• Published 4th Jul 2018
  • 23,734 Views, 4,028 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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XVI - Moving On

Moving On

“Bucking move it, you idiots! There’s not a moment to lose!” Sure Shot growled to a pair of ponies who were taking their sweet time placing a large barrel full of food at the impromptu storage area that had sprung up near Old Oak’s cabin. “Everything has to be ready by first light!”

The cold wind that kept blowing from the north was a constant reminder of what was swiftly approaching them with each moment that passed, and she wanted all the supplies wrapped and stored away and the wagons ready to depart at the first sign of daylight. It was a more than manageable task, considering they had quite a few hours left until daybreak, if Link left the damn celestial orbs alone, that was. And talking about the crazy pegasus…

“How does that even work?” she heard Woodcutter whisper with incredulous awe, as barrel after barrel, sack after sack and crate after crate of supplies steadily disappeared from the pile of stored items and into the far, far smaller pile of what had been completely ordinary saddlebags but a few minutes ago under the watchful eyes and steady hooves of Link and Singing Blossom.

“I haven’t a bucking clue, but right now I frankly couldn’t care less!” Sure Shot tersely replied as she purposely averted her gaze from the sight of Singing placing a sack of flour over three times her own mass into a saddlebag that was half the filly’s size and gave the lumberjack a stare. “It works and it’s helpful, that’s all that matters right now!”

Sure Shot was an earth pony ranger. She knew about woodcraft and the beasts and plants of the wild, about how to gather resources and follow trails, how to survive off the land and wield a bow. And as such she freely admitted that she knew next to nothing about the bogus hocus pocus horseapples nonsense the needle-heads called magic. But even she knew that an enchanted item was supposedly something that took laborious effort and a lot of precise work on the part of the enchanter, easily taking an enchanter hours, if not days, to make a single item depending on their ability and skill.

So even she knew perfectly well that the fact Link had simply picked the saddlebags and started shoving things inside of them immediately afterwards was downright crazy. And the fact that Singing was doing the same, if at a far slower rate, as the filly apparently needed to concentrate for a few moments at each saddlebag before proceeding, only made it even more so. But after watching the crazy pegasus summon the sun with a bucking flute she was ready to simply wash her hooves of the whole thing and call it quits! It worked, it was helpful, and that was it! Full stop! Move on already!

“Yes, but…” the far less practical minded beige-coated lumberjack started to uncertainly say, continuing to stare as Link shoved several large crates full of apples into another saddlebag, only for Sure Shot to have none of it as she grabbed his shoulders and forcibly turned him around.

“But, nothing! Now go find Forge Fire and tell her to make sure to pack everything she has on her forge! And to not forget the forge itself too!” There was no time to lose with idle nonsense, and if they had some crazy horseapples magic stuff at hoof to help she sure as buck was going to take advantage of it, weirdness be damned! “Now move it!”

As she watched the lumberjack hurry away she turned back to overseeing the mass of ponies hurrying one way or another as they prepared the evacuation. At first she had feared that the villagers would have to abandon practically everything behind and carry only the barest of essentials in order to ensure they could move fast enough to not be caught by the bucking ghost-horses on the road. But Link’s crazy magic changed things, it changed them a lot.

“All the injured have been stabilized and can now be moved safely and without any risk to their health,” the second source of crazy bullshit magic around said to her as Zelda emerged from the cabin. “How are the preparations for their transportation going?”

“We are preparing two covered wagons with blankets and pillows for them, it should be ready soon if it’s not already,” Sure Shot replied as she gave the unicorn a small nod of acknowledgement, acutely aware of the golden arrows she was still carrying on the quiver at her back. “With how much less weight we will have to carry we will be able to put several ponies pulling each of the wagons, so we will be able to make some good time despite how large they are.”

“Very good, a few spells to reduce friction, weight and reinforce their structures would also help, I gather,” Zelda said calmly as she analyzed the various wagons being loaded all around with a critical eye. “I will see to it at once. In the interim, should anyone have need of me, call me immediately.”

“Right,” the sea green earth pony nodded as she watched the white unicorn move towards the nearest wagon, her horn already being enveloped by a blue glow. With a shake of her head Sure Shot refocused on the bustling throng of villagers and at the task at hoof.

Magic was a crazy pile of horseapples, that was the truth, pure and simple. But at times it could be a really useful crazy pile of horseapples nonetheless.

As he swiftly trotted past two armored and armed pegasi warriors who were going out to replace the current pair on watch duty, they promptly went into parade rest and saluted him as he passed, Wonder Bolt wondered when exactly the world had decided to go crazy and turned on its head.

