My Little Pony: The Visitor

by Hopeful Soul

First published

On a day that started out like any other, a regular boy's happy life is changed in a flash.

Upon receiving a strange birthday gift from his grandfather, the peaceful life of an ordinary young human boy is changed forever when he is suddenly teleported straight to Equestria, where he encounters Princess Twilight and her friends and accidentally awakens an ancient evil. Now the boy known as Declan must aid his new friends in defeating this evil in order to get back home.

BTW this is a collab story with Word Worthy, plus Equestria Girls never happened, not that I have anything against it.

Covert Art done by _Vidz_

Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

The sun slowly started to rise over the magnificent city of Victoria, British Columbia, as a small robin flew down toward the city, chirping a happy song as it soared through the air and clouds before finally reaching the city below.

It flew over several tall and small buildings, a few startled people, amusement park rides at a Fair that was currently getting ready to be activated once all the people started arriving, and finally, it flew over a fast looking train just racing down the railroad tracks before reaching a peaceful looking neighborhood.

The robin soon reached the window of one of the many little houses and pecked at the glass for a bit before flying off somewhere else.
On the other side of the window was the bedroom of a preteen boy named Declan Shay, whose peaceful sleep was disturbed a bit by the Robin's pecking, but despite that he continued to try and rest. That's when the alarm in his clock went off as soon as it hit 7 AM, he groaned a bit before raising his hand and hitting the snooze button.

He pushed back the covers and then quickly sat up as he rubbed his sleepy looking emerald green eyes, which had black discolored marks around them, indicating that he didn’t get much sleep as it was. His average-length brown hair, was currently a bit messy and his skin was somewhat pale. Declan was somewhat small for his age but that didn’t seem to bother him much, things were pretty good for him. He had a home, friends, family and aside from the alarm all was right in the world for him. His voice had a very mellow tone.

Declan sighed. “Stupid alarm…” he muttered, still sleepy. He quickly shrugged it off though. “Oh well, time to start the day.”

The boy quickly got out of bed and went to go change into his regular, everyday clothes. He had a typical boys room filled with toys, action figures, comics, and a soccer ball also and a picture of his parents on his dresser, which he took some clothes out of him.

He quickly slipped on a dark green t-shirt over a light green zip-up hooded vest with dark green on the sides, dark green pants and black socks as well as green arm bands and a pair of glasses. He combed his hair, making it wavy and flare out on the sides aside from one short-upwards pointing spike on top of his head that resembles the stem of a leaf, though it still looked tousled. He smiled in front of the mirror, revealing a gap between his teeth and then he heard someone call out to him from the kitchen.

“Declan! Time for breakfast!”

“Coming, Mom!” Declan called back, before he rushed out the door.

He soon went down the hallway, got onto the railing of the staircase and slid down it for a bit before landing on the ground. He went to grab his black baseball hat, resting on the hook near him but was quickly zapped.

“Ow! Dang static electricity…” Declan complained as he shook his hand and grabbed his hat. “Isn’t it time we got some hard wood floors, people?”

Declan put his hat on in a sideways fashion before walking forward and accidentally bumping into a rather large man in front of him, causing him to fall over. He looked up to see that it was just his Dad: Harvey Shay standing over him.

Harvey was a big man in his mid-fifties, had a bit of a big gut but was muscular, tall, had a big brown mustache that connected to his sideburns, no hair on top of his head, and wore a simple white t-shirt and blue pants.

“Sorry son, in a bit of a hurry this morning.” Harvey apologized as he helped Declan back up.

“I feel ya Pop, got a big day planned out of me myself.” Declan admitted as he adjusted his glasses and then began to follow Harvey to the kitchen.

“Yeah? And what does that entail?” Harvey asked, curiously. “Besides going to school anyway.”

“Don’t remind me.” Declan said, lowly.

“Sorry. So, what do you have planned after school?” Harvey inquired.

“Well, me and some of the others are planning on doing some exploring.” Declan said as he and Harvey opened the door to the kitchen and walked over to table, where a beautiful woman named Rebecca Shay approached the table with breakfast, She was Declan’s mother and Harvey’s wife.

She appeared to be in her late 30s/early 40s. She had long black hair and she wore blue jeans and a black, long sleeved shirt. She heard Declan’s comment on exploring and smiled.

“Oh? Exploring where?” she questioned, curiously.

“Just around the old buildings of Victoria, heard you can find some cool stuff there.”

“Well, just be careful alright? Some of those buildings might be dangerous.” Rebecca reminded him.

Declan nodded. “I know, Mom. I will. Don’t worry I won’t let you down,” he assured her, though deep down he was wondering if he could keep that little promise, and it distressed him very much inside.

Rebecca smiled warmly at her son. “I know you won’t. Now, how about some nice fresh toast?” she offered as he places four pieces of sliced toast on a plate in front of him.

“Sweet!” Declan said, brightening up as he quickly grabbed a slice and dug right in.

“Easy, don’t woof it down so fast.” Harvey told him.

“Ok, Dad.” Declan nodded, as he began to chew slower. Then they heard a knocking at the door. “Odd, who could that be?”

“Go ahead and answer it.” Harvey told him.

“Ok.” Declan nodded as he stood up and left the kitchen.

He soon reached the front door and when he opened it, he saw a slightly chubby elderly man that didn’t look a day over 90 but was presumably older. He had kind and wise eyes, white hair, a goatee, carried with him a red bag and wore brown colored clothing. Declan recognized him immediately.

“Grandpa!” he said, surprised.

“Hey, ya little Scamp. Long-time no see!” The elderly man smiled.

“I’ll say.” Declan agreed, smiling brightly as they quickly hugged. “So what brings you here, anyway? Dad said you were leaving town and never coming back.”

“Well, you know how your father exaggerates. And I came to give you this.” Declan’s Grandpa said as he took a black box out of the red bag. “Happy Birthday.”

Declan smiled brightly as he took the gift while his Grandfather chuckled.

“You didn’t think I would forget, did you?” he remarked.

Declan opened the black box and took out what appeared to be a necklace with a small, rectangular white crystal gem at the end of the black string. Declan held it in front of his face curiously and swung it from side to side like a pendulum.

“What is it?” Declan inquired, curiously.

“It’s called the Emperor’s Gem, it’s been in our family since our ancestors first dug it up after they had just settled in Canada back in 1849.” Grandpa Shay explained. “My father gave it to me when I was your age, who got it from his father, who got from his father and…”

“Ok, I get it.” Declan said, quickly.

“Good. Anyways, besides you and your own father… it’s my greatest treasure…” Grandpa Shay expressed.

Declan looked at it and his grandfather again. “How much is worth?”

“Never found out, but every one of our forefathers, including myself, knew this; that gem is something special.” The old man stated. “And now it’s yours.”

Declan smiled. “Thanks, Grandpa,” he said. Grandpa Shay nodded. “Oh, by the way… why are you giving to me? Should Dad have it?”

“I was planning on it when he was a boy but… he’s never been one for jewellery.” The elderly man said, with a smirk.

“Oh yeah.” Declan nodded.

“Just promise me you’ll keep it safe for me, son.” Mr. Shay urged him.

Declan gulped a bit, feeling a little pressured, but nodded. “I’ll… do my best.” he promised.

“Good boy.” Grandpa Shay smiled.

The young boy returned the smile then put the Emperor’s Gem around his neck. “Hey, it’s my size!” he joked.

“It sure is!” His grandfather agreed with him, chuckling.

Just then, Harvey poked his head in, interrupting them.

“Hey, Declan… oh Dad! It’s good to see you,” he said.

Harvey’s father nodded. “Likewise,”

“Anyways… here’s your bag son.” Harvey said as he tossed Declan’s backpack to him, which he caught. “Have a good time.”

“I will. Bye Dad, bye Grandpa!” Declan said as he then quickly put on his green runners, walked out of the door and then ran off to school. As the smiling preteen continued on his way towards his school, the gem around his neck began to glow faintly, though Declan didn’t really notice it at the time.

Meanwhile, in the mysterious and magical land known as Equestria…

In the town of Ponyville, the many different colored ponies of the village either walked, or flew, around enjoying their day and embracing the harmonious times granted to them by their leaders Princess’ Celestia, Luna, as well as the newest Princess, Princess Twilight and her friends.

What was also new to Ponyville was the large, crystal like castle close by. It was called the Castle of Friendship, now home to Princess Twilight.

Inside the castle, where dozens of books were neatly organized on the shelves, the young alicorn herself currently had a large tome open in front of her, the title of was “Legends of Equestria.” Her violet eyes scanned the pages intently, while her purple coat complimented her indigo mane and tail nicely. A personal touch to her mane, pink and purple stripes, was visible. The cutie mark on her flank resembled a six-pointed, pink star.

“Hmm, now what do we have here?” she wondered to herself, as she read a page. “Looks like some kind of gem… but the words seem to be bit smudged… I wonder…”

A small, slightly chubby and adorable purple scaled and green spiked baby dragon with green eyes the burst right in. His name was Spike.

“Hey, Twilight!” he said, loudly.

Spike’s sudden appearance made Twilight yelp, startled. She turned to him annoyed. “Honestly, Spike! Haven’t you heard of knocking?”

“Oh, sorry. Just wanted to let you know breakfast is ready.” Spike informed her.

“Oh right, good. Though I’m kind of in the middle of his great book… it’s called Legends of Equestria and this one’s a good one too.” Twilight expressed.

“Well, why don’t you read it while you’re eating?” Spike suggested. “I mean you’re a Princess now, I’m sure you can handle reading and eating at the same time.”

Twilight thought about and quickly saw his point. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Cool, then let’s get to eating!” Spike said, as he began to walk out the door.

“Alright, alright, I’m coming.” Twilight told him, amused as she began to follow him while levitating the book behind her with her magenta colored magic.

Now, for both the Human World and the Pony World, things were peaceful and the lives of both Twilight and Dillon were looking pretty good at the moment. But unfortunately, in this life, all of that could change in an instant.

And deep below Equestria, something was stirring, something bad.

In what seemed like a dark void, a large, rectangular metal box, suspended in mid-air by webs sticking to it from all different directions, lay silently. But it wasn’t the box that was the problem, it was what was

it that was stirring. And inside it seemed be a woman of some sorts with chalk white skin and red hair. Her eyes were currently closed, then a second later they snapped open revealing two red eyes with black sclera.

Upon the moment her eyes opened, the metal box she was in began to glow with a black and blood red aura. Above it, the ground beneath everypony’s hooves began to shake, startling them and knocking a few off balance, including Twilight and Spike who were just walking down the hall. The sudden fall caused Twilight to drop the book she was carrying with her magic, and also caused it to open to a page with the picture of the Emperor’s Gem on it.

But little tremors weren’t the only thing happening, other odd things began to happen in Equestria, like the sky flashing light and dark for a bit, the clouds rumbling and everypony’s magic was interfered by something, just like it was when the plunderseeds awoken.

Elsewhere in the otherworldly city of Canterlot, an alicorn named Princess Celestia, the co-ruler of Equestria, stepped out onto the balcony of her giant, gleaming white and gold castle, which was set on the side of a large purple mountain, looking greatly disconcerted. Her white coat shone in the sun, as her long and colorful mane caught and reflected the sun’s light. She looked out toward the city and Ponyville and saw the strange occurrences happening with a concerned face.

The sound of hoof steps was heard by the Princess and was getting closer. It was Princess Celestia’s younger sister, Princess Luna, approaching her from behind. Celestia did not turn around and continued to stare out into the horizon disturbed.

Princess Luna had an indigo body and a teal mane and tail.

“Sister?” Princess Luna said, getting her older sister’s attention.

“Luna.” Celestia said, acknowledging her sister’s presence.

“Tell me, what is happening? What is going on in our kingdom?” she asked.

Princess Celestia looked out toward the horizon again. “Something is coming…” she said, grimly. Both Princesses’ looked toward the horizon with concern glimmering in their eyes while the skies around them continued to grow ever darker. Meanwhile, a clock nearby continued to tic normally though it gradually got louder and slower, to somepony else it was a sign that fate was counting down to something.

Something very, very bad.

Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

“Whoa, the guys at lunch definitely weren’t exaggerating.” A boy declared as he stood on the sidewalk and surveyed the sprawling but neglected property before him.

In front of the boy stood the vine-strewn, wrought iron front gate to an unlit and equally unruly three story Victorian mansion of sturdy brick construction. Though largely intact with still elegant turrets and sweeping, elaborately fashioned gables and trellises, the massive house’s darkened windows, loose shutters, and creeping overgrowth clearly shouted, “I’m haunted.” Although, to a more intrepid mind, the house would seem as if to say, “Renovate me.”

However, for Declan Shay, the only thing the house seemed to say to him in any discernible detail was, “Unlock my secrets, if you dare.”

“Challenge accepted. Well, here goes…” Declan announced with a mixture of both nervousness and excitement as he shouldered his bag, adjusted his glasses then approached and tested the gate with a firm push in the middle of it, where a solid sheet of iron depicted the long, emblazoned face of a horse above an address that weathering had since worn away the lettering of. With a groan of grumpy old metal, the heavy gate swung open to Declan’s force, greeting him with a glimpse of the front yard.

Even in the light of the partially overcast afternoon, Declan could easily tell that the place had seen better days. A once manicured front lawn was now replaced by weeds and wild-looking topiary that likely hadn't seen grooming in at least a decade or more.

Declan walked slowly across the cracked and mossy path leading up to the front porch, taking in everything with a curious gaze. Besides the topiary, a handful of statues of mares and stallions either cantering and rearing up lurked amongst the knee-high grass. Another equine face like the one at the gate stared Declan down as he reached the front door.

“Boy… somebody must have really loved horses.” he thought aloud, sounding intrigued. He could have almost sworn he’d even seen a couple statues of Pegasus up on the roof where gargoyles would have ordinarily held court on other mansions from the time period. Declan rapped on the door, despite knowing there would almost definitely be no response.

To the boy’s surprise, the door creaked open in response to his fist. “H-Hello?” Declan called out, he listened for a response before rolling his eyes. “Oh c’mon, Declan. Get real. Ghosts don’t answer doors and nobody’s lived in this dump for years.”

The word ghost immediately crossed the boy’s mind, as the house was well known around the area as being a hotspot for hauntings and supernatural activity. As a result, vandals and the homeless kept their distance, but others, such as local paranormal investigators and groups of kids on a dare still ventured in from time to time, emerging with either boredom, or the usual tales of disembodied voices and malfunctioning electrical gadgets.

Declan stepped into the foyer, disturbing dust bunnies and other small debris underfoot. He produced a flashlight and began scanning the room like he had the outside. He whistled. “Wow! It’s even bigger on the inside!”

As he stepped further into the grand foyer, the Emperor’s Gem around his neck began to glow with a faint intensity like it had earlier.

With the darkness in the room, Declan was finally able to notice it for the first time. “Whoa, that’s new! It’s glowing!” His face lit up in wonder as examined the glowing white gem around his neck. It’s glow increased in brightness the further into the foyer he ventured. “Grandpa wasn’t joking, this thing really must be special, somehow.”

“Huh?” When Declan reached the stairs, he stared up from the gem momentarily to reassess his surroundings. The gem could’ve very easily had caused him to absentmindedly walk into a wall whilst admiring it, such was its beauty.

Declan brought his flashlight back up, and inspected the large staircase. Testing the wood of the first couple of steps and finding it sturdy enough to his liking, Declan slowly made his way up, his necklace glowing all the while and bathing the area around him in lustrous white light. If anyone in the surrounding area outside had seen the light shining through the windows of the manor, they’d almost surely mistake it for a specter.

When he reached the central landing, Declan was stopped when something caught his eye. Directly in front of him was the towering painting of a stately-dressed woman, holding a sword facing downward with a violet six-pointed star pommel. Declan recognized her fashion style a bit from history class; the woman’s red polonaise dress was likely from some point after the American Revolution, at least. The middle part of the dress itself was decorated with the motif of a winged unicorn, flailing its forelegs in the air.

A plaque stood at the foot of the painting, but a quick glance by Declan revealed it to be oddly illegible. The woman’s fair-skinned face bore a haughty expression, and her eyes and hair were both a fierce crimson, much to Declan’s surprise. “Huh. Who would paint somebody with red eyes?” he wondered, his face scrunched with puzzlement. With the way the white light from his amulet shined on the painting, the woman’s eyes seemed to glow like fire, studying him just as he was studying the painting.

Declan looked closer at the woman’s dress, preferring not to stare into the depths of her unnerving gaze. “Horses, horses, mythological horses, and more horses. Starting to see a pattern here…”

Before he could finish that thought or turn to continue his exploration, Declan’s necklace took on an all-new level of brightness, it even began to float a bit. “What the…oh boy.” Declan was starting to get a sense that the ground was giving way beneath him, but the light from the Emperor’s Gem had now all but blinded his view of the room.

Declan cried out in alarm as he felt his world literally spin out of control, before he could no longer even see his hands, only the blinding magical light.

The gem glowed then even brighter and in a flash of light Declan vanished, leaving only his hat.

Declan screamed as he flew, tumbled, twisted and flipped through the air while he traveled down a long, glittery rainbow colored vortex straight toward a completely new world. As he flew further and further down the tunnel, screaming his head off. Ouch! Declan thought as his body contorted and stretched. He couldn’t see much. Just flashes of light, colors and the glowing gem around his neck.

The tunnel ended when he disappeared into a circle of white light.

Meanwhile, back in Equestria…

In the throne room of Ponyville’s crystal castle, Princess Twilight was seated at the central table with Spike.

The young alicorn was diligently studying the pages of Legends of Equestria, hoping to learn more about the mysterious gem she had seen within. So far, the weighty tome’s pages had yet to divulge their ancient secrets to her, much to Twilight’s frustration.

“Ugh! I still can’t find anything!” she said, stressed.

“Calm down, Twilight.” Spike urged her, putting a claw on her shoulder.

“I’m trying… but I need to know more about this gem… I think it…” she began.

Before she could finish, another tremor rocked the castle, causing a cup of tea Spike had placed on the table to rock slightly. He bit his lip as he looked about the room nervously. “There it is again, that shaking!”

Twilight looked up from her reading. “At least it seems to be weakening in intensity, a bit.”

“But what is it? I don’t remember Ponyville being on a fault line…”

“Good question, one I aim to find an answer to, and soon.”

Spike scratched his head as he started sipping some tea. “Hopefully.”

“Something’s telling me that this random bout of quakes might not be so random as they initially seem, and that this gem might be involved.” Twilight stabbed her hoof at the open Legends of Equestria.

“What makes you think that?” Spike said, hopping out of his seat.

“A little bit of an alicorn’s intuition, perhaps.” Twilight replied.

“But… what about all the other crazy stuff that’s been going on outside, I can hear everypony screaming from here.” Spike pointed out.

“There probably also connected to the gem, I can feel it!” Twilight stated. “We just need…”

The duo’s attention was then immediately drawn to the center of the table, wide-eyed, as a field of magical energy coalesced there with a loud chiming noise, and something thin, scrawny, bipedal and currently in a crouching position, took shape in the swirling motes of gold, magenta, and emerald green light and appeared above them before quickly dropping and hitting the floor.

“Uhh…Twilight?” Spike took a few nervous steps back. “I think we might have a visitor…”

“That we do, Spike.” Twilight replied, watching the newcomer with a mixture of awe, wariness, and curiosity. The bipedal creature arose from his crouching position with heavy disorientation to his full height, which was just a few inches taller than a pony, but not by much. His facial features were concealed by a pair of limbs that that were flat and had five sticks extending out of each of them. He wiggled them and they seemed to work to a great degree. As the magical light and energy dissipated, the biped’s body could be seen in greater detail.

“Is that… a minotaur?” Spike questioned, raising a brow. “If so, he’s wearing the weirdest outfit I have ever seen. But it doesn’t look like he has any horns…”

“Hmm, are those… ‘hands’? I’ve read about them somewhere before.” Twilight looked from the mysterious new stranger, then to the gem in the book, and did a double take. “Wait, Spike, the gem! Around his neck! That’s the gem from the book!”

Spike’s green eyes followed her pointing hoof to a necklace fastened around the stranger’s neck. Sure enough, the strange creature’s gem was an exact match. Spike’s eyes narrowed. “Ok, this can’t possibly be a coincidence… Twilight? What are you doing?” Twilight was slowly approaching the newcomer with a friendly smile.

“Greeting him, of course,” she replied.

“But what if he’s dangerous?” Spike pointed out.

“If he was dangerous he would have already done something, now hush! We don’t want to spoke him.” The alicorn said in a quiet tone. Spike put a claw to his mouth and shushed, understandingly.

The hornless minotaur, or whatever else it may be, had finally got his bearings, and was taking stock of his new surroundings. If one were to look up bewilderment in the dictionary, a picture of the stranger’s expression would undoubtedly be there. He saw that the surfaces of all the walls were shiny and almost crystal like, he could even see his reflection in them.

As he gazed around and grew more and more confused, Twilight also noticed that his muzzle was really small, it just a tiny nose, high up on his face. Very particular.

Twilight cleared her throat lightly, which caught the biped’s attention and made him jump back in surprise. She smiled warmly. “Hello? Erm…can you… understand me?”

His green eyes focused on her horn, and one of them twitched almost comically with disbelief as he registered Spike’s presence as well. “Oh boy, a talking horse, and a little dragon. Wow, okay, it finally happened… I lost my mind,” he declared before putting a hand on his forehead, looking exhausted. Whoa, easy Declan, it looks like the necklace’s light must have caused you to fall down those steps and hit your head on something…”

He spoke Equestrian! Twilight contained her mounting excitement by making way for confusion and concern of her own. “You fell down some stairs? Where? Do you need medical attention, or something?”

Declan Shay peered into the unicorn’s dinner plate-like magenta eyes with absolute bafflement. “Uh, what?”

“I said can we help you?” Twilight inquired.

This then became too much for Declan to handle before he suddenly keeled over and hit the ground once again, unconscious. Twilight looked a bit stunned by this herself while Spike quickly rushed over and looked over him.

“Whoa! What did you do?” he asked.

“I didn’t do anything! Honest!” Twilight protested. She gazed up at the lights that were just above them moments ago and then at the strange creature with the gem around his neck. “Where did it come from?”

Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

As Declan continued to sleep and recover at Twilight’s Castle, after seeing a talking horse and mini dragon right in front of him, the cause of the strange quakes and occurrences happening all over Equestria continued to stir, and the metal box that contained it began to glow with a dark aura. An aura that would give any person, or pony, an uneasy feeling if he or she or they got too close to it.

Inside the box, creating the dark aura, the mysterious woman that looked a lot like the picture back in the mansion on Earth, had her eyes closed once again. She seemed to be concentrating hard, then she moaned with pleasure.

“So… it’s here… it’s finally arrived. Well, it’s about time!” she said. “And soon… it will be mine once again! But first… time to call in some reinforcements…”

The mysterious and demonic looking woman put her hands together while the dark aura that surrounded her metal box prison began to rise up while she chanted a strange incantation.

“Summone per manum terra troglodytam… Earth Troll Arise!”

The dark energy then shot up toward the surface, for what purpose, only the prisoner in the metal box knew, and it made her laugh evilly.

Around the same time, Declan’s eyes were just beginning to open. He groaned as he slowly came to and lifted his heavy eyelids, his vision was a bit blurry at first but eventually it cleared up. His head still hurt though as he lifted it off what seemed to be a comfy pillow and sat up while quickly adjusting his glasses.

“Ooh… my head… I had the most messed up dream… there was a talking horse and a… little purple and green purple and…” Declan began before he finally noticed something.

He saw that he wasn’t in his room and that the walls were shiny and crystal like, just like they were in that strange room before. He also noticed the same talking horse and dragon from before standing nearby him. The purple horse looked concerned while the little dragon just waved at him.

“Aw… man!” he complained.

Twilight AKA The Talking Horse approached him slowly. “Are you ok?”

“Gah!” Declan yelped as he fell off the bed and scooted away.

“Wait! Hold on! I’m not gonna hurt you!” Twilight tried to assure him.

“Y-YOU’RE A TALKING HORSE!” Declan exclaimed, freaked out.

Twilight frowned a bit insulted. “Hey, I am not horse, I happen to be a pony, an alicorn to be precise.”

“What’s the difference?” Declan commented, deadpan. Twilight opened her mouth to say something but Spike stopped her.

“Don’t get her started, we’ll be here all day.” Spike told him, flatly.

“Great… now the dragon’s talking…” Declan muttered, sarcastically. “Man… this one crazy dream…”

“Um… whoever or whatever you are… I’m afraid to tell that… this isn’t a dream, you're awake.” Twilight informed him.

“What!? No, no, no, this is not real… this is not real… this is not real…” Declan chanted with his eyes closed, hoping when he opened them he’d be back home but when he opened them, he still saw Twilight and Spike staring at him befuddled.

“So… how’s that working for ya?” Spike questioned.

Declan groaned frustrated, then walked over and started banging his head against the wall. “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”

“Stop! Stop! That’s not gonna do any good!” Twilight exclaimed to him.

Declan groaned as he rubbed his sore forehead. “Ok… that was a mistake…”

“Ya think?” Spike remarked, deadpan.

Declan scowled. “You know... maybe there’s a reason why ponies and dragons shouldn't talk…”

“Listen, I know that this is a lot to take in but you need to Calm. Down.” Twilight urged him. “Just take a Deep. Breath.”

Declan did as she told him and then sighed, deeply. “Ok…”

Twilight nodded. “Good. Anyway, I’m Twilight Sparkle and this is my assistant Spike,” she said while the little dragon puffed out his chest proudly. “What’s your name?”

“Declan.” The boy answered.


“My name. You can call me Declan.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you Declan.” Twilight Sparkle smiled.

“So… where am I Twilight? What the heck is this place?” Declan asked, confused. “And please tell me that I’m not in a well-designed room inside an insane asylum because I still think I’m going crazy here.”

“No… This is my castle.” Twilight said, as she looked around it smiling. “Nice, isn’t it?”

“Castle? You mean you’re a…” Declan began.

“A Princess? Yes.” Twilight nodded.

“The Princess of Friendship to be precise!” Spike added, proudly.

“Oh… your majesty!” Declan said, before bowing quickly. His face then fell upon remembering something. His voice became flat. “Ok, why am I talking to a pony?”

“Uh… no need to bow, to be honest part of me is still getting used to being a Princess of Equestria.” Twilight Sparkle admitted, sheepishly.

“What’s Equestria?” Declan asked, confused.

“The name of this country.” Twilight answered. “Ruled by Celestia and Luna, Princess’ of the Sun and the Moon respectively.”

“Wait… you mean there are other Princess’ in this world?” Declan said, surprised.

“Including myself there’s four, my sister-in-law Princess Cadence rules the Crystal Empire, a kingdom in the North.” The Alicorn explained. “She’s also the Princess of Love.”

“Huh…” Declan remarked, surprised. Then he realized something. “Hold on… are these Princess’ like you?”

“If you mean Alicorn’s, then yes. Why?” Princess Twilight inquired.

“Well… does this mean that there are more talking ponies out there!?” Declan questioned.

“There sure are! We got Earth Ponies, Pegasus Ponies and Unicorn Ponies and there are millions of them all over Equestria!” Spike said.

“Great… this just keeps getting better and better…” Declan remarked, sarcastically.

“So… what are you anyway?” Twilight questioned.

“What? You’ve never seen a human before?” Declan asked, surprised. The dragon and the pony shook their heads. “Well, I’ve sure seen ponies where I’m from.”

“You have?” Twilight asked, surprised and also excited. “What are they like? Oh, I have so many questions!”

Declan leaned closer to Spike. “Hey… is she always like this?”

“Pretty much.” Spike replied with a deadpan face.

“Great…” Declan muttered, flatly. “Anyway the ponies where I’m from don’t really speak, that’s kind why I was so freaked out when you did.”

“Really? They don’t talk?” Twilight inquired, very surprised.

“Yeah, mostly they just stand around and stare into space plus they kinda smell.” Dillon stated. “No offence.”

“None taken… I think.” Twilight Sparkle said, slowly. “Anything else you can tell us anything else? Like where exactly you’re from?”

“Just a nice quiet neighborhood in Victoria, it’s a city in British Columbia.” Declan replied, simply.

“Victoria? British Columbia?” Twilight repeated, surprised. “I’ve never heard any of it.”

“Makes sense, seeing as this is an alternate world and all.” Declan pointed out.

“Hmm… good point.” Princess Twilight realized.

“Also, the ponies from my world aren’t purple or any other color, and they don’t have symbols on their flanks.” Declan stated, gesturing to Twilight’s cutie mark, which she took notice of. “What the heck is that thing anyway?”

“Oh, that’s my Cutie Mark, almost everypony has one, we get them when we find our special talent.” Twilight explained. “For example, the stars on mine represent my expertise in magic and stargazing.”

Declan paused before speaking. “Hmm… lame.”

Twilight frowned in annoyance, but continued talking. “Don’t humans have them?”

“Uh, do you see any on me?” Declan questioned, deadpan

Twilight looked at him closely, nearly getting her muzzle in his face, causing him to back away while she scanned him up and down. “Well… no, not really...” she said, a bit surprised. “So… how do you know what you’re good at?”

Declan just shrugged. “I don’t know, we just… know and sometimes we have more than one special talent.”

“Wow! That’s amazing!” Twilight remarked, growing more and more fascinated.

“I guess so…” Declan shrugged.

“What’s your special talent, Declan?” Twilight asked, curiously.

“Uh… say what now?” Declan questioned, confused.

“Is there something that you’re really good at?” Twilight inquired.

Declan thought for a bit. “Uh… I’m not really sure.”

“Not sure? What do you mean?” The alicorn asked, surprised and confused.

“I mean what I say, I don’t really know what I’m good at…” Declan shrugged, somewhat depressed.

“Oh… well I’m sorry to hear that.” Twilight said, sympathetically. She felt bad for him, in a way, he was like the Cutie Mark Crusaders, a group of fillies trying to find out what they are good at but haven’t found it yet.

Declan just shrugged and smiled a bit. “Eh, no worries, I’m sure I’ll find it eventually,” he said, seemingly confident, though deep down he doubted it.

“If you say so. So… anything else you can tell us about yourself?” Twilight asked. She then gestured to the Emperor’s Gem around his neck. “Like where you got that Gem?”

Declan looked down and quickly remembered that he had it. “Oh! Yeah, my Grandfather gave it to me for my birthday.”

“Today’s your birthday?” Twilight echoed, surprised.

“Yeah.” Declan nodded.

“Better tell Pinkie.” Spike whispered to Twilight, who nodded.

“Whose Pinkie?” Declan questioned, confused.

“Later, right now I need to show you something.” Twilight said, quickly.

“Ok…” Declan said, slowly. Then he saw Twilight’s horn glowed with a magenta colored aura and was amazed when he saw her levitate the Legends of Equestria book over to them. “Whoa! Cool! Is that magic?”

“Yeah, and Twilight’s the best there is when it comes to magic!” Spike smiled, proudly. Twilight blushed at this which made Declan laugh.

“Look! She’s blushing! Almost looks like a tomato!” he smirked. Spike and Declan both chuckle at this, while Twilight rolled her eyes, amused.

“Anyway… does this look familiar?” Twilight asked as she showed Declan a certain page in the book with a familiar Gem on it, which made Declan’s eyes widen.

“No way… that’s my gem!” he said as he grabbed the book and held it close. “But… how?”

“I have no idea… how did your Grandfather get it, anyway?” Twilight questioned.

“He got from his father and his father before him… Gah, the point is it’s a family heirloom, passed down ever since my family first settled in Canada.” Declan answered.

“Canada?” Twilight and Spike echoed.

“It’s the name of my country. Ruled… I guess you could say… by a man named Stephan Harper.” Declan explained, somewhat flatly. “The continent is also called North America, one of seven, just FYI.”

“Interesting…” Twilight mused.

Spike snickered a bit. “North America… get it? North A-MARE-ica!” he laughed. “Get it?”

“Yeah, it’s hilarious.” Declan muttered, deadpan. “Anyway, after I got it I went into some haunted, spooky mansion on a dare then the gem started glowing and poof! Here I am.”

