• Published 2nd May 2013
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Stardust - Arad



Can Twilight earn the trust and friendship of people who are by nature suspicious and hostile to anything that isn't 'human'?

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Second Contact

“Thank you all for your attendance today,” Shining Armor addressed the assembled officers that filled the seats that lined the walls of the circular chamber before turning and bowing respectfully toward the only pony that wasn’t a guard. “Princess Luna, thank you for finding the time to participate in this meeting. It is my hope that having every available perspective will provide insight into recent events.”

Luna returned the bow with a nod of her head. “It is my pleasure, captain. My sister sends her regrets, as she did not wish to leave Twilight’s side, though she may still make an appearance.”

“A sentiment I can sympathize with,” Shining straightened before turning to the first guardspony in the group. “Sergeant Tower Shield, step forward and share your perspective of the event.”

The indicated guard, a brown earth pony with a tower shield on his flank, stepped forward and stood in the exact center of the room. The moment he stopped, the lights in the room darkened before the walls disappeared and were replaced by an illusion of the early morning setting of the guard barracks. Several guards populated the scene in various stages of their muster activities. A blinding flash of light and an earsplitting crack filled the barracks and Celestia appeared in all her terrible glory which brought every guardpony to attention.

“Sergeant, prepare for teleportation and deployment. You have one minute,” She commanded before turning and starting a second spell. When the sergeant opened his mouth to speak, Celestia aimed a glare at him that caused all the observers, Luna included, to wince and look away. “There is no time for your questions, Twilight Sparkle’s life is at stake.” The moment she was finished, Celestia vanished in the same manner she arrived.

“Move it, colts! Cotton, retrieve your field kit first, we’ll help you with your armor once you have it,” Shield barked, and a pale yellow unicorn with a cotton ball cutie mark rushed out of sight. “Headwind! Notify Captain Armor and the other princesses of the situation. Go now!” A charcoal Pegasus spread his wings and launched himself out of the barracks with blinding speed. The rest of the guards had already flung their lockers open and were suiting up with their armor. The unicorn medic returned with her saddle bags returned and was practically swarmed by the now fully armored guards as they secured her armor.

“Formation!” Shield shouted, and the guards assembled into a three by three formation with the sergeant front and center and the medic in the middle. Traces of golden light appeared around their formation and the guards widened their stances. “Brace for teleport!”

Light as brilliant as the sun filled the sergeant’s eyes before vanishing to reveal the rolling hills around Ponyville and the somewhat ominous tree line that marked the beginning of the Everfree forest. Celestia stood protectively over the unconscious form of Twilight Sparkle while glaring at several bipedal figures that were making for the forest.

“HALT!” Shield and several of the other guards shouted, but the retreating figures didn’t slow down in the least. “After them! Don’t let them escape!”

The guards lurched into a gallop just as the last fleeing figure disappeared between the trees, though they were quickly reacquired almost as soon as the guards passed the treeline. The guards were almost upon the tail elements of their target when Shield said, “Stop.” The scene froze and the sergeant turned to face the observers. “Shortly after this, my team and I were disabled through unknown means. Every one of my guards reported the same experience: Blinding white light that lasted for several moments, combined with a bang loud enough to cause temporary hearing loss and disorientation until Cotton had recovered enough to administer recovery spells. By this time, we lost contact with our objective.”

The sergeant turned back to the frozen scene behind him and one section of the scene grew in prominence until it dominated the entire room. The center of the room now showed a black cylinder with a series of holes in its outer shell. “We believe this was the cause of both the light and sound. We recovered debris from the scene and our engineers are still trying to determine how it functions. They are certain that it’s a single-use disposable device, though, which makes sense if they were using it to cover their retreat.”

“Sergeant,” Shining spoke up when the moment presented itself. “What motivated you to pursue these creatures? I do not ask because I doubt your judgment but I am simply curious as to why you did what you did.”

Shield nodded and turned back to the scene, which rewound until the moment when he had shouted for them to halt. The scene then focused on the retreating subjects. “The first is their appearance. All of the creatures we witnessed wore full suits of armor with similar markings. This implies an armed organization much like the Solar Guard or Luna’s Sentinels. The armor appears well-fitted and covers what we all assume to be their vital areas, which gives evidence that who or whatever they are, they are well supplied. They are also fleeing from Princess Celestia and blatantly ignored the order to halt.”

