• Published 28th Apr 2016
  • 7,114 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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3. Before You Gallop

Following his reunion with Philips, Bryan’s first few months at the Herring household were peaceful. His days would be spent sleeping, spending time with family, reminiscing with his uncle (though the unicorn would do the most talking), or trying to regain control of his own body. As family friends from the other two families in Royal Square, besides the Bluebloods, slowly trickled through the door, the foal found himself on several playdates with the Sparkle new born, and the Mi Amore alicorn daughter, current protégé of Celestia herself (whatever that entailed). While Bryan was certain that he was comfortable and without a doubt happy with his current circumstances, there were always moments at night where he almost wished for the monotony of his old life back; not least because then he’d get some peace and quiet.

Another thing that kept him going, though, was the slow muscle build up in his legs. Very quickly, the young alicorn was finding himself more and more capable of standing on his own four legs, without toppling over. While his family and their friends were astonished at his fast learning curve, to Bryan, it still wasn’t enough. He could stand, sure, but the moment he attempted the slightest trot, he’d fall.
Finally, his little, ahem, accidents were getting fewer and far between. The thought of being able to actually control when and where he pissed brought the ex-human great relief, and helped bring some form of normality back.

His parents were as loving as ever, too; they would tell him stories at night, Hegese would sing for him while Bow did the strange voices to any book he picked up. Bryan, despite being seventeen internally, found that he’d be lying if he said it didn’t comfort him, or that he didn’t enjoy it, because truthfully, he was happy to be in the warming presence of his mum and dad again, even if they were colourful horses.
Thus, Quantum the alicorn stumbled through his new childhood, not quite the brain of a genius, but most certainly the body of a child. Each night he would sleep with the tick-tock of the clock above him, and found it would bring him no end of calm. It was strange, really, even through his old human life, he found himself easily put to rest by the metronomic sound of a timepiece. It remained one of the few constants in his new life, together with Philips Driver, Uncle Phil.

There were many strange things in the new world that confused Bryan. For starters, his own name. Wasn’t he technically Quantum Herring? Or, more strangely, was Hegese not Hegese String, not Hegese Herring?

Pony marriages sure are weird.

On one particular day, Bryan once again found himself in the company of one Twilight Sparkle, a small, lavender unicorn filly, born around the same time as him, and Cadence their foalsitter, much to the blue colt’s chagrin. Their respective families were out in Canterlot for a meal, and Rouge, though she would’ve loved to foalsit her grandson and young friend, found herself tied up with important clan meetings and formalities.

The three ponies were in the living room, like always, Twilight involved in her reading (being technically just a few months older than him; still, reading at her age?!) Cadenza sat on the three seater, while the young Quantum repeatedly dragged himself up on the furniture, and attempted to nail trotting. The oldest of the three found herself quite amused at the young colt’s shenanigans, and often giggled a little bit when the young foal would sigh each time he fell.

After falling flat yet again, Bryan decided he’d had just about enough of making an arse out of himself. So, with a fire in his eyes, the alicorn pulled himself up on the sofa (still not sure how I’m gripping things with hooves but whatever I’ll take it). After finally getting to a stand on all four hooves, the colourful-maned colt very carefully placed one foreleg in front of the other and placing it on the ground just an inch ahead, bringing the other hoof level with just as much care. So far so good, he thought, as his tongue stuck out in concentration.
Cadenza watched with wide eyes as the young colt on the floor in front of her actually managed a step. What surprised her was the sheer focus in the young one’s face; refusing to keel over for even a second. As his hindlegs followed the example set by his forelegs, Bryan very slowly got more and more confident in his ability to not fall over. The Mi Amore alicorn edged forward in her seat, slowly getting more involved in Bryan’s activity. She noticed absently, that Twilight had ceased her reading, and was staring somewhat slack jawed at her infantile companion.

Yes, Bryan took a larger step, and successfully kept balance. A grin slid onto his face. Hell yes, another step, as he started trotting slowly but stably around the living room. Each hoofstep made the task easier for him. Hell. Fucking. Yes, resisting the urge to not stand on his hindlegs and whoop like an imbecile, Quantum settled for a baby-ish laugh, as close as he could get to the manic laughter in his head. As he came to a stop nearby where he started, he heard a distinctly high-pitched squee and suddenly, he was engulfed in a pink aura, and levelled face to face with his foalsitter.

