• Published 27th Oct 2011
  • 2,581 Views, 132 Comments

Lunar Apprehension - Vypor

A mysterious pony attempts to show Luna her work is appreciated, but Celestia sees him as a threat.

  • ...

Prologue 3

Cyrus stared blankly back at the unicorn in front of him. “What do you mean, “Dad”? What kind of prank is this? Cause it's not funny.”

Tsyreim stepped forward. “It's no prank dad, mom told me all about what happened. The cart crashed, and she tried to keep near you, but in her haste to get back, she went the wrong way.”

“How do you know all this, and how would she even still be alive?” Cyrus began asking. “How would I know you're telling the truth? I don't even know you.”

“Her name is Gem. She is a blind Pegasus.” Tsyreim explained. “Your name is Cyrus, like you, I have a blanket style patch of spots on my flank.” He turned, letting Cyrus get a good look at it. “Gem survived because she stumbled upon a cave, and the current resident inside took her in and helped her.”

Cyrus stared for a bit longer, thinking. “You're still expecting me to just, believe you. After all these years, suddenly my 'son' I never knew, comes out of nowhere to tell me my wife is still alive?” He pauses for a bit then looks back up. “Ponies heard about what happened. The story was all over for awhile, but nothing was ever turned up. How do I know you're not just some youngster aiming to pull a prank for 'fun'?” He then points to Tsyreim's flank. “Also, what is that mark supposed to mean?”

Tsyreim swallowed, he knew he was on some pretty thin ice here, but he wasn't about to lose his father now. “I'm a guardian. That mark is the crest used by the guardian. We live far out in the Deepfrond Forest. But well, that's all I can say. I'm sorry. I'd tell you more, but I probably wasn't supposed to let you on to even that much.” He pawed the ground slightly, trying to think of some way to convince his father. “I know you don't believe me... But, as a teacher, I know you've seen your fair share of foals who lie.” Looking up into Cyrus' eyes, he swallowed. “So YOU tell me. Am I lying?”

Cyrus stared right back, studying his 'son'. “Well if you were lying, you'd be the best liar I've ever laid eyes on. But I just can't bring myself to accept what you say. It just doesn't seem at all possible.”

“I understand.” Tsyreim replied. “But make no mistake, I will do whatever I can to show you what I say is the truth.”

“Well okay then, you seem pretty desperate for me to believe you. So I'll tell you what.”

“Anything, just tell me, and I'll try my best.” Tsyreim stood tall.

“You bring Gem.” Cyrus said unflinchingly. “Unless I can see her for myself, I cannot believe you. You may have presented some interesting proof, but it's not as convincing as seeing my wife for myself. And you said she was still alive. So there should be nothing stopping you.”

“Then so be it.” Tsyreim nodded, he had already planned to try and get Gem to come, so this was one part of the plan already lining up hopefully. “She doesn't like me to leave, but rest assured, I WILL get her to come. And I will not return next unless she is with me.”

Cyrus kept watching the colt. “Then tomorrow night. At the earliest. This is the only chance I will give you.”

Tsyreim nodded slowly, keeping his composure on the outside even though he felt like bounding. He knew getting Gem to come may not be easy, but it was a for sure confirmation to his father. “Thank you, dad.” He smiled, a single tear rolling down his face.

Cyrus almost told him not to call him dad, but seeing the pony's reaction, he couldn't bring himself to. “To be honest, I want to believe you.” He started again. “But this is so far-fetched. My wife disappeared years ago, and having a son I never knew come from nowhere to meet me... Well, 'logical' wouldn't be my choice term for the situation.”

Tsyreim nodded slowly. “I know, I know. But I won't stop until I've proved it, you'll see.”

“Also, despite being so inexplicably secretive, can you at least give me your name?” Cyrus asked.

“Of course! My name is Tsyreim. Spelled, T-S-Y-R-E-I-M.” The Unicorn beamed, obviously proud of his being able to spell such a name so easily. His smile gradually faded however as he looked at Cyrus. “What's wrong?”

“Tsy, reim?” Cyrus mumbled.

