• Published 13th Oct 2014
  • 3,622 Views, 119 Comments

Trans-Cosmic - Radiant Dawn

When two universes collide in a not-so-hypothetical scenario, what will happen to the people within them? Will mankind perish, or will new friends and allies emerge amongst the chaos?

  • ...

Chapter 3

The eerily-clear highway I took gave me a quiet and easy ride, though I still had to pay attention to be sure I didn't lose control in the poor driving conditions since snow-tires could only do so much. Nonetheless the smooth ride allowed for the two exhausted ponies and dog to sleep while I continued the drive.

Because of some of the things I saw though, I was glad I was the only one awake.

There were abandoned cars on the side of the road (apparently I wasn't the only one to have the idea to get out of the city), and while many of them were simply left by the wayside for no discernible reason, a few of them were dented, burned, or even smashed completely. Fallen trees also littered the road and roadside, and I was forced to swerve around a few trunks that were cut down or even ripped out of the ground completely. There were no bodies visible, but even I knew this amount of damage couldn't have been done without casualties. Lastly, and more worrying than anything else, was the massive set of footprints in the snow, each as large as my vehicle. It seemed that some poor unfortunate souls had already come upon a massive beast from the ponies' world, and while a part of me felt pain for the victims, a much stronger part was glad it was not me and the two ponies in my care who were involved.

With a worried sigh, I continued to to drive through the snowfall, trying my best not to think about the fact I likely knew some of the people who might be injured...or dead.

A few hours passed since first coming across some of the more disturbing sights along the road, and while the road had cleared out quite a bit, the fact I was the only one I could see on the highway was worrying, to say the least. Nonetheless I continued on through the eerily empty interstate, playing soft music to keep myself calm. I was just glad I hadn't seen any body parts or smears of blood yet, and it was that alone that was keeping me from completely losing my head.

That, and the cuddling ponies in the rear seat.

It was clear to me that the two were quite close to one another, and while I hadn't seen any obvious PDA (public displays of affection, for those of you who aren't acronym-savvy), I couldn't help but assume I'd saved a loving couple. I was glad I hadn't been forced to tell one or the other that their girlfriend hadn't survived, because that was one situation I wanted no experience in. All the same, even though these ponies were quite obviously different in some ways, from what I could see, they were otherwise very similiar to humans. They were bipedal, for one, had fingers and expressive faces, and had many of the same behaviors that humans did. They also respired using the same air content we did, had to eat and drink water to survive, and required many other things that humans did.

All in all, we weren't very different, when it came right down to it...and besides all that, I have to admit that the whole pony look was cute, despite my initial assumption that I was dealing with "furries".

I was brought out of my thoughts by the sound of Bailey whining as she began to fidget, which meant I needed to pull over soon to avoid the car smelling like dog mess. With a quick glance around the surrounding area, I pulled off to the side of the road and exited my car before letting my dog out, being sure to do both quietly to avoid waking my passengers. If it weren't for the fact the world as I had known it was effectively ending, I would have thought the soft, snowy night to be quite beautiful.

Bailey bounded off toward the nearby treeline, playing in the snow for a few seconds before sniffing and doing her business, while I waited patiently. The night was unnervingly quiet, with no birds or animal sounds anywhere as the snow continued to fall. I tried my best to avoid letting the anxiety creep through me; I needed to stay calm and composed so that I could-

The snapping and subsequent falling of a tree not a hundred yards away brought me to full alert, and I watched warily as it fell and rolled down into the low shoulder beside the road. It was then that I noticed a gold, glowing scar at the point it had been cut, and knew immediately the tree hadn't been cut by human hands. Reluctant to stay any longer than strictly necessary, I whistled for my spooked dog to return and turned to reenter my vehicle.

A large body collided with my own, and I found myself flung against the hood of my SUV before a powerful hand whipped me around to face my attacker.

