• Published 27th Jan 2012
  • 16,652 Views, 351 Comments

Well, This is New... - Dumbgamer99



An ancient human who has taken it upon himself to maintain balance throughout dimensions becomes ensnared in the realm of Equestria, with nothing to help him combat the struggle on the horizon except for his god-like alien tech, the Universal Editor.

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Chapter Four: Lies Reflect Bullets

Chapter Four: Lies Reflect Bullets


Lyra had not been expecting it at all.

The initial hope the mare had when she heard a close relation was a small one. She had not believed that the focus of her attention besides music and knowledge would be visible to her eyes. Years had been spent reading over that article, its words describing something that she had never heard about before. It had fascinated her; to the point of it becoming an extremely minor obsession.

Who wouldn't become intrigued with finding one fleeting piece about a race of sentient apes that were supposedly far more advanced than Ponies?

When Lyra had first found the parchment, she didn't know what to think. It had been lodged in-betwixt two dusty tomes in one of the farthest corners of the Canterlot Royal Archives. From her thinking, not a soul had to of been back there in quite a while. And the only reason she had went back there, was because she felt compelled to. When she read over the article with growing surprise, needless to say it 'piqued' her interest.

Hours had been spent searching the extensive source of information for another mention. No name of an author was located on the scroll, and therefore she could not find another reference. In her telekinetic grasp had possibly been the only scrap of history relating to the species in existence. The species that the common pony knew nothing about, and surprisingly not even herself (despite being a very well-taught mare).

The massive storage of texts had been empty save for herself. So, she was sure nopony would've missed the parchment if she brought it back to her home to see if her miniature collection of bestiaries would suffice in giving more information. Though, she did walk out with some trepidation at being caught, but it had been quelled when not a single guard batted an eye at her departing with a slightly-larger saddlebag.

Her personal search did not come to fruition, though. At this point, she became irritated enough with the small-lead. So, she settled to let it fade into the background as she focused on her studies and her musical career (which at the time, was only in its first leg).

The article would not be unfurled in over two years.

When Lyra had restumbled onto her stolen item, she at first didn't recognize it. A quick read-through brought clarity, and re-sparked the previously-snuffed ember that had been her curious obsession. She no longer had to worry about her academics at that point, and her growing reputation as a musician guaranteed that she would hold popularity for a while. So with nothing to get in her way, she searched brutally across every library she could afford to get to.

Every single one failed.

Every single one didn't have so much as a mention, and once again she was left with the obscure tale. The brief biography that went no further than six paragraphs, and which held facts that had still brought chills to her spine years after already experiencing them once.

It had been at this point that the Summer Sun Celebration occurred in Ponyville, and with it the defeat of the returned Nightmare Moon. That jogged Lyra's memory, for she had recalled there being a library in the town during the one time she went there before her curiosity absorbed all her attention.

And like that, after bidding her Canterlot parents farewell, she moved without hesitation. An empty home on the farther reaches of the settlement became hers, and she settled in comfortably. With this, she perused the Golden Oaks Library for any hope of finding material. It was during this period that she met up again with her old alumni-acquaintance, Twilight Sparkle.

Between the two of them, they tore through the Library in search of what Lyra described simply as 'a hunt for obscure beasts'. They found many, but none of them satisfied the sea-foam mare. Nonetheless, she became extremely interested in the Library and her new friend. With nothing but performances waiting for her back at Equestria's capital, she decided then that Ponyville would be her home for a good long while.

History repeated itself though, and soon after Lyra's interest degraded once again. Every possible lead, or center of knowledge turned up short. It did not take long before she had soon wanted to rid herself of the information, for it had only brought disappointment in an attempt to seek it. She had planned to tuck it away into a book while she checked it out and simply returned the entirety of it to Twilight.

But when the news reached her, the split-second she had before being yanked out the door was spent reacquiring the same hideaway she brought back two days previous. As they all made their beeline to Fluttershy's Cottage, Lyra's hope soared when the scroll still rested betwixt the pages.

Was all her time she spent searching finally going to come to fruition? The idea of the answer to that question being 'yes' filled her with such glee, even though at the same time she prepped herself in advance for yet another failure in seeking the object of her curiosity.

Lyra shook her head quickly to dispel the flashback of emotions and memories. She had began to recollect on the couch of Fluttershy's Cottage, and right beside her was her goal. He was a lot taller than she imagined, but the grandeur that the scroll described had been nothing compared to actually being beside him.

