• Published 31st Jul 2012
  • 15,352 Views, 623 Comments

A Link to Equestria - Wandering Quill



The Hero of Time's arrival to Equestria bears more consequence than anyone expected: the discovery of a common History... and of common enemies.

  • ...
39
 623
 15,352

Companions

~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
~-~-~-~-~-~▼~-~-~-~-~-~

Twilight sighed.

A yearning to return to the Golden Oaks Library was beginning to develop in the young mare’s mind. Though the Canterlot archives were considered one of the most complete archives in the world, the sheer vastness of a single wing, coupled with the vagueness of the information she sought, reminded her of just how small and familiar her little Ponyville library was. The stack of books she’d already skimmed over grew at a steady pace, most of considerable thickness, and still she didn't find herself any closer to discovering the origin of the phrase that echoed in her thoughts.

’…wearing the green of hope, a creature stranger than anything ever seen in Equestria…’

Another book flew to the top of the pile, another tired sigh escaped her lips. The flame of the candle that had kept her company throughout the evening was ebbing, allowing the darkness that was characteristic to the wing to slowly settle in. She could only hope that the guard would arrive to tell her that the creature had woken up. She risked falling asleep over a book if he didn't do so soon.

Another book flew towards her. The glow that encased it faded abruptly, and it fell on the table with a loud thump that was sure to keep the mare awake for just a little longer.

She had almost completely exhausted two entire shelves of the rather lengthy Mythology Section, but her results had always been related to extremely old legends long ago proven wrong by all sorts of researchers (sometimes twice). This new book would most likely be another one of those – but precision in her research commanded that she read it anyway.

Sky Book… Maybe the pegasi have information about it…” she mumbled to herself, the long yawn she had been suppressing finally making its way out of her mouth.

Wiping the resulting tears from her eyes with a hoof, she unlocked the book, but stopped to observe the cover. It was much unlike most of the books she’d read there so far: upon it were etched a circle and a couple of crescent moons of escalating size surrounding each other as if the first figure emitted waves towards the top of the cover.

She ran her free hoof over the design, temporarily engrossed in its elaborateness, before cracking it open and marveling at the discovery: the characters she saw written on the aged pages were not in Equestrian – no, they were a complicated arrangement of odd figures that seemingly made no sense unless they were together. A language she’d never seen in any of the books that composed the records.

Schematics of a gigantic machine – or so it seemed, scaled as it was with the creature beside it – were drawn on several of the pages, its shape resembling a legged cannon, depicting several of its motions and positions. It walked on its own!

“Could it be… they were getting ready for a war?” the mare softly muttered. Exhaustion was instantly replaced by the enthusiasm of discovery. “These blueprints… they don’t seem to include a trigger anywhere…”

Much to her delight and simultaneous sadness, the incomprehensible scribbling ended abruptly in the page that followed the last of the blueprints. An archaic form of the Equestrian language now filled entire pages. Clapping her hooves in joy, she began to turn the pages, briefly scanning the contents of one page before hurriedly getting to the next. For now, she was focused on finding a single mention of the words she wanted.

And surely enough, there it was, black on white, in the delicate writing of the book’s author:

“‘…a boy clothed in green appeared as if from nowhere.’ A… boy?” she repeated, quickly going back a few words to find the beginning of the sentence.

She immediately regretted doing so. The singular combination of the dreadful words she found, combined with the unexpected creaking of the chamber doors, startled her out of her mind.

The world grew blurry for the faintest moment. Her own whispers comforted her enough to coax panic away. It was the familiar voice of the dungeon guard that brought the stallion at the end of the room back into focus.

“Ah… hum…" she mumbled, still slightly stunned. "Would you mind repeating that, please?”

“The creature is conscious, Miss Sparkle.”

The book fell to the ground, spared from the invisible grip of magic. But it was too late. The words that were written on its pages had already been burned into her memory.

But then, when all hope had died, and the hour of doom seemed at hand…’ the words spelled...

~-~-~-~-~-~▲~-~-~-~-~-~
~-~-~-~-~-~▲ ▲~-~-~-~-~-~

Link's head ached, as it had the entirety of the time he’d spent lying there, wherever that place was. In the distance, a drop of water fell on a little pond. The resulting 'ping' resonated in his sharp ears like a hammer banging on metal, prompting him to shake his head as though it would drive the painful sound away.

He knew two things for sure; he was locked up, and the intense stench of the dead was almost palpable in every corner of that chamber. Scratch that, it was literally palpable. From where he lied, he could see the wooden door with three simple iron bars halfway up that sealed him in that cell. Beyond those, he could see the faint glimmer of a torch, casting an unrecognizable shadow on the rocky walls.

Mounds of hay were randomly scattered throughout the compartment, little of which within his reach, much to his annoyance, and even less cushioning the back of his head.

Rocks had never provided a good pillow. Having spent several nights sleeping in the verdant Hyrule fields or secluded from the fiery meteors that rained down from Death Mountain, Link knew that there was a clear difference between red earth and fertile earth in terms of comfort.

