• Published 12th Dec 2013
  • 9,590 Views, 562 Comments

A Friend In Need - sopchoppy

Something has happened and Twilight finds herself in a strange and dark new world. The Bipeds here have strange magic, advanced technology, and a lot of problems. She needs a few friends, and they just might need her. WORM crossover.

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10 - Sojourns

Twilight was unsure what she should be doing in this situation, and a quick glance around showed she was not the only one. The plane was only about halfway unloaded and they had been sheltering from the early-afternoon sun under a large tent someone had the forethought to setup nearby when Luna had suddenly taken wing and landed in the back of a large open-top truck that had just driven up. She suspected it had been intended to carry the sizable number of PRT personnel that had come with them, but Luna apparently had other ideas.

“COME FAITHFUL COMPANIONS!" Luna shouted over the din of the runway as she reared up and planted her fore-hooves on the roof of the vehicle. "We wish to see this grand city for ourselves! We were rather too busy to experience the last one properly.” Uber and Leet, who had changed on the plane into some kind of futuristic armor with “N7” stenciled on the shoulder, had eagerly and immediately commandeered the truck cab from the startled driver. Said driver stared dazedly at the duo, arm coming up halfway as if to protest and then falling back to his side. Leet hunched over an orange holographic screen he had somehow produced from his arm, and Uber had started pulling wires from underneath the steering wheel while frantically discussing something.

A hand on her back startled her out of her contemplative indecision. Turning her head she saw Tattletale smirking at her. “Come on Twi, Something tells me HRH over there isn’t easily dissuaded once she has an idea like this. Besides, do you really want to spend a day like this inside being talked politely to by underlings of people you don’t know?”

The enigmatic girl had a point, Twilight thought as she gazed out at the city in the distance. It was a beautiful spring day and the city had looked amazing when they had flown over it. She had not really gotten a chance to see anything besides the airport and the inside of offices the last time she had been there. Still, she felt a little guilt bubbling up over the thought of ruining someone else’s checklists and schedules. Surely they would get a chance t-

“Hey, stop that,” Tattletale said interrupting her thoughts. “Seriously you’re not going to disturb anything important, and it’s probably your last chance to see things before the city finishes waking up from the party last night and goes batshit over your arrival.” She felt a gentle pressure on her neck urging her forward towards the truck and she let a rueful grin cross her face as she gave in. It was amazing how well Tattletale seemed to know her after such a short time. “Ha! Thats the spirit.” Twilight and Tattletale turned back towards the group of wards who were conversing urgently with Director Piggot whose face had grown so stern that an image of red eyes and a beak flashed through her head.

“You guys better hurry up. Last ones in get the cheap seats with views obstructed by billowing magic unicorn hair.” Tattletale called out. Twilight felt her senses twist as Vista suddenly appeared in the back of the truck next to Luna, apparently taking Tattletale’s word about the seating arrangements. Skitter stood up from where she was sitting under the tent and started making her way towards the truck with Flame Dancer following quickly behind her. Twilight started to think about what would really be the optimum way to arrange the seating, given everyone’s respective height and build and the likely orientation of the sights in relation to the direction of travel when a light whap on the back of her head startled her out of it.

“Snap out of it, theres a time and a place for planning, and one for causing trouble. This is the latter.” Twilight laughed a little nervously, and cast one more fretful glance over her shoulder at the PRT personnel and police scrambling around the tarmac and talking quickly into phones. She doubted they shared Tattletale’s laid-back attitude. She flapped her wings a couple of times, and gracelessly wobbled through the air to land beside Luna in the truck.

“Princess are you sure it-” She was cut off as Leet reached an arm out of the window and placed a small circular device on the roof of the cab. As Uber revved the engine, fast paced guitar music started to blare from the device. Cyclic chanting joined the guitar and Clockblocker, Gallant, Shadow Stalker, and a half a dozen troopers scrambled into the back of the truck moments before it lurched forward.


Uber accelerated quickly and Twilight scrabbled frantically with her hooves to avoid falling over when the truck bounced violently through the gates leading out of the airport.


She glanced up past a fiercely grinning Luna to see Dragon, Aegis, and Kid Win flying above them. Police cars and PRT vehicles were peeling out of the gate now, some racing in front, others taking turns left or right as the truck picked up more speed on the suspiciously empty street. Wide eyed people stared from the stoops of their houses and apartments as the convoy rolled passed.


