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Wanderer D


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This story is a sequel to XCOM: Ranger


With the fate of her friends on Earth hanging in the balance, Twilight has to hunt myths to figure out a way to cure Sunset and save Templar Laetitia.

Taking Daring Do as her guide—and accompanied by a ragtag team of griffons, a Skirmisher-turned-breezie, and Rainbow Dash—Twilight must travel across the lands at war with the Storm King, to reach Ancient Fleece, find a lost city, and obtain the legendary sword of King Disc Ovis: The Algae Photis.

Cover art created for this story by the talented: LateCustomer


Before you read: This is a side-story to XCOM: Ranger.

I will provide all possible information needed for those that do not have the time—or inclination—to read the other story to still be able understand this one. It's a LOT of info, however, and I'm not just going to dump it all in one go. The backstory will emerge as the story progresses.

Chapters (18)
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Comments ( 395 )

Real nice. How do you think will updates go?

I can't tell if "the Lost City of [Atlantis Pun?]" is an editing oversight or not. It's hilarious as it is though.

I think this is a good idea though - no more switching between worlds in a confusing way in Ranger, or at least not for a little bit.
Regardless, I look forward to more.

Love the story so far, but...

Alejandra, Galahad and the others—including Tala—had bowed out of this meeting, the lucky griffs and breezie. 'Lucky bastards.'[i/] The message was clear: this was most definitely not something XCOM or anyone else outside of her best friends needed to be a part of.

It’s all Italics from this point on, just thought you should know.

Edit: okay maybe I should read the whole thing first, before leaving a comment.

Oh dear, this is bound to be fantastic ...

the pair of pegasus

pegasi

from wherever he had ended

'ended up' otherwise that sentence is a lot darker than it needs to be

her his screams

hear

She she placed

only needs one 'she'

with Daring Do and find

to

a displease frown

displeased

9511446

the Lost City of [Atlantis Pun]

That's what I'll be calling it from now on. :rainbowlaugh:

This will be interesting. Really, really interesting. Instant favorite and i can barely wait to see how it will progress.

Will Ranger be on standby until this is finished? Or will it take until then for the Fugue situation to reach a conclusion? Or maybe will we see the end of it there before we see how it happened here? Questions, so many questions :pinkiecrazy:

Now ther is a thought.

Maybe our misstery mad sicentist on X-com sid is Moon Dancer. Hmm

I wonder if Daring realises that her editor is Princess Twilight’s mother. The book she puts together from this adventure may end with Twilight having an interesting conversation with her mother.

The entire latter part of this chapter.

Me: :pinkiesad2:

She flapped her wings, taking off and starting to make her way back home. "Make sure you have all of your Equipment ready, and bring whatever else you think you'll need… I need to check with my contacts before we can move, but we'll meet again in Riverbed Town in a day."

They must have some really important equipment to have to capitalize it.

Besides. It definitely was new-novel material. Twilight Velvet would forgive her being tardy again, she was sure.

Well... say hi to Twilight's mom when you meet her again, Daring. :rainbowlaugh:

Will this be of importance to "Ranger"? As in, must I read this to understand what is upcoming there?

Wanderer D
Moderator

9512105 it will definitely add to the story experience, but no, it's not required reading.

This continues to be good stuff. An interesting decision to split it off into its own story, but an understandable one. I look forward to a deep dive in this storyline.

Why isn’t this mainline ranger?

Wanderer D
Moderator

9512458
A few reasons:
Character focus, for one. Also, the story is too much of a departure from Ranger for it to make sense to have as part of the main storyline.

9512458

I'm guessing it's because this plotline is going to take a while and he didn't want to bog down the main story with it. This way he can continue more then one plot line at once.

9513275
So then, are we to assume that at the end of this side story, Twilight will be rejoining the main Ranger story along with at least some of the XCOM team that followed her to Equestria?

- Thunder

"You are what I want to come back to, do you understand?..."

I really like Twilight's speech to the others here. This line especially stood out to me as very Twilight, old and new. This is a very different Twilight even next to a certain other XCOM story I know that we've both read. That she can say this despite heartache and betrayal ; that she can state intent of coming back from everything despite it? it's strong and heartening.

I appreciate that you're splitting this excursion off from Ranger proper. Jumping between settimgs was getting wonky, and with the cast still ever expanding in spite of all the death it got difficult to keep track of everything.

...excluding beings possessing both, wings and horns who probably had lived in said ancient temples at some point or another

I mean, when it's explicitly called the Temple of the Sun, you do have to wonder about potential past occupants.

Besides. It definitely was new-novel material. Twilight Velvet would forgive her being tardy again, she was sure.

Which raises the question of whether Daring realizes this is her editor's daughter.
("Makes sense. She's just as ruthless; she just has a gun instead of a quill.")

Excellent scene with the Mane Six. Fluttershy's gotten some much-needed perspective, and Twilight talking about how she wants to preserve her emotional and moral anchor was a fantastic character moment. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

Ah the classic 'You never asked' line. Never gets old.

