• Published 18th Jun 2012
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My Little Minecraft: At the End - Journeyman



I hold the power of creation in the palm of my hand, yet these creatures still frighten me.

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Chapter 3: We Are Not Alone

Chapter 3: We Are not Alone

Diplomacy was boring.

Oh, it was necessary, but it was still boring. To be more specific, being in a place Luna wasn’t needed was boring.

Princess Luna was returning home from a week-long trip to the Mild West. Officially, she was sent as a vote of confidence for intercultural relations, at the insistence of her sister of course. Communication between the buffalo tribes had been rather cold until Twilight and her friends visited one of Applejack’s relatives. Ever since, relations had become significantly warmer between the two cultures. Their efforts had grown potent fruit; a rather lucrative trade had developed between the buffalo tribes and the frontier towns. The tribes acquired a large desire for apples and their products and, in return, traded spices, ceramics, and assisted struggling towns by teaching them agricultural techniques to help crops survive the arid environment.

What irritated Luna was that her duties could have been achieved by any other politician in the kingdom. ‘Your job is to make things go smoothly,’ Luna thought to herself in her impression of her sister’s voice. ‘Well, of course it is!’ Literally anyone could have overseen the meeting. Her job entailed nothing but renewing treaties, offers of assistance if the tribes were ever in need, and the possibility of opening up permanent trade negotiations.

“All of which anypony in the royal court could do,” Luna grumbled out loud.

One of the Night Guard’s pulling her chariot turned his head. “What was that, Princess?”

Luna shook her head. “Nothing, carry on.” The guard nodded and continued his flight.

Sure, she had been sent to show that Equestria valued its neighbors, but that did nothing to soothe a week’s worth of nodding, assuring, approving, and boredom. But at least she had some time to enjoy the night.

Princess Luna raised the moon about ten minutes prior and had been basking in its light ever since. To feel the breeze in her mane high up in the night sky... it was something she couldn’t enjoy often enough for her comfort, especially since she had been penned in by diplomats and scrapping underlings for the past week. The broiling days and the bone-chillingly nights didn’t help, either.

The rest of the entourage, diplomats included, were riding in separate chariots pulled by the Night Guards. Her two escorts had pulled away from the pack while Captain Night Hawk and his soldiers scouted ahead. While the patrol was for safety reasons, ordering the distance was for Luna’s own benefit, giving just a few minutes to let her enjoy the night air. She gave a sigh of contentment and her two ushers smiled; they knew her too well. Despite her fall from grace over a thousand years ago, the descendants of her guards remained ever-faithful. She’d have to thank the Captain later for allowing her the brief respite.

Speaking of, Captain Hawk had returned from his patrol. The grizzled veteran’s mane was already bright silver with age, but he refused to retire unless Princess Luna herself gave him that order; he made it clear he would continue to do so until she did or he was no longer physically capable to perform his duties. When asked why he would remain, he replied that military life was all he had ever known and he was content with where fate had put him. He had a very distinguished record even before her defeat as Nightmare Moon and, as soon as she was settled into Canterlot life, requested a transfer to her personal guard. She asked him why, when they first met, and he replied that he was always told stories as a foal about how his ancestors exclaimed what an honor it was to serve at her side. Luna couldn’t help but get choked up at that and had to stifle back tears and accepted him as the head of her personal guard.

For them to know what to say and do without her even saying a word, she valued the undying loyalty of her guards as much as the love of her sister.

He began his report, “Route might be a little difficult,” the Captain growled. He always sounded like his throat was full of sandpaper. “Although the pass is clear, there are storm clouds cluttering the western mountains.” A quick sniff of the air confirmed his report. The scheduled route was to fly through the mountain pass near Manehattan and proceed north by northeast after 20 miles of flight. But if there were bloated rain clouds on the left side of the pass, a vicious storm could be upon them as fast as a cockatrice.

“Make the appropriate course correction and alert the rest of the convoy, Captain.”

