• Published 15th Feb 2017
  • 1,671 Views, 54 Comments

My Little Hunters: Friendship is Achieving - PoH

The Achievement Hunters of Austin, Texas are finishing up a let's play when all of a sudden, a flash illuminates the room. Unconscious for who knows how long, they wake up to not only in another room but in another dimension.

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Chapter 11: Trust

Author's Note:

A shorter chapter because i feel like if i did it any other way, the story wouldnt flow too good.
So I began my summer semester and I'm trying to get a tutoring position at my campus for programming. I'll try to write more considering I'll be on the computer 90% of my time anyways.
Also, January 21st, 2019 is my projected date for me to go to Marine basic training. It may be sooner so if you see a hiatus status, that's me in San Diego or Parris Island.
But anyhow, I hope chapter 11 isn't too bad. Just building for future plot :twilightsmile:


Two hours later

“Kidnapped?” Celestia reeled back in surprise. It had only been about twenty minutes since the story about what happened began. Night had already began its swing, ending the day time.

The Crew, including Geoff, had a uniform, but more subtle reaction to the words coming from the lunar sibling’s mouth. The Mane 6 were absent and sent home for rest since today’s images and sounds still haunted them. They all had agreed to take a week off on their daily lives to spend time together and attempt coping with what was done and seen today. Jack had been prepared with the full intent on laying everything out before the princess of the sun exactly as it happened. When Luna began speaking, however, Jack was taken fully aback.

“They fought valiantly,” Luna continued her spiel without a hiccup, “But they were powerless when Sombra slew Twilight’s own brother, she fled in fear that her rage may affect those she did not intend to harm. After that, Sombra bound and captured the human we spoke of.” Luna brought her head down and shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut, “We… I have failed you, sister. We lost the scroll’s power and, more importantly, the human attached to it.” Luna looked over her shoulder for a moment to catch a glimpse of the surprised but solemn looks in the Crew’s eyes. Celestia only hummed a small bit and slanted her lips. The Crew all thought she was taking this grim news rather well.

“You haven't failed me, sister.” She said to her bowing sibling. She lifted her head a little bit more to face the Crew behind the indigo alicorn. “You humans haven't failed me either. And I mourn for the loss of you all. It is not easy losing someone you love, especially right in front of you. Trust me, I can empathize.” She quickly glanced at her sister, recalling that fateful day over one thousand winters ago. Geoff twitched at that comment, and began to fade slowly from Jack's side to the back of their group. He didn't want to blow their cover that came by surprise, as Luna seemed to be up to something. He could already feel his body weighing down on him and he just wanted to sleep more than anything.

“Thank you, princess.” Jack answered for the group, trying his best to act like their friend may be being killed as they spoke. “It means… a lot coming from you.” Celestia closed her eyes and gave a small nod before reopening her eyes once more. Luna finally brought her head back up after the extensive bow, mist forming at her eyelids.

“I'm sorry for everything that has occurred today and hate to interrupt the mourning, but we still have a pressing matter at hand.” Celestia lightly stamped her armored hoof, “Sombra is still running rampant across the cosmos. We need a sixth scroll holder to disassociate Sombra from this plane of existence when he arrives.”

The Crew looked between each other. They didn't have a clue what to do. The only six humans on this planet and one was “kidnapped.” The only other option was to have a pony absorb the power of one of the four remaining scrolls. But they wouldn't know what pony would be crazy or patriotic enough to give their life for the greater good. Then again, they didn't really know the full extent of how far these ponies would go if, let's say, the princesses were in danger. They've only known Ponyville ponies. Anything beyond that, they weren't sure. As much as they hated to think it, but they hoped someone would step up, even if it meant their life.

“We believe,” Luna began, wiping the feigned droplets off of her eyelashes, “somepony will volunteer within the week. Should we be pushed to the brink one last time,” she stood straighter and taller than before to emphasize the loyalty that spilled from her mouth in torrents, “then I will absorb a scroll.” Celestia’s eyes grew into saucers.

“Luna, that's unnecessary…not to mention foolish...” Celestia said softly but was cut off by Luna once more.

“Sister, please.” Luna almost gritted her teeth. Despite Luna’s earlier performance to seemingly save the Crew from imprisonment for Ryan’s treason, the Crew could tell that she was not lying anymore. This time she was dead serious. “After all we had done one thousand winters before, this act could only begin to atone to the fallacies and faults of a past long written in the pages of age old books. It would be a suffering curse and an insult if we could not give our life for the land we had almost destroyed.”

