• Published 6th Jul 2018
  • 1,190 Views, 323 Comments

Harmonic Fellowship - Sun Sage



Rarity's made it home, thanks to all the friends she made on Earth. But they weren't the only ones to find Equestria...

  • ...
3
 323
 1,190

1. Role Reversal

“Keep the shield up full; if we hit winds at this altitude and speed it’s going to be trouble!”

Rarity nodded, focusing on what was still a rather new spell for her. They were falling… in multiple directions. Every portal opened with them near the ground in Aiden’s verse, but at a trajectory that let them bleed off momentum (basically flying straight up) before popping back to reality to continue falling. He couldn’t change the fact that they had all that speed, at least not quickly. She had a new appreciation for what he’d put Vera through when he’d trapped her in here and thrown her around.

Eventually, they were falling slowly enough that, between the two of them, they could manage a sort of telekinetic parachute. On that note… how the devil did Starlight fly with just telekinesis? Rarity still had a ways to go… wait, when had she cared about that? As they floated the last few hundred feet into range, Aiden portaled them down to land gently in the rolling, snowy hills. Rarity took in a deep breath, letting the feel of the very world sink in. Home... I'm home. She let out a long, contented sigh. The aether field around her felt warm and welcoming, despite the bitter cold of the air. It wasn't stronger... but it was more comfortable. She remembered Rainbow talking about 'home field advantage' and suddenly had a feeling about what that meant. Maybe I do care about developing this... I can't wait to talk to Twilight about it...

“How long can you keep the shield up?” Aiden asked, interrupting her reverie. Not that she blamed him, they couldn't just stand around out here. She looked north, where smoke was already rising from the wreckage of the Falcon, while considering the minimal drain on her reserves.

“Maybe half an hour? That’s assuming I’m just blocking the wind… but I don’t think I can hold in heat, not really.”

“We can always rest and warm up in my verse if that gets to be too much. But the wind will be a killer with no shield, even just minutes at a time. I’ve been in a few situations like this.”

“Regrettably so have I. But speaking of situations like this… that isn’t the first time you used that ‘falling up’ trick, is it?”

He grinned. “Worried I bailed us out of the ship with no plan?”

She returned the grin. “Moi? Certainly not, darling. I’m simply wondering when you-”

She broke off when a roar interrupted her. “Ah, of course…”

Aiden sighed, though his grin hadn’t quite faded. “I don’t recall packing Murphy, do you?”

“I’m rather certain I didn’t.”

“Well someone brought the bastard along…”

“Darling… welcome to Equestria. I think you’ll find he’s just at home here as on Earth.”

“Fantastic.” he muttered. “So…. what actually was… oh… wow…” he stopped as the answer came to sudden stop above them.

It wasn’t the largest dragon Rarity had ever seen. In fact, what with her relatively high experience with dragons (by pony standards), it didn’t even rate in the top ten. As such, it would probably take three whole bites to eat her if it wished. How reassuring!

“Aiden dear, didn’t you say there were no lifeforms in the crash zone?”

“So the sensors told me. ...I mean, okay, kinda geeking out here, but is that a buckmothering dragon!?

Rarity blinked in confusion, “...Yes?”

“That’s… so... cool…”

“Err… yes, darling… try to contain yourself.”

“No promises.”

“HOW DARE YOU ATTACK MY LAIR!!!”

“Well shit…” Rarity muttered as the dragon landed in front of them, looking infuriated. Despite that, she couldn’t find it in herself to be afraid. He’s weaker than Garken was, more like Pravus. Strong but, but… fluffy? Is that the word I want? Probably not.. Hmm… it's... He's strong, but not hateful... violent. And it’s a natural strength… just angry, not evil. Maybe...

“ARE YOU IGNORING ME?!”

“Rarity, what’s he saying?”

“What?”

“The dragon… I can’t understand him,” he said, sounding a touch petulant.