Tsyreim looked uneasily at him. He knew he had just touched a nerve somewhere, somehow. But didn't know whether it was good or bad.

Cyrus finally looked at him. “I'm sorry, I'll meet you tomorrow night. But... Right now, I need some time. Time alone.”

Tsyreim sighed. “Okay... Goodnight, dad.” He paused, then walked into the woods before taking a look back at Cyrus. A small smile crept over his face, and he galloped off into the forest.

Cyrus silently watched the strange pony disappear into the night, then let out a heavy sigh. “How... This can't be.”

He turned and walked back toward his house slowly. Mind racing with thoughts and questions. But inside he felt an overwhelming curiosity and excitement. This 'Tsyreim' pony had shown knowledge of something nopony else knew, even though the story was widespread at one time, there were still smaller unknown details, and somehow he knew them. That's what had Cyrus curious in the first place.

But the name alone. Tsyreim. It was so familiar. Both he and Gem were fond of shorter names, and Cyrus recalled wanting to name their foal Tey. But Gem wanted to name them Rim. Tey, and Rim. Teyrim, Tsyreim.

Cyrus walked into his house and locked the door, still thinking. Tsyreim didn't seem to give any knowledge of the resemblance between the names, he acted so utterly clueless to the connection. So then, even if he WAS pulling a prank, how could he make a coincidence like that?

Cyrus had great trouble getting to sleep that night, all he could think about was that colt's face, what he said, and that unwavering gleam in his eyes. He almost found himself believing Tsyreim even though he hadn't yet seen Gem.

- - - - - - -
Deepfrond forest, several hours later
- - - - - - -

Small forest plants waved calmly in the cool night breeze, suddenly whisking to the side as a shadow shot by, a faint glowing green streak trailing it.

Tsyreim galloped toward the cave, he hadn't stopped running since he left, his limbs seemed to overflow with excitement and energy after finally meeting his father. Even though he hadn't accepted Tsyreim yet, he knew it was all going to change tomorrow night. He WAS going to get Gem to come with him, no matter how she protested.

Approaching the cave, Tsyreim was greeted by the voice of Speil. “I would ask you how it went, but judging by your current temperament, I would judge it to be 'well'.”

You got that right.” Tsy grinned, trotting down to the entrance. “He doesn't believe me of course, but I knew that would happen.”

“So why then are you so happy?” Speil inquired.

“Well I gave enough evidence, it got him curious. I saw it in his eyes, he wanted to believe, but he demanded one thing before he would actually believe it.”

“To see Gem I'm sure.” Speil mused.

“Precisely.” Tsyreim nodded, sitting down as he realized just how worn out he was from the extensive run. “And I'm going to bring her there tomorrow night.” He paused and looked up as he swore Speil had just snickered. “I'm sorry, is there something funny?”

Speil chuckled again. “Well I'll just say we'll all see just how skillful you are in persuasion. Gem will not leave easily.”

“I am aware of that, Speil.” Tsyreim muttered. “But you also forget I inherited her stubbornness.”

“Why do you not simply tell her the plan then?” Speil continued.

“Well for one, she probably won't believe me. Or she won't believe it's actually him, and will instead scold me for potentially telling strangers about where we live.” Standing up, he made one last comment. “It's best kept a secret. She will know when she hears, that I'm sure of. But it's late, and I really need my sleep.”

“Understood.” Speil replied. “Then we shall concentrate on simpler training, so you're not falling asleep during it.”

“Good idea.” Tsyreim yawned, walking in slowly and quietly to his bed. He lay down in it and noted how simple and crude their living space was compared to what he saw in the town. “I bet I could make this a little more hospitable...” He mused, laying down. “If I chisel... Chisel that. Yeah...” His words drifted off into unintelligible mumbles as he promptly fell asleep.

- - - - - - -
Morning, the next day
- - - - - - -

Tsyreim shook his head, sputtering as water splashed all over him. “Wha-where?!” A bucket dropped to the floor and the unicorn shook his head, looking up to see the disapproving stare of his mother in what was her best guess of his location. “Oh... Sorry.”

