• Published 12th Oct 2012
  • 43,210 Views, 635 Comments

Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Sparkle's Notes - AdmiralTigerclaw



Companion Text to Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger

  • ...
42
 635
 43,210

Manuscript Two: Soft, Warm, Fuzzy, and a bit Stinky

STRIDETAUR: GENTLE GIANT
By Twilight Sparkle

Twilight's entry... One.
August 13th, 2257

I'm not really sure how to go about making professional looking notes on official studies, but since I'm partially doing Princess Celestia a favor, I've decided that it would be in our best interest to document my findings on the stridetaur in as objective a manner as possible.

To review what I've already found out since its arrival:

- The creature, dubbed 'stridetaur' at this time because of its similarities to a minotaur, is not of Equestrian origin.
- It is a bipedal creature, approximately four trots tall, and I estimate weighs somewhere around two and a half, to three bales.(*1) Estimates may be inaccurate because of its clothing.
- The stridetaur wears clothing, and is intelligent enough to pose mathematical concepts that have stumped both myself and Princess Luna.
- It appears to be friendly, or at least, non-hostile to ponies.
- Despite its non-hostility, it appears to be capable of defending itself. Information from Zecora suggests that it is armed with some kind of weapon strong enough to fend off an attack by a manticore. Description suggests something that uses thunder.
- It eats some kind of food kept in packages that appear to be made of some kind of cloth that reflects light. At this time, I'm thinking omnivorous dietary habits due to the stridetaur's predatory features. I possess no confirmation of the matter as of yet.
-...

Is this all I know? Wow, I really need to get myself in order. Today I'm going to head to the hill it's been sitting at and wait for it. I'll be taking Spike with me, and Princess Luna will be watching to make sure nothing goes wrong. I'm expecting little to no trouble, but I've got butterflies in my stomach none-the-less. It's not every day you meet an alien for the first time after all.

Well, no time like the present, let's do this.


Twilight's Entry Two
August 13th, 2257

I should have thought about this a little sooner. But it suddenly occurred to me that the Stridetaur might be a carrier for any number of infectious diseases. I mean, sure the chances of an alien microbe being compatible with our biology are practically nil, but it seems to be biologically compatible with our local food so I can't rule it out completely.

Oh... Now I have to quarantine Spike and myself in the basement while I do some checks. The look on Princess Luna's face when I trotted into the library in my own magic bubble...

But while I wait for these tests to clear, let's talk about the Stridetaur.


I reached the hill before him this morning. I say 'him' because with the musculature and the deep voice, he's definitely the male of his species. I find that in itself amazing because I had no idea an off-world alien would have such manner of gender traits. Though, to be absolutely certain I'm going to have to make a full anatomical study of his body.

But I digress.

I beat him to the hill and managed to apparently surprise him by being there first. He stood staring at me for the better part of three minutes before he approached. And I'll just mention for the record that the Stridetaur is a lot bigger up close than I realized.

To be precise, I was able to determine that he stands at 3.8 trots tall, twice the height of the average pony. From my perspective, that's a lot like having Princess Celestia towering over you. This could be quite intimidating if I didn't already know he was mostly passive and quite friendly.

Spike however, was a bit overprotective, but then again he's a dragon. I was afraid he was going to blow it for me when the Stridetaur finally worked up the nerve to approach. Luckily he did seem to grasp that 'I' was in charge when I told Spike to behave.

I've got the paper he traded with me to go over at this point, but right now I've got too much to write about to bother with some math. I already know he's brilliant.

In particular I found that the Stridetaur's foreleg to be absolutely fascinating. It's an extremely articulate appendage with no less than 17 individual joints with all but two of them located on the very end. Kind of like a Dragon's but twice as sophisticated. Like a dragon, it's got a full range of motion, allowing for bending and twisting, as well as an extremely powerful grasping ability. Unlike a dragon however, the grasping portion of the appendage is far more specialized for the task. Spike is certainly good enough with his grasping skills, but the Stridetaur's digits are soft, pliable, and greater in number.

The stridetaur has no claws, but it does have some kind of short nail on the end of each digit that seems similar to the material of a hoof. The edges are somewhat sharp, but not to the point that their purpose would be for cutting or piercing. In fact, the way they're rounded off would imply that they are all but incapable of being used as a claw or claw substitute, even as a last resort.

Instead, I would surmise that the grip would be more dangerous. The digits, while very delicate, are extremely strong. And as I was shown at one point, capable of holding the entirety of the Stridetaur's weight without being compromised. (Side note: The Stridetaur, even when weighted down by bulky clothing, is more than capable of rapidly and nimbly climbing a tree. I surmise that they may be descended from an arboreal species.)

I also found out something interesting about him once we got to examining each other. Stridetaurs have the finest fur I've ever seen. I thought his skin was bare, but while I was examining his foreleg I discovered that it's actually covered in a very thin layer of very soft down. I'm not sure what possible use it could have because fur that light would be all but useless in cold weather.

For dietary notes, I did get a good look at his teeth. Omnivore, 100 percent. The Stridetaur has one row of teeth on the top and bottom of its mouth. The front teeth are incisors made specifically for cutting and tearing flesh, with a set of small canines on each side. However, further back in the corners of its mouth there are molars designed for grinding food. The lower jaw is loose and can articulate from side to side as well as up and down. I’m sure Princess Celestia will be relieved to find this fact out.

I should also mention that while I was busy examining the alien creature, he was just as busy examining me. I think he found my cutie mark to be of some interest. It’s likely he doesn’t have an equivalent, given how cutie marks are unique to pony kind even here. However, unless I get an examination of the Stridetaur without clothing, I cannot make any rock solid conclusions.


