• Published 17th Nov 2012
  • 1,312 Views, 36 Comments

The Invisible Road - KillerSteel

What happens when you wake up in a strange place, and no one seems to notice you?

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Chapter 1: Wanderer (KillerSteel)

Wind. It was strange, but the first thing he noticed was the wind; the gentle breeze brushing across his hands and face. This was followed by a quick sneeze; wind was nice, but it was rather chilly! Someone could catch a cold out here...

He picked himself up, pushing up from the ground, and his eyes ran over the world around him. Color... very bright color. Very interesting color choice, as well... it didn’t feel like fall, but many of the leaves were turning red and yellow. He looked down, seeing grass that seemed to stand up far straighter than he was used to; they were quite...what was the word, static in color? It worked for the situation at hand, but it still struck him as strange.

Was that brown in the grass? No... it curved in places, around his legs. A quick run of his hand over the material revealed it to be quite abrasive... cloth, maybe? Perhaps it was stitched hide... it was something rough; it could be sandpaper for all he knew. Pulling his eyes off the cloth in front of him, he stared forward, down through the trees. Quite a thick forest, but at least the sun was up; finding a path out would be no issue at all.

He got up and looked around one last time at the emerald glade around him... or rather, the emerald path, at least. Seemed strange for him to end up in such a place... wasn’t he somewhere else before? Birds chirping overhead confirmed at least one thing for him: he could still hear the world around him. That was good, better than waking up somewhere and finding out you’re deaf. Maybe senses just come back slower than others...

He continued his thoughts as the treeline broke away, revealing a short hill leading to a town. That was definitely new... warning lights going off now. A quick walk halfway down the hill, followed by a slip on an evil pebble and a heavy faceplant to the dirt, and he’d taken his first steps into... whatever place this was! He pushed himself out of the dirt, looking forward to the town and spitting. Funny, didn’t taste like dirt... and that town looked awfully strange.

He got back to his feet, walking towards the large wooden gate, when something caught his eye. This sight was... was... well, nothing came to mind at that point, other than a buzzing tone like a phone waiting to be picked up.

It was colorful, that’s for sure. It had four legs... a tail... a mane, maybe. Big eyes, looked kinda cartoony... everything added up to one word that finally broke through that dial tone.

Pony. Yep, he’d gone completely insane, and this was definitely a notice of it. That, or someone up high hated him a lot. Or he was just having a very weird dream about being a hobo. Or maybe it was a- wait, right, colorful pony.

The pony looked in his direction, and the two seemed to lock eyes for a bit. One in abject curiosity, the other in pants-wetting terror. The pony blinked, he maintained his frozen stance. The pony walked on, he was still frozen. It took a few minutes for him to realize that his alien assailant had lost interest and moved on. He let out a hard sigh, followed by a few deep breaths; stupid panic making him forget to breathe! Still, why’d it walk away? And where was he anyway?

This wasn’t home! This wasn’t his bed, this wasn’t his house, hell, this wasn’t even his neighborhood! He woke up in a random forest outside a town with one pony, maybe more, and he’s wearing this stupid clo- oh wait, he’s naked under it. Apparently, someone far away was laughing their butts off at this, probably crying blood because they ran out of tears. Well, maybe he was dreaming. Sound theory, right?

Only a dream could produce technicolor ponies in a town that only he and his kind could build. Yep, definitely a dream...if he just pinched hims-

He let out a yelp of pain as his skin crunches between two fingers. Ok, not dreaming! Never before has he had such a siren go off in his head; you aren’t home, you aren’t in your country, you probably aren’t even on the same planet now. You’re stuck, butt naked in a cloak, on the edge of a town inhabited by a pony, possibly more. Plan?

Well, there’s a few to choose from. One, turn in the other direction and sprint as quickly as possible away from the town, screaming and panicking. Two, fall backwards and lie on the dirt, either waiting for thirst to kill you, or for someone to come by and inject you with something that’ll take the scary hallucinations away. Three, walk into the town and talk with them.