Just by being near him, she could feel such strength. Such intelligence. And during that point of her musings, he was playing music. The beat was similar to drums, except he had been using his claws to do such. If they could have been described as such, due to the lack of any actual claws.

As her eyes took in every aspect, it was then that she noticed something amiss. According to what she could recall from memory at that point, the structure of the skull did not match the description the scroll had given her. Confusion failed to paint her features due to the severe giddiness that presided over her face. Instead, without losing her smile, she had wordlessly brought out her scroll for clarification.

Before she could, her friend Sparks began to speak to her. Questioning her about her scroll, about why she decided to acquire it from the Archives, and if she could view it herself. The aquamarine mare did not lie in her responses, and without fighting it she had floated over the riveting tale to her new ally to get lost in the splendor that was the specimens' biography.

Instead, she saw a gasp of shock arise from not only her, but the other girls who had been around her. And with that, a threatening glare of light ignited Sparks' horn. Magical energy surged about her point of focus, and Lyra realized at that moment that it was an attack.

And it had begun to be directed at her very-real dream.

Without so much as a hint of hesitation, she sprung up to all fours and positioned herself in-between the line of fire. A light-green hue of magical power encompassed her horn, and soon it was a stand-off between the two mares. At least, it would have been if her friend Sparks didn't almost immediately turn down the potency of the spell in surprise.

"Lyra! What're you doing?! Get away from him; he's dangerous!"

Upon hearing the words, a look of confused yet scared befuddlement replaced the previously-joyous face that had been Lyra's as she stared back at the group copying her expression. "What? No, he is not!"

"Yes, he is!" Sparks responded just as loudly while the article fluttered to the ground, forgotten. "The biography on the scroll you brought says so!"

"So?! That doesn't mean it's the stereotype for all of his kind!"

A compassionate yet determined glare locked onto Lyra's sight. "How would you know...?" The hanging question had brought about a terse silence. All the focus was directed at the possible-confrontation between two friends, and no longer was it directed towards the original source of fault.

Suddenly, the silence had been shattered by an irritated snort that left the sea-foam Unicorn. "Because that would be like saying all the Gryphons love fighting and war! And they don't. For Celestia's sake, there's an entire Gryphon group made to stop violence in their own species!"

"That is a completely different situation!" Sparks replied indignantly.

"How so?"

"For one," the Element of Magic began in an increasingly-frustrated tone, "we actually have current knowledge of Gryphons! That document is at least several centuries old, if not more! Evolution can change instincts in that time, Lyra! And if this article is correct, the aggression of Gryphons are nothing compared to-"

"You are laying down judgement on a subject you cannot pursue!" Lyra fired back harshly, causing all the others in the room to jerk their heads back in response. "I've researched all I could about his species for years, Sparks. Years!" An angered blast of air left her lips. "And that's the only thing I've found of him! Who knows if it was written in bias. And don't you dare tell me that I am not placing proper faith into him. In a way, he saved Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash!"

"They wouldn't have had to of been saved if he didn't plummet from the sky, Lyra!"

"Exactly that! He fell, Sparks. He crash-landed, and then fought off a Manticore. An Alpha at that!" The Elements were surprised at the fire buring in Lyra's eyes. At that moment, so was she. "And from what Fluttershy saw from his wounds, he was in a conflict beforehand. What possible harm could he do to us?!"

"Exactly what you said. Despite being wounded, he still bested a Manticore!"

Frustrated teeth were bared by Lyra as her horn brightened protectively. "Because he has strength, you condemn him? Without trial?!"

Another silence passed as the lavender mare took on a flabbergasted attitude as she attempted to stutter out a counter-argument. The light around her horn progressively dimmed, and so to did Lyra's own. Eventually, she spoke again in a collected yet sympathetic voice. "Trust me on this, Sparks. Please."

The defeated sigh that had left the mare on that day was sorrowful. "I do... I do." Having released another sigh, Sparks looked up past Lyra to apologize. But she stopped short. The other Elements mimicked her, and soon Lyra turned around to see what was wrong.

A frantic shriek left her when she saw what was quite wrong. "Where did he go?!"

Nopony responded to that question. Instead, Sparks looked down to her hooves and asked another. "Girls?! Where did the scroll go?!"

