• Published 25th Mar 2012
  • 1,877 Views, 36 Comments

ANZAC Legends - SterlingNomad



They didn't mention mud. Or blood. Or tears.

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 36
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Once a Jolly Swagman

There Was a Jolly Swagman
Prologue of ‘ANZAC Legends’

“Bunsen, please. Explain yourself!”

“My apologies your highness, but court must be put on hold. Please, come quickly, there is not much time”

Celestia was frustrated with the young, tan Unicorn before her. His thin, square rimmed specs rode low down his muzzle, and the white lab coat seemed to accentuate his tall, reedy stature. His normally tidy red mane was frazzled, and his fringe hung low over his brow. One of Equestria’s brightest minds, and a member of Celestia’s private magical laboratory, Bunsen Burner had been tasked, along with Twilight Sparkle, the princess’ protégé, with watching and studying varying magical frequencies that seemed to have been on the fritz lately.

Bunsen, a student of her own once, was not, however, here to break up important meetings with Canterlot’s elite banking division. A group of ponies that felt they were the sole division of the Canterlot public service that deserved private court with the princess herself.

“Bunsen, I trust your judgment, but this better be Important.” Celestia spoke in hushed tones, not wanting to confine this obviously important information with her audience. Turning, she faced the group of graying stallions, not an Earth Pony or Pegasus in sight.

“Gentleponies, my sincerest apologies, but something of great importance appears to have cropped up. I will be back with you all shortly.” Celestia said sweetly, trying to hide the relief from her voice. She was still frustrated with Bunsen for the interruption, but these ponies were, quite frankly, the dullest, pushiest downright rudest group of stallions she had ever had to suffer.

Ignoring the irritated mutterings that rushed through the semi circle of unicorns, she turned her back and followed Bunsen off her throne and out an immaculately carved wooden door.

This lead into a gold trimmed hallway, with lush velvet carpets and artistically embellished marble doorways. Pushing past all of these, Bunsen and Celestia soon found themselves at another wooden doorway, this one surrounded by a menacing magical aura. Bunsen touched his horn to the door’s copper handle, and it immediately swung open.

As soon as they were on the other side, the velvet and gold of the throne room was replaced by clean white walls and a long corridor, covered in tiles. Bunsen made sure that the door had shut tight, and with on last push on the handle, decided that it was properly closed and sound proofed. This was, after all, top secret. Only the Princesses, Bunsen, Twilight, and a choice selection of guards were allowed through this hallowed corridor, into the Royal Laboratory Complex.

Before Celestia could begin asking questions of Bunsen, he had already started a tirade of explanations involving magical fluctuations.

“Miss Sparkle and I were placed here to study fluctuations in the ambient magical field that surrounds Equestria, which we have been doing for the most of the day, with no changes observed from readings that are taken from the meteorological survey of Canterlot.” Bunsen explained. He was telling Celestia everything she knew however, as this study was of her inception. She decided not to interrupt, as Bunsen was slowly entering his ‘groove’ one might say.

“However the readings we were taking from our own apparatus was, well, different. The frequency of the Equestrial-Magicka Field here in the castle was 10 times that of the surrounding Canterlot area.”

“Meaning that magic, powerful magic, is being concentrated here” Celestia finished for him.

“Or rather was concentrated here” Bunsen corrected. “Not ten minutes ago, the frequency doubled again, but only for a second, before falling to natural levels. We were perplexed as to the reasoning for this, but then sentience traps in the reciprocal room were sprung. Meaning only one thing.” Bunsen left the question unanswered.

Celestia knew exactly what he meant. Those kinds of fluctuations were only experienced when teleportation was being used, as she and twilight knew from experience and documented experiments. However those fluctuations happened in a localized area around the point of casting, usually the tip of the horn, and not on such a large scale. This meant that something had been teleported a great distance, by an incredibly strong source of magic, into the very walls of the castle and thanks to the sentience traps, (Strong spells that had been cast into all the rooms of the laboratory, that would immediately notify Twilight or Bunsen of any living creature that entered the area of affect of the spell.) it was clear that whatever was inside the reciprocal room, was very much alive.

