• Published 11th Mar 2014
  • 2,599 Views, 64 Comments

Wandering Prey - Rikkity



A modern mage transports himself to Equestria in an attempt to flee from those who would destroy him.

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Chapter 2

Aiden laid in his bed as air calmly entered and exited his body. His eyes were closed and his body was motionless. Aiden enjoyed his recovery from yesterday’s events. He shifted in his bed to a more comfortable position. His right arm hung off the edge, and his left hand rested on his stomach. He was enjoying his rest. As he slept, his peace was interrupted by an unsettling aura that filled the atmosphere. He stirred violently and tried to ignore the feeling that flared through his body. The power grew more intense as its source drew closer.

Aiden snapped wide awake and jumped out of bed. He scrambled to his closet to gather his equipment. He slipped on his usual attire: a pair of jeans, a plain white T-shirt, his favorite black jacket, and shoes. He looked up to the shelf right above where his clothes hung, and reached for his pauldron. The steel was colored crimson and had enchantment runes carved into it. He quickly strapped on the piece of armor and rushed out of the house.

Upon exiting his house he witnessed one of his Watchers fly by and smash into a tree nearby. Once the dust in the clearing settled, he looked up to see the cause of the destruction. Another man wielding a warhammer stood on the other side of a dead Sentinel. His aura glowed a green ethereal color, which nearly matched the grass green color of his shirt.

Aiden trembled a bit at the amount of magical power that flowed through the man in front of him. How could he possibly fight back? His aggressor outmatched his power by a huge margin; it was like standing next to a tidal wave. Aiden was at a loss for words.

His whole body shook, and beads of sweat started to form on his forehead. How could he fight an opponent so much more powerful than him? Aiden fought strong foes in the past, but nothing like this. He clenched his fists and gritted his teeth, then he took in deeps breaths and let them out slowly, shaking away any negative thoughts. The young mage focused on channeling his magic through his body, and readied himself. The man in front of him did the same.

Aiden wasn’t one for combat when it came to fighting, but he fought back if he really had to. He channelled his magic through his body, causing vibrations to reverberate through his bones. He took a step forward and his opponent did the same. Aiden went forward a few more paces until he was struck with a concussive burst of magic. He held his arms up in a “X” to block as much of the force as he could. After he stopped sliding back across the grass, he put them down and looked ahead to see that his aggressor was no longer in front of him.

He shifted his eyes frantically, searching for the intruder. He turned his body around to see if he was behind him, but no one was there. He looked up and turned back around to see that the man was a good ten feet in the air; and he was coming down on him hard. Aiden had to think of something fast or that hammer would turn him into a pile of mush on the forest floor. With a bit of channelling of his magic, he took a step forward. He locked eyes with his airborne opponent, and stood still. When the hammer came down on him, a pulse shot through his body.

The warhammer slammed down on Aiden with titanic force. What happened next caught the intruder off guard: the Aiden that stood in place simply burst into specs of dust. The other mage looked around for a moment. His surroundings looked normal and he couldn’t find anything that seemed out of place. Aiden appeared from behind him and threw a magically charged punch at his gut. The fist connected with his stomach with brute force. The other mage winced in pain as he felt air violently exit his body.

Satisfied with delivering a successful blow, Aiden quickly launched another fist at him. The other mage was prepared for it. He spun down and swept Aiden’s legs out from under him. While he was briefly in the air, the other mage sent out another burst of force that sent Aiden tumbling away. He hit the ground flat on his stomach. He just knew that he had to get up to deflect the next attack and-

The other mage had the tip of his sword hovering inches from his face.

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you.”

Aiden moved his eyes from the tip of the blade up to the face of its wielder. “I just want to live in peace.” He said, turning his head away.

“Then you summoned those?” he asked, jerking his head in the direction where Aiden’s creatures were.

“They were to only aid in my concealment. Any of the ponies that got too close to my home were immediately dropped at the entrance of the Everfree with no prior memory of going in,” Aiden explained.

