• Published 22nd Apr 2013
  • 1,659 Views, 210 Comments

Snickersnatch - SpiralWriter

Oddjob awakens to a much different Equestria . . .

  • ...

I - Living Curio


By: Quisky


Chapter One:

Living Curio

. . . It was . . . dark, and that was just about all I knew.

Had it always been dark? Part of me wanted to say yes, but one small, insignificant bit of my mind clung to the fact that it hadn't been. I could almost imagine pictures and memories of something long ago. They were blurry, and some had light in them. Some were of faces that were too blurry to recognize, and some stirred emotions within me that I could just almost feel. I would like to believe in that infinitesimal amount of hope amongst the black, but let's be honest here. It's been nothing but the darkness. Occasionally I could hear voices that originated from no mouth.

I liked to tune in on them sometimes, thinking that I wasn't the only one within the dark. They spoke of different things many times. Some were of their children, some complained about guard duty, and some of something familiar. A word called 'Oddjob'. It might refer to a name. Heh, nice ring to it.

But, nevertheless, I was simply left to my own thoughts and machinations. I thought I would be insane long ago, but something inside me said that had already been done and played out, and staying sane and content within the confines of the shadows would settle me much easier. Waiting it out seemed as good as any plan, but what exactly was I waiting for?

His acute nose easily picked up the scent of the being drawing closer and closer. Sweat, he had been walking for some time now, and the humidity present in the forest didn't help any. Metal, specifically, a gold compound with sturdy iron lacing. Musky cologne . . . and something else? He couldn't quite pick up on it, but this stranger had a curious scent about him.

The fallen leaves crackled under the approaching stranger's weight. His body tensed, his muscles ready to spring, his claws and fangs ready to tear at a moment's notice.

". . . Legion?"

The stranger was unafraid. Neither was he.

". . . You speak to Legion, Solar Guard."

"I have been commissioned to return you to Canterlot by Princess Twilight. It is imperative that you come with me."

"Why? There is no need for us to be there."

"I ask politely, I will use force if necessary."

"We would like to see you try . . ."

"You'll change your mind once you hear the news . . ."

The pony clad in the signature armor of Celestia's Solar Guard smiled knowingly. The albino form of the diamond dog known as Legion raised his muzzle slowly. Dead, white eyes staring up with mild curiosity.

The sun was just lowering, signifying that an old day has passed, only to make way for another tomorrow. The sky slowly melded into a brilliant shade of twilight, then eventually into a cool and calming night. Princess Celestia observed this all from the balcony of her private study, allowing a content smile to pass her regal features. Night Court would quickly begin, allowing her time for personal matters, or even a quick rest of her own. Even being a goddess, she did tire every so often.

She trotted back into her study, the glass-framed door leading to her balcony, one of many that dotted Canterlot Castle's towers, closed with a light snap of her magic. The white alicorn of the sun sat herself down comfortably amongst a pile of plush throw pillows, nestling in until she felt she was sure her bottom was satisfied with the softness it rested upon.

Her horn glowed golden, her telekinetic magic retrieving several items from the nearby desk that she never really sat at, the pillow pile was much more fun to do work from. A bottle of ink, a quill pen, and several documents. Most were petitions for various reasons; farmers wanting more land for their crops, pegasi claiming rights to chunks of the sky, some mad ravings of a pony claiming doomsday was upon them all. Usually those were sent to her assistant to be placed through the shredder.

After signing off only a a few of the papers and ignoring the rest, not everypony who is 1/36th royal blood gets access to the treasury, she turned her attention to the last paper at the bottom of the stack. Her schedule for tomorrow. It was hoofwritten, signed off in Twilight Sparkle's cursive. Even after all these years, Celestia loved the little fact that the studious purple mare still left her notes and letters every now and then, even when they didn't refer to friendship or magic. Those days were gone, but they were still lovely to revisit.

