• Published 7th Sep 2013
  • 16,621 Views, 1,249 Comments

Courage - scion



Evil has come to the Everfree and Ponyville. The Elements must stand against it... but they will not be alone. The mysterious blue-eyed wolf will aid-or hamper- their efforts to bring harmony back to Equestria.

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The Bearers

Rarity trotted sedately behind Link as he led her down crumbling corridors. She followed him without hesitation; this was, after all, the same wolf that had saved her from the diamond dogs with Spike, who had helped them against that horrible shadow. There was no doubt in her mind that wherever he was leading her, it was for her benefit. He nosed open a door and she found that she was correct in her trust; he had led her to her friends.

"Girls!"she greeted as she trotted behind Link into the room.

"Rarity!" Twilight was the first to respond. Twilight, Fluttershy, and Applejack all gathered from different spots around the room near Epona.

"Rarity!" Epona greeted from her towering position at the center of the room.

"Hello dear. I take it you came to help Link?" Rarity inquired.

"Yes."

"Well thank you. And thank you, Mister Link, for... where did he go?"

"Over there," Applejack pointed a hoof. A pair of doors were semi-open; Rarity trotted over to investigate, but found that the corridor had collapsed upon itself at some point. The only way out was a several story jump, which nopony but a pegasus or a unicorn capable of teleportation could make. And yet Link was not there.

"Are you certain?" she asked as she continued to peer around, looking for someplace he could be hiding.

"He does that every time," Twilight supplied, coming up next to the confused fashionista. "Somehow he is capable of getting out of this room. I tried following him after he brought Fluttershy here, but the little imp creature shut me out of the room, and by the time I got in he was gone."

"He's come back every time," Applejack continued. "An' with Epona here, ah figure here's safe enough."

"We are still missing Rainbow and Pinkie, I assume?" Rarity asked as they trotted back into the room.

"I'm here."

Rarity turned to the voice, a question on her tongue as to who it was, and stopped dead. Pinkie Pie sat alone, back to her friends, in a darkened corner of the room. Her voice was depressed, her hair was razor straight, and her normally bright pink fur seemed duller than usual. After a moment, of holding Rarity's gaze, she turned back to the wall, head drooping.

"Is she alright?" Rarity whispered to Twilight. There was almost nothing more unnerving than Pinkie not acting like, well, Pinkie.

Twilight pulled the group over towards the center where Epona was idly standing. "I think she'll be alright. She just needs a little time," Twilight said uncertainly. She shook her head.

"Nightmare Moon has ponynapped us and put us all in a dreamstate. From what I remember of my dream, she was trying to do the same thing Discord did. Cause us to lose hope, or even turn on each other. She was slowly but surely driving all of you away from me in my dream, making me think I had betrayed you or otherwise hurt you girls to isolate me. It didn't work, but... well, until Fluttershy got here, I had to spend some time alone thinking about it too, like Pinkie."

"She was tryin' t' convince me my family didn't need me," Applejack confided. "Ah was fine afterwards, though. Ah've had worse nightmares before." Applejack refused to elaborate further, though knowing her, it was easy for Rarity to see that Nightmare Moon had not had the time to convince the stubborn farmer.

"She had everyone act cruel to me," Fluttershy spoke softly.

"Oh my dear Fluttershy," Rarity sympathized, putting a hoof on her withers.

"It's alright. I know you girls would never do such a thing," Fluttershy said with a timid smile. Rarity beamed back. It appeared that Nightmare Moon had, like Discord before her, chosen the wrong pressure point on the Element of Kindness. Her smile turned to concern.

"And... Pinkie?"

"We don't know. She... didn't want to talk about it. Said she needed some time alone to think about it," Twilight said uncertainly.

"I'm done thinking about it now," came Pinkie's voice. She joined the rest of the group at a pace significantly less than her usual bouncing self. Her mane was still mostly straight and her coat was dull, but she gave them a grin that was reminiscent of her old self. "Sorry, I just... needed some time..." Her smile flickered.

