• Published 3rd May 2019
  • 1,421 Views, 74 Comments

The Line Between Fire and Light - Stolenalicorn

A father goes to great lengths to find his daughter’s heroes and finds something he wasn't looking for ... friends.

  • ...

Chapters Next
1 Warm Welcomes and Cold Receptions

James continued to stare at the dossier on his desk. He'd opened it and read it several times, it contained historical and biological information on the next universe he was going to visit. He'd even taken the information and reworked a polymorph spell to disguise himself without limiting his abilities beyond general physical constraints.

He was not looking forward to it.

But he also knew that if he kept putting it off his daughters would be more than a little irritated at him once they found out the universe had been found.

He really wasn't looking forward to this.

It wasn't an emasculation thing, he didn't give a crap about manliness and had nothing to prove. But still, he dreaded the eventual first contact mission.

But not as much as he dreaded his daughters' anger with him.

He knew this wasn't like the version he knew when he was a child, he'd had experience with the new version and could even say there were parts he liked.

He was just stalling now.

He had a V.I. built to gather information and even custom built it's body to blend in. He was quite proud of the work too, it had infiltrated easily and without suspicion. In it's weekly reports it gave current information, particularly concerning several important figures to both the society and his daughters.

He'd have to deal with hyper active perky personalities.

He'd hired a tailor off world to make the clothes and accessories he'd need. While he could probably more easily blend in if he walked around naked, it also meant revealing more information than he wanted to give right away.

He'd dieted for things like this.

Well, not just for things like this, he also hated that no matter how strong he got, how much he exercised, or how many body modifications he got he would always have some measure of a gut. Even now he knew that it would come with him in his polymorphed body.

Now his ego had entered into the debate.

And what about his name? He could probably come up with something inconspicuous but it would sound so damn silly. And the language, it was simple substitutions but he felt ridiculous every time he practiced it. And he didn't want to get into the habit and slip up in public here on the station.

And what about the world he was going to?

His presence was going to cause changes, even if he kept a low profile. And if he weren't allowed to keep a low profile he could cause a great deal of chaos. This is why he preferred his method of first contact with other universes. If there's already a crisis he can come in and help, not so much as to be a hero but enough to make allies and his chaos can be directed in a beneficial direction. Showing up in a time of peace meant there was no beneficial direction to turn the chaos if things didn't go smoothly, which they never did. That's not even accounting for the barely contained chaos that was already present.

His eyes focused on the dossier once again. He had put the scroll containing the spell in there so as not to lose it. “Nothing but to do it.” He muttered as he examined the spell once again. The counter Polymorph was written down beneath so he could turn back without any complications.

He needed to stop stalling.

He closed his eyes and quietly chanted the spell. There was no light, no fanfare of power. His body just twisted and bent forward, his legs shrank and warped as his arms twisted. A bony protrusion covered the demon's blood talisman embedded in his forehead and erupted from his skin. Wings grew from his shoulders before migrating down his back. His sayian tail shortened while the hair grew. His face elongated and his teeth flattened out, his ears migrated to the top of his head and changed their shape.

The process took just over two minutes to complete and James stood on all fours just to the side of his desk. His clothes hung awkwardly around him as they were not designed to fit his new body. He adjusted himself to stand on his hind legs and forced his pants off. As he expected, his stomach had remained, on all four limbs it wasn't so bad, but standing up it looked worse than he remembered. He couldn't help but notice that his hair, now a mane, had stayed long along with his long braided goatee. Both stopped just short of dragging on the ground.

Once again on all fours, James walked to the stand where he had his new clothes set up and waiting. With only marginal difficulty he got dressed. His outfit was similar to the one he would normally wear. With a blue hakamashita and white haori. He'd grown quite fond of the outfit over the years, even more so than his family’s kilt, and had many versions of it crafted for various forms he may need to take.

His Omnitool blinked to life and through some effort he managed to type in the propper command sequence to activate the teleporter remotely. He was going to have to get used to using his omnitool in this form as he spent more time in the other world.