Twilight's Entry Three
August 15th, 2257

Well, the tests came up clean. That’s good news…

And I feel kind of embarrassed… Am I allowed to be embarrassed when making first contact with an alien? I don’t know. But today I caught myself starting to argue with the alien about physics and math. Sure, this may seem normal enough when one considers who I am, but I had to remind myself that aside from a few numbers, I know nothing of the Stridetaur’s language, and he knows nothing of ours. I literally had an argument with a creature that didn’t understand a word I said!

Spike said I was being a bit silly about the whole thing, which reminded me that I needed to send a letter to Princess Celestia to inform her of my progress. The Stridetaur… I’ll call him ‘Nosy’ since his is so small, but he sticks it into everything I do… Nosy seemed fascinated when Spike sent the letter. I wonder if they have a method like that where he comes from. Probably not. Dragon Fire is pretty unique.


Correspondence between Princess Celestia and Twilight Sparkle
August 15th, 2257

Dear Princess Celestia,

Attached is my latest report concerning the Stridetaur.

So far, I have managed to successfully make peaceful contact with the creature. After some up close examination, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that while it does have carnivorous features, it seems to have no problems eating fruits, as well as some kind of food it keeps in strange shiny bags. Some of it smelled distinctly like the cooked meat the castle chef prepares for griffin ambassadors.

I'm going to try and get a better idea of what kind of foods he eats. It'll help us to better bridge the gap in making him feel welcome.

Your Faithful Student.
Twilight Sparkle


To my Faithful Student,

A splendid idea! I'll be going over the notes you've written so far and see about preparing the chefs in the event this creature ever comes to Canterlot. I would hope to make this creature’s stay as welcoming as possible. Better to be on good terms after all.

Sincerely,
Princess Celestia.


Twilight’s Entry Four,
August 18th, 2257

In a little bit of an experiment of mine over the last two days, I decided to bring Pinkie Pie along to meet Nosy. (Not that I had a choice, if I waited any longer, Pinkie was going to drive me crazy.) She brought a significant picnic sampler from Sugarcube Corner as per my request and we spent time observing how the Stridetaur handled it.

It seems that for the most part that its biology has no serious issues with cakes and other baked treats. At least, none that I can observe without invasive, painful, and possibly destructive techniques. But I digress. Nosy seemed to enjoy the treats a lot. Pinkie Pie wants to throw him a party, but I vetoed that one very quickly. This is first contact with an alien race, we can party after we’re sure a party doesn’t get misrepresented as an act of war. (I’m not paranoid, just prudent.)

Our little stunt was reciprocated by the next day. Nosy has brought us one of the strange food pouches he’s been eating out of. And it turns out it’s some kind of food preservation system. The pouch is made of a shiny brown… I don’t know WHAT to call it, but it’s soft like paper, yet strong as Spike’s skin. For the time being I’m just going to call it something like… oh, Fake Dragon Hide? Fadrahide? That’ll work.

Inside the main pouch, were several smaller pouches, amazingly sealed beyond anything we call air-tight. I think I understand how it keeps the food materials inside fresh for such long periods of time.

The pouches contained, believe it or not, a cheese pasta, a chocolate brownie, and some kind of… I’m pretty sure it was again, a meat substance. The texture looked like it anyway. It smelled absolutely stunning even if it was.

Needless to say, Nosy allowed both myself and Pinkie to try it. I was a little reluctant at first, but Pinkie didn’t think twice about the brownie, and if Stridetaur biology allowed it to eat apples, I think I’d be okay eating the cheese noodle analogue it had.

I conclude that it was… somewhat delicious. A little bland maybe, and not up to the same standards as the kind of noodles my mother would make for me, but it did the job. Pinkie said the brownie was dry and heavy, but likewise passable.

However it didn’t end there. The pouch the food came in also came with some kind of heating element powered by water and a type of chemical powder. There was also a clear package of various knick-knacks and a red liquid Pinkie quickly identified as some kind of hot sauce. Altogether, I conclude that package is/was meant as a form of self-contained, pre-portioned, ready to eat meal. One that is meant to be stored for long periods of time, such as those for long trips. It’s only logical when you think about it.


Correspondence from Princess Luna to Princess Celestia
August 19th, 2257

Tia,

I just witnessed a most interesting event transpire within the Everfree Forest. The ‘Stridetaur’, as your student calls it, just had an encounter with a wild Cockatrice. I was prepared to intervene on its… HIS behalf, but I realized after about a full minute of watching that he remained unharmed by the foul fowl’s accursed gaze.

I am beside myself with surprise as to this alien’s fortitude against such powerful magic. I must also mention that the Stridetaur seemed completely unaware that he was under brutal magical attack.

If this is an example of the average resistance they have to magic, then this might yet explain something I’ve neglected to mention about it. I have been unable to dream dive into this creature’s mind. I thought it was simply because it was alien, but now I suspect otherwise.

By the Tides,
Your sister, Luna


Twilight’s Entry Five
August 20th, 2257:

It seems the Stridetaur didn’t show up today. I’m not sure what’s going on. He seemed a little out of it yesterday and had poor focus. Princess Luna hasn’t been around all day either. Either way, yesterday we-


Correspondence Between Princess Luna/Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia
August 20th, 2257: (Broken seal marked as ‘URGENT!’)

Tia,

Summon both thy royal Alchemist, and thy Arch Mage of the royal academy. We don’t care if they are asleep, we’ll wake them ourselves if we have to.

Tell them to find for us any and all information on the curses placed upon mortals by a wild cockatrice. And impress upon them the importance of doing so with great haste! We fear we may have underestimated the potency of that wicked fowl even in the face of the Stridetaur’s strange resistance.

With great haste,
Your sister, Luna.


Luna,

I have done as you ask and dispatched the guard to collect them. In the meantime, could you explain to me what is going on?

Love,
Your Sis, Celly


Tia,

We - I have been observing the stridetaur since its encounter with the Cockatrice. While it appeared to completely ignore the petrification effects of the accursed fowl’s stare, it seems to have fallen ill over the course of the day. Your student has already noticed its condition deteriorating and has since informed me of the issue.

