• Published 4th Sep 2014
  • 1,800 Views, 34 Comments

The Humans. - Jed R



Lyra Heartstrings knows humans exist, and she's going to prove it, no matter how long it takes.

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II: Lyra's Resolution.

Chapter II: Lyra's Resolution.

When Lyra Heartstrings got home shortly after purchasing the map from Grendel, she immediately ran to her bedroom. The little room was her sanctuary, the only place where she could possibly feel safe to practice her research - especially after Bon Bon's wanton destruction of her work.

She shook her head: there was no point to recrimination, no, none at all. After all: this was the moment she had waited for for so long: not only proof of humans, but a way to find them! In that respect, she was sure she could forgive Bon Bon for what she had done. After all - it ultimately had t actually stopped her from being able to go find humans after all.

The moment she was inside her sanctum, she rolled the tattered scroll over her desk, flattening it as best she could. She looked over the map, pouring over every little detail. On it, she could see the massive Griffon Empire, whose furthest edge lay to the North East of Equestria, an imposing (not to say downright terrifying) mass of land. Many ponies knew of the Griffon Wars, conflicts fought in the distant past between the ponies of Equestria and the Griffon Legions, but fortunately those were very distant history. Modern Griffon society was somewhat aristocratic, and there was always the slight distaste one had for creatures that were omnivorous, but they were overall considered fondly.

To the North East of the Empire lay a long thin stretch of land labelled simply "the Waste", with a few mountain ranges and forests scattered therein. The Waste was known only as a legendary place where nothing lived save for monsters, rogue changelings and the ruins of ancient civilisations long passed. Beyond the Waste lay an expanse of plains labelled merely as the "Home Of The Horse Tribes", and settled to the north of that... a land named only as "Volkenheim".

"Volkenheim..." Lyra whispered to herself, rolling the name over her tongue, her eyes wide in wonder.

She rolled the map up and started thinking. If there were humans - if there really, really were - then she had to meet them. There was no other alternative for her. It had been her foalhood dream to go and meet humans. How could she not, when given this golden opportunity, go and meet them, go seek them out?

It would be tricky though. Bon Bon would never approve of her going. Indeed, she would no doubt do her very best to talk her out of it. No, if Lyra was to leave, it would have to be in secret, and it would have to be soon. No - it would have to be today!

She quickly went to her cupboards and wardrobes, grabbing a large saddlebag. She put the map and the doll - the latter after a long look and a gleeful giggle - in a special compartment in the saddlebag, then grabbed a few supplies (including a winter coat and scarf - after all, this would prove to be an especially long journey, no doubt) and put it all in the bag as well. She packed a small lunch and a water bottle, though she reasoned that there would be a number of opportunities to go grab flowers on the road (the advantage of being a pony). She packed her Equestrian passport in case she needed to go past border guards. She also grabbed a compass, a map of Equestria, several notepads, a diary, and a few choice quills, packing them all safely away. She reasoned she'd need them all: especially the diary!

She grabbed her spare quill and a piece of paper and quickly jotted a note to leave for Bon Bon so she wouldn't worry. She paused, and then pulled a spare parchment out, quickly jotted down her route on a small map, drawing an arrow showing her planned route - at least to the edge of Equestria. That way, Bon Bon would definitely know which way she had gone. With that done, she grinned to herself. She was really off to go meet humans!

She composed herself, stepped out of her room, checked that Bon Bon was nowhere to be seen, stepped out the house, checked again, and then checking her compass took off at a brisk trot, determined to make good time. If she knew distances right (she didn't) then she'd be there soon enough.

***

When Bon Bon returned to the house later that day, she had bought a pair of cupcakes for herself and Lyra to share, sort of as an apology to her eccentric friend. Despite the fact that she really, really didn't like the talk of humans (it was entirely too fanciful for her liking) she really did care for Lyra, and never liked it when they fought. Her friend running off crying had made her feel especially guilty - it was never her intention to deliberately upset Lyra, merely to express her frustration... something which, if she was being honest with herself, she was very bad at being kind about.

"Lyra?" she called into the house. She walked into the front room. "Lyra?!"

She frowned. She had expected that Lyra would have been back by now, unless she was still sulking somewhere in Ponyville. Or unless she had run off - but that was a patently ridiculous idea. Where would she run off to? Then again, it did seem in character for her to decide to run off into the blue when she was really upset. Still, it didn't seem likely to Bon Bon. She was about to dismiss the entire line of thought as far too fanciful when she saw a note and a hastily drawn on map, both on the front room table. Blinking, she picked the map up and looked it over. It appeared to detail a journey to the edge of Equestria and into other lands. Dismissing this for the moment, she idly stuffed the map into her saddlebag, picked up the note and began reading it.

Dear Bon Bon,

By the time you read this, I will be long gone. I've acquired a map to human lands, and have set off immediately on an expedition to see them for myself. Don't worry, I promise you that I will be fine. I'll get back as soon as I can. I'm sorry about the mess and the argument.

Love,
Lyra.

Bon Bon dropped the note in shock, surprised and a little angry at this rather unexpected turn of events. A map?! To human lands? Acquired how?! She shook her head. That wasn't important. What was important was that she had to go find Lyra, right now, before she did anything unbelievably ridiculous, or worse still, got herself lost out in the wilds and probably killed. Racing out of her door, not even bothering to lock it, Bon Bon charged off after her friend, saddlebag with cupcakes and all.

