• Published 10th Feb 2012
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Of Stars Descending - Taldaer



Human, deceiver, martial artist all these words have been used to describe me. Hi name's Stormcloud

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Ch 3. A broken mask

Chapter 3. A broken mask

Shadows cross over my mind
Once bright stars are missing
A life turned with the seasons
The snowfall echoes of spring
Now I watch and wonder,
"Has it all been in vain?"
Living with false intentions
Is driving me insane

So, I find myself to be lost
Inside my head, wondering why
It seems so strange to me
It keeps spiraling on and on.

Sometimes I contemplate if my actions would have been different if I had known what my meddling was going to bring. Was it all really an unfortunate coincidence? Or was I perhaps a part of the plan right from the start? Some questions shouldn’t be answered they’ll only bring you pain or more questions when you do. My point is that it’s useless to dwell in the past you can only move forward!

*~*

I opened my eyes drowsily for what must’ve been at least the 5th time since I had woken up the first time. I had tried going back to sleep ever since waking up about an hour ago but a ray of sunlight was shining in through the window illuminating the room to a degree were I just couldn’t find any peace. I shot a quick glance at the clock. At least the inn has started serving breakfast now. Well then at least I could go grab something to eat before I began my day. Since more sleep was out of the question I could at least kill a bit of time this way before the library opened.

“Aight, time for breakfast then.” I said to myself as I swung my hooves over the beds edge and stood up.

Wait what? I was standing? I looked down in shock, and there I really was perfectly balancing on two legs. Well I had seen ponies balance this way before so I knew it was possible but with my success rate at handling an equine body this was a major breakthrough. Smiling to myself I took a step forward. My world lurched.

*Smack*

“Oh hello Mr. and Mrs. Floorboard I see you brought the family today.” I muttered as I got up again, on four hooves this time, rubbing my now aching jaw.

With a sigh at my failure I made my way down the stairs, and to the dining room where I found Carrotstep and Meadow talking to each other over their respective breakfast. So I started to help myself to an assortment of fruit and vegetables, but I also grabbed a bowl of some sort of porridge.
I took a seat and began eating while mostly listening to Meadow and Carrot talk about whatever seemed to come to mind. Well I didn’t pay too much attention to their conversation. More to the point I had just tried the porridge and judging by the taste it seemed to be made out of oatmeal.
Call me crazy but that porridge was delicious.

I had just finished a third serving when I noticed a clock that I had missed yesterday evening on one of the walls. It was now a quarter to ten. To make it short, I was baffled. How had I spent almost two hours in this dining room. Well what was done was done. At least the library should be open by now. I finished up in the dining room and then stepped outside into the sunny day of Equestria.
I had a plan, I had a purpose and I had the perfect disguise for this. What could possibly go wrong? Armed with pride and confidence I took to the air and headed for the large tree that I knew housed the library. Prior knowledge made it really simple to navigate Ponyville, especially from the air. Funny how that works, here I could find my directions as if it was my backyard but at home I could get lost on a straight road. I guess I’ll just blame magic? Yeah that seems like the right thing to do here.

My short flight toward the Ponyville library ended with a quick dive and a somewhat controlled landing. Well here we go, time to get me some answers! I walked up to the door and knocked three times, I waited a couple of minutes but nothing happened. So I knocked again, somewhat harder this time.

“I’m coming, I’m coming geez calm down already!” a muffled shout could be heard from inside.

The door swung open to reveal the small purple and green dragon baby who I knew to be Spike. Although he certainly didn’t know me, which could be seen in his eyes as he took in my features.

“I’m sorry can I help you with anything?” he asked after a moment.

“Why yes, I would like to look at a few books if that’s okay. This is a library right?” I responded with a smile.

“I’m Stormcloud by the way.” I said and offered him a hoof to shake.

“I’m Spike, and sure you can take a look at the books. Go right on inside.” Spike said after shaking my hoof.

I stepped inside the library and met yet another familiar sight. The naturally grown shelves was something to behold indeed, and the fact that the tree was alive gave the library a vibrant feel. It also seemed to be larger than I had thought it to be, I noted while scanning the shelves for anything that might be of use.

“I’ll be in the next room if you need anything.” Spike said as he went by me into another room further in the tree-house.

A short while later I had picked out an assortment of books ranging from advanced magic to books about the history of Equestria’s founding. Since I couldn’t find any kind of reading alcove and I didn’t want to use the table in the middle, mainly because it was already littered with other books, I just picked a spot on the floor and got to work. Now the only problem was to find anything that could actually be useful to me. Well to be precise I needed to know how I ended up here in the first place before I could find a way home, thus the variety of book topics.

Therefore I started with The founding tribes of Equestria: the pegasi. I don’t know what I expected to find in it really, but then again I wasn’t in a position to discard any type of information at the moment. I simply didn’t know enough about the working of this world yet. The execution of my plan was simple though. Scan the register pages for anything that might seem to be of interest and move through the volumes one by one.

Aight, time to get something done! Hmm let’s see now under “A” we find Airistotle, why am I not surprised?

The rest of the A section was pretty much the same, names of famous pegasi or different types of aerial maneuvers from times of war.

Moving on to “B” let’s see now Battle of the midsummer sky, Battle of the dawn, this could be fascinating but no, this wasn’t what I needed.

Scanning the B section revealed that it was almost only retellings of great battles. A quick glance at “C” quickly showed that it held nothing of real interest to me and “D” soon followed “C” in useful info. However under “E” there was one word that caught my eye Everfree p. 325. I carefully flipped the pages of the old tome until I found the correct page.

Hmm let’s see now.

