• Published 1st Jun 2014
  • 13,293 Views, 2,052 Comments

Equestrian Epona - Shritistrang

What does a horse do when it finds out that it's actually from a world inhabited by intelligent equines? And when she gets the choice, where would she decide to live?

  • ...

Onwards to the Castle

Let me tell you about the Mare in the Moon.

As I said, she's an old pony's tale. A story to frighten little children. According to legend, she was a wicked mare of darkness sealed away in the moon that would one day be released and bring forth everlasting darkness over Equestria. I never believed that story to be true, in the same way the Hylians never believe the old legend about how the area around Lake Hylia used to be a huge desert once.

Still, there was the fact that the blanket Talon found me in had the same symbol on it I saw in that old book. That same book I used to read my children bedtime stories from. It contained multiple stories that all probably sounded very exciting or even frightening for little foals. Why should I believe them to be true?

Maybe it wasn't really such a big mystery. Maybe the previous owner of that blanket just enjoyed reading old stories like that. It still didn't tell me anything about how I appeared in Hyrule, as a foal, in front of the ranch.

„Mare in the Moon?" Link asked. „What's that?"

„N… nothing. It's not important," I quickly said and folded the blanket back together. A yawn then escaped my muzzle. „Hayseeds, I'm tired. And all this thinking isn't getting us anywhere. Would you guys mind if we call it a day and sleep on it?"

„That's actually a very good idea," Talon nodded. „It's getting late, and here on the farm we tend to get up early to do the chores."

„Don't you mean Ingo and I are getting up early?" Malon frowned. „You're usually sitting on your lazy bum and let us do all the work."

„Now listen here, girl!" Talon tried sounding stern. That never worked. „I'm the one taking care of the cuccos, that's a very important job."

„Last time I saw you ‚take care' of them, they crawled all over you while you were sleeping," Link grinned. I snickered at that.

Talon huffed. „Why, I oughta… You young'uns certainly need to learn how to treat your elders with some respect."

He and Malon then got up to leave. Before closing the barn door, Malon turned around one more time and asked Link: „Are you sure you don't want to sleep in the farmhouse? Dad can always take the couch."

But he only smiled at that. „No thanks. This straw is enough for me. Besides, Epona will have some company this way."

I blushed. „You… don't have to stay just because of me," I said. „Besides, there are still the other horses."

„Aw, stop it. We always guarded each other when we were camping out in Hyrule Field, didn't we? Why should it be different this time around?"

That made me smile. I was actually glad he decided to stay. I didn't know exactly why, but thinking of spending the first night in this new… or rather, old body made me feel uncomfortable. „Thank you."

„Well then, your decision. Sweet dreams, you two," Malon said with a smile before closing the door behind her.

Funny she would say that. Because that's the reason why I felt so nervous: The dreams! Up until now, I always used to dream of my old life in Equestria when I fell asleep. But now that I was back to my old self and knew it was more than a dream, would that change?

Link must have noticed how worried I was, since he knelt down next to me and asked: „What's the matter?"

I looked up at him. „I dunno… I guess I'm just afraid that if I go to sleep now, I might go back to Equestria for sure. And if that happens… I might not be able to come back."

Link took off his hat and scratched his head. That was always a sign that he was deep in thought. People might not guess, but Link was actually a very smart guy. Sure, he could act like a blockhead sometimes, but when it came to solving problems and puzzles, I never met anyone like him.

„Do you really think you actually ARE in Eq… Equestria when you dream about it?" he then asked.

„Well… no. I'm sure the dreams were just memories of my past life. But still, it felt so real… what if the next time, I will actually be there? It could happen!"

I couldn't tell if Link was believing that theory of mine. Truth to be told, it was pretty far-fetched. But could you blame me? This day, everything changed for me. It was just natural for me to be scared. Still I saw that he was taking my fears seriously.

Suddenly, he smiled. „You know, I could always stay up and guard you for the rest of the night. That way, I can make sure you don't go anywhere. How does that sound?"

„You would do that for me?" I asked. Stupid question. Of course he would.

„Sure. You had a pretty rough day. You need the sleep more than I do. And you know I can do a day or two without sleeping if I have to."

That was true. When Link entered the fearsome Forest Temple, it took him longer than a day to solve all the puzzles within and defeat the monsters lurking inside. And back in Termina, we always had to hurry because… well, it's complicated. Let's just say something big and heavy would fall on our heads if we wasted too much time on sleeping.