Captain Hawk nodded. “As you wish, Princess.” He banked left to warn his company.

The next step of the journey was uneventful. They entered the pass and could immediately tell that the course correction was a wise move. Black, billowing clouds hugged the western mountains like an unsightly blemish. The weather ponies that organized that storm were in for some lengthy weather indeed, maybe even a little too much. But she trusted her Captain and his judgment implicitly.

BOOOOOOOOOMM!!!!

Princess Luna’s entourage and the rest of the convoy were all thrown for a loop as a sonic boom cracked through the air like a whip. Several Night Guards and the other pegasi pulling the chariots dropped several meters, stunned momentarily by the earth-shattering blast. Luna’s head darted around, trying desperately to locate the source of the disturbance.

“A thunderclap?” one of her escorts questioned. She believed his name was Featherfoot, if she remembered the roll call correctly.

“No,” came the gruff voice of her Captain. “Don’t smell ozone and the air’s not warm enough. It’s something else.”

Luna thought fast. Her first instinct was to find the source of the disturbance, but she still needed to ensure the safety of the diplomats. “Captain.” Captain Hawk straightened to attention as best as he could while still hovering in the air. “Send a detachment to escort our remaining diplomats to Canterlot. Thou are to assemble thy finest to accompany myself to the source of this ruckus.”

Captain Hawk nodded and began barking orders. “Lieutenant! Take your platoon and squads one through four and escort the rest of the convoy back to Canterlot on the double. Keep a sharp eye out, high and low.” The other half of the company gathered around the Captain. “The rest of you, we will be providing escort for her Royal Highness, Princess Luna. I want no mistakes! If anything goes wrong, I will have your hide at the foot of my hearth by dawn!”

“Yes, Captain!” they all exclaimed in unison and, in ordered bedlam, began to form ranks.

Captain Hawk began shouting more orders, but Luna ignored his words and began her work. The first order of business was to locate the source of the sonic boom. The most likely cause was Twilight’s friend Rainbow Dash; they were in the rural towns near Ponyville after all. On the other hoof, Luna did not see the accompanying rainbow trail, so there was cause for doubt. Luna gathered her thoughts and focused her mind on performing a weak pulse. It was a simple spell, but required plenty of magic in order to sustain the spell for its intended purpose. The spell projected an omnidirectional wave of magic that reacts with the ambient magic in the air. Since the pulse was weak, it would bounce off stronger sources of magic and return to Luna; the stronger the opposing magic, the weaker and more distorted the pulse became as it returned.

Luna’s horn shone with an unearthly light. The Night Guards watched their charge perform; it was a rare treat to see Princess Luna cast a spell. The light vanished as it was seemingly absorbed into her horn. A split second afterwards, a silver and blue pulse ejected itself from her horn in a bubble and shot forth in all directions. The bubble harmlessly slid across the forms of the Night Guards and the frightened diplomats cowering in their chariots without even a gentle caress as it passed.

However, Luna would not need her spell had she waited but another minute to cast it. From the northeast, a blinding flash of light lit the ground and sky as far as she could see. Guards and diplomats alike cried out in pain as the fantastic light seared their corneas and ruined their night vision. Several Night Guards began to tumble out of the sky. Those who luckily had their eyes averted from the flash dove down to rescue their comrades as they spiraled to their doom. Other Night Guards, blinking back the spots, retracted their wings and sped to their aid like a bullet despite the pain and partial blindness; Captain Hawk was always strict in his training and prepared them to deal with the unexpected.

“Lieutenant, get them there now!”

Like a well-oiled machine, Captain Hawk’s Lieutenant had gathered his platoon and herded the convoy into a single row with guards stationed on the left and right of each chariot. Within moments, the convoy was off into the night, worried Night Guards by its side.

As they moved out of earshot, Luna’s detection spell returned to her in force. Her spell returned a sign of small tremors, but ambient magic in the air could cause that easily enough. The northeast, however, had an entire section of the spell missing, leaving only a large, jagged hole. Luna might have simpered if she wasn’t so worried. Anything that made that large of a magic sinkhole was worth investigating herself.

