• Published 4th Jul 2018
  • 23,861 Views, 4,055 Comments

The Power of Freedom - Greatazuredragon

Having long grown utterly bored with the destiny the gods had decreed for him, Ganondorf decided to take matters into his own hands and escape to a new dimension where he could be free. Even if that would mean turning into a pastel colored pony.

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XV - Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming

“Was he the last one?” Zelda inquired for clarification, as she took in the lack of any other injured in her vicinity and took a sip of water from the waterskin one villager had brought. The solemn nod Old Oak gave her as he started to repack his healing supplies made the Wielder of Wisdom let out a relieved sigh that contained both her tiredness for the whole ordeal, and relief that there hadn’t been any fatalities or lasting injuries amidst the defenders.

“Yes, and once again you have my heartfelt gratitude, my dear,” the elder spoke with a tired but sincere smile as he gazed at the white-coated unicorn and bowed his head. “You and your companions’ aid was invaluable in this whole ordeal. We are all in your debt.”

“I humbly accept your gratitude, elder, but nonetheless know that there is no debt between us. To aid those who are in need is simply the right thing to do, no more and no less,” she replied with a smile as she set aside the waterskin and placed a hoof upon his shoulder.

“If only more ponies agreed with such a sentiment,” Old Oak quietly said as he gazed Zelda in the eyes and realized she truly meant her words. “If that was so, the world would be a very different place.”

A moment of solemn silence made itself known as both the unicorn and the earth pony acknowledged the sad truth of the elder’s words, only for the somber mood to come to an abrupt end as Zelda’s smile grew a little larger as she looked Old Oak straight in the eyes.

“That may be so, as the world is often a dark and unforgiving place. But that’s why we must try and be that change,” Zelda said as she looked towards the ponies roaming but a few meters away from the healers as they completed their own tasks as the village slowly recovered from the attack, many earth ponies who had glared at her but a few hours ago actually smiling or giving her nods of respect as they hurried along. “For no matter how dark the world may be, the quality of kindness shall never be strained.”

Old Oak stared at the Wielder of Wisdom for a moment, as if unable to truly comprehend her words. Until, with a small laugh and a shake of his head, he answered, his body language far more at ease and his eyes shining in wonder. “Indeed, my dear, you are absolutely right!”

Zelda removed her hoof from the elder’s shoulder and proceeded to help to pack what remained of the medicinal supplies. A moment of companionable silence stretched on for a few minutes as they finished the small chore, until the sound of flapping wings made them look upwards towards the azure-coated pegasus that was coming their way.

“Zelda, Old Oak,” Wonder Bolt greeted them with a deferential nod of his head to each of them as he landed next to the two ponies and let out an exhausted sigh. “Sorry for disturbing you both, but how are the sergeant and the rest of my flight who happen to be under your care fairing?”

“Do not speak nonsense, my young lad! You aren’t being a disturbance in the slightest,” Old Oak jovially said as he nodded in greeting towards the exhausted looking pegasus and Zelda nodded in kind. “As for your fellow pegasi, I’m happy to say that they are out of risk and their injuries have been treated as well as possible, considering the current circumstances. Given enough time and rest they should all make a swift recovery.”

“That’s very good to hear, you have my thanks, both of you,” Wonder Bolt said as he all but sagged in relief for a moment before he recomposed himself and bowed low to the two ponies. “Now if you excuse me, I must continue my patrol.”

“You are welcomed, but if you would forgive my impertinence, I believe that you should rest and recover your energies yourself,” Zelda gracefully interjected as she truly took in the pegasus warrior’s disheveled and exhausted appearance. “You need to rest, not to push yourself to exhaustion.”

“Regrettably, with only six of our number still on their hooves it’s has been a challenge to create a proper patrol schedule of the skies surrounding the village in order to warn us should the beasts make a reappearance, especially considering how most of us are also weary from the battle,” Bolt replied with a head shake as he pulled a few strings in his armor with his mouth in order to make sure it was secure and flexed his tired wings. “I ordered the others to rest first as I took the first watch since they are worse off than me. But rest assured that I shall soon be relieved by the next pegasus on the rotation, and I plan to rest immediately afterwards.”