When I went back to check on it, I found it behaving strangely within’ its metal abode. It appeared to be suffering from terrible malaise. I am not certain, but it seemed much weaker, lacked its usual two-hoofed balance, and would moan in pain while clutching its head.

As I have mentioned before, I cannot dream dive into this creature’s mind, but I can still feel some of the unease it radiates in its sleep. It- HE is in great physical distress at this point. I can feel the remnants of cockatrice magic, and that disturbs us- me, greatly. He has attempted to use his own healing techniques, but that apparently has only made things worse. I have not been in communication with it like Sparkle has, but even I can tell that in the last few hours, it has become incoherent and delirious.

I fear his condition may worsen if this is allowed to continue. His illness is magical in nature and I don’t think he even realizes it.

By the Tides,
Your Sister, Luna.


Luna,

As I said, I’ve sent for the ponies you’ve requested. However, I must remind you that we know very little of this creature’s body. We will gather the data you need, but please remember that we could do more harm than good if we do not know how it will react to certain alchemy potions. This illness may be the worst of its distress, and we could accidentally kill it in our attempt to help.

I need not stress how much of a calamity that would be for all of Equestria. The Stridetaur is but one of many who would likely follow. If it- If he were to come to harm at our hooves, the consequences could put all of our little ponies at risk. Take great care in your judgment.

Love
Your Sis, Celly


Tia,

I am aware of the delicate nature of this situation. However I must stress that the creature seems either unaware, or primitive in its knowledge of magic and alchemy. I feel it is my duty while it is a guest in our lands to inform it of such dangers to the best of my abilities.

Since your student has had more time to study him directly, I will defer to her judgment in the matter if we should attempt to help, or let its illness take its course. In the meantime, I await the information I requested. Once again, please stress that time is of the essence. If we are indeed to help, we should do so post-haste.

By the Tides,
Your sister, Luna.


Dear Princess Celestia,

I’ve had a brief discussion with your sister, and while I agree with her about rendering any aid possible, I also agree that we should be extremely careful of how we render that aid. As such, I would like to ask if you could pass along the information on the Stridetaur’s dietary habits contained in the later section of this note to the Alchemist, and Luna’s notes on its magic resistance to the Arch Mage. I feel that they will be able to work best knowing these traits.

In the meantime, I will go and wait on the hill and see if he shows up. If he doesn’t show up by noon, I’ll prepare the girls and we’ll go see if he’s okay.

Your Faithful Student,
Twilight Sparkle.


ATTACHED NOTE:

Stridetaur, Dietary Notes

Type: Omnivore.

- Consumes foods high in proteins and carbohydrates. Most foods bear little to no difference to Equestrian equivalent.
- Has consumed Equestrian apples from local farm, and pastries from local bakery with no known ill effect.
- Possesses its own food supply that appears to be similar to, or is exactly the same as pasta, cheese (*), and brownies. No known ill effects for ponies that have consumed these foods.
- Is assumed to have consumed at least one or two bottles of fresh apple juice, and is observed drinking both regular water as well as artificially flavored water with its meals.
- Pre-packaged ready to eat meals it has in its possession contain at least one small vial of a spicy liquid assumed to be hot sauce.

*Cheese? Now that I think about it, that implies they have a creature that serves a similar biological role to cows.

Stridetaur, Magical Resistance Notes

IMPORTANT: Creature is alien to our world. Use caution.

Very little known of the ability, assume all unknowns lead to dangerous interaction.
Impervious to Dream Diving.
Impervious or highly Resistant to Cockatrice Stare.
Seems to be subconsciously perceptive of scrying: Stridetaur appears to become more aware/alert during moments of scrying.

Notes verified by Twilight Sparkle

To my faithful student and wonderful sister,

I have passed on your notes to the Alchemist and the Arch Mage. The Arch Mage has already expressed a theory of his own the Stridetaur and thinks he might have a solution provided alchemy works with it. I’m informed they’ll get started on it immediately.

I will inform you as soon as they have something.

Sincerely,
Princess Celestia.


Twilight’s Entry Six:
August 21st, 2257

After the sudden news yesterday of Nosy’s illness, the circumstances surrounding it, and the letters between Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, I’m quite relieved to write that he showed up at the hill today.

From what Luna was describing last night, I was under the impression that he was about ready to collapse. However, he seems to have recovered a significant amount of his strength since then. While not exactly up to full health, I see no evidence of a loss of his ability to retain balance on two legs.

However, Nosy appears to still be in pain. He frequently clutches his head and grunts as if fighting off a particularly bad migraine. I wanted to inform him what I suspect the problem was, but he’s again proven to be highly intelligent. Almost as soon as I showed up he presented me with a crude drawing of what could only be a cockatrice.

It took a bit of charades, but I’m pretty sure he’s linked that beast to his headache.

Luckily, I have a book on the subject, and even without understanding each other’s language I think he figured out the meaning of the pictures quite clearly.

I’d hate to sound like I didn’t believe what Princess Luna said about him staring down a cockatrice, but I still find myself a little surprised that the worst it did to him was make his head hurt. I’m Princess’ Celestia’s top student and though I don’t like to brag about it, one of the most skilled unicorns in Equestria… And one of those snake-birds STILL got the drop on me. Good thing Fluttershy was around at the time. I probably would have been stuck in that clearing for at least a few months before the Princess finally found me. I shudder just thinking about it. Did I mention I’m not fond of snakes?

But I digress…

You should have seen how he jumped when I patted Nosy on the back. I almost forgot, we’ve never made physical contact before.

Note, for the record thanks to that lapse in judgment… I’ve found out that Stridetaurs are rather warm, and surprisingly soft for their size. That verifies what I suspected about it being warm-blooded. Not that it was hard to figure out, but every little bit of verification counts.