The man seemed to think about Aiden’s words for a moment, his eyes searching Aiden’s face. With slight hesitation, he withdrew his sword from Aiden’s face. He took a step back, spun the weapon around, then set it on his back, where it somehow stayed in a fixed position. “Well, that would have been messy. Up up.” He held out his hand to Aiden.

Aiden raised a brow at the man’s gesture. “Forgive me if I say that I am a bit flabbergasted, but, just like that?”

“It’s pretty clear that you’re new to this, somewhat. Even if those illusions were impressive. And summoning Watchers and Sentinels, not bad.”

“I may still be technically new to magic, but that doesn’t discredit eight years of practice.”

“That sounds about right. Illusionist, yeah?”

“I’m experienced with illusions and a few others types of magic. The advanced stuff I’m barely getting into.”

“Good, good.” He kicked a rock at his feet. “I’m Lucien, by the way. Haven’t seen you around here before.”

“Name’s Aiden,” he quickly replied, grabbing Lucien’s hand to pull himself off the ground.

“Where are you from? And don’t say Equestria, because I will punch you.”

“Texas.”

“Year?”

“2041.”

“Hm. 2044. You’ve been here a while.”

“I came here on my own accord. Leaving home became a top priority after a while.”

“Well, the lifestyle’s not for everyone. Where were you? When you left, I mean.”

“I was still living in Texas, but around the more urban areas. You?”

“Outskirts of New York while taking a quasi-vacation. Got here by accident.”

“How do you get here by accident?”

“Trying to summon a demon,” he replied casually. “My cat screwed up one of the runes, though. I’m still not entirely sure how it worked out that I would end up here.”

Aiden glared for a moment at Lucien. “A demon?!”

“Yeah, a demon. Not one in particular, but not, like, Abaddon or something.”

“I don’t care what demon it was. A demon is a demon, and I’ll be damned if I have to deal with another one of those!”

Lucien scanned Aiden’s face for a moment. “You’ve had a rough time, haven’t you? Why didn’t you try to contact one of the Factions?”

“When I learned of the Factions, I didn’t like the strictness and their corrupt ways of thinking. I decided that I would take on my own responsibilities and fight my own battles,” Aiden answered.

“I get the corrupt part, but strict? Sure, they can be a little uptight and all, but…” He met Aiden’s eyes, “Going it alone isn’t easy. Sometimes you need backup. And I’m guessing that you went toe-to-toe with a demon, without help.”

“Yes, I did,” Aiden answered bluntly, “And I lost a very close friend because of it.”

Lucien smiled sympathetically. “It happens to all of us.”

“This was more than just a very close friend per se. More like family.”

“Well that’s good because I was about to suggest that you two were romantically involved.”

Aiden spluttered. “I hope to Christ you’re kidding.”

“I’ve seen weirder. And it’s not so rare these days.”

“I could care less about what you have seen. I never go against my morals.”

“You still have those? Hah! How old are you?”

“Twenty-three,” Aiden answered flatly.

“And I see that you’re a bit of a blacksmith too, is that right?”

“Sort of. This pauldron is the only piece of armor that I actually made myself. The runes I worked into it are my doing too.”

“Can I see?”

Aiden reluctantly unstraps the armor from his shoulder, and handed it over to Lucien. Its steal was a dark crimson with a black leather strap. On the surface of the plated armor were several runes that gave off a protective aura. The metalwork was commendable at best, and it looked like it hadn’t seen much combat. It wasn’t even older than several years.

“Huh,” he said, turning it over in his hands. “Not bad, not bad at all.”

“I still feel it could be better though.”

“Hmm…” he trailed off. “So you just live here in the forest, huh?”

“Yes, I do. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“...You’re not the best conversation partner.”

Aiden pondered Lucien’s comment for a brief moment and shrugged. “It’s something I developed while living here. I’m just not comfortable talking to people for very long because well….” Aiden paused before continuing. “Let’s just say it’s just from a lingering fear.”