“You… oh! Oh my…” she giggled. “Ahh, how the tables have turned! Now you’ll be the one who has to rely on the translator-”

“Yeah, uh... did we even pack it?”

“Of course we did; it’s in my bag with my tablet.”

“Oh good. We should-” he stopped suddenly and both their eyes went wide as the dragon’s aether shifted. It was slow, comparatively speaking, as he took a deep, dramatic breath…

And huffed an impressive line of aether charged ice and freezing sleet at them… and into a portal Aiden opened in front of them.

“So… awesome…” Aiden said, wide eyed and with an incredibly boyish grin gracing his face.

“Are… are you crying, darling?” Rarity felt her cheeks heating a bit. He just looked… so adorable. This is Twilight getting a new book… Spike savoring a particularly sweet ruby…

“Rari~ty… it’s a dragon…!” as though that somehow explained everything.

“Yes, darling, I can see it.” Her eyes narrowed as a thought occurred. The dragon’s breath had already ceased, and he looked somewhere between puzzled and annoyed. She clamped down on a sly smile. “A rather impressive dragon, in fact. Very handsome and powerful looking. And those scales! Magnifique! I confess I’d never seen a Northern dragon before, truly stunning!”

“WHAT… WHAT IS THE APE SAYING? AND HOW DOES IT USE SUCH MAGIC?” the dragon asked… looking somewhat mollified by the flattery, and the fact that these two small beings seemed completely unintimidated.

“He was also commenting on your stupendous nature, oh noble dragon. I apologize; while he and I can understand each other through a happenstance of magic, he does not truly speak our language. You wouldn’t happen to know a spell to help him?” She fluttered her eyelashes.

The dragon’s eyes narrowed… and then… “Hmph… hah… ahahAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! SUCH A CHEEKY LITTLE PONY YOU ARE! ATTACK MY LAIR AND ASK BOONS OF ME!?”

“Merely a simple favor, from one clearly so wise and learned, oh noble dragon,” Rarity replied with a smile. “And no attack was intended, I assure you. Our flying ship was damaged and crashed; we had to abandon it to survive ourselves. However… the ship itself contains many rare and valuable items, not of this world…”

The dragon’s head tilted in confusion. Aiden snerked at seeing it, but wisely kept quiet. He didn’t respond to what Rarity was doing, so she assumed it was fine to proceed. “Investigating for yourself will prove my words trustworthy.”

“...Are you offering me this vessel, in restitution for destroying my lair?”

“I am offering you your pick of any item from it, while we remove the rest. I’m afraid I can’t give it all away, my friend here will need it later.”

“Hmph, he won’t need anything if I decide I don’t like your bargain.”

Rarity cocked an eyebrow. “You’ve already attacked us once, to no effect. My friend here is quite taken with the notion of a dragon, but he’s been a professional demon slayer for more than half his life. You must have noticed we aren’t afraid of you. It would be simply awful to harm those glorious scales of yours though. Please don’t force us?” She actually pouted at him. She pouted at a dragon while trying to convince him not to fight them…

He stared down at her… gauging both her mettle and her honesty… and finding both to be genuine. He sighed through his nostrils, creating a cloud of frozen fog. “Very well,” he said, speaking more quietly at last. “Follow me. How long will it take you to remove your vessel from my lair?” He turned, not seeming to care if they got properly out of the way as he did so. Not that it was an issue for them.

“Not long at all, mere seconds in fact. My friend here is quite gifted.”

The dragon snorted again, in amusement this time. “A magic monkey… the world is wide, isn’t it?”

Rarity giggled. “His people are called ‘humans’, my lord dragon.”

He stiffened slightly in surprise, and his massive muzzle twisted into a slight smile. “Humans, are they? I had not thought to ever see one.”

“You’ve… heard of them?”

“Hmph… your princesses of the sun and moon are not the only keepers of ancient records, pony.”

“Rarity.”

The dragon chuckled. “You certainly are. ...You meant what you said about my scales?”