Correspondence between Princess Celestia and Princess Luna
August 21st, 2257

To my sister,

I’ve just received word from the Arch Mage. They believe they have a potion that can remove the Cockatrice’s curse without harming our guest. Here are his notes to me:

TO THE PRINCESS:

I believe that what we are seeing is a very rare case of Acquired Thaumic Poisoning, which has a relatively simple fix.

As you are likely aware, ATP is not common in Equestria due to the high permeation of magic in almost everything we touch. However, the description of this creature’s abilities and recent diet suggests that while it was physically immune to a cockatrice stare, certain materials in its blood stream were not entirely purged of magical components when it made eye contact.

It is my belief that the Stridetaur’s diet which included Equestrian-made pastries, drinks, and other confectionaries, introduced materials that were susceptible to the curse of a cockatrice into its body and past its natural defenses.

When this Stridetaur made eye-contact, while it resisted the curse, the minuscule amount of nutrients that were susceptible in the blood vessels around the eye did not. These likely ‘mineralized’ for lack a better term, causing blockages and inflammation. This would lead to the noted headaches. As such, the combination of local cuisine and the cockatrice stare acted as a two-stage triggered poison.

Normally in creatures with similar defenses, these nutrients are metabolized quickly and do not present any issues. However, as this creature is an alien, its biology might not be fully compatible with certain nutrients in the food it consumed and thus its metabolism acted on it more slowly. Had this creature been eating more equestrian food and had a higher concentration in his blood, the result would have likely been a stroke. In that case, he would have never made it out of the forest alive.

I expect no real lasting harm if the Stridetaur is still able to stand even a few hours after the stare. However, until the mineralization is treated, I would expect it to suffer chronic pain for weeks or months to come.

After confiding with both the Royal Doctor and the Royal Veterinarian, I’ve prepared a small potion for the Stridetaur to ingest. It’s a simple mix of a citrus-based drink, and an anti-petrification serum. The dosage is minuscule, so there shouldn’t be any lasting adverse effects. And the Royal Alchemist is confident that with him being able to safely eat Equestrian food, there should be no issues with being able to consume the same potions we do. In short: He may taste chicken, that’s about it.

Signed,
Professor Astrum Exemplum. PHD

As you can see, they already have what they believe to be a cure to the symptoms and are sending it down to Ponyville as I write this. You should receive it via guard in the next few hours.

Love, your sister,
Celly.


Twilight’s Entry Seven:
August 22nd, 2257

I’m relieved to report that Nosy appears to have made a full recovery thanks to Professor Exemplum’s potion. I was really worried for a moment there we’d poison him and make things worse, and he seemed to hold the same unease seeing it. However everything turned out fine in the end, and I’m glad. Aside from the expected side-effect of ‘chicken breath’, nothing odd seems to have occurred.

He’s gone back to the forest to rest now, and I have to review a few notes and try and remember where I was with studying him. I think Rainbow Dash said something about rain tomorrow… Oh! I’ve misplaced my copy of the weather schedule! Maybe Princess Luna’s got one…


Twilight’s Entry Eight:
August 23rd, 2257

Rain from about two to sunset… Well, that cut my day working with Nosy short. Even now he refuses to come into town. I guess he’s a bit apprehensive of scaring the locals. Well, given Roseluck and Daisy’s reaction to even the smallest thing out of the ordinary, I can’t say I’d blame him. Maybe next time.

Twilight’s Entry Nine:
August 24th, 2257

How is this possible?

HOW?!

How how how how how how how?!

Nosy came up the hill today carrying more of those… Those white sheets of perfect paper I think he calls ‘printows’. On them were pictures of all kinds of creatures. There were several I don’t recall seeing, but he had all kinds of drawings of dragons, and hydras, and even strange versions of Unicorns, Pegasi,… (A really handsome Pegasus too… Probably bigger than Princess Celestia and- [REDACTED FOR SCIENTIFIC REASONS].)

I was just starting to wonder where he’d gotten such highly detailed images when it clicked. They were creatures from his home. Though, in the images, many of them looked ten times meaner and nastier. There was a cockatrice, and he even said their word for it!

If the thing hadn’t looked like somepony took a wild Everfree cockatrice and turned the nastiness up to something that would give even Princess Luna nightmares (she thinks spiders are cute, ugh!), I would have yanked those ‘printows’ right out of his grasp and sent them straight to the Canterlot Archives.

However, after a calm and measured response on my part, we managed to get down to identifying the ones that lived in the Everfree. He had a manticore, a Hydra, a Cockatrice as I said, and a Dragon. Though strangely, he was missing timberwolves and cragodiles among a few others.

It still drives me nuts! We have the same creatures, and if what he shows me is correct, there are races of pegasi and Unicorns yet he seems completely-

Wait… He brought high detail drawings and images that look like art work. None of them looked like a photo. Are…

Are those creatures extinct on his world?


Correspondence between Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia
August 24th, 2257 and Dawn of August 25th


Dear Princess Celestia,

Attached to this letter are images the Stridetaur ‘Nosy’ brought with him today. The images depict highly stylized versions of several of Equestria's native species, amongst which I can identify both pegasi, and unicorns.

I have come to the conclusion that between strikingly compatible biologies and strangely familiar concepts that somehow, Equestria may share a link with Nosy’s home world. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why. But you and I both know that a coincidence of this magnitude is not a coincidence at all.

However, that is not why I’m writing this letter.

I have come to a sudden realization that despite the quality of image reproduction Nosy is capable of, none of the images are actually photos. They are reproductions created from knowledge and skill, not from memory or experience. Having seen Nosy’s drawing skill first hoof, I can only conclude that he pulls this information from whatever personal archive he seems to have access to.

Given the…

Given the way he behaves, and the way the information was presented to me. I can only conclude that the creatures presented do not exist on his world at this time. This would ultimately mean that the pegasus and the unicorn depicted are creatures of collective social memory, and may have been driven to destruction sometime in the past. Perhaps even by Nosy’s species…

I’m sorry for the tone of this letter and bothering you so late in the evening. I don’t wish to jump to any premature conclusions, and I’d rather not build a hypothesis on tattered scraps of information, but in the off chance that what I’m thinking is true, I’d like to observe a moment of silence in respect to our lost cousins among the stars.

