• Published 28th Apr 2016
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Rocky Mountain Dragon - Iron_Cauldron



Changing species and genders was the easy part. Surviving in a world without people and infrastructure, that's going to be a challenge. Luckily, I've had some help to prepare for the long haul. A VERY, long haul.

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Chapter 8 - Teams and Friends

Author's Note:

Last chapter of the year folks. I have to decide where the one after this will take place in the timeline. I know I said I was close to revealing my personal character, but writing in Equestria's been quite fun. I hope I've kept the characters, as in character as possible, but one thing to remember, is that this world's different from the one in the show we enjoy. English will be in italics in Equestria, with Equestrian the same on Earth. Thanks for your patience, and I hope you enjoy this latest chapter.

-Six Months to Event-

Bright Star had never been proficient with modern languages. Equus was alright, because she'd been raised speaking it. Compared with the human language she had spent the last couple of years learning, Equus was simple. Heck, even the ancient languages of Equestria were simple compared to the Earth language known as 'English.'

Given her prodigal status in studying ancient sources of magic, Star could talk your ears off in Ancient Equestrian, and hold a decent conversation in each of the primary original languages of the three tribes of ponies. Prior to the Hearth's Warming Eve spell, which set ponies free from the Windigos, the three tribes had maintained their own dialects of Equestrian, but used a formal intermediary, agreed upon language for intercommunication.

This is where Star excelled. Where she felt most at home. Signing up for the daunting task of helping the humans post-transformation, she'd neglected to take into consideration the challenges of the language she'd have to learn to speak, just to communicate with them. The Equestrians had invited the humans to their world, but had not sent any embassadors themselves, with texts of their language to the humans, or so she thought. She could've been wrong, with how much the Equestrian government had kept. No government reveals all it's secrets about something this monumental.

Who knows, but the higher-ups?

Her primary concern at the moment, was her impending meeting with her soon to be team mates.

All the ponies going to Earth had been instructed, in the final months before their depature, to use English as much as possible. They all knew it was to make them as familiar with the language as they could be, to at least blend in among the transformed humans.

Assigned to tables in a large room the previous day, Star arrived bright and early for the meeting. Scheduled for nine in the morning sharp, Star had shown up around eight-thirty, and found her table. She was reviewing some of the language from her old lessons, when a very deep, masculine voice interrupted her.

"This is table ten, yes?" A grey and black splotched pegasus asked, as he and another giant of a pony walked up.

"Yes, you are right." Star responded.

"You know, sometimes the humans combine their words, right?" He asked in return.

"I'm sorry. I am still trying to, uh, memorize some of the language. I do better with moden and Old Equestrian, than this one. The humans certainly have a, uh, strange language. I'm also a little nervous." Star said sheepishly.

The pegasus, who also had piercing cobalt blue eyes, laughed. "I cannot agree more. I'm Grey Skies. This is my long time friend, Mountain." Said Earth Pony nodded to her. "I think the three of us are team mates, yes?"

Mountain himself, had a green coat with a bright red mane, and amber colored eyes. His voice, when he spoke, was quite deep, deeper than Grey's, "I do hope we can work well together. Perhaps if we talk about what we like to do, to, break the ice?"

Grey Skies jumped in first, "Aside from work, I enjoy reading, which is suprising, since I did so much for my university classes." Smiling and looking to Star, "I'm a weather manager for the region of Las Pegasus and Appleoosa. I really just make sure that the weather teams use their resources as best they can."

Star spoke up next, just as Mountain was opening his mouth, "I'm Bright Star, and I study magic from Equestria's past, and it's possible uses for today's problems. I'm one of the lead researchers for Canterlot University in decifering ancient magic, and how ponies can apply lost magic to our lives today."

Mountain and Skies nodded with expressions of suprise, "Impressive." Mountain responded, "My only name is Mountain. The letter left with me said that I have that name because of how big I was as a colt."

"You're an orphan?"