“Fascinating…” Twilight remarked. “And it seemed to be drawn to this place in particular…”

“Yeah, this thing practically dragged me here like a magnet.” Declan stated as he held it up.

“Hmm, interesting…” Twilight said, as she began to ponder. “It must have a certain connection to this place for some reason?”

“Well, while you’re trying to find out what that reason is… do you think you can send me back home… like right now?” Declan questioned, impatiently. “When my parents realize I’m gone they’ll freak!”

“Uh… well I’ll take some time… but I think I can send you back…” Twilight began.

“Yes!” Declan smiled.

“But first we need to do one thing.” The alicorn added.

“Aw…” Declan groaned, disappointed.

“Stop whining.” The alicorn said, annoyed. “We just need to show that Gem to Princess Celestia, maybe she’ll be able to make sense of what it is and why it sent you here.”

“Oh, ok, cool!” Declan said, brightening up a bit. “You know something? I think was wrong about you, you’re alright, Twilight.”

“Hey! You rhymed!” Spike pointed out, smiling

“Oh yeah!” Declan realized, smiling also. They both shared a laugh, Twilight even giggled a bit. “Man… for the first time today… I think things are finally looking up!”

Immediately afterwards though, they felt another strange earthquake rock the castle and beyond, this one was far more intense than the others, catching them all off guard and soon the shaking knocked them all off their feet/hooves and they hit the ground hard.

“Whoa! What the heck is going on here!?” Declan exclaimed.

“I don’t know! But it came from outside! Come on!” Twilight said as she got up and ran off toward the door, Declan and Spike soon got up as well and began to follow her.

They soon got to the door and ran outside where they stopped in shock when they saw the ground opening up just outside of town, in the grassy part of it. The ground cracked up and split in two as a pair of four fingered hands emerged and grabbed the ground one by one before pulling the rest of it out, revealing it to be a large troll like creature made completely out of moss covered rocks and parts of the ground itself. It roared loudly, which could be heard all the way from Twilight’s castle.

“Wah! What is that thing!?” Declan cried out, fearfully.

“I think it’s a… rock troll!?” Twilight said, shocked.

“A rock what?” Declan questioned.

“Let’s put it this way; we are in deep guano…” Spike gulped, just as scared as he and Declan hide behind Twilight while the Rock Troll continued to roar deafeningly and angrily, and as it did so Sibrella began to laugh evilly from inside her metal prison, as she watched the crisis began to unfold.

Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

Twilight turned her head to the side and glared warily at the towering rock troll as it emerged from the widening crater it had made, displacing tons of soil, grass, and rock with its gigantic boulder feet as it lumbered forward. Each step sent out sizeable vibrations in every direction that were nearly enough to make Declan and Spike bounce slightly off the ground as they hid behind Twilight.

“T-that’s a rock troll?” Declan stammered, trying to resist the urge to cling to Twilight’s neck and tremble like a leaf.

“Yes… it is.” Twilight answered with worried tension in her voice, not taking her widened eyes off the titanic creature as it slowly turned its gargantuan head to regard them with an odd sort of drowsy curiosity through a pair of beady, glowing blue eyes.

“Uh… that guy is staring at us…” Spike gulped, even morey than Twilight and Declan combined. “I really don’t like that he’s staring at us!”

“You and me both.” Declan agreed.

Suddenly, the rock troll's curious expression turned to one of recognition, before darkening into yet another expression, one of hostile anger, as it emitted another ear-piercing roar and lumbered towards them. The troll's body language could not make its intent any clearer: ‘I’m going to crush you!’

“Uh-oh.” Declan said. “That’s not good…”

He and Spike began stepping slowly away from Twilight, who was already charging her horn, a worried grimace plastered on her face.

“Spike, Declan, get to cover!” Twilight ordered, preparing a destructive spell. “There’s no time to go get the girls, I need to stop this thing somehow before it hurts anypony!"

Nodding shakily, the duo quickly moved away from the alicorn and dived into the concealment of some bushes that lay near the entrance of the alicorn’s towering castle.

Declan held the Emperor’s Gem nervously, biting his lip as Twilight flexed out her wings and took flight, unleashing the first attack against the massive collection of animate stone and earth. A beam spell struck the rock troll square in its rough, huge eye-browed face.

To Twilight’s dismay, while knocking a small shower of pebbles loose, the attack only seemed to enrage the creature. It growled and hefted its four-fingered hand with a mossy palm outstretched into the air, ready and poised to swat the hovering alicorn down like a fly. With a gasp, she was able to easily dodge the sweeping hand, but the rush of wind it generated blew her mane and wings back, ruining the neat fringe of her hairdo and knocking her awkwardly through the air.

Twilight reoriented herself mid-air and smirked. “That's it, big guy. You want some of this?” she taunted.

The troll roared in response.

“Yeah? Well, and come and get me!" She paused for a moment, frowning. “Wow, I think all those flying lessons with Rainbow are starting to rub off on me…”

“Ya think?” Spike shouted back.

Twilight rolled her eyes, then had to swerve out of the way to dodge the troll’s fist as she charged another beam attack. This time, Twilight’s spell impacted the creature in the centre of its chest, to as little effect as it had the beast’s face.

Declan frowned in befuddlement and looked to Spike. “Rainbow? Who is that?”

Spike looked back at him with something that could pass for enthusiasm, were it not for the fear-inducing, towering rock monster that was a mere half-dozen meters away. “Rainbow Dash, one of my and Twilight's close friends.” The little dragon held up his talons and counted off. “Besides her, there’s Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity. Oh man, they’re a blast! I can’t wait for you to meet them."

The rock troll slammed its fist into the ground, missing Twilight once again as she responded with more magical bursts, switching to a new spell that fired pulses of magical projectiles. Declan and Spike bounced off the ground for a moment as the shockwave reverberated through the ground.

The frown on Declan’s face faded into a light smile, but his eyes were still wide with nervousness. “Cool, I always look forward to meeting new faces! Maybe sometime before Twilight gets me back home. But uh…” Declan looked over and watched as Twilight zoomed behind the troll and brought a rear hoof down on it with a solid kick, dislodging a few small rocks and initiating another shower of pebbles and loose soil plus a giant rock that landed dangerously close to them and made them yelp. “Let’s try not to crushed by falling troll debris.”

Spike nodded sheepishly. “Yeah, ditto.”

Nodding back once, Declan tried to zoom his eyes in on finer points of the massive beast that now threatened the entire area as Twilight attempted furiously to put it back into the ground. “But how?” After he adjusted his glasses he finally noticed something he found intriguing. “I got it!”

“What is it?” Spike asked. The boy pointed at the troll.

“You see the spots where the rocky joints meet the monster’s body and connect?”


“Twilight’s made some chinks in a few with her magic, and I think I can see something glowing inside of it that's now been exposed.” Declan rubbed his hair, unsure. “Could be a weak spot. If this thing were a video game boss, that would probably be it.”

Spike narrowed his eyes as he studied the troll, which was now chucking boulders bigger than him and Declan combined in Twilight’s direction, shattering upon impact with the outermost trees of the woods on the northwest corner of town.

“You know what? I think you're right!”

The duo briefly shared a smile, before Declan shot up and cupped both hands around his mouth to shout at the alicorn. “Twilight! You see those glowing spots in the rock troll’s stone joints?”

Twilight kept her violet eyes narrowed and focused on the troll, preparing to dodge yet another fist. “I do! What’s about them?”

“They could be weak spots! Aim for them!”

This caused Twilight to actually glance over to him and Spike briefly, her eyes wide with a realization. “Glowing spots…they must be energy filaments, of course! Declan, that’s brilliant!" Without further hesitation, Twilight primed another spell and fired it off at the closest exposed glow, in the troll's right armpit area surrounded by a tangled knotting of plant roots. The destruction spell hit home, causing an energized chain reaction that shook the beast's right arm apart.

However, in the time Twilight had taken to look over at the others and deliver her attack, the troll had shot out its left fist, and managed to strike Twilight in the side. The impact knocked her out of hovering with a yelp, and sent her spiralling to the ground. Twilight managed to reorient herself before she hit the ground, crashing in the grass on her uninjured side.


“Princess!” Spike and Declan cried respectively, their faces visibly distressed as they darted out of the cover of the bushes and over to her sprawled out form. Her eyes were shut fast and her legs were splayed out, while her right wing was bent at a crooked, extremely unnatural angle.

“Twilight? Please Twilight, speak to me!” Spike said, fear creeping rapidly into his voice.

“Princess, can you hear us?” Declan breathed, as he raised her head. Fearing the worst, his heart felt like it was beating in his throat. The troll looked down at them, and seemingly satisfied with a job well done, let out a guttural chuckle that sounded like a glacier grinding against bedrock, before lumbering its way into Ponyville.

Somewhat to the relief of the duo beside her, Twilight soon answered their urgent calls with a heavy, drawn out moan, wincing as her eyes fluttered open. “M-My… my wing…" she groaned. “I think I hurt my wing…”

Her assessment seemed sound, for her wing had absorbed much of the troll’s kinetic force and now looked broken.

“We’ve got to get everypony together and to get you to the hospital, before the troll to can reach that part of town.” Spike urged. Twilight nodded weakly, trying to focus on her breathing. The punch had knocked almost all the air out of her.

“How can I help?” Declan interjected, twiddling his fingers in a gesture of his perceived powerlessness, but his tone suggested he was very eager to help.

Spike look from him to Twilight, and back. “Shoot, uh…see if you can help Twilight get back into the castle, ok? Look after her while I go and track down the rest of the girls! And stay out trouble!”

Declan nodded nervously and looked down to Twilight, who was slowly trying to get herself up. “Uh, yeah, that I can do.” Before the human could reach out to help her up, the Emperor’s Gem seemed to take on a mind of its own, lighting up and casting the area surrounding himself and Twilight in a golden glow. The gem also became gold colored. Spike stopped in his tracks and turned to look on in shock.

“What the?”

Declan and Twilight mirrored Spike’s expression, and watched in awe as Twilight’s own wing began to take on the glow as well and move off its own accord, the bone mending itself and readjusting into proper order. The glow spread into the young alicorn's shoulder and chest, repairing all damage that lay underneath the skin and fur. The gold aura then quickly dissipated as quickly as it had arisen and the gem returned to being green also.

Twilight had an astonished look as she immediately shot back up on all fours, instantly revitalized. “Declan, that was high level restoration magic, just now…how did you…?”

The boy held up his hands in exasperation. “Hey, don’t look at me, I think it was the Emperor's Gem!” Declan looked at his necklace in a new light and gripped it in his hand. “Wow, Grandpa really wasn’t kidding about this being something special!”

“All the more reason why we ought to get this gem of yours to Princess Celestia.” Twilight replied, rubbing at her tousled mane.

Declan nodded. “If it means helping me getting home.” He shrugged. “And seeing as how you literally just took on a rock troll to protect the town of, uh…”

“Ponyville.” Spike offered.

“Yeah, that. I suppose I can trust you with it. You and Spike seem like a cool enough sort. Now, about that rock troll…”

Twilight’s ears perked up and she gasped. “Right, the town! We’ve got to take that monster down. You guys point out more of those weak spots, and I’ll blow them to pebbles!”

“Hm!” Spike and Declan both affirmed with huffs of determination.

All three of them broke into a run back into town. By now, the rock troll was currently busying itself with obliterating market stalls and all their contents, the owners having already fled for the hills the second the ground had begun trembling and they registered what had been the cause.

“Hay, ugly!” Spike shouted as Declan followed him while Twilight took to the air once more. The boy gave him a bizarre look.

“Uh, Spike? …are you making us the bait?" Declan said, incredulously.

“No, we’re just two mares trying to compete with each other for his date to the gala.” Spike deadpanned, increasing the pace of his jog.

“Oh, har, har… excuse me, I forgot to laugh.” Declan replied, his voice just flat.

The troll noticed both of them, and turned his attention away from both Twilight and the poor marketplace. Spike gave him a glare.

“Ok, fine, good plan just try not to get us crushed, okay?” Declan said.

The rock troll growled, and pounded his remaining fist into the ground, sending out a short cascade of stones from the road in their direction.

“Sorry, can't make any promises.” Spike breathed.

The duo easily dodged it, and Declan perked up as he saw Twilight blast away another opening in the troll’s rocky hide. “Twilight, circle back around, left kneecap!”

“I’m on it!” Twilight replied, letting loose another spell straight into the exposed energy filament that helped hold the animate stone together as a single entity.

Roaring in rage, the troll flailed about and nearly toppled over altogether as it detected its left leg crumpling apart into so many shattered bits of stone and dirt. It now had to hop about on only one leg, creating quite an awkward situation for itself and making the ground shake with every hop he made, making them jump.

“Ha-ha! Yeah!” Declan cheered. “We got it!”

Twilight started chuckling, and Spike began smirking beside Declan as they all watched the troll hop about in a blind fury, damaging little more than the cobblestone road beneath it, now.

Spike’s smirk quickly fled from his face when the troll got its bearing and started hopping angrily in their direction, its massive maw wide open in a scowl, exposing massive, mossy pointed stones for teeth. “Aww, man!"

Twilight gasped as the troll readied its remaining fist to crush the young human and dragon. In the blink of an eye, she zoomed forward in between them and the fist, projecting a magical bubble shield around their spot in the market about a meter and a half in every direction. The princess grimaced with effort as the fist pounded against the shield repeatedly, each impact more forceful than the last.

“Now what?” Spike questioned, scared

“I’m thinking!” Twilight told him, stressed.

“Better think fast, your majesty!” Declan told her.

Before either of the trio could process what to do next whilst under their protective shield, the Emperor’s Gem once again seemed to have its own ideas. The amulet lit up again on Declan's chest. The boy yelped as it lifted itself up and pointed upward. The gem fired off rainbow-coloured energy this time, striking the shield and coalescing around it the entire bubble flashed with many colours.

“What the…” Declan uttered, dumbstruck while his irises glow briefly.

“That gem, I can’t believe the power it's putting forth…” Twilight said.

“Whoa…” Spike gasped.

In an instant, the rainbow shield pulsed outward in a powerful feedback loop, producing enough kinetic energy that the rock troll was blasted apart where it stood, reducing its remaining hulking mass into little more than a hulking pile of boulders, shattered bark, and soil.

“Whoa…” Spike repeated. “Man, Ponyville’s seen some action-packed days, but this one might take the cake this year.” He paused and looked around, surprised that a particular pink pony didn’t materialize out of nowhere upon saying that.

“Huh, she must be really busy, or something,” he muttered to himself.

“Come again?” Declan questioned, scratching his brown hair with confusion.

Spike waved it off. “Oh, never mind. Probably best if you didn’t ask.”


“Right…well, thank goodness no buildings were demolished or ponies hurt.” Twilight sighed. She gave the town market a cursory analysis. “Minus the marketplace anyway….” She turned Declan. “Now, we really need to get you to Celestia, just in case those tremors and troll might have had something to do with that gem of yours.”

Declan nodded. “Fine. No argument. I’m just glad I didn’t screw up anything too much. I’m kinda useless here…”

Spike patted him on the back. “Ah no worries. Unless you summoned the troll yourself, and I mean c’mon, what are the chances of that, you did alright by us. Good eye on those weak points, I doubt anypony would have thought to point them out.”

Twilight nodded. “Indeed, I don’t know much about this Emperor’s Gem, yet, but I’m glad it did what it did for us, today.”

The boy smiled warmly at Spike. “Hmm, thanks Spike, Princess. That’s uh, good to know.”

“Please, just call me Twilight.” Twilight insisted.

“Sorry, Pr…Twilight.” Declan said. He surveyed the town and the damage around them, then turned back to Twilight, rubbing his palms nervously. “Um… shall we go meet this Celestia now, or is their damage to repair, first?”

“Best we get moving, I’m sure somepony else can handle it, besides… we don’t want to attract any more attention than we already have now…” Twilight advised, a bit nervous.

“Good idea.” Declan said as he and his new found friends began to run off away from the destruction.

Meanwhile, far from Ponyville, the hidden evil responsible for the rock troll, stirred restlessly in her confinement. She still seemed to be aware of what was happening and what had just happened and it seemed to infuriate her greatly.

“Another human?” Sibrella hissed in surprise. "Here? And he has my amulet!?"

A chalky, withered hand balled into a spiteful fist in the darkness of the coffin and hit the wall of it hard and fast.

"Heresy! I shall correct that once and for all, and soon…” she said, as her eyes glowed.

Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

Later on, following the attack of the rock troll and the display of awesome power by the Emperor’s Gem, young Declan found himself riding with Twilight and Spike in the Friendship Express as it made its way to Canterlot, where they hoped to get some answers from its resident Princess.

As they rode in the purplish-pink train, Declan looked out the window and gazed at the beautiful scenery around them, including a far off shot of Ponyville which his eyes widened to.

“Wow…” he breathed.

Twilight, who was sitting with Spike on a seat next to him, noticed his awestruck face and smiled. “Like what you see?” she asked. Declan answered with a nod. “So what do you think of Equestria so far?”

“Well… aside from the freaky creatures that want to demolish you… it’s like no place I’ve ever seen…” he admitted. “And I can’t believe you have trains here!”

“Of course, we have lots of ways of getting from place to place here in Equestria.” Twilight beamed.

“Yeah, we got… balloons, carriages, wagons, ships... all kinds!” Spike added.

“Mind… blown!” Declan remarked, stunned.

Twilight smiled at him sweetly before she turned and noticed a unicorn stallion approaching with a cart full of food.

“Oh look, our food trolley here!” she said, pleased.

Declan’s ears perked up at this while adjusting his glasses again. “Food trolley?”

“Yeah, you hungry?” Spike asked, eagerly.

Declan nodded, smiling and licking his lips a bit. “You bet I am!”

The stallion pushing the food trolley soon stops in-between them, carrying an assortment of food such as apples, cider, bits of candy, what appear to be wrapped up burgers and a small bucket of gems.

“So, what’ll it be Princess?” The stallion asked Twilight.

“I don’t know…” Twilight said as she turned to Declan. “What do you think, Declan? Want a burger?”

“No way, you got burgers in Equestria!? Yes!” Declan said, excited. “I love burgers!”

“Great! Two burgers please.” Twilight asked, politely.

“Coming right up!” The stallion said before he levitated two burgers to Twilight and Declan. “And a few gems for our scaly friend here, good thing you told us ahead of time that you were coming, Princess.”

Spike licked his lips and smiled as the small bucket of gems levitated over to him, he grabbed it and stuffed his face inside as he dug in. Everypony else laughed at this. The stallion then looked at Declan.

“And… what are you, young fella?” he asked.

“Uh…” Declan responded, not sure what to say.

“Just… a very hungry boy who wants to eat, that’s all.” Twilight said, smiling nervously.

“Ooh, speaking of eating…” Declan said as he unraveled the burger a bite and took a bite. He seemed to enjoy it for a bit, then he tasted what was really inside and his eyes widened before he quickly spat it right out the open window. “Blah! What’s in this thing?”

“Hay.” Twilight replied.

“Hey what?” Declan asked, not getting it.

“No, I mean actual hay, look.” Twilight said as she showed him her burger, he was surprised to see that there really was hay inside of it. It was a Hayburger.

“What!? You mean I ate hay?” Declan exclaimed before he started wiping his tongue.

“Yeah, what’s wrong? Don’t humans eat hayburgers?” Twilight asked, innocently.

“No! We eat like…” Declan began he stopped himself, he knew equines were herbivores so they didn’t eat meat at all, but he didn’t want Twilight or anypony else to get the wrong idea about him so he chose his words carefully. “Well, we don’t eat exactly the same foods you do, let’s put this way. You know, different species.”

“Oh, right! Sorry!” Twilight apologized.

“It’s ok, I should have told you sooner.” Declan stated. He then spotted the candies and apples. “Ooh! But we do eat sweets and apples! Yes! Can I have some of that, Twilight?”

“Of course! Some candy and apples please!” Twilight requested.

“Sure, anything for the Princess.” The pony with the trolley cart nodded as he levitated a lollipop and an apple into Declan’s hand, who smiled while the stallion left.

“Too bad he didn’t have any candy apples, huh?” Spike smirked.

“Yeah, really.” Declan chuckled before taking a large bite out of the apple in his hand. He smiled, appearing to enjoy it. “Yum! This apple’s juicy!”

“It should, it was grown and sold by my friend Applejack, she runs an Apple Farm called Sweet Apple Acres, also in Ponyville.” Twilight said.

“Whoa, a farm that sells Apples? Cool.” Declan remarked. “And I can’t wait to meet this Applejack friend of yours.”

“Me too. You know… she’s a lot like you Declan; stubborn, adventurous and straightforward.” Twilight admitted.

“Thanks.” Declan smiled, as he tossed the lollipop into the air and caught it in his mouth. “So… anything else you can tell me about this place? Like… what you guys have done lately?”

“I can… though it’ll take a while.” Twilight confessed.

“A long while.” Spike added before Twilight glared at him.

“Well, we got time, so tell away.” Declan encouraged her.

Twilight smiled, excited to give her own history lecture to an unknown being from another world, while Spike rolled his eyes and groaned a bit.

“Alright, well it starts off with me and Spike first coming to Ponyville to inspect the preparations for the annual Summer Sun Celebration…” Twilight said as she began to recount Equestria’s recent history to Dillon.

By the time the train had started to arrive in Canterlot and slowly come to a stop, Twilight had just told Declan everything that had happened in Equestria in the recent years, which fascinated him greatly as he was practically on the edge of his seat.

“…And that is the story of all the major things we’ve done since coming to Ponyville.” Twilight concluded.

“Up until today that is, but you already know what happened today.” Spike shrugged.

Declan nodded. “Yep. And boy… it sounds like you guys have been on quite a lot of adventures… which is awesome!”

Twilight and Spike were a bit surprised and intrigued. “Awesome?” The alicorn echoed.

“Yeah, all those battles and the fact that you saved this place like what… 6 times already?” Declan inquired.

Spike counted his claws. “Uh… yeah, I think that’s it.”

“Right, anyways it must have been real fun!” Declan smiled.

“Fun…” Twilight repeated with an amused chuckle. “Now that’s a word we rarely use in those kind of adventures.”

“Twilight’s right, we’ve nearly lost some of those times.” Spike added.

“Yeah, I know it’s scary and dangerous, obviously, but to someone else’s perspective I’ll bet it was cool to watch you guys win!” Declan beamed.

“I suppose so…” Twilight admitted. “I do hear some ponies talking about our past achievements and how amazing they were, but only rarely, which fine by me, personally. I’m not one for attention myself, Rainbow Dash on the other hoof…”

“Hey, speaking of past achievements; do you want to hear about Equestria’s early history?” Spike asked, eagerly.

“Would I?” Declan asked, excited before they began to hear the sound of the train wheels screeching to a halt.

“Oh! We’re here!” Twilight Sparkle informed them.

Declan turned to the window. “Already? Cool.”

“Alright, follow me.” Twilight said as she began to lead them out of their seats and towards the train’s nearest exit. “I can’t wait for you to meet the Princess, she’s one of the kindest and wisest ponies there is and my mentor for a long time.”

“You really look up to her, don’t you?” Declan remarked.

Twilight nodded. “Yeah, and I would just hate to let her down on… well… anything really,” she said, getting a bit upset just by thinking of failing her beloved Princess.

Declan lowered his head a bit. “Yeah… I know that feeling well…”

“What?” Twilight asked, not hearing that last bit.

“Huh? Oh… never mind…” Declan said, trying to fake a smile. “Shall we get going then?”

“Sure.” Twilight nodded as they continued to walk.

They soon stepped off the train and onto the station before it left then began to make their way towards the path that would lead them into the city and eventually the castle itself. Then, once Declan got a good look of the place his eyes were wide with amazement.

As they walked, Declan, who still had the lollipop in his mouth, gazed at all the buildings around them with wide eyes. The buildings were beautifully made, the nature purer then he anything he had seem. The city featured many places like coffee shops, a high-class restaurant, a racetrack, a theater, and an art gallery. Ponies of all kinds, mainly unicorns who were wearing fancy clothes, looked at him with the wide eyed stares and gawked him, making him a bit uncomfortable, especially when they started muttering quietly about him, though some did greet him nicely and smile, it was obvious they were surprised and fascinated by something like him. Some just carried on and ignored him with arrogant huff and quiet but snide remarks about his clothing, though he didn’t really care.

“So this is Canterlot… fancy!” Declan remarked. “And you used to live here?”

“Yeah, with my brother and my parents.” Twilight confirmed. “It’s always nice coming back here every now and then.”

“I’ll say.” Spike agreed.

Declan spotted another group of ponies staring at him with wonder, another with suspicion and another just looked at him with a snobbish glance.

“Ugh, I feel like such a minority…” Declan bemoaned.

“How do you think I feel?” Spike pointed out.

“Point taken, sorry, but still…” Declan said.

“Oh, it’s not that bad…” Twilight tried to assure him.

“Almost every pony we pass by takes time out of their busy schedules to gawk at me or insult my clothes, what’s wrong with my clothes anyway?” Declan questioned, a bit annoyed.

“Ah, those nobles are all a bunch of snobs, don’t listen to them.” Spike told him.

“Declan, while I understand that a bunch of ponies staring at you is not at all fun, you must understand that nopony has ever seen something like you before, in fact, you may be the first ‘human’ to step foot in Equestria, you should honored!” Twilight said, with a smile.

“Yeah… I think I’d be more honored if I was… oh I don’t know… a five-year old girl.” Declan stated, in a deadpan tone. Twilight gave him a glare. “Sorry… just a little on edge…”

“Like I said, I understand, just promise me you’ll be on your best behavior when we meet the Princess’. Ok?” Twilight said to him.

“Whatever you say.” Declan said with a smirk and a two finger wave that made Twilight giggle a bit.

She then looked up ahead. “Ok, the castle is just up ahead of us.”

Declan looked toward what was in front of them and spotted a very large caste, which seemed to be part of the large mountain itself, along with a large part of the city. The spires of Canterlot, protruding from the mountain, looked like they could be seen all the way from Ponyville and probably could.

“Whoa! I’ve never been a castle like this before… hmm, come to think of it, I’ve never been in a castle period.” Declan realized.

“Does your world have any castles?” Twilight inquired.

“Yeah, but they're mostly pretty empty and used for tours, like the one where I’m from called Hatley Castle.” Declan explained. “See royal figures used to be a big deal in my world but not anymore, they're more like… figureheads, who mostly smile and wave and stuff.”

“Oh, I’ve been there…” Twilight muttered to herself.


“Nothing!” Twilight said, quickly and smiling nervously. “Let’s just go inside, shall we?”

Declan nodded. “Sure thing,” he said as they continued to walk forward.

They soon reached a pair of large golden doors with two Pegasi ponies in gold armor each standing by it and holding up two spears. They acknowledged Twilight’s presence with a nod.

“Greetings Princess Twilight, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are expecting you.” One guard said.

Twilight nodded, thankfully. “Thank you, sirs,” she said. She turned to the two boys near her. “Ok boys, let’s go and…”

She stopped when she saw that Declan was currently drawing glasses and a mustache on the other guard, with a marker that Spike lent him, who continued to stay perfectly still, much to his amusement.

“Hey, these guys just like my world’s British Guards; no matter what you do… they don’t move!” he laughed while making a scary face at the guard, again he didn’t flinch.

Twilight looked at him, deadpan. “Something tells me you and Rainbow Dash would get along well,” she muttered as the doors opened and they proceeded inside.

As they walked in, Declan couldn’t help but notice the stain glass images on the wall next to them, each one showing a different event like Nightmare Moon’s first and second defeat, Discord, Spike saving the Crystal Empire and Twilight’s coronation.

“Whoa, wicked! Hey, Twi is that really you?” Declan asked as he gestured to the image of her.

“It sure is!” Spike nodded, proudly.

“Well… I personally don’t see the big deal about it, but it was nice.” Twilight admitted.

“Did you know you’re too modest for your own good?” Declan asked her.

“Constantly I’m afraid.” Twilight blushed, embarrassed.

“Shocker.” Declan remarked, sarcastically but with a friendly smile that Twilight returned.

“Modesty is an important thing…”

They all turned toward the one who said those words, it was Princess Celestia alongside Princess Luna and Declan’s eyes widened when he saw them approaching the three of them with warm smiles.

“Of course one should always take pride in the accomplishments that they have, especially if they involve helping other ponies find their way.” The Princess of the Sun finished.

“Princess Celestia! Princess Luna! Your highnesses!” Spike gasped as he bowed, Declan saw this and quickly bowed as well along with Twilight, which made Celestia chuckle.

“Twilight, you know that there is no need for that now.” Princess Celestia reminded her.

“Sorry, force of habit…” Twilight said, sheepishly.

Celestia giggled. “No need to apologize.”

“Yes, we know you are still… adjusting to being a Princess so it’s understandable that some habits before then remain.” Luna added.

“Thank you.” Twilight nodded.

Declan leaned toward Spike. “So… those are the Princess’?” he asked.

Spike nodded. “Yeah, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, they raise the sun and the moon respectively.”

“Wow… they’re really beautiful…” Declan said, in awe.

Celestia, overhearing what Declan said, giggled. “Why thank you.”

Dillon’s eyes widen when he realized she heard him. “Oh! I uh… I didn’t mean… uh…”

“It’s alright, it’s alright, I am flattered.” Celestia assured him.

“Oh… ok.” Declan nodded. Twilight and Spike both sighed with relief.

“So… you’re the creature Twilight told us about in her letter.” Princess Luna observed.

“Yep… that’s me.” Declan confirmed. “It’s uh… it’s an honor… to meet you both.”

“Oh, the honor is all ours.” Princess Celestia smiled. “What is your name, dear?”

“D-Declan, Declan Shay, Celestia… I mean, Princess… I mean, your majesty…” Declan stuttered.

Celestia let out a soft chuckle. “Oh, no need to be so formal, Declan,” she told him. “We are only a Princess’ of Ponies. You are a human being. We are not royalty to you.”

“So please, call us Celestia and Luna.” Her younger sister added.

“Ok… well um, thanks… Celestia, Luna.” Declan smiled, sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his head.

“Thank you, Declan.” Celestia nodded. “Now, can you tell us how exactly you got here again?”

“Well, to put it simply…” Declan began before holding up the Emperor’s Gem for them to see. “It’s because of this.”

The Princess’ eyes both widened when they saw the gem and gasped.

“Is that…?” Celestia began.

“The Emperor’s Gem…” Luna finished.

Declan looked surprised. “Oh? You’ve seen it before?”

“Yes. But only in stories, seeing it before our very eyes is… shocking.” Princess Luna admitted. “Where did you get it?”

“My grandfather.” Declan answered. “Said it was a family heirloom that’s been passed down for over a thousand years.”

“Around the same time it disappeared…” Princess Luna mused.

“Say what?” Declan said, surprised.

“A thousand years ago, a powerful demon named Sibrella used that very gem to create chaos and disharmony.” Celestia explained. “She nearly destroyed Equestria.”

“But luckily, Starswirl the Bearded and six other powerful unicorns managed to defeat Sibrella and seal her away deep beneath the Earth.” Luna added.

“And the gem?” Declan inquired.

“Well its master vanquished, the Emperor’s Gem disappeared and was never seen again… until now.” Celestia stated.

“So… this Sibrella… she still sealed?” Declan asked.

“We believe so.” Luna began.

“But given the recent attack on Ponyville that may not be the case anymore, at least we are not fully sure that it is.” Her sister finished.

“You knew about that?” Declan questioned, surprised. “Why didn’t you…?”

“We had faith that Princess Twilight was ready to face the challenge without us, and we were right.” Celestia nodded with a proud look on her face. Twilight blushed.

“Oh, ok, I guess that makes sense.” Declan admitted.

“Now, any other questions?” Luna inquired.

“Yeah, like… why did this thing bring me here? And how do I get home?” Declan questioned. “Please, you gotta help me.”

“Calm yourself, Declan. While do not know why the Emperor’s Gem chose to bring you here and how to bring you back to your world, I can tell, from the bottom of my heart, that you have something very special inside.” Princess Celestia told him as she leaned closer to him.

Declan was surprised. “Me? But… I’m just a kid from Vancouver, just a normal, regular kid…” he confessed.

Princess Celestia smiled and shook her head. “No my child, I feeling you much more than you claim to be and deep down… you know it to.”