Almost against her will, Twilight felt a smile start to spread across her face as she bobbed her head in time with the music and the truck’s suspension. The wind blowing through her mane seemed to take her worries with it. Tattletale was right. It was a beautiful day in one of the grandest cities on the planet and all of her new friends were here. She noticed the same mischievous smile spreading across her friends' faces, and when the chorus of the song came back around she felt she did a fairly good impression of the Canterlot royal voice when she joined Luna and the others in shouting it.



“Yes I’m back in black!” The crowd yelled/sang along as the truck rolled past.

Ten minutes of enthusiastic driving later, their pace had slowed when they reached areas where traffic hadn’t been cleared in advance. Cars on both sides of the road had pulled as far to the side as they were able, and the convoy drove slowly down the center of the street. The result was something like a spontaneous parade.

“Back in the back of a Cadillac. Number one with a bullet I'm a power pack.”

Twilight was fascinated by the sheer diversity of the neighborhood, and a little disturbed by how unorganized it all seemed. Clothing stores, banks, electronics, food shops, jewelry, restaurants, and street vendors all vied with each other for the attention of the populace that, at least for the moment, was more interested in singing and watching the procession than in any of the wares being sold. Though, as they passed by a candy store right next to dentist, she thought maybe there was some kind of underlying order after all.

“In a bang with the gang. They gotta catch me if they want me to hang.”

Luna stood on the now thoroughly dented roof singing along and waving to the crowd. She had conjured a storm cloud that hung high above the truck and crackled with lightning and thunder in time with the music. Twilight thought this all might be sending the wrong message, but the crowd seemed undisturbed and she couldn’t bring herself to interfere with the fun that Luna was obviously having.

“Cause I'm back on the track and I'm beatin' the flack. Nobody's gonna get me on another rap.”

As the pace of their forward progress slowed, the troopers and Wards had exited the truck and formed a perimeter around it. More capes that Twilight didn’t recognize had joined them either on the ground or running along the roofs above. Dozens of helicopters, all painted differently, hovered in the distance and the number of people on the street seemed to be growing exponentially.

“So look at me now I'm just makin' my play. Don't try to push your luck just get out of my way.”

Taylor and Flame Dancer stood on either side of her, supportive arms on her back, and waving to the crowd with her while Tattletale, vulpine grin at full power, stood on the open tailgate and seemed to be conducting the different sides of the street into singing alternating verses.

“Cause I'm back
Yes I'm back
Well I'm back
Yes I'm back
Well I'm ba-ha-ha-hack ba-ha-ha-hack
Well I'm back in black
Yes I'm back in black!”

The brakes squealed as the truck came to a slow stop in front of a large structure built over the road. The doors of the truck burst open and Uber performed an acrobatic leap from the cab, twisting and rotating his body through the air to land dramatically on the final downbeat of the song.

“Yes I'm back in black. Outta sight!”

The crowd burst into a roaring cheer as Leet hopped out of the cab, fiddling with the glowing hologram around his arm. A new song burst from the speaker and suddenly a ghostly steam train appeared on the street in front of them, a piercing steam whistle sounding from it.

“All Aboaarrdd. HAHAHAHAH!”

The crowd cheered again, and Twilight noticed at least a third of them seemed to holding one of those little phones like Alexandria had above their heads.

“Millions of people living as foes
Maybe. it's not too late.”

The ghostly train started slowly forward, clearing a path in its wake towards what Twilight now realized was a raised train platform. Luna seemed to understand the implication as well, jumped off the cab, and glided gracefully down to the street to land behind Uber and Leet. Twilight quickly wrapped Flame Dancer and Taylor in a teleport and appeared just behind her while the troopers, Wards, and capes quickly scrambled in reaction to their abandoning the truck.

“To learn how to love, and forget how to hate.”

Some of the crowd had realized the import of the song as well and were rushing up the stairs to the platform in front of the train and the troopers. Dragon suddenly landed beside her in a small wash of flame and noise and immediately turned to Taylor.

“Anything suspicious?”

“One man with a gun, but he was already moving away before we stopped. Exited my range 2 blocks west at a fast walk,” Skitter replied with the calm professional tone Twilight noticed she slipped into whenever anything remotely serious was brought up.

