• Published 28th Jun 2012
  • 30,317 Views, 2,546 Comments

A Novice Swordsman in the Canterlot Court - DungeonMiner



Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.-William Shakespear. This story is about the latter. Alan Williams, a man trying to take a peaceful camping trip, finds himself in Equestria. Greatness follows.

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9-Over A Barrel

Chapter 9

Volo ate some more of the left over songbird she had caught that morning. Alan didn’t eat the songbirds, they were too small for him.

Of course, that meant she caught a lot of songbirds.

She liked the name she had decided on, Volo. It was from a language Alan had called “latin” and it meant Fly, Will, Desire, Choose, and a handful of other words. It seemed to fit her, or at least, the eagle thought so.

“Why did you bring Volo again?” the owl-owner asked.

Silly unicorn. Alan did not bring me. I came on my own.

“She wanted to come,” Alan responded.

Like I said.

Or would, if I could...

“Besides, If we’re lucky, we may see a snake, I’ve always wondered what snake taste like, it's good, lean meat.”

“You eat snakes?” The unicorn asked, looking up from her book.

“Well, it’s not exactly a major food group, but yeah.”

She blinked at that, before going back to her book, “What do you know? A good side to eating meat.”

Alan looked like he was about to say something, and probably would have to if the past month was any indication, however, this time he seemed to let it slide, going back to his own book that he had brought.

Alan had come this time around with far more than he probably needed. He had brought all of his blades, his duster, fixed and modified for multiple temperatures by Rarity, his new shoulder perch for Volo, as well as the glove, which had some of the leftover leather sewn onto it.

He actually seemed fairly menacing, or would if he didn’t have a massively stupid grin on his face.

Giving, a sigh, or the avian equivalent, Volo turned back to her lunch.

They were currently riding on the not-quite-steam powered Appleloosa train. Supposedly, there was engine trouble, so in order to keep on schedule, they were currently being horse drawn across the Mild West; destination the new Apple family orchard in Appleloosa.

Applejack, you see was interested in transplanting the old apple tree she had named Bloomberg to Appleloosa, “give him some room to breath,” she said. And, of course, spring was the best time to move the tree, it was just coming out of its winter hibernation, and was ready to starting putting down some major roots.

Although, Alan still wasn’t sure why everyone had to come.

“Argh!” Rarity yelled, walking into the car. “She was reading it a bedtime story!” she declared, before heading to her second floor bed/seat, mumbling something about a stupid, spoiled rotten tree.

Alan gave her a look before going back to his book, “Aaaannnd cue title sequence.”

<<<|Ω|>>>

The train car rocked as the bison slammed into it, sending the collective ponies to the ground.

“What in tarnation do they think they’re doing?” Applejack asked.

Alan stood, the only one not on the floor, having grabbed the side of the train, almost as if he had seen the blow coming. His face was stoic, and his eyes shone with determination. “AJ, I’m about to do something incredibly stupid. Do you trust me?”

“What?” She asked, gathering herself from the floor before falling again, sent to the ground by another crash.

“Do you trust me?”

Applejack wondered at the question, what was he talking about? Was this incredibly stupid thing so massively dangerous that he would do something to put her in danger, or worse, Bloomberg?

No. No, Alan wouldn’t put either of them in harms way. “Yeah, I guess.”

“Then don’t tell anypony what happened.”

“What?”

Her question was suddenly drowned out by the sound of rushing wind as the car door slammed open.

He had just ran into the coach, trailing Volo behind him.

“Now Applejack,” her brain told her, “We just went through this, he’s not going to hurt Bloomberg, he wouldn’t do that.”

That didn’t stop her for a second as she jumped up, eager to, at the very least, watch him as he did this stupid thing.

All she got to see was him flashing a smile as the car was disconnected by the bison, and was left behind in the dust.

<<<|Ω|>>>

“Alan, what’s going on?” Spike asked as the human shut the coach door.

“Train was robbed by bison, they want Bloomberg. Supposedly, the new Appleloosa orchard is built on an old bison stampeding ground, and they’ve gone hostile. We need to stay here and begin peaceful negotiations. We also need to set up a proof-of-life system so Applejack knows the tree’s okay. You’re going to be alright, but they may try to kill me, but we need to make a stand here for Applejack, alright?”

Spike blinked, “Alan, what’s going on?”

