• Published 6th Apr 2019
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Distant Reflections - David Silver

Equestria and Everglow have brushed against one another through the course of their histories, each time fleeting, but memorable to those involved. Many many years later, the unaging Twilight captains a space vessel to explore the universe.

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73 - My Old Friend

Dawn turned his head slowly, moving the periscope with it by entirely mechanical means. "All quiet. Passive sensors are just as quiet. We are an unborn child in a still womb, awaiting the moment to spring free."

"Somehow..." Steel frowned into the darkness. "That seems an apt description, waiting in the dark like this."

Wandering tapped at his console, just tapping his hoof against the cool metal and plastic. "Passive radio has nothing." Passive radio being a chancy thing at the best of times, they still had a good chance of hearing a broadcast from the ship they were cocooned in. "So, wanna tell some ghost stories?"

Twilight suddenly snorted in the gloom. "You've probably all heard one another's ghost stories." She clopped her hooves together with a grin bright enough to be seen in the dark. "But you haven't heard mine. Prepare yourself for some Equestrian classics!"

They were unprepared, but willing, to hear what spooky tales Twilight had to offer.

He had found a good hiding spot, arguably the best! Up off the ground and in a spot small enough he barely fit in it, few eyes would think to look for him there. He was safe, relatively. As soon as their chasers got tired of looking, they'd leave, and then he'd be free!

Free to do what, he wasn't sure. His alpha, prickly as she was, knew how to navigate the world, and she cared for him, even if she was a fuzzy mammal, and he, a scaled reptile. It was not the usual situation for a kobold to be in. Kobolds followed other kobolds, or a dragon. Dragons were kinda cool, amazing really. Everything a kobold was, but so much more of it in one space... Diamond Tiara was not a dragon, not exactly, but she had the personality down. She commanded.

He followed.

When things had come down to the line, he had run. Running was not a new thing for kobold-kind. Running was how a lot of them avoided an early end to their existence. Run. Hide. Lay traps for anything chasing.

He perked up. Yes. That is what he was missing. The thing that had been bothering him. He was a proud kobold, mighty and fierce! And proud kobolds made enemies regret coming. He slid down the wall like an eager gecko and grinned as he got to work. Any that dared to approach him would soon regret it!

"But when she looked, there was nothing there, but the lingering perfume of her long lost friend," finished Twilight with a confident smile.

Wandering and Fast began to clap appreciatively.

Dawn had never taken his eyes off his periscope. Under, right there next to Twilight, gave a soft hum of thought. "Would it not have been more intelligent to consult a cleric?"

Twilight inclined her head. "There are a lot less 'clerics' on Equestria than Everglow ever had at any point in history."

"Mystic," corrected Dawn, still looking through his periscope.

Under nodded. "That's the more modern term, yes. But I have a feeling the story dates from a time when 'cleric' would have been quite appropriate."

"Entirely correct!" Twilight made a gesture as if giving Under a point in some unseen game. "But there were no clerics or mystics to help, and so our protagonist was stuck on her own. So, how was it?!" She looked from face to face, her own nervous.

Under softly grunted, something bouncing off his head. He reached for it to find a rolled up sock. "Pardon?"

"You are excused." Fast rolled her eyes. "Stop analyzing people's scary stories, buzzkill. Twilight, thank you for sharing. It's nice to hear new stories."

Wood exploded, some of it on fire, raining down around them in broken shards as Diamond hit the ground on all fours, her axe already tucked away. Shouting. They had heard that attack, anyone with ears would have anywhere close by.

Silver came up behind Diamond. "My turn." She wriggled under Diamond, her sudden prayers allowing her to heft up Diamond as if she weighed nothing at all. "Luminace express, taking off!" She galloped with all her strength and speed. "You--"

"--Keep an eye out for baddies," finished Diamond with a triumphant smirk, she and her friend on the same page on that one, her axe drawn out and ready if any dared to get in the way of the two.

Remi was not having as easy of a time, jinking to the left as a thin ray of some, likely horrifically hostile, spell lanced just inches from her head. "Not cool." She grabbed the corner as she came to it, swinging around directly into a group of four angry ponies glaring at her. "Wrong turn!" She tried to convert that spin to her favor, but a pony crashed into her, then another. They were piling on her, pinning her down with simple weight.

Simple, but damnedly effective. "C'mon," she grunted from beneath them as they held her down and started drawing her hands up behind her to secure. "Is it too late to have a nice chat?"

"Great." The voice in her ear was back. "You're not supposed to be there, being captured. You're going to make it all worse."

"Got any ideas?" she whispered quietly, glaring up at the insectoid ponies that were dressing her up like a holiday bird. "Seriously, guys, ladies? We can talk this out." She smiled what she hoped was a charming vulpine smile.

"Biped." One of those insect-ponies smirked at her. "Kitsune?"

Remi's right ear quirked. Alright, so they knew what species she was. That didn't change much. "And you're a pony."

"Glad we have that settled." The pony reared up onto their hind legs and crossed their arms. "You're in the way, and not in the plans. Are you lost?"

They weren't rushing to murder her. That was a good sign, right? "Basically... Why is there so much... everything?" Her eyes darted to the gloomy shapes she could see in the darkness barely moving about.