“Oh entirely, good sir! They’re quite stunning! I’ve seen many dragons, but never one of such a breathtaking, alabaster hue.”

“Southerners then. They tend towards earthier tones. And reds, of course.”

“Just as you say, my lord dragon.”

“Heh. You don’t have to keep doing that. My name is Nall. And... I apologize for attacking you.”

“Oh pish posh,” Rarity replied, acting more familiar with the giving of his name. “You were justifiably upset. Besides, it clearly was nothing more than a warning. You gave us plenty of time to react to it with all that time you took building up to it.”

Nall looked briefly confused. “Ah… yes. All as intended. I’m glad you understand. A show of strength is necessary in these mountains. The wyverns and rocs respect little else.”

“Of course, Lord Nall, I understand entirely. We both do, don’t we, Aiden?”

Aiden nodded, trying very hard to keep a grin off his face. Even from the half of the conversation he was following, he was clearly having a blast.

“Aiden, is it? A good name… ‘fire’ in the old tongue. Regrettably, I know of no spell to grant him our speech. There are legends of dragons who were natural polyglots, and recorded their talents into enchanted gems, but I’ve not seen such an artifact in all my days.”

“A pity. Still, we have a device that will allow him to join our conversation, if you don’t mind.”

“Certainly not. Speaking to a human, and for that matter witnessing such a device at work, would be quite worthwhile.”

She nodded her thanks. Aiden vanished in an instant, hopping into his verse to dig through her suitcase for the translator. She stifled a giggle at his enthusiasm.

“Where did he go?”

“It’s a part of his talent that I mentioned to you earlier. It’s also how we can quickly remove our ship from your… mountainside, oh dear…”

As she was saying this, she was looking up at where the ship had smashed into said mountain. Into, and at least partially through.

“How simply dreadful! No wonder you were upset with us. Dear sir, please believe me when I say this was entirely accidental!”

“I believe you… given your friend’s talent, why would you lie? You could simply vanish and leave me with the mess.”

“True…" she replied. There was no need to admit that Aiden could only take them fairly short distances per jump. "And I suppose if we’d done it purposefully, we would do exactly that. Well, that isn't the case. We’ll take this opportunity to make amends, and perhaps a new friendship?” she smiled winsomely up at him.

Nall looked away, seeming a bit embarrassed. “I don’t seek out pony friends, little one.”

“But that doesn’t mean you can’t have any…”

“...I suppose that is true. Though I don’t suspect you’ll be staying long in these mountains. Despite your impressive magic, you aren’t suited to-”

Aiden reappeared, with translators fully ready to go. “Can you both understand me?” He spoke quietly, and the Equestrian translation came through almost instantly.

“How remarkable,” Nall muttered. “Yes, I can understand you.”

“I could before, darling.”

Aiden stuck his tongue out at her. She grinned in reply.

“Tell me, human, do your people remember my own?”

Aiden’s face lit up. “Oh, you have no idea. While much of what we knew of Equus faded into, or mixed with, our old myths and legends, there’s always been a certain august majesty when it comes to dragons.”

“Hmm, ‘august majesty’... I like the sound of that,” Nall rumbled deeply, rubbing his chin with one claw as they walked. “But it’s no surprise your kind don’t remember Equus well. If I recall correctly, it’s been fifteen hundred years since your people were brought here to aid in the war against the star demons.” He tilted his head in confusion. “She called you a demon slayer. Have… have your people fought them on your world, all this time?”

“No. They found Earth… by coincidence, after intercepting one of our outgoing signals, fairly recently. They first attacked us fifteen years… hey, fifteen versus fifteen hundred. Interesting coincidence.”

“If coincidence at all, human.”

“Aiden," he supplied.

Nall nodded. “So she told me… but I prefer not to use a name unless given it directly, Aiden. I am Nall, ruler of this range.”

“A pleasure, Nall.”

“Likewise… surprisingly, given what’s become of my lair. Fortunate that I was not inside. I would have been… less reasonable.”

