• Published 24th Jan 2017
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Stranger in the Forest - TrixterCat



When Fluttershy encounters a new creature in the Everfree forest, how will the ponies deal with its strange ways and its inability to speak?

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Chapter 22 - Friendly Visit, Part 3

The four ponies had their jaws hanging open as they watched the rippling air slowly peter back to regular, innocuous air.

“W-w-what do we do?” Twilight gasped, the first one to get her voice back.

“Shou-should we go after her?” Applejack asked.

“Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!”

“Bu-but it might not be safe! If the portal got damaged, who knows what’ll-” Twilight began to say, but was cut off as the portal activated again.

“Yepperoni, seems to be working just fine!” Pinkie declared with a bright smile as she hopped back through. “What?” She eventually asked as the others just kept staring at her.

“Pinkie! Don’t just go jumping in to magical...uh, doohickeys if we don’t know if it’s working or not!” Rainbow reprimanded angrily.

“But it’s working without a hitch,” Pinkie complained.

“But we didn’t…! Ugh, nevermind…”

“I’m just glad you’re okay,” Fluttershy tried to ease the situation.

“As am I. But please Pinkie, don’t do that again,” Twilight pleaded emphatically.

“Okie dokie loki.”

With that, the group decided to continue on their way, as Twilight would have needed a lot more time to get anything useful out of the magic in the gateway. While Twilight kept lecturing Pinkie on the dangers of unpredictable magic, Applejack kept scrutinizing the pink mare with her eyes. She could have sworn the pink mare looked slightly pinker than usual, but then again, everything looked strange around here. It must have just been her imagination.

********************

“I’m back! I brought the rest of the girls!” Rainbow called out as she opened the front door. Twilight and Pinkie were already bouncing in anticipation of exploring the house, while Applejack and Fluttershy’s interests were piqued by the outside, in particular by the garden and what seemed to be an apple tree.

“Oh oh oh! What’s this? And that? And all of these!?” Pinkie hopped from side to side, examining everything from mundane to peculiar. The three of them quickly wiped their hooves and trotted inside.

“Eeeee!” Twilight silently squealed in a very Pinkie-esque way, also paying close attention to anything and everything that seemed out of the ordinary to her.

“Ah, friends! It is great that you have arrived! With your help, our host shall soon be revived!” Zecora called to them, followed by loud clattering.

“Is everything okay?” Twilight called out.

The hallway opened up to a tightly packed living room. In the middle of it was a round table surrounded by a couch, an armchair, and a stand with a big, black, rectangular object. That must be the device Rainbow mentioned, Twilight thought. Next to it on both sides were shelves positively brimming with various items and knick knacks.

On their right hoof side, there were stairs leading up, and next to them were several small cabinets with drawers and a dresser. They were covered with numerous photographs and potted plants, with the bigger plants being on the floor. A large double window on the opposite wall gave plenty of sunlight to the flora.

On the left hoof side, right around the corner, were two doorways leading to the kitchen area with a long bar built in to the wall between. It gave a good view of the kitchen and made the combined area feel more spacious. Above the stand hung a dozen small candle holders, each made of metal and glass of different colors. Past that was an open doorway to a hall that went left and right.

“Wow, just look at all of this stuff!” Pinkie gasped happily. Both she and Twilight looked like fillies right before Hearth’s Warming, sparkly eyes scanning the room.

“Twilight Sparkle, your aid would be quite appreciated, in spite of all these oddities having you so fascinated,” Zecora urged from the kitchen.

“Ah! C-coming,” Twilight replied, ruefully tearing her gaze away from everything that needed researching, and trotted to Zecora. However, the kitchen also sported numerous items of interest. She immediately spotted a large, metallic cabinet with two doors, which Twilight assumed to be a more advanced ice box, judging by its shape. Then there was the oven, which looked similar enough to a pony one, except it had more knobs on it. Incredibly, it also had a top with burners on it! It neatly combined two different machines in to one. It must have required lots of complex spellwork and fire enchantments to get them work together without accidentally burning the whole house down. O-or however Scruffy’s people get their devices to work, I suppose, Twilight conceded. One more item that caught her interest was a smaller device (Why is everything here rectangular?) on top of the counters, but from her position, she couldn’t see much except for one small lever on its side. Twilight wasn’t sure what such a small device could do in a kitchen. There was other stuff too, of course, but she didn’t have time to focus on it all.

In the middle of these wonders was Zecora, balancing on her backhooves atop a stepladder as she tried to operate the alien looking machinery. Several pots were bubbling away as she mixed and stirred them. One of the smaller pots seemed to be in danger of boiling over.

“Stir this if you could, otherwise it will be gone for good,” Zecora asked bluntly. She picked up a spatula with her mouth and stirred another pot, while adding what looked like herbs to it with her hooves.

“Why do you have so many pots here?” Twilight asked as she picked up another spatula with her magic and stirred.