Celestia winced one long wince. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. For a moment, and only a moment, Celestia actually felt completely inferior to Luna. The fact that Luna would lay down her life for Equestria was valorous, to say the absolute least. Celestia thought about the lives lost throughout generations, and how many were lost in the name of her and Luna’s crown. The lives lost today were of course no different. But once this was all done and over, they would write songs of Luna’s bravery and sacrifice. The humans would have the same. And Celestia herself? She may as well be branded a coward in those same songs.

“If that is what you wish, sister,” Celestia hesitantly said after a moment of silence, “then I have no power to stop you.” She didn't want to say more out of fear that she herself will offer to do the same.

“Thank you, sister.” Luna said with a nod. “And on the last topic of discussion.” She was loud and full of life. As if she had made her first grown-up decision. But Celestia, despite her white coat, felt drained of color from the conversation just had. Celestia tried to mentally straighten up, even if it was for just this final discussion.

“Yes,” Celestia replied, trying not to let her voice crack, “the rune to send you all back home.” The Crew waited patiently to see what she had to say about them going home. “Our soldiers have found the spellbook referenced in the book used to bring you all here. Unfortunately, Magus’ Laws make sending things away from a universe much more difficult than bringing something here.”

“So what can we do to help in the meantime?” Michael asked before Jack could.

“When our translators finish translating and decoding the book’s work, because its contents are encoded to make it much more difficult to read, I will summon you all again to begin the next step. But from the looks of it, there seemed to be three or four main ingredients.”

“Why’s everything gotta take forever to use here anyways?” Gavin complained. Celestia chuckled at the whining Brit.

“Wizards tend to encode dangerous spells and runes, making them harder to read so that not just anypony can use them.” Celestia tried to smile down onto the group when she said this, but found it hard to do so. The Crew and Luna could see that Celestia was forcing herself for some reason. Although, they had a feeling it's because of everything they talked about. Twilight’s disappearance, Ryan’s kidnapping, the fall of the Crystal Empire, and finally the rune. None of its had a positive effect on Celestia’s rapidly tiring face. “Are there any more questions?” No answer came after a few head shakes from the Crew. “Then if you'll excuse me, I need to rest for tomorrow’s sunrise.”

Celestia turned around slowly and opened a large double door. Two guards in shining gold armor and wielding lances followed closely behind her. The door shut, creating a lengthy echo throughout the spacious throne room. Once the echo subsided, the Crew and Luna waited where they stood in silence. They all wanted to ensure Celestia was definitely gone before they discussed what had just happened. Once they felt secure, Jack spoke first.

“What the hell was that?” He directed this question towards Luna who had already began turning to face the Crew. “We were gonna tell her the truth and then you lied? Why?” Jack didn't want to come off as aggressive, and he succeeded in the eyes of the Crew. Luna, however, did feel a little bit attacked but quickly brushed it off.

“We know our sister,” Luna said with caution, not caring if she used Old Ponish rules, “and should you five have told the truth, she would have stripped you of the scroll’s power, and locked you all up for treason against the crown as well as insubordination. Your friend, Ryan, would be branded a criminal to the land and its ponies. He would be killed if the chance brought itself. As for the rest of you, should we have succeeded in defeating Sombra, my sister would maybe have you executed for your crimes. We, on the other hoof, would believe that you are our only chance to survive this.”

“She's not like that though.” Michael argued, racking his memory of Celestia’s character. “She's understanding and caring.”

“For the ponies of Equestria.” Luna added. “Anything that can do any remote damage to the land or its ponies, she makes sure it’s… quelled.” Michael shook his head in disbelief. Times like this gave him clarity on what he should trust from the show.

“Other ponies would step up though.” Ray responded quickly. “You guys don't need us. It’s just more convenient that we don't die when you take these powers from us.” Luna hoped something like that would never needed to be said, but here Ray was, saying it loud and proudly. It was as if he knew Equestria’s game since the beginning. Luna didn't want to believe it. In a way, it was the truth.

“That may be partially true,” Luna responded with care, “but when you six defended Ponyville out of your own volition and against Princess Twilight’s direct orders, Celestia and I had believed you six may be more than simple pawns on a game board.” Her tone became more caring. “You six put your lives in danger to protect our subjects. The least we could do was not treat you like nothing more than expendables. That’s why we said what we said to our sister. We knew you would tell the truth, so we had to intervene and improvise to save your lives.”

