• Published 16th Mar 2019
  • 1,667 Views, 55 Comments

A Pact to Live - OblivionShadow



A battle between dragons ends with a village in ruins and one ponies life changed forever. Phoenix is now on very close terms with an Ancient Dragon. It is the beginning of a tale all their own.

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7: Hiding and Apologies...

Anxiety tore through him at the sight of so many unknown ponies. His vision narrowed as he stood in shocked stillness. His breathing nearly stopped at the sight before him and he said nothing as they went quiet to allow him to speak. His horn lit with his magic, sparks of fire coming from it, and he threw the door open and galloped out of the library. His hooves thundered over the dirt road as he panted, panic gripped him as he ran.

“Nix.”

He could hear Kahl’s voice but it was faded and he ignored it as he ran. He slowed to a stop as he looked around him. “Oh no.” He could feel his body shaking as the fact that he had no idea where he was, bit into him as deep as the panic coursing through his body. His body shook as he nearly collapsed in place.

“Go left.” Kahl instructed him.

Phoenix did as he was told and galloped blindly ahead.

“Right.”

Kahl’s voice slowly got through to him as he ran and he could see the house in front of him. He didn’t even notice his horn light up with a blast of red flame as the door opened, allowing him to run inside. He faintly heard it slam closed behind him, the lock clicking into place.

“Basement.” Kahl said to him as he ran inside, gripped the basement door and threw it open.

He nearly fell down the stairs as he reached the bottom and paused as he searched for a spot to hide. He jumped into a corner and curled up into a ball and tried not to break in hysterics. He hid his face under his forelegs and panted.


“Easy.” Kahl said to him. “You’re safe. It will be all right.” He tried to force his own calm onto the stallion, but he found that Nix was too far gone for the dragon’s words to reach him.

“Damn.” Kahl’s cursed as he tried to think of a way to calm the nearly hysterical Unicorn.

He reached out with the senses he had to see the layout of the room and he could sense an unused table close to him and the Unicorns horn lit as blue flame covered the table and dragged it until it was sitting over the pony, placing him into a deeper rkness. His senses found what felt like a large moving blanket and it was thrown over the top of the table and Kahl gave a quiet pant as the effort of forcing his own power to go through the Unicorn’s horn, without harming him, was tiring. He went forward anyway and found another blanket and dragged it under the table to toss over the top of the Unicorn. He stopped and sighed as he focused on the trembling pony.

“Nix.” He said to him.

He could hear the pony panting and whimpering as he began to slowly calm down. Kahl could see through his eyes as the pony peeked out from under his legs and saw the pitch darkness and the blanket over him. He hid behind his legs once more but he was not trembling as much as before. Kahl gently pushed against the still obvious panic and slowly edged his own feeling of calm onto the Unicorns mind. He didn’t dare push too hard for fear of harming him and making it worse.

“It’s okay. I am here.” Kahl tried to reassure him.

He could sense the Unicorn slowly calming as time went on. Kahl estimated it had been over an hour since they had fled the Library. He was more than a bit relieved when they hadn’t followed them immediately.

“Phoenix.”

“Hmm...”

A strangled sound came from the Unicorn in reply and Kahl had to fight back a relieved sigh at the sound. “You’re not alone. I am here with you.” He said to the still upset pony.

“Kahl?” He whispered.

“It’s okay. You’re safe and you’re at home.” He said to him, seeking to calm him further.

The pony sniffled and slowly uncoiled from the near fetal position he had fallen into. He stayed low to the ground as he began to calm further. “How did I get a blanket on me?” He finally asked aloud.

“I could sense the room around us and moved it over you to help calm you. There is also a table with another blanket over you. I hoped that making the world around you smaller would help to make it less overwhelming.” The dragon reasoned. “Did it help?”

“Yeah. I feel better.” He admitted. “How did you move it? Wait, you opened the front door as well?”

“Yes. I can use my own magic to an extent but I had to force it through your horn. I apologize if you end up with a headache later from it. But it was to ensure that you were made to feel safe and in a place that is yours.”

“Thanks.” The Unicorn said to him.


Nix sat up and pushed the table away and set both blankets on top of it. He sat back down in the dark basement and was silent as he sniffled and rubbed his eyes. “Oh man.”