I still wanted to protest, but I was simply too tired to do so. My head slowly fell back on the straw and I muttered: „You really are the best friend a pony… could… ask for…"

I closed my eyes and the last thing I heard was Link's voice as he said: „Sleep well, my little pony."

Turns out my fears weren't justified. I didn't stay in Equestria. Actually, I didn't dream anything that night. I still felt very relaxed when I woke up in the morning, to the rooster's crow. A short glance to my left and I could see that Link was still peacefully snoring.

Well, not for much longer, if this mare had anything to say about it, I thought. I grabbed the sleeve of his tunic with my teeth and shook him. That was my favorite way of waking him up. And after only two shakes, his eyes flew open and he stuttered: „Wha… wha…? Huh? What? I'm awake, I'm awake…"

I let go of him and giggled. „Looks like I'm getting better at this. Last week I needed at least five shakes to wake you up."

He groaned. „You're enjoying this, aren't you? Can't a guy sleep a little longer in the morning?"

„Not a chance! You're always like this: Getting up late, missing half of the day. Well, not today, mister. This is a special day so you're getting your butt out of bed right now." And to emphasize, I pushed my head into his back.

„All right, all right, no need to be pushy. Sheesh. Why do I have the feeling that having a talking horse is going to be very difficult?"

I snorted. „Are you kidding? I'm glad I can finally tell you everything that's on my mind. Now that I can actually talk, maybe you'll start listening to me for a change, instead to that annoying glowbug Navi."

„Can we please not talk about Navi now?" Link sighed. „What's so special about today, anyway?"

„In case you forgot, I just found out I'm actually a pony from Equestria. And there's a lot I'd really like to know, such as: How did I get here? Why did I become a horse? Why did that blanket have that symbol? And is there a way for me to get back? And you are going to help me find the answers."

„A quest for the truth behind your past, huh? Well, it's not the first time we tried something unusual. But how do you suggest we start?"

„I would suggest by getting up and making breakfast. I'm hungry!" And again, I pushed against his back.

„Okay, okay, you win," he sighed as he finally got up to his feet. „What do you want for breakfast? Carrots?"

I grinned. „How did you know?"

Of course, Malon was already working on her daily chores by the time Link set foot outside of the barn. And while he went to wash his face and pack some things, Malon brought a basket with carrots she and I shared for breakfast. Let me tell you here just how much I love carrots. Sure, apples aren't bad either and my family back in Equestria was famous for their apple farms and plantations, but in my opinion nothing was better than a nice, crunchy, juicy carrot.

„Link and I are leaving today," I told her before taking a bite.

„Already?" I heard the disappointment in her voice. „Can't you stay for a little longer? Think of all the things we could discuss, now that you actually can talk."

„Some other time, maybe. Listen Malon, I'm really sorry. But this is something I need to do. I need to find out more about what happened to me."

„I know," she sighed. „I'm just worried, you know? What if… what if you find your way back to that other land and never come back?" She choked down a few tears, but I could see her distress. It bothered me to see this girl who always cared for me, who was basically my Hylian equivalent of a sister, in such a state of sadness, so I put my head in her lap to comfort her.

„Listen… whatever happens, I promise I won't be gone forever. You and Link are the only two people I ever cared about in Hyrule. Don't think for one moment I'm going to abandon you. I'll be back, I promise."

She sniffled a bit, but then forced herself to smile. „All right then… I want you to know that whatever you do, wherever you go, there's always a warm stable here to come back to." She gently petted my mane. „It's so strange. You're almost as small as you were as a filly, but I was a little girl myself back then."

„Ponies are smaller than horses, nothing strange about it."

She shook her head. „No, what I mean is that I always knew you as a horse, not a pony. I really need to get used to this."

„Well, once we're back, you'll have all the time to get used to it," I smiled up at her.

She gave me a hug around my neck. „Be careful out there. And take care of Link. He means as much to me as he means to you, you know?"

Of course I knew that Malon always had a bit of a crush on the ‚fairy-boy'. Still, she never told him about it since she felt uneasy because of the many other females in Link's life. „Aren't you going to tell him?" I asked her. „He has to know at some point."

„Yes, but I just need a bit more time. Admitting my feelings just like that isn't easy, you know?"