Lucien raised a brow, but didn’t say anything immediately. Then, after a moment, “I’ll leave you to it then. I know what it’s like to want isolation. Took me some 8 years to break out of the mindset.”

Aiden stared at the other mage quizzically. Just how old was this guy? He thought about it for a few seconds, then decided to put the issue on the backburner. He shook his head, and replied back, “Thanks for your understanding.”

“I guess I’ll see you around then. I’ll make sure to uh, discourage ponies from wandering out here.” He began backing up as he talked. “Maybe put up some wards; those are nice. Have fun.” He flashed and disappeared.

Aiden stood by himself in the Everfree, only several feet from his house. He drew in some breath and let it out slowly. He looked around to observe the mess Lucien made earlier. He laced his fingers together, turned his hands outward, and pushed them forward. The sound of relief from his knuckles broke the silence. As he was about to prepare the first set of runes to conduct his summoning to replace his servants, however, he became surrounded by many ponies in armor, and two alicorns.

The guards glared at him and the alicorns didn’t look anymore pleased to see him. “What the hell is going on here?” Aiden observed the alicorns more thoroughly. He immediately recognized them as Equestria’s rulers: Princess Celestia and Princess Luna.

“You are under arrest,” answered Celestia.

Aiden’s blood ran stone cold. “What did I do? I didn’t do anything!”

Luna stepped in to explain. “You were observed attacking one of Equestria’s important citizens.”

“What? I was defending myself! That and I can’t even do that much harm to anyone!” Aiden defended.

“You are still to be presumed dangerous, and shall be sent back to whence you came. Until then, you will be held in the Canterlot dungeons until the spell to send you back is complete.” Celestia declared.

There was no fighting back. Aiden knew that this was a losing battle, and retaliating will only hurt his case. So without any resistance he allowed his apprehenders to take him in. As he was taken away by the Princesses, Aiden’s remaining Sentinels and Watchers hid in the shadows as they observed the situation. They respected their master’s wishes; therefore not acting upon their instincts to go save him. They only did what they normally did: patrol the area around their master’s home.

After Aiden fully left their sights they dwelled within the shadows, awaiting for their master’s homecoming. Most of them, at least.

*****

Some time went by during the travel to Canterlot. Aiden sat in silence as the flying carriage he was in flew over the many sights below. The Friendship Express was making its travel to the capital as well. When he looked ahead he saw the city built onto the side of a mountain. It only made sense to him that the city had such a foundation as it made it seemed to make it harder for opposing nations, if any, to invade it.

He decided not to focus too much on anything though. Afterall, he was a criminal. “Ah’ just wanted to be alone.” He mumbled. In turn this earned him a few stares, especially from the princesses.

“What was that?” Celestia questioned.

“Nothing. Ah’m-” Aiden cut himself off, and came to the realization his accent was slipping. He mentally kicked himself, and forced himself away from it, returning back to his usual one. He cleared his throat and finished his statement, “I’m fine.” He wasn’t angry, nor did he sound upset. He kept himself from expressing his true emotions as he saw it would only be pity that they would show him, and he didn’t want that. He wanted true acceptance, not for people to feel sorry for him.

Luna looked over at him. “You could try defending yourself. Argue your case so that we may know the whole story.”

“What’s the point?” He argued, “It’s not like you’re going to believe me! Ah’ am a cri-” he drew in a deep breath, and after another mental kick, he spoke normally again, “I am seen as a criminal, and there is no way I’ll win my case,” he solemnly finished his answer.

Celestia raised an eyebrow at him. She knew that he committed a crime, but that shouldn’t deter him from defending himself. “Perhaps you would reconsider? It is the only viable option for you to remain here in Equestria.”

Aiden was about to respond, but quickly took a few steps back in his head to think about his reply. After about a minute of thinking he finally spoke. “I just don’t want to go back, but I feel like I have no say in the matter. Even if I did a decent job of explaining myself, it may not help me in the long run.”