“It’s all right.” Kahl reassured him.

“I haven’t lost it like that in a long time.”

“It happens. No one can blame you for it. That was a shock to both of us. I was not ready for that many ponies to be hidden inside what looks like a very small space.”

“You and me both. All I could see was how many of them were staring at me and it felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore.” Nix said as the memory caused him to start shaking in place.

“I know.”

Nix latched onto the dragon’s constant presence and allowed himself to fall back to his belly and lay still. He closed his eyes and waited to stop shaking. “I‘m sorry.”

“For what?”

“You’re attached to a basket case.”

Kahl laughed in his mind and Nix could feel the warmth of the dragons own mind going over him. “We all have our issues. No one is perfect, Nix. I do not expect you to be flawless. Simply talk to me when it starts to become too much.”

“Done.” He replied and sat up once more. “I just really was not…ready for that.”

“I don’t think they were ready either.”

“What do you mean?”

“The looks from Twilight and her friends were quite concerned when you spun around, threw open the door and fled into the dark.”

“Oh no. I need to apologize to them.”

“No.”

“No?”

“Surprise parties are not for everyone. Some of us do not like them. I admit that I am not the biggest fan either. While I admire their desire to help you to meet your new neighbors there should have been time left to allow you to settle in. You have not even been in this town for twelve hours.”

“That’s true. I would prefer a smaller gathering if they insist on one.”

“I agree. It was a large shock to your mind when the lights came on and they are all there in the one room to try to greet you all at once.”

“That was terrifying.”

Kahl chuckled in the back of his mind. “It is past now and you’re safe. We can let it go. If you wish we can delay merging our magic to allow you to recover overnight.”

“No. I said that we could do it and we will. An anxiety attack isn’t going to change it.” Nix replied and stood up, his muscles trembled as he stood. He gathered his strength as he breathed in and released the breath he had been holding.

“If you think you’re all right.”

“I’m okay. Just needed a bit to calm down.”

Kahl gave an assenting noise as Nix moved through the room and pushed the table back into place. Nix slowly moved things out of the way to allow for him to work under Kahl’s instruction. “So can we start to work on your flames here, or should we find someplace else?”

“I would recommend elsewhere. Fire can be a temperamental Element and it is best done in an area that does not burn easily.”

“Great.”

“It will be fine, Nix. Everything in time. I will not be asking you to juggle fireballs on the first lesson.”

“Oh thank Celestia.” He replied with a laugh. “That would probably be worse than this was.”

Kahl chuckled in reply. Nix stood on the center of the space he had made and waited for the dragon to tell him what to do. “Clear your mind.”

“Okay.”

“Reach out to the magic you have within you. Don’t collect it in your horn, just feel it.”

“Got it.”

Nix did as he was told and he focused inward and reached out to the magic that was within his body. He could feel it react to his touch and it crackled within his grip. “Okay.”

“Good. Now push it back.”

“What?” Nix asked, incredulous at the dragon’s words.

“Trust me.”

“Ugh.” The Unicorn reached back out to this magic and pushed it back as far as he could. “Okay.”

“Now I will move mine into that place. When you are ready to reach out to it and hold it close.”

“Right. Is it fire?”

“I am the Element of Fire, Nix. I will try to dampen it as much as I can.” The dragon reasoned.

“Fair enough.”

Nix focused once more and pushed his magic back. He was shocked when his own magic pulled away and in its place was a warmth that he was not ready for. He closed his eyes to focus more fully on his task. He reached out to the power of the dragon and it lashed out at him. He yelped and pulled away.

“Sorry.” Kahl apologized to him.

Nix was about to complain but he could hear the strain in the dragon’s normally strong voice and he closed his eyes once more to focus. He reached back out and the power lashed out but he pushed ahead and used his own mind to hold onto the magic within him. He could feel it shudder and pull away from him but he refused to allow it to leave him. Warmth spread over him once more and he recognized that heat as being similar to what he felt when Kahl reached out to help him. It was calming and protective, but aggressive and dominant as well. He held onto it and waited for the dragon to speak.

“Now I will bring your magic back and I want you to try to hold both.” Kahl explained to him.

“Kay.”

