ANZAC Legends

by SterlingNomad

First published

They didn't mention mud. Or blood. Or tears.

Do you have what it takes, to go 'Over the top'.
Something is in the castle, and it intends to have that question answered.
Where is it from? What does it Want? And why does it not seemed fazed by a deadly wound sustained from mysterious circumstances. Circumstances the creature is keeping under lock and key.
It will be up to Twilight to discover the creature's real origins, its intentions, and its secrets of a world far away from home.

Once a Jolly Swagman

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There Was a Jolly Swagman
Prologue of ‘ANZAC Legends’

“Bunsen, please. Explain yourself!”

“My apologies your highness, but court must be put on hold. Please, come quickly, there is not much time”

Celestia was frustrated with the young, tan Unicorn before her. His thin, square rimmed specs rode low down his muzzle, and the white lab coat seemed to accentuate his tall, reedy stature. His normally tidy red mane was frazzled, and his fringe hung low over his brow. One of Equestria’s brightest minds, and a member of Celestia’s private magical laboratory, Bunsen Burner had been tasked, along with Twilight Sparkle, the princess’ protégé, with watching and studying varying magical frequencies that seemed to have been on the fritz lately.

Bunsen, a student of her own once, was not, however, here to break up important meetings with Canterlot’s elite banking division. A group of ponies that felt they were the sole division of the Canterlot public service that deserved private court with the princess herself.

“Bunsen, I trust your judgment, but this better be Important.” Celestia spoke in hushed tones, not wanting to confine this obviously important information with her audience. Turning, she faced the group of graying stallions, not an Earth Pony or Pegasus in sight.

“Gentleponies, my sincerest apologies, but something of great importance appears to have cropped up. I will be back with you all shortly.” Celestia said sweetly, trying to hide the relief from her voice. She was still frustrated with Bunsen for the interruption, but these ponies were, quite frankly, the dullest, pushiest downright rudest group of stallions she had ever had to suffer.

Ignoring the irritated mutterings that rushed through the semi circle of unicorns, she turned her back and followed Bunsen off her throne and out an immaculately carved wooden door.

This lead into a gold trimmed hallway, with lush velvet carpets and artistically embellished marble doorways. Pushing past all of these, Bunsen and Celestia soon found themselves at another wooden doorway, this one surrounded by a menacing magical aura. Bunsen touched his horn to the door’s copper handle, and it immediately swung open.

As soon as they were on the other side, the velvet and gold of the throne room was replaced by clean white walls and a long corridor, covered in tiles. Bunsen made sure that the door had shut tight, and with on last push on the handle, decided that it was properly closed and sound proofed. This was, after all, top secret. Only the Princesses, Bunsen, Twilight, and a choice selection of guards were allowed through this hallowed corridor, into the Royal Laboratory Complex.

Before Celestia could begin asking questions of Bunsen, he had already started a tirade of explanations involving magical fluctuations.

“Miss Sparkle and I were placed here to study fluctuations in the ambient magical field that surrounds Equestria, which we have been doing for the most of the day, with no changes observed from readings that are taken from the meteorological survey of Canterlot.” Bunsen explained. He was telling Celestia everything she knew however, as this study was of her inception. She decided not to interrupt, as Bunsen was slowly entering his ‘groove’ one might say.

“However the readings we were taking from our own apparatus was, well, different. The frequency of the Equestrial-Magicka Field here in the castle was 10 times that of the surrounding Canterlot area.”

“Meaning that magic, powerful magic, is being concentrated here” Celestia finished for him.

“Or rather was concentrated here” Bunsen corrected. “Not ten minutes ago, the frequency doubled again, but only for a second, before falling to natural levels. We were perplexed as to the reasoning for this, but then sentience traps in the reciprocal room were sprung. Meaning only one thing.” Bunsen left the question unanswered.

Celestia knew exactly what he meant. Those kinds of fluctuations were only experienced when teleportation was being used, as she and twilight knew from experience and documented experiments. However those fluctuations happened in a localized area around the point of casting, usually the tip of the horn, and not on such a large scale. This meant that something had been teleported a great distance, by an incredibly strong source of magic, into the very walls of the castle and thanks to the sentience traps, (Strong spells that had been cast into all the rooms of the laboratory, that would immediately notify Twilight or Bunsen of any living creature that entered the area of affect of the spell.) it was clear that whatever was inside the reciprocal room, was very much alive.

Celestia was deep in thought as she and Bunsen turned a corner, getting closer to the intruder. “In all of Equestria, what do we know could pull a stunt like that?” Celestia asked no-one in particular.

“Well it certainly wasn’t unicorn magic, way too strong for that. And if I’m not mistaken it’s not Alicorn either. It could be dis..”

“No, no it isn’t Dis... him, Bunsen. The elements dealt with him. Besides, he is far too fond of himself to do something like this without making himself known. No, no it can’t be him” Celestia reasoned, although she didn’t sound entirely sure. “Err, Bunsen, where is Twilight?”

“Miss Sparkle is retrieving Princess Luna from her chambers as we speak.” Bunsen answered. Awaking the goddess of the night was not an enviable task, and thus Bunsen had decided to deal with the bankers instead.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT’S ALIVE?” Luna was apparently not accustomed to being awoken early (even though it was in fact 5 PM ). Celestia’s younger sister could be heard long before she was in sight; she was rather fond of Dramatic entrances. The clanging of her royal hoof guards against the tiled floor echoed around the laboratories, and Celestia wandered if she sounded like that as she strolled around the castle grounds, whose floors were almost entirely covered in either marble or gold.

“But Luna please, we don’t know anything about who it is. It could be friendly!” Twilight pleaded as the violet unicorn and Navy Blue Alicorn rounded a corner and strutted purposefully towards Celestia and Bunsen. Giving up on calming down the grouchy Princess, Twilight changed tack, turning her attention to her partner.

“Bunsen, have you filled in Celes...”

“The Princess has been brought up to date, Miss Sparkle.” Much to Twilight’s chagrin, Bunsen refused to refer to either Princess, or Twilight, in any way that would be seen as informal.

He had been raised as the princess’ student; much like Celestia had raised Twilight. But unlike Twilight, he had never developed the close connection that Twilight and Celestia shared. Not that it had affected his career or skill in anyway. Bunsen was a keen and observant scholar and although a quite soul, he possessed a talent with words and could beautifully express himself through written work. His beliefs that study and evidence were the key to a perfect argument had led him to make some amazing discoveries in the magical world, The Equestrial-Magicka Field was just one of these.

Why his cutie-mark was a Bunsen burner, not a quill, or some other writing implement was beyond Twilight.

At this moment, a palace guard seemed to materialize out from a completely blank wall. His yellow coat clashing with his two sizes too big golden helmet. His bright blue eyes were glued to floor, and his brow drenched with sweat.
While palace guards do not often tend to materialize from seemingly bare walls, his sudden presence did not seem to faze the congregation.

The guard bowed his head twice in quick succession, for both Celestia and Luna, before nervously gesturing towards the blank wall from whence he had come.

The two princesses turned and marched through the blank facade, followed closely by the guard, leaving Bunsen and Twilight outside in an hallway of silence.

“Ladies first, Miss Sparkle.” Bunsen offered, making a point of using her last name.
Twilight just chuckled. “Bunsen, please, *giggle* it’s okay to use my first name silly..” She offered, treating him to a smile.

“If you wish, Miss Sparkl...” He caught himself before continuing. “Twilight”.