“In my home, it would not require as much to make a batch. But in here, everything must be done from scratch,” Zecora explained once she got the spatula out of her mouth.

“Oh...right.”

“Hey, Pinkie,” Twilight heard Spike say from the living room. “You all finally made it here.”

“Yep! All of this stuff is sooo cool! Everything just screams ‘Scruffy’!”

“I know, right. But wait until you see what it all does!”

“Hey, where is he? And where’s Rarity?” Rainbow asked.

“They’re upstairs. Scruffy is having a lie down, and Rarity is doing her mane,” Spike explained and pointed towards the stairs. Pinkie immediately started to hop up the stairs. Somehow she managed to do it with barely a single creak of the wood.

“What? Here?” Twilight shot out.

“Ehehe...I might have accidentally pushed her in to the pond before the magic door thingy…” she heard Rainbow answer awkwardly.

“Hey, Twilight,” Spike greeted as he walked in to the kitchen.

“Hi.”

“You look a bit more frazzled than normal. Is everything okay?” he asked, noticing the state of Twilight’s mane. Zecora also took a quick glance.

“What do you mean ‘more than normal’?” Twilight objected and heard Rainbow giggling. “It’s fine. The portal to get here just acted up a bit when I went through.”

“Oh geez, you too? It made Rarity’s horn throw sparks when she walked through.”

“It reacted much more strongly with me, but nothing bad happened. Well, except to my mane, that is,” Twilight reassured.

“That’s good to hear. Wouldn’t want you out of commission when we start cataloging and researching every tiny thing in this house,” Spike responded with a jovial smirk. Twilight’s could only muster an bemused frown.

********************

While the others were exploring the inside of the house, Fluttershy and Applejack had taken a short stroll around it. They saw and waved to Zecora as they walked past a window, and she had nodded back to them with a smile, her hooves too busy.

“Oh my. What a beautiful flower bed,” Fluttershy sighed happily as she sniffed the blooms of a small garden. It was next to another, smaller building apart from the main house, which Applejack surmised must have been a tool shed and storage building. It had a large metal door, big enough that the strange carriage outside could fit through.

“It’s all very pretty. Heh, didn’t take Scruffy as a flowery sort of fella,” Applejack smirked. “Now this here is a fine apple tree!... If a mite small, with how everything else seems so much taller.” The tree seemed just about high enough that Scruffy could walk under it without getting leaves stuck in his mane.

“I wonder if he uses the apples or the red berries we passed earlier for anything. Perhaps for baking, maybe?”

“A freshly picked apple is best for an apple pie,” Applejack nodded. “Never seen those kind of berry bushes before, though. I ain’t got any idea what they can be used for. Still, eight bushes seems a plenty to last until the next harvest, if he just eats them by himself.”

“Mmhm.”

“Hey, what’s that over there?” Applejack pointed to the side, and Fluttershy turned to look. Amidst a field of dandelions was an peculiar mound with something on top of it, too far for Applejack to make out what it was. Fluttershy’s sharp pegasi eyes, however, could make out the gray stone.

“...”

“Hm? Fluttershy?” Applejack asked as the pegasus kept staring at it.

“E-erm...h-how about we go inside? We h-haven’t seen Scruffy yet, and I’d like to make sure he’s okay. We can...we can check whatever that is later,” Fluttershy fumbled with her words and ushered Applejack towards the house.

********************

“Oooh Raaarityyy!” Pinkie called out with a singsong voice as she climbed the stairs to the second floor.

“In here darling,” came Rarity’s reply.

At the top of the stairs was a sitting room with comfy looking arm chairs around another round table and several bookshelves. There was also an empty aquarium near the window, dingy and worn. Right in front of Pinkie was a wide, open doorway in the middle of the wall, and to the right from that went a hallway through the length of the house which had two doors on both sides.

“Where?” Pinkie asked, and Rarity peeked her head in from the connecting room ahead.

“It’s nice to see you again. I hope there weren’t any complications on the way.” Rarity had a towel lying on the floor next to her, and she was in the process of combing her mane with a brush.

“Nope! Except when Twilight’s horn went all ‘BZZZT POW PEW ZHOOOM’ when we went through the portal thingamabob,” Pinkie explained with her best ‘thinking’ face.

“Oh my... Is she alright?”

“Yep, although she got a cool new mane style.”

“I...I see.”

“Oh you did? Isn’t it cool? But wait! If you did see it already, why did you ask?” Pinkie asked in confusion.

“...Erm, moving on. Is Twilight helping Zecora make the remedy?”

“Yep. They’ll have it ready before you can say ‘anachronistic’.”

“Ana- what?”

“Exactly. Where’s Scruffy?” Pinkie asked while swiveling her head every which way.

“He’s resting in his bed room. He’s had hard time sleeping, so we should- ... Pinkie?” Rarity looked around, but the prancing party pony was gone. “Oh ponyfe-”

“HI SCRUFFY!”