He could feel the magic in his grasp bucking against him as it was pushed from the other side as well. As he held tightly to what was within him the familiar crackle of his own magic edged closer to him and he focused on them both. His own magic edged into his grasp and he tried to hold them both but Kahl’s power lashed out once more and he lost it.

“Damnit.” He cursed as the dragon spoke up.

“You’re rushing. Try to slow down a bit.” Kahl said to him.

“But I know it’s hurting you to hold them both in place.”

“I am fine, Nix. The magic of an Elemental dragon is many things, but patience is not one of them. I am not telling you to try to strong arm it. That won’t work. We have time to work on it. Focus and you will eventually win over it and we will both rest well.” Kahl urged him gently.

Nix could hear the strain in Kahl’s words but he knew that the dragon was acting to protect and encourage him. “Okay. Here we go again.”

“Good. You did well to hold it as long as you did.” Kahl replied.

“Thanks.” Nix focused and pushed his magic away to allow the other to edge into his body and he reached out once more.


Kahl watched as the Unicorn did as he was told and acted to try to merge their power together. Kahl was impressed that he was able to hold it as well as he had so far and he gave advice when needed, but still allowed the Unicorn to work on it on his own. He came close several times but it slipped past him and Kahl could sense that he was becoming frustrated and angry at how long it was taking.

“I’m not stupid, why is this so difficult? He complained. “Okay. That was a rhetorical question.”

“I figured.”

Kahl watched once more as the Unicorn did as he had been told and Kahl would have smiled had he the mouth to accomplish the action. ‘There you go.’ He thought in silence as Nix’s power once more slid into place beside his own. He could hear Nix breathe in as he focused on the task at hoof. Kahl could see the two magic’s being pushed together and he waited as the feel of the combined magic washed over him. It was warm and crackled like a thunderstorm and he was pushed into the back of the Unicorns mind and he felt himself fade as it happened.


Nix opened his eyes as he finally got it right. He didn’t act as he waited for Kahl to speak. His hooves danced under him and he finally laughed out loud. “Kahl I got it! You were right. I just needed to slow down by a lot and it finally worked. You’re a genius!” He shouted and bucked in glee.

He paused and his smile faltered as there was no reply from the dragon. “Kahl?” He spoke aloud once more and waited. His heart sped up a bit as the silence stretched on. His breathing caught as he could only hear silence.

“I’m here.” Kahl finally replied.

“Oh by Faust don’t do that.” He yelped.

“I am sorry about that. I got pushed back by the combination and it took a moment to sort it out.”

Nix paused as he was about to give the dragon grief for the delay but he paused as the other spoke. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. A bit worn, but otherwise in fair shape.” He explained. “You did well.”

“Thanks. So now what?”

“Give it a try.” Kahl encouraged.

“You sure it will be okay?”

“Of course. I would not ask you if I thought it might do you harm.”

“That’s true. Okay, here we go.” Nix looked up as he called on his magic and he startled at the brilliant blue of his aura as sparks of flame covered it as well. “Oh boy.”

“It’s as harmless as your own.” Kahl encouraged. “It is yours as well. It cannot hurt you as it is now yours to command.”

“Okay. Completely harmless?”

“Yes.” Kahl chuckled as he spoke. “Feel free to test it.”

“Oh ha, ha.” He replied and looked to the table ahead of him. “Okay so do I need to be careful of the amount of force I use?”

Kahl barked a laugh as he spoke. “Yes. For now, I would recommend you be cautious. In time it will be become as natural as breathing.”

“Okay. Just checking since the last time I ended up on my face in the dirt.”

“Fair point.”

Nix looked to the blanket on the table and willed his magic to lift it. He startled when it struck the ceiling and fell to the ground. “Damnit.” He cursed under his breath and tried again.

“Probably for the best that you used the blanket.”

“Ya think?” He replied and tried again. He focused on the blanket and gently lifted it in his magic and began to gently fold it. He startled as he gripped it and forced his magic to fold it gently and hold it carefully in his grasp. “This is going to take forever to get right.”

“I doubt that.” Kahl replied. “In time, you won’t even need to think about it.”

“I hope not.” Nix was quiet as he practiced holding the blanket and folding it repeatedly before a wide yawn broke from him. “What time is it?”

After midnight I believe.” Kahl replied.

