• Published 14th Jun 2012
  • 3,219 Views, 47 Comments

The Studies of Equestria: The Pony, the Brother and the Everfree Forest - Typewrittensoul



Kevin Costern makes his way back to Equestria to learn what happened to his brother.

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The Other Man

Introduction

Everything happens for a reason.

You read in textbooks and learn how wars were won, how gravity was discovered and why it's a dumb idea to stick a fork into an electric outlet. Over the centuries, doctors and scientists and philosophers have slowly but surely taken on the "whys", "hows" and "whens" so that today we understand that germs and viruses make us sick and abstract ideas like morality and religion are based off of more eartly realities and evolutionary history in their emergence than the notion that they are conspiratorial manipulations of a supernatural nature.

But there are lots of things in life that you can't find the answer to in a textbook or are not easily explainable by doing an experiment or research.



I could spend the rest of this introduction telling you, the reader, how I've already written [strike]a[/strike] about an amazing experience a few years ago. If you've read it, I'd like to say thanks. If you bought it, my bank account thanks you. That extends to whether you liked it or not, and the many [strike]various[/strike] reasons how or why your impression came about. If you haven't read it, again, I'm not going to waste your time recalling every plot point or nuancenor am I expecting you to go and read it as a prerequisite to understand what you're reading now. I'm just glad you've decided to read this, no matter what your experience or background or expectations are.

Knowing the past is important, but it's not the end-all-be-all. Yes, it's important to know where we came from, to understand our "roots" and make sure that we can avoid making past mistakes. However, for good or bad, I've learned, there are some things that will repeat themselves.

Sometimes it's because there are some things worth repeating. Other times it's a reflection of our nature.


... (?)


Let's start then, about the time I returned to the place called "Equestria".

---

"Kevin, you spelled 'earthly' wrong."

"Did I?"

"Mmhmm." The yellow pegasus hummed and nodded. "You wrote it as 'eartly'."

"Huh...that's interesting." Kevin finally commented after a moment of silence. Once more the sound of feather quills scratching against paper filled the room until a set of soft knocks echoed from the front door. Stretching out his arms, only a single set of footsteps clacked on the wooden floorboards as Kevin made his way to the front of the cottage, arriving at the door amidst the second round of knocks.

Kevin brought out his widest smile as he opened the door and looked toward the pony guest. "Hey Twilight, good to see..." He stopped mid-sentence when he realized that not only did he not recognize the orange-colored earth pony staring back up at him but as his head reached Kevin's chin, it dawned on him that it was in fact a stallion standing there.

The pony took a step back as his ears pressed downward in caution at the strange sight that came upon him.

"Uh...can I...help you...?" Kevin spoke as slowly and clearly as he could as though the awkward tension that filled the air had condensed into mothballs and threatened to shove themselves into his mouth.

The earth-pony stallion stared when he realized the creature before him said something he could understand but after a moment seemed to recollect his senses before replying. "Yes..." Taking a step forward to where he had been standing a moment ago, he ever so subtly craned to the left and right of the bipedal creature standing at the door in an effort to look inside.

"So...how can I help you?" Kevin drew out his words in a heavily stressed way, leaning in much the same manner as the pony was doing like a mirror reflection to block his line of sight. The stallion quickly grew irritated and turned his attention back to him.

The pony quietly regarded Kevin for another moment before finally addressing him directly. "I'm here to see Miss Fluttershy. She's expecting me."

"Yeah...no..." Kevin shook his head and exhaled his words while grasping tighter on the doorknob as if the doors in Equestria had locks in the first place he could use whenever he decided to slam the door in this pony's face.

The stallion huffed. It was then Kevin noticed the small gift-wrapped box on the earth pony's back and he scratched his recently clean-shaven face as his curiosity was piqued. Noticing his attention, the orange pony leaned his head to block Kevin's view of the box. "I know she's home. I'd like to speak with her...sir..." He said with a sterner tone, being careful with the words he used.

"And that concerns me, how?" Kevin replied in much the same stern tone, however did not choose to be as careful with his words.

"...I'll be back."

"Looking forward to it." Kevin flashed a toothy smile in an effort to display his top set of canines. "I'll be right here." He said before closing the door.