Your faithful student,
Twilight Sparkle.


My Dearest Twilight,

I apologize for the delay in this response, but I had to confirm something with an art expert after examining the images you sent me.

While I cannot conclude one way or another on your disheartening hypothesis, I had a little hypothesis of my own on the stylizing of the depicted creatures.

I would like to note for you, the wild, dangerous monsters of the Everfree that were in the group have many of their more frightening, dangerous, or disgusting features greatly exaggerated. Note especially the depiction of the hydra. The hydra is a noted swamp creature that rarely leaves its territory. You know from personal experience that when they leave the bog, they are clumsy, slow for their size, and easily confounded even if still a threat.

The image I see is as if somepony wanted to make a hydra all the more terrifying, perhaps out of fear, perhaps to serve as a warning. The hydra depicted looks big, fast, and nearly unstoppable. Whomever did this was in fear or awe of the creature.

In contrast, the unicorn and pegasus are cast differently. The tall, horse-like features of the Saddle Arabians are used to emphasize their physique while they are placed in poses that best depict elegance and grace. I can easily see an attempt to draw beauty out of the images shown here that is of stark contrast to the power and fear of the monsters and other wildlife.

This obvious artistic bias gives me hope. While I cannot say anything about the fate or even existence such distant cousins, I feel that the artists at the very least show a cultural opinion that shines positive on ponies.

However, the images raise a certain level of trepidation within me. I have expressed my unease at the Stridetaur’s appearance previously, and I have done my best to approach this like any encounter with a new ambassador. But if your hypothesis has any merit at all, it means these Stridetaurs survived and thrived on a world that once was home to dragons, hydras, manticores, and so on; A list of large, powerful creatures that in themselves failed to survive. Perhaps the stridetaurs even hunted down and eradicated them themselves out of fear for their own safety. I cannot be certain.

But that implies that the Stridetaurs collectively may be more powerful a force than all the dragons in Equestria. Luna and I control our sun and moon. But they travel amongst the stars the same way we would travel across the land.

I feel as if we are on the cusp of something bigger than all of us and that ruin may be but a mistake away. But the more I hear, the more confident I feel that letting you be the one to meet ‘Nosy’ was the right choice.

Keep up the good work Twilight, I’m counting on you.

Sincerely,
Princess Celestia


Dear Princess Celestia,

Thank you for taking your time on that response. I calmed down after I wrote you last night, and realized just how wild my imagination can be when it's working on only partial facts.

Whatever the reality of the situation may be; whether we have or had cousins out there in the stars; whether Stridetaurs fought them, defended them, or simply managed to survive better than them, I need to base the facts on here and now. Nosy is friendly, and I'm going to do my best to be his friend.

Your faithful student,
Twilight Sparkle


Twilight's Entry Ten
August 25th, 2257

I went to meet Nosy with Celestia's letter on my mind today. The artwork suggests ponies and stridetaurs are somehow connected. A history of encountering the same creatures as us, but pushed to memory by the sands of time...

Coincidence? I don't believe that for a second. Creatures from so far beyond our world that not even Celestia or Luna knows them. Perhaps some long time remnant of Discord's cruel games. Scattering Equestrian creatures to distant worlds seems like something he'd do for a laugh.

But those thoughts were pushed to the back of my mind until now. Yesterday, while we were going over the images he had, I almost forgot we'd come to a mutual understanding of one word.

“Dahn'jer...”

The word rolls off the tongue in a strange manner, but I can pronounce it with some effort. And after a few tries and examples, the meaning came together.

Cockatrice?

“Dahn'jer...”

Hydra?

“Dahn'jer...”

Dragon?

“Dahn'jer...”

We got it, I got it through to him after some desperate pointing. Everything in the Everfree Forest is very, very dangerous.

I know he got it too, because way he looked at the tree line was no different from the look a pony would give a toaster that was due to pop at any moment.

I'm certain he's planning to act on it too. Because today, he brought diagrams. I know engineering diagrams when I see them, and these weren't art pictures. Top, side, front, back, bottom... Not to mention orthogonal view. And surrounded with notes and stridetaurian numbers. He brought the designs for some kind of large, winged monstrosity the likes of which nopony'd ever seen before.

Unfortunately, my field is magic, not flying machines. I should get Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash.

He kept saying 'rayh'ven'stah' … I'm not sure if he's referring to the paper, or to the thing drawn up on it.


Twilight's Entry Eleven
August 26th, 2257

Rainbow Dash really needs to learn to be a little more at ease around new creatures. What's the first thing she does when I bring her to meet Nosy?

She threatens him, sizes him up for a fight, and tries to interrogate him with a million and one questions on where he's from, why he's here, and how he should dare to scare the residents of Ponyville.

I had to resist the urge to smack my face in exasperation!

I mean, seriously. I told her TWICE that he didn't understand a single thing she was saying.

In the end, I had to practically shove the vehicle diagrams he'd given me in her face to get her to focus. And that just makes me wonder why I brought her. Because it was like flipping a switch. Dash went from aggressive to complete show-off in a speed considerably faster than 'ten seconds flat'.

I know this isn't supposed to be a log of my frustrations, but this is FIRST CONTACT with an extra-terrestrial creature! Equestria- no, THE WORLD may be counting on my being able to be Nosy's friend, and Rainbow Dash first starts by trying to intimidate, and then impress him.

Ugh... Why me?


Twilight's Entry Twelve
August 27th, 2257

I have mixed feelings about Rainbow Dash's behavior today.

On one hoof, I would love to find a way to get Mayor Mare to dump an insane weather schedule on her after she went and chased Nosy into the heart of the Everfree...