“Very well, I shall trust that you know your body well enough to not push yourself past your limits,” Zelda grudgingly conceded after briefly scanning the azure-coated pony and making sure he wasn’t about to collapse or harm himself out of foolish pride. “But do make sure to rest and recover as soon as possible, most of the rest of your numbers should be flight capable and able to endure minor efforts by tomorrow morning, but they shall not be fully recovered before at least one more day after that, so be warned.”

“That’s actually far better than I dared to hope,” Wonder Bolt said with a tiny smile. “Rest assured, I shall take heed of your words, Zelda. Once again you have my thanks.”

And with those words and a final bow towards the two healers’ the pegasus warrior took wing and started to ascend in a slow but steady spiral, his flight steady and his eyes alert despite his exhaustion.

“Come now, my dear, let us heed our own advice,” Old Oak said after a moment of watching the pegasus warrior’s flight as he gestured towards his cabin. “If I know anything about my apprentice, then I can hazard a guess that Singing has left some water boiling already in the fire. So let us rest a little with a warm cup of tea, yes?”

“I would love to,” Zelda easily replied with a sincere smile towards the old stallion as she followed him towards the cabin while carrying the medical supplies in her magical aura.

A brown hoof scraped the light layer of frost that had slowly started to spread upon the ground as its large owner observed his surroundings with all his senses, both magical and mundane, as the sun slowly crept towards sunset for the second time in less than twelve hours.

“This is going to be annoying,” Ganondorf firmly decided. As he took in the light coating of ice and snow that now covered almost the entirety of the woods surrounding the pony settlement, he felt a renewed gale of freezing wind coming from the north.

With a final look around in order to confirm that none of the frozen pests remained in the immediate vicinity, he turned around and started to trot towards the village. All the while he ruminated about the implications the changes in the weather that the ice wraiths were clearly causing would have in the long run. After stalking the whole perimeter around the area, it had become readily apparent to the Dark Lord that the deep coating of ice and snow found at the northern woods was slowly but surely inching its way towards the village. And it would soon overtake and envelop it.

As he kept weaving around the trees at a ground eating pace, he acknowledged that, even if the ghostly annoyances didn’t make a second strike against the ponies, the little equines would soon face problems due to the quickly falling temperature and all that it entailed, especially considering the earlier comments about their food stocks being currently low. And if Zelda’s vision could be trusted, something that he was more than inclined to believe, what with how accurate the little Princess was in regards to delivering bad news, then the harsh cold that was already present was nothing but the beginning.

“Really annoying,” he concluded with a final nod as he left the slowly freezing woods behind and emerged into the village proper, his muzzle sporting a mildly irritated look. He had always had something of a dislike for problems that couldn’t be solved with a good judicious use of excessive force.

“Ganondorf, you are back!” Forest earnest shout resounded through the cold air as she abandoned her spot near one of the many bonfires scattered throughout the village and ran towards him with a skip in her step and a dazzling smile on her muzzle. The action was accompanied by a deluge of praises and cheers from the surrounding earth ponies as they realized the large stallion had returned from his scouting mission.

“Yes,” Ganondorf replied after a moment for lack of anything else to say, still not really sure how to react to the oddity that was being warmly received and welcomed by a civilian population. After another moment he firmly decided that it was a problem for another time and firmly marched forward as he ignored the cheering ponies, Forest in lockstep with him as he kept walking.

“Was there any trouble? Did you find more of those things? Are you alright?!” Forest asked one question after another as she fretted all around the very bemused Wielder of Power, her eyes searching his large form for any injuries.

“I know you are strong! That’s obvious!” she continued, a tinge of worry entering her voice as she assured Ganondorf of her confidence in his strength. “But, but even so… being caught by a bunch of those creatures alone would be really bad! Not that I’m implying that you can’t take care of yourself! But even so-”

The large earth pony for his part just kept walking as he curiously observed his apprentice continue to talk and fret as she kept talking about how she had worried for his safety, while reassuring him that she knew that he would be fine thanks to his great prowess and unmatched ability.

Ganondorf couldn’t help but snort in amusement at the orange-coated mare’s words. All that would result from being caught alone by those pesky annoyances would be that, without others around, he wouldn’t have to worry even slightly about collateral damage. And he really doubted that any number of the ice beasties could deal with him when he went all out. As such her worry was completely unneeded, of course, if not exactly unwelcomed.