As he entered into Old Oak’s home and moved towards the far corner where he could see the pink-coated form of Fierce Breeze bundled up in a nest of blankets, he idly pondered about how but a few days ago things were business as usual as he dealt with the same old routine. Deal with his squad mates hazing and name calling, do the tasks assigned to him, ignore the lieutenant’s new bout of stupidity, rinse and repeat. All simple, logical and sane tasks pertaining to a nobody in the service of the Armada.

And yet, here he was, somehow about to deliver a missive of vital importance to the survival of ponykind straight to high command, after receiving an unspoken and unofficial field promotion, after dealing with an attack by flying ice-wraiths.

Oh, and he was going to do so alongside an impossibly fast pegasus who also happened to be a practitioner of a long lost pegasus art and could apparently mass produce enchanted items in mere moments, couldn’t forget that.

What the buck was his life?

“Bolt, there you are!” Sergeant Fierce Breeze shouted the moment she saw him as she gestured with one wing for him to come closer immediately while nodding towards the pegasus at her side in clear dismissal. A pegasus who promptly proceeded to salute first the sergeant and then him before leaving at a brisk pace.

Choosing to ignore that little display for the moment, Bolt turned his attention towards the still lying Fierce Breeze. The sergeant had apparently made the very wise decision of following Zelda’s unspoken instructions of ‘not leaving her bed until told otherwise or else!’ seriously. Not that Bolt blamed her for following them, not at all. He would’ve done the same in her horseshoes. Angry healers were already a force to be reckoned with, and that was forgoing how this particular healer was apparently an extremely powerful battle mage.

“Here are the missives you have to deliver,” the mare said as she gave him two rolled up and sealed scrolls and a serious look. “The first is to be delivered to high command, the second is to be delivered to Colonel Shake Spear personally!”

“Ma’am?” Wonder Bolt couldn’t help but ask, confused by the breaking of protocol of adding a second message not intended for the Armada’s high command.

“Always have a backup plan, scout!” the sergeant replied with a narrowing of her eyes. “If all goes well you may well reach the Armada before Wind Shriek, and with the help of the Storm Caller manage to get yourself straight to high command in order to report what is happening and deliver the missive.

“If things don’t go well, then you will have to make sure that the second scroll reaches the hooves of colonel Shake Spear! Am I clear?!” she forcefully questioned, her eyes burrowing into his very being.

“Ma’am, yes, ma’am!” Bolt forcefully replied with a serious nod, taking the two scrolls and proceeding to stash them safely inside his armor. “I shall not fail! Rest assured of that!”

“Make sure of that, Corporal Wonder Bolt!” she replied with a small brief teasing smile and a nod of acknowledgement. For his part Bolt nearly fumbled with the scrolls as his eyes widened in surprise. So he really did get an unofficial field promotion… this… this was going to cause some waves back home when the news got out…

“You’re to leave as soon as the Storm Caller is finished with whatever the hay it is that he is doing with those saddlebags and the rest of the supplies,” Fierce Breeze continued as she pretended to not notice the azure-coated pegasus’ shocked surprise. “Any word to when he will be finished?”

“Fifteen minutes ago,” a calm voice promptly responded from right next to Bolt, making him startle and spin around, only to blink as he saw Link tranquilly standing right next to him, a serene smile on his muzzle as he watched them.

“How did you get here?!” Fierce Breeze questioned as she folded back her wings that had been flared in surprise due to the green pony’s sudden appearance. Said appearance had been unnoticed by either of the pegasi, or the several earth ponies roaming around, if Bolt was to judge from their reactions.

“I walked,” Link answered with a small nod of greeting to both pegasi, not really answering the actual point of the question. “I have finished my tasks and I’m ready to depart at your earliest convenience.”

“That’s not- oh, forget it! Bolt, I don’t have to tell you that the completion of this task is of vital importance!” Fierce Breeze sternly told the newly unofficially promoted corporal after deciding that questioning Link wasn’t worth it, which Bolt had to agree was probably for the best. “Do not buck it up!”

“Ma’am, yes ma’am!” Bolt promptly replied with a salute, steel in his eyes. The missives would reach their targets, that he most solemnly vowed.

And without another word Wonder Bolt turned around and started towards the door and the freezing winds that were waiting, Link right behind him. There was not a moment to lose, they had a long flight ahead of them and time was of the essence!

As Forest took in the barren and empty wooden cottage that had been her home since she had been a little filly, she couldn’t help but be assaulted by a feeling of loss and powerlessness. And she quite literally hated that. She took a few still slightly unsteady steps forward before scraping her hoof over the stone counter of the kitchen, and as she remembered all the times she had helped her family prepare their meals here, her mind couldn’t help but wonder if things could have been different if only she had been stronger.