Declan felt honored to hear the Princess say such kind words to him, it was like he was talking to his mother and thinking of her made him grip the gem tightly. “So… what exactly can this thing do?”

“Well, it’s bonded to you, which means it will protect you… and all others near you from harm, it can also heal others if you wish it.” Princess Luna explained.

“Yeah… it did that before… when that giant rock troll attacked, it shielded us…” Declan realized.

“And healed my wing!” Twilight added as she flexed her formerly injured wing to make sure it was fine, and it was. “But when the troll tried to take it, it’s like the gem repealed it back…”

“The gem is also capable of protecting itself as well as you, it won’t allow anypony else but you to take it.” Princess Celestia told Declan. “Anypony who tries will be badly hurt, so be careful.”

Declan nodded. “I will, Princess.”

Spike thought for a bit. “So… why did it bring him to Twilight’s new castle anyway?”

“Because dear Spike, that gem used to be part of the Tree of Harmony itself.” Luna explained.

“The Tree of Harmony?” Twilight gasped, surprised.

“The thing where the Elements of Harmony come from?” Declan guessed. The Princess’ stared at him. “Twilight told me about all the recent events on the way.”

“Ah, yes, good. Now I imagine that because the castle came from the Tree of Harmony, it must have a certain connection to it as well.” Princess Celestia deduced.

“Wow…” The human, the alicorn and the dragon all breathed as they exchanged stunned glances.

The Princess looked him at him even closer, as if she was inspecting him, making him flinch and look fearful. “Hmm, it seems its power is also keeping you in your original form,” she noted, surprising everypony.

“Hold on, you’re saying that I would become something else if it wasn’t with me when I came here?” Declan questioned. “I would have become…”

Luna nodded. “Yes, a pony, just like us. What kind of Pony you are, we are not sure.”

“Uh-huh…” Declan remarked. “Well, until I get I think I’m gonna keep it on if that’s ok.”

“It’s alright, it already seems like the Emperor’s Gem has found its home, it is an honor not to be taken lightly, my young friend.” Celestia told him.

Declan nodded. “Yeah, I understand Princess. Don’t worry, I won’t let you down… I can’t,” he said. Twilight noticed his fist tightening and trembling a bit, he seemed to be deeply worried but was keeping it bottled up. She looked concerned for him but decided not to comment on it just yet. Then Spike spoke up.

“So… until we can get Declan back home… where’s he gonna stay?” he asked.

“I suppose he could stay with you and Twilight, if that’s alright of course.” Celestia said to Twilight.

“Of course! You can stay as long as you’d like, you can even meet some of my friends.” Twilight smiled, sweetly.

“Aw, sweet, I’d like that.” Declan said, nodding. “Thanks, Twi.”

“My pleasure.” Twilight nodded back, still smiling.

“Do no worry young Declan, we will find a way to return you to your world.” Princess Luna assured him.

“In the meantime, enjoy all Equestria has to offer, and who knows? You just might learn something.” Princess Celestia said, sagely which made Declan ponder a bit. “Now you better run along, you don’t want to miss your next train back to Ponyville.”

“Ok, thank you, Princess.” Twilight nodded. She turned and then began to leave. “Come on guys, let’s get going.”

“Right behind ya!” Spike said as he quickly raced after her.

Declan began to follow them but something in the window catches his eye; a strange shadow of a red haired woman, who quickly vanished from sight, confusing him greatly as he blinked at the window.

“Declan! Come on!” he heard Twilight call out to him.

“Uh… right! Coming!” Declan called back as he ran off to catch with them. The Princess’ behind him noticed his strange behavior and exchange glances.

Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

Spike beamed with excitement as he, Declan, and Twilight made their way out of the busy Ponyville Train Station and into town, which equally thrummed with activity.

“Oh man, something tells me you’re really gonna like your stay here, Declan,” he enthused to the boy beside him. “Ponyville’s got everything! Sweet Apple Acres, the parks and fields, festivals, the cinema, plays and matinees in Town Hall, magical caves, apple cider, Sugar Cube Corner and all the shops, and if you're ever feeling brave: there’s the Everfree Forest and the old Castle to explore! That place still has tons of mysteries just waiting to be solved.”

The dragon’s enthusiasm was more than contagious; Declan and Twilight both were listening to Spike with huge smiles of their own.

“Alright, Spike, I think Declan gets what you mean.” Twilight giggled. Declan chuckled as well.

“Yeah, it sounds like a blast!” the human stated, grinning and running a hand through his brown tousled hair. “I’m always up for some exploration, just ask my parents back home. I was actually in the middle of investigating this creepy old mansion before the Emperor’s Gem zapped me here. Hopefully we’ll get to see some amazing stuff while the Princesses work on getting me home.”

“Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.” Twilight affirmed as the trio's steps across the stone-paved roads added to the bustle around them. A decent number of the townsfolk gazed upon Declan's foreign appearance with pure curiosity, which in his private opinion was a massive improvement over Canterlot. “Only trouble…is finding a good place for you to begin. We all have the whole rest of the day to just do whatever we like. Oh look, they cleaned up our mess.” She gazed around thoughtfully, suppressing the urge to blush at the thought of the mayhem their earlier battle had produced.

They had now entered Ponyville’s market, and all three were quite surprised by what they saw. The troll they had battled just hours ago had already been removed by townsfolk, the destroyed stalls had long since been cleaned up, and the market itself was back open for business, as if the morning had been perfectly ordinary to begin with.

“Wow.” Spike said.

Declan whistled in astonishment, taking a gander at the myriad stalls, colorful tents, and stands all selling many goods both familiar and unfamiliar to him. “No kidding! These guys work fast!” Seeing the market in its restored state also got him thinking for a sec as he regarded the sunlight-drenched blue and grey stones of the road. “Hey, Twilight?”

“Hmm?" Twilight's ears pricked up.

“How about we start with me meeting your guys’ friends here around Ponyville?"

“Great idea! Like I said, I can’t wait for you to meet them," Spike replied. He started twiddling his talons together. “So…since Carousel Boutique is the closest, why don't we start by introducing you to Rarity?"

Declan nodded. “Your friend that owns the clothes and fashion shop? Sounds like a decent plan to me.”

"Why not," Twilight agreed.

"Right, let's go!" Spike urged eagerly, moving ahead of them in the direction of Carousel Boutique. As they made their way over there, Declan looked at all the ponies around them and noticed that most of them were females.

“Say… how come there are more mares in this town then stallions?” Declan questioned Spike curiously.

Spike shrugged. “Got me.”

“You know that’s just gonna keep bugging me for the rest of the day.” Declan told him, as they kept on walking.

Carousel Boutique’s doorbell rang as a couple of new visitors stepped into the shop at a casual pace. Rarity, busy working lace and sewing fabric on one of her latest projects, greeted the newcomers but did not look up to them for the moment. “Oh, welcome everypony! Have a seat anywhere, I’ll be with you in just a minute!”

“Hey Rarity!” Spike greeted.

Rarity looked up from her work immediately when she recognized the voice. She flashed a radiant smile at all three of the visitors. "Spikey-wikey, Twilight, what a wonderful surprise! Oh, and who is this?” The unicorn got up from a sewing machine and approached Declan with a flare of interest.

The human just waved with a cheery grin. “Hello!”

As Rarity set about appraising Declan’s appearance, Twilight introduced him. "Rarity, this is our human friend Declan, Declan, meet Rarity.”

“It’s nice to meet you.” Declan greeted politely.

“Likewise, darling.” Rarity replied with a nod. Her smile vanished and she started glancing at his outfit with a quizzical eye, circling around him. Declan tilted his head a bit and raised his eyebrows at the somewhat extensive analysis. Twilight and Spike somewhat mirrored him, curious as to what Rarity was up to.

“Uh… is something wrong?” Declan asked with an uncomfortable tone.

Rarity's smile returned. “Oh, heavens no, dear! Not at all. I am simply taken quite by surprise at the pleasing makeup of your ensemble!”

“You mean my…clothes?”

“Ya! Your outfit is one of the few I have seen in recent memory that can sport such an, erm…" Rarity chewed on her lower lip. “…difficult color, such as green. That vest and shirt compliment your trousers and shoes quite well, and the effect is simply magnified by that exquisite bit of jewelry, there.”

Declan's discomfort evaporated in an instant, and he burst out laughing, leaving Rarity and Spike absolutely bewildered. Twilight, oddly enough, joined in his laughter.

“Declan, you must have thought …” Twilight began.

“…that she was going to insult my appearance, yeah, I know!" Declan’s laughter involuntarily increased when he saw Rarity's expression. “Sorry Miss Rarity, it must have been your accent or something that made me suspicious.” He got a grip on himself and calmed down. “Thanks for the compliment, it’s just that the uh… ‘nobility’ up in Canterlot gave me quite a lot of unpleasant looks on account of my… outfit. Although, come to think of it, that’s probably routine for all of us ordinary folk."

Rarity giggled. “No harm done, Declan. I can admit it as well, despite nobility being some of my most important clientele, they can be rather insufferable at times. So, what brings a human to Equestria? I can’t say I’ve ever heard of your kind before.”

“They’re from a…real distant place.” Spike said. “Kinda.”

“Yeah, Spike’s right. Humans are exactly…native…to your guys’ world, you see.” Declan added. Twilight quickly rushed to their aid, and briefly explained Declan's situation to Rarity, all way up to the troll attack and Canterlot.

By the time Twilight finished, Rarity’s eyes were wide with astonishment. “So, you three were the ones who quelled that lumbering monstrosity on your own using the… Emperor’s Gem? Simply amazing!” Before she could continue, she looked up at a wall clock, then back to them apologetically “Oh, drat! Well, it was a privilege to have made your acquaintance, Declan, darling. Please pardon me ever so much, but I have work I must return to that has quite the demanding deadline. I look forward to speaking with you again!”

“Likewise!” Declan replied with a friendly nod.

“Alright Rarity, we'll let you get back to things. Declan here still has to meet the rest of the girls.”

“Say hello to everypony for me!” Rarity called after them as they made their exit.

"Will do!" Spike answered back, before letting the front door close. He then noticed Declan giving him a suggestive look. “What?”

“You like her, don’t you?” The human guessed.

Spike’s became dinner plates. “What!? H-how’d you know!?”

“It wasn’t hard.” Declan replied, deadpan while adjusting his glasses. “In fact it’s not hard for anypony to figure out.”

“Told you!” Twilight called out to them as she continued to walk ahead of them. Spike grumbled in embarrassment and waddled off while Declan followed him and chuckle.

Going by terms of landmarks in the town to track down the others at Twilight's suggestion, the trio then decided to visit Pinkie Pie next, and began making their way towards Sugarcube Corner. As they passed through the lightly crowded and active streets of the town's central quarter, the group happened to run into a certain Pegasus.

Fluttershy was in the middle of purchasing produce from one of the merchants, and happened to notice Spike and Twilight accompanied by a mysterious new being she had never seen before. Her cyan eyes widened when they noticed her as well. The two waved, and began to approach her. The mysterious stranger gave her a friendly wave and also approached as well.

“Fluttershy, hey!” Spike greeted.

“Fancy bumping into you, Fluttershy," Twilight said. "We were just on our way to see Pinkie Pie, then we were going to visit you next."

“Goodness, I think I see why.” Fluttershy replied thoughtfully, regarding the human boy with eyes like dinner plates.

“Right.” Twilight gestured to Declan. “Fluttershy, I'd like you to meet... uh, Fluttershy?” To everyone’s surprise, especially Twilight and Spike, Fluttershy's face brightened with excitement, and she moved forward to get a closer look at Declan. She even began appraising his appearance, reaching up a hoof with curiosity to gently prod one of his cheeks to feel the texture of his skin.

Standing stock-still like a living statue, Declan was fighting back a massive feeling of déjà vu.

In his current state, he could almost give a professional living statue a run for their money, were it not for the rapid movement of his eyes, which were trained on the butterscotch-colored equine in front of him.

“This is so fascinating, I’ve never seen somepony…or somebody like yourself before! Um, can you understand me?” Fluttershy inquired.

Declan finally broke his stillness as Fluttershy exited his personal space. He folded his arms and looked quite bemused. “Uh… yeah.”

“Oh, um, oh my, you can!” Fluttershy seemed to regain a bit of her usual bashfulness upon hearing him speak, and retreated behind her mane a bit, but did not step away any further. “I’m Fluttershy, what's your name?”

Declan's features turned friendly again, although he made a mental note to watch himself around this one. Perhaps she was the rather excitable one Spike had vaguely mentioned? Or was that one of the others? Declan mentally shrugged. Better safe than sorry.

“Name's Declan. I’m uh, visiting here. Twilight can tell you more about it later, right?” The boy looked to the Princess, hopefully. Twilight nodded.

“Of course!”

“Well it’s wonderful to meet you, Declan.” Fluttershy smiled warmly before going to collect her groceries. “If you don't mind, I think I’ll tag along with you three to Sugarcube Corner, there was an order of mine I need to pick up.”

“The more the merrier.” Declan remarked. Twilight and Spike voiced their agreement, and the four made their way towards Ponyville's best known bakery.

“Have you seen Rainbow Dash or Applejack by any chance, Fluttershy?” Twilight asked as they walked.

Fluttershy let out a delicate snort of disapproval and stopped where she stood. “Rainbow Dash is in the park again, spooking ponies and some of the poor animals that happen to blunder into her lurking way. I believe Applejack said something about planting some new trees in the far orchards today.”

Spike stifled a giggle and Twilight turned to Declan. “Looks like we know who we'll be visiting next,” the alicorn stated, rolling her eyes at the thought of Rainbow Dash’s pranks. "Applejack’s undoubtedly busy like Rarity, so we’ll get you introduced to Rainbow Dash first after Pinkie Pie. How does that sound?”

He gave her a two-fingered salute and grinned. “Lead the way, Your Highness!”

Twilight chuckled. "Alright, then."

At Sugarcube corner, Declan’s meeting with one of Ponyville's more ‘eccentric’ residents understandably went far more oddly than the two previous.

Fluttershy went to pick up an order of cookies from the Cakes at the register, while Spike and Twilight lead Declan to a mare working around the shop who seemed to be made out of living pink cotton candy, only with twice the sugar. Declan was unsure of how to respond when the living cotton candy grinned at him from across the counter with bright blue eyes, so he politely smiled, like someone who is being talked to in a language they don't quite understand.

“Hiya! It’s super-duper spectacular to see a new face here in Ponyville! I’m Pinkie Pie, in case ya didn't know! I help around Sugarcube Corner here, but you probably already knew that!” Pinkie Pie giggled. “So, what brings you all the way from Vic-”Spike interrupted Pinkie Pie’s rapid-fire monologue by whispering something into her ear. “Uh-huh… ? Go on… For realises?”

Spike nodded as Pinkie's eyes grew alert and she turned to Declan, who was left in confusion for the umpteenth time today.

Pinkie Pie suddenly gasped loudly in a drawn out and dramatic fashion, then promptly vanished with a pop of air. She left no trace behind, and Declan's jaw now resembled an open mailbox.

“Spike… what did you… but what did she… and then she…" Declan was at a loss for words.

Twilight groaned inwardly, and rubbed at her muzzle. “Pinkie Pie is…well known around here for her rather surreal antics.”

The young dragon has his arms folded. “Best not to look into it too much.” Spike said, as he flashed Declan a mischievous smirk.

Declan arched an eyebrow. “Okay…” So, the excitable pony has been located, Declan thought to himself. Only to disappear! Great, just great.

Fluttershy brought everyone's attention away from Pinkie Pie, or the sudden absence thereof. “Um, yeah, I better get back home with these groceries. It was nice meeting you, Declan.”

“Likewise, Fluttershy!”

Fluttershy smiled and collected her goods, only to dart out of the shop at a surprisingly fast pace, leaving the Cakes scratching their manes in surprise.

“Is Ponyville just having a weird day, or something or does this happen often?” Declan questioned Twilight, shaking his head with exasperation. “I’m pretty sure weird days are a thing, even back in my world.”

The young alicorn looked sheepish. “In a manner of speaking.”

Spike climbed onto her back and chuckled, and they all headed off. “C’mon, let’s go track down Rainbow Dash before she causes a town riot or something!”

Rainbow Dash snickered maliciously as she stalked through the overgrowth on the edge of one of the town parks. Magenta eyes shimmered with pure mischief as the Pegasus stalked her prey.

Three groups of ponies lounged about in the grass of the open meadow on neat, colorful blankets beside baskets of sandwiches, pitchers of lemonade, and other food and drink. They gave no indication of having detected her, and were completely oblivious. Dash snickered again.

Ponies on picnic outings were always so gullible.

Before she could spring her attack however, Rainbow Dash felt something smooth tap her on the back to get her attention.

“Um, excuse me? Hey, are you Rainbow Dash?” A stranger’s voice inquired.

Every hair on Rainbow’s coat stood up like a cat, and the weather Pegasus let out a very feminine shriek of terror. When she recovered, she saw the stranger that had greeted her, as well as two of her friends, whom were grinning at her ear-to-ear.

“Yeah, I am the one and only, but what’s the big idea? You totally just ruined my prank, it was simple but genius!” Rainbow was sneering and had perched herself up on one of the tree branches, pointing an accusatory hoof at Declan. “Uncool!”

Declan chuckled. “Total accident, I swear! But it was a happy accident.” A smirk took shape on his face. “Name's Declan and I’m a human. Twilight and Spike have been taking me on a journey all day, learning about history, meeting you and all of their other friends, and there was even a troll battle. You should have been there.”

“Wait… that rumbling earlier today was a troll? While I was in the forest here all day, I assumed it was an earthquake or something! Drat, that could have been fun.”

“Well, I don’t know about fun.” Declan replied. "That thing was bad news, just ask Twilight or Spike.” Both of them nodded to Rainbow Dash, knowing all too well what the human meant.

“The monster was completely merciless to market stalls. Must have had a grudge against them in particular.” Spike joked. Twilight rolled her eyes and smiled.

“If these two hadn't been there with me in the market, or if I hadn't been wearing the Emperor's Gem here, I would have been troll food for sure.” Declan added, as he held up the white gem for her to see.

Rainbow Dash huffed and finally descended to the ground. She gave Declan an approving gaze after sizing him up for a few moments, and offered a hoof. Declan accepted, and they shook. “Well thank goodness for that, huh? I don't know what, but something tells me you’re a ok kid, Declan," Rainbow mused. She gave his amulet a careful gander. “So, what is this Emperor's G-.”

The Pegasus paused as she noticed a strange pink figure dashing through the street at the distant end of the meadow beyond the forest edge where they stood. “Oh! Uh, hold that thought, won’t ya? I’ve got some business to take care of!”

“Wait, you do? Hey, Rainbow!" Twilight called out, but Rainbow Dash had already darted away and took flight towards town, punching a hole through a couple low-hanging clouds in the process. “Darn.”

“Well, Rainbow Dash was a refreshing change from the usual today.” Declan remarked as he ran one of his shoes through the grass beneath him and stowed his right hand into his pocket. “No weirdness factor to be had, well most anyway…”

Twilight giggled. “Don't worry, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie are quite wonderful to be around when you get used to them. Fluttershy is probably the least difficult in that regard,” she assured him.

“I look forward to that nearly as much as the time when the Princesses find me a way home. Uh…” Declan paused and thought about the sentence, and he immediately turned sheepish as he considered rephrasing it.

To his relief, Twilight giggled again, and her voice turned tender. “Don’t worry, we know exactly what you mean. Princess Celestia will get you home before you know it, ok?”

Declan’s face began glowing with relief, and Spike elbowed him playfully. "And in the meantime, we’ll make sure your stay is as great as possible, on my honor as a dragon!”

“Thanks guys, this means a lot.” Declan expressed, gratefully.

“We’re just happy to be of help, Declan, and always remember what Celestia told you back in Canterlot earlier today. I can’t possibly recall the Princess ever being wrong about these types of things.” Twilight stated, resolutely.

Declan smiled warmly at both of them. “Princess Celestia really does seem like a dependable ruler. So, are we off to Applejack's farm now?”

“Looks like we are.” Twilight confirmed. Declan nodded, and he and Spike began following her lead.

As they entered the meadow and passed the curiosity and surprise-filled picnic-goers, Declan could have sworn he saw another tinge of rapidly-moving pink out of the corner of his eye. Was that Pinkie Pie? Or is this place's magic starting to make me hallucinate things? However, it wasn't the only thing that drew his attention away from their destination.

Declan could have sworn he had just seen a set of red eyes staring right at him from the shade of the tree line the trio had just exited from. He felt a foreign presence begin to creep into the attention of his mind’s eye.

“Guess who? Shoo be doo, shoo, shoo be doo!” A mysterious and feminine voice exclaimed within Declan's head. “Just kidding.” The voice turned furious. "I will retrieve what is mine, and I will not stop until I do. Count on it!”

Declan yelped in fear. It was a largely involuntary reaction on his part.

Twilight and Spike stopped in their tracks, and looked to their new friend with worry. “Are you okay, Declan?” Spike asked.

“What? Uh…” Declan rubbed at his forehead with one hand, which was starting to bristle with sweat, while the other was clasped around the crystalline edge of the Emperor’s Gem, knuckles turning white. He collected himself quickly and put on a weak smile. “Yeah! I uh…must have had a bad daydream there for a second. Odd.”

“I’ll say.” Spike added.

“Hmm…a random nightmare, while awake in broad daylight? Does that happen to humans often?” Declan shook his head firmly, and Twilight turned befuddled. “We should take you to see Zecora maybe if that happens again, then.”

“Okay. I think I’ll start to feel better once we go meet Applejack. She sounds like a down to earth type, and I could really use a break from the bizarre, I think.”

Spike grinned. “Well she is an earth pony, after all.”

“Fair enough!”

“Well now, ain’t this somethin?" Applejack regarded Declan, Spike, and Twilight each with pride as she saw them come up to her in one of the orchards. “Big Mac came back from the market a few hours ago, told me all about that battle of yours with that gigantic critter. And you must be the stranger he also described, it's a right pleasure to meet ya, Ah’m Applejack!”

Declan shook her hoof in greeting, smiling and suppressing his own astonishment. The mare was exuding so much friendliness that it was a wonder it wasn’t visible to the naked eye.

“And I’m Declan Shay. Beautiful farm you have here, Applejack.” he replied.

Applejack adopted a proud posture and tossed an apple at Declan form a nearby basket, which he caught. “Thank ya. What you see is generations of Apple Family hard work, love, and diligence.”

Declan bit into the fruit and nodded. “I can taste it! So, we weren’t like… interrupting anything, I hope?”

The farmer waved a hoof dismissively. “Nope. Ah was just finishing up plantin’ some new saplings in one of the younger orchards a few minutes ago. You caught me during my break, Ah was gonna hit the market myself later to see the place for myself, you three can tag along iffin’ ya want.”

“They just cleaned up the mess we and the troll made, but that sounds like a great idea to me," Declan replied. “What about you guys?”

“Let's do it!” Spike agreed.

“Alright.” Twilight nodded.

With that, the trio-turned-quartet headed back into town. Whilst browsing the remaining open merchant stalls, the pink blur phenomena returned once more, and this time everyone including Declan were able to notice it.

Applejack then mysteriously disappeared as well soon after, and it was only when the sun was beginning to set that Declan finally discovered what the bizarre occurrences of today had been leading up to.

Declan, Twilight, and Spike were inside the foyer of Twilight’s castle, when it happened. It was dark and there was a lot of confetti; Declan mentally scolded himself for having not seen the obvious early on and asking someone about it. Then the lights came on and somepony shouted loudly.


Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

Declan screamed in surprise and fell over. He looked around and saw that the whole foyer had been decorated with party decorations, complete with a large pink cake. He also saw Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity and of course, Pinkie Pie herself, along with almost the whole town of Ponyville gathered inside the Friendship Rainbow kingdom.

“Happy Birthday!” Pinkie cheered.

“Whoa… what is this?” Declan asked.

Pinkie Pie bounced over to him with a large grin. “It’s your welcome party/birthday silly! I knew you were new to Ponyville so I decided threw this welcome party for you to welcome you to Ponyville!” she explained. “Then Spike told me it was also your birthday party too! So I mashed both parties together to create one big super party!”

Declan turned to the dragon behind him. “It’s true.” Spike confirmed.

“Wow! This is so cool!” Declan exclaimed, as he got back up. “Thanks Pinkie. You know this might be the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”

“Aw, you’re welcome Decky-wecky.” Pinkie Pie said rubbing his head affectionately.

Declan then turned to the Princess in the room. “Did you know about this?” he asked, curiously.

“Well, not at first.” Twilight admitted. “But after I saw Pinkie Pie whiz by a couple of times and noticed everypony leaving so quickly, I thought she was up to something.”

“I knew it! I knew I wasn’t imagining that pink blur all over the place!” Declan declared.

“Yeah, when she wants to be, Pinkie’s almost as fast as me! Almost.” Rainbow added.

“Sorry if we hurt your feelings by leaving the way we did…” Fluttershy told Declan, a bit guilty.

“Yes, it was only because we wanted to surprise you as best as we could.” Rarity added.

“Aw, it’s ok.” Declan shrugged. “Couldn’t be helped if you were planning a surprise party right?”

Pinkie got close to him again. “Right! That would have spoiled the surprise!” she confirmed.

Declan turned towards Spike. “You know she really needs to dial it down,” he told him.

It was Spike’s turn to shrug. “Good luck trying, we’ve already given up trying to figure her out.”

“I can see why…” Declan muttered.

“Well why are you just standing there partner? Have some cake!” Applejack insisted.

Declan nodded and zoomed over to the cake, taking piece. “Nice!” he commented, he prepared to take a bite, then stopped and turned to Twilight. “Say… this isn’t made of hay now is it?”

“Nope.” Twilight shook her head. “Just frosting, sugar…”

“And a little bit of love!” Pinkie piped up.

“Cool!” Declan smiled as he took a bite and happily ate the cake.

Dash leaned towards Twilight. “No hay?”

“It’s a long story.” Twilight told her.

After he had finished eating a big slice of the cake, Pinkie Pie soon zipped over to him just before a few of the many ponies in the room began to observe him and ask him various questions.

“So now that you’ve had your cake, how about a game?” Pinkie offered.

“Ok, what are we playing?” Declan inquired.

“Glad you asked! We have… Poker.” Pinkie said, gesturing to Spike actually playing a game of poker against a unicorn colt named Snips, while his buddy Snail watched. Spike smiled proudly as he slapped his cards down, indicating that he won causes Snips and Snails to lower their heads.

“Go Fish.”

Declan then noticed Rarity and Fluttershy playing it close by.

“Darling, do you happen to have any… sevens?” Rarity asked.

Fluttershy shook her head. “No. Go fish,” she politely said before a little white bunny bounced by her, much to her surprise. “Angel?”

The aforementioned Angel then went over to Snails, who was magically lifting a carrot and preparing to eat it before Angel appeared in front of him and swiped it before taking a bite.

“Aw…” Snails complained.

“And… I think Angel’s hungry.” Pinkie added.

“Ok… anything else?” Declan questioned.

“Well, there’s also… ‘Pin the Tail on the Pony’!” Pinkie declared as she pointed her hoof to a poster of a pony on a wall and little purple tails pinned all over it.

“Pin the Tail on the Pony? Isn’t it ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’?” Declan asked, surprised as he quickly adjusted his glasses. He then noticed a donkey named Cranky Doodle standing near him. “No offence.”

“Ah, none taken, kid.” Cranky assured him.

“Please don’t call me that.” Declan requested, sounding a bit annoyed.

“But why would you want to pin a tail on a donkey like Cranky Doodle here? He’s my friend!” Pinkie exclaimed.

“Whoa, hey, I’m sorry, that’s just what it’s called in my world; ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’, I didn’t just make it up to insult him, honest.” Declan defended.

Applejack gave him a close look as she approached from the side. “He’s telling the truth,” she told Pinkie.

“Oh. Ok! Well, it sounds like it’s the same to me! Wanna play?” Pinkie asked the human.

“Would I?” Declan asked, excited.

“Great! Then let’s really get this party started!” The pink pony cheered.

“Alright!” Declan said, pumped.

Pinkie then got close to him and held the blindfold in front of his face, standing on her hind legs while doing so. “First, we tie this around your face…”

“Ok…” The human said as the pony did so.

“Then we spin you around…” she continued

The party pony quickly gave Declan a nice strong push to the side, which caused him to spin around and around like a top.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” he exclaimed, as he continued to spin until finally Pinkie put a hoof on his head, making him stop. Even though his eyes were covered, one could still tell that his eyes were spinning around in his head.

“And now you just gotta walk forward… and pin the tail on the pony!” Pinkie Pie finished, smiling as she gave him a purple tail.

“I’ve played this game before you know, different name but still…” Declan pointed out as he clumsily walked forward, nearly tripping over his own feet, leaning from side to side and falling over every second, which made the mares giggle. “Never been spun this hard though…”

At first it looked like Declan was going to make it to the poster and pin the tail, but at the last second he ended up veering away from it and going in another direction.

“Uh… Declan? That’s the wrong way!” Pinkie told him.

“You gotta go left, Declan! Left!” Spike added.

“No, just turn and move forward!” Twilight said.

“Listen to Spike! Go left!” Applejack exclaimed.

“No, no, no Darling your other left!” Rarity piped up.

“Ugh, would you please make up your minds!?” Declan said, annoyed. He growled in frustration then moved his head around, even though he still couldn’t see, and then finally decided on a path. “Ah, this way.”

Everypony watched as Declan continued to walk further away from the poster and extended his arm, which held the purple tail, preparing to pin it even though he was off course.

“Oh dear…” Fluttershy commented, as she and others looked and saw that he was heading straight for Rainbow Dash, who had her back turned as she was drinking some punch.

Applejack chuckled, amused. “Oh boy, this oughta be good.”

Everypony watched with wide eyes as Declan got closer and closer to the unsuspecting Rainbow with the purple tail ready to be pinned. “I… got… you… now…” he said, slowly.

“Uh… Declan, that’s not the poster…” Twilight nervously warned him.

“Huh?” The kid said, confused before chuckling. “Yeah, right! I’m not falling for that!”

“No, she’s quite serious…” Rarity muttered, equally nervous which increased when Declan stopped and pulled his hand back.

“No! Stop, Declan!” Spike protested. “No!”

Rainbow Dash finally heard all the yelling going on behind her and began to turn her head. “Huh? What are…”

Before Rainbow could finish she felt a sharp prick on her flank; it was Declan ‘pinning the tail’ on her, which made everypony wince. Yelping in pain, Rainbow leapt into the air holding her rump, then she bounced off the ceiling, landed a hoof on a rubber ball which made her unbalanced and caused her to fall on a jack in the box that suddenly popped open sent her flying out an open window. Everypony heard her crash outside.

After that Declan finally raised his blindfold. “Did I get it?” he asked, curiously and obviously not aware of what just happened.

Just then, in a flash, Rainbow zoomed in and screeched to a halt in front of Declan clearly looking aggravated and making some very angry horsey snorts, complete with little clouds from her nostrils.

“She looks mad. Doesn’t she look mad? That’s funny! I think…” Pinkie said.

“Rainbow, calm down, he didn’t mean…” Twilight began to say.

“What’s the big idea, kid!? Jabbing somepony with a fake pony tail!? My rump’s gonna be sore for a week because of you! What do you have to say for yourself!!?” Rainbow Dash scolded him, angrily.

Declan blinked and then answered. “Quick question, uh… you are a girl right?” he asked, innocently and curiously. “Because when you yell like that you kinda sound like a dude.”

The others gasp. Rainbow Dash growled at Declan looking even more furious. Then before long a small explosion was heard and seen from outside the castle and Declan was sent flying super fast into the blue horizon above them all.

“It was just a question!” Declan screamed before vanishing into the distant sky.

A moment after he disappeared, a four-pointed “twinkle” appeared in the spot where he was last seen, followed by a sharp ‘ping’.

Later, after Declan finally began to drop down to the ground and was saved by a group of Pegasi, both he and Rainbow apologized to each other for their actions and continued partying. After which, Luna soon raised the moon and everypony started heading home, course Declan stayed behind as he was staying with Twilight and Spike for the time being.

