We see thy point. Very astute! Then please, be the one to speak with them. Thought We must ask, and we expect an honest answer. How do royalty speak in the present day?"
"Twilight do you want me to be blunt or sprinkle some white lies?" Lilly asked in all seriousness.
They had now reached the bottom of the path and reached the Appleloosan desert completely. There were rocks from the cliffs above that denied them view of the city but they were quite close.
"Blunt. Absolutely honest." Twilight gave her a determined nod.
"Well...How do I start?"
After a long tirade, heavily filled with jabs at her dialect, Lilly had finally stopped. Twilight was left in self-evaluation and a bit slow. Then her mind finally caught up to the week’s events and she exploded with histeria.
"Hehe...Can th-you...hehe...Can you imagine the confusion We-I...hehe...Caused?!"
Lilly chuckled at that. "Yes, I can see that now." She cleared her throat before speaking again. "We’re almost there, if I remember correctly, Appleloosa should be right around the corne-"
She was interrupted by the sound of very loud engines nearby. Looking forward at where Appleloosa was supposed to be, they say a big dust cloud moving towards them.
Twilight looked at the wind that was lifting the sand and after a few moments looked up to see a massive airship almost on top of them. The airship was painted dark, with silver support beams, it had ‘fish-fins' to the side of what seamed to be the control quarters. The ship could easily have carried a few companies of soldiers on board and still would have enough space to fit good accommodations for each one.
Twilight’s jaw hit the sand, the moonlight of the 'Eternal' Night was allowing her to see most of the details almost perfectly. It had only a few lights coming from the control room, the rest was in the dark.
Twilight swallowed to try and hydrate her now dry throat. "Wh-What is it?" Her eyes lit up with curiosity.
Lilly brought a hoof to her shin and narrowed her slitted eyes at the ship. “S.S. Dark Pearl....Maybe a...commercial ship? Not really sure, the name sets off a few alarms. I haven’t seen or heard about it, maybe....a control flight?"
"No,No, We-err...I meant what is it?"
"Oh...Of course forgot the whole 'stuck in the Moon knows where for a thousand years', sorry."
“No need to apologize! Uh...one second."
Twilight lit her horn and a spherical shield appeared just in time to cover them both from the in-coming sand.
"There." Twilight said with a hint of pride. "Problem adverted though I do suggest that we remain put until it passes. I was never good with shields so I can only do the basics, can’t really move them."
Twilight sat down on the cold sand and Lilly did the same. Lilly then rummaged through her saddle-bags for something. After a little victorious 'Aha!' Lilly pulled out two gourds and handed one to Twilight.
"Here, I packed us some water since...you know...desert."
"Thank you Lilly. Anyways, you were telling me about...What that was."
"Oh right! They’re airships, they use magic to keep them afloat and those propellers you saw, well more like engines, help to move the ship. In addition, in that huge globe that’s on top of it has hot air, helping lift it up."
"Wow, you art really well studied!"
"When you are sent to exile from your home with the closest town being Appleloosa an actual hub for comercial aircrafts...you get a hold of various books. Besides I had to earn bits somehow to furnish my 'house' so I took a job as a shipyard worker sooo I know my stuff."
"Interesting...When you say shipyard worker you mean that you built aircraft or..." Twilight’s voice trailed off asking Lilly to continue her sentence.
"No...I just carried things from here to there. They really didn’t trust me with other jobs. Ponies are still paranoid about us Thestrals."
Twilight gave a sad, deafeated sigh. "I WAS trying to change that, before the incident but I see it has all gone to ruin."
The sand started to fall onto the shield, and the wind stopped hitting it. Twilight waited for a few more seconds before dispelling the shield. Sand fell all around them, causing Twilight to cast a spell to clean her coat and mane and Lilly to shake it off.
Now, Appleloosa was exposed to Twilight’s eyes. She admired all the little details it had to offer with wide-eyes.
The city was very alive, the streets were lit by lamps and the houses almost all had candles or lights on. To the west of the city, a train track laid on the desert sand, and a train was arriving. To the south was a big oasis with a river going to parts unknown.. the the east was a massive shipyard with at least fifty different vessels stocking up on supplies or being repaired. The town hall stood proudly in the middle, though the city was big, it was also incredibly south-western and the town hall was the only stone building in the whole city, the rest were wood.
Twilight’s heart started to beat faster than ever, one of her millennial-old friends was in there and nothing was stopping her.
She galloped at full speed towards the city, only barely hearing Lilly’s calls. Once she got into the outskirts, she had to slow down to be able to gallop through the sharp turns and to avoid hitting any-pony.
She was arriving near the center and the shops and houses seamed to get denser and denser. A shadow cast down from the sky met her head. And next thing she knew she was being slowed down by a very annoyed, very tired Lilly.