It was a unique feeling to say the least, since he really couldn’t remember the last time anyone had worried about his personal health. Her recognition of his skill and power was also appreciated.

“I mean, it was just that you were taking so long to get back that I… Not that I’m implying that you can’t take care of yourself!” the orange-coated mare swiftly continued her deluge of words as she all but vibrated in place and looked everywhere but at him. “Well… I mean… I’m just glad that you are back safe and sound! That’s all!”

“There was no trouble at all. There was also no sign of those things anywhere around here. Tons of ice and snow, but none of the beasties that caused them,” Ganondorf nonchalantly said as he started to answer her questions in the order she had made them. All the while he kept ignoring the happy smiles and waving hooves being sent his way, before he turned towards Forest and gave her a roguish smile. “And besides, there is no way I would go down to such pathetic enemies; you can rest assured of that, Forest.”

“Link also hasn’t come back yet…” she mumbled as she averted her gaze, her cheeks once again acquiring the now familiar tone of red that seemed to pop up on her features on a semi regular basis. “He may be in trouble.”

“Oh, he is going to be fine, don’t worry about it,” he nonchalantly replied with a wave of a hoof and a snort of amusement. Oh, sure, there were indeed extremely good odds that the green wonder would indeed find trouble of some kind, he had a downright uncanny gift for that, after all! But his ability to deal with said troubles was downright ludicrous too.

“But-“ Forest started to say, only to stop speaking all together and become as red as a lobster as Ganondorf lightly patted her on the neck as he gave her an amused look and kept talking himself.

“No, seriously, you wouldn’t believe what it actually takes to bring the Kid down! He is going to be fine!” he laughed out loud as he spoke. He knew that from personal experience, after all! In order to take the Wielder of Courage down you needed an outrageous amount of actually powerful enemies to keep him busy, many, many traps and spells to weaken and distract him, a few actual heavy hitters to wrap up the deal, and a good deal of luck to top it all! All basically thrown at him at the same time! And even then it was by no means an assured thing! “He will be back before you know it, trust me on that!”

Of that the Dark Lord was certain. After all, if Ganondorf himself had trouble bringing the green wonder down, then by Din’s eternal fury was the Wielder of Power certain that the little bunch of frozen beasties they were dealing with wouldn’t be able to take down the infuriatingly resilient and persistent Wielder of Courage! No matter what numbers they brought to bear! Of that he was certain!

“Okay,” Forest simply said, her orange coat still retaining its new red tint. But at the very least the gleaming smile on her muzzle showed she wasn’t worried any longer, so that probably counted as a win. He was getting the hang of this ‘social interaction’ thing!

“Big sis, mister Ganondorf! I finally found you two!” A small yellow ball of fluff yelled at the top of her lungs as she darted towards the two of them at very respectable speeds, cutting the King of Thieves’ train of thought short as he dropped it in favor of watching the now happily bouncing ball of hyperactivity called Singing Blossom as she reached them. “I was looking for you two everywhere!”

“Hey, Squirt, how’s it going?” Ganondorf happily greeted the tiny yellow filly as she kept bouncing in place.

“I’m okay! Old Oak showed me how to use some new healing salves and poultices, which was neat! Even if that meant that ponies had been hurt, which really wasn’t neat! But now everypony has been treated already, which is also neat, and so he didn’t need my help with that any longer!” she cheerfully regale him with the tale of what she had been doing as she jumped atop his back all the while ignoring Forest’s protests about her doing so. “So I started helping people carry things from one part of the village to another, since apparently nopony knows how to pack things right! Really, mister Link should teach them, because they are all doing it wrong! The faces they make when I show them the right way to do it is amusing though!

“What were we talking about again?” she curiously asked as she tilted her head to the side from atop her new perch on the back of the Wielder of Power, gaining an amused chuckle form the large stallion and an exasperated sigh from her older sister.

“You said you were looking for us,” Ganondorf helpfully pointed out as he resumed his walk.

