• Published 13th Dec 2011
  • 7,211 Views, 539 Comments

Far From the Tree - Rust



A mysterious pony turned to stone 1000 years ago is revived by the denizens of Ponyville.

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Full Moon

Note: I do not own My Little Pony.
Fine, Hasbro, be that way. Jerks.

CHAPTER SIX


FULL MOON

Princess Luna looked up from her desk and sighed. Her night sky was magnificent tonight, though she hardly bothered to admire her creation, choosing instead to shut her eyes and rub her temples with her hooves. It was late, and although she tended to follow a nocturnal sleep schedule, tonight's work had left her feeling particularly drained.

Roughly six months had passed since her release from the moon and subsequent redemption at the hooves of the Elements of Harmony. Only recently had her sister, Princess Celestia, allowed her to resume some of her former duties. While Celestia (or "'Tia", as she was affectionately called by her sister) had always preferred being a visible leader, attending banquets, forging treaties, kissing foals, that sort of thing, Luna was always more comfortable with flexing her power from the shadows. Her brilliant mind had recently overhauled the decrepit tax system, drafted out plans for an irrigation system the size of Manehattan, and her most recent project: a categorization of the entire Canterlot library. Celestia had welcomed the change of duties; one thousand years of doing a job meant for two tended to exasperate even the best of ponies. Luna's backstage doings worked to her advantage, too. With the new upgrades to Equestrian legislature and infrastructure, Celestia could focus more on attending to her subjects, promoting the goodwill of the Royal Sisters and ushering in a general feeling of contentment that hadn't been seen in Equestria for hundreds of years.

Princess Luna lightly massaged her head, near the base of her horn. For the past few hours, she'd found herself unable to concentrate. There was a strange sort of something in the air she just couldn't seem to identify. There'd been reports of a tremor near Ponyville, and then she'd detected a spike in magical energy mere moments later. Oddly enough, the source of the power surge had seemed familiar, almost like a long lost friend had her name.

Luna brushed her ever-flowing mane from her face absentmindedly. She'd resolved to leave the matter up to Celestia. After all, her sister had taken a peculiar fondness for that town after sending her prized student, Twilight Sparkle, there to live with the other Elements. Luna looked back down at her desk with distaste.

"Curse this paperwork. It drives me to drink," she thought. She decided to go flying.

After magestically sailing out of her bedroom window, the midnight-blue alicorn unfolded her vast wings to catch the cool night air. Ascending over Canterlot Castle in long, lazy circles, she came to rest on top of the mountain the city had been built on the side of. She liked it here. The mountain's height gave her a commanding view of the land for many leagues. The stars always seemed nicer up here, away from the brightly lit capital of Equestria. Silhouetted against the moon, the Goddess of Night surveyed her jointly-ruled territory. She had been gazing down at the world for a while when she sensed the strange magical tick of energy for the second time that day. She whipped her head towards the direction of the disturbance. From this height, she could just make out the distant lights of the source of the arcane commotion. Ponyville.

Now would be a good time to mention that Alicorns see differently than other ponies. On top of their normal sight, they can use their eyes to actually see magical auras and energies. Magic manifested itself to them in a way one would observe a ripple on a still pond. The difference being for an Alicorn, the pond was space and time.

And there was a VERY big ripple coming from Ponyville.

"I sense a disturbance in the force..." Princess Luna muttered to herself.

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Twilight was jerked from sleep by a large crash coming from upstairs. She looked around the room. All the ponies were still sleeping. The Cutie Mark Crusaders were sleeping in a pile of tangled pillows and sheets. The sight was so adorable Twilight had to look away almost immediately or risk burning her retinas. Zecora had fallen asleep in a meditative pose, leaning against one of the bookshelves. The recently thawed stallion was still sprawled on the couch where he'd been dumped, snoring quietly. Where had the noise come from?

"Uh... Twi? The Princess just broke our balcony. She wants to see you." came Spike's hushed voice from upstairs. The Princess? What would she be doing here? Twilight hadn't sent her the letter yet regarding her mysterious guest snoozing on her sofa. Once again maneuvering the treacherous staircase, Twilight entered her bedroom. Spike was standing over by the doorway to the balcony, holding it open. A dark shape had landed heavily on the outside ledge, splintering it slightly. The figure straightened up, and in the moonlight Twilight could make out faint twinkles that shone like stars in Princess Luna's ever-flowing mane. Wait... Princess Luna? Twilight had been expecting Luna's sister and her personal mentor, Princess Celestia.

