• Published 27th May 2012
  • 25,288 Views, 901 Comments

Human: Shades of Grey - Draven Eclipse



The Third rises. Also, Lyra becomes a cult leader.

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Chapter 1: “Can’t decide if telepathic...”

Without the Second and the First, the holy crusade was over, and had failed, Harmony vanquishing the wrong enemy and dooming the world to a thousand years of darkness. However, that was not the only thing that came out of their defeat. For in Equestria’s darkest hour, there came another, a Third, who was an entity unto himself. He was not like those that came before him. The Third was a different man, described by Second, who foretold his coming, but not his actions. And what he brought upon the world, nopony could have expected.

-The Rise of the Third, from the Brotherhood of Man’s holy book A Darker World.

***

Softness was what he felt first. He wasn't sure why that was the first thing he noticed but it was the thing that caught his attention. Slowly the man opened his eyes to find himself staring not at the ceiling of his room, but at a vast blue sky. Noticing the absence of a roof, he grew confused and slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position. He rubbed his eyes and looked around once more. He found himself sitting in a field with tall grass everywhere.

Wanting to get a better view, he climbed to his feet. His body screamed against him. He was sore, and felt rather stiff in most of his muscles. He looked around him. Yep, this was definitely a field. Now that he had established where he was for the most part, he wondered how he actually got there. He tried thinking back to what he had been doing the night before, but it was blank. The harder he tried focusing on what happened, the more it seemed to slip away from him.

He sighed to himself. This was not the first time he had woken up in a strange place with no idea how he got there, or what happened the night before, though he had hoped that he had put those days behind him after college. He felt a light thumping in his head which only confirmed his fears. Bringing his hands up to his head he lightly massaged his temples to in an attempt to make the headache go away before it got any worse.

After a few minutes of fighting the oncoming headache, he was ready to go. He knew that standing around in the field feeling sorry for himself wasn’t going to help at all. What he needed was to find somebody that could help him get back home, or at least tell him how far from home he was. Unfortunately all he could see was just grass and a few trees in the distance.

With a resigned sigh, the man looked around in all directions, trying to determine which way was most likely to lead back to civilization. Finding no concrete evidence of civilization anywhere nearby, he picked a direction at random and started walking.

He set off eastwards at a casual pace. The further he went, the more trees he began to see. At first they were just littered about the place and spread further apart, but as he continued eastwards, the tree line became more and more dense, showing he was entering the wilderness.

As far as he was concerned, this was a good thing. He was feeling rather hungry now, and if he the worst came to the worst and he couldn’t reach civilization soon, he could easily scavenge something from the forest. His grandmother had once given him a very useful lesson on which varieties of wild mushrooms were edible. He had never expected to actually find a use for those lesson, but here it was. If he could just find some...

The man walked through the forest outskirts, not going too far in and keeping the field in sight through the trees. He did not want to have to head too far into these unfamiliar woods unless he absolutely needed too. Unfortunately after spending twenty minutes walking along the edge it became apparent that the animals had already picked the area clean for now, and following the trees didn't seem to be leading anywhere.

If there was civilization nearby, it would have to be on the other side of the forest.

Not wanting to waste any more daylight, he began making his way deeper into the cluster of trees, keeping his eyes sharp for wild animals and potential food. Eventually, he began to hear a trickling noise. It was faint at first and he thought that he had just misheard, but slowly the sound became louder and louder. A smile spread across his face as he knew exactly what it was; running water, hopefully clean.

***

A mint green unicorn made her way through town. Hoofington had been welcoming to her in the short while she had been there. Ponies often greeted her in the street, and some would approach to tell her how much they enjoyed her work and how much it meant to them.

Even though she had only moved here recently, she was still constantly approached by fans, and Lyra still blushed whenever someone would ask her for her autograph or say how much they loved her music. She wasn't quite used to being famous yet. She had enjoyed a lot of success in her musical career over the past few years, and was rather well known throughout Equestria by this point. She had even played with the Canterlot Royal Orchestra on several occasions alongside her friend and rival Octavia.