********************

“Here. Zecora’s remedy should get you back to your hooves...erm, feet, in no time,” Twilight said while levitating a mug to Scruffy. “Careful! It’s still hot.”

“Thank you. I sure I get fine now,” Scruffy replied with a smile, carefully sipping the steaming concoction.

“You have a very lovely home. I really liked the garden,” Fluttershy commented, she and Applejack having finally joined the others inside.

“Thank you. I...I try keep it, um, well,” Scruffy said, and blew his nose. Only a few of the ponies noticed the tinge of melancholy in his voice.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I took some berries from one of your bushes,” Applejack held out her hat holding some. “What are they? I have never seen any berries like these before,” she explained, and the others leaned in to observe.

“You not have them? Many have them here. They popul-lar to make...uhh...berry drink from?” Scruffy questioned, having forgotten the word.

“Juice,” Twilight supplied. “I don’t recognize the berries either. Zecora?” Twilight asked, but the zebra shook her head.

“Ah, jes. I like mmmake pie, but also tsuise...tjuice…” Scruffy’s pronunciation caused some giggles to erupt from the ponies, but he huffed good heartedly in reply.

“So they are safe for eat’n?” Applejack asked, to which Scruffy nodded.

“Hey, I wanna taste one!” Pinkie complained.

“Yeah! Don’t hog them all for yourself!” Rainbow continued.

“Allow me,” Rarity said, and levitated a few berries from the hat to each of them so that all of them could have a taste, and down the fruit went. However, none of the equine tongues were prepared for the taste.

“Ackh!” Twilight exclaimed as the sourness hit her, shaking her head. Fluttershy’s and Zecora’s eyes had shot open, while Applejack had shut hers. Rarity’s muzzle scrunched, and Pinkie simply looked delightfully surprised. Rainbow was the one who had it worst, as she had decided to eat all of her ‘treats’ at once, and had to fly to the kitchen sink to spit them out.

“Pth pth! Luna’s flank, argh…” she spat, using her foreleg to desperately wipe the rest of the bad taste out.

“Whoo wee… Now that was something,” Applejack said, and after a moment's consideration, she ate the rest of the fruity goodness she had.

“You could have warned us, darling,” Rarity complained, once she successfully un-scrunched her nose. Zecora was mumbling something in Zebrican to herself.

“But I think this more fun,” Scruffy said back with a mischievous chuckle.

“Ehehehe, good one Scruffy!” Pinkie giggled.

“Eh, I don’t think they were that bad. Tasted a bit like some of the flawed gems I’ve had,” Spike said, taking it all in stride.

“Are you sure they were fine? Those were very sour. What are they called anyway?” Twilight asked, examining the berries she still had in her hoof.

“Jes, I sure. These berry, we say…-redcurrant-. Ah, can t-t-translate, red, red drink berry. Not sveet berry...ber-berriiis...berries.”

“Oh my gosh! You have to give me some!” Pinkie suddenly exclaimed, the startled biped catching her with one hand as she bounced and latched her hooves behind his neck. “Think of all the ponies I could prank with them!”

“Pinkie!” Twilight reprimanded, but the stopped to think. “Although...if you were willing to give us some, I would love to study them! We could test how the seeds respond to earth pony magic, and if it works, I’m sure there would be plenty of ponies who would like to cultivate them.”

“I think the leaf of bush is good too… If remember, you dry it, and it make tea. Kood for you, help with, hmm, with some ill...ills,” Scruffy tried to remember some of the stuff he had heard his grandparents told him a long time ago. He drank the rest of Zecora’s brew and placed both the cup and Pinkie down.

“Hmm, they could be good for a brew. With them, I might make something new,” Zecora held her hoof on her chin, lost in thought.

“Who cares about all that egghead stuff,” Rainbow said dismissively.

“I do actually, and-” Twilight began, but Rainbow cut her off.

“We’re all finally here, and Scruffy has lots of cool stuff all around his house,” Rainbow continued, winking at Twilight, who immediately remembered what she had mentioned earlier.

“Scruffy,” Twilight began, turning around. “Is it true that you have a machine that can show full motion moving pictures? In color? With synchronous sound!?” Twilight asked, putting her best puppydog eyes at full force.

“Umm...jes?”

“Pleasepleasepleaseletmeseeit!” Twilight begged, grabbing Scruffy’s trouser leg like a drowning mare would latch on to a life preserver.

“U-uh...sure…”

Scruffy led the group to the living room, where everypony managed to crowd themselves on top of the armchairs and couch comfortably enough. He took a long, rectangular device from the table, and pointed it at the big device. It must be the control rod, Twilight surmised. Scruffy seemed to ponder for a moment, scratching his beard, before pressing some of the buttons on the thin slab. Soon after, the screen on the big device sprung to life.