Celestia had entered a large circular room, with a large looking dish type apparatus in the centre. Rising up from three points around the dish were three massive wrought iron claws that bent half way along their length, toward the centre of the dish. Emanating from the circumference was any number of different wires and cables that connected too many different forms of scientific equipment. This was all down in an amphitheatre type setting, with the entrance to the room ran along a platform that followed the circumference of the room, a few meters of the ground.

The reciprocal room was not how she had left it however. The usually gleaming white floor was singed and covered in soot. The machines hooked up to the dish were all dark, and some were emanating dangerously strong tendrils of electric charge.

Most menacingly however what was to be found in the centre of the room.

A sharp intake of air heralded Luna’s entrance.

“The stars be damned!”

On the far side of the dish, a tangled green mass rested. It was hard to distinguish, but she could clearly see some kind of cloth, or perhaps even tangled roots. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that two limbs protruded from the base or the cloth/shrub mass above. They were spread, and covered in a fabric adorned in splotches of green, brown and black. At the ends of these, what could only be described as leather boots laced up to the hilt.

“I was sent here by Miss Sparkle and Mr Burner as soon as the traps were sprung. I’m not sure what it is, but we’ve definitely never seen it before.” Stated the guard, answering Celestia’s silence. “But it is definitely alive, you can see it breathing.”

Sure enough, the green mass above the legs could be seen slowly rising and falling, as if it were peacefully asleep.

“Oh My.”

Bunsen and Twilight had finally entered, and she was at a complete loss for words. They all were.
Celestia and Luna were sharing much the same wavelength: How much of a threat is this..Thing.. To Equestria?

Twilight, as inquisitive as ever, could only help to think: I wonder if it speaks equestrian?

While drawing a blank, Bunsen finally came to his wits enough to think: Where is Twilight going?

“Twilight, no, Wait!” was all he could meek out, before twilight clumsily hurled herself over the barrier of the platform, landing on the ground below with a thud.

Celestia and Luna gasped, while the guard drew his sword; as if the creature on the floor was about to instantly lash out at them all. Twilight was naively oblivious to all this, her inane curiosity overpowering her sense of trepidation at the alien creature.

Now that she was down at its level, she instantly regretted leaving the safety of the platform above. The creature seemed so much... closer down here. She hadn’t realised its size either, it almost dominated the whole half the dish on which it resided. Slowly, she moved forward, her fringe drooping low over her eyes. The dish felt like ice to her hooves, and her heart felt like it was going to punch a hole through her chest. She was only a few feet away, and she could now clearly see that what looked like a bush from above was actually a rough fabric. It reminded twilight of the mossy ground in the Everfree forest.

Suddenly one of the great boots twitched, only inches from Twilight’s muzzle.
All the ponies in the room quickly silenced, so much so that the light breathing of the creature could be heard. Twilight let out a breath slowly, as if breathing itself was enough to bring death upon them all.

Time ambled on at a painful pace, and it was 5 minutes later that Twilight felt safe to move again, for the creature seemed to be deep in its slumber. Up on the platform Bunsen and Celestia were gesturing madly at Twilight, trying to reason with the unicorn without words. Luna maintained her stoic stance, her expression unreadable while the guard just held his sword limply in his mouth, and stayed as close to the wall as possible, beads of sweat easily visible dripping down the sides of his neck. Ignoring them all she moved slowly closer.

Twilight was now right next to the creature, and she could almost see through holes in the rough khaki fabric, so close that its scent was deep in her nostrils. The creature smelt like a combination of sweat and mud, and Twilight could see now that its legs were caked in it. The sheet itself was, in a certain place rising and falling steadily, in time with its shallow breathing. Slowly she brought her head down to the rising fabric, so close that she could stick her tongue out and taste it. Tilting her head, she put an ear steadily against what she guessed must have been the chest under the sheet. Off in the distance she could hear a distinct, even heart beat.

She turned her back on the creature, and looked up at the ponies of the platform and deftly nodded.
What happened next caught Twilight by surprise. She hadn’t realized, but as she turned around, she had planted a hoof directly onto the creature’s chest. Twilight was suddenly lifted out of the air and thrown a few feet away as the creature reared up, letting out ungodly scream as it did so.

“GYAAAAAAAAHGGGG!!” it cried, throwing the heavy khaki blanket clear.

Luna’s moth dropped open, while the guard and Bunsen looked ready to take flight completely. Celestia screamed as she saw her student tossed into the air. Twilight was unharmed by the throw, and as soon as she had dusted herself of, she wasted no time in getting as far away from the beast as possible.

Now the blanket was clear, they could finally get a proper look at what had invaded their preciously guarded castle. Its face was not unlike that of a pony, except the muzzle was all wrong, staying flush to the face rather that protruding outward. It did posses atop its head a deep shock of dark brown hair that messily covered the top of its head. Covering its chest was a shirt, in much the same pattern as the pants.

Just above the hip however, a large gaping hole had been stained a deep red, and the increasing splotch soon started to drip through, onto the floor. This was where, not a moment before, Twilight had clumsily misplaced a hoof.

The thing opened its eyes wide, and for the first time the ponies could see a deep, aquamarine blue. It then immediately squished its face up into a scowl, before clamping its hands around the wound. Breathing heavily through clenched teeth, its eyes opened again, and they settled upon a helpless looking Twilight, who was currently trying to make herself look as small as possible.

“OI, wait right there.” It said through a clamped jaw, eyes staring right through Twilight. “I need you to come to me.” *pant* “now.”

She made no indication of even considering making a move.

“I said I need you” the thing brought up an arm and pointed at Twilight. “Too come to me. NOW!”

At this Twilight simply lost her composure and fell to the floor in tears.

“OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know that would hurt I just accidently stepped on you, and you looked asleep, and I didn’t know if you were even alive and oh gosh please don’t eat mee!!”

“Just come over here. Please.” The thing said, looking desperate. Celestia was having none of it however, and she gracefully leapt over the barrier and landed right in front of twilight.

“Don’t. You. Lay. A. HOOF on her!” breathed Celestia menacingly, employing thousands of years of Power, and as if to make her point, her horn began to glow a menacing dark grey, and tendrils of magic started to form at her feet.

The thing on the floor just rolled its eyes, and then scrunched it’s face up into a scowl once more.

“For bleeding Christ sake then, you help me” it spat at Celestia, this reaction bringing hushed outbursts of shock from the audience above.

Celestia was suspicious, but blood was blood, and this thing looked to be in serious pain.

“Very well then, what is it that you require?” she snarled, persecution still thick in her voice.

“Alright, I need you” *pant* “to c’mere, and see” *groan* “ if there is an exit wound.”

“A What?” Celestia blinked a couple of times, her face softening, ever so slightly.

“An exit wound!” the thing stressed, still holding its side, blood now seeping from the gaps between its fingers. Celestia blinked again, and raised an eyebrow at the thing.

The creature brought a hand to its face and muttered under its breath, before again glaring at Celestia with a pleading, but powerful gaze.

“Is the there.” The thing paused for effect. “A hole. In my back?”

Celestia brought a hoof to her face. Oh.

Celestia lowered her horn, and much to the surprise of the creature, it was immediately enveloped in a magical, grey aura and lifted a few feet into the air. She spun the thing around, and found no such hole. Spinning it around again, she shook her head. The new comer nodded in acknowledgment before it clenched its eyes closed, and then slowly reached behind.

A small dagger was produced from an unseen sheath, and this made all five ponies in the room take a brief step back. Celestia was about to wrench the blade for the creature's hand, but the beast turned the blade on himself.

Working with one hand, the creature used the knife to cut through the buttons holding it’s shirt together until it hung loosely over his arms. It looked up at Celestia, who had come much closer than before and was now standing only a foot away.