The paper hovered in front of her face as her eyes read along the lines. It was the usual stuff. Morning, eight o'clock, breakfast with her sister and comrade. Mid-morning, 9 o'clock, stroll through the castle and inspect the staff, give them their daily scare that she's going to banish them. Eleven o-clock, Day Court begins and lasts until one in the afternoon, freeing her up for a late lunch only to return to another session of court. Five o'clock, court ends, and her duties are over until she has to lower the sun.

That is, if this had been written by her assistant. Twilight wrote this one, and at the very bottom, there was a change in the schedule. It was underlined and bolded in purple ink, just the way the young alicorn liked to emphasize on things.

Book of Prophecy! Jabberwocky statue in garden!

She sighed, laying the paper down back into the neat stack. Had it come time already? She herself had not even payed attention to the times, or even the stars for that matter. Those little twinkling lights did have a funny way of knowing what was going to happen next in the universe.

. . . Had it already been ten years?

"Canterlot has not changed one bit since we were last here."

"You've been to Canterlot before?"

"On two occassions. Still reeks of pony greed and political backlash."

". . . You don't step in civilized areas much, do you?" The guard said, walking alongside the diamond dog as an escort through the usually bustling streets of the thriving capital known as Canterlot. They had just arrived, it being early morn, the sun about to rise and the air crisp with fresh dew. The only other living things noticeable were the birds chirping from their nests or an early-rising pony enjoying the brilliant view of the city from their loft.

"We still do not fully understand why you have brought us here." Legion said in that dead, emotionless tone of theirs.

"I already told you. Princess Twilight wishes your presence here." The guard replied, sounding almost exasperated.

"But you have not given any details beyond that."

"It's something big, I'll tell you that." The guard looked up towards the castle that overlooked all of Equestria. "And scaly, and a bit furry too."

The dark had been getting louder lately. The voices and sounds that sometimes permeated through the shadows seemed to be getting stronger and much more abundant. Was that variety I heard? Not just grunting males, but something female as well? Was that clattering?

I was ecstatic. This had been the most eventful thing to happen to me since . . . I couldn't remember. I think I did things before the dark, but as I have constantly reminded myself of, there has always been the dark, and there will forever be the dark.

. . . What was that?

A . . . sound. Buzzing. Getting more higher-pitched and stronger. It doesn't sound . . . right to me. Wait . . .

It's getting harmonic in a sense. Very lovely, if I had any taste in music. What was music again? Something that was . . . pleasing to the ear. I think. Or maybe it was just noise that had to be heard. Either way, it was a break from the monotonous blackness that consumed me. That, along with the voices, seemed to be . . . bringing me out of it. For the first time in seemingly forever, I took a gasp of air.

"Good morning!"

"Oh, and a good morning to you too!"

"It's very lovely today in Canterlot, isn't it?"

Princess Twilight Sparkle, or simply Twilight to her friends and family, strolled through the hallowed halls of Canterlot Castle, greeting everypony who passed her by, whether they be bowing visitor or busy staff. Even after such a prolonged time to her royal stature, becoming accustomed to it was always . . . awkward to her. She couldn't go out on her own without an escort of guards, and trying to carry on a conversation with the other pony's face in the dirt did become annoying sometimes.

Still, there were perks to all of it, like right now for example. She was about to take part in one of the biggest parts of an alicorn's duties: carrying out an act predicted in the Equestrian Book of Prophecy.

The book was old, incredibly so, but an enchantment casted long ago kept the words from fading and the pages from rotting. Twilight was just giddy. She had heard rumors of the book and the many stories to be told from it, but when Celestia herself told her of what was going to happen, she had to do what she did best: organize a checklist.

This particular foresight was known as the 'Prophecy of Deliverance'. Much of it was scrawled in Old Equestrian, so she had to take time to translate what was actually written down. As with all prophecies and matters involved, it was an enigma at best, a conundrum at worst. What did pester her the most was that Celestia and Luna would not reveal many details about what they knew. Both were quoted "It's best not to know and find out rather than to know and be disappointed."

