• Published 1st Nov 2012
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The Equestrian Wind Mage Classic: Season 1 - LordSiravant



After a teleportation spell goes wrong, Vaati finds himself in Equestria. The world's most powerful mage is about to learn about the world's most powerful magic: Friendship.

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Episode 1: Welcome to Equestria

Episode 1: Welcome to Equestria

It had started out the same as it always had. He’d escape his imprisonment, capture the princess and hide in the Palace of Winds, and the chosen hero would come to save her. Vaati had already been through this cycle three times already. He was starting to get tired of it. As he stood in his personal chambers, awaiting the hero, who was currently cutting a swath through a few Darknuts a few rooms over, Vaati the Wind Mage pondered. Princess Zelda hovered above him, encased in a crystal meant as both prison and protection, as Vaati didn’t want the palace monsters to get any uncouth ideas.

Zelda couldn’t help but notice how quiet Vaati was. Usually he would be boasting right about now about how Link was about to walk into a death-trap, but Vaati had been unusually quiet over the past few days. The princess studied her preoccupied captor intently, watching as the deceptively young-looking Hylian man with long lavender hair, pale skin, purple tunic, cap, and cape, and red eyes stared absent-mindedly out the window of his palace.

Under normal circumstances, Zelda wouldn’t mind the quiet. But this was just so unusual for Vaati, and like it or not, Zelda was starting to feel nervous. But before she could open her mouth and inquire as to Vaati’s state, the Wind Mage spoke. “Do you ever feel like your life has become redundant? Like your whole existence is just a broken record?”

Zelda quickly shook off her surprise and put up a mask of indifference. “I suppose. No help to you, that is.”

Vaati chuckled, but kept his gaze focused on the window. “You know very well it’s not my fault alone.”

Zelda immediately knew Vaati was referring to the infamous Golden Trio Cycle, the endless fight against Ganon. Vaati solemnly shook his head. “This cycle we find ourselves trapped in…it’s almost the same thing, isn’t it?”

“You’re the one who continuously kidnaps the princess whenever you escape from the Four Sword.”

Finally Vaati glanced upward at her. “Ah, I suppose you’re right, princess.”

“If this…cycle…bothers you so much, why did you kidnap me and set everything in motion again?”

Vaati thought for a moment, gazing back out the window at the impressive view of the world the Palace commanded. “A force of habit, I guess. It’s what I’ve always done, what I’ve grown comfortable doing. Besides, it’s often rather lonely living here at the Palace.”

Zelda raised an eyebrow. “What about the monsters you keep around here?”

Vaati scoffed. “Please. I can hardly call my buffoonish servants acceptable company. The Stalfos and Moblins are utterly stupid, Wizzrobes usually spend their free time studying magic in my library, and the Darknuts keep to themselves save for when I give them orders. I can’t help but find myself lonely in the crowd.”

Zelda was about to scoff, but then stopped herself. With a jolt of surprise, she realized she knew exactly how that felt. After all, being princess, she had to put up with greedy, stuffed-shirt bureaucrats constantly needling her father for favors, as well as the various castle servants whose existence centered around pleasing the Royal Family and nothing else. “I…know how that feels,” she whispered.

“I’m certain you do,” Vaati replied, his sharp hearing catching her words. “Perhaps that’s what it means to be a ruler.”
“I’d hardly call you a ruler, Vaati,” Zelda huffed.

“I am sole master of the Palace of Winds. Is that not adequate?”

Zelda went quiet. “This cycle…I’m tired of it,” Vaati said. “I’m tired of my life being on constant repeat, fighting a battle I consistently lose.”

“Are you telling me you’ve lost confidence in yourself?” Zelda asked, trying to sound sarcastic but was actually quite curious.

Vaati shook his head. “Hardly. But being alive for so long…even if the majority of it has been spent imprisoned inside a magic sword, has given me time to think. After all, it’s virtually all I can do while waiting for the seal to weaken.”

Suddenly a small orb with a single white eye and bat-like wings flitted over to Vaati, squeaking frantically. One of Vaati’s Eye Sentries, Zelda surmised. That could only mean Link was getting closer. Vaati nodded his head and dismissed the Sentry with an idle wave of his hand. “It seems we’ll have to cut this conversation short, Princess,” he notified in a slightly weary tone. “Your knight in green clothes is just moments from barging in and causing another scene. Just know this, Zelda…”
Vaati stared at her with those ruby red eyes of his, his expression a look of quiet acceptance. “Whatever happens, things will be different from now on.”