Twilight managed to find a room and make a bed for him to sleep in, which was easy since there were many rooms inside the castle.

Declan climbed into bed as he continued to talk to Twilight.

“Are you sure that Rainbow isn’t still mad at me?” Declan asked, curiously as Twilight magically pulled the covers over him.

“Of course, after I gave a very stern talking too, she realized how wrong she was, course it was hard…” Twilight admitted.

“Heh, I’ll bet.” Declan smirked.

“But don’t worry, she’ll get over it.” Twilight assured him.

“Oh, ok, good…” Declan nodded, he sound pleased though his face looked thoughtful and distant, as well as a bit sad, which Twilight picked up on.

“Is something wrong?” Twilight asked, a bit concerned.

“Nah, it’s just… this is the first time I’ve ever slept away from home…” Declan admitted, sounding somewhat glum.

“Really?” The alicorn inquired, surprised.

“Yeah, I mean I’ve had lots of sleepovers before with my school friends… but they’ve always been at my house… I’ve rarely been away from home this long…” Declan said, a bit sadly as he played with the gems dangling from the edge of the lamp next to the bed.

“I’m sorry, Declan.” Twilight told him, sympathetically.

“It’s ok…” Declan muttered before sighing. “I just miss my parents…”

Twilight put a hoof on his shoulder. “I know you do, and I promise; we’ll find a way to get you back to them.”

“Thanks, Twi.” Declan smiled, which Twilight returned.

“So… what are your parents like?” The Alicorn princess asked, curiously.

“They’re really nice! My Mom is a doctor and my Dad is an engineer.” Declan revealed.

“Though are really good jobs.” Twilight complimented.

“Yeah, they can be busy a lot but they like to hang out with me during their free time.” Declan added.


“Yeah, Dad said he would play soccer with me this weekend and Mom sometimes takes me to the movies and then ice cream!” Declan beamed.

Twilight giggled. “You and your sweets,” she remarked.

“You know… you actually remind me of my Mom.” Declan confessed to Twilight.

“Really?” Twilight asked, happily surprised.

“Yeah, you're smart and kind, just like her.” Declan smiled.

Twilight’s ears became pulled back as she looked away and blushed with a bashful smile. “Thanks… and you know something? I think you get your smartness and kindness from her,”

Declan shrugged. “That’s what I’ve been told, meanwhile I get my looks and hard-headedness from my Dad, go figure, right?” he remarked, with a smile which made Twilight giggle, amused.

“Well, I know they’d be awful proud of you for standing up to that Rock Troll today.” Twilight told him. “As am I.”

Declan smiled and suddenly hugged Twilight, stunning her at first but she quickly wrapped her foreleg around him and returned the hug. They soon pulled away but Declan then began to pet the top of her head, surprising her.

“Uh… what are you doing?” she asked.

“Boy… your coat is really soft…” Declan marveled as he continued to stroke her coat and mane like anyone else would stroke a real horse, or pony in this case. “It’s like rubbing a warm blanket…”

Twilight giggled. “Hey, that tickles!”

Declan smiled, a bit mischievously. “Oh yeah?” he inquired before he began to tickle Twilight all over, making her laugh.

“Hey! Stop that now!” she said, while laughing.

“No way, this is way too fun!” Declan smirked as he continued to tickle her.

“Alright! You asked for it!” Twilight smirked back as she levitated a quill over and began to tickle Declan back, causing him to laugh out loud as well. The two of them continued this for a full minute before they soon began to tire out. They panted for a bit with big permanent smiles on their faces.

“Ok, my little human, time for bed now, and I’ll see you bright and early.” Twilight promised as Declan laid down while Twilight magically put the covers over him before singing the same ‘Hush Now Lullaby’ Fluttershy said to the CMC when they slept over which seemed to work like a charm for Declan as he was out like a light in ten seconds flat.

Twilight smiled at him with a sweet and motherly look on her face before she turned off and the light then made her way to the door and quietly closed it. The room became very quiet just then as the little boy slept in his temporary bed. As he did so something dark and snake-like slithered out the shadows in the far side of the room and made it’s way over to Declan. It went up his bed and down the sheets that covered him.

It looked like it was going to touch or go right over him but instead the black, snake-like shadow went around his head and up the wall behind his head where it became a black dot in the middle of it before something big began to stretch out of it, something… humanoid, with long hair and super long nails, nails that came closer and closer to the gem around his neck, which glows briefly. The shadow got close to his ear… and then it spoke.


Declan yelped as he sat up as he wakes from apparent his bad dream, flinching and gasping for breath constantly. The effects of the dream still echoing and bouncing numbly in his cranium. After looking around the empty room and telling himself over and over that it was just a dream he laid back down, and quickly fell asleep, exhausted from the day’s events.

Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

Declan awoke the next day to a thoroughly peaceful morning. Sunlight was filtering radiantly through the crystalline castle's windows that cast a warm glow over every surface it touched, birds could be heard chirping atop the hills and precipices just outside, and a familiarly delicious aroma had found its way into the room.

Truly a picturesque and serene way to start one’s day. That was, at least, until Declan started panicking.

With wide eyes and a gasp, the boy shot out from under his covers as he expected to see his own room back home, but then he finally relaxed, chuckling to himself as he remembered where he was, and why.

“Earth to Declan, you’re in Equestria because of a magical family heirloom and an evil demon-witch, remember?” he muttered to himself.

His troubled expression returned a bit as he recalled as well the brief nightmare he'd had in the hours previous. The frown was short lived, however.

Sniffing at the rich smell that drifted about the air relatively unseen, Declan curiously studied the room he had slept in. Twilight had been putting him to bed and he had been quite tuckered out from the first day’s events, so he'd had little chance last night to do so. At the moment, there wasn’t much of note to see, anyhow. Like some of the other rooms Declan had seen glimpses of yesterday, this one was sparsely furnished.

Besides his bed, there was a small chest of drawers

The whole castle itself was apparently quite new, if this absence of furnishings was any indication. Declan nodded to himself thoughtfully as he recollected everything Princess Twilight had told him about during their journey yesterday. He still had a bit of difficulty believing that all this amazing architecture had simply sprouted up from the ground, and yet here the castle was.

With a final whiff of it, the enticing aroma of food finally prompted Declan to slip on his green shoes and pad his way out into the hall. He rubbed at his eyes with one hand and felt the texture of the wall with the other, arching his brow in wonder to find that the crystal surface, which he expected to be quite cold like the polished violet floors underfoot, actually pulsated warmly with some kind of energy like sand on a sun-drenched beach.

“I’m really starting to love magic,” he remarked to himself, before continuing onward in search of either Twilight and Spike, or the kitchen.

Declan soon found himself in more familiar territory as he beheld the large space of the castle’s throne room.

“Hello?” he called out, his voiced echoed the long and empty hallways throughout the castle.

The six gemstone thrones were in their usual pride of place, inlaid with their owners' cutie marks and accompanied by Spike’s smaller seventh throne. They formed a precision-perfect circle around the very spot that had heralded Declan’s arrival in the strange new land, and the boy's curiosity only soared as he stepped upon the amber dais to inspect its features.

A great sigil the color of silver and in the shape of a star, similar to Twilight’s cutie mark but with eight points, sat in the center. Declan rubbed it a bit and whistled. Just then the seal subtly glowed in reaction to the presence of the Emperor’s Gem on Declan as he slowly stepped onto its surface. Something about the area just seemed to be alive with magical energy, and Declan was now wide awake as his body reacted to it.

“Whoa boy…” Declan said, nervously.

Five seconds past, then a moment of wonder turned to one of shock as the ambient magic flared out into a surge of dark magic right in the heart of the star, forcing Declan to stumble backwards and crabwalk away in terror. A portal had just opened up, and wasted no time materializing something large and almost crab like in a swirling vortex of black and red mist.

Declan was wordless as he stared wide-eyed at the humongous newcomer, eyes darting about to evaluate its full form. Seemingly crab-like at first, the boy quickly found the monster to actually be a massive scorpion, as denoted by a signature stinger tail springing out from the arthropod’s rear.

It carried a strong semblance to a giant desert hairy scorpion, but that fact was easily lost on Declan as he furthered the distance between him and the arthropod as a matter of principle. The scorpion was idle for a moment and didn’t seem to register the human, waving and clacking its pincers about experimentally as it took stock of its new surroundings, before growing alert as the Emperor’s Gem started to glow.

Two pairs of beady little black eyes glared at Declan, and the boy felt his hairs stand on end.

As the gem continued to glow, Declan looked down at the amulet and then back to the scorpion with confused befuddlement, he quickly realized he was in trouble. “Oh, crud…”

The Emperor’s Gem casted its magic just as the scorpion reared itself for a forward charge, stinger at the ready. Declan cringed as the stinger made contact with a barrier of solid green light that was around him, producing an audible and forceful ping, followed by a subtle ringing as the rest of the shield absorbed the attack.

Declan’s mind began racing as he braced himself beneath the protective magical barrier, barely keeping his mounting fear from taking hold and inducing panic.

By now, Twilight and Spike had surely heard the commotion and were coming to investigate.

Come on Declan, you're too close in here! Now’s your chance! Declan shouted to himself in his mind. “Get the heck outside before we’re breakfast for creepy crawly, here!”

Without delay, the boy’s legs promptly obeyed as he sprinted out of the throne room, through the castle foyer, and straight outside, screaming while doing so. the shield quickly vanished as soon as he started running and the scorpion continued to pursue its target.

“Oh… why does this always happen to me!?” Declan proclaimed as he ran.

Eight segmented and towering legs shook the ground beneath them as they moved forward, and the front entrance gave way to its oversized form, creating a scorpion-shaped hole where the front door had been. Pedestrians on the nearby street fled in terror almost instantly, and Declan was one of them.

“Run! Everybody get out of here!” he told them all.

He kept on running with them, until unknown he saw a lone little filly sitting in the middle of the road crying while the scorpion approached her.

It roared, and raised it’s stinger as it prepared to attack. But Declan acted quickly by running out towards the filly and scooping her up and out of the way before the stinger could strike her, instead it stuck the ground beneath it. It roared in aggravation.

Declan carried the filly as far away from the scorpion as he could before setting her down. “Get to Mom! Go!” he told her. The shaken filly nodded and ran off while Declan turned his attention back to the scorpion monster, who had just noticed him.

“Oh… this is not good!” Declan muttered, afraid. He yelped once the monster’s pincer’s tried to strike him, but the magic shield generated by the gem quickly shielded him from harm again and kept on protecting him while the scorpion continued to try and get to him. Declan was amazed by the gem’s power. “Wow… I didn’t even do anything and yet… this shield came up. Man… it’s almost like this gem has a mind of it’s own. So unless their my friend… this gem won’t let anything hurt me!”

The now eleven year-old boy then spotted a rock and picked it up. “Get back!” he cried as he tossed the rock at the monster, but it merely bounced off it’s hard hide and caused it to roar louder. Declan gulped, fearfully. “And I’ve made you mad… haven’t I?”

Declan then decided to book it while the Scorpion monster scraped the ground with it’s claw like a equine pawing at the ground before charging and then began to use all eight of it’s legs to chase after the little boy.

As Declan ran he panted feverishly and out of breath while the scorpion struck the ground to the left and right of him with it’s tail, creating a small hole in the road each time it did so. Eventually Declan tripped and fell flat on his face and as he turned around he noticed the scorpion closing in on him and screamed with fear.

Declan then rolled out of the way before the giant scorpion could hit him with it’s pincers, which it did multiple times as he rolled around before he kicked it squarely in the face. This seemed to have little effect and greatly anger it as it tried to slams it’s claws down on him, Declan raised his arms and as he did so his magical shield appeared, blocked the scorpion’s attack and knocked it back.

The kids let out a small laugh as he stared at the gem, which had just dropped it’s shield. “Man, I love this thing!” he said, as he got up and saw that the scorpion had just recovered and was roaring at him again before it noticed a family cowering inside a house near it. It got closer to the house and looked through the window while the pony family held each other close while shaking in fear. Seeing this angered Declan and made his eyes glow green.

Before the scorpion could do anything, it felt two more rocks hitting and turned to see Declan throwing rock after rock at it.

“You leave them alone, ya meanie! It’s me you want!” The kid shouted while continuing to toss each and every pebble he could throw at it, which just harmlessly bounced off it’s shell and made it even more mad, evident by it’s growling. Though as Declan continued the force of his throws seemed to be growing and the Gem was glowing the whole time. “I won’t be just… a little kid in the way… ever again!”

Declan attempted to grab another rock but ended up scraping the ground. He had completely run out of rocks. His face fell and his eyes, as well as the Gem, stop glowing.

“Uh-oh…” he muttered.

The Scorpion monster roared at him again and began to make it’s way over but was sent flying after a blue streak suddenly slammed into it’s side, making it roll and crash into another building.

Declan looked and saw that it was Rainbow who rammed it. She smiled proudly.

“Yeah, slam dunk!” she said.

Just then, Declan noticed all the other ponies rushing over to him.

“Declan!” Twilight cried. She held him close once they all reached him. “Are you alright?”

“We came as soon as we heard.” Fluttershy informed.

“No! You guys have to stay away! It’s after me, not you guys!” Declan told them.

“Sorry sport, no can do.” Applejack said, firmly.

“Yeah, we can’t let you have all the fun!” Pinkie added.

“And we especially can’t let this monstrosity destroy our town!” Rarity stated, glaring at the creature.

“I don’t want anyone to get hurt because of me!” Declan said.

Rainbow then zipped over and looked him in the eye. “Oh, and you think we want to see you getting hurt!?”

“Well I…” Declan muttered, unsure of how to respond.

“Then stop trying to be the hero and let us help you out!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. “Besides, this battle is too dangerous for a little kid like you.”

Twilight stepped forward. “She’s right, we can do this; but we have to do it together,” she said.

“Yeah!” They all said, determined.

Declan looked at them all stunned as they stood in front of him, pawed their hoofs on the ground before charging towards the Scorpion, which roared at them before charging as well. It stopped when Rarity and Twilight used their magic to pull forth two large cloths from a stand nearby and wrap it’s pincers closed. Rainbow and Fluttershy grabbed another and flew around it over and over, wrapping it’s legs together. Applejack knocked it over by bucking it in the side and Pinkie took a big piece of tape from out nowhere and put it over it’s mouth.

“There! Problem solved!” she said, proudly.

But Declan could tell by it’s growling that it wasn’t.

“I don’t think so…” he warned.

A shadow behind him suddenly rose up and red, glowing eyes appeared on it, everypony seemed unaware of it at the time. It then spoke, with Sibrella’s voice, though no one could hear.

“How right you are my boy.” Sibrella hissed. “Rise up my faithful servant! Rise up! And bring me the Emperor’s Gem!”

Just then the giant Scorpion’s eyes became wide and glowed brightly, much to their surprise. It suddenly stood up and burst out of it’s restrains with a mighty roar that sent everypony flying back, they all landed near Declan, apparently knocked out.

“No! Girls!” he cried. He then noticed the Scorpion taking a deep breath and suddenly unleashing a giant gust of fire from his mouth, which was aimed straight for them. Declan yelped and held up his arms and at that moment the gem glowed brightly again and generated a shield over all of them, not just him, protecting them from the flames. The girls then regained consciousness and noticed the shield, and the fire as well.

“Oh, come on! Fire too? Seriously!?” Rainbow complained in dismay.

Twilight then observed the shield. “Another force field…” she mused before turning to Declan. “Declan… did you do this?”

“What? Me? No! It-It’s the gem!” Declan stuttered.

“The gem?” Rarity echoed.

“Yeah, whenever something tries to hurt me it creates this around me…” Declan said.

“So that mean’s it’s automatic…” Twilight realized.

“Automatic?” Fluttershy questioned, surprised.

“Yes. It’s like the gem’s protecting him of it’s own accord, it’ll come to his defense without his doing anything.” Twilight deduced.

“Like it has a mind of it’s own…” Declan muttered a bit quietly.

“Exactly!” Twilight nodded. “And it also looks like it can protect anypony that’s near Declan also.”

“How solid is it?” Rainbow inquired.

“Well, it hasn’t broken yet so… I’d say pretty solid.” Declan said. Then it hit him. “That’s it! Girls, I need you all to try and sent that thing flying towards me!”

Towards you?” Applejack repeated, shocked.

“Are you nuts!?” Rainbow questioned, equally stunned.

Declan simply adjusted his glasses. “Trust me, I have a plan,” he told them. “Watch this!”

Declan then ran past them and began to make a mad dash towards the giant scorpion.

“Declan!” They cried.

Declan let out a battle cry as he closed his eyes and continued to run towards the scorpion, which began to make it’s way towards him as well.

“Quick! Do something!” Rarity proclaimed to Rainbow Dash. “Stop him before it’s too late!”

Dash then flew fast and began to catch up to Declan, but before she could reach him he and the scorpion were just about to hit each other. But as Declan started to make contact with the monster, the gem glowed and put up it’s shield around him at the last second, causing the scorpion to hit it instead as well as bounce off it. This sent it flying into the distance again.

The ponies couldn’t believe their eyes.

“Whoa! How’d you do that?” Rainbow asked, surprised.

“Easy; I just took advantage of this thing’s automatic shielded.” Declan explained, proudly.

Twilight then got what he meant. “Of course! The gem only reacts when he’s about to be harmed so by purposely charging towards something that will obviously harm him he can use the shield to knock back anything he tries to ram into, since the shield is unbreakable.”

“Exactly! Now I want all of you to do what you can to send that thing flying at me, my shield will do the rest!” Declan instructed.

“Sounds like a plan!” Applejack nodded, tipping her hat at Declan respectively.

“Let’s do this!” Pinkie exclaimed as they all rushed forward towards the Scorpion while Declan folded his arms and waited, while also taking out a lollipop.

“Meanwhile, I’m gonna enjoy this candy,” he said as he stuck the lollipop in his mouth and watched.

At the same time, the Scorpion growled and roared at the approaching ponies but was distracted when Pinkie started to bounce all around it.

“Hey, Scorpy! Look at me! Look at me!” she said over and over while Dash and AJ went over to it’s side.

“AJ! You and me! Combo attack! Go!” Rainbow cried.

“Right!” Applejack nodded as they both raised their hind legs and kicked the Scorpion in the side, the force of their combined kick sent it flying a bit and Declan ran over until he was under it, closing the gap.

Before it could crush him the Gem’s shield appeared around him and bounced the giant Scorpion back again. It flew high up into the air and that’s when Declan got another idea.

“Hey! Twilight! Rarity! Use your magic and pull it down! Hard!” Declan cried.

The two aforementioned ponies looked at each other and quickly got the idea, they smiled and nodded.

“Right!” They said as they looked up and lit up their horns, causing the Scorpion to be wrapped in both of their magical auras. They then pulled the beast straight down by pointing their horns to the ground, thus increasing the speed of its descent. Declan backed up a little and watched it crash into the ground in front of him.

After waiting a bit Declan finally saw one of the Scorpion’s massive claws emerge from the Scorpion shaped hole in the ground and then the other as it began to pull itself out, very weakened but still deviant. But before it could do any more Fluttershy appeared in front of it and widened her eyes, the look she was giving it seemed to make it very scared and entranced by her.

“Ooh! The stare!” Pinkie Pie gasped, covering her eyes.

“The what?” Declan asked, surprised.

“It’s articular ability Fluttershy employs when dealing with misbehaving animals.” Twilight explained. “It’s very powerful so she doesn’t use it often…”

“I see…” Declan said, adjusting his glasses. “Pretty cool I must say…”

“Kid… you have no idea.” Rainbow said, smiling proudly.

“Don’t call me that.” Declan said, a bit irked.

Fluttershy continued to use her ‘stare’ until finally the Scorpion sunk back into it’s hole and finally stayed there.

“There, we won’t be bothering anypony again,” she told them.

“Nice one, Fluttershy!” Declan congratulated.

“Why thank you.” The yellow Pegasus said, bashfully.

“And I thought the rock troll attack was bad but this was too close for comfort.” Twilight stated.

“That’s what I was thinking.” Declan noted.

“So what should we do?” Rainbow Dash questioned.

“We have to learn more about this Sibrella and stop her before she launches another attack on Ponyville.” Twilight said, firmly.

“And I agree.” Rarity nodded.

“Me three!” Pinkie chirped.

“Alright, so what do we know so far?” Applejack inquired.

“Well, we know she wants me…” Declan began before making a ‘cutting throat’ gesture. “Question is why?”

“I don’t know…” Twilight mused before gazing at the Emperor’s Gem around Declan’s neck. “But I know it has something to do with that gem… it’s what brought you here and started all of this!”

Pinkie Pie gasped, sharply. “Maybe she wants the gem!” she guessed. Everypony looked at her a bit stunned by her flawlessly logical answer.

“Maybe… but for what?” Declan wondered, as he looked at it.

“Ooh! I know! Maybe she wants it complete an extravagant outfit!” Pinkie guessed again. This time she was met with flat stares.

Or…” Declan added.

“I think we might get better answers if we look take a look in the Library of the Castle of the Two Sisters.” Twilight suggested.

“Celestia and Luna’s old castle?” Declan inquired.

“That’d be the one.” Rainbow nodded.

“You mean… we have to go through the Everfree Forest again?” Fluttershy asked, a bit worried.

“Hey, why not? Sounds like fun!” Declan said, smiling.

“Are you crazy!?” Most of them exclaimed, stunned that anypony would think that going into the Everfree Forest was ‘fun’.

“Sorry girls, but we don’t have any other choice.” Twilight told them. “We need answers on Sibrella and we need them now.”

“Alright!” Declan cheered. Most of them stared at him, still stunned by his excitement. “Sorry… just… super excited.”

Just then, Spike popped up near them, seemingly from out of nowhere.

“Hey, is it over now?” Spike asked, curiously

Everypony turned to Spike, looking surprised.

“Oh, hi Spike!” Pinkie chirped.

“Why Spikey-poo, where in Equestria have you been this whole time?” Rarity asked.

“I thought it best to lay low,” he replied.

Declan glared at him, annoyed. “Hey! You didn’t think about maybe helping us out!?”

“Oh, no way!” Spike proclaimed. “I may be a dragon but I’m just a baby dragon, I can’t be fighting something as big as that, it’s bad for my health!”

Declan growled with a funny angry expression on his face and his body shaking like an earthquake. Twilight could easily see where things were headed and turned to Spike.

“Uh… Spike? Now would be a good time to run…” Twilight warned.

Spike saw the angry expression on Declan’s face, screamed and bolted out of there while Declan did a karate pose and cry before he started running also and soon started chasing the little dragon all over town while the girls laughed in amusement.

“Oh, those silly boys,” Twilight said giggling.

Around the same time, Sibrella was still inside her metal prison, this time with her eyes closed. When she opened them again, she seemed pleased, apparently aware of the events that occurred above her.

“So my Mega Scorpion failed… but it did its job. Now they’ll be coming straight to me.” Sibrella said, smiling evilly. “The human was very lucky. But next time, there won’t be a bunch of namby pamby ponies getting in the way of me and my quarry.”

She raised one of her clawed hands which glowed with a red aura, her evil grin then grew bigger. “My power is growing… I can feel it! Soon all the fear and chaos I’ve absorbed from the inhabitants will give me the power to escape… from this prison! And once I have the Gem in my hands… things are going to start popping!” she hissed with an evil chuckle.

Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

As the evil demon witch continued to plot her next move and waited for Declan and the others to get where she wants them to go, the heroes had just reached the entrance to the scary looking Everfree Forest. The trees were thick and Declan could only see a bit of the trail in front of the before it vanished into the darkness, despite this he wasn’t afraid, unlike the nervous ponies next to him.

“So… what’s so bad about the Everfree Forest again?” Declan asked, confused.

“It’s just ain’t natural, that’s what! The plants grow…” Applejack started.

“The animals care for themselves…” Fluttershy added.

“And the clouds move all on their own!” Rainbow Dash finished. Rarity fainted soon afterwards.

Declan’s face fell flat. “Yeah… not that scary, in fact it sounds like home.” Declan admitted.

“Really?” Rainbow Dash remarked, surprised.

“Yeah, Earth has all that stuff… but that’s not important right now.” Declan stated. “The point is we gotta go in there!”

“No question.” Twilight nodded in agreement.

“Ok, but Declan… you go first.” Spike voiced, a bit nervous.

“Gee, thanks…” Declan remarked, sarcastically as he took a deep breath and began to lead the others inside the dark forest.

It had only been a couple of minutes since Declan and the gang entered the Everfree forest and already it had started to become very creepy. Strange sounds were heard around them and he could almost hear the heavy breathing of a currently unidentified creature.

Fluttershy and Spike looked especially scared for their lives while the rest just trotted on ahead. Eventually the two of them hear a noise and immediately freak out, causing them to jump onto the nearest pony for safety.

Rainbow Dash, who Fluttershy had grabbed onto looked a bit annoyed. “Fluttershy, relax! It was just the wind!”

After Fluttershy let go Declan, who had Spike holding onto his leg tightly groaned in agitation. “Dude! Quit being such a baby and get off my leg!” he complained.

“But I am a baby! And this baby want’s to go home!” Spike proclaimed.

“No, we’re not going back, Spike.” Princess Twilight told him.

“Well can we at least take a break?” Rarity sighed, sounding exhausted. “I don’t think I can take another step…”

“We’ve only been walking for ten minutes.” Declan pointed out, annoyed.

“Feels like forever…” Rarity sighed, with a slight whine.

“You know my Mom said that whining shows a lack of character.” Declan noted.

“Whining? I am not whining! I am complaining.” Rarity stated, firmly. “Do you really want to hear whining?”

“Don’t do it, sugarcube.” Applejack advised him, in a hushed tone. “It ain’t worth it.”

“Gotcha, well we better keep on moving if we’re gonna…” Declan began to say as he started to walk forward but Twilight suddenly grabbed him by the hood with her teeth and stopped him.

“Wait, stop!” she said, muffled.

“Huh?” Declan responded, confused.

Twilight let go of his hood and spoke clearly. “I said; stop! Look up ahead of you!” she said, gesturing to the many blue flowers growing out of the ground in front of him.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“Poison Joke…” Twilight muttered.

“Poison Joke?” Declan repeated, confused.

“It’s a freaky plant that plays a joke on you when you step on them.” Rainbow told him.

“Whoa, seriously?” Declan questioned, surprised.

“Yeah, one time it made me look tiny!” Applejack said.

“It made me look ridiculous.” Rarity expressed.

“It made sound ridiculous.” Fluttershy added.

“Yeah, it sure was funny.” Spike laughed, though he stopped when they all glared at him. “What?”

“Anyway… that’s why we can’t touch them, luckily…” Twilight said as she charged up her horn and practically mowed down the Poison Joke flowers in front of them, creating a path for them to go down. “Let’s go.

“Wow…” Declan remarked, in an amused, deadpan tone as they started to walk. “Scared of a joke plant… so sad.”

“Well, how can you be so calm?” Rainbow Dash questioned.

Declan just shrugged. “I don’t know, this place just doesn’t seem that scary to me… plus I kinda have a liking for scary things, within reason of course, probably why I walked into that spooky old mansion in the first place…” he realized.

Rarity looked a bit disturbed. “Oh my… you have such… interesting tastes…” she muttered. She noticed Declan giving her a look and acted quickly. “But I meant that in the best possible way! I swear!”

“It’s ok, I have to admit this place is kinda creepy looking…” Declan observed. “I mean it’s the middle of the day and it’s like… nighttime in here.”

“No kidding…” Spike agreed.

“Yeah, speaking of which… Twilight Rarity! Ya mind turning on the light?” Rainbow Dash requested.

“Fine, but you could at least say please?” Rarity said, a bit annoyed.

“She has a point.” Declan noted.

“Aw, zip it…” Rainbow grumbled, before Twilight and Rarity’s horns lit up, creating a bit of light around them.

“That’s better.” Declan smiled.

Fluttershy then heard a sound a quickly hide behind him. “Not really…”

Twilight gazed around as she listened closely to all the noises around them. “Hmm, the creatures from the Everfree Forest sure seem more restless then usual…” she mused. “Must be because of Sibrella…”

“Probably…” Applejack agreed.

Great, and we don’t even have a plan on what to do if one decides to attack us the next second…” Rarity grumbled. Fluttershy yelped in fear again and hide behind a bemused Declan once more.

“Ok… this is getting old…” he remarked, dryly.

“Rarity! Are you trying to give Fluttershy nightmares?” Rainbow remarked, annoyed.

“No! I am Simply. Stating. The facts.” Rarity stated.

“And the main fact being…” Pinkie began.

“We… don’t have a plan…” Spike finished, glumly.

“Well I have a plan, it’s called ‘Operation: Let’s Get Going’.” Declan stated, seriously.

“Wait Declan, before we do we need to think.” Twilight Sparkle said.

“She’s right sport, we can’t all just rush in.” Applejack told him.

“Your right, your right…” Declan sighed, nodding. “So what should we look for when we get to the old castle’s library, your majesty?”

“I’m guessing something with demons in it?” Rainbow spoke up, deadpan which earned her a glare from Declan.

“No… it’s probably in the Ancient Equestria History section, it has books on history even I don’t have.” Twilight admitted.

“And that’s saying something!” Pinkie told him.

“Wow!” Declan said, amazed. “You know I’ve always liked the library back home.”

“Really?” Twilight asked, interested as they resumed walking.

“Yeah! They got really good books their, plus some sweet graphic novels!” Declan expressed.

“Of course…” Twilight remarked, deadpan. They then heard a tree fall down near them and jumped when they heard it crash.

“Uh… timber?” Declan quipped.

“Now’s not the time.” Applejack told him, seriously. Pinkie nodded.

“Everypony be quiet, walk slowly and stay behind me.” Twilight warned them, quietly.

As they began walking slowly, little lights that looked like eyes began to appear behind them. Then as soon as they sensed a presence they spun around but saw nothing their. They continued walking and that’s when the eyes appeared again, only to vanish when they spun around again.

“Ok… did you ever get the feeling that you were being watched?” Declan inquired, slowly.

“I get that feeling almost everyday…” Fluttershy admitted, somewhat shamefully.

“Anybody other then Fluttershy?” Declan added, hopefully.

“Yeah… I’m getting that feeling too…” Princess Twilight confessed, cautiously. Rarity then sniffed the air and gagged a bit.

“And I’m smelling the worst of smells!” Rarity added, putting her hoof on her nose. The others sniffed the air also and smelled something awful to. They quickly held their noses and groaned.

“Ugh! Your right!” Applejack remarked, a bit grossed out. “What is that stench?”

“Don’t look at me.” Declan stated.

“Wait… I know this smell… it’s…” Rainbow Dash began.

The blue Pegasus slowly turned and saw a face that made her eyes widen. It seemed to resemble a gray wolf but it was made out of twigs, logs and leaves. It’s eyes glowed bright green.

“TIMBERWOLVES!” she cried.

“Timber what?” Declan asked, confused before the aforementioned wolves made out of wood jumped out of the shadows and growled at them. They all yelped while Declan’s face fell. “Oh… never mind.”

“Run!” Twilight called out before Spike jumped onto her back and they all began to gallop away. Fluttershy screamed at the top of her lungs as she ran with the others.

“Come on Rainbow, we gotta get out here too!” Declan exclaimed as he jumped onto Rainbow’s back. “Giddy up pony!”

“Ex-CUSE me?” Rainbow questioned, sounding highly offended.

“Just go!” Declan told her, annoyed.

Rainbow groaned. “Fine…” she said reared up, neighed and galloped along with the others.

They all continued to scream as they trotted quickly through the dark forest as fast as they could while the angry looking Timberwolves followed them close behind, nipping at their hooves and barking like crazy.

“I hate the Everfree Forest! I hate it!!!” Declan exclaimed as they all continued to flee. He looked at Rainbow desperately. “Can’t you fly us away?”

“I would but your heavier then you look, kid!” Rainbow snapped. “I mean seriously, lay off the cookies, would ya?”

“Hey!” Declan said, insulted before he noticed one of the Timberwolves leaping and preparing to pounce on them. He yelped and wrapped his arms around Rainbow’s neck tightly, making her choke a bit before the Emperor’s Gem generated a force field around them and caused the Timberwolf to shatter into little bits of wood. Declan then noticed Rainbow giving him a look, once the shield went down, and loosened his grip. “Uh… sorry…”

Eventually the eight of them reached a clearing near where the bridge that led to the old castle was at and they all stopped and panted, trying to catch their breath. Applejack turned around.