The flight to Ponyville was uneventful, but tense. All of her guards, Captain Hawk included, never said a word on their flight. The tension was thick enough to cut with a knife. It was understandable; no one had expected the bang and the flash to happen in the slightest, let alone had any idea what it was. If her pulse was any indication, there was something in Ponyville, and something large.

Princess Luna wished she had a Night Guard gifted in Farsight in order to work reconnaissance; such intel would be quite useful on approach. Even if she did have that information, she wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t seen it for herself.

“Starswirl’s Beard...” Captain Hawk quietly exclaimed.

Two miles out, they saw across a massive black object hovering in the sky over Ponyville and beyond. Save for Captain Hawk’s surprised comment, no pony made a sound on their approach. Captain Hawk and company were wide-eyed, all dutifully searching the ground and sky with equal scrutiny, though all eyes eventually returned to the black shape. When they reached Ponyville airspace, Luna examined the object, soon identifiable as some sort of doorway, more closely.

She couldn’t help but be in awe as she laid her eyes on the empty gateway in the sky. While it was a solid black in color, the portal was large enough to encompass all of Ponyville and beyond. Oddly enough, she could not see any means for the gateway to remain suspended like it was, magic or otherwise. It was simply... there.

Captain Hawk nodded at one of his men and the soldier ventured a little closer to the gateway, tapping it with a hoof and backing off. Nothing happened, and the Captain nodded again. This time, the Night Guard hovered above the black stone border and gingerly set himself down.

Nothing happened. Everyone, Princess Luna included, sighed in relief.

“All clear Captain. I don’t know what this stuff is, but it is holding.”

“Noble Guard, extract thyself; we do not wish to tempt fate any longer,” Luna commanded and the Night Guard eagerly vacated the portal.

“Captain, we desire to investigate the town itself,” Luna ordered. The Night Guard made the descent and everyone began to observe their surroundings. Ponyville was standing, but in need of some repair. The ground was littered with shattered windows, knocked over carts, and pieces of thatch from roofs.

“Night Guard, fan out. Delta Team, stay here with myself and the Princess, the rest of you, I want a search of the town for any casualties and some eyes in the sky. Aerial team, do some recon and report to those below on what they see.”

“Yes, Captain!” the Night Guards exclaimed. The Night Guards weaved every which way. Captain Hawk and a team of nine Night Guards flanked Princess Luna, eyes alert for any sign of danger.

“What caused all of this? That portal in the sky or--" a stallion started to say but Captain Hawk cut him off.

“Mouth shut, eyes open, Private Frost.” And Frost silenced himself.

Princess Luna decided on entering the nearest house, a spartan residence with a sign outside depicting three carrots. She wanted answers, wanted a better depiction of recent events. She could hear movement on the inside and some low groaning, so she knew the residence was occupied. She raised a hoof to open the door, but Private Frost spoke again.

“Captain, Princess, I... I found something.”

Private Frost and his wingpony were investigating the back for any sign of danger. They were in a garden, having just walked into the tilled ground due to the damaged fence surrounding it. Princess Luna and Captain Hawk left the door and ventured out back to the Private. Once there, they saw the reason for his call. Lying under the limb of a fallen oak branch was a single steel sword.

“Private Cumulus,” Captain Hawk ordered, “secure that weapon.”

A pegasus behind Princess Luna pulled out a folded cloth from his saddlebags and approached the sword. Private Frost nudged the branch aside, giving Cumulus the room he needed to wrap the cloth around the blade and store it in his own saddlebags. The sword was long enough that the wooden hilt and pommel stuck out of his bags.

