• Published 28th Apr 2016
  • 7,101 Views, 235 Comments

Clean the Slate - Earth Galvanising

Time is a priceless commodity, and an even greater weapon. As one pony stumbles through fate blindly, with no clue on how to solve the jigsaw of his destiny despite Celestia's aid, how will he fare against the Flow of Time in his second life?

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2. Follow the Leader

And so, Bryan’s first few days began in the Herring Household. He’d learnt that the current head of the family was his grandmother, a woman by the name of Rouge Herring. His initial thought was something along the lines of treasure hunter bat that constantly pisses off red echidnas in attempts to get their big shiny emeralds, not euphemism, instead, what he got was ex-treasure hunter earth pony (so that’s what they’re called!) that constantly pissed off clan advisors with her off the wall decisions and brash nature. Simply put: one helluva granny.

Bryan had also learnt that his mother was next in-line to inherit the head of house title, and by definition, he after her, which was pretty cool. The property was big, and they owned smaller places by the ocean and in other countries, too, so he thought it’d be nice to actually own it all in the future. More importantly, Bryan had learnt that the Herring pony family was much, much larger than the Herring human family, and for the most part, all of them were at the house at the current time.


Because the heiress to the family had a foal, that’s why. An alicorn foal, no less. Therefore, an army of relatives ended up meeting him, cooing him, playing with his wings, prodding him, tickling him, etcetera, etcetera. So by the time the tsunami of family had finished, Quantum was really wishing he had the ability of magic sooner, even if it was to create a no touchy barrier around himself. Still though, with the Herring family satisfied with meeting him, he knew now that the String family had to come, and he was looking forward to it, because he was hoping against hope that ‘Philips Driver’ was his Uncle Phil; his human Uncle Phil.

The man had become the only family Bryan had back on Earth, and the more he thought about him, the guiltier he felt about abandoning him. Despite the overly protective mothering qualities that Phil had obtained over the four years since… the incident, Bryan still loved him dearly, and would never truly forgive himself if he ended up just up and leaving him forever.

But regardless, today was the day; his fifth day at the Herring Manor, and the ex-human would only be meeting one relative. The alicorn foal was giddy with excitement, the prospect of his Uncle being with him again opened up the opportunity of building an even stronger relationship with him, better than the last one, considering the circumstances.

So there he lay, in the middle of a three seater sofa in the grand lavish living room of the Herring home. Having gained some more control over his limbs again, Bryan lay down like a pony would; forelegs tucked in whilst sitting on his hindlegs, absentmindedly flaring his wings every now and then, just to relish in the feeling that I have fucking wings.

His parents Hegese and Bow sat either side of their colt, enjoying one and others company and chatting about the latest gossip, politics, and family. Bryan tuned in every now and then, finding out that one of the older advisors to the mistress of the clan had been cheating on his wife, and had since been disgraced. Bryan smirked inwardly, serves him right, prick. With his nose, the foal nudged the sofa beneath him, enjoying the comfort of the soft cream fabrics beneath him.

The room was decorated in a peculiar way; there were some pieces of what could only be described as abstract art, and a tall window overlooking the rest of Canterlot from their perch near the summit of the mountain. The walls were an off-white colour, with various shelves containing books, nick nacks, and of course, alcohol. The walls also hung a painting of the very first clan leader; Rubrum Herring.

His claim to fame was on a treasure hunt expedition with the clan leaders of the Bluebloods and Sparkles, a rock was found that Honos Blueblood dismissed as worthless, tossing it to the ground of the cave they were exploring, but Ignis Sparkle noticed the shining that this ‘rock’ was giving off in reflection of the flame he held with his magic, though yet again, he dismissed it as an illusion and quickly followed off after Honos. Rubrum however, decided to pocket the rock in his saddlebag, just in case. Of course, the rest of the treasure hunt came out bearing no profit or significant finds, leaving Ignis and Honos to sulk about their misfortune. Rubrum on the other hand, returned to his home and began to rigorously clean the rock he’d found; only for it to turn out to be a diamond fragment! Following this, Herring galloped straight back into the previously thought to be empty cave, and discovered that the diamond fragment was part of a much, much larger diamond, completely unrefined. So, with the help of his most trusted friend Ignis, Rubrum and the unicorn managed to dislodge the diamond from the cave, supposedly being as large as a fully grown stallion, and proceeded to get the giant gem valued and refined. They made millions of bits of the thing! However, the downside was the fact the Honos Blueblood was green with envy, and red with rage. He cast the two out of his circle of friends for ‘betraying his trust,’ and actually often tried to steal the diamond.

The story was told to Bryan on his first night in his new home, told by his grandmother Rouge. She called it, Rubrum’s Red Herring, and the ex-human used every bit of will power to not laugh at the coincidence.

Bryan was snapped out of his thoughts by a knocking on the door, and quickly remembered exactly who could be behind the door. His father Bow got up and moved out of the room, concealed partially by the wall, his arrow-marked flank sticking out from the hallway as he answered the door.