As if on cue, the chamber doors swung open, revealing four dirty, scuffed, and irate boys identical to each other save for different-colored tunics. Each of them wielded copies of the Four Sword. The green boy stepped in front of the group and pointed his sword at Vaati, who just put on a smug face as his nemeses challenged him. “Vaati! Step away from Zelda!” Green yelled.

“Your timing is impeccable, Link,” Vaati greeted. “As always. Shall I go through my carefully-recited, long-winded speech about how I’ll destroy you and claim Hyrule for my own, or shall we just get to the point and fight?”

The four Links blinked in surprise, but quickly recollected themselves. “Ha! Looks like he already knows we’re gonna beat him!” Blue sneered. “Guess he finally wised up!”

“Be wary, guys,” Vio advised. “This may be another one of his tricks.”

“I assure you, I have no new tricks up my sleeve at the moment,” Vaati interrupted, his voice turning darker, more menacing as his body began to change. “Now let’s get to that fight, shall we?”

And the four boys once again found themselves face-to-face with the giant demon eye that had burst into the castle and whisked away the princess before.

XXXXXX

As Zelda watched the fight progress, she couldn’t help but feel something was…off about this battle. Was it just her imagination, or was Vaati not trying as hard? The winged eye had taken some damage already, and the four Links continued to press their attack. There were times when Vaati veered out of their reach and hung in the air for short periods of time to recover, but it appeared the fight was going poorly for Vaati.

After about ten minutes of battle, the eye suddenly stopped attacking them altogether, slowly transforming back into the Sorcerer of Winds. The four Links regrouped and braced themselves for attack. “Well, that was fun,” Vaati commented, ignoring the various wounds on his body. “But I think it’s time we put an end to this.”

Vaati held one hand out and charged a ball of energy. But, unnoticed by the heroes, his other hand drifted behind his back and started sparkling. The four boys readied their swords. But the princess’s eyes were fixated on Vaati’s hidden hand. That spell…it looked like the one he used whenever he was teleporting long distances. What on earth was he doing?

The Wind Mage suddenly glanced behind him at the princess, locking eyes with her. And then…he winked.

Then it all made sense to her at last as Vaati thrust the ball of energy at his adversaries, simultaneously bringing his other hand to bear. But unfortunately, his momentary glance at Zelda was all the time Green needed to ready his bow and shoot an arrow of light at the sorcerer. Too late did the sorcerer see the sacred missile collide with the aura of his spell, destabilizing it. Vaati’s eyes widened as he managed a single, “…oh.”

And then, one bright flash of light later, Vaati was gone.

XXXXXX

A purple unicorn trotted through the forest growth, a saddlebag slung over her body filled with various plants. Twilight Sparkle liked to think she was prepared for anything. Although this was far from the case, as just weeks ago, she had known virtually nothing about friendship. But now, as she was returning from a trip into the Everfree Forest to gather some herbs and items for some experimentation, she reflected on the relationships she had made. She now had five wonderful new friends who would stick by her through anything. Now she was certain she was prepared for anything. That is, until she saw a bright flash of light in a nearby thicket. “Huh?” she asked herself. “What was that?”

Curious, the little pony cantered over to the thicket and pushed aside the bushes. What she found lying on the ground was something she had never seen before.

It was a creature of some kind, but unlike anything Twilight had never laid eyes on. It was bipedal, but it wasn’t a Diamond Dog or a Minotaur. It wore purple and red clothes that vaguely resembled Equestrian sorcerers’ attire, so it was most likely an intelligent being. Its skin was deathly pale, and the long hair growing out of its head lavender. Black T-like markings were etched on its cheeks.

In moments, Twilight’s curiosity turned to alarm as she noticed that the creature, whatever it was, was injured. Not only were there some deep lacerations seeping crimson blood on his body, but there were some severe burns on his body as well. And the worst part, it wasn’t moving.

Fearing the worst, Twilight slowly crawled through the foliage towards the strange creature. “H-hello?” she whimpered, hoping to get a response.

