• Published 7th Jan 2016
  • 895 Views, 66 Comments

Witchers Weed - Orcus

Just a few days before Hearth's Warming, an unnatural blizzard lays siege on Ponyville, bringing a strange character into town with it. Serendipity, Thoraxis and Petra's blind daughter, and her visiting friend, Charybdis, decide to investigate.

  • ...

One Cold Morning in the Everfree

Long had time passed since lazy summer turned into busy autumn, and longer still had busy autumn become cold, quiet winter.

In the middle of the snow-filled Everfree Forest, surrounded by foliage of varying sizes, rested a small house, built from the hollowed-out trunk of an old, gnarled red tree. Extending from it, like a giant, green, synthetic root, was a greenhouse made up of glass panes.

The greenhouse was made for winter conditions. Peering out from one of the many glass windows it was made of, any could see the large blanket of snow that lied outside, covering the forest. Many of the plants inside, each varying in shape, size, color and more, had their flowers closed, like sleeping children due to the thick cluster of clouds above blotting out most of the sunlight of which they fed on.

As the vegetation in the greenhouse continued to rest, the multiple lights and lamps that hung above most of them suddenly turned on, filling the paned room in a yellow glow. No sooner had they activated, the door to the greenhouse slowly opened, and a tall, thin, white shape with blank red eyes and a horned head emerged from behind it. The being, Serendipity was her name, had a visage closest to resembling a small changeling queen.

Serendipity was taller than most ponies one was likely to encounter, almost the height of an alicorn, but was also skinny to an utterly non-pony degree, near the point of being considered skeletal. Most would agree she looked rather sickly, as her features and chitinous frame seemed to possess a permanently droopy quality and atmosphere. Even her long horn bowed downward slightly. From the crown of her head to the bottom of her neck, a long, pink, web-like mane fell like the branchlets of a weeping willow.

Serendipity slowly trotted through the doorway, but soon stopped and inhaled the smell of her greenhouse deeply. Her horn didn't glow, but she still used magic to send out an invisible, brief current of energy that harmlessly bounced off her surroundings, revealing them to her.

The Princess of Friendship, Twilight Sparkle, taught her the spell when she was younger. She also told her it was a form of magical reception, very similar to echolocation used by bats to navigate in the dark. By sending out an invisible shockwave of pure magic, when it bounced back it would reveal an image of what the land in a few dozen yards radius looked like, and whatever figures were in it, all in her mind. Whenever she used it, the only colors she would see would be black-and-white; the only colors she would ever know in her life, without dreaming, but she could easily discern shapes from one another.

After seeing what was in her way, she trotted forward on her long, hole-filled hooves. The transparent, insect-like wings poking out of the red shell that rested on her back flittered in a happy way as she made her way to her favorite plant in the room.

"It's morning, Hesperus!" she spoke in her usual light, soft tone, approaching what appeared to be a normal-looking, if not larger-than-usual rose, closed into a bud. With a yawn, the plant opened up, revealing a red flower, but in the center, past all of the petals, a small, fanged mouth rested.

"Morning?" he inquired, in a high-pitched, guttural voice. "Wow, I must've slept in."

After feeling for it with a hoof, the half-changeling used her magic to pick up a nearby bag full of a special kind of plant food she made, just for this particular plant. Carefully dumping it into the pot with a shaky, white aura of magic to hold it in place, Hesperus bent his stem over and used his two, large main leaves to scoop the brown, dirt-like substance around his pot and himself, making sure every spot around him was filled.

"And just so," he cackled, as he patted the remaining fertilizer down, before sucking in the nutrients with his roots. "That's some good stuff. Thanks, Seren."

"Want some water with that?" she inquired, putting the bag down on the counter.

"Water? Yay!" he cheered, childishly. Sending out another small wave from her horn to find the watering pot, Serendipity bent her head over. Lifting it up by the handle with her mouth after locating it, she turned back to the plant and tilted the watering can forward, letting out a rain of water droplets fall on the plant. As if parodying what a pony, or pony-esque being would do in the shower, the plant started to wash himself with his leaves.

Hesperus was a talking snapdragon rose - a plant Serendipity had created herself by crossbreeding nearly a dozen other plants, which was a fact she took pride in. What she didn't take as much pleasure in, however, was the fact that he grew to an extreme magnitude if he wasn't properly taken care of, and was very... ambitious.

"How is watering me and feeding me that special kind of plant food going to help my chances of overthrowing the princesses of this land, and take it over, anyway?" he asked as she finished. "I never get enough power from it to grow to my full height anymore."

"It's not supposed to let you grow to your full size," she replied, placing the watering pot down with a cheery voice and smile, her two, long, saber-like canines hanging like icicles from her grin. "It just makes sure to keep your size at a minimum, so you're nice and healthy, while also keeping you out of trouble."

"Aww..." the plant whined, drooping over slightly. "But... but I want to take over the world!"

"What would you do if you took over the world?" she pondered out loud, raising an eyebrow questioningly.