“Ah, Phil! Glad you could make it,” he called as he hugged his only brother. The stallion in the entrance was similar to Bow in terms of build; quite broad with a sharp jawline. His coat was brown, and his neat mane was a silvery grey, with two screws on each flank. He smiled broadly at his brother Bow.

“Happy to be here, Bow,” he stepped inside of the house and into the living room, following behind his brother. Bryan watched as Hegese stood up and trotted towards her brother in law, receiving a kiss on each cheek from Philips. “Hegese, it has been too long. Has my useless tool of a brother been treating you well?” She giggled at her husband rolling her eyes, but quickly replied back.

“Oh, yes he’s been wonderful the past few weeks,” she began, and looked over to her foal, still watching with oddly focused eyes, “He wasn’t too great during the delivery though, fainted like a filly as the little one came out!” Bow spluttered and made a look of indignation, while his brother laughed heartily at his younger sibling’s antics. Still, his laughter eventually died down, and his eyes drew towards the foal lying on the sofa, small eyes staring straight into his own. Hegese quickly took note of the look on her in-law’s face, and whispered to her husband. They both nodded at each other, and disappeared up the stairs, giving Phil his moment with his nephew.

Slowly, Philips Driver walked towards the sofa, and sat down beside Quantum, a strange, melancholic smile on his face. He sighed, as he lowered his muzzle to the colt’s, and stared into the red irises that bore back.

“You know, I have to wonder,” Phil began, lifting a hoof and stroking the foal’s mane, “Will you be anything like he was?” The brown stallion found himself taking a trip down memory lane; memories that he hadn’t thought to consider for the last few decades. His thoughts were interrupted, however, when he felt a tiny hoof placed against his nose. Philips looked down at the colt before him, one forearm against his snout, the other pointing directly at himself. The older male quirked an eyebrow, as Quantum took on a look of pure concentration. The baby made noises.




Each syllable, the colt would jab a hoof into his own chest, to punctuate what he meant. Bryan was taking a chance; thinking that the stallion before him was indeed his Uncle from the last life he lead. As Philips played the noises back in his head, his eyes widened, his pupils shrank, and his eyebrows moved so high up, Bryan thought they may escape his face. The unicorn spoke with soft words, almost inaudible, as his hopes began to skyrocket.


The colt suddenly beamed at Philips, and nodded his head vigorously. Tears welled up in the older stallion’s eyes, and he hugged the small colt in his arms tightly, not wanting to let go. He couldn’t believe it. After all this time, you finally came back to me, kid! Questions started appearing in the unicorn’s head, how did he get here? When did he get here? Did he know he was leaving?

…Why didn’t he say goodbye?

And so, the only logical decision was to start reeling these questions off to the small foal, who rolled his eyes at his uncle's behavior. While Bryan most definitely wanted to answer all of the brown unicorn's questions, especially the last one that caused quite the pang of guilt in the mental teenager's heart, Bryan felt inclined to full on bash Phil's nose with his tiny hoof. As the the stallion backed away with a wince, Bryan started making more baby noises to emphasize the fact that he couldn't fucking talk. The larger pony smiled sheepishly, and rubbed the back of his neck.

"A-ah, right, yeah. Sorry kid, forgot you're a new born right now," Bryan rolled his eyes, but couldn't keep the happy grin from emerging across his face. Despite the tears still leaking down Phil's face, he too was over the moon at finally being reunited with his nephew. "I guess you're pretty curious as to how I got here, too, ain't ya?" The colt nodded vigorously, with a look of honest confusion plastered on his face. The unicorn smiled wiped his eyes with a fetlock, and began his story. "Well, I should probably mention that by the time I was given the option to come to Equestria, you'd been missing for two years, kid," Bryan's eyes widened. Two years?! Damn, her must've been through hell...

"Well, as you'd expect, they weren't the greatest times for me. Since your disappearance, I was trying everything to find you, hell, news agents, police, authorities, all of them were asking where the hell you'd vanished to. There were no signs of-" He coughed, looking away briefly, "No signs of suicide, so we assumed that you'd run away. I tried everything; old holiday locations, previous homes, I even went to see some of your friend's families; all of them turned up naught," Phil started to tear up again, as he avoided the foals compassionate stare, "I was s-so worried, y'know? You were the only family I had left, Bryan, all I had! I felt as if I'd personally failed you, especially at the end of those two years," He looked down at the sofa beneath him, another tear hitting the cushion, his voice lowered to barely a whisper, "I couldn't bring myself to see their graves again, I thought that they might not want me there, seeing as I'd lost their only son...

"But then, on the two year anniversary of your disappearance, your nineteenth birthday, I had the weirdest dream," The unicorn looked into the younger alicorn's eyes, a smile on his lips, "I was surrounded by this bloody blinding light, and for a while I just kept wandering, and wandering. It felt like I'd been walking for years! But then, I heard this soothing voice, it kept telling me that I was safe and that I had nothing to be afraid of," Bryan quirked an eyebrow, That's different to what I had, for sure. "And eventually, I saw this yellow light... thing, and it asked me, 'Do you want to follow him?' I knew it was talking about you, it didn't even need to say your name. So, I thought to myself, long and hard... for about two seconds. I replied, pretty eager to get you back, 'yes, yeah, take me to my nephew, damn it!' and sure enough, I appeared in this weird world.