“Good,” Dragon said before turning to Twilight. “I’m not going to be able to fit through the doors here. I’ll meet you on the platform.”

“Okay,” Twilight replied, a little nervously after the mention of a gun, but reassured by the casual dismissal her two friends had for it. Dragon lifted back off and the crowd pressed in a little closer. People were getting out of their stopped cars now, some standing on roofs to get a look at them or snap pictures. Dragon’s takeoff seemed to be a signal for the crowd to cheer again as the group assembled and made their way to the stairs.

“Citizens of Earth!” Uber’s voice called out from the speaker over a guitar solo. “Please make way, the Systems Alliance is escorting Her Royal Highness Princess Luna and Her Royal Highness Princess Twilight Sparkle to the seven train.” Twilight couldn’t stop a hoof from planting itself in her face at that, and her blush only expanded when the crowd roared their approval. With a little prodding from the Wards and PRT officers a wider corridor to the stairs opened up through the crowd.

“This last song before we go is dedicated to Princess Twilight.”

Twilight blushed as the crowds attention turned to her, and joined in on the lyrics almost immediately.

“Why can’t we be Friends?! Why can’t we be Friends?”

While Twilight was trying to disappear and catch on fire at the same time, she noticed Luna almost seemed to grow taller, more stately. The Princess nodded and smiled at the crowd, and even pressed a hoof into a few outstretched hands. Suddenly Luna draped a wing over her back and subtly lifted her chin with magic while whispering in her ear. “Hidest not thy face Twilight Sparkle, it suiteth thee ill and doth a disservice to their admiration. Standest proudly and acknowledge their accolades, and thus acknowledge them as well.” Twilight straightened her posture and fought to control her blush while she smiled at the crowd and waved a hoof between steps as people shouted joyously at her.

“Aliens Rule!”

“Pony Power!”

“Thank you!”

“My daughter was born last night! We named her Twilight!”

“Gracias! Gracias!”

“Hail! Hail The Princess of Friendship! Your Acolytes Believe!”


“Death Metal Pony For President!”

“ābhārī hōṅ!”

At the end of the corridor of people was the the train platform. Elevated above the street, it wasn’t much to look at now that Twilight was paying attention to it. An industrial construction of iron decorated in rust and faded teal paint looming over the street and shops beneath it. It was clear that whatever priorities had gone into its construction, beauty or unobtrusiveness had not been among them.

They finally got to the stairs and Twilight sighed in relief as she awkwardly started up them. Human stairs were in no way made with pony strides in mind. However bad the stairs were, Twilight was grateful to escape the crowd. While it was nice, and certainly refreshing, to see so many happy people she didn’t know if she would ever be comfortable with that type of attention. She just wasn’t sure she deserved the kind of thanks they were giving her. She had made some big mistakes in the battle, and if it hadn’t been for her friends who knows what would have happened. Regardless, she was certain she would never be comfortable with it.

She felt Flame Dancer give her a one-armed hug as they came to a series of metal silver gates. She gratefully leaned into it as a group of officers, Uber, Leet, and Tattletale stood gathered in front of what looked like a vending machine arguing over something.

“Sir! Are you, an officer of the law, suggesting we simply not pay the fare? Corruption! Scandal! What will the press say?” Tattletale put her wrist to her head dramatically while the officer she was talking to took on an even more aggrieved expression.

“Look, I’m just-“

“Sir, while not strictly under the jurisdiction of the Systems Alliance, we can’t allow you to besmirch the reputation of the dignitaries we are escorting. Now give us $50 so we can buy a metro card for everyone.”

“Me? That’s ridi-“

“Just do it Ferguson. I vouch for the expenses. We’re going to miss the train if we take much longer.”

Twilight took a closer look at the silver gate-booths and quickly determined that there was going to be no comfortable way for her to go through the contraption. Spotting Dragon standing in the open air on the other side, she powered her horn and teleported beside her, circumventing the problem. Luna followed her lead by turning to mist and flowing over the barrier. Their entourage, now equipped with some small cards, were slowly proceeding through the turning machines. As the platform started filling up with PRT officers, Wards, and those of the crowd below that had managed to make it up before them, a bright streak of light descended to the end of the platform.

Legend strode over with an easy smile, waving to the scattered commuters who were still a little too overawed by the group that had taken over the platform to start breaking out cameras yet.