The Crew felt grateful but still worried about being found out. They didn't want Celestia to find out Ryan left on his own until it was too late for her to do anything. Luna did save their lives. They could accept that and all felt indebted to her and planned to pay up at some point. They hoped to pay her back before she'd finalize her choice to volunteer her own life to save Equestria.

“Well,” Jack began to say, “I think I speak for all of us when I say thanks for saving our asses.” He smiled at the end to seal his sweet words. All except Geoff muttered in agreement. Even though he did not speak, Luna could tell Geoff was at least somewhat grateful they would leave the throne room today free and not by chain and shackle.

“You're all very welcome. But I pray thee will carry on my… unforgivable fib?” Worry showed in her voice. “We will make sure there is a private meeting with the soldiers who participated in today’s battle to relay the story told today.”

“Unforgivable?” Michael chuckled, “Didn't you hear Jack, princess? You textbook saved our asses. And you can bet we'll keep that lie going as far as we can get it.”

“Wait,” Gavin interjected, “do we tell Twilight and the rest of them about this?” Luna pursed her lips and looked to the ground. However, it didn't take long for her to decide.

“We believe they are trustworthy enough for this misdirection. Tell them, but beware. The more who know of this, the higher chances there will be to your credibility being compromised.”

“Don't worry,” Jack reassured Luna, “we're not telling anyone else about this other than them.” Luna smiled softly in their direction. She knew she could trust them for more reasons than one. They've shown loyalty, bravery, and perseverance in otherwise intimidating situations for lives not of their own species.

“We thank thee, Achievement Hunters.” She said with enthusiasm and joy in their trust of each other. “Now, if there is nothing more, we must return to watch over our sleeping subjects. Fare thee well.” She began her walk off to a door to the side of the throne room. Once opened and through, Luna shut the door behind her, leaving the Crew alone and to themselves in the throne room.

“So,” Jack sighed and faced his fellow Hunters, “you guys ready to head back?”

All of the Hunters, except Geoff, audibly agreed to leave. Geoff’s agreement was shown by his tailing of the group through the castle. They finally reached the main entrance and began walking down the marble steps.

From here, medical ponies ran back and forth in the main courtyard as they loaded injured from the three airships to carriages that were taking them to the hospital in Canterlot. Lanterns on pikes were placed randomly throughout the mess of tents and wounded, illuminating multiple colors that mixed when they landed on different surfaces. Many of the ponies being transported were unconscious. But those that were conscious either yelled in pain when they had a bone reset, or had wounds disinfected, or other various painful procedures. The whole situation looked like a relief operation.

The Crew weaved through the tents and fast-moving ponies to get to the main gates. They could see all of the injured as they passed by. Some of them waved hooves at the Crew, calling them things like “heroes.” Geoff didn't feel comfortable there as the memory of Shining flashed back into his vision, but he pressed on.

Ray had been near the back of the group, following a chatting Michael and Gavin. They were talking about the tents and their overly bright colors, it seemed. Ray mindlessly stepped and weaved through the crowds of medics until he heard a vaguely familiar voice.

“Ray! Over here!” the voice called. Ray snapped his head in the general direction of the voice’s origin. He panned his eyes across the many faces and could not see who called him. With all the commotion, he deemed the voice his imagination. Before he continued his trek through the encampment, he saw a familiar blonde head jumping and waving a cream colored hoof in his direction. “Stay right there!” they yelled. His confused face grew into a smirk when he realized who was pushing other medics assigned to the camp. The mare finally made it within talking distance of Ray after pushing past the last medic.

“Hey, how's it going? Keen, right?” Ray cooly asked. The next moment he had the wind knocked out of him while she wrapped her forelegs around his waist and squeezed hard. She buried her face deep into his abdomen. “Nice to see you too. Why so huggy?” Ray chuckled. She released her hug and backed up a few feet, her cheeks rosy from her enthusiasm.

“Sorry,” she apologized softly, “I was just hoping you were alright after that whole mess.” She leaned to one side to see around Ray. His friends were waiting patiently for him to finish his conversation with her.

“I'll catch up with you guys at the gate.” Ray said over the background noise of the medical ponies around him. His friends all shrugged and turned to head towards the main gate. Once fully out of sight, Ray returned his attention to Keen.