I thought back to when I first confessed my love to the stallion I married. It also took me some time to gather all my courage, but in the end, it was worth it. Maybe Link and Malon would one day have a family on their own.

When Link came back, his bag packed full with supplies such as Deku Nuts and Lon Lon Milk, I jumped to my hooves. „Ready to go?"

„Um, sure. But you still haven't told me where we're going."

„Use your brains, knucklehead. Where can we go to find information about magic and other worlds?"

As I said before, Link was a very smart guy. But sometimes, he needed a bit of time to figure things out. This time was not different. „The Hyrule Castle library?" he asked.

„Bingo!" I smirked. „I bet old Rauru has one or two books lying around that can tell us just what we need to know."

„And once we find out there is a way to Equestria?"

„One step after the other, big guy. We'll think about that when we're there. For now, it's off to Hyrule Castle!"

Contrary to popular belief, traveling across Hyrule Field is not too dangerous… if you remember to follow the following two rules. One: Only travel during the day! Make sure to be safe inside a town or village by the time the sun sets, or you'll be ambushed by Stalchildren. They are not that dangerous for a seasoned fighter, but they come in endless waves. And two: Make sure never to get close to those ominous, red bushes you might see growing across the plains. If you keep your distance, you're fine. But if you get to close, you might quickly notice that those bushes are in fact peahats… carnivorous plants who slice every living prey into tiny bits, using their blade-like propeller leaves.

Link and I have traveled these plains quite often and know about these rules. Therefore, our trip to Hyrule Castle was neither very long nor dangerous. It also helped that Lon Lon Ranch wasn't that far away from Castle Town's main gate.

Actually getting inside the castle, however, wasn't going to be that easy. To see Princess Zelda, or the sage Rauru, Link always had to sneak into the castle via a hidden passage across the moat, which lead directly into the castle's courtyard. I've never really seen the inside of the castle before, so Link showed me the best way to sneak past the guards.

„I don't really get the point of this," I muttered. „Why this secrecy? Aren't you the noble hero who saved Hyrule from Ganon?"

"Yeah, maybe. But all I really did was telling them that Ganondorf was up to no good, the guards took care of the rest. Also, I don't really feel comfortable being praised as a hero everywhere I go, that's why I prefer visiting Zelda in secret."

"I guess I understand that... but you did a lot more than just warn the king. You travelled forth and back through time, saved the sages and defeated Ganon in battle and everything..."

"Remember, that only happened in the future," Link pointed out. "A future that I prevented from happening. No one really remembers anything about his reign of terror anymore, because it didn't happen. Do you understand?"

No. I didn't. Maybe it's because I'm a pony, but time travel always makes my head hurt. Whoever invented that concept should be bucked all the way to the top of Death Mountain.

Somewhere across time and space, a certain brown-coated stallion with a green tie felt the urge to sneeze.

„Bless you, Doctor!" the cross-eyed, grey pegasus mare said as she handed him a tissue.

„Thank you, Derpy. Boy, that certainly came out of nowhere. I wonder if someone is thinking about me at the moment. That's usually how these things work, right?"

Derpy Hooves shook her head and sighed. „Sometimes I don't understand you, Doctor."

Soon enough, Link and I reached the castle courtyard. Thankfully, no guard saw us sneak in. I know I would have never made it this far in my old form. Being small sure does have its advantages.

I took a moment to admire the surroundings. The courtyard sure was pretty and peaceful. „And what do we do now?" I asked.

„We wait," Link said. „Shouldn't take her too long to notice us. The window to her room is somewhere up there."

He was right. Not too long after we arrived, the princess appeared. She smiled happily when she saw Link. Told you he was popular with the ladies.

„Link!" she said. „It's always a pleasure to welcome you. And refreshing too… those princess duties can be so boring at times."

Link grinned. „Hey there, Zelda. Remember my horsey pal Epona?"

I bowed in front of her. I still had a certain sense of respect towards royalty. I would have done the same in the presence of Princess Celestia. Link could be excused for not following protocol. After all, he and the princess were friends. But me? I was just a regular farm horse… or pony. In either dimension, I considered meeting a princess a great honor.

„This is Epona?" Zelda asked as she looked down at me. „My, you really have a well-behaved companion, Link. But I must say, I always imagined her to be… taller."

