Creed: Return of the Alicorns

by bossfight1

Chapter 5: Magic

Chapter 5: Magic

Lily eventually cried herself back to sleep, and once again I found myself watching the horizon pass with her laying her head on my shoulder, constantly worrying that the bumps of the tracks would wake her up. The ponies passing through the car would always do a double-take at the two alicorns sitting on the train like normal ponyfolk, but did nothing more than that.

When the sun set as quickly as it had risen earlier and the moon took its place, I shifted slightly in my seat, feeling the orb in my bag pressing up against my flank. Remembering the orb’s purpose, I reached into the bag and pulled it out, placing it on the seatback table in front of me. I leaned in close to look into the smoke. “Pete?” I whispered into the orb. “Jake? You guys hear me?”

For a second it looked like they weren’t there, but as I prepared to put the orb away Pete’s worried face came into focus. “Creed!” He called through the smoke, his voice echoing and mildly distorting. “Thank god... Are you two okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, we’re fine!” I replied. “We’re on the train from Dodge to Ponyville, like you planned. We were chased by some Somber Blade but we lost them. How are things on your end?”

Pete moved aside as Jake’s face came into view. “Dude, it is crazy here,” Jake said. “We were lined up for headcount this morning and when they realized you two were gone all hell broke loose. Bulwark was downright furious, he sent a bunch of guys to look for you two.”

“There were six of them after us when we got to Dodge,” I explained. “We managed to lose ‘em, though. But I’m worried they won’t have a hard time figuring out where we went.”

“Then keep moving,” Pete instructed through the orb. “The sooner you get to someone- Twilight, Celestia, anyone- who can help us, the better.” Pete’s face suddenly disappeared for a moment, then returned. “Shit, Bulwark’s yelling something, we gotta go!” His face disappeared.

“Stay safe!” Jake said before vanishing.

“You, too,” I quickly muttered into the orb before stowing it back into my bag.

“I hope they’ll be okay.”

I turned my head to find that Lily had woken up.

“I do too,” I replied.

“Get some sleep,” Lily said. “I’ll keep a lookout.”

I nodded and lay my head against the window. I fell asleep within seconds.

                -                -                -                -                -


I moaned as I gestured for whoever was poking me to go away.

“Creed, get up, we’re here.”

My memories of the previous day suddenly flooded back and I sat up, blinking quickly. The train had stopped at Ponyville Station. My inner-brony forced me to dawn one of the biggest grins I’d ever had; I was in Ponyville!

Lily evidently had the same attitude. “Come on!” She said before bolting for the carriage door. We stepped onto the platform, passing the number of ponies who were either struggling with their luggage or happily reuniting with relatives. The town was every bit as energetic and high-spirited as the show had portrayed it. Every single pony in sight was smiling contentedly as they went about their business, greeting friends warmly and entering the various shops. Wishing to soak it in, we remained on the ground to take in the sights; it reminded me of entering Disney World for the first time, all the promise of meeting characters I’d obsessed over.

As per usual the ponies would give us awed stares when they noticed us. Some even bowed, believing us to be royalty. We picked up the pace a little bit, since all the stares and the occasional bow were making us feel a bit awkward. “They’re not as surprised to see us as we’re thrilled to see them...” Lily muttered to me, observing all the ponies. Her eyes suddenly widened. “Oh my god...” She pointed at a spot in the air ahead of us. I looked and had to stop from squealing. There she was, in all her clumsy and wall-eyed glory: Derpy! She was soaring past the clouds, nearly hitting a few of the pegasi that shared the skies with her.

We kept moving, unable to remove the big, dorky grins from our faces as we passed through town. We’d made it; we were in Ponyville, and we were going to meet the characters we’d been obsessing over! That train of thought, however, made me realize something. “What are we going to say?” I asked. Lily looked at me, unsure of what I meant. “How are we going to explain how we know about Equestria?” I clarified. “I mean, how would you react if someone came to you and told you that your life is the center of a TV show?” A horrifying thought occurred to me. “What if she thinks her whole life has been a lie?”

Lily shook her head. “No, that would imply that none of this,” she gestured to the bustling town around us. “is real. We’ll explain it as best we can to Twilight, and hope she understands... There it is.”

She pointed over the buildings. I followed her gaze and spotted it: the immense tree that was the Golden Oaks Library. We hurried to the great tree but stopped at the door.