Celestia was deep in thought as she and Bunsen turned a corner, getting closer to the intruder. “In all of Equestria, what do we know could pull a stunt like that?” Celestia asked no-one in particular.

“Well it certainly wasn’t unicorn magic, way too strong for that. And if I’m not mistaken it’s not Alicorn either. It could be dis..”

“No, no it isn’t Dis... him, Bunsen. The elements dealt with him. Besides, he is far too fond of himself to do something like this without making himself known. No, no it can’t be him” Celestia reasoned, although she didn’t sound entirely sure. “Err, Bunsen, where is Twilight?”

“Miss Sparkle is retrieving Princess Luna from her chambers as we speak.” Bunsen answered. Awaking the goddess of the night was not an enviable task, and thus Bunsen had decided to deal with the bankers instead.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT’S ALIVE?” Luna was apparently not accustomed to being awoken early (even though it was in fact 5 PM ). Celestia’s younger sister could be heard long before she was in sight; she was rather fond of Dramatic entrances. The clanging of her royal hoof guards against the tiled floor echoed around the laboratories, and Celestia wandered if she sounded like that as she strolled around the castle grounds, whose floors were almost entirely covered in either marble or gold.

“But Luna please, we don’t know anything about who it is. It could be friendly!” Twilight pleaded as the violet unicorn and Navy Blue Alicorn rounded a corner and strutted purposefully towards Celestia and Bunsen. Giving up on calming down the grouchy Princess, Twilight changed tack, turning her attention to her partner.

“Bunsen, have you filled in Celes...”

“The Princess has been brought up to date, Miss Sparkle.” Much to Twilight’s chagrin, Bunsen refused to refer to either Princess, or Twilight, in any way that would be seen as informal.

He had been raised as the princess’ student; much like Celestia had raised Twilight. But unlike Twilight, he had never developed the close connection that Twilight and Celestia shared. Not that it had affected his career or skill in anyway. Bunsen was a keen and observant scholar and although a quite soul, he possessed a talent with words and could beautifully express himself through written work. His beliefs that study and evidence were the key to a perfect argument had led him to make some amazing discoveries in the magical world, The Equestrial-Magicka Field was just one of these.

Why his cutie-mark was a Bunsen burner, not a quill, or some other writing implement was beyond Twilight.

At this moment, a palace guard seemed to materialize out from a completely blank wall. His yellow coat clashing with his two sizes too big golden helmet. His bright blue eyes were glued to floor, and his brow drenched with sweat.
While palace guards do not often tend to materialize from seemingly bare walls, his sudden presence did not seem to faze the congregation.

The guard bowed his head twice in quick succession, for both Celestia and Luna, before nervously gesturing towards the blank wall from whence he had come.

The two princesses turned and marched through the blank facade, followed closely by the guard, leaving Bunsen and Twilight outside in an hallway of silence.

“Ladies first, Miss Sparkle.” Bunsen offered, making a point of using her last name.
Twilight just chuckled. “Bunsen, please, *giggle* it’s okay to use my first name silly..” She offered, treating him to a smile.

“If you wish, Miss Sparkl...” He caught himself before continuing. “Twilight”.


Celestia had entered a large circular room, with a large looking dish type apparatus in the centre. Rising up from three points around the dish were three massive wrought iron claws that bent half way along their length, toward the centre of the dish. Emanating from the circumference was any number of different wires and cables that connected too many different forms of scientific equipment. This was all down in an amphitheatre type setting, with the entrance to the room ran along a platform that followed the circumference of the room, a few meters of the ground.

The reciprocal room was not how she had left it however. The usually gleaming white floor was singed and covered in soot. The machines hooked up to the dish were all dark, and some were emanating dangerously strong tendrils of electric charge.