Golden armor covered it from head to...hooves; well, that makes sense, I suppose. The thick, plated armor obscured any bodily features from me, and the full helmet that covered the figure gave no indication as to who I was dealing with. Golden flames angrily licked around the back of the head instead of hair, but the shape of the helmet confirmed to me that I was dealing with another pony. Large white feathered wings were flared aggressively behind it, and a long spear-like horn protruded from its forehead. Lastly, I found both a gauntlet-clad hand and a shimmering, golden cross-spear pressed against my throat. I was sweating, more so because whoever this being was appeared to be radiating heat like an oven than because I was nearly pissing myself, though the latter was quite true as well.

"You have ponies in that carriage, human." a multi-layered, radiant (that's the only way to describe it) voice spat. "You will release them if you value your life." I choked from both asphyxiation and fear, nodding rapidly with terror-filled eyes as I banged loudly on the hood of my vehicle.

It took a few extremely tense seconds before the doors opened and out came my two charges, who immediately rushed to me when they saw the situation.

"No, he's okay! He saved us; let him go!" Vinyl shouted frantically. Octavia only nodded rapidly, her eyes showing concern for me as this new pony pressed the blade against my jugular.

The new pony seemed to consider the answer for a moment before releasing me and immediately stepping away. I gasped for breath as Vinyl and Octavia helped me to my feet, trying my best to appear as if I hadn't nearly shat myself. Upon receiving a wider view of the armored pony before me, I saw something very troubling: fresh blood was spattered over nearly all of the golden armor, some of it steadily trickling from this pony. The armor was also dented all along the torso, as if something had tried to crush or eat it.

Seemingly unfazed by its injuries, the pony set the butt of the spear on the ground before leaning it against a shoulder, reaching a hand up to press on the side of the helmet as the fiery trail began to solidify into a distinct, multicolored mane and tail. The helmet split down the middle with a click and began to fold out onto itself in tiny geometric patterns in a way that should have been physically impossible, as the mass simply seemed to collapse in on itself as the face was slowly revealed.

"P-Princess Celestia!" Octavia stammered, immediately dropping to a knee as she yanked her partner down with her.

Not wishing to tempt fate, I kneeled as well and waited quietly for what would happen next (whatever that would be). A few moments of silence passed before I felt one of those same armored hands touch my chin.

"Stand, human." the princess ordered, though her tone had taken a noticeably large drop in aggression and it no longer had a layered quality to it. I did as she ordered and found myself staring into glowing pink eyes and a brilliant white face, marred only by a thin cut under the right eye. "What is your name?"

I cleared my throat as I consciously focused to keep my knees from wobbling. "A-Alex, ma'am...uh, I-I mean y-your highness."

The pony -- this "princess" -- held an impassive expression for a few moments before glancing to Octavia and Vinyl, smiling ever so slightly. "Thank you for rescuing my subjects, Alex. They will require kindness and care more than ever in this trying time."

The calmer tone of voice settled my nerves a bit, but the armor and weapon alone kept me wary of her. Still, I nodded slowly as she released my chin. "N-no problem, your majest-"

"No title, please." she interrupted sternly, shaking her head with a frown. "My title is 'Princess of Equestria', and since this is not Equestria, I am simply a pony who wishes to protect her people, and nothing more." She looked to the sky and furrowed her brow with a shuddering sigh. "I cannot even move the sun any longer."

I raised my own eyebrow in confusion. "I'm sorry, did you just say 'move the sun'?"

The armored pony regarded me curiously for a moment before nodding. "I did indeed. I steward and control the sun on Equestria's side of reality, while my younger sister does the same with the moon."

I stared blankly for a few moments as I struggled to process what I had just been told. "Oookay...see I know what those words mean individually, but for some reason when you put them all together in a sentence, it's just not making sense."

"Day and night do not pass on their own in Equestria, Alex." the not-princess answered with a frown. "In our world, it must be brought forth and allowed to pass magically, which is a function my sister and I provide to the whole world."

"Move..." I muttered, somehow unable to quite grasp the idea, "the sun..."