“I think… I think we lost ‘em.” Applejack informed them, they all sighed relieved.

“Oh… thank goodness…” Fluttershy sighed.

“We had better find something about this demon or whatever this monstrosity is we’re fighting and it’d better be worth it!” Rarity expressed.

“You and me both, sister.” Rainbow nodded.

“Me three!” Pinkie Pie chirped.

Spike then climbed Twilight’s back. “Well, it’s a good thing we’re closer, right?”

“Right.” Twilight nodded, before turning to Declan. “Declan, you ok?”

“Yeah… never ridden a pony before…” Declan admitted as he got off the disgruntled Rainbow, before smiling. “It’s fun!”

“Fun for you, maybe.” Rainbow grumbled.

“Aw, quit your complaining would ya?” Declan said, exasperated. “What’s the big deal, anyway?”

“ ‘The big deal’? The big deal is it’s degrading! That’s the big deal.” Rainbow stated.

“Funny, the horses back home don’t seem to mind too much, course they also can’t talk so…” Declan shrugged.

“Great just don’t ever do that again ok?” Rainbow requested, a bit annoyed.

“What? You don’t hear Twilight complaining!” Declan pointed out, also annoyed.

“She’s used to it!” Rainbow stated. “That’s why!”

“Unbelievable! It’s like I’m talking to a child!” Declan exclaimed, exasperated.

“Look who's talking, pipsqueak!” Rainbow shot back.

“Oh yeah? Well at least I’m not ugly!” Declan countered.

“Hey! Now that’s crossing the line, buster!” Rainbow yelled, hotly. She was red faced with anger while Declan just grinned cheekily.

“Aw yeah, I knew that one would do the trick, and also…” Declan began before he started to sing, teasingly “Ugly, ugly! Rainbow is ugly!”

“La-la-la-la-la-la, I can’t hear you!” Rainbow proclaimed, putting her hooves to her ears. The others nearby just groaned.

“So this is what it’s like to live with me…” Spike remarked. “I’d hate living with me…”

“Would you two knock it off, you're both acting like children!” Twilight told them.

“He/She started it!” Declan and Rainbow defended.

“It’s ok Twilight, they’re only fighting because they're such good friends.” Fluttershy assured her.

“We are not friends!” They both denied, hotly.

“Well if you weren’t friends you wouldn’t care what one of you said about the other, and if you didn’t care you wouldn’t need to fight, see my point?” Fluttershy reasoned. This quickly caused the two to calm down, take a deep breath and sigh deeply.

“Man, she takes all the fun out of being angry, you know?” Declan remarked.

“Yeah, all too well…” Rainbow nodded.

Rarity nodded. “Yes, on that the two of you can agree.”

“Now then, shall we get going?” Twilight offered.

“Sure, as long as ‘Decky’ here can keep up!” Rainbow teased.

“You know that would bother me if you were my friend, but since your not… keep talking!” Declan taunted Rainbow.

“I’ll keep talking as long as it keeps you quiet!” Rainbow countered. The others sighed as the two continued their light bickering behind them.

Chapter 10

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Chapter 10

Later, Declan, Spike and the girls soon arrived at the castle that Princess Celestia and Luna used to live in a thousand years prior to the great ‘Celestia-Luna Rift’. It stood before them all looking abandoned and dilapidated since much of it was destroyed by Nightmare Moon all those years ago. Declan pushed the two giant, wooden doors open and they all step inside, the creepiness of the place was thorough.

“So… this is Princess Celestia and Luna’s old Castle…” Declan said, looking around the destroyed interior of the castle. “I could live here.”

“Really?” Twilight questioned, surprised as they proceeded forward.

“Yeah, kinda reminds me of that spooky mansion I entered before I got here, had a lot of horses and a lady with red eyes too.” Declan noted.

“Hmm, odd…” Twilight mused.

“What?” The boy inquired.

“I don’t know… I just… feel like that might be Sibrella.” Twilight admitted.

“For real?” Declan asked, surprised.

“But why would a picture of her be in the human world?” Applejack wondered.

“I don’t know… but I have a bad feeling…” Twilight muttered, worried.

Declan narrowed his eyes with a serious look, then glanced around. “Hey, who did the decorating in this place, anyway? Dracula?”

“I… don’t know who that is… but I think the Princess’ designed it themselves.” Twilight guessed.

“I’m guessing Princess Luna did most of it, right?” Declan guessed.

“Hmm… probably.” Twilight assumed as she gazed around.

“Of course…” Declan muttered.

“Also set up most of the booby-traps.” Rainbow added, which made Declan snicker, she frowned when she realized why he was laughing. “Oh grow up…”

The human shrugged and began to walk around and gaze at the cracked up walls and old tapestry’s. He’d seen pictures of castles like it in books but never in real life.

“Careful Declan, this place is still dangerous.” Twilight warned.

“Aw, come on Twilight, how bad could it…” The boy began before his foot needed up kicking a little rock into a column that crumbled into pieces, startling him.

“Told you.” Twilight stated.

“Man… this place sure is crumbly…” Declan remarked. “I’ll bet if I sneezed I’d bring the whole place down…”

“They say it hasn’t been completely fixed since Princess Celestia battled Nightmare Moon a thousand years ago.” Fluttershy said, as they started walking.

“Huh, lazy much?” Declan remarked.

“Most ponies are pretty scared of it.” Spike said. “And the forest in general and with good reason I'll tell you that.”

Declan glanced to his right and saw that one of the pictures on giving him a scary look and startling him.

“Whoa! Seriously, who was Celestia and Luna’s interior decorator? The grim reaper?” Declan questioned. They all gave him confused looks. “Scary folks from my world. Anyway if they were trying to make sure their castle was scary… they sure did succeed.”

“Equestria was very different a thousand years ago.” Twilight explained.

“Indeed, did you know that they even wore bell bottoms? Ugh! What were they thinking?” Rarity questioned.

“Oh I know the answer to that! …nothing.” Declan stated, bluntly

“Hmm, probably.” Rarity admitted with a shrug.

Declan continued to lead them on, his steps illuminated by both of the unicorn’s glowing horns. Then someone with glowing red eyes, runs by them causing the girls to shriek.

“What? What is it?” Declan asked, alarmed.

“The floor! We saw something!” Fluttershy said.

“I didn’t.” Declan stated.

Twilight scanned the room using the light from her horn. “I’m not sensing anything either… guess it really was nothing.” she observed. “Come on, we’d better get moving.”

They soon continued on their way, not notice a dark shadow with red eyes was stalking them the whole time.

A few minutes later, Declan and the gang continued to make their way through the castle, only more cautiously this time . The light shining from Twilight and Rarity’s horns marked their approach from around a corner, and the lead the gang along the passage. Spike brought up the rear and keeps looking back the way they came and every creepy noise they heard made them more and more nervous. The sound of a rock falling made them all jump, much to Declan’s irritation.”

“Come on, you scaredy cats, would you relax? There’s like nothing to be afraid of.” Declan said, before they heard a loud noise behind them, making Declan yelp and jump back. The ponies give him a smirk while he blushed and chuckled nervously. “Uh… so… who wants down the creepy and spooky hallway first? Any takers?”

“Uh… I vote for you.” Spike offered.

“Again; thanks… you're too kind…” Declan muttered, deadpan, as he started to go further ahead, with everypony else following him close behind.

They soon went around the corner and then down a long flight of stairs before arriving at a long hallway full of disembodied pony legs all along the wall, which creeped most of them out greatly.

“The hall of hooves…” Twilight mused as they began to proceed forward.

“Whoa… whose sick idea was this?” Declan remarked, looking at the pony legs with a scared look on his face.

“Maybe Luna’s?” Spike guessed.

“She is pretty interested in the occult…” Applejack noted.

“Not to mention she likes messing with ponies! Don’t forget; this place is full of booby traps!” Rainbow reminded.

“You already said that.” Declan reminded her.

“Regardless, whatever you do… don’t touch anything.” Twilight advised them all. They all nodded and then quickly noticed Declan pulling down one of the pony legs. They yelped.

“DECLAN!” They exclaimed, annoyed. He turned to them, innocently.

“What? I just wanted to know if it worked.” Declan shrugged. After he said this a little hole opened up under the leg he pulled. “Hey, a hole!”

“Ooh! Maybe there’s a prize inside!” Pinkie said, excited.

“Or a trap… so be careful.” Twilight told him.

Declan nodded and slowly put his arm through the hole. After a short pause he suddenly began screaming, like he was in pain, causing everypony else to scream at the top of their lungs before Declan then started to laugh.

“Huh?” They all said, confused.

“I’m sorry, I saw something like this done in a movie and I just couldn’t resist…” he smiled. They all groaned in annoyance. “Yeah, it’s just an empty room.

“Not cool, Declan!” Spike huffed.

“Come on guys, can’t anypony take a joke?” Declan remarked.

“Hey, I know jokes and that wasn’t funny!” Pinkie said with a surprising serious look as she got close to him.

“But wasn’t it just a little bit funny?” Declan requested, looking nervous.

Pinkie thought for a bit. “Hmm…” she said before finally giggling. “Ok, yeah, it was a little bit funny!”

“Thank you!” Declan said, satisfied.

“Unbelievable…” Rainbow muttered as she rolled her eyes.

“Anyways, you’d think the Princess would have come up with a better name for this place…” Declan remarked.

“I do have to admit, the name is a bit on the nose…” Rarity said.

“And it is scary when you really think about it…” Fluttershy added, shivering. “Who knows what could be lurking here?”

Just after she said this a strong but quiet breeze knocks over a vase behind them, startling the girls and Spike greatly but not Declan.

“Cool it, super chickens.” Declan told them in a deadpan tone and with a straight look on his face. “It was just the wind again.”

Rainbow then got annoyed. “Hey! Who are you calling a chicken!?” she demanded. Then she looked towards the scary looking suit of pony armor close by and gulped. “Although now that you mention it…”

“You know, I heard you can learn a lot about old places like this.” Declan voiced.

“That’s right! The past can be a great teacher sometimes.” Princess Twilight agreed.

As she said this Declan stepped on a certain part of the floor and suddenly it lowers down a bit. He has triggered something and as soon as he takes his next step, a large section of the floor lowered and spikes pop out of it.

Declan yelps as he waves his arms around and begins to lean forward on just one leg toward the spikes.

“Declan!” Everypony behind him cried.

The eleven-year old raised his arms to shield himself but the Emperor’s Gem acted quickly and a green aura appeared around his body before making him stop in mid-air. The Mane Six, plus Spike, gasped in shock while the Gem levitated him over the spikes and onto the other side. Once he was their he sighed and turned to the others, freaked out.

“Guys… I think the past is trying to do me in!” Declan said.

“It’s the amazing the lengths that gem will go to protect you…” Twilight remarked.

“Maybe we shouldn’t be here…” Declan observed, worried.

Twilight then concentrated hard and two flashes of purple light she and the others were standing nearby him on the other side.

“Now where’s all that bravado you had earlier?” Twilight teased, smiling. Declan smiled back in amusement while Twilight looked ahead. “Besides… we’re almost there…”

The gang soon stepped through a pair of large doors and entered yet another large room.

Declan gazed around the extremely large room and saw multiple book shelves filled with ancient looking books all over the place, as well as pieces of rubble everywhere plus spiders.

“So this is the castle’s library…” Declan remarked.

“Yep, isn’t it amazing?” Twilight said, excited.

“Only you, Twi…” Rainbow sighed. She then looked around. “Although… if they have some adventure books here…”

“Sorry, they don’t. Checked the last time I was here.” Spike informed her.

“Oh… then I don’t care.” The Pegasus said, nonchalantly.

“Alright, let’s get looking, call out if you find anything.” Princess Twilight told them. They all nodded and spread out before beginning to search like she told them to. “And Declan… don’t touch anything.”

“Hey, I’m eleven, not six, I can ride my bike to the store alone you know.” Declan informed her while walking and looking around. A Star Spider then dropped down in front of his face, making him yelp and scramble around it.

“Just be careful, there are still traps and some of these books are quite old.” Twilight said.

Declan walked over to a book, opened it and blew on it to get the dust off and ended up coughing due to the large amount on it. “No kidding their old… and I thought my room was dusty…”

“Yes, remind us to clean up this place when we’re done.” Rarity stated, turning her nose up at the dirt in disgust.

“Great, now she’s gonna become a clean freak, that’s something to look forward too…” Rainbow remarked.

“You said it.” Applejack agreed. Rarity just scowled at them in annoyance before they all continued searching.

“Find anything?” Twilight spoke up.

“No…” Fluttershy sighed, her ears flattening.

“Zippo!” Pinkie added.

“Us neither.” Rainbow said, while Rarity and Applejack nodded.

“Well it’s gotta be here somewhere, right?” Spike remarked.

“It has to be.” Twilight stated. “It has to!”

Declan then noticed a special book near a pile of rubble and picked it up before opening it. “Hello! Hey guys! I think I found the book Celestia mentioned,” he told them, as they all gathered around him.

“So? What does it say?” Rainbow asked.

“It says that Sibrella was born as a creature of darkness…” Declan began as he read the book.

“Surprise, surprise…” Spike remarked, before Twilight nudged him to be quiet.

“She caused terror wherever she went and for a long while no one could stop her.” Declan continued. “That is… until they used the very item that she used to strengthen her powers against her…”

“The Emperor’s Gem…!” Fluttershy realized. Declan looked at the long green gem around his neck and held it tightly.

“That is the most logical choice…” Twilight reasoned.

Applejack took a gander at the book also. “Says here they used the gem to seal her up underground and inside a metal box with chains to boot!”

“Well, that’s a little bit excessive, don’t you think?” Rarity remarked.

“Please, nopony locks something up that much unless it’s super bad to let out.” Rainbow stated.

“Well, she’s not too locked up now…” Declan mused, seriously.

“But how?” Fluttershy wondered.

“I don’t know, but for some reason she’s able to create earthquakes and call forth monsters even from inside her prison.” Twilight deduced. “Which means that her power must be growing some how and/or the seal may be weakening.”

“Huh, I wonder what could have caused that?” Declan wondered, before he noticed the Emperor’s Gem around his neck glowing as it turned purple, causing them to gasp in shock.

“Maybe that?” Rainbow Dash said, alarmed.

As the gem continued to glow, deep below them the prison that currently held Sibrella began to glow with a dark aura while the demon witch herself began to chuckle evilly and softly, this quickly grew into a loud and evil laugh while she had her arms crossed against her chest.

“Yes… yes! The time has come!” she declared as she suddenly extended both her arms which both suddenly pierce through the metal container. The box began to shake before the metal around the demon scattered, and she was free. “Yes! Free! I’M FREE! Now it’s time for some fun!”

She then shot up towards the surface like a rocket, grinning manically as she did so and like last time her chuckling slowly grew into an evil laugh.

As Sibrella continued to make her way through the ground towards the surface, the dark magic she was emitting as she traveled upward began to make the ground shake above, create a quake similar to the one felt yesterday and it was instantly felt by the Mane Six and the sole males; Declan and Spike.

They all scream, startled and held onto something, and/or each other as the quake continued.

“Whoa! An earthquake!” Declan said, alarmed.

Another one?” Spike remarked, holding onto Twilight.

“No… this one feels different…” Twilight mused.

“Different? Different how?” Rainbow questioned.

“Let’s get outside and find out.” Twilight declared.

“You don’t have to tell me twice!” Rarity said as she began to gallop out of the library, along with the others.

They all soon ran out of the castle just as the shaking started to get worse and pretty soon afterwards they saw a tower of purple light shoot out of the ground from another location and looked towards it.

“Whoa! What is that?” Declan remarked.

“I don’t know… but it’s coming from the fields! Come on!” Twilight told them, as they began to run in the direction of the light.

“Oh… why do we always have to run towards the danger?” Spike remarked, annoyed, as he began to follow them.

They soon arrived at a grassy field just as the earthquake had reached its peak, making it hard for them to maintain their balance. But it soon stopped when something or someone came flying up through the purple pillar of light, causing them to gaze up.

The being flew higher and higher till it was high above them and that’s when it finally stopped and started floating in mid-air. The purple beam of light vanished once it did. Declan and the others all looked closely and saw that the being was a woman, a woman with chalk white skin and sweeping red hair plus two red eyes with black sclera. She also had delicate facial features, lipstick, nail polish and dark robes with long sleeves. Declan recognized her quickly.

You! You're that lady from that picture in the mansion I was in!” Declan realized.

“At least we meet, the child who has caused me so much trouble!” Sibrella hissed.

Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

Declan and the Mane Six continued to stare at the being floating in front and above them in shock and fear. The demon that had previously been locked up was now free and most of them had no idea of what to do next.

“So your…” Twilight began.

“Yes, I am Sibrella and I have come from the Emperor’s Gem!” The demon lady proclaimed.

“And uh… I’m guessing your not with the good guys, right?” Declan inquired.

“Hardly.” Sibrella hissed. “Now I’ll ask you one last time…”

She then pointed a finger directly at the rectangular gem around his neck.

That belongs to me. Give. It. Back.”

“Alright look, I don’t really know what your deal is lady, but I am so giving you this Emperor’s Gem! I don’t know how we will stop you and your evil plans! And seal you away just like before! So you’ll never hurt anyone again!” Declan told her.

Sibrella’s eyes narrowed. “You pathetic mortal,” she sneered. “You have no idea how much I’ve suffered! You have no idea what it’s like! Centuries ago, my people were a proud and peaceful race. We lived in harmony with the ponies. Everything was grand, peaceful…”

Peaceful demons? Well… that’s a new one…” Declan muttered, stunned.

“Oh, we weren’t always demons, once we were human, like you.” Sibrella revealed, shocking them all and making them gasp.

“A human? Like… me?” The eleven-year old inquired, even more stunned.

“Yes, that is… until the war…” The demonic witch added, grimly.

A sad look crossed Sibrella’s face as she told her story.

“Nopony knew who struck first, whether it was the ponies or us it does not matter, not anymore…” she went on. “What mattered was that the fighting was fierce and terrifying and that neither was strong enough to defeat the other…”

“Until?” Declan added, suspecting their was more.

Sibrella looked at him annoyed. “Until we made a pact with a dark force in order to defeat you all… only… to realize that in doing so… the pact… had cursed us instead, thus transforming us into what you see before you,” she said. “Most of my kind was decimated and I, the last of my kind, was sealed away by the Emperor’s Gem.”

“Which you stole I’ll bet.” Rainbow accused.

“That gem belongs to me! It was given to me after one of my kind managed to pry it from that accursed Tree of Harmony! It help me win constantly in the war!” Sibrella said, sounding angry as she mentioned the tree before suddenly changing her tune. “Plus I wore it on my first date so it has sentimental value.”

“You on a date? Ew!” Declan commented, disgusted.

“Shut your pie hole!” Sibrella snapped, making them flinch. “Now… I might let you fools live if you do one thing for me; give me the Emperor’s Gem… now.”

“Uh… no.” Declan stated.

“You sound as if I’m giving you a choice.” Sibrella sneered.

Pinkie frowned. “Boy, you’re a real meanie, did you know that?” she asked, which earned her a glare from Sibrella.

“Oh, be quiet…” she said, annoyed before turning her attention back to Declan. By the way, boy… do you know who exactly sealed me away? Who used the Emperor’s Gem before you?”

Declan’s eyes narrowed, getting a bad feeling. “No… who was it?”

“A man named Tobias, a human. Just. Like. You.” Sibrella answered, her eyes narrowing. The others all gasped in shock.

Declan was stunned. “A human…?” he questioned, slowly.

“Yes, Declan. And that single human led the ponies against our kind! He betrayed us!” Sibrella stated, her face then became angry. “That’s why… I. HATE. HUMANS!”

Sibrella then creates a ball of burning purple fire in her clawed hand and tossed it right at Declan who screamed and raised his arms but at the last second Twilight stood in front of him and created a magical shield of her own that deflected the dark magical attack.

“Leave him alone!” Twilight exclaimed, as the others, including Spike stood in front of him.

“So, you ponies are gonna stand in my way again, eh?” Sibrella remarked.

“That’s right! And we are not going to let you hurt him anymore!” Fluttershy added, firmly. “You got that?”

Declan was surprised how loud her voice had just gotten and was a bit worried for all of them.

“Look, guys it’s ok, I can handle this… you don’t have to do this…” Declan tried to tell them.

“Oh yes we do!” Rainbow said.

“Yeah, and we’re not leaving you!” Spike stated firmly “Not for a second! So don’t try to convince us to leave you cause we won’t!”

“You’d try to protect someone who's not of this world?” Sibrella questioned.

“Declan is our friend, Demon! We don’t care where he came from, what matters is that he’s here with all of us!” Rarity replied.

“Yeah, so leave him alone you big bully!” Pinkie Pie added.

Sibrella paused then smiled evilly before she started laughing hysterically, much to everypony’s confusion.

“Uh… anypony mind telling me what the joke was?” Applejack asked. Everypony just shrugged and muttered ‘I don’t know’.

“Fools!” Sibrella spat. “You actually think you can ‘stop me’ from taking what is rightfully mine? Think again!”

After the demon raised her hand the girls and Spike soon became wreathed in a purple aura and were forcefully pulled towards Sibrella, screaming in alarm while Declan stood by helplessly.

“Girls! Spike!” Declan cried.

Sibrella laughed as she pulled them close. “I have them now!”

The Mane Six and their dragon companion struggle to move but they couldn’t even move one muscle in their bodies, they were stuck, floating in place and with Sibrella’s purple aura still surrounding them.

“Let them go!” Declan yelled.

“Ha! Or what boy?” Sibrella mocked. “You may know how to heal others and use that shield of yours for offence but you have no idea what kind of powers that Gem holds, why you’ve barely even scratched the surface!”

“I have?” Declan remarked.

“That’s right and I could teach you more… but I think it be more fun to crush your friends into nothing!” Sibrella said, with sadistic glee as she laughed evilly, though she quickly calmed down. “But there is one way you can avoid all that.”

“What?” Declan inquired.

“Give me the Emperor’s Gem now… and I will let your friends go unharmed, you have my word.” Sibrella promised. “Refuse and…”

Sibrella holds up her clawed hand and slowly starts to clench it and as she did so Declan’s friends all begin to groan and cry out in pain as if they were all being squeezed and crushed by the dark aura that surrounded them all.

As he helplessly watched this happen, Declan felt a sharp pain in his chest and put his hand on it. “What is this awful feeling? My chest is burning…” he groaned.

“So… what’s it gonna be boy? Your friends… or the Gem?” Sibrella questioned, smiling sinisterly.

Declan looked visibly upset by this ultimatum to say the least and seeing his friends in Sibrella’s clutches caused tears to start forming in his eyes. He wanted to help but didn’t know how. “I… I…” he stuttered.

“No! Don’t do it, Declan! We’re not worth it!” Fluttershy told him, sadly.

“No, your wrong… you guys… are worth everything!” Declan stated, tears threatening to pour.

“But if she get’s the Emperor’s Gem, all of Equestria is doomed!” Twilight exclaimed.

“The clock is ticking boy.” Sibrella warned him.

“No! Please! Don’t hurt them!” Declan begged.

“If that’s what you want then give me the gem.” Sibrella told him, smugly.

“No, Declan! Don’t give it to her!” Rainbow told him.

“Yeah, she’s just a big blow hard sport, don’t listen to her!” Applejack added.

“I don’t know, she sounds serious to me.” Pinkie Pie noted.

“Not helping darling…” Rarity said, a bit annoyed.

Sibrella then clenched her hand even more and squeezed them even tighter, making them cry out in pain. “Last chance,” she said.

“Stop it… please. Don't hurt them...” Declan weakly begged, tears beginning to flow.

Spike and the girls tried to breath, only for it to more difficult as they each let out gags and gasps. They also groaned and cried out in pain as Sibrella continued to magically squeeze them all tighter and tighter, all with a wicked smile on her face. Any tighter and she would probably snap them all in two and seeing them in such pain slowly began to overwhelm Declan as he was soon filled with rage, fear and hate.

“Stop it… Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!!!” Declan yelled, loudly, unable to take anymore of it.

At that moment, something snapped, something inside of Declan, his rage had finally reached it’s breaking point causing his eyes to flash. Arching back and screaming in pain, he held his head tightly.

“Declan!” The girls and Spike cried out in alarm.

Declan dropped to his knees, groaning loudly, he seemed to be in an excruciating amount of pain. He lowered his head down and then up before lowering himself even more and grabbing a handful of the grass, which he ripped out of the ground. As this happened red steam began to emit from his body.

Everyone, including Sibrella watched this happen with stunned silence. Declan’s friends were especially worried and concerned by what was going on and at that moment, Twilight noticed that the Emperor’s Gem just shifted from white to black and began to glow dark red.

“The Emperor’s Gem! It’s turned black! And it’s glowing!” she cried.

“Yeah, we can see that!” Rainbow remarked, a bit annoyed before looking at Declan concerned.

“What’s happening to him!?” Fluttershy proclaimed, immensely worried.

“I don’t know but it ain’t good!” Applejack gulped.

“Declan!” Spike yelled.

The eleven-year old gritted his teeth and writhed in pain as he raised his upper body upwards and extended his arms while his eyes widen and suddenly his irises became bright scarlet red and then started to glow . His skin became darker and his clothes also shifted from green and dark green to scarlet and crimson while the red steam rose up around him and consumed him.

Inside his mind, the scared and innocent looking Declan floated in the middle of a pitch black area completely alone and terrified before a vortex suddenly opened up behind him and started to suck him in. He screamed before he vanished inside the dark vortex just before a sphere of darkness appears and flashed red.

Back in reality, Declan finally stopped howling in agony and lowered his head back down again before slowly getting back up. Once he raised his head back up, the red vapor cleared and everypony suddenly felt an enormous pressure coming from Declan, which caused Sibrella to release the Mane Six and Spike from her grasp as she stared at him looking very surprised.

He finally spoke only in a much deeper and menacing tone.

“You’ve gone too far…” he told Sibrella, slowly as he took off his glasses and tossed them aside.

Sibrella didn’t seem too concerned or worried. “Have I now?” she asked, indifferently.

“I… will never forgive you!” Declan snarled at Sibrella, his voice burning with rage while he approached her.

“Ha! Like I'd ask for your forgiveness, boy!” Sibrella scoffed.

Declan then stopped his approach. “Why… why do you want the Emperor’s Gem!?” he demanded. “What do you plan to use it for!?”

“That’s really none of your concern.” Sibrella stated. “But I will destroy your friends here if you don’t hand it over right now.”

“Not a chance.” Declan growled. “If you want this gem you're gonna have to take it from me!”

“Oh?” Sibrella inquired, interested.

“I won’t let you hurt my friends anymore!” Declan declared. “Fight me… fight me now!”

Everyone was deeply surprised by his words.

“Say what?” Sibrella asked.

“You heard me!” Declan yelled.

“Declan, no!” Twilight cried.

“Are you crazy?” Spike remarked, incredulously.

“She’s too strong for you, sport!” Applejack added.

“Get out of there!” Rainbow Dash called out.

“Please!” Fluttershy begged.

“Darling, listen to us; this is not the kind of opponent you want to take on, she’s…” Rarity began.

“Stay out of this!!” Declan snapped, surprising them. His body shook as he struggled to control the rage inside of him. “I’m going… to make her… suffer!”

Declan roared in anger while the sky darkened above them and in a brief moment, the ponies all saw a shadowy, red-eyed beast, almost like a manifestation of Declan’s anger, growl at them, which frightened Fluttershy and made her shake like a leaf.

“Very well, if you want to know your place so badly, I’ll show it to you and if I win you’ll give me the gem.” Sibrella smirked as her eyes glowed red as well.

“Deal!” Declan growled, as he let out a battle roar as he charged straight towards Sibrella.

“Aw, what a waste.” Sibrella commented, mockingly as she simply held up her palm and fired a dark magic blast at Declan. It created an explosion upon impact as well as a cloud of smoke.

“Declan!” Everypony cried while Sibrella smiled evilly.

But, much to their shock, when the smoke cleared Declan was shown to be unharmed and looked annoyed.

“W-What!?” Sibrella gasped, stunned by the fact that he completely shrugged off her attack. “Well then… take this little boy!”

Sibrella hit him with another dark magical attack but once it was over Declan was once again standing in the same spot looking unscathed and had a look of complete indifference on his face. Sibrella then began to become worried.

The others looked stunned and stared at their now darker looking friend.

“Whoa… this is actually starting to get pretty scary…” Rainbow Dash admitted, sounding nervous.

“I’ve never seen Declan act like this before!” Fluttershy observed, concerned and afraid.

“Nopony has… something is happening to him…!” Rarity gasped.

“Yeah… it’s like… Declan isn’t even in their anymore!” Spike realized with fear.

“Yeah… I think your right Spike…” Applejack noted, grimly.

“Oh… this is very bad…” Twilight Sparkle mused, greatly worried.

While practically sweating bullets, Sibrella was also very frustrated and growled with anger. Then she noticed the glowing red gem around his neck and quickly figured it out.

“I see… so the gem is protecting you, eh?” Sibrella deduced. “No matter, because I will crush you all the same!”

Declan didn’t seem phased by her declaration and instead just smiled a very eerie and nightmarish looking smile before chuckling darkly.

Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

Sibrella and Declan continue to stare each other down, with the dark aura around Declan, who continued to smile a slasher smile, continuing to flow and the Mane Six, plus Spike, watched looking worried and fearful. Then Sibrella made the first move.

“Smile all you want boy, it's not going to change anything when I crush you in total defeat!” Sibrella declared as she fired mini beams of energy from her fingertips that managed to knock Declan over, send a wave of pain through his entire body and caused skid across the ground. He began to feel pain each time his body bounced across the ground before stopping.

“Oh no! Declan!” Fluttershy cried, as she began to fly over only for Applejack to stop her.

“Wait," she said.

“But if this goes on Declan will surely…” The Pegasus began.

“Uh… I don’t think that’s Declan right now…” Applejack observed.

“Huh?” Fluttershy asked, concerned and confused.

Declan then does a handspring to stand back up and looked madder then ever. He let out another wild cry and suddenly released powerful shockwaves that were almost strong enough to knock everypony off their hooves and caused them to shield their faces.

“Everypony hang on!” Twilight cried as they tried hard to keep their hooves on the ground.

The two opponents stared each other down before they began to move so fast toward each other that it almost looked like they were gliding through the wind. When they came into contact they slammed their forearms together and exchanged a series of punches and kicks. Each hit nearly knocked the air out of the other as well as leave a few scratches and bruises on several parts of their body. While it was nothing too serious it was beginning to add up each time.

Suddenly, while Sibrella began to bring her fist back and hit him again a dark hand suddenly came up and grabbed her arm, surprising her. She looked down to see that the hand, as well as the arm, was stretched out of Declan’s own shadow below them. The shadow hand then pulled her forward before throwing her back into the air. She quickly stopped herself in mid-air before she could go any further. Everypony else was shocked by what happened.

“Whoa! What was that!?" Rainbow remarked.

“I don’t know! It come… from his shadow…!” Fluttershy observed, shaking like a leaf.

“From his shadow?" Applejack exclaimed, shocked.

“How is that possible?" Rarity gasped.

“I don’t know… but it isn't good…” Twilight told them.

“That’s for sure…” Spike agreed, looking worried.

Sibrella smirked evilly. “Feel that power, boy? That's the power of evil," she told him. “You sure you can control it? You sure you can keep your mind intact and control that temper of yours?”

“Can it.” Dark Declan growled.

“Well, someone’s testy.” Sibrella remarked. “Maybe this will teach you some manners!"

Sibrella held out her hands and the ground suddenly started to shake again, everypony struggled to keep their balance while stone spikes unexpectedly rose out of the ground and tried to strike Declan from all angles but his personal force field appeared around him and caused the tips of the spikes to break upon contact.

Declan sneered at Sibrella. “Is that all you got?”

“Hardly. In fact I haven’t even begun to show you my true power yet! And soon I will use it to crush you like the worm you are!” The demon threatened, but her threat just made Declan laugh a very creepy laugh.