Still no movement. Her heart pounding in her chest, Twilight crept closer to the body, silently praying to Celestia that it wasn’t dead. Ever so slowly, she put her ear up against its chest where she assumed its heart would be. To her immense relief, she could feel the creature’s heart beating faintly.

Now knowing it was definitely alive, Twilight quickly thought about her options. She dared not try to move the creature for fear of worsening its wounds, but she was loathe to just leave it here to go get Nurse Redheart, fearing that she might not be able to find it again. Finally an idea struck her.

Twilight’s horn began glowing as she prepared a tracking spell that would allow her to easily find this place again. A moment later, a purple ball of light was floating over the creature’s body. Pleased at her work, Twilight said, “Yes! That should do it! Now don’t move, I’ll be right back!”

Twilight desperately galloped out of the Everfree Forest and made a beeline for Fluttershy’s cottage. Fluttershy would know what to do. The pink-haired, butter-colored Pegasus was busy trying to get her pet bunny Angel to eat a carrot. “Fluttershy! Fluttershy!” Twilight yelled as she galloped over.

Fluttershy looked up in frightened surprise, but her expression calmed when she noticed it was just Twilight. “Hello there, Twilight,” Fluttershy greeted in her usual quiet voice.

“Fluttershy!” Twilight ushered as she halted in front of the Pegasus. “You’ve gotta come with me! I found something in the Everfree Forest, and it’s hurt!”

Fluttershy gasped in horror and put her hoof to her mouth. “Oh no! We have to help it! Just wait there, Twilight! I’ll be right back!”

Fluttershy bolted into her cottage, and Twilight heard the sounds of cupboards opening and Fluttershy repeatedly muttering “ohmygoodness”. About a minute later, Fluttershy rushed out her door with a basket full of medical supplies held firmly in her mouth. “Follow me!” Twilight said, running back towards the forest, Fluttershy following behind.

Twilight quickly followed the energy signature she had left with the creature until she found it, right where she’d left it. She could tell it was still alive, as she could see its chest slowly rise and fall. “Oh my!” Fluttershy whispered, horrified at the extent of his injuries. “This is bad!”

“Can’t you do something for him, Fluttershy?!” Twilight begged.

“Oh…I’m sorry,” Fluttershy whimpered, not wanting to disappoint her friend. “I…I’ll do everything I can. But Twilight, I need you to get Nurse Redheart. He needs serious medical attention that I just…can’t provide.”

Twilight swallowed her fear before nodding. “Okay, Fluttershy…I’ll be back soon!”

Twilight then rushed back towards Ponyville. Meanwhile, Fluttershy immediately set to work, dabbing disinfecting cloths on the lacerations and wrapping gauze around his wounds to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, she didn’t have anything to deal with burn marks. At her touch, the creature stirred a little, but its eyes remained closed. Having done all that she could for him, Fluttershy lay down and snuggled up close to his body to keep him warm as she prayed Twilight would return soon.

XXXXXX

Twilight ran as fast as she could towards the hospital and flung the doors open with her magic before rushing in. Right in front of her was the mare she was looking for, who was quite surprised by Twilight’s entrance. “Nurse Redheart! Come quick! We found somepony injured in the Everfree Forest!” Twilight pleaded.

Redheart immediately shook off her surprise and put on her business face. “What’s the extent of his injuries?” she asked.
“Multiple lacerations all over his upper body, as well as some burned skin,” Twilight replied, remembering the terms doctors used to describe patients’ injuries.

Redheart nodded before turning her head towards a few other nurses. “Alright, girls!” she barked, snapping them to attention. “Get a stretcher and some medical supplies ready! Somepony’s injured in the Everfree Forest and needs our help!”

Shaking aside their fear of the mysterious forest, the nurses rushed off to fulfill their orders. In record time, the three ponies came back, two pushing the stretcher and the other carrying the supplies. “Lead us to them, Twilight,” Redheart said.
“This way!” Twilight responded, galloping off with the nurses in tow.

XXXXXX

A few minutes later, Fluttershy reflexively ‘meeped’ in surprise as she saw the brush move aside, revealing Twilight and Nurse Redheart. “This is him?” Redheart asked.