***

Given a choice between getting a train and taking the long route of walking, one might think most ponies would have felt the need to take the train, especially if they were going to be going on such a long walk, not only through most of Equestria, but beyond Equestria to the Griffon Empire. Given that the rail networks didn't extend beyond the Griffon Empire, Lyra would have had to walk eventually, but there was a train of thought (if you will forgive the pun) that said that she could have made the journey easier.

Nevertheless, Lyra was more inclined to walk. She couldn't have necessarily told anypony why she made this decision - it could have been more that she enjoyed walking, or it could have been a gut feeling that this was a journey to take on foot. Nonetheless, she had begun hoofing it (if you will again forgive the pun) from Ponyville at a rate of knots.

To the immediate east of Ponyville were various bodies of water. The first and best place to cross these was, in face, the old bridge in the Everfree Forest. Lyra wasn't, if one was to be honest, entirely sanguine about walking through the big, terrifying forest on her own - but for the sake of meeting humans? It was a price that was more than acceptable, and she would meet the forest with her head held high and a smile on her face!

As you might be able to tell, Lyra Heartstrings was something of a masochist.

***

Bon Bon ran first to Ponyville train station, worried that her eccentric (not to say utterly insane) friend had gotten on the first train she could and had high-tailed it out of there. Fortunately, the last train that had departed had done so several hours ago, long before Bon Bon's argument with her friend, so she was convinced that Lyra had not gotten on a train.

Lyra, however, was nowhere to be found on that train station. Bon Bon frowned, now somewhat mystified (and a little concerned). After all, Lyra was going somewhere, so why wasn't she on the train station platform, waiting for the next train?

"Come on, Bon Bon," she muttered angrily to herself. "It's not like she's..."

She stopped, her eyes widening in horror as the full revelation of what she had been about to say hit her.

"It's not like she's going to walk the whole way," she finished with a whisper. She reached into her saddlebag and pulled out the hastily scribbled on map. She studied it intently for a moment, then lowered it.

"The Everfree Forest," she said to herself. "That... idiot!"

Without another word she raced off towards the Everfree Forest as fast as her legs could carry her.

***

At the edge of the Everfree Forest, Lyra found herself having second thoughts. For all she knew, the Griffon trader had been a liar, the map was a fake, and this was nothing more than a wild goose chase. She should at least be getting the train.

Except that this wasn't a wild goose chase, she was sure. There was something more beyond this forest, beyond Equestria. There was a world, and in that world there were humans, creatures of myth and legend that she had known about and loved the stories of since she was a very small child. If there was even a chance that she might be able to meet them, she had to take it.

She was about to take her first steps into the Everfree Forest when she heard a voice calling out. "Lyra! Lyra!"

She turned. Bon Bon, of all ponies, was running up towards her puffing slightly.

"Bon Bon?" Lyra asked, frowning in confusion. "Have you been running?"

"I got... your note," Bon Bon said, panting slightly. "Are you out of... your mind?"

Lyra frowned slightly at her friend's question. She had expected exactly this reaction, but it didn't make it any less disappointing.

"Bon Bon," she said, her voice more sincere than Bon Bon had ever heard it, "this is something I have to do."

"What?" the beige Earth Pony asked, utterly incredulous at what she was hearing. "Run off into the wild blue yonder to find your mythical humans?!"

Rather than respond to Bon Bon, Lyra used her horn to open up her saddlebag and pull out the human doll that she had gotten from Grendel. Bon Bon frowned at it.

"What in Celestia's name is that?" she asked, looking from it to Lyra and back again.

"It's a human," Lyra said with a grin. "This is what they look like. The trader said they call themselves the Volken, after their land, Volkenheim. I have a map and everything, I know exactly where their lands are. I'm really itching to go meet them!"

"I can tell," Bon Bon said idly, looking back at her friend, then again to the doll. She shook her head. "Lyra, running off like this isn't a good idea. You have no idea what's out here. I saw your route - you're going through the Everfree Forest. Heck, after that you're trying to go past the foal mountain and then up to the eastern edge of the Crystal Mountains! That's straight up not a good idea! Do you have any idea what's out there?"

Lyra shrugged. "My mind's made up, Bon Bon. You won't stop me."

Bon Bon spluttered for a moment, trying to find some way to counter what her friend had said, but she could think of nothing. For a moment she toyed with the idea of leaving her friend and letting her go on her own, but her own stubborn sense of (reluctant) duty to keep her friend from doing anything stupid wouldn't allow it. Finally she sighed, realising there was only one option open to her. Then, squaring her shoulders, she nodded.

"Fine," she said.

"Fine?" Lyra repeated, looking confused.

"If I can't stop you, I'll come with you," Bon Bon said, nodding resolutely to herself. "Somepony's got to stop you from getting yourself killed."

Lyra was speechless for a long moment, and then, with a massive grin on her face and a squeal of joy, she threw her forehooves around Bon Bon and hugged her tightly.

"Thank you thank you thank you!" she yelled. "Oh this is going to be so much fun!"

With that, she turned and set off into the Everfree Forest, leaving Bon Bon speechless for a moment.

"Lyra," she said, speaking too quietly for her friend to here, still shocked at the sudden hug, "I kind of needed to go... pack... first..."

Sighing and shaking her head, Bon Bon walked after her friend. She could worry about not having packed when it came to it.

***

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