He clearly remembered the Gerudo Fortress’s cells, and how uninhabitable that place in the desert had been. The Gerudo had designed it as if any prisoner that spent a single night there would be dead by sunrise, be it of starvation, thirst, or both. The gang of thieves was not exactly known for its hospitality. Taking those terrible women in account, questions regarding these beings’ way of taking care of their guests began to arise.

Tired of lying down, he sat and stretched his arms and legs in an attempt to get rid of the numbness that ailed them. The sound of chains rustling called his attention to the cuffs around his right leg, and to the short chain that connected it to a spike on the ground.

Great… and they took my sword too, he sourly remarked in his thoughts while a hand probed his back for the equipment, finding only the empty belts.

“Psst.” Furrowing his brow, he took a careful look around the ward, stopping at the little barred window behind him. Amidst the silver radiance of the moon was tiny green dot that gently fluttered in front of the grating. It didn’t take long for Link to remember who this was, and the epiphany was explosive.

“YOU! GET IN HERE, COWARD! WHY DID YOU PRETEND TO BE HER?!”

“Look, I’m sorry, but you need to calm down or they’ll hear you!” Much to his surprise, the emerald fairy’s tone was apologetic (though just barely sincere), and a bit rushed as well. After their first and only encounter, he wouldn’t have pegged her for the type that would be sorry for its actions, let alone show their face in front of their victims again.

Of course, none of that was enough to quell the beast she’d upset before.

“WELL THEY CAN COME IN IF THEY WANT! I WOULDN’T BE HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE IF YOU HADN’T TRICKED ME!”

“Hey! I had to, okay?! I had to do it to live, so there!”

“You had to do it to live?! Who told you to do it?!”

“NOBODY! I’M A CHANGELING SPRITE, ALRIGHT?!”

“…what…” The boy’s expression visibly softened, only to resume its heavy frown just seconds later. “And what’s that to me?! You could be a Deku for all I care!”

“I feed off positive emotions, alright?” The fairy seemed suddenly angered. Her wings emitted a loud buzz. “It’s… complicated… but I didn’t mean you any harm! It was an accident!” Taking note of Link’s invariably fuming look, she went silent, slowly backing away from him. “I don’t expect you to understand… but I want to make it up to you.”

“Make it up. Tsc. That’s rich.” The boy sat down, crossing his arms. “And just how’ll you do that?”

“I’ll help you get back to Hyrule. Then we can just go separate ways and you won’t even have to see me again.” Some pep returned to her speech as she approached him again. “I won’t bother you anymore.”

His face retained its initial passiveness, as if the fairy hadn’t even spoken. She seemed to be making the ordeal of returning home – one he’d considered hard enough without even trying – so simple. So simple, in fact, that he couldn’t help but be slightly annoyed.

But… it was his only hope. Better said, she was the only being he had met so far who was both aware of Hyrule and that he was Hylian. She was, at the same time, a curse and a blessing in this place.

And the fact that he had nobody else to ask for help only served to aggravate his frustration.

“…what’s your plan?”

“Watch out, they’re coming!” she spoke up all of a sudden, hiding behind the wall outside as the sound of hooves clacking on the dungeon floor began to reach them. The boy was about to shout for her, but her whisper somehow overpowered it: “Just do whatever the ponies say for now! As long as you don’t make them mad, they won’t hurt you!"

The fairy stopped for a moment, as if to carefully select her next words. "Trust me… I would know.”

~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
~-~-~-~-~-~▼~-~-~-~-~-~

There was an unmistakable sense of anxiousness in the air once the heavy door slid open, dragging along the bigger mounds of hay that were close to it. Twilight stepped in.

Without even wanting to, the mare and the boy had engaged each other in a staring contest, where the first to break eye contact would be the first to talk. She could see his azure eyes flickering slightly in the dark like the stars in the nocturnal sky, his eyebrows curved down in a seemingly unbreakable determination. Had she not known any better, she would have said that he was a monster protecting its treasured loot. A cuffed monster, for that matter; one that she knew couldn’t hurt him under the penalty of being harmed in return.

He seemed fairly aware of what she was capable of, and also of what she possessed: a horn, and magic. His eyes shifted nervously from hers to the horn on her forehead.

“H-Hello,” she decided to speak, finally breaking the ineffable quietness and somewhat catching the creature off-guard. She was trying her best to sound innocent, maybe even friendly. “My name is Twilight Sparkle. Do you understand what I am saying?”

But no matter how slowly she spoke, the creature would simply stare open-mouthed at her, baffled and lost in confusion.

Of course. It doesn’t understand a thing.

She wasn’t sure of what to do. The methods of communication were more likely than not different between their two kinds, and judging from the being’s wide-eyed stare, it had never even seen something like her. The quote regarding a ‘boy’ clad in green continued to play in her mind like a broken record.

I need to calm it down…

Very carefully, she took a step forward, their gaze still intertwined so as to test each other’s reactions. Taking its lack of a response of any kind as a sign of confirmation, she took another one, then another one. With each step she took, a soft, purple glow began to envelop her horn. Behind them, the clatter of hooves echoed in the tunnel, the steps appearing more distant and urgent with every passing moment.

