• Published 4th Mar 2016
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Aqua--The Magic of Friendship - 621Chopsuey



Aqua finds reprieve on Equestria, but it does not last long.

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01--Risky Romp

Occurs prior to the events of “Kingdom Hearts”.

Location: Equestria
Field Theme: The Crusaders Go Crusading
Battle Theme: Friendship is Magic

Aqua slowly trotted through the darkened path. Around her, gnarled trees stood tall and flourished, their lengthy branches blocking out most of the sun. Ahead of her, the path continued endlessly into the depths of the Everfree Forest.

She whirled her head to the side when an unfamiliar sound pierced the air. Aqua didn’t like this place. Not one bit. She would not have been forced to make a crash landing here had that asteroid not came at her. It was hard for Aqua to see it coming from out of her blind spot. But what happened, happened, and nothing could change it. What the young Keyblade Master could do was find a way out of this eerie forest and make her way to Canterlot.

A nostalgic smile graced Aqua’s lips. Canterlot. It had been some time since she last visited. When it was just her and Terra under Master Eraqus’s wing, he would take them to other worlds to undergo specific training regimes. Like learning how to feed off the land in the Wumpa Islands or undergoing stealth training in Outer Heaven. A wielder of the Keyblade had to be more than just swordsmanship if he were to be prepared to face the darkness.

In this instance, Canterlot, the capital of Equestria, was where Aqua had received additional magic training, Specifically at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. The young Keyblade Master fondly recalled the time she spent a the school, learning under Princess Celestia herself and alongside the brightest and most magically-talented minds Equestria had to offer. Aqua made good friends with the other students--well, most of them. There were a few who were rather uptight and didn’t appreciate the talents of their fellow peers. Like that one who loved to refer to herself in the third person. What was her name… Trixie? She certainly got on everyone’s nerves with her excessive showboating.

Aqua giggled at the idea of putting her in a room with Ven just to see who would last the longest against the other’s ego, then felt her mood drop.

Ven…

Last time Aqua saw him, he was sound asleep in Castle Oblivion--a world of her making following the destruction of their home. Ven’s heart had been damaged to the point where he was in a permanent state of sleep, one he would not wake from until his heart had fully healed. However long that will take, Aqua did not know, but she had her hopes it the recovery would be a speedy process.

In the meantime, there was the task of finding Terra. No one knew what happened to him following the battle against Master Xehanort, prompting Aqua to search for him after Ven’s safety was ensured.

So far no leads had turned up. The situation left Aqua all the more in a dower mood. Her two best friends were lost in one form or another, and she could nothing about it except bide her time for one and persistently track down another.
Hopefully after a day’s rest in Equestria, Aqua would find Terra. Then they would wait for Ven to wake up together.

Screams ripped Aqua from her thoughts. She whirled her head around left and right, searching for the source of the sounds. Another scream helped pinpoint their location. They were just ahead of her, past the mossy log blocking the path.

The blue-haired girl--for the time being a blue-maned unicorn--broke into a gallop towards the center of the calamity. It would take time for Aqua to get used to moving on all fours, let alone the imminent usage of her horn, but she had to make due for now. Aqua leapt over the log and skidded to a halt. Her eyes widened at the sight before her.

The young ponies, one yellow, one white, and one orange, were surrounded on all sides by creatures with glowing green eyes. That stank of wood and rot all thanks to the timber comprising their wolf-like bodies, and their guttural growls sent the three fillies huddling closer together.

Aqua’s eyes narrowed at the creatures. She would not let them lay a paw on the young fillies. Having summoned her Keyblade and flawlessly catching it in her magic--an act that surprised her--Aqua ran towards the calamity. She cast a fire spell at one of the wolves. It yelped and attempted to douse the flames consuming by rolling on the ground.

One of the fillies looked towards the newcomer with renewed hope. “Somepony came for us!” exclaimed the white one.

“Take out the timberwolves!” rasped the orange one.

