• Published 7th Feb 2012
  • 17,559 Views, 656 Comments

Displaced - Seven Fates



A unicorn colt has an accident, and nopony knows him. His wild claims go widely ignored until...

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Chapter 5

Warning: This chapter contains events that some may find upsetting. Please refer to the authors comments for an explanation of why these events occurred, and what is to become of them.

- - -

The sight of Ponyville from up here on the cliff was beautiful. Looking out at the town, Warren felt as though everything was crying for his attention. He could see the town hall standing tall and proud at the dead center of town. From that point, he was able to pinpoint Sugarcube Corner, Carousel Boutique, the library, the schoolhouse, and even the hospital. He could even see the verdant apple orchards of Apple Bloom's family farm 'Sweet Apple Acres', nestled just south of the Everfree Forest.

Despite everything that had happened, it still wasn't home. He knew he didn't belong in this world. Everypony he'd met had been so kind and accepting of him. The feeling was just so alien to him. It was a far cry from the casual indifference of humans. All in all, it was too much for him to even register how high up he was, and that he'd be hang-gliding in just a few minutes.

Turning away from the cliff, he looked at Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom. The three of them were working together to fit each other with their helmets and harnesses. He'd insisted on gearing up himself, explaining that he wanted some time to think by himself, about the party Pinkie Pie was going to spring on him at some point. Fluttershy had informed him the previous night about Pinkie's parties, and how she'd hoped he'd have more time to settle in before there was a party.

It wasn't really a lie, when he thought about it. He really did want to think. It just wasn't what he was actually thinking about. He found himself thinking again about whether or not he could really ever fit in, as well as whether or not his memories were in fact real. His practices last night had allowed him to activate his horn, and levitate a pillow. I somehow managed to set my horn on fire, but that didn't detract from the fact that I was able to perform magic. Humans can't do magic!

“You all set?” he asked. He shook his head clear of thoughts. “We should really get started before the sun begins to set. It won't do us any good if we can't see where we're landing.”

“We're all set over here!” Scootaloo called back cheerfully. “Right girls?”

“Yeah!” Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle exclaimed, albeit less than enthusiastically. “Come on over so we can all get tethered in.”

Warren smiled at his friends and trotted over to the glider. He couldn't remember the last time he'd just gone and had some genuine fun with a group of friends. Coming along for this was a great idea.

- - -

This was a terrible idea! They had barely cleared the cliff edge when his fear of heights miraculously came back to him. What was I thinking? It clearly wasn't about hang-gliding. He took a deep breath and shut his eyes. It'd all be over soon.

Scootaloo must have noticed him shutting his eyes and the anxious expression on his face, because she put a hoof on his shoulder. “You're scared of heights?” He nodded, keeping his eyes shut tight. “Why'd you ask to come along, then?”

Warren let out a self-deprecating laugh. “Because I'm some sort of idiot, I guess.” He opened an eye, just a crack, and glanced over at Scootaloo. “I don't suppose you know any fliers tips for overcoming fears of heights, do you?”

She shook her head. “Can't say I do, but I keep telling myself Rainbow Dash would say something like 'Pretend you're invincible, and don't look down if you can help it.'”

He inhaled, and exhaled, centering himself, and opened his eyes fully. Remember, you're invincible. Just enjoy the scenery, and everything will be just fine. It seemed to be working. No longer did his stomach feel like it was going to tear itself apart out of fear. Instead, he felt like a feather drifting serenely on the wind, over Ponyville and the surrounding fields. More than that, he felt liberated.

“It certainly seems like sound advice.” He laughed, looking at Scootaloo with a new-found respect. “It's definitely working.”

They soared quietly over the town. The breeze in his face was awesome. Occasionally, the girls would spot somepony or someplace they knew, and point them out as they saw them. For the slightest moment, he felt something burgeoning in his heart. For the first time in days, since he'd woken up in the ruined castle in fact, he truly felt happy.

“So Goldenrod, how are ya likin' Ponyville?” Applebloom called over from the other side of Scootaloo.

“Are you finding everything okay?” Sweetie Belle asked from his other side. Obviously they wanted to keep his mind off the height with conversation. It worked for him. They hadn't had much time to talk today. The Crusaders had been required to stay in to write a small essay for talking in class.

“Yeah!” he exclaimed, relishing in the opportunity to further distract himself from the height. “Oh! I didn't get to tell you guys yet! I met Pinkie Pie last night!”

The Cutie Mark Crusaders all laughed together. “We know what that means! Pinkie Pie's parties are the best!”

The group let out a loud cheer that carried on the wind in all directions, causing many ponies below to look up at the source of the sound. Everypony below began waving up at the fillies and colt gliding above them. Every one of them, including Warren, waved back at the gathering crowds. They were all having such a blast.