The sergeant hesitated before resuming his summary. “These creatures are also nothing like anything I’m familiar with, and I’ve had the chance to serve in several positions around the country as well as working diplomatic security for the embassies in both the Gryphon Empire as well as the Zebra Union. They have a passing resemblance to Minotaurs and Diamond dogs in that they walk upright, but even with their armor it’s obvious they aren’t related.” The scene split and the image of a mangy Diamond Dog in a worn leather vest followed by the imposing figure of a Minotaur in black plate armor appeared alongside the mysterious creature to make the sergeant’s point.

“Lastly, I would point out where they appeared. The location was south of Ponyville and within a few minutes trot from where the Elements of Harmony live and a couple of days from Canterlot itself. These unknowns penetrated the borders of our country before they were discovered. This leads me to believe they are either very good at hiding or they have some means of blocking the senses of both the princesses, who have searched for her continuously since Twilight Sparkle’s disappearance.” The last point drew uncomfortable shuffles from the observers as they shared glances.

Or they weren’t anywhere we would think to look, Luna thought to herself as she caught Shining Armor’s eye and gave him a knowing look. I do not blame the good sergeant’s assumptions of these creatures. Only Shining Armor and I know their true origins. The princess only half listened as the sergeant continued to elaborate on his decision as well as his speculation on the creatures they had encountered as she allowed her mind to wander. It wasn’t without purpose though, as her mind hopped from dream to dream until she settled on the dreams of her first friend.

The moment she entered the dream, Luna immediately pulled herself back and hid herself from Twilight once she realized the contents of the dream were clearly precious to the unicorn. Twilight was tucked into a bed with bandages wrapped around her barrel in much the same way they had been when she was found and her eyes struggled to stay open as she watched the creature sitting beside her bed. It only took a moment for Luna to realize that it was likely the same kind of creature that she herself had seen when Twilight had been returned, without the armor or helmet. The greatest surprise for the princess though was the tender emotions that flowed from Twilight like waves on a beach as the creature reached out to place one hand on her head and rub one of her ears.

“Your Highness!”

The shout snapped Luna from her dream gazing back to her physical body and she had to suppress a bout of embarrassed panic if the room had been waiting on her to reply. She breathed a sigh of relief when she noticed that all eyes were not on her but the entrance to the chamber, and Celestia as she entered.

“I must apologize for interrupting the meeting so abruptly,” She said politely as she made her way to the center of the chamber. “I must also apologize for the events that this meeting has convened to discuss.” Celestia motioned for the sergeant to return to his seat as she assumed his place at the center of the chamber. Once the murmurs had died down, the scene outside of Everfree was replaced by a city that looked strikingly similar to Manehattan with glass towers and paved roads.

“They are called ‘humans’,” Celestia said solemnly as the scene played out behind her. Everypony, Luna included, leaned forward eagerly as several ‘humans’ appeared, then recoiled as a pair of spider-like monsters chased the humans as they fled. “I’ve read the Sergeant’s report, and his presumptions are mostly correct. The humans are well organized and well supplied. They have to be because they are at war.”

“War?” Tower Shield blurted out unintentionally as the first of the spiders was cut down by one of the human soldiers that just appeared. “Where is there war in Equestria? I know the Gryphon Empire has its little skirmishes with themselves and the occasional face off with the Minotaurs but it never amounts to anything! And I have never seen any of these ‘humans’ before, or those things either.” Several heads nodded in agreement though Shining Armor did no more than shoot Luna a questioning look.

“There is no war on Equestria,” Celestia emphasized the last word. “Other worlds are not as blessed with peace as ours.” A moment passed as she let that statement sink in.

“How long have you known this?” Luna asked, and she immediately regretted the question, especially in front of the guards when her sister hid a wince.

“I was only recently provided this information, and it came from an unreliable source. I did not wish to share it until I was absolutely certain it would be accurate,” She replied. “I am afraid I have very little information about the conflict itself, or the enemies that oppose them beyond their intent to destroy the humans. When I had obtained this information, I was also informed that Twilight was assisting them in their resistance.”

Any further discussion was interrupted when the door to the chamber opened again. An on-duty guard trotted to Celestia's side and bowed quickly before whispering to the princess before turning and leaving the chamber.

“Captain Song, you may continue this meeting in our absence. I am afraid both Captain Armor and my sister will be leaving with me,” Celestia said as she nodded towards a large olive green earth pony stallion. “It seems Twilight Sparkle has woken up.”

------

It took several moments before Twilight found the motivation to open her eyes as she struggled to hold on to whatever she had been dreaming about. The content of the dream escaped her, but for whatever reason it made her feel... happy.