“Right! Mom asked me to find you all and tell you that dinner is ready! Again!” she dutifully reported to the two of them, before she raised a hoof to her chin and took on a contemplative look, “Or would it be breakfast instead? Out last meal was dinner, after all, and the next meal after dinner is breakfast! That’s how it goes, after all! So this is probably breakfast! But breakfast is supposed to be after we go to sleep and when the sun is rising again! And we didn’t sleep yet and the sun is setting! For the second time today!

“So is this meal breakfast or a second dinner? I don’t know! Maybe miss Zelda would know though, she seems to know about a lot of stuff!” Singing kept going as she debated what to call the meal they were about to have, the idea of her pestering the Princess about it only amusing Ganondorf even more. “ Anyway, like I said Mom asked me to tell you that the food is ready and that you should get back home to eat the second dinner or breakfast!

“Now I gotta go find Zelda and tell her that too! See ya at home, bye!” Singing happily finished and prepared to jump away and resume her search, only for Ganondorf to keep her in place with one hoof.

“No need for that, Squirt,” Ganondorf said as he rested a hoof that dwarfed the tiny filly upon her back in order to stop her from darting away as he had just seem the unicorn in question appear from around the corner of a cottage. And so, like any reasonable person seeking to gain the attention of another who so happened to be further away he proceeded to shout at the top of his lungs. “Hey, Princess, get over here!”

He nodded in satisfaction at a task cleared as the Wielder of Wisdom proceeded to glare in his direction for a moment at the shout, sigh, and then start walking towards them. All the while the orange-coated pony at his side was giving him a strange look.

“Ganondorf, why exactly do you keep calling Zelda princess?” Forest Blossom asked after a few moments of quiet contemplation as she gazed at him with a look he couldn’t really decipher.

“Why shouldn’t I call her Princess?” he questioned in slight puzzlement. “That’s what she is, after all! So what else would I call her?”

Forest’s answer to his own question was to soundlessly mouth the word: what. After another moment of staring and being stared at by a very confused looking earth pony without having any idea how to proceed, or what had even caused the silence in the first place, Ganondorf decided that maybe he still had some ways to go in regards to this ‘social interaction’ thing.

With a shrug of his shoulders he banished the topic from his mind and re-started his walk towards the Blossom family’s cottage. There was dinner or breakfast to be had, and regardless of which it was, Beautiful Blossom’s food had yet to fail to pass muster, so there was no reason to let her efforts go to waste.

“So no sign of Link yet?” Zelda asked the Wielder of Power as they approached the Blossom family’s home.

“Nope,” Ganondorf nonchalantly replied even as he took a deep breath of the very tasty smell that was permeating the air. “You know how the Kid is; he is probably going to explore the whole of the blizzard just for the heck of it before he deigns to come back.”

The small sigh that was the answer of the Wielder of Wisdom showed that Zelda also agreed with Ganondorf’s impression of Link’s little exploring habits. The Kid had some serious wanderlust in him, and little to no regard to what exactly constituted as a good time and place to indulge said wanderlust.

“We’re home!” Singing cheerfully shouted as Forest opened the door, before she darted past her sister and straight towards the kitchen.

“Welcome back!” Beautiful Blossom happily greeted them with a beaming smile as she placed the last few plates upon the table. “You’re right on time, the food is all but ready! I’m certain you all must be famished after this whole dreadful business, so do take a seat!”

And with those words the plum-coated matron went straight back to the kitchen, where what looked like several piping hot apple pies were resting near the lit stove where a large pot of stew was simmering under the watchful eye of the Wielder of Courage.

“What the-“ the large stallion mumbled as he did a double take and confirmed that, yes, the green-coated pegasus calmly stirring the stew was indeed Link of all beings. “Hey, Kid, what are you doing here?”

“Cooking,” Link simply replied as he nodded in greeting towards them before raising the spoon he had been using in order to taste the stew.

“Yeah, I can see that,” Ganondorf grumbled as he trotted into the kitchen proper, Zelda right alongside him. “But why are you cooking?”

“Beautiful Blossom asked for some help with it,” the pegasus calmly replied as he nodded in satisfaction at the taste and proceeded to remove the pan from the fire. “And I decided it would be a good time to show her how to create cold resistance meals.”