Without warning, a piercing shriek cut through the air. The faces of the ponies below showed terror, the gathered crowd quickly dispersing. Everypony was running indoors, or diving under whatever cover could be found. Soon after, Warren could hear what he could have sworn was an air-raid siren.

Confused, he glanced around frantically. Finally, he looked up and saw the fabric of the glider's wings darkening rapidly. There was a sickening tearing sound as bright-amber avian claws shredded through the wings of the hang-glider. As the claws grasped the the frame, all forward momentum ceased. In front of them, a large feathered wing beat downward in front of them. They didn't know what would happen next. All they knew was that an impossibly huge bird had them in its clutches, and it was dragging them west, over the Everfree Forest.

To Warren's surprise, Sweetie Belle shouted out, pointing down “Look, Goldenrod! That's our friend Zecora's house.” Sure enough, she was pointing down towards a large tree with a column of smoke rising out of it. “She sometimes lets Apple Bloom help make potions!”

From Scootaloo's other side, Apple Bloom called back, “I really don't think now's the time for that!”

A really stupid thought crossed Warren's mind. Granted, it was much less stupid than letting this gigantic bird take them god-knows-where to do god-knows-what with them. Didn't change the fact that it was dangerous as all hell. Ah screw it. I'd rather die falling than being eaten.

“Girls, you're going to want to hold on to something. I have no idea if what I'm about to do is going to work, and even if it does...” Trailing off, he shook his head. “Don't even think about that for now. Just remember where Sweetie Bell pointed out Zecora's home.”

Warren screwed his eyes shut in concentration. He concentrated on the thought of all his energy being focused in his horn. Feeling the familiar tingle in his horn, he opened his eyes to verify that it was active. A hazy green aura was dancing around the tip of his horn. Okay, so that's working... Now... What can I focus on levitating or gripping magically long enough for my horn to catch fire again?

The glider jerked, causing his glasses to slide forward, precariously to the tip of his nose. Almost without thinking, he imagined a hand pressing the glasses right back up his face. Sure enough, the same green haze was also dancing around his glasses. Now, keep it there. He focused his attentions wholly on keeping his glasses on his face.

“Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, I need you two to squeeze together. I have to get a boost.” He shouted. The stress of continually casting the spell was causing his head to pound, disrupting his other senses. “Hurry!”

The pair of fillies both looked at him like he was crazy, but didn't object. They both began shuffling together, allowing him to place his hooves on their shoulders. He was close enough to almost touch the claw with the tip of his horn. With a bit more concentrated energy, he began to feel the same burning in his horn he felt the previous night just before it'd caught fire.

In a flash, his horn was aflame. Licking the talons of the massive bird, the flames were like a dog excited to see its master. A loud shriek came from above as a shiver went through the bird's foot. Almost as quickly, it released the glider in its entirety. The sudden jerk caused him to lose his balance, causing his head to swing back, and his horn nicked the safety tether.

The flame quickly caught on the tether. Oh come on! Who makes a flammable safety tether? His mind screamed as the tether began to practically disintegrate. Regaining his balance, he squeezed back down between the girls.

“You might want to hold on tight...” He cried, as he realized the glider was in free fall. “The tether just went up in flames.”

The change in weight distribution sent the ruined glider tumbling. Fillies and colt alike were now holding desperately onto the structure, no longer safely suspended by the tether. It felt to Warren almost like being in a carnival ride. He couldn't help but shout a terrified “Crap, crap... CRAP!” It came to an abrupt end as the glider struck the treeline, causing his helmet to crash against Scootaloo's, causing him to black out.

- - -

A burning sensation dragged him back from the depths of unconsciousness. To his surprise and confusion, his horn was still active, and still aflame, the spell holding his glasses to his face still going strong. Quickly, he focused on ending the spell, and then plunged his horn into the dirt. It occurred to him that he was no longer wearing his helmet when he bumped his face off the ground.

Removing his extinguished horn from the ground, he stood up and looked around. He found himself standing in a small clearing. In the dense foliage above, the glider was a complete wreck. He looked around, desperate to find the girls. What little light was leaking through the forest canopy showed that night was almost upon them. He really didn't want to spend another night in this forest.

“Girls!” He called out haphazardly. It didn't matter if there are dangerous beasts in the forest; whatever happens to them is my responsibility now. “Are you all okay?”

In response to this, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom both crawled out of the bushes, covered in pine needles and tree sap. Aside from some nicks on their legs and torn harnesses, the two of them were pretty much intact. “Yeah, we're fine. Just more of the usual.”

He watched as they touched some of the tree sap covering them. Giving himself the once over, he saw that he was surprisingly clear of sap. “I guess I just fell straight down from the glider. No sap in sight.” He laughed pointing a hoof up at the wrecked glider.

The filly pair didn't look up though. They were looking around, a distressed look on their faces. It hit him like a brick why they were upset; Scootaloo wasn't anywhere to be seen. Had she been thrown further than the others?