“Perhaps,” was all Celestia said in reply.

*****

They finally made it to Canterlot Castle after a long, uneventful ride. Upon entering the palace, Celestia ordered her guards to take Aiden to his cell. As usual, he didn’t resist at all. He only complied with a nod of his head. Both Luna and Celestia were perplexed by his behavior. After the guards took him away, the two started to discuss the matter.

“I don’t get it, Luna. Why doesn’t he fight back?”

“Perhaps he is much more composed than Lucien?” Luna answered.

“No, that’s not it. Though he does seem more reserved, it’s as if he’s hiding something from us that may convince us even further that we are doing the right thing,” replied Celestia.

“What might he be hiding?”

“I don’t know exactly, but we are going to find out.”

*****

Aiden laid in his cot inside his cell, thinking deeply about how he could convince them to let him stay. He viciously clawed his fingers into his hair causing them to dig at his scalp everytime he came to a dead end. No matter what defense he came up with in his head it would only end badly. He clenched locks of his hair at the thought of failure to come up with a good argument.

He turned his head to look over at the guard standing in front of his cell. “Is it alright if I got a glass of water? Kinda thirsty here.”

The guard craned his neck to look back at Aiden. “I guess there’s no harm in it.” He walked away for a moment to satisfy his request. After a minute he came back with a glass of water. The guard held his hoof through the prison bars to give it to Aiden.

“Thank you,” He grabbed the glass and took a drink and put it next to his bed.

“No problem.” The guard replied as he went back to his post. “Heh, normally when we catch criminals they try to escape, not stand there and just go with it.”

Aiden stared at the guard whilst he laid back down in his cot, taking another sip of his water with a raised eyebrow. “Yeah? What does this have to do with me?” He put his glass back on the ground, and put his head back down onto his pillow.

The guard coughed into his hoof. “Well, you don’t seem to be as aggressive as the rest of the other criminals. I’m just wondering why that is.”

“What reason do I have to attack innocent people, or ponies in this case?”

“Maybe you were provoked in some way?”

“I had an unfortunate run-in with some guy named Lucien.” Aiden explained.

The pony’s ears flattened at the mention of that name. “That is unfortunate.”

“You know him?”

“Kind of. I’ve seen him around the palace from time to time. He’s turned into some sort of myth among the guards.”

“Huh.” Aiden chuckled lightly and drew in a breath. He let the air pour out from his body, allowing him to relax a bit. “It’s alright. This is actually the first time I had any real interaction with anyone.”

“In how long may I ask?”

“Three years, give or take.”

The guard’s eyes went wide for a moment. He seemed unable to imagine how anypony could go that long without interacting with others.

“How did you even go that long without going insane?” he asked Aiden further.

Aiden opened his mouth, but quickly closed it as he couldn’t really explain it well. He thought for a moment, then answered. “I guess I’m just used to it? I guess it just grows on you after a while.”

“That makes sense, I think,” The guard replied back. “So, may I have the honor of knowing the name of the human I’m talking to?”

“Aiden,” He answered straightforwardly. “And yours?”

“Sky High.”

Aiden turned his head to look the guard over more thoroughly. He couldn’t see his mane or cutie mark because of his helmet and armor. The pony was a grey colored pegasus with topaz eyes, he was also pretty strong looking, and seemed capable of taking down a few fugitives if needed to. After he was done inspecting him, Aiden laid back down in his bed. He stared at the ceiling as he got lost in his thoughts.

Hoofsteps could be heard echoing around the cell block as guards roamed back and forth down the hallways. Aiden could hear them conversing as they passed by each other. He paid no attention to them as he closed his eyes to get some rest. He heard his cell door open and close, then a stern voice woke him up.

“Excuse us, but we need to talk to you.”

Aiden opened his left eye to peek up at the one who disturbed his slumber. When he did, he saw Princess Celestia and Luna standing before him. He stretched and let out a small yawn and sat on the side of his bed.

