• Published 9th Jun 2021
  • 408 Views, 45 Comments

Seconds to spare - Hope



Princess Luna sends her student, Eris, to make friends in Ponyville.

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Ch.2 Turning the Gears

Laying in a too-small bed in a carved out tree turned into a library, was Luna's prodigal student, a mismatched being called Eris. With a dragon's tail, one lizard leg, one donkey leg, and one arm like an eagles talon while the other was a lion's paw, she was a singularly strange creature, which Luna had termed a 'Draconequis' soon after meeting her. She was technically immortal, but thanks to a quirk of time, she would age in an endless cycle, growing old and then being reborn. This time around she'd decided to finally figure out ponies, and who better to learn from than the god queen princess thing of ponies?

But Eris was fairly certain that she was being punished. She'd ended up not only being sent away from the castle, her home, and all the wonderful mischief she could get up to, but she'd been sent to a town full of the most confusing ponies she'd ever met.

First had been a pink pony that looked very excited to see her, but then had gasped and run away. Then, she'd met an orange pony called Apple, who had seemed determined to give Eris every single item of food present at her farm.

Then a blue pegasus had knocked her over, told her to her face she looked like a mess, then flown off leaving her assistant Spike laughing so hard he couldn't stand.

Next, a yellow pegasus who had frozen still at the sight of her, ended up talking to Spike nonstop for half an hour, and finally she'd met a white unicorn who had given her a dress, fashion advice, some tips about the town, and invited her to breakfast.

And the entire time she'd had to walk on designated little paths that were clear of snow, so her claw and hoof wouldn't freeze off. If she was strong enough to fly, she probably would have been worn out from hovering everywhere.

But at least now she could get some sleep, as the town celebrated the shortest day of the year, in preparation for the ceremonial raising of the moon.

Then, there was a pink pony standing over her bed.

"Aaah!" Eris shrieked, squirming out of the bed and falling to the floor with a thud.

"Hey, that's what I said!" The Pink One replied with a wide grin. "But I wanted to ask you, if you'd prefer a cupcake and an introduction to the town, or a big welcome to Ponyville party!"

Eris stared at her, before clearing her throat. "Ah, I, it's customary to knock before going into someone's bedroom?"

"Ooohhh riiight," the pony groaned, drooping. "I knew I was forgetting... Here."

She went to the door, closed it, then knocked.

Eris seriously debated not answering, before she ultimately got up and walked over to the door, opening it to reveal the pink pony again.

"Yes?"

"Hi! My name is Pinkie Pie, and I'm the official town representative for Ponyville! I wanted to see if you would prefer a big flashy party, or a cupcake and a 'heres everything you need to know about Ponyville' talk!"

Her grin was absolutely adorable, and after a second Eris sighed and gestured for Pinkie to come in, sitting down on her bed to be closer to eye level with her.

"Probably the second one, really. I mean... I'm under a lot of pressure and I think Luna's mad at me, and..."

There was a cupcake being held in front of Eris's face. Orange cream cheese icing on chocolate cake.

"Woah. I didn't even tell you what I like... Did Luna tell you?" Eris asked, taking it gently and nibbling on it.

"Nope! I guessed!" Pinkie said with a big grin. "Soooo lemme tell you all about Ponyville! First settled just after the Time Schism, it used to be an Earth Pony only town! Really secluded, great farmland, but pretty soon after that, the Princess made an edict, all towns have to have land set aside for all the races, so we can get to know each other! But we still harvest our crops without magic, manage the weather manually, and have Earth Pony holidays like Harvest Festival!"

She paused to take a huge breath, as Eris leaned back on her pillow, eating her cupcake with a grin. This was better than a bedtime story!

"Now days most of the town is mixed, but the farms are still mostly Earth Pony run. We got selected for hosting the Winter Moon celebration this year because of a competition our school Foals did! They had to make a banner and a motto for the town and they came up with 'All for one and one for all' which I think is from a book but they still won, so that's good. Uuummm besides that, I'm Pinkie, I try to help everyone in the whole town whenever I can!"

"That's got to get old, aren't there mean people sometimes?" Eris asked.

Pinkie stared at her, at first confused until she had a dawning expression of understanding.

"Ooohhh, people that don't want help. Well... The way I see it, the most important thing is to not rush ponies. Er... Creatures. If someone doesn't want help, that's ok. I just wait to see if they change their mind."

"You are a singularly strange pony, Pinkie Pie," Eris declared. "I love it. Thank you very much for the cupcake, and the introduction, it kinda took my mind off this horrible prophecy about how Time will be Broken again and stuff... I hope that I didn't take you away from the party."

Pinkie giggled, shaking her head. "Silly billy, the party is wherever a new friend is. But I should go see if Rainbow Dash is getting in any fights or anything. You gonna be okay?"

"Yeah," Eris nodded, smiling. "Yeah, thanks Pinkie."

"Sleep well!"

Pinkie slipped out of the bedroom and closed the door, and finally Eris got some sleep.

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Eris held back a yawn, as she watched ponies pour into the town square to watch the raising of the moon, Spike asleep on her back, snoring softly.