“Could you give us a hand, once more?” said the creature. The harshness had been dropped from its voice, and sounded almost as if it were pleading.

Raised by the magical aura again, it could quickly let its arms dangle by its sides as the shirt slowly fell to the floor.
Gazing around the room, the creature’s eyes next fell on Bunsen.

“Oi you, bloke in the lab coat.” *pant* “Could you spare that pencil in your pocket?”

Not wanting to create a fuss, or even maintain eye contact it seemed, Bunsen wordlessly magicked the pencil over to the shirtless creature, its skin a light tan color matching his coat.

The creature looked at Celestia again and winked, before placing the pencil between its teeth.

What happened next would prove to be the most painful thing Bunsen, Twilight, or even the guard would bare witness.

Clenching its teeth hard against the pencil, the creature, using one on hand, jammed the knife deep into the gash, eliciting muffled cries from behind the pencil. Bending the knife outward the gash was increased in size and the blood started to flow anew. Using the other hand, the creature started to grope around inside his wound, a sight which made the others cringe in agony. The guard looked as if he was about to faint. But the creature pressed on, the knife going deeper and deeper until the blade was almost half way in, eliciting unbearable sounds, much like hooves through muddy ground. Closing its eyes, the creature braced itself, before plunging the knife even further into its belly. At this the pencil popped out and the screams of agony hit their full volume. The knife hand now repeated its earlier action, bending outward and creating a bigger gash for the other hand to reach in. Finally, a small, lump of metal was removed from the gash, and with one final, relived grunt from the creature, the knife was removed as well.

The creature visibly collapsed onto its hunches, and both Celestia and Twilight let out a breath they had been holding for the duration of the operation. Luna looked impressed, and Bunsen dared a quick glance at the guard, who looked as if he was about to throw up.

The creature seemed to be in much less pain, for the scowl had been replaced with a sheepish grin.

“I could do” *pant* “With not doing that” *pant* “again, ha, for a very long time,” It laughed, as if to mock the gravity of the situation at hand.

It picked the lump of metal up from the ground and twirled it slowly within its grasp. The creature then lobbed it at Twilight, which landed at her feet.

“A souvenir.”

The six were once again locked in a moment of silence. The creature looked around, eyeing each pony up and down. He paid special attention to Celestia, who seemed to be giving the creature much the same treatment.

The thing then let out a long sigh before embarking upon the subject that was one everyponies mind.

“SO!” it said, clasping it’s great hands together, bringing attention to itself. “Who are you? Where am I, and What is this place?” it gazed up, and was met with confused looks. Twilight glanced up at Celestia, who she could see was almost insulted by the notion of this intruder asking her for answers. Ignoring this Twilight turned back to the creature, who gazed up at her with a blank expression, as if expecting answers.

“We could ask of you much the same thing.”

The thing on the floor took this into consideration before opening its mouth once more.

“Fair enough.” It closed its eyes for a beat, and then brought its hands together again. “My name is William McKay, and I’m just a…"

“Stop!” cried Bunsen, his voice thick with anxiety. “Does it not occur to any pony else but me that this… creature is bleeding to death! And what are we doing? Interrogating it?!”

Celestia addressed Bunsen with contempt, an indiscreet glare through constricted eyelids. Twilight, on the other hoof, seemed to be torn. She could sense that her mentor ill considered the creature’s well being, which twilight could understand. It was not always that intruders found themselves deep within the castle. But what Bunsen had stated was the truth. The crimson puddle seemed to be spreading.

William seemed not to care however, as he gazed up at the drama before him with a cocked eyebrow, and a boyish smirk.

Bunsen glared back at his old mentor, biting the inside of his cheek. He felt hot, angry, and furious. That the kind, forgiving ruler of this land, the keeper of the peace, the wisest of ponies, was standing by, letting another sole, as complex and diverse as they, slowly extinguish before them.

Twilight realized now that she had been so desperate to deal with the creature, not out of curiosity, but for attention. It was a foalish notion, selfish and ill mannered. She felt like doing nothing else but running to the creature’s aid. Yet her feet remained planted next to the princess of the sun, in spite of herself. She wanted desperately to agree with Bunsen, he stood above, in sheer defiance of her power, standing up for what was right. But she could not. She would not. She was scared. For the first time in her life, Twilight feared Celestia.

All eyes were on the two, silently brawling ponies. Only the silent draw of metal plates could be heard, as the guard noiselessly pawed at the ground. Finally Celestia spoke, breaking the tension.

“Bunsen, you were my closest student before Twilight here, a close confidant and now a good friend.” She practically spat, exorcising all her godly will to keep her emotions in check. “But do NOT, question my actions.” She glared daggers, her muzzle twisted into a menacing snarl.

Luna looked away, awful memories flooding back. She loved her sister dearly, but this outburst reminded her that she was still a capable and threatening enemy to posses.


Celestia and Bunsen snapped towards the guard who was now face to face with Will, who stared deep into the guard’s deep blue eyes.

“You awright mate?” said Will, brushing the back of his hand upon the Guards brow. “You’re burning up”

Celestia and Bunsen were speechless; both wandering how Will had managed to move so silently and wordlessly up to the platform where the guard and Luna watched on.

This interaction seemed too much for the poor stallion, whom took one glance at the gaping hole in William’s chest before slumping to the ground, his steel and gold armor creating a loud clang.

Will took a step back in surprise, before sheepishly glancing around at the unmoving ponies, as if seeking acknowledgment that he had done nothing wrong.

Celestia, Bunsen, Luna and Twilight all just stared back, with a touch of fear present on the unicorns. This was the first time they had seen Will and his full height, and he was a monster, almost a head taller than Celestia. William just cocked an eyebrow.


Celestia’s sun was not as forgiving as the Alicorn herself, and as such the beams of light that peeked through Twilight’s window attempted to be as intrusive as possible. A thin beam gently caressed her sleeping face, before prying itself deep within Twilight’s shut lids. This disturbance pertained for the better part of a minuet, before a groan could be heard escaping from twilights clenched lips. She stayed this way, trying and failing to ignore her un-asked for wake up call. Her attempts descended into futility, and Twilight finally rose, her mane a purple mess, deep bags caressing her eyes. Gazing dumbly at her alarm clock, she sighed, before violently throwing herself back onto the bed. And there she lay, head on her pillow, eyes gazing at the ceiling, as the memories from the night before flooded back.

Celestia had maintained wary of the creature called William. Perhaps not as vindictive as she had been previously been towards him, but her suspicion was evident. This could of course be because of Will’s inability to answer any question posed towards him simply and to the point. It appeared he had something to hide. His origin slipped out easily enough. He claimed to be a ‘human’, a bi-pedal species residing on a planet called earth. When asked what humans were like however, he just laughed, and refused to answer any more questions on the subject of his home. Again, when asked what he did, the answer was simple enough. After a long period of thought, where William seemed to consider how much information his captors were to be privy to, he finally came up with ‘a digger’. Yet again, when asked what a digger did, William bit his lip, before answering with ‘dig’. It hadn’t escaped Twilight that he had, at that moment, found great interest in the patters formed by the soot around him.

Bunsen insisted the gash be treated, much to Williams chagrin. Under the watchful eyes of Luna and Twilight, they accompanied Will to the Laboratories infirmary, where he was bound in various ointments and cloth bandages, which sat upon him like a satchel, reaching over his shoulder and around his waist. On the gash itself, for added protection, a thick wad of cotton was placed over the wound, which was about as large as a cutie mark. Celestia and Bunsen stayed back, arguing about what to do about their strange visitor.