Although she was stopped several times by ponies to speak, Lyra still made good time and, and was fast approaching the edge of town. She was heading to the forest just outside of Hoofington for the day, where she could relax and hopefully draw upon some inspiration for a few new songs. This had always helped in the past. The forest was a place where she could go to reflect and gather herself. One of several, but this was her favorite. The location was one she frequented often since the incident several years ago. One she tried not to think about too much.

Still, the memories were always there. She could remember clear as day when news reached ponies about the arrival of the humans; strange, foreign creatures of great strength and power. It was what had initially caught her interest in them. She remember staying up all night with Bonbon and talking about what the humans might be like and where they came from.

A smile came to her face when she remembered Bonbon suggesting they were aliens from another world. They had both had a good laugh about that one at first, until they both recalled that aliens were in fact real, and could do some scary stuff. The image of Twilight with those huge sharp teeth and serpentine eyes would forever be burned into her memory.

Why was it monsters always attacked just Ponyville? The town had always seemed quite peaceful when she first lived there, but after Nightmare Moon, the floodgates opened and suddenly the town was subject to attacks by some great evil on an almost yearly basis, as if some great cosmic entity had taken issue with them.

That, among other things, was one of the reasons why she had decided to make the move from Ponyville to Hoofington. She wished to enjoy at least one year without part of her home being nearly destroyed...or eaten if it was parasprites. She had tried to convince Bonbon to move with her but the mare loved Ponyville, and had been determined to stay behind.

Although the events left her feeling somber, Lyra was determined to keep making beautiful music. There was something about composing that new song that just made her feel whole. She normally had trouble expressing how she felt, whether it be when talking to ponies in person or sending a letter. However, when she would pick up a lyre her heart and mind seemed to be in sync for once. The fact that others enjoyed her music so much was just a bonus.

Casually, Lyra used her magic to pull her lyre out of her saddlebags. She plucked the strings one by one to make sure they were in tune. Once she was satisfied with the sound began to play a simple melody. It was nothing too special, just something to break the silence as she traveled. The calming chords seemed to relax the nearby wildlife, that would normally get tense whenever anypony entered their woods.

Soon she was walking in tune with the lyre and letting the music flow through her. Trusting her body to remember the path, she closed her eyes, only opening them occasionally to note on her progress through the trees. She’d be near the river soon. Then she’d get some peace.

***

In a few rapid strides, the human found himself standing on the bank of a slow moving river. He had not really noticed it before but his lips felt like sandpaper. No matter how much he licked them, they seemed to keep drying again in the wind. He swept his gaze left and right, looking for an embankment without too much mud where he could get a drink. Spotting one, the man quickly made his way to the waters edge and sat on his knees.

Bending over he cupped his hands and brought some of the water up to his mouth. The sensation left him feeling better for the moment, but then he felt something watching him. Something very close by. Slowly, he looked up and found himself staring into the face of a huge scaly yellow reptilian creature, which glowered at him through huge green eyes.

The man stared at the creature for a moment in shock. It was bad enough that he had allowed an animal to sneak up on him, but what was worse was that this thing was definitely not any animal he had ever seen before. It had several long legs which all ended in webbed feet, and what appeared to be parts of a shell on its back.

The feature that caught his attention most however, was the weird brown growth on top of the creature’s head, an indentation in the thing’s skull that had filled up with water. Slowly his eyes widened at the realization of what the beast was.

As quickly as he could, he began to back up the embankment to get away from it. He was confused. Logic told him that there was no way this thing was a real live kappa. After all, those were just stories, weren’t they? Just old Japanese folk tales that grandma used to tell him in his youth to keep him from raking around the cupboards.

However, he could not deny what he was looking at, especially as the supposedly mythical creature screeched and charged at him.

