• 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 7. Resonance

Chapter 7 Resonance

Standing in line
One more time, I’m gonna give you all that’s mine
Pushing the pace, get into the maze
Gonna play this game for one last time

Don’t fail me now
I try to show the way but I don’t know how
Don’t waste my time
‘Cause the blind will lead the blind

I was never really one to enjoy parties, not the Earth kind anyway. In fact I rarely enjoy any type of gathering greater than ten individuals. Sure I could enjoy the night out with friends, getting hammered and so on. But for some reason I never really got further than the bar. Once my friends decided that they wanted to dance or anything of the sort I would always find an excuse and slip away in the night. Perhaps it was due to having ended up in one too many drunken fights, or it might’ve been the atmosphere I didn’t enjoy. What does this have to do with this tale? Not a damn thing really. I guess it’s just one of those mysteries that you really could care less about.

*~*

I awoke feeling rested, but I kept my eyes closed. Not certain whether I really wanted to get up yet or stay on the couch snoozing. My thoughts strayed back to yesterday evening and the drunken kiss Celestia had planted on my lips. If she remembered the whole ordeal, today would probably be very awkward. I idly tried to move my right arm only to find it unresponsive and without feeling. Ugh, I guess I slept on it again. It happened from time to time that I woke up without any control of an arm, always due to me having cut off most of the blood flow for an extended period of time by sleeping in an odd position. Was it dangerous? I don’t know. I have no medical education.

I lazily rolled my head to the left and opened my eyes. Judging by the light level in the apartment the sun had yet to rise, but it was not far off. I extended my left arm and plucked my cellphone from the coffee table. A glance at the display told me that it was close seven A.M. I let out a quite annoyed groan. For someone as sleep deprived as I was, one could only assume that my mind hated me. Why did I wake up this early? I used my left arm to rub some of the sleep out of my eyes. Well then let’s see if I can get the right arm working again. I thought, my mind still feeling sluggish. I turned my head to the right instead and immediately froze.

My arm wasn’t sleeping because I had slept on it, rather there was someone still sleeping on it. I stared at the sleeping form of Celestia who had snuggled up close with arm and was using it as a pillow. My mind refused to form any coherent thoughts except one, one that wasn’t very helpful.

What?

It was soon followed by equally useless thoughts such as: When, how, and why? Somewhere in the back of my head, I felt that this could only end badly. Thanks to the way she was sleeping there was no way for me to slip away without waking her. I could turn this into another troll scenario but I felt that this would be awkward enough as it was. In the end I just decided to stay where I was in wait for Celestia to wake up. Hopefully she could offer some clarity on why she was sleeping beside me and not in the bed.

*<>*

Celestia was having the strangest of dreams. She dreamt that she had given in to the turmoil of feelings inside her and kissed Cloud. He had in turn claimed that she had been drunk and had put her to bed. Later she had woken up in the dream and had stumbled out into the living room area only to find Cloud sound asleep on the couch. Giggling to herself she had stumbled over to him and slowly crept down beside him. She had snuggled up close to him and had stayed there until she fell asleep once more. This was just a dream anyway. After that the dream had skipped to her being back in Canterlot castle, she was now tending to her normal workday but Cloud had been present in his pony form.

No dream lasts forever though as Celestia slowly felt herself returning to the waking world. She lazily opened her eyes, taking in the scene before her. She was half snuggling, half laying on one of Cloud’s arms. When it came to Cloud though; he had a bored expression on his face and was staring at the ceiling. For a few seconds he mind did not register the situation, and if you strained your ears you could probably hear a faint ticking sound.

The faint clock like sound stopped with a *ding* as Celestia’s mind finally connected the dots.
She felt her face heat up and with a small embarrassed *eep* she pushed both her arms away from her in an attempt to create some distance between her and Cloud. What she didn’t account for though, was that the couch ended and Cloud dropped out of sight with a surprised yelp. From bellow the couch she heard Cloud groan and then mutter something that sounded like:

“Fuck my life.”

*<>*

For a few seconds I just lay there on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. I couldn’t really say that her reaction was that much of a surprise to me. But what was I supposed to do? I mean all my options would’ve ended with her waking up anyway. Gathering my resolve to confront another potential storm of distrust from the sun princess I sat up. What I found was not what I had expected at all.

Celestia was blushing heavily, more so than yesterday when she was drunk. She was even hiding part of her face behind her multicolored hair making her look a bit like a humanized Fluttershy.

