• Published 7th Aug 2018
  • 5,282 Views, 171 Comments

A Lion's Pride - Firestorm808

Nearly all magic in Equestria has been absorbed by Tirek. With his new power, he will unleash destruction upon the land, but there is hope. Soon, they will see the coming of true power: the Lord Escanor!

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Opening the Box

The ground shook. A muted impact made pebbles leap and trees quake. Twilight Sparkle almost stumbled as Tirek’s roar of triumph tore through the woods around her, scattering leaves and ruffling her feathers against her back. Her body still felt weak after having her all of the Alicorn magic ripped from her. Everything felt muted and sluggish. It was like all the color had been washed out of the world. Moving was difficult. Running was almost impossible.

Twilight she couldn’t stop. She couldn’t give up now. She could feel the weight of the amulet Discord had given her bouncing against her chest. It was the final piece, she was sure of it. The last key to open the sealed crystalline chest that had taunted her and her friends for almost a year.

'My friends.' She risked a glance back as the ground shook again. A primal roar of fury echoed through the woods. Each of her friends was running behind her. Even Rainbow Dash was too weak to fly. Each of them looked ragged, drained, their sides heaving with exertion.

Twilight knew she didn’t look any better. She could feel her breath coming in ragged gasps, feel the slick of sweat making its way down her sides, and feel the telltale quiver in her wing feathers that said she was exhausted. In any ordinary circumstance, she would have called all of them, including herself, to wait for a doctor to treat them for magic exhaustion.

Then, another titanic hoof struck the ground some distance behind them. The impact almost threw all of them to the ground in a pile of limbs, so they redoubled their efforts.

'We can’t stop now!' she thought as the group ran on. 'We have to get to the chest! All of us! There had to be something in it that could defeat Tirek, something that could stop him. Otherwise, why would the Tree of Harmony give it to them in return for the Elements? There has to be a point to it, right?' she thought as she spotted the cave entrance ahead. 'Otherwise, why would a strange, magical tree bother?'

She burst free of the forest as brush scraped along her sides and galloped toward the cave. Another roar echoed after she sped through the entryway. A deafening rumble followed made it sound as if the earth was being overturned.

'Maybe it is,' she thought as she caught sight of the Tree of Harmony. It's crystalline surface still emitted a gentle, soothing glow despite the chaos outside the cave.

'When Tirek and I fought, we leveled mountains. With all the power he has now…'

She skidded to a halt before the chest, still sitting where she and her friends had left it. Her legs were shaking beneath her, quivering and crying out for rest, but she couldn’t give it to them. Not yet.

“Did everyone make it?” she asked, turning as the rest of her friends came to a stop. All of them looked equally exhausted.

“Barely,” Discord sardonically reply while bent over his hands on his knees. He opened his mouth again only to frown and then hold up one talon. “I can’t breathe,” he said. “I can’t do magic Is this what it’s like to be mortal?”

“Hey, it’s not that bad,” Spike said as he came to a stop. The little dragon was barely out of breath. "I’m doing all right, and I’ve got just as many legs as you.”

Discord fixed him with a glare, though there wasn’t much heart in it. “Well, when you’ve had the power to reshape reality at a whim, we can compare notes, all right?”

There was another roar outside, followed by a deafening series of cracks. Fluttershy shot a worried look. "Those poor animals.”

Twilight shook her head. "Spike, Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow, and Discord. That’s everyone! Come on!” she said, waving a hoof towards the chest.

“Do you think it’ll work, Twi?” Applejack asked as Twilight stepped towards the chest and held out the amulet.

'If it doesn’t,' Twilight thought, 'we might all be doomed.' “It ’s going to work,” she said as she held the amulet up against the keyhole. The other five were already filled, each with a key that had come from one of her friends’ adventures. "It has to."

With a sudden vibration, the amulet leaped forward, spun, and then with a flash of light, changed into a golden key before sliding into the waiting lock. Her heart skipped a beat as the newly-formed key came to rest.