You crush me? You sure are a funny lady!” Declan remarked as he reached into his pocket and took out a large lollipop.

“Really? I don’t think she’s any fun at all!” Pinkie voiced to the others, dumbfounded.

“Ha! With this power I can easily crush you like this piece of candy!" Declan continued to tell Sibrella as he bite the lollipop in half, chewed loudly and swallowed before he then stuck it in his mouth. When he took it out, all that was left was the stick. “You terrorized these ponies, tried to demolish me and worst of all; you hurt my friends. This is gonna hurt and I’m going to enjoy it!”

Declan tossed the stick right at her but she managed to catch it just before it hit her face, stunning the girls and Spike.

“Whoa!” Rainbow remarked, impressed.

“Is that so?” she asked. She appeared to have gotten over her initial fear of Declan and had become calm, cool and collected. “Then give it your best shot then.”

The demonic witch then motioned her arm to go in a circle and in doing so she created a large purple ring that quickly became whole and expanded around her.

“Ha! Now with this special shield any attack you throw at me will simply be thrown back!” Sibrella smirked, evilly.

“I. Don’t. Care!" Declan stated, firmly as his gem glowed an even darker red. “Take this!”

Declan quickly extended his arm which caused his shadow to stretch out and become a dark red ether-like dragon poised to strike Sibrella. It roared at her.

“Are you crazy!? You’ll just end up hurting yourself you know!” Sibrella told him.

“We'll see about that!?” Declan howled as the shadow dragon zoomed straight for Sibrella and tried to attack her but ended up slamming into the red shield in front of Sibrella.

After hitting her shield it bounced off and began to turn toward Declan.

“Oh no! Declan!” Twilight said as she began to run over and help him but a purple dome suddenly appeared around her and her friends, trapping them inside of it.

“Hey! What gives!?” Rainbow remarked, as they turned to Sibrella, the one obviously responsible for their imprisonment.

“Sorry! No audience participation at this time,” she said, smugly.

“Aw…” Pinkie Pie whined before they continued to watch helplessly.

When the dark dragon hits the target; Declan, it quickly used its motion to launch the boy high into the air. The shockwave shook his body to the sore and made every limb of his sore. He screamed as he flew across the grassland below him.

“Declan!” Everypony screamed.

Another long arm stretched out of the dark aura and grabbed the ground, pulling him down towards it where he landed safely on his feet.

“That all you got? Not all I got!” Declan yelled out as his shadow stretched out a bit before slowly forming a dragon's head, it's eyes gleamed before it stretched out and roared as it headed for Sibrella, tearing up the landscape; grass, dirt as well as roots, underneath it with it's underbelly as it did so.

“It’s gonna hit!” Rainbow observed, before she and the others noticed the beast going right past Sibrella, who looked completely unfazed and Declan didn't even seem to notice, he just smiled his now usual maniacal grin. “Or not…”

The dark dragon that formed out of Declan's shadow then began to fly and roar all over the place, with no sense of direction and not caring what got in it's way. While it rampaged, the eleven-year old grinned a feral smile.

Declan then began to laugh maniacally. “Go wild! Go wilder and wilder my beast! Don’t stop!” he laughed, while the dark shadowy snake creature continued to destroy everything in it's path; like trees, rocks and even clouds, all of them… gone, as it roared and tried to strike Sibrella, who simply blocked it with a shield, making it splatter like a water giant droplet. Declan then raised a hand and held it out then part of his shadow stretched out towards Sibrella, forming a hand in the process. She flew around to try and escape it but eventually it grabbed her and slammed her into the ground, damaging her body all over, much to Declan's glee, but she quickly recovered from it and kept fighting.

As this happened, the Mane Six and Spike continued to watch in shock and with fear in their eyes as Declan continued to fight Sibrella using his new dark power while also becoming more and more malicious and ruthless by the second.

“Oh my… what… What is he…?" Rarity remarked, stunned and scared.

“And what is he doing? He’s out of control!” Rainbow exclaimed.

“And that… thing…” Fluttershy shivered, fearfully.

Twilight’s eyes narrowed. “It’s dark magic…" she mused. “This isn’t good!”

“Declan! Stop it!” Applejack called out to him.

“She’s right, you're letting your anger cloud your mind, you have to remain calm!" Twilight urged him.

“You shut up! I don't need to be calm!” Declan snapped, stunning her greatly. “I only need to win! And I will win! I will win!”

“Oh? Well prove it then, little boy.” Sibrella taunted, making the ‘little boy’ known as Declan even more angry.

“Why yoooooou!” he growled, his anger increasing. His red eyes then glowed even brighter, but this time in a different manner, as they were completely bright red.

He then held out his hand with a crazed expression and motioned something to come upward. His shadow then rose up, becoming almost three-dimensional, gaining the same body structure as he did as well as shifting from black to crimson red and gaining dark blue and angry looking eyes. Everypony was amazed by this.

“Incredible! He used the dark magic the Emperor's Gem is emitting to bring his shadow to life!” Twilight gasped.

“Cool!" Pinkie said in awe.

“No, not cool! Very, very not cool!” Rarity hushed her.

Declan’s literal shadow clone then gained a jagged mouth and roared a ear piercing roar at the top of it's lungs, creating massive gusts of wind that went out in all directions. Everypony had to cover their faces to protect themselves from harm while the area continued to shake because of the shadow creature Declan created.

“Oh boy… this is definitely not good!” Applejack remarked, solemnly.

“Yeah, no kidding!” Rainbow remarked, sarcastically.

“Declan! Stop!” Twilight called out as she tried to walk over to him put was knocked back by the shockwaves he was emitting.

“Twilight!” Spike cried as he rushed over to her. “You ok?”

“Yeah… I think so…” she sighed before standing back up. “But those shockwaves… because of those we can't even get near Declan or Sibrella.”

“Guess whatever ‘darkness’ is inside Declan’s heart right now doesn't want us to interfere.” Applejack observed, seriously.

“Oh… I feel so helpless…” Fluttershy whimpered.

“I'm afraid that we are darling… we truly are…” Rarity remarked, solemnly.

“Go! Destroy her! Destroy her now! Go!” Declan yelled.

Declan’s red shadow clone zoomed towards Sibrella but the demonic witch quickly snapped her fingers and reactivated her shield, causing the attack to reflect and zoom towards Declan instead. The hit knocked him off his feet and sent him flying back once again but he quickly recovered from it.

“Ha! Doesn’t phase me! Attack again!” The possessed eleven-year old ordered.

And sure enough, Declan's crimson red shadow clone came out of his dark aura again and headed for Sibrella again but the result was the same; with the darkness attack bouncing off Sibrella's shield and striking Declan back and knocking the air out of him before he stood back up despite his multiple scratches and bruises that left him greatly injured.

“Again!” he screamed. “Strike her down!”

The process repeated itself once again, Declan tried to attack but he only ended up harming himself instead, much to the confusion, shock and horror of his friends watching nearby.

“Sweet Celestia! What is going on with him!? He's completely out of control!” Spike commented, fearfully.

“It's like… the Gem is reacting to his darkest emotions!” Twilight gasped.

“Yeah! And making him totally reckless!” Rainbow exclaimed. “He doesn’t even care about what happens to him or anypony else! He cares about now is demolishing Sibrella!”

“At least he’s winning…” Fluttershy pointed out, trying to be hopeful but was still afraid.

“Maybe… but let's hope he doesn’t decide to come after us!" Applejack confessed.

“No! Declan would never do that!” Twilight stated, firmly though she still looked uneasy. “Right?”

The others all glanced away, looking worried, scared and doubtful all at the same time. Just then, Declan’s shadow clone reattached itself to him and became flat once again.

“Destroy… destroy everything! Destruction! Mass destruction” Declan yelled as multiple tendrils shot out from his shadow and stretched out towards the demonic witch.

The dark tentacles slammed against Sibrella's force field from all directions, creating a pulse wave through it with each it, a pulse wave that was sent out towards Declan and left scratch marks on his arms and face as well as little tears in his clothes, not that he noticed or even cared.

“Oh! This is a complete disaster!” Rarity exclaimed, dramatically. “We have to do something!”

“How? Whenever we try to get close to him those shockwave things push us back!” Applejack pointed out.

“But in the end… if we don't do something soon… Declan will be lost forever!” Twilight despaired.

“Declan! Please! Come to your senses!” Fluttershy pleaded. "I know you can hear us, so please! Stop fighting!”

“Yeah! Just stop it already!” Rainbow begged, actually sounding desperate.

“Look at us, darling!” Rarity called out.

“Look at me!” Pinkie practically screamed.

“Not helping, Pinkie!” Rainbow scolded her, annoyed.

Declan continued continued to block out their pleas and cries and focused all his attention on Sibrella, whose voiced seemed to be the only thing he could hear, despite the worn out state of his body and the fact that he was currently wheezing like an old man.

“Ok… this time my attack will rip right through your defenses you old witch!” he promised as he raised his right hand and pretty soon a dark aura appeared and became focused around his arm before enlarging and becoming a giant clawed hand.

“Well boy, I’m waiting.” Sibrella mocked him.

“Oh no! If he attacks again, he’s doomed!” Rainbow realized.

“We have to stop him!” Applejack exclaimed. "Come on! Let's try and bring this barrier down!"

“Yeah!” They all said before they all began bucking, slamming, pawing, clawing and zapping the force field over and over as they tried to get to Declan, who prepared to deliver one more attack.

“Time to finish you off! I'll show no mercy! All will rot and crumble!” Declan declared, his voice was now even more harsh and angry than before. He then pulled back his hand then extended it forward, allowing the shadowy claw to stretch out. “Take this!”

“No! STOP!" Twilight cried.

But it was too late, Declan's attack was already nearing her, and as it did so Declan's shadow began to flicker a bit, which seemed to please Sibrella.

“Aha! Just what was waiting for!” Sibrella said, pleased as she extended her hand, stopped the attack in a flash and the energy emitted from her hand also quickly began to stretch out and become a hand, similar to the trick Declan did earlier. The hand then reached over and grabbed the Emperor’s Gem, making him freeze up and caused clawed shadow hand to suddenly before it could reach Sibrella.

“Hey! What gives?” Rainbow asked, baffled. “What just happened!?”

Twilight gasped when she figured it out. “Of course! All this time she’s been letting him wear himself out and drop all his defenses so that he could attack her! But once he did… the Emperor's Gem became vulnerable!” she realized.

“That’s right, because his anger had blinded his eyes and clouded his mind so much he never realized what I was really planning! What was really waiting for!” Sibrella smiled, sinisterly “And now… you're finished!”

With a sudden snap that seemed deafening to young Declan, the string that kept the gem around his neck broke was pulled off. Stunned, Declan gasped in shock while his eyes suddenly snapped back to green. He watched helplessly as the gem was pulled back towards Sibrella before turning purple again.

“The Emperor’s Gem!” Declan cried before groaning and holding his sides as he dropped to his knees as the dark magic that was inside of him was drained out and back into the Emperor’s Gem, causing his clothes, eyebrows and skin to return to normal and his whole body to shake, as if it was on fire and it hurt, before it finally reached Sibrella, who clenched it tightly.

“Finally, it’s mine once again. Boy; you we’re reckless and foolish to even consider challenging me to a battle at all." Sibrella berated Declan who groaned in pain as his eyes widen with fear. The demonic witch then gained a nasty smile on her face. “So… say hello to the pit of despair!”

Sibrella’s hands glow with two purple orbs that she raised before she shot a beam into the sky. The sky darkened and the dark clouds rumbled with thunder and lightning before a the beam came back down and slammed into the ground in front of Declan, creating a big explosion.

The kid covered his arms to shield his face but the shockwave quickly struck his body and knocked him off his feet and sent him flying, and screaming while his friends watched helplessly.

“Declan! No!” They cried.

The eleven-year old soon started to bounce several times across the grassy field, injuring him more and more till his body looked completely messed up. The pain he felt was the kind of pain somebody would feel if they were sent hurling down a flight of stone stairs. He rolled across the grass then eventually stopped, flat on his face and apparently unconscious. Spike and the girls all gasped in shock.

Chapter 13

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Chapter 13

“DECLAN!” They all yelled.

While most of the others stared at their fallen friend in shock and horror, too scared and worried to move, Rainbow quickly became full of anger and turned her attentions directly towards Sibrella. Her tail flicked, her wings flared up and she snorted preparing to fly.

“Hey! You’ll pay for that you witch!” she cried as she zoomed straight towards the Demon before anypony could react but before she could touch her, Sibrella suddenly disappeared and then reappeared behind her.

“Too slow!” Sibrella mocked the blue Pegasus before slowly putting on the Emperor’s Gem which made her body surge with power for a brief moment. After a few seconds she turned to them and asked casually. “Does this necklace make me look fat?”

Rainbow Dash was flat faced. “No, you look fabulous…” she said, sarcastically, “Now hold still!”

The Pegasus tried to grab her again but she disappeared once more and reappeared on the ground below, near the group.

“Ha! So much for the big hero,” she mocked. “As for the rest of you, stay out of my way if you value your own safety. Change is coming…”

Sibrella laughed as she began to walk away, while also stepping on and breaking Declan’s fallen glasses along the way before fading away into the shadows.

“She’s gone!” Pinkie gasped.

“Thanks for the observation Captain Obvious…” Rainbow remarked, bitterly and sarcastically.

“No need to thank me!” Pinkie smiled.

“Mainly because it wasn’t helpful at all…” Rarity muttered, flatly. Twilight then remembered something important.

“Oh no… Declan!” Twilight cried as she turned began to gallop to where he was. Greatly concerned, the others quickly followed her as well, silently hoping for his safety and well-being.

The soon reached and gathered around him, he still appeared to be unconscious as they checked him over, each of them looking greatly worried, even teary eyed as they silently hoped that he was alright.

“Oh dear…” Rarity muttered, fearfully and looking greatly concerned.

“Is he ok?” Pinkie Pie questioned, worried.

“I don’t know… these are pretty serious injuries…” Princess Twilight remarked, seriously as well as anxiously.

“Oh… this is bad… What do we do!?” Rainbow questioned.

“Maybe… take him to a hospital?” Applejack suggested.

“I… don’t know if they know how to treat humans, I mean they didn’t even know how to treat dragons…” Spike pointed out.

“That’s true…” Twilight agreed, “Maybe we need to…”

Suddenly, Declan’s body started to glow, surprising them. They were even more surprised when his whole body turned white and glowed even brighter while the green aura outlining him remained.

“Ah! He’s glowing! He’s glowing!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed.

“Again! We can see that! We’re not blind!” Rainbow Dash said, stressed.

“What’s happening?” Fluttershy gasped.

“I don’t know!” Twilight said, looking very worried.

“Oh dear…” Rarity muttered, just as worried as Twilight was.

“Declan…” Spike breathed.

As he continued to glow parts of his body begin to morph and change, which surprised them all greatly, but they were even more surprised when the glowing finally stopped, allowing them to see him more clearly and gasp. Declan was no longer a human child, but a unicorn colt!

He had a emerald green coat, an angular muzzle and his mane was the same color and shape as his hair only in a less spiky but still ruffled plus he had a brown tail as well as a pointed horn. He seemed to be around the height of all the other colts but unlike them his flank was barren of a cutie mark. Everypony was stunned.

“Oh my…” Rarity remarked.

“He… he turned into a pony!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed.

“Wow! Is that what he really looks like?” Pinkie inquired.

“No… this is something else…” Twilight mused.

“But what could it be?” Spike wondered. They then heard a slight moan coming from him.

“Girls! Spike! Look! He’s waking up!” Fluttershy pointed out.

Declan groaned as his green eyes slowly opened and he sat up a bit while feeling a sharp pain in his chest. “Oh… I think I broke my everything bone…” he groaned, before he looked up and noticed Spike and the girls staring at him. “Spike? Girls? What happened? And why are you all looking at me like that?”

“Uh… Declan? I don’t know how to tell you this but uh… you don’t exactly look like yourself anymore…” Applejack told him, slowly.

“What do you mean?” Declan asked, confused.

“Um… try to stand up.” Applejack instructed, a bit nervously.

“Ok… not really sure why…” Declan began as he tried to get up but found that all four of his limbs were wobbly. “What the…?”

The child looked down to where his hands should be and was shocked to see that they were two green hooves. He raised them up and started at them before feeling his face and noticing that he had a muzzle plus a mane then he looked behind him and noticed his tail.

“I’m… I’m a unicorn!” Declan gasped.

“Yes… and a rather adorable unicorn I might add.” Rarity remarked, smiling.

“Uh… thanks?” Declan responded, slowly.

“How the heck did this happen?” Rainbow wondered.

“Yeah, how’d I turn into this?” Declan added.

“I guess the Princess was right… without the magic from the Emperor’s Gem to shield you, the magic from this world turned to into what you would look like here.” Twilight deduced.

“So… until I get the gem back… I’m stuck… looking… like this?” Declan questioned, letting it all sink in.

“In a word… yes.” Twilight confirmed. “I’m sorry, Declan.”

“Hey, it’s not the worst thing in the world.” Spike comforted him.

“Yeah! Being a pony is the best thing in the world!” Pinkie beamed, while bouncing around him. “And we should know!”

“Well it may be acceptable here but I can’t go home looking like this! My parents would freak!” Declan expressed. “That is… if I even get home at all…”

“You will Declan, you will, I promise.” Twilight stated, firmly. “We just need to get the Emperor’s Gem back.”

“Kinda hard to do when we don’t know where to look.” Rainbow Dash pointed out.

“Right…” Twilight realized.

Declan then gazed around at the semi-destroyed area surrounding them and looked disturbed by all the craters, tears in the ground and ripped up trees. “Whoa… what happened here?”

The ponies, plus the dragon, were a bit unsure of how to answer him and looked a bit nervous, which Declan could see by the looks on their faces and the constant exchanging of glances.

“What?” he asked.

“Uh… well… the thing is… you kind of did it…” Spike finally answered.

“Wait… did I do all this?” The human turned colt asked, fearfully.

“You mean… you don’t remember what happened?” Rainbow questioned, shocked. “You totally lost it and started smashing everything around you! Even us!”

“Rainbow Dash! You are not helping matters!” Rarity scolded her.

“I’m just saying!” Rainbow defended.

“I did…?” Declan inquired, stunned. He felt shocked and scared by what he had just learned as well as guilty but confused, “I… I don’t remember any of it… just the end where Sibrella took the Gem…”

“Really? You don’t remember? Not a thing?” Fluttershy asked, surprised.

“Probably for the best.” Applejack voiced.

“Yes, nopony needs those kinds of foul memories…” Rarity agreed.

“So… what else happened?” Declan questioned.

“You and Sibrella fought each other, landed some pretty solid shots too but… she beat you.” Spike revealed, sadly. “She outsmarted you…

“What? …Aw…” Declan sighed, as he lowered his head, “This is all my fault… if I had just done as she asked… none of this would have happened… but my rage took control…” he said, filled with guilt.

“Declan… this isn’t your fault…” Twilight tried to console him.

“Yes it is…” Declan said, “It’s just… when I saw you guys getting hurt I… I kind of exploded inside…”

“We understand, Declan.” Twilight told him, comfortingly, “But in the future you have to learn to control yourself.”

“And besides, we actually think it’s very sweet that you care about us that much.” Fluttershy added.

“Yeah… sweet and stuff…” Rainbow said, rubbing the back of her head. She quickly shook her head. “Anyways… we gotta go stop Sibrella!”

“What’s the point?” Declan questioned, upset. “I failed to stop her from getting the Emperor’s Gem, I failed to control my anger and now I’m stuck like this for what could be forever!”

The others stared at him, stunned by his tearful words.

“Well… it sounds awful when you say it like that.” Pinkie voiced.

“It is!” Declan exclaimed, upset.

“Please Declan, we need you!” Fluttershy begged.

“Yeah, you might be the only one who can stop Sibrella!” Spike added.

“I can’t do it…” Declan despaired as he lowered his head.

“But Declan…” Fluttershy began.

“No!” The human turned unicorn stated, firmly with tears falling down his cheek.

“What are we going to do?” Fluttershy asked the others, worried.

“I don’t know…” Twilight admitted, depressed.

Rainbow then silently walked over to him and stared at him with a seemingly calm face before slapping him with her hoof. Everypony gasped in shock while Fluttershy covered her mouth.

“Would you get a hold of yourself!?” she exclaimed. “Your totally bumming me out!”

“Rainbow Dash!” Rarity scolded.

“What?” The aforementioned Pegasus questioned.

“Listen Rainbow Dash… Declan’s going through a lot of pain right now…” Twilight said.

“Both physically and emotionally.” Pinkie added.

“So… maybe take it easy on him?” Fluttershy offered.

“I don’t care! We have to stop Sibrella and he’s gonna help us!” Rainbow stated, firmly.

“And I told you I can’t!” Declan said, stressed and anxious. “I failed guys… I lost the gem, lost my temper, put you guys in danger and now I’m stuck as a unicorn and I don’t even know how to use my new unicorn powers! I just can’t do it… all I ever try to do is make sure I don’t let people down… but I failed… big time…”

The girls and Spike looked at him sympathetically while Rainbow still looked peeved.

“Ugh, would you quit being so insecure already!?” she yelled, “So you made a mistake, so what? It’s not the end of the world! Well not yet, but still!”

“Rainbow… you… you just don’t understand…” Declan sighed.

“Actually she does… we all do.” Twilight stated, firmly.

“Really?” he asked.

“Of course!” Pinkie beamed.

“Yeah, we’ve all felt like we’ve failed at some point…” Applejack admitted, putting her hat on her head.

“But we didn’t let it get us down for long.” Fluttershy smiled.

“And we didn’t make any excuses about our failures either!” Rainbow stated, a bit harshly. A glare from the others made her change her tune. “I mean… sure we got nervous, we didn’t let it up us from trying to fix it.”

“Exactly! You know, I kind of went through something that was almost like what you going through.” Spike told him as he approached.

“Yeah?” Declan inquired, a bit interested.

Spike nodded. “Uh-huh, and I learned that sometimes, to feel good about yourself, you gotta let go of the past.”

“Yeah, just because you lost Declan doesn’t mean you’re a failure or anything!” Rainbow told him. “You just gotta start believing in yourself and stop being so afraid to lose! Relax!”

“And this is coming from her.” Applejack added, gesturing to the proud Pegasus beside her, “Besides, it’s not over yet and I know we all can beat her, together!”

Declan turned to them. “What?”

“Declan, you can’t take on carry all this responsibility by yourself. It’s too much pressure to put on anypony’s shoulders, especially yours.” Fluttershy said, softly. “And whether you like it or not, you're still young; so you need others to help you.”

“She’s right, we’re all in this together!” Rarity stated, firmly.

“If Sibrella messes with one of us…” Twilight began.

“She messes with all of us!” The rest of them finished, firmly.

“Really?” he asked, stunned beyond belief, “But… are you sure we can beat her?”

Pinkie shrugged. “Don’t know. But if we have hope, what can happen, right?” she asked, cheerfully.

“Your right…” Declan realized with a smile, as he finally stood up again, this time on all fours while his friends smiled proudly. “Let’s get moving and find Sibrella!”

“Yeah!” They cheered.

“Now, try and walk.” Rainbow instructed.

“Ok…” Declan said, nervously.

Declan looked down and took the first step with his right front hoof then his left and then his right hind leg and left but during the whole thing he seemed to shaking and struggling to keep his balance, like he was walking on a tightrope.

“Whoa… this is gonna take some getting used to…” Declan remarked as he wobbled a bit while trying to walk on all fours, “Been awhile since I’ve done this…”

“You walked on all fours before?” Twilight asked, interested.

Declan nodded. “Yeah… when I was baby… then I learned to walk on two and well…”

As he spoke his horn glowed with a light green aura and spontaneously fired a small magical bolt. They all yelped and ducked as the bolt flew and knocked the branch off the only tree that wasn’t wrecked during Declan’s rampage earlier.

“Oops! Sorry!” Declan apologized. “Guess having a magical horn on my head's gonna take even longer to get used to…”

“And control…” Rainbow muttered.

“Well, don’t worry, I’ll be the one to teach you how to use magic.” Twilight assured him.

“Whoa! For real?” Declan asked, excited.

Twilight nodded. “Of course! Anything for a friend.”

“Well, it better be a crash course because I have a feeling we'll be fighting Sibrella again real soon.” Rainbow voiced.

“But we still don’t know where she is.” Rarity pointed out.

“Yeah… that is a problem but…” Twilight started to say. As they talked Declan glanced upward towards something.

“I’m think she’s at the source of a dark and scary looking cloud…” Declan spoke up, they all turned to him.

“Really?” Pinkie Pie asked, intrigued.

“Well, that’s one possible option but…” Twilight began.

“I’m sticking with the cloud.” Declan said as he gestured to above them. They all looked up and gasped when they saw that there really was a dark and scary looking cloud heading their way. The source being a little purple dot, far off in the distance.

“Oh…” That was all that Twilight could say.

All across the land, including Ponyville, everypony could see the dark cloud filling up the sky and making it almost night-like even though it was still the middle of the day. Many were confused, surprised and fearful by what was going on.

“Hey! What happened to the light?”

“I don’t know! The sun was just out a minute ago! Now it’s gotten so dark…”

In Canterlot the Princess could also see what was happening at the top of their tower and looked very solemn.

“That darkness… it’s Sibrella…” Celestia deduced, grimly.

“Yes.” Luna confirmed. “And if that’s the case then I fear that the worst is still yet to come…”

While this was happening, at the very heart of the black cloud AKA the little pink spark that could be seen faintly in the distance. Sibrella, now with the Emperor’s Gem, was surrounded by a purplish-pink bubble with her hands held out, releasing her magic and laughing like a maniac.

Chapter 14

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Chapter 14

Later on…

Declan stood perfectly still, his eyes glued on three rocks lined up in a row and standing near him were Twilight and Spike themselves.

Declan looked at the rocks nervously, sweat dripped from his face while Spike looked absolutely confident in him.

“Come on, D, you can do it!” he told his human friend.

Declan turned to Twilight for encouragement.

“It’ll be ok,” she assured him. “Just remember what we practiced on the way over here.”

Declan sighed. “Ok, here goes,”

The human turned unicorn colt concentrated hard and his horn glowed with a light green aura again. One of the rocks then began to levitate upward. Declan carefully maneuvered the square shaped block to the second rock and struggled as he tried to gently place it on top it.

“That’s it bro, you got this!” Spike told him.

“Just one more piece…” Twilight Sparkle urged him.

Declan then began to levitate the other rock upwards.

“Come on, come on…” Spike chanted.

The young colt soon began to sweat and groan as he began to struggle moving the rock over to set on top of the other two but eventually his concentration is broken and the rock went flying off into the distance.

“Gah!” Declan remarked, in frustration.

“Aw, so close…” Spike shook his head, disappointed and sad.

Not too far away, the others were still moving ahead. They were getting closer and closer to Sibrella’s location and during that time they sometimes took breaks so that Twilight could teach Declan how to control his magic. Sometimes the others would go on ahead while Twilight taught him but they soon stopped so that they could catch up. Rainbow turned to them as they continued.

“Hey! Are you coming?” she called out.

“Yeah, one sec!” Twilight responded.

“Man… this unicorn magic stuff is tough! I barely know how to use it plus it comes and goes and I can’t control it!” Declan said, exhausted.

“Don’t worry Declan, learning magic takes time.” Twilight comforted him. “I also learned fast because that’s my special talent. Yours is…”

“Still a big fat mystery…” Declan sighed.

“But not an unsolvable one.” Twilight stated.

“How so?” Declan inquired.

“Let’s just say I have a feeling of what your talent could be…” Twilight said.

“Yeah? What is it then?” Declan questioned, curious and eager.

Twilight shook her head. “Sorry, but that’s something you’ll have to figure out all on your own,” she told him. “But I have faith that when the times comes… you’ll figure it out easily too.”

“I hope so… by the way, I know we have to travel closer to the source of the dark cloud to find Sibrella but…” Declan began before he looked up at the aforementioned dark cloud and saw little flashes and rumbling all over it. “The further we go in the less friendly it looks…”

“We know, but this is the only chance we have.” Twilight stated.

“If you say so.” Declan said. “And despite our lessons together being short I think it’s really helping me out.”

“Good. Anyway, did you study up on that beginner’s guide to magic I conjured up for you?” Twilight asked.

Declan shrugged. “Beats me, I fell asleep on page three of that book,” he admitted. Twilight gave him a flat look before sighing.

“It’s fine, you’ve more then learned enough to help us in defeating Sibrella for good.” Twilight assured him.

Declan was surprised but smiled. “Thanks,” he said before a certain cowgirl pony spoke up.

“Hate to interrupt the teaching lesson but uh… we’re here.” Applejack informed them both.

They all looked up ahead and saw that the pink spark they saw at the center of the storm was now a giant orb hovering right above them all.

“Whoa…” Rainbow remarked.

“Think she’s in there?” Declan wondered, before a bolt of purple lightning nearly struck them. It fried a spot on the ground and made everypony yelp, startled.

“I think so…” Fluttershy confirmed, fearfully.

“So… what do we do now?” Spike inquired.

“We get up there and hit it!” Rainbow declared.

“So… you want to smash that?” Applejack questioned, gesturing to the giant energy ball doubtfully.

“Pray tell dear, where exactly do you plan on ‘hitting it’?” Rarity added.

“Uh… I… haven’t thought that far yet…” Rainbow Dash admitted.

“Surprise, surprise…” Applejack muttered, deadpan.

“Rainbow, that barrier is made of pure energy.” Twilight told her.

“So?” she asked.

“So you’ll probably end up hurting yourself more then the barrier, even with your hard head.” Declan quipped.

“Hey!” Rainbow protested.

“Nice one.” Spike said, quietly while smiling and nudging Declan, who returned the smile.

“Guess we’ll just have to call her out then.” Applejack suggested.

“Uh… I don’t think making her mad is such a good idea…” Declan advised.

“We’re not making her mad.” Pinkie defended. “We’re getting her attention; by yelling at her!”

“That’s what’ll make her mad!” Declan stated.

“Oh dear…” Fluttershy realized, worried.

“Well, we got no choice! Go for it, Twilight!” Rainbow told her. The Princess of Friendship nodded and stepped forward.

“Sibrella! We’ve come to face you! Show yourself!” Twilight called out. There was a long pause and the sphere had suddenly become quiet, much to their surprise and confusion.

“Huh… maybe she didn’t hear us…” Declan suggested, hopefully.

Just then, the energy sphere began to crackle and emit more energy then before, as if it was angry, or more accurately… she was angry. “WHO DARES!?” she roared, from inside the sphere.

“Nope, she did.” The young colt declared, resigned.

“We dare!” Pinkie answered.

“Um… kinda…” Fluttershy added.

“Yeah, so why don’t you get out of that stupid bubble and face us already!” Rainbow ordered.

“Very well…” Sibrella hissed as the sphere crackled with more and more intense energy making it hard for everypony to see and forced them to cover their eyes and shield themselves from the small shockwaves each bolt made when it hit.

Eventually the energy sphere dissipated and Sibrella herself appeared floating above them with a nasty smile on her face and the Emperor’s Gem around her neck. Declan’s eyes narrow at the sight of it.

“So, back for more, eh?” Sibrella questioned, amused.

“You bet we are, and we’re taking you down!” Declan told her.

“You don’t scare me, boy! You can’t beat moi, why you can’t even control your newfound magic!” Sibrella pointed out, with a mocking sneer. “By the way; cute look.”

“Yeah, yeah, heard it before, now why I don’t I show you how much control I have?” Declan challenged as his horn glowed.

“Go ahead and try.” Sibrella challenged. “Though with those injuries you have I would advise against it.”

Declan’s knees began to wobble a bit upon her mentioning the serious damage to his body that he gained after he lost to her, which worried everypony else but still he stood tall.

“Noted. But I’ll do it anyway!!” Declan declared as he fired a powerful magical beam from his horn like last time which Sibrella managed to dodge before she fired one of her own from her hand which Declan shielded himself from by levitating a boulder in front of him. The blast shattered the rock but Declan was completely unharmed.

“So… you learned a few magic tricks, eh?’ Sibrella remarked.