“Yes,” Fluttershy and Twilight both answered.

One of the nurses looked over Redheart’s shoulder as she knelt down to assess his injuries. “What is it?” she asked.
“Does it matter?” Redheart responded curtly. “Whatever he is, he needs our help. Thank you for your aid, Fluttershy, but we can take it from here.”

“Oh…okay,” Fluttershy said, backing away as Redheart's nurses lifted the creature’s body onto the stretcher with their magic.

“Move!” Redheart ordered, prompting all six ponies and their charge to hightail it back to the hospital, where Redheart pushed the doors opened and led the occupied stretcher towards the back. “Don’t worry,” she called over her shoulder. “We’ll take care of him. I’ll let you know when he comes to.”

Twilight and Fluttershy nodded before heading towards the waiting room. “Twilight…um,” Fluttershy said. “Maybe we should tell the others about this…if that’s alright with you.”

Twilight immediately perked up. “Fluttershy, that’s a great idea! Let’s go!”

XXXXXX

A few hours later...

Vaati’s mind was plagued for hours on end by horrible dreams and unpleasant memories. So when the images began to fade and his mind started clearing up, Vaati couldn’t help but sigh in relief.

“Girls! He’s waking up!” a nasally, female voice whispered.

“Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Can I throw him a party now?” inquired a second female voice, this one obnoxious and bubbly.

“Hnnh…?” Vaati groaned as he forced his eyes to open.

There, staring back at him, were six wide-eyed, colorful ponies. One was a cyan-colored Pegasus, with a rainbow mane and a cloud and rainbow lightning bolt design on her flank. The second was an orange pony with blonde hair tied into a ponytail wearing a Stetson hat and had three apples embroidered on her flank. The third was a smiling, bright pink pony with pink hair that looked like it had never been brushed and had three balloons designed on her flank. The fourth was a purple unicorn with deep violet hair with a pink streak and a star-like design on her flank. The fifth was a timid-looking butter-colored Pegasus with pink hair and three butterflies on her flank. The last one was a white Unicorn with an expertly-coifed purple mane and three blue diamonds etched on her flank. All of them were staring at him with varying degrees of concern and excitement.

Vaati was quiet for a moment before sinking his head back into his pillow. “I told those blasted Darknuts to keep their livestock out of the Palace,” he grunted irritably.

The pink pony snorted laughter, causing Vaati to blink in surprise. “What’s a Darknut? That sounds so silly!” the pink pony giggled.

Vaati shot up in surprise before a sharp pain pulsated down his spine, causing him to gasp in shock as he collapsed back into the hospital bed. “You should really rest,” the purple unicorn advised with a worried smile. “Our unicorn doctors were able to take care of your wounds, but your body still needs to recover.”

Twilight couldn’t help but feel a little unnerved by the person’s piercing red eyes. Unlike Vinyl’s eyes, his red irises seemed to bear a sinister, calculating edge. “I must have finally lost my mind,” he stated flatly, rubbing his forehead wearily. “Now I’m hearing horses talk.”

“Silly, we’re not horses!” the pink pony laughed. “We’re ponies!”

“Oh, that makes a world of difference,” Vaati sarcastically replied, already deciding he didn’t like this pink pony.

“What’s yer name, sugarcube?” the orange pony with the hat asked, her accent instantly reminding Vaati of farms.

Vaati tried to sit up and puff out his chest in a boastful manner, but only managed to make his body ache more as he settled back down. “Vaati,” he grumbled. “My name is Vaati Picoru, the great and powerful Sorcerer of Winds. And dare I ask who you are?”

“Vaati?” the pink pony repeated, giggling. “That’s such a goofy name!”

Twilight immediately noticed the deadly glare Vaati was shooting at her friend and spoke up, “Um, Pinkie? Let’s not make fun of his name.”

“But I wasn’t…”

“Just…be respectful, please, Pinkie? We don’t want to make a bad impression.”

Pinkie sighed. “Okay, Twilight.”

“Anyways, mah name’s Applejack,” the pony with the hat greeted, pointing her hoof at herself. “Pleased ta meet’cha, sugarcube.”

“I’m Pinkie Pie!” the pink pony said, bouncing up and down in a hyperactive manner.