The Everfree forest was originally named The Eternal Woods when ponykind first discovered that no matter how much they tried to influence the forest would soon return to its untamed nature.
Thus ponykind believed that the forest had existed in this state for all of eternity, and would not be subject to change at all. However over the years after the first coming of Nightmare moon the forest slowly became darker and more sinister. The very nature of the once peaceful forest was eventually turned into a place most unfit for ponies to reside. Once it became apparent that even if the forest had changed and it still refused to be controlled and nurtured by ponykind a new name was coined “The Everfree”. The last recorded pony to willingly make the choice to live in the Everfree forest was one the last pure descendants of the storm paragons, Tempest Cloud, who lived there a time but disappeared without trace a couple of years later.

Wait a sec what the hay is a storm paragon? I flipped the register open again.

Let’s see “S”. Storm cakes, Storm clouds, Storm drapes… what the fish are storm drapes?

The list of items using the word Storm went on becoming weirder and weirder for each passing word, until I finally found what I was searching for Storm paragons p. 267.

Right then page 267 let’s see what it says.

Among the many pegasi clans the Storm paragon clan is known throughout all of pegasi society to be the first pegasi to create and control storm clouds. The clan quickly grew in numbers as more and more pegasi who showed promise of this particular type of weather control joined their ranks.
With the years the Storm paragons grew to be one of the most influential clans in the pegasi armada. It was around this time that the use of storm based weather control was first used in battle.
The paragons had during the years learnt how to control the electrical currents of lightning to boost their offensive power making them a force to be reckoned with on the field. Many famous battle leaders, like commander Hurricane himself, stem from the ranks of the Storm paragons and many battles were won because of them.

But the fame and power eventually twisted the once proud clan and they began to distrust the other clans, and in the end even each other. A time of turmoil were brother fought brother, and sister fought sister followed for the clan. This is the catalyst that would eventually lead to the event known as the paragon’s fall. This marked the final recorded event in history were the Storm paragons still were considered to be of one clan. After the paragon’s fall the remnants went their own separate ways and joined new clans, or were swept up in personal agendas. Though some stayed true to the old traditions and for as long as possible they only married pegasi that showed potential of storm control. However even this eventually became an impossible ideal to uphold.

It is said that the modern pegasi today owe their ability to create storms to the Storm paragons who joined into new clans after the fall. The easiest way to identify a descendant of the Storm paragons is usually their cutie mark. If the cutie mark depicts any type of cloud and a lightning bolt there is a strong chance that there is a bit of paragon blood in you.

I couldn’t read anymore. This was all just far too convenient, no it was downright eerie. In the first book I had picked I had found a major piece of information. It felt as if something had guided me into finding that particular piece of information. The question was who or what? My mind was already creating theories that were growing more and more impossible. The implications of this could be life changing, and I didn’t know if I even wanted a clear answer anymore.

No! This isn’t my real goal here. I mentally berated myself. I was getting distracted, I needed a way home and this wasn’t it. So I returned the book to its shelf and tried my best to not dwell any further on what I had just learned. The next two books held nothing of interest as one turned out to be a book about herbs and the other was a work of fiction. The following books held tidbits of information, but I simply didn’t know enough about either magic or the world around me to make any connections. It was becoming apparent that this was going to take a while, more than a while to be perfectly honest. For every fact I managed to hunt down it seemed that three of four new questions sprung up, so I brought more books and kept at it. In the end I was even beginning to consider that the first book had been a fluke.

I need a break I can’t keep this up anymore. I thought eventually. It was amazing how Twilight could keep this up without ever complaining. Where was she anyway? I had arrived here sometime just before lunch and it was now sometime in the afternoon. For a moment I considered asking Spike where she might be but then again I wasn’t supposed to have any prior knowledge of this place.

Yeah that would be smooth wouldn’t it? Oh hey Spike where is Twilight today? She’s not here okay then. How do I know her? Oh I don’t… I shuddered at the thought of me ever doing something so blatantly stupid.

A small rumble from my stomach reminded me that I hadn’t eaten anything since my unusually large breakfast. I needed a break from all this anyway so I cleaned up my own personal mess of books, said goodbye to Spike and went hunting for a late lunch. I really didn’t want anything fancy so I just went to the first café I found and ordered a sandwich. During my lunch I turned my thoughts to something that had been in the back of my head ever since this morning. I had been able to find my balance on two hooves, even if it had been an accident. If I could find it again then maybe just maybe it would be possible to resume my martial arts practice here in Equestria. The thought was intriguing too intriguing for me to pass up. Well exercise is one of the best ways to clear the mind anyway so I might as well try this. I decided.

About an hour later I had found a rather secluded part in one of the many parks around Ponyville. I wasn’t too keen on any pony seeing me if I kept falling on my face. Well at least I knew that what I was about to attempt was possible from watching the show.

Aight, do or die! I reared up on my hind legs and stood there wobbling from the sudden motion. I quickly adjusted by bending my legs thus lowering my center of gravity and in doing so making it easier to balance. Once I considered myself to be in control over my balance I tried to take a few careful steps and to my delight I didn’t fall, in fact I hardly wobbled. With this I might actually be able to pull it off.

I spent a couple of more minutes familiarizing myself with the new center of gravity before I finally was satisfied with my level of control. Now it was time for the real test, I quickly changed my stance to the opening stance for basic kata practice. If I wanted to learn how to control my equine body on two legs this would be the best way of achieving this. I started going through the many katas I had acquired over years of training. I went slowly first but gradually started going faster as my equine body grew used to the different yet familiar movement patterns. Soon I could go through the basic katas almost with the same proficiency my human body could. Finally I had found something that I didn’t have to relearn or spend days at learning from scratch. The more I worked with the katas the more confident I grew in my balance and before long I was practicing the more advanced katas as well.

Although they weren’t completely true to the original ones, some techniques were impossible to perform with this body so I had to improvise and substitute a couple of moves here and there. I lost myself in my training, it was refreshing and familiar at the same time. Ten years of hard practice had been more or less successfully adapted to my pony body. I was so lost in the moment that I didn’t notice the small crowd of onlookers that had gathered to watch me flow through the different forms of the advanced katas. Nor did I notice the three pegasi who were approaching me from a nearby cloud.