"Since you aren’t yelling yet, can I assume that you remember the reason for this situation?" I asked feeling a mix of amusement and tiredness.

"Y-yes, I’m sorry Cloud. I may have thought that it was all a dream. So when I woke up and found it not to be the case… I may have overreacted a bit." she supplied quickly.

"As long as we’re on the same page you don’t need to apologize for that. I am partly to blame as well since I supplied the alcohol that led to this." I said as I pinched the bridge of my nose.

"Anyway, now that we’re both awake let’s get this day rolling. Hopefully we’ll be able to send you home today or at least make some headway in finding a way. Why don’t you go take a shower and I’ll start breakfast in the meantime?" I suggested.

"Okay that sounds like a wonderful idea, which door leads to the bathroom?"

*~*

After showing her the bathroom and how to operate the shower I left the bathroom heading toward the kitchen. I was quite happy with myself for remembering to tell Celestia to use one of my bathrobes once she was done showering. That should hopefully eliminate another cultural slip up. I thought to myself with a smile.

I had asked Celestia what she wanted for breakfast but she had just told me to surprise her. I guess my cooking yesterday made some sort of impact after all. Without directions I set out to make a breakfast consisting of a bit of everything. I could still hear the running water from the bathroom and soon it was joined by Celestia humming the My little pony theme song. For a second I just stopped. Wow, she’s got an amazing voice. I wonder how that song ties in with their culture. I wondered absentmindedly before I shook my head to clear it and continued with breakfast.

Today was going to be interesting to say the least. I thought absentmindedly as I jammed a couple of bread slices into the toaster. I walked out into the living room and fired up the computer. I had neglected playing music through the speaker system yesterday, but since Celestia was in the shower right now I felt that I could enjoy some music while I made breakfast.
Hmm, I have no doubt that suddenly playing metal will startle her so I suppose I’ll go with something softer on the ears. I thought with a grain plastered on my face.

Soon I was back in the kitchen, music from the short playlist I threw together streaming in through the kitchen door. This was what I remembered, what I enjoyed. To work while I listened to music that I liked, I rarely did anything without music. It really was a miracle that I had been able to focus as well as I had in Equestria. I guess survival instincts are pretty, damn good motivators.

I was so caught up between my thoughts and cooking that I never noticed the shower being turned off. It wasn’t until the toaster launched 4, now crispy, slices of bread into the air that I turned around and found Celestia standing in the doorway silently observing me. When she noticed that I had seen her, she blushed once more.

"Is there anything I should do to help Cloud?" she asked avoiding eye contact.

I had known that things would be awkward between us due to recent incidents. But awkward was one thing we couldn’t afford to waste time on given the situation. I was going to have to clear up any confusion before lunch today, if we were ever going to get to the anomaly in the forest.

"Celestia, please look me in the eyes." She tilted her head upwards, obliging my request.

"First to answer your question. No, you don’t need to help. Most of it is already done, but thanks for asking. Secondly I understand that you feel awkward, once I would’ve too. In fact I understand why you feel that way more than most beings both here and in Equestria." As the final sentence left my lips Celestia had adopted an inquiring look.

"What do you mean Cloud?" She asked sounding a bit confused.

This was it, huh? Another piece of information I would liked to have kept a secret leaked due to a slip of my tongue. What was it with these ponies and making me more honest? I suddenly admired Swiftmend a whole lot more for being able to pull it off the deceiver gig in Equestria. Although his approach to it was still flawed.

"Well, I may have seen your memories." I simply stated awaiting her reaction.

For a few seconds she simply looked at me. I couldn’t see any discernible emotions on her face or in her stance.

"It was the memory spell wasn’t it?" she asked. My mind reeled, she had known?

"I had my suspicions that something went a bit awry with the spell. But I dismissed the thoughts of it being important." She continued explaining.

"Could you please tell me what you saw Cloud?"

"To be honest, I think I saw everything Celestia. I only recall fragments of very strong memories. But from those fragments I can tell how you treated yourself over the last millennia. It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t perceptive enough to foresee what transpired last night, but right now I need decisive Celestia. Not Fluttershy Celestia."

There was a stunned silence between us. A few seconds turned into a minute, the music from the playlist still playing in the background. I started to worry that I had gone too far. But then she drew a deep breath and seemed to collect herself.

"You’re right Cloud. Everything has a time and place and I need my wits right now." She said with a small sigh.