Mountain again, nodded, "Both Grey Skies and I are. We grew up in the same ophanage in Filly Delphia. We've been the best of friends our whole lives. I studied botany at the Filly Delphia University, School of Horticulture. For the last few years, I've studied how plants survive, and thrive in big metropolitan areas. Parks, cracks in the pavement, alleys, and so on."

"I live on my own, but my brother is still at home, because his position as assistant history professor doesn't pay much. He can't afford a place yet. Our mother's a doctor at the Canterlot University Hospital, and our father's a partner at a big law firm." Bright explained.

"Your family certainly is well to do." Skies said after a whistle, then smiled, "Mountain and I are satisfied with on our own. Do you have a colt-friend? A filly-friend perhaps?"

"Sort of." Star said, blushing, "There's one stallion who I've been seeing for a couple of years now, but he's currently involved with the upper echelons of what the princesses are doing. My choice to go to Earth kind of upset him a little." Rubbing the back of her neck with a hoof, she continued, "We haven't broken up, but he's scared of my going. I understand where he's coming from, but I've put my all into training, understanding the dangers fully, and dedicated myself to going to help. There's still so much about that planet we don't know. I just hope we can help them."

"Things are going to be very different for them." Skies conceeded, smiling. "But they'll adapt. They managed to thrive without the aid of magic all this time, all life on their world has, but it will be a very different place."

A heavy lull settled over the group for a time, until the doors at one end of the hall swung open, and a well known instructor walked in.

"All right everyone, we're going to start a new phase of instruction now that this set of groups has had a chance to get aquainted. There're other groups in the same position as yourselves, in order to spread the work load of managers like myself." He regarded the room for a moment, to allow the assembled to process what he had said.

"You'll be training with ponies who have watched human interactions, and been trained in their regional greetings. This is serious business, fillies and gentlecolts, as your use of the appropriate greeting will put the humans at ease. You will need to learn to avoid certain situations, get yourself out of others, and placate a scared, and perhaps traumatized, people. And they will be scared and confused."

"You've nearly mastered the language, it's now time to put it to a practical use. We're going to drill this into you, until you're sick of it!" The instructor said with a sadistic smile.

*-*-*-*-*-*

Princess Twilight sat in a tea room in one of the more central areas of the castle. She was sitting by a large window, enjoying a, rather forced break from her work on the spell, as ordered by the Princess Celestia. Her sigh caught Spike's attention as he padded into the room with a trey, holding two tea cups, the pot, and mandatory accessories.

"Don't be too down Twilight. You may be an alicorn, but you still need a break from the stress of your work." Spike pleaded. "You've been working for almost two months straight now."

"I just want to-"

"'Help the humans.' I know. But you still need a break-"

"Spike, we're coming up on six months to the advent of magic in the human world!!" Twilight all but shouted, causing Spike to recoil and take a step back. "There's still a ton of things we need to get done and-"

"You need a break every now and then Twilight. Remember the calm breathing technique Princess Cadence taught you?" A yellow and red maned pony asked upon entering the tea room. "I think you may've said the 'B' word a time too many, Spike," she said, flashing a smirk and wink at the baby dragon, "but it's understandable. I know that pressure all too well."

Taking the cue of her friend and co-apprentice, Twilight calmed herself down. "Sorry Spike. I didn't mean to snap at you like that."

"It's okay. How are you, Sunset? Priness Luna's not pushing you too hard is she?"

"No, she's what I needed when I was feeling down, after letting Princess Celestia down." Sunset said, with a rueful smile. "No matter how many years it's been, Princess Luna has been a great teacher."

"She's certainly done better than most ponies thought she would. I'd say the whole 'Nightmare Moon' thing is out of her system." Twilight said.

"She still can't fully get over the Old Canterlot way of speaking though." Sunset said with a chuckle. "When she gets excited over something, she'll slip right into the 'Royal We.'" Whispering, "I've even pulled a few light pranks to see if I can get her to fall back to that speech pattern."

Both Twilight and Spike laughed aloud at that. "Did you ever try invisible ink? I know a great joke shop from Ponyville, if you're still looking to pull more pranks."