To be fair, Daring, Twilight's mom never told her you were real. :trollestia:

Well ... this is getting interesting ...

purple-red

oh, that term ... that term that has been bothering me in Ranger before and has come back to bother me here ... the word you're looking for is 'magenta'

who has been causing up trouble

'causing' or 'stirring up'

Oh I do love some Twilight Snarkle :rainbowlaugh:

Twilight struggling to pick which books to pack was a nice touch. Purplesmart's still in there under the battle scars.

Still, Spike raises some excellent points. Rebuilding lost trust doesn't begin with leaving your friends behind. Again. And Twilight's lost idealism could have major negative ripples down the line. Even the battle with Tirek could end far more disastrously... or she might ignore Celestia's orders and put a bullet in his head long before he becomes a genuine threat. Still, this Equestria's future is looking a lot less friendly. And that's before considering the shifts that will come from confronting the Storm King this early. If we go by the comics, this even predates him meeting Fizzlepop.

And on the topic of foreign affairs, I can understand the other nations hesitating to let the mare who moves the sun have more sway in their lands. Got to forestall that diplomatic victory somehow. (I may have been playing Civilization recently. :derpytongue2:)

and one malicious-looking dwarven fish

... So does the fishman have a beard, or is he actually a zombie carp who fought his way through a fortress of drunken madmen?

Definitely looking forward to more.

9517892
Clearly, the Sparkle family tendency to keep quiet about family extends to business partners. Who knows what connections Night Light's been keeping to himself?

9518189
Spike certainly does have a point, but doesn't Twilight too? The movie itself addressed how canon-Twilight felt about the rest of the world, and there her friends actions DID put them in danger - not to discount her own blunders of course.

Keeping with canon, this Twilight doesn't know the rest of the world. Her one experience outside of Equestria - Earth - was teeming with danger beyond her understanding, including betrayal from someone she trusted. It makes sense she's paranoid. She even systematically labeled how the other elements might react in what she recognizes as a life or death situation, and can we really say she was wrong?

It's a difficult call to make. When we add on what she said to the others last chapter, even if her logic isn't without holes I can't say she hasn't thought it through. Yeah, she might regret it down the line with the benefit of hindsight, but right now her priority is living that long.

one malicious-looking dwarven fish.

vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/lisa-rpg/images/0/02/Carp_HD.png/revision/latest?cb=20150211103120

9518284
Oh, Twilight definitely has some strong points in her favor, but her arguments are self-defeating and self-perpetuating. Keeping her friends out of perilous situations means that they never learn how to handle those situations (or she never believes they can handle themselves,) and if she keeps diving into danger without them, eventually they may not be there when she comes back.

That said, you do make an excellent point about Twilight having only one experience beyond Equestria's borders at this point. I do have to bear in mind how her time in XCOM colors her perception of dangerous locales in her own world.

9518310
Too be fair, Twilight has a deadline that she has to beat to save Sunset. She doesn't have time for the other Bearers to get the experience required to not freeze up and be a liability or question her orders when shit hits the fan. The saying 'sweat more in peace, bleed less in war' comes to mind, but as I said, Twilight just doesn't have time to train them to get past their natural reactions to those situations.

Oh dear, oh my ... Tempest and Ahuizotl teaming up ... I was expecting both, to a degree ... but not together ...

theumatic discrepancies

i think you mean 'thaumatic'

willful thinking

I think you mean 'wishful'

for living them behind

I think you mean 'leaving'
All errors up to this point were part of Twilight's log entry and could as such be her spelling mistakes, rather than yours, but Twilight strikes me as the type to correct those

she doesn't really fight much like a griffon

this on it's own isn't problematic, but Rainbow's answer to this is:

Oh, it is?

and that doesn't work, it should be 'Oh, she doesn't?

Twilight narrowed her eyes, before clearing his throat

her

Enjoying the contrast between Tempest and Ahuizotl.

Oh, Fizzlepop is in for one hell of a surprise.

I kinda hope that Twi shoots Ahuizotl and maybe the brutality will not only shock Tempest, but maybe she considers working for this new Battle Princess.

Oh, if tempest would Really know what she's up against.

Go on, Twilight, capture that airship! It'll help you get around to places :rainbowlaugh:

That princess is not afraid of spilling a little bit of blood... If you know what I mean...

Oh hey look, a competent mercenary! All that's needed is to conscripthire her away from the Storm King, and Twilight can add a seasoned professional to her coterie.

I understand that we ponies tend to panic at the drop of a hat, but ignorance? For someone that has so much accumulated experience, she sure acts naive sometimes. She might be confident that the Abyssinians and Mount Aris (whoever they are, information is sketchy) can together hold back this Storm King, but if they lose, what do we risk? What guarantee do we have that he will stop there and not threaten Equestria?

Battle Princess Twilight forsaw the MLP Movie, does this count as 4th wall break :pinkiegasp:

Also, when this is over, can Tempest join them?

*reads the first half of the chapter*

This is why I dislike moral quandaries. I really, really can't get my thoughts straight about them, at least, not if I want to stay sane. The fact that there's no real 'right' is convulting. :applejackunsure:

Twilight shrugged. "I'll tell my mom to edit it out if it happens."