“I was wondering if you'd ever wake up.” She sighed. “Whatever you're doing at night HAS to stop. Do you understand me?”

Tsyreim stood up and shook, his mane and tail drooping down from the water. “Yes mother. I apologize... It's just-”

“It's just too much is what it is.” She turned, feeling her way toward the entrance. “I won't have you doing this. You need to be alert and ready.”

Tsyreim just closed his eyes and sighed. Gem was not one to be trifled with, and now she was in a bad mood too. He walked over to the makeshift table and sat down, moving his eyes across the table to the lone bowl of grass. A green aura enveloped it as it slid across the stone slab toward him. Convincing Gem to come with him tonight would most likely be harder than fighting that Manticore.

He couldn't be kept down for long though. Despite Gem's strong disapproval of his 'secret life', he knew he would find a way to get her to come. Only then would she understand. It wasn't wishful thinking either, Gem needed this. All three of them did.

After finishing breakfast, Tsyreim walked outside where Gem was sitting down on a rock. “Speil has yet another easy practice session for you.” The gray Pegasus said. “I told him he needs to stop accommodating for your lack of sleep. If I didn't know any better, I'd suspect you were both involved in whatever it is.”

Tsyreim hung his head in silence, Speil's voice drifting through his head. “Shall we begin Master Tsyreim?” The unicorn paused, then shook his head. “Just a moment please...”

Gem's ears perked up at the sound of hoofsteps approaching her. “What do you nee-oh!” Her eyes went wide as Tsyreim's forelegs wrapped around her in a tight hug. “Mother, I know you're disappointed in what I've done, but please wait. I have kept it secret for a reason, and I want to show it to you. Tonight.”

“Wha-” Gem opened her mouth to speak again, but Tsyreim closed it. “What I was doing, I was doing for you. I can't expect you to understand right now, but know that I love you, and would never ever disobey your orders if I didn't have one hell of a good reason.”

He finished off with a kiss on her cheek and smiled. “I love you mother. Just don't get too uptight about this guardian's business, alright?”

Gem sat solemnly on her rock, contemplating everything that she had just been told. The hoofsteps receding back from whence they came. She hardly noticed the sounds of her son training. All she could think about at this point was whether she was actually being too uptight. In her attempts to protect and ready Tsyreim, was she blocking him off from everything that would give him the practice and experience he needed?

After lunch, she called out to her son. “Tsy, could you come over please.”

Tsyreim trotted over. “Yes mother?”

“I've been thinking over what you said.” She sighed, rolling a small stone around with her hoof. “And I realize you were right. I want what is best for you, I want you to be safe. But I've been too uptight, and I just wanted to apologize for that.”

She felt his strong legs over her shoulders again as he hugged her once more. “It's okay mother, I know.” His ears perked up immediately at her next words. “I'll go to see whatever this is you wanted to show me.”

He closed his eyes, holding back his excitement. “Thank you mother. Thank you. You won't regret it.”

Gem smiled shyly, and then pushed him off. “Now go get back to training you lazy foal.”

Tsyreim snickered, trotting back to the practice area. Soon after, the sound of magic spells being cast about buzzed through the air.

It wasn't long before Tsyreim was tired, and the sky tinted orange. Sundown had begun, and as he gazed up at the mountains gleaming orange, the unicorn smiled. It was almost time.

Trotting back to his mother, he thought over his plan. They would have to leave early, guiding his blind mother would take much longer than a simple gallop through the woods for him. He poked her shoulder lightly. “Oh mother.”

“What do you need?” She replied, feeling around for an elusive stack of bowls just out of reach. Tsyreim scooted them into her range and continued. “We need to depart soon. We mustn't be late now.”

“Well we're going to eat first, and that is not changing.” She said, starting to stuff grass and leaves into the bowls.

Tsyreim rolled his eyes, impatient to start, but he wasn't going to push his luck. He carried the bowls over so Gem wasn't stumbling over herself. Dinner remained mostly silent, Gem wanted to ask Tsyreim what it was, but she knew by now he wanted to keep it a secret. “That pony, always so secretive...” She grumbled over her food.