Pinkie hopped in, followed by Rainbow, who flew right over.

"Now that is just cute, crazy cute. But that's a nice dress, Rarity make it for you?"

"Yeah," Eris nodded, smiling a little. "Why, you recognize it?"

"Nah, but she'll do anything to see someone smile. After the celebration, I'll tell you some stories," she chuckled before flying back to Pinkie, and settling in.

The mayor of the town stepped up onto the stage and took a bow as the crowd grew quiet.

"Welcome, everyone, to the one thousandth Winter Moon celebration! Here to raise the moon and tell the story is our princess, her royal highness, Princess Luna!"

A small orchestra of birds gave a coordinated melody of their songs, before the curtain was drawn open and out stumbled....

A filly, her coat dark blue, with pastel blue mane, and a silver crown hung around her neck.

Then she opened her wings, and Eris recognized her teacher, as she stood from her casual position, mouth open in shock.

"Run!" Luna squeaked, before another figure stepped into view.

He wore burning stars as a cape and a crown. His eyes saw only the raw utility of each thing before him, burned to its end. Father Time, once Starswirl the Bearded, had returned.

"It is Time," he growled. "For you all to live up to your potential."

He lashed out with his magic at a town guard who had started to fly towards him, and the armor they wore was gone as though it had never been there.

Then, their wings shimmered and warped, their grey coat becoming sleek and smooth like a metallic fabric, until finally the new creature landed on the floor, changed utterly.

They looked like a life sized doll without seams, moving in stiff and precise ways, turning to take in the crowd with empty blue eyes.

Then the screaming began, and they did run.

Eris remembered so many times that she’d had immeasurable power, that she could have lashed out and tried to stop that horrible creature, but her helplessness was absolute as she stumbled into the library and started tearing books off the shelves on the walls.

“I told her!” Eris wailed. “I told her but did she listen? No! Make some friends, Eris. Don’t worry about the horrible prophecy of doom, and being ripped through time by a mad stallion, it’s all fine! Go. Make. Friends.”

The door to the library behind her burst open and she flung herself to the floor with a scream, tossing a book in the general direction of the noise.

“Anything but the renessance, I hate philosophy!” she shouted.

But the book landed in front of a group of ponies, not Father Time. Those ponies also looked just a little bit concerned for her well being, considering she was cowering behind a coffee table and wielding a book as a weapon.

"Darlin, we ain't here to hurt ya," Applejack said gently, approaching her slowly. "But... we'd like ta figure out what's goin' on."

"And you know, don't you?" Pinkie asked, her smile nervous but full of hope. "You knew something was going to happen, and we'd like to help, if we can!"

Eris looked around at all of them, the five ponies nodding as Spike stumbled half asleep through the scene to curl up on a cushion.

"Spike, did you not see the evil stallion bent on warping time?" Eris asked him, a touch annoyed.

"You're two thousand years old and swore to protect me forever, I'm sure you'll figure it out," he said before yawning so wide his jaw popped, and pulling a blanket over himself.

The ponies looked at Spike, then looked at Eris, incredulously.

"Okay, so... I'm only like twenty this time around. I... I've lived a bunch of lives, and now I'm Luna's student, but... All I know about the guy that showed up tonight is that a long time ago he was called Starswirl the Bearded, and that there was a prophecy in a book called The Elements of Harmony, a Guide, and the prophecy talked about this exact celebration. But I can’t even find the book!”

“Here it is!” Pinkie said, holding it out with a grin.

Eris stared. “Where… how…”

“It was in the section labeled E!” Pinkie crowed gleefully.

“Don’t think about it too much darling, Pinkie can just do that sometimes,” Rarity said gently, putting a hoof on Eris’s shoulder.

Eris shrugged and got the book, opening it and turning the pages until she found what she was looking for.

“On the thousandth year, as the moon doth rise, the turning of the gear, shall reveal all lies. Chains broken upon the Father, set loose Time to run amok. Only with harmony’s elemental power, shall one wind the Clock.”

“Sounds like a bunch of gibberish, is there a translation to normal pony-eese?” Rainbow Dash asked as she took the book out of Eris’s claws and flipped through it.

Eris laughed a little, shaking her head. “Not one for poetry, I take it?”

“Only if it’s coming from a pretty mare,” Rainbow said casually, shrugging. “Like Rarity maybe.”

“Don’t tease,” Rairty pouted.

“Who said I’m teasing,” Rainbow shot back, grinning.

“Alright, y’all can flirt later,” AJ snapped before taking a breath to calm herself. “Now, Eris, sounds like these elemental harmony things, they’re bound ta be the solution?”

Eris nodded, gently taking the book back and looking through it.

“And I don’t suppose ya’ll got them tucked away in a bag somewhere?”

Eris shook her head as she found the page she was looking for and began to read.

“The last known location of the Elements of Harmony was in the Great Clocktower in Everfree City, once the capital of Equestria.”

“Everfree City,” Fluttershy gasped. “That’s… You don’t mean…”

Rainbow Dash turned to AJ with a grin. “Better get all the supplies we can carry. Sounds like we’re going into the Everfree Forest.”