“I had a good teacher.” Declan said as he and Twilight shared a smile. “And also…”

Declan charged up his horn again and fired another beam of magic that suddenly separated into multiple bolts of energy that went flying towards Sibrella like rockets. But then, Sibrella snapped her fingers and an energy bubble appeared around her again, the bolts hit it and soon vanished. They were all stunned.

Sibrella sneered. “Ha! Top that!” she said, while the Emperor’s Gem currently around her neck glowed.

“Great, because of that stupid gem her shield is even strong now!” Rainbow said, frustrated.

“How can we break through it?” Fluttershy wondered, nervously.

“Easy; the old fashioned way!” Rainbow stated as she flew towards it at top speed but ended up bouncing off the bubble and flying back far, while Sibrella just yawned.

“Uh… is there a Plan B?” Declan inquired, slowly.

“Nope, Plan A hasn’t failed yet!” Applejack said as they all charged forward, along with Rainbow whose recovered, while Declan stood in one spot looking concerned.

The Mane Six and Spike then stood all around Sibrella and attacked her from different angles, Rarity and Twilight used magic beams, Applejack and Pinkie bounced up and hit it, Fluttershy and Rainbow bucked it from the air and Spike used his fire but none of them worked.

Sibrella yawned again. “Pathetic…” she scoffed as she waved her hand and created a gust of wind that sent them all flying back and rolling across the grass. They quickly got up again though.

“It’s no use! None of our attacks had any effect!” Twilight despaired.

“But these do!” Sibrella sneered as she lifted a rock out of the ground and created a large ball of fire as well.

“Aw… ponyfeathers…” Rainbow grumbled, her ears flattening while the rest of them stared in shock, looking frozen.

Twilight however, managed to turn to Declan and magically push him out of the way. “Quick, Declan! Run!” she cried.

“What!? No! I can’t leave you guys!” Declan told them, as Sibrella fired her attacks at them.

“Well, you better run out of the way!” Applejack stated. She turned to the Princess. “Twilight!”

The alicorn nodded and put up her barrier around them.

“Ha! Waste of time!” Sibrella called out, as the attacks hit the force field and shattered in an instant, knocking them all down like dominos.

“No!” Declan cried.

“Yes!” Sibrella sneered, as she drew one hand back. “And now…”

Sibrella quickly created an energy spear and tossed it at the fallen ponies and dragon but Declan reacted quickly and created his own barrier around them, which manage to deflect the spear but it still cracked up a bit. “Ha-ha! Yes!” he smiled.

“Curses!” Sibrella said, frustrated.

Declan quickly rushed over and made sure the others were unharmed.

“You guys ok?” Declan asked, concerned as he started to help Twilight. The rest all began to get up also, although they were still very sore and groaned as they slowly stood on all fours again.

“Uh-huh… don’t worry… compared to your injuries sport… this is nuthin’…” Applejack assured hi.

“Yeah… nice thinking by the way… that magic shield you created saved us…” Twilight smiled, while panting. The shield then vanished.

“Welcome… it’s not as durable as the Emperor Gem’s but it’ll do…” Declan said.

“Yeah… not sure how we can get through that…” Applejack admitted, sounding depressed as she lowered her hat.

“Not to mention… I don’t have enough energy to create another shield…” Twilight confessed.

“Oh… it’s hopeless…” Fluttershy sighed. “We can’t beat her…”

“We’re doomed!” Pinkie cried, dramatically. “Doomed I say!”

“You took the words right out of my mouth, Pinkie Pie.” Rarity nodded.

“And with a dramatic flare to boot.” Spike added.

“Look girls, she’s stronger than us when we’re apart, but she’s no stronger than us when we’re together.” Declan told them. “We can take her. We just gotta have hope and work together!”

Twilight, along with everypony else, let his words sink in before they began to feel a happy and hopeful feeling in their hearts. “He’s right!”

“Yeah! We can do it!” Pinkie Pie cheered.

“Got that right!” Rainbow agreed.

“Yay…” Fluttershy cheered also, only quietly.

“Thanks Declan, we needed that.” Spike said, appreciatively.

Applejack nodded. “Sure did,” she confirmed. Declan smiled thankfully, while the evil witch above them laughed, mockingly.

“Ever the hopeful one, aren’t you?” Sibrella remarked, preparing to fire another energy bolt. “Too bad it can’t save you!”

“Well, that’s your opinion, but you know… to live without hope is to cease to live.” Declan said, smiling peacefully. “And that’s something I will never do.”

“Oh, never say never, boy. Especially when it’s about to happen… right… now!” Sibrella yelled as she fired the energy ball at Declan and his friends. While the weak group of seven tried to shield themselves, young Declan stood his ground and kept a serious look on his face before it hit and created a large explosion.

Sibrella laughed at this but her smile soon ended once the smoke finally cleared up and he bugged out when he saw a giant dome around them which protected them all.

They all opened their eyes now and were surprised by the dome.

“What!?” The demon exclaimed, shocked.

“Uh… where did this come from?” Rainbow Dash asked, confused.

“Got me…” Applejack mused.

“What!?” Sibrella exclaimed, shocked.

“Hey Twilight, I thought you were tired to make a shield…” Spike pointed out.

“I am… so…” Twilight began before she and all the others turned towards Declan.

“What? No! This wasn’t me!” Declan denied.

“Oh… I think it was…” Twilight stated as she pointed at his flank. He looked and saw star like mark appear on his flank, it was almost like Twilight’s only it had eight points and was black with no other stars surrounding it.

“Whoa! My cutie mark!” Declan gasped. Then it dawned on Declan. “Hope… That’s it! Giving ponies, and people, hope! That’s my special talent!”

“Exactly. Well done, Declan.” Twilight nodded, smiling proudly.

Declan smiled then was surprised when he noticed something happening with Sibrella. It seemed as if the Emperor’s gem was being pulled by something and was trying to leave her.

“Huh? What is this?” she questioned, baffled. The others began to notice it as well.

“Hey, what’s going on with the gem?” Rainbow pointed out.

“I don’t know, it’s acting funny…” Applejack observed, before also noticing something. “Well, would ya look at that? It’s making the shield around her go down!”

The others looked and saw multiple holes in the shield that were quickly spreading till the shield was seen no more, much to Sibrella’s shock.

“Awesome!” Spike said, pleased. “Now what we can actually get to her!”

“That’s not all…” Fluttershy breathed as she gestured to the still shaking gem again. The others looked and saw the gem suddenly snap itself off of Sibrella’s chest.

“What!? NO!” Sibrella cried as the Emperor’s Gem flew away from her and zoomed all the way to Declan where it created a little string and placed itself around his neck.

“Alright! It’s back!” Declan smiled.

“But… how and why?” Rainbow asked, very confused.

“Yeah, you sure you don’t have any metal on you? Because it was drawn to you like a magnet!” Pinkie expressed, as she was suddenly pulled into a nearby tree, as if to demonstrate.

“Uh… I don’t have any metal on me, Pinkie…” Declan mused.

“Oh… never mind then!” Pinkie Pie said, returning to her cheerful state. Rarity rolled her eyes while Fluttershy face hoofed.

Declan turned to Twilight. “Twi? Any ideas?”

“Hmm… it must have responded to your feelings again after you got your cutie mark…” Princess Twilight Sparkle deduced.

“You think so?” Declan inquired.

“It’s the best guess we got right now, I suppose we’ll just have to go with it.” Twilight shrugged.

“If you say so.” Declan said.

He then noticed that his whole body started glowing again. And just like before whole body turned white and glowed even brighter while the green aura outlining him remained.

They all watched as the energy form of pony Declan then reared up and quickly stood on two legs before morphing into a more human shape. When the glow finally ended Declan could see himself clearly and noticed that he was back in his human form, completely restored to normal, save for the glasses.

“Alright! I’m back to normal!” Declan cheered. His excitement soon wore off after a minute once he realized something important. “Oh… my glasses aren’t back…”

“Yeah… they kinda broke…” Rainbow admitted, rubbing the back of her head.

“Sorry… sort of slipped all our minds…” Applejack added, taking off her hat.

“Aw, man! I can’t see anything without my glasses!” Declan practically moaned.

“Don’t worry Decky, we’ll get you some new ones!” Pinkie Pie assured him, before a bolt nearly struck them. They all cried out. “Uh… once we beat Sibrella that is…”

“Speaking of which, where is she? All I see our blobs…” Declan said, as he looked in the opposite direction of Sibrella, who looked baffled by his blindness.

“Strange that he didn’t need glasses when he was a colt…” Spike observed.

“I guess our eyesight is slightly better than humans…” Twilight guessed.

“You think?” Spike asked her.

“It’s the best guess we got right now…” Twilight shrugged. “Anyway, just follow our voices Declan and stay close.”

“But I…” The human began before his side throbbed again, making it clutch it tightly as he groaned.

“But you're still hurt, remember?” Rainbow pointed out, firmly.

“She’s right, just let us take care of this while you rest.” Fluttershy added, pleadingly.

“Ok…” Declan said, slowly.

“Ha! Like I’d let you!” Sibrella spat as she waved her hand and suddenly glowing cuffs came out of the ground and snapped around each of the ponies, and dragon’s legs, immobilizing and alarming them all.

“Gah! What the!?” Rainbow exclaimed as she tried to fly away but the restrained around her legs prevented her from doing so. They all struggled to move but quickly found that they couldn’t.

“Oh no…!” Declan gasped, worried.

“We’re trapped!” Twilight Sparkle realized.

“And… I think the big meanie up there is having a problem… do you think we should give her some privacy or something?” Pinkie inquired.

Everypony looked up and saw Sibrella shaking and trembling with rage.

“You… you… you took my gem from me you little brat!!” she yelled as she charged up her dark magic. “Now… prepare to watch your friends perish!”

The Mane Six all gasp in shock. Spike held onto Rarity, who held him tightly while Declan’s eyes widened once he saw what was about to happen.

“GIRLS!” Declan cried as he raced over to them, tears beginning to flow.

“You're too late little boy! It’s time for your friends to meet their doom and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Sibrella shouted at him.

“No!” Declan said as he ran forward, stood in front of the Mane Six and extended his arms. “I won’t let you hurt them!”

“Then you’ll be destroyed instead!” Sibrella stated.

“I don’t care! These girls are my friends!” Declan cried.

“Declan, no!” Twilight protested. “Don’t risk your life for ours!”

Everypony else then began to protest and argue, trying to tell him get out of the way but the eleven-year old would not budge. Sibrella just sneered.

“Fool,” she spat before firing her super charged, dark magical blast straight towards Declan. He could feel the air blasting him in the face and the area around him heating up as the blast neared while the others just watched on in horror.

“DECLAN!” Everypony cried as the blast neared Declan.

That’s when the Emperor’s gem flashed once again.

Inside Declan’s mind, both his human self and his pony self both appear and faced each other for a bit before they both became energy and started to swirl together in a whirlpool of light and soon after that created a bright flash of blue light.

The Emperor’s Gem then started to glow again, this time with a golden glow as it shifted from white to a yellowish-gold. Declan then yelped in surprise as blue light suddenly flashed out of the Gem and consumed him. The bright forced everypony to cover their eyes.

“What’s happening!?” Rarity exclaimed, alarmed.

“Declan!” Twilight Sparkle cried out, worried.

When the flash of light finally ended everypony unshielded their eyes and saw just what happened to Declan and the result made all of their eyes widen and their jaws drop, including Sibrella herself.

Declan now had bright blue eyes which glowed, as well as light blue and dark blue clothes instead of light green and dark green plus his skin was much fairer than usual.His old glasses also reappeared on his face, fully repaired as well.

Everypony stared at the new Declan stunned and in awe while the young boy himself looked over his new appearance in surprise, he also noticed that his Cutie Mark was now a glowing blue symbol on the back of his right and left hands.
Sibrella looked like she was freaking out. “W-What!? What’s going on? What is that!!?”

“I’m not really sure myself.” Declan admitted, as he admired his new appearance. “But I think it’s the true power of the Emperor’s Gem! Once it’s fueled by the Magic of Friendship and also… The Light of Hope!”

“The Light of… Hope?” Sibrella gasped, stunned.

“Yes! And with that power I’ve not only healed myself but I can also heal and restore my friends!” Declan declared as he raised a hand to the sky, and fired a blue lightning bolt upward.

The sky rumbled with thunder and suddenly seven bolts of blue lightning came down and struck the Mane Six and their dragon companion, but instead of getting hurt or electrocuted each of them felt like they were getting healed.

“Wha… what the hay is this?” Applejack asked, baffled.

“I don’t know… but it feels… warm. And I feel… good.” Twilight breathed with a smile

“I feel totally awesome!” Rainbow declared, excited.

“Me too! I’m not in pain anymore!” Pinkie said, equally happy.

“Yeah… same here!” Fluttershy gasped, pleased.

“Alright Declan!” Spike exclaimed, proudly.

At the same time, Sibrella could not help but continue to stare in shock and watched as the lightning bolts finally vanished and all of Declan’s friends were fully healed and ready to go again.

“How… how did you do that!?” Sibrella exclaimed, freaking out.

Declan just shrugged. “Don’t ask me, I’m still trying to figure it out myself…” he admitted, before gaining a serious look. “But with this power… I feel like I can really save this world!”

Chapter 15

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Chapter 15

Sibrella and Declan continued to glare at each other for who knows how long and while Sibrella was full of rage, Declan looked calm and serious but also peaceful. Eventually, a smirk appeared on the demon’s face, which unnerved everypony.

“So, you actually believe you can stop me now that you’ve gotten stronger?” Sibrella questioned, smugly.

“That’s right.” Declan smirked. “And as a matter of fact, you don’t scare me anymore so there’s not much else you can do now.”

“Well then, allow me to show you just how truly terrifying I can be.” Sibrella said, eerily calm before her face became ropy and she let out a nasty and somewhat raspy chuckle.

Everypony’s eyes bugged out as Sibrella slowly began to transform into something else entirely. Two extra pairs of long jointed legs sprout from the body. Large curved spikes grow from both sides of the arms, the body takes on an bug contour and her cries became more and more animal like.

Once it was finished they were horrified by what the saw; the lower half of Sibrella’s body was black and resembled the bottom half of a spider while her upper half was chalk white, aside from her black hands and spikes. On her face her nose was gone while her jaw was enlarged and had jagged teeth plus red eyes and no hair. As the Emperor’s Gem around her neck glowed brightly she roared at the stunned heroes loudly.

They all continued to stare at her silently before Declan finally broke the silence and pointed at her.

“Uh… can she do that?” he asked.

“I think she just did.” Rainbow stated.

“So… what do you think of my new form? Scared?” Sibrella smiled, evilly.

“Uh… yes…” Fluttershy squeaked, shaking like an earthquake.

“Well I’ll say this much lady; you got real ugly.” Declan commented, which insulted Sibrella greatly.

“I personally wouldn’t put it like that, but I do agree.” Rarity added, brushing back her mane.

“So, you're not scared?” Sibrella questioned.

“Well, if you showed me that mug when I came here I probably would have run off screaming my head off like a mouse at a cobra convention.” Declan noted, as he gave Applejack a wink, which she smiled at. “But after all I’ve been through, that doesn’t scare me, not one bit.”

“That’s exactly the kind of brave spirit that makes humans like you so intolerable to me.” Sibrella sneered.

“Yeah, yeah, keep talking.” Declan said, uninterested. “But when you're done why don’t you start fighting instead?”

“Very well…” Sibrella said, evilly as she began to float up into the air.

“Aw, come on! She can fly too? No fair!” Rainbow Dash complained.

“Says the pony who barely stays on the ground for more than five minutes.” Declan pointed out.

“What? I’m a flier, I like to fly. It’s that simple.” Rainbow shrugged, feeling proud of what she did.

“Yeah, maybe a little too much, like how apparently you like drinking cider too much.” Declan smirked.

“You do have kind of a problem…” Spike realized.

“Everypony’s a critic…” Rainbow grumbled, a bit annoyed while the others chuckled.

“If you’re all done mocking each other, we’re all in the middle of something; your destruction!” Sibrella exclaimed, as lightning flashed around her. “And I can think of nothing better to do!”

“Boy, somepony needs a hobby.” Pinkie remarked. The others all voiced their agreements.

“Last chance for you to quit while you're ahead.” Declan warned. “This could be messy.”

Sibrella laughed. “Your hilarious,” she said amused before flying super fast towards and yelling in an angry tone. “NOW PERISH!”

Declan stood his ground and grabbed onto Sibrella’s shoulders as she slammed into him. His feet dug into the ground as she pushed him far but still he held onto her until they finally stopped and she knocked him off his feet by firing a magical bolt from her mouth. He hit the ground hard.

“Declan!” The others called out worried.

The human groaned and began to pick himself up, he held up a hand to let the girls know that it was ok. “I’m fine, I’m fine!” he assured them. “Just… caught me off guard. Lucky shot…”

“Careful, you don’t want to get too angry now do you?” Sibrella warned him, with an evil grin. “Remember last time? You were releasing so much negative energy that it almost attracted windigos here.”

Declan did indeed feel a slight surge of anger within him but managed to quickly calm himself down. He smiled at Sibrella instead, surprising her.

“I… don’t really know what ‘windigos’ are…” Declan admitted. “But I’m afraid I’m gonna have to disappoint them, since I have no hate in my heart at all anymore, not even for you.”

“Well, well, well, these ponies have rubbed off on you, eh?” Sibrella observed.

“That’s right.” Declan confirmed. “And you know… all my life I’ve always tried to live up to everyone’s expectations… because I was afraid of letting them down… but now I know that it’s pretty much impossible to go through life without failing something… but I’m ok with that.”

“Oh really?” Sibrella questioned.

Really. Unlike you I know the importance of friendship and how precious it is. All you think about is your hatred of us humans and ponies and without that hatred all you’ll be is nothing. That’s what you were before and that’s what you’ll be after I put you back where you belong; nothing.” Declan stated, his eyes narrowing while his words made Sibrella gasp sharply, as if she was hit in the gut. Her shock quickly turned into blind fury as she snarled madly at the human.

“Boy, you really nailed her, kid!” Rainbow remarked, impressed.

“Thanks. And stop calling me ‘kid’ already!?” Declan exclaimed, aggravated. “Anyways, we can still beat her but only if you guys do exactly what I say.”

“You got it, boss!” Rainbow nodded as she spread out her wings.

“Oh yeah!” Pinkie added.

“I’m in.” Applejack nodded, tipping her hat.

“Me too.” Fluttershy agreed.

“And I as well.” Rarity smiled.

“Count me in.” Twilight stated, with a smile also.

“So, what’s the play, Dec?” Spike asked him, eagerly as the human adjusted his glasses.

“Well first… Pinkie! Get her attention!” Declan instructed.

“Oh, I’ll do more then that!” Pinkie Pie smiled as she hopped on ahead.

The pink pony hopped until she was right near Sibrella, and whistled to get her attention. Once Sibrella had her eyes on her, she began to do a silly dance featuring a top hat, a cane and a silly face complete with a raspberry.

“Heh! Now that’d get anypony’s attention!” Applejack commented, amused.

And it did. Sibrella got so angry by Pinkie’s display that she began to rapidly fire multiple dark magic bolts toward her. But Pinkie managed to dodge all of them with ease, baffling and frustrating her.

The others watched this happen from close by.

“Ok, we got her attention, now what?” Rainbow asked.

“Rainbow; take Applejack and lift her up!” Declan said.

“Got it!” Rainbow nodded as she flew and circled down before wrapping her forelegs around Applejack’s and lifting her into the air.

“Really? The armpit carry?” Applejack questioned, deadpan.

“Quit your complaining, would ya?’ Rainbow said, annoyed. Sibrella then finally noticed them both and fired a beam of magic at them.

“And you… watch out!” Applejack suddenly cried.

The blue Pegasi quickly acted when she saw the laser beam headed her way and dropped down before flying around her.

“Now Rainbow; fly back!” Declan cried.

“On it!” Rainbow said as she swerved around Sibrella again as she tried to strike her.

“And… release!” Declan called out.

“Ok! Go for it AJ!” Rainbow told her.

“Right!” Applejack nodded as the blue Pegasi swung her back before tossing her at Sibrella allowing the cowgirl to give the demon a flying buck to the face. She tried to strike back but Rainbow caught AJ again and flew her out of the way.

“Fluttershy! Give Spike a boost!” Declan yelled out.

“Um… ok!” Fluttershy said as she flew down towards Spike. “Hop on.”

“Right!” Spike smiled as he got onto Fluttershy’s back and held on as she flew up until they were near Sibrella.

“And… jump!” Declan continued.

“On it!” Spike nodded as he jumped up till he locked eyes with Sibrella

“Now RD, give the Heimlich maneuver!” The eleven-year old added.

Rainbow nodded before flying over and wrapping her front hooves around Spike’s chest, just as he was beginning to fall back down, and pressing against it hard, causing him to release a giant fireball at Sibrella, who was barely able to block it.

“Rare! Twi! Lightshow!” Declan ordered.

“On it!” The unicorn and alicorn nodded. As Rainbow and Fluttershy floated down with Spike, Sibrella turned to Twi and Rarity as they both lit up their horns brightly, blinding Sibrella and causing her to screech as she shielded her eyes.

“Can’t see!” she cried.

“Yes! Now Twi! Give me a lift!” Declan called out as he rushed over.

“Right! Hop on!” Princess Twilight encouraged as she bent down so Declan could get onto her back and held onto her as she spread her wings and took off.

“Oh, finally! Somepony who doesn’t mind me riding her.” Declan expressed, smiling and glancing at Rainbow.

“Hey! I heard that!” she protested.

“You were meant to.” Declan smirked. The others chuckled.

“You know, you really need to let that go.” Rainbow Dash told him.

“Your one to talk.” Declan countered. The rest of them held back their laughter again.

Rainbow scowled. “Well, at least I’m not in denial of being a little kid; which you totally are!” she shot back, which made him growl.

“Easy Declan.” Twilight urged him.

“She’s right, we all know that you can take her.” Spike reminded him smiling.

“That’s right, and now that’s she’s blinded…” Declan began, as they began to get closer. “Swerve around!”

Twilight did so and pretty soon they were right in front of the demon.

“Now… fire!” The boy added. Twilight charged up her horn, which glowed brightly even with the dark clouds filling the sky then she fired an intense beam of magic at Sibrella, pushing her back greatly but ultimately she canceled it out after extended her arms out.

“That’s the best you can do?” she inquired grinning at their surprised faces before launching a fireball out of her mouth.

“Uh… Declan! Incoming!” Twilight warned him, very nervously as the attack neared them.

“Ok, let me try something…” Declan mused, as he held the gem tightly and concentrated hard. The gem glowed and sure enough a magical shield that was similar to Sibrella’s appeared around them and deflected the attack back at Sibrella.

“WHAT!?” Sibrella exclaimed completely caught off guard, but not enough to dodge her own attack.

The others soon gathered together once Twilight glided down before setting her hooves back on the grass. Declan climbed off of her and looked up towards their enemy, who was currently fuming with anger, along with the others.

“Ha! Not so funny when your own trick is used against you, is it?” Declan smirked, before childishly sticking his tongue at her.

“Darn you…” she growled.

“Aw, what’s the matter? You still mad that someone dropped a house on your sister?” Declan mocked.

“Huh?” They all asked, including Sibrella, sounding confused.

“Old Earth movie…” Declan said, brushing it off. “Anyway… it’s time you and I settle this, mano a mano, one on one.”

“Your on… boy.” Sibrella hissed, sinisterly.

“Well this ‘boy’, is gonna wipe the floor with you, and thanks to Emperor’s Gem, I got the power to do so!” Declan stated.

Sibrella smiled, evilly. “This is certainly to be quite an epic battle, my little nemesis.”

Declan smiled back. “You bet it will,” he said as she readied himself for battle before concentrating hard.

The gem then glowed even brighter and in a few bright flashes Declan’s hair adopted a swept-back style, similar to his pony mane, grew long and eventually grew into a long ponytail with a blue band near the end of it that reached past his waist. He also gained green pony ears on his top of his head alongside his usual ones which quickly turned blue and his eyes turned white and glowed.

Everypony stared at Declan with wide eyes and slack jaws. Declan had now grown pony ears and it almost like he had grown a tail, he was half-pony, half-human.

“Whoa!” Rainbow remarked. “How’d he do that!?”

“Got me.” Applejack shrugged.

“Cool! He totally ponied up!” Pinkie said, excited.

“Ponied up?” Fluttershy echoed, confused.

“It just came to me.” The party pony shrugged.

“Well it certainly does look fabulous.” Rarity added, admiring him.

“And that’s not all! Watch this!” Declan said as he concentrated hard before wings made out of blue and white fire appeared on his back. The others jaws all dropped.

Cool!” Spike breathed, smiling.

Awesome!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, excited. “He’s got wings now!”

“Whoa Nellie!” Applejack remarked, taking off her hat.

“Amazing…” Princess Twilight expressed.

“More like dazzling!” Rarity gushed.

“Wow… Declan… how did you do that…?” Fluttershy gasped.

Declan shrugged. “Simple; it’s like that flight spell Twilight used on Rarity long ago and like those butterfly wings these wings aren’t really a part of me, and they act just like fire, so I’ll have to keep a bit of distance from Sibrella so they don’t go out. Plus I can’t stay in this form for long, more like five minutes, so I’d better get to work,” he said, he crossed his arms as if he was going to defend himself and flew straight up and then right towards Sibrella.

“What!? He’s faster!” she gasped, before Declan drew back both his arms and bent his legs as he got closer to her.

Then finally, he quickly brought both his arms forward along with his arms to both double karate chop Sibrella in the neck and double kick her in the chest. The impact knocked the air out of her and made her hack out some saliva before flying backwards. She quickly recovered though.

Declan then yet out some kung fu yells as he delivered a series of punches and kicks, which Sibrella returned. Both of them were trading blows like nopony’s beeswax and each time they clashed a short little ‘boom’ was heard and shook the ground below them.

As they fought Declan did his best not to move around too fast in order to his keep his fiery wings from going out but Sibrella kept coming in fast and the flames that were flowing and forming wings were beginning to shrink. Luckily he managed to shake her off before she could knock him out of the sky.

“So you’re not as weak as I thought you were.” Sibrella observed. “In fact you might almost be as strong as the four Princess’. Almost.”

“Gee, I’d say that I was grateful for the compliment… but then I’d be lying.” Declan said, making Sibrella scowl. “So, let me guess; your big plan is to find a way to get to the human world using the Emperor’s Gem and wipe us all out after you’ve conquered this world, right?”

“Not quite the way I would say it…” Sibrella admitted. “But you get the gist, and trust me the cosmos will thank me once it’s rid of your kind and these ponies!”

“Man, you are so boring!” Declan commented.

Boring!?” Sibrella repeated, sounding more insulted than ever before.

“Yeah, I mean the world ‘Take over the world while getting revenge’ scheme is so overdone it’s sad, not to mention lame.” Declan said, bluntly. “If you were smart you would do something a little more creative, but instead you pick one of the oldest plans in the bad guy book and to me… that’s how a total moron thinks.”

I’m the moron!?” Sibrella questioned.

“Yep. Glad you’re following me by the way.” Declan smirked. Angered, Sibrella charged and began to vigorously pummel him and knock him around like a ball in a pinball game.

“And I’m glad you’re an easy target!” Sibrella countered as she hit him again. She prepared to do so again for the umpteenth time but he suddenly teleported and appeared behind her where he kicked in the back of the head.

Declan snickered. “That was fun!” he commented, as Sibrella quickly recovered from the attack.

“H-How did you…?” Sibrella questioned.

“See, this the true power of the Emperor’s Gem, when it’s used for good and by the pure of heart, a whole new dimension of power can be unlocked.” Declan explained. “At least that’s what it told me anyway.”

“It ‘told you’?” The demon repeated incredulously. “How?”

Declan shrugged. “Don’t ask me, but I can feel like a ton of information coming and going from my head and I’m pretty sure the Gem and the light of Hope I unlocked had something to do with it,” he said. Sibrella just growled at him. “Don’t look too jealous, like I said; I don’t think I can maintain all this power for long. In which case I’ll have to beat you quickly then!”

“You mean you’ll try!” Sibrella proclaimed as she charged at him again.

“Yes, I will, and I’ll win!” Declan declared as he crossed his arms and used his magic to resize his wings before zooming forward as well.

The two quickly became streaks of light to the ones watching the fight below; zipping all over the place and slamming into each other every few seconds or so, though the faster Declan went the more his flaming wings began to slowly shrink again.

“Wowee! Look at ‘em both go!” Pinkie remarked, amazed.

“Yeah… They’re moving so fast I can barely see ‘em!” Applejack added.

“No kidding! And I thought I was the fastest there is. Talk about a let down!” Rainbow Dash commented, a bit disappointed.

That’s what on your mind right now!?” Rarity criticized.

“What? I got a rep to maintain!” Rainbow defended as they zoomed right over their heads, causing them to duck.

They eventually stopped flying and Sibrella quickly began to gather up a large amount of dark magic before firing an intense beam at Declan, who quickly mimicked her. They’re two blasts met but canceled each other out when they both collided, after which they zoomed toward each other again and resumed fighting. The shockwaves they created caused everypony to shield their faces and hold on to each other.

“This is almost just like my battle with Tirek!” Princess Twilight realized, a bit fearful. “Declan! Be careful!”

“I am!” Declan protested as he continued to try and shield himself from her continuous blows. “And I’m also getting excited!”

“So, you think this is a game?” Sibrella questioned as they began exchanging blows again.

“Not totally, since Equestria is in danger, but I don’t need to get serious to beat you. Nopony has to for that matter.” Declan told her, bluntly.

“Why do you care so much about Equestria anyways!?” Sibrella questioned.

“Because… this is my home too!” Declan proclaimed, firmly. “And I won’t you hurt destroy it!!”

Declan clasped his hands together, brought them back and then swung them forward hard and fast and right into Sibrella’s gut, knocking her away.

Soon after that the two dropped down to the ground and faced each other again, while Declan’s friends all stood behind him Sibrella stood alone.

“You certainly know how to throw your weight around for such a small child.” Sibrella remarked, impressed. “And you can fight well too.”

Declan shrugged. “Well, I did some self-defense classes, per my Dad’s insisting, of course,” he admitted. “I also got into my fair share of scraps with my friends at the park, pure fun of course.”

Sibrella sneered. “Hmm, and I’ll bet you’ve never won once, right?”

“Unfortunately… no.” Declan admitted, honestly.

“Wait… you lost?” Fluttershy spoke up, surprised.

“Uh-huh…” Declan confirmed, sheepishly. “But I have been practicing! …A lot… as you can see.”

“Yeah… I don’t find that very reassuring.” Rainbow Dash commented, deadpan.

“Not that it will help you much.” Sibrella spat.

“We’ll see, soon enough, demon.” Declan stated, fiercely. They glared at each other before they quickly resumed their battle.

The two then exchanged blow for blow and while Declan’s combat skills were impressive Sibrella was gradually beginning to overpower him and dodge most of his blows and Twilight was the first to notice it.

“Oh no… this is bad…” Twilight gulped as she watched the battle closely.

“What? What is?” Pinkie asked both surprised and eager.

“Yeah! Declan’s hanging in there!” Rainbow pointed out.

“For now… but Sibrella’s still much bigger than him so her blows are much heavier, not to mention he’s still learning…” Twilight reminded them.

“So… you’re saying…” Fluttershy began with a whimper. “He might lose…?”

Applejack shook her head. “Uh-uh, no way! He hasn’t lost yet!”

“Maybe not… but he should be feeling the effects of her blows soon enough…” Twilight said with despair in her voice.

“Oh dear…” Rarity sighed.

Spike looked up at Declan seriously. “Come on, Declan!” he muttered, quietly. “You can do it!”

The demonic witch then unleashed a barrage of rapid fire energy blasts that Declan was barely able to dodge due to being so worn out. Declan then managed to disappear and reappear next to Sibrella and hit her side hard. Now truly angry, Sibrella fired off countless energy blasts from her body in every direction and this time Declan dodged them with ease. He smirked.

“Huh, guess I’m not the only one who loses his mind, to mention his sight of everything, when he gets angry.” Declan observed while panting. “You got quite a temper on you, Sibrella.”