Rarity pulled the pink pony into a hug, one that was quickly joined by the rest of the ponies there. By the end of it, Pinkie's coat had regained some of its luster and her hair was mostly curled, though still a bit flat.

"Feeling better, Pinkie?" Twilight asked.

She nodded, a bit less exuberant than normal. "Yea. I think Nightmare Moon manipulated my dream so everyone hated my parties. I threw a great big one, in celebration of my birthday, but no pony came. Then, ponies started un-friending me, one by one..."

She held back a sniffle and rubbed her eyes. "Sorry, I... don't really want to talk about it anymore..."

"There there, Pinkie. It was only a dream," Rarity soothed. "Now, I must say that I think my own dream was a bit harrowing as well. Every client that came into my boutique absolutely hated the orders I had made for them! Even worse, I found that I simply couldn't look my normal fabulous self at all, no matter what I tried! Every shampoo I tried would cause my mane to frazzle, Sweetie had replaced my coat conditioner with honey, and– do you mind, Applejack?!"

Fluttershy was highly sympathetic, Twilight was listening intently, but Applejack, who had been holding back snickers, began outright laughing. Pinkie too had a smile on her muzzle that was far more reminiscent of her usual self.

Rarity adopted an offended air as Applejack continued to laugh.

"Sorry... Rares... it's jes'.... yer worst nightmare..."

She couldn't continue and collapsed laughing to the floor. Fluttershy tried to hide behind her mane, Twilight looked abashed, and Pinkie's mane was curling every second she held that grin of hers. If Rarity was honest with herself, all the embarrassment in the world was worth getting Pinkie back to her old self. However, that part of her was buried under the indignation she was currently suffering.

"I will have you know, Applejack, that appearances and impressions are important," she said, stomping the ground with her hoof. "And I would hardly call it my 'worst' nightmare. While it was *shudder* something that does not bear thinking about, believe it or not there are worse things that could happen." After all, hair can be re-grown, and makeup re-applied. There are other things that cannot be so easily replaced.

It took a few moments for the laughter to die down, but in the end, Applejack managed to catch her breath and Rarity stopped giving her the stink eye.

"It's like Discord, or Nightmare Moon- err, the first time," Twilight corrected. "She is trying to split up the Elements so they won't be a threat to her. She must have been manipulating our dreams to try to drive us apart."

"I daresay she may have succeeded, given enough time," Rarity opined. "We should thank Celestia that Link and Epona came along when they did."

The girls all nodded in acknowledgement of the fact.

"The question is, why is Princess Luna doing this? What could have happened to cause her to revert to Nightmare Moon?" Twilight asked. "The only thing I can think of is that Celestia mentioned that Luna was studying that artifact that Rainbow Dash found. According to Celestia, Luna was missing meals and hadn't been sleeping."

"Well, ah never saw that artifact you an' Rainbow found. Y' really think it could have caused this?"

"I don't know," Twilight replied, her mind working furiously. Rarity quickly slipped out of the way as Twilight began to trot back and forth, her mind racing. "Whatever it was, the ambient magical signature was like nothing I've ever felt before, though I can't be certain because I only had a few moments to examine it. Luna was the one who insisted that she study it thoroughly as opposed to letting me study it... she seemed to think it was in some way related to the Font of Harmony, or the shadow that invaded Ponyville."

"Do you think it has possessed her? The way it did to that diamond dog, Rover?" Rarity asked.

"I don't know. It could be. Or it could be that..."

"Ah hate t' interrupt, Twi, but ah really think we should focus on what we need t' do, not what happened. We can ask Luna once we use th' Elements on Nightmare Moon an' get her back. An' that means we need the Elements."

"Figuring out how this happened may help us defeat her," Twilight moderated. "But you're right. The best chance we have of defeating Nightmare Moon is the Elements of Harmony. The only problem is, we don't know where they are."