“Yes, and what a marvelous little idea this was!” Beautiful Blossom happily interjected as she picked up the pies and proceeded to take them towards the table. “Who could imagine that mixing the ingredients together in such a way could have such a drastic effect on the end result!

“And who would ever think to try and empower the food while it’s cooked like we do with our crops!” she continued to the three nonplussed ponies and cheerful little filly right in front of her. “But now that I see how it works, it makes so much sense! These recipes will be so much help, I can already tell! Truly you have my thanks, dear!”

“You are welcome,” was Link’s simple answer as he deposited the stew upon the table, not paying much mind to the varying levels of incredulity permeating the room.

“Okay… What?” Forest Blossom finally said, apparently trying and failing to understand what was happening.

“The Kid knows how to make food that temporarily increases resistance to different elements or raise certain attributes,” Ganondorf dutifully explained to his apprentice with a shrug of his shoulders. He had little knowledge exactly how the Kid did it, but he could acknowledge it had its uses.

“Link, exactly how long ago did you return to the village?” Zelda interjected with a put upon look on her features, cutting Ganondorf’s train of thought about Link’s cooking skills short.

“About two hours ago,” he calmly replied as he started to set the plates and cutlery down, before tilting his head towards the Wielder of Wisdom. “Why do you ask?”

“And you didn’t think about reporting back what you found during your scouting mission?” the Princess asked in slight exasperation.

“You looked busy,” was the nonchalant reply as he pulled Beautiful Blossom’s chair back so that she could sit.

“Of course, silly me,” Zelda answered with a tired sigh before with a shake of her head she clearly decided to drop the subject and gracefully accept the seat Link was offering her.

Ganondorf, for his part, couldn’t help but snort in amusement, even as he inwardly agreed with both the Princess’ slight exasperation and her smart decision to not pursue the topic further. Link had a seriously skewed view on how to prioritize things, after all.

He still remembered far too well the confusion and incredulity he had felt the first time he saw the green wonder postponing their final clash for the fate of Hyrule in order to go fishing, of all things, or to pursue some other inane task for no apparent reason. In the end the Kid tended to do things at his own pace, and nothing and no one had been able to change that for as long as he could remember. So him deciding to go help their host cook instead of bringing vital intel back was perfectly in character with his little antics.

“Anyway, you being back probably means your scouting mission was a success, right?" Ganondorf asked after pulling a seat for a once again red tinted Forest and taking a seat for himself as he stared at Link as he helped Singing to her own seat and nodded in answer. “Great! So, on a scale from one to ten, with one being a typical hylian hissy fit and ten being me in a downright foul mood, how bad is the situation?”

“An eight, possibly a nine,” was the Hero’s calm reply as he took his own place at the table and started to serve the food.

“What?” Zelda immediately interjected, a worried look on her features as she traded a meaningful look with the now deeply interested Wielder of Power.

“Afterwards, the food will get cold otherwise,” was the green wonder’s succinct reply, and then he proceeded to engage their host with some inane babble about different types of food and how to best prepare them, as if he hadn’t just alluded to the frozen beasties being a major and imminent threat.

The face that Zelda was making clearly showed that she really wanted to pursue that topic further as well, but in the end, after closing her eyes for a moment and letting out a very tired sigh, she simply shook her head and grabbed her own plate as she resigned herself to follow Link’s pace in this matter. Quite smart of her in his own opinion, one had to recognize a losing battle when they saw it, after all.

“So, what you are telling us is that there are easily hundreds, if not thousands of those beasts in the storm,” Wonder Bolt asked the green-coated pegasus nonchalantly standing in the middle of Old Oak’s home as if he hadn’t just told them all that a massive horde of hungry, multiplying ice wraiths was hanging at the near horizon, with a hint of dread. “A storm that is swiftly turning everything in its path into a frozen wasteland, no less. Is that it?”

“Yes,” Link simply said with a small nod, apparently happy everypony had understood his report.

“By the great winds…” he heard Fierce Breeze mutter from the bed she was tucked into, the news of the incoming horde really doing nothing to help the still exhausted sergeant’s health, who was clearly aghast at what she had just heard. Not that Bolt could blame her, for he himself and all their squad members and the earth ponies who had managed to cram themselves into the elder’s home to hear what news Link had shared the same feeling.