Aiden chuckled. “Understandable.”

They had reached the bottom of the mountain, which jutted up beyond the rocky, snow dusted foothills like a massive tooth.

“Can you hold on if I carry you up there?”

“I should think so,” Rarity said.

“We’re gonna ride a dragon…” Aiden whispered in excitement.

Rarity giggled.

They both climbed on his back, holding on with telekinetic grips as well as more mundane ones. Rarity’s shield continued to minimize the effects of the wind and cold, though the latter was becoming an issue as neither were dressed for it. The trip up didn’t help much, and by the time they reached the lair’s entrance Rarity’s teeth were chattering as she leaned again Aiden for warmth.

“You okay?” He asked her, sounding concerned as they hopped down from Nall’s back.

“Cold…”

“We can rest in the flower garden in a bit. We’ll just get the ship first. Can you make it that far?”

“Yes. Really wishing I’d brought boots now, though. My hooves are simply not made for this sort of cold.”

“Not to interrupt… but it’s warmer within. One of my treasures is a Phoenix stone, and its aura warms most of my lair. Fortunately, your ship hit the outer chambers, rather than my hoard room.”

“Lucky break…" Aiden agreed as they continued further in. "And I see what you mean; it’s definitely a bit warmer here.”
Rarity nodded in agreement.

The cave itself was breathtaking. The walls were riddled with crystal formations and magnificent flowstones, resembling coral decorating the way forward. Stalactites hung from the ceiling, though not low enough to obstruct even their host, of course.

“You have a lovely home, Nall.” Rarity said appreciatively.

“Truth,” Aiden muttered, distracted by taking it all in.

“I seldom have guests… perhaps I should revisit that.”

“I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to live, but I’m certain the ponies of the Crystal Empire would appreciate a friendly dragon neighbor. Though their capital is a bit far from here, I’m sure you would be welcomed for the occasional visit, should you choose. They have lovely crystal formations there, and I know they’d be happy to share gemstones and the like.”

“Hmm… I’ll consider it,” he said, sounding genuinely thoughtful. “Digging through ice and snow for gems doesn’t bother me, but a large city would have more exotic options, wouldn’t it?”

“Well, it isn’t the Crystal Empire for nothing, darling.”

He smiled. “You make a good point. ...Now, just around this next turn…”

As they turned into another chamber, the wind picked up. Hardly surprising given that said chamber was open to the elements and they were at a fairly high elevation. Rarity reactivated her shield with a shudder as they approached the wreckage of the Falcon.

“Huh… you know it’s much better than I expected. Garken really had a hell of a ship,” Aiden said.

Rarity blinked. “It was… his personal vessel?”

“Yeah… wait you didn’t know? I thought I mentioned that. We found out while setting up the batteries.”

“Hmm… no I don’t recall you saying so. I suppose it makes sense how Adstrum had it in such good shape then... But no matter. It’s ours now… and as you say, little the worse for wear!”

It was true, at least to the naked eye. The hull armor had held up well, despite crashing through the outer layer of the mountain cave, and at least two other chambers therein, from what Rarity could see. Even the bridge view ports seemed intact.

Aiden shrugged lightly. “The demon race built ‘em to last, I suppose.”

“What you’re saying… this vessel is not of human make?”

Aiden winced slightly. “Err… not as such. We have modified it a fair bit, but overall it’s probably two thousand years old. We don’t even fully understand the hull composition. It seems to adapt to thermodynamics in ways that shouldn’t be even magically possible.”

“Impressive,” Nall said, and then chuckled. “And after you’ve told me I cannot have it, despite it being in my home.”

“Well, I may sorta need it to get to my home at some point. I do believe other humans will be along eventually, but either way… there are dangerous things on this ship that I don’t want to let out of my control. You understand, I hope.”

“I do. There is much in my hoard that I would not part with, and not simply because it is mine. In the interest of friendship, and the debt our world owes yours, I accept your offer of a single item to add to my own collection. What shall it be, then?”