"It’s okay. It’s fine to be embarrassed from time to time. I do believe you know that I am embarrassed at times too. Not to mention that you’ve had a couple of years of experience with the emotion." I answered with a faint smile.

I was relieved that she once more acted like the demi god I respected. Not that I minded the awkward air that had been present. Quite the opposite the awkwardness would’ve have been a gold mine for future jokes and teasing. The situation however, required us both to function at close to maximum capacity.

"There’s no harm in it Celestia, I am not mad or uncomfortable. It’s just as you say though, everything has a time and a place and right now I think that it’s time for breakfast." I continued keeping my faint smile.

Celestia grazed me with a smile of her own as she visibly relaxed. I moved everything relevant to breakfast over to the table as Celestia sat down in one of the chairs. Soon we found ourselves making pleasant conversation about this and that.

*<>*

Her emotions were scattered and that was putting it lightly as she listened to Cloud. For one she was happy that he truly did understand her better than most. On the other hoof she was angry at him for keeping this a secret. Not to mention that she felt a bit betrayed that he hadn’t trusted her enough to mention this before. No, I need to remember that being deceptive is part of his nature. His skill at playing a role is equal, if not greater than mine is, when I’m in my normal form. Her thoughts strayed as she listened.

What he said was true, she couldn’t afford to waste time being embarrassed here. With a deep breath she collected all of her stray feelings and pushed them to the side for the time being. There would be time to sift through them later, hopefully back home in Canterlot.

"You’re right Cloud. Everything has a time and place and I need my wits right now." she said to the male in front of her.

"It’s okay. It’s fine to be embarrassed from time to time. I do believe you know that I am embarrassed at times too. Not to mention that you’ve had a couple of years of experience with the emotion. There’s no harm in it Celestia, I am not mad or uncomfortable. It’s just as you say though, everything has a time and a place and right now I think that it’s time for breakfast." came his response a few seconds later.

He offered her a faint smile which she returned with one of her own. He broke eye contact and started to move the breakfast he had prepared over to the table while she sat down in one of the chairs. It was a strange ability she thought, not through commands but subtle reasoning did he get his points across. She knew that he could be angry and shout just like anypony else from his memories. But there was something else when he approached her, was it compassion or something else entirely? She couldn’t tell for sure. Perhaps she was reading too far into the situation.

Before she knew what had happened, her latest wonderings had been washed away along with the remnants of awkward feelings as they started to converse. The topics ranged from everything imaginable. She herself was very interested in the strange music that had been playing for a while in the background. Some of it sounded familiar while other songs were completely alien to her.

*~*

The rest of the morning passed in a blur. Once she had dried off, Cloud had lent her some clothes to wear. They didn’t fit too well but they would serve their purpose at least. Or as Cloud had put it:

“Meh, I guess that’ll work.”

What followed was a planning session for how they would get to the anomaly and what they would do once they reached it. It was mostly just a precaution if they would encounter something that they hadn’t accounted for. Around midday Cloud had stepped into the kitchen once more to prepare a light lunch consisting of a salad and some bread. She idly wondered as they ate, if she should’ve told Cloud about the fact that albeit rare ponies actually consumed meat. The animalistic fat was required for a species to retain a higher cognitive brain function. In the end she decided it was of little importance as Cloud had proven to be a surprisingly good chef anyway.

With lunch behind them Cloud had put forth a set of warmer clothes for her to wear as he went to gather her belongings, namely her jewelry and gown.

After a couple of minutes, during which she had managed to put on the large jacket, Cloud returned with some sort of saddlebag containing her gown and trinkets. He flashed her a smile before throwing a black jacket across his shoulders and grabbing a small rectangular device with what looked like a miniature headset attached to it.

"Aight Celestia let’s see if we can get you home." he said and opened the door leading out of his apartment.

*~*

Saying that Cloud’s world was different from hers was an understatement. Everywhere she turned her eyes she would see something that baffled or intrigued her. The colors were faded in comparison to her Equestria but there was something about this place that made it feel normal. Perhaps it is due to how this body processes things? Twilight would have a field day if she was ever given the chance to study this. She thought as a small smile grew on her lips.

As Cloud led them through the streets she carefully studied her surroundings, taking in as much of them as possible. Even if the situation wasn’t the best she would like to remember this experience. One of the things that fascinated her the most, were the metal carriages that the humans drove around. Or Cars as Cloud had called them when she had asked. It was fascinating and terrifying at the same time to see how a species had tamed the planet to their biding through technology.