The teleporter sequence began and James violently melted out of the office as he went to his destination.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Few clouds hung in the sky as the sun rose over Ponyville. Only the hardest working ponies at the farm were up this early as a stranger trotted into town.

Applejack only looked briefly at the overdressed unicorn trotting into town before she got back to work.
James had to make it to the dead drop where his observation A.I. had placed several sacks of money, without which James would be unable to to last long. The streets were just starting to come alive as he walked behind the the library. James quietly grumbled as he collected the bags, irritated that the A.I. had placed them right behind what was actually a residence.

He reached out his right forelimb to collect the bag before remembering that he didn't have hands. Frustrated, he opened his mouth and grabbed the bag before using his right front limb to kick open the flap on his saddle bag. With a swing of his head he tossed the money into his saddle bag, the coins jangled as they flew through the air, making him nervous that someone would hear. With a sigh he walked around the edge of the tree that served as the building for the library.

“This place is loaded with whimsy.” James mumbled as he looked forward.

The sound of a knock brought his mind to sharp focus. Cautiously he stuck his head around the corner hoping to stay out of sight until he was ready. From this angle he could only see the bright pink backside and excessively curly tail of Pinkie Pie.

Twilight Sparkle opened the door to her home as she saw Pinkie Pie. She had agreed to help Pinkie at the cake shop today as there were a lot of deliveries to make and she needed the help. “Morning Pinkie.” She said as she looked at her friend.

“Hi Twilight.” Pinkie eagerly said as her friend approached her. “Are you ready to have a super amount of fun today?”

“Yeah, Pinkie. I'm ready.” Twilight said with a smile. She was always happy to spend time with any of her friends, even if Pinkie Pie seemed unusually excitable today.

Without warning, Pinkie Pie stood completely still other than a shudder running all along her mane and tail. She took a wide stance and snapped her head back and forth before leaping around and looking towards the edge of the tree where James had been just moments before.

“What's wrong Pinkie?” Twilight asked as Pinkie looked around.

“I thought somepony else was here … Oh well, I guess I was wrong.” Pinkie said as she turned back to Twilight. “Let's get those cakes out.” She said with a wide smile. She bounced along the road as Twilight walked beside her.

James slowly let out his breath as he watched the two leave. He was not ready to meet Pinkie yet.

Or ever.

“What?” He heard Twilight ask in the distance.

“I got that feeling again.” Pinkie said.

“I don't see anypony.” Twilight said. “Let's get to the bakery.”

“Okay!” Pinkie happily said.

James waited several minutes to ensure the ponies had left.

“What are you doing?” A new voice asked.

James looked back and saw a small purple and green dragon leaning out of a window just above him.

“Just avoiding Pinkie Pie.” James calmly said. “She's a bit too high energy for me to deal with right now.”

“Yeah, but she's really nice.” Spike argued as calmly as James.

“All the same, right now I'd rather not have to spend the day talking to her.” James said as he looked to the dragon. “Tell you what. I've got a ruby in my bag here. You keep me a secret from everybody and it's yours.”

“Done and done.” Spike said with a wide smile.

“Just give me a moment.” James said as he pushed his face into his bag of holding disguised as a saddle bag. After rummaging around for a moment he pulled his head back with a ruby carefully held in his teeth.

“Why not just use your magic to get the ruby?” Spike asked as he took it from James. With a quick wipe on his chest, Spike tossed the gem into his mouth and chewed it.

“I'm not that experienced with it.” James admitted.

Spike chuckled as he spoke, bits of ruby still clinging to his teeth. “How? You're not some kid, just use your horn.”

“Hey, I wanted to spend my day not talking.” James said with a grin. “Thanks for your silence about me.” He added as he walked away. Waving his hoof at Spike as he trotted away.

James sat at the mushroom table outside as he waited for his cucumber sandwich. He looked up and saw a blue streak across the sky, confident that he knew who it was. As he looked back down he saw the waiter bringing his sandwich on a plate. James had already brought out the money and placed it on the table so as to not have to explain his non use of magic. The waiter nodded as he walked away, leaving James alone.