Rarity smiled up at him. “Will you trust us to choose for you?”

“You would know better than I, at first glance, what would be of interest. I will trust your eye, which noted the beauty of my scales. Though... I may ask you to choose more than once, if your first offer is poor to my eyes," he replied, grinning down at her.

There are likely many ponies who would find such a grin, with so many very large teeth, intimidating. Reasonably so. Rarity, however, simply found herself missing Spike. With a sharp little gasp, she realized how soon she could see not just him, but all of them. Still, first things first.

Her horn lit up as she stepped aboard, Aiden close behind. “What did you have in mind?” he asked.

“One of the batteries, I think. It’s a massive gemstone, capable of storing aether. I think Nall will love it.”

Aiden nodded. “Makes sense, with what I know of dragons here…” she could practically feel him grinning again, “and technically we can spare one.”

“My thought as well. Most of the ship I wouldn’t want to take any parts out of. But assuming we can fully charge both the remaining batteries it’s enough for a one way trip. ...Not that I’d hope you’d take one any time soon.”

“Actually I sort of assumed I was stuck here for awhile, and I was surprised with how okay I was with that. Getting away from my shut in years and rebuilding a life back on Earth does sound interesting, in theory… but this is where I want to be. With you.”

She blinked, stumbling just slightly as her cheeks heated. “Well… I’m... glad to hear that! I feel the same way.” Clearing her throat, she added, “If you would, help me detach the connectors to the main drive, and I’ll carry it out to him.”

“Will do,” his hands glowed with their burnt orange aura, undoing couplings with his magic as she did the same for the frame housing. In short order, she had the pumpkin sized gem floating beside her. Admiring the perfect sphere for a moment, she felt a strong sense of rightness about giving it away, despite it being of incalculable worth. A gem that size that could store magic, even if it was particularly difficult to charge, was nothing to understate. Still… yes. She was certain this was the right decision to make. And anyway, two batteries would be fine once they were charged. And she’d see to it they were. No matter how much she wanted him here, it wouldn’t do to have him trapped here. If he were… her eyes widened as she remembered their conversation back at Lynn’s home. Was that what he meant about emotional strains?

She was also reminded of her offer to take him to the spa. The notion of Aloe and Lotus fussing over him struck her as oddly appealing. Watching him fluster, and eventually melt under the effects of a good massage… yes, one more reason to get to Ponyville as soon as possible.

As they exited the ship, she watched Nall’s face light up and felt the final bit of confirmation. Their host was practically cooing over the massive gem, which still held just enough aetheric charge to give it an exotic sheen. While he was busy with admiring their peace offering, Rarity felt a now entirely familiar pull of magic as Aiden opened a large portal, pulling the Falcon in.

“A remarkable gift you have,” Nall commented, tearing his eyes away from the gem with clear reluctance. “When humans came here, there is no record of them having such abilities.”

“They’re a recent development… though frankly that’s surprising now that I think about it. It was exposure to Oni tech, which is originally demon race tech, that caused us to development magical abilities. The same tech was here when humans were, so… huh…”

“Perhaps your people were not ready?”

“Yeah maybe… eh, questions for another time. You’ll forgive us for rushing along, but Rarity’s been away from home for some time and is eager to see her family again. Uhh… unless you want us to help you repair the damage here. I guess that’d be a fair offer to make, right?”

Nall chuckled. “Perhaps it would, but I’ll release you from it. In light of this truly remarkable gift, given freely when you could have picked any mere trinket, I am content to repair the walls myself. I have a few tricks for doing so, the same I used to alter this place to my needs. In fact, it is a chance to redesign the artistry of these walls. I believe I shall do something to commemorate the occasion.”

“We’ll have to come back and see it sometime, then.” Aiden said, while gathering aether for the first portal jump.

“You will be welcome… but for now, your desire to be on your way is clear.”