“Oh geez. No wonder I’m tired.”

“I would recommend you go to bed then. This exercise can continue tomorrow.” Kahl advised.

“Best idea so far.”

“I will warn you that Twilight and the others were knocking on the door after you fled down here.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You were in the midst of a severe anxiety attack and I could barely reach you. I did not deem it necessary to worry about them at that moment. They gave up and left long before you came out of it.” He replied.

“Fair point. Thanks again for that.” He replied and walked up to the stairs.

He came out of the basement and started to walk around the house to check the windows and make sure they were locked. As he walked past the front door he opened it and looked out.

“On the door.” Kahl advised.

Nix looked to the door and saw a written note taped to it. He pulled it off and closed the door, locking it as he held the note in his hooves and flipped it open.

Phoenix,

Are you okay? We are all so sorry that we upset you. Please let us know that you’re okay. I will drop by around noon to make sure you’re okay and apologize to you. We didn’t mean for that to happen.

Twilight

P.S. I am so sorry.

“Can you make sure I’m up before then? If I sleep in?”

“Sure.”

“Thanks. They didn’t hurt me really, just scared the shit out of me.” Nix reasoned as he set the letter on the kitchen table.

“I think to them that is one and the same.” Kahl replied.

“That’s true.”

Nix walked back to his room and got ready for bed. He brushed out his mane and brushed his teeth. He crawled into the huge king bed and laid back on the cool sheets. He gripped the blanket over him and rolled onto his side. His mind went over what had happened and he pushed his head into the pillow and closed his eyes.

Get some rest Nix.” Kahl voiced to him, his voice calm and warm.

“You too.” Nix replied and tried to sleep.


Phoenix rolled over and he blinked as the suns light hit him in the face and he growled at the brightness. He sat up and rubbed his face with his hooves. He groaned as he stretched his back out and pushed the covers back to allow himself to get up. His hooves hit the hardwood floor and he walked into the bathroom and looked up to the mirror. He rubbed his face once more and looked to the deep scar on his face. He leaned forward and counted himself lucky that nopony had asked about it yet. He was glad that Twilight hadn’t known him well enough to notice that his eyes were different as well.

“It’s not that bad.” Kahl teased him.

He snorted and chuckled. “It was worse on you.”

“That’s true.” Kahl admitted. “But I earned it.”

“Yeah, you can keep it then!” Nix laughed back at him.

“Call it a badge of honor.”

“I’d rather call it a badge of accepting a Pact with a fire loving dragon.” He teased back. “But that’s kind of a long name for it.”

“Very.”

“What time is it?”

“Around ten, I think.”

“Cool thanks. Time for breakfast.”

“Might want to clean up your mane before Twilight arrives.”

“Oh shit.” He replied and picked up his brush.

He ran it over his mane and pulled out the tangles and then ran it over his fur. He glanced to the mirror and nodded. “Much better.”

“Yes. You no longer look homeless.” Kahl jabbed.

“Oh!” Nix put a hoof to his chest. “That one hurt.”

“I’m sure it did.”

Nix looked to his bed and his horn lit as he debated trying to make the bed with his magic. “Nope.” He let it go out and instead made the bed manually.

“You probably would have been fine.” Kahl said to him.

“I heard the probably in that sentence.”

“As I said with time it will be nothing to think about.”

“Yeah. I’ll practice on that ugly moving blanket for a while I think.” Kahl didn’t reply, but Nix could hear a chuckle from the dragon. He went into the kitchen and pulled open the fridge to find it empty. “Oh shit. I forgot.”

“You expected it to have food?”

“Yep. But I forgot that we didn’t know when I would be here. Don’t want anything to rot.” He replied and looked to the counter and found a small notepad on the counter. “Okay time to write a shopping list.”

“Will you be okay in a shopping center?”

“If not then I’ll just get my stuff and bail out. I can go back later at night and shop then.” He replied. “I’ve done that before.”

“Might be for the best till we get you settled into the area.”

“Yeah. You have a point. I’ll shop at night. Hopefully their open a bit later than normal. Otherwise I might be in trouble.”

“It will be fine. We will adjust as we go.”

Nix nodded and began to write down his grocery list. He went to the couch and sat down heavily on the plush cushions.