"Aw shucks, that's easy. Ah put mine in mah chest in mah room and locked it in," Applejack said confidently.

"And is it still there?" Twilight asked. "Discord was able to summon them from the most secure vault in all of ponydom with a snap of his claws. Luna and Celestia know the power of the Elements too; if Nightmare Moon was willing to kidnap us, the Bearers, why wouldn't she do something to the Elements themselves too? For all we know, Nightmare Moon took the Elements and hid them in, I don’t know, Manehatten."

Twilight sighed.

"But you're still right, Applejack. The first place we need to look is where we hid them. But, before we do that, we need to find Rainbow Dash. Or, given what happened to us, we need Link to find Rainbow Dash and lead her here."

---

Finding the blue pegasus was easy. It was getting to her that was hard.

The Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters included several towers and turrets. Even crumbling and decaying as they were, they towered over the land around them, and it was at the top of one of these towers that Link had pinpointed the resting place of Rainbow Dash. The problem was that time and the forest had taken its toll; only something with wings could easily get to the top.

And so Link was forced to take the hard way up.

Crumbling stairs, worn and unstable ledges, thousand-year-old ropes hanging by a thread… the climb was dangerous, laborious, and more than once Link found himself dangling over the edge of a drop all the way back down to the ground. But he persevered. He was almost to the top.

This next section would be tricky. Midna had scouted around, and there was only one path that would work… and she wasn’t certain it would hold. The stone, a jutting piece just on the inside of the tower, was large but thin. The jump on either side was at the limit of his jumping ability, and the pieces looked well anchored, but that middle stone was precarious.

Midna floated over and indicated the stone, the spot she thought was thickest. Link eyed it warily, but there was no alternative. A few moments of intense contemplation, and he leaped.

He sailed through the air and landed just barely on the platform, and it immediately began to break. Link kept his momentum up and kept running even as Midna looked on, hands covering her mouth, horrified at what was happening. Even as his hind paws found nothing but falling stone. Even as a crack raced ahead of him, beginning to split the slab before he even got there.

Link desperately launched himself off the stone as it disintegrated beneath him. He almost didn’t make it to the next ledge; only his forepaws managed to make it, knocking the wind from his chest with a huff as he hit hard against the side of the slab. But he managed to dig his claws in and hold on, hanging half off the ledge as the remains of the platform he had been standing on fell into the inky depths of the tower.

It took a moment for his hind paws to find enough purchase to get him moving, but he hauled himself onto the platform without any further trouble. He took a few deep breaths, calmed his racing heart, and looked back.

The slab was gone. Broken clean off at the wall. There would be no returning the way he had come up now, the gap was too far to jump.

Midna asked a question in her language, to which Link harrumphed. She said a few more words, before settling on his back once more. Link padded onwards, into the room that held the unconscious blue pegasus.

There were no other obstacles, though Link thought he saw the figure of a pegasus pony out the window that vanished when he looked at it. Apparently this Nightmare Moon had been counting on the isolation to protect her captive.

Link approached the sleeping pegasus on her stone bed. A quick moment of focus and a dim blue glow surrounded him and the pegasus, his Spirit breaking the magic that had the pegasus in its grasp.

---

The first thought Rainbow Dash had upon waking up was 'Why is this bed so stiff? This isn't a cloud.'

Her second thought was 'Meh. Whatever. It's still dark out. I'm going back to sleep.'

True, she hadn't been having a good dream- something about losing her wings, then the Wonderbolts coming around to the hospital to inform her she was off the team now that she couldn't fly- but as someone very experienced with napping, Rainbow knew every time she went to sleep meant a new dream.

Her third thought, several seconds later, got her wide awake and bolting to her hooves. Said third thought was somewhere along the lines of ‘Why was Nightmare Moon in my house?’, and it sent her mind reeling through a series of further questions, such as ‘Where am I?’ and ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘What the buck is going on?!’

A chuff got her attention. Rainbow whirled to find Link, the little imp upon his back.

“Hey! You guys know what’s going on around here?” she asked.

