• Published 2nd Mar 2017
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Land of Equines - Daddy Joe



Who would've thought that being at the wrong place at the wrong time would bring something so surreal.

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Echoes of Ones Past

Echoes of Ones Past
June 3rd, 2013

6:57 AM

I awoke to the sensation of Night Hunter nudging my shoulder with his hoof. When I looked up at him, he seemed to be a little concerned about something just by the look on his face.

"What?" I asked before checking my watch.

"I think there's somepony watching us out here." Night Hunter said.

"You saw a pony outside?" I asked.

"It sure looked like one. I was just taking a quick smoke outside when I woke up about a few minutes ago, and that's when I saw a pony running away from our campsite in the distance." Night Hunter explained.

"Okay then. So, could get any physical features at all?" I asked.

"I would've been able to if that pony weren't so far away. But whoever it was, they were tall." Night Hunter replied.

"Uh, that's just great. Did you at least know where the pony ran off to?" I said.

"That I did. Come on out and I'll show you." Night Hunter replied.

I slipped out of my sleeping bag and put on my arctic attire before heading out into the cold. The sun was just beginning to peak over the distant horizon, giving the sky an orange color mixed in with the dark clouds of the dissipating snowstorm. Everything outside seemed very still for once since the blistering winds of the storm died down and the snow flurries became absent. But, to the east of us, it was more dark off that way, but I could still see the Crystal Empire a mile away.

"So... where did the pony head off to?" I asked.

"He went that way, just north of our position." Night Hunter pointed out.

"Why the heck would a pony want to run off that far into the arctic? Wait, did he see you?" I asked

"No, not at all. To be frank, it was almost as if he came out of nowhere." Night Hunter said, puzzled by his own response.

"Out of nowhere? Like, out of thin air?" I asked.

"I have no idea." he replied.

"Oooooh. It's a ghoooost." I kidded around.

"Ha. Ghosts. I don't believe in ghost." Night Hunter said.

"Me neither. But with all the stuff I've seen in Equestria, it could be possible." I said.

"I've never met one, so I never will," Night Hunter said before brining the original topic back to hand. "Okay, so I think we go after that pony. Get the Land Rover started up."

"Alright. Take this fuse chip, stick it in the fuel pump slot underneath the steering, and get the heater going while I brush all the snow off." I said.

"Okay." Night Hunter complied.

After Night Hunter and I did what we had to do, both of us hopped in the Defender and drove off. Night Hunter helped point me in the right direction on where to go while keeping the vehicle at a steady pace of sixty-five kilometers an hour. The direction we were going made me wonder on why a pony would be running northward into the arctic. Further north is where the mountains are and it gets colder up there, so it didn't make any sense to Night Hunter and I.

"Whoever this pony is, they sure are really fast." Night Hunter remarked.

"We should've caught up with him by now. I mean, there's not really a lot of hiding spots in the open arctic." I said.

"That worries me. I hope that pony wasn't spying on us the whole time." Night Hunter noted.

"Right. Are those papers still in the glovebox?" I said.

"They're there. I checked them already." Night Hunter replied.

"Then the pony should have no idea what we're doing out here if he were to of spotted us." I said.

"Hopefully." Night Hunter said.

Things seemed to be going normal for a while longer, but all of a sudden, the brightness of day began to slowly transition into a starry night with a full moon to the south. It was by far one of the surreal moments I've ever experienced.

"Wait a minute. What the fuck?" I questioned.

Night Hunter and I exchanged utterly confused expressions as I stopped the vehicle and stepped out. Both of us walked around for a short distance as we examined out surroundings. The temperature had dropped significantly and the moonlight glistened on the fluffy snow. We didn't say anything because we were too baffled to talk about what was happening. The weird thing is that the sun didn't set at all. Instead, the sky had just slowly transitioned from day to night as if it were a normal occurrence.

"Has this... ever happened before in your lifetime?" I asked Night Hunter.

"Never. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna would never pull a stunt like this before." Night Hunter said.

"Maybe it's a first for them?" I said.

"I highly doubt it, Caleb. It's not that holiday you humans have on April 1st." Night Hunter said.

"Should we keep going then?" I asked.

Night Hunter did not respond to my question because he was looking at something behind me.

"Who is that?" Night Hunter said.

I turned around and noticed a pair of dead trees in the distance.

"Look's like those dead trees we passed yesterday." I replied.

"Look closer. Don't you see the ponies over there?" Night Hunter said.

As I looked a little bit more, I could start to make out the shape of five ponies all standing on pedestals. The only odd thing about them is that they didn't move a muscle.

"I see now. Let's just grab the Igneous and head over there." Night Hunter said.

We quickly grabbed our weapons out of the back of the Defender and walked a short distance to the trees. Upon our arrival, it turns out that the ponies were actually pony-made statues.

"These were not here yesterday." Night Hunter said.

"You're right. They weren't." I said.

Four of the five statues appeared to be royal guards, but I couldn't tell if they were depicted as Crystal or E.U.P affiliated. I squinted my eyes as I examined the last one in the middle of the four, and the most largest. As I got a better look, I easily figured it out who this pony was. It was Star Swirl the Bearded, the most powerful unicorn ever know in Equestrian history.