"I dunno..." he said. "I haven't thought that far yet."

Closing her red eyes and smirking, Serendipity turned about and started back to the door, to grab more things for the other plants.

"One of these days, this world will be mine! And all will bow before me, you'll see, Seren!" Hesperus shouted again in a hammy tone as Serendipity left the room, the plant now bursting into a fit of maniacal laughter when she disappeared behind the door.

With the chores around her house now done, Serendipity ventured outside through the snow, leaving tracks in her wake. After working on her plants, she loved to spend the rest of her mornings just walking through the forest, checking on her local iceberry bushes, and hearing the songs the birds in the treetops sang. She made sure to never venture very far, as to not get lost or run into an unsavory creature, and when she ever wanted to return, she would simply retrace her footsteps.

Serendipity didn't bring a jacket or coat along, for she was nearly impervious to the frigid cold outside; an ability she believed came from her mother's side. Two other things she inherited from Petra was her albinsm, which made it so she could not stay comfortable in direct sunlight for very long, and what little poison her fangs possessed, though the toxin itself was a great deal less potent. She remembered hearing from her father, Thoraxis, that she once made his entire hoof go numb when she teethed on it as an infant.

She was interrupted from the memory by the sound of hoofsteps going through the snow behind her, causing one of her ears to lift at the sound. "Who goes there?" she asked, turning around and letting a single pulse of magic leave her horn. She got back an image in her mind that showed a pony-shaped figure approaching.

"There's no need for worry, it is just I," a familiar male voice greeted politely. "I just came over to stop and say hi."

"Oh, Zak. It's you," she said, her demeanor changing. "How are you and Zecora doing?"

"My aunt is doing very well. I'm also good, if you cannot tell" the zebra replied, readjusting the gray scarf around his neck. Zak was a fellow student of Zecora's, and the wise sage's nephew as well. Both trained under her tutelage in how to breed and grow all manners of plants, from magical ones that can be used in potions, to ones that could be used for something as simple as decoration. Zak wanted to become a potion-maker and herbalist like his aunt, though Serendipity wanted to use her skills for more recreational and self-sustaining purposes.

"Are you ready for Hearth's Warming?" she asked again. "It's going to be upon us in a few more days. What do you plan on doing?"

"I'm just going to spend it with my aunt, so we can have some time together without too much of a fuss," he said, before his cheeks, already red from the cold, turned into an even brighter shade of crimson, which he was thankful Serendipity could not see. "I was... also kind of wondering if you wanted to come and share it with us."

"I may be able to, but... I'm not sure," she replied, her unfocused gaze and unseeing eyes held elsewhere, as they usually were when she was in conversation. "My cousin's coming over, and I promised her she could spend as much time with me as possible. She's a bit hyperactive, and I know how Zecora and yourself don't like having too many things getting broken and all..."

"I understand, full and well," he nodded, before his face lightened up, remembering something. "By the way, how's your family? Are they all doing well?"

"They all came by yesterday, as a matter of fact," Serendipity spoke. "We had dinner in my house together, talked about our lives, made some plans... that sort of stuff."

"Whatever activities you plan on doing, you had better do them on this day," he said, in a slightly graver tone. "Zecora told me she thinks a powerful storm is on its way."

"Oh, the only thing I have planned at the moment is just waiting for noon to roll around so I can head to Ponyville to greet my relatives when they arrive," she said, her head slowly turning in his direction more. "Would you like to come with me when I go? I'm sure I could get there faster with you leading the way."

"Sure! It's always a treat to meet with your family," he chuckled. "I guess that means I'll see you at noon, Serendipity."

"I'll see you at that time too, Zak," she replied, hearing the zebra walk away. When the sound of her friend trudging through the snow slowly got to point of being distant, she turned around and continued her trek.

As she trotted through the howling wind, Serendipity thought about how much she loved to be alone. When she was a child, her parents, while rightfully cautious, were a bit too doting with her because of her inability to see, physical fragility, and mediocre-at-best use of her magic. To this day, at the age of seventeen, her skill in the use and application of magic was still utterly pathetic for reasons she could not find out, to her personal frustration, coming to the equivalent of but a preschooler that has just learned a few new spells at the playground. Even so, as an adult she absolutely adored the fact she didn't need the help of others anymore. She had gone forward despite the warnings against it, she adapted, and she successfully became the independent individual she was today by cleverly working around her flaws, or putting them to her advantage.

As she reached the part of the path she usually stopped on, Serendipity turned around and prepared to head back, when a peculiar feeling hit her.

Something was watching her.

Her instincts were almost never wrong when it came to eerie feelings like this. After using her magic to scan her surroundings, she still saw nothing that could have given her this feeling within the spell's radius. Then, as soon as it came, the feeling abruptly left.

After doing another sweep of the area with her magic, just to make sure it wasn't nearby, Serendipity took the time to start heading back to her house, a sense of haste and urgency overtaking her stride.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!