"Your Majesty, Twilight, Dragon. Welcome to New York."

"Ah, and what a welcome it hath so far been. We are most pleased with the city and its friendly peas-citizinery thus far. We now wait for this "Subway" to see more of it. Most odd that it is called such, given that it resideth elevated above the ground."

"I'm glad you're finding it to your liking. I wouldn't live anywhere else. Though, if I may ask, Queens?"

Luna hesitated for a brief moment and then with a fierce grin replied, ”Queens? Nay, we are but Princesses! Rock!“

Legend seemed unsure how to respond to that, and was saved from having to try when a sleek silver train with no noticeable engine rumbled onto the platform. It came to a stop so that it lined the entire deck and with a pleasant chime wide double door swung open up and down the length of it. A couple of people got off and then stood frozen at the scene before them.

“Don’t worry folks!” Clockblocker called out in a loud voice. “This is simply standard post apocalypse protocol, nothing to see here.”

“Come Twilight Sparkle, adventure awaiteth ahead!” Luna declared loudly and proudly strode onto the train. As Twilight and the rest of the eclectic escort followed, a memory flashed before her eyes and startled a laugh from her.

“All the people in this town are crazy!”


Twilight braced herself as her hooves slid slightly on the slick floor of the train as it accelerated out of the station, put her forelegs on the seat in front of her, and then pressed her face against the window above the seat as the train cleared the station and the view opened up. The tracks here ran at the height of the rooftops of the shops and houses, the wheels squealing whenever the tracks went around the slightest curve. As mesmerized as she was by the scenery and the the marvel that was the train, she couldn’t help but wonder how the people that lived there felt about the noise of its passing every day.

The train pulled to a jerky stop at another elevated station that once again forced her to catch herself. With a ding and a hiss the doors of their car swung open to reveal a group of stunned human faces gaping at the group that filled their car. Uber and Leet standing at attention by the doors like a pair of futuristic royal guardsmen, Legend casually holding onto one of the poles and waving at the gawkers with a friendly smile, while Dragon knelt behind him trying to take up as little space as possible but still scraping the ceiling. Flame Dancer had stared at the man sitting with a stunned expression in the seat next to Twilight until he had given it up to her and she now sat turned around in it to look out the window with Twilight. Skitter had taken up position at the very back of the car and stood with an unnatural stillness that was a little unnerving to look at for long.

The rest of their party was scattered and intermixed with a group of commuters whose expressions ranged between delighted and flabbergasted, or were trying to set the world record on the number of pictures that could be taken with a cellphone. Clockblocker was, of course, standing at the door doing his best impression of a ringmaster and encouraging the gawkers to get on board before the train departed.

“Come one! Come all! Come see the world famous Protectorate Traveling Circus!” He then started gesturing around the train car, “We have Ponies, Dragons, Strongmen, Clowns, and Legends the likes you’ve never seen, and certainly never seen in one place! One night only folks, one night only!” A ding sounded from the train which, was enough to shake a few of the people on the platform out of their shock and prompt them to scramble through the doors before they closed moments later. As the train accelerated down the tracks again, she noticed several costumed figures racing across the platform’s roof and leaping to nearby roofs, some quickly outpacing the train itself. She turned to Legend questioningly and he caught her eye above the head of a teenager who he was signing an autograph for and gave her a wink. Assuming that meant he knew about the people on the roofs and that they were expected, she let go of the tension their sighting had caused. Turning back to the window, she found it mostly obscured by the billowing mane of Princess Luna, who had apparently decided her side of the train was more entertaining.

“Huzzah! ’Tis this not a spectacle that needed to be seen first hoof Twilight Sparkle?” Princess Luna asked as Twilight dug herself out of the Princess’s hair. Something must have changed after that, because even though the station platforms became ever more crowded with each station they passed, the train didn’t stop again. Then, as the train came around a bend, Manhattan’s skyline unfurled across the windows in front of them like a pony-built mountain range. It’s scale was huge, easily eclipsing even the largest of Equestria’s cities.

