• Published 29th Jan 2012
  • 32,197 Views, 640 Comments

The Dresden Fillies: Strange Friends - psychicscubadiver

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, accidentally travels to Equestria. What could go wrong?

  • ...

Chapter Three

Chapter Three

Written by: Psychicscubadiver
Edited by: Silentcarto

Disclaimer: I don’t own The Dresden Files or My Little Pony that is Jim Butcher and Hasbro, respectively. This is a fanfiction only. Comments are appreciated, trolling is not. This takes place before season two in MLP and between books five and six in the Dresden Files.

Twilight’s mind was full of conflicting thoughts and emotions as she trotted towards Ponyville. From what she knew of him, Dresden was a force to be reckoned with. Peace had reigned in Equestria for centuries, and no pony living had faced a warrior like him. If her theories were correct, he was a battle mage. Worse yet, it wasn’t difficult to sense that, in terms of raw magic power, he outclassed her. She knew it was a little arrogant, but she’d never expected to meet somepony, other than the Princesses of course, with more magical potential. She knew she had more power, if not more skill, than any unicorn alive. It was hard not to feel a little fearful, even jealous maybe, of a talent like his.

But, a more hopeful part of her reasoned, he hasn’t actually hurt anypony since he arrived. Sure he’s scary, but he didn’t mean to make me faint, and he even cared for me while I was out. Fluttershy likes him, and she’s the most timid pony I know when it comes to strangers. Besides, his soul was that of somepony who stood against darkness, one who protects others.

Yeah, her suspicious side retorted, but he’s also close to becoming the darkness he fights. With all his power, what if he does cross the line? Who will stop him? Princess Celestia can. Maybe the Elements of Harmony can. I need to be prepared and to send him back as soon as possible.

If he’s that dangerous, though, why did I leave Fluttershy alone with him? Why do I trust him? Not just with Fluttershy; why do I believe everything he told me? Because he’s a terrible liar, her mind prompted. But how do I know that? His soul, she realized. It was more than just what she had seen; she somehow knew things about him on an almost instinctual level. But that train of logic had a frightening conclusion.

Oh my gosh, she thought, he saw my soul too! She flushed and felt her heart clutch in her chest. He had seen her soul. She felt exposed in a way she would never have believed. Not even my friends know me that well. Nopony should see another like that. It was the worst possible invasion of privacy, and the fact that he had to endure it too was little comfort.

But what had he seen? She knew she wasn’t a perfect pony by any stretch, and that a mirror could be cruel. Even though she’d confronted him about the Soulgaze, neither of them had said a word about what they’d seen. What does he think of me? She wondered wildly. When we spoke he acted like I was a friend. Are we friends? How did she feel about him? Could they even be friends, given how dangerous he was? He was kind, but full of anger. He was honorable, but power hungry. He was courteous, but sarcastic. He was a riddle.

This is ridiculous! Twilight thought as she finally neared Ponyville. I would rather fight Nightmare Moon again than deal with this! Everything she knew had once been black and white, but ever since this stranger arrived she had nothing but a world of grays.

She picked up her pace a little as the library came into view. Spike would be awake by now and probably in the middle of doing his chores. She briefly considered writing the letter herself and sealing it before Spike sent it, but that was too problematic. Not only would she have to explain the sealed letter, but also explain why she would be gone all day without making him suspicious. Besides, she felt wrong lying to any of her friends, but especially her number one assistant.

“Spike?” Twilight called as she entered into the library. “I need to dictate a letter to Princess Celestia. Hurry, this is urgent.”

“Urgent?” Spike said. He hurried down the stairs a feather duster still in one hand. “Is the egg Fluttershy found really that important?”

Twilight realized she had completely forgotten her original purpose once Dresden arrived. “No, this is something different. I saw a new species on the way to Fluttershy’s.”

Spike lost interest. “Twilight, informing the Princess about a new type of beetle isn’t urgent. Remember when you discovered that new subspecies of trout and--”

“That was years ago,” Twilight retorted, though she did flush slightly at the memory. “This species is intelligent, larger and probably stronger than ponies, possibly aggressive, and the representative I met had at least as much potential for magic as I do.” She stopped and glared at Spike. “That is why this is urgent.”

Spike’s jaw had almost hit the floor by the time Twilight finished; he took the stairs two at a time and was back downstairs with paper, ink and a quill in record time. Twilight cleared her throat and began to dictate. She summarized as best she could the events of that morning, but after a moment’s hesitation she didn’t mention the Soulgaze. The whole story was already so hard to believe, including that would make her sound crazy. She would tell the Princess about it in private after she had already met Dresden.