The white armored pony (I just don't feel right using her name) rolled her pink eyes before moving beside me and grasping my hand in her own, causing me to briefly flinch away before she brought it above my head and pointed to the eastern horizon. "Using my pretty horn and magic -- yes, it's real -- I guide the sun in the morning to rise and let it fly all the way" she brought my hand across the sky in a wide arc until my pointed index finger was toward the west, "to there, at which point I magically push it beyond the horizon and my sister does the exact same process with her moon." My hand was released, which I snatched away in what was probably a very rude manner, and Miss Wingy-Horny (yes, that just happened) stared at me expectantly. "I cannot explain how magic works on short notice, but suffice to say that is the gist of how our power passes the days."

I blinked a few times, slowly coming to terms with the idea. "B-but the sun is like three hundred thousand times the size of-"

"Three hundred thirty-two thousand, nine hundred forty-six times the size of your planet, give or take a few Earth-masses depending on a number of different factors." she corrected with a neutral expression. "My sun is the same size. However," she interrupted, just as I opened my mouth to ask another question, "we can discuss all that later. I am weary and must tend to my wounds, so would you be so kind as to allow me to join the three of you on your journey?"

I glanced between the newcomer and the two ponies behind me, as well as my faithful dog, who was currently cowering behind Octavia (thanks, Bailey). "I-I don't know-"

"Of course you can!" Vinyl interrupted with a grin.

I glanced back at the unicorn and scowled. "Apparently you're forgetting that it's my cabin, not yours."

"Are you really going to deny haven to a refugee and royalty?" Octavia snarked, earning her a glare that would have been more impressive if I didn't suddenly feel extremely conflicted.

I looked to the three ponies and shook my head with a heavy sigh. "I suppose not. Still, I ask you don't just volunteer me for stuff like that. It's rude, regardless of the circumstances."

"I must agree." the...fuck it, Celestia added. "While your hearts are in the right place, you must not allow your desire to aid me overcome your manners. Alex seems willing to provide us with shelter and accommodations, but you must keep in mind that we are guests to this world; we will be outsiders until the merge is complete, when there will be no distinction between the worlds any longer. Do not forget that Alex is not in any way required to lend his support."

I couldn't help but raise my eyebrow skeptically at Celestia. "I'm not?"

Celestia brought her eyes to focus on me, and she smiled softly. "Of course not. I ask your forgiveness for my initial hostility; the merging has not been easy for any of us, but I have been trying my best to ensure the safety of my subjects as I find them. I sensed two of my people unconscious in your carriage-"

"Car." I corrected dryly.

Celestia stared at me for a moment before smirking. "Fine, car. Anyhow, I sensed two of my people within your car and immediately thought the worst." She then sighed and shook her head, her smile falling away. "However, this event is no excuse for mistreating those that extend a helping hand. I ask for your forgiveness for assuming you had malicious intent; it was wrong of me to immediately assume so, and I am ashamed that I have jumped to conclusions."

This ex-princess was apologizing to me, and yet I was standing there like an idiot for a few moments.

I mentally shook myself and gestured to my vehicle. "Well it's not getting any warmer out here, and neither is it all that safe. We'll talk more when we arrive at-"

I was interrupted as our new guest's eyes suddenly rolled back in her head and she toppled like a tree, her weapon clattering to the ground beside her. I scrambled to catch her as she fell, but tripped myself and only succeeded in faceplanting a foot away from the unconscious pony. Octavia and Vinyl both let out a gasp of shock and concern (likely for the princess instead of me) before rushing over to us. I pushed myself up and scrambled over to Celestia, thankful that she appeared to be breathing. Still, I had noticed earlier that she was bleeding, which meant the danger was still very real.

I shook my head with a sigh. "I can't treat her here; we need to get to the cabin." I glanced to Vinyl and Octavia. "Help me get this armor off of her. If we can't slow the bleeding, she might not make it there."