“The Empire State Building!” Twilight exclaimed, reflexively pointing with her hoof towards a building that towered over even its impressive neighbors. When the train completed the curve, the skyline went back out of view as the train was now pointed directly towards it. They passed what looked like an abandoned factory building that had been painted with intricate and colorful designs over every exposed surface, but she wasn’t able to find a theme connecting it all before it passed quickly out of view. Then the train angled down and plunged under street level, finally living up to the “subway” name she had heard it referred to as.

As they raced under the East River, another engineering feat that Twilight was desperate to find out how it was accomplished without magic, she turned herself around now that there was nothing of interest to see outside of the window. Her thoughts were derailed by coming face to face with a human colt that, if he were equestrian, was probably several years away from getting his cutie-mark. His face was split by a huge grin that was missing a couple of teeth and was being restrained from coming even closer by the hand of a nervous looking woman who could only be his mother.

“Oh Hello! I’m sorry I didn’t see you there, I was just so excited to see the city. I’m Twilight Sparkle.” Twilight said in her best reassuring teacher voice while extending a hoof towards the child. His mother’s face seemed to relax at that and loosened her grip, which was how Twilight found herself wrapped in a surprisingly tight hug around her neck and flooded with a lightning fast burst of speech.

“Hi! I’m Charles, but my family calls me Charlie, except my little sister who calls me C. We saw you on the TV last night! Everyone was happy or crying, or crying happily. I don’t really understand it, but they said you did a bunch of good stuff, and then you got on our train! You’re Miss Princess Twility Sparkles right? You must be because there are only two ponies and she’s,” he broke off his hug with one arm to gesture at the extremely bemused Princess standing next to her, “the moon one, I can tell because you have stars on you and she has a moon. Your fur’s really soft, did you know that? We have a cat and her fur is soft, but not as soft as yours. Why do you have fur? Can you give me some? I think it would be nice in the winter, but maybe not so nice right now. My mom’s taking me to get ice-cream because it’s hot and I got a good grade on my spelling test, do you want to get ice-cream with us?” Twilight was only saved when Charlie had to stop and take a breath, which seemed to be the signal his mother was waiting for to gently pull him back from around her neck.

“Easy Charlie, remember what we talked about. Isn’t there something you wanted to ask Princess Sparkle?” Twilight opened her mouth to interject about the erroneous title but was stopped by Princess Luna’s hoof pressing on her shoulder and her smiling face gently shaking her head no. Then it was too late as Charlie began speaking again.

“Oh! Right. My friends at school, well, I tell them super amazing stories, because I’m super amazing a lot, but sometimes they don’t believe that. Could you, maybe, let my mom take a picture of us, so I can show them how I really really did talk with a princess on the most super amazing trip for ice-cream ever?” The look of pleading cuteness was too much for Twilight, she broke in seconds.

“I, um, of course.” Then she had an idea to at least rope a few more people into her own embarrassment. “How about something even better? How about a picture with two princesses, a dragon, and Legend?”


By the time they parted with Charlie and his mother after exiting the train and climbing several flights of stairs, he had his picture taken with every cape and PRT agent in their group. She was quite sure he would be the envy of his second grade class. The stairs ended and were replaced by wide tiled ramps that kept leading them upwards until they opened up into a huge beautiful hall absolutely packed with people. Some crowded around a roped cordon set in a wide circle around the ramp they ascended taking pictures and cheering, while the background was filled with others walking and running between other platforms. Then she looked up and gasped.

“Oh Luna, look. The ceiling, they painted their constellations on it.” Luna stopped mid wave and stared at the ceiling for a long moment, a smile larger than the one she was already wearing spreading across her face.

“Truly Twilight. ’Tis wonderful to see appreciation for the night sky given such pride of place in a building graced by so many each day. Though,” she looked quizzically at the ceiling, “We do believe they may have gotten some of the star positions wrong.” After another moment she broke her gaze away from the ceiling and brought her hoof down on the tile with a loud echoing crack.


Taking their cue, Uber and Leet marched forward towards the nearest set of doors, police and capes fanning out in front of them with Luna boldly striding after them. Twilight took one last look around the magnificent room before trotting quickly to catch up, their circus spreading out and seeming to expand with every step.


“HAHA! What excellent frivolity! Thou darest challenge us again? Have at thee!”

Twilight grumbled under her breath between taking sips of cider from the glass in front of her. The bar stool was awkward, certainly not designed for ponies in mind, but she was making it work. Tattletale stepped up beside her with a smile and signaled the bartender for two more of what Twilight was drinking.