Like an overexpectant foal, Tsyreim had scarfed his food down and was all ready and sitting by Gem waiting for her to finish. She knew he was there, but took her time.

Finally she finished her bowl and turned back to her son. “Okay, fine. Show me whatever this is that's so important.”

“Follow me.” He said, guiding her along. “It is going to be quite the journey, you probably won't want to walk all that way.”

“How far away is this? Are we going to get lost?” She furrowed her brow, looking toward him.

“We shan't get lost mother.” Came the sigh. “I know where I'm going, and I have a failsafe to prevent straying from the path. Now hop on.”

“Hop on?”

“My back.”

“Are you seriou-”

“I beat a Manticore. I can handle you, trust me.”

Tsyreim scooted over and Gem slowly crawled onto his back, wrapping her front legs around his neck for stability. He smiled up at her and trotted off into the woods. “You're gonna love this, mother.”

“I better.” She jabbed him.

- - - - - - -
Several hours later
- - - - - - -

Gem looked around, she may not admit it, but it frightened her to be so far away. If she didn't trust Tsyreim so much, she never would have allowed him to bring her this far. She could have sworn they should have gone the length of the forest already.

“Tsy, how far do you plan to go? It's terribly late, and we are terribly far away from home.”

“I know what I am doing, mother.” Came the reply once again. She was used to that much by now. “You're starting to sound like a whiny foal back there, do you want me to pull this pony over?” Tsyreim chuckled.

“Actually yes I do. But you're not going to are you?” She sighed.

“Nope. It's imperative that we get there as soon as possible.” Tsyreim slowed and looked up at the moon through the trees, a small flock of birds flew in front of it, their tiny silhouettes flapping across the night sky. “We'll be there soon, don't you worry.”

This continued on for about an hour more. Till Tsyreim spotted the buildings through the distant trees. “Ok mother.” He started. “Time to get off, your surprise awaits just ahead.”

“Oh boy, I can hardly wait.” She crawled off him, stretching her legs. Tsyreim took up beside her, guiding her toward the clearing. He could feel the excitement building again, what would happen, how would Cyrus respond?

Gem looked over at him. “Tsy, are you ok, I can feel your heart thumping faster.”

“I'm perfectly fine mother, trust me.” They walked through some bushes out into the clearing, and Tsyreim smiled. Cyrus lay curled up in the center, he had dozed off it seemed, but he stayed true to his word and waited.

Tsyreim whistled slightly. “Hey now, sleeping in front of your guests?”

Cyrus' ears shot up and he stumbled to his hooves. “What- where, how... Oh it's... It's...” He stared straight at Gem, and his mouth slowly gaped open in shock.

Gem went defensive, hearing someone else. “Tsy! I thought you were not to reveal us!”

Tsyreim put his hoof over her. “Calm mother, he will not harm us, and you would know that better than anyone.”

She stuttered, “And how do you know that?”

Tsyreim looked back at the stunned unicorn standing in the clearing. “Well if he didn't have a heart attack, then you'll find out won't you?”

Cyrus stepped forward, he couldn't believe his eyes. His heart felt as if it was going to burst forth from his chest. There, in front of his very eyes stood his long lost wife. Her voice, the curve of her face, the blank stare, glazed over beautiful eyes.

“S-Speak again...” He begged. “Tell me you remember me...”

Gem's posture began to melt and her eyes froze as she began to recognize his voice. “Wait... You sound like... No, no that's impossible...” She spun and took hold of Tsyreim. “This is a trick, are you fooling me?! That voice sounds like...”

Cyrus stumbled forward to her, tears rolling down his face. “M-My Gem... Gem is that really you...?”

Tsyreim smiled, swallowing back a massive lump. Tears had begun to flow down his face at the response. He knew he was right, there was no mistaking the love in Cyrus' eyes.

“Sweetie... Sweetie look at me please...” He said, not risking another step toward her, lest he fear this vision fade.

Gem turned and faced toward him. “Cy? I know that voice, but I can't believe I'm hearing it.”