A faint creaking sound caused all seven of the mares to turn their attention to the front door. The portal to the outside world was mostly shut. Save for the top half, which slowly squeaked on hinges that needed oil. A lone breeze flowed through the home, and with it sent yet another jolt of fear into the Ponies' bodies.

"He's escaped!"

-WTIN-

I had not been expecting it at all.

Well, perhaps that was a minor lie. The situation had occurred before, multiple times in fact. I pop up, they don't originally know who I am, they look up something about humans, and they go bat-shit crazy trying to restrain me. Though, it had not happened in over a millennia, which made the trope of its return rather funny.

That initial moment where Sparks' horn had ignited brought more surprise than shock, really. But what surprised me even more was when the mare Lyra moved. And I simply say 'move', because her reflexes had somehow placed her on all fours and positioned herself into the line of fire with her own glow.

A simple raise of my eyebrow was the only response I had for the knee-jerk response. Then they began to argue with one another, debating with one another about whether I was a threat to them or not. I had only been half-listening, because my focus aligned to the parchment that fluttered to the ground.

'Whatever is on that record certainly doesn't paint Humans in a positive light...'

"It appears so. I say we take a look at it."

My brow remained raised as I stared at the two Unicorns shouting at one another. 'Erm, are you sure that's a good idea with them being skittish of me?'

"Well, we can't solve it if we don't know ahead of time what information we're dealing with..."

'Hmm... you have a good point, Ed.'

Glancing over at the other Ponies, I discovered that all their attention was on the two now-silent Unicorns. The quiet stunned me, before my eyes went back to the scroll. Despite their thoughts being on the near-possible fight, trying to slip in from behind to acquire the article would be close-to-impossible.

'Ed. Update me on Editor Reserves.'

"We're about sixty-percent. Orders?"

My eyes had squinted towards the chunk of data. Slowly raising my hand, I tapped straight into the Universal Editor's Energy Reserve, using it in place of actual Mana or whatever form of manipulative energy was available in the dimension. The only problem that came with it was that it was taxing; on mind, body, spirit, and Reserve.

Nonetheless, the unaware Ponies did not respond to the progressive amount of reality-defying energy consuming my outstretched hand. A similar field had begun to pool around the forgotten piece, and in an instant it vanished. Not a moment passed before it reappeared discreetly in my grasp. No sound, no flash, not even much of a glow; just extremely-dim blue energy.

I had sat there for a moment to stare at the parchment in my grasp. The shouting match between Lyra and Sparks was still going strong, mentioning Gryphons in an attempt to compare personalities. Considering how the last several times I had clashed with Gryphons they ended up being warmongers, then whatever was written on the script also portrayed Humans as something similar. Or worse.

Not too far off, really.

I attempted to swallow, but instead it just reminded me of the severe dehydration I had to of been going through. I had nearly let out a dry cough, but I refrained on account of keeping the attention off of me. My thoughts began to wander back to the stream, with its crystal-clear water bubbling forth under the bridge...

Carefully, I stood up slowly. My movement went unnoticed. Making sure to roll my feet to improve my sneaking, I had begun to backpedal away. Luckily, the room was situated so that I had sat closer to the door. Their argument about myself was on the far side of the room, essentially leaving me a path of no-resistance. It didn't take long before my heel caught onto the bottom of the front door, causing me to halt. None of them appeared to noticed my moving, and with a grin I turned around to silently open the door-

...

My hand froze in midair. There was no knob of any sort, nor handle. My mind had attempted to solve why I had not seen that detail before, which simply caused my brain to hurt. Letting out an internal snort, I let my eyes travel across the door some ways to see a small pin-lock system towards the bottom. It was one of those classics: the hoop embedded into the door, and the hook hanging parallel on the frame.

I had considered to pluck it, before my hand froze again. Having worked with metals for centuries enabled me to see right off the bat that the hook was loose. Which meant moving it would cause noise. Noise that would blow my cover, and would probably get me magically-burnt.

No other options were available, though. All the windows were at angles that would be easily visible to any of the mares, same as any doorways leading to different sections of the abode. The front door had been my one-possible chance-

...

'Hello there...'

The door turned out to be a Dutch door. Which was quite lucky, for it meant the top-half was easily able to be opened. My grin re-plastered itself upon my face, and my hand made contact to quietly push the slab away and allow me liquid pleasure that I direly needed.

"Hold it, Storm!"

My fist clenched instinctively, despite being more annoyed than angry. 'What is it, Ed?! Kinda dying of thirst over here!'

