• Published 12th Oct 2015
  • 8,067 Views, 1,025 Comments

A Pony Displaced: Another Path - NoLongerSober



Legend has it that on the longest day of the thousandth year, the stars will aid in her escape. There once was a stallion who faced Nightmare Moon and was sealed away with her. Now he returns in the modern age, hoping to find a new path.

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Chapter 4

Author's Note:

This chapter was uploaded by mobile so let me know if you see any formatting errors. Thank you to my editors as always and to Altiron don't worry, I'm working on it.

The ponies in this town are absolutely mad… Barrier glanced at the apple orchard in the distance. are you sure? You are complaining because three mares have all but thrown themselves towards you. Do you simply prefer the company of stallions? If so, Bulk Biceps would probably be willing to take you…

“Silence yourself, mind…” Barrier grunted, “You are complicating matters to a fault” His eyes drifted back to the massage he had given Lotus. Both she and her sister were extremely attractive, and they had clearly come onto him. Perhaps this was a bit of a missed opportunity, but he had more important things to worry about then swiving.

“Uh, ya’ll okay?”

The familiar voice of Applejack called out to him.

This one has heard you talking to yourself, how wonderful. “I am fine, I was simply talking to myself.” Barrier chuckled awkwardly.

“Huh, well, alrighty then. Welcome ta Sweet Apple Acres.” Applejack smiled warmly. “Rarity said ya’ll were stoppin’ by about one of our temp’rary seasonal harvest jobs.”

“Yes, good mistress,” Barrier stated firmly, “in addition to that, I’m seeking to secure the bounty of a more lasting career. If thou knowest of anypony who is enlisting workers, I would be ever so grateful if thou couldest point me towards them.”

“Hm, well…” Applejack pressed a hoof to her chin, “Ah think Berry Punch was lookin’ fer somepony ta help her out at the bar, she might be able ta help ya.’” Applejack’s eyes lingered on his horn. “Ah gotta warn ya, we don’t use no magic 'ere on the farm.” she then eyed Barrier’s freshly healed hind-leg.

“That is fine by my lot. I am no stranger to a hard day’s toil,” Barrier assured her with a nod.

“Well, come on then, and we’ll see what ya can do. Got a couple o' early bloomers that’ll give ya a chance ta show yer stuff.” Applejack turned and started off into the orchard at a lazy walk, explaining how their trees were organized as they went.

After a short thirty-minute walk, Applejack slowed to a halt, motioning to a tree with ripe red apples dangling from the branches, a number of buckets resting around the base of the tree. “Now, jus’ give it a couple of bucks, and we’ll go from there.”

Rolling his shoulders and doing a few quick squats, Magic Barrier made his way over to the tree and backed up to it. Giving a few short practice bucks, Magic Barrier took a short breath and reared forward, bending his forelegs before he launched his hind legs backwards, thrusting them out at the same time as his forelegs shot him backwards. With a resounding crack, apples began to cascade from the tree; by the time they stopped, he glanced upward and saw that he’d only managed to get about half of them. It couldn’t be helped he supposed, he WAS a unicorn after all; they weren’t known for physical strength.

“Not bad there, partner,” Applejack observed.

Rearing forward once more, Barrier threw another hard buck, dropping the remainder of the apples.

“Yer certainly better than the last unicorn who tried ta work the farm.” Applejack moved forward to help the unicorn pick the apples up. “Ya’ll can use yer magic to haul the buckets, just not fer buckin’ and gatherin'.”

Applejack shook her head in amusement as he hefted the basket upright with his mouth rather than using his magic. “Well, Ah reckon ya’ll be alright ta help with the harvest. Come with me, and Ah’ll introduce ya ta the family.”

***

“Big Mac, Applebloom, come meet one of the temp workers!” Applejack shouted out as they approached the farmhouse, directing Barrier towards a barn to deposit the apples.