Her questions continued to flow about every new aspect of this strange world that came to mind. At one point Cloud had chuckled and asked her if Twilight had rubbed off on her. At that point she had giggled a bit herself, before Cloud had proceeded to answer her latest question with a humored glint in his eyes.

Eventually they had reached a path leading through a minor forest and about 20 minutes in, give or take a couple minutes, Cloud had stopped suddenly.

"This is the place. Around this area was where I first got struck by lightning." he had declared.

She had just nodded in response and had started to reach for her magic. The echo was certainly stronger here, much stronger in fact. Overjoyed by this prospect she had started to gradually test how much of her strength she could utilize as they had planned back at Cloud’s apartment.

*~*

She was starting to feel despair again. She could gather more magic than before yes, but it wasn’t enough for the amounts required to perform the spell that would take her home. She did not dare cast it with less than the required amount of magic. There were some terrible possibilities if one did. So now here she was, her options dwindling by the second.

Her rising emotions had not gone unnoticed though. Cloud was watching her with a concerned expression.

"It’s not working as it should is it?" he asked.

She let out a trembling sigh.

"No, no it isn’t. I can’t draw enough magic for the spell. I’m close but it just isn’t enough for it to be safe."

"Ah." he responded letting his concern be heard in his voice.

After a few minutes of silence he spoke up again.

"Celestia, which spell requires more energy, the one used to send me back here or the one you’re trying to use to get home?"

"The one I’m trying to use to get home but why do you…" her voice trailed off and her eyes grew large when she understood what Cloud was implying. She couldn’t accept more off his help and certainly not ask him to do that for her.

"No I cannot ask you to do that Cloud it would not b-" she began but Cloud cut her off.

"No Celestia you will listen to me before you argue that I’m wrong. First off, our individual importance to our respective worlds are vastly different. I’m just another person here among millions while you are something irreplaceable on Equestria. Secondly it is not your privilege to tell me what I can offer of my own free will." he stated while keeping his eyes locked with hers.

"But-" she began only to be cut off again.

"No buts. I have no regrets offering you this, besides with the different time flows of this world and yours it would be the overall better choice."

That was true. That was one of the first things Cloud had mentioned during their talks. A week in Equestria was apparently only a day here. She studied his eyes for any kind of indecision but found only a steely resolve.

"Okay we’ll try this to see if it works." she gave in.

"Good, just don’t release the spell before you feel a resonance or whatever you called it. Oh and one more thing." he said and reached into his pocket extracting his keys.

"If the spell by any chance only sends me, use these to get back to my apartment. You do remember the way right?"

She nodded in response. His arguments are logical but why would he go this far? Well I have more or less already agreed and I don’t think I’d be able to persuade him to reconsider.

After accepting the keys from Cloud she once again started to draw upon the magic. She extended her right arm and placed the hand on Clouds brow. She could feel the buildup, but no resonance. She drew in more magic she was close to her limit for this world now. She was almost ready to give up when she felt it, a resonance stronger than the previous ones. It was like comparing a doorbell to the bells of a church. Was it because this one had been intentional? She thought as she let out an involuntary gasp.

Her eyes searched for Cloud’s once more only to find them still observing her, his resolve unwavering. He offered her a reassuring smile and a small nod to show that he was ready whenever she was. Well there’s no point in waiting any longer is there? She asked herself before releasing the spell, making the world disappear in a blinding flash.

*<>*

For the third time in my life I felt the melting feeling of shape shifting. I don’t think I’d ever grow used to it and hopefully I wouldn’t have to. I had closed my eyes as the spell went off and quite frankly I didn’t feel like opening them until we had arrived at our destination. I had a feeling that I would dislike staring into the warp or whatever it was we were traveling through.

Suddenly I felt ground beneath me again so I carefully opened one of my eyes. When I saw nothing but trees I opened the other one as well and tried to sit up. My sudden movement only resulted in me falling backwards. Making me stare up into the brilliant orange sky as I overestimated the length of my once again pony legs.

With a groan I worked myself up into a sitting position and looked around. Celestia was lying to my left, back in her alicorn form. Although she looked exhausted she was at least conscious. I offered her a smile as I got on my hooves and walked over to her. I extended one of my fore hooves to help her up.

"Looks like you’re the taller one once again Celestia." I said with a smile.

She responded with a tired chuckle before saying.