Ah, so that’s what they’re called, thought Aqua. A couple of dodges later, she stood in front of the three fillies, using her body to shield them from the wooden wolf creatures known as timberwolves. She counted three of them, not counting the one lying still in a smoking heap, and each were perturbed at the newcomer who took it down.

Aqua chanced a glance back to little ponies behind her. “Get yourselves to safety. Quickly.”

The yellow one’s red mane bobbed when she nodded. “Gotcha.” She turned to her friends and with another shared nod, the three of them ran off to hide in safety behind several trees. That put Aqua at ease. Now she could fight these things without the risk of hurting the young fillies.

The atmosphere grew thick with tension between the combatants, each waiting for the other to make the first move. It ended up being the timberwolf to Aqua’s left. It dove at her, claws outstretched with the intent of laceration. Aqua dodged the attack with ease by cartwheeling to the side. However, the timberwolf to the right rammed into the girl and sent her stumbling back. Aqua winced at the pain in her side. Splinters from a creature made of wood hurt worse than a swat from an Unversed.

Timberwolf number two made to swipe at her. Aqua quickly recovered and cast a reflective barrier around her, then watched satisfyingly as its paw struck the barrier and bounced back. Taking advantage of the opening, she made short work of the timberwolf with a triple firaga spell.

The first timberwolf came around and opened its jaws lined with sharp wooden teeth and clamped them around Aqua’s Keyblade. It tugged. She tugged back. The cycle repeated a few times. Compared to a physical grip, holding on to her Keyblade with magic was not as easy. That didn’t mean she couldn’t use magic entirely. Aqua connected with her Keyblade and unleashed a blast of wind that tore away the jaws of the timberwolf. The creature howled in what Aqua guessed was pain and leapt back to nurse its wound. The young wielder brought her Keyblade closer to her. She didn’t want to deal with that tactic again.

All the while, the third timberwolf, the largest of the group, stood by the sidelines, waiting for the moment Aqua left herself vulnerable. Finished with tending to itself, it’s lesser companion lunged at the girl. She retaliated with a few strikes from her Keyblade that shredded it to bits before the attack ever landed.

That’s when the alpha timberwolf made its move.

Before Aqua could react, the timberwolf pounced her and had her pinned beneath its paw. It lowered its jaws and growled. The girl gagged at the beast’s breath; it stank. But bad breath was the least of Aqua’s worries. She needed to get free lest she wished to become the timberwolf’s next meal.

“Hey! Over here!”

The timberwolf turned its head to the sound, and so did Aqua. The fillies had left their safe spot and were taunting the beast. The yellow one blew a raspberry while the white one shook her rump. The orange one shook her hoof tauntingly. “Yeah, you! Go pick on somepony your own size!”

The timberwolf growled, then barked angrily at their antagonizing, prompting the three fillies to flinch in fear.

“Dang it, Scootaloo, you had to go and say that!”

“Well, my bad for trying to help, Apple Bloom.” Scootaloo shot back.

Apple Bloom looked over at their unicorn friend. “And stop shaking your butt, Sweetie Belle!”

“What?” Sweetie Belle squeaked. “I was just trying distract it.”

“I think you overdid it.”

The timberwolf turned to fully face the three. In the process it moved its paw and freed Aqua from its hold. Aqua quickly got up on old fours and scanned the beast for a weak spot. She found one, then reared her Keyblade back as she powered up another, more powerful fire spell. “Terra and Ven are gonna act so mature when I tell them about this later,” she sarcastically told herself with a smile. Aqua plunged her blade into the beast’s rear and a torrent of fireballs plagued its insides.

In seconds the timberwolf howled at a higher pitch than before at the sensation of its wooden hindquarters burning to ashes. It ignored the ponies and ran off deeper into the forest to find a source of water to douse the flames, yelping and occasionally dragging its rear against the ground along the way.

Scootaloo pointed a hoof at the retreating creature. “Look at him. Look at him and laugh!”

“Scootaloo…” Sweetie Belle warned sternly.

“Heh, sorry.”

Aqua trotted over to the trio, kneeling down so she was eye-to-eye with them. “Are you three okay?”