"Hinges will squeak if they're opened too slowly..."

I paused, glancing over. Sure enough, the hinges seemed to be slightly dry. An indication that it would squeak when adjusted. Combined with the fact of there being no squeak when the door was opened upon a swift entry earlier led to the conclusion that Ed was probably absolutely correct.

Bastard.

Glancing back over my shoulder, it brought me back into the conversation still being held that the document was hundreds-of-years old. Which really only caused my interest to be piqued even further to read the scroll, and to therefore ignore the discussion as I applied my hand to the door finally to open it.

...

My grin grew wider at the silence from the action. Locating my hand on top of the bottom half for support, I tensed. My planning was good, it seemed. I had been planning on using one of the Unicorns shouting to mask any sound I would create going over. Of course, it happened almost immediately after I had gotten into position. With a heave, I sent myself over without detection.

Sighing in relief, I quickly closed the opening (but left it ajar due to the possible loud click of it reconnecting to its Siamese twin) and had begun to walk towards the waters' edge. My movements had been slow, and sluggish. The fading of my wounds and its soreness could not be attributed to it, which left the blame to go to thirst once more.

I had bent over slowly and cupped my hands in the water. Its chilled touch brought a happy grin upon as I began to drink. It had been so satisfying, that I had to physically restrain myself from dunking my head into the current and holding it there. The slow process of letting my body become acclimated to being hydrated lasted for about ten seconds, before I purposely sat myself on the bank. A sigh had left me when my shoes were removed to expose my bare feet to the cooling sensation.

Silence was deafening out where I had been. The nocturnal animals expected to be about were nowhere to be seen nor heard. The true sound was the simple babbling of the brook as it flowed down into the town of Ponyville in the valley that at that moment had sat to the right of me. I swallowed, and cleared my throat lightly to move my throat muscles around some.

Yes, throat muscles. Don't judge my thinking.

My gaze slowly slipped down to the parchment still within my grasp. I had attempted to hear the Ponies from my distance, but alas even with that ajar opening no sound had been within my hearing capabilities. They were sharp, but not as sharp as they could've been at that point in time.

Taking a breath and releasing it, I unfurled the document and began to read it aloud in the confines of my thinking:



'There is a race. One both similar and different to anything else in Equestria at the point of this writing. They are lumbering things, beings of great stature and size. At this very moment, the first documentation of these creatures are being written by the same quill that writes these words.

'Beings from this race are known to stand on their hind-legs, being bipedal like the Diamond Dogs and Minotaurs (while lacking the large majority of fur). Their forelegs bear no sharp claws, thought similar appendages have been located with rounded tips. Approximate height is about six hoofs high; a towering stance that could stare down a Manticore, as well as previously mentioned species.

'Their current lodging is rather wide-spread; reports from all over the land have reported sightings of the same beings. Whether it was in the North with its cold, or the South with its sweltering heat, or even the damned Badlands that house the Dragons. Whether any of these are confirmed or not is unknown to this writer.

'It is confirmed however, that all sightings reported that the creatures wore clothes and held tools in their grasp. Proof that they are indeed sentient is accepted, but no contact besides fleeting moments of sight have been made to even fully identify this fact, or their existence in general.

'Sightings confirm that they wield weapons. Devices resembling sharpened staves, potentially crude spears. Unknown if hostile, but rumors have been thrown about that they are violent against each other and will kill for superiority. Unknown if society capital is established, most likely conclusion that species functions on village-system.

'In conclusion, this document has been recorded during...' I frowned as a large portion of the final paragraph was horribly disfigured by age and stains. Only the last line had any semblance of clarity. '-ous. The Institution has labeled this race as a PMC (Probable Mythical Creature), and have concluded to refer to the species further as "Earthlings" due to lack of any variance to allow magical abilities nor flight.'



A rush of movement exiting the Cottage had focused my attention upon the surge before I could even start to draw conclusions. It was the entire Pony entourage, and they had been heading straight towards me with a frenzied passion. Unmoving, I simply sat there with a curious brow raised in their direction. Gradually, they slowed to a stop once they realized that I wasn't fleeing, nor that I had really gone too far.

Heavy labored breathing came from Sparks as her horn was lit. This was a different glow, brighter in comparison to her offensive attack she had threatened me beforehand with. Presumably it was a Torch spell, or some variant of it to allow light in dark areas.