“Buck!” she cursed as she hit the solid stone piece with her hoof in anger and frustration, the surface of which actually cracked underneath her strike while her hoof remained unscathed. But a week ago she would have marveled at her newfound strength, but now, now it felt woefully inadequate. This was their bucking home! She should’ve been able to protect it, damn it all! “Why the buck am I so weak?!”

“If you hate your weakness, then purge it and become stronger,” a deep voice said from behind her, startling her as she spun around. Her surprise swiftly turned into mortification as she saw the large earth pony at the door that had borne witness to her outburst.

“Ganondorf! I… I was just-“ Forest attempted to say amidst a furious blush, only to stop her stuttering attempts as her ears dropped and she averted her gaze from her hero and mumbled underneath her breath. “I’m sorry…”

“What?” was Ganondorf’s terse and slightly confused reply as he tilted his head to the side while moving towards her.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t do more!” the mare all but shouted as she stomped on the ground in frustration and she kept babbling faster and faster. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t live up to what you taught me! That I had to be removed from the fight by the others after I collapsed in the middle of it all like some weakling! That-”

“Forest, stop being an idiot,” Ganondorf grumpily interrupted her with a hoof upon her shoulder as he huffed in annoyance and gave her an exasperated look. “So your endurance wasn’t up to snuff, do not be sorry about it, Instead work on it to get rid of that weakness!

“Weakness by itself is not a sin, only refusal to get stronger is!” Ganondorf simply stated as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, hard golden eyes staring deep into her very soul. “Hate your weakness, Forest, and use that hatred to purge it from your very being!

“You’ve got talent, I’ll give you that, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t fall down on the path to becoming a proper warrior!” he continued with an amused head shake before he gave her a fanged grin. “You will fail and fall, Forest, repeatedly at that! But as long as you keep getting back on your hooves and keep pressing onwards, you have nothing to be sorry about! Keep moving ever onwards no matter what! For that is the only path to true power!”

A moment of silence hung in the air for a moment as Forest digested her hero’s words, the feelings of doubt and inadequacy that had been plaguing her since she had landed on a bed due to the exhaustion of the battle being slowly blown away by the large stallion’s words.

“As for temporarily retreating?” Ganondorf continued with an amused snort. “What about it? Falling back in order to fight another day isn’t something to bemoan either! Especially if you were exhausted and facing a foe superior to your current strength! In such situations you fall back, prepare yourself and return stronger than ever to make them regret ever crossing your path!

“You did pretty damn well for how short a time span I had to try and shape you into a proper fighter! So you had to fall back for a minute, big deal!” Ganondorf said as he removed his hoof from her shoulder and shook his head in slight amusement before he once again locked eyes with his intently listening apprentice. ”As long as nothing truly important is on the line, retreat is always an option, Forest, remember that!”

Forest considered her hero’s words, before she slowly gave voice to a fearful doubt that had lodged itself deep within her ever since it had been decided that the only path to survival was to abandon the village. “And when retreat isn’t an option? What if falling back would cause the loss of something truly important? What then?”

Ganondorf stared her straight into the eyes in solemn silence for a very long moment, before his massive fanged grin firmly appeared on his muzzle.

“Simple, Forest,” he seriously stated as he placed a hoof underneath her chin and raised her head slightly so that she was staring directly into his burning golden eyes and an aura of pure power radiated from his very being. “Then you spit fate in the eye, charge head-on against your foe, and make damn sure that you give them a fight they shall never forget for as long as they live!”

The orange-coated mare blinked once in confused surprise, until she truly thought about what her hero meant, to fight on no matter what, even when faced by insurmountable odds. Forest remembered when she had been ambushed by the gryphons. How even outmatched, unarmed and caught by surprise by the filthy beasts she had still fought on until they had been forced to mob and overrun her to bring her down. How despite acquiring more and more injuries she fought until she could fight no more.

She looked her teacher straight in the eye, a resolute look firm on her muzzle, all trace of fear and doubt gone from her eyes. Yes, to say buck it to fate and chance and fight until the end no matter what. She could agree with that.

“Good,” Ganondorf simply said with a small nod as he let go of her chin. “Now c’mon, the others are waiting.”

And with that he simply turned around and headed towards the door. Forest Blossom following straight behind him with steady and sure steps, cheeks aglow and a burning fire inside her own eyes.

Snow had once again started to fall as the very first signs of dawn started to make themselves known upon the eastern horizon. All the while a glacial wind kept its relentless assault from the distant north. Ponies were hurrying from one area to another in a rush of activity that had taken over almost the entirety of the village’s population. The only exception was a single light brown old pony with a silver mane who stood motionless amidst the sea of movement.