"It worked!" It sat like all the others, motionless. 'But why isn’t it—? Of course!' She turned to look at her friends. “Together!” she said, looking at each of them in turn. “I think we have to do this together!” Each of them nodded and then took up a position near their keys. Spike and Discord looked on. Each of the Element's eyes locked, and as one, they reached out and turned the keys with a simultaneous chorus of clicks.

"We’re doing it!" She couldn’t help but feel a surge of excitement swell as the chest let out a heavy thunk as the petal-like lid glowed.

Despite almost a year of study, many of the chest’s higher properties had remained as much of a mystery to her as Pinkie sense, despite her best attempts. There simply wasn’t enough math for her to explain how it worked, though it obviously did.

As the lid began to open, her friends let out a collective “Oooh!” as dazzlingly bright light burst forth from it.

The light was moving now, and even in her magic-starved state, she could feel the power it was letting off as it rose into the air above the chest. Several beams of light split from the chest's opening. They hit everypony in the room, and the color returned to their coats.

"I can feel my magic coming back!" exclaimed Twilight.

Rainbow Dash smirked. "My body doesn't feel as heavy anymore."

The rest of them made similar comments of their strength coming back, and just when they mares thought they would receive more, the flow of magic to them stopped. They didn't feel exceptionally powerful. If anything, they felt like their normal selves. They all turned back to the chest to see something else happening.

“Uh, Twilight?” Rainbow asked as the glowing energy in the air began to concentrate. Beneath it, the chest was starting to shake, a low creak filling the air. “Is it supposed to be doing that?”

“I don’t know. ” Twilight began as the itching sensation in her horn grew more pronounced. The distortion in the air was continued.

“What's goin' on?” asked Applejack.

The glow was multiplying before their very eyes, and the droning noise swelling with it. Rarity was confused. “I must say I expected, well, more rainbows for a start.”

Then, with a sudden flash, the surge of light whirled into a circle. The air currents informed them that something was about to come out of it. Soon, something could be seen in the glow. From what they could tell, its silhouette looked like a minotaur, and with a rush, the energy exploded outward. Twilight and the others in the room let out a cry of surprise as raw, untamed magic swept over her, electrifying her body and sending tingles crawling down her spine. Around her, she heard her friends cry out as well as the blinding wave crashed over them. The wave of magic pulsed all throughout the planet, and then it stopped.

With several thuds, several objects and a being landed on the ground. While the being stood on two legs, not a second later, the being fell down on its back.

'It’s…' Twilight paused. 'Actually, I’m not sure what it is. It looked almost like a minotaur, but the proportions were all wrong. It was very thin and lanky. Was it a malnourished minotaur?' she wondered as she ran her eyes over its body. The slim bipedal being had a mustache and a pair of glasses. Then, the realization hit her. This was a human. It's been so long since she last thought of them that she almost forgot. He wore a baggy suit commonly worn by bartenders. To his sides were a few crates and cases.

He was in a daze. What the chest did was definitely not comfortable for him. After rubbing his eyes, he looked at his surroundings. He was sweating profusely in a panic, clearly scared. Seeing the Tree of Harmony, he got slowly got up. While everypony else in the room backed up a bit, the being placed a soft hand against the ancient trunk.

"W-What is it?" Fluttershy barely managed to ask Twilight.

Twilight tried to explain it to her, "He's a -," but was cut off by another.

"He seems familiar," whispered Discord to Fluttershy. He narrowed his eyes at the orange head of hair. 'I swear that I've seen that thing before.'

Rarity breathed. "I just hope he's friendly."

Rainbow Dash grunted. "I don't care what he is. Is this thing supposed to save us from Tirek or what?"

Finally, the creature eyes laid on the others in the room. Everypony stepped back as the creature turned his attention to him.

“Twilight?” She wasn’t sure who had spoken. The voice had been faint, alarmed. Maybe it had been Spike. Or Applejack. She didn’t dare look away. The creature, whatever it was, was smiling brightly at Twilight, precisely at her horn wings.

Twilight opened her mouth, unsure of what she would say even as she moved to speak. 'Should I welcome the human? Caution him? Tell him about Tirek.' She wasn’t sure, but even as she tore her eyes away from the human, her decision was made for her.

Pinkie Pie bounded forward. “Hi, there!”

Author's Note:

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