***

It was a beautiful sunny day out and Celestia found herself taking a stroll through her garden. She looked up at the cloudless sky and smiled. The weather pegasi informed her that the skies would be cloud free for the rest of the week, to make up for the accidental thunderstorm that had plagued Canterlot recently.

They had yet to figure out what went wrong, but promised it would not happen again. It was an easy mistake. Over her rather long lifespan, the princess had learned that accidents would happen, and being upset did not help anypony. She just found it easier to take it all in stride.

In the last few years, she had found it harder and harder to get these rare moments of time to herself. There had been so many troubles in recent years that she was always left busy, usually with something involving a reconstruction effort of some kind. Things were always getting damaged in whatever new crisis would spring up.

The worst was the war with the Spider Legion. Undoubtedly the greatest tragedy to strike Equestria since the dark times. Entire coastal cities, thousands of ponies, there one day, gone the next. She and her sister had personally attended the funerals of all those who died, and had overseen the relocation of the survivors. That alone had taken almost a year of work, and the country had still not fully recovered.

Not wanting to dwell on sad things she thought back to something happier. The letter she had received the previous night from Twilight Sparkle.

Dear Princess Celestia,

I am diligently continuing my studies in magic, and more importantly into friendship. I have learned so much over these years, but I know there is much left to learn. I don’t have a friendship report for you this time, but I was messaging you to say hello and wonder if it would be alright for my friends and I to stay with you in Canterlot for a few days. Dash’s birthday is coming up soon and we are taking her to see the Hydras, her favorite hoofball team. I thought it would be a good time to catch up with you. I also would like to say that Spike is the most wonderful, hardworking, and loyal dragon ever, and you should let him snack on some gems from the treasury.

Your Faithful Student,

Twilight Sparkle

Celestia was more than happy to let them stay, and got a good laugh at the little dragons addition, that she was quite sure that Twilight knew nothing about. It was adorable, and she decided to play dumb and give him a little treat when he arrived. She was grateful to him for allowing her to keep in such easy contact with her favorite pupil.

However, the princess's moment of joy was cut short as she sensed something that she hoped she would never feel again. A distant sensation, something she picked up with senses that she didn't know she had. It was like something between thoughts and a smell, just the vaguest hint of the presence of something terrible, carried on the winds. Any happiness or feeling of calm that she had previously felt was now gone, replaced by a fear that made her blood run cold and her body shiver. Only one creature could ever make her feel like that. There was a human in Equestria.

***

A guttural growl emanated from the kappa as it began to push its way through the water, heading straight for its victim. All around him were twigs and pebbles, but nothing that could be used as a viable weapon against the beast. It never once dawned on him to run away as he was torn between his fear and curiosity over the creature in front of him.

He furrowed his brow as he tried to remember what the stories said about defeating a kappa. All he could remember at the moment was it involved water, which wasn't much help. While thinking of a way to beat the creature, it lunged at him and made a swipe at his legs. He saw it coming and was able to move out of the way quite easily.

The water demon was not daunted by a simple miss and kept coming at the man with a flurry of relentless swipes. If he did not do something, he feared he would die. Not knowing what else to do, he lashed out and kicked the little thing with enough strength to knock it off balance. This sent it skittering across the ground.

The man stood there waiting for the kappa to get back up again, and when it didn’t he became confused. Why hadn’t it come back after him? He had only pushed it down.

It was then he remembered his grandmother’s words. A kappa could not move without water in the crevice of their head. He groaned. He should have remembered that sooner.

In his own defense, he never thought he would ever actually have come face to face with a kappa. Those creatures were nothing but myths, or so he had thought. Now that the thing couldn’t move, the man made his way closer to it to examine it. He definitely had to take this back to town with him. People were going to want to study this thing and find out more about it. He had discovered a whole new species! This was some serious stuff right here. He could get rich off this.

That led to a series of other thoughts that he wished hadn’t crossed his mind. If kappas were real, then what were the chances that other creatures from his grandmother’s stories were real? Hell, what if ALL of Japanese mythology was real? If that was true, then they were well and truly fucked. Japanese mythology had some really scary shit.