“I’m Rainbow Dash!” the cyan Pegasus proudly declared, flying up into the air. “The fastest flier in all of Equestria!”

“I’m Twilight Sparkle. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Vaati!”

“I am Rarity, darling,” the elegant white pony introduced. “And I must say your hair is simply marvelous and matches your clothes perfectly!”

Vaati raised an eyebrow. “Thanks…I guess?”

The last pony was quiet, looking nervously down at the floor. Noticing everyone staring at her, she whispered, “Oh…um…I’m Fluttershy.”

Vaati glanced at each of them in turn. “Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, and Fluttershy. And you said my name was silly?”

“Whoa, don’t be dissin’ our names!” Rainbow Dash chided arrogantly. “I’m gonna be famous one day, you know!”

“You say that like you think I’d care,” Vaati responded curtly.

Twilight winced at Vaati’s unfriendly tone. Rainbow sputtered in surprise. “Guh…wha?! Not care? How could you not care?!”

“Firstly, I’ve never met you before. And second of all, I’m fairly certain I’ve done far greater things than you could ever dream of achieving.”

Rainbow got right in Vaati’s face, glaring at him. “Is that so, chump? Can you do a Sonic Rainboom?”

“Don’t know what that is, couldn’t care less,” Vaati responded, annoyed. “I could make a creature like you dance to my whims, cause the very wind itself to turn against you. I could pull you out of the sky with a flick of my wrist.”

Vaati nonchalantly waved his hand, causing a small downdraft of air to compress below Rainbow’s wings, stealing the air out from under them. “Wha?!” Rainbow cried in surprise before she fell smack on the floor.

“Alright, fellas, that’s enough!” Applejack snapped.

Grumbling in displeasure, Rainbow got to her hooves and glowered at the bedridden Wind Mage, who chuckled darkly. “Now that that’s settled,” Vaati said. “Perhaps you’d like to tell me where on Farore’s green earth I am?”

“You’re in Equestria,” Twilight explained. “Ponyville Hospital, to be exact.”

“Equestria? I’ve never heard of it. Does it border Hyrule, by any chance?”

The ponies glanced among each other, confused. Vaati’s eyes narrowed. “Labrynna? Holodrum?...Termina?”

The gathered ponies just shook their heads. Vaati’s eyes began to widen in growing horror. He desperately held his hand up and charged up the same spell he had tried to use before. Anything to get away from these talking horses. His hand sparkled, and then…nothing. Vaati gasped in realization as he stared at his hand. “No…if that didn’t work…then…oh Goddesses…I’m in a completely separate world!”

“You’re from another world?” Pinkie excitedly asked. “THAT’S SO COOL!”

“Please remove her from my sight before I get a headache,” Vaati growled, rubbing his temples.

“I think it’s best if everyone heads out for the time being,” Nurse Redheart suddenly said, walking into the room. “He needs his rest.”

“Aw, but I wanna throw him a party!” Pinkie whined.

“After he receives a clean bill of health, not before,” Redheart chided.

“We understand,” Twilight assured her. “C’mon, girls.”

As the ponies were leaving, Applejack lagged behind, Vaati watching her with half-interest. “Next to yer head’s a little gift from Sweet Apple Acres,” she said with a smile. “Hope you feel better, Vaati!”

Vaati watched her go before turning his head towards the small table next to him. Sitting on it was a particularly delicious-looking apple. The Sorcerer of Winds stared at the tantalizing fruit, debating whether or not it was safe to eat. After a few moments, he took the apple and bit hungrily into it. He had to admit: it was the best apple he had ever tasted.

As the sorcerer chewed his food, he contemplated his situation. He was in an alternate world. How on earth had he gotten here? The teleportation spell he had tried to use was supposed to only carry him over long distances, like from country to country. But a whole different world entirely? And then it hit him.

The light arrow.

It must have interfered with his spell’s aura, causing it to accelerate out of control and take him to a random destination. His idea had, in the end, worked too well. He had just intended to abandon the battle and reappear in Labrynna, where he’d melt into the crowd and start a new life away from the chaos of Hyrule. Vaati sighed at the ridiculousness of it all.

“Smart move, Vaati,” he cursed to himself.