Barrier quickly deposited the basket in the barn, neatly stacking it amongst the others before he quickly moved to rejoin Applejack. By the time he got there, the second largest pony he’d seen that day was waiting alongside Applejack, standing at the exact same height as Bulk, though thankfully not as freakishly built. Ponyville appeareth to be a land of giants…

“Big Macintosh, Applebloom, this here is Magic Barrier, and he’s gonna be helpin’ us with the harvest this year.”

Magic Barrier smiled slightly and nodded to Big Macintosh, who maintained his silence and nodded in return; it wasn’t often either of the two found a pony that was eye-level with them.

“Woah, yer huge!”

Barrier blinked and glanced around for the voice before it spoke again, drawing his gaze to a small filly sitting in front of him.

“I’m Applebloom,” the filly grinned up at him. “So, yer here to help AJ with the plowin’ she needs?”

Barrier blinked, “I beg thy pardon?”

“Big Mac told Caramel that her fields needed a good plowin’,” the filly explained; Barrier coughed slightly, shifting his gaze to Applejack, who was redder than her cutie-mark, and then to Big Macintosh, who was biting back a chuckle.

“Dammit Mac, watch what’cha say around Apple Bloom,” Applejack finally got out,

“I’m here to assist Mistress Applejack with whatever she requires.” Barrier stated lightly, “If she needeth me to plow the fields, well…I shall do so,” Barrier chuckled as Applejack lowered her hat over her face.

“Don’t ferget the seedin’!” Applebloom stated helpfully.

“Eeyup,” Big Mac replied simply, not even trying to hide his grin.

“Alright! that’s enough’a that!” Applejack stomped the ground in embarrassment, “Why don’tcha come inside? I’ll introduce ya ta Granny Smith, and we can get the finer bits o' yer employment worked out.”

“Yes, good mistress,” Barrier quickly moved to follow.

***

I shall need to work greatly for the rest of the week to work off those abominable sweets… After meeting Granny Smith, she had insisted that Magic Barrier stay for dinner. When he tried to politely decline, she went on a spiel about how he should ‘listen to his elders’ and the sort. That had gotten a chuckle out of him as he was, to his knowledge, the third oldest pony on the planet at this point in time.

Tiredly nosing the library door open, Barrier’s eyes fell on the limp form of Twilight, slumped awkwardly over a book, blanket hanging loosely from her shoulders, likely thanks to Spike. With a dim flare of magic, Barrier lifted the unicorn mare and began to carefully transport her up the stairs before dropping her carefully on her bed, tucking the blankets snugly around the smaller mare.

Rest well, lass… Barrier turned to the door, departing with a silent sigh towards the couch once more, finding himself once more lost in his thoughts. On the morrow, she will most certainly see your mark… his mind commented as he plopped unceremoniously on the couch, rolling over so that a pair of his legs were almost perfectly vertical to the back of the couch, This probably wilt not matter, Barrier replied to himself, Surely, we are not too closely related. Barrier’s mind began to attempt the math; it didn’t take long for the numbers to lull him into a thankfully dreamless sleep.

***

Twilight’s voice was the first thing Barrier heard when he awoke.

“You don’t understand, Spike, this is incredible!”

“I didn’t think similar cutie-marks were that rare, Twilight,” Spike began, “I mean you and Shining have a sorta-similar cutie-mark and all of Applejack’s family have them. I just don’t see what the big deal about his cutie mark is.”

“Yes, Spike, but this means he’s almost assuredly related to me! This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, to be able to question an ancestor! I knew he looked similar to Shining!” Twilight squealed in excitement, clapping her forehooves together.

“I guess he sorta does. He’s a little taller and the streaks in his mane are thicker though,” Spike stated the observations as he went about preparing the table.

Stayasleepstayasleepstayasleep… Barrier’s mind chanted to him,

“Barrier, breakfast is ready!” the familiar voice of Twilight called out, much to the stallion’s consternation.

You are still very much asleep… Barrier hummed silently to himself, only for his stomach to betray him with a threatening growl.