"I'll keep that in mind. But," Sunset said, straightening her posture, "may I join you for some tea? We can go for a light stroll through the garden afterwards, to stretch our legs. I know I need it."

Spike smiled, and went to get a third cup and saucer, before Twilight took the teapot, pouring the others nearly full cups, before filling her own. While Spike and Sunset added their own flavorings, Twilight had hers like she liked her coffee: straight.

*-*-*-*-*-*

The castle gardens were rather peaceful, with whole hosts of animals scurrying about, all without a clue as to the dire situation the ponies were facing. Twilight, with Spike reclining on her back, and Sunset strolled through this peace, before Sunset spoke up.

"Work on the spell's coming along fairly smoothly, but it's not without it's hiccups too. I heard that you have Starlight working on advanced teleportation spells to get our teams to Earth."

"Yeah. She's using her knowledge of teleportation through time, to enhance our teleportation abilities. Her portals are still being studied by our mages. We can't test how they'll cross inter-dimensional space, but we've been able to cross more distance than ever before. Many are even working on ways to observe our own past, going further than she ever thought, without interfering with that timeline, so we can learn things we'd long forgotten."

"I've heard. Princess Luna once told me she's been approached by explorers asking to visit her moon. They want to see what she saw during her time there." Sunset explained.

Twilight was about to add more, when they began to hear ponies loudly chanting. They were rounding the castle to the front, about a hundred meters from the main gate, which had been closed, with added guard to protect those inside. Indeed, more guard had been called up, with recruiting stations opening up, and screening for new soldiers had been intensified.

Coming to view of the reinforced front fence, Twilight, Spike, and Sunset could all see what the commotion was coming from. A decent crowd had gathered outside the gate, most holding signs reading 'DON'T INTERFERE!,' and 'LEAVE THEM ALONE!'.' As Twilight and Sunset continued, they passed out of the cover of bushed and trees on the grounds. Reacting to the sight of them, the croud's jeers and taunts became louder, maintaining the volume until they ran out of breath, before returning to a level of mere annoyance.

"That's a small group of ponies from Canterlot, with some from other towns, who belive we should just let the humans know of their fate, and let them decide if they want our help." Sunset explained, looking rueful. "The vast majority of Equestrians and other nations want to help. Ponies, griffons, zebras, and so on have contributed so much-""

"There's always going to be those who oppose direct, or indirect, interference, Sunset." Twilight tried to console, throwing a foreleg over her withers. "All we can do is go on with the support we do have, and hope that's enough."

They both walked back into the castle, stopping near the mess hall for some light snacks of fruit, and some gems for Spike, before retiring to their respective rooms.

Twilight's route back to her chambers involved a walk past the hall where the spell's primary workings were still being tweaked. As she was passing by however, a brief green flash stole her attention from her path, causing her to bump into a hall pillar.

Deviating from her course to her quarters, she stepped quietly to a room where the flash had apparently come from. Inside, she spotted a familiar unicorn picking herself up from the floor.

"Teal Daisy? Are you okay, I saw a flash."

"I'm okay princess." The mare said. She turned to the princess, shaking her head, probably to clear some of the dizzyness. "A spell I've been working on didn't like what I was doing, and, well, backfired on me. It's okay though!!" She flashed a bright, toothy smile, though she didn't seem singed.

"If you say so. I can help if you like-"

"No, it's alright. I've got this. I just need to watch what I'm doing is all. Thanks for the offer though, I'm flattered!!"

"Okay." Twilight said reluctantly. "Don't work too hard."

"This coming from the princess who I've heard works for several days straight before passing out?" Daisy said, with a raised eyebrow.

"Okay, I got it." Twilight responded, smiling abashedly, before backing out of the room.

What Twilight didn't see when she had gone back and rounded the corner, on her route to her room, would've send the castle into a huge panic.

Daisy's grin was one that anyone else would've been very afraid of, but not what would've sent them in a panic. No, the smile was trumped by the flash of green in her eyes, and the briefest of shimmer in her coat.