XXXXXX

The Mane 6 parted ways for the day. Twilight rushed back to her home at the Books and Branches Library and thrust open the door, startling her baby dragon assistant, Spike, as he was shelving some books. “Spike, take a letter!” Twilight ordered.
Spike shook off his surprise at his friend’s urgent tone and readied his quill and parchment. “Dear Princess Celestia,” Twilight began, Spike writing down her words. “Something urgent has come up here in Ponyville. I discovered a strange creature injured in the Everfree Forest this morning, and I have discovered that it is a sorcerous being from another world entirely. He calls himself Vaati the Sorcerer of Winds…”

“Um, Twilight,” Spike asked. “How do you spell Vaati?”

Twilight blinked in surprise as she realized she didn’t know either. “Just write what it sounds like,” Twilight replied. “Anyways, he seemed very distraught about coming into our world, and I was hoping you could do something to help him. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.”

Spike finished the letter at engulfed it in his green fire breath, sending the ashes drifting towards the distant spires of Canterlot. As they waited for the Princess’s response, Spike said, “So I take it that guy you found in the Everfree Forest woke up?”

Twilight nodded. “I have to say, though, he was a little unpleasant. I get the impression he doesn’t like Pinkie very much.”

“Well…she can be a little annoying sometimes,” Spike muttered.

Twilight shot him a look before Spike belched up more green flames, which transformed into another letter. Spike plucked it out of the air, unfolded it, and cleared his throat. “My faithful student Twilight, thank you for informing me about this strange event. I will be shortly arriving in Ponyville to meet this stranger you have mentioned. Signed, Princess Celestia.”

Twilight gasped. “The princess is coming here?! Oh no! Oh no no no no no! I don’t have the place cleaned up yet!”

Spike cleared his throat again to catch her attention. “P.S. Don’t go into a panic and try cleaning anything up before I get there. Save yourself the trouble.”

Spike chuckled as Twilight just stared at the letter, confused. He couldn’t help but find it funny that even though she was Celestia’s most prized pupil, Twilight’s borderline-OCD behavior caused her to make Celestia sound like a tyrannical, short-tempered ruler, and her mind simply could not process the fact that the princess was quite the casual pony.

Just as Twilight was about to speak, the door to the library opened, revealing Princess Celestia in all her benevolent glory. Spike quickly bowed as Twilight ran to her mentor’s side and hugged her leg. “Princess Celestia! It’s good to see you again!”

“And the same to you, my faithful student,” Celestia answered warmly, nuzzling Twilight’s shoulder. “I trust your stay in Ponyville is working well so far?”

Twilight excitedly nodded her head, causing Celestia to chuckle. “Anyway,” the princess continued. “Where is this ‘Wind Sorcerer’ you’ve mentioned?”

“He’s in the hospital at the moment,” Twilight answered.

“Very well then. Come along, you two,” Celestia said, walking out the door and trotting towards the hospital, various ponies gasping and dropping to their knees as they saw her.

Twilight and Spike followed Celestia back over to the hospital, where the princess was causing quite a stir amongst the staff with her presence. “Oh, um, P-Princess Celestia!” Nurse Redheart stuttered nervously. “To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?”

Celestia smiled. “I am here to see a patient who calls himself Vaati.”

It was then that they noticed a small black creature flitting off towards one of the hospital rooms. It appeared to be a little black orb with bat wings and a single, unblinking white eye outlined by gold trimmings. Celestia had the distinct impression that thing had been watching her for a few minutes. Noticing it too, Redheart curiously said, “That thing is actually headed for Vaati’s room.”

Celestia, Twilight, and Spike followed the strange critter into the room and found it perched on Vaati’s hand, who was still lying down in his bed. “I see you brought more guests, Twilight,” Vaati spoke without even looking up, his tone sarcastic and irritated. “I suppose I’m to become your little town’s newest tourist attraction?”

Twilight blinked. “How did you know…?”

"That you were coming?" Vaati flicked his hand, causing the creature to lift off and touch down on the table next to his head. “An Eye Sentry,” Vaati explained, glancing at the creature in question. “A little creation of mine I use as surveillance. I can see what he sees. I sent him to scope out your village and see what was out there. He happened to catch sight of you approaching the hospital and alerted me.”

