• Published 31st Mar 2017
  • 3,172 Views, 93 Comments

The Mare that eats The Monsters - Skijarama



She is known as no more than a myth, a legend, a bedtime story to scare little foals. Her name is Moonrise Drifter, and Twilight Sparkle is going to learn more about her than anypony has in a long time...

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Chapter 6 - Little Lapis

The sun was beginning to set. The snowstorm had finally died down, the clouds giving way to clear skies and allowing the last, orange glows of daylight to paint the whitened landscape in long stripes. Twilight wasn’t sure, but she was under the impression they were now following a road that was merely smothered by the snow. They had been making their way up a steady incline for a while now in an almost perfectly straight line. For her part, Twilight was starting to slow down a little. She needed more rest then she had gotten in the remains of the train.

Finally, Drifter stopped as the incline leveled out and dipped into a natural bowl in the mountainous terrain. Twilight picked up the pace just slightly to reach her side and look for herself. Once she crested the top of the hill, she sat down for a moment to catch her breath. “Welcome to Little Lapis.” Drifter said with a warm smile on her face.

Twilight looked and saw that there was a village nestled quite comfortably in the center of the bowl. The homes were made of masterfully crafted wooden houses with foundations made up of massive stone bricks. A few ponies could be seen going about their day below, no doubt preparing to head indoors soon.

Still shaken horribly by what had happened back on the train, such a peaceful scene was a very welcome sight to Twilight. “It looks like a nice place…” She hummed quietly in her exhausted state.

“It is. Trust me. I’ve been basing myself out of a cave at the bottom of the old well just outside town. The ponies here are friendly and accommodating.” Drifter let her smile turn to a serious frown. “All the more reason for us to find and destroy that garden.”

“Right.” Twilight said as she stood back up, wobbling on her legs slightly.

“You need rest. Hay, I do too. I didn’t live this long by working myself raw. Let’s find an inn or hotel or something. I’m sure somepony would be happy to spread word of your survival.” Drifter suggested as she slowly trotted down towards Little Lapis.

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea to me.” Twilight agreed almost without thinking. The mere concept of sleeping in a warm bed made her body ready to slump over to an almost impossible degree.

Little Lapis was even more charming up close. Twilight felt a lot of the tension in her aching muscles start to fade away in the friendly ambiance around her. A few fillies and colts looked up at her from their little circle. Their eyes widened as they realized she was an alicorn and galloped over in a flurry of childish enthusiasm.

“Woah, Drifter! You never told us you were friends with a princess!” One of the colts piped up in awe, looking Twilight up and down like a hungry dog would it’s favorite toy. Twilight sheepishly waved at the mass of young ponies gathered around her.

“Is this Princess Twilight?” Another foal, a filly, asked, noting Twilight’s cutie mark.

“What’s it like down in not-snowy Equestria?”

“Are those bandages? Are you hurt?”

Drifter gently stepped between the crowd and Twilight, silencing them almost instantly with a soft smile and clearing of her throat. “Yes, this is Princess Twilight, little ones. But she’s had a very rough couple of days and I think she would appreciate it if she weren’t mobbed right now, okay?” she said, the motherly tone in her voice rivaling that of Celestia.

Aaaawwww…” the fillies and colts groaned in unison, drawing an amused giggle from Drifter.

“I’ll tell you what. Let her get some rest and I’ll introduce you in the morning.” she suggested, earning excited nods from the foals.

“Well, do you have time to play tonight before you go home?” another colt asked.

Drifter nodded. “Of course. Give me just a few minutes to get Twilight a room. You lot can figure out what we’re playing while I’m doing that.”

The fillies and colts gave a simultaneous cheer of ‘hooray’ before chatting amongst themselves about what they were going to play when Drifter got back. Drifter simply rolled her eyes at them before turning back to Twilight and giggling at the look she was receiving. Twilight blinked and put on an appreciative smile. “Thanks. I had no idea you were so good with foals.”

“One thousand years, Twilight, remember? I’ve learned a few things.” Drifter said as they began to make their way to a nearby three story building. “Besides… I’ve always been gentle with foals. I remember what it was like for me to grow up as an outcast and don’t want anypony else to suffer through it if I can help it.”

Twilight nodded as they stepped into the building’s main entrance. Instantly, Twilight felt herself go weak in every muscle of her body as an absolutely heavenly warmth washed over her. It smelled like there was a fresh pot of soup being cooked in the fireplace on the far right side of the room, the fireplace generating the heat. I could pass out right here… Twilight mused before Drifter tapped her on the shoulder.

“Hey, stay awake just a minute longer, okay?”

Twilight grumbled in frustration but otherwise did her best to remain awake as Drifter approached the counter.

The stallion behind the counter, glanced up from a book he was reading, a massive grin appearing on his face. He was a large, muscular earth pony with a brown coat. His main and tail were blond and he had a thick, bushy beard on his face. He wore a fuzzy looking beanie and a thick winter coat was folded up nicely on the side of the desk. His smile practically screamed friendliness and good natured humor.

“Ah, Moonrise Drifter! Welcome back to Little Lapis!” He said jovially, his deep voice having an immense amount of passion and carry to it as he stood up from his seat.

“Good to see you, Lumberjack.” Drifter said with a nod of her head before gesturing to Twilight. “This fine mare needs a room for the night, best you have available.”

“Uh, actually, that’s not really necessary-” Twilight began before a firm look from Drifter stopped her.

“It may not be necessary, Twilight, but it will do you a lot of good right now. Rest comes much better when you’re comfortable.” A warm smile spread on Drifter’s face as she gestured to the pony behind the counter. “And if anypony knows comfort, it would have to be this one.”