Twilight couldn’t believe her eyes, even if Rainbow had already warned her, and Scruffy had confirmed it. The pictures on the screen moved! And there were sounds coming from the device too. Most of the other ponies were also mouth agape, except for those who had already seen it. Rainbow was grinning from ear to ear, while Rarity and Spike were giggling at Twilight’s reaction.

On the screen itself was shown a somewhat odd looking, large kitchen, where two of Scruffy’s kind were cooking. One, a stallion with the biggest belly Twilight had ever seen. How can he even function with that, Twilight questioned. The other one must have been a female, with her longer mane, more delicate facial structure, and the large, barely covered udders on her chest. Both of them were talking to each other, showing and examining some boxy objects. Twilight had no idea what they were.

“This is so amazing!” Pinkie said, her voice dangerously high pitched. Fluttershy smiled pleasantly, while Applejack was scratching her mane, most likely trying to understand what was going on in the show, instead of marveling at the beauty of the device itself.

“It can show much cooler stuff than that, right Scruffy?” Rainbow countered with a grin and gestured for Scruffy to do something. He let out a huff, as if saying “of course it can”, before clicking another button. A loud “BOOM” filled the room, and something exploded on the screen, making all the watchers scream in terror, before Scruffy quickly pressed another button and the previous pair where on the screen again. Silence reigned for a few moments as the ponies tried to calm down, several turning towards the tall being.

“Ehm...oops?” he sheepisly said.

********************

“Scruffy, can we talk? There’s some things I’d like a answers to, if you don’t mind.” Twilight asked her tall friend on the next seat Now that she had finished taking notes on the Rapid Image Projector (or R.I.P. for short), the name she had given to Scruffy’s machine, she had to admit they amounted to disappointingly little. It was more of a report of what the machine did and how it looked, as she could only speculate on how it actually worked. Scruffy hadn’t been able to explain the intricacies, since he wasn’t a craftspony. He had been absolutely adamant that it didn’t require any magic to work, and instead used lightning somehow. He had even shown a cord that transferred the lightning from the wall to the device.

All this lack of information and unanswered questions about anything related to Scruffy was finally starting to get on her nerves. All this time he had spent with them, all the magnificent devices he had shown her, all the possibilities in front of her, and nothing to show for it. It was high time she drove for some solid answers!

“Um, jes. What talk apout?” he replied, setting the control rod on the table. On the screen was something a little bit different from the previous show. Scruffy had described it as a story you could read from a book, and this one was about lions and other animals. As much as Twilight would have loved to watch it, there were more pressing matters.

“Could we go somewhere else? It’s kinda noisy in here…” The others were excitedly talking to each other about the ‘visual story’, or trying to sing along with the two lion cubs on the screen, and Twilight could hardly hear herself think.

“Okay. Maybe take walk. Zecora’s drink make me much better.”

“You are most welcome,” Zecora chimed in, a pleased smile on her face. Scruffy made a small bow of his head.

“Sure, I didn’t get much time to look around the outside before,” Twilight replied happily.

The two quietly went outside, leaving the other’s to enjoy the show. Twilight hadn’t noticed it, but with so many ponies in one place, the air had gotten a bit stuffy, and so the outdoor air was more than pleasant. Being outside again, however, made her realize how everything looked a bit off on this side of the portal. She had taken note of it the first time too, but with how weird everything looked inside Scruffy’s home, she had momentarily forgotten. It was like all the colors were a few shades off from what she expected.

“Aaah, good have air,” Scruffy sighed and breathed in deep.

“It was getting a bit stuffy in there.” Twilight chuckled, “It’s so exciting to be here. It didn’t really hit me until just now.” Scruffy bashfully rubbed his neck.

“So, what talk?” he asked after a moment.

“Right. I wanted to ask about, and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, the portal that we took to get here.” Twilight took note of the pensive look Scruffy’s face adopted. Understandable, it might be something he isn’t supposed to talk about with outsiders, considering there hasn’t been contact with his kind before. The portal is there for a reason. “I-I’d like to ask you, if you can tell me, why...why is it necessary for your people to have the portal?” Twilight finally asked, after figuring out how to word her question without sounding accusatory.

Scruffy looked Twilight right in the eyes, his brow slightly furrowed, scratching his beard. He didn’t say anything for a minute or two. Twilight was sure he was going to say that he can’t tell her, but then he finally sighed deeply.

“Come,” he simply instructed. They circled around the house, to the garden Fluttershy and Applejack had seen before. There was a white, wooden bench amongst the greenery. Scruffy sat down, and patted the spot next to him. “Twilight...this not easy tell…”

“It’s fine, you don’t have to-”

“No, I not mean that...give second,” he asked, and closed his eyes for a moment as he thought. Twilight took the chance to look around the garden, and she had to admit, it was quite lovely. She wasn’t much of a gardener, but if she ever had one, she wished it would be like this. “Okay… First…” Scruffy started after a while.