Most menacingly however what was to be found in the centre of the room.

A sharp intake of air heralded Luna’s entrance.

“The stars be damned!”

On the far side of the dish, a tangled green mass rested. It was hard to distinguish, but she could clearly see some kind of cloth, or perhaps even tangled roots. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that two limbs protruded from the base or the cloth/shrub mass above. They were spread, and covered in a fabric adorned in splotches of green, brown and black. At the ends of these, what could only be described as leather boots laced up to the hilt.

“I was sent here by Miss Sparkle and Mr Burner as soon as the traps were sprung. I’m not sure what it is, but we’ve definitely never seen it before.” Stated the guard, answering Celestia’s silence. “But it is definitely alive, you can see it breathing.”

Sure enough, the green mass above the legs could be seen slowly rising and falling, as if it were peacefully asleep.

“Oh My.”

Bunsen and Twilight had finally entered, and she was at a complete loss for words. They all were.
Celestia and Luna were sharing much the same wavelength: How much of a threat is this..Thing.. To Equestria?


Twilight, as inquisitive as ever, could only help to think: I wonder if it speaks equestrian?

While drawing a blank, Bunsen finally came to his wits enough to think: Where is Twilight going?

“Twilight, no, Wait!” was all he could meek out, before twilight clumsily hurled herself over the barrier of the platform, landing on the ground below with a thud.

Celestia and Luna gasped, while the guard drew his sword; as if the creature on the floor was about to instantly lash out at them all. Twilight was naively oblivious to all this, her inane curiosity overpowering her sense of trepidation at the alien creature.

Now that she was down at its level, she instantly regretted leaving the safety of the platform above. The creature seemed so much... closer down here. She hadn’t realised its size either, it almost dominated the whole half the dish on which it resided. Slowly, she moved forward, her fringe drooping low over her eyes. The dish felt like ice to her hooves, and her heart felt like it was going to punch a hole through her chest. She was only a few feet away, and she could now clearly see that what looked like a bush from above was actually a rough fabric. It reminded twilight of the mossy ground in the Everfree forest.

Suddenly one of the great boots twitched, only inches from Twilight’s muzzle.
All the ponies in the room quickly silenced, so much so that the light breathing of the creature could be heard. Twilight let out a breath slowly, as if breathing itself was enough to bring death upon them all.

Time ambled on at a painful pace, and it was 5 minutes later that Twilight felt safe to move again, for the creature seemed to be deep in its slumber. Up on the platform Bunsen and Celestia were gesturing madly at Twilight, trying to reason with the unicorn without words. Luna maintained her stoic stance, her expression unreadable while the guard just held his sword limply in his mouth, and stayed as close to the wall as possible, beads of sweat easily visible dripping down the sides of his neck. Ignoring them all she moved slowly closer.

Twilight was now right next to the creature, and she could almost see through holes in the rough khaki fabric, so close that its scent was deep in her nostrils. The creature smelt like a combination of sweat and mud, and Twilight could see now that its legs were caked in it. The sheet itself was, in a certain place rising and falling steadily, in time with its shallow breathing. Slowly she brought her head down to the rising fabric, so close that she could stick her tongue out and taste it. Tilting her head, she put an ear steadily against what she guessed must have been the chest under the sheet. Off in the distance she could hear a distinct, even heart beat.

She turned her back on the creature, and looked up at the ponies of the platform and deftly nodded.
What happened next caught Twilight by surprise. She hadn’t realized, but as she turned around, she had planted a hoof directly onto the creature’s chest. Twilight was suddenly lifted out of the air and thrown a few feet away as the creature reared up, letting out ungodly scream as it did so.

“GYAAAAAAAAHGGGG!!” it cried, throwing the heavy khaki blanket clear.

Luna’s moth dropped open, while the guard and Bunsen looked ready to take flight completely. Celestia screamed as she saw her student tossed into the air. Twilight was unharmed by the throw, and as soon as she had dusted herself of, she wasted no time in getting as far away from the beast as possible.