“Now Spike, seal that and send it.” Twilight said, as she began gathering a few books. The suddenly practical On the Theory of Alternate Realities was joined by several teleportation references and an illusion text.

Spike completed the letter, sealed it, and sent it using his customary magic fire. He turned to Twilight, his eyes glittering with curiosity. “Can I see him? Huh, Twilight? Please?” Spike begged, “He sounds really cool!” He paused, noticing Twilight’s amused expression and tried to put on a cooler demeanor. “Err. I mean. It could be really important for me to be there. You probably need your assistant on hand when dealing with a strange new creature.” His hopeful grin, though, told volumes.

Twilight patted him on the head and her voice took on a slightly patronizing tone. “Sorry, Spike. I have a more important job for you.” Spike’s face fell in disappointment, but quickly took on a more skeptical expression. Twilight ignored him and continued. “I want him here, where I can keep an eye on him until Princess Celestia arrives. I need you to fix up the storage room so he can sleep there if it’s necessary.”

“Fine,” Spike grumbled. His grousing, though, was short-lived. He burped, shooting out a small jet of green flame. Within the fire a letter formed, and Spike caught it in his outstretched hand.

“That was quick,” Twilight commented while Spike cleared his throat.

“It says, ‘I’m sorry, Miss Sparkle, but the Princess is in another castle. This week she and Princess Luna are visiting Coltenhagen. Your letter will be forwarded to her with today’s reports from Canterlot at sunset.’ Huh? Do you want to send another letter to tell them how urgent it is?”

Twilight felt a surge of frustration and briefly wanted to tear the letter to pieces. So much for a quick and decisive solution, she complained. What else could go wrong?! She had forgotten all about her mentor’s trip this week. She sighed, massaging one of her temples, willing herself to relax. She counted prime numbers until she could trust herself to speak without screaming. “No, we’d better not. If I tell them it’s urgent, I’ll have to explain why or they’ll take a look themselves, and then the news would be everywhere. We’ll just have to wait. Now get to work, I’m heading over to Rarity’s.” Spike sulked behind her, muttering as she left. “Jeez, I don’t get to see the cool alien or Rarity, and now I’ve got even more chores to do. Sometimes a dragon just can’t catch a break.”

Twilight had barely opened the door when she ran into a familiar orange earth pony. Her trademark brown Stetson was off center and her coat was soaked with sweat; it looked like she’d been running around all morning.

“Woah there, sugarcube.” Applejack said, “I can see you’re inna hurry but you seen Pinkie Pie anywhere?”

“Applejack!” Twilight yelped, as she stumbled to a halt. “I thought you and Pinkie Pie were working on new recipes today.”

“Well, that’s the thing. I can’t seem to find that filly nowhere. Mrs. Cake ain’t see her since this morning, said she was goin’ on about holes in the fabric of reality or something and she went and dashed off. I was hoping she was here, ‘cause I’ve already checked most other places in town. Do you know where she is?”

Twilight had a sinking feeling that she knew exactly where Pinkie was. Applejack noticed her friend’s discomfort and eyed her curiously. Twilight sighed; she couldn’t lie to her friend. “I might know where she is, but I need to collect Rarity first. Follow me.” She started trotting down the street, and Applejack hurried to catch up.

“Now hold up there. Where is she, and why do we need Rarity? I’m perfectly capable of collectin’ her myself, thank you,” Applejack replied. Twilight shook her head.

“No, that’s not what I meant. I’ve got some important news, and it’ll be easier if I don’t have to repeat myself.”

“Funny,” Applejack retorted, giving her friend a playful jab and a smile, “And here I thought you loved talking almost as much as reading.”

Twilight giggled a little. “I’m not that bad, am I?”

“So, anyway,” Applejack quickly changed the subject, “I wouldn’t mind your opinion on some of my ideas for recipes. My favorite so far, is an apple muffin using nutmeg instead of cinnamon.” They passed the rest of the trip discussing Applejack’s ideas for new treats until before long they were there.

The Carousel Boutique looked to have been freshly cleaned and practically shone in the afternoon sunshine. Twilight wondered which poor colt, or colts maybe, had been induced to rescue the fair Rarity from the threat of a dirty house.

“Welcome!” trilled a cultured voice as they entered, “To Carousel Boutique, where every item is chic, unique and magnifique.” The white unicorn stopped working on the dress she’d been altering and turned to see her two friends. “Twilight, Applejack! How good to see you. What brings you to my humble shop today?”