With no concern for himself, the others, or what might be lurking out there, he began off in the direction the girls had come from. He could hear them begin to follow. Without turning back to face them, he said, “No, you two stay here. I'm just going to go get Scootaloo, and then we can all make haste for Zecora's place.” Without waiting for a response, he bolted.

Every once in a while, he'd call out to the girls back in the clearing, as well as to Scootaloo. He didn't know how far he'd actually gotten when he finally found her. All he knew was that he could barely hear the crusader pair back in the clearing when from behind a tree trunk came a pained groan and pitiful whimpering. Walking around the tree, he began, “Scootaloo, thank god I found-”

What he saw before him turned his blood to ice. She was huddled against the tree trunk, staring with intense shock at something orange on the ground at her hooves. It took a minute for him to register what it was he was seeing. A nearby tree was streaked with blood where she passed by too closely. One of her wings had somehow been torn clean off. He could see a large gash in her harness, and the spot where her wing had once been. It was weeping blood, and Scootaloo was weeping too.

In a hoarse voice that he didn't even recognize, Scootaloo said, “Goldenrod, I don't want them to see me like this. Please don't let them see.” She grabbed her severed wing with her hooves and clutched it to her chest. She broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. He decided that he didn't want the girls to see this either. It'd break their hearts.

Turning his head in the direction he came from, he shouted back to the girls in the clearing. “Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, you two go on ahead to Zecora's. We'll catch up to you. I promise.”

“But-”

“Just go!” Warren yelled. Tears were streaming from his eyes. This is all my fault! “Look at the sun, and run the opposite direction from that. That's east!”

- - -

Picking up Scootaloo's wing and tucking it in her harness – his harness, really – was the hardest thing he'd ever had to do. She didn't put up a fight when he removed her own harness and used it to staunch the bleeding. She didn't cry out, or even whimper. Putting his harness on her was met with even less resistance. It needed to be done, he couldn't very well keep it there otherwise. Even with the makeshift bandage, he knew she wouldn't last very long without treatment. She was already going into shock. He didn't blame her.

He nuzzled her cheek. “Can you walk?”

He watched as Scootaloo shook her head rose onto her hooves for a moment, before slumping back against the tree. She shook her head, sending tears flying off of her cheeks. “I... I'm scared, Goldenrod,” she whispered in that hoarse unfamiliar whisper. “I don't want to die.”

Crouching down beside her, he whispered back, “I know. I don't want you to either. You need to be strong.” An idea crossed his mind. Pegasus ponies would have to be light in order to fly, and walk on clouds right? It was a lot to bank on, but at that moment in time, he needed something to believe in. “Get on my back.”

“What?”

“Just do it. I'm not just going to let you bleed to death!”

Scootaloo went silent. “Okay.” Much to his surprise, she straddled him like a man straddling a horse. Carefully, he stood, and much to his relief, she was lighter than she looked. It wasn't to say she wasn't heavy, but she was definitely manageable. She leaned her head on his, her forelegs wrapped gently around his neck.

Carefully, he glanced up at the sky. He seemed to be standing in an area that had suffered storm damage of some sort; the foliage in the canopy here was mostly destroyed. Using the brightest point in the sky as a reference point, for west he ran east, with a slightly southward heading. He hoped this would take him out near Sweet Apple Acres.

- - -

Warren didn't know how long he'd been running, and he didn't care. All that mattered was getting Scootaloo to safety. He didn't care about the bramble that cut at him and re-opened his wounds, or the burning in his muscles, nor did he care about the feeling of terror trying to break its way into his mind. If he stopped for an instant, he knew he'd succumb to the fear threatening to ensnare him.

“Oh look, it's the little displaced human.” A sultry feminine voice flooded his ears. It seemingly came from all around him, and at the same time from nowhere all at once. The voice struck him like some half-forgotten memory, like he'd heard it somewhere once before. “Enjoying yourself deceiving little girls and attacking my innocent little Roc with fire?”

“I don't know what you're talking about.” he scoffed. I don't have time for this.

“Oh don't give me that... Warren Ashland.” The voice purred in his ears. “I know a human that I dragged into this universe and turned into a pony when I see one.”

The proclamation, both of his name – his surname he hadn't even thought about since waking in Equestria – and claims to credit for his presence here, stopped him dead in his tracks. On his back, Scootaloo groaned and shifted, but didn't speak. He worried about how long she'd been out of it now. The fact that she wasn't conscious scared him. “I don't care! She needs help!”

He began to push forward again but was again stopped dead in his tracks. He hadn't even seen them approaching. Sitting not ten feet from him in a beam of moonlight was what looked like a very large wolf. From its back, he could see branches by the dozens sprouting. Its face was a gnarled wooden visage. The eyes were glowing a frightening amber. It was those same glowing eyes that gave away the rest of the pack.