"Hey, its Starswirl." Night Hunter noticed.

"I know, right?" I said.

Night Hunter's fascination with the statues slowly grew into suspicion. He then put a hoof under his chin

"But why are these even out here?" Night Hunter asked.

"I don't know. I'm not sure who would take the time to drag these out here." I replied.

"Well, I think it's connected to the sudden change in the time of day." Night Hunter said.

"Really? How?" I asked.

"Just think about it, Caleb! We passed this area three times yesterday and now these statues appear out of nowhere." Night Hunter explained.

"Oh, I see. And I sure don't see any hoofprints in the snow anywhere," I added. "It's almost as if we somehow... stepped, like, into a different universe."

"Does it really?" Night Hunter scoffed.

"Kind of. I'm not saying that we did, but it just feels like it for me." I said.

"Huh. I can't say I feel that way, but... Eh, I don't know." Night Hunter said.

"I don't either. Whatever's going on, it's weird." I said.

Night Hunter and I continued to walk around the area for a little bit longer, still searching for that pony Night Hunter spotted but to no avail. But aside from our search, the nighttime was rather calm and peaceful than yesterday and the day before. The wind was calm and gentle, small cumulus clouds floated by in the sky, and a few snow flurries fell to add on to the ground accumulation. But, after a while, both of us heard sounds in the distance, and it had vocal tone. It sounded like someone letting out a short, terrified yell.

"Over here!" I alerted as I followed the sound of the yell.

"Hold on." Night Hunter responded.

Once we regrouped, we began to move towards the direction of the voice. That one yell was the only one that we heard, so we were hoping that the source had not of left already. After a few more minutes passed, Night Hunter and I stopped in our tracks once we realized whoever made that yell was long gone.

"Where did he go?" I grumbled while quietly panting.

"I don't know, Caleb. But I would like to find this stallion before he gets away." Night Hunter replied.

Just then, the stallion let out a loud grunt that came from the left, and it was a lot closer than the first. I quickly ran towards that direction with Night Hunter close behind. However, I was so focused on finding that stallion that I wasn't fully looking at where I was going, and that's when I felt gravity pull me down. I ran right off the edge of a small hill and slid down the slope for about twenty feet or so onto a frozen body of water. My legs were buried under the snow from sliding down on my butt, soI was okay.

"You alright, Caleb?" Night Hunter asked.

"I'm fine. I landed on my flank, though. Damn." I replied.

"Oh. At least you're fine," Night Hunter said as he slowly walked down the hill. "It's not best to run down a hill."

"Ha. I'll be sure to remember that next time I walk down one, old stallion," I said as I picked myself up off the ground. "Now let's find that pony."

"Hello?" Night Hunter called out.

"Who's out here with us?" I called out, as well.

There was no response to our calls that echoed throughout the air. At the time, we stood near the shoreline of the lake and in front of us, as you'd expect, was an open range of frozen water, so there was no place left for the stallion to hide. In the moment of brief silence, Night Hunter all of a sudden turned around and stared up at the hill behind us.

"What do you see?" I asked.

Night Hunter then seemed to just snap out of a daze and looked up at me.

"What?" he replied.

"I said, what did you see?" I repeated.

"I-I don't know. I just had this gut-feeling that there was somepony watching us from up there." Night Hunter replied.

I myself looked up at the hill one more time. "Well, there's nopony there...."

Just then, a sudden wave of two emotions swept over me; fear and sadness. My chest felt tense and my eyes started to become hot while quietly sniffling.

"What's wrong?" Night Hunter asked.

"I just feel like I'm about to cry for some reason." I replied, wiping a small tear from my the corner of my eye.

"Why? Do you have dry eyes?" he asked.

"No, not at all. I just feel like it. I think we should get out of here right now." I said.

"No!" Night Hunter gasped with fear in his tone as he looked back up the hill a second time.

"What?!" I exclaimed.

Without warning, a tall stallion with a grey coat and a black mane manifested out of nowhere and sprinted away onto the lake, causing Night Hunter and I to stumble. From first glance, he looked like he was on the verge of freezing. He movements were weak, but he was definitely pushing himself to the limits on mobility.

"Hey! Hold on a second!" I exclaimed to the stallion.

A raspy growl then came from the top of the hill. Once we saw what the source was, Night Hunter and I quickly unholstered our weapons on sight. A simple black mist with solid, emerald green eyes dashed after the stallion and passed through Night Hunter and I as if we were nonexistent.

"It's going for that stallion!" Night Hunter shouted.

Night Hunter took a shot at the mist with his Igneous, followed by me, but had no effect on the mist. It then stretched upwards an extra ten feet and came down like a hammer onto the stallion and pounded him onto the ice.

"Just leave us alone!" the stallion cried as the mist stared him down.

"Oh, you will not stop me so easily like this, foolish pony. You are the one who brought me into this world, and now we will both become one. The empire will feel my wrath once I finally finish you."