Twilight glanced around the shop. “Is anypony else here?” At Rarity’s head shake, she continued “It’s kind of a long story, but I’ll try to give you the basics. On my way to Fluttershy’s this morning, I discovered a strange new creature, something I’ve never even heard of. He’s definitely non-equine, kind of scary-looking, actually, but I discovered he is intelligent. I was hoping Rarity could figure out some way to disguise him, until the Princess can send him home.” Her friends just stared at her. “I know it sounds crazy but right now he’s with Fluttershy, and I don’t want him out of my sight for any longer than necessary.”

Rarity sighed, “I suppose this dress can wait. Especially if it’s to help out a friend in need.” She began examining rolls of fabric, trying to decide what to take with her.

“Hold on there,” Applejack said. “You mean, you just left her alone with this weird feller? Twilight, you sure Fluttershy’s up to that? She may’ve offered to help, but she might be bitin’ off more than she can chew.”

Twilight shook her head. “She’s fine. I passed out after seeing him and when I came to, they were already friends.”

“You fainted, Twilight?” Rarity said from behind the stacks of fabric she was going through. “Oh, how terrible does this creature look?” She asked with a shudder. “I mean there’s only so much I can do.”

Twilight shrugged “He’s not that bad. I was more surprised by how he fell out of a hole in the sky.” Her voice lowered to a mutter. “And that business with the Soulgaze didn’t help either.”

“The what now?” Applejack asked suspiciously.

“Nothing!” Twilight said quickly, “Are you ready, Rarity?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be, darling. Applejack, would you be a dear and take that set of saddlebags for me? There’s really too much for me to carry myself.”

Applejack stopped eyeing Twilight and put on the saddlebags; they were overflowing with multiple rolls of fabric and other sewing paraphernalia. “Is all this really necessary?” she asked.

“Well, of course,” Rarity replied. “I don’t know what I’ll need until I can actually see him. Twilight, you simply must describe him for me, so I can start thinking of a design.” They left the Boutique, Rarity quickly flipping the sign to ‘Closed’, and they all started walking for Fluttershy’s cottage.

How to describe him, Twilight wondered, “Well, for starters, imagine a diamond dog, only really tall…”

“Meanwhile at Fluttershy’s house!” Pinkie Pie announced proudly. Fluttershy and I just looked at her. Fluttershy had apparently learned better than to ask, but I couldn’t help myself.

“Sorry, what?” Not that much of what she’d said had made any sense so far. But hey, a guy can hope, can’t he?

“Nothing, just setting up a scene transition.” Pinkie’s smile took up more of her face than I think was physically possible.

“Well, uh. Back to the show then.” I stumbled, trying to keep my stage presence. Hell’s bells. How had my father managed this in front of an entire crowd? “Let’s move on to the next trick.” She nodded enthusiastically and Fluttershy smiled. My first couple of spells didn’t get much of a reaction, levitating objects wasn’t very impressive it seemed. Wizards like Twilight must be able to practice openly. My practice with tracking spells, using nothing but a crystal and one of their tail hairs went over better. Though I still didn’t understand how Pinkie could have fit in that bucket of sponges. Now I was doing magic circles; I started with sealing Pinkie in a soundproof one. Fluttershy and I had gotten a laugh out of that, and so did she after a minute. Next was something a bit more exciting.

“For my next trick we shall need to go outside for a moment,” Pinkie smiled eagerly and shot off before I had even taken a step. I stopped by the kitchen and grabbed a stool, some salt and an apple. My spell components gathered, I put them at the far end of Fluttershy’s lawn, as far from the house as I could manage. “Now, I must give fair warning to the audience that this will appear dangerous, but rest assured. I have it completely under control.” Hopefully, at least. All of my spells thus far had gone off without a hitch, but now it was time to try for something more serious. I set the apple on the stool and surrounded the whole thing with a circle of salt. I murmured a soft quasi-Latin word and sealed the circle with my will. As I did I let some the energy spill out, causing a flurry of sparks and a sudden view of the mystical barrier before it faded to invisibility again. Fluttershy and Pinkie gasped appreciatively, and I couldn’t hold back a grin. Visual effects were a waste of magic, but they sure looked cool. I backed off about ten paces and made sure my equine audience was behind me. If anything went wrong I’d take the brunt of the forces in play. I raised my blasting rod and focused on it. The runes carved into it glowed to life with the familiar smell of burnt wood. The tip began to glow an angry red as I slowly prepared the spell. No need to take it fast for the first try. The magic came together in powerful rush, and I gestured with the rod releasing it with a ringing shout.