She slowly opened her eyes and expected to see one of her human friends beside her bed. She vaguely remembered Matt, Lana and Charles reading to her, and her brief conversation with Matt, so she was surprised and a little disappointed when she saw that she was alone. Her eyes finally focused on more than her immediate surroundings and it took her a moment to realize that she was no longer in the room that had been her home for the past two months. Polished marble walls led to an arched ceiling above her, and several tasteful landscape paintings lined the walls that she could see. A cool breeze from the open window beside her pulled her attention to the side, and her eyes widened as she recognized the city outside the window.

I’m home.

Before the enormity of that realization could be fully grasped, the door to Twilight’s room flew open and all of her friends flooded in despite the protests of the doctor. “Be careful! She’s likely very tired and still needs to rest!” he shouted, though any further warnings were stopped when all three princesses and Shining Armor passed him at a slightly more restrained pace.

I’m home… I’m really home, Twilight realized and she felt the dam break within her. “I-I was so scared I wouldn’t see any of you again!” She choked back a sob as Spike hopped up onto the bed. Before the little dragon could say a word, Twilight pulled him forward into a tight hug while the rest of the elements followed suit.

“Glad to finally have ya back, Twilight,” Applejack said with a smile.

“Indeed, though I have to warn you that Sweetie Belle and her friends will have a thousand questions for you when you return to Ponyville,” Rarity added. “They let their imaginations get away from them so don’t be surprised if they ask you about dueling Windigos while riding a dragon.”

“What DID you do?” Rainbow Dash asked next. “Because it would be so awesome if you were out fighting and beating all of the monsters Discord can think up! Tell us all about it!”

“I…” Twilight started but the explanation died in her throat. I can’t tell them about those…things. Her gaze drifted to the princesses and her brother. “I’ll tell you about it later, but I need to talk to the princesses and Shining Armor. Alone.” The request was followed with a moment of dead silence as the other elements shared a look. “I’m sorry, but it’s important.”

“No worries, Twilight!” Pinkie Pie said cheerfully, “We’ll be nearby when you’re done explaining everything to the princesses!” The pink pony then wrapped the other elements and Spike in an impossibly huge hug and bolted out of the room, leaving Celestia, Luna, Cadance and Shining behind.

“I cannot tell you how pleased I am that you found your way back to us, Twilight,” Celestia said with a warm tone. There was a flash of golden light and a worn book appeared beside her, which she presented to the unicorn. “I was going through my library and when I saw this book I thought it would be a perfect ‘get well soon’ present. It’s Starswirl’s book of unfinished spells, which will no doubt challenge you more than ever.”

Twilight took the book in her hooves and gave its cover a longing look before setting it aside.

“Twilight, what’s wrong? You can tell us,” Cadance asked gently as she moved to the side of the bed and placed one hoof on hers.

That simple comforting contact broke down Twilight’s last effort to maintain her composure, and she broke down into tears as she told them everything that had happened over the past two months.

------

14:32, 07/30/2015, BARRACKS

“So, how do I look?” Matt asked as he turned to face Lana and Zhang.

“Acceptable, sir,” Zhang answered. “If your intent is to leave an impression then you will undoubtedly succeed.”

“Indeedy. Going to go with the whole ‘show and tell, you could be as awesome as me’ routine?” Lana asked.

“It’s worked in the past, why mess with a winning formula?” Matt laughed. “Let’s go meet the new recruits.”

The march to the briefing room was uneventful, and the door opened quickly enough for the trio to catch the tail end of the conversations of the room’s occupants. Those conversations died down the moment they entered, and Matt knew it was only partially because of his rank. Zhang and Lana were both in their casual clothing but Matt was clad in the latest generation body armor produced by the Foundry specifically for him and the soldiers under his command.

It was matte black and completely covered every inch of his body from his feet up to his jaw line, and the only other color that was present was a single purple stripe going down the arms of the armor. An emblem with the same purple and black color scheme was also on his shoulders, a point-down pentagon with a purple starburst in the center and the words ‘Mente Materia’ at the top.

“At ease,” Matt said as he stood at the head of the room. All eyes were on him now. “Some of you have been here for a while and know who I am,” He nodded to a man in the back row with Interceptor pilot markings on his uniform who looked decidedly uncomfortable, “For those of you who are new, I am Captain Matt Harris and I am in charge of the cultivation, training and deployment of ‘gifted’ assets in the field. With me are Lieutenant Shaojie Zhang and Sergeant Lana Jenkins. Every one of you is here because you’ve tested positive for the potential for extraordinary abilities.”