Luckily, although the helmet seemed to be very advanced as far as technology was concerned, the armor had four thick leather straps that held it closed along one side. I worked on quickly unbuckling the straps while trying my best to ignored the steadily dripping blood, and it seemed to take an eternity just to unbuckle the chestpiece. With a grunt I unbuckled the last strap and pulled the armor open to reveal a glimmering white chainmail shirt underneath. With Octavia's help I lifted the body and removed the chestguard, placing the armor to the side as I inspected the wound. A large, white spike was sticking out of it with what looked like blood along the end. It was almost like...

"A tooth?" I muttered in confusion, carefully pulling up the chainmail shirt to remove it as well.

Vinyl nodded from beside me. "That's a dragon's tooth, actually. Well, now we know why she's so worn out. I heard legends when I was just a filly that Celestia was actually a dragonslayer before she took the throne, but I never believed it." Vinyl then pointed to the weapon that lay just beside Celestia. "That wound and this weapon prove it, though."

I absently nodded as I pulled the feather-light chainmail shirt off, revealing pristine white fur, marred only by blood on one side. I would have gawked at the impressive bust of this woman -- pony, I meant pony -- any other time, but not only would it be exceedingly rude to do so without her awake, but she was currently in danger. So, I instead focused on doing what I could to try and curb the immediate danger while asking some questions.

"Octavia, put Bailey in the car and grab a towel out of my bag in the back." I ordered, trying to keep everyone calm while still letting them know the seriousness of the situation. I then turned my eyes to Vinyl, briefly glancing at the weapon off to the side. "What's so special about the spear?"

Vinyl smiled slightly, seemingly relieved to have her focus taken off of the bleeding pony before us. "That's the Solar Spear; it's a weapon only an alicorn can wield properly, and only Princess Celestia can bring out its full potential. No one knows where it came from, but it's been by Princess Celestia's side for as long as anypony can remember."

"Anypony." I repeated dryly, my eye twitching once.

Vinyl shrugged. "We use it instead of 'anyone' when speaking exclusively about ponies."

Octavia arrived a second later and presented the towel, which I tore a small hole in before wrapping it around Celestia, allowing the base of the tooth to protrude to keep from causing more harm. I then got to my knees and slid my arms under Celestia's back and knees before standing, glad that I had made it a point over the years to keep in shape.

"And 'alicorn'?" I queried, walking to the car as Octavia ran to open the back door. "What does that word mean exactly?"

Vinyl looked on with concern for her princess before answering. "Ponies of both wing and horn, like Princess Celestia. There's three others in all of Equestria: Princess Luna, Princess Cadence, and Princess Twilight. They're the epitome of pony prowess, being several magnitudes above all others in terms of strength, speed, magical power, and longevity." Before I could comment on the latter, Vinyl pointed to the pony in my arms and added, "Princess Celestia, for example, is over a thousand years old, though no pony really knows her age, and she's not keen on answering questions about the subject."

Which meant, if what Vinyl was telling me was accurate, I was holding a piece of ancient history...woah.

I climbed as gently as I could into the rear seating of my vehicle and placed the alicorn onto the seat, belting her in and pulling the strap to recline it. I then ushered the two other ponies inside and grabbed the armor outside, opening the hatch and placing it inside. I then raced around to the driver's seat, starting the car and glancing back at Vinyl and Octavia, neither of which seemed to be particularly calm at the moment.

Since Octavia was sitting beside the princess, I addressed her. "Keep that towel tight around her. We can't remove the tooth until we get to the cabin, because she'd bleed out. Keep an eye on her breathing and heart-rate and let me know if either start to fade noticeably."

"So long as we get there and get her taken care of within a day or so, Princess Celestia will be fine." Vinyl stated with confidence. "Like I said, they're a lot stronger than normal ponies, and that includes endurance."

I nodded before easing on the accelerator and glancing at Bailey, who also looked very stressed from the whole situation. Truth be told I wasn't all that calm either, but knew that I needed to keep a calm mind if I wanted to make sure we all survived this "merging" thing. By what we had all seen concerning the alicorn's wounds, it appeared that at least one dragon had already come over, and-

"Fuck." I swore, hitting the brakes and putting the car in park. I looked into the rearview mirror and muttered, "Forgot the spear."

