• Published 31st Aug 2020
  • 417 Views, 23 Comments

The Pony Loa - Leila Drake

A troll couple accidentally summons ponies to Azeroth. And a flustered human. But for the trip back they need the help of a mage as powerful as Twilight Sparkle...

  • ...

Chapter 9: Fishing for Birds

Levinia zipped through the ship, her blue light zooming past sailors and passengers in a slalom pattern. She had decided a while ago that it was rude to pass through walls because she invaded other people's privacy that way. Of course, that meant that it took her way more time to get from one place to another than she would have needed. But she had a weird feeling when she floated through solid objects on Azeroth. Levinia did not like it one bit, it was uncomfortable and sticky like chewing gum under your hoof. It felt just wrong.

She met Darren and Nylene in the hallway. They looked worried and exhausted, especially the human. Darren greeted her with a nod. The three of them went upstairs, Levinia floating ahead to lead them to Eclipse and Vol'Shalai.

Eclipse appeared to have calmed down some more. He had dried his tears; the dark streaks on his cheeks were gone. Vol'Shalai and the blue-skinned woman with the horns sat next to him, watching him wordlessly. Eclipse hummed a strange melody that made Levinia think of Jonathan the priest for some reason.

"Hi," Eclipse said, his ears twitching towards them. He frowned at Levinia. "You know, you shouldn't have to be that blue light all the time."

"It's for her safety," Darren said softly.

"Yeah, maybe," Eclipse went on, "but I think we can sort things out if we have to. Come on, she can't even talk that way."

Darren hummed. "I can see where you're coming from. Well, alright." He turned to Levinia, adding, "You may take your pony form if you like."

Finally. Levinia focused and assumed her original shape. The blue light expanded until she was a pegasus again. She wiggled her translucent blue legs and wings. Her ethereal mane and tail unfolded, flowing in an invisible breeze. She sighed happily, enjoying the feeling of freedom.

"Thanks," she said. "I flew around the ship to entertain myself but not being able to talk to anypony really sucks."

"Sorry," Darren said after a moment of consideration.

Miindra jumped up, raising her hands.

"That is Levinia?" she asked. Golden light appeared around her hands as she assumed a defensive stance.

Vol'Shalai immediately put himself between her and the pegasus. "Don't do anyting rash," he said in a suspiciously calm voice.

"What happened?" Nylene asked. "Did Levinia turn into her true form? I cannot tell the difference."

"Yes," Eclipse answered. "She's now a pegasus pony like me. Well, almost. She's still a ghost."

Following a sudden impulse, Levinia landed on her hooves and gave Eclipse a hug. They stayed like this for a long time. She could tell that Eclipse needed it. He heaved a long sigh and held her tightly. How long since he had last hugged his Mom or Dad? Fifteen days or so? Levinia let go and looked at Darren.

"What did da guards say?" Vol'Shalai asked.

"We told them it was an accident. I think they bought that." Darren raised a brow. "But we should watch Tarik."

"Ya mean, keep an eye on him?"

Darren nodded.

"If you'll excuse me, I need to catch up on my sleep," said Miindra with a look at the reddening sky. "Will you be alright, child?"

Eclipse nodded. "Yeah. Thanks for teaching me the song."

Miindra gave Eclipse a warm smile, nodded politely at the adults and went away, her white robe swaying behind her. Levinia caught a glimpse of her thin tail swinging underneath the garment.

"Who is she?" Darren asked, his head jerking in the woman's direction.

"Miindra," replied Eclipse and Vol'Shalai in unison.

"She taught me a song," Eclipse said with a smile.

"I see." Darren raised his eyebrows, amused. "Good for you, lad."

"Are you okay, too?" Eclipse asked, casting a worried glace at Darren.

"More or less," admitted Darren. "Whatever happened to Tarik also happened to me. But it was much weaker. I don't know what it was, exactly. Probably a remainder of the curse. I thought it was completely gone but apparently not," he added with a dark frown.

Levinia let go of Eclipse and hugged Darren.

"What is that for?" he asked her, confused. He put a hesitant arm around her.

"You looked sad?"

"Hm. You're not wrong," he said. "Thanks."

