The Tree of Minutemen

by Word Worthy

This Settlement Needs Your Help

Your Most Serene Royal Highness

        Greetings, and good morning to you, Princess Celestia! Per your most wonderful and eloquent request, we at the Canterlot Academy have, through many nights of long collaboration with the Royal Archivists and the Equestrian Historical Society, at last managed to access and study the sun crystal lexicon you recovered from the grotto of the Tree of Harmony along with that strange musket-like device.

        Our exalted findings followed shortly thereafter. Not only have we translated the sun crystal’s ancient wisdom into contemporary Equestrian vernacular, but we have also discovered a most curious inner mechanism that may enable communication with the tree itself. If our hypotheses are correct, it should be but a simple matter of applying the appropriate spell to “awaken” this mechanism, and grant you audience with the Tree of Harmony for inquiry at your leisure.

        For Your Highness’ convenience, Professor Inkwell and myself have diligently attached a series of diagrams and charts should you wish to delve into the more technical aspects of this sun crystal and the ancient magical technology that drives it.

        Unfortunately as for the musket gun-like thingie, well it throws us completely for a loop and we are helpless to explain it. Sorry!

With kindest regards,
-Professor Sych O’Phants

Celestia’s excitement shined clearly on her regal features as she stowed the wordy letter into her bag with its accompanying documents and surveyed her surroundings, breathing in the sweet late morning air of the forest above.

Spread out around her was a rather nondescript winding quarry, bathed in sunlight and a few meters deep, that covered a wide area. The floor and sides were weathered brown stone covered in mosses and vines.

The beautiful site would be of little interest to anyone but geologists however, were it not for the conspicuous cave opening located directly across from the quarry’s access stairway. The opening almost seemed to beckon to Celestia as she stared at it. Faint but colorful illumination spilled out from its threshold, as if a rave were being thrown within.

Celestia entered the shimmering nebula-like atmosphere of the grotto, memories of another time hitting her like a tsunami.

Sure enough as it presumably always had, the tree stood in the heart of the grotto, bathed in white-gold light and subtly humming and chiming at an almost atomic level with untold powers and arcane magics.

Celestia produced the sun crystal lexicon that seemed to have been struck in the very image of her cutie mark out of her satchel bag. The princess then casted the requisite spell to activate the processes the letter had described.
The aura and charge in the very air itself seem to change, and Celestia realized with half-widened eyes of excitement that it had worked.

Now, she’d need only to say something in simple greeting. Celestia smiled, and ventured with,
“Warmest greetings, Tree of Harmony.”

The great tree, ever glimmering and glistening in multihued colours, glimmered in a pattern distinct from the previous one before it, denoting clear signs of true consciousness. Celestia was beginning to suspect that this was Harmony’s equivalent to facial expressions and body language as the living artifact prepared its response.

“All hail the supreme and most gracious Empress Amore, ruler of our great Crystal Empire!” the Tree of Harmony proclaimed. “Let the Empire’s foes be humbled and wary of the benevolent might of our great, and much adored monarch…Oh, wait,” Harmony must have registered the mild surprise and confusion in Celestia’s reaction, and her disembodied voice that sounded like auditory honey chuckled embarrassedly. “Oops, that’s the propaganda section of my historical database. Mighty sorry about that.”

“Oh, I see. That’s quite alright,” Celestia replied, her smile falling slightly as her face gave way to confusion. “You are the Tree of Harmony’s soul, its consciousness? You inhabit the tree, and is its guardian?” Unbeknownst to the Princess of the Sun, her confusion would in fact only grow from here on.

Harmony giggled to herself. “I am the Tree of Harmony, indeed. Some of my creators did so love those proud amalgamations of cellulose, water, and chlorophyll. All those swaying branches and elaborate photosynthesis business—even if my bark is mostly rough diamond, and my lesser components are mithril-laminate flakes, I’m just as much an honorary tree as any of those snobs.”

“Amazing,” Celestia almost stuttered.

“That old hollowed out oak tree in the middle of Ponyville, though, he was by far the worst. I was operational long before he was even a seed off his parent tree. Yet every day, all I ever hear coming downwind in Treespeak from him, is boasts about being a library and being the home of a young alicorn princess, blah-blah-blah. What a windbag.

“Oh my, I see. But then when Tirek attacked Ponyville—”

“Ah yes, that. That actually was quite a shame; not even the most annoying of trees deserves such a terrible fate. The only worse fate is having to grow alone, and thankfully I have not been alone in this grotto with my thoughts all of these centuries. Oh he is simply a gem! We were made for each other!”

“I’m sorry? There has been someone else residing in this ancient place for so long with you?” Celestia asked, now with complete bafflement. “How has neither my sister or myself not seen him before, whatever he is? How has Discord not found him, or Tirek, or any others that have come into contact with the Elements?”

To Celestia’s deadpan, Harmony giggled again before responding. “Dearest Celestia, Discord does know about him. He is simply gone frequently, back and forth through my portal system to his point of origin. Like myself, he has a cosmic role in directing heroes to their destinations. He has been making these frequent daily trips to and fro for the past millennia and a half, and … oh my!”

Celestia's ears perked up, and her body language grew tense. “What is happening, Harmony?”

“He’s on his way back right now! Oh greatest joy!”


The Tree of Harmony was now pulsating varying shades of pink and violet. “The Venerable Minuteman Preston Garvey!”

At those words, a portal began to materialize, and a human man of average-looking but strong build and light brown skin appeared. He was garbed in an elegant but utilitarian coat, boots, gloves, and trousers, and donned a stylishly curving hat. His face had a warm and friendly look to it, but his features were nevertheless currently framed in a concerned and urgent frown that he often wore many times when greeting specific heroic figures.

“Oh, Celestia, there you are!” Preston Garvey greeted. "There’s a settlement in southeastern Equestria that could use your help against a hydra onslaught! Here, let me mark it on your map.”