I had watched as the group didn't seem to know what to do. They didn't come right up to me, but they didn't just leave me be either. My muted curiosity was still being expressed only with my right eyebrow raised as I sat peacefully on the bank. A lip-only smile appeared on my face as I spoke.

At least, I had tried to.

My attempt to speak had gone horribly-wrong, causing a near ripping sensation to happen in my throat as I choked and coughed painfully. The others were on me in an instant, though not with aggression and shock like before. Instead, in its wake there had been compassion and worry for me as I tried to piece together what was happening.

"Storm... I-I think I know what is wrong." The sheer seriousness and nervousness that oh-so-rarely intermingled in Ed's voice had drawn all my thought to his words. "Some scans from your Nanobots have come in after you re-hydrated yourself... You hadn't sliced the poison sac on the Manticore low enough. An amount remained, and... it's currently in your throat."

'...'

"The Nanobots have already contained and killed it, though! Ed clarified, desperate to keep my horror in check. "However, the aftermath of the two connecting in your vocal chords have... well made it impossible for you to speak."

'...Permanent?'

"Oh no, temporary. It'll only take a day or two for the healing chemicals to fully cleanse the left-over damage."

A relieved sigh had left me at that as I felt myself being ushered into the Cottage once more. There was no point to put up resistance, so I simply allowed them to guide me back to the couch to rest. I also allowed them to re-acquire the document. With the news settling in though, I had quickly begun to understand Ed's trepidation.

'Shit... I can't clear my name until I can speak.'

"Or until you charge enough of the Reserve and Sync to start fiddling with telepathic magicks. Whichever comes first."

My head had sagged in concentration, tuning out the hushed voices speaking to one another as my mind began to clear itself. It was time for them to become used to my presence after my disappearing act, and for me to plan my next step to clear my biased species name.

-WTIN-

As the 'Earthling' fell into a focused thinking, the Ponies in the room huddled around each other in a corner opposite of the being. This time, discussions were done with watchful eyes locked onto him to prevent another escape. Or, at bare minimum any heart-attacks.

"Okay," Twilight started as she broke her stare to look at the others around her, "I think we all need to decide exactly what we're going to do with him."

"We shouldn't have to do anything," Rainbow Dash muttered as she hovered defiantly in the air. "He isn't our problem."

"Don't be too brash, darling," Rarity spoke calmly as she glanced at her fellow Unicorns. "Did either of you two manage to find anything else about him?"

"Nothing." Both of them said simultaneously.

"Then it has become our problem, then," the fashionista said with a confident nod. "Girls, we may very well be dealing with an endangered species. An intelligent one, no less. Perhaps we shouldn't just haphazardly send it away."

A pondering quiet occurred at this point, as each Pony considered what to do. It was interrupted when Lyra let out a small chuckle as she looked on towards the Earthling. The others turned their attention to her as she had begun to speak in a humored tone. "Well, now we know there's no doubt he's intelligent..."

Applejack shot a sidelong glance at the scroll secured in Twilight's telekinetic grasp. "Are ya sure he could've read th't?"

"He had to, otherwise why would he have taken it in the first place?" Fluttershy wondered meekly.

"Perhaps curiosity?" Rarity said with a tilt of her head in thought. "Who knows if he can even read Equestrian, let alone speak it?"

"Why don't we ask?" Before anypony could stop her, Rainbow Dash swooped away from the group and plopped in front of the Earthling. He didn't so much as flinch, nor appear to have noticed her proximity. Asking her question, she was met with no response. Shrugging, she returned. "Guess that answers that."

"Dash, I don't even think he heard you..." Twilight trailed off as she stared at him. Sure enough, the Earthling showed no signs that he heard a sound, instead preferring to have his head bowed in what could only be described as intelligent thought.

"He may not be able to talk," Fluttershy said suddenly. The others turned their attention to her as she took the turn of keeping an eye on their company. "When I was bringing him through the Everfree, he didn't speak. But he did make a signal with his claws."

"What kinda signal?"

"He cupped one of them and tilted it over his mouth." There was a brief pause as realization flooded her eyes. "That explains why he was by the creek. He had been asking if I had water."

Lyra glanced at her studious friend. "Earthlings may communicate with body language. The article never did say that they heard any of his kind speak Equestrian."

"He must at least understand it," Twilight interjected thoughtfully. "He nodded at Applejack when she greeted him. But yes; it's very possible he may not be able to speak through his vocal... chords..." She trailed off, her mind running scenarios. The other girls continued on without her.