“Yes?” Twilight prompted, the anticipation and possible revelations making her feel as if she was about to bounce around like Pinkie Pie.

“About...uh, ‘magic door’...my people not make it.”

“Huh?”

“I tell you before, we not have maaagic. We not make it, can not make it.”

“Then who did?”

“I not know. I only one know it there.”

They don’t know? How is that possible? Was it done by some outside force? But for what purpose would they do that for?

“Further...this uh...umm...Twilight, veere you think we, we are?”

“I don’t know. Traveling through the portal could have taken us almost anywhere on Equus.”

“What you say, if I say we njot anywhere?”

“...What do you mean by that?”

“I...I not know if...if thees right, but I think we not in, um, Equestria, or any place, uh, there.”

Well what do you make out of that? Twilight thought as she blinked owlishly. “...Sooo...what you are saying...is that we are not in Equestria...or that we aren’t on Equus?”

“Um, second one.”

Twilight searched the being’s face, looking for any hint that this was some kind of elaborate prank, or perhaps he was trying to obfuscate the truth by telling her something completely ludicrous, which she would have to grudgingly believe because there wasn’t any evidence to show it wasn’t true...

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE ARE NOT ON EQUUS!?” Twilight yelled, grabbing Scruffy by the cheeks and pressing their faces together. Several ‘sproing’ noises came from her mane, and she could feel her panic starting to rise.

“Twilight, calm,” Scruffy simply said, taking hold of Twilight’s hooves and lowering them back on to the bench. “Twilight...we not p-p-believe in magic. My kind think magic not real, not possible. We...uh, seek? No, um, search all...land, there no ponies or others here. I think I only who know of door, and ponies, hmm, ponies real.”

“B-b-but that doesn’t mean that we are not on Equus!”

“Like say, ah, I not sure. I think we not. Eg-Equestria so different, it seem like not...not this,” Scruffy said as he motioned to the world around them. “Equestria has many thing that we think not possible, just story. Magic, talkking ponies, pegasus, unicorn, all story for us.”

“Okay...okay, that still doesn’t mean that we are not on Equus. There could be any number of explanations...uhh...l-like perhaps you are just in a different part of the world, separated from the rest! Maybe you don’t think magic is real because your people are unable to utilize it! See, perfectly good reasons!”

Scruffy shrugged unsurely, some of Twilight’s response having gone over his head. This is impossible! There’s no way that there would be a portal to another w-world! Twilight screamed to herself, ...even if it would explain some of the mysteries.

“I really not k-know what tell, but I sure one thjing. Me kind not, um...do magic door. I uh...I uh...I bet all...for? No, bell all at? Uuh…” Scruffy mumbled, scratching his head and trying to come up with the required words. Twilight didn’t hear him, her head felt like it was spinning. Scruffy believes that he’s traveling to another world when he goes through the portal... How is it possible that his people have been so completely separated from Equestria that this is the case? I have to bring this up with Princess Celestia when we get back.

“Scruffy, you said that your people, um, ‘don’t believe in magic’?”

“Jes. My kind think magic unicorn use not possible. When we say magic, mean, hmm, ba-b-party trick. Or thing like what Trixie do with lights, but use machine for.”

“Is that...why you were so afraid of me when we first met?” Twilight asked with a sad frown.

“I not real...really afraid you. I uh, I think I gone crazy,” Scruffy admitted, twiddling his thumbs in embarrassment.

“Oh…”

“Um, sorry.”

“No, you don’t have to be sorry. Do you remember when you first came in to Ponyville with us?”

“Jes...you take my shirt.”

“Ehehe...w-well, it was in terrible shape.”

“Mhm.”

“A-anyway, when we went to the library, I took some measurements of you, and you needed to hold a crystal for one of them.”

“I remember.”

“I used that to measure your tha-...how much magic you have. It wasn’t very much, but you definitely have some.”

“I...I have magic?” Scruffy said, extremely surprised. He experimentally flexed his fingers.

“You have, but comparatively, it’s not very much.”

“Uhh...word?”

“Oh, um…proportionately to others?”

“...”

“...Relatively?

“...”

“Ugh! You don’t have as much magic as others have.”

“Oh.”

“Every living being has magic, but the amount differs from species to species. Since your kind believes magic isn’t real, it might be that you are incapable of using it actively, as in, to perform any spells.” Twilight lifted a rock with her magic as an example, but even with it, she had to repeat herself slower so that Scruffy could keep up with her. “It’s possible that your species magic manif-...uh, shows itself in a way that you might not notice. It could allow you to do incredible feats of strength, or have really great stamina, or in any number of ways, if your race is able to tap into it.”

“I...see,” Scruffy muttered, still wiggling his fingers as if he was expecting something to happen.

“If you want to, I would happy to do some tests to see if you can perform any spells sometime later.”