Alan sighed. “Just try and look noble or something, alright?”

Spike would have answered, but the sudden pounding on the coach door interrupted him. Alan quickly drew Judgment, holding it point down, and stuffing his coat behind his sheaths so it flared behind him. Volo was perched on his shoulder, almost touching the ceiling of the train car, and she seemed to catch the idea, and puffed out her chest as much as she could.

Spike, still slow on what exactly was going on, straightened out his tail,and taking a deep breath, sucked in his gut.

The door slid open, and three large bison burst in. They wore several feathers, their horns sharpened and shined, and their coats were ruffled and dust-stained. They stood tall, two of them coiled into a pouncing crouch, while the third had his head lowered, ready to charge anything that stood in their way. Their fierce warpaint and eyes glinted in the light of the early morning sun, they looked exactly like the brave warriors they were meant to be.

Well, with the exception of the look of total and utter shock that was plastered on their faces.

They blinked, and they’re eyes dashed from the three figures in the car. Alan, Volo, Spike, back to Alan, Spike, Volo, Spike, Volo, and then back to Alan.

They backed out of the coach, and gently shut the door behind them.

Alan heard the muffled sounds of a fight breaking out outside the car, followed by someone raising their voice of the scuffle, which in turn was followed only by silence.

Another bison poked his head in, before slowly pulling it back outside, and closing the door again.

There was more silence, followed by some more muffled arguing.

“Well,” Alan finally said, sheathing his sword. “I think we’re safe for now.”

“What was that all about?” Spike asked.

Alan quickly lied, “I’ve heard that many bison tribes honor dragons almost to the point of worship,” He gave the hatchling dragon a smirk. “Don’t be too rough on them now.”

Spike blinked, and sat down where he stood, Alan guessed he was too shocked with everything that had just happened to really care about his new-found power.

Alan himself, turned to the apple tree, “You’re momma loves you, Bloomberg, so you best stay alive for so she can see you again.”

The door opened again, and this time, a large buffalo with a war bonnet, a feather for each kill, entered the room.

His face was stoic, and calm, but Alan could just see the hint of awed panic behind those eyes of his.

“I am Chief Thunderhooves,” he said, “and we need that tree.”

<<<|Ω|>>>

Applejack had always liked her cousin. At the very least he acted friendly enough when it came to ponies outside the immediate family. That, and he had the best stories to tell at family reunions. Braeburn Apple was quick, had a sharp wit, and could tell you the difference between good and bad soil with just a glance.

If he had a major negative feature, Applejack would have to look for it.

Although there were times when it became very obvious.

Like now.

He just can’t shut up.

This was the fourth time she was trying to explain the issue to him, but he just kept on giving her half-hearted lectures for her missing manners. Not to mention how he just kept going on and on about the town.

“Brae, listen, somethin’ terrible has happened.”

“Terrible is right, your train is a full seven minutes late, that’s seven minutes less for you to enjoy the wonders of,” he paused for a fraction of a second, gathering his breath before bellowing, “Aaaaaappleloosa~!”

And now they were getting the grand tour.

“Brae!” Applejack cried, only to be ignored as the excitable relative showed them the saloon, the jail, the dance floors—both of them.

“Braeburn Apple!” Applejack yelled, finally catching his attention as they stood in front of the orchard.

“Yes, cuz?”

“Ya have a very nice town and all, but we have a huge problem. Some of our friends are missing.”

Fluttershy flew up, getting close, “There was a stampede of buffalo.”

And that was all Braeburn heard.

<<<|Ω|>>>

Operation: Wild Wings was underway as Rainbow dash sneaked across the plains. She had a score to settle with the little buffalo.

First, nopony-er nobody tricks Rainbow Dash and gets away with it. Second, no...body takes her friends either. Oh, yes this little buffalo had done more than enough to her her chromatic wrath.

She never noticed the fluffy pink mane following her.

<<<|Ω|>>>

“Well, best I could figure, we best tell the sheriff about this,” Braeburn said.

Applejack bit her lip, it wasn’t until after she had spoke to her cousin that Alan’s words came back to her mind, “Don’t tell anypony...”

But the sheriff would know what to do.

But Alan has a plan.

But Bloomberg.

Alan’s trying to save Bloomberg.

But what if he doesn’t? What if something happens to Bloomberg? What if something happens to Alan?