“Come on Sparkle, you’re not still upset are you?”

“Upset? Why would I be upset? I mean, its not like we decided not to take a single step inside one of the greatest libraries in the world, so that we could play games and drink beer instead. How could I be upset about something like that?” Twilight grumbled and finished off her cider just as the bartender arrived with another two glasses. Tattletale took one and slid the other in front of Twilight who took it in her magic and drank the top third in one pull. Behind them she heard the steady sound of hands and hoofs assaulting a game machine cease and the princess exclaim.

“HUZZAH! Victory is ours! Thou art no match for our feathery steed and brave lancer!”

“No way! 4 out of 7!”

“Thou marchest only to thine inevitable defeat, but we accept thy renewed terms! Cry Havoc!”

“Look at that Sparkle. Seeing Leet getting trounced in Joust by Luna has got to be worth a little smile.” Tattletale said.

“…All those books…” Twilight mumbled into her glass.

“Hey, you’re like the most famous pony on the planet. I’m sure they can arrange a private after hours tour for you sometime during your stay. You’d feel guilty interrupting everyone trying to read and study anyway if we brought this carnival into the library. So come on. Grab your cider. I’m challenging you and Skitter to a three-way tournament in Space Invaders,” she said as she gestured towards the dark clad girl who had been sitting quietly at the end of the bar.

“You’re right, okay, you’re on!”

“That’s the spirit.” Tattletale picked up her drink and led them back towards the game in question. There had been a moment when the bartender had seemed to hesitate at serving her and some of the others, but whatever his hesitation had been, he had looked around the room again and decided against voicing it, much to Tattletale’s obvious amusement.

“Hey how about about Centipede?” Skitter asked in a too-innocent voice as she joined them.

“Ha! Playing to your strengths? We’re not falling for that bug-girl.”


Twilight stopped and stared at the statue, a blush slowly burning its way across her face. Tattletale glanced at her and then quickly grimaced in pain as she brought her hand up to her head.

“Damn it. I did not need that,” she mumbled in a pained voice as Princess Luna declared loud enough to echo across the square.

“Truly thy city hath cast off all bounds of propriety. Who is this noble Saddle Arabian and his partner? Why hath the city allowed such a sculpture? The man holds the Arabian’s reins in manner more befitting a bedroom than a public park.”

Twilight heard Shadow Stalker start cackling behind her and glanced behind to see a red faced Vista using her talent to bridge the twenty feet between her and Clockblocker to forcefully cover his mouth.

“Clockblocker,” Aegis said seriously while obviously trying to hold back laughter of his own, “If you post one bit of this online your life won't be worth what it costs Piggot to dispose of your body.”

“Oh dear,” Legend murmured almost to quiet too hear while a grin spread across his face, “I’m not sure I’m going to ever look at Washington quite the same way again."


“Be ye not embarrassed Twilight Sparkle. The doll is a remarkable likeness of thee,” Princess Luna said while levitating a small stuffed toy off the table of a street-side stand. She turned to the proprietor with a pleased smile, “We shall take them all! Sister and thy friends will be well pleased with such a gift.”

Twilight simply groaned, imagining the scene. Each of her friends would tease her with it in their own way, but if she didn’t find someone to make a Rainbow Dash doll before she got back, she would never hear the end of it from the rainbow-maned mare.

She glanced behind her to see that her human friends had decided that this was, indeed, a fine time to assist the Princess in trying to see just how much blood it was possible for her face to hold. The answer, as always, seemed to be: more. Flame Dancer was snuggling a doll against her face while Vista and Gallant complimented her purchase and the accuracy of the details while bystanders that hadn’t been swept out of the security perimeter took pictures.

Flame Dancer nodded in agreement but then looked up at the vendor with a stare just below Fluttershy intensity. “Needs a notepad accessory.”


Twilight felt her ears relax from their folded position as they walked further along the path leading deeper into the central park of the city. The cacophonous noise of the city lessened with each step away from Fifth Avenue. Flame Dancer hovered close, a little behind and to her left. Twilight thought she seemed a little somber since their departure from Brockton Bay and made a mental note to talk with her later. Thirty feet in front of them Skitter and Dragon strolled, engrossed in a quiet conversation and seemed to hold each others undivided attention. Twilight thought it was a miracle that neither had tripped or stumbled yet, but they had both seemed to avoid every obstacle in their way without thought. Further ahead Tattletale and Vista strolled beside the small lake while Kid Win and Aegis hovered above it off to their left.