Old Oak took in his fellow ponies as they either hurried from one wagon to another checking if everything was ready or made sure that nothing was left behind. And despite the feeling of pride of seeing his village rising up to the task of the ordeal they had been faced with he couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of sadness.

He turned his tired eyes towards the now mostly dark and empty buildings that had been a thriving community but a day ago. And even as he watched the few still lit houses grew dark as the ponies that lived within put out the last few fires and rushed to join the rest in the caravan that was about to depart. The sight of it forced him to close his eyes in order to prevent a tear from falling. This was no time to show weakness. Not when his villagers needed him to be their strong and calm leader. But that was also the problem, for this was his village.

He had been born and raised here. This was the place he had matured into who he was today. The place where he had fallen in love, had children and watched them grow. The place his whole family was laid to rest. And now, now he was leaving it behind to be buried under ice and snow.

“Are you alright?” a melodic voice questioned as a pristine white hoof rested comfortingly upon his shoulder.

Old Oak turned towards Zelda with a tired and worn smile, a hint of amusement briefly dancing on his eyes when he saw the kind compassion the mare was freely giving him due to his distress, when he saw the impossibility of a unicorn battle mage sincerely trying to comfort an earth pony elder.

“I’m as well as I can be in the current circumstances, my dear. This old sentimental fool is simply having trouble convincing his heart of the necessity of what has to be done,” he attempted to joke with a smile, only to stop mid motion and sigh instead. “I doubt most would understand it, they are nothing but easily replaceable wooden huts and cabins after all, but regardless of the necessity of it abandoning this place weights upon my old heart.”

“Much to the contrary elder, I understand. For, for all its faults and problems, this was your home,” Zelda kindly said as she gave him an understanding smile, while her eyes briefly took in the darkened buildings before returning to his tired eyes.

“Yeah, the little Princess has a point, Old Timer, being forced to abandon your home is never easy,” Ganondorf boisterously proclaimed as he approached alongside Forest Blossom, a playful smile on his muzzle. “It may be an inhospitable backwater, and all outsiders may think you crazy for deciding to stay there of your own free will, but it’s still home. The place your ancestors decided against all logic to plant themselves in and declared out loud: Here is our home! As if in challenge to the world itself!”

“That’s an… interesting way to put it, but I can’t say that’s wrong!” Old Oak said with a small chuckle, his dark mood alleviated by the young ones’ attempts to help. “Why, you sound like you speak from personal experience!”

That comment made Ganondorf snort in open amusement before he gave the elder a mischievous look and replied. “You may say that. After all, my ancestors thought that a desert was a perfectly suitable place to call home. And millennia later we were still too stubborn to even accept considering that they might have been wrong!”

That actually managed to get a laugh from the old pony, as Old Oak couldn’t help but shake his head in slight bemusement. “I guess ponies will be ponies no matter what or where they live, won’t they? Stubborn to a fault, the lot of us!

“Forget the ramblings of this old one. Zelda, my dear, how proceeds the preparation for the evacuation?” the elder asked as he shoved his melancholy aside.

“Everything is ready, the supplies have been packed and stowed away, the injured are inside their wagons, and the last few stragglers are accounted for,” she immediately replied with a nod towards Forest as one last family rushed towards the large group, all the while completely ignoring Ganondorf’s comments about how Old Oak had made far too much sense to allow his words to be considered proper rambling. “Link and Wonder Bolt have also already departed towards Pegasopolis. We may depart as soon as we desire.”

Old Oak took one last look at his village, his home. Then, with a final nod, he turned towards his ponies, his friends, his family, and started to walk, a firm look on his old eyes as he marched onwards. Not a single glance more was given to the place of his birth.

“Then let’s do what has to be done, there is no reason to tarry any longer,” he stated with finality, head locked onwards as his hooves hit the cobblestone path he had trotted over so many times before one final time. There would be time for mourning what was lost later, but first he had to make sure his ponies would make it to that point unscathed. “Spread the word, it’s time to depart.”

Author's Note:

This chapter was slightly shorter than usual, but I felt that writing more would simply unduly inflate it and all the other scenes I thought about wouldn’t really fit the mood of the chapter and would be far better used in future chapters.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter nonetheless, and Merry Christmas!

Ps: Random thought of randomness! Has anyone else ever thought that my Ganondorf would get along incredibly well with Iskandar from Fate Zero? :rainbowlaugh:

The king must be greedier than any other! He must laugh louder and rage harder! He must exemplify the extreme of all things, good and evil! That is why his retainers envy and adore him! And why the flames of aspiration, to be as the king is, can burn within his people!

Iskandar, the King of Conquerors.