From what she could gather, it took place in three parts. Twilight magically shifted about in the satchel she had at her side, picking out her own personal copy scroll of the prophecy, unfurling it in front of her face to read it. The first part read as:

From which Chaos holds
An old foe grows
Unlike which the land has seen

This foe becomes friend
And brings Chaos to an end
But for a price of stone

Simple enough. That had already happened.

Ten years pass
And the Scourge is in our grasp
To which war shall bring

The friend will rise
With magic at his side
To bring Equestria peace

In a hollowed giant he will find
The Scourge at his side
To begin the battle brew

Equestria's mane is threatened
The land shall be blighted
The sky with green and wings

But the friend will rise
With magic at his side
To bring Equestria peace

Twilight rolled the scroll back up and placed it back in her satchel, the carrying bag's lock clicking in place. She would have to focus on the third part of the prophecy later, as for now, the second part was already happening. The foe, then 'friend' was obviously the Jabberwocky in the garden. Not actually a living one, but one that he been petrified nearly a decade ago. After Discord's last major assault on Canterlot before his turnabout, the facts had been gathered, and the stories told. Once it had been heard, she implored that the creature be freed from his prison. But, the diarchy deemed it unnecessary until the correct time.

She felt bad for leaving him alone for so long, but maybe the harmony blast would leave him comatose. The Elements of Harmony did have different effects upon different beings. On Nightmare Moon, it banished evil. For Discord, it petrified him. And from what Celestia and Luna had told her, the elements reduced King Sombra to nothing but a mere wisp of bad magic.

Hopefully these examples would not be the case for the jabberwock, and her original theory would be correct, or they would have a very angry beast on their hooves.

The purple mare made her way towards the castle gardens, nodding and greeting every guard she passed, who only replied back with either a silent salute or a grunt and a salute. Eventually she stepped out into fresh sunlight, liquid gold streaming overhead in a bountiful arrangement through the treetops and various other flora that made up the gardens.

The princess of twilight trotted towards the center, various statues greeting her silently along the way. Some were of heroes long dead, but their actions and memories preserved for generations to come. Others were of foes defeated, ones that would never harm another soul again. One foe was free however. Twilight momentarily glanced over at the empty pedestal that held Discord upon it. She did not know where the spirit was, seeing as he was bound by only his own agenda, and only popped in at random times to tell her a joke or let Celestia know that she was gaining weight (He would then vanish just before a blast of holy fire scorched the earth where he once stood). As long as he did not use his chaotic powers to harm another and instead aid, he was free to do as he pleased.

Finally she approached the pedestal of the jabberwocky. He stood up straight and true, bearing a striking resemblance to the draconequus, but she knew his species was entirely different. The jumbled up creature's name was Oddjob, from gathered reports. Various intel on him was sketchy at best, seeing as he hopped around from a backwater town in the desert to the shadiest cloud in the sky.

A few minutes passed, and three solar guards arrived and greeted her by saluting, two standing guard beside the statue and one beside her. One more would be joining them, as with a guest personally picked by Twilight. Stories of the Legion were infamous amongst those who enjoyed a good tale of ancient glory, and she ecstatic to know that a living legend had a paw in aiding Oddjob during the last battle of Canterlot.

Gathering Oddjob's allies had been a troublesome task indeed. Legion had all but vanished, leaving nary a trace to find him for all these years. It had taken the military's best scouting party to track him down, and took them three years to do so. The diamond dog was very intelligent, and spent most of his time underground, where most ponies couldn't go. Whenever he surfaced, it was in a deep forest teeming with critters and natural dangers or in other areas dangerous to ponykind.

Zola had gone to uncharted territories in Zebrafrica, and sending an Equestrian scout into their neck of the woods without permission risked angry tribals with unknown magic and spearheads banging at their door.

Alamo Wall was actually easiest to find. He had a record as both criminal and war hero, and he was found predictably back in a saloon in Appleloosa. But when asked to come back to Canterlot, the soldiers returned home with bruises on their foreheads and bullet holes in their armor. It was thought best to wait to contact him.