“Fuego!” I cried. An enormous column of flame erupted out of my blasting rod, striking the circle I had prepared, in a wave of vicious fire. It split as it reached the magic barrier, like a river meeting a rock, washing to either side of it. The flames died out quickly as the magic dissipated, and I walked over to the circle. I was pleased to see it had maintained integrity, the salt remained, not a single grain had moved, and the stool and apple looked just fine. I broke the circle with a thought and picked up the apple. It was cool to the touch even. I smiled and turned to face the speechless ponies. Their mouths were hanging open, and I chuckled. Remembering my father’s lessons on showmanship, I bowed slightly and gently tossed the apple to Fluttershy. She squeaked and flinched, but Pinkie managed to catch it before it hit the ground.

“It’s not even hot!” she exclaimed before taking a big bite. Fluttershy looked at me with amazement and what looked a little like fear. I was suddenly glad that had I arranged the whole thing as a magic show. Seeing me toss around fire of that magnitude without explanation would probably have sent her into a panic. I cursed myself for not realizing that sooner and belatedly noticed the scorch marks on her lawn.

“Well, ladies. That’s about that.” I rubbed my neck nervously. “Sorry about your yard, Miss Fluttershy. I wasn’t thinking.”

“Oh, that’s okay. It’ll grow back.” She stared at me and I had to duck my eyes to avoid a Soulgaze. “But that was really amazing. I mean, I’ve seen Twilight do plenty of magic, but never anything like that.”

“Really?” I asked, “So, I take it fire manipulation isn’t common here?” She shook her head. Strange, making fire was one of the more basic spells. It required more power than moving things around with wind, but energy liked to eventually turn to heat anyway. Speaking of energy, I noticed that I didn’t feel as tired as I should have after that fire blast, considering all the spells I’d been slinging just a couple of hours before. Normally, moving that kind of energy would come with some effort, not too different from a taking a single flight of stairs, but I had hardly felt it. Curious, I cast out my wizardly senses, something I should have done the moment I arrived in hindsight, but, hey I’d been distracted by absurdly cute ponies. “Stars and stones!” I yelped. This world practically buzzed with magic. The air was so saturated it was like standing on top of a huge ley line. I could hardly believe I’d missed it before.

“That was magically delicious!” Pinkie shouted as she bounced over to us and broke into a fit of giggles. “Ooh, ooh! Could you do the fire part again, only bigger?” I blinked; well she was far from scared.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I began and her face looked so hopeful, the rest was hard to say, “Fire is dangerous, especially in the amounts you’re talking about. I shouldn’t, I mean couldn’t do that. If something went wrong a pony could get hurt.” At that her, bottom lip stuck out and her eyes got wider, and filled with sadness and a silent pleading. I had to look away, and not to avoid a Soulgaze this time. The little pink pony had the best puppy eyes I’d ever seen.

“Don’t worry, you can do it! Please?” she asked and gave hopeful smile.

Fluttershy added her two cents as well. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that, Mr. Dresden.” I gave her a short glare and she fell back a little, nervous and mumbling again. “I mean, you know if it’s not too much trouble or anything.”

I groaned. I knew when I was beaten. I couldn’t say no to a pair of faces like that. “Okay, but we’re moving further away from the house and I’m only going to do it once, agreed?” They both smiled and nodded. How come I’m a sucker for every woman I meet? Even non-human ones? They followed me until we were about a hundred yards from the house back in the meadow I’d first arrived in. I wasn’t close to any trees, and I checked the sky for any birds (nothing but clouds up there).

“Okay,” I warned. “Stay back.” They moved back a few steps. “No. I mean, way, way back.” They hesitated then complied; Pinkie had somehow gotten a box of popcorn and was excitedly munching away. I breathed in deeply and gathered my power as I did so. I drew in magic and shaped it in my mind to what I wanted it to do. It took a few moments to gather all that energy. This kind of spell was ridiculously impractical for battle, but it would be impressive as hell. The tip of my blasting rod glowed incandescent white, almost too bright to look at. I raised it carefully, pointing it straight up into the sky as I roared “Pyrofuego!”

A colossal tower of raging fire poured forth from my blasting rod so furiously I could barely keep it aimed. As it climbed, the immense inferno spun madly, forming what looked like a cyclone from Hell. The whole thing was beautiful, almost hypnotic. I’d always liked fire. Some would even accuse me of being a pyromaniac, but it was useful in my line of work. Fire is a force of cleansing, both physically and spiritually. That’s why humans are instinctively drawn to the flicker of flames; we know that fire holds the darkness at bay.

That being said, what I had done was still unbelievable. The ridiculous thing reached more than a hundred feet before it gave out. Overall, the result was a little more than I’d intended. I must have accidently drawn in a lot more power then I had originally planned. I would have to be more careful when I reached for my magic from now on. Only then did my inner monologue remind me, didn’t Twilight say something about not attracting attention? She did, in fact. Oh, damn.

