• Published 7th Feb 2013
  • 6,680 Views, 286 Comments

Brand New Dusk - AlphatheGriffin17



Book II. Returning once more with new determination, new goals and a new hat, Dusk is ready to see what the magic of friendship can offer... and perhaps much more.

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Flora and Zecora

It was another glorious day in Ponyville. The sun was high in the sky, the birds were chirping in the trees and Dusk was spending it sitting under a tree in a meadow, munching on a dandelion sandwich. He was currently on lunch break, so he'd decided to spend it in the fresh air and sunshine. Twilight didn't mind, as long as he was back at the library at the end of it, which he always was.

As he consumed his lunch, Dusk thought fondly back to the events that had happened a few days ago. Rainbow had won the grand prize, spending the whole day with the Wonderbolts, her dream come true. They'd taught her how to do some of their best moves and she had shown off some of hers to them. They'd even all signed the book that Dusk had got her for Hearth's Warming. She'd been so ecstatic about it, so gobsmacked... and she'd thoroughly earned it. The only thing she hadn't told them was how she'd managed to make the coloured pillars and clouds.

As she had promised, once again never failing to betray his trust, Rainbow had kept that little bit of magic a closely guarded secret, mainly because Dusk didn't want so many ponies beyond his close friends knowing about it yet, and because Dusk didn't want to divert the Wonderbolts from her. This was her victory, her heroes, not his. She had, however, got autographs from all of them for Dusk, which now took pride among his personal possessions. He himself didn't think much of the Wonderbolts, but he knew it would mean a lot to his friend.

Before he could reminisce further on this, however, something caught his eye and brought him out of his thoughts. Not too far away from where he was eating came a figure, dressed in a long, hooded robe. He, or she, appeared to be digging in a particular spot for something. His curiosity getting the better of him, Dusk packed away the remainder of his food and approached the figure.

While he was perfectly happy with the girls as his friends, he thought about trying his hoof at talking to other ponies too. This particular one, out here on his, or her, own, engaged in this strange activity, seemed like a good place to start. Still... why was he, or she, wearing a robe in this warm sun?

The figure did not look up as he approached, nor gave any indication that he, or she, had heard anything. He, or she, just kept digging. He could, at least, put the question of the figure's gender to rest.

"Um... good afternoon sir, or miss. Beautiful day, isn't it?"

The figure paused in her digging, slowly lifting their hooded head. She, for he could soon see it was a she, lowered her hood, revealing a face with grey fur, criss-crossed with black stripes. A zebra, Dusk noted with interest. Her eyes were bright blue, shining exotically. A gold earring glinted on her ear, as did multiple gold necklaces around her neck. A smile graced her lips as she looked at him.

"It is a beautiful day, indeed. On that, we are both agreed," she said in a deep accented voice.

"Oh um... I guess that's miss then," he muttered with embarrassment. "Sorry about the er... the mix up..."

"Do not worry yourself, sir so good, I know it is hard to tell with this hood," she assured him. "But I am getting off track, I must return to my task." She resumed digging, making Dusk all the more curious.

"What are you um... digging for, if you don't mind my asking?"

"This, I shall tell to you, I am searching for a root, for a special brew. It grows in the earth so deep, where moles and badgers do hide and sleep."

Dusk didn't even know where to start with that. He wasn't exactly well educated in flora, only enough to know the basics. But even though he might not know what she was talking about, he still felt like he should help her search.

That got Dusk thinking. There were, of course, many roots that grew underground, as that was where they were in relation to the plant. She needed it as an ingredient for a potion or remedy, he was guessing and there was one particular root that he knew would be likely to be so desired after, due to its properties.

"I could help you dig it out, if I may..." She nodded and Dusk stepped forward to the patch she was searching in. "Just tell me when we find something."

Performing a digging spell, he began to move away the earth little by little, carefully searching for he was going to make friends with this zebra, this seemed like a good way to go about it. He saw something, a flash of pink.

"There is the root I have sought! My search has not been for naught. If you please," she prompted.

That got Dusk thinking. There were, of course, many roots that grew underground, as that was where they were in relation to the plant. She needed it as an ingredient for a potion or remedy, he was guessing and there was one particular root that he knew would be likely to be so desired after, due to its properties.