I nearly kicked open the door before jogging back toward where I we had stopped, picking up the surprisingly-light spear and retreating the short distance back to the vehicle. I then looked to the spear and tried to think of how I would safely stow it in the vehicle, since it was nearly six feet tall.

Just as I the thought went through my mind, the spear flashed brightly before disappearing, and a new sensation settled onto my right wrist. I glanced to my wrist to see a golden bracelet wrapped around what was once my bare wrist. I recoiled out of instinct and attempted to remove the item, only to be blinded by another flash as the spear reappeared in my right hand. The whole process piqued my curiosity as I held the weapon in hand once again.

"Hmm..." I hummed to myself thoughtfully, experimentally repeating the thought of fitting the spear safely in my car. Once again the weapon flashed brightly before the bracelet reappeared on my arm. I brought my wrist to my face and inspected the new piece accessory, deducing that the spear was apparently reacting to my thoughts.

"Alex? Are you okay out there?" Octavia's voice called worriedly.

I nodded to myself before walking a few more steps and reentering the car. "Yeah, I'm fine." I then held my right arm up for the two conscious ponies to see, raising my eyebrow for good measure. "Apparently the spear decided to make itself easier to carry."

As I looked to Octavia and Vinyl in the rearview, Vinyl only smirked as she waggled her fingers at me. "~Maaagic!~"

I rolled my eyes before putting the car in gear once more, easing on the accelerator and continuing our journey. "This feels like something I'd see in a videogame, and with everything else going on, a weapon having malleable form and reacting to thought isn't that much of a stretch, I suppose." I glanced at the bracelet once more before sighing. "I'm still not entirely convinced I'm not just having a really intense trip right now. I swore I would never do 25I again, but damn if this isn't reminiscent of those times." I then glanced to the rearview once again and requested, "Reach back in the bags and grab one of those bottles of water and something to eat, will you? It's been too long since I've last eaten, and I know the two of you are probably hungry too."

Some faint shuffling of material issued forth from the rear for a few moments before a bottle of water was handed to me, followed by a package of beef jerky. I took the two items and nodded gratefully to Vinyl and proceeded to feed myself and Bailey as the drive continued.

We arrived a few hours later to a secluded spot where my vehicle could no longer proceed, so I quickly packed most of the gear into the sled tethered to a nearby tree that was left for just such an occasion (paranoid, huh? well who's laughing now?). I then placed Celestia down on top of the bags that we weren't carrying (which consisted of everything non-food oriented) and covered her in a thick wool blanket I had on hand, since she had begun shivering shortly before we arrived.

The hike lasted a mere ten minutes, but it seemed to drag on for an eternity as I was forced to listen to the alicorn behind me, teeth chattering and staccato hisses of air confirming her health was declining rapidly. Luckily the cabin soon loomed through the trees, and I pointed to it while tossing the keys to Vinyl.

"Vinyl, go open the door and get your bags set to the side, then go in the closet by the front door and gather as many blankets as you can." I commanded, spurring the white unicorn in motion. I then focused on the horn-less pony and ordered, "As soon as you set down your bag, take Vinyl behind the cabin and gather as much firewood as you can carry and bring it inside. This place is well-insulated, but it hasn't been in use for almost six months, so it's going to be cold until we can get a fire going." Octavia nodded before dashing off, her soreness and exhaustion seemingly forgotten as she and her partner focused on ensuring the safety and health of their princess.

Quite frankly, I was nearly shaking with worry myself, but I knew Vinyl and Octavia needed to be reassured, not frightened.

I dragged the sled inside the open door and lifted the shivering alicorn off of it, placing her on the sofa in front of the hearth and wrapping the woolen blanket tighter around her. Vinyl then dropped the blankets next to me before bounding outside with Octavia, so I worked on covering the princess with as many blankets as possible to help retain body heat. Luckily, in only a few minutes, Vinyl and Octavia returned with a sizable load of firewood, and proceeded to prepare and light the fire. It was slow going for a few moments, but the fire caught and flickered to life as the kindling began to burn underneath the fuel logs. Vinyl then slammed the door shut as I rummaged through my pack for the first aid kit, and I proceeded to unwrap Celestia from her fuzzy prison.