"Course, there was a catch. I had to live another twenty-five years to see you. Every time it reached your birthday back home, I wished you'd just appear, y'know?" Phil smiled down at his reborn nephew, and Bryan smiled back, "Even when your father was born two years after me, I hoped that it was maybe you, in some strange, convoluted way. Though, after a while... I started to lose hope. Maybe you weren't here? Maybe I'd just gone off the deep-end, and everything I'd been through had just been a dream. Don't get me wrong; I love this place, and my life, much more than I did back on Earth, but I'd always feel that pang of guilt, thinking you were always back there, and I'd abandoned you," He frowned briefly, before a big beaming smile ripped through his sadness, "But then ol' Bow there got married to Hegese Herring, and my hopes began to soar again. Another couple years later, and boom! She's pregnant, and I thought to myself, 'it's him, it has to be, he's finally here!'

"And here you are, kid. You're one elusive sod, you know that?" Despite his words, Philips couldn't keep himself from smiling broadly, and hugging his long-lost nephew again. The foal returned the hug as best he could, with his small stubby baby limbs, and grinned through what was definitely not tears, as what felt like a huge weight lifted off his tiny shoulders. They stayed like that for a while, not noticing the eventual return of Bow and Hegese, who simply watched the two from the living room entrance, a serene smile on their faces, not wanting to ruin the moment.

After what felt like hours to the two, Bryan and his uncle Philips broke the hug, allowing Bow and Hegese to eventually join them and start the usual talks and catch-ups with each other. The atmosphere in the room was light, with the two siblings bantering with each other, with Hegese often ribbing her own husband in the process. Bryan giggled (giggling god damn it i'm pretty much a grown man inside!) every now and then, often drawing coo's and affectionate words from his parents. Behind them, Philips would grin at his nephew, knowing the truth about how he was inevitably feeling on the inside.

As the sun began to set, the family sat down for dinner, Rouge joining them. She traded her greetings with Philips, this time offering to embarrass her own daughter, telling stories of her youth, which again, caused the young foal to giggle. As dinner was served, Hegese ducked out of the humiliating conversation by opting to feed her new born son, which to Philips' amusement, was an assortment of mashed flowers and vegetables. At first, Bryan found himself horrified at the prospect of eating daisies, but realized the whole situation could very much be worse.

She could've breastfed him. Quantum shuddered at the thought.

As the night wound down, the foal let out a singular yawn, and the family all rounded on him to put him to bed. Rouge offered to put her grandson to bed, to which they all agreed. Before leaving, the elderly crimson pegasus offered a guest room to Philips, to which he declined with a shocking answer, at least, to Bryan.

"Ah, no I can't. Thanks for the offer though, Rouge, but my marefriend is waiting for me back home," with an evil smirk, he stared pointedly at the foal in the mare's foreleg, as the alicorn tried desperately to escape, just so he could hear about his uncle's love life, but, to no avail. As the Herring family mistress walked away with Quantum in her arms, Bryan glared daggers into Philips' eyes, with a look that simply said, 'this isn't fucking over.'

Resigned to his fate, Bryan allowed his grandma to take him to bed (but not before cleaning him up after a humiliating accident on the stairs). Rouge laid the foal out in his cot, and smiled peacefully at the tired alicorn. His room was a light blue and orange, with plans to decorate it as he grew older. Strangely though, Rouge had discovered on the foal's first night in her manor, that Quantum simply wouldn't be able to sleep without a clock hanging on his wall. So that's how it was. She bought a simple analog clock with Roaman numerals on, fitting for the lad's cutie mark, and hung it over his white wood, blue-sheet cot. Personally, she hated the ticking of a timepiece when she was trying to sleep, it made her nervous more often than not. But for some reason, this colt of her daughter's was calmed by it's rhythmic tick-tock.

Before long, the small alicorn had fallen asleep, a look of peace on his face. Smiling gently at him, Rouge tucked the sheets around him, and stroked his mane, painfully familiar to that of her late husband. Eventually, she got up and made for the door, shutting it with a soft click, and the foal slept peacefully.

Meanwhile, the remaining monarch of Equestria had a fitful sleep through the night. Tossing and turning in her large four-post bed, seemingly stuck in a nightmare. Sweat beaded on her forehead, and her eyes clenched shut, as Celestia fought through her malicious dreams.

Two sisters, two brothers, connected by string,

One doomed to exile, the other plagued with madness' ring,

Two sisters, fated to fight, both infected by solitude's sting.

Mind's aspect waits, awaiting to be king.

Author's Note:

As always, corrections, criticism and opinions are all welcomed in the comments. Expect some time skips, by the way. I won't completely miss details about Quantum/Bryan's youth, but I am quite eager to get on with the main part of the story.