“Then feel it...!” He galloped forward, and threw his legs around her, squeezing her tight. Tsyreim watched from behind, looking into Cyrus as he held Gem tight. Tears flowed freely from his eyes as Gem accepted the truth, holding him equally tight, she began to weep uncontrollably.

Cyrus patted her back slowly, and Tsyreim saw everything in his eyes. He swore he could literally watch the memories playing back as the two long-lost lovers held each other in an impossibly tight embrace.

Gem sputtered, spitting tears from her mouth there were so many flowing down her face.”Y-you... This, how, how did... Tsy?”

Tsyreim walked over and tried to hug what he could. No matter how cold the night, the warmth of this love could have melted a mountain in ten seconds flat. He felt as the member of a complete family for once in his life. His mother and father, both reunited at last.

“Don't ever let me go, don't ever let me go, don't ever let me go...” Gem whimpered, not showing any signs of loosening her grip on Cyrus. Who willingly obliged her, still staring in shock down at her, burying his face in her mane.

Tsyreim didn't say a word, to risk breaking the magic of the moment would have been an unforgivable sin in his book.

They had to have clung to each other for at least forty-five minutes before they finally let go of each other and just stared. Tsyreim put his legs around Gem and held her tight, finally risking to speak. “I told you you'd like the surprise didn't I?”

She hugged him right back, gasping through her tears to speak. “Tsy, I don't know what you went through to do this for me... For us... But I cannot, I swear, I cannot thank you enough...”

Cyrus walked up and looked Tsyreim straight in the eyes. “That night you arrived, when you told me who you were. I wanted to believe. I wanted to know you were right, more than anything.” He swallowed, trying to keep his voice. “B-But I couldn't bring myself to. Now though... I-I don't know what to say, or how I would even say it.”

He looked down at Gem, and then right back up at Tsyreim. “But... Thank you... Son...”

Tsyreim melted, he had tried to keep his composure, but that was it. As his father finally acknowledged him as son, he couldn't hold it anymore, and leapt into Cyrus' embrace. He closed his eyes, holding him tight. At last, his father figure returned, he felt a hole inside fill up that he never knew he had missed or lacked. It felt as if every desire he had wanted was fulfilled in that moment, he felt so warm, he never wanted it to end.

And Cyrus, finally realized him to be his son, the foal he had never known. He managed to choke up some words. “I don't care what happens, but this moment will never be taken from me. Never again...”

Finally they broke the hug, Tsyreim's lingering slightly. Then they huddled together and all the words held back flooded forth.

“Where have you been all this time?”

“What have you done while away?”

“What did you do after searching? How long did you search?”

“When did you have this guy?”

Eventually the cacophony slowed to where they could actually answer questions, and Gem filled Cyrus in on what had happened after she got lost. She was hesitant to mention some things, but if there was anypony she could trust besides Tsyreim, she knew it was Cyrus.

Cyrus swore to keep all that she desired a secret, no way he was risking telling on the things they didn't wish others to know of. After hearing of Gem and Tsyreim's tales, he recounted his own.

After Gem went missing, a massive search was started, volunteer search parties of ponies scoured all over the Everfree forest. A name was struck up for Gem, the Everfree Mother. But nothing was turned up, a flying Pegasus makes no trail.

And while the spirit was high, days passed, and ponies began to leave. Cyrus knew why, eventually he realized the rest stayed out of pity, and he finally told them to go home. A small memorial was placed where the cart had crashed in remembrance of Gem. But Cyrus never saw it. He couldn't bring himself to look at it, to him it would mean accepting Gem's death.

He returned to Saddleburg, but didn't resume his teacher's duties for some time. Preferring to stay in his home and study to keep his mind occupied. Finally however he returned to teaching when a few of his former students couldn't stand to see him doing this ti himself, and formed an elaborate, yet childish plan to try and lure him back into his classroom.

Ironically, he played along and followed them in, where he saw his entire old class of students sitting eagerly at their desks. Many of them had graduated his level of classes however, and came back simply to try and convince him to return again. Touched by their care about him, he saw the truth in it, and accepted. He had been teaching ever since, and thanked the children whenever he saw them for bringing him back. He realized he would have just become another old hermit had they not done so.