"Are you, by chance, searching for the Flower Root?" The zebra paused and looked up again. "I thought you might be, because it does grow deep in the earth. A unique plant, in that it takes the energy that plants make from photosynthesis to feed itself and, most curiously, the flowers grow from the root under the earth, even though there's no sun. They're hard to find, but they can be used in a wide variety of medicines and antidotes for sicknesses and poisons."

"Your knowledge is exact, you are most correct. It is indeed the root I seek, of which you speak," she noted admirably.

"I could help you dig it out, if I may..." She nodded and Dusk stepped forward to the patch she was searching in.

He grabbed hold of it with his magic and pulled out the gnarled root, with pink and purple flowers growing in places.

"There we go, miss." He levitated it to her and she put it in her bag. "I imagine it would have taken you a while to hoof-dig all the way to it, so that's saved you a bit of time."

He grabbed hold of it with his magic and pulled out the gnarled root, with pink and purple flowers growing in places.

"There we go, one Flower Root." He levitated it to her and she put it in her bag. "It would have taken you a while to hoof-dig all the way to it, so that's saved you a bit of time."

"It had, indeed, saved me some time. I thank you sir, for you are most kind." She looked at him curiously."Forgive my asking, but never have I seen you. Are you, by chance, new?"

"Relatively, I suppose." At least she seemed friendly, now he'd gotten her root for her. "I've been here since autumn, I moved from Canterlot so I could find work."

"Ah, Canterlot, a place I have not seen, but I someday hope to see. You are far from home, much like myself. Do you live here in good health?"

"I do yes," he said. "I have a nice home, good friends, a job I enjoy... I couldn't ask for more. Anyway, I have yet to introduce myself. I'm Dusk Noir, pleasure to meet you miss...?"

"Zecora, that is my name. In meeting you, I feel the same." She shook his hoof. "You are polite and friendly, it must be said and have a pleasant hat upon your head."

"Um... thanks, Zecora," he said, shifting it a little. "Sorry if I'm a little... well, tentative. I've never met a zebra before. You're even further away from home than me... that must be tough."

"Yes, there are times I miss my native land, more than you can understand..." She seemed to come over rather sad, before brightening again. "But, if I must last, I cannot dwell in the past. Ponyville is now my home, the place that I choose to roam."

"You couldn't have picked a better place," agreed Dusk. "This place is no Kubwa Tambarare, but it has good ponies living here, so... that's something." He looked to see Zecora was gazing at him with wide eyes. "W-what? Is there something wrong?"

"Can this really be... you know the name of where my home used to be?" Zecora sounded surprised at this, but pleasantly so. "If that is so... is there much else of my home that you know?"

"I've um... read a few books on it," admitted Dusk. "Described as a land of unique beauty and nature, where the sun blazes in the sky. Dry grass and trees cover the landscape, that is home to many different people. There are your people, the zebra, but there are also gazelles, antelope, giraffe. Fierce predators like lions and tigers, that prey on them... it's as harsh as it is beautiful, but it doesn't make it any less spectacular...or, so I've read..."

"You are quite right." She had tears welling in her eyes now, no doubt in memory of that place. "That is why I left, to be of danger bereft. To find a land of peace, where I may soundly sleep. I do miss those I have left behind, but I hope to see them again, in time."

"I'm sure you will," said Dusk confidently. "I haven't... upset you, have I?"

"I am neither depressed, nor sad. In fact, I am quite glad, to have met you, to have a knowledge of my home that is so true." She had a warm smile now, wiping away unformed tears. "You are clearly one who likes to look, and to learn things, from a book."

"I do yes." Pleased that he could recall so much of the time he did read those books, he continued. "I read, in detail, a book on your people. You usually live in small villages, constructed from wood or mud if near the river. I remember a few bits and pieces of the language, some greetings and farewells, and some parts of your culture, like carvings and songs."

"I almost shed a tear, I am so glad to hear," she said happily. "You say you know of songs, that my people sing. That is quite a wonderful thing."

"I suppose... I recall a part, or a tune, of one I rather liked. If you'd like... I can, well... I can't gurantee it'll be good..."

"Your judgement, I shall trust. Recite as best you can, my friend Dusk," she invited, sounding genuine.