Out of sight, but not quite out of hearing range she heard Uber and Leet once again proclaiming their arrival and asking the no doubt startled park goers to clear the path for “Their Royal Highnesses Princess Twilight and Princess Luna.” She had no idea where the pair had acquired the ceremonial armor they were wearing, nor the purple and pink surcoats, though they had disappeared for a time when the group was passing through the theater district, but she was quite sure their efforts were not appreciated by the concentric rings of PRT and police officers who were doing the same job much more quietly. She had a sudden vision and shuddered at the idea of the pair ever meeting Pinkie Pie, no matter her fondness for any of them.

Glancing behind herself she noted that Gallant and Clockblocker had slowed down a little to open some more space between them, and she thought she caught a glimpse of Shadow Stalker’s immaterial form floating through the trees to her right. She smiled at the pair and completed her visual circuit by glancing straight up. She picked out a multicolored streak that she was pretty sure was Legend circling the area and a couple of specks that were probably other members of the New York Protectorate or Wards. She felt the level of security was ridiculous, and the scrutiny that went along with it a little intimidating, but Luna seemed to take it all in stride. She had even complemented Uber and Leet on their armor.

They came to a pleasant stretch of soft green grass beside the lake. Luna detoured them from the path and settled down in the last light of the day by the water, motioning with her head that Twilight should join her. Twilight sighed as she lay down and felt the cool grass against her coat and the warm sun on her back. Her hooves were grateful for the break.

Traversing even a portion of a city this size on foot was no small endeavor. The tour had only stopped when they had somehow found their way to yet another “bar-cade” as well as brief stops at more serious attractions. She was pretty sure Luna had earned Uber and Leet’s unending loyalty with the natural talent she had displayed at gaming. Her favorite spot however, excepting the unvisited library, had been the Statue Of Liberty. The poem at its base still resonating inside her.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Luna had agreed, noting that it was no wonder New York was such a grand and teeming metropolis given such a creed as its guiding principle. They had left the major landmarks behind after that, Luna walking the streets almost at random, slowly zig-zagging their way towards the address they had been told would be their accommodations for the night. The grand building which now loomed over the trees behind them was apparently it. She once again couldn’t quite wrap her head around the trouble and the expense that was obviously being gone through for them. A hoof-nudge to her shoulder broke her out of her thoughts and she turned her gaze to the alicorn beside her. Once again a frisson of joy shot through her at the thought that Princess Luna had come for her, that she was right here with her.

“’Twas wise of these humans to make a place such as this, the city ’tis wondrous strange, but lacking methinks in places of quiet contemplation.”

“Yes,” Twilight smiled and looked around once more, “I don’t think humans hear as well as we do, but I think the city noise probably gets to them as well.” She hesitated for a moment, then continued. “Princess, do you mind if I ask, why did we do all of this today? I mean it was wonderful seeing everything and talking with the street vendors, and just seeing a city not in the grip of terror for the first time in a month, but I’m sure they would have arranged tours for us after the diplomatic meetings tomorrow. I think we probably ruined a lot of plans.”

Princess Luna smiled and subtly cast a silencing bubble around them before continuing. “Feh. Yes we suppose you are right. We will tender an apology for effort we likely rendered wasted with our jaunt, but we do not regret it. For one, we did not wish to see the sanitized pomp they likely would have selected for us. Better that we see them unprepared, things as they truly are. We wished to know better these humans, what they desire and hold scared, and thus get a more honest appraisal of their character, so that we might negotiate from an enlightened position. If we are to be entering into talks that may one day shape the relationship between our worlds, we needed to see more than what they would have chosen to show us.”

Twilight nodded, realizing that through circumstance and design, she really hadn’t gotten to experience much in the way of normal human interaction and culture since her arrival. She was struck once more by the savvy of the princess, and how telling her own lack of experience was.

“Now tell us Twilight Sparkle,” Luna interjected suddenly with seriousness, “what dost thou know of thy new form?”

Author's Note:

Once again, big thanks to Deadpan for editing all this into a much more readable form. And if you haven't checked out his canon omake and the side story he has started, you really should!