It was when they were but centimeters apart that the creature began to pull its head back, certainly an attempt to look properly at her. But no – its eyes were set on her horn. It was fear. Whatever she was doing, she was provoking a befuddling terror on the young being.

“I’m not going to hurt you…” she decided to try a vocal approach on soothing it, but met only failure. As cautiously as possible, she tried to make up for the gap it had created, lowering her head as she did so. Her horn drew closer and closer to its forehead. Though it resisted for a moment, she could feel its breath against her mane.

“M-Miss Sparkle!!” the guard barked from the entrance, completely breaking her concentration on the spell and putting her horn’s glow out like a breeze to the flame of a candle. She unleashed a profuse sigh, lowering her head and just barely missing the creature’s nose with her horn.

“This had better be good,” she continued with a groan, frowning at the guard over her shoulder.

The moment she noticed the graveness of his expression was the moment it infected her with panic. It was no joke; something serious had happened. It was the only possible justification for the guardspony to have fetched its weapons, and her mind raced with all the possibilities of things that could have gone wrong in the castle. Unfortunately, it was that single line in the book that resonated in all of them, the same disturbing legend that would otherwise have no meaning whatsoever. The hour of doom.

“W-What is it?”

“…Something is happening in the throne room.”

~-~-~-~-~-~▲~-~-~-~-~-~
~-~-~-~-~-~▲▼▲~-~-~-~-~-~

The colorful banners of the Canterlot Castle Halls zoomed past Twilight as she galloped alongside the royal guardspony. The latter’s armor pieces rattled on each other with every step they took. A heavy lance was splayed across his back.

The tower containing the throne room, the only tower that soared over Canterlot peak's massive chasm, was the farthest location they could hope to reach from the dungeons. Lost in a state of dizziness from exhaustion, Twilight tried to shun the feeling of impending disaster than continued to haunt her. Try though she might, there was an undeniable connection between the book, the boy and the problems she was about to face. The guardspony spared her of those thoughts when he came to a halt, consequently causing her to stop. They had arrived.

It was a scene to behold, the organization of the royal guard. Despite their captain’s untimely absence, they still organized themselves as if someone was giving out the orders, setting their pace and mission and directing them to their inevitable deaths at the pitiless hands of whatever foe threatened Equestria this time.

Ugh. This really happens too often. the mare realized before noting the circumstances and chuckling lightly to herself. There was no joy in that little giggle. Just a desperate attempt to convince herself that everything was fine.

“They’re mobilizing most of the platoon!” The stallion beside her's weary talking snatched her back to reality. “Whatever’s in there – it’s gonna get ugly!”

The phrase 'getting ugly' was one Twilight had grown accustomed to. With a loud gulp, she tried to keep focused on the task. A large group of armored ponies was already rushing across the bridge that led to the throne room.

“Stay close to me, and whatever you do, you do it when I say so, got that?” the stallion snarled. A quick nod from Twilight brought a smirk to his snout. “Alright then, let’s get this over with.”

Finally stepping on the marble arch bridge, the mare found herself in the middle of two organized rows of guards, all of which saluting the one that accompanied her. The former stopped as well at one point, gesturing likewise at another stallion. They exchanged formalities before handing out the information. They knew just as much: there was a threat in the Throne Room.

But perhaps there was something that went unstated, and Twilight got to witness it first-hand when she peered discreetly from behind the larger pony. At the end of the bridge, where the largest, most finely decorated door of the castle stood high and proud, was none other than a group of obviously exhausted soldiers. They struggled to get it open in whatever way they could - conventionally or not. Their efforts were always fruitless. There was always a bright blue, translucent barrier that kept the, from succeeding.

A bright blue barrier.

Magic.

“I-I think I can get us in there,” Twilight spoke up to the stallion. She was greeted by a mandatory frown, but allowed to continue. “If I can get close, I can probably break that barrier. It might be difficult without disrupting the source, but the least I can do is try!”

“You heard the little filly. You!” he spoke with unexpected swiftness, turning to the closest unit before beckoning at the barrier with his head. "Get her over there, stat!”

“Yes, sir!” the guard replied, hurriedly accompanying the mare through the organized rows before presenting her to the door.

Twilight took a deep breath and analyzed the barrier. There was powerful magic behind it, for sure. It was focused solely on the door, and exerted such strength that no simple counter spell would break it. She had a few ideas, and the only way to know if they would work was to try them.

“Step back, this might backfire…" Her horn lit up. "Certain force fields have this…”

She found her words harder and harder to mutter as the barrier became the focus of her magic. She had, in truth, done this perhaps once or twice. Most of the time, it was her barrier she was taking down, and not somepony else’s, so destroying a spell she hadn’t cast was no easy business.

And though she had seen a quite wide variety of protective spells in her life – or at least read about them, never had she encountered one like this. Not a sentient one. But especially not one…

"Hello, Twilight. It has been a while, has it not?"

…with the voice of Nightmare Moon.

And just like that, the eruption of a blinding flash was followed by the darkness of the void, as if all light in the world had just been wasted on this one, incredible burst. She was conscious, however. The feeling of travelling at immensely high speeds – one not foreign to her – coursed through the entirety of her body and being.

She was being teleported.