As James was now able to compare himself to the other ponies around he did find that he seemed unusually tall, towering more than a foot and a half above the residents. At his normal height of nearly six and a half feet he was used to being tall but had thought he wouldn’t stand out so much with his altered form. His color was also slightly off and not as vibrant as the others around him. No matter how he looked at it he was pretty conspicuous.

James looked at his sandwich and decided to try Spike's advice. He concentrated on the sandwich and tried to focus on it, mentally telling it to lift off the plate. It did not move. It's entirely possible he was over thinking it as he could see unicorn children playing with magic. But trying to learn from creatures that knew this stuff fundamentally would be difficult. He'd be hard pressed to accurately describe what one needed to do to grip something with their hand if they never had a hand before. There were deep seeded memories and natural impulses that James did not have that contributed to the functions he was now expected to do.

He fell back on his years of study in the Sorcerer's Guild. He knew that even if he couldn't figure out how the ponies used magic he still had access to the magic he possessed before the polymorph had taken effect. He reached his hooves out to the sandwich and closed his eyes. Quietly he chanted a simple spell that he used to mentally lift objects. It was true he could just as easily use his Ki, but in case anyone could sense ki he would rather use it only to fly.

He took a bite and smiled, everything was fresh and flavorful with chive cream cheese. This was a clear trait of naturally vegetarian people that their produce always tasted better. His mind went back to his surroundings as he heard two familiar voices approaching. He looked up to see Twilight and Pinkie hauling carts along the road. Pinkie had just barely started to turn James's way. He had to act quickly or she would not leave him alone until she had welcomed him. He really did not want that.

Time seemed to slow down as James saw her. He put his front hooves on the table before leaping up into the air. Pinky's eye's hadn't yet reached where she could see James by the time he was a couple dozen feet in the air. His wings had tossed his Haori aside as he rose up, higher and higher, over where Rainbow Dash had been flying moments before. James moved as quickly as he could without risking a sonic boom.

“That feeling again, Pinkie?” Twilight asked as she turned to face Pinkie.

Pinkie looked to the overturned table, a broken plate and cucumber sandwich on the ground next to it. “Yeah. But did you hear that? It sounded like Rainbow Dash, but it wasn't Rainbow Dash. It's like there were two Rainbow Dash.” Pinkie Pie could tell something was going on, but she didn't know what. However until she did know it wasn't worth worrying about.

“I'm pretty sure it was Rainbow Dash. We just saw her flying overhead a minute ago. She's probably practicing some trick.” Twilight said as she looked up, when she squinted she could see a Blue blot in the distance. “See, there she is right there.”

Pinkie looked up, raising off the ground slightly as she squinted alongside Twilight. Her eyes popped wide open again as she raised her hoof and waved. “Hi Rainbow Dash!” She shouted.

James realized they had stopped moving and quickly flew off in the direction Rainbow Dash had flown earlier, once again staying just below Mach speeds. He had to admit, while it took a bit to get used to, using wings to steer while he flew allowed him much better fine control than he had by using Ki alone. And gliding was a nice option now too.

Rainbow Dash hovered in the air behind Pinkie and Twilight. “Hey guys.” She calmly said.

Twilight jumped in surprise while Pinkie just turned and waved at her. “I though that was you up there.” Twilight said as she looked between her friend and the blue dot that had vanished in the distance.

Rainbow Dash looked up where the two had been looking moments ago. There was nothing in the sky that she could see. “Nope.” She said with a shrug. “I flew over here earlier, but just now I was coming back to say hi to you girls.”

“I wonder who that was then.” Pinkie said as she leaned her head to the side.

“They'd have to be fast if you thought they were me.” Rainbow Dash said, rubbing her front hooves together. Whoever it was might make for a decent challenge, she'd have to race them.

“And blue.” Twilight said as she tried to think of any other detail she might have caught but not thought about.

“Yep. They were blue like you and really fast since we don't know where they went. You know what this means?!” Pinkie asked as she got more and more excited.

Rainbow Dash pulled back slightly as she spoke. “No. What?” There were several things it could mean, but what Pinkie was thinking she didn't know.