Daring blinked as Twilight took off to land in the ship. "Wait… your mom? Twilight Velvet's your mom!?" she called out, following her into the boat. "How come I never knew that?!"

"You never asked."

The long awaited 'my mom is your editor' reveal! :derpytongue2:


P.S. And the Storm King makes an appearance. This time, though, I don't think he's ever going to go as far as he did in The Movie.

I'm already missing the girls. Even if they're naive and all they could do is tell me that things will be okay… I'm starting to think that's an important thing that I might have forgotten. Maybe I should re-read my friendship journal.

I think that's a good idea, Twilight. A very good idea.

And I still hope… I hope I'm worrying too much. I hope we don't live to regret things we could have prevented. I hope the girls are fine and they'll forgive me for living them behind. I'm not the pony I used to be… and it hurts me as much as it hurts them.

:fluttershysad:

It hurts my sentimentality as well.

" Not nearly mythi— " Twilight screeched, "Do you know who he is?! He's the father of spellcasting! A legendary hero and sorcerer who banished monsters, created new spells, figured out a decidedly flawed version of time travel and—" she gritted her teeth. "It's not funny!"

I Iike this little snip into the original personality of Twilight. Gives me much reassurance. And believe me, I probably need it.

"Of course!" Rainbow Dash replied with a grin. "You're the Battle Princess, after all!"

I get the feeling that didn't help much.

Tempest walked forth to the floor window that allowed them to look straight down to the clouds below, where, through the occasional gap, she could see the boat below. "No. Let's wait a little more until most of the crew is asleep. Then we strike."

Oh Tempest, poor little Tempest. This is the last time you underestimate Twilight Sparkle.

Tempest is in for a real shock. She thinks she's stalking a silly little princess, but she's about to get ambushed by soldiers who have witnessed, fought, and survived, horrors far beyond her worst nightmares.

This version of Twilight is unlikely to find Tempest all that intimidating, she's good, but she's got nothing on the sadism and sheer brutal efficiency of the Chosen Assassin.

9529612
Well, Daring Do did explicitly tell Twilight about the Storm King and his ongoing war of conquest; and her experiences from Earth have led her to immediately see the parallels between the Storm King and the Elders.

(In the interests of time availability and a lack of precedent here, and some high density around the beginning, I mostly haven't been recording errors here (Sorry!), but I thought I'd note this one for you:)
"Twilight narrowed her eyes, before clearing his throat."
"Twilight narrowed her eyes, before clearing her throat."?

"And on top of that, they need to deal with a Blood Witch that has been active for over three years."
Also, I don't know if this is an error or not, but I'm certainly not remembering: where did the "over three years" come from?

...And as long as I'm commenting anyway, I also noticed this one:
"are," Tara pointed out"
"are," Tala pointed out"?

Well, I'm curious what Tempest and Twilight will make of each other...
(I would actually not be completely surprised if Tempest offers to switch sides once she sees, and likely feels, Battle Princess Twilight in action.)

(And I am continuing to enjoy this story. :))

Wanderer D
Moderator

9529273 Fixed! The last bit with RD was really me changing the conversation and not fixing the follow-up. Go me!
9529740 "Over three years" basically meaning Sunny has been practicing that for that amount of time. Technically, even if she was only capable of the eye trick, she is considered a BW by Equestrian standards.

"are," Tara pointed out"

Tala: Voiced by Tara Strong.

Thanks for the corrections, as always!

*you feel like you’re going to have a bad time

Oh this will be hilarious :rainbowlaugh:

What new enemy from Tartarus will I have to defeat with my friends because she didn't prepare for a negative outcome?

You know, it's funny you should mention Tartarus specifically...

Twilight does raise some very pertinent questions about Celestia's handling of international affairs. Though it's also nice to see Twilight acknowledge that her rough edges could use a little softening when she returns to civilian life. Good thing she took notes.

"You're just such a nerd." Daring Do laughed. "I can totally see your mom in you."

"She probably read you the Principka Thaumaturgia as a bedtime story, didn't she?"
"No." Twilight looked away, her wings telling Daring everything she needed to know about her embarrassment. After a few moments, she said, "Dad did."

And it's not just from my books and me kicking supremacist flank.

Wait, wait, wait. Has Daring fought pony Nazis?

I do like the contrast of bombastic serial villain and cold, calculated commander. Similar dynamic as Tempet and the Storm King, but she isn't obligated to put up with this one. Still, she doesn't have quite the tactical advantage she thinks she does. I look forward to seeing the look on her face when she realizes that.

9529674
I have a feeling during the confrontation between Tempest and Twilight, the latter would have a flashback during her encounter with the Assassin(Aria) and the betreyal she felt.
Trying to redeem herself, Twilight would probably like to have Tempest on her side... The good side at least...

As much as I love "Battle Princess" Twilight, isn't it a little weird that she's such a hardened soldier after only basic training and one or two battles? I wouldn't know, I've never been in a war. (Thank goodness.) She's still pretty low in the XCOM Ranks.

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