Nervously, he licked his lips and looked at the trees all around him. Suddenly the forest was a much more grim place in his eyes, and he would be happy once he made his way out.

***

Making her way through the woods, Lyra was at peace. The anger from before had quickly melted away by the sounds of her lyre and the beautiful trees. Spring was Lyra’s favorite time of year as everything looked so fresh and vibrant. Even as a filly she found it hard to stay upset when surrounded by so much vibrant life. She considered spending the entire day in the woods; she had certainly brought enough food to do so.

As little rabbits hopped by, she thought about somepony else that would enjoy the scenery here as much as she would. She would have to send a letter to Fluttershy and invite her for a visit tomorrow; the poor mare could stand to get out more often. A soft smile spread across her face as she heard the familiar trickle of the stream up ahead. Yeah, today was going to be a good day.

Then, she saw him.

She could not believe her eyes. Standing there over the body of a fallen kappa was a human. At first she thought Lord Second had escaped, but that was quickly dismissed, as the human looked nothing like him. No wrinkles, and this human's skin had a golden undertone. What surprised her was the mane! It was black like Lord First's, if a bit darker, but very long and tied with a piece of string in the middle.

Once the initial shock of seeing a human wore off, an intense joy spread throughout her body. Where before a look disbelief had been, she now wore the biggest smile she had ever had. She approached the river edge and took a deep breath. She had to make it quite clear from the beginning that she was a friend. Unlike those stupid ponies that had attacked the last humans who visited on sight.

“Greetings most noble human! I welcome you to Equestria!” she shouted.

***

Sunlight streamed through tightly bound curtains, illuminating a dark room that was trying to keep the light out. Most ponies would be out and about at this time of the day and enjoying the sun, not fighting it with thick curtains. However this room did not belong to most ponies. These were the private quarters of Luna, princess of the night.

The princess was resting for now. As Celestia slept through the night, so to did she sleep through the day, waiting until it was time for her to perform her nightly duties. However, today a few rogue sunbeams breaking through between the curtains seemed to be against her getting any rest at all. She tossed and turned in bed, and tried to hide away from it. Anypony listening close enough would hear mumblings that almost sounded like ‘stupid sun’ and ‘night forever’.

After a few more moments of fidgeting though, her figure went still. It was almost as if the occupant didn’t have the ability to move at all. Under the covers of the bed, Luna's eyes were wide open. What she was feeling couldn’t be right. There was no way that she could be sensing a human of all things. But...there was no mistaking that feeling. That dread that filled her soul. The Second must have escaped.

She knew she had to move, but her body was locked in fear. Nothing else could have such an effect on her, but humans were special. She had good reason to fear them. They were the only things that had ever actually managed to inflict permanent harm on her sister.

Wait, Tia!

She pulled her head from the covers and looked at a giant hourglass on the other side of her room, and realized it was around the time that Celestia took her walk through the garden. Concern for her sister outweighed any for herself, and she leapt out of bed and made her way to the balcony. A flash of her horn, and the doors blew open. She opened her wings and took flight, and headed for the garden. She could only hope that she wasn’t too late.

***

He could not believe his eyes. Standing right in front of him was...a pony. Not that ponies were rare creatures, but they didn’t usually come in green....or speak...or have horns on their forehead...or...wait. She had some kind of mark on the flank.

Oh, wait. Don’t tell me. I know what these are,” he thought to himself, “I just can’t seem to help it. Work follows me everywhere.”

Yep. My Little Pony. Those fucking things that took up most of his work week. They were a major Hasbro property, and working for the marketing department, that meant most of his time revolved around the damn things, because for some reason they were insanely popular. Apparently due to some weird fan base of man children they had picked up from the cartoons. He would never understand some people.

“I-is everything alright?” the green unicorn asked him.