“Hey! You there! Do you think you’re something special huh?”

Confused I looked in the direction of the mystery speaker. A trio of pegasi had approached me without me noticing. They all seemed oddly familiar though I just couldn’t place where I had seen them. They were generic in their color patterns the first one had a light brown coat and a brunette mane that covered his eyes, the second was a darker shade of brown and had beige mane with blue eyes. Lastly we had the third one who was grey with a black mane and he seemed to be slightly overweight. Where had I seen these ponies before, they had to have been background ponies at some point in the show, but when?

“I asked if you think you’re something special?” The light brown one asked again.

*Sigh* I had thought that I wouldn’t have to deal with this type here, but wait that voice. Yes that was it these were the ponies that had formerly tormented Fluttershy during her school days and had kept on calling Rainbow dash “Rainbow crash”. Did these guys even have name in the fandom? Well I’m not looking for a fight so I guess I’ll do my best to disarm the situation.

“Now, look here there’s no need to get hostile let’s just talk abou-”

“What? Are you afraid tough guy? Then perhaps you shouldn’t go around showing off like you did.”

Wait what? This was what it was all about?

“Well I’m sorry you feel that way but I’m quite certain I’m allowed to practice wherever I want.”

“And say it’s not so, now scram before we make you!”

Seriously? This moron was threatening me?

“Look here, I don’t want to cause any type of disturbance but I hardly think you’re in position to force me to do anything.” I sneered, starting to lose my patience.

“OKAY THAT DOES IT! You’re going down tough guy.” The tan one shouted while he reared and brought his hooves down toward me.

I didn’t even bother to block, his moves were slow and easy to predict so I just sidestepped out of the way. Why couldn’t anything here be simple and happy for me? It seemed to work for everypony else. My assailant looked around wildly to find me, clearly surprised that he had missed me. So he changed his tactics and tried to buck me instead, and once again I simply stepped to the side. There’s no point waste energy on blocking when the attack won’t hit anyway. I took a few steps back to increase the distance between us. I didn’t want to hurt this pony, even though he had attacked me. Much to my dismay he seemed to take it as if I was retreating from him, because he charged me with a wordless shout. My reflexes made me act before I could stop myself as I once again sidestepped, however this time I followed up with quick sweep of one of his legs. Due to his momentum he fell into a tangled heap on the ground. With another sigh I went back onto four hooves and walked over to him. He was exactly like most humans were, thinking that brute strength was the way to win a fight, when instead of striking with strength you should strike with speed and control.

“Could you please stop this now? This is getting us nowhere and you’re just making a fool out of yourself.”

He didn’t utter any type of response he just glared at me with rage burning in his eyes. I facehoofed, there was nothing I could say to make him listen to me. I didn’t want to prolong this encounter anyway so I turned away from him and started to walk away. I heard him scramble up on his legs again and start to follow me. He seriously needed to calm the buck down. I started to turn to tell him to leave me the buck alone. A sudden movement in the corner of my eye was all the warning I got when he zoomed past me. One of his wings clipped my head and the force drove me to the ground.

I heard myself start laughing. Oh hay, they’ve done it now.

They had accidently made me assume one of my not so pretty masks. You see when it comes to fighting I have two rather similar masks. One of them is for friendly sparring, the other is for real life situations where my aim is to disable the opponent using any means necessary. Well let’s just say that the thing they have in common is me laughing. The laughing works for me as a temporary barrier against pain and it is a surprisingly good type of psychological warfare. Another major difference between the masks is that in one I am completely without emotion, just cold calculation remains. That being said, there should never be any thinking done in a fight, it just slows you down.

I stood up on two legs again still laughing softly to myself and faced the three pegasi who were now sharing concerned looks with fear mixed in. I slowly settled into a fighting stance while I kept chuckling. A few seconds passed, the trio still observing me wearily then suddenly the light brown one charged me again.

*<>*

Rainbow dash was having a wonderful day. Not only did she have the day off from her work as a weather pony, it was a perfect day for flying as well. So she had spent most of the day so far practicing her routine. Perfect wasn’t good enough when it came to flying, no she needed to be more than perfect if she wanted to impress the Wonderbolts. She needed something special and new like her sonic rainboom to be completely sure about her performance. She was so caught up in her morning practice that she didn’t realize how hungry she had become until it was around midday.

Well I guess I can call it a day then and go grab something to eat. After quick trip back to her cloud flat and meal later Rainbow was once again back in Ponyville, idly soaring over the buildings. Hmm I guess I might as well take a nap if no one needs my help. She found a nice and secluded part in of the parks and settled in one of the trees there. Mmm, this was a great idea. She thought as she drifted off into a light snooze. It was impossible to tell for how long she had slept, but when she woke up she wasn’t alone anymore.

Another pegasi had made his way to her spot and was currently standing on his hind legs. He hadn’t noticed her yet so she decided to just stay in the tree and watch him for now. The pegasus walked around a bit almost as if he was learning to walk that way at this very moment. Anyway it gave her a chance to study this individual a bit closer. His coat was a darker shade of blue than her own almost a bit grey in fact, his mane on the other hand was icy blue. A scar on one of his flanks clashed with one of his his cutiemarks and another was located over his right eye which in turn gave him quite a rugged look. I gotta admit he looks pretty cool, but his walking is just silly. She thought, holding back a snicker. The stallion eventually stopped his walking practice with slight nod to himself. He then proceeded to change his stance still standing on two legs, and from there he started to move.