"I thought Equestrian was known all over, though!" Pinkie interjected for the first time, which was a rare occurrence to experience in the other girls' minds.

"Perhaps we've thought wrong this whole time," Lyra had muttered.

"Perhaps," Rarity shook her head with eyes closed. The girls watched her idle curls of her mane follow. "Nonetheless, the poor dear is lost, most likely confused, and above all else..."

"Above all else?" was the echo.

"He's alone." She finished quietly. They all took a moment to consider that, how they had indeed found him without another. How he had looked at them with intelligence, but at the same time a glint of something unrecognizable. Was it confusion? It was a pondering that which its answer eluded the mares.

"Oh no."

The mares turned at the steadily-rising look of horror on Twilight Sparkle's face. "Fluttershy. Did you say he was stabbed by the Manticores' tail?" The nod in response caused a sharp intake of air. Rushing back and away from the group, she plucked a bestiary and began sifting through it in a possibly even-more frenzied search.

"I don't think he's poisoned, Twi'," Rainbow said carefully as she flew herself to hang over her friends' shoulder. "Doesn't Manticore venom kill immediately, especially when he was hit that close to his heart? If he came into contact with it, and he's still kicking now..."

Whether her thoughts were heard or not by the lavender mare was unknown as she landed on the page she was searching for. Rainbow saw it was what she was expecting; articles about the lion-scorpion-bat hybrid. After a few terse moments, Twilight began to read aloud. "'In the event that any being is poisoned with Manticore venom, and has not died in the span of five minutes, then they have only experienced a minor amount. Death is likely, but if treated the victim will survive. Side-effects to having Manticore venom include: blindness, hallucinations, and...'"

A nearly-imperceptible pause left her lips as Twilight finished. "'Loss of complex thinking.'"

Looks of surprise had appeared on all of the mares' faces as they glanced over at the Earthling. He remained in the exact same position, unmoving since he had sat down after his brief leave from the cottage. Rarity ended the moment-long lull in the conversation. "Do you really think that's what happened (or worse yet, what is happening) to him, Twilight?"

Her response had been only an unsure shake of her head. "Not exactly, but we can't just simply rule it out either, girls."

Lyra tapped her hoof impatiently, one that semi-resembled one of the off-kilter beats that the Earthling had done in his fit of intellectual reprise. "We should try speaking to him again. See if he responds with body language, maybe establish some way of communication for him."

The others agreed with this, but were halted by Pinkie. "Do you think he likes parties? I hope so! Being able to throw Ponyville's first 'Welcome To Ponyville, Earthling!' would be so super-terrific!"

A humored chuckle left the entire group as some of the accumulating stress eased its grip. "Let's ask him, shall we?" Rarity said. In one quick moment, they reformed their half-circle in front of the Earthling. It had been expected that he would notice, but it hadn't been expected of him to glance back up and have an irritated gaze directed at Twilight.

Another chuckle, though this time unsure left the mare as she spoke. "Eh heh, I'm sorry for the whole 'nearly-zapped-you-with-my-magic' thing." The only reply she received had been a raised eyebrow. Tentatively, she continued. "The scroll made me weary of you, without being fair and giving you the chance to show if you're not the stereotype it portrayed for your kind."

Silence.

Nervous shifting occurred with all the mares as the Earthling held his rather-piercing gaze with the Bearer of Magic. It lasted for a few moments longer, before he had softened his gaze and gave a curt nod. Relief flooded through them all, before he rose his hand and used one of his slender claws to point at the document. He accentuated the point by doing so again, before using the same finger to point it at himself. He shook his head.

Lyra nodded in understanding from the side of the couch. "You're trying to say that scroll doesn't describe you, right?"

He seemed like he had been going to nod again, before he stopped himself. Raising his entire claw, he extended all of his digits and stiffened them to remain in the broad formation. He gently tilted it from side-to-side, before lowering it. The movement was utterly lost on the mares, but they were willing to accept it.

Everypony (possibly even the Earthling himself) nearly acquired a heart-attack when Pinkie broke the comfort zone and located herself directly into his face. A face-splitting grin adorned her features as she began speaking so rapidly that it made all the Ponies' heads spin. "Hiyah Mr. Earthling! What's your name? Mine's Pinkie Pie! You're so tall! Are all Earthies as tall as you? Oh, what kinda color is your favourite? Mine's pink, I mean hello!-"

The adjoined effort of the three Unicorns in the room silenced her quickly and efficiently. The face belonging to the Earthling was only muted surprise, and to his credit he hadn't flinched when she appeared right in his line of sight. An apologetic smile was flashed to him as Pinkie was hauled back into the line, basically silently stating 'Don't-mind-her, she's-crazy'.