"Who was at the door that made you take so long?" Fluttershy asked distractedly, raising a single ear at the sound of Kevin's return into the room. Her eyes continued to move from left to right as she read over the manuscript page several times before picking up a feathered quill to make the appropriate editing marks.

"Hmmm...uh, just, um..." Kevin had not even arrived back at the table when a set of knocks from the front door reached his ears again. "Got it." He quickly said and left the room.

Cracking his knuckles, Kevin eagerly swung the door open and made sure to show off as much of his canines in his smile as possible. "Back for round two, you smug little-"

"Oh my gosh, Kevin!" The unicorn nearly shouted in exclamation. "Is that you!?" Twilight Sparkle's voice grew even more in both volume and excitement until both dropped so quickly that they crashed through the proverbial floor. "What happened to your face?" She asked, lowering drooping her ears and staring with serious concern on her face.

Kevin frowned at seeing Twilight's eyes narrow in confusion and he instinctively brought his hand up to his face, touching his fingers against the bits of ripped toilet paper pasted against his cheek and neck. "I, uh...never shaved until today—hey, why don't you come in?" He quickly said to change the subject and took a step back to allow the pony into the cottage.

"Thank you." Twilight smiled and proceeded inside. As she passed the doorway Kevin quickly stepped to block the space and while darting his glance left and right, closed the door. The purple pony decided to walk ahead, hearing the door close behind her and a second set of footsteps creak against the floorboards along with her own.

"Fluttershy? You in here?" Twilight called out as her hooves clacked against the floor on her way to the dining room where the yellow pegasus was seated, still focused on the papers strewn about on the table.

Twilight blinked and glanced toward Kevin as he walked in a minute or so later than she thought he would, setting a saucer and cup on the table end opposite of where Fluttershy sat, and poured some tea from a kettle. "Oh, thank you, that's enough." Twilight said, lightly tapping her hoof twice against the tabletop. Ceasing his pour, Kevin bowed with a flourish, fully invested in his role as the butler and succeeded in getting a giggle from his guest. Waiting a moment for him to return from the kitchen she asked, "What is it that Fluttershy's looking over?"

Kevin followed the curious pony's line of sight toward the pegasus looking quite focused on her task. "Just a couple of chapters of a manuscript for a book I'm writing."

"A book?" Twilight's interest only grew from such an answer and she nearly hopped to her hooves from her seated position before reigning in her excitement. "Oh, is it from the research findings you made the last time you were here?" She asked with ears perked upwards.

"Well, actually, no. Because I had already published them into a book a few years back. Wasn't a huge success, but I got enough to put me through school. This is a new book I'm writing.

Her eyes remained wide, though for a moment Twilight was uncertain what emotion to express until deciding to go with a smile. "Congratulations, then."

"Thanks." Kevin smiled back. He sat cross legged next to her and in the meantime she took a moment to sip at the tea. Her nose wrinkled at the sensation against her tongue.

'Still too hot.' She thought, setting the cup back onto its saucer using her magic.

Their attention returned once more to Fluttershy, still hard at work poring over the various sheets of paper and making marks with her quill.

"If you want I'd be more than ready to help. I've never been involved in publishing a book, before."

"I don't mind at all if you would help me with the research side." Twilight felt elated from the quick response but a cloud of suspicion hung over her head, as it felt like Kevin's answer was perhaps a bit too quick to have been a spur of the moment decision.

She wanted to broach the subject as gently as possible, looking at her fellow academic with as little a confrontational tone as possible. Perhaps taking a bit out of Rarity's book would suffice. "Oh." She began noncommittally, glancing from the corner of eye at him while pretending to look ahead to "watch" Fluttershy work. Counting down from three she went ahead with the attack. "Well, I have nothing against helping you research, Kevin, but...could I help you at all with translation work?"

His reply was lightning fast while retaining a certain spontaneity. "About that...you'd have to talk to my editor." Kevin gave a nervous smirk and made a gesturing nod of his head toward the yellow pegasus.

Twilight felt her lips turn into a small pout but as she was about to try again, a voice screamed out from a window behind them.

"THERE YOU ARE!"

