• Published 19th Nov 2012
  • 6,819 Views, 791 Comments

The Missionary - Radon18

Follow a man, surviving in equestria with nothing but his wits and his faith, oh and his own town.

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Chapter23: The Chapter In Which Nothing Happens On a Train

Chapter 23

(Reminder that I own nothing!)



“Words in a foreign language.”

“Quoting in thought”


A dark, pony-like silhouette lounged among a large pile of richly colored pillows and cushions. The darkness concealed finely hewn stone walls covered in silk banners and handsome stone carvings, only appreciable by one who was attuned to the lightless environment. The figure's side barely rose and fell, usually a sign of weakness or deep thought. In the case of the figure, it was a little of both as what little light was cast by the few, dim, crystalline fixtures glinted off of a carapace covered in cracks and abrasions, yet the figure, despite being in much pain, remained motionless and serene. Her mind was occupied, stretching far beyond the normal bounds of her mortal self and into the vast network of consciousness that made up her hive.

A cloth covering the entrance to a nearby tunnel was shifted aside, but the figure remained motionless. The drone began to smear her battered carapace with a sticky salve. Despite the pain of the drone’s inexpertly administered medical care, the queen did not wake from her trance. Her consciousness flicked over the memories of domestic drones, hardened soldiers, and far flung spies in rapid succession. All of them being routed to the most efficient means to achieve the goals of the hive.

She paused a moment at one peculiar memory. It was a vision of the aftermath of the attack on Ponyville, the accursed domicile of the favored pets of the Solar Princess, the Elements of Harmony. The attack had been a success, even if it had cost the drone that had carried it out. The message was clear - nowhere was safe so long as Queen Chrysalis felt the war between her hive and the ponies of Equestria was not over.

Still... the circumstances behind the death of this drone had intrigued her for the past few days. The final sight of its life was a strange minotaur-like creature among the ponies, its face contorted in anger and fear as it wrapped the drone's spine around a streetlight. The phantom feeling of bones being shattered like so much pottery made the great queen cringe as she poured over the image. There was also a moment of... it could only be described as allure, imbedded in the memory moments before the drone ceased to be. The red-headed creature felt... delicious. The sensation of viewing this particular memory was like looking through a glass window at exotic delicacies while a train barreled towards her, just barely perceptible in the corner of her eye.

Chrysalis browsed back through the drone's recent memories. She recalled that particular drone had attended a press event, presided over by the princesses themselves. Ah, there it was. Her eyes raked up and down the pair of creatures on the stage. The male felt lifeless and plain, its emotions barely a trickle, at least from what she could pick out from the sea of emotions generated by the large crowd of ponies. She shifted her attention to the obviously feminine creature that stood next to the dull male. This creature was completely different; its emotions shone like a blinding beacon. Chrysalis considered the overwhelming feeling - it was glorious, glorious love flowing outward like water from a burst dam. However, there was also more. Below the love and need and adoration and a hint of lust, there was a smoldering flavor of rage, jealousy, hatred, and so much pain. It was almost intoxicating. It was a sweet ambrosia that almost made the mighty Queen of the changelings swoon with desire. This creature would no doubt be a fine asset and feed many new drones for the hive. That was, of course, if Chrysalis didn't decide to secret the creature away to serve as her own private food source.

Chrysalis' thoughts were interrupted by a sudden twinge of pain that signified the death of one of her drones. Pulled from her musings, she flicked over the last image the drone had seen. She had expected maybe a tunneling accident or a spy having been found out and eliminated. Instead, what she found was another Ponyville spy. Its last sight was of the interior of a dark alley. Strangely, there was no emotion of panic or fear associated with the image that would normally be present if a spy had been fleeing and struck down from behind.

Another twinge of pain pulled Chrysalis' thoughts from the strange occurrence. Again flicking to the final memory, this one came from a drone attempting to infiltrate the large operation at the place the ponies had dubbed 'The Everfree City'. Oddly, the drone had not even managed to get anywhere close to its objective and had instead been killed just after entering the forest itself. Its final vision was of a scythe-like appendage plunging into its throat. Chrysalis slowly played the memory in reverse. The limb slowly wrenched itself free from the throat in which it had been lodged. As the memory backed further into the past, Chrysalis could see an odd creature out of the right corner of the late drone's vision. It was spindly and appeared to be almost an animated collection of some poor creature's bones. There was no fear, no surprise. Whatever it was had taken her drone with total stealth. The drone had never even comprehended what had killed it.