A knock on the door distracted him from his list and he got to this hooves. He looked out the window and he could see Twilight and Spike. “They're early.”

“By about a half hour or so.”

“Okay, here we go.” He said as he opened the door.

“Hi Phoenix.” Spike, chimed out.

“Hey, Spike.” The stallion smiled at the dragon’s enthusiasm. He glanced to the purple mare who looked to him, her expression sad. “Come on in.” He said as he opened the door for them and they walked into the house.

Spike walked in and he stared around them for a moment before looking to the stallion. “This place looks so cool. Is it one floor?”

“It has a basement, but everything else is on the first floor. I like one floor versus two.” Nix admitted to the young dragon.

“Very cool. Can I look around?”

“Just stay out of the basement.” Nix said to him and the dragon walked off to explore the house. He waited as the drake disappeared toward the kitchen before he looked to Twilight. “Sit.” He said to her and she followed him to the couch and sat down on the chase lounge of the couch and he sat in his usual spot.

“Phoenix, I didn’t…” She began but her voice trailed off.

“It’s fine.” He said to her. “It happens.”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I just don’t do well in crowds of ponies I don’t know.” He said to her.

“You took off so fast that we didn’t get a chance to say anything.” She replied. “You looked…terrified.”

He sighed and looked to his hooves in his lap. “Kahl?”

“It’s up to you what you tell her. Admitting your anxiety to her will allow her to adjust and accommodate it instead of running into it out of ignorance.”

“You and your logic.” He complained and looked back to the uncertain mare. “I have an issue with anxiety. I don’t handle it well. I can’t do crowds, it freaks me out, as you saw. I have stayed on my own because of it.” He told her.

“Well put.” The dragon’s voice praised him as they spoke.

“What caused it?” She asked.

“When I was a kid I got bullied a lot since I was pretty driven on my studies. When my grades started to drop my parents jumped in. So the teacher’s reaction was to isolate me in the classroom to avoid the bullies and I never really learned to control it. So when I got older I was really unequipped to cope with it. It’s social anxiety.”

“Oh,” Twilight replied as he explained. “So crowds that you don’t know are out of bounds for you?”

“Big time.” He replied to her. “I know you guys were hoping to be nice with that party you made.” She cringed at the mention of it as he went on. “And I appreciate the effort, but I had no way to process it. I panicked.”

“I don’t think Rainbow could have caught up with you.” She said to him. “And she’s the fastest Pegasus I have ever seen.”

He chuckled. “Isn’t it amazing what sheer terror will do?” He joked to her and she giggled at his words. “I’m not mad at any of you for it. I just can’t do it. I’d have been a nervous wreck the whole time and no fun to be around. Anypony could have touched me and you’d be pulling me off the ceiling.”

“Yikes. I’m really sorry.”

Nix waved a hoof at her as she spoke. “It happens. You’re not perfect and neither am I. It’s in the past.”

“How did you come out of it?” She asked and he looked confused at her question. “So if it happens again I can help.”

“Oh. Umm. I ran to my basement, pulled a table over to a corner, tossed a blanket over it, and then hid underneath it with another blanket over me.” He replied and she looked uncertain. “It takes time to come out of it when it’s that bad.”

She looked uncertain but he could see that she was steeling herself. “How long?”

“Took over an hour.” He replied.

“Oh wow.” She said to him, her eyes wide. “It was pretty bad?”

“It’s not a matter of how long it takes really, the timing is irrelevant. It’s how long it takes to be able to process it and come around.”

“So be in a place your comfortable with?”

“That’s a start. By making the world around me smaller its less overwhelming and I can come around faster. I’m a little amazed I managed to get that done.”

“You’re welcome once more.” Kahl jabbed.

“Shush.” He thought back. “But again. It’s in the past and I’m not mad at any of you for it. It happens.”

“Thank you for not being mad, but I still should have tried to talk to you first.”

“We haven’t talked in years, Twilight. How could you have had any idea what I was hiding?” He said to her with a smile. “You can’t know what’s going on behind a smile. I can smile through a lot of it, but that was way too much.”

“So large crowds are out of the question?”

“For now. I’m trying to work on it as I go and it’s not as bad as it could be.” He related to her. “I don’t expect you and your friends to include me in everything and I’m okay with that. You and I haven’t ever been friends before now.”