Act natural. Don’t tell her she’s a fictional character and don’t stare. Oh God, her face. That smile. It’s so fucking creepy! Don’t stare. Oh God she’s still doing it. Don’t stare.

He was staring. Lyra’s smile began to die down.

Sweet Jesus, thank you.

“Have I upset you?” she asked, now looking upset.

Oh god, it’s worse than the smiling. Don’t cry for the love of all things, don’t cry.

The man fidgeted where he was standing. He had no idea what to do. This was worse than dealing with the kappa. At least with the kappa all he had to do was push it and the problem was solved. Last time he pushed over someone who talked to him though, he was sent home for the day, and his mother shouted at him for it. That was not a pleasant memory.

Well, she seemed to want to talk to him but what could he say? There was no possible combination of words he could make that would take this conversation anywhere pleasant. He could tell this was going to end with one of them running away screaming somehow.

Who am I kidding?” he thought to himself, “I’m not going to run away screaming. I have a kappa. If things get bad, I’ll use it to boat down the river and escape. That would work, right?

“If you are upset with me I am sorry. I had no hoof in what happened to the others,” she said nervously. It hadn’t dawned on her that he might be upset over his friends being attacked.

Others? What others? Were there other humans here? Or were they my friends? Did we go out drinking together and fall through a Stargate or something? I could easily see Joe pissing off a bunch of ponies and get bucked to death. He never was an animal person.

“I for one welcomed our new human overlords.”

Actually, that sounds more like Keith.

“It was the royal guards that killed Lord First!” she tried to explain.

Okay, now he had to speak up.

“You keep using words I recognise, but not in any combination that makes sense to me. Please stop for a moment and let me recover."

He could practically see little cogs turning inside her head before she threw herself to the ground in a bow.

“I am so sorry! I did not realize you had already been attacked. I shall stay silent.”

Attacked? What is she talking about? That kappa hardly qualifies as an attack. Hell now it feels like I pushed over a little kid. And not even like those annoying little brats in the supermarket. I feel like I just pushed over a toddler, so there’s not even that sense of satisfaction you get when you push over that kid for biting your hand. God, I hate those sorts of kids.

The man ran his fingers through his hair, as if that would help him think. The unicorn before him was now shivering. But there was no way that it was from the temperature, it felt great out.

"Is she actually afraid of me? I’m not the one who has actual magic powers. I think I have more reason to be scared than anyone,” he reasoned.

It was true as well. He was apparently in some whole other world, which if he was right was filled with dangerous mythical creatures, and ponies here were apparently hostile to humans and armed with magic and God knows what else. Things weren't looking good. He had already lost all prospects of trying to get rich through his discovery of the kappa. Now his only objective was to find a way back home as soon as possible. He had no desire to spend any amount of time here.

He also knew he had to resolve this situation right away. There had to be something they could talk about that wouldn’t send the unicorn before him into a panic attack, right? All he had to do was stay away from touchy subjects. Unfortunately he had no clue what those were. He cleared his throat and waited for the mare to look up at him.

“Okay, so how about you tell me where we are?” he asked in a safe and even tone.

“Oh. We are in the Springdale Forest, just outside of Hoofington,” Lyra informed, with her smile returning to her face. However this smile did not hold the same intensity as the previous one.

Hoofington. It took everything in him not to facepalm. The puns, how could he forget about the damn puns? If what she said was true, then that meant he was definitely in Equestria. Of all the places he could have wound up after a night of...whatever it was he did to get here...it would be this place, wouldn’t it? He couldn’t get lucky and get stuck in a dimension full of models and fast cars, could he? Or at least the setting of a less lame work of fiction? Hell, he would have settled if he landed up in the Transformers' world. Those he was at least a fan of. But nope. Land of ponies for this guy.

He sighed and went to ask her another question, before his stomach interrupted him with a rather loud growl. Between the kappa attack and running into the unicorn he had forgotten how hungry he was. Clearly his body did not forget though, and was not against reminding him. Lyra let a giggle before using her magic to lift her saddlebags off of her back and set them on the ground.