I can’t believe it! I don’t know which style that is but it’s definitely martial arts that he’s practicing. Dash was surprised to say the least, some of the moves were familiar from the style of karate she practiced but never had she seen a style that was performed on two legs for an extended period of time. Heh, he is pretty awesome. Not as awesome as me but still pretty awesome. A small crowd of ponies had gathered to watch him practice as the katas he went through grew increasingly complex. But he didn’t notice, he was too focused on his task.

Whoever he might be he’s no beginner, I can tell that much from what I’ve seen here. I really want to try sparring with him some time. It’s been ages since I had someone that might actually put up an interesting fight here in Ponyville. I should get down there and have a chat with him.

Before she could move from the tree a familiar gang of pegasi approached the newcomer and started their usual routine. Oh come on! Haven’t they learnt their lesson by now? She watched as the unfamiliar pegasus tried his best to avoid any type of confrontation. But the longer the conversation went the more agitated his opposition became. The onlookers had scattered at the sight of trouble and were nowhere to be seen.

“OKAY THAT DOES IT! You’re going down tough guy.” Hoops cried out as he reared to strike.

The unknown pegasus seemed unfazed by the sudden outburst and attack as he deftly sidestepped making Hoops miss completely. Rainbow let out a sigh, Hoops would never realize how outmatched he was from just that. As if Hoops had responded to Rainbows prediction he tried to buck his opponent, only to once again hit nothing but air. The other pegasus took a few steps back from Hoops. I guess he’s just creating some distance between them. Caution is always preferred in a fight. However it seemed like Hoops didn’t realize what his opponent was doing as he charged him with an angry shout. Rainbow facehoofed as the new pegasus swept one of Hoops legs as he charged past him, making Hoops tumble to the ground.

The martial artist went back onto four hooves with a sigh and walked over to Hoops. He said something she couldn’t quite hear and started walking away. Turning his back on Hoops had been a mistake because Hoops quickly scrambled up onto his hooves and charged again. The newcomer started to turn toward Hoops but he was too late as one of Hoops wings clipped his head with enough force that he was thrown to the ground. Okay I need to break this up now before anyone gets hurt! Dash thought as she started to leave her vantage point. She only had time to unfold her wings before she heard it, a cold laughter.

The new pony was laughing as he stood up and faced Hoops and his gang. A shiver ran through Dash when she saw his face. Everything about him had changed, the eyes that had held focus and joy was now devoid of emotion and his muzzle was locked in grin that held no real smile. She had never experienced such a transformation before, but she was certain that he would no longer just dodge attacks. Hoops and his pals needed to get away from there right now this pegasus was not normal. Before she had time to react Hoops charged again, this time the pegasus moved faster than he had previously. As Hoops got closer he quickly moved forward delivering a quick thrust with one of his hooves. Hoops collapsed with a cry as the strike hit the base of his left wing. When Hoops didn’t get up one of his friends tried to sneak up behind the new pegasus. However the moment he reared up to strike the pegasus whirled around and in quick succession he struck the side of the neck and the jaw once, finishing with powerful kick to the side of the head. The grey pegasus collapsed before even having had time to cry out in pain. I really don’t like Hoops nor do I like Score but this isn’t going to fly any longer! A panicked flapping of wings was all she heard as she saw the last of Hoops gang flee from the scene at the same time the humorless chuckle abruptly stopped.

“Buck my life…” She heard the new pegasus say as he looked at the two pegasi that lay downed before him.

*<>*

Buck it all! I couldn’t be held responsible for this right? I mean all I had done was defend myself. They had attacked me first both of them. One thing is certain there is going to be rumors about this. A sudden flapping of wings told me that the last of the trio had fled thus allowing me to once again regain full control over myself.

“Buck my life…” They looked to be in pretty bad shape.

One of them was unconscious, the other was sobbing his left wing hanging slackly against his side. Oh hay! Well I’m not an ass, I will offer what help I can give. On second thought allow me to rephrase that. I’m not always an ass, I will offer help if I feel like it’s expected of me. Which I suppose makes me sound like an ass. Anyway this is not the time to discuss semantics, I will help them. That is if they choose to accept it. I settled back on four hooves again, and took a step toward the unconscious grey pegasus. Suddenly there was a blur of color and before me stood no other than Rainbow Dash.

Oookay, judging from her hostile stance and frown I take it she saw this encounter. I’m obviously cursed to meet all the mane six during my best moments the question though is; will she listen to a voice of reason?

“Um would you mind moving aside miss?” I asked carefully.

“Yeah and why would I do that?! So you can beat them up some more? Not going to happen pal!”

Okay worst choice of words ever. That certainly didn’t make it sound like I was going to murder them or something.

“No not at all I want to help them any way I possibly can! I know it must sound weird but it was never my intention to hurt them.”

“Yeah and what if I don’t believe you?” she questioned.

This was going nowhere, I would normally refrain from using the amount of trickery I had been displaying over the past two days but if I wanted to help my victims I had to do something.

“Look no matter how much I regret it, I’m still the reason they are injured and I feel obligated to do something about it. If you don’t trust me you can just stay right here and see to it that I don’t try anything funny.” I suggested.

“Hmm, I don’t know…”

“I bet you’re faster than me anyway so I won’t have time to try anything should I not be true to my word.” I said.

“Hey! I’m not just fast I’m the fastest in Equestria!” she exclaimed proudly.

“Well that settles it then?”

“Fine, but I’m watching you pal!” she stated, switching back to anger again.

Hook, line and sinker! Knowing some of their base psychology was a rather unfair advantage. Not that it was something that bothered me though, just another thing that would be incredibly awkward to explain. Anyhow Rainbow allowed me to approach the two ponies unfortunate enough to have seen my less pleasant side. The grey one was out cold so examining him was rather easy. From what I could tell nothing was broken and his breathing was regular although he might have some sort of concussion, so I would have to make sure he got some kind of medical checkup. The other one though was another story. Because he was still conscious he saw me approach him and tried to crawl away in panic. I let out a sigh and moved around him so that I blocked his path.