Curse thee and thy dame, traitorous stomach… Barrier thought as he rolled upright with a grunt, eyes opening to the wide grin of his purple host.

“Dost thou require mine assistance in some manner…?” Barrier hesitated, taking a few steps backwards as his innate fight-or-flight kicked in, for whatever reason.

“I have some questions.” Twilight’s grin widened just slightly.

“I’m afraid that thine inquiries shall have to wait.” Barrier smiled sedately in return. “I require to journey to the Everfree Forest today, and I shall likely not return until late this e'ening. Also, I start work on Mistress Applejack’s farm on the morrow.”

Twilight’s smile vanished in favor of a raised eyebrow at the mention of the Everfree. “The Everfree? Why would you go back there?”

“It was where I was last with my team…my friends…” Barrier stated almost bitterly. My family… his mind commented, helpfully reminding him that he’d been closer and more familiar with them than his actual kin.

Twilight’s ears pinned themselves to her skull apologetically. “Oh…sorry,” she replied lamely, uncertain how to reply to such a statement.

“‘Tis no fault of yours, Twilight, I shall eventually move on,” Barrier stated with closed eyes, feeling guilty at having brought the subject up. “Mayhaps, I shall answer a few queries over breakfast before I depart,” he offered, receiving a high-pitched squeal in response followed by dozens of questions crammed into the span of thirty minutes.

***

“And if you’re not back by tomorrow morning, I’ll contact the princess,” Twilight prattled as she levitated the supply-laden saddlebags onto the stallion’s back, the weight pressing his scabbard further into his side. He’d planned on taking only his scabbard, but Twilight had insisted he should be ready for anything

“Aye, my mother,” Barrier commented sarcastically, “and I shall promise to brush my teeth and mane when I awake in the morning. May I bring a friend back home from my trip?”

Twilight just stared at him with a disapproving gaze that Barrier found conjured up images of his father for some reason. “It’s not a joke, Barrier,” she started with a serious tone. “It’s bad enough you won't let me go with you. The Everfree Forest is dangerous. According to my books, there’s everything from a manticore, to cragodiles, and even a hydra…”

“And I have been trained to survive in hostile wilderness, move silently as well as cull wild beasts if the situation calleth for it. Thou needest not worry, Twilight. Besides that, this is a task I need to accomplish alone.” If only because, I do not know if I will be able to keep myself stable yet…

Twilight let out a resigned sigh and shook her head in defeat. “Just…be careful. It’d be a shame for something to happen after everything you’ve been through.” An uncomfortable silence settled in before Twilight jolted slightly at the feeling of Barrier nuzzling her.

“I know this is not ideal, but gods yield thee for caring, Twilight.” Barrier smiled. “I promise to answer all of thy questions upon my return.” Barrier vanished with a pop and the smell of burnt ozone before the mare could so much as open her mouth in response.

***

With a snort, the stallion shook his head in an effort to clear up the disorientation of his flash-teleportation. “It would appear I am not quite back to full strength as I had previously thought,” Barrier commented to himself as he plunged into the depths of the forest he’d teleported to.

It was more ominous than one-thousand years ago…eerily silent. Even though his magic could detect the wildlife, no sounds seemed to escape, to say nothing of how the forest seemed to actively absorb light. Thanks to all of the wild magic that had been thrown around, Barrier supposed, though that was of little care to the stallion as he took care to stick to the shadows provided and stay downwind of any predators, particularly the timberwolves and manticores he could feel. This had the benefit of keeping him out of any immediate danger and out of the purview of the wildlife, but in exchange made his trip to the worn rope-bridge nearly six hours on its own. Only when he’d crossed the bridge and was in sprinting distance to the castle did he throw caution to the wind and take to a casual stride.

Barrier glanced up at the open gates of the Castle of the Two Pony Sisters, a feeling he identified as apprehension building in his stomach. His last foray into the castle hadn’t ended under the greatest circumstances. Why are you so apprehensive? the familiar voice in his head asked. There is no mad mare within there now, the voice reassured. You shall be fine…

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