Seriously. Actual magic. If this particular pony had not been a friendly one, he would have been screwed.

“Um, if you would like, I have some food with me. I have enough for both of us I’m sure.”

He nodded and sat down on the ground as she began to set up her picnic blanket and food. She might be a fictional character, but he sure hoped the food was real. Damn, that was a weird sentence. How did this happen again? Once it was all spread out before him the food looked perfectly normal. Not hesitating, he reached forward and grabbed a sandwich off the blanket.

He took a bite and chewed on it for a second before spitting it out on the ground beside him. Whatever he just put in his mouth was offensive to his tongue. Was she trying to poison him? No, that was silly. How would she even know what was poisonous to humans anyway? Unless they were telepathic...

Oh fuck, they're telepathic, aren't they?

His reaction brought a worried look to the unicorn's face, but he had not noticed yet.

“What is in this sandwich?” he asked as he removed the top slice of bread.

“I-It's just a daffodil and daisy sandwich...”

Oh right, horse food. His stomach jumped the gun on that one. He put the sandwich back on the cloth. Luckily however there were plenty of fruits such as apples and bananas there. It wouldn’t be as filling as a hamburger, or most other foods for that matter, but he would make the most of it. He picked a fruit at random and began to eat. Neither of them knew what to say, though so they just sat there in silence.

...Can't decide if telepathic...

***

Celestia was in a dead sprint through the maze as she headed for the statue of Lord Second. Normally she would simply fly to the location, but she easily remembered the entire map of the maze. The run would only take seconds for her to reach her destination. However, before she reached that part of the maze, a shadow fell across her.

She looked skyward and saw Luna hovering in place and looking around. Something was off about her, and even from a distance she could see it. Her sister's body was shaking. Celestia realized that Luna must have also sensed the human's appearance, and came to check the statue as well. She unfurled her wings, and with a quick flap joined her sister in the sky.

“Luna, I'm here,” she said as she reached her level.

The alicorn's head snapped around, and visible relief spread across her face.

“Dearest sister, hath that foul abomination set himself free?” she asked in a shaky voice, her panic causing her to revert to archaisms again.

“I was on my way there now to check the statue. Come with me, we will be stronger together.”

Luna nodded and followed her sister to where the statue was kept. Not too long after arriving, the pair saw the statue of the Second standing there. Still in the same pose he had taken before the Elements of Harmony turned him to stone; arms crossed, head bowed, eyes closed, and wincing like he was about to be punched. Even though Luna was relieved that the statue was still there, she couldn’t help but be intimidated by it. Her relief caused her to miss something very obvious, and very important. But her sister didn't.

“We have a serious problem, sister. If Second is still here, then it seems a new human has arrived in Equestria. A third, if you will.”

“Why though? Why must these old demons come back after so long and torment us?” she asked.

“I do not know, but we need to act now. Get word to Shining Armor to round up the soldiers. We are going to need them on high alert. Make sure word does not reach the citizens. We do not want them panicking. I will send for Twilight and her friends immediately. Although I do not wish to put them in more harms way, they will be needed to stop this human before too much damage can be caused.”

Although they were equals in authority, Luna had no problems taking orders from her big sister right now. A thought crossed her mind, and she decided to ask her sister about it.

“What of the Reapers Horn? Shall we get it out as well?”

“No. We are not going to give the human a chance to take it from us. As far as we know, this one doesn't have one of his own. If he doesn't have a horn, he can't hurt us, and if he can't hurt us then we have nothing to fear."

Luna nodded and set off through the sky towards the military wing of the castle. Shining Armor should be training the recruits. Celestia watched her sister leave and took flight again, heading back to her private study, where she kept her quills and parchment. She had to get herself under control before her student arrived. Although she was quite powerful in her own right, Twilight still looked up to her and she did not want to see her like this.

She looked at the scars on her underside as she flew, a reminder of the last time she dealt with a human.