“Hey relax I will not hurt you further and I’m sorry I hurt you to begin with.” Was I really sorry? Short answer nnnnope.

He flinched away from me sobbing and clutched his wing again. Looking at it up close I could tell that it wasn’t broken, although it was most certainly dislocated. Well that was better than being broken but it was still going to hurt to fix it. Otherwise he was fine aside from a few scratches that he had gotten when he hit the ground. Now I could probably fix that wing by pulling it back into place but I was going to need someone to hold him down. Hay, I didn’t even have his consent yet.

“Right buddy, your wing is not broken just dislocated. I can fix that for you but it is going to hurt.”

He looked up at me as if I had just said that I was going to give him a million bits and in the same sentence told him that first I would have to throw bricks at him for a couple of hours. So in short his eyes told me that I was crazy. Which to be honest might not be far from the truth.

“Hey mate do you want my help or not?”

He seemed to collect himself somewhat as he thought over what I had told him. Then a few minutes later came his answer.

“Okay what are you going to do?”

“Quite simple really, my strike has simply made your wing hop out of place from where it normally should be so a quick but hard tug should yank it back in place.” I explained.

He stared at me as if I was speaking some alien language then he simply nodded his consent for me to continue. Good now that this is out of the way I just need someone to hold him down. I looked over at his friend but he was still out cold so that just left Rainbow. I turned my head and looked straight at her, she was still watching my every action closely with a heavy scowl. Well she definitely won’t warm up to me straight away of that I’m certain but I do need her help with this.

“Um, miss could you hold him down while I try to fix his wing?”

“I’ll do it but only because Hoops agreed to it and I’m not Miss, I’m Rainbow Dash.”

Oh so he did have a name? Eh, what does it matter? I’ll probably forget it within an hour anyway. Rainbow Dash positioned herself so she properly hold down Hoops while I carefully but firmly grasped the wing near its base.

“Aight Rainbow be ready to hold him down on three. Hoops are you ready?”

“No?” came a whimpering response.

“Well that’s too bad ‘cause here we go; one… two… Three!”

Everything happened at once; I gave the wing a hard tug which made it hop back into place with a characteristic *Pop* Hoops cried out in pain as Rainbow struggled to hold him down.
Hoops lay on the ground panting a while before he slowly tried to work his wing again. He looked surprised when in actually worked. Good my work here was almost done, now I just had to make sure that the grey one got himself to a hospital.

“Hey Hoops? That’s your name right?”

“Ye… yeah, what about it?”

“Nothing just that you should make sure that your friend over there gets a checkup at the hospital. He is just unconscious but he might have a concussion, so when you wake him up make sure he goes to hospital just in case.” I explained.

Hoops just nodded once again. Great then that’s it, nothing more I could do here. I turned around and started to leave but soon found my way blocked by a certain pegasus with a multicolored mane again.

*Sigh*

“What is it this time? I’ve helped them all I could.” I said tiredly.

“Yeah you helped them but I still don’t trust you. You haven’t even said your name yet.”

“It’s Stormcloud, can I leave now? I’ve had enough of excitement for one day.”

I wasn’t really in the mood for playing the blame game right now. Besides I despise the very thought of letting conflicts go on longer than they should. Sure you made an enemy here and there but you could just ignore them for the most part. I for one was blessed with the ability grow angry or upset and drop it completely within an hour. Rainbow on the other hand didn’t seem to be of this sort, no sir. She was the type that needed actions to prove something was the other way around.

“Hmpf, yeah you can leave but don’t try anything else.” she finally said.

With that I simply walked past her and then took to the air. For a time I just flew over Ponyville, not really having a destination to reach. My mind was a maelstrom of thoughts that conflicted with each other. On one hoof I had been able to relax my mind a bit with my exercise and on the other it had created a whole new mess for me. I had not made an enemy out of one of the mane six but we were certainly not on neutral ground anymore. What’s worse the news of this incident would probably spread hopefully I would get away from here before it got too serious though. In the end I resolved that I would continue my practice but I would do so closer to the border of the Everfree and that I would redouble my research efforts. With my goal reaffirmed I flew back to the inn so that I could bring an end my all too eventful day.

*~*

Thankfully it seemed that news of my endeavors during the afternoon hadn’t reached the inn, so I just went up to my room and took a quick shower. A quick glance at the clock told me that the clock was just a few minutes past five. This left me with a fair bit of time before the inn served dinner.
So for a while I pondered whether I should go and take a look around Ponyville, or rather just stay inside. Not wanting to create anymore commotion today I choose to stay and try to digest what I had learnt today, and what leads would be worth following. By the time I went downstairs to the dining room I had a research plan ready for tomorrow, and after another pleasant evening to compliment a chaotic day I went to bed once again convinced that I could solve this problem myself.

Now some of you might wonder why I’m so hell bent on solving this by myself all I can tell you is that part of me is too proud to accept help if I still think I might be able to solve it by myself. Some might call it a strength some might call it a flaw some might just call me stubborn. I call it me because no matter how you look at it it’s still part of my identity.

However that doesn’t mean that I refuse to ask for help I only need to realize that the task was out my own hands/hooves. Had I realized it by this point? Do you really have to ask that?

I awoke the next morning feeling refreshed, the events of yesterday were just another memory and today was a new bright day. I finished a quick breakfast and was off to library much earlier today than I had been the day before when I had tarried in the inn. On my way over I picked up some blank scrolls a bottle of ink and a couple of quills. I was going to start writing down everything I found useful just in case. It was still rather early when I reached the library though so for a moment I hesitated to knock on the door. Well what’s the worst that could happen? Oh yeah, wonderful I start the day by jinxing it. I ignored my sarcastic thoughts, and knocked on the door anyway. After a few seconds I heard steps approaching from inside and soon the door swung open to once again reveal Spike.