The victory they had managed against the last assault had been far too close for comfort, and that had been against a group of but a few dozen of the creatures at first! Against a strike force of hundreds, if not thousands of them? Their odds didn’t bear mentioning…

“Oh, buck it all!” Sure Shot angrily spat as she glowered at the massive blizzard she could see through the window from her own pile of blankets, fear and fury battling for supremacy in her hard eyes. “How can we defend the village against a bucking horde of those things?!”

“Simple. We can’t,” Old Oak interjected in a tired voice, his eyes closed as if in deep contemplation.

“What?!” Sure Shot and Forest Blossom shouted as one, indentical looks of incredulity on their muzzles as they stared at the old earth pony.

“Exactly as I said, we simply cannot defend the village, not in the long term, not in any way that matters,” Old Oak continued his voice quiet but unrelenting as he opened his steely eyes and stared at both mares.

“Even if the village was equipped with protective structures that would allow us to defend ourselves against such numbers, the storm is already progressing southwards through our eastern flank, and starting to do the same through our western one,” Zelda interjected with an equally hard and unrelenting tone of voice, a deep frown on her features. “As such, standing our ground here would result in a single, inescapable conclusion.”

“We would be surrounded,” Ganondorf added with an annoyed huff as he immediately realized what Zelda was implying, an angry glower flickering deep in his eyes. “Even if we turned the village into an unassailable fortress before the beasties manage to hit us, it would inevitably turn into a siege.”

“A siege against a foe with seemingly endless numbers and whose mere presence slowly turns the lands all around them into a frozen wasteland,” Zelda easily continued the large stallion’s train of thought as she traded a meaningful look with him. “Even if the wraiths were unable to overcome us with their numerical superiority, even if we defeated wave after wave of their numbers, the cold and a lack of supplies would eventually defeat us for them.”

“Supplies that are already strained to their limits due to the poor harvests we have experienced in the last few seasons,” Old Oak grimly concluded as a heavy silence descended upon the room.

“Ancestors protect us…” Bolt heard Forge Fire whisper, as the realization of what would inevitably follow in such a scenario dawned upon them all.

“What do we do?!” somepony shouted amidst the small crowd as panic started to set in, only for the sea green ranger to cut it short with her next words.

“The only thing we can do,” Sure Shot spat, the expression on her muzzle making it look like she could barely tolerate the words she was saying. “We leave.”

“What!” Forest shouted alongside several other ponies, as they stared at the ranger as if she had grown a second head.

“There is a great deal of difference between courage and idiocy, Forest! And staying to fight an unwinnable battle that would condemn us all is definitely the latter!” Sure Shot angrily replied, a furious look in her eyes. “I may not like it one damn bit, but the fact remains that leaving the village behind is our only chance of making it out of this alive!”

“Indeed. We must leave as swiftly as possible, for it’s not only our own safety that is at stake,” Old Oak added before the angry mutters of the crowd could grow, as he stared them all quieted down. “The creatures will surely not stop at our village. We must warn the other villages south of us of the incoming danger as well!”

“The Armada must be warned!” one of his flight mates shouted as they all realized what would happen if the horde reached the heart of the pony lands unnoticed. The death and destruction they would rain down in their wake as the whole of their lands was turned into a frozen wasteland.

“The whole of ponykind must be warned!” Sure Shot retorted with a final glower to the threatening storm on the horizon. “Something that will not happen if we turtle up and die here!”

“Indeed. We must make haste. Prepare wagons for the wounded and start packing all the necessary supplies, we must depart as soon as we are able!” the elder sternly stated as he looked at the scared and angry crowd, until his eyes finally stopped at the strange trio who appeared to be the only ones keeping a semblance of calm amidst the storm of emotions ravaging the room. “You three have already done so much for us, and yet I fear that I must impose upon you once again. Would you help us?”

“Stop speaking nonsense, old timer! Like I would allow such pathetic beings to kill my new apprentice!” Ganondorf’s boisterous voice cut through the growing tension as a hot knife through butter, a roguish grin fixed on his muzzle as he stood right next to a fiercely blushing Forest Blossom. “And besides, I still owe those beasties a piece of my mind!”