“Well, girls,” I announced to my audience, “time to leave the scene of the crime.” I put away my blasting rod and started walking toward Fluttershy’s house, trying to look innocent. Fluttershy and Pinkie followed me, Pinkie chatting happily about something. I tuned her out and watched for any pursuit. This wasn’t the first time I’d made a strategic retreat after starting a huge fire. Won’t be the last time either, I thought, well, at least this time I got away without getting caught.

“Hold it right there, you weirdo!” a brash voice cried.

I froze and turned slowly, cursing myself, Damnit Harry, you have got to stop giving the universe a challenge like that! It was another pegasus, but this one was flying towards me at almost ludicrous speed.

Seriously? When the hell did ponies get hyper-active hyper drive? I wondered irrelevantly.

She was a blue pony, with a rainbow colored mane and tail, and was absolutely pissed off; she even managed to make her pink eyes look scary. I could study all of this in great detail because she was speeding right toward me, I mean dead on. I reminded myself that diving to the ground before she rammed into me wouldn’t be very manly and mentally prepared my shield. I hoped the inevitable collision wouldn’t hurt her much. She put on the brakes about twenty feet away and managed to stop scant inches from my barrier, defying just about every law of physics I’d ever learned. I let the power drain out of my shield and almost immediately regretted it.

She darted forward, actually pressing her face against mine so that all I could see was her glare. “Just who the hay do you think you are? I was having a nice nap til your stupid fire evaporated my cloud!” she yelled. At this point, a sensible person would back off and explain things to her in a calm and orderly fashion. However, she had nearly flattened me and besides, I’m not likely to be accused of being sensible. I set phasers to snark and opened fire.

“I the hay am Harry Dresden.” I deadpanned. It took her a second to get it.

“Don’t you get smart with me, weirdo! And back off from my friends!’ She poked me in the chest with one of her hooves. I knocked it away with my staff.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I replied without an ounce of sincerity, “Is that supposed to scare me? Look, sweetheart, you’re cute and all, but intimidation is a big people game. Why don’t you buzz off?” I turned and started walking, but she zoomed around me and got in my face again.

“Oh, no you don’t, I’m still talking to you!”

“Fantastic. I’m still not listening, so we’re even,” I retorted, giving her a smirk. I think it was the smirk that did it. Her face turned red, and I mean that literally. It didn’t flush; it actually turned a cartoonish red with anger. I could feel my spleen venting as I considered my next line. Bugs Bunny had a lot of good ones I could use, but I decided to go with something a little more modern, suitably modified of course.

“You mad, pony?” That settled it. Her eyes flashed with rage. She was going to do her best to hurt me. I briefly wished I wasn’t such a wiseass as I prepared a few handy spells. Then, Pinkie bounced between us and the tension dissipated almost instantly.

“Aw, c’mon Dashie, friends shouldn’t fight.” Pinkie chimed bubbly as ever.

“No way, Pinkie.” The blue pegasus snorted and crossed her hooves, “I mean, who’s friends with this weirdo? Not me, that’s for sure.”

“Um, well,” Fluttershy poked her head out from behind a bush. “Pinkie and I are. And maybe Twilight.” She walked hesitantly towards us. “You aren’t going to fight again, are you?” It didn’t take my vast deductive ability to see that she was afraid of confrontation. I felt like a complete ass. I shook my head, and she sighed happily. That meant I had to do something I didn’t want to, though.

With a sigh of my own I extended a hand toward the hovering pony and said “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said any of that. Sometimes my mouth runs before my brain catches up.” She looked suspiciously at my hand until Pinkie prodded her. Her glare switched to the pink little pony, but Pinkie just giggled.

“All right,” she said, taking my hand and shaking it, “but only because Fluttershy and Pinkie like you.” She seemed to warm up a little. “I’ve got to admit, that huge fireball thing was cool. And if anypony knows cool it’s me! I’m Rainbow Dash, the fastest flier in all of Equestria.”

Well, that wasn’t so bad. Now maybe we could still get away before another pony came to investigate. “Nice to meet you, I’m Harry.”

Rainbow Dash cocked an eyebrow, “But you’re not.”

Damnit, I thought, not this again. Out loud I said, “Never mind, just call me Dresden.”

She shrugged. “Whatever.” The pegasus moved to drift lazily alongside me as we walked back to Fluttershy’s house. “So, can you do anything else cool?”

I gave her a cocky smile. “You don’t know the half of it, kid.”