“Yeah… walk forward. Even covered in snow…”

Rarity snerked. “I think I’ll sit in the flower garden, thank you.”

“Damn right. Nall, it’s been an honor and a pleasure.”

“Indeed it has, darling! Do consider visiting the Crystal Empire. I think everyone involved would benefit.”

“I shall. Farewell, travelers. Until we meet again.”

They both waved before vanishing, the first jump of many as Aiden made their way carefully down the mountain, hop by hop, heading for the Crystal Empire.

------------------------------------------

In a very different locale, under very different auspices…

He was tall, over two meters, and human looking if one was just a bit nearsighted. Closer inspection revealed a pair of alabaster horns that rose from his forehead to curve along his scalp, almost as though brushed back. Long blond hair also decorated that scalp, tied at the back in a single tail down to his shoulder blades. Dark sunglasses covered red eyes within yellow sclera, and a fanged grin completed the devil may care look.

When one is casually strolling into Tartarus, and one is a devil… why should one care?

Warslave Garken Caedum was the lowest of the low, and no one knew it better than he. Weak, foolish, and utterly useless in real combat, he could only fetch things for his noble god king. That’s why we got jobs like this one. It wasn’t why he enjoyed them so much. He really wasn’t too sure about that. It didn’t make sense. But making sense wasn’t any fun. Perhaps it was the being away from home. He did enjoy traveling… His forearm itched again, and he stopped briefly to scratch at it. As usual, he drew blood from around the old scar. He couldn’t remember where he’d gotten it. It never hurt… it just itched, like it wanted him to pay attention to it. Dumb scar! Unlike the scar on his head, which he'd earned for his many failures, this one felt... out of place. At the least, he could not place it...

A massive, angry snort, in triplicate, drew his attention upward. Three identical heads looked down at him, each wary as a growl emerged from three giant throats. His grin returned.

“Cerberus, oh puissant gatekeeper! I am but a humble and miserable slave of my mighty king. I beseech you for passage into your realm, that I may converse with a certain prisoner. I bear an offering that you may allow my unworthiness to go beneath your notice!” Part of him felt like laughing. He couldn’t help that his mind had such a ridiculous script, but he could enjoy playing the role. ...Couldn’t he? What role? It didn’t matter. He reached behind his back, to where a weapon might be sheathed if he were worthy of carrying such a thing, and took the offering from where it’d been strapped across his shoulders. It had to be turned sideways; it was too tall to carry like a sword. Of course, Garken Caedum had never touched a sword. Unworthy.

“This femur was taken from the vanquished form of a mighty overlord of dragons, upon a distant world! It is the last remaining relic of that world’s living inhabitants, as they were utterly destroyed for refusing to acknowledge the greatness of my king!” ...Had that been what happened? Surely…

Garken tossed the giant bone up to the waiting, slightly salivating jaws of the massive canine guardian. It weighed two tons and a slave like him couldn’t even lift it. ...Something about that didn’t seem right. But he’d achieved his desired effect: Cerberus was no longer interested in him as three heads gnawed contentedly. Garken felt a little touch of pride at that.

But that wasn’t important. No in fact, that was very dangerous. Pride for one so low could only lead to downfall, and punishment. He would not make such a foolish mistake, though fool he was. He walked past Cerberus, towards his destination not far beyond.

There wasn’t much to see in Tartarus, but there was a certain austere beauty to it… if one could appreciate craggy mountains and impossibly distant vistas. Garken could. Open spaces were a form of freedom quite unlike his tiny cell back home. When this was over he would go back there. He would have to draw it out as much as possible.

Within the cell ahead, a high pitched, almost nasally voice called out to him. “I didn’t expect to see one of your kind again… little ogre…”

Garken immediately disliked the voice, but that didn’t matter. He bowed deeply and said, “I bring tidings from my god king, Lord Tirek. He sends me with an offer for you…”

Author's Note:

And, welcome back! As before I'll be posting roughly weekly, hope to see you there.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!