Now the blanket was clear, they could finally get a proper look at what had invaded their preciously guarded castle. Its face was not unlike that of a pony, except the muzzle was all wrong, staying flush to the face rather that protruding outward. It did posses atop its head a deep shock of dark brown hair that messily covered the top of its head. Covering its chest was a shirt, in much the same pattern as the pants.

Just above the hip however, a large gaping hole had been stained a deep red, and the increasing splotch soon started to drip through, onto the floor. This was where, not a moment before, Twilight had clumsily misplaced a hoof.

The thing opened its eyes wide, and for the first time the ponies could see a deep, aquamarine blue. It then immediately squished its face up into a scowl, before clamping its hands around the wound. Breathing heavily through clenched teeth, its eyes opened again, and they settled upon a helpless looking Twilight, who was currently trying to make herself look as small as possible.

“OI, wait right there.” It said through a clamped jaw, eyes staring right through Twilight. “I need you to come to me.” *pant* “now.”

She made no indication of even considering making a move.

“I said I need you” the thing brought up an arm and pointed at Twilight. “Too come to me. NOW!”

At this Twilight simply lost her composure and fell to the floor in tears.

“OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know that would hurt I just accidently stepped on you, and you looked asleep, and I didn’t know if you were even alive and oh gosh please don’t eat mee!!”

“Just come over here. Please.” The thing said, looking desperate. Celestia was having none of it however, and she gracefully leapt over the barrier and landed right in front of twilight.

“Don’t. You. Lay. A. HOOF on her!” breathed Celestia menacingly, employing thousands of years of Power, and as if to make her point, her horn began to glow a menacing dark grey, and tendrils of magic started to form at her feet.

The thing on the floor just rolled its eyes, and then scrunched it’s face up into a scowl once more.

“For bleeding Christ sake then, you help me” it spat at Celestia, this reaction bringing hushed outbursts of shock from the audience above.

Celestia was suspicious, but blood was blood, and this thing looked to be in serious pain.

“Very well then, what is it that you require?” she snarled, persecution still thick in her voice.

“Alright, I need you” *pant* “to c’mere, and see” *groan* “ if there is an exit wound.”

“A What?” Celestia blinked a couple of times, her face softening, ever so slightly.

“An exit wound!” the thing stressed, still holding its side, blood now seeping from the gaps between its fingers. Celestia blinked again, and raised an eyebrow at the thing.

The creature brought a hand to its face and muttered under its breath, before again glaring at Celestia with a pleading, but powerful gaze.

“Is the there.” The thing paused for effect. “A hole. In my back?”

Celestia brought a hoof to her face. Oh.

Celestia lowered her horn, and much to the surprise of the creature, it was immediately enveloped in a magical, grey aura and lifted a few feet into the air. She spun the thing around, and found no such hole. Spinning it around again, she shook her head. The new comer nodded in acknowledgment before it clenched its eyes closed, and then slowly reached behind.

A small dagger was produced from an unseen sheath, and this made all five ponies in the room take a brief step back. Celestia was about to wrench the blade for the creature's hand, but the beast turned the blade on himself.

Working with one hand, the creature used the knife to cut through the buttons holding it’s shirt together until it hung loosely over his arms. It looked up at Celestia, who had come much closer than before and was now standing only a foot away.

“Could you give us a hand, once more?” said the creature. The harshness had been dropped from its voice, and sounded almost as if it were pleading.

Raised by the magical aura again, it could quickly let its arms dangle by its sides as the shirt slowly fell to the floor.
Gazing around the room, the creature’s eyes next fell on Bunsen.

“Oi you, bloke in the lab coat.” *pant* “Could you spare that pencil in your pocket?”

Not wanting to create a fuss, or even maintain eye contact it seemed, Bunsen wordlessly magicked the pencil over to the shirtless creature, its skin a light tan color matching his coat.

The creature looked at Celestia again and winked, before placing the pencil between its teeth.

