• Published 5th Jun 2012
  • 1,215 Views, 22 Comments

One Reality - Aburi



Three desperate friends are flung to Equestria when an experimental portal malfunctions.

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Chapter 1 - Preparations

Chapter 1

Luna surveyed the structure she had just created. She rarely had the opportunity to turn her hoof toward the more practical crafts, but one would never be able to tell from the building she had just risen from nothing more than the earth underneath her hooves.

Situated in a large plain to the west of Canterlot, it blended seamlessly into the landscape. The royal palace itself was barely in view, and there were no other dwellings for many miles in any direction.

On the inside it resembled a common brick cottage, the only real difference being that it had only one room and the floor was recessed several feet. It was also large enough to comfortably house the three strangers twice over. The challenge had been to make the temporarily house blend in, as she and her sister agreed that they did not want the public aware of the newcomers until more was known, and weather patrols flew overhead regularly.

To that end Luna had styled the structure as simply as possible. Grass grew on three slopes and over the roof. Several windows were carefully hidden from view by clever vine growths. The side of the building with the entrance looked, from a distance, like a simple break in the ground. To facilitate the illusion she created a shallow gully extending past the entrance in either direction.

Luna realized that she was letting her artistic side run away with her when she started pulling up a spring to feed a small decorative stream.

After a small reminder to herself that this task was not for her own pleasure she sent a telepathic nudge to her sister.

<Yes Luna?>

<Their new house is ready Tia, go ahead and send the furnishings.>

<It will be there in a few minutes, where do you want me to put it?>

<Just put it around me, I’ll have it moved inside.> It had been a long time since she and her sister had been able to truly work together, even at such a distance as this. Luna continued her work with a smile on her face and a slight prance in her step.

True to Celestia's word, various articles of furniture started popping into existence around Luna. First was a pair of extra large beds, followed by a table and a set of chairs. Finally a stack of carpets and blankets.

<That’s all the furniture, Luna. Let me know when you’re ready for the doctors. They should be ready to go in ten minutes.>

<Thank you Tia, I should be ready for them about then> Luna gently closed the connection with her sister.

With that taken care of, Luna turned to where the strangers slept on the hill behind her. They were still unconscious and now surrounded by guards. A full dozen pegasi, hoof chosen by her sister, had been sent in case any backup was needed.

“Captain, Please have some of your guard move the furniture inside. I will see to our guests.”

“Of course, your highness.” With a few gestures and words Storm Wind detailed half the squad to furniture duty and the other half to remain on guard. He himself stayed by the Luna to act as her personal guard and aide.

With the arrival of the doctors, Luna approached the strangers once more. The first thing she had done when the dragon passed out was examine each one for injuries. It was cumbersome to not have names for them, so she mentally assigned them each one as she worked. And if the names were a bit silly, well, doctors are supposed to be discreet right?

The winged female she called “Goldie” and was suffering from slight blood loss and magical overload as well as a broken collar bone. Luna simply sealed her wound and locked the bone in place with a simple bone mending spell. She expected Goldie to recover mostly on her own.

Luna could find no injuries on the dragon, whom she dubbed “Blackie”, the beast was simply exhausted and needed rest.

Luna decided to balance the canine creature’s frightening appearance with a less than threatening name. Hence the name “Fluffy”. Unfortunately Fluffy’s injuries were more series than the other two. Fluffy had a concussion along with some internal bleeding, several cracked ribs, and a cracked skull. It had taken Luna and the doctors an hour to set the subtle healing magics that would ensure the brain took no lasting harm. That, along with several bone mending spells and some of the more common regeneration magic set Fluffy on the road to recovery.

With their immediate medical needs attended to, Luna finally set a sleep spell on all three.

With her patients recovering to her satisfaction and safely unconscious, Luna left to make the rest of the necessary arrangements for the strange trio.

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~ Three days later ~

Even with mysterious strangers literally falling out of the sky, life goes on in Equestria. At the moment that only meant one thing to Princess Celestia... paperwork. As tedious as she found the matter, the princess diligently devoted hours every day to it, for such things kept the dyarchy running smoothly. She did however welcome interruptions, such as the one entering the room at that moment.

“Star Shine, it’s always a pleasure to speak with you.” Celestia greeted her guest as the mare genuflected. “Dare I hope that you have already made progress on your project?”

Star Shine, principal of the Canterlot University of Magic, had been tasked with finding a way to communicate with the strangers. “Your highness, not just progress. A solution has been found.”

“That’s wonderful, I did not expect a solution quite so soon. However, you imply that you are not the source of this solution...”

“You specified that the strangers be kept an absolute secret, but the problem presented is outside of my area of speciality.” Star was not fazed by Celestia's implied displeasure. “In order to solve the problem in time to be useful, I posted a university wide challenge: To allow communication with a non-unicorn that, for any reason, could not speak. I have, to this point, received exactly one response. It came from a correspondence student yesterday morning.”

“Yesterday morning?” This time Celestia allowed a hint of censure to enter her tone. She had recently put in place the magic that would guide the sun through sunset and into the night. “I thought I made it clear that time is of the essence. Why did you not bring this to me the moment you verified it?”