Twilight was confused by Bunsen. He had been Celestia’s student, occupying the role she now lay claim to. Why was it so hard with him to agree with his old mentor? Celestia was right, she had to be. This creature had been brought here by an unknown but powerful source, into the very depths of the most secretive part of the whole castle, and it was plain to see he was keeping his cards close to his chest. Yet, he had come with a gruesome injury. (Twilight had yet to ask what the origin of the little metal lump was and how it had appeared within his chest). He had not attacked anypony on site, even when he could easily overpower them all. Bunsen’s position on the matter was clear. Whatever a human was, and whatever William was hiding, he deserved a chance, for in Bunsen’s eyes; he had given them no reason to believe that Will was a viable threat.

So, at two in the mourning, a compromise was made. William was to return with Twilight, and would be protected (Bunsen used the words ‘held captive’) by the elements of harmony. For added protection, the young guard would accompany them. Whether protection for Twilight of for William Celestia did not say, but the guard had uneasily complied.

And so here they were. Twilight glanced back at the clock on her bedside table. 6:15am. It would be another 3 hours before she decided she’d invite the elements to the library, and introduce them to Will. She cringed at the thought. Fluttershy would be petrified, Applejack suspicious, Rarity disgusted, Rainbow Dash might attack, and Pinkie Pie... Well, she had no idea what her Pink friend may do. Twilight had learned her lesson trying to predict the Professional Party Pony’s intentions.

She brought a tender hoof to her forehead, and pushed it against her temple. She had to make a plan.
Throwing off her favorite doona, she turned, and slipped out of her bead before making her way purposefully toward her door leading downstairs.


Her front hoofs got caught in something soft and warm, and she was flung onto her face. Attempting to untangle her front limbs form her back ones, she peered through the gaps, to see that she had tripped over a silently dozing guard.
He was curled up into a ball, his short cut pink mane standing on end. His face was peaceful, and his muzzle was painted with a warm, graceful smile. Her heart melted at the sight, and she realized that he must only be a few years out of colthood, his face clean and free from the ravaging of life and hardship.

He was in a deep sleep. Understandable seeing as they had all only arrived 4 hours ago. Damn, did Twilight feel tired.
She crept up to her door, and slowly pushed out into the antechamber above the library.

Here she was met with an unexpected sight. It appeared that William, during the diminutive hours of the mourning, had grown bored of waiting for Twilight and the guard to awake from their slumber. He had set himself up with a pile of books, of all shapes and sizes. Twilight couldn’t help but let a smile creep onto her face, as his shoulder now rested atop a head rest of books, some she could make out the titles of, some were concealed by his great body. Some were just worn out from use, but she recognized the covers.

It appeared that the new Daring-Do title had tickled his fancy, as it lay upon his rising and falling chest.
She frowned, as she debated whether to wake him up, or to tiptoe around his still sleeping form. Deciding that it might be best if she planned for the rest of the day without his presence, she slowly made her way around his great legs, trying hard not to awaken the sleeping beast. As her hind legs found themselves between his thighs, she dared to take a peek at his face. It was twisted into a grimace, and sweat was dripping from his brown fringe. Her smile flopped down into a concerned pout, but she decided to ignore it. Will was an adult. Human or not, she was certain he could look after himself.

She finally twisted and contorted herself out of his clutches, and made her way down into the living areas of her library. She passed a clean, but mostly unused, kitchenette, a table, and more shelves of her private collections. Now, to find parchment.

Fumbling with poorly stacked books and old tomes, she eventually found the stack of papers she used to use for her weekly reports, however she had lost need for them now that her friends had taken to reporting on their own happenings. She picked one out, that didn’t look too worn, and then fished a quill from the base of an old looking folder, one she hadn’t used since arriving in ponyville years ago. Luckily she found ink at the bottom of the folder as well. She was certain she had brought the last of her fresh supplies with her to Canterlot, and she just didn’t feel up to buying anymore. Not with that much sleep under her belt.

Finally she had everything in place. Clearing bits of flower from the table, and pushing aside the hand carved bust of an old looking pony, she sat down, breathed, grabbed the quill with her telekinesis and began to create a list.


The sudden interruption forced Twilight to push the nib of the quill violently down into the ink pot, fracturing the already delicate glass and spilling black ink everywhere. Twilight felt like getting angry, getting furious. But in truth, she had missed her pink friend, and after the confusing events of the night before, she decided that she could suffer her friend’s exuberant antics, if nothing else to make her feel just a fraction better.

“Mourning Pinkie” Twilight sighed, trying and failing to hide the sleepiness in her voice. “What brings you here?”

“Welllllll, YOU silly!” Pinkie said with a dazzling smile, as she produced a small, brown colored square of parchment.

Twilight looked confused.

“Pinkie, I never sent you any messages. In fact I only arrived early in the morning. How could I have possibly sent you a message?”

“Wellll…” Pinkie began, looking like she was trying to figure out a way not to spoil the surprise for Twilight. “I wasn’t the ONLY one who got your message. ALL of our Bestest Best friends got one too!! Isn’t it exiting!?”

Pinkie was right in her face, her muzzle pressed hard against Twilight's own, her bright blue eyes millimeters away, wearing a look of excitement only Pinkie Pie could muster. She then jumped away, and pushed open the door to the rest of the library.

Twilight Grabbed the Pink Pony with her front hooves, and crash tackled her through the door, into the circle of 4 other ponies, all with a square parchment held in magical aura or teeth. She then slammed the door shut, a touch more violently than she thought necessary.

She turned, and was met with five pairs of concerned and confused eyes. Twilight stared back, her mind locked into conflict about what she should respond with.

To save her the trouble Rarity spoke up.

“My my, you poor dear! You look absolutely famished darling!” she said with a pout.

“She does not!” countered Applejack, who always seemed to be in disagreements with her prim friend. “She’s jus’ tired is all. Ain’t that right sug'?’”

This began a skirmish in the background, as Rarity and Applejack went at loggerheads to argue their cases. Most of the argument consisted of saying what had previously been said, just louder.

Twilight was then approached by Pinkie and Fluttershy, who began firing questions at her.

“How was the Trip?”

“Why do you look so tired?”

“Who sent these notes then if you didn’t, HMMMMM?”

“Did you see any of the animals? I hope their alright..”

This assault on the senses was too much for twilight.


All the commotion seemed to deflate around her, pinkies suspicious face dropped to one of surprise and shock. Fluttershy hid behind her mane. Applejack loosened the grip she had around Rarities neck, who in turn dropped a lock of Applejacks hair out of her mouth. Rainbow, who had been observing the fight with interest, turned with a frown on her face.
Everypony was silent for a few moments, before Twilight began to explain her circumstances.

“Alright. I Apologize for... Whatever sent those messages to you. But I need you all to listen. That mystery can be solved another day. Right now, we have an important mission from…”

“The Princess herself, yea yeah Twilight it’s all in the letter.” Cut in Rainbow, who looked thoroughly bored.

“Oh. Well then. What else does the letter say?”

“Nothin’ much. Jus’ that we needed to come to your place right away. It’s signed with There was a J. S-M.” Answered Applejack, who was scrutinizing the parchment once more.

She was summarily bowled over by Twilight, who began reading through the message with rapt attention.

“Well. I don’t know who sent these messages, but I believe it has something to do with why I needed you here. As you know I have spent the last few days I Canterlot, studying fluctuations in the Equestria-Magicka fluctuations. However yesterday, around five in the afternoon, an increasingly strong reading was measured within one of the rooms within the laboratory complex. My counterpart, Bunsen, and I alerted the Princess’ while we sent a guard to see what had caused the disturbance. Turns out, something had teleported a creature into the depths of the castle, and We all went to investigate at once.”