He wasn't teaching all the time however, and soon began spellmaking. Developing his own spells, and studying different elements of spells. He also found he was quite good at it, and actually had the College of the Royal Palace inquire into his services. He denied it however, preferring to stay in Saddleburg with his students whom cared for him, and he likewise for them.

As he spoke with Gem, he grew intrigued into Tsyreim's trainings, and many of the spells which he learned. The two of them bantered back and forth about it, and he marveled at how much the young pony knew and comprehended varying magic and spells.

Especially how instead of the standard symbol magic, Tsyreim used something of a mixed symbolism and spoken magic. And a now defunct dialect to summon spells. It didn't take long, and soon Tsyreim was teaching Cyrus, writing down different bits of language and explaining how they were tied.

Gem sat by just listening to them wit ha big smile on her face. Father son time, she thought she'd never heard it. Though she did have to butt in occasionally to correct something. She knew much of it as well, despite not being a magic pony, she still helped train Tsyreim, and learned directly from Speil.

Cyrus' face lit up as they spoke, all the prospects of this new magic had so many possibilities, and yet still so potent. Before long, Tsyreim and he had set up a training regiment of sorts. He would teach Tsyreim more social skills, like spelling and writing normal pony language. And Tsyreim would teach him the more ancient Prequestrian Dialect used for the spells.

Finally, they all gathered around and told stories, sharing tales of what had passed till the sun had begun to rise. Ironically, Gem was the first to notice. “The sun is rising boys.” She noted. “I fear it may be time for us to go...”

Tsyreim looked between his mother and father, thinking to himself. “It's not right to keep them apart. What if there were a way to allow them to stay with each other?”

Gem walked over to him after bidding Cyrus farewell. “Alright Tsy... We should go now.”

“Should we?” He asked, turning to her. “I've been thinking, it can't be right for you two to be apart again. No doubt all you will think about is when next you can be together.”

Cyrus looks at Gem, then Tsyreim. “What are you saying?”

“What if... We were to stage Gem's return...?” Tsyreim tilted his head.

Both his parents stared at him, Gem soon spoke up. “Tsy, my home is-”

“Where Cyrus is.” Tsyreim finished for her. “I saw love this night. I saw love unrelenting, and not held back. I saw a love that should never be separated again. YOU, should never be separated again.”

“And what about you?” Cyrus pointed. “No son of mine is being left out of this.”

Tsyreim shook his head. “And I shall not. But you see, as my duty of Guardian, I should stay back. I won't be completely alone, I still have Speil. But MY duties require I stay there. I can however travel. I can make it here in several hours if I travel at a reasonable pace.”

Gem pawed at the ground. “I don't want to leave to alone...”

“I shan't be alone.” Tsyreim rolled his eyes, “Remember Speil.”

“He can handle himself from what I've heard.” Cyrus mused. “Frankly I think his knowledge of magic rivals mine at the moment. If not more.”

“Come here.” Tsyreim motioned. “I've got a plan, how about this...”

- - - - - - -
Later that day
- - - - - - -

Ordin groaned, the light brown packpony's ears filled with the empty squeaking and croaking of the wagon wheels behind him. Peddling and ferrying goods and ponies from town to town was hard boring work, but it provided money. And money provided food.

He looked up and saw something on the road further away. He hoped it wasn't a group of thugs. He hated to fight, but if they threatened his cargo and passengers, he'd show them just what kind of muscles a pack horse had.

He trudged on, keeping a wary eye on the object, till he grew closer and saw it was just one pony. A Pegasus by the look of it. “S'odd...” He mumbled, adjusting the straw in his mouth. “The'r normally flyin' around...”

He came up on them, a small grey confused looking Pegasus, and she looked toward him. But as he noted, not straight at him. “H-Hello...?”

He stopped by her and looked down. “Are ye lost?” He tilted his head. Then jumping slightly as she clung to him. “Oh thank Celestia! I thought I'd never see another pony again!”