“About what, exactly?” He finally answered.

Celestia looked back at Sky and nodded to signal that he can leave his post while she and her sister spoke to Aiden. She looked back at Aiden with a stern expression. “We need to talk about how and why you came to Equestria, and how you managed to remain in secret.”

“It was a path I didn’t necessarily want to tread, but I had to.” He replied.

The Princesses were perplexed. “What exactly do you mean by that?” Luna asked.

Aiden took a deep breath. He knew had to explain himself, but it was going to be rather difficult to do. “I didn’t want to come here, but my old living situation forced me to leave home. I took up residence in the Everfree Forest, and I’ve been there ever since, visiting Ponyville occasionally to study the culture. You’re all very fascinating.”

“Really? How so?” Celestia asked, intrigued.

“For starters, our societies are remarkably similar in mannerisms and speech: common phrases, common motions and the like. And while your technology isn’t quite as far along as my planet’s is, it’s approaching it. I’d give you 200 years, give or take, before you catch up to us fully. And…” he was going to mention Earth’s horses, but he figured that would cause the conversation to become a bit awkward.

“And what?” asked Luna, picking up on his pause.

“Uh, the flora and fauna. Completely different from what’s on my planet. That’s part of the reason why I stayed in the Everfree, because of all the interesting plants and such.” He kept a neutral face, hoping they wouldn’t catch his hasty cover-up statement. When their expressions didn’t change, he let out a mental sigh of relief.

“I see. Well, it must be very fascinating for you to live here. How long, exactly, did you say you have been staying in the forest?” Celestia asked.

“I didn’t say, and about three years now,” Aiden replied, not volunteering any more information.

Celestia and Luna shared a glance, then Luna gave Celestia a short nod and turned to walk out of the cell. She departed, and left Aiden alone with Celestia.

He sat with some slight confusion, but figured out what was going to happen quickly. “Alright, time to go, I guess. Go ahead,” he held out a hand then let it drop. His head hung down futilely.

“Aiden?”

He lifted his head back up. “What?”

“I’m going to be blunt.’ She leaned her head in slightly closer to him. “Do you wish to stay in Equestria?”

“What?” His mind caught up to him mouth in that one second. “Yes! I-I mean… yes. Yes I would.” He chuckled nervously, hoping that she wasn’t just making a joke out of the situation.

“Good. Then you may stay,” she finished with a smile.

“Just like that?” Aiden asked with trepidation.

“My sister and I have come to the conclusion that, while you do seem a bit of a threat, it’s not directed at my little ponies, and I trust that you will keep it that wa-”

“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?” roared a somewhat familiar voice. Aiden and Celestia’s eyes shot to the bars of the cell where they witnessed a very heavy-looking iron door fly by and slam onto the floor.

“We’re in here,” called Celestia.

Hoofstep- no, footsteps echoed loudly down the hallway and approached Aiden’s cell. He knew who it would be before the intruder even reached them.

“I go home to find Twilight looking all smug about something, so I ask why, and I find out that the first human that I’ve seen in months was taken prisoner!” Lucien stomped into view and stopped just outside the cell. He put his hands on the bars and, seemingly without much effort, bent them apart and stepped into the cavity in the wall. “At least I got here before you got a chance to deport the boy!” He gestured wildly to Aiden, whose jaw was down in shock.

“Twenty-six minutes, you’re losing your touch, Lucien,” said a grinning Celestia.

Lucien’s eyes widened and he took a step towards the princess. “Don’t try to joke your way out of this one, I’m not letting you kick him off this world.”

Her amused expression fell flat upon witnessing his actions. “Don’t forget that just because you bested my sister and I once, that it will happen a second time,” she said coldly.

Lucien seemed to acknowledge his mistake and regained his composure, awkwardly nudging his backpack into a more comfortable position. “Right, right. Of course. Sorry.” Then fire filled his eyes again. “But that still doesn’t mean that I’m letting you deport Aiden without at least-”

“I’m not.”