“I like idea,” Scruffy said, and smiled happily at the prospect of it.

********************

“H-H-HOW COULD HE DO THAT!?” Fluttershy wailed, crying in to the armrest of the couch she was on. None of the other viewers were doing much better, even Rainbow and Applejack were on the verge of sobbing.

“It, it’s o-okay. I-I’m sure a-all’s going to be f-f-fine... It ha-has to be…” Pinkie tried to comfort her friend, before bursting in to tears herself.

“T-that was so totally not cool…” Rainbow sniffed loudly.

“How tragic... Poor little thing, losing his parent... This is absolutely terrible…” Rarity dabbed her tears with a handkerchief.

********************

“Pfft, come on Scruffy, there’s no way there’s seven billion of your kind living here. You’d run out of space and natural resources! You must be confusing millions and billions,” Twilight said, unconvinced despite Scruffy insisting it was true. Nevertheless, it was so nice to finally be able to ask all these questions of their mysterious friend. All that time spent preparing Scruffy for the Princesses’ visit didn’t leave too much time to learn more about him.

“I say it true. If you say it not true, I can not say more,” Scruffy shrugged.

“Well, could we talk to others of your kind? Maybe there’s a craftspony who could explain how all your devices work at the town?” Twilight proposed, clopping her hooves together.

“Ah...I not think that good idea. They maight get afraid you. Remember, others think you all just story, magic just story. I not know what happen if you go see town.”

“Oh...I suppose that’s right…” Twilight sadly replied, ears down.

“It safe for you that way.” Scruffy gently ruffled Twilight’s mane, eliciting a small giggle from her.

“Maybe one day?”

“Heh. One day.”

********************

“Hacluhaha mhathakak, hm hmhmm hmmm! Hmm hm hmhmhm hmmmm!” Pinkie happily hummed to herself. Quiet enough to allow the rest to follow the story, but loud enough to annoy Rainbow.

“Oh for pete’s sake… She’s going to be humming that for the rest of the week, isn’t she?” Rainbow whispered to Rarity.

“That may be the case. Rainbow dear, although there might be a more mesmerizing tune to catch her fancy later,” Rarity amusedly whispered back.

“Let’s hope so.”

Rarity turned back to the screen, intently following what was going to happen next. Rainbow, however, had something nagging at the back of her mind.

“Uhh...Rarity?”

“Hm? What is it, darling?”

“I uh… You’re not mad at me, are you?”

“Huh? Why would I be mad at you?”

“Because…” Rainbow vaguely gestured at her mane and tail.

“Oh. I suppose there was that little incident,” Rarity said, acting aloof.

“I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to do it!”

“I’m sure you didn’t.” Rarity kept facing the screen, as if not acknowledging Rainbow.

“Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”

“Hmm… Now that you’ve said it...” Rarity turned towards her with a friendly smile, draping one hoof over her. “I’ve been dying to have you join me and Fluttershy for one of our spa dates,” Rarity grinned deviously.

“S-s-spa?” Rainbow gulped.

“Why yes. I would just love to have you join us.”

“I...uh…” Seeing the discomfort on her friend’s face, Rarity relented.

“Rainbow. I was just teasing. You do not have to join us if you do not want to. I’m not mad at you, and I have already forgotten that little mishap. Still, I genuinely wish you’d join us. You’re always flying in the sky, and you never have time for little old me,” Rarity sorrowfully exclaimed, fluttering her eyelashes. Rainbow ground her teeth.

“Eugh… I suppose I could...to make it up to you,” Rainbow grudgingly agreed.

“You would? Eeeeee!” Rarity giddily squealed, causing everypony else to hiss for them to be quiet.

“Hmmhmm hmhm, hm hmhm hmhmhmhmmm!” Pinkie continued to hum.

********************

“Scruffy, there was one more thing I wanted to ask about.”

“Please.”

“The visual story you made your device show, the one that the rest of the girls and Spike are watching… Before we trotted out, I noticed that there were creatures that looked like zebras in it, except their proportions were a bit off, and I am wondering, how come your species doesn’t think ponies are real, if you know what a zebra is? I mean, there are differences between zebras and ponies, but we are very similar species.”

“Ah… Um, Twilight… I need tell you thing,” Scruffy carefully began. “There many animal here, you find in Equestria. Cat, dog, bird, many other. But there also ponies, and zzzeebrah...zeebrrra.”

“But you said-”

“Twilight. Thjere animal that like you here, and pony like you here, but they not same. Thay not talk, not live like you, not magic. Story I show, it not real. It story you tell childrens, for fun. It not real happen.”

“Oh… So it’s fiction, made for entertainment?”

“Err...jes?” Scruffy scratched his head, reminding Twilight for the tenth time to slow down so that he can keep up.

“And you are saying that there are creatures very similar to ponies, but…” Twilight couldn’t find the words to finish her question.