He looked down at her in utter confusion and then up at the cart as the passengers rustled around, poking their head over the side. “What appears to be the hold up sir?” All eyes turned to the befuddled packhorse and the small gray pony clinging to him.

“Ah can't say that ah quite un'erstand it either.” He shifted, pushing her off slightly. “Well if yer lost, you can hitch a ride t' the next town ah s'pose. Y'shure don't weigh none, so ah prolly won't notice anyhow.”

The small Pegasus thanked him profusely, and then shuffled around rather curiously, feeling the ground around him. “Can ya see?” He inquired.

“One of the ponies in the wagon roused their husband. “Land's sakes dear, go help the poor darling, she appears to be blind.” The stallion hurried out of the wagon and helped the Pegasus onto the wagon. “Thank you kindly sir.” She thanked him, settling down.

After the ruckus, they all inquired where she had come from. “I got lost, a long time ago... I've lived in caves and trees till I stumbled across this road. I had hoped someone would come at some point.

“You've been living blind in that dreadful forest?” The ponies talked amongst themselves. On of them eyed her curiously, puffing on a small pipe, they appeared to be thinking rather deep.

“How long have you been in there?” They finally spoke up.

“Years. I lost count. But it as been, years. My husband probably gave up looking for me long ago...”

The pipe clattered to the bottom of the cart. “By the sisters...” They leaned over the side and yelled to Ordin. “I say! Make haste sir, we have aboard this cart the Everfree Mother!”

Ordin took no time in putting his powerful legs to work, and the cart doubled in speed. He didn't follow up on events often, but he knew who the Everfree Mother was. Word spread of what happened amongst the packponies like him quite quickly. And he never forgot that tale, he just never dreampt he would stumble upon her one day, especially so long after her disappearance.

He found it ironic that he was on the very road to Saddleburg when he found her as well. Word would spread quickly there, perhaps he'd even see the husband reunited with her there.

A shadow in the woods watched quietly as the cart creaked out of sight. “A plan well-played mother, a plan well-played. Let us see how Father fares...”

- - - - - - -
Approximately forty-five minutes later
- - - - - - -

A cart rolled into town, the weary lead-horse drug it in, sweat pouring off of him in the hot sun. Several others went by, looking down at him. “You know you can walk too.” They chuckled.

He laughed right back, “Not iff'n you got th' Everfree Mother aboard...”

Shouts of protest echoed from the carts as the others spun around, going back the way Ordin's cart was. He pulled right up to the school and unhitched himself. “Ah'll be right back miss.” He winked to the gray Pegasus as he galloped inside.

Cyrus was in the middle of his class as a large sweaty workhorse stumbeld into his classroom. “Excuse me sir, but if you want to register for classes, you'll need to contact the headmaster. And... You need to be a Unicorn for my classes.”

“Ah ain't gotta be a Unicorn t' tell ya that ah've got yer wife in my cart just outside.”

The room froze, and Cyrus slowly took his glasses off. “I'm sorry, you what?”

“Yer missus is in my cart just out yonder door sir. You'll wanna go see her ah reckon.” Ordin grinned.

Cyrus looked at his class, who collectively shouted for him to go, and immediately ran ahead outside to see for themselves. Cyrus stumbled out the door and looked up in the cart, seeing Gem leaning over the side, staring down toward the crowd of shouting excited children. “SEE MISTER CYRUS!”

She was brought down from the cart and embraced her husband once again, tears poured down from their faces. And while they knew it was all staged, it was a return nonetheless.

Cyrus gave Ordin a medallion as a thank you for bringing Gem back to him. He went ahead and had enchanted it slightly as well with an experimental spell he had learned from Tsyreim's language training. Ordin couldn't be happier. While wearing it, he felt stronger than ever. “Ah'm gonna have to step up mah business now. Pack some more on that cart there.”

A pony sat atop a distant roof, smiling as he watched the festivities. Two souls reunited once again. “Well played, father.” He chuckled. “Well-played.” He turned and teleported off into the forest. He would return at night to visit the two again.