Alan should have come first, a part of her mind said, only to be quickly shut out as the moral debate raged.

Alan will be fine, he can handle himself.

Bloomberg can’t protect himself.

Alan will watch over him.

And take care of himself?

They’ll both be fine, we just have to...

Trust him...

Applejack chewed her already bitten lip. This had always been her problem, trusting others.

It wasn’t the trusting. She could easily trust anypony with anything. Her issue was being forced to trust. She had always been independent, always could do things fine by herself, but now...now she had to depend on someone else. She was being forced to watch, unable to do anything as the tree she loved was put in danger.

Spike and Alan too. Her mind said again.

“Do you trust me?”

Applejack swallowed, her mouth dry. “Ah...Ah think we should...”

<<<|Ω|>>>

Half-Dragon.

"Human, Friend, Pendragon, and now Half-Dragon," Alan thought as he went through the titles he had been given. Apparently, Thunderhooves great-great-great etc. grandsire was saved by Arthur once, and the Running Thunder Tribe has been in the Half-Dragon’s debt ever since.

Of course, that was not making negotiations any easier.

“They have covered our sacred stampede grounds with their orchard,” Chief Thunderhooves said, disgust in his voice as steam blew from his nostrils. “We cannot carry on the tradition like this. We need the land back.”

“At the cost of every life in Appleloosa,” Alan noted.

“They planted their trees on our land. Vengeance is bound to happen.”

“It’s the only flat land for miles, they need that land as much as you do.”

“They can grow on the mountains.”

Admittedly, Alan didn’t have an argument for that one, so he just made one up along the lines of, “The mountains have bad, rocky soil, the trees need room.” That sounded right, didn’t it?

“Then they must find good soil elsewhere.”

Alan sighed, before biting into the snake, Volo, the “Freebird,” had caught. Lean meat, but not especially flavorful. Currently, he, the bird, and Thunderhooves all sat around a single campfire in the middle of the buffalo camp, the stars were out, and the negotiations were not going well.

“Hey, Alan!” a voice said from behind. It was Spike, he knew, returning with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, since the two of them had decided to get “poor, captured Spike” back. Real shame they didn’t know that he was essentially royalty.

“Hey, Spike, hey Dash, hey Pinkie.” Alan said, not turning to them.

“Please tell me you have a good idea on what’s going on?” the pegasus asked, in an exasperated sigh.

"The Appleloosians planted their orchard on the Running Thunder Tribe’s ceremonial stampeding ground. The bison can’t stampede for the trees, and the Appleloosians need the food to survive. They both need the land, but neither will give up even a part.”

Dash gave a slow nod.

Pinkie, on the other hand, took that as a cue to begin a lecture. “But everypony’s got to share! Sharing is Caring!”

“I know, Pinkie,” Alan said, “but how they are going to share is the trick.”

“We won’t,” Chief Thunderhooves announced.

Alan groaned. He should just call in the order, the one order he had with this tribe, as dictated by law. It would be so much easier if he could just say, you are going to share, and you are going to like it.

“The Half-Dragon speaks truth,” a voice said to their left. Every head turned to see an ancient bison, his fur grey and his horns dulled. A single white feather hung from his left horn while something that looked like a dreamcatcher hung from his right.

Odd. Alan thought.

“Both the Tribe and the Settlers need the land, and while only one holds it, the other will fade,” The aged buffalo said. “The Settlers are the people of the Sun and Moon Queens, they will not take kindly to their deaths.”

Thunderhooves growled. “The Sun and Moon Queens have never cared for us, they have not looked kindly to us, and they will not.”

The aged bison sent the chief a glare, “Do not let your words betray you, Thunderhooves. It was She with the Mane of Crimson that placed the Queens above the sky, and they have been charged with the caring of life: plant, pony, bison, griffin, liger, and many more. Do not forget the tales of your youth, lest they keep you from an early grave.”

Thunderhooves grumbled.

“Half-Dragon,” the older buffalo said, giving a short bow, “do not waste your words on those who will not hear. I know an answer will come to you. You are a warrior of words as well as steel, you will prevail.” He bowed again and limped away.

Thunderhooves watched him go before saying, “Indeed, it seems best not to waste words.” The angry chief stood suddenly and walked away from the campfire, grumbling as he went.