“I can’t believe it...” Lily said, taking steadying breaths. “We’re gonna meet Twilight!”

“We should try to keep our heads about this,” I urged. “We need Twilight’s help, and and we don’t want to make her uncomfortable by fanboy-gushing at her.” I reached for the door and, taking a breath, knocked. Do we really need to knock? I thought. It’s a public library, Twilight just lives upstairs...

Di-ding. A bell rang on the other side of the door as it opened, and there he was; Spike. He seemed a bit older than when he appeared in the show. He was a bit taller, the fins atop his head were farther spread, his fangs were longer and I could make out a couple bulges in his back; his wings were starting to emerge. “Hey, there-- whoa,” He said, eyes widening at the sight of the alicorns before him.

“Uh, hi!” I greeted as informally as possible. “You must be Spike, I’m Creed, and this is Lily. We’re looking for Twilight Sparkle, is she in?”

Spike nodded. “Sure, come on in!” He stepped aside to let us in, taking a bow as we passed. The library was exactly as it appeared in the show; shelves lining every wall, a staircase curving up the far wall into the upper floors with the door to the basement underneath, and a table in the center of the room, littered with a few books. Spike hurried to the bottom of the staircase. “Twilight, come down here!” He called up the stairs. We waited for a few moments before she appeared at the top of the stairs.

I swear, I could actually hear my heart beating as Twilight Sparkle descended the staircase, levitating a book in front of her face. “‘The ‘Memory Convergence’ spell was invented by Spell Weave the Runic as a means of sharing confidential messages between unicorns...’” She muttered to herself as she read from the book. She was snapped out of her trance when Spike cleared his throat. Twilight looked up at us and promptly gasped in surprise. She used her magic to quickly gather the books from the table in a last-ditch effort to tidy up the already fairly clean library. “I’m so sorry about the mess, your majesties!” She said frantically before turning to Spike. “Spike, make some tea for our guests!!”

Spike bolted into the kitchen while Twilight turned to us, putting on a smile that was probably intended to be welcoming, but came more across as a desperate attempt to hide the great deal of stress she was clearly feeling. I stepped forward in an attempt to get her to chill out. “Nice to meet you, Twilight, my name’s Creed.”

“And I’m Lily,” Lily spoke up from behind me. Twilight relaxed a little bit as she pulled up a couple cushions for us to sit at the table.

“Please, sit down,” she said.

As we sat, I decided to get right down to it. “Twilight, we... need your help.”

Twilight pulled up a cushion of her own and sat. “You do?”

I nodded. “Lily and I, we escaped from one of many camps in the far south that are holding maybe thousands of other alicorns, under guard by these cruel peop- er, ponies called the ‘Somber Blade’.” I reached into my saddlebag and withdrew the map, unfolding it on the table. “We escaped from Camp 89, here,” I pointed at the small ‘89’ on the map. “We can’t just let the others suffer under the Somber Blade, we were hoping we could get help.”

Twilight bent over the map, her eyes darting from each number on the map before looking up at me. “The alicorns... but they haven’t been seen for over a thousand years... not since before Discord...”

I found myself doubting whether she’d believe me, but I felt it would be best to try. “Well, we did, kinda...” I struggled to find the right way to explain it. “...just... appear here, over a week ago.”

Twilight looked up at me. “The alicorns have returned?”

I opened my mouth to say yes, but I stopped; ‘returned’ implied we had been here before. “Well, we’re... well, I guess what you’d call ‘new arrivals’.” Twilight simply stared at us, so I felt the need to clarify. “Well, we weren’t ever... in Equestria before...”

“Then how do you know where you are?”

I flinched as though someone was about to hit me; that was the burning question, wasn’t it? To which I knew the answer all too well. I reached up to rub my neck but felt the anti-magic collar there again. Without warning my annoyance with it had skyrocketed. “First off, could you get these things off?” I asked as I started wrestling with the collar. “They’ve been keeping us from doing so much as a card trick since the Somber Blade strapped ‘em on us!”

Twilight stood up and closely examined the collar around Lily’s neck. “These collars... They haven’t been used in the Equestrian Justice System for a long time, since someone invented a spell that would remove a unicorn’s horn... Not that crime has always been a real problem in Equestria...” Twilight suddenly became alert as an idea came to her. “Hang on!” She ran to the ‘M’ section of the library and scanned along the shelf. “Ah!” She used her magic to pick up a book and brought it to the table. The cover read Magic Suppressing Artifacts. Twilight flipped the book open with her magic, muttering under her breath before finding a page with an image of the collar in question.