“There's a new pony in town!” Pinkie shouted. Her hooves nearly as high off the ground as Rainbow Dash's. Confetti flew through the air around her in her excitement, where she had gotten her party cannon from nobody could tell.

James carefully landed just outside of Ponyville. He took a moment to calm himself, had Pinkie spotted him she would likely have been here before him. Or was waiting to leap out and surprise him. His pulse shot back up as he thought about Pinkie being around every corner. James walked back into town along the road, once again passing by Sweet Apple Acres. Big Macintosh looked his way briefly before returning to work.

James adjusted his Haori as he walked, making sure his wings were covered. He had chosen the form of an alicorn for the purpose of explaining away both magic and being able to fly, but it also made him more identifiable. He figured if he were cautious and if he could avoid Pinkie Pie he could vanish into the crowd and make first contact on his terms.

He carefully sneaked back to the restaurant. “I'm sorry about that.” James said as he walked to the owner. “I can't really offer a good reason, but I hope this covers the damages.” James took out several coins and placed them on the counter.

The waiter smiled and took the money, he didn't want to ask what had spooked him so badly so he let the matter drop. Though whatever it was was still around as the strange unicorn suddenly hid next to the door frame and cautiously spied outside.

James hid by the door as he saw Rainbow Dash clearly searching for something as she flew along the street. Once she had passed James carefully left, looking over his shoulder as he trotted along. He turned back just in time to see the Cinnamon Nut cart as he walked head first into it. He felt no resistance as it fell forward, the overly muscular Pegasus reaching out to try catching it, but he wouldn't be able to reach it. Instinctively James reached out mentally as he would if using Ki to catch something. His forehead burned as energy focused through the demon's blood talisman before his horn glowed black with golden fringe. The cart was enveloped in a mass of gold fringed darkness as he caught it.

“So that's how it works.” James mumbled as he gently set the cart upright on the ground. Replacing the packs of nuts in their display. This was an interesting development, it seemed that magic and ki were almost interchangeable here, or was it the method that had triggered the result. He was going to have to study this later.

“Thanks, buddy.” The muscular Pegasus said. “I thought I was going to lose my nuts.”

“Don't thank me.” James struggled to keep from laughing. “I'm the one who knocked it over in the first place.”

“Would you like some nuts while you're here?” The pegasus asked. He had to thank the unicorn for the help, even if it was his fault for the cart nearly overturning.

“Sure.” James said as he floated two coins from his bag to the Pegasus.

“That's okay, I'll just give you these.” He said offering the sack, seems the unicorn was nicer than he thought.

“I'm paying you and I won't hear a word to the contrary.” James said with a grin. “I've caused you enough trouble I'm not going to walk off with free nuts too.”

“I was offering a sample, but thanks. Let me get you a full bag.” The pegasus said as he pulled a larger bag from his selection on the cart.

James took the offered bag with the increasingly familiar gold fringed darkness and smiled as he walked off. Taking a bite he smiled, he loved cashews.

James ate his nuts as he looked around town. Keeping an eye out for the main group as he went along. More than likely Pinkie Pie had told them all about what she felt and at least Rainbow Dash was helping her look. He now had six pairs of eyes to look out for, assuming that Spike kept to his end of the deal and kept quiet for that ruby.

The remainder of the day passed without incident as James walked back to the library. Once again he waited behind the Library as evening began to turn to night. While he never heard the door open the lights on inside confirmed to him that at least Spike was still there. Now was as good a time as any. James poked his head out from around the edge of the tree. The street appeared deserted along it's length and James quietly walked up to the door, raising his hoof he knocked five times in a familiar pattern. There was no reason to it, he just always knocked like that.

“Spike? Are you still there?” James quietly asked.

The door unlatched and slowly cracked open. This had the hallmarks of disaster and James knew it.

“This is too ominous.” James mumbled as he began to back up. He hadn't taken more than two steps when his backside collided with something.

“I knew you'd be back here!” Pinkie Pie shouted as James leaped into the air in shock. Pinkie Pie easily leaped up to James's height and held onto his back, keeping his wings pinned to his side.
James however, didn't notice and continued to rise into the air in a futile effort escape her.