Only Twilight and Kevin had the sense to look at the sudden exclamation while Fluttershy remained focused on her work.

Kevin gave a wide smile at the sight of the pegasus floating outside the now-opened window. "Hey there, Rainb-" He began to say but was tackled to the floor by the blue bullet. It was by sheer luck that Twilight managed to create a barrier between Kevin and the table, causing him to ricochet against the floating wall of magic onto the floor with the pegasus wrangling him against the wooden boards.

Pinned to the floor by the energetic Rainbow Dash, Kevin wheezed from the several impacts his body was forced through before being confronted with a headbutt from the pegasus.

"Rainbow Dash, what are you doing!?" Twilight screamed out in dismay and was about to pull her friend off Kevin when he raised his hand to stop her. "Kevin?"

"It's...it's alright..." Kevin groaned as he was stomped on a few more times by the pony about less than half his size. "I deserve this..."

"Yeah you better know it!" Rainbow Dash growled out with teeth gritted.

"What?" Twilight scrunched her face in confusion and vehemently shook her head at the absurd sight before her. "Can somepony please explain why you're letting Rainbow beat you up like this?" The unicorn urgently looked toward Fluttershy for some support before stepping in despite the others' protest, catching the yellow pony's eyes looking at them before returning to the papers in front of her when she realized Twilight had caught her watching. "Fine!" Twilight huffed and had her horn glow once more to lift Dash off of Kevin.

"You have some nerve just waltzing back here after that scare you gave me all those years ago! Not even apologizing or trying to send some notice that you're alright? Not. Cool. I promised Fluttershy I'd keep an eye on you!"

"I wasn't even sure if I was able to come back until a few days ago." Kevin choked out as he propped himself by his elbows while still lying on the ground, quietly suffering under Dash's weight on top of his gut. While she did not seem immediately persuaded, Kevin still considered it an improvement that he wasn't being stomped on now, so continued. "I'm sorry that I left the way I did, Dash. I just hope that as my Coach you'd understand that there's a big set of reasons why I couldn't just go and visit you when I came back."

Twilight glanced toward Fluttershy, thinking she heard a small squeak from the pegasus.

Rainbow Dash was caught off guard by Kevin's wide-eyed pleading and looked away with an restrained embarrassment when she realized she was pummeling someone while saying she was supposed to keep them safe. Stepping off of him now, Rainbow continued to avert her gaze from him and scratched her chin with her hoof. "So...good seeing you, I guess...how's things?"

"Good." Kevin gulped. "Got whooped by some crazy chick. Story of my life." He chuckled at Dash's annoyed huff and winced from a sudden strike from her hoof against his arm, causing him to topple to the floor face-first. Letting out a snort, Kevin laughed and soon guffawed at the situation, drawing in Dash's squeaky laugh as well, while helping him back to his feet.

After all was said and done, Twilight sat down on her haunches, still confused, but relieved that she wouldn't be an accessory to Equestria's first homicide. She the chided herself for letting her mind jump to such an extreme conclusion and walked back to the table to take a drink of tea to calm herself down.

While haven cooled significantly, Twilight enjoyed the taste of the warm drink nonetheless when Kevin spoke out. "I'm going to check out the spot in the forest, if either of you girls want to come along."

"No thanks..." Fluttershy said distractedly.

"Since you're going to stay, do you mind taking care of [Fiona]?" Fluttershy's scratching stopped for a moment when she responded "yeah" to his question, then returned to making marks on the papers once more.

"Well if that's the case, I'm just going to stay here, too." Twilight quickly volunteered, wanting to know more about this [Fiona].

Sending Twilight a nod, Kevin held the door open for Dash before stepping out himself. "Alright. See you girls in a bit."

Closing the door behind him, Kevin walked along the trail and onto the main dirt road with Rainbow now casually flying at his side. While the Everfree forest was accessible from Fluttershy's backyard, the two of them made their way around to the opposite side of the forest where Kevin had both arrived and left Equestria at least twice now.

The two of them continued on for a good two minutes before Dash felt the need to break the silence. "I thought some monster grabbed you!" She exclaimed while flying in front of him, managing to flutter backwards without looking.