“Oh hello there Storm. I take it you want to do some reading today as well?”

“Yep Spike that is correct if it’s not too much trouble of course.”

“Naa, it’s fine just keep it the volume down for a while during the morning.”

“No problem at all, would you mind if I ask why though?”

“Oh you see I’m not the caretaker of the library, I’m just an assistant. No the caretaker is called Twilight Sparkle and she came home rather late yesterday from a trip to Canterlot, so she’s still sleeping.” Spike summarized.

“Aight, I understand perfectly my good dragon, I shall be the very essence of quiet.” I said doing one of my better gentleman (gentlecolt?) impressions.

My sudden change of demeanor made Spike arc an eyebrow and shake his head. But he still let me in which of course was all that really mattered to me right now. I got to work again and started taking notes, humming a tune to myself as I worked. Soon I had filled the first scroll with information that might prove useful and stuff I needed to research further. This went on for about an hour then I noticed Spike standing beside me looking at my notes. When he saw that I had noticed him he started to apologize for intruding on my personal sphere.

“I’m sorry Storm it’s just that I usually read snippets of information here and there when Twilight is studying. It’s a force of habit I guess.” He said sheepishly.

“Well no problem Spike, I’m not irritated really just a bit surprised is all. Tell me though did you get anything from what I wrote?” I asked, curios to how much he had grasped.

“No not really, just a lot of references here and there. I usually don’t get much of what Twilight does either if I’m perfectly honest.”

“Eh, then it’s as it should be you’re still rather young right?”

“Heh, yeah I’m still considered to be a baby dragon. But that’s relative to other dragons.”

“Well then no need to rush my scaly friend you have all the time in the world.”

Another hour went by Spike asking an occasional question and I answered to my best extent, and while I still made some progress in my research it was a bit slower due to Spike’s questions.

All was just fine until Spike made a remark that made my ears twitch.

“It’s so strange yesterday there was this rumor going around that you had fought two other ponies and beaten them but you sit here acting almost like Twilight does when she is researching something. I guess you can’t trust every rumor right Storm?”

When I didn’t answer him immediately he started to piece the truth together and finally came to the conclusion I dreaded. Spike might be young but his mind is rather sharp for his age. An acquired perk for living with Twilight I suppose. The question was how was he going to react like Rainbow did?

“Wait so you mean to tell me that you actually did fight yesterday?” he asked, sounding surprised.

When I simply nodded he looked at me for a second then burst out in a huge grin.

“That’s so cool! You fought two others and didn’t get hurt.”

I was dumbstruck. After Rainbows response this wasn’t what I had come to expect.

A small voice in the back of my head taunted me by whispering: mental notes.

“Well Spike you should know that I never wanted that fight to happen. I simply didn’t have the option of peaceful solution. Which is always something to prefer.”

“Oh I understand that violence isn’t good but it’s still cool.”

“Hehe, yeah perhaps a little bit.” I conceded.

“So did you get your, um scars from fights too?”

“Ah no, you see this I got when I was very young I motioned toward the scar over my eye. This however I got from an infection that had to be cut out pointing at my x shaped scar.”

“Why haven’t you removed them though?”

“Removed the scars I mean.” Spike elaborated when I just gave him a questioning glance.

They could just remove scars here? Oh how plastic surgeons would make a killing by being able to do that. Not that they weren’t already of course.

“Well I just suppose I consider them to be a part of who I am.” I finally said to not make myself seem even more suspicious.

“Oh ok, how did you fight off two ponies though? Could you tell me?”

And with that my thoughts of research were completely derailed as I descended into a conversation about martial arts and fighting ethics. Before long I was sharing stories of my life, a carefully ponyfied version obviously, and he shared some of his. We found that despite the difference in age we still had some things in common. We were so caught up in our conversation that we didn’t notice the still slightly sleepy Twilight approach.

*<>*

“Wow what did you do then!?”

Twilight jolted awake. What was the time? Hadn’t she told Spike to keep it down this morning? Her thoughts were still rather slow due to her sudden waking and lack of sleep, but she was certain that she had heard Spike shout. She listened closely and sure enough there were voices coming from downstairs, one was Spike and one she didn’t recognize.

I wonder who that might be? She thought to herself as she yawned, that late trip home had really taken its toll on her. Well she was up now anyway so she might as well start her day. She slumped out of bed and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes a quick glance through the window told her that it was close to midday. Yawning once more she started to make her way downstairs the voices growing clearer. The unknown voice had to belong to a stallion, it was far too deep to belong to a mare. She kept walking down the stairs until she entered the main hall of her library home. Spike sat beside a pegasus stallion she had never seen before, he was larger than her but not quite as large as Big Macintosh. His coat was a mix of sky blue and grey which was complimented with an ice blue mane and tail. What shocked her about him though were the scars. She had never seen a pony that actually had scars before, it made him seem like a rough pony and she wasn’t sure that this was a proper friend for Spike. As she started to approach she picked up on the conversation the two were having.

“…and of course I couldn’t leave it at that. I felt that I had to do something spectacular so I did what I felt was natural. I went and bought a bunch of pineapples and started to hide them where my friend would find them. He never suspected me once and now he’s deathly afraid of pineapples.”

Spike and the unknown stallion burst out in uncontrolled laughter, which Spike then followed up by starting to share one of his stories. At least he seems friendly enough she thought as she started to approach the pair. They didn’t notice her until she practically was standing beside them.

Spike recoiled when he noticed her and looked at Twilight with a guilty expression written all over his features, the pegasus however looked up at her and then spoke.

“I’m sorry did we wake you? If so you have my most sincere apologies.”

“Yes in fact you did, but I will accept your apology Mr.?”

“Ah, I’m Stormcloud you may call me by my full name or any derivation thereof.”

“Pleasure to meet you Cloud, I’m Twilight Sparkle caretaker of this library and student under princess Celestia.” she introduced herself.