“Wow. You can jump really high. Like really really really really really really really really super high!” Pinkie said as she looked down.

James eventually registered the voice and that she was clinging on to him. Slowly he decelerated so as not to throw her off and came to a hover over two hundred feet in the air. Pinkie continued to marvel as James waited for a break.

“Well, you've caught me.” James said, his voice certainly not happy. He closed his eyes as he slowly lowered them towards the ground. “What's your plan?” James couldn't help but imagine a loud annoying party where he would be forced to meet everyone in town. While he did intend to meet others while he was here, a large energetic group really did not appeal to him. Particularly at the moment as his mind began to dredge up old memories. His favorite part about his life on the station was that things were often calm. At least in the old district that he lived by. His home was quite peaceful and he wanted to keep it that way.

Pinkie Pie continued to talk as they approached the ground. James had tuned her out as she spoke but caught occasional bits of what she said. Mostly trivia about her friends. His hooves touched ground gently and Pinkie Pie continued to hold on tight as James opened the door and walked in.

Much to his surprise there were only seven other ponies and Spike there. There was a “Welcome” banner spread across the upper reaches of the library and only minimal decorations with a table of refreshments and a cake. No shout of surprise greeted him as he came in, just welcoming smiles and a friendly hello.

“Okay, I was not expecting this.” James said as he walked in, an inadvertent smile pulling at the edges of his lips.

“Yeah. We figured you were hiding from us for some reason, but the ponies we talked to who had met you said you were really nice so we knew you weren't a bad guy. Then Spike told us you were looking forward to some peace and quiet so a big party would be a bad idea. …” Pinkie Pie rambled as James once again began to tune her out.

“Pinkie.” Rainbow Dash said. “I'm not sure this is the pony. The one you told me about could fly. And he's a unicorn.”

“Yeah,” Pinkie said as she still held on to James. “He jumps really high when he's surprised.” Pinkie's eyes went wide as an idea occurred to her. “Maybe he's an Alicorn like Twilight! Oh that's so cool!”
James casually walked over to the table and got himself a drink. Ignoring the prattling pony on his back.

“I don't think so Pinkie.” Twilight said. “There's only four Alicorn, and we know all of them.”

While Twilight and Pinkie spoke Fluttershy approached James. Her voice was barely louder than a whisper. “Hello, I'm Fluttershy.”

“Hello. It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm …” James paused, he never actually thought of something to call himself while he was here. It all just came across to him as ridiculous. “I'm not sure how I should introduce myself. I'm sorry. I had hoped things to go a bit differently. Though this is the best case scenario for how it's gone. Thank you very much.”

“Oh, okay.” Fluttershy said as she seemed to shrink away.

“Just call me Glastos for now. That is actually my family name.” James said, patiently smiling at the nervous mare.

“That's a great name!” Pinkie exclaimed as she listened to the exchange. “What's the rest?”

“Not right now.” James calmly said. “And I'd appreciate it if you got off me.”

“Doesn’t that mean green?” Rarity asked, having missed most of what he had said. “You're clearly not talking about yourself as you're more chestnut colored.”

“Well my name doesn't have anything to do with my coloration. Trust me, the explanation is complicated at the moment.” James explained.

“Try us.” Applejack said almost as a challenge.

“Yup.” Big Macintosh agreed with his sister.

“Eventually. I know you don't know me, but there is procedure to what I'm doing and I would like it if you trusted me.” James implored.

“Okay.” Twilight said casually. “We can trust you.”

“I … wasn't expecting that so easily.” James said uncomfortably.

“There's nothing to worry about. We're all friends here.” Twilight reassured.

“Well, before getting into anything more I need to have a private conversation with Twilight Sparkle. If that's alright with you, of course.” James said nodding to Twilight.

“Uhm … Okay.” She said, more than a little confused.

“Thank you. But first, let's enjoy this party you all took the time to set up.” James said raising his drink.

A cheer of “Yeah” went up as the rest joined him.