Alan sighed, “Alright, girls, and Spike, we’d best start walking. Appleloosa’s a long walk back.”

<<<|Ω|>>>

“Alright, everypony,” Applejack said, addressing her small contingent of friends and single family member who were going to retrieve their friends. They stood on the outskirts of Appleloosa, in a ravine maybe four ponies wide abreast, with tall cliffs, the desert stretching before them, “We got to be ready for a long walk through buffalo territory, it’s gonna be tough, and we may not make it back.”

Fluttershy gulped, the poor mare was not taking the pep talk well.

“But we got to save our friends. We’ve got to be there for ‘em. So, let’s go!” She said, taking a few steps in the desert.

Only to run into Alan.

“Well, Howdy there, AJ. What brings ya to these parts?”

Applejack blinked before hugging him, while simultaneously giving him a good, hard punch. “What in Celestia’s name were ya doing?”

Alan laughed, and hugged her back before the others joined, greeting Alan, Dashie, and Pinkie.

Spike was actually caught up in a massive hug by Twilight, “Oh, I was so worried! don’t you ever leave the train car again, do you hear me? No ice cream for a month! Oh, I’m so glad you’re safe.” The poor dragon was thrashed around as Twilight shook him, both on highs and lows of the maternal rollercoaster.

“And you must be Braeburn Apple!” Alan said, grabbing the horrified ponies forehoof and giving it a good shake. “Pleased to meet you, I’m Alan Williams, but you can just call me Al.”

Braeburn stared up at him, terror evident in his eyes.

Alan ignored the terror, secretly hoping that brushing it off would ease the poor pony.

“Say hello, Brae,” Applejack said.

“H-hello...”

“You will both be happy to know,” Alan continued, “that I have secured Bloomberg’s safety, and he will be returned, once we finalize a peace treaty.”

“A peace treaty?”

Alan nodded, before whistling, and a young, female bison dropped down from the cliffside. “This is Little Strongheart, daughter of Chief Thunderhooves, who has issued a grievance against the people of Appleloosa. She is acting on behalf of the Running Thunder Tribe to hopefully get a peace going before things go to Tartarus.” Alan sat down between the bison and Appleloosian, “Braeburn, I want you to be the representative from Appleloosa, and we are going to try to work something out right here. In the meantime,” He said, pulling a small bag of bits from his belt and tossing it to the farmer, “somepony go get me a hat.”

<<<|Ω|>>>

This was going too fast for Braeburn. First, a bison train robbery, then a secret rescue mission, and now, a 6 foot tall monster was helping him negotiate peace with the chief's daughter.

Said buffalo was sitting across from him, explaining that the orchard had been built on a stampeding ground, which sort of explained everything.

“I understand that the orchard is a non-negotiable,” Little Strongheart said, “but we will need that land two days from now, or we will not be able to complete the ritual stampede. Perhaps if you moved the orchard elsewhere?”

“Well,” Brae said, “we would, but there ain’t much else for it to go. The mountains surrounding the town don’t have much dirt, and the only other place we’ve got is a plain with massive boulders in the way, given the time, we may be able to get some of the rocks out of the way, but we’d have nowhere to put them except the stampede grounds.”

“And then we’d be right back where we started...” Little Strongheart sighed.

Alan sat between them nodding, his newly-bought stenson on his head, it looked good with the duster, Brae would admit, although this “Half-Dragon” was still the creepiest thing he ever did see. “Little Strongheart,” he began, “how much of the plain do you cover when you stampede?”

“Well, when properly directed, we can fit single file, but we prefer spreading out as far as we can.”

“So then, theoretically, y’all can fit through the trees?” Brae asked.

Little Strongheart nodded, “Yes but it would be very dangerous, and several of us could die if one of us were to simply misstep.”

Shoot. Well, there goes my idea.

“Braeburn,” Alan said, turning to him, “in that field you were talking about, how many of those rocks could you move without spilling over into the stampede grounds?”

“I’m not sure.”

“How about this, how much of the ground could you clear, in terms of your orchard?”

“What?”

“Could you clear enough ground to fit 10 trees, a quarter of the orchard, a third?”

“Oh, uh...maybe a quarter.”

“Alright, Little Strongheart, do you think your tribe could move better if a quarter of the orchard was in the other field?”

“We’d be able to do it without too much difficulty,” she said.