Twilight recounted her story with her 5 friends hanging on every word. Even the normally blasé Rainbow dash seemed intrigued. Twilight left out the part with knife, and also the princess’ distrust for Will. It would not do to have her friends turn on Him before they were even afforded a meeting.

“So finally, about four hours ago, William, The Guard, and I were teleported here, and it is our job to make sure this Human stays safe.” Twilight finished proudly.

The Five ponies around her were a mix of emotions. Fluttershy, predictably, had shrunk to the back of the room, and was hiding behind her mane once more. Rainbow Dash seemed intrigued, and her hoof had snapped into a quick salute. Pinkie looked unreadable, her face a sly grin. Applejack and Rarity looked like they were about to argue once more. Twilight gathered their attention with a loud cough.

“So. Who wants to meet him?”

They Gave Me a Tin Hat...

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They Gave Me a Tin Hat...
Chapter One of ANZAC Legends

Carlton was a big stallion.

Bigger than most at least.

It had proved beneficial to his line of employment, owner of the fine establishment known as the Mare and the Moon. Well, fine might not be the best choice of words. The M&M had a prolific reputation for being the hide out for the seediest members of pony society. Any society.

As Carlton purveyed his small, smoke filled bar, he counted three Griffons, hunched over a small table, quietly discussing Celestia knows what. Carlton was sure he didn't really want to know at all. On the opposite side, next to a broken Honky Tonk piano was an ancient looking dog, who quietly supped at a large tankard. In the booth next to him, a relatively small Dragon had somehow managed to squeeze himself into the confines of the small pub, just gazing unobservantly at the small shot glass in front of him, Carlton could swear he saw a tear slowly dive into the golden pool of scotch within.

It was no secret to Carlton how The M&M had gained such a diverse clientele. His pub had curiously become trapped in three different Nations. If one were to step out the door, they would technically be within Equestrian boarders. Were they to play upon the 'Tonk, they would be vacationing within Canine lands. And If they were to gaze in awe at the empty, cobweb laden trophy case celebration the achievements of a sports team long since gone, they would be stepping foot into the Griffon Kingdom.

Legend goes that, to end the great war of Canine Expansion, Princess Celestia Ruler of the Ponies, Count Claus Ruler of the Griffons and Dutchess Clarissa Ruler of Canines, agreed to a harrowing three way duel, one that would decide the fate of all three nations. This was the point at which the duel was called. At sunrise the three met, and surrounded by political and military advisers, began the duel. It was brutal, and brief, as Claus the evil War Lord first turned upon Clarissa the Whiny Drama queen, giving Celestia the opertune moment to strike. To maintain a presence over the land she decreed a structure of pony origin must be placed upon this boarder, giving Equestria a gateway into her neighbor's lands.

It was a nice story to tell the occasional tourist, but Carlton knew the real reason.

The dogs were far too busy bickering with their Neighbors, the Dragons, to the North East. The Ponies were occupied expanding West, pushing their borders. The Griffons just didn't care either way. There was no interest in the center of the continent anymore. No border patrols, no checkpoints, no tax ponies, just three invisible lines in the sand. Any forward thinking business pony could set up shop for cheap, tax free plots. And so Carlton's father had.

And here he was, a big red stallion with no friends, no mares and no life. At least the M&M had an interesting user base.

This was how many days would go for him. Wake up hungover, and ponder life at the bar. No change, or excitement or adventure. Just cheap liqueur filled nights and smoke filled days. The big red workhorse sighed, giving the bar the obligatory wipe down before one drunk or another decided tap into their poison of choice well before the sun dipped below the endless horizon once more.

The three Griffons began to leave, and Carlton idly watched them go. He doubted he would ever see them again. One after the other, the three grabbed their deep black lather coats and made for the door. One stayed back, the smaller of the three. It appeared his intrigue had been caught by a trinket on the wall. He scratched the bottom of his beak with his claws, looking like he was solving a deep mystery. With a raised eyebrow he gazed around the room, his 'colleagues' waiting impatiently by the door. His eyes fell on Carlton, and his beak twisted into an awkward smile, and he cocked his eyebrows, motioning for Carlton to take a look at what had been found.

Carlton hadn't noticed the first time, which seemed to annoy the feathered lion, especially as the red drought stallion had been looking straight at him.


The Griffon noisily cleared his throat, making eye contact with Carlton and nodding his head towards the wall in an obvious manner.

Carlton Just shrugged his large shoulders, bringing his hooves up from the bar top and waiving them about in an egsadurated manner.

"Who, me?" Asked the big red drought horse, laced with sarcasm.

The Griffon just brought his right claw up to his face, and he quietly spat what Carlton assumed to be a strongly worded opinion on just where this stupid foreigner could shove his sarcasm, before he finally addressed Carlton directly, turning so he was parrallel to the wall.

"YEZZ yu!, feazzer brain! Come, I have queztionz."

Carlton just shrugged. It was not always that a customer made such a deal about one of the few pieces of worthless memorabilia. An old Wonderbolts jursey, a dusty old horse shoe, a plaque on the wall describing local fauna. Nothing worth note, but if the griffon was willing to make a scene over some small detail, Carlton decided it would only be fair to humor him. Carlton slowely, painfully, retracted himself from behind the bar, making a point of moving every table or chair out of his way as slowely as possible. The griffons right paw was tapping furiously upon the hard wood floor. Finally Carlton had completed the the trip spanning six meters, much at the behest of all three Griffons. The one in front of him gazed up and down Carlson's large stature, who was about an inch taller than the griffon. this seemed to worry him not, as he gestured at the wall.

"Vat," the Griffon paused, and pointed to the wall, "Iz zat?"

His claw was pointing at a thin copper rod, about as wide as one equestrian bit, and as long as the neck of a bottle. It was tapered at one end, that in itself being a much darker shade then the rest of the body. Carlton was dumb struck, for real this time. He could never recall having ever seen such a strange and unusual piece upon the brown walls of the pub. It was a wonder how the griffon had even seen in at a glance, it blended in perfectly with the surrounding wall. The griffon had been talking for thirty seconds now, something about old technologies and the strange thinks one finds while on the road.

"Vith my, auhhh, Buiszznez, ahmm, partnerz. yez. Partnerz..." He faltered, glancing at the two incredibly pissed off looking griffons, one was tapping at a small, tarnished gold pocket watch that was linked to his leather coat by a thin silver chain. "Ahh, perhhapz thiz should vait till anouther time perhapz. yes, anozer time." And he rushed out the door, throwing his coat upon his hunched shoulders and followed out by his larger friends.

Carlton just mumbled something that resembled an acknowledgement, not taking his eyes from the queer piece of metal, his mind searching for some comprehensive explanation. He certainly hadn't put it there, and he doubted any of his customers had either as the griffons had been the first to use that area of the bar in days. Although, it was quite hard to pick out, and he considered the possibility that it had been here for some time, just blending into the wall.

But he had cleaned this part of the wall not days before, he could clearly remember doing so. He slowly brought up a hoof, and uneasily tapped it, as if it were boiling hot. Nothing happened however, and, testing it once more, finally brought his mouth up to the wall, and nipped the thing off. It came with a tearing sound, and the remnants of some adhesive could be seen on the wall beneath, feeling around it with his tongue, Carlton could taste the glue he had used to attach everything else adorning the walls.

This confused him even more. He hadn't needed that glue for months, last using it to reattach the legs of a bar stool. It had taken him weeks to get the taste out of his mouth, and he shuddered at the thought.