Awkward glancing around by the Earthling was done, before he locked eyes with Applejack. Raising one of his digits, he motioned for her to come over to him. Cautiously, she did as asked. He spun one of his appendages in a circle, and she did an about-face towards her friends. Pointing to Pinkie, he pointed directly at Applejack's eyes.

"Erm... your favourite color is green?" the party-mare asked in a subdued tone. He nodded, and waved Applejack away for her to return to the line. Doing such, he stood up. It had placed the others on edge, but the Earthling didn't seem to notice or even care. Pointing to Pinkie once again, he indicated with his free claw his height. He lowered it, but not below his neck. "And you're taller than average?" she asked again, in which her answer was another nod. There was a pause, in which he appeared to have been thinking, before he shrugged and returned to sitting on the couch.

Twilight stared at him quietly, and while doing such allowed her mind to wander. He doesn't appear to be any less intelligent than we are, so maybe the venom wasn't a large enough dosage. Or Manticore Poison might not even affect Earthlings period...

As she thought, Rarity spoke out to the foreigner. "So, darling..." she paused as the Earthlings' gaze fell onto her. "How are you feeling, hmm?"

This time both of his eyebrows had shot up, almost as if he was truly surprised she was asking such. But as soon as it happened, it vanished under the face that showed little emotion. He flicked out one of his digits, most notably the smallest one located on the inside of its claws. He pointed the appendage at himself, then at the air. While it confused them, the possibly-cocky grin on his face told it better.

"That's good. It would be simply dreadful if we were going to lose the one who saved Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash over here," the fashionista replied with a collected smile. She watched as he gave a nonchalant shrug, before he reclined further into the upholstery.

"Um, a very quick question," Twilight stated with curiosity in her voice, "I don't suppose you know how to speak Equestrian, do you?" She received a rather-confused look, before nodding. Her eyes light up. "You can?! I'm sorry for being blunt about it, but why aren't you speaking it now?" A flat look had been thrown into her direction as he pointed to his injury from the Manticore, and then dragged his digit along the length of it towards his throat.

"I'm terribly sorry, darling. I don't believe we're understanding..."

A frustrated snort left him as he put emphasis on the wrapped-up section by pointing to it once more. Again he dragged his finger, though this time upon arrival to the base of his throat he tightened his claws into a ball. He waved to himself, pointed at his mouth, and finished with a slow shake of his head.

"Are you saying that the Manticore venom damaged your ability to speak?!" Twilight said with a gasp. When the Earthling made no move to correct her, she began going off on a tangent to herself about 'the impossibilities of that occurring', amongst other bouts of surprise. When she finally finished, she looked over at him with a frantic expression. "Is it... permanent?"

There was a pause. One that felt like it was too long. The mares watched as he looked off at some random point in the ceiling for several moments, before addressing Twilight with a shake of his head. Another round of relief shot through the Ponies', but it only caused the inevitable question to arise from Lyra. "Do you know when?"

He stood up abruptly, an action that had been so sudden that all the girls flinched at the action. Slowly, the Earthling began walking around, looking about the parlor with precise examination. Seeing something of interest to him, he quickly walked over towards one of the walls and pointed. His aim was directed at Fluttershy's clock, and after motioning towards the hour-hand, he tapped the space next to the number 'eight'.

Some seconds had passed, before Applejack spoke out in an unsure manner. "Are ya saying you'll be able to speak by tommorow-morning at eight?"

Another nod.

"How do you know what time it'll wear off exactly?" Rainbow Dash commented disbelievingly. Her eyes squinted as she closed the gap between her and the Earthling before he could even respond. "And who are you, anyway? Are you a spy for your race against Equestria?!"

"Rainbow Dash!" the others shouted in dismay at her back. She didn't turn, feeling content to stare deep into the eyes of the stoic-being that had been less than inches away from her. Dash knew that he could understand Equestrian, and she had been nagged by the feeling of not knowing if the same thing that was around her friends was a threat or not-

A choking gasp escaped the Pegasus as all of her muscles not relating to her flight froze up. Her thought process was halted, completely and utterly. All she could do, all she could think about, was the cool and piercing gaze of the Earthling as he stared into her shaking pupils. Without warning, she began seeing images flash before her eyes. Horrifying ones, blurred yet still retaining their full-emotion to bear down upon herself. Anger, sadness, fear... all of these struck her repeatedly and built on one another.

