Sour Sweetness

by RisuUmbra

Chapter 10

Anon stepped out after Ivy into the dark and gazed up at the dark daytime sky, the sun was visible through the trees but was reduced to a glowing ring above the town as if Anon was staring at the sky through sunglasses. Even though the darkness covered the whole town, its denizens still went about their day untroubled by the darkness. Some ponies were holding lanterns to light their way while others were completely fine with their own night vision, which brought to question how Anon’s own eyesight was unobstructed by the darkness. Looking down at his hands Anon could still see them perfectly as if it was as bright as day which surprised and confused him, a chuckle brought his attention back to Ivy who had moved a few steps down the road and waited for him to finish inspecting his surroundings and himself.

“Yeah, I didn’t have a lantern you could borrow and lately the moon stone prices have been rising so I just slipped you a night light potion in your soup. You should be good for a few hours and by then your friends should be here with their own lights” Understanding quickly Anon hurried over to Ivy’s side and wondered which question he should ask first and decided he might as well cover all his bases.

“How did you know I was going to come here?” Ivy actually seemed surprised by his choice of question and quickly answered with a grin chocked full of amusement.

“Well you did send me a letter to reserve my garden” Suddenly it all made sense, how she knew who he was and why she took care of him when he was injured… speaking of that.

“Not that i’m ungrateful, I really appreciate your help but, why did you help me in the first place?” We had just rounded a corner and all of my attention was on Ivy as I waited for her to answer me and all I got was her suddenly stopping then pointing ahead of us. Down the road past a few shops and market stands there was a large sprawling park that looked less like an area of relaxation and more like a living art exhibit. Bioluminescent flowers of every color of the spectrum grew freely giving the garden the feeling of being unreal, the glowing trees themselves actually resembled a type of tree from earth called Wisteria Trees making a perfect pathway into the garden. Though Ivy’s hoof wasn’t pointing at the garden itself but the memorial statue standing before it, the two of us approached the statue and now that he was closer Anon could see that the statue was actually of two ponies curled around each other… both ponies look very familiar.

“It that… YOU and CELESTIA?” Anon almost gave himself whiplash from how fast he was looking back and forth from Ivy and the statue, taking a look at the placard didn’t really ease his confusion as there were no words… only a date 125 AS - 0 ANM. The current year was 1021 ANM which meant that this statue was over a THOUSAND years old so that couldn’t be Ivy but judging from the solemn look on her face he was right on the money with his first question. 

“I know what it’s like to lose the chance to tell the one you love how you feel and I don’t want to see that happen again” For a just a moment Anon could see a deep sadness flash over Ivy’s features before she schooled her expression back and proceeded past the statue and into the garden not explaining her pain. Storing that mystery in the back of his mind Anon continued following Ivy deeper into the beautiful botanical garden, the silent walk brought Anon’s most pressing problem to the forefront of his mind. What is he going to say to Pinkie once he sees her, she was most likely told how he feel by his friends, but that won’t magically change how she feels about him so he can’t just walk up and wax lyrical about how much he’s infatuated with her and suddenly she’ll stop hating him and fall in love. In this situation all he can do is to try his best and not give up too easily, Anon was pulled out of his thoughts by Ivy’s hoof tapping his side to get his attention.

“Your friends should show up here soon if the way you appeared was any indication” Anon barely heard her words and was instead mesmerized by the scenery, in the middle of a large luminescent blue field was a large dark wood twisted tree and sprouting from the branches was a rainbow of glowing leaves and flowers. At the base of the tree was actually a medium sized crater in the ground which was incredibly out of place, then Anon really focused on what Ivy said and realized that he caused the crater by appearing through the teleporter which in hindsight wasn’t the smartest thing to do in his state. 

“Wait, isn’t this the area we reserved for the event?” Ivy simply grinned and nodded before turning away and trotting over to the crater in the ground with Anon following slightly behind wondering what she was doing. It was oddly silent what Ivy stepped into the crater as if the garden itself was holding its breath in anticipation, then it happened. The moment Ivy’s hoof left the glowing blue grass it started to follow her, not like it leaned toward her no… new blades of blue grass grew and followed behind her filling in the barren crater with healthy luminescent grass. It didn’t take long for Ivy and in turn the grass to envelop the barren crater leaving it only a memory, Anon was shocked stiff and his mind worked overtime to rationalize what had just happened. Her sparse show of emotions, the statue, and now that he’s looking for it… her lack of a cutie mark, she wasn’t a pony.

“What… are you?” Of course Ivy seemed to have anticipated this question and simply smiled and gave Anon a completely honest answer to all of the questions he had yet to ask and with only three words.

“I’m a dryad”

Twilight was both exhausted and bustling with energy at the same time and most of it was just emotionally which she thought shouldn’t really impact her efficacy all that much but when it came to what was on the line and where they were heading it made sense, after Spike was able to masterfully deduce where Anon most likely was (she’s so proud of him). Twilight was able to begin calculating the needed energy and coordinates of Hollow Shades and with help of Pinkie who apparently is very well versed in the calculation of non-euclopian geometry and with some talking down from her friends Twilight didn’t question how she knew any of this. 

“Hey Twi, how much longer should this take?” The voice of an impatient Rainbow Dash almost broke her concentration on the two Waystones before her, taking a moment to stabilize the two stones before answering and instead of speaking only to Rainbow to this moment to address everypony on the room. 

“Due to there being no corresponding Waystones in Hollow Shades  besides the magical signature that Anon locked onto the safest way to transport would be to sock onto Anon’s magical signature or should I say his lack of one, Anon leaves a trail of Anti-magic wherever he goes and while its not strong enough to really affect anypony it does make it hard to use magic on him directly so I need to pinpoint the magical void he’s creating and lock onto the magic that's nearby” After finishing her pseudo magic lesson the sound of hooves clopping rapidly brought Twilight’s attention to the Princess who was still sitting on the couch and was staring at her proudly while happily clapping her hooves together. Trying to ignore the burning in her cheeks Twilight turned back to the almost finished Waystones and tried to stop the embarrassed smile from spreading across her muzzle. Feeling a tap on her right wither distracted Twilight from her embarrassment and brought her attention to Applejack and Rarity who were holding the basket and tea set they had brought respectively.

“Sorry to skip out so suddenly darling especially on such a important event but we need to go grab our sisters from school, we’ll be back quickly so don’t worry now” the quick explanation from Rarity and the corresponding nod from Applejack was all Twilight needed so she smiled and quickly told the two what time to be back so all of them could leave on time and thanked the two for taking so much time out of their day to help. Returning to the waystones Twilight continued to slowly and carefully sync the two up while thinking about what had happened today, the day she was supposed to unveil her biggest project that would change the way anyone would travel and bring the world together in a way never thought possible before, but now one of her best friends is hurting from something her other best friend said leaving her scrambling to fix the problems… but the more she thinks about it the more and more it seems like Twilight Sparkle couldn’t do anything about this. This wasn’t a friendship problem, it was a problem of the heart and this wasn’t anything she had any experience with. All she could do was fix the transporter and let Pinkie and Anon sort this out on their own… She really wished her BBSBFF was here to help, wait… maybe she could.