What happened next would prove to be the most painful thing Bunsen, Twilight, or even the guard would bare witness.

Clenching its teeth hard against the pencil, the creature, using one on hand, jammed the knife deep into the gash, eliciting muffled cries from behind the pencil. Bending the knife outward the gash was increased in size and the blood started to flow anew. Using the other hand, the creature started to grope around inside his wound, a sight which made the others cringe in agony. The guard looked as if he was about to faint. But the creature pressed on, the knife going deeper and deeper until the blade was almost half way in, eliciting unbearable sounds, much like hooves through muddy ground. Closing its eyes, the creature braced itself, before plunging the knife even further into its belly. At this the pencil popped out and the screams of agony hit their full volume. The knife hand now repeated its earlier action, bending outward and creating a bigger gash for the other hand to reach in. Finally, a small, lump of metal was removed from the gash, and with one final, relived grunt from the creature, the knife was removed as well.

The creature visibly collapsed onto its hunches, and both Celestia and Twilight let out a breath they had been holding for the duration of the operation. Luna looked impressed, and Bunsen dared a quick glance at the guard, who looked as if he was about to throw up.

The creature seemed to be in much less pain, for the scowl had been replaced with a sheepish grin.

“I could do” *pant* “With not doing that” *pant* “again, ha, for a very long time,” It laughed, as if to mock the gravity of the situation at hand.

It picked the lump of metal up from the ground and twirled it slowly within its grasp. The creature then lobbed it at Twilight, which landed at her feet.

“A souvenir.”

The six were once again locked in a moment of silence. The creature looked around, eyeing each pony up and down. He paid special attention to Celestia, who seemed to be giving the creature much the same treatment.

The thing then let out a long sigh before embarking upon the subject that was one everyponies mind.

“SO!” it said, clasping it’s great hands together, bringing attention to itself. “Who are you? Where am I, and What is this place?” it gazed up, and was met with confused looks. Twilight glanced up at Celestia, who she could see was almost insulted by the notion of this intruder asking her for answers. Ignoring this Twilight turned back to the creature, who gazed up at her with a blank expression, as if expecting answers.

“We could ask of you much the same thing.”

The thing on the floor took this into consideration before opening its mouth once more.

“Fair enough.” It closed its eyes for a beat, and then brought its hands together again. “My name is William McKay, and I’m just a…"

“Stop!” cried Bunsen, his voice thick with anxiety. “Does it not occur to any pony else but me that this… creature is bleeding to death! And what are we doing? Interrogating it?!”

Celestia addressed Bunsen with contempt, an indiscreet glare through constricted eyelids. Twilight, on the other hoof, seemed to be torn. She could sense that her mentor ill considered the creature’s well being, which twilight could understand. It was not always that intruders found themselves deep within the castle. But what Bunsen had stated was the truth. The crimson puddle seemed to be spreading.

William seemed not to care however, as he gazed up at the drama before him with a cocked eyebrow, and a boyish smirk.

Bunsen glared back at his old mentor, biting the inside of his cheek. He felt hot, angry, and furious. That the kind, forgiving ruler of this land, the keeper of the peace, the wisest of ponies, was standing by, letting another sole, as complex and diverse as they, slowly extinguish before them.

Twilight realized now that she had been so desperate to deal with the creature, not out of curiosity, but for attention. It was a foalish notion, selfish and ill mannered. She felt like doing nothing else but running to the creature’s aid. Yet her feet remained planted next to the princess of the sun, in spite of herself. She wanted desperately to agree with Bunsen, he stood above, in sheer defiance of her power, standing up for what was right. But she could not. She would not. She was scared. For the first time in her life, Twilight feared Celestia.

All eyes were on the two, silently brawling ponies. Only the silent draw of metal plates could be heard, as the guard noiselessly pawed at the ground. Finally Celestia spoke, breaking the tension.