“Jes...there is. Like earth pony, no pegasus or unji-...uuunicorn. Less color too.”

“Right...right.”

“It like us. My kind come from...uh...what wrod...um...oh! From m-m-monkey.”

“Oh. OH! You mean you have ponies that haven’t evolved to be the same as Equestrian ponies?”

“Erm…not know word, but I think jes.”

“Well why didn’t you just say so? There are many tribes and societies of ponies outside of Equestria, and their lifestyles and living conditions have made them waaay dif- WAIT! YOU ARE A MONKEY!?”

********************

“Go on! Kick his butt! Rainbow cheered, as on the screen the two male lions enacted their most epic, most badass duel of all time. Rainbow had sprung up from her seat, and was hovering just above the others.

“Yeah, show that good fer nothing what for!” Applejack joined with her own holler. All the ponies were on the edges of their seats, leaning in towards the screen. Except for one who seemed most ready to jump at it instead.

“SHOW THAT...MEANIE PANTS JUST HOW HORRIBLE HE IS, AND THEN HE CAN GO THINK ABOUT WHAT HE’S DONE, THAT INCREDIBLE. TOTAL. JERK!!!” Fluttershy stepped forward and screamed. The others looked at her in shock, before turning around and looking at the freshly returned Twilight and Scruffy.

“Uhh…” Scruffy mumbled with wide eyes.

“Was...this a bad moment to come back?” Twilight quietly asked.

********************

“That. Was. So. Awesome!” Rainbow cheered, stretching her wings. After the story had ended, the ponies took a quick snack and bathroom break, and were now outside. It was getting late, and they needed to get moving before it would get dark. Oddly enough, the sun seemed to be much higher in the sky than anypony assumed it would be.

“I agree, it was simply marvelous.”

“Oh um...ah, it was nice…” Fluttershy meekly commented, trying to hide behind her wings.

“Hehehe, I think the last time I heard you so loud was when Iron Will was in town,” Pinkie giggled and gave Fluttershy an encouraging hug. Applejack was slightly disappointed for having been beaten to it.

“Thank you so much for showing that to us, Scruffy, even if I only saw the beginning of it. Maybe I’ll get a chance to see the rest of it the next time we visit,” Twilight inclined.

“Sure. You all velcome here,” he said with a wide smile, and they all shared a hug.

“Now take care of yourself. Next time you come to Ponyville, I want you see you in fine shape, mister!” Applejack commanded and gave a friendly hip bump to Scruffy.

“Yeah,” Rainbow added. “We don’t want to bust our chops coming here all the time because you got sick again! I’ll personally kick your rump in to shape if I have to.”

“Heh, okay. You sure you can get Ponyville? It late, I can show you way, it fast,” Scruffy offered.

“It’s okay Scruffy, I’m sure we can manage. Although, I’d be interested to know which path you take to Ponyville,” Twilight replied.

“Do you follow the river? Cuz that’s what we did!” Pinkie announced and hopped in a circle around Scruffy.

“It lead Ponyville? Maybe take that next. When I walk, I go past rocky area, with big...uhh...stone wall. No, um, cliff! Big cliff, see it from far when walk. Go there each time, like walk the-”

Scruffy’s last word was cut short when he noticed the look on the ponies faces. All of them had their jaws hanging open, and some of them even looked horrified. Pinkie looked like she was frozen mid jump, tiptoeing on her two front hooves.

“Y-y-you…! O-on the rock field...is there a tall stone pillar?” Twilight asked, a hopeful look on her face.

“Um...jes?” he said. Twilight’s face fell, and her left eye twitched a couple of times.

“ARE YOU CRAZY?” she bellowed, pulling Scruffy closer with her magic so that she could grab him by the cheeks for a second time that day.

“Heavens to betsy…” Applejack mumbled, pulling her hat down and shaking her head.

“Huh? What?” Scruffy mumbled past Twilight’s grip.

“You don’t know? You don’t know!?” Twilight screeched, slightly shaking Scruffy’s head back and forth.

“Oh, um, Twilight, um, please calm down?” Fluttershy pleaded.

“C-can ask, uh, what happen?” Scruffy asked Rainbow when he managed to yank himself free from Twilight’s hooves and magic, only to recoil back a bit. Rainbow was leaning forward, and seemed to look at him with unabashed admiration. He could swear he saw sparkles in her eyes.

“I feel I must congratulate you, for you are certainly mad! Yet such temerity spared you stumbling through many other dangers, and for this I am very glad,” Zecora sighed wearily.

“Why?” Scruffy asked again, hoping somepony would finally tell him what he did wrong this time.

“Because there’s an URSA living in that area! You are walking right by it’s cave!” Spike explained breathlessly.

“Huh?” Scruffy blinked. “Word?”

“Uuurgh!” Twilight groaned.