“Oh my Celestia, Quanty you amazing colt, you!” She grasped him in much larger forelegs and nearly suffocated him with a bone crushing hug. He would’ve whined in pain if he wasn’t caught up with the nickname he’d been given. Quanty? Do I look like a ‘Quanty’ to you, crazy mare?! Releasing him from suffocation, Cadence proceeded to coo him in the bubbliest, most excited way possible. Bryan, on the other hand, watched his lavender friend puff out her cheeks and set down her book, clambering her way to the sofa he was now sat on. With an inward smirk, he watched as Twilight inevitably tried to replicate his actions.

The smirk fell away within seconds.

Immediately, the unicorn filly proceeded to stand up, and strut somewhat awkwardly around the room. As she came back around, Quantum stared in complete confusion at the smirking unicorn before him, not quite registering the fact she’d seen his progress as a challenge. As Cadence repeated the exact same actions with Twilight as she did with Bryan, the two younger foals found themselves in a crushing embrace, Twilight smiling sweetly at the foalsitter, but shooting smug eyes at the colt next to her. …What the fuck just happened?

Leaving with the excuse of ‘gotta get you two little geniuses a drink,’ Cadence left the two foals on the sofa alone, Bryan still reeling from the event he’d just witnessed, and Twilight seemingly basking in the slightly younger foal’s confusion. Eventually, his mind came to rest at the whole thing, and he started giggling, and then erupting into full on rancorous baby laughter, taking note that Twilight had joined him in the action.

The mirth finally dying down, the atmosphere between the two foals was comfortable, and Bryan found himself enjoying the company of the filly beside him just a little bit more. He thought to the look of determination, that he had on his face, that she then mirrored not seconds later. He chuckled inwardly, glad that the first friend he had in this world was somepony of decent character, despite her age.

He was bought out of his thoughts however, as a nudge against his shoulder made him cast a glance to the filly currently occupying his thought process. One of her front forelegs were outstretched towards him, and for a second, Bryan simply stared at her, confused once more. That is, until, he noticed the look in her eyes. It was a look that simply said, ‘compete?

Bryan cocked his head to the side, but grinned nonetheless, lifting his small hoof to her equally tiny one. Pressing both hooves together, they shook, signifying what Bryan would hope to be a long friendship of competition. Twilight grinned, and Quantum grinned back, and they both removed their hooves from each other’s, just as Cadence came back in with the damn sippy cups.

Honestly, he couldn’t help but laugh on the inside. Here he was, seventeen years-old, in the body of an absurd mythical creature, barely a year-old physically. Yet Bryan just agreed to competition with a unicorn foal over god knows what, for god knows how long. If he’d told this to anybody on Earth, they’d think he was insane, Hell, I still might be insane for all I know!

And so, more time would pass. A few months went by, and to the astonishment of both families, Twilight and Quantum very quickly reached a point to where they were galloping around the house, racing each other. The alicorn quickly found out that the Equestrian written language was exactly the same as English, to his great relief and apparent convenience. Therefore, without having to even worry about learning another alphabet and vocabulary, the two foals eventually started reading competitions, just because they could. The parents of both the filly and the colt, as well as the Mi Amore’s, often found their little challenges endearing, and sat down to watch every time that spark of competition was lit.

Despite the over-the-top nature of said trials, the two showed great sportspony (sportspony, really?) ship to each other. If one fell over, then the other would come back and help them to their hooves. If one got hurt, they’d try to carry each other to the nearest adult, and at the end of the day, the two were pretty much siblings. Cadence loved the two dearly, and both females often tried to drag Bryan into their strange greeting/chant. He shuddered; the day he did that would be when hell itself froze over.

With the newfound distractions in life, Bryan noticed that he thought less and less about Earth, his old life, and the bad memories that lurked there with him. He saw it as a blessing, and a small curse, too. On one hand, he was finally letting go of the past, allowing him to go and enjoy his new life all the more. That being said, on the other hand, Bryan didn’t want to forget the fact that his experiences on Earth are what shaped him, and turned him into what he was today; for better or for worse.

Despite that, Twilight’s first birthday (and quite near after, Hearth’s Warming) was soon rolling around, and Bryan wanted to get her something nice; something she’d most definitely appreciate. His first thought was: books. But then the question arose, which book? She was at least as intelligent as a five year-old, and she was already starting to form words; even at this age! Bryan had stepped off on that front, considering he had seventeen years of vocabulary under his belt. He figured he could let her win this one.