That dark voice instantly clicked with me. The mist's voice was the exact same I heard from King Sombra those two weeks ago. The now identified stallion then pitifully weeped as he remained pinned to the ice, still struggling to get free. We did our best to help, but every shot we took did nothing to the mist, so that is what prompted us to stop.

"We have to go, Caleb... We need to warn Princess Cadance and Prince Shining Armor!" Night Hunter exclaimed.

The shadow mist slowly began to overcome the stallion and covered him until he was nothing but blackness. I hesitated because I wanted to help, but Night Hunter had a point. We turned around and started to trek up the hill, but that's when things started going south.

"Woah!" Night Hunter exclaimed.

Night Hunter slipped and slid all the way back down to the bottom of the hill.

"Hold on! I'll carry you up!" I said as I went back down for Night Hunter.

But at the same time, King Sombra started to rise up to his feet, but his back was turned to us. His head slowly turned to his left side and casted an evil glare with those devilish eyes. He quickly turned all the way around and just charged at us at a terrifyingly fast pace.

"Holy shit!" I blurted once I reached to Night Hunter and ran back up the hill with him.

I shot my head back at Sombra and he was almost right on my heels, so I just wrapped my arms around Night Hunter and leaped as hard as I could to the left in order to mess up the dark unicorns pace. When we tumbled all the way back down the hill, we aimed our weapons, but a miracle had happened; the time of day was once again set back to early morning, just as it was earlier.

"He's gone." I said.

Night Hunter and I took heavy breathes as we looked all over the place for the dark unicorn, but it seemed as if he just vanished into thin air. Once we calmed down and holstered our weapons, we looked at each other.

"What was that supposed to be?" I asked.

"Nothing good at all. Is that stallion still over there?" Night Hunter asked.

"No. No, he's gone," I replied as I looked over to the area. "But... I do see something over there in the snow."

"What is it?" Night Hunter asked.

"I can't tell what it is from here.... Do you want to take the risk and go see what it is, Night Hunter?" I asked.

"Get your Igneous out. Let's go check it out." Night Hunter said.

We approached the mysterious object with extreme caution. At first, I noticed that it was pointed and had the shade of red, but I soon realized what it was.

"Is that a horn?" Night Hunter asked as we looked down.

"It is. And I know who's it is. It's King Sombra's. That was the stallion we just saw." I said.

Night Hunter's eyes went wide.

"You're kidding me, right?" he asked.

"I'm not. Like I said, when King Sombra was defeated, he blew into a bunch of fragments. I guess we just found out where his horn landed." I explained.

"Wow. I mean, dang. I had no idea who that was at first, but I sure do now." Night Hunter said, starting to carefully reach out for the horn.

"Woah, woah, woah. What the heck are you doing?" I exclaimed.

"Its gotta get out of here one way or another." Night Hunter replied.

"Well let me do it. I'm the one wearing gloves, so I might be more suitable for this task." I said.

"Fine. Go ahead." Night Hunter said.

I bent downwards and gently gripped the horn with my fingers. Upon contact, I froze and looked onwards as something out of my ordinary happened. A sensation of rage began to fill my head. I dropped the horn back into the snow and stood upwards, turning to Night Hunter as I tightened both of my fists.

"Caleb? What are you doing?" Night Hunter asked. He obviously started to become uneasy, but he remained still and continued to look at me.

I stared and didn't say a word as a fire burned in my head. I'm not going to lie, but I just wanted to kick Night Hunter right in the face as hard as I could. This burst of rage was just so sudden, but at the same time I knew that my contact with the horn was causing it.

"Caleb.... Caleb!" Night Hunter said with a raised tone.

I then suddenly regained my self-control and snapped out of my rage-induced trance.

"Yeah... Phew. Sorry, Night Hunter. Holy crap." I said, walking away from the horn and dropping onto the snow to sit down.

Night Hunter slowly walked up to me and sat by my side. It was a bold move, I'll admit, considering my behavior.

"You okay?" he asked.

"I'm fine. That was just so sudden." I replied.

"Caleb, I saw that in your eyes. The green." Night Hunter said.

"My eyes were green?" I asked, looking at him with concern.

"They were green, but a darker shade. It was quick flash of it, actually." Night Hunter said.

"Is it gone now?" I asked.

"Yeah, it's gone. Didn't you mention before that King Sombra was under the influence of dark magic?" Night Hunter said as he looked over at King Sombra's horn

"He was." I replied.

"Then I have no doubts that horn still has remnants of dark magic in it." Night Hunter said.

"No, really... Maybe a whole lot of dark magic if it could alter my behavior and change the environment." I said, sarcastically.

"I'm just saying. So, do you feel normal again?" Night Hunter asked.

"Yeah. More better than before." I replied.

"Then come on. I think it's best if we get out of here and head back to empire to warn Princess Cadance." Night Hunter proposed.

"Sure... Let's go." I sighed.

We then wasted no time to leave the area behind and walked back to the Defender, passing the pair of dead trees again. Instead of going back to our camp, I just bypassed it and drove all the way back to the Crystal Empire, and I made sure to be fast about it. That place is a top priority.

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