The Princess spoke up in her Royal Canterlot dialect. "Our apologies, Twilight Sparkle, we are... still a little rusty on our flying skills. Your balcony has proven itself to be quite sturdy, however."

Twilight's face met her hoof with a thick smack. That reaction was becoming almost habitual nowadays. "Err... it's quite alright, Princess. What brings you here tonight?"

"We were observing our lands when we detected a large surge of magical energies from this area. We identified two sources; one being yourself, which is a normal occurrence given your adept skills with the arcane, but the other is unidentified, and even stronger. And..." she pursed her lips momentarily in concentration. "We can still sense it nearby, although quite faintly."

Twilight thought for a moment. "Well, the only magic I've used tonight was a De-stonification Spell, so that must have been what you noticed from me. As to the other source, I may know of what you speak of."

Princess Luna's left eyebrow shot up. "Please, do tell, Twilight Sparkle. A source of magic on this scale could be a major threat to Equestria."

Twilight chuckled a bit. "The 'major threat to Equestria' is passed out on my couch in the library, actually. Sleeping like a foal."

Luna raised her eyebrow even further, imploring Twilight to continue.

"Some fillies from town found a pony frozen by a cockatrice in the Everfree after today's tremor. They brought him back here for me to thaw out. There was something strange about him, however. He seemed to have the same aura as you, Princess."

The Goddess of the Night's eyebrow ascended to stratospheric heights.

"It faded soon after I released him, and he's been unconscious ever since." Twilight carefully left out the part about knocking the poor stallion into her bookshelf at half the speed of sound.

Luna paced around the damaged ledge for a few moments, musing. Twilight wondered who the mysterious guest on her sofa was, for to possess more power than her was strange enough alone, but to be an Earth Pony? They didn't even have any accessible magic. On top of that, his aura was the same as a Goddess.

"Could you... describe to us what this stallion looked like, Twilight Sparkle?" questioned Luna.

"He's very big, almost so much so as Applejack's brother, Big Macintosh." Everypony knew of the massive workhorse down at Sweet Apple Acres. "He's got a dark greenish-bluish coat, brown mane, and his cutie mark is an apple with a horseshoe over it."

Luna stood stock still. Even her mane, the streaming waterfall of a midnight sky, stopped dead. "Was there anything else?" she asked in a small voice.

Twilight was suddenly apprehensive. What was going on here? "Oh... Um, I don't think... Actually, yes."

The Princess' ephemeral mane slowly began to move again.

Twilight continued. "He has a golden bandanna around his neck, and there are four metal bands, really heavy ones, he wears around his hind legs, two on each leg."

At this, Princess Luna's face shifted to surprise, but only for a split second. It quickly settled into an emotion Twilight couldn't identify. "Twilight Sparkle, we will arrange for the other Elements of Harmony to assemble here in the morning. We also would like your permission to spend the night."

The Princess spending a night here? In her library? It wasn't like Twilight could refuse royalty, but she had to wonder why Luna seemed so interested in the recently thawed stallion. "Of course, Princess. I'll get something for you to sleep on. But how are you going to get my friends in the morning if you're sleeping here?"

"We rule over the night, Twilight Sparkle. Ponies dream at night." Luna allotted a small smile at this underestimation of her power.

"Ah. Right. You can influence dreams. Forgot about that." Twilight made a mental note to go over the Royal Sisters' many godlike abilities. There were so many.

She set about getting some more pillows and blankets from the closet. "My, the library has suddenly become quite the place to bed for the night." Twilight thought to herself.

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Celestia's sun shone brightly through the overcast skies. Roughly around nine in the morning, the five other Elements of Harmony all found themselves at the Ponyville library doorstep.

"Why are we here again?" grunted Rainbow Dash, rubbing the sleep from her magenta eyes. Normally in bed till mid-afternoon, the cyan, rainbow-maned Pegasus was having a hard time staying awake.