Strange how the last part of his name seems to fit him better than the first she thought to herself before continuing on.

“Are you a friend of Spike?”

“Well I would certainly consider Spike to be my friend yes, but that’s not the reason I’m here. I’m just here to brush up on some areas of interest.” said the stallion as he motioned toward the books around him and Spike.

She hadn’t thought much about the books before, it was only natural to find them in the library but when the stallion mentioned them she examined a few titles more closely. Starswirl the bearded: Theories and Dimensions, The mysteries of the Everfree and A study of spatial magic to name a few of the books that was lying scattered around him. Why would a pegasus be interested in unicorn magic?

“That’s some heavy reading you got there is it for anything special?” she commented approvingly.

“No not at all, just sating my curiosity is all.”

That she could relate to without any problem. Despite her initial impression of Stormcloud, he actually seemed to be quite calm and collected. Perhaps I’ve even found someone who I can discuss my studies with, well at least some of them. Twilight thought to herself with a smile.

“Well Cloud good luck with your reading and Spike could you please fix me something to eat while I take a morning shower?”

Stormcloud simply nodded in acknowledgement while Spike scrambled up and went toward the kitchen. With a small yawn she walked off toward the bathroom before she left the room she snuck a quick glance over at Cloud again. He was completely absorbed in one of the many tomes around him, for a while she wondered if this was how she looked when she was reading. Shaking her head slightly she continued on toward the bathroom for a quick shower and after that she went into the kitchen where Spike was preparing some toast with daffodils.

“Thanks Spike.” She said with a small nod of gratitude.

“Heh, no problem Twi. I’m partly to blame for waking you anyway so this is the least I can do.”

“Ah yes about that who is that pegasus anyway?”

“I don’t really know Twilight he came by here yesterday also and that was the first time I saw him. He spent a couple of hours reading then he left. Later there was a… No never mind it’s nothing.”

“Later there was a what Spike?” she asked.

“Nono as I was saying it was nothing special. How was the flight back to Ponyville?” Spike said trying to sound casual.

“Spike I know you’re trying to hide something and I want to hear it from you not any other pony.” she said firmly.

She watched as spike sighed heavily. Clearly struggling with himself whether he should tell her or not.

“Okay fine Twilight but you didn’t hear this from me.”

“I promise Spike.”

“Pinkie promise?”

“Is that really necessary Spike?”

Judging by the pleading look her assistant gave her he wouldn’t accept anything less.

*Sigh* “Fine I’ll Pinkie promise. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

“Okay then well after Storm had left yesterday there was this rumor that started spreading that he had gotten into a fight with a couple of other pegasi.”

“WHAT! He was fighting!?” she yelled, before she could stop herself.

“Ssssssh, calm down Twilight, he’ll hear you.”

“No I’ll not be calm he’s not a good influence for you young dragon.”

“Please just hear me out Twilight, he didn’t want to fight yesterday he made that very clear to me before you we woke you up.”

“Well he still shouldn’t have fought and he shouldn’t have talked about it with you you’re too young.”

“Hey I’m not that young any more I know that violence isn’t a solution for anything and from what Storm told me he really did try to reason with the others before they attacked him.” Spike defended.

Twilight was facing an inner conflict part of her really didn’t want Stormcloud to be a bad pony, but rumors didn’t come without a cause in Equestria. In the end she decided that she would trust Spike and try to overlook what she had just heard.

“Fine Spike I’ll give him a chance.”

“You’ll see that he’s quite cool Twilight.” Spike promised.

“Yeah, yeah I really hope you’re right this time Spike. Anyway I need your help today with some research the princess asked me to double check.”

Spike simply nodded to her request and waited for her to finish up her breakfast. Once she was done she trotted out into the main room of the library where Stormcloud was still completely caught up in his own project. She got to work at double checking the research thesis she had received from the princess. It was entertaining work to her and it also made her feel useful and needed. Perhaps this thesis could lead to some major sort of breakthrough in the future. She was getting worked up about this and soon she too was lost in her own little world.

The day passed by without any other event worth noticing. She exchanged a word or two with Cloud during the day, but nothing that could be called conversation. Both of them were just too absorbed in their respective books or scrolls. She didn’t realize how much time had passed until Stormcloud suddenly let out a loud yawn. The sun outside was already setting and it would probably be best to close down the library before it got dark. With a small sigh to herself she closed the reference book she had been reading and walked over to Stormcloud. After spending an entire day here in the library researching whatever it is he wants to find out, I find it rather hard to believe the rumors Spike mentioned. He seems so calm and collected maybe I really shouldn’t be so quick to judge. So for a while she just sat there watching Stormcloud read and take small notes on a scroll. I wonder what it is he’s researching. It’s rare for somepony to use such a wide array of literature for a simple research project. Her thoughts were cut short as Stormcloud looked up from his notes and looked straight at her, golden eyes gazing into her own purple ones. She could see determination in those eyes but also pride coupled with something enigmatic. As if he had seen more than the average pony, in a way they vaguely reminded her of Celestia’s eyes.

“Ms. Sparkle are you okay?”

She snapped back to reality with a small gasp. She had been holding her breath but why?

“Yes of course I’m fine. Thank you for asking though.”

Why was she getting so distracted?

“Well if you say so I’ll take your word for it. Was there anything you wanted though since you came over here?” The pegasus stallion continued.

“Ah yes! Thanks for reminding me, I’m about to close the library for the day so I’m afraid I have to ask you to leave.” she finished a bit sheepishly.

“Oh I see well then I shall oblige Ms. Sparkle.”

Stormcloud quickly gathered his notes and returned the books and scrolls to their original places before heading for the door.

“I will probably return tomorrow and continue reading if you don’t mind.”

“Of course I don’t mind and it seems my assistant has taken a liking to you.”