"Sure!" Levinia smiled.

Eclipse is running through wooden corridors, panting and crying. The hallways are like a labyrinth, twisting and changing every time he turns around a corner.

He reaches a door. As he passes through it, he finds himself in a large, open plaza, seamed by crystal houses and red hills. He looks back - the door is gone but the horde of ghouls is still there, shuffling and running after him.

Eclipse jumps up, calling for his shadow powers. Floating in midair, he lets the stream of dark magic flow through his body. He channels it through his hooves and throws it at the foremost ghoul, a stream of black and purple smoke and shadow. The creature shrieks and crumbles, breaking in half with a disgusting crack that sounds like dry branches.

Eclipse raises his foreleg again, casting a different spell. The violet lightning discharges with booming thunder and hits two ghouls at once. Eclipse stomps at the ground, his rush of victory mingling with the desperate realization that there's still way too many.

"Eclipse! What are you doing?"

A dark blue alicorn descends from the blue sky, her wings spread wide. Princess Luna is here! She lands next to Eclipse and lights her horn. With a blue flash, the ghouls, both those shuffling towards Eclipse and those defeated, vanish, dissolving into dust that the wind carries away.

"Princess Luna!" Eclipse runs into her hug, sobbing. "You're here! Thank you!"

The princess sighs, holding him close.

"What is all of this?"

"I think it's the ghoul we killed," Eclipse mutters. "Times a hundred."

"Oh dear."

"Yeah. But it was only one in real life!"

"One is more than enough," sighs Princess Luna. "Where are you?"

"Still on the ship to Booty Bay," Eclipse says, letting go of the princess. "It's a long way."

"Then, pray tell, where doth the ghoul come from?"

"Er, Tarik brought it along. He's a death knight."

"Did they attack you?" asks the princess, alarmed.

"No, the ghoul went crazy and attacked Tarik," Eclipse corrects her. "Nopony knows why. Nylene had to kill it. I'm not really surprised about the nightmare... It was really scary to watch. But I guess I'll be okay, though. My friends are helping me."

"I see." The princess digs at the ground, thinking. She looks a little tired. "We're still trying to figure out a way to find you. Perhaps a portal from our side. But we need a meeting point. Please talk to Darren about it."

"O-okay, Princess."

"You may call me Luna." Luna smiles at him.

Eclipse grins. "Okay, Luna. So I'm supposed to ask him where we're going exactly so we can tell you?"

Luna nods. "Precisely."

"I can do that. You can count on me, Princess! Er, Luna!"

"Very well... thank you, Eclipse... I must go now." A sweatdrop falls from Luna's muzzle. "I shall see one of you again tomorrow... That is, in about three weeks for you. Take good care and don't despair! You will get home again."

Luna's shape is falling apart into a glittering cloud, and along with her the dream dissolves.

Eclipse opened his eyes. Darren stood next to him, a worried frown etched into his pale face.

"Hey, kid," he said hoarsely. "You alright?"

Eclipse stretched his limbs and sat up. He looked around: it was apparently morning. Vol'Shalai sat on his own hammock, his long legs crossed, and watched him, too.

"Yeah. But I had a weird dream. I think I met Princess Luna..." He yawned.

Darren, suddenly even more alert, sat down next to him. The hammock shook as the human's weight was added to Eclipse's. Darren exchanged a look with Vol'Shalai. He lowered his voice as he said, "Please tell me everything you can remember."

"Go on, you wanted to do it," said Nylene.

Eclipse nodded reluctantly and raised his hoof to knock at the door.

They could hear heavy footsteps on the other side, then a key turning inside a lock. Tarik, still in full plate armour, opened the door.

"Yes?" He sounded annoyed.

"Um, hi," said Eclipse nervously, looking up at the human. "I wanted to see how you're doing. Cause we k-killed your ghoul."

Tarik stared at him. As Eclipse gave him a hesitant smile, Tarik's blue glowing eyes wandered to the bandaged ones of Nylene.


"His idea," she said. "Eclipse thought you might be... lonely."


"Well, you're all alone in that room," Eclipse muttered. "Like, all the time. Can... can we come in?"