Dusk delved into his memory, remembering the tune of the song that he had read. Some of the lyrics were a little blurry but... maybe Zecora knew it. If it would make her remember fondly of her home, then he was glad to. He hummed the opening notes of the song, remembering how much it reminded him of their own values of unity and harmony... friendship.

As you go through life you'll see
There is so much that we
Don't understand

And the only thing we know
Is things don't always go
The way we planned

The next part was lost to him, but then Zecora took up the part, singing part of it in her own language, but Dusk knew what it translated out to.

[But you'll see every day]
[That we'll never turn away]
When it seems all your dreams come undone

[We will stand by your side]
[Filled with hope and filled with pride]
We are more than we are
We are one

Now that his memory of the song returned to him, Dusk took up the next verse, now singing it together with Zecora, who was quite overjoyed to hear it.

If there's so much I must be
Can I still just be me
The way I am?

Can I trust in my own heart
Or am I just one part
Of some big plan?

[Even those who are gone]
[Are with us as we go on]
Your journey has only begun

[Tears of pain, tears of joy]
[One thing nothing can destroy]
Is our pride, deep inside
We are one

[We are one, you and I]
[We are like the earth and sky]
One family under the sun

[All the wisdom to lead]
[All the courage that you need]
You will find when you see
We are one

As the song finished, Dusk too found himself smiling, as if he had just been enriched with the pleasures of another culture in just a few minutes. He looked at Zecora, who was wiping tears from her eyes.

"It had been so long, since I have heard that song," she said happily. "I thank you very much, you see, for reciting it so well to me."

"It was my pleasure, Zecora." He inclined his head to her, suddenly aware of the time. "Right, I'd better be getting back to work. It has been wonderful meeting you."

"It is true, I can say the same for you," she replied sincerely. "My home, from here it is not far. I hope to see you soon, Dusk Noir."

"As do I." He tipped his hat to her, remembering a farewell in her own language. "Kwaheri, Miss Zecora. Kukuona karibuni."

"Kukuona karibuni, Dusk," she responded in kind, as Dusk set off at quick pace back to the library.

As he trotted back through the streets of Ponyville, he felt rather proud of himself. He'd managed to make a new friend, something he once thought to be quite impossible, and connected with her on a cultural level, her culture. Somehow, that just made it even better.

When he got back, he was a little later than he normally was. Hoping Twilight wouldn't mind, he stepped inside, moving to resume the task he had been doing before lunch. The unicorn in question smiled at his arrival.

"Hello Dusk, you're back a bit later than usual," she noted.

"Hujambo... I mean, hello Twi," he replied, realising he was still speaking in Zecora's language. "Sorry, I got a little held up."

"It's okay, I don't mind." She raised an eyebrow at him. "What language was that?"

"It's one they speak in the land of Kubwa Tambarare," he told her. "I've just been speaking to an native from the land, a zebra named Zecora."

"Oh, you've met Zecora?" Twilight's smile became brighter. "What did you think of her?"

"She's... very unique. In a good way," he added. "I was glad to meet her..."

"You should've been here when she first arrived," put in Spike. "Everypony thought she was an evil enchantress."

"No, really?"

"Yep. Twilight and the others got in some Poison Joke and they thought she'd cursed them." At the memory of this, Spike burst out laughing "Hey... hey,I never got to say... 'Twilight Flopple!'"

Dusk didn't know what that meant, but he figured that it was some effect of the plant. A wobbly horn was a common joke it played on unicorns that wandered into it. Twilight flushed at the mention of this, glaring at Spike, who was rolling around on the floor.

"Well, when we came into town, you thought everypony was hiding from zombies," she retorted. That shut him up.

"All undead aside," Dusk said, breaking the silence, "she was very pleasant. She invited me to visit her home sometime and I intend to take her up on it."

"Really?" Twilight looked relieved at the change of subject. "Well, now you mention it, I was thinking of going to visit her tomorrow. She makes this wonderful herbal tea, it's a favourite of mine. Do you want to come along?"

"Certainly," he agreed, pleased that he would get to spend some time away from work with her. "Where is her home, by the way?"

"She lives in the Everfree Forest. Now, don't worry," she said, as Dusk developed a stunned expression, "we'll be fine as long as we're careful."

"Okay..." Dusk felt reassured from that. "Yeah, you're right. As long as we don't do anything foolish, what's the worst that could happen?"

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