Sibrella floated back and smirked also. “Yes, well I still haven’t used all of my full power yet, more like half, just like you,” she said. Declan narrowed his eyes, seriously. “Oh, don’t tell me you’re surprised. It is me after all.”

“Ok then, then how about we go all out then?” Declan offered. “No tricks, no holding back?”

“Sounds good to me.” Sibrella sneered, looking eager for more.

Both of them set themselves down on the ground and stared at each for a bit before they both crossed their arms and both begin emitting a huge amount of magical energy that created waves of energy. That everypony had to shield themselves from the waves and some of them were even pushed away by the sheer force of the shockwaves.

“Well, I’d say this battle sure is ranking high on the crazy scale!” Rainbow remarked, struggling to keep herself in the air and resist the waves.

“No kidding!” Applejack agreed.

“Oh… I hope this is over soon…” Fluttershy cried as she curled into a ball and put her hooves on her head, she looked close to crying.

“From the force the waves I can deduce that it might be soon…!” Rarity said trying to keep her mane from blowing too much.

“Yeah, the last battle…” Spike added grimly, squinting his eyes trying to see while Pinkie sat down next to him, completely unbothered by the storm the two were generating.

“Ooh! This is so exciting!” she squealed excitedly, she pulled out a box of popcorn and ate from it while Twilight gazed at the little boy with shock and concern.

“Declan…!” Princess Twilight said, silently prayed for his safety as the final stage of their battle began.

As energy began to swirl around each of them in a helix like shape the two them stared each other down before suddenly vanishing. Small booms were heard above them and everypony looked up to see Declan and Sibrella fighting and vanishing every few seconds.

Sibrella saw the human quickly approaching her and her eyes glowed blood red. Splinters, shards and clumps of roc floated up from beneath and stacked upwards, forming a solid wall of stone. The building was finished in a second, and Sibrella figure was hidden under a perfectly smooth rocky globe.

Declan engulfed his bodies in a azure light to act as a shield for the collision. Only a few feet separated the eleven-year old from the globe, when suddenly with a sound of a knife sliding over stone, a multitude of razor sharp spikes emerged from the smooth surface. Seeing himself out of ways to dodge in time, Declan teleported, appeared right behind Sibrella and tried to strike.

Sibrella quickly intercepted Declan’s fist and moved it away from her. “Interesting, your power seems to rival that of a God… like me!” she declared before she reeled her fist back and sent Declan flying and rolling through the air before he quickly stopped himself and scowled at her. “What’s the matter? Don’t you like having the power of a deity? I’m personally enjoying it. And here I thought there wasn’t anypony like me in the universe.”

“I’m not a god, and I’m certainly nothing like you.” Declan stated, firmly. “You’re a monster and above all… you’re a jerk.”

Sibrella gasped, then snarled in pure anger. She zoomed towards him and tried to strike him but the human simply and calmly raised his arm to block it and tried to strike back, only for her to catch his fist. They both broke away from each other soon enough and began zooming all over the sky, smashing into each other every few seconds.

The two then began to play ‘magic laser tag’ with each other as they fired magic beam after magic beam, hoping to hit the other

Sibrella’s left arm then morphed fully into a crab like pincer, which she tried to strike Declan with but the human grabbed it at the last second and side kicked her in the neck before blasting her back.

The human then began to do multiple front handsprings using the remaining clouds around them and once he got close enough he did one last one to pound both his fists into the chest now monstrous Sibrella. She fell to the ground and created a large crater upon impact.

“Atta boy Declan! You got her!” Rainbow encouraged. Declan nodded acknowledging them then noticed that his fire wings were beginning to become smaller.

“Yeah… but my flames are starting to go out… and I can already feel my powers fading… better finish this up quick…” Declan said, before he zipped away.

Declan and Sibrella then flew at each other and their punches collided, sending out an shock wave that rocked some far off mountains. They pulled away from each other and Declan smirked.

Angered, Sibrella zoomed forward, blocked and moved away his next punch and delivered a heavy blow to Declan’s abdomen with her right arm, knocking the air out of him. She followed up by hitting him a few times more then flicking him with one of her multiple legs hard, which that sent him flying and spinning through the air.

Declan stopped himself in mid-air again, but before he can counter-attack, Sibrella disappeared and reappeared behind him before putting him into a headlock which Declan managed to break of. Sibrella then proceeded to give Declan another flick from one of her legs, right in the face, sending him flying again.

Sibrella then appeared behind him again and clamped her new pincer around his neck, making him choke a bit.

“Declan!” Everypony cried.

“Hey! Let me go you old crone!” Declan exclaimed as he struggled to free himself from Sibrella’s pincer, which began to squeeze his neck even tighter, making him choke. Any tighter and it would snap off.

“Still think I’m boring?” Sibrella hissed in his ear.

“Uh… little less so now…” Declan answered, as she tightened her grip on his neck, making him choke.

“Good. Now… any last words?” Sibrella growled.

“Yeah, how about…”

Sibrella was then rammed by a rainbow maned Pegasus, causing her to be knocked back and release Declan, who had noticed his friends rushing over closer and Rainbow Dash herself flying in-between them, looking serious.

“Get your claws off our friend!” she finished.

“Yeah!” Everypony shouted in agreement.

“Gah! You pests again!” Sibrella hissed as she narrowed her eyes at the ponies and dragon below her. But because she was distracted Declan was able to get free and zoom upward at top speed, surprising her.

“Hey!” Sibrella exclaimed, before Rainbow flew in and used her hoof to jab her in the face.

“Oh, no you don’t! You’re focusing on us now!” she told her.

“Alright ya’ll; let her have it!” Applejack yelled as she kicked up a rock and bucked it at the demon.

Rarity and Twilight fired laser beams of magic at her, which she held up her claw to block but was still pushed back. Fluttershy gestured towards her and pretty soon all the flying animals around came zooming in and started pecking and attacking her.

“Hey! Stop it!” she cried.

She was further aggravated when Spike started blowing his fire breath at her and Pinkie fired her party cannon at her repeatedly while Rainbow continued to hit her directly.

Eventually, Sibrella had enough and extended both her arms as she let out a primal yell as well as a pulse wave that sent Rainbow and the animals flying back and cancelled out all of their attacks.

“Fools! You’ve accomplished nothing!” she spat.

Rainbow then flew back and joined the others, she smirked. “Actually, we got you exactly where we want you!” she revealed.

“Huh?” Sibrella asked confused.

“NOW DECLAN!” Everypony yelled out as they looked up.

“WHAT!?” Sibrella exclaimed as she looked up with her eyes wide with shock as Declan floated over until he was directly above her.

“Always wanted to say this…” he muttered to himself before yelling out. “Hey, Sibrella! Guess what?”

As his flaming wings went out vanished his right hand glowed with a fiery blue aura. Sibrella was frozen in fear and stunned speechless while Declan glared at her as he began to fall straight down towards her.

“To quote the Thing… ‘IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME’!” Declan exclaimed as he pulled back and then extended his right arm forward and as he did so a blue energy wave was fired from his hand which hammered Sibrella into the ground, dealing out a devastating amount of damage. Declan’s leg then came soon after, side kicking her in the back and creating a crater that doubled in size in just two seconds.

A massive explosion followed soon afterwards which lit up the area and sent both Sibrella and Declan, both back to normal, tumbling backwards till they were a good distance away from each other. Spike managed to catch Declan, though he was pushed backwards, creating a trail in the ground. Parts of Declan’s body was also currently emitting smoke

“Declan!” The girls cried as they rushed over, worried.

“Are you ok!?” Twilight asked, deeply concerned.

“And do you that your smoking?” Pinkie Pie added.

“Huh?” Declan responded, before noticing the smoke on his clothes and quickly patted it out. “Whew! That was close…”

“So… did you beat her?” Spike inquired.

“Is it over?” Fluttershy piped up still scared while Declan began to pick himself up.

“Not yet…” Declan sighed while groaning as ever bit as every muscle in his body was in pain. “Still got one thing left to do.”

“But Darling, are you sure you should be getting up so soon?” Rarity questioned also deeply concerned.

“Yeah, I just need a minute to catch my breath…” he assured her. “Cover me, ok?”

“Right!” Everypony nodded as Declan began to walk toward Sibrella while they followed him close behind.

Once he got in front of her, she looked up at him furiously. “It’s over Sibrella, you’ve lost and to make it even more humiliating… he’s just a kid.” Declan mocked.

The demon growled. “I’ll get you for this!” Sibrella told him. “You hear me! I’ll be back! I’ll get my revenge on you! All of you!”

Declan then smirked. “Said the loser lady in the box.”

“What? I’m not in a…” The demon began before a green aura appeared around his left hand which he held out while his right gripped the Emperor’s gem, using the last bit of it’s power in the process. Rarity and Twilight’s horns also glowed before a unfolded metal box appeared around Sibrella.

Once she realized what was about to happen she roared and tried to run towards them but the metal box quickly folded up around her before she could, causing to slam right into the metal wall. Her side of her face made an imprint in it that made everypony wince before it sunk into the ground which closed right up behind it.

Chapter 16

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Chapter 16

After the deed was done, the skies above them all slowly returned to normal and became completely clear, with absolutely no clouds around at all. Declan and his new friends stared at the spot where the Earth had swallowed up Sibrella and looked a bit surprised and cautious, expecting her to pop out again, but she didn’t.

“Is it over?” Declan asked hesitantly. Upon realizing that it really was, Spike’s face brightened up.

“We did it! We beat her!” Spike said. He turned to them. “Hey guys! We saved the world!”

The others began to realize this as well and started smiling.

“Oh yeah!” Rainbow cheered.

Fluttershy sighed. “Thank goodness…”

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Applejack smiled.

“Indeed!” Rarity nodded.

“Yay! Yay! Yay!” Pinkie cheered while jumping up and down, enthusiastically.

“Ha-ha, we’re heroes!” Declan exclaimed.

“Yeah! Superheroes!” Spike added, as the two of them and Pinkie jumped into the air, full of joy.

“Yahoo!” The three of them cheered while their friends laughed in amusement.

“Man, that was the most amazing thing ever!” Declan expressed, practically bursting with excitement. “I can’t believe I helped save the world! We saved the world! Yeah!”

“Yep, and we couldn’t have done it without ya, sport.” Applejack smiled.

“Without your help, I don’t think any of us would have made it out of that,” Fluttershy added.

“Indeed, well done, Declan.” Twilight nodded proudly.

“Yeah, you were awesome!” Rainbow told him.

“Super duper awesome!” Pinkie piped up.

“Ah, I wouldn’t say ‘awesome’, more like… ‘tubular’ or something like that.” Declan shrugged.

“Oh, don’t be so modest dear,” Rarity told him, gently.

“Yeah, Twilight’s already got that covered.” The blue Pegasi smirked.

“Hey!” the purple alicorn protested.

“Hmm, noted.” Declan nodded. “But still, it was mainly just the power of the Emperor’s Gem that made me special.”

“No you made that Gem special, ok?” Applejack stated. “And if it weren’t for you, none of us would have gotten out of this.”

“We owe you everything,” Fluttershy expressed.

“Because you are super duper cool!” Pinkie Pie added.

“Exactly! To quote my surrogate sister Scootaloo: you may just be a little guy, but you have a heart as strong a horse!” Rainbow told him, as she touched the area of his heart with her hoof, which made him smile warmly. Then Spike got a thought.

“So… what do you think our name should be?” he asked. Most of the others looked at him confused.

“Yeah, what is our name?” Declan questioned.

“Our name?” Twilight echoed.

“Why would we need a name?” Applejack added.

“Well, we’re like a team, aren’t we? So we should have a name for it,” Declan suggested. “What do you think?”

The others all began to consider Declan’s suggestion.

“Well… I guess it couldn’t hurt,” Fluttershy admitted.

“Yeah, be nice to have a name for our group other than ‘those ponies’,” Applejack added.

“And ‘The Ponyville Six’,” Rainbow Dash said.

“And ‘those six fillies’.” Rarity scoffed in annoyance.

“Not to mention ‘those weirdos’,” Twilight continued sounding hurt.

“You forget ‘and their pet dragon’,” Spike stated, a bit bitter.

“Plus the Mane Six!” Pinkie piped up excitedly; the others all stared at her. “It just came to me.”

“Ok… so… what’s our name gonna be?” Spike inquired, curiously.

“How about… Rainbow and the Dashers!” Rainbow suggested, excited.

“Yeah… no,” Declan stated, flatly. The others all shook their heads and agreed with him.

“How about The Princess of Friendship and her Loyal Friends?” Twilight suggested.

“Too boring.” Rainbow yawned.

“How about… six girls, a boy, and their lovable dragon?” Pinkie added smiling at Spike, who smiled back gratefully.

“Too generic.” Declan frowned.

“Aw…” Spike whined.

“Come on ya’ll, we need a name that’s… unique and clever!” Applejack said.

“And fits us all,” Fluttershy added.

“Not to mention… it has to have pizazz!” Rarity expressed.

“Well, I think it should have ‘Friendship’ in it’s name,” Twilight voiced.

“It is our specialty and we do guard and spread it all over Equestria so…” Spike started to say before his words suddenly gave Declan an idea.

“I got it! I know what our name should be!” Declan beamed, pleased with himself.

“What?” Twilight asked.

“Yeah, what? What? What?” Pinkie questioned eagerly.

Declan paused before finally saying… “The Guardians of Friendship.”

“Hey! Good name!” Rainbow smirked.

“Yeah, I’m kinda taking a shine to it myself.” Applejack added, tipping her hat.

“It does have a certain flare to it,” Rarity admitted.

“And it fits us perfectly.” Fluttershy smiled.

“I love it!” Pinkie cheered. “Great choice, Declan!”

“Thanks…” the human said, bashfully.

“You know… your Pony form should also have a name,” Twilight pointed out.

“Like?” Declan asked, intrigued.

“Like… Hopeful Soul.” Twilight smiled.

“Hopeful Soul?” Declan echoed.

“Oh yes, it definitely suits you,” Rarity complimented.

“Darn tootin.” Applejack nodded.

“Yeppers!” Pinkie added.

“It could be about… twenty percent cooler… but what the hay? It’s a good name,” Rainbow declared.

“Oh, most definitely,” Fluttershy agreed.

“Well, looks like it’s settled; that’s your new buddy, hope ya like it.” Spike patted him on the arm.

“I sure do,” Declan nodded.

Just then, the Emperor’s Gem started to flash on and off again, almost like it was blinking. Pinkie Pie was the first to notice this.

“Hey! It’s blinking!” Pinkie Pie pointed out. The others all looked and gasped in surprise when they saw the Emperor’s Gem glowing brightly and then dimly.

“Gah! It is blinking!” Declan exclaimed.

“Uh… why is it blinking?” Rainbow Dash wondered.

“It’s… it’s not gonna blow up is it…?” Fluttershy added, scared.

Twilight thought for a minute, then it came to her. “I know! I think it’s close to sending Declan home!”

“What!?” they all said, stunned.

“That gem… used a lot of power to bring you here, it was almost a spell…” Twilight began to explain. “And now… the spell’s power is wearing off, and once it does, it’ll send you back to where you came until it’s fully charged I think…”

“So… how long do you think its power lasts?” Declan inquired.

“The way I see it… forty-eight hours…” Princess Twilight answered.

“But it hasn’t been forty-eight hours yet!” Spike pointed out.

“I know, but Declan’s constant use of it during the final battle against Sibrella must have caused a massive drain on the Gem’s power, speeding up the time limit…” Twilight deduced.

“So it has another flaw…” Declan realized.

Rarity nodded, solemnly. “So it would seem…” she said. “And now… you might be returning home soon.”

The eleven-year old letthat sink in for a bit before he realized that he was going to be leaving his friends forever, and that realization hit him like a blow to the gut.

“So… this is goodbye?” Declan realized, sadly.

Twilight looked down sadly, along with all the others, before gazing towards Declan. “I’m afraid so…” she replied.

“But… look on the bright side… you get to see your family again, like you wanted,” Fluttershy pointed out.

“Yeah…” Declan sighed, depressed.

“What’s the matter?” Spike inquired, concerned. “Aren’t you happy that you’re going home?”

“Well, the thing is… I don’t want to say goodbye…” Declan admitted, sadly. “Can’t… can’t I stay here a little longer?”

“I… don’t think that would be a good idea, Declan…” Twilight admitted, truthfully but sadly.

“And even if it were… you heard Twilight; that thing’s about to lose power and send you home any minute!” Rainbow added.

“Nothing can be done, sport,” Applejack stated, sadly as she took her hat off.

“There must be something we can do!” Declan expressed. “Come on! I’m about to leave forever! Any ideas?”

“No…” Fluttershy replied, close to tears.

“Nuh-uh…” Pinkie added, surprising Declan with her sudden seriousness.

“I’m sorry dear, but nothing can be done…” Rarity shook her head, sounding both sad and serious.

Declan then became upset. “So that’s it then, huh? Nice. You think you can just befriend me, change my life… and then just say ‘goodbye’ like nothing happened!?” he questioned, while rubbing tears out of his eyes.

“No! Of course not!” Fluttershy tried to tell him.

“We’ll always be friends with you, darling,” Rarity assured him. “No matter where you are.”

“That’s right.” Twilight nodded.

“But you gotta face the truth sport; you don’t belong in this world,” Applejack added.

“Yeah, you belong in your world, and we belong in ours,” Rainbow Dash stated. “You following me?”

“I… think so…” Declan said.

“Plus, you already said before that your parents might be worried sick,” Fluttershy reminded him.

“Yeah, and no one wants parents that are worried sick, it’s worse than having them… disappointed in you…” Pinkie whispered with a shudder.

“And besides… you… must be feeling homesick, yes?” Rarity finished.

“I know I would be…” Fluttershy admitted, sympathetically.

“Your parents, teachers, friends… don’t you miss them?” Twilight inquired.

“Yeah… I do… and I do have a lot of great memories of home…” Declan nodded, sadly. “All my teachers, friends and my family… and just thinking about them…”

He put a hand on the left side of his chest, where the heart was.

“It like… hurts inside…”

The six ponies and their dragon companion all stared at him sympathetically and sadly.

Declan tightened his grip around the area of his heart. His next words sounded like someone who has just accepted an undeniable truth. “I guess I really am homesick…”

He then noticed a lollipop rise up in front of him, much to his surprise. Pinkie rose up along with it, holding it in her mouth with a sympathetic smile.

“Lollipop?” she offered, with a cute little ‘squee’. A bit comforted, Declan smiled and took the piece of candy before licking it.

“Thanks,” he said.

“Something to remember us by,” the party pony told him, sadly and sweetly as the others approached.

“And to make sure you remember that even if this goodbye forever…” Rarity started to say.

“We will always love you, Declan,” Fluttershy added, putting a hoof to her heart before she, the girls and Spike gathered around Declan for a group hug, which he joined in.

“I love you guys too…” the human cried softly as they continued to embrace.

“Oh, it’s not goodbye forever, my little ponies.”

Surprised, everypony ceased hugging, turned around and saw the Princess’ themselves approaching.

“Princess Celestia! Princess Luna!” Spike said, as he and most of the others bowed.

“What are you guys doing here?” Declan asked, pleasantly surprised as he adjusted his glasses.

“We came to congratulate you on your victory, dear Declan,” Luna told him.

“And also, to explain a little bit more about that gem around your neck,” her older sister added.

“What do you mean?” Twilight inquired.

“Well, we did some more research on it and while it does possess extraordinary power… that power does not last long,” Celestia began.

“And once it does it sends me back home…” Declan cut in, glumly.

“Yes, but once the Emperor’s Gem has recharged itself, it will allow you to return to Equestria whenever you desire to.” Luna smiled.

“Until… it runs out of power again?” Declan guessed.

“Hmm, more or less.” The Princess of the Night shrugged.

“And how long does it take to charge?” Rainbow questioned.

“Seven days I would think.” Celestia answered.

“A week? So… I can only visit you guys once or twice a week and stay until this zaps me back?” Declan inquired.

“Hey, it’s better than never,” Pinkie pointed out with a shrug and a smile.

“Huh, good point,” Declan admitted with a smile.

“Awesome! So we can still see each other!” Spike exclaimed, pleased.

“Looks like it.” Declan beamed. The others all started to cheer and whoop for joy.


“Well, alright!”


The human then turned to the Princesses. “So… when it stops blinking… it’ll just port me home or…” Declan began.

“Not quite,” Celestia answered.

“The ‘blinking’ is its way of telling you that it’s time to go. Simply use it again and it will bring you home and it will not stop blinking until you do,” Luna added. “If it keeps blinking unchecked it will surely destroy itself and then you could be stuck here forever.”

Declan and the others were stunned.

“Ok… gotcha… prolonged blinking; bad.” Declan said as he gave her a thumbs up while smiling an uneasy smile. “Understood… well, better get to using it.”

He began to grip the gem, but Rainbow Dash suddenly spoke up.

“Wait,” she said. “Before you go… we… wanna say goodbye and… stuff…” she admitted, rubbing the back of her head and blushing.

“If we can, anyway,” Twilight added as she and the others stepped forward, looking at the Princesses pleadingly. They responded with a smile.

“But of course, take all the time that you require. Declan Shay is as much a part of Equestria as he is to the Earth, he’s earned a proper send off,” Luna said sincerely.

Celestia nodded. “And so, we’ll leave you to it,” she declared as she her sister turned and began trotting away, leaving the eight of them alone to say goodbye. Declan watched them go before he turned to face the Mane Six and Spike.

“Well guys… I guess this is it.” Declan said to his seven friends, who were all struggling very hard not to cry.

Spike was the first to step forward. “Well… I guess I’ll be seeing you… Declan,”

Declan nodded. “Guess so.”

As they both tearfully shook hands, Declan looked at the others and then at Spike. “Take care of them, ok?”

Spike nodded and saluted. “You got it!” he exclaimed, the next thing he said was in a much sadder tone. “Goodbye, Declan.”

“Later, Spike,” Declan said while hugging Spike. They soon separated and Spike walked back slowly.

Applejack stepped forward next. “Well sugarcube, it sure has been interesting,” she remarked.

“Eh, I’m sure things will be just as interesting here even if I’m gone, trust me, I’ve seen the group’s track record… it ain’t pretty,” Declan quipped.

The farm pony chuckled. “Yeah… your probably right about that one,” she admitted. “I’m just glad this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing each other.”

“Same here.” Declan nodded. “I really do like it here, it’s like a second home, you know?”

“Yeah, I do.” Applejack nodded. “Just make sure to take care of your folks in your other home, clear?”

Declan saluted. “Yes, ma’am.”

He and Applejack shared a tight hug before she trotted away and Pinkie hopped over to him.

“Aw, it’s too bad you have to leave so soon… I was looking forward to throwing you a ‘So Long, See You in a Week Party’.” Pinkie said, trying to stay positive but her drooping ears gave her away.

Declan smile comfortingly as he walked closer and rubbed her head. “Oh, don’t worry, it’s ok, Pinkie,” he assured her. “Plus like you said; I’ll be back in a week, and when that happens you can throw me a ‘Welcome Back Party, if you’d like.”

“Ooh! I would love to!” Pinkie beamed.

“Yeah, I figured you would.” Declan smirked.

Pinkie Pie’s face then became very sad and teary eyed before she gave Declan a very tight hug “Oh! I’m going to miss you!”

“Ugh… I’m gonna miss you too… Pinkie…” Declan squeaked as Pinkie Pie continued to squeeze him with her bear hug, “Ok… I can’t breathe…”

Reluctantly, Pinkie released him, nodded and walked away, wiping away the tears in her eyes.

Next up, was Rarity.

“Well, darling, I suppose that… this… is it,” Rarity said, trying to hold back her ears.

“Guess it is.” Declan nodded.

“Also… I would like to apologize for calling the color of your clothes ‘difficult’ before…” The fashionista told him sincerely. “I really do think that color suits you nicely.”

“Hey thanks, Rare,” Declan said. “Take care of yourself, ok?”

“Likewise, dear,” Rarity smiled teary eyed as she and Declan hugged, before she left as well.

Finally Rainbow Dash stepped forward, she scratched the back of her head looking a bit uncomfortable and nervous.

Rainbow then turned away slightly, trying not to look him in the eye. “Listen uh… I’m not good at the whole… mushy farewell junk so… later, I guess.”

Declan nodded understandingly. “Yeah, later.”

They both smiled at each other and did a respectful hoof/first bump. Rainbow then turned and began to wipe the tears beginning to form in her eyes like Pinkie, which she tried to hide from her friends. Twilight was the last to approach Declan.

“Well ain’t this funny, I’m first pony you met when you came here… and I’m the last one you’ll see before you leave,” Twilight remarked.

Declan chuckled at the coincidence. “Yeah, ain’t life funny?” he smirked.

The Alicorn Princess looked at him seriously. “You know this isn’t goodbye, right?”

Declan nodded. “Yeah, I know; it’s goodbye till next time,” he said. “Still… I’m gonna miss you a lot, Twilight… you and Spike were so nice to me when we first met. Me. A complete stranger… and yet… you treated me like family.”

“Well, that’s what we are, aren’t we?” Twilight smiled as she looked to the others. “Family.”

Spike and the rest of the Pony Gang all beamed in agreement.

“Sweet, looks like I got two families now; one on Earth and one in Equestria,” Declan remarked.

“Yeah! You got the best of both worlds!” Pinkie beamed. “Hey! That reminds me…!”

Pinkie prepared to sing, but was stopped by Applejack sticking her hoof in her mouth, with a frown.

“Oh, and before you go… I wanna give you something,” Twilight said before she began to concentrate hard and during that time her horn glowed until finally, in a flash, a book appeared and dropped into Declan’s hands.

“Whoa, what’s this?” Declan inquired, surprised.

“Let’s just say it’s a very special journal, if you wrote something here, it would appear in the pages of a book back in the castle library,” Twilight explained. “That way, we can still talk to each other even during the days you can’t come here.”

“Really?” Declan asked, touched.

“Really.” Twilight confirmed. The others all nodded also.

Declan smiled a big, teary eyed smile. “You girls… are the greatest thing to have ever happened to me,” he expressed, as he cried tears of joy. All of them smiled, touched by his words and a bit teary eyed as well.

“Yeah, we know.” Rainbow Dash nodded, proudly.

“Ok, ok, don’t let it go to your head, Skittles,” Declan warned her, amused.

“Yeah, yeah…” Rainbow Dash said before she gave him a smile of respect.

“Well, now that the goodbyes are over, guess I better get to it,” Declan declared as he slowly gripped the Emperor’s Gem and concentrated. A light shined out of the cracks in his clenched hand and soon, his whole body started glowing. The others backed up and gasped in amazement.

“Whoa…” Spike breathed.

“Oh my gosh, what’s happening…?” Fluttershy observed, a little bit worried.

“Guess that means it’s getting ready to send me home…” Declan observed as his body started to glow even brighter. He started waving. “Thanks for everything! Bye! See ya!”

The others all started waving too. “Bye, Declan!” they said while also crying out their own little goodbyes as well. Declan continued waving until his body glowed bright white before dissipating into green light and rising up into the sky.

Chapter 17

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Three Weeks Later

Emerging from a restful sleep and pleasant dreams of home and familiar yet exotic places far from it, Declan Shay let out an almighty yawn. His body briefly felt like butter as the boy stretched to and fro, then catapulted himself onto two feet.

Declan rubbed his eyes with a small smile as he collected his glasses off the nightstand beside him. Putting the bifocals on, he blinked as his eyes quickly adjusted to the sunlight filtering in, then he peered at his clock. The digital face read seven o’clock; right on the dot. Declan felt his lips curl into a smile as the alarm finally went off, but with no sleeper to disturb.

The pinging was swiftly silenced, and Declan let out a chuckle to himself. “A day passes in Equestria, and only a moment here, and here I am beating my alarm. Man, time is weird…”

As he spoke, the boy padded his way over to his dresser, maneuvering around his rogue soccer ball that had somehow taken up an inconvenient section of the floor overnight. He quickly chose his distinct green-dominated ensemble from each drawer and set about his morning routine.

After a shower and with his outfit donned for the day, Declan headed downstairs, where his parents were busy around the kitchen and a third person was seated at the dining table. They were concealed behind a tall opened newspaper with a steaming mug of dark coffee in front of them, but Declan could already tell who it was, and his smile only grew.

Most of the table was already set for breakfast.

“Good morning kiddo!” Harvey Shay greeted his son with a smile, glancing up from the sink as he rinsed bacon grease out of a skillet.

Rebecca Shay shared Harvey’s radiant smile as she forked some bacon onto a plate with freshly buttered toast and scrambled eggs. “Good morning, Declan. I was just about to call you down,” she chuckled, “but it looks like you magically beat me to it, sweetie.”

“Mark me, honey, I think our son here might be the next Houdini, or Penn and Teller,” Harvey laughed, leaning towards Rebecca’s ear conspiratorially and causing her to arch a brow.

Declan shook his head sharply, and happily bolted to his empty seat at the table beside the newspaper reader while his mom and dad did the same. “Sorry, Mom and Dad, but no magic to it this time, I’m afraid. Just the smell of your exquisite cooking.” Harvey chuckled with pride and Rebecca now had both eyebrows arched, impressed at her son. Declan smiled sheepishly. “A friend or two of mine have quite the descriptive vocabularies; the bigger words kind of rub off on you after a while, what can I say?”

“I’ll take exquisite over ‘cool” or ‘happenin’ any day, myself,” Grandpa Shay remarked, finally lowering the newsprint and revealing his wisened yet sunny features. “Good magical morning, Scamp!” He gave Declan a wink.

“Hey, good mornin’ Grandpa!” Declan replied in between forkfuls of egg and bacon, returning a smile as golden as the eggs.

“Goodness Declan, you’re going to end up eating the plate and the entire table at this rate,” Harvey commented while Rebecca struggled not to spit out her orange juice from a giggling fit.

“‘Eh, but he looks like he could take on the world, couldn’t he son?” Grandpa Shay replied. “That’s some aura of confidence you got about yourself there, Declan. You’re positively glowing.”

“Aw, thanks, Gramps.” Declan grinned. Grandpa Shay gave the boy a second wink before taking a sip of coffee and returning to his newspaper.

“You have certainly changed a lot these past weeks, Declan,” his mother observed. “Any particular reason?”

Declan glanced away with a knowing smile. “Oh, you know… just following the advice of some friends of mine,” he replied. His smile then became warm as he thought of seven certain somebodies. “Really good friends…”

The Shays soon finished the remainder of their breakfast and before he knew it, Declan was already on his way to school with backpack in tow. The morning passed by like most ordinary days, pleasant, productive, if a little dull at times. He never told his parents or his school friends about his experiences in the strange new world of Equestria, those memories were important to him and he wanted to keep them to himself.

But at recess, however, Declan’s experience from Equestria and his newfound friends really began to show. After two rounds of cops and robbers, a few other games, and one epic bout of King of the Hill Dodgeball during what the teachers were calling “a surprise extended free day for outstanding academic performance and attendance school-wide,” Declan received many remarks from friends and fellow classmates about his more than average confidence and surprising “tactical awesomeness.”

In all, the team under Declan’s leadership won the first round of Cops and Robbers, emerged victorious in all instances of freeze tag, and all but crushed the opposition in King of the Hill Dodgeball for a grand finish to the recreation before everyone headed to lunch with either bragging rights, or just a growling belly.

After lunch and another period of recess, school was nearly out and it was time to pack up for home. At the moment, Declan was waving goodbye to some of his friends, who were currently leaving.

“Ok, see you guys later!” he called out before they left. He also began to leave also.

While making his way down his school’s cavernous front entry hall, Declan noticed an open, vacant janitor’s closet, and his eyes practically glowed with intent. Taking a quick glance around to make sure the coast was clear, which it surprisingly was, Declan slinked into the narrow room.

Declan then lifted up the Emperor’s gem, which he kept under his vest and smiled. As it faintly glowed in response to his touch, the boy smirked.

“Alright Emperor’s Gem, you know the drill; Sugarcube corner, table for eight.” Declan smiled before the Gem, along with his body glowed before dissipating into green light and vanishing once more, leaving behind an entirely inconspicuous janitor’s closet in his wake.