To Celestia’s utter amazement Star Shine, the most acclaimed magician of her generation, actually blushed. “... I did.” After she took a moment to gather herself and levitate a package from her saddlebags she continued. “The spell is loosely, very loosely, based on a spell for short range telepathy. However, in order to function without every participant being a unicorn multiple elements of interpersonal magics are worked in. I still cannot follow all the threads that are involved in this spell, let alone test cast it. The student did however include her full notes along with documentation of a test with a local postal worker with a slight case of speech apraxia.” Star passed the package to the princess

Celestia’s heart fell a little as she recognized the writing. She had not wanted to involve Twilight Sparkle in something as potentially dangerous, or politicized, as this matter could become. But there was still hope that her student could stay in the background. “How long until you can have someone ready to perform this spell?”

Once again Star Shine looked uncomfortable. “I believe that, with luck, I can have my best student ready to cast this spell in a month.”

Celestia’s hopes fell a little more. “And yourself?”

“I believe I could be proficient in this spell with a week of study your highness.”

The last of Celestia’s hopes to keep Twilight out of the matter fell apart. It seemed she would be involving her protege in Equestria’s crisis once more.

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Spike was used to Twilight going overboard where Princess Celestia was concerned, and this latest letter sent her into a predictable panic attack.

“Twilight!” Spike had to yell to get her attention as she trotted in circles around the library, “The letter said she was proud of that spell you put together. You can calm down!”

“But I based that spell on a common telepathic communication spell, what if she thinks I’m not taking my studies seriously? What if she thinks I’m trying to plagiarize Shady Mists’ thesis on subconscious communication? What if...”

Spike had realized by this point that reason simply would not work. As Twilight passed him on yet another round of the library, Spike reached up and grabbed a handful of her forelock, forcing her head around to face him.

“Argh, Spike! Wha-”

“TWILIGHT!” Spike yelled directly into her face. He took advantage of the second of shock to grab another handful of mane and force her head down until her horn was resting on his head and their foreheads were touching. “Now... breathe.”

Once her breathing started to slow down Spike let go of her mane and rested his hands on her shoulders. They stayed like that for a few minutes while Twilight calmed down.

With a final deep breath, she lifted her head. “Thank you Spike, I kinda needed that.”

“I’m glad I could help.” Woah, I don’t believe that worked! “Now, the letter said that Princess Celestia would be sending a carriage immediately. That means it won’t get here for another hour at least. Perhaps you could spend that time going over that spell you made?”

“You’re right Spike, what would I ever do without my number one assistant?”

“And while you’re doing that, I’ll make arrangements for our trip to Canterlot.”

“Hold on a minute Spike, you're going to watch the library while I’m gone.”

“Not this time Twi, it seems that every time I let you out of my sight you’re doing something dangerous.” Spike gave her his best “stern” look.

“Oh, come on Spike, it’s not that bad.”

Spike was not letting up now that he had the upper claw for once. “I wasn’t there when you confronted Nightmare Moon. My place in the Discord problem was an embarrassment. I finally got the full story of that out of Fluttershy by the way. I heard from Pinkie that you charged a hydra in the swamp. You got turned to stone in the Everfree Forest. You got into a brawl with practically the entire race of changelings. And I’m sure there’s even more that nopony's told me about!”

“But.. I.. You...” Twilight had retreated a bit with each point the little dragon made. “... I’ll write a letter to the Mayor to let her know the library may be closed for a few days.”

Spike nodded and headed to the kitchen to prepare some pre-flight food. He wasn’t sure what had come over him back there. He was never that assertive, but he did not want Twilight to go alone right now. He just knew that he could help her, he was her number one assistant after all. And she was his... Boss? No, that didn’t sound right, they were far closer than that. Mom? That’s the logical word, after all Twilight hatched and raised him, but she never acted motherly. Sister? Friend? Both close, but neither quite right... It doesn't matter. Whatever the right word is for what she is to me, she’s MINE, and I am NOT going to let her get hurt.

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Twilight looked at Spike as he slept curled up on the carriage floor. Moments of assertiveness and aggression like the one earlier in the evening were becoming more common lately. She made a mental note to speak with the princesses and Zecora about his growth to ensure they did not have another problem like his greed induced growth spurt.

Despite his insistence on going with Twilight, Spike had fallen asleep minutes after the carriage left Ponyville. The trip would take a couple of hours, and Twilight had studied all she needed to in order to refresh her memory of the new spell. Thinking objectively she was very satisfied with it. There was no doubt that the spell was effective. Twilight’s conversation with Ditzy Doo had proven that rather conclusively.

Ditzy had found out that Twilight was working on while delivering the mail and had immediately volunteered as a test subject. She had been born with a condition that garbled the words that she spoke unless she was concentrating on her speech to the exclusion of everything else. This lead to a reputation of clumsiness and made other ponies think her less intelligent than she really was. However, when she didn't have to worry about which words she was speaking and could relax she proved as able as any other pony. She and Twilight had had quite an enlightening discussion on the merits of the safeguards society places on privacy, as well as the effect such safeguards have on trust and friendship. This was a topic that both mares had surprising insights on given that one was studying friendship itself and the other was exposed to a great deal that was supposed to be private when delivering mail.