There was another twinge, and another! Chrysalis was becoming alarmed as the last visions of the dying drones revealed them to all be in or around Ponyville. Another twinge caused her alarm to climb into a panic as she quickly ordered every member of her hive even remotely close to Ponyville to flee to safe areas as quickly as they could.

Chrysalis lifted a hoof and pressed it into her temple. Five drones lost mere moments apart, and strange things were happening in Ponyville. She could not afford to lose her grip on what was occurring. Her gossamer wings flickered with movement as she felt yet another twinge of pain. Six drones. She would need to discover what was killing her children before she could return her attention back to where it belonged - her revenge.


Awareness returned to my sluggish mind, and I couldn't help but curse to myself as I felt the sudden cold bite at my toes. I quickly curled them up under the blanket, or would have if the blanket hadn't been kicked off at some point in the night. I slowly pushed my cold, stiff body up out of my bed and looked around the room sleepily. The unfamiliar mint-green decor caused a momentary spike of panic, but the fear passed quickly as my memory returned, and I recognized Elly's hospital room.


I quickly sprang (or stumbled, to be more accurate) to my feet and looked around the room, the fear once again creeping into my thoughts. 'Oh please, God, let her be alright.' Thankfully, it only took a moment to find her right where I had left her when I had gone to bed. She was sleeping on her hospital bed, apparently still as comatose as she had been after she collapsed. I let out a breath I hadn't realized I was holding and shuffled over to her bedside. I took her hand and stroked it slowly. This wasn't the way she was supposed to be. She was supposed to be lively and happy and energetic, but all she was now was still. Still like death.

I had only known Elly for a few days, and yet I found myself more than a little lost without her upbeat and childish demeanor. The girl's wild, red hair even looked limp and lifeless. I felt a momentary spike of anger flare through my body. The ponies had all acted so afraid of us - even the soldiers who carried her to the hospital had shot us wary looks. Sure, I had been as surprised by what had happened as everyone else, but I already knew Elly was really strong for her size. 'That wasn't natural.' That monster, whatever it was, had scared her so badly. 'How did she even see it?' How could they look at her like that? From what little I had gathered, she had done them all a favor! 'She destroyed it with nothing but her hands.'


I jumped and turned around to find one of the nurses peeking into the room, causing me to click my tongue in irritation at the scare. I remembered her white coat and pink mane. She had been one of the only ponies focused on her job instead of getting caught up in the gossip. I was grateful, but I just couldn't remember her name.

"Good morning. Just here to check up on you both," she said, slipping fully into the room and nudging the door closed with a hind leg. "How are you holding up?"

I blinked in confusion. "Me? I'm not the one you should be worried about. Miss...?" I finally managed to say after a few moments of berating myself over forgetting in the first place.

"Redheart," the nurse simply said as she went about checking the IV drip and Elly's vitals. "You’re in almost as bad a shape as your friend here, if in a different way," she mumbled through clenched teeth as she pulled the blanket covering Elly up a little higher.

I winced at all the little twinges of pain I felt at being reminded of my own injures. I tried to resist, but I finally looked down at the red and swollen skin around the stitches that had been replaced when I reopened a few of my injuries. It was also the moment I realized I was wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts.

'Oh well, it's not like they don't spend all their time naked anyway.'

The cuts and bruises flared and started to itch the longer I looked at them, so I tore my eyes away and settled for watching Redheart go about her business. "They aren't that bad," I said, resisting the urge to scratch at one.

Redheart snorted and rolled her eyes. "Stallions, always have to try and act tough."

I couldn't help but smile a little at her attitude. "That's because I am tough," I said, playing along for the moment and glad to have a distraction from my thoughts.

"Mmhmm, tough as an exceptionally fluffy kitten, if you listen to the stuff Miss Fluttershy has been telling ponies when they ask about you two." Redheart, apparently finished with Elly, approached me and motioned at the other hospital bed. "Now sit down and let me get a look at those stitches," she said, her tone stern.

"They're fine," I mumbled as I sat down anyway, my mind instead on the few ponies I would go out of my way to call friends. 'Wonder how Fluttershy and Applejack are taking it.'

"I'll be the judge of that," Redheart said as she started poking and prodding at the stitches, all hoof sewn because of my aversion to magic. As her hoof tested the wounds, I would unconsciously reach up to scratch at them, only for the nurse to bat my hand away with a hoof.

"If you don't stop trying to pick at them, you're going to wish you were back in Princess Luna's tender hooves," Redheart said after she had grown tired of my antics.

I winced and looked away. "How did you hear about that?" I said, looking anywhere but at the nurse.