For obvious reasons, he opted for plan number two. He fell backwards onto the dirt, a nice flump coming from the impact. He stared up at the blue sky, eyes half closed; nice day at least. Maybe he’d cook out here, die from sunstroke, or maybe he’d just go thirsty faster. Overall, today was not a good day, despite the happily shining sun and giggling from the town.

Wait... giggling?

He looked over at the gate, seeing several ponies talking to each other.

Wait. Wait a minute.

He leaned up, staring at the three ponies.

“So, whadya wanna do today, Star?”

"I dunno, maybe we should go bug Scootaloo again,” A pony with a horn replied. Pony with a horn... isn’t that mythological? Unicorn, right?

“Ehhh, she didn’t seem to happy when we tried to join the Crusaders before,” A timid pony with wings scuffed the ground. Wings. Pegasus...

He pulled up his arm and checked the skin. No injection sites... did he eat something? Maybe... ahhh, that’d be it. Dinner last night; Mom always said not to eat anything that was green... it did taste good though. Best burrito he’d ever had.

Worst night on the can, too.

Something was wrong here. Something was very wrong.

“Sweetie Belle seemed to like the idea!” The unicorn... erm... Star?

… Talking ponies. Talking. Ponies.

Ponies do not talk. Ponies do not laugh. Ponies do not have names like Star... ok, maybe some did, but they sure as heck didn’t have wings or horns! He looked on at the two discussing their plans to join the Crusaders, whatever group that was, and used his time in the shadow of their obviously important chat to inspect the new beings before him. First off, they’re small. That’s good, if ever got in a fight with one, he could at least stand a chance.

Second, they were definitely colored strange; the unicorn had a yellow coat with a light-blue mane, while the other had a purple coat with a deep blue mane. Their tails followed suite, being the same colors as their mane. Other than the mutated color schemes, they seemed to be regular ponies.

Well, as regular as tiny talking ponies can be...

“Oh, I know! Maybe we can go find something cool in the Everfree Forest! That’s a surefire way to impress Scootaloo!” The unicorn bounced happily in place. Everfree Forest now, great, that definitely wasn’t the name of any forest he knew.

“Are you crazy?! The only ponies that ever made it out of there were Twilight and her friends! You know, that crazy pegasus included! Rainbow Dash!”

… Twilight and Rainbow Dash. What comment could be made on those names? Nothing came to mind beyond ‘their moms really thought those were good names?’

“Yeah, well, maybe we can be the next ponies to survive it!” The unicorn stopped mid-bounce, hanging in the air for a bit. Eat your heart out, physics, because ponies can now hover, and you can probably live long enough to eat your heart. Not like he’d ever try, but the option’s still there, right? What did a heart taste like, anyway? It’s not like cannibalism is any less a good topic than listening to talking ponies.

“No, Star, I’m not gonna do this! The Everfree’s scary!” The pegasus scuffed his hoof again, shrinking a bit. How does a pony that small shrink anyway?! Wait, floating ponies, right. Physics already died a while ago.

“Oh come on, Star, it’s not that bad! We’ll just be heading in to grab a plant, then we’ll be right back out before anypony notices!” The unicorn started bouncing again. What were her legs filled with? Springs? Wouldn’t be any less strange than the world he’s in right now.

He decided to block them out and start fishing through his memories, thinking back to before he woke up in that convenient path leading here. Let’s see...

For one, he did have a name. Started with a D... David? Dennis? Dracula? Dovark? Dingleremashtein? Dormafek? Maybe it was just Dirk, or Dime, or Dick.

On second thought, that last one’s kinda crummy, and three of those don’t even make sense... he swore he had a name that started with a D. Maybe it’d come to him later...

He looked up from the ground, seeing two ponies racing at him. Thinking that this will likely either kill him or break the hallucinations, he layed down on the ground. Let them come, let them come! At least he’d go out staring up at the sky.

Dust rose up around him, settling on his face. Another sneeze threw him up into a sitting position, the thudding of hooves fading into the distance behind him. He patted himself down, hoping to find some gaping hole in his body, or at least some blood, but sure enough, Life decided to spit on his shoes again; he was perfectly fine. Weird, he could’ve sworn they were coming right at him... did they separate at the last second?