She needed to be strong now more than ever.

***

The sun was hanging low in the sky as Lyra made her way through the woods, with the human at her side. They walked without either of them saying a word. The only thing that broke the silence was their footsteps and Lyra's harp playing a simple, but relaxing tune. Over the last few hours, they had discussed several things. Or rather, she talked about several things while her companion listened. Really though, she was glad she was being of some use to the human, whom she had taken to calling the Third.

He did not seem to mind the name when she first called him that. He seemed almost understanding when she told him that humans were not liked in Equestria. In fact they were hated and feared by most ponies. For some reason the man had laughed at that. It was a short and harsh laugh that sounded like he knew something she didn’t. For the most part, he seemed nice if not a bit quiet, though he still seemed somewhat disturbed. This only added to her confusion on how things went so wrong last time.

She had offered him a place to stay while they figured things out. It relieved her that he accepted her offer. Otherwise it would have been harder for her to find a place for him to stay out of sight. She needed to call the others for an emergency meeting, they were all going to be so happy to hear what she had to tell them. This thought put a little more skip in her step. She felt giddy like a young school filly.

***

The moon was rising by the time they reached the town entrance. They had intentionally dragged out the journey so they could enter the town under nightfall. The Third ran his fingers through his hair again. It was a habit of his to do whenever he felt stressed. What he learned in the last few hours was surprising.

For some reason humans were hated in this world. He had chuckled at the irony of the situation, as there were thousands of humans that loved ponies, even if he didn't count himself among them. It seemed best to stay out of the way of ponies until he could figure out what to do. He made sure not to say anything about where he was from as he had no clue what would happen. He had seen enough sci-fi movies to know that wouldn’t end well.

The little one had taken to calling him the Third. At first it was weird, but she had told him that two others went around calling themselves the First and the Second instead of giving out their names. They must have had a good reason for doing so, and so he decided to just stick with that. Besides, ‘the Third’ had a nice ring to it.

They had made their way easily through the dark streets. Occasionally a drunk pony would stumble by but they always seemed too preoccupied with standing upright to see the human hiding in the shadows. Once at her home she gave him a grand tour. It was impressive, but he was distracted by his own thoughts.

“And, umm, this is the guest room. Feel free to stay here as long as you want,” Lyra had said to him.

She had been rather gracious to him considering the general attitude towards humans here. He gave her an easy smile to show that he was grateful.

“Thank you. I shall see you in the morning,” he said to her simply.

With a smile, his host left the room, and he laid back on the bed. His feet hung over the edge. He supposed it was a bit much hoping that there would be a bed big enough for him when most ponies were half his height. As he curled up on his side, he heard what sounded like paper being crinkled. Sitting up, he reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled something out. It was an unopened envelope, with a name on it.

Hayato.

It was for him.

He opened it up and pulled out the letter inside.

Hello, Hayato. You must be very confused right now, and that is understandable. I want to first tell you that these ponies, they are real. They have real families and friends. They love, they laugh, they cry, and they die. I want you to keep this in mind as you interact with them. I would like to tell you that I am sorry for what I have done. I hope that one day you will understand and forgive me for my actions. I did it because I cared.

After that the letter just stopped. There was no signature for who wrote letter. Nothing on the back either, and the handwriting was unfamiliar to him. He reread the letter several times before putting it back in his pocket. He was now left with more questions than he had when it first woken up in this world.

Who wrote the letter, and what had they done? Where did he get it from? Why did he need to know this? Why was he even here? There had to be some reason he was randomly thrown into a fictional world, but he had no clue what it was. It wasn't like he had any attachment to it beyond his job...but then again it was a massive coincidence that of all the fictional worlds he was thrown into, it was the one that he worked with the most, whether he wanted to or not. Still though, how did he get here?