“I would like to change that.” She said to him.

“That’s fine. But I’m not a crowd surfing, concert type of friend. I’m happier hanging out and reading or researching something type of friend.”

She smiled and a laugh broke from her. “That’s fine. Sometimes I would prefer that kind. Spike is great with me, but I don’t want him always having to hang out with me when I’m reading.”

“I can entertain him every now and then. I do have my job to do.” He said to her.

“What are you doing anyway?”

“Research and development.” He replied.

“Oh. That sounds like it could be fun.”

“I hope it is. Celestia let me pick out my own subjects to look into so it should be a welcome challenge for me.” He replied to her.

“Still I am really sorry about last night. Can we make it up to you?”

“How?”

“Is a small welcome party with just me and the girls okay?”

Nix was quiet as he considered it. “Should be fine. I was okay with the group of you for dinner so it should be no problem.”

“Were you okay at dinner?” She pressed.

“I was a bit shaky at first but I just kept telling myself that I knew you and the others were working on it so I was okay after a little bit.” He explained to her.

“Okay. That’s good to hear. I know Pinkie was afraid that she had hurt you. Now I understand why you didn’t answer the door when we came to check on you.”

“Yeah, I saw the note later that night when I was checking locks and going to bed.”

She giggled. “What is it with you and locks?”

“I’m a bit paranoid okay?” He jabbed back at her. “I grew up with my mother, who is nuts, so I was browbeaten about locks.”

The purple mare laughed. “Your mom wasn’t that bad.”

“You met her once and she can fool anypony. You met my dad more often.”

“Oh yes. I remember he was so mad when I messed up our science experiment.”

“You thought you got it bad? I had to listen to days of him telling me that I had failed the experiment and should have been able to fix it before you turned me orange. Ugh. It was amazing how long he held onto that.” He chuckled.

She shook her head and smiled. “I’m glad that you’re okay. I…”

“I know you’re sorry. You don’t need to be, I’m okay. So long as we keep it in mind, I’m okay with hanging out more.” He cut her off and explained.

“Okay. Thanks, Phoenix.” She said to him.

“Just Nix is fine.” He said to her and she tilted her head slightly as he spoke. “Those close to me call me that. I think you graduated from full names to nicknames. Congratulations! Sorry, no certificates.”

Twilight laughed as he spoke and she nodded in understanding. “Well then thank you Nix. I’m glad you’re okay and I will talk to Pinkie about a small party with just us. Is it okay if I tell them why?”

“I…” He went quiet as he considered it. “You can give them a basic idea, but I would refer you keep it quiet if you can.”

“Sure. I can explain that you’re really nervous in big crowds and would prefer small groups.” She replied.

“Works for me.” He said to her. “I’m okay with you knowing since you and I have a bit of history so it’s not too revealing. Nervous is a good way to put it. Sounds better than shut down inducing terror-stricken fleeing into the night.”

“Definitely easier to say.”

“Exactly.” He said to her as Spike came around the corner.

“Hey, Twilight. His room is huge!” He said to her, pointing back the way he came. “It’s so bright.”

“Yeah, that’s a problem,” Nix admitted and Twilight looked to him. “Got blinded already.”

Spike chuckled and jumped to the couch and looked to the notepad on the side table. “What ya writing?”

“Hmm? Oh, grocery list. The fridge and kitchen are empty. Need to stop at the bank for bits though. I’m broke.” He informed them.

“Ask her to show you the way.” Kahl advised.

“Right.” He looked to the mare. “Do you happen to know the way to either of those?”

“Sure. We can take you to them. Right, Twilight?” Spike spoke up with a look at the mare.

“Yeah. It’s no problem. You’ll be okay in those?”

“Will find out. I should be okay. If not then I’ll flee and come back at night.” He replied and got to his hooves.

“Okay. We can show you around a bit more as well. Come on Spike.” The mare called out and the baby dragon jumped to the mares back and sat in place as Nix ripped off the list and held it on his jaws.

“Okay, lead the way.” He said through the paper and left the house on their heels.

Author's Note:

Happy Easter volume two! I figured I would sneak this one in as well. Thank you as always and Enjoy!