Well, he wasn’t dead, and the world wasn’t melting or shifting colors. Maybe he wasn’t hallucinating after all? But that’s not right, can’t be. How could he suddenly be in another world full of ponies that talk? How’d he end up here?

What a way to start the day, huh? From mild interest in the world, to faceplanting into a hill, to finding talking ponies, to realizing you’re not just on a horrible trip. Depression is the last thing needed right now. He spends a moment simply sitting there, staring at the ground, trying to dig up some memories.

Birthdays, loving words of a lady in his life, the crippling sense of failure and tremendous feeling of victory in school... nothing seemed solid though. It came in fragments, never a consistent string. He could remember faces, but no names came for them. He could remember names, but no images would well up, and putting images and names together just felt wrong for some reason; nothing seemed to fit properly in the puzzle.

All he knew was that home wasn’t here. Not in this town, at least... but maybe it was close by? Maybe talking to these ponies wasn’t as suicidal an idea as it was before. At this point, he really didn’t have a choice; the lay of the land was about as unknown to him as the exact composition of the Sun’s core.

He got to his feet and took the few remaining meters of a walk to the gate of the town. Those ponies that ran past him... well, it was a dirt road, and a brown cloak would blend in pretty well. He looked back into the street and nearly did a backflip out of surprise.

How’d he miss all these ponies?!

There were tons of them, and the street was ablaze with chatter! He took a few steps forward, panic quickly coming through his mental barrier. Way too many ponies... he could handle a small one, but this was crazy! Some looked in his direction, raising eyebrows before looking at each other and talking; the noise in the street was massive, but he didn’t hear anything about some tall guy standing at the gate. Maybe they meant someone else?

Wait, how could they be talking about someone else? Then again, maybe they’d seen someone like him before? His spirits lifted a bit at the thought; maybe these ponies knew what a man was! That means they could point him towards home! In... whatever direction that was! He proceeded further into the town, looking around with a growing smile on his face.

“Uh... excuse me? Anyone? I need directions!” He shouted into the street, no eyes turning towards him. Maybe everyone was just caught up in their discussions? Still, with this many ponies around, you’d think someone would notice a tall guy walking into the street. Yelling harder is always a good choice when a yell doesn’t work.

Hello!? Anyone!? C’mon, I’m right here! Can anyone help me out here?!

Still no response. Maybe men really were seen around here, but from the sounds of it, things weren’t too good on the social side. Maybe he was just stuck in the future, and humans were being used as slaves? Maybe that’s why he doesn’t remember anything?

Being dressed as a hobo certainly counts towards it. Great, he’s a slave, and an escaped one at that! Don’t slaves usually have binds though? Maybe he killed a guard and stole the key, then ran with a woman over his shoulder like the big hero he is.

Or maybe he’s just spewing nonsense. Better keep the slave idea in mind in case any ponies in black come looking. He proceeded further into town, taking each step with caution; never know when one of these ponies might turn around and raise their sunglasses, squinting their eyes at him with suspicion!

None of them seemed to pay him any mind though. Wouldn’t the future have more tech-y stuff anyway? PDAs, computers, that sort of thing? The only thing that could really be called ‘advanced’ was the money, and those were copper pieces! That and the magically floating apples in weird clouds. Hopefully home wasn’t conquered by these weird ponies...

He looked around at the rustic homes, walking with a bit more speed and purpose now; it felt like he was in the past. Jump back about eight hundred years, and you’d probably see villages like this constantly. Wait.

… Why’re they all staring at him?

The sight revealed to him as he turned was a rather shocking one, though not for typical reasons. A cart drawn by a light blue pony was racing right for him, and as he dove to the left to avoid being run over, his eyes locked on the purple wizard hat on the pony’s head. So ponies here wear clothes, too? Well, it at least helped with the theory that humanity was still around.

“Oh, great... she’s back,” A pony sighed, followed by a swift faceplant on the wall. “Why is she back? Didn’t Miss Sparkle teach her enough of a lesson last time?”

“Wait, what? Sparkle?” The man with ‘D’ for a name pulled his face off the ground, spitting again. He looked down at the ground, thoughts of why a pony would try to kill him interrupted by the sight of something strange: shouldn’t there be a scuff mark in the ground? Maybe he didn’t hit the ground hard enough?