“There’s an ursa cave in that cliff face. It’s a huge bear, bigger than your house!” Spike continued. This finally got Scruffy’s attention.

“...I never see bear,” Scruffy flatly replied.

“And thank Luna’s lucky stars for that! Do you have any idea how dangerous ursas are?” Twilight vehemently admonished.

“...Really? Big like house?” Scruffy asked, not really believing them.

“YES!” the others shouted, making Scruffy hop in place and remember that he was currently talking to magical equines and a fire breathing dragon.

“Scruffy...please please please promise me you won’t walk through there again,” Fluttershy pleaded.

“Uhm...okay.”

“Pinkie promise!” Pinkie shouted.

“Ah...I Pinkie promise…”

With that, the ponies finally relaxed again. They couldn’t believe how much danger Scruffy put himself in every time he walked through the forest. Sure, walking through the ursa’s territory probably gave him a relatively safe passage from all the other dangers of the Everfree, for they would keep their distance from the ursa’s den. But how he had never encountered or even seen the ursa was a mystery.

Twilight took the chance to further educate Scruffy about ursas, and some of the other potential dangers. She further advised him to follow the edge of the forest to reach Ponyville safely when he would next visit them.

“Twilight, we really ought to get going if we want to reach Ponyville before night fall,” Rarity tugged her friends shoulder.

“I...of course, you are right. Just...be careful, Scruffy.”

“Not worry. I will. You too be k-kaerful.”

“We will.”

“It nice you visit, I feel many better now. Hope I get good sleep tonight.” Scruffy yawned widely, causing the equines to yawn as well.

“You should wear the amulet to bed. It’ll allow Luna to help you if you have trouble sleeping,” Twilight explained.

“Oh… I try that. Thank you.”

“Bye Scruffy!” the equestrian party waved.

“Bye!”

********************

“What’s wrong Twilight?” Pinkie asked once they had been walking for a good fifteen minutes. Luckily, this time the portal hadn’t reacted badly when Twilight went through it, so they managed to cross without an incident.

“Huh?” Twilight gasped, snapping out of her thoughts.

“You’ve got this really grumpy face ever since we left.”

“Oh… It’s nothing. Just a lot of things to think about.”

“Don’t worry about Scruffy! He Pinkie promised not to go through the ursa territory again.”

“Can you believe it? That’s the path he walks to Ponyville. The recklessness, the disregard for his own safety, the foolhardiness,” Rarity dramatically bemoaned.

...The guts…” Rainbow whispered to herself.

“What was that sugarcube?” Applejack asked, leaning in with a teasing smile.

“Uh, nothing!”

“It’s not just that, girls. While you were watching the visual story, I had a talk with him and...and we talked about a lot of things…”

“Like what? Oh oh oh, did you ask when it’s his birthday?” Pinkie excitedly inquired.

“Erm...no.” Pinkie frowned sadly. “But a lot of other things… And I promise to tell you later, once I have talked to the Princesses.” With that, Twilight delved back in to her thoughts, the script of a letter already forming in her head. The others also fell into silence, digesting everything that happened that day and what other wonders awaited them when they would next see-

“Celestia’s flank! I forgot to ask him to show me the thing!” Rainbow exclaimed.

Author's Note:

So, there's a few things we should probably address so that there won't be a 100 comments about them or something. :derpytongue2:

1. So in my story, ponies don't have as much technology as in the show. This already came up in the previous chapters, but I'm gonna mention it anyway. I'm gonna diverge from the canon show, because I feel like there's many items that don't really fit the world of equestria, and are mostly used for gag purposes, or to get the story forward etc. Like pinkie just happens to own a humongous tank the size of a manor for shooting party supplies out of? :pinkiecrazy: (Correction, that was actually Cheese Sandwich, and it wasn't as big as I remember it.) :derpytongue2:

That doesn't mean that they live in the middle ages or something. They might have a magical version of some things, like some ponies might just have ice boxes, others might have enchanted versions that function just like our freezers.

This is not to say "don't comment about it", this is just to say that y'all don't need to point out that they totally should have seen moving pictures before. :pinkiehappy:

2. I'm also going to give a friendly reminder that Equestria and Earth don't look that much different. Both look realistic, comparing to our point of view atleast, so Equestria is not a cartoon world. This is just because if people are pondering what's with the "everything looks a bit odd around here" business in this chapter.

3. If you haven't checked it out, there's a rough layout of Scruffy's house in my most recent blog post. It might shed some light on what's the building layout, because there were some confusion when we were writing this chapter. :applejackconfused:

4. If you are wondering about the "thing" RD is talking about, refer to parts 1 and 2. :derpytongue2:

5. Darn tootin' if that ain't some fine humming from Pinkie Pie!

...

I hope... Someone make sure it's correct! :pinkiegasp:

Well, hopefully you enjoyed it, and have a nice week everypony. :twilightsmile:

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