The party wasn't overly long, and while Pinkie Pie barraged James with questions he deflected the majority of them. By the end of the party they were calling him “Green Apple” a nick name James had centuries ago. There was some curiosity from Applejack as James explained that didn't have anything to do with other branches of the Apple family, and even he didn't fully understand why it was his nickname.

Eventually Twilight nodded for James to follow her.

“Are you certain we should have this talk while everyone's here?” James asked.

“I'm not sure what the talk's about so, no. I'm not certain. But they're staying until it's over anyway.” Twilight explained.

“Fair enough. Just one moment and we can talk.” James focused on a couple spells that he had prepared for just such a possibility. Black runes formed in the air around the two as the spell took effect. A sphere soon obscured them in shadow and James approached Twilight. And she noticed that at no time during this spell did his horn glow.

“What's this?” She asked cautiously.

James stepped back at her tone before he answered. “Just a bubble of silence. Don't worry it's just to prevent eavesdropping.”

“That's not how I remember the spell.” Twilight insisted, a faint glow at the tip of her horn.

“It's a different type of magic.” James said. “There's a lot I'm going to be explaining. As for me flying off earlier, this is the simplest explanation.” James's wings stretched out from underneath his Haori, the tips brushing the barrier he had erected.

Twilight stared in shock, she was certain she knew the only Alicorns in Equestria and here was a new one standing before her. James's face was impassive as he began to speak again.

“This is actually a procedure known as first contact. I've been observing the society here for a while and learning about everything I could.” James explained.

“What do you mean?” Her curiosity overpowering her moment of shock.

“I'm from another world. I know that's hard for many to understand. That's part of why I came to you, I know you have experience with travel to other worlds.” James continued.

“How did you …” Twilight started to say.

“More explanations that we don't have time for at the moment. In fact most people I talk to have a very hard time accepting what I have to tell them.” James answered.

“You're not a pony.” Twilight said confidently. “You just said “people,” nopony here says that.”

“Quite true, I am not a pony. I took this form to make it through this day with minimal suspicion. Part of why I was avoiding Pinkie Pie there.” James said with a chuckle. “Frankly, if I came in my normal form I would have stirred up tons of trouble.”

“Well, we know about other worlds. You could have told them.” Twilight reasoned.

“Yeah, but procedure and all that. I don't often talk to primary political figures first. Hence why I'm not talking to Celestia right now. I usually find someone I can trust to talk to and then get their opinion on if I should talk to their leaders. There's more that I can explain if you want to ask. I've just given you a bare bones explanation right now.” James said, sitting on the floor across from Twilight.

“How are Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash doing?” She asked.

“That's a good question. I'm not from that world. Those girls have no equivalents back where I'm from, or where I live.” James explained.

“Where are you from?” Twilight asked.

“I live on my space station, it's called New Guardia. As for where I’m from … I abandoned that place long ago.” James said.

Twilight's face scrunched up as she tried to figure out why someone would abandon their home. “Why?”

“Many reasons that I won't be going into. I may trust you, but we've still just met.”

“What's your home like?” Twilight asked.

“That get's even harder to explain. Do you know what a space station is?”

“Yes, but the science behind it is a little preposterous.” Twilight said with a smirk.

“Normal is yesterday's science fiction, you just need to be open to understanding new things. But up on the station there's a lot of different kinds of people. And I'm the one in charge. They call me king, but I can take or leave the title.”

Pinkie Pie gasped as she approached. “You're a king?” She asked excitedly.

James's eyes went wide in surprise at Pinkie's intrusion. His mind reeled thinking about every problem she could cause and his own paranoia made the situation far worse in his mind than even he knew.“What are you doing in here?” James shouted, partly in shock but mostly in frustration. He reminded himself to not get angry, no matter how hard that may be at the moment. She might not be a blabbermouth, he needed to remain calm.

“I just walked through the barrier.” She said as she bounced around.

James held his hoof to his face as he clarified. “That answers how, but not why.” His horn glowed black and gold as the barrier came down. “Well, Pinkie decided that a private conversation wasn't that important so no point trying to keep these talks quiet.” He reminded himself once more to not get angry, she was only curious. Closing his eyes didn't help, the stress he had just put himself through was bringing the nightmares back.