Making his way back to the bar, he noticed both the Dog and Dragon had left as well, silently and unannounced. He was alone, with the thing in his mouth.

Sitting atop the bar top was a small slip of parchment, with what appeared to be a thin strip of writing. Now this was really strange. He kept a payment on purchase protocol for the bar so it was unlikely that any of his previous customers had left it for him. As he got closer he could see simple, printed lettering upon it's surface.

Carlton, The answers for your questions are wherever you choose to seek. But Ponyville would be the best place to start, one would think.

Carlton stared at the note confused, the copper rod lolling within his mouth before tumbling to the floor. He remembered hearing about Ponyville from a disgruntled Griffon almost a year ago. Just a town full of hicks, dweebs and some piece of work Pegasus. More pressing, however, was how the note appeared in the first place. Carlton's brain began to run wild. All his foal hood dreams of leaving this shit-hole for good became, for only a tantalizing instant, a reality. Something had left him these messages in this very room, and gave him free will to do as he pleased. It said so, right there in the letter.

"Wherever I choose to seek..." He said wistfully, a grin on his face. It had given him, Carlton a ticket out of his dead end life. Carlton did as any failing business owner with a wasted youth and impossible dreams would do. As anypony would do who had grown up with only failier and heartbreak and boredom. Any individual who had reason to grow wary of false hopes and sudden fleets of fancy.

He picked up the Note in his teeth, and bending down to grab the rod as well, he threw them in a dusty wooden crate under the counter top.

Just a whole lot of trouble he thought.

They were alone now. Twilight, The Guard and William had been Whisked away not thirty minuets before. Bunsen had thought about asking to go with them, as more 'protection', but he held his tongue. He was already out of favor with the Princes of the Sun herself, and it would not do to begin making suspicious proposals.

Luna, who had remained deep in thought, made her way silently to the throne room, many of her nightly duties way overdue. That had left Bunsen and Celestia trapped in the laboratories reciprocal room together with only an awkward silence to entertain themselves.

Bunsen was still quite angry with his old mentor. A better word would be confused. He had spent the best part of an hour mending William, and all the while simmering under his skin, but it felt wrong. Soon, he wondered if he were as angry with Celestia for what she had done, as he was with himself for challenging her.

As Bunsen aimlessly stared at the ground, pacing up and down the large dish, Celestia was also contemplating the events of the evening. She couldn't help but feel slightly betrayed by Bunsen, but by the same token, she couldn't feel more proud either. It was few and far between when a pony questioned her actions, and she always delighted when she was told that she was, with no other way of putting it, completely wrong. It kept her grounded, sane.

She was angry at herself for acting the way she did toward her ex-student. She had over reacted, and she could see that Bunsen was deep in thought, much over the same subject she guessed. As she watched him amble to and fro, she began to remiss about his times under her wing. The look on his eyes as he was first shown the castle's Private Library. How he had published his first research paper within weeks of graduating the School for Gifted Scholars. And how, years later, he left, without notice. One month later he'd published his peic'de resistance, The Truth Behind Unicorn Sciences and The E-MF, and his name had been renown with the study of Magic ever since.

She let out a dainty yawn and rubbed her eyes. She had to be up with the sun in less then four hours, followed by another long, tiring day. Perhaps now would be an appropriate time to get some rest.

"Bunsen, despite what you may believe, you have performed admirably today. I shall take my leave to my quarters, and perhaps salvage the last few hours of this night. You should go too, we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow."

Bunsen looked up, and opened his mouth as if he were about to protest. Celestia silenced him with a raised hoof.

"No buts or ifs Bunsen. I know what you can be like."

And with that, she turned, and with one down beat of her majestic wings, was elevated onto the platform above. Just as she was making her way out of the room, Bunsen spoke up for the first time since their agreement.

"Princess, wait! Allow me to apologize for my actions this evening. They were unbecoming of someone of-"

"Bunsen." Celestia said sternly. "You need not apologize for anything."

She disappeared through the wall, and Bunsen was left alone in the cold, silent walls of the Reciprocal room.

A few minuets went by, as Bunsen began pacing up and down once more. It was not til' he noticed he had been standing in the same spot for the better part of five minuets that he decided Celestia may be right, and that he should make his way to the warm, welcoming bed that awaited him on the other side of the laboratory complex. He glanced at the pile of green and brown on the floor, Williams gear. The shirt was also still lying there, blood turning the fabric solid. He uneasily paced over, and picked up what appeared to him to be a saddle bag. On trying to lift it however, he almost snapped his jaw. It was heavy. Incredibly heavy. He was sure that if he were to place it upon his back it would most certainly break. Sighing, he realized that all this would have to be brought to Twilight's Library.

He briefly considered keeping it here, to discover more about this creature and his past, but he abolished that thought soon enough. He was not about to invade William's privacy based on the suspicions of those around him. He reminded himself he would have to figure out a way to get this all over to Ponyville without alerting anypony else. It seemed long distance teleportation would be his only solution.

It would have to wait however. He was in no state to try such powerful magic, and decided it would have to wait till later in the mourning. Instead, he found His way up to the platform above by hauling himself over one of the computers on the walls.

Hoofing himself up again, he threw himself over the ledge and onto the platform. Although not an altogether exhausting maneuver, he lay with his back to floor, gazing up at the dull white ceiling. He tried with all his might to juxtapose some of the free, swirling thoughts that sloshed around his head like a cork in the sea. If he could put it in words, or prose, or even rhyme, he might make sense of it still. Alas his addled brain couldn't make heads or tales of it.

He groaned as he eventually picked himself of the grated floor, and he twisted himself onto his hooves, before standing in earnest. He felt the heady weight of blood rushing from his face and brain, but stood firm, if even rocking uneasily.

But he was up, and blinking his eyes in tandem, he slowly trotted over to the blank facade and pushed through, appearing on the other side. He felt the cool of the laboratory complex, and the air was still and acrid. But he pushed on, aimlessly letting his feet take him to his beckoning mattress.

Finally he came stumbling to a wooden doorway at the end of a short corridor, about five minuets away from the reciprocal room. His office was but a small box in the back of the complex. Its walls were bare and it was constructed in much the same manner as the rest of the complex. As this room was only used by those who were required in the laboratory complex for large periods of time, the room had a musky, unused smell that seemed to burn Bunsen's nostrils.

Pushed up against the far wall, a cot was placed, a thick blue blanket and white pillow the only source of comfort within those four walls. Upon the desk were an in and out tray, a small stool, and a little pot filled with different types of quills and pencils.

Bunsen unceremoniously flung his lab coat onto the floor, too tired to hang upon a coat hook on the door, and slowly ambled over to the bed. He let his glasses fall to onto the surface of the desk, and with a flash of his horn, the harsh white lights were extinguished, leaving the room in pitch darkness. It did not matter however, the cot was only a few feet away, and as soon as his forelegs hit the frame, he flopped onto the thin mattress and sighed before letting himself drift off into a deep slumber.


Had the room not been so silent, he may have never heard it, but the small imperfection in the stillness stabbed Bunsen's senses like a knife through butter. The lights flashed on again, and Bunsen twisted his head around to the floor, gazing with blurry eyes at where the disturbance had origionated.

Bunsen squinted as the light flooded his senses for a moment, but there was something below him, he could see it gleaming against the drab grey floor.

There in the center of the room was a thin copper rod, tapered at one end. Next to it was a small square of parchment, with appeared to be some writing. In his exhausted state, the fact a small copper rod and note had mysteriously appeared in his room was bypassed by Bunsen's initial thoughts of intrigue. He fumbled onto the floor, like a foal being born, and held himself up with unsteady legs. He could make out some writing, printed onto the brownish piece of paper.