“First Lieutenant, do your thing,” Captain Hawk ordered and a female Guard stepped forward, one which Luna recognized well. Lightning Chaser had a reputation among the Night Guards for her eccentricities. There was no skill too insignificant or disgusting for her to learn and she would utilize hours, day, or even months practicing them if needed. She spent her off hours learning tricks, such as absurd aerial maneuvers or martial arts, but then her desires started approaching the bizarre. She would smell the ashes of different woods so she could recognize them later, studied plants and their growing habits so she could place where they grew naturally, learn the different types of mud and the particulates inside, put herself in a freezer wrapped in wet towels to see how long she could endure the elements, learned metallurgy to understand the differences between metals and where they were forged, and practiced foreign languages in case she would need them. She was somewhat introverted and antisocial, but had become a fine soldier and one of Captain Hawk’s most valued members. The other Night Guards respected her greatly, mostly because they didn’t know if she was an undiscovered genius or just insane.

Lightning started sniffing the garden, rooting around branches and dirt. Princess Luna waited patiently, but eagerly, for what the Private would learn.

Lightning placed a hoof around a flattened patch of dirt next to an onion patch. The ground was indented slightly. “Someone was here alright... they were lying down.” She brought her snout down and tasted the dirt before spitting it out. “Not sure why just yet.” She saw some dirt piled at the bottom of the indentation and several long scraps on its left and right. “They were stunned or tired; their trail indicating the interloper couldn’t control their limbs just yet.” The bottom scrape was smooth and had hard, defined edges, “They were wearing boots, most likely metal.” She gave another sniff of the dirt and sneezed. “They’re a filthy one too; hasn’t showered in quite some time. Will be easier to find a scent but...” She gave the ground another sniff. “The scent...”

“First Lieutenant?” Luna questioned as she trailed off.

Lightning shook her head, confused. “The scent is... wrong. I can’t quite place it. He or she smells dirty and tired, but... it’s so different than how a pony should smell, or anything I’ve smelt for that matter.” Lightning shook her head irritably. “Everything points to a tired, smelly pony, but the scent is different somehow. This might not be a pony after all.”

Lightning started sniffing the dirt some more. The marks in the dirt were erratic and oddly placed, but at least in a relatively straight line. Once she spoke next, her speech was in the first person as if she were the interloper. Her voice changed as well; it was breathy and strained with fatigue. “I’m tired... so very tired right now. I can’t walk right and my vision’s degraded; I can’t see well,” She sniffed another indent on the ground. “I fell here.” She put a foot over the patch of dirt and then another a few feet away. “And here. But I see light ahead. Light is good... Light is safety...”

The group started to follow Lightning in a ring around Princess Luna, each and every one listening carefully to the odd Night Guard’s words. They had left the garden and were now on the cobblestone pathway leading into town. Several ponies were starting to leave their houses and investigate the damages, but with a stern look from Captain Hawk and a few words from Princess Luna, they were compelled to stay inside; it was official business of the crown now.

“I began to lean against fences and buildings,” Lightning narrated as she saw a small streak of sweat staining the dark wood of a café. Her nose led her to a particularly gnarled and old fence post with a tiny shred of green cloth trapped in a splinter. She opened her mouth to speak, but a bloodcurdling shriek pierced the night air.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!”

Everyone’s head shot up at the noise and, despite the warning, ponies exited their houses and searched for the source of the cry.

“North by northwest,” Lightning aid and the group took off, wings ready and minds set for combat. The circle tightened around Princess Luna, each and every one ready to do battle while Lightning led the way to the scream.

The source of the scream came from a bakery full of the scent of vanilla, caramel, and sugar. There were two mares just outside the door. The first was a pale cream color with a navy-blue mane and a pink highlight. She was sobbing and babbling incoherently to the mare in her hooves, a mint-green unicorn whom appeared to be in an extreme daze.

Luna raced over the hysterical mare with her guards in tow. “Citizen, explain thyself.”