“Good, then it seems we have a solution.”

“But not one that we can implement in two days,” Braeburn noted.

“And certainly not one that will stop Thunderhooves war party,” Little Strongheart added.

“War party?” Brae asked.

“Leave those to me, just make sure both Thunderhooves, and Sheriff Silver Star are on the battlefield.”

“War party?”

“If things go as planned, then by noon tomorrow, all of this will be over with.”

“War party?”

Little Strongheart sighed, “Yes, Breaburn, a war party.”

“How did...?”

“Long story.”

Alan nodded. “Well, you get him caught up, I’ve got some business to attend to,” with that he stood, dusted himself off and held his arm straight out. On cue, Volo screeched, perching perfectly on his gloved hand.

Little Strongheart bowed to the Freebird, and Braeburn would almost hate to admit that it was awesome.

With that, Alan left, heading towards Appleloosa.

There was silence between the bison and pony as they watched him go, before Braeburn broke the silence, “So...a War party.”

“Yes,” the Chief’s daughter replied. “Chief Thunderhooves—”

“Your dad.”

“...yes...my dad...and the Half-Dragon were negotiating a possible peace, when the Elder—”

“Who?”

“My...grandpa...”

“Ah, continue.”

“Yes, well, the Elder told the Half-Dragon not to waste words on those who would not listen, and Chief Thunderhooves agreed with that, and so now he is bringing 35 braves to Appleloosa in the morning.”

“Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Call them by their title, they are your family aren’t they?”

Little Strongheart’s eyes dropped. “Well, yes...it’s out of respect that I call them by their titles.”

Braeburn didn't believe that for a second, and gave her a look that said as much.

She held her course for a second before sighing. “I’m a runt.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m a runt,” she said again. “This is as big as I am ever going to get. I will not inherit the title of chief, I will not inherit my father’s belongings, I am too weak for the job.”

“That doesn’t...”

“I was given the name Little Strongheart during the naming ceremony because I had managed to live ten years. They were sure I would have died at four. I’m a runt. It’s my lot in life. I call my father Chief because if not for his blood in my veins, I would not be his daughter.”

Braeburn stayed silent for a second, “Sorry I brought that up.”

“Don’t be, it is my fate.”

Brae smiled at that, “Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure.”

“Excuse me?”

“I come from a long line of farmers, on my mothers side. My father on the other hand, had a brown hoof. When I was born, it was winter, the season of death. When I was a colt, I couldn’t grow weeds.” he smirked, remembering a time when he actually did pick a weed, specifically to try and grow the thing, only for it to die of over watering. “My dad, Celestia bless him, tried to get me to take up the rodeo, and get my mind off the whole death-to-every-green-thing-on-the-planet thing.

“I was alright, I’d admit, but I felt that gardening was my calling, so when I wasn’t at the rodeo, I was in the library, reading every book I could about gardening.” Braeburn turned, showing off the single apple on his flank, “I was twelve years old before I got my cutie mark, but I earned it.”

“What does that have to do with me?”

“Fate may give you a certain lot in life, but it’s up to you to choose it.”

Little Strongheart nodded, “Perhaps...perhaps...”

<<<|Ω|>>>

It was a day of war.

A hot day, Alan thought, leaning against the cliff walls. At least it was a dry heat.

Buffalo lined the one end of the field, the Appleloosians, the other. The bison were preparing their horns, dressed in warpaint, and looked as fierce as ever. The ponies were gathering barricades,

Alan sang to himself,

“To the town of Agua Fria rode a stranger one fine day,

Hardly spoke to folks around him didn't have too much to say,

No one dared to ask his business no one dared to make a slip,

For the stranger there among them had a big iron on his hip,

Big iron on his hip.”

“The sword is steel.” A hooded and cloaked pony that stood beside him noted.

Alan gave her a look before continuing,

“It was early in the morning when he rode into the town,

He came riding from the south side slowly lookin' all around,

He's an outlaw loose and running came the whisper from each lip,

And he's here to do some business with the big iron on his hip,

Big iron on his hip.”

The ponies gathered for war, each doing their best. Off in Appleloosa, Applejack paced.

“And that’s all he said?” she asked Twilight.

“Yeah, just ‘I’ll take care of it.’”

Applejack bit her lip. He was testing her, he wanted to know if she really did trust him.