A quick look around revealed much the same as the pony using the wall as his personal nose-breaker; everyone had a look of distaste on their faces, like this new pony that just came through was some kind of... plague, maybe?

Maybe she was carrying a virus?! Or maybe she was a virus!? Wait, no, that’s crazy; viruses couldn’t be that big. Hm, was she setting up a stage? ‘D’ got up and walked through the street, eyes still scanning around for any supicious ponies... well, ponies more suspicious than others. Maybe he should be looking for ponies suddenly running at him?

“Ponies, one and all, the Great and Powerful Trixie has finally returned to impress and amaze! I carry stories from across the country, and spells both that would make an Ursa Major quake in fear!” The resounding groan from the ponies around ‘D’ could’ve been an earthquake; these ponies are really synced up.

“Why is that mare back in town?” Mare? She did have a girl’s voice...maybe mare means lady here? Why didn’t they use ‘woman’ or ‘lady’? Least they used ‘Miss’.

“Maybe she wants some payback about Twilight?” Twilight, Miss Sparkle. Twilight Sparkle? Weird name. ‘D’ watched on as the stage built itself around the light blue mare, pieces held up by blue auras... her horn was surrounded by a similar aura; was she controlling them? So, freaky levitating stage pieces, apparently being moved by a small pony with a horn. ‘D’ checked his arm again to make doubly sure someone didn’t shoot him up with something.

After checking that, certainly, he wasn’t injected with some experimental government drug meant for interrogation, he walked over to the stage among the slowly crowding ponies. Even among the fully grown ponies, ‘D’ was still twice as tall as all of them; that certainly felt strange, considering he wasn’t all that tall, five foot nine at least. Stories and spells, eh? Wasn’t Ursa Major a constellation though?

‘D’ turned to a pony on his right, content with sticking behind the small crowd of ponies. He considered speaking until something caught his eye, something pink off to his side. He looked over at it, seeing a pink mane sticking out of a bush, telescope poking out the side of it and aimed at the sky. Figuring, from the general air of disappointment from the silent crowd, that whatever show was going on wasn’t very interesting, he walked over to the pink maned bush with its eye to the sky. He crouched down next to it, looking along the path of the telescope until it met with a high-flying object. Was that a rainbow over its head?

“There’s Dashie,” Bushes have manes and can speak now, apparently. And they call flying things ‘Dashie’. Scientific discoveries of the millenium; ‘D’ would have a Nobel Prize in no time. “Won’t be long now before we meet up. I just hope this is enough...”

"What’s enough?” ‘D’ looked over at the bush, brow raised. What could a bush want with a flying...thing? No response came back however, further cementing the idea that ponies just stood higher on the social ladder than humans in ‘D’s head. How rude, to not address someone who’s speaking to you!

Then again, interrupting someone’s espionage was equally as rude... at least that’s what he guessed.

Suddenly, the bush exploded! No, really, it exploded; fire and thunder and all that. ‘D’ jumped back from the suddenly combusting bush, it revealing a pink pony lowering her telescope. Her mane was straight, covering a single eye, and she had a look of... determination on her face. For some reason, when ‘D’ stared at that pony, he felt something... like something was reaching into his chest and pressing on his heart.

Was that a sense of danger? Or was that burrito finally kicking in and giving him a heart attack? Both seemed like plausible options as the pink pony got up and walked off down the street. ‘Dashie’ would be meeting up with her soon, right? What if this lady was bad? ‘D’ got up as well and followed the pink pony, keeping a good distance while periodically hiding behind random stalls and buildings; he was no James Bond, but he could hide... at least he always won hide and seek when he was a kid.

Eventually, they arrived in front of a giant gingerbread house, the mere sight of which made ‘D’s mouth flood with saliva; it’s been so long since he had a proper gingerbread cookie, and now he’s come across a whole two story house made of the stuff! Ohhh, if he wasn’t naked under a tarp, he’d be climbing that house to taste the delicious frosting on top! And simultaneously praying this wasn’t all a joke and that gingerbread was really made of wood. That’d be a good way to ruin your day.