All the while, outside of her mind was silent.

Suddenly, he blinked. And with it the flow of disfigured pauses in his memory, and the unabated stream of feelings ceased to come into contact with her. She backpedaled, completely placing herself behind the semi-circle that was her friends. The others looked at her alarmed, before they turned back to the Earthling confused. "Rainbow Dash... what just happened?"

She was going to say something, to accuse him of being something dangerous and to have him exiled away from Ponyville and its inhabitants. But she couldn't bring herself to doing such. She didn't know why, but she simply could not.Taking a shaky breath, she spoke in surprisingly a normal tone. "Ah... sorry. He just surprised me when he flinched, and it kinda pushed my frayed nerves over."

The others nodded, before Rarity spoke. "We understand, darling. I think all of us is experiencing such, and it may be for the best if we retire for the night. After all, it is nearly eleven." Looking to see it was true, both the Earthling and the Ponies' glanced at Fluttershy's clock. And of course, it was nearing eleven 'o clock.

"Hey, 'Shy," Rainbow muttered as she removed herself and retook her cool demeanor. "Is it cool if all of us stay here? It's kinda late for all of us to be parting ways..." That and there's no way I'm letting any of us be alone with this guy being here, she placed as an afterthought.

The demure Pegasus nodded with a smile. "Oh, that's no problem, Dash. I have some sleeping mats in my closet upstairs. Could you-?"

"Got it!" In the span it took for Fluttershy to pause in confusion, Rainbow Dash was already buzzing up the stairwell. Shaking that away, her attention went to the Earthling who had walked over to one of her bookshelves. Twilight and Lyra stood next to him, looking at his scanning eyes before they became bored and put away the book in his grasp disinterestedly.

"Excuse me." The Earthling glanced over at Fluttershy, who had been uneasily shuffling on her hooves. "Um, I don't think there's enough room down here in the parlor for you and the girls-" She was cut off by his nod of understanding. Letting out a small sigh, he turned and began to walk towards the front door. Her eyes widened as she got in between. "Oh no, I'm sorry. I wasn't being clear." He paused at that, but didn't make any attempt to try and pass her. Relieved, she continued. "There is space on the second floor, though. You can take my bed."

Confusion had been etched unto his face, before he waved a claw in her direction. She shook her head. "Don't worry about it; I want to be down here." Happiness then appeared on Fluttershy's face as she turned to her other company. "It'll be like a slumber party!" Excited murmuring (whether about the Earthling or not) occurred after her statement, and she turned back to her guest. He shrugged in contentment, and motioned for the stairs with a questioning glance. "Second door on the left."

With a smile, the Earthling gave a deep nod of respect and thanks to both Fluttershy and the other mares in the parlor. He turned about-face, and soon was walking up the stairs. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash was descending with the blankets in her grasp. They passed one another, and she couldn't help but shudder lightly from the flash of desperately-repressed memories.

-WTIN-

Exhaustion plagued my features as I stumbled into the quaint room belonging to Fluttershy. Underneath my feet at that time, I could clearly hear them excitedly chattering away about many things. With most of them pertaining to me, of course. Un-shouldering my bag, I tucked it away under the bed in the dark, and clambered in. It had been cozy, and surprisingly not that much smaller than my own size.

"I still can't believe you tapped into the Reserves not only to horrify Ms. Rainbow Dash, but to subtly cloud her thinking to prevent her from gabbing about what you did as well," Ed said in a surprised tone. My response was an internal shrug; I had to do what I had to do, not to mention my morals were kinda lower than usual at that point.

'Gotta do what you gotta do, Ed. Besides, it's her fault. She shouldn't be starting things she cannot finish.'

A tired sigh left him. "All right, Storm. Whatever you say... Get some sleep. The Reserves should be fully-replenished alongside your ability to speak tommorow."

'I will. Be sure to keep an eye out for that supposed "bad feeling" you had earlier tonight, okay?'

"Will do."

Giving a satisfied nod to myself, I quickly succumbed to sleep with only the rather-peaceful sound of the Ponies' chattering being my backdrop.

-WTIN-