His first idea was a joke present, some kind of comedy book. Then, he quickly realised any joke from said book would probably go straight over her head. Next idea. A story book, maybe? She enjoyed reading a lot, so would that work? What else do I have? A book about science, she did like to learn new things after all, but again, would all the technical mumbo jumbo pass by her? He waved a dismissive hoof from his usual position on the sofa, this time flanked by Hegese and Rouge. He’d think about her present when the time comes; there was still just under a month to go, after all.

“So, mum,” Hegese spoke from Bryan’s right, “Are you busy with the family today?” Rouge sniffed a bit and scrunched her snout.

“Shouldn’t be, dear. Why, do you want to go out somewhere today?” Rouge tilted her head towards her still virile daughter.

“Well, the extended leave that the Princess gave me ends on Friday; I was wondering if you’d want to come with me so we can show Quantum the castle,” She smiled hopefully at the older pegasus, her dulling coat ruffled a bit. A smile split her elderly face.

“Of course, love. Should be nice for the young colt to see where his mum works!” Stretching out her stiff wings, being careful that she not hit the alicorn in question, Rouge flapped into the air, and landed gracefully in front of her kin. “Why not fly there? I’ll carry the lad.” It was at this point that Bryan noticed his grandma’s cutie mark (that weird thing on the flank, apparently), it was a bright diamond, with a silhouetted feather in front of it. Bryan made a note to inquire about it when he was able to talk.

“Why not? Should I grab you the carrier-“ Before Hegese could finish, she found her son firmly planted on the back of her mother, almost in refusal of being put in the wretched thing. With slightly wide eyes, Hegese chuckled softly, and relented to her beloved family. There would be no carrier today. “Just make sure he holds on tight, ok? Don’t want him slipping off!” she chuckled, with considerably less humour, very much thinking that it was possible. Rouge rolled her eyes, and with a scoff, turned to the door.

“The rascal will be fine, see?” She pointed a hoof over her shoulder, to show the blue alicorn holding onto the older pegasus mane with an excited grin. His tiny hooves wrapped in her fur, Rouge waved at her daughter before calling, “Last one to the castle buys lunch!” And with a hearty laugh, the dulling crimson clan mistress launched out of the door, closely followed by her terrified daughter.

Landing at a table by a café just outside of Canterlot castle, Hegese stomped her way over to her mother, currently wearing her son as a hat, as the elderly pegasus sipped a mug of tea between her hooves, while Quantum lay splayed out on top of her head, a lazy smile on his face. As the younger, lighter coated mare sat down opposite her mother, she opened her mouth to let loose a fury of ‘did you see how fast you were going’ and ‘he could’ve of fell’ as well as ‘what if he fell,’ but before she could even get a word in, Rouge simply turned a small silver plate towards her, a receipt just on top of it.

With a cheeky grin at her daughter, sipped the tea again, amused to hear the soft giggling coming from just above her eyes. Looking up, she saw the strange coloured mane of her grandson just fall barely in front of her eyes. In brought back memories of her husband, and while she missed him dearly, it was nice to see some traits had passed on to his grandson. Watching her daughter grumble as Hegese fished the required four bits out of her saddlebag, Rouge reminisced briefly about the days when her own daughter was but a foal. Some embarrassing stories to be had there, that’s for sure.

Bryan watched the patrol guards in golden armour trot around the perimeter of the castle gates, ever alert and ready for any kind of threat that may come their way. They reminded him a lot about the British Beef Eater’s guarding Buckingham Palace, only, horses. The young alicorn basked in the sunlight, feeling at peace under its rays, letting it warm his back. He’d always liked the sun, despite his… nocturnal tendencies on Earth. The sun was always there, always bright, warm and well, life giving. It certainly blew his metaphorical socks off when he found a living being was responsible for raising it and the moon here.

…Although, that last detail didn’t really sit right with him, for some strange reason.

Eventually, Quantum felt his makeshift pillow move from underneath him, and realized that he, Hegese and Rouge were all making their way to the castle gates. Before they could get through, however, one of the golden clad ponies stopped them, a commanding, yet feminine voice rang out.

“Halt! What business do you have with…” The mare looked the family up and down, before realising a folly of hers, “…Apologies, Crown Advisor Herring, please, welcome to the castle,” The guard stepped aside, allowing the family to enter, Bryan wearing a shocked expression. They were, however, interrupted again by the female guard. “Oh, Ma’am, is that your new born?” The stoic expression on the guard’s face was replaced with a rather excited expression. Bryan sighed inwardly, here we go…

“’Tis indeed, Feather, his name is Quantum,” Hegese replied with a smile at the younger mare. Rouge lowered her head, much to the blue colt’s annoyance, and eventually resigned himself to the inevitable squeeing and smothering from the pegasus guard.