"We're having a religious ceremony that you so rudely interrupted." The pony shook their head as if chastising Remi. "We thought you were a raider, but raiders don't just run and keep running like that... We got off on the wrong hoof." They extended a hoof towards Remi. "Let's put that ugly affair behind us."

Remi peered at that hovering hoof. "Yeah... still kinda pinned here." She was being crushed under several of them, held down firmly, not to mention her hands were bound together behind her back. Taking that hoof was very far off the list of possible actions. "Still, sure, yeah. I don't have a beef with you."

"They don't matter," hissed a voice in her ear. "Did they get away? Tell me you got them away."

"Poor thing." The pony crouched down, placing a hoof under Remi's chin to angle it upwards towards them. "Get off our guest," they hissed, the guards withdrawing. Guards? Cultists? Remi didn't know. "You aren't involved, and you didn't mean to be."

"No! No..." Remi wriggled her way up to her knees. "Just point the way and I'll get out of your... manes."

"Just as I thought." They turned away.

Pain exploded through Remi's midsection. The one in charge had turned around in a punch, driving their hoof into Remi's middle without remorse. "Now please, don't hurt me again. My feelings are sensitive, and lies bruise them so badly..."

Remi barely bit back a yelp of agony, teeth grit. "I'm not lying," she barely got out. "I'm ready to go."

"No... no no... yeah... no..." The insectoid pony angled her head to the left. "I don't doubt that part." It was then that Remi became quite sure that she really wasn't sure if she was talking to a guy or a lady bughorse. "But you didn't come here by mistake. Tell me the truth." They placed both fore hooves on Remi's face, cupping her cheeks. "Show some faith."

Faith... sure... "I came here looking for some ladies."

The bughorse raised a chitinous brow. "This is not the place to seek companionship." They leaned in. "Unless you mean the same ladies we're looking for. Sorry, we got here first." They planted a kiss right on the top of Remi's nose. "Finder's keepers, those are the rules."

"Why haven't you killed them?" asked a more male voice from the dark. "We still need--"

The bughorse raised a hoof for silence, and it was instant in coming. "Don't be rude. Our guest showed some faith, and repaying that in blood is just... Just the worst really. We're not monsters, my dear. Not monsters, no no..." They trailed one of their hooves over Remi's face, running along the side in a slow caress. "You want the girls? So do we! Help us find them, and we can all be happy, hm? Doesn't that sound lovely...?"

Remi skewed an ear off to the side. "You don't know where they are, do you?"

"Not a clue," admitted the bughorse without a moment of delay. "Somewhere in here, we're still pretty sure. Now, are you in or not?"

"Take the offer," hissed the voice of her time lord. "You don't have to go through with it."

"Well... sure. But I don't want to hurt anyone."

"Hurt someone? Of course not! I mean, really, no-no yeah... no.... Defiantly no." They dropped to all fours and waved a hoof at Remi, others coming in to free her. "Welcome to the team. Find and capture, that's all we want. Poor things are lost in these dangerous ruins! We can't allow that, mmm, that'd just be awful."

Remi did not forget the fireballs and possible disintegration beam that she had managed to evade.

Silver slid past a door and kicked it shut just hard enough to get it to latch without banging, her chest heaving for breath despite her seemingly endowed carrying ability. "We... like... prepared so hard. We had all the equipment!"

Diamond reached down to tap at the chain armor she wore. "You don't need to remind me."

"We had all the friends!" Silver threw a hoof wide, starting forward. "We had plans, and a literal champion of the realm! How did.. it all go so wrong?" She glanced up over her shoulder at Diamond Tiara. "Did I do something wrong?"

"No..." Diamond let out a slow sigh. "I did." She sat up all the firmer. "I thought I had it all under control, but the only thing in control was... my ego... Sorry." She set her right hoof on Silver's head. "Not that I'm not enjoying the ride or nothin', but are you alright carrying me around?"

Silver let out a gigglesnort at that. "Didn't you hear my spell? You barely feel like anything, promise." She shook her back gently. "I'm as tough as an earth pony!"

"You are an earth pony," reminded Diamond with a little smirk. "Never change, Silver."

"Too late for that..." Silver went quiet a moment before turning an ear. "Did you see which way Pinkie went?"

"She practically vanished." Diamond's expression hardened into a scowl, thinking about their one Equestrian ally. "I thought she knew how to do this kinda thing."

"Yeah... but you kinda kept talking over her... a lot... Sorry..." Silver hurried a bit as if she could just outpace her embarassment. "Diamond?"


"I don't think either of us knows what we're doing."

"Yeah... Probably not." Diamond clenched her hooves around the handle of her axe. "Right now, let's get out of here, then we can come up with a new plan... together, alright?"

"That sounds really nice." With a renewed smile, Silver proceeded down the hallways, avoiding the sounds of searching cultists and other dangers. "Let's get out of here. I ho--"

She was suddenly yanked right off her hooves, wrenched up and off the ground, the world spinning wildly around her.

Diamond slammed to the ground, unable to stay mounted with her ride upside down. "Ow, hey!"

"Alpha horse?"

Author's Note:

The team grows! Them bughorses, hard to trust them...

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