“Wonderful then I’ll come by sometime tomorrow and until then have a pleasant evening Ms. Sparkle.”

“Oh you too Stormcloud, and please just call me Twilight.”

“Aight, good evening and good night then Twilight.”

And with that the pegasus stallion stepped outside and took to the air flying off further into Ponyville. Twilight closed the door and turned around only to come face to face with Spike.

“Well what do you think Twi? He’s cool isn’t he?” Spike said with a massive smile.

She sighed mentally at how easily Spike got riled up over small things. Well this might be a bit bigger than a small thing this time.

“I wouldn’t say cool Spike to be honest I don’t really know what to make of him.” she said thoughtfully.

“Aw does that mean he won’t come by anymore?” Spike asked somberly,

“What? No he’s still welcome, it’s just that he seems so… you know what never mind I’m going to prepare some dinner then hit the bed early tonight.”

“Ok whatever you say Twilight, need any help with that dinner?” Spike said, cheerful again.

The two of them walked back to the kitchen to start preparing dinner but a small part of her brain couldn’t stop trying to figure out Stormcloud. The pieces didn’t fit she had never heard of a pony that could spend hours in a library in diligent research and in the next moment get caught up in fights. Also there were those eyes they didn’t belong to someone who fights without a reason. The thought’s continued to go back and forth until she crawled into bed and fell asleep.

*<>*

I awoke to another brilliant day filled with happy thoughts and love. The sun had once again tenderly awoken me and I felt so happy that it graced me with its beautiful rays of light. Now to how my day really started: I cursed the bleeding sun for once again forcing me to wake way earlier than I normally would. Those rays of light that somehow found their way straight into my room were driving me insane. Although despite my small morning rage I made sure my mood returned to a neutral state before taking a quick shower and then heading downstairs for some breakfast.

Yesterday had gone very good not that I had found anything significant yet but the overall day had gone by without any major incident which had to some kind of record for me here in Ponyville. Not to mention that I had met with Twilight under seemingly normal conditions with a bit of luck I could find a way home and return to my reality before I drew more attention to myself.

As soon as I thought it was proper I headed toward the library determined to spend another day in focused study. I arrived roughly at the same time as I had yesterday and proceeded to knock on the door, this time it was Twilight who opened the door.

“Oh good morning Storm you’re here early.”

“Good morning to you too Twilight I’m just eager to continue my research.”

“Well come on in then.”

Twilight stepped to the side and let me walk into the library, where I got to work as soon as I had collected the set of books and scrolls I had been using yesterday, along with some new additions for today. It did not take long before I was making notes and writing down reference books that might be worth taking a look at. After about half an hour or so Twilight joined me in the main chamber of the library and started so study whatever in was she was studying right now.

Throughout the remainder of the morning we both studied our respective subjects without exchanging any words. Spike ran back and forth finding books that Twilight requested. It took me a while to notice but at times I caught Twilight staring at me, I tried my best to ignore it. It was probably just her curiosity that had gotten the best of her I reassured myself and continued the task I had taken upon me to complete. Sometime just before midday there was a knock on the door, I was busy reading a scroll about appearances and disappearances in the Everfree so barely registered that Twilight went over to open the door and started talking to a certain pegasus mare.

“Oh hi Rainbow what brings you here today?”

“Hiya Twilight, just returning the last Daring Doo book I borrowed from you last week.”

“Ah yes, what did you think about it?”

“It was just great once I got to the part with the timber wolves I couldn’t stop reading!”

“Haha yeah I know what you mean, say why don’t you step inside while I go get the next part?”

“Sounds like a plan to me Twilight, I can’t wait to read about what Dar… YOU!”

The sudden shout made me raise my head from my reading and look toward the door. My mind had filtered away the conversation as background noise and now I faced a pegasus mare whose eyes shot daggers at me while a confused unicorn looked between us.

“Wait, Rainbow do you know Stormcloud?”

“Know him no, know what he did yes. You can’t trust this pony Twilight.”

“What? Why? I know rumors about him are true but he hasn’t shown any sign of being violent.”

“You didn’t see him when he fought Twilight. It was… weird as if he wasn’t there at all.”

I was growing annoyed; I hate when people talk over my head as if I don’t exist and I was not about to make an exception for ponies.

“You know I sit right here why can’t you just talk to me Ms. Dash?” I said levelly.

“Oh and what good would that do? Just so you can come up with more excuses?” Rainbow shot back.

“I don’t need excuses. If someone attacks me first I will defend myself it’s as easy as that; although I regret that you had to see that side of me.” I countered.

“Oh yeah “that side of you” why is that even a side of you to begin with if you’re a good pony?”

Rainbow was really testing my patience. When faced with accusations I deem unjust I have often found that maintaining a calm stance is somewhat difficult for me. Okay when I say somewhat I mean breaching point imminent, unless I’m trolling someone back home.

“Because I haven’t always met with the nicest of ponies, now if you don’t mind I’d like to get back to my reading.” I explained more calmly than I felt.

“What if I do mind? What are you going to do about it then? Beat me up?” Rainbow challenged.

“I don’t display violence unless forced too.” I tried to interject but was completely ignored.

“Yeah right, what are you researching anyway? Something evil I guess, but you’re probably too stupid to even manage that!”

Rainbow continued her verbal assault growing more daring with her insults until something inside me finally snapped.

“You want answers!? I’ll give you your bleeding answers! The three morons yesterday made me use my fighting style designed to win at any cost! That was an honest accident and believe me when I say that they got off lucky! Why do I have that style!? Too many bucking violent morons from my home! Lastly my research is for me to find A BUCKING WAY HOME TO MY OWN BUCKING DIMENSION!”

As I recovered from my sudden burst of anger I also became aware of the stunned silence that now filled the library. Both ponies were staring at me mouths agape and all I could think was: Buck my life…