“Howdy, miss Twilight- er, I mean, it’s a pleasure to meet you, your highness.” Lumberjack stumbled partway through his greeting into probably the most awkward bow Twilight had ever seen. Slamming his forehead into the desk in the process only made it worse.

“Just Twilight is fine. No need to be so formal with me in your own establishment.” Twilight said sheepishly, waving her hoof in the air in a sort of mix between brushing off his awkward greeting and waving ‘hi’.

“Ah, alright then!” Lumberjack was almost instantly perking up again, straightening out his mane with a hoof. “You sure?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Well, if I don’t get to be formal with you, you don’t get to be formal with me, ya hear?” Lumberjack said as his grin grew even bigger. Twilight blinked in bewilderment.

“Uh… what?”

“You heard. This here is my inn and I make the rules. Formalities are just fancy rules, right? Well, feel no need to adhere to them here. Best room I got, free of charge for as long as you need it.” his grin turned into bombastic laughter as Twilight fell onto her haunches with an open mouth while trying to process what he had just said.

“No, I don’t think that’s necessary either…” Twilight finally managed to utter, looking at the big guy with her head tilted to the side a bit.

“Well, the way I see it, miss Drifter here is on important business. And from the fact that you, the Princess of Friendship, is here with her, I’m guessing that it’s really important business. I couldn’t in my right mind do anything to hinder that, be it taking your bits or denying you a good place to sleep for the night. You get the room for as long as you need it, and I ain’t taking ‘no’ for an answer.” Lumberjack said with a somewhat more serious, but still very friendly expression on his face.

“Trust me, you aren’t winning this debate.” Drifter said mirthfully, suppressing her giggles as well as she was able. “Just go with it. You’ll feel better in the morning.”

Twilight glanced to Drifter quizzically. “And what about you? Where are you going?”

“I’m going to go play with those foals, remember? Once I’m done with that I’ll be heading to the spot I’m using as a residence for my stay here. I’ll come get you tomorrow and we can talk more there.” Drifter explained before turning for the door.

“Oh, okay… goodnight.” Twilight said as the exhaustion in her bones once more reared it’s head. She almost passed out again before Lumberjack coughed to catch her attention.

“Here’s the key to your room, Twilight.” he said, passing her the thick, surprisingly heavy metal key. She took it in her magic and smiled at him.

“Thank you very much, sir.”

“Lumberjack’s fine with me if Twilight’s fine with you. And don’t mention it. You go have a good rest now, eh?” He said with a small smile before sitting back down in his chair.

“Okay… goodnight, Lumberjack.”

“Goodnight, kiddo.”

Twilight paused at that remark but chose to ignore it. There was a big bed with warm blankets calling out her name and she had no intention of denying it’s siren song any longer. With a notable, sleepy sway in her walk, Twilight headed for the room with the same number as her key.

Princess Celestia felt her eye twitch and her muscles tensed up as she looked over the contents of Spike’s recent message to her. She had been enjoying her morning routine before the dull monotony of the political proceedings, drinking tea and having a pleasant breakfast. The message than appeared in a poof of green smoke. She had instantly noticed the lack of a seal or red ribbon binding the letter. It was instead bound by a patch of cloth, which itself was also a message.

‘HELP ME.’

The actual letter filled her in on what little Twilight’s friends knew about this, as well as their intention to find Twilight and help her. Spike ended the letter by asking if she had any ideas on where to look first.

She had written back and told them of Little Lapis. That was the town Twilight was supposed to go to in order to meet up with Moonrise Drifter. Celestia ruffled her wings in agitation and let a frustrated sigh leave her system. She still had another two days before she would be fully done with all of the politics and diplomacy here, and that was if she really hurried everything along.

“Sister?” Celestia was jolted from her frustrated thoughts by Luna’s concerned voice. “What’s bothering you?”

“...This.” Celestia said simply, levitating the scrap of cloth and the letter over to Luna for her to inspect.

“And yet you remain here?” Luna asked bluntly, trotting up next to Celestia and glaring at her firmly. “I would have expected you to vanish the moment the message came to you.”

Celestia bit her lip and sighed. “I want to, I really do...” she shifted uneasily and glared out the window. “But I’m afraid...”

“Afraid?”

Celestia sighed heavily. “Lulu, you remember Luminous Horizon, don’t you?”

Luna grimaced at the mentioning of the name. “How could I forget? His ilk spilled no small amount of blood before I was banished. I imagine he spilled still more before you were able to remove him.” Luna’s expression turned curious. “But what does that old fool have to do with anything now?”

Celestia flinched at that before looking at Luna hard in the eyes. “Luna… I never said he had been removed.”

Luna’s eyes widened and her wings flared open in alarm. “You mean he yet lives and you didn’t mention anything to me?!”

“He’s a border threat at most these days. Moonrise Drifter keeps his spawn to a minimum at all times and is hoping to finish him herself when she finds him…” Celestia gave a huff. “...Twilight was sent to help Drifter destroy a newly formed garden. She sent this message only twelve hours after her train left.”

“If nothing else, it makes sense why you are afraid, now...” Luna said, drawing Celestia’s undivided attention. “But that means this matter is far more important than I anticipated. Go. Now.”

“But-”

“Sister, I will handle matters here and come to assist you as soon as all of this political nonsense is set aside. You go help Twilight however you can.” Luna said sharply, leaving Celestia no room to argue, much to both of their reliefs.

“Sometimes I appreciate how quick you are to act, Luna…” Celestia smiled and hugged her sister affectionately before turning and teleporting from the room. Luna nodded to herself before turning to handle her now doubled workload for the next two days.