The mare looked up at the voice, eyes widening. “Princess....” Fresh tear flooded her eyes. “I don’t know what happened! Lyra was going to lock the door and I was putting everything away in the kitchen. The next thing I knew, I woke up on the floor and there was dust and flour everywhere and then I heard Lyra scream and I raced outside and--"

Captain Hawk put a hoof on the hyperventilating mare's shoulder. "Easy Miss; just breathe. Take a moment and gain control of yourself. What's your name?"

"B-b-Bon Bon."

"Alright Bon Bon, you've been through enough so far; let's take a look at your friend here." But the victim, Lyra, was already starting to move. Her movements were sluggish and jerky, as if whatever was done to her robbed her of her ability to adequately control her limbs.

It was at this moment that Luna was graced by two more surprises: a lavender unicorn galloping to the bakery, and a pair of Night Guards kicking up a cloud of dust with their wings as they landed.

Twilight scanned the scene quickly and, upon seeing the Princess, gave a respectful bow. "I heard a scream..." And she moved past the Night Guards to scan Lyra with her horn to diagnose her condition. The other Guards were familiar with Twilight, by reputation if anything, and let her pass.

The two Night Guards began conversing with Captain Hawk, "Captain, bogie heading west to the forest by hoof. Target's not a pony; running on two legs."

"You're not a pony..." Lyra mumbled lazily. That brought a new stream of tears to Bon Bon’s eyes, but a comforting hoof by Twilight helped stem the flow.

“It’ll be alright, Bon Bon. Her vitals are fine.” She turned to the group of armored Night Guards. “Can one of you help me take her to the hospital?”

Captain Hawk nodded at one of his soldiers. “You,” he said gruffly, “take her there.”

Luna added to the order, “Stay with Twilight; we will need her assistance later.”

The Night Guard nodded and, with a little help from Twilight and Bon Bon, managed to support the dazed Lyra on his back. Twilight’s horn flashed to life and illuminated the street with a narrow beam of light. She started a gallop, leading the Guard to Ponyville Residential Hospital Luna had once seen during her own visit during Nightmare Night.

Captain Hawk put a hoof to his mouth and whistled. After two screeching pulses, the rest of the ground and aerial unit gathered at the bakery. His eyes were focused, posture straight, and his mind was set; Luna admired the Captain for falling into his element so quickly. Her Guards were ready and waiting patiently for orders. It was time to do her duty.

“Who among you is the swiftest flyer?”

Private Frost spoke up, “Me Princess; fastest in my unit.”

Luna nodded and Frost stepped forward. “Return to Canterlot with all haste and speak with our sister on what we have discovered here. Request reinforcements and Canterlot’s most enlightened whence a perimeter is secure.”

“I shall not rest until you message is delivered, your Highness.” Frost’s wingpony walked to his flank and started tearing into Frost’s armor.

“Armor off, Frost,” he commanded and Frost nodded in agreement; he’d need as little weight as possible in order to make the trip.

“Night Guards, to me!” Luna spread her wings and took off into the night air.

She’d had quite enough of tonight already. With the presence of a door in the sky, an attack on her subjects, and fleeing the scene of an attack, all compounded with her dull time in the Mild West, Luna’s frustration and anger were reaching critical mass. She’d had enough of stumbling around with all of these unanswered questions while an intruder strutted about doing whatever he or she pleased! Once she caught up to the intruder, there would be a reckoning!

She quickly outpaced her Guards, something she knew she shouldn’t do, but she wanted answers and she wanted them now. Captain Hawk knew better than to protest the breach in protocol, but that didn’t stop him from struggling to keep up with the Princess as she raced to the forest’s edge and to the interloper’s retreating form. Truth be told, Princess Luna was a fairly swift flyer. Not as fast as Rainbow Dash or the Wonderbolts, but her own stores of magic and internal drive to do better made for a short flight.

She saw the interloper running with all its strength, but not fast enough to outrun her. She landed right behind the creature and pumped her wings for all they were worth. The gust they created lifted the creature off of its feet and right into a tree. Luna was glaring daggers as the creature righted itself, and she saw it clearly for the first time under the light of her moon.