On the other, I could almost kiss her for leading me right to his home of sorts.

And now I think I fully understand what he was trying to show me with those diagrams.

I remember Princess Luna mentioned Nosy was living in some kind of bird-like metal thing, but she'd never really elaborated on it or what it was. The diagrams however show it in great detail.

It's a flying machine.

It all makes sense of course, and I shouldn't be surprised. But at the same time, I'm amazed that something so big, so compact, and so obviously HEAVY can fly. But given that it's powered by huge jets of flame – I'll elaborate in a moment – I'm not surprised.

If I could sum this thing up in a word:

Complex.

In the front alone, there are so many buttons, switches, and levers that there was no possible way to even begin to guess what any of them did. I know the whole thing is important given the amount of times he emphasized 'danger', but he just seemed protective of it to the point of paranoia.

Then he showed me something wonderful... Something amazing.

It was some kind of not-magic, magical box of knowledge. It reacts to touch, and seems to behave like a book that gets what you want without you having to actually get any books. Nosy showed us how it worked by bringing up a movie, a really, REALLY good movie, of his home flying.

I'm not exaggerating about how good the movie was. It's nothing like those black and white safety movies we had in magic class. I had to look around to make sure we weren't actually moving. I kept thinking we were actually there.

This house, this flying machine of his... It's amazing really. It hovers on jets of flame and clouds of smoke, and flies high into the sky without any magic I could see. Even Rainbow Dash was impressed... When he did something to make the sound louder, it roared continuously with a force to rival a dragon.

I think what Nosy has been trying to tell me for the last few days is that he intends to move it. I understand now why he'd gone through such efforts. He's done nothing but act with the utmost caution in an effort to not scare ponies. Right from the moment he turned and walked away from me, up until pretty much giving me an early warning.

If this thing suddenly flew over Ponyville unannounced, it would take DAYS to get anypony to come out of their homes.

I've already alerted Princess Luna to Nosy's intent. Hopefully, with a little early warning I can avert any disasters.


Correspondence between Princess Luna and Mayor Mare,
August 27th, 2257


To Madam Mare,

I trust that upon seeing the Royal Seal on this letter that you wisely pushed other business aside to review it. While the information herein may not be urgent, I would still wish that you treat it as such and grant our business this day with professional speed.

As you no doubt have heard by now, an unusual creature has taken up residency near Ponyville and has been visiting the edge of town for nearly a month. This creature, currently termed a 'Stridetaur', has shown no hostility towards this town, or its occupants.

As you may also be aware, this creature has been visiting with and attempting to open communications with Royal Apprentice ,Twilight Sparkle, for a majority of this time.

Due to recent events, it has come into the Stridetaur's knowledge that its current choice of residency within the bounds of the Everfree Forest is of most perilous nature, and that every day spent there increases its chances of injury, mortal or otherwise. As such, it has expressed to the Royal Apprentice that it wishes to move its home.

Twilight Sparkle has explained that the creature's home is indeed a vehicle capable of traveling great distances by flight, as I had suspected ever since first viewing it. However, the Royal Apprentice as well as the pegasus Rainbow Dash have both explained that moving this abode is not a subtle affair by any means.

If you recall a night several weeks ago, the sound that woke half of Equestria is suspected to have been this vehicle's passing.

According to the Royal Apprentice, this vehicle flies as if held aloft by the roars of dragons, flames belching from its underside in spears of fire. If it were to appear in the sky unexpectedly, she would expect nothing less than absolute panic.

The Stridetaur itself wishes not to alarm the citizens of your fair town, and has gone to great lengths over the past few days to express its desire to move.

Thus, we beseech thee to alert thy citizens of this impending event. A cacophony that is expected, while inconvenient, is far superior to the uproar and chaos of panic.

We await your reply.

By the Tides,
Princess Luna




To Princess Luna, Regent of the Night, Co-Ruler of Equestria

I am grateful for the information you have provided me with this evening regarding the recent events unfolding in my humble town.

Rumors about this 'Stridetaur' have been running rampant for weeks now and I've been at wit's-end as to what I should be doing to make the citizenry feel safe. Now that I have a direct confirmation from both Ms. Sparkle and yourself that this creature is friendly, I can reassure the townsfolk that any rumors they've been hearing about a 'ponysnatcher' are complete fantasy.

As for this business of it moving its home, that is indeed troublesome. I must assume that it wants to get out of the forest and to safety as soon as it can. Which means that I would have to call a town meeting first thing in the morning.

However, seeing as it isn't all that late just yet, 'the sooner the better' seems appropriate. If I may make a humble request of Your Highness: The last time you paid our town a visit, you had a 'way' with words that gave you quite the presence. If you might be able to lend me a hoof in gathering the ponies of this town, we could not only get this done tonight, but also quash the rumors I've quite frankly, become tired of listening to.

I would love to be the first to welcome our new, FRIENDLY visitor to this town. Your Sister only knows we need more of them.

Friendly visitors, that is.

Your Humble Elected Public Servant,
Mayor Mare.



To Madam Mare,

Splendid! We are pleased that thou would make such a request of us despite how intimidating we hath been in the past. It is our duty after all to oversee the well-being of all of Equestria's citizens.

Apologies for the above mannerism. I slip into Old Ways when I'm excited, and I do not have the desire to redo my work this day.

I will be happy to assist in gathering the citizens of Ponyville up for a meeting. What better use for the Royal Canterlot Voice after all?

We shall meet shortly, and I look forward to a less, tense conversation.

By the Tides,
Princess Luna


Twilight's Entry Thirteen,
August 28th, 2257

There is really very little I can place into words about today's events.

Yesterday evening, Princess Luna and Mayor Mare called an emergency meeting at town hall to announce the intentions of our 'resident alien', Nosy. I am personally pleased to note that most ponies seem to have become more accustom to Luna's voice and habits since her first visit. I really do love how when this town decides to get over its fear of something, it does a full one-eighty.