“Bunsen, you were my closest student before Twilight here, a close confidant and now a good friend.” She practically spat, exorcising all her godly will to keep her emotions in check. “But do NOT, question my actions.” She glared daggers, her muzzle twisted into a menacing snarl.

Luna looked away, awful memories flooding back. She loved her sister dearly, but this outburst reminded her that she was still a capable and threatening enemy to posses.

*Meep*

Celestia and Bunsen snapped towards the guard who was now face to face with Will, who stared deep into the guard’s deep blue eyes.

“You awright mate?” said Will, brushing the back of his hand upon the Guards brow. “You’re burning up”

Celestia and Bunsen were speechless; both wandering how Will had managed to move so silently and wordlessly up to the platform where the guard and Luna watched on.

This interaction seemed too much for the poor stallion, whom took one glance at the gaping hole in William’s chest before slumping to the ground, his steel and gold armor creating a loud clang.

Will took a step back in surprise, before sheepishly glancing around at the unmoving ponies, as if seeking acknowledgment that he had done nothing wrong.

Celestia, Bunsen, Luna and Twilight all just stared back, with a touch of fear present on the unicorns. This was the first time they had seen Will and his full height, and he was a monster, almost a head taller than Celestia. William just cocked an eyebrow.

“Wot?”


Celestia’s sun was not as forgiving as the Alicorn herself, and as such the beams of light that peeked through Twilight’s window attempted to be as intrusive as possible. A thin beam gently caressed her sleeping face, before prying itself deep within Twilight’s shut lids. This disturbance pertained for the better part of a minuet, before a groan could be heard escaping from twilights clenched lips. She stayed this way, trying and failing to ignore her un-asked for wake up call. Her attempts descended into futility, and Twilight finally rose, her mane a purple mess, deep bags caressing her eyes. Gazing dumbly at her alarm clock, she sighed, before violently throwing herself back onto the bed. And there she lay, head on her pillow, eyes gazing at the ceiling, as the memories from the night before flooded back.

Celestia had maintained wary of the creature called William. Perhaps not as vindictive as she had been previously been towards him, but her suspicion was evident. This could of course be because of Will’s inability to answer any question posed towards him simply and to the point. It appeared he had something to hide. His origin slipped out easily enough. He claimed to be a ‘human’, a bi-pedal species residing on a planet called earth. When asked what humans were like however, he just laughed, and refused to answer any more questions on the subject of his home. Again, when asked what he did, the answer was simple enough. After a long period of thought, where William seemed to consider how much information his captors were to be privy to, he finally came up with ‘a digger’. Yet again, when asked what a digger did, William bit his lip, before answering with ‘dig’. It hadn’t escaped Twilight that he had, at that moment, found great interest in the patters formed by the soot around him.

Bunsen insisted the gash be treated, much to Williams chagrin. Under the watchful eyes of Luna and Twilight, they accompanied Will to the Laboratories infirmary, where he was bound in various ointments and cloth bandages, which sat upon him like a satchel, reaching over his shoulder and around his waist. On the gash itself, for added protection, a thick wad of cotton was placed over the wound, which was about as large as a cutie mark. Celestia and Bunsen stayed back, arguing about what to do about their strange visitor.

Twilight was confused by Bunsen. He had been Celestia’s student, occupying the role she now lay claim to. Why was it so hard with him to agree with his old mentor? Celestia was right, she had to be. This creature had been brought here by an unknown but powerful source, into the very depths of the most secretive part of the whole castle, and it was plain to see he was keeping his cards close to his chest. Yet, he had come with a gruesome injury. (Twilight had yet to ask what the origin of the little metal lump was and how it had appeared within his chest). He had not attacked anypony on site, even when he could easily overpower them all. Bunsen’s position on the matter was clear. Whatever a human was, and whatever William was hiding, he deserved a chance, for in Bunsen’s eyes; he had given them no reason to believe that Will was a viable threat.