“...’made by a pair of earth pony inventors named Lock and Key...” Twilight muttered as she quickly read the page. “...’cut off the unicorn, or other magic user’s flow of magic to the horn’... ‘only guaranteed method of preventing an alicorn from using magic’... Ah! Here we go... ‘The collars were easily removed by a spell that, in that time, only unicorns in the Equestrian Justice System knew.’ But luckily, the instructions for the spell are right here!” Twilight read the instructions a few times before looking back up at me. “All right, let’s give it a try.”

I gulped and stepped forward, holding my collar out like a dog waiting to be leashed for a walk. Twilight stood in front of me and aimed her horn directly at the collar. A purple aura surrounded the horn as Twilight shut her eyes in concentration; I could feel the heat of the energies radiating from her horn before a blast of violet energy surged from the horn and hit the collar. With a satisfying snap, the collar opened and clattered to the floor.

“Finally!” I said, happily, rubbing my neck where the collar had left imprints. But before I knew what was happening, I felt my horn grow white hot. “Uh...” I managed to say before a white blast of energy flew from my horn and left a burn mark in the wall above the staircase. “Oh god, OH GOD!!” I yelled as my horn let off another blast that sped towards Lily, who screamed and ducked. The bolt flew over her head and hit the curtains, turning them to ashes. I reached up to grip my horn in an effort to stop it but firstly I had no fingers with which to grip, and secondly it felt like I was trying to grip a pan that was ready to come out of the oven.

Twilight jumped to the side as a third blast fired, this one hitting the floor just inches from her hooves. “What are you doing?!” She cried.

“I’ve never done magic before, HOW DO I STOP IT?!?!” I screamed as my horn let off another blast, aimed right at the door to the kitchen just as Spike came through carrying a tray with a full tea set. Spike yelped at the white energy blast speeding towards him and held the tray up vertically like a shield, dropping the tea set and breaking some of the cups in the process. The blast bounced off the tray and hit a flower vase, shattering it and setting the flowers on fire.

“You need to pull your energy away from your horn!” Twilight said. I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant, but I nodded and screwed my eyes shut. When I focused I felt some kind of stream of energy between my brain and my horn. I took a breath and gave the stream a bit of a tug. Immediately my horn started cooling down, and didn’t let off another blast. I opened my eyes and sighed in relief. As Spike ran back into the kitchen I looked at the damage I had caused within the first fifteen seconds of being able to perform magic.

“Sorry about that...” I said.

Twilight picked up the collar with her magic. “I guess this thing was acting as a dam of sorts, and when it was removed all of that buildup had to be released...” She laid the collar on the table. “You said you’ve never done magic before?”

I shook my head as I sat down. “None of us have. We... weren’t...” I sighed. “We weren’t alicorns over a week ago. We were humans.”

“‘Humans?’” Twilight asked.

I thought of how to explain what humans were, but then I had an idea. I let just a little bit of energy go to my horn while I screwed my eyes shut and envisioned what I looked like as a human. I felt my horn gain a bit of heat, and heard a faint sparkling sound on the table in front of me. I opened my eyes and saw a three-inch tall version of a human me; wearing a green jacket, a t-shirt underneath and a pair of jeans (I wasn’t exactly a fashion sensation). I stood there on the table like I was waiting for the bus, hands in my pockets. “This is a human,” I explained. “Specifically, this is what I looked like as a human. We lived on a planet called Earth. None of us, at least no one in our camp, remembered what had happened that brought us here.”

Spike returned from the kitchen with a hand broom and dustpan and cleaned up the pieces of the teacups he’d broken. Twilight stared at the illusion of me on the table, awestruck. “Incredible...” she whispered. As the illusion faded she looked back up at me. “But why did you come to me?”

“Because we knew you were our best hope of contacting Princess Celestia,” Lily said. “She’s our best hope at freeing all the alicorns.”

“But if you weren’t in Equestria before...” Twilight began.

Uh oh, I thought.

“How would you know that? How did you know what you were, where you were brought?”

I clenched my teeth and squirmed in my seat. “Well, Equestria is...” I took a breath. “The setting for a TV show,” I finished quickly, quickly covering my face in my front hooves.

“A what?” Twilight asked.

Oh, Christ. I thought.