Spike stared at the Eye Sentry, who simply stared back with its unblinking eye. Spike shivered. “Dude, that’s creepy,” he muttered.

Celestia stepped forward, causing Vaati’s gaze to center on her. Looking into his eyes, she could sense…something about him. There was darkness in those eyes…not pure evil, but they beheld a calculating, sinister glint that reminded Celestia a little too much of Discord and Nightmare Moon. “Greetings, Wind Sorcerer Vaati,” Celestia said, nodding her head and forcing a smile. “I am Princess Celestia, one of the rulers of this fair land.”

Vaati’s eyes narrowed. “So, even the royalty are equine? Disappointing, but not unexpected. So much for that idea.”

Celestia had a feeling she would not have approved of Vaati’s ‘idea’ had it been able to come to fruition. “I can tell just by looking at you, princess,” Vaati added, “that you possess a great amount of power. Perhaps enough to send me back to where I came.”

Celestia dejectedly hung her head, causing Twilight and Spike’s eyes to widen in alarm. “That’s just it, though,” Celestia answered somberly, Vaati taking quick notice and scowling. “I have absolutely no idea where you came from, and dimensional teleportation magic is extremely difficult to perform, as it requires more power than my sister and I together have.”

Vaati went perfectly silent. Twilight couldn’t help but feel somewhat frightened by the furious look on Vaati’s face as he glared at Princess Celestia. “We can look into other possible ways to get you home,” Celestia said, hoping to rekindle his hope.

Twilight studied Vaati intently, her mind racing with worry. Would he fly into a rage and attack her? Twilight was seriously considering preparing a spell just in case when Vaati suddenly sighed and relaxed in the bed. “No, it’s…fine,” Vaati grumbled. “The whole reason I’m here is because I tried to escape a battle I had been participating in for too long and retire far away from all that chaos. I suppose…this will suffice…for now.”

Celestia was suddenly struck with an idea. From what it seemed, Vaati didn’t have much experience with friendship. Plus, he appeared to be someone eager for knowledge. Smiling benevolently, she said, “Well, Vaati, if you need a place to stay, I’m certain Twilight here could accommodate you at the Books and Branches Library.”

What?” Twilight and Spike both exclaimed.

Celestia leaned her face in close to Twilight’s ear and whispered, “Think about it, Twilight. In many ways he is like you, powerful, clever, eager for knowledge, and somewhat lacking in friendship experience. This could be the perfect opportunity for you to teach someone about the magic of friendship, someone to learn your lessons with together.”

Unbeknownst to the two ponies, Vaati could hear everything they were saying. His lips curled in disgust at such a childish concept. Friendship? This idiot princess wanted him to learn about the magic of friendship? He had spent his whole life without friends, and look at where he was now!

Oh wait.

XXXXXX

The next day…

Nurse Redheart was finally confident enough to issue the strange visitor a clean bill of health, who promptly excused himself from the sterile place and took his first steps on Equestrian soil. The sorcerer couldn’t help but notice that the streets were empty. Probably because they were wary of him. His Eye Sentry was flitting over him, reminiscent of a fairy partner. Twilight noticed him coming from her window and rushed down the stairs, opening her door to greet him. “Vaati!” she cried enthusiastically. “Did Nurse Redheart let you out of the hospital?”

“I wouldn’t be standing here otherwise,” Vaati answered. “So this is where I will be staying?”

Twilight smiled. “Yep, right this way.”

The Wind Mage followed the pony up to the door, but when she opened it, Vaati was greeted by the sight of hundreds of pony faces alight with excitement who all chorused as one, “SURPRISE!”

Vaati recoiled from the doorway in shock. “What in Din’s name?!” he shouted.

Twilight chuckled. “It’s a welcoming party!”

Suddenly Pinkie Pie hopped over to Vaati and said, “Hi, Vaati! I threw this party just for you! Were you surprised, were ya were ya, huh huh huh?”

“…Very,” was the only response Vaati could think of as he gingerly stepped inside.

It seemed like everypony in town was now crammed inside the library, all with bright, smiling faces. Vaati had to admit, this was quite a relief from the normal reaction to his presence that garnered running and screaming. A table at the far back was covered in various sweet foods and drinks. “All this for just me showing up, eh?” Vaati asked.