The imp grinned, showing a single snaggletooth fang reminiscent of Discord, then said some words in a completely foreign language. Link barked unintelligibly (at least, unintelligibly to everypony except Fluttershy).

“Yea, kind of figured,” she sighed to herself.

Well, time to take stock. Rainbow flashed out of the dark stone room and into the night. High up in the sky, she could see forest, she could see crumbling ruins all around her, and from the lights that spilled into the sky, she could see Ponyville off in the distance -not that she could get to it; there was a huge turquoise magic dome around the ruins. The egghead would have to figure a way out, there was no way Nightmare Moon would just let her fly away. Still, with all the evidence in front of her, there was only one place she could be.

She was in the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, in the Everfree.

Nightmare Moon must have ponynapped her here so Rainbow and the rest of her friends couldn’t stop her evil plans, just like Azuhoital always captured Daring Do, heck, she'd turned the old castle into her secret (well, maybe not so secret) lair.

If Nightmare Moon thought Rainbow Dash was just going to roll over and let her win, she had another thing coming! Well, just as soon as she found her friends.... and the Elements... and she had no idea where to start looking for everypony... man, this was going to take some work.

Unless…

Link had helped before. He’d run around the entire town helping out her friends. He'd saved the Crusaders. He'd faced down a huge freakin' diamond dog that had been possessed, all by himself! If he wasn't already on track to defeating Nightmare Moon, she would eat her own tail. Rainbow didn't have to find her friends; if they were here, he would have already found them! And if they weren't, she could help him kick Nightmare Moon's flank!

Either way, following Link was the way to go.

A howl jolted her out of her thoughts. The exact same howl that had woken her up over the last few weeks to challenge her to a race.

Rainbow flew back to the tower in a polychromatic blur to land on the exposed balcony.

"Seriously? Is that all you know how to howl?" she asked Link with a grin. Link just cocked his head.

“So, you know where to go?”

Link nodded.

“Well, where are we going?”

Link padded over to a crumbling section of the balcony, where the stone railing had broken, and looked down. Rainbow floated over, and saw him very pointedly looking at a small dot in the distance- a corridor on the ground with a hole in it and a single torch illuminating the passage.

“Right. I can fly, how are you getting down there?”

Link turned those soulful blue eyes on her.

“... Really? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to give you a lift, but how did you get up here if you couldn’t get back down?”

Link gave a whine.

“Yea yea, hold your horses,” she replied. She was about to grab under his forelegs when all of a sudden something heavy landed on her back, right behind her wings.

“What the buck?!”

Putting words to action, Rainbow bucked as hard as she could, trying to dislodge whatever it was. The weight went flying over her head and off into the night- a peculiar, dark figure with an orange mane and little turquoise lines over its limbs…

The imp vanished, then reappeared right in front of Dash. The arms were crossed, and a frown was evident on her face as she berated Rainbow unintelligibly.

Rainbow frowned right back. “Nuh uh, no riding. You understand? N-O, R-I-D-I-N-G. Twi may let Spike do that, but I don’t.”

The little imp looked ready to dispute the point but Link barked, breaking the stand off. The imp rolled her eyes, shot one more look at Dash, then disappeared into his shadow.

“Right. Now, let’s get moving.”

Dash picked Link up by his front legs, leaving his rear paws dangling towards the ground far below, and propelled them into empty air. He was heavy, but she could hold him.

They hadn’t gone a few wingbeats before shadowy figures, pegasi with leathery wings and black outfits with golden eyes, began to fly up to meet her.

Rainbow hovered for a moment, then grinned.

This was going to be fun!

---

Link had flown before in a very similar manner, thanks to Midna and an ornery giant bird. Those flights, and the ones he had done before as a part of a very interesting and enterprising bird’s game, had followed the course of an underground river and as such Link had come to terms with some very questionable aerial maneuvers and so had his stomach. Or so he had thought.