“I was right. He's an Alicorn.” Pinkie announced.

James adjusted his haori to cover his wings as he walked to the staircase. She was a blabbermouth. “That being said.” James announced. “Anything Pinkie or Twilight tells you about what we talked about is completely confidential. Not even Celestia get's to know!” James said, his horn glowing again. “There's a procedure to be adhered to and failure to do so can cause serious problems for us all.” A cup of punch floated up to him and he took a drink from it. “I know my trust in Pinkie Pie was misplaced, but I will still trust you. Please don't betray that trust.” James's voice came across as angry as he fought against his mind. Now was the worst time for this to happen. As his stress continued to climb he knew that tonight was going to be bad, he needed to get out. Needed to get away from people.

The room was silent as he looked around. “Thank you very much for your hospitality. I genuinely appreciate what you've done and hope you enjoy yourselves as things progress. It's not as sinister as I make it sound. I just need to go right now.” His voice wavered slightly as he spoke.

James walked down the stairs and towards the door. Big Macintosh stood in his way, staring impassively at James.

“Would you please move?” James asked.

Big Macintosh couldn't tell if it was intentional or not but the pony in front of him looked straight through him, as if he weren't even there. “Nope.” He calmly answered.

“Sorry.” James said as he put his hoof on Big Macintosh's side and calmly pushed him out of the way. Big Mac's eyes were wide at the demonstration of strength as James seemed to effortlessly move the powerful stallion.

With a facade of calm, James walked out of the door and off into the darkness. As he approached an empty field beyond the borders of the town James's horn glowed as he lifted a small capsule from his bag. The button depressed and it flew out a dozen feet. With the whoosh of air being suddenly pushed away a small cottage stood in the field. James slowly opened the door and went inside.

He leaned against the closed door and tried to steady his breathing. His forelegs shook as he closed his eyes and concentrated. “Why now?” He quietly asked himself. “Why now of all times?” He took several more shaky breaths as he tried to calm down. Everything in here was familiar, something to keep him grounded.

He’d spent so long that day keeping himself stressed out about how everything could go wrong that his mind had begun to dredge up his worst memories. This was not the time or place to get stuck in the past and he needed to get controll.

There wasn't much to the cottage and it was designed with humanoid residents in mind. This wasn't much of a problem for James as he only intended to sleep in there. In the morning he would put it back in it's capsule and keep it with him, finding another spot for the next night.

James needed to distract himself, quietly he told himself he would have to study this universe's magic in depth sometime as he levitated his haori onto the waiting coat rack, followed closely by his hakimashita. A stereo in the cottage turned on and began playing a gently melody.

James chastised himself over his lack of control as he slipped into the bathroom and started to clean himself. He was finally calming down. Stopping to chuckle briefly as he thought about how lazy it was for him to use magic just to bathe, even thought he didn't have hands to accommodate the facilities.
I could get used to this utilitarian magic. Is it just this form that gives me access to it? Something about the nature of shape in this universe? … I'll have to do some field research.

He forced himself to contemplate the color of the magic field that surrounded everything as he worked. In the cases of the unicorns he had seen that day, their magic was as bright and colorful as they were. Yet his was not only completely different, it was two colors. And he couldn't help but draw an aesthetic comparison to the Giga Slave spell.
Is this because of the demon's blood talisman? It's not like I don't feel it working while this happens … I need to study the magic here. Maybe if I haven't offended Twilight or Rarity too badly I can ask them for some insight. Probably Twilight, this is more academic and that's clearly her field.

As James finished his shower he walked out of the small bathroom that connected directly to the bedroom, he needed to adjust to the daylight hours here. With a sigh, he climbed into the bed and began casting a spell he never really liked using, but he would definitely need it right now. He couldn't stand the nightmares and to maintain some level of secrecy for the time being he had to ensure that dreams did not alert Luna to his presence. The spell took effect immediately as James's eyes closed leading him into a long, dreamless sleep.

Author's Note:

Promised myself it would get up and here it is. Thanks for reading, there's still more to come.

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