"I told her. She needed to know about the original cause of the wounds," came a familiar voice from the doorway. I groaned to myself, Twilight wasn't my favorite pony, but I at least expected her to know that the incident in question needed to be kept out of the public eye.

The purple mare stepped into the room and quickly set about recharging the isolation spell around Elly and myself. "There we are, you should be okay for another day," Twilight said as she sat at the foot of my bed like a large dog, watching Redheart finish wrapping fresh bandages around my torso.

"Thanks, Twilight," I said halfheartedly before quickly turning my attention back to Redheart. "Equestria has doctor-patient confidentiality right?" I asked, a little nervous she might blab about the events which led to my near squishing of Celestia.

"Of course; you don't need to worry. In fact, the doctors have known about that incident for a while," Redheart answered before quickly speaking up again. "The guard medics told us what happened, just in case."

"Thanks for keeping that a secret," I said, shooting the nurse a grateful smile.

"Just doing what I got my cutie mark for. Twilight, I'll be getting out of your mane. Please don't break him again. It's too much of a pain to put him back together," Redheart joked as she headed for the door.

Twilight waved a hoof at Redheart as she slipped out. "No promises!" I couldn't help but snort at the bark of laughter that came from the other side of the door.

"Now, down to business," Twilight said, pulling out a few sheets of parchment and writing utensils from the ether. “I’m sure you know by now that the incident near the town hall day before yesterday has raised a lot of questions concerning your...” Twilight paused for a moment, chewing on the end of her quill “… mental stability, and how safe it is to be around either of you.”

I let out a sound of disgust and flopped back into my bed. “You know... I wish I could be as cruel as you, Twilight.” I couldn't help the smirk that crept onto my face as I heard Twilight choke and sputter.

“C-Cruel!?” Twilight stuttered. “I'm not!” she spat angrily after recovering from her mental derailment.

“Hmm, maybe you're right. Cruel is too strong of a word. Try insensitive. Why don't you look at the question you just asked me?” I sat up and tossed my pillow at the purple unicorn. She just batted it away with her magic, stunned by my sudden bitterness. “Am I mentally stable? Is Elly?” I paused and looked off the end of the mattress at her. “I'm not a shrink, but I'm pretty sure the answer is no. Neither one of us is the picture of mental health. You wanna know why?”

“Your displacement?” Twilight asked, suddenly a lot quieter. “You were alone for a long time, weren't you?”

“I knew there was a reason your friends all said you were the smart one,” I said, flopping back onto my mattress. “I have no idea what happened to Elly during the three months I was here alone.” I felt the regret and the guilt for not trying harder when I could have saved her at least a little grief wash over me, and I visibly wilted. “She was terrified of that monster. She probably had a bad experience with one."

“Changeling,” Twilight said quietly. “But why did she...?”

“Kill it?” I said, pulling my arms over my stomach and weaving the fingers together as I stared at the ceiling. “Humans call it fight or flight. It’s our basic reaction to fear. Most of the time when we are really scared, we either run or we try to destroy whatever frightens us.” ‘It was unnatural.’

“But you didn't react to it like she did.” Twilight hopped up on the foot of the bed, looking at me.

I nodded at her. “That’s because I'm a coward.” Twilight’s eyes widened slightly, but she just shifted and beckoned me to continue. “I took my eyes off her and she found that thing… But instead of being there, I was watching the fire. I wanted to intervene when I heard her screaming, but I couldn't move… not until it was already over.” I shook my head in disgust at myself. Why did it have to be me? Why was I the one sent here to watch over Elly? I was a failure at the ONE thing I had to be able to do. “By the way, how’s the mayor doing?” I asked rolling my head back to look at the plain, white ceiling.

“She is better. They are taking her to Canterlot today to heal her burns. That’s the other reason I came to talk to you," Twilight said from the foot of the bed. "The doctors want to transfer Eleison to Canterlot; they have more 'alternative medicine' specialists.’ They are confident that if anypony can help her without magic, it will be the doctors there."

I nodded at her and felt my aimless anger begin to ebb. "When do we leave?" I muttered tiredly.

"Today, if you want. There are just two more things I needed to ask you," Twilight said, fixing me with a serious look which, now that I think about it, looks adorable on a pony. It’s like a toddler trying to act like a grown up. I just nodded again and motioned for her to continue.

"How do you think Eleison was able to sense the changeling? Can humans feel them somehow?" Twilight gazed at me intently, gauging my reaction.

I just shrugged my shoulders. "No idea, it was over by the time I was able to look."

Twilight looked disappointed but accepting of my ignorance. "Was the strength Eleison displayed typical to your species?" Twilight asked as she scribbled on her parchment.