She spoke between pants. "Twi-Twilight...D-Don’t do that. We-We don’t want to-to..." She paused and took a big long breath. "Ah...much better. Like I was saying, we don’t want to attract too much attention. We want to appear and disappear almost immediately...okay?"
"'Okay'? What is that word? I’ve heard it several times now and-"
"I’m sorry for interrupting you but please focus."
"Alright. I shall have more caution and stay by your side."
"Great, now...Ah yes." She looked over at an earth-pony stallion walking unbothered through the street. "Excuse me sir, but could you please tell us if you know somepony named Orion?"
The earth-pony stallion looked at Lilly with a warm smile. "Oh howdy y’all! I don’ know why you’r searching for that guy but he lives in a small house near the outskirts-" The earth-pony’s eyes widened and his smile faltered. Then his eyes narrowed and his previous smile became a scowl. "THESTRALS!" He shouted at the too of his lungs.
Immediately, all the ponies around turned to stare at Lily and Twilight. The shared a look of worry and fear and no words were exchanged, they just nodded and flew away.
They flew slowly at first, conserving energy just in case. And that would prove to be a wise decision as they heard another shout behind them.
The two mares turned back to find a medium sized 'flock' of pegasi flying towards them.
15 pegasi, 3 look highly trained, 4 only medium trained and the rest...amateurs.
Twilight looked at Lilly with a serious face and spoke with a commanding tone. "Split up, We’ll loose them and meet back at the outskirts from where we entered from."
Twilight and Lilly flapped their wings hard, propelling them forward at great speeds. Twilight took of towards the east of the city and shipyard. Twilight looked back again, luckily she got the majority on her side and away from Lilly.
9, no time to analyze just loose them.
She dove into the roads, this time however she managed to lift herself up in time and avoided getting hurt. She spread out her wings to glide, only flapping once or twice when necessary.
She looked back again.
8? Where did the other one-?
A shadow showed itself above her, the moonlight was bright enough to notice it. Twilight noticed it was growing, meaning that whatever it was, it was going to slam into her.
In a matter of seconds, Twilight remembered a cheap tactic one of her friends, Aries, always used. She lifted her body upwards and flapped sending her back. She then flapped again but that time upwards propelling her downward, dodging the group behind her.
The pegasus that wanted to slam her didn’t have time to react or slow down and instead slammed into the wall. The group passed her and only one pegasus seamed to notice, he alerted the others with a shout and they turned around, loosing most of their inertia.
Twilight meanwhile stabilized her self and kept on flying at full speed through the road in the direction from whence she came. All the work re-opened one of her wounds not yet fully healed near the side of her back. Twilight still could fly normally albeit in a lot more pain.
Twilight looked back again.
7, one of them must’ve stayed behind to assist the his ally.
Twilight made a sharp turn into an alleyway. As expected, the pegasi followed suit and got in a line as to not hit each other. She only heard the sound of an amateur hitting a wall and falling out of control and hitting the floor.
The alley-way went into a dead end but Twilight was counting on that. She positioned herself to let only a few of her new entourage see the wall. Then, she flapped up at the last possible second exiting through the top of the alley. She heard three more pegasi hit the wall before getting out of earshot. She focused her sight to try and find Lilly but it was in vain.
Then she heard another pegasi shouting.
Keep flying and loose them in the shipyard
Twilight took of again towards the east. Dodging and weaving around any pegasi that WASN’T chasing her. She even did a barrel roll to avoid one.
Heh, I’m getting a lot better at flying. Then I guess I should try using my instincts on other stuff
Twilight arrived at the shipyard in about three minutes, she could hear the flap in the pegasi’s wings begin to slow. She had her earth-pony endurance to thank for that. She dove and passed between one of the aircraft’s globe and the aircraft itself, taking the opportunity to examine it.
She emerged the other side and immediately flapped as hard a possible to get away, fighting the pain that came with it and heading northwest to the outskirts of the city. She looked back to confirm that in fact she had lost them.
After having found Lilly again, they strode into the small community of houses, the smallest was up a hill and pretty isolated.
Twilight took a shaky breath. Oh how she hopped that the second pony they had asked directions to was right.
The walked up the tiny plaza and up the hill. Twilight was sweating like crazy from the nerves. She took another weak breath in a futile attempt to comfort herself.
Well... I might as well just have him yell, acuse and everything else right bow then later...
Twilight gulped and lifted her hoof up to the door. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Lilly shifting and backing away, giving her space.
Twilight switched her resolve a max and got the strength to knock. She waited for what felt like an eternity until the door was opened all at once revealing the big mass of stallion the was Orion.