"What? Where'd you get that idea? I remember that I was pretty out of it at the time, but what you saw was a [helicopter]..."

"A what?" Dash was confused by the term, not even feeling the need to try to pronounce whatever it was he had just mentioned. "So it's a monster from where you come from, then?"

"It's not a monster." Kevin replied. "It's a...flying thing that hue-mens use."

"A flying thing? Oh! Like Pinkie Pie's thinga-majig that has rotors that she pedals on!"

"I guess?" He shrugged, not familiar with whatever it was Dash was talking about. "Except it doesn't use pedals to fly...well, actually it does, but it's a lot more complex than that."

"Don't worry, I got it." She stressed while exaggerating her head nods. Returning to the ground, Dash started trotting alongside Kevin, letting her wings flap once or twice before tucking themselves closed on her back. "How've things been with you?"

"Pretty good. Got my degree, wrote a book. Though it's considered a 'fiction' title." He shrugged.

"Like Daring Do?"

"Less adventurous, more journal-like. No one wanted to publish what I wrote as something that actually happened, so I had to tell them it was some fantasy story that changed perspectives between 'me' and the ponies I met."

"Uh huh, uh huh..." Dash said in half attention before moving to the crux of what she had been meaning to get to since they left the cottage. "So...how's your leg? I noticed the limp."

Kevin shook his head and looked at the pony with admiration. It had taken a lot of rehabilitation, but he thought he had managed to rid himself of any sign that he was injured (and then aggravated his injury because of a certain coach's Spartan-like training). Wanting to tease her a bit, Kevin decided to play it coy rather than answer her right away.

"What's with all the questions, Dash? Are you my therapist now?"

"Maybe I am. I mean, I've already seen you bawl your eyes out!"

"Wow, low blow, there...I meant physical therapist." Feigning injury, Kevin clutched at his chest and gave a pitiful-looking pout.

"Jeez, just toughen up, already." She countered, feeling no remorse for her snarky remark which earned an eye-roll from him.

"Yeah..." Kevin scoffed. "[...whatever, Liam...]"

Dash blinked and suddenly stopped. "Kevin...what did you just say?"

Continuing on, Kevin walked by the blue pegasus pony and rolled his eyes once more. "I said 'whatever, Dash'. Come on, now. You alright?"

She frowned in silence for a moment but decided not to let the comment pass. Unfurling her wings once more, Dash took to the air and flew in front of Kevin, prodding him in the chest with her hoof to stop him in his tracks. "You just called me [Liam]. I might not be as good in understanding hue-men as Fluttershy or Twilight, but there's no way I would ever forget your brother's name."

"Pft." Kevin narrowed his eyes and smirked. "No way." Shaking his head he tried to walk around her but was confronted by her still, feeling her poke him harder than time, enough to cause him to flinch.

"Yeah way, Kevin." Dash said in a sterner tone and deeper frown.

To this, Kevin froze and pondered aloud, his concern and anxiety openly expressed on his face. "...did I really?"

"Would I lie to you?"

"If it was a matter of you winning something, may-OW!" He stumbled back and winced when she punched him full force against his chest, shocking him with the thought that he'd be suffering a major bruise now.

Dash meanwhile was neither concerned or amused and crossed her forehooves over her chest while flying in place. "Well I guess it takes a liar to know a liar, huh?"

"So you admit that you do lie?" He said with a smirk while rubbing his sore rib.

"What? I?" The blue pegasus pouted when it dawned what Kevin was referencing. She raised her forehoof up again, making Kevin quickly lift his hands in surrender, which appeased her somewhat and saved him from further pain. "Whatever..." she breathed out in resignation whereas Kevin sighed in relief. "You feeling up for a race?"

"Huh?" He stood dumbfounded by the blue pony's sudden change in attitude as she flashed a wicked grin his way.

"Last one there has to carry the loser back to the cottage!" With a snicker the pegasus shot up into the air in a rainbow trailed-blur and arced toward the edge of the Everfree Forest.

"Agh! You suck, Dash!" Shouting out in dismay, Kevin stumbled into an awkward semblance of a run before finding the proper form once he adjusted to the dirt road's traction.


Author's Note: The next chap will be up soon to complete this update.