“Oh I wasn't going to keep you long.” The medical pony concernedly said, “I just wanted to give you some news.”

“Ah, don't worry about them,” Ray ensured with a wave of his hand in the direction his friends went in, “what's the news?”

“Well, I'm receiving a medal!” She excitedly quipped.

“Nice going!” Ray said, raising his hand for a high five. She jumped up and returned his gesture with her hoof.

“Thanks!” She exclaimed, “It’s called the Order of Flash Magnus.” She pulled out a folded paper with her magic from her uniform and unfolded in front of Ray. It floated over to him for him to read it. The official looking paper described her actions and initiative to save all of the injured, including the enemies’. “It was for what we did on the Restless. I wanted to tell you this for two reasons. The first is to thank you for helping me. Not for getting the medal, but to help me save as many ponies as possible.” She finished with a wide smile. Ray only continued to read the paper in front of him.

“‘For valor and bravery.’” Ray read the section of the order out loud. He smiled wider when he finished reading it before handing the paper back to her magical grasp, making eye contact with her. “It was no big deal really. And what was the second thing?” Her eyes widened for a moment, and then cast them to the ground. It was the same ground that her foreleg began to kick.

“The second thing was I was going to ask if you could… attend the ceremony? But I know you might be busy with the whole saving Equestria thing that...” She continued making a divot in the soft dirt. Not for long though before Ray answered.

“Hell yeah I'll show up!” Ray surprised Keen with his enthusiasm. She picked her head up.

“Really? Thank you so much!” She jumped up and hugged him again, to which Ray patted the top of her head.

“Just let me know when and where.” Ray grunted out. She quickly released Ray and backed up again.

“Oh! It'll be at the end of this week back at my hometown just outside Rainbow Falls. With an honor this prestigious from a village so small, Celestia herself signed off on having a new hospital to be built there. They're gonna name it after me!” She stamped her hooves excitedly and gave a boisterous smile. However, her excitement was cut short by a military sounding stallion from behind her.

“Corporal! Enough chit-chat! I need you back on this line in thirty seconds!” The brown stallion yelled.

“Understood!” Keen said back in a voice that Ray was not familiar with. More powerful but still held remnants of her mare-like voice which she used when she talked to Ray, “I'll see you then, right?” She started backing up towards her superior.

“For sure. I'll find my way there.” Ray said progressively louder as she kept backing up towards her post.

Once satisfied, Keen gave a quick nod to Ray. She turned and pushed through the crowd of medics once again and back to her post.

Once Ray regrouped with his friends at the main gates of Canterlot Castle, he found them sitting against the pale stone outer walls. Many of the Canterlot ponies that passed by gave them strange looks. They seemed more curious than anything else. The Crew didn't mind, they even gave waves at anypony that sent them the gesture first. Michael then looked to his left and noticed Ray first.

“Who was that, Ray?” Michael questioned as he pushed himself from the stone wall to his full height. He'd never seen anypony looking anything like Keen. And given the time being here in this strange reality, he didn't trust what the show portrayed the world as anymore.

“Oh she's the little one I was covering on the ship, right?” Gavin quipped, standing up.

“Yeah, she invited me to a ceremony at her home town. They're naming a hospital after her.” Ray responded.

“Cheers, Ray.” Gavin said, holding his fist out to Ray, to which Ray completed the quick fistbump.

“Alright, so are we done here? I'm fucking tired, today sucked dicks, and I just wanna sleep in.” Michael yawned with audible frustration.

The rest of the Crew agreed and kept making their way to the train station. Considering the main street ran perpendicular between the train station and the castle, it was not hard for them to navigate. Their walk was mostly in silence as they each took in Canterlot’s vibrant colors and bright lights. As they walked, they passed restaurants, hotels, clubs, and many other various shops and services. They each thought it strange that there was a class system within such a peaceful species.

Once at the station, they embarked on the next train to Ponyville, which so happened to show up within the next fifteen minutes. They reflected on the days events once again. Ryan’s leaving remained the most prominent in their minds. Michael felt hatred for Sombra. Gavin lay in grief. Ray was frustrated. Geoff bathed in guilt. Meanwhile, Jack obtained nibbles of hope. The train had pulled to the station. The whistle blew prominently as they embarked. Jack knew he'd see Ryan again, he just hoped Ryan would be in the right mind to be reasoned with.