• Published 14th Aug 2017
  • 5,749 Views, 86 Comments

Ghosts of A Different Kind - TerraeAntiqua

Celestia watched as an injured colt was rushed to the hospital wing of the castle, clinging to life by a thread. Luna battles her demons as she tries to help the colt heal from his, all so that he may continue to live.

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Walk Upon The Line Between

Year 7, Return Of Luna
15th of Discordia
High Noon

Princess Twilight Sparkle had gathered, at Celestia's request, all of the books, notes, and other bits of knowledge that she had on foreign languages and the translations made between them. As the majority of such accounts had been before Discord's "reign of an immeasurable amount of time" most of what she had was second hand and or half fictional tales. Everything else was more an in depth study into Equish itself and how other species have adopted it.

Books and scrolls on the languages of other species, besides the Minotaurs, Zebra, and Griffins, were also not readily available. The three that she had, one for each species, was more a dictionary and compilation of grammar mashed together. Changelings used hieroglyphs and pictographs, often incorporating them into murals. Diamond dogs had no written language that she was aware of, at least, not in the modern day. And dragons? They guarded theirs like they do everything else, jealously and with all the ferocity of a mother defending her foals.

While the purple mare was far from satisfied, she'd have to look through (see: raid) the Canterlot Library or the Royal Library if she wanted more. The royal library would likely be her best bet though as far as rare and ancient documents -in good condition no less- were concerned.

With her was Spike, her assistant and family member of mutually undetermined relation. He'd kept track of the books she had brought with her and made sure she kept her head because somehow there was another alicorn around -Celestia couldn't give much detail in her letter but promised to answer any and all questions she was able. Not only that, but he, HE, looked not too much older than the Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom. A few years at most and only a hand or two taller.

Stepping up to the Castle Grounds, even just into the courtyard -when had they opened it up to the public?- was surreal. The alicorn's saddle bags were weighed down with books, scrolls, and papers that she bound together herself, though it didn't bother her nearly as much now, with the strength and endurance by day that the earth tribe third of her genetics gave her.

The guard bowed stiffly toward her, the citizens gave low bows, while the nobility were somewhere in between. Everyone was on high alert though. The guard watched citizens and nobles as they actually -briefly and only on occasion- mingled and talked about the strange alicorn colt.

Dear Celestia, please give her the strength to bear with their crowd-born stupidity and ignorance if the time should come. The things that she was hearing -related to the princesses, a lover reborn, and messenger from a far off civilization to gain Equestria's help being the least of them, theory wise. The last one was really the only one that was halfway plausible and she nearly applauded the pony who was spreading that one around rather than the others.

Celestia had warned her, told her some of the things that Luna had denied but the chances of the populace actually believing them was, well, zero percent now.

Entering the throne room was an experience in itself. Her Holy Majesty, Princess Celestia, was wrapping up the last of the ponies that Day Court had to offer (which, other than being a princess, was likely why the guards outside had let her in) and she looked far from happy. Her smile was fake, her whole being was tense, and standing beside her were Luna and the colt whom she didn't yet know the name of[1].

Just another thing she'd have to ask.

"This is the first, and perhaps will be the only, male alicorn that Equestria has seen. He came not in radiant glory to battle with Chaos that We Know Well, The Lord of Shadows, the Magic Eater and other foes, as you and Princess Luna did. Neigh, he came upon us in his time of need. He came to use wounded by someone or something. We were the ones to help him." The citizen, a unicorn that had an chipped red two-handled pottery jar as his cutie mark, remarked as if Celestia didn't already know.

What he asked next though surprised the ascended alicorn, "Your Highness, what do you think that says about where he came from?"

It wasn't a question of where the colt came from, but of what his state when he had arrived meant, exactly. The solar diarch didn't looked surprised at this question. Apparently, she had already been thinking the same thing.

Twilight bit her lip harshly. She wanted to listen in and while she was allowed to, she admittedly kept getting distracted. Either it was how Celestia took the question with fake smile number four -holding back exasperation-, or how Luna suppressed a flinch, or the colt's reaction to all of this going on.

Speaking of...

His crow black fur was covered in faint scars, recent ones that had stitches with white dissoluble thread that looked like bits of starlight, and one vertical one in particular that went through one of his eyes. He gave no indication of being blind in that eye though and from this distance, still being near the front doors, she couldn't tell for herself. He wore no royal regalia, not yet at least, and she couldn't help but notice that his mane and tail were similar to Luna's, starry, but more so showing points of connected light. Constellations. Oh now that would be a fun topic for them to bond over.

Other than that, he was clearly bored. Sitting down now in the space between the throne and a standing Luna, who towered over him, he seemed to be tapping out a melody with both fore-hooves. Not being able to have his own input or at least be able to understand what it was anyone around him was saying must be overwhelmingly frustrating. And, as she saw, boring when he had nothing else to stimulate his mind.

The pattern repeated a couple of times before he stopped, looking around with mild interest at what was going on around him. Self-conscious, but not willing to show it.

Twilight thanked Celestia for suggesting she sit in on her court sessions as a teenager. While she'd been interested -which the solar alicorn probably picked up on- she hadn't thought of a way to ask. It taught her a lot about one's body language, how to act around the nobility and how said nobility acted around each other.