A pair of hands shot up from two of the new recruits, but Matt motioned for them to lower them. “You all undoubtedly have some questions as to what this entails. I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have but I think I will be able to answer most of them with a small demonstration. On your feet, we’re moving out.” The group rose and quickly fell into line without further prompting.

The column of soldiers filed out of the briefing room and marched at a brisk pace down the hallway and the staircase to the lower level beyond. Engineers and science personnel nodded to Matt as he passed, and he greeted the guards to his left as he passed the sealed door to the Kaleidoscope chamber. While Matt had gone out of his way to avoid looking at the forgotten chamber, he could see out of the corner of his eye that both Lana and Zhang had turned to watch the door as they passed.

The group rounded a corner before passing through a door at the end of the corridor. The room beyond was pitch black save for the single light above the exit. Matt waited for the entire group to enter the room and the door to close before he continued.

“Now then, you all are no doubt wondering what I meant by ‘extraordinary abilities’,” Matt explained as he nodded to Lana, who turned on the main lights for the room. They clicked on and revealed that unlike the other rooms in the underground base, the room they were now in was massive. The size of the room was almost wholly ignored though as the recruits caught sight of the room’s contents.

Dozens if not over a hundred statues were packed into the room, each one an almost lifelike depiction of one of the aliens that XCOM was now fighting. Sectoids, Chryssalids, Mutons, and even a few towering Mechtoids could be seen which caused a brief moment of shuffling as the recruits tried to get a better look.

Matt smiled at the recruits reactions and took a moment to retrieve a trio of tungsten projectiles from his belt before slipping his helmet on. “The abilities that you might manifest can be any number of things. For some, it is subtle. It could be greater reaction time than what should be possible. For others it is quite obvious.” Matt watched as the three projectiles in his palm were highlighted by the helmet’s HUD, and he felt the slightest bit of pressure on his mind as they began to rise up to his eye level while wrapped in a gold aura. He then turned to the nearest statues which the HUD also highlighted.

Strike.

All three projectiles shot forward and connected with the three chosen targets, which shattered as though they had been hit with a sledge hammer.

“With training and practice, you’ll be able to refine your gifts into something that the aliens will grow to fear. The only limits you will face are the ones you impose upon yourselves,” Matt explained as he removed his helmet and turned back to the wide-eyed recruits. Now to really drop a bombshell. “With enough practice it’s entirely possible to rewrite the fabric of reality, or come close to it. Every one of the statues in this room was a flesh and blood invader before they encountered an individual that had mastered her gift.”

“Where is this person now?” A female recruit named Annette Durand asked after a long moment of silence.

“She is no longer with us, but she was the one who first taught me how to control my gift.”

“What was she like?”

When Matt hesitated with the response, Lana spoke up. “She was a little girl, no taller than your waist. Cute as a button and with the most beautiful hair you can imagine. Loved books and card games too.” The image Lana had painted for the group was clearly unexpected judging by the blank stares the group now showed, which caused Lana to grin even more.

“Everyone is to report to the Mente Materia lab at 0800 sharp tomorrow to begin training,” Matt said once he was certain everyone had recovered from the recent revelations. “In the event that your gift manifests itself into something you can control, you’ll be reassigned under my command. You are dismissed.”

The group slowly turned to leave as Matt looked back at the shattered debris that he had created. The golden aura touched each piece and deposited them into a box nearby. “I’ll admit, it never gets old breaking one of these things to pieces but I don’t think I’ll ever reach her level of control,” Matt said as he turned to his two subordinates.

Before either could respond, the intercom pinged with an announcement. “CAPTAIN HARRIS, LIEUTENANT ZHANG, SERGEANT JENKINS, CHARLES SHEN AND MOIRA VAHLEN, PLEASE REPORT TO THE KALEIDOSCOPE CHAMBER.”

“Kaleidoscope? Why the hell do they want us to go there?” Lana arched an eyebrow as the turned to leave the storage room with Zhang and Matt close behind. “Hasn’t the thing been broken since June?”

“That’s what I heard,” Matt answered with an equally confused tone. “They tried to send a drone or something to Mars or the moon and the whole thing burned out, or so I was told. Standing around and speculating is pointless though. I’m sure there will be an explanation as soon as we get there.”