“Now, now, Mr. Ashland.” that sultry voice chided. “We can't have the guest of honor leaving so soon before the main event.”

“Show yourself, Draconequus.” Warren growled.

A figure faded into existence, mere inches from his face. Just like the depiction in the encyclopedia, the Draconequus in front of him was a ridiculous Chimera that was hard to accept possessed reality-bending magic. A lion's paw and griffon's claw were steepled together on it's long undulating belly. Poking from its long white mane, the goat horn and deer antler looked at odds with its equine face.

She simply floated there, not even using its mismatched pegasus and bat wings. “Were you expecting maybe my baby brother, Discord?” He looked at her, confused, but somehow not at all shocked. “Oh please. Discord is still locked up oh so securely back in the palace garden, you didn't really think I was him, did you?”

“Then tell me who you are, what you want, and get out of my way!” He spat at the demigod before him.

She twitched a single claw, and one of the timber wolves inched forward. “Please, even I can't hold back these lovely, bloodthirsty beasts with the scent of blood on the air. Just drop the filly and just come with me!” The Draconequus snickered, and rolled absentmindedly in the air. “My name? Now that is quite the question. I've gone by many. Long ago, beings of your world worshiped me by many names, some call me God even today. I am most fond of 'the Morrigan'.”

“Wow! Morrigan, the Supreme War Goddess of the Celts, how egotistical of you.” he snorted.

“I do so hope you'll co-operate. I didn't give your race your own world just so your kind could live happily ever after.” Morrigan laughed haughtily. “All I want is a little war, carnage, and bloodshed!”

“What are-” he started to ask, before she began to vanish.

A group of lights appeared outside the ring of timber wolves. “Y'all git away from them, ya filthy varmints!” A voice with a southern twang not unlike Apple Bloom's. “Or there'll be hay to pay!”

In the lamplight, Warren just caught a rainbow blur shoot towards the nearest timber wolf and send it tumbling away. He wanted to bolt, and run towards the lights, but something inside his head clicked. Others are here, it's okay to be scared now.

It occurred to him that his legs were crying out in pain. Even if she was just under half his weight, his young body wasn't used to carrying heavy objects. Despite himself, his legs gave out, pitching him forward and sending Scootaloo tumbling off him. The wolves pounced, and Warren screamed like he had never screamed before. All he could think about before passing out was protecting Scootaloo.

- - -

Twilight Sparkle sighed in relief. Her barrier spell almost hadn't been cast in time. Thankfully, when the timber wolves pounced towards the filly and colt, they bounced harmlessly off of the bright, magical bubble. Again and again the wolves attacked the bubble, but each time there were less and less returning as Applejack and Rainbow Dash sent them running.

The group – Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Big Macintosh, and herself – had come across the scene purely by chance after departing Zecora's home, where Pinkie Pie and Rarity had volunteered to bring Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle back to the farm. They'd heard the voices and come running.

Once the last timber wolves had been sent packing, Twilight let down the barrier spell. They all gathered around, Big Macintosh pulling over the apple cart they'd brought with them, and watched as the white bubble of the barrier faded. They were all surprised to see Goldenrod laying unconscious beside a small bramble dome. Fluttershy immediately swooped down and picked him up, and sat with him in the cart, cradling him in her forelegs.

“Um, Twi, sugar-cube?” Applejack started. She prodded the bramble dome with a hoof. “Did you do that too?”

“N-no.” She shook her head. She gave it a prod with her own hoof, and then lit her horn to get a good sense of the magic. It was rough, hastily done, and not very strong, the sort of thing an inexperienced unicorn would create. She glanced over at Fluttershy and Goldenrod in the back of the cart. His horn had the faintest shimmering green aura dancing around it. “I think it's Goldenrod.”

Author's Note:

know, I know. I have a lot of explaining to do. Many of you have finished this chapter and are thinking “Why would you do such a thing to Scootaloo!” When I set out writing this story, I knew I was going to have to write this scene eventually. I knew a lot of you weren’t going to like this.. Really, I'd be kind of offended if you DID like it. This scene is meant as tragedy, not Scootabuse.

I didn't write this scene because I hate her. If anything, she's kind of grown on me over time. So you're probably wondering, "Seven Fates, if you like Scootaloo, why would you ever her wing? Now she’ll never fly!" For the sake of furthering a certain element of the plot, I required an emotive event to serve as motive for Goldenrod to combat the primary antagonist.

It’s no secret that Scootaloo has been getting more attention than the rest of the Crusaders. Many have probably even properly guessed that I plan to further develop this friendship. All friendships have trying events, and this is the catalyst for what is to happen.

For those of you who do not approve of what has happened in this chapter, you have my sincerest apologies. Just remember that in a world of magic ponies, limbs are probably much more easily attached, so please try not to be too put off this event.