„I wasn't always this small, your majesty," I said as I got back up to my hooves. Naturally, the princess seemed pretty surprised, but she did not show it as blatantly as Link and Malon had done.

„This is... certainly a surprise," she finally said. „I never heard of any equine with the capability of speech."

„It's a long story, Zelda," Link sighed. „To be honest, we're not completely sure ourselves how she became like this. We were hoping we could talk to Rauru. He knows a lot, so if there's someone who heard of talking ponies before, it must be him, right?"

„Oh, of course. A brilliant idea, Link. I'm sure he's at the library at the moment. Please, come on in."

We followed the princess inside. A bit worried, I kept turning my head for any signs of guards, but the only people we met were a couple of maids that respectfully lowered their heads before Princess Zelda as we walked past.

„Doesn't all this sneaking around get on your nerves, Link?" I asked. „I mean, Zelda is your friend. And sneaking around through the back entrance every time must be pretty annoying."

„I wish it were that easy," Zelda said. „But unfortunately, the guards are acting on my father's orders. And as long as he refuses to accept the honors and titles that come with being a hero of the kingdom, he has to be treated like any other commoner. I'm sorry, but my father is old-fashioned that way."

„But Link here saved all of Hyrule!" I protested.

"I still don't like being praised, okay?" Link muttered. "If being a hero means parades, titles and ceremonies, I prefer being with my closest friends."

„That reminds me… whatever happened on your search, Link? Did you find Navi?" Zelda asked.

Both Link and I grimaced when that topic was brought up. Link had never talked to anyone about his adventure in Termina beside Malon. And I would have preferred if the princess hadn't mentioned that stuck-up, annoying, pesky little…

Sorry. You must have noticed by now that I don't like Navi very much. Even thinking of her makes me mad. I'll tell you the reasons later. Maybe.

„It's… a long story, princess," Link just said. Zelda simply nodded and didn't press the matter.

We then reached the library, I was astonished. I remember we used to have a library in my hometown back in Equestria, but I'm sure it wasn't this big. I've never seen this many books in my entire life… neither of them. Somewhere behind the many, many bookcases, we heard muffled mumbling and the rustling of old pages.

„Rauru? Are you there? We have visitors. Link is here, and he brought a friend." Zelda shouted.

„Can't he come back another day?" came a gruff, deep voice from the back of the room. „I'm extremely busy with my research regarding Hylian genealogy. Some of these old theories are truly fascinating. Have you known that the Kokiri are descendant of a race of plant-like creatures?"

„This is going to take a while," Link groaned. „When Rauru is obsessed with something, it's very difficult to pry him away from his books."

„You don't say!" I said in a sarcastic voice. „I never would have figured. Plant creatures are more fascinating than a talking pony with the Triforce on her flank?"

Immediately, the rustling and mumbling stopped. For a moment, there was silence. Then, in a matter of seconds, an old and for his speed surprisingly stout man came running around the corner. I'm sure his sandals left skid marks on the floor when he came to a stop in front of us.

He huffed and puffed a bit, then he took a deep breath and asked: „Did you say… pony? With a… mark on her flank? Maybe a… cutie mark?"

My eyes widened. „How do you know that?"

I'm pretty sure this was the first time he took a clear look at me, the way he stared and gasped for air. „In… incredible! Ha… haha! A pony! A real, live pony, standing right here, in my own library! Haha! What a day! What a joyful day!"

Link of Zelda exchanged confused glances. I didn't really know what to say either. Sure, I could talk… but was having a pony in your library really a reason to freak out like that?

But Rauru didn't give me a chance to speak, he blurted out: „This is sensational! For the longest time, I've been ridiculed by the public. I've been laughed at by my colleagues. And now… now, for the first time, all of my theories are proven to be correct. Haha! The old writings were right about everything. By Din's blazing flames, this is a glorius day. The ancient, legendary kingdom of Equestria truly exists!"

I froze. „You… know about Equestria?"

„Oh yes, I know. I know everything, I read everything. About the princesses, the three tribes, their unusual kind of magic…" He suddenly knelt down in front of me, staring directly into my eyes. „Oh, what an honor! I can't tell you just how much of an honor it is for me too meet a resident of Equestria. Welcome to Hyrule, honored guest! Welcome!"

For a moment, everyone kept quiet.

Then Link said: „Well, looks like he likes you, Epona. But don't expect me to kneel in front of you as well."

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