Matt and his subordinates retraced their steps back to the Kaleidoscope chamber door only to stop short as they caught sight of Commander Bradford standing in front of the door with his arms crossed. At the opposite end of the hallway, Shen and Moira appeared, with the first appearing confused and the second appearing annoyed.

Both Matt and Moira started to ask why they were summoned when Bradford raised one hand to silence them both. He pulled his thumb into his palm, then his little finger, then his ring finger. The last two fingers closed into a fist just before an alert blared through the intercom.

“WARNING. KALEIDOSCOPE EXTERNAL ACTIVATION DETECTED. ALL STRIKE TEAMS MOVE TO ALERT STATUS. ALL SECURITY TEAMS REPORT TO KALEIDOSCOPE CHAMBER.”

“Sir?” Matt asked, but if Bradford heard the inquiry he ignored it. A full minute passed and the Base Security boiled into the corridor with a variety of laser, LANC and newly created plasma weapons aimed at the door.

“Get to cover!” One of the security team leaders shouted as he and his men stacked up against the door frame. “We’ll be breaching in ten seconds. Commander, I recommend you step back.”

“Security teams will hold their positions and wait outside the chamber. Do not enter unless specifically ordered to do so. Understood?” Bradford fixed the security team leader with a glare until he nodded. “Charles, open the door.” The engineer stepped forward and tapped several buttons on the door’s control panel, and it slid open. Without a moment’s hesitation, Bradford walked through the door and the others followed close behind.

The Kaleidoscope chamber was in the same state that Matt remembered, with bundles of thick cables providing a plethora of trip hazards along the floor. The abandoned monitoring and control station was dark and covered with a thin layer of dust. The majority of the room was obscured by the low lighting in the room but the platform in the center was brightly illuminated from several overhead lights, which allowed him to get a good look at just what had entered the base without invitation.

Four Equestrians stood on the platform, and all four turned to face the humans as they entered the room. Two of the Equestrians were pegasi with bat wings and dark armor, while the third was a unicorn with a blue mane and a no-nonsense expression. The last figure towered over both, with both horn and wings and a mane that looked like a starry midnight sky.

Fuck me sideways, it’s Luna and Shining Armor, Matt recognized the princess from the harrowing chase two months earlier, and Twilight’s brother from her drawings. His eyes lingered on the unicorn and more specifically the quartet of blade-like weapons that hung at his sides, then to Bradford who approached the platform. Well, at least one of us isn’t surprised.

“I am Commander David Bradford, it is an honor for you to visit us, Princess Luna,” Bradford said formally and with a slight bow.

Emerald green eyes studied Bradford and the humans that stood behind him before a warm smile stretched across her face. “The honor is ours, Commander. On behalf of myself and my sister and all of Equestria, I thank you for taking care of Twilight while she was lost to us. We are in your debt,” Luna spoke, and she bowed to Bradford in return. “I believe an apology is in order as well. Due to a… miscommunication and several assumptions made in the heat of the moment, we did not welcome your soldiers with the hospitality they deserved when they returned Twilight to us.”

“Mistakes happen. No one was hurt, that’s all that matters,” Bradford accepted the apology gracefully.

A moment of silence passed before Matt blurted out the question that had been sitting in the back of his mind since then. “How is she? Twilight I mean.”

Princess Twilight recovered quickly from her wounds and has taken her rightful place at my sister’s side,” Luna explained as she looked at Matt. “Mister Harris I presume? Twilight speaks well of you, and often. She dearly wanted to join me for the trip back to Earth but was unable to. She sends all of you her warmest regards.”

SLUUUUUUUUUUUUUURP.

Matt, and everyone else in the room, turned to see just what had caused the obnoxious sound. Sitting in a movie theater chair that hadn’t been there just a moment before was the mish-mash creature that had save Matt and Strike One from the ‘miscommunication’ on Equestria. In its right claw was a massive soft drink cup complete with a bendy straw while in its left there was a bucket of popcorn. 3D glasses reminiscent of the sixties hid the majority of his manic eyes though the orbs were simply too big to be hidden behind them. To top off the absurd scene, he wore a black t-shirt with the XCOM emblem on it, with the words ‘That’s’ and ‘Baby!’ before and after the emblem.

“Don’t mind me, keep talking like I’m not even here,” The newcomer said before stuffing far too much popcorn into his mouth.

“Discord… you should not be here,” Luna said evenly, and all warmth was gone from her tone and expression.

“Of course I should! Do you know how hard it was to arrange this meeting?” Discord asked before grinning innocently at the princess.