“...What?”

“I’m not deporting him. In fact, I’d like you to take him back to Ponyville as soon as possible and get him integrated into society.”

“What?!” both the men gasped.

“But I’m on business right now! The only reason I’m here is because I needed to save his sorry ass!” Lucien pointed at Aiden.

“Hey! My ass is not sorry.” said Aiden, offended.

“Apologies, but my point still stands! I have important business to take care of in Cloudsdale, and you know that! Besides, what’s the harm in letting him stay in his shack in the Everfree?”

Lucien somehow managed to ignore the glare Aiden was giving him and kept his eyes on Celestia as she began to speak.

“Because he has explicitly stated that he finds ponykind ‘fascinating,’ and I believe that he will benefit from being able to interact among the citizens freely.”

“Okay, but-”

“Actually, I’ve already been doing that,” interrupted Aiden.

“...What?” Two pairs of eyes fixed on him at once.

“I made a potion that transforms me into a pony for a few hours at a time. I’ve been visiting Ponyville almost daily since the first few weeks that I got here.”

“That’s very resourceful of you.” Celestia commented. “Tell me, how did you manage to make such a potion?” She asked.

“I just happened to do a bit of research on some of the plants in the Everfree and managed to make a potion out of them. One of the ingredients the locals happen to call Poison Joke.” He explained.

Lucien blinked. “That’s actually pretty clever. I’m not the most professional alchemist, being self-taught, but I wouldn’t have thought to make a polymorph potion out of Poison Joke.”

“It wasn’t easy at first, but once I figured out what effects each plant had I was able to deduct which ones were more useful.”

“Okay, but how did nopony notice you?” He facepalmed. “I’m saying nopony. I’ve gone native.”

“Oh, you mean when I first entered Equestria.” Aiden thought for moment. “Well, I just cast an illusion on the ponies at the time. For the most part, I was lucky enough to make it out of the library in Ponyville in time with some notes from specific books.”

“I could never get the hang of illusion magic. Too much finesse involved. It’s much easier to just overpower my enemies with sheer force. My sparring partners all agree,” said Lucien with a bemused smile.

“Illusion magic was something I immediately taught myself after becoming a mage. I needed creative ways of escaping from unnecessary conflict…” he trailed off.

“While that is very interesting, Aiden,” interrupted Celestia, “There are more pressing matters at hand. Such as getting you introduced to Ponyville.”

Aiden blinked a few times before realizing that he and Lucien strayed from the original topic. “Oh, sorry. I guess I’ll go ahead and get ready. No time to waste, am I right?” He hopped off the cot and stretched. After a few satisfying pops he made his way out of the cell.

“Aiden?”

“Yes, Celestia?”

“How exactly do you expect you’ll be getting to Ponyville?”

Aiden halted and did an about face. “I’m ready when you are.”

“Good. We’re taking the carriage. Lucien?”

“Yeah?”

“Could you put the door back and tell the guards to get the carriage ready?”

“Sure.” He turned around and bent the cage’s bars again to walk out, this time leaving a space for Aiden and Celestia to walk through. “Yo, guard! Come here!” he said, his voice fading as he walked out of their earshot.

Celestia facehoofed. “I guess I’ll call the architect again and have him fix the cell.” She smiled at Aiden. “We should get going. It’s already late afternoon, if my estimation is correct.” She walked to the bent bars and held out a wing. “Come along then.”

Aiden followed Celestia out of the cell. He looked back for a brief moment at the bent bars of his now-old cell. ‘Gotta remind myself not to push him, or I could end up like that.’ He faced forward again and exited the dungeons.

Author's Note:

Let me know what you thought about this chapter. I had quite a bit of fun writing this. I will have even more fun with the next one :D

If you think this seems like it's unfinished or if you think there's something wrong. Let me know, and it will undergo immediate editing.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed.

PS: Here is The Link for Ungrounded. (For those who have yet to look at it.)