Apple Bloom beamed. “We sure are, thanks to you!”

“Yeah, that was some pretty awesome magic.” Scootaloo said excitedly, bouncing on her toes. “Where’d you learn to fight like that?”

“You mean where did I learn to defend myself.” Aqua corrected softly. There was a difference. “Some of it I learned at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. In fact, the Princess herself taught me a few fire spells.” The fillies awed at such prestige, their child-like amazement bringing a smile to Aqua’s face.

Sweetie Belle in particular squealed. “You know Princess Celestia? As in, you personally know her?” When the Keyblade wielder nodded, her green eyes brightened further in astoundment. “That’s amazing! Did she teach you the barrier trick, too?”

Aqua shook her head. “Mostly I learned this back home with my…” Her face fell. “...with my Master. And my friends.”

Seeing their savior sad sent Sweetie’s ears wilting. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to...”

Aqua quickly waved her hooves, reassuringly saying, “No no, it’s okay. You were just curious. You didn’t know.” Her ears perked at the sounds of howling in the distance. Aqua felt the young fillies instinctively draw closer to her. Her gaze into the dark forest hardened with steel. “We’d better leave before more timberwolves show up.”

“Sounds like a good idea to us.” agreed Apple Bloom. She and her friends started walking off in the direction of what Aqua assumed was their home. Aqua followed closely, having come to the logical conclusion they had a better sense of direction here than an offworlder. Said conclusion looked like it was right on the money. The further they went, the less dense the forest became. She even could see light filtering through the gaps in the overhanging canopy.

“By the by, you probably guessed this already--” Aqua shifted her gaze to the red-maned pony. “--but I’m Apple Bloom, and this is Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.”

“Hello there.”

“S’up.”

Aqua smiled. “It’s nice to meet you. My name is--.”

“--Aqua?”

The four of them stopped at the new voice added into the mix. Aqua in particular drew in a breath. That voice was so familiar to her. It couldn’t be... she thought. Lo and behold, a minty green unicorn emerged from the shrubbery ahead, accompanied by another, cream pony.

Aqua’s face brightened. It was her. “Lyra!” She dashed over to her old friend and wrapped her forelegs in an embrace Lyra was eager to return. After several seconds of savoring the moment, Aqua realized where they were and pulled back with a confused look. “It’s great to see you again, but what are you doing out here?”

“I ought to be asking you the same thing. We were keeping an eye on those three when they decided to run off into the woods.” Lyra sternly eyed the young fillies behind Aqua. “Let me guess: crusading again?”

Apple Bloom shrunk, embarrassed. “Um...yeah?”

“If it makes you feel any better, Operation: Cutie Mark Crusaders Monster Hunters is a bust.” Scootaloo chimed in.

The cream pony expressed her amusement at the situation. “It does and it doesn’t. Monster hunting? What were you thinking? Do you realize how dangerous it was to run off into the Everfree Forest to catch a monster as part of your crusading?”

Sweetie Belle shrugged. “It’s not like this is the first time we’ve gotten into trouble.”

“Just wait until your sisters hear about this. They’ll pitch a fit.” A hoof dragged over the cream pony’s face as she sighed. She then looked up and smiled at Aqua appreciatively. “We owe you out thanks. I don’t know what we would’ve done if something happened to them.”

“I guess it was a matter of being in the wrong place at the right time.” A brief silence fell upon them before Aqua spoke up again. “My apologies, but who are you?”

Lyra’s eyes widened, remembering they had never met. She wrapped a limb around her cream-colored companion and introduced her. “This is Bon Bon. She’s a friend of mine who lives in Ponyville. I’m actually staying the week with her.”

“I'm Aqua. It’s nice to meet you.” She held out a hoof.

Bon Bon shook it. “And I assume you know already Lyra?”

“We go a ways back.”

More howling, this time closer, interrupted the conversation. Bon Bon’s eyes narrowed at the forest. “Sounds like you drew the whole pack here. We’d better get out of here and back to Ponyville fast before they catch up. We’ll talk more after.”

Aqua nodded. “Lead the way.”