"That's three questions." I said, grinning at Twilight's irritated expression. "But I guess the answer is yes. Sort of. I mean, Elly didn't really do anything superhuman, it's just rare that it happens." 'It wasn't normal and you know it.'

"More of those 'basic reactions' you talked about?" Twilight quietly queried as she scribbled with her quill.

"Yeah, actually. A human can do crazy stuff if we are scared or angry enough," I said, tucking my arms behind my head to replace the pillow I chucked at Twilight earlier. "So can we leave now?"

Twilight nodded as she finished whatever she was writing and banished the parchment with a puff of smoke and light. "Sure, just let me go get the doctor and your clothes. Do you need to go get anything from your home?"

"No, there isn't. Let's just get going," I said, jumping to my feet and carefully stretching my aching body.

Twilight looked at me with an odd expression. "Are you sure? It won't take any extr—"

"Yes, I'm sure. Now hurry up," I barked, becoming impatient.

Twilight frowned and grumbled to herself as she made her way out into the hallway. I sighed and turned back towards Eleison's still form. "Don't worry, you'll get better," I said. Whether I meant it to Elly or myself, I wasn't sure.


The train ride to Canterlot was… lively. Twilight, in spite of my impatient insistence to 'just go already’, had gathered up her friends and herded them all onto the train. I was seated in the back next to a special place to tie down hospital gurneys. Seated next to me was a pair of earth pony nurses I hadn't met and who I always kept in the corner of my eye. In the seats in front of us were Twilight and her friends, all chatting away as young women universally seem to do. The Jerk was there too but I don't care enough to talk about him.

Half-heartedly, I would try to catch snippets of their conversations over the quiet rumble of the train. The two nurses, a stallion and a mare, sat as quietly as I did, apparently too nervous around me to shoot the breeze. From what I gathered, Twilight, Fluttershy, and Applejack were going to join me at the hospital while Rarity was going to spend some time on the town. I never caught what Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash had planned to do, but I had pretty much stopped listening by that point.

As the hours passed, I entertained myself by peering out the window at the lush countryside. I could barely make out a road in the distance, and I wondered at a little curl of smoke I could see coming from a thick patch of trees. Only a few minutes later, the brakes came on with a screech of grinding metal, and I perked up to look around, wondering why. The train ground to a stop just before we would have begun our climb up the mountain, and I could hear the girls speculating about the reason.

I stuck my head out of the window and looked down the side of the train and spotted six dirty Solar Guards. They loaded up some battered and burned looking crates, as well as what looked like piles of garbage and wrapped bundles into one of the cars before boarding. Soon after, the train lurched into motion again, and the incident was forgotten.

The rest of the trip to Canterlot was uneventful, and Twilight had assured the girls that the guards were probably just returning from some training exercise, so no one bothered them and allowed them to rest. The view from the mountain was incredible as the pink, frilly train pulled into the station.

"Canterlot! End of the line!" called a pony in a blue suit and hat. "Please gather your belongings and enjoy your stay in the capitol!"

The girls quickly gathered the few things they had brought with them (and a giant pile of luggage that belonged to Rarity) and made their way onto the platform. I quickly stood to help with Elly's gurney and assisted the two nurses hauling it out of the train.

"Why are they all staring at us?" one of the nurses, a brown stallion, whispered to the other, a dark blue mare.

"Maybe it has to do with the eighteen hoof tall foreigner behind us?" she replied after the gurney's wheels were firmly planted on solid ground.

"Oh yeah," the stallion replied dumbly. My interest piqued, I turned to get a look at who was staring.

The station was filled with dozens of ponies, all staring at me. It was a bit unnerving, but I'd gotten pretty used to gawking crowds back in Ponyville, so they weren’t that hard to tune out. I turned to find Twilight and the rest of the girls and whistled loudly, waving them over when I spotted them. Suddenly, my world was pink. Pinkie had darted across the platform faster than I could blink. "Hey! Ready to have some fun in Canterlot?" Pinkie bounced on all fours, reminding me a bit of those little yappy dogs that launch themselves into the air when they want something.

"I'm here for the hospital, remember?” I asked, taking a few involuntary steps back.

"I meant after that, silly!"

I thought about that for a second while Pinkie seemed to practically hang in mid-air. 'Just ignore the lack of physics.' Even though I wanted to make absolutely sure everything was alright before I left the hospital, I saw no harm in running around town for an hour or two. "You know what? Why not? After we get done, it would be alright to check out the city,” I said, nodding to the whole group who had just caught up. 'I could really use a distraction, anyway.'