The pink pony simply sat down at the front door, staring up at the sky. “It’s almost time... better put on my happy face,” she whispered to herself, closing her eyes. Suddenly, she shot up about four feet, mane and tail puffing up like cotton candy, and her dark demeanor was immediately replaced with a suggary sweet smile. Just looking at this pony gave ‘D’ type two diabetes, of this he was certain.

A minute or so after this sudden and freaky transformation, a sky-blue missile hit the ground with a heavy thud! Shouldn't her legs have shattered from that kind of impact?! Wait, floating ponies, physics already ruined, stop questioning it.

“Hey Pinkie! You wanted to see me today?” The sky blue mare got up from her crater and walked over to the pink pony; she called her Pinkie...oh yeah, that makes tons of sense. ‘D’ nodded in approval of this sudden epiphany.

“Yep! This is a really special day, Rainbow!” Rainbow. If that thing flying through the air was this mare...Rainbow Dashie. This town just kept getting weirder...

“Oh cool! Have you got a prank lined up? Who’s the lucky pony today?” Dashie got a sudden grin on her face; seemed the ‘lucky pony’ was about to be the ‘dead pony’ from that crazy smile.

“Just come inside and we’ll talk. Trust me, today’s gonna be really fun!” Pinkie put on a massive smile; now the physics of smiles were being broken. ‘D’ looked down at his mouth, seeing it curled up in a smile. It’s contagious!

“Alright. Usually you talk to me on the way though,” Dashie’s smile fell into a frown, along with a furrowed brow. She looked up at ‘D’, seemingly more in thought than interest, then turned her eyes back to Pinkie. Maybe she thought ‘D’ was Pinkie’s slave... yeah, that makes sense. Great cover story too!

The two ponies walked into the giant gingerbread house, ‘D’ quickly following behind them; if he wanted the cover story to stick, he had to stick close to ‘Master’! Pinkie stepped-, er, bounced into the kitchen, coming to a stop beside a plate with a single cupcake on it. It was decorated with masterful skill: a rainbow adorned with six pink stars, sorted in a hexagonal shape around the rainbow. Whoever ‘Master’ was, she certainly put most bakers ‘D’ knew to shame!

“Here! This is the first thing I wanted to do with you today! It’s a new recipe, and I thought you should try it!” Pinkie smiled, pushing the plate over to Rainbow. The pegasus stared at it with squinted eyes.

“Huh...doesn’t look new.”

“It’s made with a very special hot sauce I’ve been working on.”

“Better not be like the last one I tried. What was it called, the Volcano Velvet Cupcake?” Rainbow smirked, a look of remembrance in her rising eyes.

“I’ve been working on the spicyness like you said, but everypony likes a bit of heat in their sweets! Now here, try it and compare!” Pinkie’s smile twitched slightly as Rainbow took the cupcake in her hooves. A bite was taken, and the smile twitched again, every chew was equalled with Pinkie producing a single drop of sweat. The cupcake was then tossed into Rainbow’s mouth, and she patted her stomach with a smile.

“That was pretty good! I thought it was supposed to have hot... sauce...? Pinkie... what’s going,” Rainbow then collapsed, unable to finish her sentence. The smile vanished from Pinkie’s face then, her mane and tail straightening with her heavy sigh.

“I’m sorry, Rainbow,” Pinkie shed a single tear before grabbing the pegasus and, with some effort, dragged her towards the trap door.

“Hey! Hang on!” ‘D’ shouted, running at Pinkie. He tried to grab her shoulder, but his hand passed through her. She immediately looked around, her eyes periodically checking her shoulder. What the hell was that?

“Is anypony here?” Pinkie asked, looking around.

“Yes! I’m right here! Right in front of you!” ‘D’ replied, grabbing at her again. His hand flew through her eye and popped out the back of her head, no blood on the appendage. Ok, this really wasn’t good!

Pinkie shook her head and grabbed her forehead, groaning about ‘brain freeze’, before continuing to drag Rainbow towards the trap door. She kicked it open and dragged Rainbow down the steps, quickly followed by ‘D’. This scene has played out far too many times in horror movies to allow a good thought to move through his brain!

She had to be stopped, by God, he was gonna find a way!