“You did nothing of the sort. It was Twilight’s efforts both here and at home that led to this. You had no part in it,” Luna answered.

“I know, and it was boring!” Discord exclaimed before throwing his hands, and by extension his drink and popcorn into the air. “I had to sit and watch as Twilight wore down the humans with her adorkable charms.” A tiny figurine of Twilight appeared in one of his hands.

“Oh help me! I’m too cute to be left all alone!” The little figurine said.

Another figurine appeared in Discord’s other appendage that looked disturbingly like Matt appeared next, complete with a caricature of his voice. “Have no fear, little one! I’ll be your friend!”

“Ha ha! Mine is an evil laugh, for I am evil!” A third figurine appeared, wearing a suit and tie. It walked forward under its own power only for a fourth figurine resembling Lana to rip one of his arms out of its socket and club him over the head with it.

“And that was how Twilight learned that her friends needed all the help they could get, and all I did was watch from the sidelines, most of the time anyway,” Discord summarized as he grinned at the little Lana figurine as she continued to dismember the figurine Vide. “Why shouldn’t I be a part of this meeting? Hmm? Besides, we all know that you and Bradford would exchange polite niceties for an hour before you get to the real reason for your visit.

A snap of his digits caused Discord to vanish, only to reappear behind Luna wearing the outfit that Shen generally wore to work, complete with an ID badge with the creature’s face on it. The rest of the Equestrians were dressed in similar clothes, with Shining Armor mirroring Commander Bradford, the two batponies wearing XCOM armor, and Princess Luna in a lab coat similar to Vahlen’s.

“So, are we part of the team now? Do we get call signs?” Discord asked, this time from behind the humans, which cause them to jump and turn around.

“Discord, I don’t think you appreciate the gravity of this situation,” Luna interrupted.

“Your mane understands the gravity of the situation,” Discord snarked back, and a tiny black hole appeared in the center of her mane which began to swallow the twinkling stars one by one.

DISCORD,” Luna snapped, “My command carries my sister’s authority. You will not harass or impede the humans in any way, nor will you harass or impede any of our kind that comes to this planet. You are to leave this place and never return. This order is absolute.”

“Oh come on!” the outraged reply filled the room. “Well, fine then. Be that way, see if I care!” Discord snapped his fingers and vanished, as well as all trace of his ever having been in the room.

Luna spent a long moment staring at the place Discord had been before letting out a sigh. “I must apologize for his behavior. He likes to test the boundaries of his reformation, but he should trouble you no longer. He was correct, though. Because of your actions, Twilight is alive and well and while that debt can never be fully repaid, we came here to offer any assistance you would require.”

“The offer is greatly appreciated, and we will accept your people’s aid for as long as it’s offered,” Bradford nodded, and the pair began to converse on just what that aid would entail.

Matt did his best to try and overhear their discussion but was forced to redirect his attention when he caught Shining Armor approaching him and he managed to get a better look at the quartet of blades at his sides. They appeared identical save for the vine-like engraving and clover leaf motif.

“Mister Harris?” the unicorn asked, drawing Matt’s attention away from the weapons. “I’m Twilight’s brother and I feel I owe you a personal debt for what you did for my sister while she was here. Princess Luna wasn’t lying, she speaks very highly of you,” The unicorn said with a slight bow.

“It was my pleasure,” Matt answered, “Did she teach you our language? I don’t recall the translation spell being cast on us.”

“Ah, no, I’m afraid not. I’m not nearly the genius she is,” Shining admitted with a grin before pointing at the necklace that was mostly hidden under his uniform. “She did make devices for us that translate automatically, which is why we can talk now.” Shining gave Matt an evaluating eye before continuing, “I also understand you helped Twilight get through some very tough times. Such shared experiences always make people close.”

“I suppose that’s true…”

“Just how close, exactly?” Shining asked as his eyes narrowed, and Matt had to resist the urge to facepalm or groan.

------

Silly Woona, you’re way to easy to manipulate, Discord thought as he watched the scene unfold beneath him. The humans would get their allies for the battles yet to come, which would in turn convince them to aid Equestria when it was in need. Even Luna’s commands had fit into his plans. With the right amount of antagonism she had hastily issued her commands without thinking them through. He had no intention of interfering with the humans or the ponies helping them, and when she banished him from ‘this place’, he simply left the room and would never return to it. If she wanted me to leave Earth then she should have been more specific. Discord grinned and steepled his fingers before him.

All according to plan.

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