Tarik stepped aside. Eclipse and Nylene entered the small chamber.

The room looked almost identical to before, with one notable difference: Someone had removed the ghoul's body. There was still a faint brownish stain on the floor. And it stank like rotten... something. The unused bed was the same. Now that he had time to look, Eclipse noticed the sheathed runesword lying on a small table as well as a dark plate helmet, probably made of Saronite like Darren's armour back at home. A leather bag and a long ragged cloak had been thrown carelessly onto a chair. Eclipse stepped closer to the helmet.

"Cool," he muttered, admiring the piece of armour. It looked battle-worn and sturdy.

Nylene did not sit down this time. She followed Eclipse with her bandaged gaze, then she turned to Tarik.

"I am not good at this," she stated. "So - how are you feeling today? Any pain remaining?" She had probably wanted to sound friendly but the short sentences made it sound like a doctor's emotionally detached inquiry.

"I'm fine," Tarik said. "There's no need to worry."

"Really?" Eclipse tore his eyes from the helmet, folding his little wings. "Cause you sound kinda angry."

"I'm fine. Just stop wasting my time and tell me what you really want," Tarik snapped.

"I thought you might want a friend," said Eclipse bluntly. "See - you booked this room, all alone, and I bet it's expensive and all. But why?"

"Because of the ghoul, obviously," said Tarik.

Nylene huffed. "How considerate of you. No, human. I do not believe you. I know what it's like. You avoid the judgement. From everybody else."

"So you came here to judge me, too? Is that it?" Tarik's voice grew louder with every word. Eclipse's ears folded back, he could almost sense the rage building up inside the human.

"No, what I meant is - "

"Er, Nylene," Eclipse tried to cut in. "Maybe we should..."

"Just get out," sighed Tarik.

"But," Nylene began, trying to say something again. The wings beneath her cloak twitched.

"Get out!" Tarik shouted, making Eclipse cringe and duck.

"Sorry," Eclipse offered, his voice cracking.

Tarik stepped over to the door, opening it with a violent pull. He jerked his flat hand towards the hallway, a silent command. His mouth was a thin line and his cold eyes seemed to glow even brighter.

"Very well, we shall leave," Nylene hissed angrily. "Apologies," she added stiffly.

Eclipse grabbed her hand and pulled her outside, eager to escape the knight's scary glare.

"What in the name of Elune was that?" Nylene cried out angrily, throwing her hands into the air. Her wings twitched underneath her cloak, shifting the cloth. "Ungrateful bastard!"

"So it didn't go well," Darren concluded. He shifted his weight. They stood at the railing, watching a whale swimming along on the port side. The big fish-like creature blew a stream of water into the air, the wind spreading the steaming droplets across the waves. In the distance they could see tiny islands. The water was bright blue and apparently not very deep.

Levinia had left to watch Vol'Shalai cook lunch. Since Nylene, Darren and Eclipse all talked in Common, which made Levinia feel left out, the two had begun to spend more time together and teach each other their languages. The guttural Orcish speech was a challenge for Levinia but Vol'Shalai also had his troubles with Equestrian.

"Not really, no." Eclipse huffed, trying to calm down. He was almost as angry as Nylene. He just wanted to help. What had they done wrong? "When we asked him why he was staying all alone he got so mad! I just wanted to tell him he doesn't have to be alone. But we didn't really get to that point, I guess."

"He said it was a waste of time we came by," Nylene added. "As I said, ungrateful. We're the only ones on this wretched ship treating him like a normal person, the least he could do is -"

Darren raised a hand, interrupting her ranting. Nylene closed her mouth and swallowed the words that sat on her tongue.

"There's something you seem to be overlooking," he said softly. "He's a death knight, Nylene."

"So? I grow impatient, too, it's the pain from the demonic fire within me. Still, that's no reason to snap at people," Nylene countered. "At least - not like that - and not all the time," she added quickly.

"That's not what I mean." Darren shook his head. "There's a difference. We - I mean, he - suffers from growing bloodlust. He needs to hurt and kill to stop the pain. And after a while it gets harder to restrain yourself." He turned away from the magnificent sight of the whale and faced the elf. "We left Ratchet almost three weeks ago. That's why he booked a single room, Nylene. That man is probably losing his mind right about now. And he can't kill the ghoul he brought along because you already did."