"Well certainly looks that way doesn’t it Cloud. Do you know where we are?"

"Well, if I’m not mistaken I think this is the place where I first arrived in Equestria. So this is the Everfree, or Eternal woods if you prefer that name." I said as I studied her in the light from the sundown.

"Now that’s a name I haven’t heard for a very long time. Well let’s not linger any longer." she said and extended her wings.

I quickly followed suite and soon we were flying above the treetops over the Everfree forest. By the looks of the rapidly descending sun Luna had mastered control over the flaming orb quite well.

As the sun finally vanished in the horizon I decided to speak up.

"Hey Celestia, you should head to Canterlot and announce your return. I’ll just head to Ponyville and wait there until you get the political fallout under control."

"Are you sure Cloud? It wouldn’t bother me if you came with me to Canterlot."

"Naa it’s fine, besides someone should inform your student about your return as well. It will just be more efficient this way."

She gave me a quick nod.

"Okay Cloud I’ll see you later then, safe winds and farewell for now."

"You too Celestia." I said before I veered off toward Ponyville.

Even in the remnants of light left by the sun it was simple to navigate the land. Especially since I was flying and could see the massive orchard that was Sweet Apple Acres far in the distance.

After about an hour of silent flying I had just passed the Apple homestead and could see Ponyville. The sky had already shifted to a black canvas filled with stars. Something about the sky felt wrong though, I just couldn’t put my finger… Er hoof on it.

As I reached Ponyville the feeling of wrongness grew. The entire town was dark. Surely they couldn’t have all decided to sleep early? I set down in the middle of the town square, keeping a watchful eye as my mind tried to comprehend what was going on. All the buildings around me were dark and quiet. It was almost deathly quiet. Even a sleeping town makes some kind of noise. I started to trot toward Twilight’s library hoping to find some answers there.

A few minutes later I found myself outside the library door which I gave a hesitant knock. I was met with silence. Just like the rest of the town the library was dark, something that seemed even more like an anomaly given Twilights habit to study late at night. As a final resort I tried the handle and found the door unlocked.

I pushed the door open and hurried inside. The sight that met me was a half empty library, as if someone had left in a rush. I did a quick search through the library only to make sure it was truly empty. When I found that to be the case I rushed back out to the street and checked some of the closer buildings. All of them were empty, all of them displaying signs of their inhabitants leaving in a hurry.

I flared my wings and took to the sky once more. I wouldn’t get any answers here and someone had to be told about this, if no one had already. With a few strong flaps I gained some extra altitude before setting my sights on Canterlot. There was light coming from the city which meant that there was at least some activity over there.

After another hour of flying my wings burned from the strain of flying far longer than I had before, but I dared not set down to rest so I pressed on. Canterlot was considerably closer and if I was not overestimating myself I could probably reach it within the next 40-50 minutes if I kept this pace. Strengthened by the thought I kept flying.

Eventually I flew over the border into Canterlot and everywhere bellow me I could see well lit streets bustling with ponies. Reassured by the fact that there were indeed ponies in Canterlot I set my sights on the castle.

A minute or two later I landed in front of the castle gate, instantly attracting the attention of the two guards stationed there.

"State your business and name citizen." one of them commanded.

"Cloud and the matter is regarding Ponyville." I said, but regretted it as soon as the words left my mouth.

Both guards instantly moved closer carefully observing me. Suddenly one of the guard’s eyes widened as he saw the X shaped scar above my cutie mark.

"By the princesses, it’s him." he whispered before turning toward the other guard.

"It’s the suspect corporal. Send a flare!"

"Suspect? What? I’ve done nothing." I started to argue as the other guard ignited his horn firing a red streak of sparkles into the air.

Before I had time to react additional guards teleported in while a couple of pegasi dove down from above. I started to back away slowly but they quickly formed a circle around me spears pointing toward me from every direction.

"Now come peacefully or we will use force to take you down criminal!" one of the guards stated loudly.

"Now hold on a second, I think you’ve got the wrong guy. I don’t even know what I’m being accu-" was all I had time to say before one of the guards cried out.

"He’s resisting arrest take him down!"

I saw a flash of light in my periphery as a unicorn guard ignited his horn and fired off an unknown spell. The world spun once and then I knew nothing more.

Author's Note:

This chapter took a while to write. Mostly due to the fact that some of the dialogue was driving me mad. Anyway I hope you enjoy the latest installment as things are about to heat up in the coming chapters.