Dad gum it.

“In this town there lived an outlaw by the name of Texas Red,

Many men had tried to take him and that many men were dead,

He was vicious and a killer though a youth of twenty four,

And the notches on his pistol numbered one and nineteen more,

One and nineteen more.”

Braeburn and Little Strongheart stood atop of a mountain, getting a clear view of the whole of the battlefield. They exchanged a nervous glance between them as they watched the two forces line up for battle.

“I hope this goes well,” Brae said, giving a light-hearted tone to the overly depressing statement.

“I hope so too.”

“Now the stranger started talking made it plain to folks around,

Was an Arizona ranger wouldn't be too long in town,

He came here to take an outlaw back alive or maybe dead,

And he said it didn't matter he was after Texas Red,

After Texas Red.”

Chief Thunderhooves stared down the small town. They had spat in the face of tradition. They had forced his Tribe to break a ritual as old as the tribe itself. They would pay for this insolence. He would make them pay or his name was not Thunderhooves.

“Wasn't long before the story was relayed to Texas Red,

But the outlaw didn't worry, men that tried before were dead,

Twenty men had tried to take him twenty men had made a slip,

Twenty one would be the ranger with the big iron on his hip,

Big iron on his hip.”

Sheriff Silver Star glared down the field at the bison, “Think ya can take our town do ya? Think ya can starve us out? Think ya got the right ta drive us away do ya? Well, let’s see how you handle these pies,” He said, hefting an apple-and-numbing-agent pie.

“The morning passed so quickly it was time for them to meet,

It was twenty past eleven when they walked out in the street,

Folks were watching from the windows everybody held their breath,

They knew this handsome ranger was about to meet his death,

About to meet his death.”

Elder Peaceseeker sat behind the line of bison, watching as the Chief ordered them into position. His son was an excellent warrior, it has always been his calling; but this was not the time for a warrior. He had hoped that perhaps the Half-Dragon would show him the light, but his son had mistaken folly for wisdom.

He hoped that the Half-Dragon would show him yet.

“There was forty feet between them when they stopped to make their play,

And the swiftness of the ranger is still talked about today,

Texas Red had not cleared leather 'fore a bullet fairly ripped,

And the ranger's aim was deadly with the big iron on his hip,

Big iron on his hip.”

“Are you done yet?” The cloaked pony asked.

“One last verse,” Alan said, before finishing.

“It was over in a moment and the folks had gathered round,

There before them lay the body of the outlaw on the ground,

Oh, he might have went on living but he made one fatal slip,

When he tried to match the ranger with the big iron on his hip,

Big iron on his hip.”

With that, Alan drew Judgement. “Alright, I’m ready.”

<<<|Ω|>>>

The bison charged, dodging pies as they flew towards them. They were still too far out to be accurate hits, but one lucky shot could bring down one buffalo.

“They’re too far out!” the sheriff yelled, before jumping over the barricade, pie in hoof. “Charge them!”

A handful of ponies followed their fearless leader, jumping over the barricade and galloping as fast as they could towards the oncoming buffalo while wielding a pie.

“Oh?” Thunderhooves thought, seeing these ponies come at him and his war party, “A few brave warriors?” He gave a sinister smile. “Well then, let me take them to their honorable death.”

The Chief began to pull ahead, his hooves thundering as he was named, his eyes glinted with the ferocity of an unleashed fire, flaming as it consumed everything.

The Sheriff saw that look, the look of a warrior, and met it with his own.

The distance between them was closing. 80 hooves.

60.

40.

20.

Suddenly there was a flash of light that blinded both parties, and they came skidding to a stop.

Between the two forces now stood a 6 foot tall, bipedal creature wearing a duster and a stenson, a sword blade came across his shoulder, and an eagle swooped down and perched on the other. The dusty coat flapped in the wind, and the silver band around the black hat glinted.

With him, stood a tall pony figure, almost as tall as the thing with the sword. He was cloaked, and a hood was pulled over his head.

“Gentlecolts,” the thing in the hat said. “I’m glad you could make it.”

“Indeed,” a female voice said, coming from the cloaked figure, as the hood slid off her head.

The chief and sheriff’s jaws dropped to the floor.

“Now,” Celestia said. “Let’s get down to business, shall we?” With another flash, a table and four chairs appeared in the middle of the field, and the Princess and Pendragon-in-training both took their seats.