“Yep yep yep!” Pinkie replied, bouncing happily.

“Well, I suppose I can enjoy myself.”

The Wind Mage strode over to the food and drink table and eyed his various choices. Various cakes, pies, and other baked goods all looked good, and truth be told, Vaati hadn’t indulged in such things since he was a child, and even that had been a rare occurrence. Fruit punch was situated at the very center, surrounded by cups and plates. As he was pouring himself a glass, he heard a voice from behind. “Hey there, sugarcube. You feelin’ alright?”

Vaati turned around to see Applejack with a friendly smile on her face. Vaati lightly chuckled, “Ah, Applejack. I’ve suffered worse wounds than what you saw. I assure you I’m doing quite well.”

Applejack nodded her head. “Anyways, this here’s a little somethin’ from Sweet Apple Acres.” She nudged a plate of apple pie towards Vaati with her hoof. “Made it mahself with the best apples in all Equestria!”

“Rather proud of your apples, aren’t you?” Vaati inquired, taking her offering.

“It ain’t just hearsay,” Applejack proudly proclaimed. “Everypony in Ponyville says the same thing.”

Vaati’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “’Everypony’? Don’t you mean ‘everybody’?”

“Well, we mostly say everypony whenever we’re just referrin’ to our own kind.”

“I see,” Vaati said before picking up the slice of apple pie and taking a huge bite out of it. After swallowing, he commended, “I must say, Applejack, you have good reason to be proud of your apples.”

Applejack grinned. “You oughta try Pinkie’s cupcakes too. She’s mighty proud’a them.”

Vaati glanced at the cupcakes in question. There were so many, all various colors and flavors. “Perhaps,” Vaati said. “Perhaps.”

XXXXXX

The party lasted all day and several hours into the night. During that time, Vaati got more acquainted with the more prominent citizens, including the Mane Six, Mayor Mare, Doctor Whooves, and Derpy Hooves. It was quite late when the party was officially declared over and everypony began heading back home, bidding goodnight to the newest resident of Ponyville.

After everyone was finally gone and the library quiet again, Twilight and Spike led Vaati up to the upper level of the library, where two beds and a basket were situated. “This is where you’ll be sleeping,” Twilight explained, glancing at the bed. “I normally use it for sleepovers, but I’m sure it can accommodate you.”

Vaati noticed Spike settling down in the basket and pulling a small blanket around himself. “Goodnight, you two,” Spike mumbled before quickly falling asleep.

As Twilight reached her bed, she glanced towards Vaati as he kicked off his red sandals. “So…did you enjoy your first day in Ponyville?”

Vaati quirked an eyebrow before taking off his purple cap and sitting it by his sandals. “It was…different.”

Twilight smiled as they both got into their respective beds. “Goodnight, Vaati,” Twilight bade.

“Likewise, Twilight Sparkle.”

XXXXXX

That night, the dreams returned. Vaati rarely ever got a chance to sleep, as it was impossible to do so during his imprisonment inside the Four Sword and he was always busy getting the palace defenses prepared for when the Hero came knocking during his various escapes. So, needless to say, the lack of sleep was not having positive effects on his dreamscape.

Perhaps it was because a part of him regretted the life he had been living, one that he refused to acknowledge in the waking world. Whatever the case, his memories plagued him. His battles with the Hero, his vile transformation, the sting of that blasted sword cutting into his flesh. Bits of his miserable childhood drifted by as well, teasing him with their presence, just like the bullies who had beaten and tormented him so long ago.

Unbeknownst to him, another shared in his pain as well. Far away, in the distant capital city of Canterlot, a midnight-blue alicorn twisted in her sleep as well. As Princess of the Night, when she slept, she could see the dreams of her subjects, the good and the bad. There were times when she unwittingly intervened in nightmares and drove them away. But this was different.

Her dream was one of monsters and bloodshed, memories of a life not unlike her own, a child vilified for his differences, driven to become a monster fueled by rage at a cruel world. As she gazed upon the great winged eye, feeling the sting of its green-clad enemy’s weapon as if she was the one struck, Princess Luna knew that the Wind Sorcerer Vaati had some very dark secrets to hide, secrets that could spell disaster for all Equestria were they not confronted and come to terms with.