So, at two in the mourning, a compromise was made. William was to return with Twilight, and would be protected (Bunsen used the words ‘held captive’) by the elements of harmony. For added protection, the young guard would accompany them. Whether protection for Twilight of for William Celestia did not say, but the guard had uneasily complied.

And so here they were. Twilight glanced back at the clock on her bedside table. 6:15am. It would be another 3 hours before she decided she’d invite the elements to the library, and introduce them to Will. She cringed at the thought. Fluttershy would be petrified, Applejack suspicious, Rarity disgusted, Rainbow Dash might attack, and Pinkie Pie... Well, she had no idea what her Pink friend may do. Twilight had learned her lesson trying to predict the Professional Party Pony’s intentions.

She brought a tender hoof to her forehead, and pushed it against her temple. She had to make a plan.
Throwing off her favorite doona, she turned, and slipped out of her bead before making her way purposefully toward her door leading downstairs.

THUMP

Her front hoofs got caught in something soft and warm, and she was flung onto her face. Attempting to untangle her front limbs form her back ones, she peered through the gaps, to see that she had tripped over a silently dozing guard.
He was curled up into a ball, his short cut pink mane standing on end. His face was peaceful, and his muzzle was painted with a warm, graceful smile. Her heart melted at the sight, and she realized that he must only be a few years out of colthood, his face clean and free from the ravaging of life and hardship.

He was in a deep sleep. Understandable seeing as they had all only arrived 4 hours ago. Damn, did Twilight feel tired.
She crept up to her door, and slowly pushed out into the antechamber above the library.

Here she was met with an unexpected sight. It appeared that William, during the diminutive hours of the mourning, had grown bored of waiting for Twilight and the guard to awake from their slumber. He had set himself up with a pile of books, of all shapes and sizes. Twilight couldn’t help but let a smile creep onto her face, as his shoulder now rested atop a head rest of books, some she could make out the titles of, some were concealed by his great body. Some were just worn out from use, but she recognized the covers.

It appeared that the new Daring-Do title had tickled his fancy, as it lay upon his rising and falling chest.
She frowned, as she debated whether to wake him up, or to tiptoe around his still sleeping form. Deciding that it might be best if she planned for the rest of the day without his presence, she slowly made her way around his great legs, trying hard not to awaken the sleeping beast. As her hind legs found themselves between his thighs, she dared to take a peek at his face. It was twisted into a grimace, and sweat was dripping from his brown fringe. Her smile flopped down into a concerned pout, but she decided to ignore it. Will was an adult. Human or not, she was certain he could look after himself.

She finally twisted and contorted herself out of his clutches, and made her way down into the living areas of her library. She passed a clean, but mostly unused, kitchenette, a table, and more shelves of her private collections. Now, to find parchment.

Fumbling with poorly stacked books and old tomes, she eventually found the stack of papers she used to use for her weekly reports, however she had lost need for them now that her friends had taken to reporting on their own happenings. She picked one out, that didn’t look too worn, and then fished a quill from the base of an old looking folder, one she hadn’t used since arriving in ponyville years ago. Luckily she found ink at the bottom of the folder as well. She was certain she had brought the last of her fresh supplies with her to Canterlot, and she just didn’t feel up to buying anymore. Not with that much sleep under her belt.

Finally she had everything in place. Clearing bits of flower from the table, and pushing aside the hand carved bust of an old looking pony, she sat down, breathed, grabbed the quill with her telekinesis and began to create a list.

“HI TWILIGHT”

The sudden interruption forced Twilight to push the nib of the quill violently down into the ink pot, fracturing the already delicate glass and spilling black ink everywhere. Twilight felt like getting angry, getting furious. But in truth, she had missed her pink friend, and after the confusing events of the night before, she decided that she could suffer her friend’s exuberant antics, if nothing else to make her feel just a fraction better.

“Mourning Pinkie” Twilight sighed, trying and failing to hide the sleepiness in her voice. “What brings you here?”

“Welllllll, YOU silly!” Pinkie said with a dazzling smile, as she produced a small, brown colored square of parchment.