A soft snort from Spike brought Twilight’s attention back to the present. Spike was pretty adorable when he was asleep. Just watching him sleep helped Twilight relax a bit more. When did Spike get so good at calming ponies down? Or is it just me that he knows how to calm?

But these musing too were cut off by their arrival at the palace. Instead of waking Spike, Twilight simply levitated him onto her back and carried him, after all, he was still just a baby dragon. Twilight would keep telling herself this for as long as she could get away with. She resolutely ignored that Spike had grown large enough that she had to hold him in place with magic.

The guards let her pass without comment. Most recognized her on site, and they had all been informed that she would be arriving to meet with the princesses.

Twilight was a bit surprised when she reached Princess Celestia’s study though. She was expecting a private meeting with her mentor. Instead she was greeted by both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna as well as Star Shine, whom she had met when signing up for her correspondence courses.

“Twilight Sparkle, my faithful student. Please come join us.” Princess Celestia beckoned. The three were already seated around a short table with a built in viewing surface. The princess gestured for Twilight to take the seat next to her.

“Good evening Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, Star Shine. I must admit, this, um... wasn’t quite what I was expecting.” Twilight couldn’t help but fidget a little as she sat. Her usual meetings with Princess Celestia were usually either private lessons or formal events. Twilight wasn’t quite sure how to deal with the apparently informal setting.

“I expect not my faithful student,” Princess Celestia said with the kind smile that Twilight was infinitely familiar with. “but there are still more surprises for you this evening. And here one comes now. Storm Wind, Shining Armor, please join us.” The princess gestured to the last two seats.

“Shiny!?” Twilight sprang up and across the room to tackle her big brother with a hug. “It’s been months! What are you doing here?”

“No idea, Twily” He chuckled, “I was called by Princess Celestia, I think she’ll tell us what’s going on soon enough.”

“Oh, hehe... right. I suppose I’ll just get back to my seat now.”

Once everyone had gotten seated Princess Celestia began. “I have called you all together because I need your assistance.” Her horn glowed briefly as she triggered the playback spell she had prepared earlier. “Early in the morning three days ago...”

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Princess Celestia, Princess Luna and Captain Storm Wind told each of their parts in turn, bringing each pony in the room up to date.

Princess Luna was just finishing up the final portion of the tale. “We have been keeping all three of the visitors asleep since they arrived, however I fear that any longer would be detrimental to their health.”

“And that brings us to your part my faithful student.” Princess Celestia said.

Twilight had reasoned out her intended role much earlier in the story, and had plenty of time to come up with a fit of self-doubt. “Princess, I don’t understand why you want me here. I mean, I’m honored, but there must be hundreds of unicorns more able to handle a translation spell. Or you could handle things yourself and cut out a layer of communication, making things that much more efficient.”

“Twilight Sparkle, you underestimate yourself. The spell you submitted as a response to that challenge is the only magic in Equestria suitable for this task right now. And as of this moment, you are the only pony in Equestria who is capable of casting that spell, making you the only being capable of communicating with these strangers. Furthermore, as Luna said, time of of the essence. It would take time which we do not have to teach another unicorn to act in your stead.”

“As for your final question,” Princess Luna chimed in. “My sister or I could likely cast this spell; however, that is not an option. Tell me Twilight, in the simplest terms you can, how does your spell work?”

Twilight had to think for a moment to phrase her explanation as requested. “Well, it intercepts the translation of subconscious thought to words that precede speech, then broadcasts the intent of that speech to anyone within hearing distance that has a connection to the speaker. In this case the connection used is the speakers awareness of the listener.”

“As I had surmised. Twilight, this is a very elegant solution to our dilemma, however it does have one flaw. My sister and I have looked over your work and we believe that there is a chance that the recipient would be able to see more than the speaker intended. As the rulers of this land we have knowledge that we cannot risk giving to a possible threat.”

“My faithful student,” Princess Celestia said. “For all these reasons, we need you to be the one to do this. Can we count on you?”

“Yes, your highness. Of course I’ll do my best!”

“Thank you. Now, Shining Armor, your task is to ensure Twilight’s safety. You are to use whatever resources you deem necessary. If you need something or somepony that’s not immediately available you are to requisition said item or pony on my authority. In matters of safety you are in charge between the two of you, but otherwise I expect you to follow Twilight’s lead. Do both of you understand and accept this?”

“Yes, your highness” / “Yes, Princess” they spoke almost in unison.

“Captain Storm Wind, your task is the same as it has been. You are to guard the strangers. Like Shining Armor, if there is anything you need you are to requisition it.” The pegasus responded affirmatively. “Now, any further questions?”

After waiting a moment Princess Celestia continued. “Very well, meet here after sunrise. We all have a lot to do.”