The Sheriff and Chief both tentatively followed their lead.

“Chief Thunderhooves,” Alan said, “allow me to introduce Sun Queen Celestia, ruler of Equestria.”

“A pleasure,” Celestia said, giving the buffalo a nod.

“Aw..wa...da...” he stammered.

“Sheriff Silver Star,” The Princess said, turning towards the wide-eyed pony, “This is Sir Alan Williams of Earth, an acquaintance of mine.”

“Howdy do,” Alan greeted.

“Da...di...da...”

“Now,” Celestia continued. “Sir Alan has brought to my attention that there seems to be a bit of a misunderstanding between you two. Let’s see if we can get this cleared up before noon, shall we?”

<<<|Ω|>>>

Being the ruler of the entire land, riser of the sun, and sustainer of all life on the planet certainly does add a bit more bang to your buck.

Within minutes, Celestia had convinced both of the stubborn leaders to Braeburn and Little Strongheart’s treaty, and then gave them a massive boost in completing the project by emptying a massive section of the field of its boulders.

The other ponies began to immediately transfer the trees, making new room for the buffalo stampede.

Alan was standing next to the majority of the Mane Six, overseeing the transfers, when Thunderhooves approached him, a look of shame on his face as he was being goaded by the Elder. "Half-Dragon, I see now that I should have heard your words, and...and perhaps I was being too stubborn otherwise."

Alan nodded, saying nothing one way or the other.

The Elder nudged the chief. "As an apology, I would like to present you with this."

Thunderhooves stepped to the side, and the Elder came forward, a black cloth in his outstretched hoof. "This is the banner of the Half-Dragon, his symbol to us for when he was in need, the signal for our unspoken agreement. Twice this flag has flown, and twice we answered it. Please, take it and use it as you see fit."

Alan took the cloth, and it unfurled as he held it, an ebony black banner with a rampant silver dragon stared back at him.

"Thank you," Alan replied, folding it as nicely as he could. The two buffalo nodded before turning and heading back to the camp. “Hey Spike,” Alan said, taking the opportunity to thank the dragon. “Thanks for sending that letter for me.”

“No problem, Al.” the dragon said, giving the human a high five as he passed.

“Hey, you seen Applejack?”

“Try the Saltcube Saloon, I think she said something about being thirsty.”

Alan nodded before heading to the saloon, his duster still flapping in the wind.

Man, he loved that.

He walked through the swinging doors, ducking only slightly to get through the door, and noticed how it was practically empty.

Applejack was easy enough to find, she was the only customer sitting at the bar, and her hat and orange coat a dead giveaway.

Alan walked over and sat beside the slumped over pony, ordering a glass of sarsaparilla. A glass of the creme-soda-colored liquid came sliding down the bar, and was quickly gulped down by the thirsty human.

There was silence between the two of them.

Alan waited.

Applejack sighed. “Ah’m sorry.”

Alan stayed quiet.

“I told ya Ah trusted ya, but Ah’ve done nothing but second guess ya since this whole thing started. Ah’m sorry.”

Alan nodded before patting her back, “It’s alright AJ, it’s alright.”

“No it ain’t,” she said, downing her creme soda. “Ah lied to ya, Ah lied to me. Ya’ve done nothing but given me reasons to trust ya, and Ah just couldn’t do it.”

Alan gave her a soft smile, before ordering two shots of AppleJack Daniels.

The two shot glasses slid his way, and he took them both up, and handed one to the farmpony.

“To changing our ways and trusting our friends?”

She looked at him, a smirk playing on her lips. “Yeah, Ah’d drink to that.”

--------------------------------

I don’t feel that good about this chapter...

“I like it!”

I know but...

“Oh don’t be so Kusy-Fusy.”

Kusy-Fusy?

“They’re words.”

Since when?

“Since five seconds ago.”

Well, anyway, thanks guys for reading so far, thanks for all of the faves and thank you for your comments, it means alot to me.

“So be sure to rate, comment and subscribe!”

That’s YouTube, Pinkie.

“Do all of the FimFiciton equivalents of rate, comment and subscribe.”

Oh, what am I going to do with you, Pinkie?

“Party?”

Meh, sure why not, I’ve got a party to go to, so thanks again guys, and bye!

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