Twilight looked confused.

“Pinkie, I never sent you any messages. In fact I only arrived early in the morning. How could I have possibly sent you a message?”

“Wellll…” Pinkie began, looking like she was trying to figure out a way not to spoil the surprise for Twilight. “I wasn’t the ONLY one who got your message. ALL of our Bestest Best friends got one too!! Isn’t it exiting!?”

Pinkie was right in her face, her muzzle pressed hard against Twilight's own, her bright blue eyes millimeters away, wearing a look of excitement only Pinkie Pie could muster. She then jumped away, and pushed open the door to the rest of the library.

Twilight Grabbed the Pink Pony with her front hooves, and crash tackled her through the door, into the circle of 4 other ponies, all with a square parchment held in magical aura or teeth. She then slammed the door shut, a touch more violently than she thought necessary.

She turned, and was met with five pairs of concerned and confused eyes. Twilight stared back, her mind locked into conflict about what she should respond with.

To save her the trouble Rarity spoke up.

“My my, you poor dear! You look absolutely famished darling!” she said with a pout.

“She does not!” countered Applejack, who always seemed to be in disagreements with her prim friend. “She’s jus’ tired is all. Ain’t that right sug'?’”

This began a skirmish in the background, as Rarity and Applejack went at loggerheads to argue their cases. Most of the argument consisted of saying what had previously been said, just louder.

Twilight was then approached by Pinkie and Fluttershy, who began firing questions at her.

“How was the Trip?”

“Why do you look so tired?”

“Who sent these notes then if you didn’t, HMMMMM?”

“Did you see any of the animals? I hope their alright..”

This assault on the senses was too much for twilight.

“BE QUITEEEEE!”

All the commotion seemed to deflate around her, pinkies suspicious face dropped to one of surprise and shock. Fluttershy hid behind her mane. Applejack loosened the grip she had around Rarities neck, who in turn dropped a lock of Applejacks hair out of her mouth. Rainbow, who had been observing the fight with interest, turned with a frown on her face.
Everypony was silent for a few moments, before Twilight began to explain her circumstances.

“Alright. I Apologize for... Whatever sent those messages to you. But I need you all to listen. That mystery can be solved another day. Right now, we have an important mission from…”

“The Princess herself, yea yeah Twilight it’s all in the letter.” Cut in Rainbow, who looked thoroughly bored.

“Oh. Well then. What else does the letter say?”

“Nothin’ much. Jus’ that we needed to come to your place right away. It’s signed with There was a J. S-M.” Answered Applejack, who was scrutinizing the parchment once more.

She was summarily bowled over by Twilight, who began reading through the message with rapt attention.

“Well. I don’t know who sent these messages, but I believe it has something to do with why I needed you here. As you know I have spent the last few days I Canterlot, studying fluctuations in the Equestria-Magicka fluctuations. However yesterday, around five in the afternoon, an increasingly strong reading was measured within one of the rooms within the laboratory complex. My counterpart, Bunsen, and I alerted the Princess’ while we sent a guard to see what had caused the disturbance. Turns out, something had teleported a creature into the depths of the castle, and We all went to investigate at once.”

Twilight recounted her story with her 5 friends hanging on every word. Even the normally blasé Rainbow dash seemed intrigued. Twilight left out the part with knife, and also the princess’ distrust for Will. It would not do to have her friends turn on Him before they were even afforded a meeting.

“So finally, about four hours ago, William, The Guard, and I were teleported here, and it is our job to make sure this Human stays safe.” Twilight finished proudly.

The Five ponies around her were a mix of emotions. Fluttershy, predictably, had shrunk to the back of the room, and was hiding behind her mane once more. Rainbow Dash seemed intrigued, and her hoof had snapped into a quick salute. Pinkie looked unreadable, her face a sly grin. Applejack and Rarity looked like they were about to argue once more. Twilight gathered their attention with a loud cough.

“So. Who wants to meet him?”