Surely this would help her now. Body language and gestures made up more than half of an actual conversation, after all. Even if they didn't get further than gestures and sounds, Twilight was determined to at least make a code or have him learn hoof language if possible. Those two options weren't ideal, but it didn't hurt to have back up plans in place ahead of time.

"I think, Mr. Amphora, it means that we have the chance to learn much from each other. I think it means that, should we continue to treat him with respect and hospitality, and should his family and friends come to search for him, they will be more inclined to be friendly, rather than hostile. I think it means we have the potential to have an ally, and friend, in the future, should we gain his trust and in turn trust him." Mr. Amphora bowed politely when he was dismissed, but otherwise radiated a frustration as he passed her that let the alicorn of magic know all too well that the answer Celestia had given was not the one he'd been expecting.

"Good afternoon, Twilight. If you'd like, we're going to be having lunch in a moment." Celestia said warmly as she rose from the throne, stretched out her wings and legs and turned her gaze to the colt, "This is Thanatos. I'm sorry you had to wait until you arrived to learn his name."

"Oh, it's no problem, Pr- ah, Celestia. I'm just glad I get to meet him." The purple alicorn turned her attention fully to the colt, waving her hoof in greeting, "My name is Twilight Sparkle," She pointed to herself as she spoke her name.

Thanatos looked between Celestia and Twilight for a long minute, as he no doubt was deciphering what was being said, before raising a hoof to the purple alicorn in greeting, rather than a wave, repeating her actions and words without hesitation afterward. It may have been all he'd been able to accomplish -he did seem a little tired now that she was closer- or because of cultural differences and him not wanting to offend anyone. The goddess of magic didn't quite know which.

"Hi Thanatos." Spike hopped down from her back, stretching for a moment before moving to stand a few paces in front of her to greet the newcomer, "I'm Spike." He continued, pointing to himself when he spoke his name. The young dragon didn't have to wait long, as Thanatos was thankfully able to recognize the name that the two sisters had been calling him by for the past however many hours. The markless alicorn, Twilight could see, was only confident so far as repeating the action and his name, before drawing back into himself and his mind. Guided only by Luna's gentle wing on his back as something of a physical crutch, or the reminder of it.

He glanced at her before lowering his head to the young dragon, blowing a cold mist over his head frill. Cold, because the mist had been low enough in temperature to cause snow, actual snow, that settled on Spike's head.

Twilight was positively itching by now to get her hooves into the royal library to scour the shelves for books. Maybe picture books to, even if he might be embarrassed by having to learn from them. In the meantime, there were other questions she could ask. Languages were, obviously, not her strong suit but she suspected that Celestia already knew that. Getting a griffin or minotaur resident would only help so far as them being bilingual...usually. It wouldn't help with the teaching of a language to the colt when there wasn't a common language to draw from.

Even she knew that it would be a hard task for her, in spite of or even because of her curiosity and drive for learning something new. She was bound to go overboard. Plus, they really did know next to nothing about him, except maybe Luna but that was limited to his dream state where languages were finicky -Luna told her once that she once had an entire conversation with a zebra and only after waking up did she realize that they'd both used their native languages yet were still able to understand each other.

Twilight nearly prayed to Harmony that it would happen whenever Luna visited Thanatos's dreams next because she didn't see any other way in getting him up to speed on the more abstract concepts and the details that she knew she'd end up micromanaging at some point.

Some days she hated her perfectionist tendencies.

Then again, how else was she going to keep the growing library at her own castle -stupid Tirek, stupid tree library for getting blown up- organized? Get Spike to do it? With the size that she was planning on not only would that be better as a punishment -not that she'd need to do that, he was a good drake- but it would be one better suited for if he messed up big time -okay there was that one incident, maybe, but he wasn't likely to ever mess up that bad ever again. Not anytime soon, she hoped.

"Shall we head to the formal dining hall, the private one, or have a picnic in the gardens?" Luna asked after the greetings were done, "We are hungry and imagine Thanatos to be as well."

Before anyone could reply, faint sounds reached all of their ears. Faint, but distinct.

"Anyone else heard that?"

Another bout of cold mist escaped Thanatos's muzzle, this one far more visible and the look of alarm was the only warning that they had. He ducked out of Luna's wing, walked right through her outstretched hoof to stop him as he rocketed forward without care for his injuries, horn and eyes -a trait from his land? His world?- light up with a brilliant green aura.

The guards at the door tried blocking him but he just ran right through them and the closed door as if they didn't exist. Or, maybe, as if he was the one who didn't exist.

Author's Note:

Please let me know what you think of this one. Sometimes these transitional chapters -from points a to b- can be kind of...meh, as I've noticed in my own writing. I tried to capture Twilight's personality well enough, but I'm not sure how well I succeeded.

Also, here is finally that quote thing from the summary. Some archaeologist pony whose name I dubbed to be Sketched Amphora.

[1] - Luna gave Danny an impromptu tour of part of the castle -as a tour of all of it would take too long- which included a trip to one of the kitchens and snacking on something- before arriving in the throne room maybe an hour before Twilight did.