A Souvenir-There Was a J-SM

He squinted again, doing a double take. But defiantly resting on the tiled floor, it was there, beckoning Bunsen closer. With his magic, he held the small rod up into the light.

The tapered end was a darker shade then the rest of the body, and it appeared to be detachable. On the opposite end, the Rod's face had a slight flange to it, and there seemed to be a small, darker circle surrounded by the rest of the copper plate, resembling a target. Flipping it over once more, Bunsen attempted to separate the darker tapered end from the rest of the body. He gripped it within his teeth, and yanked. slowly but surely, he could feel the end becoming looser and looser. Perhaps if he heated the end a bit, it would expand and come free?

Bunsen's horn glowed steadily, and a ring of magic formed around the circumference of the rod, where the tapered end met with the copper body. He could see it begin to discolor, and then slowly turn a dazzling shade of orange. Fearing he had overdone it, Bunsen quick-smart abolished the glow from his horn. The copper under the ring had discolored permanently, and a strong chemical scent had filled the air. Despite his efforts however, the copper refused to release its pearl. Perhaps another go would prove fortui....


As a reflex, he squeezed his eyes shut, and felt something pass inches from his face. Nervous system taking over, he mindlessly flung himself back, colliding with the cot, his head clanging against the hard steel frame. He felt a dull pain begin to form at the base of his skull, its intensity seemed to wax and wayne.

The echo, of what ever had gone off, resonated around the room like a tuning fork. It throbbed an it swayed, seemingly intensifying the dull ache at the back of Bunsen's head that was spreading steadily around to his ears, which rang with an unpleasant pitch. He decided he needed to open his eyes, to get a sense of... what ever had just happened. There was confusion all throughout his brain, like a cyclone of tepid thoughts and sour feelings. But with the power of hill will alone, he pushed his lids open, one at a time.

In the center of the room, the Copper rod was lying on the ground, split from the end down to the middle, resembling a peeled banana. The darker end could not be seen. However, above him a hole had appeared in the roof, its circumference clean and about as wide as a bit.

He could smell something new as well, like fireworks...


From the hole in the roof, a metallic lump fell from the ceiling, bouncing and rolling around on the floor before coming to rest beside the parchment.

Bunsen wearily eyed it off for a minute, making sure that it was as inert as the parchment it now lay upon, and then the crucial gears seemed to click in Bunsen's brain.

At once the lump of metal seemed familiar to him. He had seen it not five hours ago, lodged inside William's chest. After remembering what it had done to him, Bunsen felt a chill run up his spine, and the dull pain in his head grew ever stronger.

Whatever it was that had gone off at his feet, whether by his choosing or not, had very nearly caused him a lot of pain. He had no idea how that bloody creature could suffer a wound like that, and just smile it off like an ignorant fool. Was he immortal, insane, or simply crazed from the blood loss?

An Idea began to form in side his brain, swirling and frothing, collecting mass. Whatever that... thing.. had been, William was the only creature he knew that would have any clue as to what had happened that night.

Despite his reservations, he would have to interrogate Will in earnest. His analytic mind needed answers, and Will would be his only source.

Summoning up all the strength he could muster, a glow began to form at the tip of his horn. Its pleasant aura filled him with confidence, like it did all Unicorns capable of the spell, and with one final grunt, he had disappeared in a flash, the note flapping in the gentile breeze, the lump of metal rolling around the floor, blissfully ignorant to the trouble it had very nearly caused.

As the wooden door creaked open, the early mourning light cascading through the windows filled the dark, dusky candle lit confines of Twilight's little living room. Her head was low to the ground, her shoulders even lower, as she attempted to keep her entrance as quiet as possible. Her back legs were crouched and, her head swung from side to side, purveying the room as if she had never stepped foot within it's domain. it was completely as she had left it, the ink thankfully remained upon the desk and paper, failing to spill onto the easily stained wooden floors. She edged in an inch more, trying with great effort not to create any more sound that necessary. It was only dawning on her that she needn't put herself through such tasks, when it had been made clear that William meant no harm to nopony. Yet, she pushed on with her exasperating cloak and dagger game, slowly bringing her hind legs to her fore ones, inching towards the center of the room.

She had made it fully into her own living room, her silhouette played and danced upon the book shelves and cupboards. Her five companions waited by the door, not too keen to enter, but not willing to miss out on the promise of an exciting new adventure either. Even Fluttershy was leaning forward, balancing on the tips of her hooves. Twilight knew her friends were watching her every move, waiting for the signs only they knew to pick up.

Content that William was not hiding under any the assembled furnishings around the small abode, Twilight invited her friends in with a succinct nod.

First to enter was Rainbow Dash, she held her head high but she wore the fear on her face like a mask, her eyes darting around the room, scoping out any and all visible threats. Next came Rarity and Applejack, who paced shoulder to shoulder, their hooves striking the wooden floor as one. After them came Pinkie, her light red fuzz swaying and bouncing with her springy stride as she hopped into the room, nonplussed by Twilight's earlier speech. Mid bounce however she stalled, and turned to give a bright smile towards the open door, where a dainty yellow snout could be seen poking out the edge. Taking pity on the poor mare, Rarity trotted back to the door, and nuzzled her mellow friend's cheek like a Mother would her filly, her mouth opening and closing, speaking words of encouragement Fluttershy could hear. The vote of confidence from her dearest friend worked its magic, and Fluttershy uneasily conceded her position by the door, falling in step behind the alabaster unicorn.

Finally they had all assembled. Rarity, Rainbow, Applejack, Pinkie and even Fluttershy all gazed expectantly at Twilight awaiting their orders with baited breath. Even though she was the youngest by a year, all five heralded Twilight as their defacto leader, or at least when matters of national significance were thrust their direction. Her nerves may get the better of her at the best of times, but they all knew that if something was a muck, Twilight would be the one with answers.

"Girls I... I don't know what to say. What I have to show you is... well there's no way to put it but... sinister. Before I introduce you, I want you to promise that none of you will act... untoward our new guest." She looked directly at Rainbow and Applejack as she said this, they being the two most likely to react disastrously toward Will. Applejack nodded in compliance, whereas Rainbow rolled her eyes and gave an exasperated shrug, as if to say FIIINE. Twilight held her gaze for a beat, before continuing, "Non the less, I don't want any of you perceiving him as anything less than a threat. Now. I hate to bring you girls into this, because I have no idea what is in store for us. The letters, Will, there's something behind this, something we've never met before. But as the Elements of Harmony (She had hopped onto the table at this point) it is OUR job to find out, and if there really is a threat, We must stop it at all costs!".

Her speech was ended with a passionate cheer from the Elements before her. Despite her self, Twilight smiled. She smiled because she knew that there were no other ponies in the whole world she could trust as much as the ones before her. It was like the fist time the spark had entered her mind and consciousnesses, like the first time she looked into Applejack's eyes, or felt Fluttershy's kindness radiating off the yellow Pegasus like heat off the sun. What ever was happening right now under their noses, what ever powers conspired against them, and however powerful they might be, She was ready for them. She had never felt so proud.

"A simple good mourning would suffice."