“Aw, he’s adorable! And- oh, my! He’s and alicorn… and his cutie mark, too! And you just the specialist, most cutest little guy I ever met, d’awww,” She nuzzled the young squirming colt against he own muzzle, a blissful smile on her face as she overloaded. I’m in hell, thought Bryan, I’ve changed my mind; if it’s gonna be like this for the next few years of my life, then take me back, oh wonderful yellow light!

While he wasn’t returned to his bed on Earth, Bryan was saved by a loud, commanding voice coming from the other end of the courtyard.

Feeeeeeeather!!” A specifically army voice yelled, like a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Super Intendant Chalmers. The mare let out a quick, quiet ’eep,’ returning the foal to his mother with an apologetic grin, before running off in the direction of the voice.

“C-c-coming, Captain Snowhoof!” She yelled, speeding off through the air. A sigh of relief left the alicorn’s lips. He found himself perched on his mother’s back, and the three Herrings made their way into Canterlot castle.

Absently, Celestia heard the loud cry from her Captain of Guard, Snowhoof. The stallion was getting older, and she’d soon need to replace him, especially with his plans for retirement on the horizon. As she dealt with the day court, the Sun Goddess found herself wondering how a brawl is raised over the ownership of a damned apple. Two earth ponies before her squabbled incessantly, over a singular, delicious red apple straight from Sweet Apple Acres, sitting on a small cushioned pedestal before her. The princess was glad that this was the last case she had to deal with for the day. It wasn’t as if she didn’t like her subject, oh no, she loved them! Just… some of their disputes could be a little, well, trivial. Celestia raised a hoof to intervene with the conversation.

“And… who exactly paid for the apple, out of you two?” She said with a very thin layer of fatigue, the two stallions didn’t notice. As expected, they both replied in kind.

“I did!”

“No, me!”

Resisting the very urge to facehoof there and then, Celestia wore as much of a kind smile as possible, and performed her solution.

“Well, how about this, then?” Her horn glowed a bright yellow, and the red fruit of such controversy was engulfed in her aura. With a dim flash, the apple became two apples, and one floated to each stallion. “See? Now you can both enjoy the apple. Isn’t that better than arguing?” She said without even a sweat. Magic was her specialty, being the controller of a celestial body, after all. Both stallions looked at each other, nodded, and bowed to the princess, and took their leave. Celestia leaned back in her throne as the great doors to the throne room closed.

“Ah, Luna, how long til’ I ca-“

And then she felt it. A gentle pull at the very core of her being. Celestia sat up in her throne, feeling the pull guide her. She hadn’t felt this feeling in over some millennia, yet it’s meaning was no hazier to her than the day she first felt it. The sun goddess’ eyes darted to the now opening throne room doors, three figures trotting in. She looked at the taller two, first.

Hegese and Rouge Herring; her right-hand mare in terms of her advisors, and her mother, the current clan leader of the Herring family. The younger of the two had been on maternity leave for quite some time, an extension personally gifted to her from the sun goddess herself. Rouge had also served in the castle halls before, as an advisor as well as an ambassador to other countries. She was a smart mare, knowledgeable in just about every form of language, culture and legend.

Then her eyes met his.

The varying blue coat, the precise blend of orange, red, blue and purple in his mane. Celestia’s breath hitched. While the pony before her was undeniably a recently born foal, he was equally as undoubtedly him.

Quantum stared into the sun goddess’ eyes, and everything seemed to slow down. His relatives either side of him came to a complete stop mid-step, the only thing drawing his focus was the princess sitting on the throne just before him. Something whispered into his mind, ‘go, go to her, don’t let her go, don’t let her go, go to her, run.’ Yet he couldn’t move, both alicorns were seemingly frozen in place, the only tell-tale sign of life being her billowing mane and his unusually loud breathing.

Celestia forced the tears back; he wouldn’t recognise her yet, no way. The tears of reunion would have to wait, but she really wasn’t sure how long she was willing to, anymore.

After all, I’ve been waiting long enough already; haven’t I?

Author's Note:

Thanks for reading; criticisms and spelling errors always welcome. Expect dumb answers, though. Trying as hard as I can to not rush this.