"I'm not sure, darling. I woke up with the strangest sensation in my hooves, telling me to come to the library. Can't imagine why, though, not much else in there besides dusty old tomes," sniffed Rarity, who was feeling slightly peeved at having her beauty sleep interrupted. "Maybe it's about Sweetie Belle. She left a note at the Carousel yesterday morning before vanishing with her friends. They never came home," she added with a twinge of worry.

"Well that explains where mah sister got off ta," put in Applejack in her usual drawl, adjusting her trademark Stetson to shield her emerald eyes from the morning glare. Her braided golden tail whipped half-heartedly at a fly that had landed on her flank. The orange mare had been up late worrying about her sister, and the paltry few hours of rest she'd finally gotten had not been enough for the hardworking farmpony.

Fluttershy looked out from behind her long, pink mane. "Should we... should we knock? I mean, Twilight's usually up by this time," she murmured softly. Her pale yellow wings ruffled slightly in the gentle breeze. She readjusted them and retreated behind her mane-veil, looking at the ground.

Pinkie Pie was the only one of the group who was showing any excess of energy. But then again, this is Pinkie Pie. Nothing short of a sugar coma would slow this mare down. "I dunno, you guys, but I'm feeling really, really good about today! I woke up and I was all like 'WOW! I LOVE EVERYTHING!', and then I came here and I found you guys here too so that just made everything even better!" She was interrupted by a cyan hoof in her mouth.

"Chill, Pinks, you're going to give me a headache." grumbled Rainbow Dash, removing her hoof from the noise machine that was Pinkie Pie.

A sudden flash behind them caused the five to turn around. Twilight had teleported to them from inside the library, and she'd brought some company. Behind the Ponyville's resident librarian, the Cutie Mark Crusaders stood side by side with Zecora, Spike, and Princess Luna.

Nopony spoke for a full minute. Applejack looked at Princess Luna, then shifted her gaze to the Crusaders. "Tarnation, girls, what didja do now? Ya'll even got the princess involved!"

Rainbow could be heard chuckling softly. "Thats a new record. Good job, you three."

Sweetie Belle hurled herself at Rarity, and the two hugged. Apple Bloom approached Applejack, who glared at her for a few seconds before giving in to the adorable ball of cuteness that is her sister. "Ah can't stay mad at ya. Ah'm jus' glad yer safe now." Scootaloo tackled a sleepy Rainbow Dash in a flying leap. Rainbow was not related to her, but the two were quite close.

Twilight gave the ponies a few moments before speaking up. "Now that we're all gathered, I believe that the Crusaders have a story to tell." The three fillies detached themselves and gathered together in between the two groups. They then recounted the events of the day before, with Zecora adding a verse or two here and there. Princes Luna then explained her presence to the five, ending with her arrival on Twilight's now structurally unsafe balcony.

After all had been told, the Elements of Harmony knew the situation at hoof inwards and outwards. There had been an earthquake yesterday, in which a petrified pony had been uncovered by the shifting earth. The Crusaders had managed, with Zecora's help, to bring the stone stallion to Twilight. Twilight had been able to thaw him out, subsequently releasing a large amount of magic that Princess Luna had honed in on. They now had a large, magically potent, unconscious earth pony with a mysterious connection to a goddess asleep on the couch inside. Just another normal day in Ponyville.

A crash sounded from inside the house, cutting off the wrap up. The group exchanged a look. Their guest was awake. A few more bangs and thumps sounded from the library. Twilight, followed by the others, approached the door cautiously, horn aglow in case the stallion tried anything funny. The library door opened slowly with a creak. A large pile of books had fallen from the shelves, and the couch was overturned. There was no-pony on it. "Where did he go?" said Twilight.

"G'day!" a gruff, strangely accented voice called from above.

The group looked up as one. There, heroically posed upon the chandelier, was the dark teal stallion. He looked down at them seriously, which was quite a feat considering the predicament he was in.

"Any 'o ya lovely sheilas mind tellin' me where the bathroom is? I've a piss in the tank that'll raise the oceans."

Author: Ay carumba! And, YES, Princess Luna is a fan of Star Wars. (or whatever the MLP equivalent is called). Makes sense, if you think about it... I just love cliffhangers, don't you? Now that our hero is awake, the debauchery shall begin! Allons-y!