A collection of gasps and shocked silences followed, the five (Pinkie had noted the the bust at this point, and in spite of Will's dramatic entry had begun to stare deep into it's 'eyes' rapt attention) all whipping around to locate the epicenter of the sound. And there he was, standing tall at the foot of the stairs leading down from Twilight's bedroom, his arms crossed and his stony face a painting of banal indifference. His chest was worn and splashed with scarres, some fresh, some just mere shadows, but they seemed to cover his body like vines. They were only accentuated by the blood stained dressings that rigidly clung to his chest and shoulder. It gave him an almost crumpled, over used look, as if he had been unceromonially stuffed into a trunk. His face too, had grown a fresh layer of deep brown stubble over night, the same hue as his messy, tangled tuft of hair. His eyes were blood shot and bagged, heavy creases crept like tendrils from his heavy lids. But His eyes themselves, those deep blue orbs stayed true and sharp, his gaze alone making him appear at least a decade younger than he probably was. Twilight could have no idea, he had been reluctant to reveal any of his personal information the night before, his age paramount.

Something had happened that night. William was different. Twilight had this nagging sensation in her gut, that this man was not the same as the one from the night before. That one had seemed younger, foalish, and a bit ignorant. But this Will... he was older, somehow. She had no idea. Perhaps it was just lack of sleep?

He still wore the daggy, patchy green pants and great black boots as he had been the night before and perhaps indefinitely before that. It struck Twilight that the rest of his gear had been left in the castle, where she hoped he might have a change of clothes. She would have to contact Bunsen and get him transport it across, or perhaps one of the Princess'.

As for the state of the clothes he had on him...

"Gahh, ohhh... M-M-My. Ueghh." Rarity moaned, clasping her snout together with two highly pedicured hooves. In doing so, however, a fundamental part of pony anatomy had been forgotten.

As the fashionista Hit the floor with a thud, Applejack jumped out of the way, Rarity falling neatly at her hooves. In spite of the muffled cries from the fashion designer below her AJ's raised muzzle sniffed at the air, a subtle grimace forming on the farmer's mouth. As the air currents in the library swirled and expanded, it brought William's scent to the rest of the girls, and soon even Rainbow dash was gagging. Pinkie had at this point started making faces at the wooden bust, waiting earnestly for a reaction from the stoic statue.

William must have found these reactions to his presence somewhat entertaining, and his face twisted into a bemused grin.

"Well. These are the 'Elements of Harmony then?" He said with a smug half grin.

Twilight cringed.

"You heard that speech?"

"Yous heard the question."

There, again. Twilight had a hunch the the Will she knew from seven hours ago would never have said something as deliberately austere, opting instead for some half baked remark. She decided not to honor his clandestinely serious demand, and instead turned to survey her honored friends.

Fluttershy was rubbing Rarity's bruised nose in a motherly manner, swooning over the drama queen. Rainbow Dash gripped her mouth closed, and made hurling noises from behind her less than colored face. Pinkie had discovered the ink on the table and was busy scribbling a thick handlebar mustache onto the face of her new wooden friend. Applejack just stared back at Twilight, sharing a knowing glance. With a sigh, she turned back to her current bane.

"Yes," she said weakly. "that's us."

"So, Lehme Get this' strait. Yeh refuse to answer any o' our questions, specifically pertaining to the ones about yourself. Yet you jus' 'spect us tah spill the beans about ourselves, even while you were caught trespassin' into that secret laboratory complex ...ahhh... thingy... Twahlight was talkin' 'bout. Now tha' jus' ain't right!" Said Applejack in exasperatedly.

For the last hour, the Elements had, at Twilight's permission, been surreptitiously interrogating the new comer. First they tried setting Fluttershy down next to him, to see if she could persuade him with her feeble, but ultimately adorable manner alone. Will proved to be considerate, but cold hearted beast, as he politely shot down the shy mare time and time again. Next they tried with Rainbow Dash. But all thoughts of subtlety were lost within seconds of the brash pegasus opening her mouth, and Will promptly shut like a clam, what little information he had been willing to discuss becoming off limits. Next Pinkie stated she had the perfect plan, and began a good cop bad cop routine with their captive. Twilight had to admit, it was pretty convincing, yet Pinkie had made the fatal mistake of only attaching a hat, aviators, and a comically large black handlebar moustache (that eirriely resembled the one the wooden bust now sported) to her face. To say the least, while somewhat bemused, William could not be swayed.

Twilight and Rarity were to return empty handed as well, Will proving to be impertinent to Twilight's bereting and eventual pleading, and he also showed immense volumes of self control, staying straight faced through the onslaught that crippled the entirety of the Diamond Dog organisation. Finally it was Applejack's turn and she believed, as she often did, that honesty would be the only way to blow the levee on the tightly held information that Twilight so deeply needed. Will, as ever, proved to be immovable.

"I don't expect you to tell me piss all. All YOU need to understand is that I have no intentions of telling you anything either."

AJ decided to change tack, attempting the compassionate route of questions.

"Huh, well than Mr Mckay. We don' know who you are, wha' you do, and whay you're even here. But ah told you before. We aint here to hurt you, if thats what what you're.." A laugh cut her off mid sentence.

"Ha! Hurt me? you couldn't even slightly inconvenience me. I can tell yous aren't like that anyway, well except maybe the big one last night, but that's a pretty bloody understandable action for the ruler of the realm. I recon you are far too trusting, all o' yous. A little bit a' bad blood never killed anyone." He had risen from the ground, and as he finished he dismissively waved his hand, and turned away. This outburst took Applejack by surprise, and she backed away slightly, not out of fear, but simply to give the creature more room. She then provided him with a rebuttle.

"Nah, although ah know from hard earned experience tha' it can hurt a whole dang lot."

She left the statement hanging in the air like a bad smell.

Surprisingly Will let out a small smile. While for the last 58 minuets he had been propped against a book case, watching expressionlessly as the parade of interrogators flowed past, but after that slipped from the farm ponies mouth, his face lit up, and he hung his head in disbelief, a wide grin on his face.

Then, inexplicably he started to giggle, then chortle, finally breaking out into a hearty laugh that seemed to tear at his bandages. Applejack awkwardly stood there, a confused expression on her face, and a slight blush creeping into her cheeks.

Finally he settled down and looked her dead in the eye.

"I knew you, of all of the rest of 'em, would be the first one to make a threat. Non of that, 'If you don't talk i'll grind your head into a pulp between my wings!' bollocks, no, non of that. A real, proper, decent threat." His head tilted back with a mirthful grin, and another chuckle escaped his lips, before resting his gaze back upon Applejack. "When I said I'd never tell you anything, I just want to understand, that I just don't think you're ready for what I have to say. If last nights reactions are anything to go by, yous are a fairly innocent lot. And thats okay, they told me you would be, bastards.
"Listen, when I, William McKay, With Ms Applejack as my witness, deem it fit for my information to be passed onto the 'Ponies of Equestria', I shall retell my story in full." He stated looking content.

It took a while for the information to settle on Applejack, she herself readied for defeat. Like a spark however, something clicked in her brain, about what Will had just said.

"Wait... who told' you what now? You didn't say nothin' bout' somepony else!"

She was silenced by hand.

"Like I promised. As soon as I see fit, I'll tell you everything. I guess I owe you that much."

"Owe us that much for what?"

"Well, not killing me on the spot for one. Its a greater gift than my kind are normally afforded"


"Well...You're welcome then, ah 'spose." And the two descended into silence once more, Applejack pondering what she had just learned, and William blissfully staring at the cielling.Once more, Applejack opened her mouth to ask a question.

"And Mr McKay, how come you don't seem affected by this at all, like you were 'specting this all along? Heck ah'd be pretty messed up if Ah suddenly found mahself far away from home. Don't you have a family or somethin'?"

"Not that I know of. And for that other thing, they call it the Five P's Applejack" A Quick glance showed that she had no idea what he was saying.

"Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance, and I'll tell you what, it's the bloody truth."