• Published 10th Jun 2020
  • 764 Views, 31 Comments

Splintershard - TheMajorTechie



Once upon a time, Equestria flourished. That time is now long-gone.

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3|3 ◈ The Search

Time remembers all,1
They say a picture's worth a thousand words,
But history waits for none.41
But what's a thousand words to a secret none have known?
Try as you might to shout and call,2
Or a thousand words to an extra 23 kilobytes?
But in the end, that moment is done.40


Emily and Fluttershy returned in a puff of smoke. The former opened an eye. "Oh? We're back in the crater again?"

Fluttershy nodded. "Time passes differently where I've been living."

"Welp." Emily trotted to the edge of the crater. She looked over her shoulder. "Whether it passed faster or slower in your world doesn't really matter. C'mon."

Fluttershy carefully followed as the mare climbed out of the hole. Thankfully, there didn't seem to be many guards around at the moment, though that was probably thanks to the explosion from earlier still being fresh on everyone's minds.

"Are you sur--"

"Mm-hmm. Sure I'm sure it's safe for you to show yourself. The rest of the folks here are off panicking or something as far as I know, so--"

"No, I... I'm not talking about myself." Fluttershy climbed out of the crater, wincing as a loose twig snapped under a claw. "I'm more concerned that I might hurt somepony. There's a reason why I didn't want to come back."

Emily looked over the awkward, mismatched body of Fluttershy. "I guess... yeah, I think I see where you're coming from. You're not exactly the best-looking, to be honest."

The draconequus shook her head. "That's not what I--"

"Who goes there?" A guard's voice echoed from behind one of the remaining walls. "You know this is a restricted area at the moment, don't you?"

Fluttershy froze in place, gritting her teeth. "Starlight, grab onto me! I'll try to teleport us to somewhere safe.

Emily and lifted her hoof, though she stopped at the sight of Exo in her periphery. He was holding something in his mouth as he passed by, though, thankfully, he didn't seem to notice them quite yet.

Fluttershy looked over her shoulder at the source of the approaching hoofsteps. "Starlight..."

A pasty-beige corner of parchment glinted from his mouth.

Oh wait.

The scroll.

The whole reason why she came here in the first place.

"Starlight..." Fluttershy mumbled under her breath, "He's going to see me! What if he thinks I'm here to hurt him?"

Fine. Scroll later. Emily jammed her hoof into Fluttershy's open paw. disappearing with the draconequus in a puff of smoke.


A cottage.

Or at least, what was left of one.

Emily scratched her head. This wasn't exactly the place she thought Fluttershy would've taken her. Still, random cottage ruins or not, she had to go back. She held up the tracking amulet, pausing for a moment to take in her surroundings. There was an old clocktower nearby, but that didn't tell much besides the time of day... and even then, it seemed to be wrong on that too at the moment.

It was a good thing then that the Everfree Forest was nearby.

Totally saw that the first time around.

"Stop talking to yourself, Emi."

Right. Emily looked down to her amulet... of which was no longer there.

Starlight's facehoof echoed through her head. "Great."

Fluttershy popped into existence with a puff of confetti, silently inspecting a scroll. Wait, scratch that--inspecting the scroll, and holding the amulet, and--

"Um, Fluttershy?" Emily stepped toward the draconequus. "Where did you find that?"

That seemed to snap Fluttershy out of whatever it was that she'd been concentrating on. She glanced at the amulet dangling from her paw, then to Emily. "O-oh, I'm terribly sorry... it's just that ever since Discord gave me his powers, it's been very hard for me to stay focused on things. When I'm at home I have my animal friends to remind me about what I'm doing, but here, I sometimes slip u--"

"No no, no need to apologize!" Emily grinned. "Actually, what you just did saves me a lot of time! Do you think you can keep doing that?"

Fluttershy raised a brow. "...Excuse me?"

"Whatever it was that you did there. Y'know, taking my tracker and finding the scroll?"

Fluttershy blinked, turning her attention to the other item in her paw. "I... did that?"

"Yup. Would've done it myself, but you beat me to it."

...Actually, come to think of it, how did Fluttershy manage to find the darn thing so quick?

"I keep saying this, but I'll say it again, Emi, don't think about it. It'll be better for the both of us if you don't go crazy anytime soon."

Okay.

Emily lit her horn, taking the scroll from Fluttershy's grasp. "...So, how did you find the scroll so quickly?"

Cue another facehoof, right on time! She ignored Starlight's exasperated groan.

"I... don't really know, actually," Fluttershy fidgeted with a curled lock of her mane. Hair? Whatever it is that draconequuses have on top of their noggins. "I just kind of did it."

Welp, that rules out the idea of doing what Flutters does.

So.

She finally got the scroll! No doubt the Old Guard folks were probably panicking over the fact that some weird chimera dragon goat pony thing popped in and yoinked it from them. It was probably best that they stayed out of the place for a while.

Wait a sec, where did Fluttershy go again?