Eclipse's jaw dropped as realization hit him. "Now that you put it like this... I think I get it. Oof, how does he even deal with that?"

Darren shrugged. "He's waiting until the journey's over," he said, a hint of sadness in his voice. The planks underneath Eclipse's hooves began to feel cold. Was that Darren's work? Was he angry, too?

"We've got to help him!" Eclipse stated, spreading his wings in determination.

"How?" Nylene asked with a dark chuckle. "By letting him kill you?"

"Ha-ha," Eclipse retorted dryly. "Of course not. There must be a way, though. We can't just stand here and do nothing! I mean, it's not his fault he's under that curse..."

"If there were animals," Darren muttered, rubbing his chin, "he could kill those."

"Like that whale?" Eclipse asked hesitantly, pointing at the sea. "I don't think the whale would want that."

"Something a little smaller, perhaps," Nylene said. "Something unintelligent. A big fish or some birds."

"That would work," Darren agreed. "How do we get them here? They're too far away for me to use the death grip and pull them on board." He smirked, apparently remembering the times he and Jonathan had taught Eclipse how to move boxes with that exact same ability.

Eclipse raised his eyebrows. "Levinia could fly up there and find some birds. But I don't want to ask Tarik to come up here," he admitted quietly. Heat crept up inside his belly and his cheeks as he tried his best to look brave on the outside. He would not have admitted it but that whole killing business made him feel profoundly uncomfortable. And animals still had feelings. Even when they could not think like ponies. "Isn't there another way besides killing creatures?"

"Sadly, no," said Nylene.

"I'll do it," Darren offered. "You just wait here." He briefly stroked Eclipse's black mane as he went away from the railing, towards the stairs.

Nylene watched him leave and sighed. She turned around and nudged Eclipse with her leg.

"Do you truly believe Darren is a death knight?" she asked.

Eclipse nodded fiercely. "I saw his mind. His memories. He is a real death knight. He can cast Frost spells and drain life-force and fight with his runeblade. He's just healed, that's all. I mean, not undead anymore but alive. And he doesn't want to use Unholy spells anymore, the ones that hurt people's souls."

"That's all, huh." Nylene shook her head. "If you say so." She frowned.

"Yeah. Honest truth, I swear," Eclipse assured her. "You're my friend, I wouldn't lie to you."

Nylene bent down and gave his shoulder a little squeeze.

"I like you, little pony," she said with her sharp-toothed smile.

Eclipse grinned. "I like you, too, big demon hunter lady."

Darren knocked.

"Yes?!" The door swung open, an angry death knight glowering at him. Somebody else would have shrunken under the look Tarik gave them but not Darren. He knew it too well - from the mirror.

"I figured you need to kill something," Darren said quickly before the door would be slammed in his face. "We have a solution. Interested?"

Tarik's eyes widened. Then, he frowned.

"Who are you really, Darren?" he asked.

"Somebody who knows a thing or two about the curse of death knights. Well?"

"You've got my attention. Make it quick."

"A friend of mine," said Darren, "can fly and bring down some birds from the sky."

Tarik raised his brows, pursing his lips. Darren waited, watching patiently while the undead made his decision.

"What's in it for you?" Tarik asked eventually.

Darren shrugged noncommittally. He had not actually thought about it. What could he ask for in return? If he said it was a gift Tarik might be offended or get suspicious and refuse altogether. Then they would have gained nothing.

"Don't tell me you're doing this out of the goodness of your heart," snarked the knight.

"Well, if you put it that way." Darren smirked as an idea struck him. "You might have noticed the lack of other knights in my group. I could use a sparring partner."

Tarik shook his head. "You don't know what you're up against."

"I have a feeling we might be evenly matched," Darren countered with a sly grin. "So?"

"Fine. Be on deck in a few minutes."

"I'll tell my friend to get the birds," Darren promised. "See you later, then."

Tarik shut the door without further comment. The wood missed Darren's nose by an inch.