Thanks to the Mayor's and Luna's efforts, not only did we stomp out some rather silly rumors, but we even managed to arrange for a location to move Nosy's vehicle that wouldn't cause problems in the long run.

Because of that, we were able to get out there first thing this morning and let him know he could move. Don't ask me how we managed to communicate it. He somehow got it between the three of us (Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Myself).

As I said, I don't think I can begin to describe events.

Nosy knew exactly what he was doing. It was like watching Princess Celestia raise the sun for the first time when I was little. Every switch flicked, every button he pressed, every motion. Even the strange disembodied voice that assisted him; It was an orchestra, and he was the conductor.

And yes, I got to ride.

Now, I've been on airships plenty of times. Mother and Father would take us from time to time. But airships were always so gentle you almost didn't think they were moving. But this machine; You could feel the power come right up through your hooves. To describe how it moved from the inside is really something that words cannot do justice. The floor, and the seats, they just pushed up into your body so smoothly, yet with such force. And to watch the Everfree drop away as the machine cleared the patch of smoke it created...

I really should be more scientific in my approach here, but I just can't seem to focus very well. It wasn't a long ride, but I haven't felt this- This 'awed' since that Summer Sun Celebration so many years ago. I want to know.

I want to know everything.

And I think I know a way.

Nosy's vehicle has that magic box of knowledge. I'm willing to bet it really is an archive. If he came alone across the vastness of the universe, he must have had some way to keep from being bored and going crazy. I'd be packing books, but the box is like an unlimited number of books.

But I'll need to learn his language. I'll have to learn to read his words.

So much to learn... So much to know. I'm going to learn it. I HAVE to learn it. I won't settle for anything less.


Correspondence between Princess Luna and Princess Celestia
September 3rd, 2257


Tia,

I know it's been quiet over the last few days, especially concerning your student. But you need not worry if you have been.

Young Sparkle has been visiting the Stridetaur's home daily from dawn to dusk after its recent move from the Everfree to a field just outside Ponyville. She explained that he has some kind of box of knowledge in there that she's determined to figure out his language with. I do not know the details of this box as I have not been inside the abode, but I sense nothing sinister.

The stridetaur himself behaves similar to an alchemist or mage in their studies. He samples things, takes them inside, and does something in small machines tucked into every corner I can see from the windows. He has almost spotted me several times and is unbelievably aware of my presence no matter what manner of stealth I use.

That all being said, I hope things are well in Canterlot. Your student continues to impress, and I am honored to help keep watch over her.

Love,
Luna



Luna,

Thank you for informing me of recent developments. I was indeed starting to get worried when rumors of the metal bird that rides dragon fire started making their rounds in the court.

I suppose the lapse in news was an oversight on your part, but I guess I deserve it after our last failure to communicate ended in fiasco.

Take good care of Twilight little sis. The more I hear about how this creature is so alike her in spirit, the lighter my heart grows.

Love,
Celly


Correspondence between Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia
September 8th, 2257

To my faithful student,

It has been almost two weeks since our last exchange. Luna tells me you are hard at work learning and very busy with your new alien friend, but I'd like to hear a bit from you directly concerning your progress.

I am told that your friend - 'Nosy?' as you call him? Cute - I'm told he has some kind of box of knowledge that you've been utilizing. I can only assume your extended silence means you've all but locked yourself in front of it. I trust I don't need to restate an important point about getting out every once in a while. I know how you are when you get your nose caught in a book.

Also, don't forget that while he is an other-worlder, he does count as a foreign diplomat. Be sure to remember your diplomatic lessons and extend your fullest professional courtesy. I know it can be bothersome, but never forget.

Incidentally, your father says hello.

Sincerely,
Princess Celestia


Dear Princess Celestia,

I apologize for not keeping your more informed, and I will have to thank your sister for covering for me this last week. Yes, I have been very busy working to decipher the Stridetaur's language. There is just so much to learn, but I think I'm starting to get it. His talking archive is really helpful once you know how to use it.

I really can't wait to show it to you.

Anyway, I'm sorry for being curt. But I'll keep you posted once I crack this language. Plus I can't wait to see the look on his face when Spike sends this letter.

Tell my father I said hello as well.

Your faithful student,
Twilight Sparkle.


Twilight's Entry Fourteen,
September 11th, 2257

I guess I really should take a break. After having gone at this for two weeks, I'm starting to get ponies asking me where I've been and what I'm doing. Not to mention I fell asleep in front of the box last night.

It even has Rarity coming to check on me at this point. Not that I don't mind of course. She followed Spike when he brought me lunch and got to meet Nosy for the first time. I must say that she was at least a little less brash than Rainbow Dash was... Not counting her usual melodrama.

I'm kind of glad I had yet to break the language barrier in full, as I'm sure Nosy would have asked me about the way she feigned horror about his clothing's color options: Orange, orange, and you guess it, orange.

Rarity about gagged when I told her it looked like everything he had was strictly orange. Never mind she completely ignored me about the obvious utility measures being taken citing: “Function WITH form, darling.”

I think I managed to distract her from attempting anything crazy like trying to take his measurements right then and there. Rarity can be a BIT pushy when she encounters 'fashion disasters'.

She parted mentioning Nosy smelled like rancid laundry and probably hadn't washed in weeks. I hadn't really been paying attention to that, but once she said it, I couldn't very well ignore it. Never mind I've been a bit lax on the hygiene department myself. So I decided to call it a day a little earlier than normal in order to get cleaned up. I managed to surprise Nosy by saying 'good morning'... Maybe I should find out how to say stinky, soap, and wash.

Either way, I'm getting there.

Author's Note:

- 'Trot' is based off the 'apple' measurement available online. Said measurement puts AJ at about 10 'apples' tall, estimating her to be about 3 feet, 4 inches. 1 'trot' is the distance covered by the leg of the average pony at a walking pace, about half their body length. Making 1 trot somewhere around 1.5 feet. (~1/2 meter) 4 trots is thus, roughly, six feet. (~<2 meters)

- A Bale is based on the weight of a small hay bale around 60 lbs.