"Oh, this is going to be fun-a-rific!" Pinkie said, resuming the bouncing at an impossible speed. 'How is she suddenly falling faster?'

Rarity flicked her mane with a hoof. "I think I'll take my leave, darlings. There are some new shops that I simply must visit. I will see you afterwards. Ta ta," she said before quickly vanishing into the crowd. Despite not knowing Rarity all that well, I waved goodbye along with the rest of her friends.

Rainbow Dash was the next to speak up, and I had to consciously make an effort not to tune her out. "I've got somepony to find... Be back later!" she called as she zipped over to where the Jer— I mean Soarin was standing and dragged him around a corner.

I couldn't help but wonder if they were up to anything. 'Secret date maybe?' I noticed the remaining ponies also shooting strange looks in the direction Rainbow had gone, but none of them said anything, so neither did I.

Fluttershy gently nudged me from behind when the nurse-ponies started wheeling Elly towards one of the exits. As the group started after them, I saw the dirty, tired looking guard-ponies from earlier unloading the crates and burned garbage. A glint of light caught my eye on top of the pile, and I thought I saw some very non-pony figures looking up from a shattered picture frame. Before I could get a good look, the guard-ponies tossed a tarp over the pile, and I pushed the oddity into the back of my mind.


Rainbow Dash peeked around the corner of the ticket booth where she had roughly pulled an armored Soarin. Some ponies gave her odd looks for that, but this was too important to worry about little things. "You find out anything good?" Soarin asked, prodding her in the back with a hoof.

Rainbow Dash didn't answer until she couldn't see her friends or the humans in the throng of ponies. "Not since that whole changeling thing. How about you?" her scratchy, tomboyish, voice answered as she turned to face him.

Soarin puffed up his chest looking more than a little smug. "Yeah. Some regulars came back from a trip to the Everfree before we left. They said they found some kind of monsters in the sewers; looked like skeletons held together with black bubble gum. That sound like the thing you saw in the field?"

Rainbow Dash put a hoof under her chin in thought as she hovered in place. "Kinda. Did they say anything else?"

Soarin shook his head. "Nothing much. Just something about a weird, magical plant."

Rainbow shook her head. This would be so much easier if they could get somepony smart like Twilight to help. "I don't know about that, but I feel like we're getting closer!" She said making a determined gesture with her hooves. "You keep watching the big one, and I'll take care of the little one."

Soarin nodded and quickly took off towards his post before he could be missed. Rainbow Dash jumped and cupped the air in her wings, launching up into the air and away from the train station. Looking down at Canterlot, she took a moment to find the hospital. As soon as she spotted the building, she went off like a cannon shot.


The endless plain stretched out before the Princess of the Night. The form of the dream was odd, but not anything entirely new. It was like an infinite expanse of glass that melted away as she strode forward, the grassland rising to meet her hoofsteps.

The dreamer stood on a grassy hill before her, its form both familiar and alien. As she drew nearer, the grassland exploded into complete existence around her and, despite appearing to be full of life, it felt absolutely desolate. As she neared the foot of the hill, the form of the dreamer was made plain. The silhouette of a human female roughly matching the dreamer's true form was standing and joyfully laughing despite having no mouth with which to laugh. The shape was pitch black and possessed few features aside from a pair of glowing, white, featureless eyes, and legs that, while feminine, seemed to be joined together rather than remain separated like true limbs. Tentacles whipped about the air around the being, growing from the spot where her feet touched the ground as if she had used them to nail herself to the earth, lest she drift into the sky.

Changing one's own shape in a dream was odd but not at all unheard of. Luna focused on the nearly featureless face. The white eyes were bent as though the creature before her was happy to see her, but Luna highly doubted it even knew of her presence. She could sense another dream coming from the black form and that was what was truly unknown to her. It was like the human had a mind within another and they were both at dreaming.

With a trembling hoof, Luna reached out to attempt to touch the dream within a dream. The moment she made contact, the black form, once staring off into the distance, turned its eyes to her. Luna felt strange, like looking upon one's greatest fear and favorite moment rolled into one. She lost her power over the dreamscape and was suddenly and violently, ejected.

Princess Luna abruptly sat up in her bed, cold sweat gleaming on her normally pristine coat. A moment before, she had been dream walking, and she shivered slightly at the strangeness of what she had seen.

Co-Author's Comment: Oh no… John isn’t even a brony and he’s already started shipping random characters. HOPE IS LOST! REPENT! REPENT! -Admari

Author's Comment: Everypony flee for your lives THE END IS NEIGH!!
Well no not really... more like middle-ish. For those of you worried about the dwindling religious content of the chapters. I'm going somewhere with that.