"'Dunno. You should be more observant next time."

The ground rumbled as a plume of smoke began to rise from the Everfree Forest. Fluttershy once again teleported back, this time covered in soot. "You told me before that the Old Guard made special weapons using pieces of the Tree of Harmony. I... got rid of them so that they won't harm anypony. Oh, I do hope nopony was hurt in the explosion, though."

"Well, two birds, one stone. You're doing good so far, Flutters." Emily smiled. "You aren't a menace to society, even if you do use your magic. Heck--" she tried her best to gesture with her forelegs, though falling on her rump was the only result she got from her efforts. "--ow. But anyway, my point is, even though Star...er, I said that you don't have to use magic, you did anyway, and look at all the good you've done already!"

Fluttershy hung her head. "I don't think destroying a place where ponies live can be called 'doing good'..."

"Still, you get my point, right? You're helping me keep those ponies from dying. Don't forget, both the Old Guard and the Ashen have been preparing for war lately. I don't want to see that kind of bloodshed, and I'm sure you don't either."

"I... I guess..."

Emily's aura turned the shade of Starlight's as the mare took over for a moment, waving the scroll in front of her eyes. "Emi, you're still holding onto the scroll. Aren't you forgetting something?"

Oh yeah. The destroy part.

The scroll burst into flames in Emily's aura, eliciting a surprised squeak from the watching Fluttershy.

"Wh-why did you do that?" Fluttershy cocked her head. "I didn't know we were burning these scrolls!"

Emily shrugged. "I gotta get rid of them somehow, y'know. I don't want to have to deal with someone nabbing one of these things out of some personal stash or something. So anyway--" Emily took her amulet back from Fluttershy. "One down, more to go. I'm heading back up to Canterlot, and you're coming with me."

Fluttershy's eyes widened. "Canterlot? I... wouldn't it be much harder for me to stay hidden?"

Another shrug. "You can disguise yourself, can't you?"

Fluttershy shook her head.

"Turn invisible?"

"No, I don't think I can. I can barely control my magic in the first place."

"Maybe... teleport somewhere safe whenever you can? I know you said you're not exactly the greatest at magic and all, but I know you can at least teleport pretty easily. Actually, speaking of which--do you think you could teleport us to Canterlot? It'd definitely be a nice little time-saver if you can."

"I... think I can do that."

Emily cocked her head. "Teleporting somewhere safe, or teleporting us to Canterlot?"

"Both."

Huh. Well, no more Aero Express, then.

Fluttershy held out a claw. "Hold on tight, Starlight. I don't want you to get hurt when I do this."

...How does hold thing with hoof?

"Again with the hooves," Starlight groaned. "I told you already when you were asking about the chopsticks. It just works. Don't question it."

Fine then. Emily grabbed Fluttershy's outstretched claw. Somehow.


Ah, Canterlot. The city of can't! Like how she can't turn back into a human no thanks to one particularly tricky salespony! Or how without the tracker amulet, she can't find the scroll stash that's apparently hiding somewhere in the city! Fluttershy, for her part, looked like she was absolutely mesmerized by the city. Probably because she hasn't seen it in ages.

"She hasn't seen it in ages."

Exactly. Emily lifted up her tracking amulet, topping it up with mana before activating it. No blip of light on any edge, so there wasn't anything nearby in this part of the city.

"Hey Flutters," Emily passed the amulet to Fluttershy. Do you think you could try sniffing out the scrolls in Canterlot for me? I'd really appreciate it if you can."

Fluttershy took the device. "I... I can try. Could you tell me how it works first? So that I know what to look for."

"Didn't you already find that first scroll using the tracker?"

Fluttershy shook her head. "I wasn't thinking when I did that."

Fine then. Crash course time. Emily pointed at the amulet. "You see how there are many sides on the crystal?"

"Uh-huh."

"The crystal stores enough mana for two uses before you have to recharge it with your own. Just tap the crystal when you think you might be near a scroll, and if you are, a light will show up on the side of the crystal closest to the scroll. It's kinda like a compass if you think about it."

Fluttershy took off her glasses and put away the little notebook that'd appeared in her paw. "Got it. I'll go look now."

She teleported away in a puff of confetti.

"Emi."

Yes, Star?

"You really shouldn't be pushing your work off onto others like that. I know Fluttershy wants to be helpful and all, but in her current form and state? Are you crazy? The moment she pops up and nabs a scroll, everybody is going to know that there's a draconequus on the loose! Not only that, but one that's a former Element of Harmony! The Old Guard started for the purpose of trying to make Equestria stay as close as possible to how it's always been, so knowing that a former Element bearer is still alive and well will absolutely be brought to their attention! I'm hoping to Celestia that they didn't spot her back at the fortress."

Okay, okay, geez, fine, grouchypants. No more telling Fluttershy to use her super-senses or whatever to find stuff faster. They'll just use the slower way.

Though, at the moment, all there really was to do was sit and wait.

"And wait we will do."