Comments ( 298 )

Oh. My. GOD:pinkiegasp:

It LIVES!!!! Wooooooo!!

IS NOT POSSIBLE!

:pinkiegasp::heart: OH MY GOSH I GET A DOUBLE (half-)BIRTHDAY PRESENT. UPDAAAAATES. *faints*

Today I am a very happy man. It's good to see this story lives.

Yes FimFiction. There is a Santa Claus

Wha- when was the last time this updated?!

Minor suggestion: in the letter to Mayor Mare, perhaps "several weeks" instead of "several months"? The word several suggests more than three, and if I've been reading the fic correctly six or seven months is the entire length of the Arrow mission on Equestria, Also, at the time of the writing it can't be more than two months, anyway... unless I'm badly misremembering.

its a Christmas miracle! AN UPDATE!:pinkiegasp:

Thanks for the update!

And interesting exposition on the cockatrice's effects. I would have never thought of that. :twilightsmile:

I must say, I love this dual sided story you've got going here. We see things from both perspectives and it is very interesting to say the least. I still can't get over the fact that it is essentially the same story twice.

Well I would say that Christmas has come early, except, well, you know....

Just don't make us wait a year for the next chapter again.

Oh my god this updated too I can't believe it.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Merry Christmas! You really didn't have to give us this present. but you did! Thanks!

That explanation for the cockatrice triggered illness makes a lot of sense. Pretty solidly tells us that if you shipped one to Earth it wouldn't be able to inflict nearly the same effect.

Coincidence? I don't believe that for a second. Creatures from so far beyond our world that not even Celestia or Luna knows them. Perhaps some long time remnant of Discord's cruel games. Scattering Equestrian creatures to distant worlds seems like something he'd do for a laugh.

I'm definitely buying the Discord explanation for this one, it makes sense too.

Incidentally, your father says hello.

Hmn.

this is an unexpected but very welcome christmas gift

Heh, always nice to see things from Twi's perspective again :twilightsmile:

Ah yes, the wonderful stink of space travel. :facehoof:

Glad to see this again. I'm very enthused <3

Reading these events from a different perspective is actually really enlightening...and a little bit frightening as well. I say that because from his perspective, his encounter with the cockatrice merely resulted in a splitting migraine. From the ponies point of view, that same migraine could have actually been life threatening if left unchecked. Though its really neat to learn that humans are apparently immune or at the very least resistant to magic.

This is one of my favorite stories, glad to see it update. :) Not sure if I've commented previously, but I love the way you handled the language barrier... most stories don't even bother, or just hand-wave it away with magic... and the unusual format of journal entries/letters is also a nice change from the typical story formats.

I haven't been keeping up on your blog so I dunno if this is just a Christmas break update or if you intend to start posting regular chapters but regardless it's good to have more Arrow 18. :)

(Incidentally, there are at least two spots where you forgot to capitalize "Spike". Though maybe Twilight was just a bit excited and rushing her letter. :twilightblush:)

Comment posted by Mad Library Scientist deleted Dec 28th, 2013

An update? Merry Christmas to us! :pinkiehappy:

Well, how about that for a a Christmas present? Never thought I'd see the day again...

I'll be taking spike with me, and princess Luna

Spike and Princess should both be capitalized.

Nosy seemed fascinated when spike sent the letter.

Spike, capitalized, again.

So, Twilight wants to do a thorough anatomical investigation to make certain he's male, and wants to get him naked to check for a cutie mark? I've read enough clop to know where this is going.:raritywink:

This is the best Christmas gift I have ever recieved

Why can't I like more than twice?!

It is like Christmas and Santa actually thinks that I've been good!

'Tis the season to update fanfics... :pinkiehappy:

Seriously, people seem to be wanting to update their fanfics this Christmas, so honestly not too surprised to see this update too, but well pleased, nonetheless. :twilightsmile:

Anyway...hopefully we'll see more before next Christmas.

Yay pony worldbuilding!

The Stridetaur… I’ll call him ‘Nosy’ since his is so small, but he sticks it into everything I do…

He sticks his nose into everything you do.

Thank you Santa.
And AdmiralTigerclaw.
Think I spelled that right.

YESSSS BIIIITCH!!!
BEST XMAS GIVFRRAT EVAR :pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::yay:

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... except me because I was reading a chapter for a story i've been waiting on for a year. good chapter. MERRY CHRISTMAS

I want to know.

I like how both sides are a little apprehensive when considering each others abilities. On one hand ponies got magic that got human scientists going gaga but on the other hand Celestia's worried about how humans can travel such vast distances with ease.

My apologies to Shining Armor, but I think I'm in love. Please don't let this die. Please.

D48

This was absolutely fantastic, especially going back and forth between this chapter and the matching chapter in the other story. It is a ton of fun to read through both perspectives on the same situation and catch all sorts of little things that would not be obvious from one or the other.

Yet an update, what shall the procure for us next? More ye olde luna speak I presume?

IT'S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIVVVVEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!
:pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp::pinkiegasp:
:pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:

IT LIIIIIIIIVES.

WOO!

Twilight is so adorkable in this, so you've caught her character well. :pinkiehappy:

awesome story.

This hereby sets a new record for how long I have seen a story story be on hiatus and then update. Now, if Myou've got to be kidding me updates, that'll be another record broken.

This is one of the greatest Christmas Eve presents I've ever gotten!

Can't wait till you get to the part where "Nosy" tazes Twilight.

MEIN GOTT!!! AN UPDATE! IIITSSS ALIIIIVE! :raritystarry:

It's going to be interesting to see Rarity and Applejack's first direct interaction with 'Nosy' from their point of view.

UPDATE!!!!!

Thank you for my Christmas present, sir.

Login or register to comment