Darren shook his head incredulously. Had he been this rude when he had suffered from bloodlust? Possibly. However, it was strange to be on the receiving end. At least his guess why the other knight was so short-fused had been correct. Now they were able to do something about it. He was not even sure why he cared so much about the whole situation. He felt responsible in a way.

Maybe it was because Eclipse cared. Tarik had obviously scared him, that was probably it.

He went into the hold to get his sword in case Levinia would attract a creature too big for a single person to handle. Darren remembered the stories of wild wyverns, proto-dragons, naga and other dangerous monsters. There was no point in taking unnecessary risks. Maybe he should warn her before she took off into the sky... on the other hand, she was already dead and could turn into a wisp anytime. Levinia would most likely be fine.

No, he would tell her anyway, that was the fair thing to do.

Darren unlocked the chest and shouldered the belt with his sword. Now he had to find the pegasus. Wasn't there a way...? Right.

"Levinia," said Darren and a few second later the ghost appeared.

"Hi!" she said. "And? Did he agree?"

Darren nodded. "Let's catch some birds."

Tarik ascended the stairs, his runeblade sheathed on his back. If anything, that ridiculous suggestion of Darren's would be a way to pass the time. And any kind of distraction was a blessing. As he approached the ragtag group, the Darkspear troll turned his head and nodded at him. It was off-putting to see a member of the Horde showing that much courtesy towards a human, and an undead one at that. Maybe the troll assumed that Tarik was a Forsaken.

Darren and the little grey horse appeared to have an argument. They talked in a speech Tarik could not understand. Eventually, the horse sighed, folded his little wings and nodded. The troll said somthing in Orcish, then that horse language, and the two left. As they passed Tarik, the horse said shyly, "Hi, Tarik!"

He nodded a greeting and waited.

"Did we get permission?" Darren asked the Night Elf whose name Tarik had forgotten.

She nodded, grinning, and said, "We did, provided that we clean up afterwards. We could ask Tarik to leave us the birds for dinner. Waste not, want not."

That was when a blue light appeared and materialized into a bigger horse than the grey one. Still small, though, her head was at the height of Tarik's stomach. She turned her translucent head and smiled hesitantly at Tarik.

"Hello," she said. "I'm Levinia. Nice to meet you." She made a hesitant step towards him, stretching out a foreleg. What was he supposed to do with that?

"Tarik. Well met." He nodded curtly. "You can talk," he observed.

"Yes, of course." Levinia grinned. "I'm as sentient as you are."

"And a spirit," Tarik added.

The horse nodded. She had a friendly, pretty face, completely void of suspicion. Was she not the slightest bit scared of him? Well, she was already dead. She bit her lip, then turned to Darren. "So how do I get the birds to fly down here? I've never done anything like this."

"Annoy them. They'll follow you. But watch out for bigger creatures." Darren unsheathed his sword. Tarik frowned as he saw the weapon again that looked a lot like a death knight's runeblade. But that was impossible. Anyone carrying a saronite blade went mad, except for undead people. Maybe it was steel, forged to imitate the appearance of a runesword. But to what end? Why the pretense? It was obvious Darren was very much alive. He was probably around forty, despite the almost white hair. Tarik shook his head, reaching for his own weapon.

The demonic Night Elf crossed her arms, waiting for Levinia to make her move.

"Okay," Levinia said nervously. "I'll try my best. Wish me luck!" She jumped into the air, flapping her wings as if she needed to, and sped towards the clouds faster than should be possible for a creature with such wings. Was it magic? She soared up and Tarik, Darren and even the supposedly blind elf automatically followed her movement with their heads. A trail of blue light followed her path, dissipating quickly.

"She's quite fast," the elf commented, surprise in her voice.

"Well, she's undead. And she knows Rainbow Dash. She might have been an influence." Darren chuckled and blinked. The midday sun broke through the clouds and blinded him momentarily. His eyes were unusally blue, like ice in the arctic. The pale human turned to Tarik. "You ready? Here she comes."

Levinia all but fell back down to the deck, closely missing the largest sail with her wingtip. "Watch out!" she yelled, flailing her forelegs about. "I think I pulled too many down," she blurted out. "Sorry!" With a clatter of hooves, the winged horse landed on the wooden planks and skidded to a stop. Spinning around, she cast a look back. "Oh dear," she groaned.