“While I wouldn’t use such crude words to address the issue, I have to agree with the sentiment behind Ganondorf’s words,” Zelda added, her eyes shining with conviction and defiance. All the while Link nodded his agreement at her side. “You shall have our aid, of that I assure you!”

“Thank you,” Old Oak sincerely said with a deep bow, before his steely eyes locked upon Link’s form. “Link, how many of the enchanted saddlebags you gifted Singing can you part with?”

“How many saddlebags do you have?” was the green pegasus immediate reply. A reply that caused the growing cacophony all around them to ground to a sudden halt.

“You can make those things?!” Forest incredulously asked as she and everypony else stared at Link with slight incredulity. Everypony had seen at one time or another the seemingly bottomless bags both the green pegasus and the tiny filly had been using. Just as they all knew that such magical items were both rare and very expensive. So the thought that a pegasus could make such enchanted items was…

“How- no that’s not important.” Old Oak muttered with a firm head shake, neatly summarizing everypony’s train of thought. “I shall make it so all saddlebags we have available are brought here, please do so to as many of them as you can. They will make the moving of supplies infinitely easier and speed up our movements tremendously! We must make haste, ponykind must be warned!”

“Agreed!” Fierce Breeze exclaimed as she forced herself out of her bed, determination filling her entire body as she turned and stared Bolt straight in the eyes. “There is not a moment to lose!

“Scout, no boasting, no bragging, and no fake humbleness either! I want a straight answer,” the pink-coated sergeant all but roared, her eyes drilling into Wonder Bolt’s. “How fast can you reach Pegasopolis without the rest of the squad slowing you down?”

For a moment a lifetime of keeping his head low and avoiding drawing attention to himself in order to avoid his brethren derision and spite nearly made Bolt downplay his abilities, only for such petty things to be neatly pushed aside as his sense of duty and the seriousness of the situation made themselves known. And as such he returned Fierce Breeze’s stare with an equally determined look as he answered with nothing but the absolute truth.

“Two days if I go all out, maybe less depending on the weather,” he stated without a hint of arrogance or boasting. Nearly all the pegasi on the room, and more than one earth pony as well, looked at the azure-coated stallion with looks of both awe and incredulity at his statement. After all, for the average pegasus such a trip would take double that timeframe, easily.

“Good, I thought that would be the case,” the sergeant said with a simple satisfied nod of her head, paying no mind to the mutters that had made themselves known amidst the other pegasi. “Somepony get me quill and parchment! On the double!

“Listen up, scout, the Armada must be informed about this threat immediately! The sooner they are informed, the sooner our forces can be mobilized to face this threat and the sooner the horn-heads can be informed so they can do something useful for once!” she fiercely stated as she slowly started to test the strength of her limbs, her eyes never straying from Bolt’s gaze. “And I’m not letting everything hang in the off chance of Wind Shriek doing his bucking job and reporting it right! Not after his disgraceful conduct during the battle!”

The fact Fierce Breeze did not refer to the runaway lieutenant by his rank was quite telling and was immediately noticed by every single member of their flight. The fact that not a single one of the pegasi currently present voiced even a token protest at this breach of protocol was even more telling of everypony’s current thoughts about the grey-coated stallion.

“Ma’am, the higher ups would never listen to my report,” Bolt couldn’t help but point out, knowing from personal experience that they would ignore the warning if he was the one to bring it due to their idiotic hatred of his ‘tainted’ bloodline.

“Oh, they will hear you alright!” she fiercely replied, her eyes glinting with determination and a savage grin on her features as her eyes finally left Bolt and locked themselves on Link’s placidly standing form. “Especially if you got a bucking Storm Caller along to back it all up!”

Author's Note:

This chapter was a pain to write. My muse simply refused to focus on it for any length of time as she fickled and darted from one topic to another like Pinkie Pie experiencing a sugar rush. But nonetheless I am happy with the end result.

So, basically, the plan going forward is for Link to go alone with Wonder Bolt to the great cloud fortress of the pegasi in a diplomatic mission, while Ganondorf and Zelda will be working together in order to take the ponies from the village safely southwards towards the earth ponies capital. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?