Rainbow Dash was smaller than his normal ride, and much more mobile. She was also, from the races he had challenged her to, fast. True, he had known these things, but being a creature of the ground, he had never really thought about what that would mean for flight.

It meant the flight was a hair-raising full-bore adrenaline rush from the moment it started, and all Link could do was pray to Zelda, the Spirits, the Gods, anyone, that he would survive this.

Link's stomach flip-flopped as he went temporarily upside-down, courtesy of the barrel-roll that Dash performed at break-neck speed while holding on to him. Said maneuver meant that the bat-winged pegasus guard who had been attempting to catch them missed cleanly, hitting nothing but air.

"Ha! Can't catch the Rainbow!" his ride taunted.

Then she sheared a ninety degree turn to avoid another pegasus, stretching out Link's legs horizontally four stories above the ground. It was followed, a moment later, by a sudden and very startling drop in altitude as Rainbow Dash folded her wings, allowing gravity to take a hold of the pair as a pair of dark bat-winged pegasi collided with each other right where they had just been.

Link's eyes widened and he gave some very frantic barks and whines as the ground rapidly approached. He had jumped off a bridge once, true, but he had known at the bottom there was a lake filled (well, partially filled) with water to cushion his fall. The ground, more specifically the unbroken stone passageway with a torch-lit hole in it that was rapidly approaching, was far more rigid than water.

Link yelped in alarm as his hindpaws barely cleared the entranceway, and braced himself for the inevitable impact, but it never came. Instead, he felt the drastic pull of the pegasus as she beat hard, pulling both of them up in a perfectly executed maneuver that had them careening down the lit passage. A moment later she threw out her wings and pulled up, bringing them to a short and quite sudden stop, before setting him down gently on the floor.

"Nopony following us, they can't pull the same trick!" the rainbow menace stated, looking behind them.

Link didn't care. On shakey and numb legs he moved to the side of the corridor, ears flat against his head and eyes wide as he panted and tried his best not to throw up. The rainbow pegasus had the decency to let him recover for a few moments and settle his stomach a little bit.

"I take it you don't fly often?" she smirked at him as she hovered.

Link growled at her. Then, with still recovering legs and a slightly unsettled stomach, he set off down the torchlit corridor. She followed, which he could tell from the wingbeats, rather than hooffalls as the others had. It did not take long before they reached a torch that illuminated a very large hole in the floor.

Link jumped down the hole, falling just short of three stories in a blocked off corridor. But he didn't hear wingbeats behind him.

"Uh, you sure this is the way to go?" Rainbow asked plaintively, looking over the edge.

Link barked at her, then turned back to the only exit from this hole.

"Did you girls hear that?"
"Sounded like a bark!"
"Hmm, I daresay our fearless hero has returned."

Link nosed open the door as he heard the clop of hooves land behind him. The door opened fully just as Rainbow Dash landed, wings spread. The moment the pegasus saw what was beyond the doors, a cocky grin came to her face.

"Sup?"

Author's Note:

Sorry this chapter too so long guys.

First, I didn't even notice it but I managed to publish the last chapter on the 1 year anniversary of this fic. Wow. I've been going at it for a while, haven't I?

Second. When I started this story, there were I think three other stories in the Twilight Princess fic category in the group 'Zelda Crossovers'. Now, there are eleven, and at least two others that feature Wolf Link. I would like to highlight one in particular: The Wolf's War, by Blazing47s. If you like Wolf Link, give it a gander. What I really like though is the last chapter he posted, "New Lessons". He, like me, saw the magic of Equestria as a problem that could be solved with a new skill. However, while I threw my relevant chapter together in about four hours, Blazing has taken his time and thought it through, and came up with two different skills, one kinda like mine and one that can effect things at a distance. Pretty cool ideas. (He also totally came up with better names. After reviewing my own skill, I've changed the name to something that rolls off the tongue a little better than 'Mentality of the Warrior').

Anyways, hope you enjoyed. We are rapidly approaching the climax of this story.