I stared warily at the exposed dragon tooth, sighing in worry from the amount of blood that had soaked the ruined towel. "Octavia, I need you to go find a large bowl in the kitchen and fill it with warm water with a drop of dish soap in it; this wound is going to bleed a lot, and I need to be able to clean it after I pull the tooth out." Octavia nodded before heading to the kitchen and returning a moment later with a bowl of warm, soapy water. I set out disinfectant and the suture kit and mentally prepared myself for what was about to happen. I looked to the two worried ponies and gestured to my patient. "I don't know exactly how unconscious she is, so I need you to hold her down while I do this." I shook my head as I looked back to the wound. "We just have to hope there wasn't anything internal that was damaged, because if there is, we're screwed. I'm not a surgeon and I don't know much about your kind, so I'm praying there isn't any internal injuries to vital organs."

With a deep, steadying breath, I sprayed hand sanitizer on my hands before grasping the tooth and pulling it out, eliciting a whimper from the alicorn as Octavia and Vinyl pressed their hands on her firmly to keep her from moving too much. A small stream of blood flowed out of the wound before slowing to a trickle, so I gently pulled the wound apart to take a look inside in the light. Nothing seemed immediately damaged, so I clipped the top off of the sealed saline solution and sprayed it in the wound to clean it out as much as possible. More pained whines answered me, but nothing more as I let the wound drain briefly.

I swallowed thickly as I prepared the needle and thread, then quickly began stitching the wound closed. What worried me the most was just how little Celestia moved each time I pierced her skin, so I hurried as much as possible without making careless mistakes. The wound was stitched together in only a few minutes, at which point I sprayed an antiseptic over it and unrolled gauze to begin wrapping her bare stomach in a few layers to protect the healing wound. It took a few more tense minutes before Celestia was out of immediate danger and the injury was now clean and closed, so I took a moment to breathe before cleaning and disinfecting the immediate area.

With Octavia and Vinyl's help I proceeded to clean off the sofa as well before tossing all of the soiled rags and towels. After that was done, I replaced Celestia upon the sofa and covered her up again with clean blankets.

It was a few minutes before anyone said anything.

"Is she going to be okay?" Vinyl murmured, her voice cracking noticeably.

I was silent for a few seconds as I considered how to answer. "I...I hope so. We've done all we can for her at the moment; even if we wanted to get her to a hospital, the closest one is back towards the city a few hours away. Besides the fact it would pose a health risk to move her anymore at this point, we don't know just how much has happened since we left, and I'm not going to risk our safety on the possibility that it's safe." I then shrugged. "Luckily, your kind seems to recover a lot faster than humans do, and if what you said about alicorns is true, Celestia here should recover even faster. We likely won't have to wait too long to know if she's going to improve or decline."

Vinyl nodded solemnly as Octavia reached an arm around to embrace her from their place on the floor in front of the sofa, their backs to the hearth.

"You should rest, Alex." Octavia suggested softly. "You've already done so much for us, but you haven't rested yet. Even I know it's only a matter of time before the adrenaline runs dry and you crash."

Truth be told I had felt the exhaustion creeping up for the last hour or so, so I nodded without resistance and sat heavily down on the chair that sat perpendicular to the sofa and fire. "I'll shut my eyes for a bit then. Ensure the front and back door are locked and wake me if anything happens, even if it's just to allow Bailey to go outside." At the mention of her name, my rottweiler settled herself next to my feet, groaning as she flopped onto the ground. I couldn't help but smile at the action, and reached down to scratch behind her ears before focusing my drooping gaze once more on Octavia and Vinyl. "Don't let anyone in without waking me first." They both nodded.

"Sleep well, Alex." Octavia softly replied with a warm smile. "And thank you so much for all that you've done for us."

I nodded but offered no further response as I closed my eyes. In only a few moments I felt myself slipping away, and fell into much-needed rest to the sound of crackling wood.