More time passed, but the event would transpire quickly, as Twilight scheduled. An earth pony of an almost jade green color approached her, her mane tied up in a bun and spectacles outlined her already wide eyes. Twilight smiled.

"Good morning, Miss Inkwell." The purple princess curtly smiled,

With her name not lying, the pony did have a pot of ink upon her flank as her cutie mark. Inkwell smiled back and bowed slightly. "And a good morning to you too, Princess. Now, are we ready to proceed?"

She shook her head. "No. Princess Celestia must be here."

Inkwell chuckled a bit. "You really want to impress her with this new spell, don't you, your majesty?"

Twilight almost blushed, a shy smile now forming. "Well . . . it's not everyday that you craft a spell that can emulate the powers of harmony." She briefly paused. "Though, I don't know if it's correct or not. What if my calculations are off? I might turn this poor creature even more into stone than he already is! Maybe we should use the real elements of harmony instead! Postpone this! I'm sure in a few weeks we can get Rainbow Dash off from her tour as a Wonderbolt or retrieve Rarity from working on her new fashion line . . ."

"Same old Twilight, already worrying over something that hasn't happened yet."

Silence fell as every non-alicorn present bowed as highest ruler in the land, Princess Celestia, gracefully strided over to the group in front of the statue. It felt like instinct for Twilight to bow, seeing as how she spent a good portion of her life in awe of the sun alicorn before her, but she had to hold it down. Now was time to do some impressing.

"Celestia, good morning." Twilight grinned, trying to keep herself from add 'Princess' to the beginning of the sentence or 'Your Majesty' as well. Maybe in a century or two she would have this down.

"Good morning, Twilight. Is everything prepared?" Celestia asked, to which Twilight nodded eagerly.

"Yes, I had Miss Inkwell prepare everything else while I readied the spell." Twilight replied. Inkwell nodded. It was her duty to be Twilight's assistant, and she would be damned if she didn't carry out her duties to the most OCD-complexed pony in Equestria.

"Are you sure it will work without the actual elements present?"

". . . Maybe. The spell is only meant to mimic a portion of the elements' powers, the one that can turn to stone or free one from it. Trying to actually handle the vast powers of harmony is a much harder task . . . but I think I nailed this one."

"Very well." The alicorn of the day nodded. "Proceed, Twilight Sparkle."

Twilight nodded back before turning to face the statue of the jabberwocky, prepping herself by rolling her shoulders cracking her neck. She breathed in and out a few times to calm herself before mentally beginning. The tip of her horn beganto glow ever so slightly in the spark of magic that was predominate amongst unicorns, her own personal aura of shades of lavender and purple beginning to emit from her horn. She braced her body, wings flared, and face concentrated as she let loose the spell, a burst of a single beam of purple energy shooting forth to hit the statue.

Legion paused, his body standing absolutely still, the only thing moving upon him was his twitching nose.

" . . . Is there a problem?" The guard asked, becoming more and more annoyed with the dog as time passed. They had just entered the main lobby of the castle, and they still had to reach the gardens.

"There is a new scent present. We smell something . . . familiar. A mix of many beasts, but a hint of cinders and heat within them, alongside something deadly and decaying."

" . . . What?"

"We smell a friend."

Oh my God did it feel good to breathe again.

It was as if my lungs had been on standby for eternity, and when that gush of lemony-fresh air went through my mouth and into them, new life was born. I could hear the voices, but the music had died down. I think that was what freed me. I could also hear something crackling, breaking off. That was what held me.

I was free.

Oh God I was free and I could do whatever I wanted. The darkness was gone.

I opened my eyes, forcing them to see the new world around me. It was blurry at first, but clarity came fairly quickly. The blurs sharpened into visible shapes, and those shapes became horses.

. . . Why were there horses in front of me?

One stepped forward. I backed away ever so slightly, but she had a gentle presence about her. She was purple, that was sure. I looked up slowly to meet her own eyes, and she smiled.

"Welcome back to Equestria, Oddjob."