Such a creature... it was unlike any the Princess of Shadows had ever seen before. It was similar in stature and build to the ape tribes native to Zebrica, but this one was bipedal and only had hair on the top of its head. It was wearing a green shirt and blue pants and was staring directly at the Princess. It had an odd face, one devoid of a snout and less defined bones framing the jaw. While it had blue eyes, that was where the similarities between it and ponies ended. Neither moved and neither spoke, each one unwilling to break the silence that stretched between the pair. The creature's posture was tense, one ready to bolt at the slightest provocation.

But something kept it there and that something made the Princess hesitate for a moment. She had expected to find a violent and vengeful beast of the forest that needed to remember its place, but in this creature's eyes was something... lost. It was not a primal fear of being captured for its considerable crimes, but a greater fear, a fear of something more. Slowly, very slowly, the creature got to its feet.

"State thy business," Luna ordered and the creature jumped back from shock, clearing not expecting Luna to break the silence so abruptly. But the creature's scared expression dropped into one of complete incredulity. What was wrong with this creature? Was a simple order, nay, speech, so foreign that it did not understand?

The creature took a half step back, not in an effort to run, but to keep distance between the two. Luna did not believe there were and records pertaining to bipedal creatures like the one in front of her. Because of that, she couldn’t help but ask, “Who are you? What are you?” The creature jumped again, but not so much. It stared back, blue eyes meeting blue, alien meeting an alicorn. The creature took a half step forward that time. The creature’s pain and fear melted off of its face and took on something resembling intrigue, even hope. It extended a limb slowly, five digits flexing on the end of a heavily muscled arm. It was not appear to be a threat or attack, but a means of breaching the gap between species. Luna extended a hoof too, ready to meet the creature. Her gut told her that there was something wrong about her knee-jerk response to the creature, that there was more going on. Despite her attacking it, she believed that they both felt there was more going on than either understood.

“Princess! Step away!” Captain Hawk and the Delta Team made their descent while others hovered in place, awaiting orders.

“Captain—!“

But the damage had been done: the creature panicked, and then did something she did not believe was possible. From within the creature's chest came a grey, viscous fluid or energy. It was fast as a cobra and weaved down its arm and into its right palm. Once there, the energy folded in on itself and hardened into a small device Luna made out to be flint and--

"Get down, Princess!" Captain Hawk shouted, but it was too late. The creature pointed the device at the ground between the two and the dry grass burst into yellow flames. Using her magic, Luna quickly snuffed out the flames before they could spread to the rest of the dry underbrush. But the fire was only a distraction.

As the fire died, another ribbon of energy, this one greenish in color, snaked its way down the creature's arm and replaced the flint and steel. As it hardened to its natural state, Luna saw that it was a bright, deep turquoise pearl. The creature turned and pitched the pearl with all its might. Up, up and away it soared through the night and was lost. Luna's eyes boggled at the distance; that throw had to cover a quarter mile!

She snapped herself back into focus, placing a firm step forward. "Night Guards, detain this creature!" Five separate Night Guards stepped forward to do just that, but just as they did so, the creature turned back to the group...

And vanished without a sound.

Captain Hawk whirled around in place, searching in circles like a pup chasing his tail. “Find it! And find whatever it threw!”

Luna cursed internally; she was so close to getting some sort of response out of the creature before her Guard’s arrival. But she could not try again so soon; time was against her and between hunting a creature in the darkness of the Everfree Forest and caring for her subjects, she would choose the later. There was still too much to do in Ponyville. There were nerves to settle, research to do, and questions to answer. There was far too much to do; the Night Guard would have to take care of the creature.


Minecraft/MLP:FIM crossover.
Chapter commentary: LINK
For updates and my ramblings, visit my page on Fimfiction HERE.
For those curious, I use hlissner's Equestria map.
Edited by: Deathscar, Retsamoreh, Ebony Eilis, Viktor Lionheart


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