Tarik raised his brows and readied his sword. He noticed that Darren was doing the same.

"Nylene," said Darren. "If you please."

Nylene nodded and reached beneath her cloak. Spreading her demonic wings, she, too, assumed a defensive stance, each hand clutching a curved warglaive almost as large as Tarik's sword. "Good thing they cleared the deck for us." She grinned, revealing two rows of razor-sharp teeth.

Levinia jumped up, this time hovering next to Darren, and pointed at the cloud she had descended from.

There was a strange hum that quickly grew louder until a cacophony of shrieks, caws and fluttering wings approached them. Those were not just a few birds. It was an entire swarm. Tarik hesitated, his sword-hand freezing. He recognized the white bellies, the pointed wings, grey on the upper side and with an enormous wingspan of roughly ten feet, the sharp beaks and the webbed feet perfect for swimming.

"What's wrong?" shouted Nylene over the shrieking of the descending birds.

"Those are albatrosses," Darren angrily shouted back. "It's bad luck to kill them."

"You've got to be kidding me," Levinia said incredulously, her echoing voice easily audible over the terrible noise.

"No, I'm not! It's what the sailors say!" Darren called.

"Isn't it worse luck to get mauled by a crazy death knight? Ash karath!" Nylene barked back.

"Point." Darren huffed and raised his blade again. "Tarik! You up to it?"

Tarik nodded, swinging his sword to strike down the first bird. The albatrosses were graceful creatures in the air but now that they tried to land on the ship they appeared to have their difficulties. Some skidded across the deck, flapping their large wings and crashing against ropes or stairs, while others tried to glide over it and land on the water.

In the corner of his eye, Tarik watched Darren performing extremely familiar movements with his own weapon. His eyes glowed in a cold blue as he stretched out his hand to assault a flock of albatrosses with a frost spell. The birds fell over, frozen stiff, their feathers covered by a layer of ice. He made short work of those he didn't catch with the spell - one strike with the blade and the creatures breathed their last. They seemed to crumble from within as if the sword took more than their lives.

Nylene spun around her own axis like a dancer, simply slicing through the birds with her blades. Her movements were so fast Tarik could hardly follow her. She seemed to be enjoying herself quite a bit, judging by the broad smile she was sporting.

Levinia flew into the swarm, hitting birds with her hooves and wings. She took a deep breath and screamed. The shrill, otherwordly banshee cry, louder than the combined shrieks and caws of the swarm, paralyzed a dozen birds at once. The terrified albatrosses fell to the deck like raindrops.

Tarik threw his arm up, pulling a bird down with a death grip of purple lightning, then he stabbed the creature, absorbing its life force into his blade. His mouth twisted into a grin. This day was going better than he had expected.

"Well," said Nylene, nudging a bird carcass with her foot, "I know what we're having for dinner tonight."

"Good thing you sent Eclipse away," Levinia muttered, letting her gaze wander across the dozens of dead albatrosses. "We made a really big mess. Oh, right! Tarik? How are you feeling?"

Tarik twitched. He swung his blade to shake off some bird blood.

"Better," he admitted. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," Levinia said. "I feel dirty. I think I'm gonna have a bath in the sea. Be back in a minute!" She gallopped off and dove into the water with a loud splash.

Darren nodded absent-mindedly. He inspected his blade, tilting it in the sun. Blood dripped from it, staining the wooden planks. He raised his brows and sighed, his lips tightly pressed together.

"What?" Tarik asked, curious what the human was thinking.

"Been a while," Darren said quietly. "And albatrosses... the sailors always said not to harm them. It was strange to slaughter them like this."

"What sailors?" Nylene asked. She did not seem fazed at all, still smiling a little. "You went to sea before?"

"On the ship to Northrend," Darren explained.

"Northrend?" Tarik perked up. "You really were in the war against the Scourge?"

Darren hesitated. "Yes," he said. "That, too."


"We better clean this up," Darren said quickly, pointing at the entire deck. "Or else we have to pay for it."