The answers, he knew, lied with the other humans. Lyra said there had been two before him. He didn't know anything about the MLP show beyond the bare basics, so all this talk of humans being here was news to him. These other humans, the First and the Second she had called them, probably had the answers he was looking for. She mentioned that the First was dead already, but maybe this mysterious Second could tell him what was going on...if he could find him.

At the foot of his bed, he could hear the soft snores of the kappa from earlier. He had brought it back with him. He just couldn't resist. It was an actual mythical creature, and now he knew how to handle it if it got out of line. Lyra had been reluctant to let him bring it back, but she had quickly buckled on the subject as she seemed to want to keep him happy, and he honestly found the little thing fascinating. Even the kappa itself had been cooperative with him. It was like Pokémon. He kicked its ass, and now it joined him. He always wanted a pet.

With a yawn he pulled the blanket back over himself. Right now he just needed some sleep. Everything else could wait until the morning. Then he could get some answers.

***

Lyra laid back in her bed, excitement still coursing through her after the day's adventure. She could not help but reflect on the events. She had met a real live human. He was even staying the night at her home! The thought alone sent her into a fit of giggles. She felt like a filly again. Bonbon would be so jealous when she found out!

Lyra shot out from under her covers. She had forgotten to tell the others!

Quickly she scrambled out of her bed and made her way over to a large vanity mirror on her dresser. Focusing her magic, she spoke the secret words, and soon her reflection was replaced by a very tired looking white unicorn pony. The pony blinked a few times and then screamed and fell over.

Lyra sighed, but waited patiently. The mirror was a special one that let her connect to any other mirror, as long as the proper spell was cast on it beforehoof. Lyra had found it very useful for keeping in contact with friends who lived a distance away, but it always surprised them when her face suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Rightly so as well. The magic this mirror used was far from common.

“Damn it, Lyra! What have I told you about doing that?!” the annoyed stallion huffed as he pulled himself back up.

“Oh hush, Fancy Pants. I'm glad I caught you before you applied your face mask. You also look odd with it on.”

“It is good for my pores,” he replied indignantly, “Now what could be so important that you would bother me this late?”

Lyra quickly explained the details of what had happened that day to Fancy Pants. He started off shocked, and then went through a range of several amusing expressions, before finally landing on gleeful excitement just like her. He did not say anything for a few moments as his mind processed the information.

“Can I meet him?” he asked.

“Of course you can! I was hoping you could contact the rest of the Brotherhood, and get chariots to pick them all up. I want to hold a meeting at my house, tomorrow if possible.”

“Yes. I will get ahold of them immediately. As for the transportation, I have it covered. I still can’t believe you found him! Is anypony else aware of his presence? We don’t want people freaking out and causing another war.”

“Nopony else knows; I took extra precaution on bringing him here. Just hurry and get ahold of the others before they go to sleep. I shall see you tomorrow.”

“Ah yes, of course. I shall see you tomorrow, Lyra. Farewell.”

Lyra cantered back to her bed, releasing the spell on the mirror as she went. She was feeling much more fatigued than she did before, most likely due to the magical drain the mirror required for longer distances.

Laying her head on her pillow, and feeling exhausted after the spell, she slowly began to drift off to the land of dreams. Her last thought was a curious one.

What do Humans dream of?

And then she was fast asleep.

End.

Author's Note:

Hey all, how’s it going? So this is the first of many chapters for Shades of Grey. It had some delays in being written, but it is finally done. I would like to thank my editor, DannyJ, for putting up with my many grammatical errors during the writing of this chapter. Yes, for all you wondering, the man himself is the editor of this story, so you don’t need to worry about it not staying true to the Human universe. This story will not slow down Human in the least bit, as DannyJ’s job as editor comes second to writing the original. If anybody has questions, just leave them below and I will respond.

Editor's notes:

Draven lacks access to my warehouse full of hallucinogenic drugs, but don't think for a minute that means that his story is going to let up with the batshit insanity. I'm still here, motherfuckers, and that means that this story will still fit in a chainsaw juggling clown fighting a grizzly bear somewhere.